Hello, and welcome to ‘Off the Record’, my brand-new blog series sharing industry insights from women in PR.
Each month, I'll be featuring a fabulous woman in PR, serving you all the tips, insight and advice you need to help elevate your business. I can’t wait to shine a spotlight on some of the incredible women in the industry, telling you a little more about them and giving us all the opportunity to learn from their unique experience and expertise.
For the first edition of Off the Record, I’m thrilled to be featuring one of the women I credit with advancing my career in PR. If it weren’t for her taking a chance on me as a student intern back in 2018, who knows what industry I’d be working in now.
Her guidance and support led to me securing many more PR internships and eventually my permanent, full-time role in the industry. So, if I hadn’t made it apparent, I owe her a lot!
Now, let’s get into it. Please give a very warm welcome to Alex, founder of Number Nine Communications: a fashion, lifestyle and wellness communications agency based in Kent.
Tell us a little bit about you
Hi, my name is Alex and I’m the founder of Number Nine Communications. I set up my agency three and a half years ago when I moved back to Kent from London. In London, I had worked for several years in a range of lifestyle PR agencies and learnt an enormous amount. I also completed my MA whilst in London in Fashion Retailing, Marketing and PR, where I gained the academic and practical skills necessary to be a successful PR manager.
On moving to Kent, I quickly noticed there was a gap in the market for a lifestyle-focused PR agency. With several universities, boutiques and brands starting up in the area, I wanted to provide them with a 360 service that would help them get off the ground.
My role at Number Nine is both managerial and hands-on. I spend a lot of time liaising with new businesses, speaking to current clients and of course discussing new and exciting products with journalists and influencers alike.
Walk us through a day in your life
Since becoming a mum, my day to day life has become a little different to the usual 9-5. I still work 8 hours a day, but you will find me spacing these hours throughout the day, working around my son's routine. This means that, on some days, I am on my email from 6am and writing press releases at 10pm. I feel so privileged to have a job that allows me to be a mum to both my son and my company.
Why do you think small businesses should invest in PR?
I think PR is extremely important, especially for start-up companies like the ones I work with. PR gives them a voice to build brand awareness, which is essential when starting out. Word of mouth works to an extent, but a fabulous piece of press coverage can work wonders for future sales, driving traffic to a website or footfall to a shop.
How can small businesses get started with PR?
At Number Nine, we work solely with small businesses. For this reason, we offer low rate packages and try to be as flexible as possible. If you are a small business looking for PR support, steer away from big London agencies and find a PR company which is small, bespoke and personal, just like your own business. These agencies are far more likely to understand your day to day struggles, budget and specific requirements.
What are your top tips for PR success?
Hire a PR agency with fantastic press relations, especially in publications and outlets which best reflect your business.
Use social media to your advantage and celebrate every PR win - both big and small - with your followers.
Ensure that your press releases reflect your business effectively.
Don't expect instant wins: it takes a few months for the press to gain awareness of your brand. If you work hard and wait it out, you will see fantastic results 3-6 months down the line.
Thank you so much, Alex, for taking the time to speak with me and share your incredible insight with The PR Pocketbook community. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Number Nine Communications and the many other students that are lucky enough to pass through its doors as interns.
I hope you all found this as valuable as I did. If anyone knows PR inside and out, it’s Alex, so I’m delighted that she was able to share her knowledge and experience with us. Stay tuned for next month’s Off the Record where I’ll be picking the brains of another amazing woman in PR.