Show Notes

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PR used to be all about black books full of contacts and lots of dreary press releases. But Charlotte Moore teaches a more effective and modern approach. This episode is jam packed full of practical and actionable PR, social media and SEO tips for food startups.

You’ll also learn how to (and how not to) approach journalists, publications and influencers to give your food brand the best exposure. Listen now for lots of great advice, lessons learned and a fab resource of the week.

In this episode you’ll learn

  • The difference between Traditional PR and Responsive PR
  • How to write compelling emails to journalists and publishers that actually get opened
  • How to combine PR, social media and SEO to your advantage
  • 5 tips for how not to engage with influencers
  • An amazing resource for taking part in food awareness days

Notes and Links

Smoothie PR
Bread and Jam
Trend o Gate for checking what’s trending on social

Episode Transcript

Guy: [00:00:01] You’re listening to Good Foodies and this is Episode 29. Today we’re talking to Charlotte Moore from Smoothie PR about all sorts of practical tips to help you get more exposure for your food startup. So, stay tuned.

Kylie: [00:00:20] This is the Good Foodies podcast, a weekly show about people, brands and businesses doing good in the world of food.

Guy: [00:00:28] Hello and welcome to the show. My name is Guy Routledge from Sapling Digital and Eco & Beyond and I’m joined in the studio today by my co-host Kylie Ackers. Kylie welcome to the show.

Kylie: [00:00:39] Hello, hello.

Guy: [00:00:40] So we like to start the show off with a question more often than not and sometimes it’s a very well thought through question. Sometimes it’s a real head scratcher. Today I’m just going to ask you what’s your favourite flavour of smoothie?

Kylie: [00:00:56] Tough question. So fruit, pretty much anything with fruit but I’ll go with blueberries. I’ll go with blueberries because number one, they’re..

Guy: [00:01:05] Good choice.

Kylie: [00:01:05] they’re tasty right, little balls of awesomeness they grow create a great color to the smoothie and they’re full of any oxidants and all that good stuff.

Guy: [00:01:14] Yeah healthy stuff which is good I don’t even know what would my favourite flavor of smoothie be. I think anything with pineapple. I like pineapple and coconut.

Kylie: [00:01:22] You eat a lot of banana as well.

Guy: [00:01:23] Yeah but I think banana goes in every smoothie there doesn’t it’s got that kind of yeah that’s that kind of nice richness, and there’s creaminess too

Kylie: [00:01:29] but they say that about spirulina and that’s so not true.

Kylie: [00:01:32] That is definitely not true about spirulina. That’s the horrible green powder isn’t it?

Kylie: [00:01:36] Yeah but they say you should put it in every smoothie. So seriously.

Guy: [00:01:40] I don’t know who you’ve been listening to. That’s terrible advice.

Kylie: [00:01:43] Yeah doesn’t taste good either.

Guy: [00:01:44] No it really really doesn’t. Now our listeners might be wondering why we’re talking about smoothies and particularly blend well, blending fruit in general. But there is some method in our madness isn’t there?

Kylie: [00:01:56] Well yeah I guess so.

Guy: [00:01:59] Why you really had to think about that for a second? Well the simple answer is we’re talking to Charlotte Moore from Smoothie PR today. We’re not funnily enough going to be talking about smoothies any longer but we will be talking about PR. She’s got loads of tips.

Kylie: [00:02:11] She has smoothies in her group, she calls them “Smoothies”.

Guy: [00:02:14] She does call them “Smoothies”. Yeah maybe that’s where we’re getting confused I don’t know. Yes she does call them “Smoothies”. She has the smoothie bar as part of Smoothie PR to membership where she gets a whole bunch of mostly food startups together to help them do something called responsive PR and Charlotte will tell us all about that in just a second. But yeah there’s so much great tips, so much value some really good discussion. So let’s jump right into that conversation with Charlotte and find out where it all started for her.

The Interview

Charlotte: [00:02:47] I used to go to food tours for fun at weekends and you know natural chatty not near here would start talking to people on the stands. Hearing the stories in the third world as you know pretty much nobody comes from a food background yet they were.

Guy: [00:03:03] It’s funny that isn’t it?

Charlotte: [00:03:04] It really is. I mean in banking also cars are like so totally random but it was their passion and their drive to start up a business and do something that they truly believed in which has inspired me so much. And I just thought I want to be part of this world. I want to come out of the corporate world and I want to work with these people. And one of the things I always say is. I found out that start ups have the least amount of time and money but need the most amount of help. So I wanted to create something that would address one of their needs.

Guy: [00:03:38] And so you started in copywriting and digital marketing and then you found this group of people who you really resonated with and who had these amazing stories but needed a lot of help. And so how did you settle on PR as the thing that they needed the most help with?

Charlotte: [00:03:53] Well that’s the thing I didn’t at the start because I was copyrighted. That’s initially how I started up so I actually had a different business name for my first kind of 15,18 months and it was true that they needed a lot of help but what it took me a good year to realize actually is that more small businesses don’t know what a copywriter is and don’t know what a copywriter does. Yet I was doing some PR on the side just this kind of favors for friends and not telling anybody and everybody knows what PR is. So thankfully because my business really was at a tipping point. I was genuinely looking to go back in the corporate because I couldn’t get that steady stream of clients. I certainly thankfully had that light bulb moment and realized that actually copyright naturally fits into the PR mold anyway so I could help people with the bit they all understand. Plus I could offer some extra services if they needed and so that’s how Smoothie PR was born. So I launched in October 2016, bread and jam. It’s even just from launch in there. I’ve had so much more traction in three months than I did in the whole of the first year of my first business.

Guy: [00:05:14] Wow that’s brilliant.

