An Irishman, a Mancunian and a Liverpudlian walk into a bar….well actually it was an office in Leeds where I was meeting them to take a brief to help figure out their general brand strategy and web copy for their new venture. They knew what they wanted to do, they just didn't know how to say it.
Development and property managers for £1 million plus developments, they needed a website that had gravitas to appeal to their clients. But more importantly, it needed to be different from all the others out there that seemed to put buildings - rather than people - front and centre. That was the brief.
We got to work. By work, I mean I listened to the banter between these three friends as they spoke about what they felt made them different. Sure they had heaps of experience. And yes, they did think differently, cleverly and delivered amazing service while leading from the front. But we still hadn't nailed THE big idea. There was work to do.
I left the meeting with copious notes and a smile on my face, because they were genuinely funny guys. Back at my desk I scratched my head. What was it that was really different about their business?
Then it hit me. It was them.
They were this business. Their individual personalities, the fact that they love sport, hiking together, that they all bring different strengths to the party. They were a team. And when they work with their clients, they pull the client's team together.
So I led with that - teamwork. I found images that demonstrated teamwork in sports, something we all agreed would appeal to their clients too. The same images also reflected some of their other values: challenge, adventurous spirit and being at the top of their game. We opted for simple, crisp black and white images to set off their bright pink logo (which in itself is pretty different for this sector).
I wrote their web copy in a personal yet professional tone of voice, with concise, punchy words, not corporate speak. It had to be human to reflect them, while still having the gravitas to appeal to clients.
It took a few drafts, as we refined and tweaked it so that all three were happy.
But we got there in the end. Their designer created their site. I wrapped up their brand style guide. Now their website is live. Thanks to John, Justin and Graham from Box Clever for a project that was brilliant fun. All the best in your new endeavour.
This is what they had to say:
I often hear from small business owners and solopreneurs that the reason they don't do PR is because they don't have any news. I get it. When you're a one-person operation you may not have much actual NEWs. But just because you haven't launched something new, or opened a new office, or introduced a new service or won an award, doesn't mean you can't get publicity.
There is a very simple thing you can do (and should do) every day to find press opportunities. Are you ready for it?
Follow the news.
Simple right? It doesn't have to be a physical paper that you read. You can put the radio on while you're eating breakfast, watch breakfast TV news, scan the online versions of the daily papers or industry blogs, set up an RSS feed to your favourite news sites. Whatever it is, make sure you know what the major stories of the day are.
Because when a story breaks - anything from a political scandal to a health related story to a celebrity divorce - that becomes the news of the day. Journalists will be looking for day 2 stories, supporting insight, expert commentary or personal experience that links to that news. If something similar happened to you or you happen to be an expert on the topic that's in the news, that's an opportunity for you to get in touch with the press and offer up your story or expertise.
It's called Newsjacking. You hijack the current news of the day by inserting your expertise, experience or opinion to help journalists flesh out their stories.
How to do it
Proactive PR stories that you create are brilliant, but they take much more time and effort and often have a lower success rate as you have to convince a journalist to write about it. Injecting your expertise into a breaking story that the press are already writing about will give you far faster and better returns.
If you'd like to learn more about getting publicity for your business, check out Publicity for Solopreneurs.