Tag Archives: Scotland

Did you know it was Women’s Entrepreneurship Day?

Untitled design (1)I didn’t. I am a woman, and an entrepreneur, but I had no idea about this celebration of women’s enterprise. That is, until my pal Nicky Marr posted on Facebook about being included in a compendium of women entrepreneurs published on the Women’s Enterprise Scotland website here.

According to their website:

WES plays a vital role in the promotion of women’s enterprise, through the media, and across the wider community. We provide spokeswomen, role models and contributors for the broadcast media and the press, for events, conferences, seminars and presentations.

We champion women-led business from every sector across the entire country. We challenge existing perceptions to gain recognition of the economic importance of all women’s enterprise, whether micro business, SME or stock market listed multinational.

We encourage courage, confidence and self-belief that women-led business is a positive, rewarding and achievable option for women everywhere, no matter the scale of their enterprise ambition. And we cheer on those agencies already providing gender specific business development, and cite best practice wherever we find it.

We’re active digitally, and use social media and online platforms to promote women’s enterprise, to share information and learn from each other.

#WESchampions

They sound like a great organisation, but I hadn’t heard about them, either!

And then it struck me: the problem with entrepreneurship — besides the difficulty I have spelling it correctly — is that as an entrepreneur, running a (thankfully!) busy business, I am not on their radar. (I did get in touch with them subsequently, to do just that.)

So, not only did I not know about WES, I also wasn’t aware of the global celebration that is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Apparently, it’s a very big deal. Complete with a huge global sponsor (and former client), pwc. Here’s a link to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day website: http://www.womenseday.org and a hashtag: #WomensEDay.

This whole thing of not being aware of something that is specifically targeted at you brings home the awareness that, when you are busy running your own business *and* haven’t sought public funding to start or perpetuate that business, you simply aren’t going to be on the mailing lists for a lot of things that people in the public sector may be aware of. That is to say, the very people trying to target you, are not aware of you.

I am delighted that Nicky Marr is part of my network. Here's the two of us with her gold medal at a recent networking event in Inverness

I am delighted that Nicky Marr is part of my network. Here’s the two of us with her gold medal at a recent networking event in Inverness

Which brings me to my point: the importance of networking. I never would have heard about Women’s Enterprise Scotland today if I hadn’t been a part of Nicky’s network. Hopefully, having now contacted them, and tweeted about Women’s Enterprise Day, they will know about me. Moreover, my network of Twitter followers and followers of our Bruce PR Facebook page will also become aware of this organisation. Because ultimately, it’s up to every one of us to help our fellow entrepreneurs get a hand up. So after this post is published, I will also put it on LinkedIn, where — ideally —  another group of fellow entrepreneurs will also see it.

Happy Women’s Entrepreneurs Day everyone! And thanks Nicky!

Why it pays to help charities with their PR

Scottish Charity Awards deadline March 26

The deadline for applications is 26 March!

There are only six days until the deadline for applications for the Scottish Charity Awards 2014. If your organisation would like to get involved, click on the link and get your nomination in pronto!

Having worked in PR for two decades, we have worked with literally dozens of charities. It may come as a surprise, but charities can be some of the most creative clients you can have the pleasure to work with. Why? Frequently having with little in the way of financial resources to devote to marketing and PR, charities are often far more willing to take a chance and push the boundaries in their promotion efforts. The results can often be quite outstanding communications initiatives, from inspired outreach activities to attract new supporters, to creating compelling content on social media.

One of the reasons why I believe charities have the capacity for great work is often because they attract talented people who aren’t motivated primarily by financial rewards. The ability to do work that you believe may help to improve the lot of people less well off than yourself — that is a pretty good feeling. And to do it day-in, day-out, rather than as a one-off charity fundraising gig, well, that can be downright inspiring.

So while charities may not be the most lucrative of clients, agencies can often gain as much as they give when agreeing to work with non-profits. Bruce PR is happy to give an hour or two of consulting time to a charity looking for a fresh perspective on their communications. We like working with non-profits, and we particularly like the feeling we get giving something back.

And while  you may not feel ready to apply for a “Cracking Campaign” award for best charity-led campaign, working with a talented PR agency in the weeks and months ahead might just inspire you both to be award-ready in 2015!

If your Highlands and Islands-based charity would like help with its communications, please get in touch by completing our contact form here.

PR for Professional Services: why it’s different marketing the services of solicitors, accountants, architects and engineers

I would never have discovered this Argentinian Tango-Reggae band, if they hadn't been performing on the streets of Buenos Aires

No doubt they would have preferred to stay at home, but then I would never have discovered this Argentinian Tango-Reggae band, Jamaicadeiros, performing on the streets of Buenos Aires — and bought both their CDs!

On Wednesday I attended a networking event organised by the Inverness Chamber of Commerce. This was the second networking lunch I have attended, and I must say, I really enjoy these functions.

The format is simple — a hotel meeting room with several round tables set for lunch. Choose your table and then, after a welcome and introduction by the host — in this instance, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Stuart Nicol — the formal networking begins. Each person at the table takes a few minutes to introduce themselves and to say a bit about their business. During this time, the first course is served, and then, after the introductions, people chat informally.

Someone in legal services asked me about PR, and said he had just started advertising on radio. I was intrigued to learn that he is using advertising, because many professional services firms prefer not to. Traditionally, firms of solicitors, engineers, architects and accountants have shied away from promoting themselves directly. It has been seen to be a bit brash, and frankly, not their kind of thing. But as competition heats up, and your client base diminishes through attrition, promoting your professional services firm may become a more pressing issue.