Charlotte: [00:05:15] I learned an awful lot.

Guy: [00:05:17] It’s funny like the word copyrighting obviously but maybe not obviously copyrighting means writing words too often to sell but perhaps also in terms of creating content and stuff like that but it also means that little circle with the C in it is usually got a date next to it in terms of like a legal thing. So yeah I think there is a bit of confusion as to what a copywriter is. I used to work in agencies back in the day and people when I first started there were like oh can you send the copy. And I was like what the duplicate of what the copy and paste of of what they were talking about the words that go on the back of pack or whatever.

Charlotte: [00:05:54] Absolutely. And my business name was that copy girl. So if you don’t understand that copy means writing that just doesn’t explain it in any clearer details. But you have to go through these things to live and learn.

Guy: [00:06:10] Absolutely. And it’s always I think it in any kind of small business or in any kind of business. There’s always things that you do that work really well and then it feels good. And then there’s things that you do that maybe don’t get the traction or they don’t work as you expect. And I think something that’s always really important to learn and understand is that it doesn’t mean it’s a failure or it doesn’t mean that you have to stop and go back to corporate just maybe finding a different spin on things or a different twist or a different area of expertise perhaps.

Charlotte: [00:06:38] Definitely. That’s what that’s definitely what happened to me.

Guy: [00:06:42] And so into PR then, I have to say I don’t know a huge amount about the PR. We work in that space of helping food brands get more traction and get more attention and do digital marketing kind of things but PR isn’t something that either to really use myself too much and most of my experience of it has been on the receiving end of what I would call really bad PR by running Eco & Beyond website. We get a lot of people reach out to us some with really interesting ideas and really interesting concepts and press releases. But a lot of really not very good stuff and lots of very badly written press releases. And with almost no, no explanation of what they want they just send the stuff and they go. Is this for your attention? So can you talk a little bit about the PR industry what it means and that kind of old school approach?

Charlotte: [00:07:34] Definitely. So in a nutshell when people ask what I do I say that I help fund foodie startups to do their own response of PR in 10 minutes a day for forty nine pounds a month. That is what I do.

Guy: [00:07:48] It’s very compelling.

Charlotte: [00:07:49] Now most people don’t understand what response of PR it is. So the first thing to do is to explain the difference between traditional as you’ve just been discussing and responsive. So traditional is very much that agency type approach right in hundreds and hundreds of press releases. A lot of them pretty bad slash very boring and sending them out to people. In the hope that they’ll be interested in what you have to say there and then, while responsive PR, what that is ,is what a lot of people don’t realize is that journalists themselves have been commissioned to write stories and articles about particular things and they’re actively searching for people, products and businesses that fit in what they’re going to write about. So what I do with responsive PR is I actually go through and look through all these requests that are sent out each day, sort through them pick out all the ones I think could potentially suit my small businesses that I work with. And then I pop them into the smoothie bar once a day. Now, it’s really widely available. There’s a hashtag on Twitter called journal request. So it’s an amazing free resource that anybody can use any time. Now the downside as often there is with anything that’s amazing and free is first of all obviously it’s journalists from industries everywhere. So that’s kind of your first level of sorting through to pick out the ones that might be relevant to you. And then the bloggers of the world which we know, there’s more, I don’t know about 3.2 million when they’re on the lookout for freebies, they also used the journal request hashtag in their tweets as well. So there’s an awful lot sorting the wheat from the chaff there. So I always say to people, Responsive PR is amazing. If you’ve got time to jump on and off Twitter all day, every day. Then you’ve got fewer of these things to sort through each time. So it wouldn’t take you as long but if you haven’t got that time what I do is I do all that sorting for you and I pick out the ones that are specifically looking for people, for products, for small businesses and then also human interest stories because actually at the end of the day people buy people but also there’s usually a way you can add a bit of a business twist to the story and that’s kind of one of the big tricks that I teach my guys in the smoothie bar is how to look at a request and how to add that business twist to it. So when I work with my guys for responsive PR we don’t send any press releases.

Guy: [00:10:36] Because that was going to be my question is you know do you find all these things and then you still have to send them a press release?

Charlotte: [00:10:42] Well that’s the thing. No you don’t. Journalists are not looking for the press releases. And I think for them actually the hashtag is a bit of a break from the norm is that they don’t just have to be pelted with all this stuff all the time. They’re either looking for a response on the Twitter thread itself so if they write in the tweet, if they pose a question and don’t give any other contact details they just want a response in the Twitter thread. Sometimes they’ll say “DM me with your information or for more information” if they have more to add than would fit in a tweet. So again in that case they want something that’s longer than a tweet but shorter than an email and then some of them will send out a request that has their email address in the tweet. So that is how they want to be contacted. And again it’s not about sending a press release in that way. You need to send a short paragraph that addresses exactly what they’re looking for. And that really is the key. It’s so easy when it comes to these kinds of things when you know you be a good fit. It’s so easy to be so excitable and want to tell your story and tell them what they what you want to say rather than what they’re actually looking for. So that’s one of the tips that I always give people is when you’re responding on an email just copy and paste the tweet into the email at first so you can keep looking back at what exactly is they’re asking. And when you do that, it should be a short paragraph, it should be bullet pointed. So it’s really easy, really to scan them quickly then delete the tweet because something you don’t want to send that back to them but that’s all they’re looking for if they’re interested they will come back and they will ask you for more information. I think that’s one of the fears people have is that “Oh if I don’t tell them enough about what they want to know I don’t tell them enough about me they won’t be interested” they will be less interested if you’ve got a whole side of A4 length of an email rather than a short paragraph that addresses exactly what they’re looking for.

