Well last week (10 days to be precise) I emailed my first ‘analogue’ press release to local reporter’s Les Jackson of the Leek Post & Times and Andy Lees of the Sentinel. I’m happy to report Les and Andy were the ultimate professionals when receiving my little story. Both were helpful, supportive and keen to push my latest art venture along.
However, what’s not seen or cannot be calculated (by those who have read it today) are hours devoted to tapping away on a photoshop app cropping , sharpening, blending, erasing, tilting and distorting, uploading and downloading my chosen 1MB image.
Then there was my achilles heal, formal English! Creating a story, an interesting story in the written form presented my biggest hurdle. The prepping, drafting, spell checking, redrafting and quality controlling of a 250 word press release, (with a story tell with supporting quotes and quality pictures), posed my greatest January challenge. But I knew I had a secret weapon, networking buddy, fellow Foxlowe Hubber and ‘copy’ specialist (amongst other things) Mark Brammar Associates.
The verdict, “Pretty good Gav, but there were too many superlatives.” Noted! I now know what a superlative is. He added, “Let the audience see your work and they can decide how good your work is.” I knew Mark would spruce this little story up and ‘learn me” to temper the salesmanship. Mark’s final spit and polish Lesson redraft meant I was ready to deliver.
But let me go back to approximately 12 months ago. I was tentatively developing my mingling and networking skills with fellow sole traders, business owners and support organisations. The Creative Industry Roadshow, which is a fully funded and supported event by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, showcases the support, mentoring and business development available for creative business of all sizes in the Staffordshire Moorlands area.
Apprehensively, I found my seat near the front. Pen and note book in hand, I was ready to listen and learn about the virtues and tools required to makes a creative business sustainable and successful. The guest speakers, Emily Whitehead – Simply Great Britain, Mark Brammar – Mark Brammar Associates and Phil Edmeades – Journalist and PR Consultant were tasked with sharing their experience and wisdom regarding ‘Branding’, ‘Analogue Marketing’ and ‘Effectively Sharing Your Story and News’.
First up, your first meeting to your first sale, your customer interactions by email or face to face, and why they are all part of you and your brand. I think I was on the right track here. Time will tell.
Next, the importance of ‘Digital and Analogue Marketing’ and getting your news story printed. The advice, get an interview with the local newspaper/magazine. Check! Make radio appearances or two. Check! Don’t forget, word of mouth advertising, they’re all ‘Analogue Marketing’. Check! Well I know I’ve tried to face my fears and, to various degrees of success, do all three.
Finally, ‘What’s my story? This was it. How to prepare a press story, what angles the journalist or editor are looking for, how can your story or news stand out from the crowd.
Well it’s 12 months on, how did I do?