Off the Record with Lucy Werner, founder and author of Hype Yourself

Hello, and welcome back to Off the Record, my monthly blog series sharing industry insights from women in PR.

To say that I’m excited for this month’s feature is an understatement. This lady is the queen of small business PR. Not only is she founder of The Wern, a PR and branding consultancy for start-ups, she is also author of Hype Yourself: A no-nonsense PR toolkit for small businesses, and creator of its accompanying online DIY PR & branding hub. Both the book and online hub are goldmines of knowledge and insight from more than 15 years of brand building experience.

She is, of course, the incredible Lucy Werner. I couldn’t be more thrilled to share her tips and advice with you, particularly ahead of the publication of her brand new book, Brand Yourself, which you can pre-order now!

Tell us a little bit about you

Hello! I’m Lucy Werner and I’m a PR Expert. I started out in music publicity on a work experience placement when I was 17 and fell in love with the work. Today, I’ve got over 17 years’ industry experience both in-house and for some of London’s top agencies. I set up my own boutique consultancy in 2014, The Wern. Today, that has morphed into a design and PR business for start-ups.

To go with my best-selling PR book, Hype Yourself: a no-nonsense PR toolkit for small businesses, I’ve set up a new platform, which is a DIY PR & branding platform, with my creative director who also happens to be the co-founder of my children. It includes micro-courses, free templates, masterclasses and we are working on a signature programme to go with our second co-authored book, Brand Yourself: A no-nonsense brand toolkit for small businesses, which is out in September.

Walk us through a day in your life

Most PRs will tell you that no two days are the same. I have a bit more control in my life as I only work a 4-day week. Mondays are typically my Hype Yourself platform days, sales & marketing, content creation and drafting copy for clients. Tuesday through Thursday is a blend of client and freelance team catch-ups, media pitching, reading the press, looking out for journalist requests, teaching and workshops.

Why do you think small businesses should invest in PR?

PR and brand strategy should be baked into the foundations of your business. What sets small businesses apart from corporations is their individual thumbprint and audience connection. Using public relations will help you tell this story, increase awareness and build that association. Building trust and credibility is very important on the customer journey, and PR is great with that.

How can small businesses get started with PR?

Any PR or marketing activity has to be linked back to your business objectives. What are they? Make sure you have these in place first or the whole campaign is redundant. If your aim is to make sales overnight, PR might not necessarily be the answer. If it is to drive awareness, build your audience and credibility, raise your profile and get paid for your expertise, then public relations can help.

What are your top tips for PR success?

  • Tailor your pitches. Whether that is to influencers, podcasters, journalists or brands. People know when a ‘spray and pray’ approach has been taken and I just don’t think it works.

  • It all starts with a story. Know how to tell yours well and practise. Too long and waffly, it gets dull and we lose interest. Too short and it isn’t engaging.

  • Put yourself where you don’t belong. Think about where your audience is and go after them. Don’t worry about showing off in front of industry peers. That doesn’t achieve anything.


Thank you so much, Lucy, for taking the time to speak with me and share your experiences and advice with The PR Pocketbook community. Wishing you the very best of luck with your upcoming book launch! I have my copy on pre-order already.

I hope you all found this as insightful as I did. I can’t recommend Lucy’s book enough for anyone looking to jumpstart PR for their small business. 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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