Guy: [00:12:48] That makes perfect sense. I mean whenever we get a long rambling emails which we didn’t even ask for in the first place. I mean it. Even if it is something that’s really interesting in there, just looking at that wall of text makes me go do I have the energy for this, do I really want to trawl through this to try and pick out any bits and pieces information. So the advice that you’re giving here is brilliant because not only is it going to people who are genuinely looking for stories or topics or products or whatever it might be, you’re also giving them only what they want. And making sure that you’re not overwhelming them or blasting them with information so it just sounds like a much smarter way of doing business.

Charlotte: [00:13:29] It really is and it’s a fantastic accessible resource for everybody and for start ups especially who are the people I tend to work with and because usually when you think PR you think some sort of magical mystical black book of contacts you’ve got to have writing loads of press releases not knowing the right people how to write them in the right way but it doesn’t have to be like that. Now don’t get me wrong traditional PR really has its place for things so such as if you’re doing a product launch and I always call this big splash PR where you want to make a lot of noise in a very short amount of time. Traditional is brilliant in that way. That’s when you would send out a press release because you have got something specific that you want people to know about. Now you should never just send out a blast press release you should for each place that you’d love to get published, you should have a look at that publication or the magazine at least one copy or look through it at least once. So you’ve got an understanding of where you would fit on their website or in their magazine and said he said we’re brilliant you know stick us anywhere because actually that bit also shows a bit of thought and traditional works really well if you’re looking to target a particular niche or sector or a very narrow crowd of people. One of the reasons that I didn’t start off the traditional PR agency is because I don’t have that background and actually you need to be able to build up those contacts over time to get to know people at the various publications so that you have all the people you can target when you take new clients on board. So traditional works really well in those ways. However. Responsive PR is brilliant. If you’re looking for ongoing PR opportunities. So they’re they’re out there all the time and we see a lot of things that come round every few months. So this kind of story started looking for we get a lot of seasonal requests that come around as well so. I can look at the year now and have an idea about when things are coming. What type of things people are going to be asking for. So for instance in August you’d be really surprised at the amount of Christmas requests that are already coming through. We’ve had a few at the last couple weeks of July already.

Guy: [00:16:01] There is that concept of Christmas in July isn’t there where all of the big, these trade shows that have Christmas stuff happening right in the middle of the year for those publications and supermarkets who are looking to buy in the festive stuff. But there’s working six months ahead.

Charlotte: [00:16:17] Absolutely. And that’s one of the key things and that you need to plan ahead because everybody else’s the journalists are the big supermarkets are Christmas in July is all about showcasing the wrenches they have for that year. They’ve got everything in there and ready and that’s what they are showing off. And I always use this as a good example actually that one of my 1 to 1 clients I was working with last year we’ve just started up together and I saw a request for BBC Good Food magazine in August looking for their Christmas Gift Guide. So I actually pitched my clients. They loved the sound of it. They asked for some polls so we sent over we were so excited they came back said “This is amazing. We want to feature in the gift guide, Can you send over high res images and all the details”. Now this was in August. Unfortunately, my clients haven’t booked any Christmas photography until October so we actually missed out on that opportunity which was really hard.

Guy: [00:17:24] Such a shame.

Charlotte: [00:17:25] It was a really hard lesson to learn. At the time but really valuable as well. Unfortunately in that scenario they actually loved the product so much that they came back to us a little bit later in the feature in the January issue of the magazine which was incredible but that’s a good reason why you need to have things ready to go. Things like Christmas you need to have all your imagery shot, all your description if you have a web page in particular that you want to link to. Although generally you would just back link to the website homepage itself. That’s one of the important things to have ready. Another thing is seasonal recipes so all year round we get requests from people looking for recipes. So whether it’s like summer salads or warming winters stews and Christmas food, Easter, Valentines those kind of things come round all the time. And actually there are some amazing opportunities you say. You don’t even have to be a food brand itself doing that. So let me just explain. We had the evening standard was looking for recipes for Easter this year. And actually at the time my I was running a free trial in the smoothie bar. So two of my brand new people who were in there doing it in their first week they submitted their images and recipes to the Evening Standard and they were actually featured in the six recipes for the dawn. So they never done this PR thing before. But they had these things ready doing brew who are one of my favorite smoothies. They actually have a restaurant a pizza restaurant and Vicky she’s the free from fairy. So she’s a blogger and she does have a flower blend as well that she sells but it just goes to show you that something as simple as that. They hadn’t done PR before. They just responded to the request because they had these things ready. And they got chosen and the same happened for Thanksgiving. My one to one smoothie at the time Elizabeth Debix she’s the gluten-free baker and also makes a lot of vegan products and we put her forward for Thanksgiving and actually she’s an American living in Britain now and she wrote a very small passage about why it was so important to her and really unusually they included that as well. And this was an evening standard to they include that as well as the recipe. So. Those kind of occasions. It doesn’t just have to be about your product. And that’s one of the things that I really impress upon my guys is it’s not just about your product. Because if you sit around waiting just for those requests to come in, that’s not good enough for you to go for.

Guy: [00:20:16] But also I think it’s important to not always just be talking about yourself but to find ways to almost associate yourself or your brand or your product with something else that is relevant. So I mean the seasonal recipe idea is a brilliant one because you can say right well it’s summer. Is there anything that we can associate with our product or our brand that is summery or you know just putting it in that context rather than it being all about you. You can say well let’s make it all about summer and just associate ourselves or attach ourselves to that idea.

