Off the Record with Danielle Owen-Jones, founder of Bloomin’ Creative

Welcome back to ‘Off the Record!' In this monthly blog series, I have the pleasure of speaking with some incredible women in PR, sharing their industry insights and advice so that we can all learn from the experts. It’s been an absolute pleasure creating this series, so I hope you’re enjoying reading it as much as I’m enjoying producing it!

My guest this month is truly living my dream. Not only is she the founder of a successful PR and copywriting agency in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, she is also a soon-to-be-published author. It’s safe to say I want to be her when I grow up!

I am, of course, talking about the lovely Danielle Owen-Jones, founder of Bloomin’ Creative and all-round PR expert. You can read more about Danielle and her professional journey here, but without further ado, let’s get on with the questions!

Tell us a little bit about you

My name is Danielle Owen-Jones, I live in Cumbria and I'm a freelance writer, author, and PR consultant. I launched my PR and copywriting business, Bloomin' Creative, five years ago when my husband and I relocated to the area and I noticed a gap in the market for city-standard PR support for rural businesses.

I've worked in the media industry for ten years. I started my career as a senior journalist with Reach PLC (back when it was Trinity Mirror), working across regional titles in Merseyside. After a few years, I left journalism and took on public relations roles, working for agencies in Liverpool and Manchester. Then in 2016, I launched Bloomin' Creative, helping small businesses with their PR, copywriting and creative content.

My career has taken an interesting turn over the past year. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to be a published author. Earlier this year, I signed with a literary agent and this summer, I landed a two-book deal (it still feels a bit surreal saying this!) My debut novel is published by Bookouture – a division of Hachette UK – and will be published next spring. I run my business alongside writing my books (I’m currently writing book two, which will also be released next year), but the two different strands of my career go together very well as they’re both writing based.

Walk us through a day in your life

The alarm goes off at 6:15am, and my husband and I take our dog out for a walk. We get home, have some coffee and breakfast together and then we get on with our days. I tend to structure my weeks by focusing on client work from Monday to Wednesday and then books (either writing or editing) on Thursday and Friday. It doesn't always happen that way, but it's always my plan! On a typical day of client work, my tasks include:

  • Content creation for social media channels, primarily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

  • Copywriting, including drafting press releases, newsletters and blogs

  • PR campaign activity, for example, chasing up media coverage for clients or pitching ideas to journalists

  • Full press office services, including media relations

Why do you think small businesses should invest in PR?

I think incorporating public relations into a marketing strategy is essential for any business. When it's executed well, PR is a superb marketing tactic. It gives businesses a platform and a voice without any advertising spend. It's a way to reach new and existing audiences, spark a conversation and build brand recognition. I know I'm biased, but PR is a powerful tool for all businesses.

How can small businesses get started with PR?

If small businesses want to run their own PR activity, there are plenty of ways they can do this. You can create a basic PR strategy by doing the following:

  • Build a media calendar for the year: A media calendar is a brilliant way to identify relevant dates in your industry that might become a talking point in the press. For example, my food and drink clients might be able to take advantage of quirky dates, such as Yorkshire Pudding Week, British Game Week, or National Wine Day.

  • Media research: Which publications do you want to secure press coverage in? Research them and see if there's an angle that you can approach. For example, if it's a local business magazine, do they have a regular 'Ask the Expert' slot? Or if it's a trade publication, perhaps they run thought leadership pieces and you could pitch an angle about a specific topic.

  • Make sure all press releases follow the PR rules: Highlight the story's hook in the press release headline and intro. Remember to format your press release correctly, with a clear text font and size, paragraph spacing, correct spelling and grammar, and no longer than two pages of A4 (bear in mind this is still likely to be edited down). Be sure to send a selection of images that are relevant to the story (even if they're just headshots) and let the journalist know your contact details if they need more information or would like to arrange an interview.

What are your top tips for PR success?

  • Subscribe to your target media: Journalists will be open to story pitches if they know you've done your homework. A common gripe of journalists is when businesses (and, unfortunately, some bad PR agencies) pitch an irrelevant story to their publication. Invest in a regular subscription for your target media titles, read them carefully and look at the types of stories they're featuring, and keep an eye out for your competitors too.

  • Write down your end goals and keep them in mind when it comes to any PR activity: Don't waste your time and energy by running PR activity blindly. Write down your goals – whether that's increased sales leads, website hits, social media followers, or perhaps greater brand awareness in your local area. Keep those objectives handy and always ask yourself whether your press release, media interview, event, PR stunt (or anything else you have planned throughout the year) is going to take you one step further to achieving that goal. If it isn't, don't bother with it – spend your time and energy elsewhere.

  • Be proactive AND reactive: The best PR strategies are a mix of both. It's essential to be proactive and issue press releases when you have something newsworthy to shout about. But being reactive is just as important. Twitter is a perfect example of this. Journalists will often tweet when looking for quotes and comments, so it's always worth keeping an eye out.

Thank you so much, Danielle, for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to speak with me and share your insight and advice with The PR Pocketbook community. Wishing you the very best of luck with the publication of your book next year! I’ll be the first to have my copies on pre-order.

I hope you all found this as valuable as I did. Danielle certainly knows what she’s talking about when it comes to small business PR, securing coverage for her clients on both a local and national scale.

Stay tuned for next month’s Off the Record where I’ll be shining a spotlight on another incredible woman in PR.

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