• How I added Deborah Meaden and Sir Steve Redgrave to my marketing for under 500 quid

    Nov 26 • Celebrity, General business, Inspiration, PR Tips & Tricks • 194 Views

    And still found space for the founder of Green & Black’s and Lord Archer

    Yesterday I attended a business conference run by Nigel Botterill and his Entrepreneurs Circle team.
    I get great value from these days out of the office as I get to work ON the business not in it and pick up loads of new ideas for my clients.
    On the day, there is often a ‘celebrity’ speaker who are always good value to hear from BUT what a lot of attendees don’t see is the wider opportunity. 
    The photo.
    Now, this costs me a little more in terms of ticket price and many people baulk at that but what I can do after the event with the photo is pretty powerful, in fact, I’m doing it now.
    Secret Sauce
    I see lots of other delegates sharing their photo today too BUT they could be doing more.
    Deborah discussed a wide range of topics, including Dragons’ Den and ‘missing’ the Levi Roots opportunity, so here’s my secret sauce to leverage celebrity moments.
    Before the event – I mentioned I was going Dragon Slaying in a few meetings, tagged Deborah on Twitter to say I was looking forward to it and on my Facebook page and Group.
    I also used my Out of Office message on my emails to good effect to explain to clients where I was, whilst also trailing this blog after the event and causing conversation yesterday during my breaks and this morning.
    Crucially, I didn’t just say I was going to meet Deborah, I asked what other people wanted me to ask. I was USEFUL to my audience and added value.
    On the day
    I kept this up, whilst making notes on the interview and planning how to leverage it. I then bagged my photo ready for today AND I dropped a note to a friendly reporter I know asking whether he fancied a guest article on meeting Deborah, part of which you are reading now.
    The day after – today
    Today I have written the piece you are now reading, which I have published across my social media channels driving traffic back to my blog, where you are probably reading this now and tagged all parties involved to see if they will share. Again, I have ensured there is something in it for them if they do in terms of exposure.
    It has also been sent out via my e-newsletter subscribers and I will use it as part of a round-up blog of my Top Tips for the year in December.
    So next time, if you have a similar opportunity, by all means consider the ‘cost’ of the VIP ticket but also consider the OPPORTUNITY to leverage it and achieve much more than a seat close to the stage and a photo.
    PS you can check out who is the tallest, Sir Steve Redgrave or me HERE 

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  • PR – for a nosey parker, it’s an interesting job

    Oct 23 • Uncategorized • 186 Views

    Actually, although PR has its moments, I’m talking about a chap at the property next door to me on Friday trying to earn an honest bob. A window cleaner.

    Now’ it’s not often one gets to quote George Formby in a column about PR and Marketing but today is that day so I will cast him in the role below and I hope it gets you thinking.

    I have a running battle at the rear of my house due to various ‘interesting’ decisions made by the previous occupants and whoever installed the guttering. 

    Long-story short, I need someone to clear them out and have a good look.

    I could also do with a regular window-cleaner but there is never anyone advertising these services in or around our village. 

    Missed opportunity 1.

    So imagine my joy when I spot a chap up his ladders next door doing that exact thing. I waited until he was safe and shouted up to him, mere feet from the ground at the time. 

    Greg – ‘Could you pop over and look at mine after you’re finished there at all?’

    Formby -‘Morning. I probably can but I might have to shoot off.’

    Greg – ‘Ah, do you have a business card?’

    Formby – ‘No.’

    Greg – ‘Er, can I take a mobile number and I’ll drop you a text then?’

    Formby – ‘Tell you what. I’ll come over now.’

    Now, I didn’t expect him to abandon one job or really want him to at that stage but he was a lovely chap and we soon got chatting. He was actually a window cleaner but he adds gutter cleaning to his services as he already has the ladders out.

    If we look at his marketing in terms of the 4 Ps – Product, Place, Price and Promotion, he’s really struggling with the latter as he has no card, no branded van, no local advertising or website, no social media channels, not even a branded t-shirt but he has the Product/s. 