Charlotte: [00:20:48] Absolutely. And that’s something that’s really useful. One of the things that people don’t realize about the value of PR So obviously it’s brilliant when you get published somewhere and you get to share that with people. That’s really exciting. What the other kind of PR that you also get is when you get a backlink to your website and this is my smoothies will be laughing in the background ’cause I’m always impressing on them the importance of building off the demand and authority score of your website. Now hands-off I’m no SEO expert at all but in a very basic form we all have a score from not to 100. And the big boys like the Daily Mail and The Huffington Post you know they’re all up in the 80s and 90s and we could only ever dream of being that high. But for us little guys one of the ways to build up our old scores is to get backlinks from other websites. And what this score does is it starts to build is Google comes back to sends its bots to crawl your site small. It essentially builds up the trust in Google because if it sees other trustworthy sites and linking back to yours that increases your score which in turn is a step towards your SEO strategy when people are searching for keywords. Now it’s by no means will get you. I’m not promising the first page of Google or anything but when you’re a startup and you don’t have the money to hire experts who just do SEO on a full time basis, these are the little steps that you can take on your way to building up your own score.

Guy: [00:22:23] Yeah so valuable because Google’s algorithm is changing all the time and I’m also not an SEO expert although it is something that we put quite a bit of emphasis on with the projects that we run. Is the more backlinks you have and the more traffic you have as well, the higher Google will rank you in search results. So it’s definitely a valuable part of the whole process of building your authority and building your name, building your audience, building your traffic hugely important. One question I had about this responsive PR vs. the traditional approach, You’ve mentioned a couple of publications like the Evening Standard or Huffpost and things like that. Would you say that the new school approach, does it cover the same types of publications or is traditional still for the big newspapers and magazines whereas the responsive stuff is just for smaller things or how does it work out?

Charlotte: [00:23:14] So that’s a great question Guy because I think that’s one of the things you would assume is that it can’t be as good as the traditional methods and get into the big names. But actually I mean off the top of my head The Telegraph, Mashable, the Soden, Huffpost even Standard Metro, Top Some Tear, all of those publications my smoothies have been in all of those. Even things we get a little bit of TV and radio as well. So one of my smoothest on Victoria Derbyshire and there’s one was on BBC Worldwide. It’s all the big names that you’ve heard of along with smaller names and while you might feel the value from both of them might be slightly different. They do bring you different types of PR. So for instance if you get published in one of the big names it’s fantastic because then when you got to share out with people they all instantly recognise it but it is still really valuable to get the smaller titles as well. Because again it’s getting those backlinks to your website and at the end of the day I work with people who make food and drink and everybody eats and drinks. So there’s no better audience because essentially any audience that is reading about you in some way is really beneficial when it comes to PR.

Guy: [00:24:30] Something I’ve also heard is that the bigger publications are actually watching the bloggers and the smaller publications perhaps the more niche publications and in some cases they actually find new stories and leads and ideas from looking at those is that something that is true or is it just I mean I’ve heard somewhere?

Charlotte: [00:24:48] It’s not something I would say I’ve particularly experienced. However micro influencers the kind of the “in” phrase for this year. And this is something that I always say to my smoothies because when you start a business the expectation is you have a website and you’re on social media everywhere because that’s what everybody does and there’s absolutely nothing worse than being on four different social media platforms and not having the time to be present and to be on there.

Guy: [00:25:20] You spread too thin.

Charlotte: [00:25:22] Absolutely you should. Now by all means grab the platforms. So you’ve got your handles. So when you have more time or more cash to invest in somebody else to do it you’ve got your brand name in there already. But I always say pick one platform. Make sure your tribe of followers is there and then go on it regularly. So it should be a platform that you understand and you enjoy being on because you will turn up more readily to do that and then you get to build a following of people who are genuinely interested in your product. Now just like micro influencers, it’s much better to work with somebody who has a hundred people who can pull off every word they say are always commenting and interacting on their Instagram feed, on their Twitter and Facebook pages etc than to have somebody who has a thousand followers but most of them are spam, bots, have bots some of them because none of those people are ever going to buy from you if they’re not real or if they’re following people because we know what happens in algorithms these days, people follow you in the hope that you will follow them back. It’s not because they are genuinely interested in it. You need to have micro influencers who actually have people who do pay attention to what they say. They’ll always be a lot more valuable to you in your business if you can work with them the same way when you’re building up your own followers. Don’t ever be tempted to buy in followers or to buy in to these companies where you can set up automated comments so they will go around. They leave a sprinkling of comments on social media accounts that look similar to yours or are in your interest area in the hope that people would click on you and start to follow your back. It’s not genuine. Social media is all about being social. It’s about having those conversations, it’s about interacting with the people that you’re following. Don’t ever be tempted to do that because it won’t ever bring you any value to your business.

Guy: [00:27:32] Completely agree and you can always tell when it’s one of those automated DMs or automated follow backs or sometimes you’ll even see if you use a certain hashtag like suddenly three people will instantly read Twitter and you just know that it’s it’s just all fake and it kind of is maybe it doesn’t take much effort to do and maybe it gets you the occasional bit of engagement or something but it’s just. Like you said it’s not genuine and I think the kind of people that you work with and the kind of way that you run your business and the way that we run our business we try to work with real people who are doing real things and have got some kind of you know, value or promise or you know bigger picture that they’re trying to deliver on rather than who can we hack our way to the to the top of the list to get a million followers because it will look good. It’s completely pointless and a real waste of time.

Charlotte: [00:28:18] Absolutely. And I’m a real kind of mother hen when it comes to my smoothies ’cause I want to look after them all the time. And it’s really easy to be sucked into these kind of things by salesmen who come along and tell you how amazing it is for just this investment of money that can get you access. They’re not things that are going to bring value to your business. So I’m always looking at other ways to help them bring value to their business and that includes things like warding them off companies like that.