While advertising is the obvious choice when people think about getting their company name out there, it’s not the only way to achieve this objective. There are many ways to help raise your company’s profile without taking out an ad in the local paper, or committing to a month of 30-second spots on the radio. One of the most simple and straightforward ways to raise awareness of your business, is to go out and meet people at local business events. You may say, “But I’m an engineer, it’s not my job to network!” and of course, you would be wrong. If it’s not your job, then whose is it?

No one cares more about the survival of your business than you do. Unless you have a monopoly on the service you provide, you should probably consider doing at least one or two things to raise your company’s profile.

Three simple — and crucially, low-key —  things you can do are:

  1. Stay in touch with former clients, using a corporate newsletter to share information about developments in your field — changes in legislation, for example. While you’re at it, you can also use your in-house publication to tell clients past and present about new recruits to your firm, new services you provide, recent contracts you have won, and seasonal information such as filing deadlines or an FAQ about stamp duty. A newsletter can be a very cost-effective way to stay in touch. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, a public relations firm can easily produce this for you. Like media releases, corporate newsletters are our stock-in-trade.
  2. If your industry has an awards scheme, consider how you can take advantage of this. Whilst it takes time to put together a nomination, winning an industry award is a great way to promote your business, and give you an excuse to get in touch with your local media. I can’t recommend it enough.
  3. Attend local business events, and make an effort to speak to people you don’t know. I am a big fan of networking, and you can read my previous blog posts about it here. As a self-admitted “people-person”, I have no fears of speaking to strangers at these events. However, I am in the minority it seems. To get over your reluctance to speak to people you don’t know, try to keep in mind this wonderful saying from Canada: “There are no strangers, only friends we haven’t met yet.”

As you can see, none of the suggestions above requires you to be “too forward”. However each of the tactics I listed will help you to raise your company’s profile with key audiences.

As usual, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line using our contact form here, or via Twitter @Bruce_PR.

 

5 simple ways to network more effectively

Networking at an Inverness Chamber of Commerce event, that’s me in the cream jacket on the left.

Like it or not, networking is an important part of your job. Whether you’re an entrepreneur like me, or if you work for a large organisation, getting out and meeting people is important. You should regularly make time for it.

I happen to enjoy networking, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless, it’s in your best interest to try to become more comfortable in these kinds of situations.

Here are five simple tips to help you make the most of this opportunity:

  1. Bring business cards. It may seem obvious, but it’s remarkable how many people neglect to ensure they have enough to share around.
  2. Dress your best. It may be superficial, but your appearance says a lot about you and the company you represent. Take the time to make sure you are sending the best message.
  3. Speak to people! The purpose of attending these events is to broaden your social and business networks. Don’t just stand there speaking to people you already know. If you don’t make contact with new people, you may as well have stayed in the office. And remember that many of the people attending the event may also be shy — don’t let this stop you from introducing yourself and asking if they are enjoying themselves.
  4. Remember that people do business with people they know. It sounds simple enough, but you may not have considered it: the more people you know, the more successful your business is likely to be. Networking events are a tremendous opportunity not only to meet new people, but to get reacquainted with people you have met before. A networking event presents the ideal opportunity to develop your relationship with acquaintances.
  5. Follow up! After meeting new people at an event, follow up your initial contact by dropping them a line by email. You could even give them a ring! See if they are on Twitter, and if so, follow them with your business account.

Effective networking is not brain surgery. Like most things that make someone successful, the key is developing a few good habits, and sticking with them.

I must dash now, I want to make sure I look my best for this afternoon’s networking session.

5 ways Bruce Public Relations can help your business. Right now.

Laura Bruce from Bruce Public Relations speaking to a Highland audience about public relations in the age of social media

Laura Bruce from Bruce Public Relations speaking to a Highland audience about public relations in the age of social media

5 reasons to contact Bruce Public Relations:

1. You have just valuable new contract, and want to spread the word.

We would be delighted to get the word out. From announcing a new ship joining the fleet, to the awarding the contract for a multi-million pound hospital, to the opening of a new nursery, Bruce PR has helped clients of all sizes and shapes to share their good news. And we would be delighted to help you share yours.

2. You may soon be on the receiving end of some negative media coverage and you have no idea what to do.

Asking how you came to be in that unfortunate position isn’t going to help much at this point. What you need now is crisis management. And we have expertise in that. With clients in health care, transportation and chemical industries (to name a few), we appreciate that there is a lot that can go wrong. Machines malfunction, people make mistakes. What matters now is what you do about that. If you think this is the kind of help you need, get in touch with us — or another trusted and experienced firm — quickly. The sooner the better. You can thank us later.

3. Your business has grown to a certain point, but you would like to reach the next level.

We can help. In fact, this may be our favourite kind of work. Whilst our stock-in-trade is PR, what we are particularly good at is helping you to see your business with fresh eyes. With nearly twenty years experience helping businesses across dozens of sectors to achieve their objectives, we can often help you to find a new and better way of growing your business.

4. You have heard that this [Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Insert name of next new channel] thing may be important for your business, but have no idea where to start.

Yes, we can help you with this as well. If social media is something you know you should start doing, we can help you to position your social networking within an overall communications strategy. However, if all you need are a few pointers to set you in the right direction, we can help you with that as well.

5. Your [daughter / nephew / computer technician ] did your company’s website five years ago, but it’s just not what you need today.

From copywriting to press releases to corporate brochures to instruction manuals, writing is something we simply love to do. And if it you would like some help updating your website, creating some fresh material for your blog, or helping create a user-friendly manual for your  product, please get in touch. We would be delighted to help. And if your website needs a makeover, we know some talented designers who can help steer you in the right direction. Together, we can ensure that your website is hitting the right note.

So there you have it. Five ways Bruce Public Relations can help your business. Right now.