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Start Your Own Business

Start Me up

Feeling all entrepreneurial and fancy opening up your own business? Lucy Werner of Wern PR in Shoreditch shares her top tips for bigging up your brand

1. Photography Sounds simple, but a great picture can sell your story or product. This is essential for food and drink establishments, for example, a clear picture of a roast dinner at Jones & Sons can make national news or round-ups of top venues. But even a quirky app, service or business announcement is more likely to be picked up with a strong image.

2. Twitter Identify five to ten journalists who you would like to write about your product or who covers your competitors and follow them on twitter. Try to get a real understanding of what they write about and send them a well thought through pitch as to why you might be interesting.

3. Instagram Invest time in Instagram, this is currently the platform of choice to grow awareness and we are increasingly contacted via press on this channel. Make sure you are posting regularly and responding to customer feedback. It’s not just a broadcast tool, however, so engage with your followers and other local businesses. The East London start-up scene loves helping each other out, so show other businesses some love.

4. Have an opinion The national newspapers take pitches every day, so get in touch if you have seen something in the news that affects your business or you have an opinion on. Draft a few sentences on your opinion, who you are and send in good time (e.g. by 9:30 am that morning for next day print or by 2:30pm for online) as to why you should comment. Read the comment and opinion sections for ideas and don’t be afraid to be controversial.

5. Meet the journalist Have a google and you will find a whole host of networking events and talks available that give access to industry-specific media and details on how best to pitch to them. These events are also great for insight into wider industry issues. Tickets are relatively cheap and the experience will be a lot more fruitful (and cheaper) than trying to get a journalist out for coffee or lunch.

6. Host your own events If you have a relevant reason to mark an occasion, hosting your own event is a great way to thanks friends and family, local community and drive wider awareness. It is also a great excuse to invite local and relevant media along.

7. Partner up With so many other brand new businesses in the area, East London is great for finding brand partners, influencers or events to collaborate with. Have a look at similar businesses and meet up for a chat to see how you can amplify what you do together.

8. Talent spot We love the diversity of East London and the opportunity that provides to attract talent to help grow and market your business. There are some great collectives to find new talent in the borough such as Digital Futures, Ladies Who Learn and the Student Enterprise based in Accelerator London. Actively seek out young apprentices and interns to help with your PR and marketing and there is a good chance you will even learn from them.

9. Create a PR library It’s always good to create a PR library on hand so if a journalist does come to you with a request you have everything you need. Think hi-res images, biographies and images of key personnel, a basic press release detailing who or what your business is all about, years you have been going, key unique selling points and a one-liner that sums up how you like to be described as a business.

10. One size fits no one Every journalist covers different subjects and has a different style. Research would be our biggest tip when doing your own PR. If this is a title or show you want to appear on you need to know which column/segment fits your business. Create a personalized approach for every title you speak to. Always include the name of the journalist in an email otherwise it’s unlikely to be read.

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