Guy: [00:28:48] So in terms of these journo requests and these stories I guess a lot of them are speaking to. Do you have a product or a piece of content that you could share. But I guess there is the human interest element of it as well that people might find interesting or might be looking to put stories together about.

Charlotte: [00:29:03] Absolutely. And I think one of the things these people when they join this movie about. First of all I just want journalists to write about how brilliant my products are. Well unfortunately we don’t get enough of those kinds of requests. So you need to think broader and this is something that I always encourage my smoothies to do. So for instance in Top Santé Magazine. They were looking for women who love the winter which is completely obscure I realize. But again it’s your interpretation of what they’re looking for. So at the time one of my smoothies I was working with, I put her forward because she loves to cook in the winter. She’s got a family. She’s running a small business. So she would start off something in the slow cooker first thing in the morning and they’d have a family meal ready for them at night. And she particularly mentioned pistachio soup which is one of her family’s favorite recipes. And within that she uses pistachio paste which is actually one of the products she sells. Now when the article came out it didn’t actually mention her business by name. However she could take a snapshot of that article send it out on social media to her email list saying look this is amazing we’ve been featured in Top Santé Magazine. If you’re interested in making this pistachio soup recipe here’s a link to buy the paste and you could also add into that which is also great PR. Is that we’re celebrating being featured here. So we want you to have the benefit. So here’s 20 percent off. So it’s a really good way to bring in a special offer as a double celebration. And then in the same issue. One of my smoothies put herself forward Maneesha and she looks to run in the winter because she has very bad asthma. So she finds it more difficult in the summer. She loves to exercise. And again she didn’t get a mention her for business but in the photograph which took up a third of the page she actually supplied it wearing her Nosh Pod T-shirt which is the name of her business. Anyone with access to Google and 10 seconds of time, I mean the name itself is quite intriguing. So to find out what Nosh Pod is obviously it would bring her to her business. So again there’s lots of valuable ways and a request that might seem very random and like how do I bring my business into this. There are lots of ways to do that and that’s something that I’m constantly adding to all of the requests that post in the smoothie bar each day. Lots of little notes just about how could we get a mention of new business in this because although the article itself is focused on something else you can quite often get a mention of your business. Just a quick one to add in, Hiromi Stone from Kinominuts. She had a double page spread in my weekly magazine and it was all about her doing jujitsu at age 59 I certainly wouldn’t mess with that. But within the article which was focused on that. She did mention in there that she also one of the benefits she found from it is that she carries around 20 kilo boxes of nuts because in her business Kinominuts which makes and one time she slipped that in she’s been a member long enough to know how to do that. So again just because the articles focused on one particular thing, there’s often a way to get a mention of you business in their as well.

Guy: [00:32:38] When we’re talking about the conversation around PR and obviously there’s some clear benefits that it can bring in terms of awareness and attention and getting your brand out in front of lots of different people. One question often comes up is how do you measure the return on investment in the PR that you’re doing. Perhaps it’s slightly easier with this responsive stuff because it sounds like a lot of it is digital these days but is that something that you’ve got any thoughts on how to like measure the effectiveness of the PR work that you’re doing?

Charlotte: [00:33:06] Absolutely. And I think that’s one of the most difficult things when you go to work with a traditional agency is that usually they cost anywhere between about twelve hundred to five thousand pounds a month for a few months. It’s very hard to see what that return on investment will be. However, one of the things that you can do is if you’re working with say an influencer for instance, you can give them a discount code so you’ve actually got something that is trackable when the piece calls life so that is a way to see if people have actually bought anything from being part of that piece of PR. In regards to responsive PR, the brilliant part about that is, when you’re used most of it is digital and online. See you get to know about it pretty quickly. One of the things I always write in my emails to journalists is if this is of use, please let me know when it’s live or tag me on Twitter because I’d love to share it with my three tier social network. That already confirms to them that they will reach a broader audience for their piece. So you’re doing kind of a favor for them in a way that you’re willing to spread the word about their article they’re using. I’m not saying this is going to influence them one way or the other as to where they pick you. But it’s good to have these little subtleties in there. It’s the same when you’re writing to the journo and an email response. Your top line should never be. “Hi Tom, How was your day? It’s been really sunny lately. Oh can’t wait for the weekend.” That’s the worst opening to an email ever. They don’t care about any of that stuff they just want to know exactly how you can help them. So when you’re writing an email this is some tips I would like to give. First thing he put in the subject line is the summation or the keywords from the tweet. So for instance if they’re looking for effective tips on the art of selling. That was something my smoothie Claire Brumby. She was featured in Forbes just last week with that exact article. So in her subject title it was the art of selling. Journalists have hundreds of thousands of emails in the redbox at any one time. And just because they’re asking about this story now doesn’t mean they’re actually working on it. So a lot of journalists actually use a keyword search in their inbox. So you pick out the keywords from the tweet that they’ve originally sent. That helps to identify it when they’re looking to start on this story. The first line should always be, apart from hi whoever, should be showing them why you are the right person to answer this tweet. So if they were particularly looking for small businesses for instance he would say I’m a small business and I found these selling techniques work really well. Then you would put in your bullet points of what it is that you want to give them advice on. And if you can give a bullet point of addressing it and perhaps an example of how it’s worked in your business because that might be something they want to use. Finish it saying if you need anything else I’m here. I always pop in the bit about sharing it with my social network. And then I send it off. They will come back to you if they need any more information. So it’s really valuable to write something that’s really precise and concise and answers exactly what it is they’re looking for.

Guy: [00:36:45] Brilliant stuff. And I guess it just makes everything a bit faster as well. It’s faster to read a bullet point list and it’s faster to write a bullet point list as well. So you’re saving everybody’s time by just kind of keeping everything short and sweet. Which is which is a great thing. Something else that can be good for measuring R.O.I. I guess is not necessarily a measure of the income perhaps but if you use your google analytics or something like that you can always look for the referral sources of where links have come from. So if you know that the piece has gone out in the Metro, the Evening Standard or on to some blog you can kind of have a peek into the analytics there and see if you’re actually getting any referrals from those places where an article about you has been posted. So that can be a good tip as well from from the ROI side of things. Charlotte, we’ve talked about many things and we’re running out of time unfortunately. Do you have any last few tips to share with our listeners.

Charlotte: [00:37:40] Absolutely. So I would always suggest and I know it’s really difficult when we’re all spending so many plates and in one time but I always suggest planning at least three months ahead. Get yourself some sort of a calendar, whether you like a desk diary or something on the wall or something digital, give yourself at least half a day now one of the great things that are out there are National Food Days. There are hundreds and hundreds of them. And actually I have a calendar that I give away for free. When people sign up for emails. And in that calendar I already have some dates in there to get you going so there’s some B2B and B2C food shows in there as well as some national days. Now one of the great things about PR and one of the easiest things is to join in conversations that are already happening instead of trying to shoehorn your way in. That’s kind of a bit like their traditional PR approach of sending out the press releases and telling what you want to say. If you join in the conversations that are already happening. Already that gives other people it makes them warm to you because you’re sharing a common topic or common thoughts about something. So for instance in July, National Avocado Day, National Pina Colada Day, Cheesecake Day, Ice Cream Day. All of these things are happening and I lay this all out my smoothies and their version as well. And there’s a brilliant website called trendogate. And what I did was all of these national days that are happening. I actually went on that website and I searched through everything that trended on Twitter last year. So one thing I do for my guys every Monday morning, is I put a list in the smoothie bar of all the national days that are happening that week and all the hashtags that trended because while it’s ideal to work three months ahead we don’t always get time to do that. So if they’re only going to do a couple of pieces of content maybe a blog post or a little bit some little bit on social they know which ones are going to be popular and which ones are worth bothering with. If they’re going to join in the conversations that are already happening. So it’s great because there’s loads of food ones out there and if you just google Food Awareness Days you’ll find hundreds and thousands of them out there, and then you also get other days that World Emoji Day and International Joke Day. Now those are really good because it’s brilliant to show the people behind the brand. If you can show that you’ve got that sense of humor that you’re just, you’re just like everybody else your favorite emoji is you know a lot, well the one I use the most is the crying with laughter. I’m always using the word, that is my favorite word emoji.

Guy: [00:40:25] Yeah, that is one of my favorites too.

Charlotte: [00:40:27] Absolutely. So, and perhaps your, for World Emoji Day you would pick a mix of emojis that represent your product as well as the personality, you know, the crying-laughing one. So that’s a really good way to get involved in conversations that are definitely already happening. Another great tip would be Twitter chats. So that’s something that happens every week. So for an example let’s say that I have a gluten-free kick brand and I’m based in my hometown of Beach Oakland. So potentially I’ve had to write these down because there’s a lot to remember but potentially I could join Allergy Hour, Veggie Hour, Vegan Hour, Vegan Recipe Hour, Cake Club Hour, County Durham Hour, Northeast Hour, Ladies’ Coffee Hour, UK business lunch. There’s so many regular chats that go on each and every week. Now I don’t suggest that you join them all because that would take up an awful lot of time.

Guy: [00:41:25] You spend your whole day on Twitter chatting to people and not doing business.

Charlotte: [00:41:29] Absolutely. Thought if you join one or two that are really relevant to you and your product and if you show up every way you join in with the conversations that I’ve done this myself you actually genuinely interact with people they do get curious as who you are what you do to start to build up followers. People miss you when you’re not there. And would recommend you to other people but you need to have those genuine conversations. Don’t jump in and say “Hi I’m X. I make this.” And then hop off again. Give yourself at least half an hour to be part of the conversation and to join a community because ultimately you can with social media. It’s all about building your communities. PR isn’t just about being featured on a website or a magazine. It involves a lot of things building around your brand and actually becoming part of a community is really important. It’s really important to build up your follow account but also people who are genuinely interested in what you have

Guy: [00:42:35] And people at the end of the day buy from people. Yes they might have their favorite brand that they recognise on the shelf and they love it and they buy it every week. Behind the scenes there are the people behind those brands and if you can let some of that personality shine through. Then, then it just kind of humanizes the whole thing and people really crave connection and community it’s a big part of it and I guess that’s a big part of why you have a community delivery system for your information. You know it’s all in this Facebook group where people can interact with each other as well as you know just get the tips in there and the journo requests and stuff.

Charlotte: [00:43:09] Absolutely. And the smoothie bar is all about creating our own small community. It’s a membership so obviously people are coming and going all the time but at the moment we always have roundabout, kind of 50 to 60 people in there at any one time but it’s wonderful because although the main thing is the general requests that come in everyday Monday to Friday there are lots of other things in there so when someone gets some PR. It’s brilliant because we all get to celebrate along with them and when they do get PR, again that’s where my bigger network comes into play because I can share across all my social media to help with their own exposure. So that’s something that they really value as being members but also I put lots of kind of tips and tricks in there. I’ve got food industry experts to come in and write guest post for me to help every area of the business grow, so while I’m helping with them with the PR side of things I’ve got experts who are talking about exporting social media, marketing, branding, finding your brands personality, all of those kinds of things, selling, that are really important to help your business grow. And I put out also a lot of articles generally in there to help them do that and then one of the community aspects that I really love is on a weekend on a Saturday and Sunday. I’d put it a post each day which picks out two or three of the smoothies who are in there and reintroduces them to each other because we’re all very busy. We’re all jumping in and out of Facebook groups all of the time and one of the reasons that I do that is because actually I have some food consultants in there for instance so if somebody is looking for a bit of help they’ve got a name to look up first and to start to explore that path. If it’s another food producer then actually if you’ve got the same ethos or you work well together with your products you might want to join up and do a giveaway together and do a crossover of audiences so that small community actually can branch out into bigger communities just by joining up together. So it’s a lovely way to remind them of who’s there and what everybody does.

Guy: [00:45:28] It’s a brilliant concept and I really love that kind of community aspect to it. I think it makes it really different and unique and interesting and so just before we finish the call here today if someone’s listening and they love the idea of this new school of PR this responsive PR and they want to get engaged with the community of people, get some tips and meet some other people going through similar things. How can I get started?

Charlotte: [00:45:52] So I run a 10-day free trial because I don’t want you to sign up if it’s not the right thing for you so I like everybody to try before they buy. So if you pop over to smoothiepr.com you’ll find my PR packages page, you can come and join us for ten days. I’ve got a whole series of emails while you’re with us that kind of gets you started so you’re not afraid to jump in and start tackling the PR immediately and it’s open to everybody. So I work predominantly with small food producers because they’re my absolute passion. However a lot of the requests that come in are suitable for any kind of small business. So anybody who has a small business themselves and wants to try it out is very welcome. It’s not just about food, food are a small amount of the request but there’s plenty of human interest stories and small business requests for anybody out there

Guy: [00:46:50] Charlotte Moore from Smoothie PR. And you can find out more about her and the service that she offers at smoothiepr.com. You can also go and sign up for their 10-day free trial and do your P.R. in just 10 minutes a day. Still to come today are lessons learned and resource of the week. And that’s coming up after this.

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Lessons Learned

Kylie: [00:48:06] Charlotte has got some really really great tips in there. And the thing I guess that I got the most out of that was that it’s all about having a plan. And making sure your actioning that plans. She talks a lot about in her her program you put 10 minutes aside a day to do some PR which is you know being committed to doing something everyday. In terms of PR but you could apply that to actually all parts of your business as being committed to doing an activity in a certain amount of time everyday and I love that. That commitment I guess to your business and to that particular activity.

Guy: [00:48:43] I think it also makes it much more approachable as well instead of saying oh you’ve got to do all of these things and it’s you know each one of them could be a full time job depending on how you look at it. But yeah just saying look let’s commit a small amount of time everyday to do on a recurring basis kind of almost turn it into a habit. It just makes it a bit more approachable and I guess if you miss it one day you’re only missing 10 minutes worth of work so so yeah then it’s no big deal if you, if you don’t manage to get to it when you are wearing all the hats and doing all the things

Kylie: [00:49:11] Yeah. The other thing I took out at that too was I mean there were zillions of tips in that but. To have them all hang together was to really have your processes down so to know what you’re doing what the purpose for you is. And then I would say like having some templates have the kinds of things that you as a business want to promote. So she was talking about being able to spin any kind of request. Back to your business and be able to associate that and so I would be saying you know sit down and work out all the different kinds of requests that come in and how you can put that into a process and template. Yeah it’s really a really smart way to approach anything really and it’s just as you say coming up with a process coming up with a set of steps that you take so you don’t have to think about it as much which is great. I guess my biggest takeaway from this whole chat was the difference between the old school of PR and the new school of PR or this responsive PR that Charlotte does because I’d always kind of shied away from PR thinking oh it’s only something that you can you would do if you want to get into the newspapers and the magazines and stuff and yeah I just had never really seen is this approachable way of doing things. It’s almost like an extension of social media in a way. Maybe that’s not strictly true but it was just really interesting to kind of see a different spin on it for a change.

Kylie: [00:50:26] Yeah and I like that idea that you can just send an email or a tweet back to someone that you don’t have to have this massive press release and actually the stuff that we get sent on Eco & Beyond, I would much prefer it if the people just came to me with something that’s short not just this whole wall of text that I get and we have to read through it and I’m like where is the detail in here. What is the thing that you are actually doing? And so that idea of the responsive PR where it is bite size, is much more doable on a day to day basis.

Guy: [00:50:57] Yeah. And so to kind of round off this lessons learned segment we thought we’d give five tips to anyone who’s listening about how to approach a publication or an influencer because I guess that’s what we are running as part of Eco & Beyond and we get a lot of people approach us and most of them are terrible

Kylie: [00:51:16] I just delete them. I literally just delete them.

Guy: [00:51:19] So if you want to send us an email and not have it deleted. Here are some tips for you.

Kylie: [00:51:23] So the first one for me would be to, in your email include what you actually want. So the number of times that we get emails. Full of information has got a press release, now I don’t know if that means someone would just like a couple of tweets, or if someone wants us to write an article, or I just don’t know there is often no indication of why I’m being sent or why we’re being sent the information in the first place.

Guy: [00:51:52] It’s almost like people just blasted out there and they hope something sticks but they’re not actually asking for anything. Yeah, it’s a real nightmare.

Kylie: [00:51:58] And I want it to be as clear as possible you know I don’t have hours to read through all these emails so that would be the tip is to ask for what you want and make it really super clear so that the person receiving that email can go yes or no, is this suitable.

Guy: [00:52:12] Yeah. Perfect. So the second one is to do your research and I think this is kind of continuing on from something that Charlotte was talking about. But if you’re going to approach somebody whether you’re responding to something that they have asked for or whether you’re kind of doing some cold outreach. Do go and check to make sure that the thing that you’re suggesting is suitable for that publication or for that influencer. So in our case we are very focused on food that is good for people and good for the planet and we get some really random stuff come across our desk.

Kylie: [00:52:46] So yesterday we got one from a vapor company. And I was like why is someone who you know sells vapor products like the smoking.

Guy: [00:52:54] You mean like vaping like smoking.

Kylie: [00:52:54] Vaping. So yes, and I was like, “How is that related at all to ethical, sustainable or planet friendly food?” They clearly hadn’t done their research.

Guy: [00:53:05] Yeah, so do your research. And then you’ve got a much better chance of being included or getting getting that valuable PR attention that you’re after

Kylie: [00:53:13] The third one then again is all about making it easy and this is a really key one is if you’re going to send something to someone send them a link to your images and any copy that you might want. So your tag lines or particular snippets or quotes from the founder that person writing in the article could include because that makes it super easy because I don’t want to have to go back to someone and say “Oh I loved your idea. Can you send me this and that?” and then there’s like six e-mails later I’m just not I don’t have that much time.

Guy: [00:53:44] Traditionally I think it’s called a media kit or a press kit and there’s lots of different ways that you can put it together. But the ones that we really like is when it’s online and you can just send a link to it. So I’ve seen a couple of great examples where someone has just linked off to a shared Google Drive or a dropbox folder which has got logos and some nice high quality images. Maybe there’s a press release in there maybe there’s a note from the founder. But yeah just kind of put it all in one place online so it’s nice and easy to find.

Kylie: [00:54:11] And the fourth one I mentioned before which is make it short. So I would say one maybe two paragraphs at most. And I would also put it in a bullet point format so that whoever’s receiving it can very quickly skim it. They can go, it’s about this. They want this. These are the dates. This is who is involved. And whatever other key things that you are you know whoever’s receiving that email can very quickly go. They want this. This is what the subject matter is. Yes. No.

Guy: [00:54:39] Absolutely and is definitely following on from something that Charlotte mentioned. And the final fifth one which again is continuing on from something that Charlotte touched on this idea of getting a valuable backlink to your website. Don’t reach out to people and just say “Oh I saw you wrote an article that’s similar to something that is about me. Can you reference me instead?” You wouldn’t be. You’d be amazed the number of emails that we get people asking to do this. It’s just incredible.

Kylie: [00:55:05] Yeah, that we run a content platform that work writes articles about food and families and you know ethical living and then they go and say “hey can you link to our infographic on, you know, healthy blah blah blah meals?” I’m like no I’m not going to send our readers away to somewhere else, they can read my article that we’ve had written for us.

Guy: [00:55:27] Yeah but also we’ve put in that that time and effort, we’ve done the research, we’ve found the references, and the examples that we think are the most suitable or the most valuable or the people that we know and want to support. And so someone with an out of the blue request just saying oh can you talk about me instead is just is automatically going to go in the bin.

Kylie: [00:55:45] And the other thing that they don’t do is they don’t think about why we might want to and in some cases we might want to but think about who you’re sending it to. What do they get out of it not just what you get out of it.

Guy: [00:55:58] So there you go. Five tips from two very jaded angry cynical people about how not to reach out to a content platform, a magazine, a newspaper, or whatever it might be. So hopefully all of that stuff combined will give you some good pointers of how to approach this stuff. So let’s wrap this up and move on to our resource of the week.

Resource of the Week

Guy: [00:56:22] Just a quick one today. It’s actually following on again from something that Charlotte talked about and it is one of these food day calendars and there’s loads of these out there. I mean if you just google for food awareness day calendar or anything like that you’ll find loads of results. If you do an image search you’ll find loads of examples but there’s one I’ve seen around a few places which is absolutely stunning. It’s really creative and it’s primarily a calendar of food days and it spells it out across every day of every month of the year. And it looks fantastic and it’s got some great examples in there

Kylie: [00:56:57] So I’d never seen this until Guy showed me and it actually got little diagrams. Not a lot of text other than the basic text but loads of pretty pictures off of Beer Day, there’s a bottle of beer, and it’s a really engaging piece of content. I mean it’s it’s really a beautiful looking piece of work.

Guy: [00:57:15] Yeah. So it’s a hand-drawn, hand-illustrated calendar. It’s something that’s available on a website called mylegoman.com which as far as I can tell is just, it’s a blog with all sorts of really interesting stories on there but this yeah this is a work of art and it’s called the “The mostly foodies days of social media calendar”. They do one for every year of course. And you can buy them on their website. I think it’s like 15 pounds. But yeah, it’s like a work of art but it’s something that will really help you to track down those key dates for things that might align with your product or with your brand or just something that resonates with you that you might want to do a bit of social media for or to go in search of some PR about before we sign off. We should probably let you know where to get that calendar. It’s mylegoman.com/shop/nationaldaysposter we’ll just put a link in the show notes because that’s a bit of a mouthful. Just head to goodfoodies.co.uk. Cool. I think that’s everything from me for this week. Kylie anything to add?

Kylie: [00:58:18] Nope, I’m done.

Guy: [00:58:19] You’re all done? Fantastic. So we’ll leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us again today. We really appreciate it as always. We’ve mentioned the show notes already if you want any notes or links or details of anything that Charlotte talked about you can head over there, goodfoodies.co.uk if you’re enjoying the show we’d we’d love to hear from you. You now know how to contact people without annoying them via email so do send us an email. Tell us a bit about what you do and if we can find a spot for you on Eco & Beyond we’d we’d love to give you some exposure. Otherwise have a fantastic week and we’ll talk to you next time. Cheers.

Kylie: [00:58:52] Bye for now.