    He also has the Place as he told me he has a very fixed radius which he moves around to keep things fresh.  

    When I asked him about Price, my initial thought was that he was actually TOO CHEAP which made me worry about quality, safety and reliability a bit but it wasn’t going to cost me much to trial him so that has opened up a prospective client for him.

    So we agreed he’d pop over once a month and he’d send me his BACS details so we could set it all up. 

    That WAS a smart move. He gets a regular guaranteed job and gets paid on time, no delays and I get a feeling of certainty.

    As he went back next door he suggested I could tackle some of my patio areas with a pressure washer ‘it’s what I use’. Well…I COULD but maybe he could charge me more and do that for me too whilst he’s over. 

    I decided to ‘leave that on the table’ as they say in sales but he didn’t bite, probably because he was halfway up a ladder again next door. I wonder, how many of you miss opportunities to diversify your offering or make it easier to buy from you as you are too focused on doing the day-job ‘stuff’ and not looking at the marketing?

    By the way, he still hasn’t sent me the BACS details, I’ll text him again now.

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  • Socks appeal – Press For Attention PR puts feet up for Forever Stars

    Oct 11 • Charity • 68 Views

    An initiative by the specialist Baby Loss charity ‘Forever Stars’ is expected to raise more than a few eyebrows this weekend as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week as hundreds of people are expected to #ShowUsYourSocks 

    The vibrant pink and blue socks have been designed especially for Forever Stars and have been shipped all over the globe ahead of the official #ShowUsYourSocks day this Saturday.

    One of many business figures taking part is Greg Simpson, founder of Nottingham-based Press For Attention PR, who has worked with the charity for the last two years helping raise awareness of their support services and facilities for families who have experienced the tragedy of baby loss.

    Simpson, who recently completed the Ikano Robin Hood Half Marathon for the charity alongside many other local entrepreneurs, famous faces from the world of football and other organisations explains;

    ‘Forever Stars will have a major visual impact this year when we turn the city’s landmarks pink and blue again but I love this new initiative. It is simple but very effective in terms of raising awareness but it also gets people talking. 

    ‘Baby loss is such a sensitive subject but if just one person sees someone else subtly sharing this message it can be a turning point for them in terms of beginning to open up, share and as we say #TalkAboutThem.

    ‘I will be wearing my pair at the Forever Stars annual charity dinner this evening because I figure many of us will still be raising money by midnight and that counts as Saturday in my book.’

    Anyone wanting to help spread the message who doesn’t own a pair of the official Forever Stars socks can still join in on social media with their own pink or blue socks using #ShowUsYourSocks and #BLAW2019 together.

    The charity’s twitter handle is @FSFundraising


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  • ‘Guilt free chocolate – well, almost!’ How to win at PR with one sweet headline.

    Sep 23 • Celebrity, Innovation, PR Tips & Tricks, PR tips & tricks • 268 Views

    ‘Guilt free chocolate’ – grabs the attention doesn’t it? 
    It sure worked for Jo Fairley when she launched Green & Black’s back in the early 1990’s.
    Now, bigger than Marmite and cooler than Prada, Green & Black’s is a truly iconic British brand.
    Like me, Jo Fairley is a former journalist who switched to the ‘dark side’ to run the marketing and PR for what in 1991 was a start-up and is now one of the great success stories of British business. 
    You can imagine my excitement when I got to meet Jo and ask her a few questions at a business event I attended last week and especially when she gave her top tips on generating PR….
    Jo has a few very clear rules for business and works on a group of key factors;
    Product – including branding and innovation.
    Customer Service
    You can see how they all work together but Jo was very keen to share how crucial PR was, especially in those early stages and as a former journalist, Jo again kept things very simple.
    Here’s how she launched her first ever story, the press release headline grabs the attention right away…
    ‘Guilt free chocolate – well, almost.’ 
    Make no bones about it, Jo sent that far and wide to every conceivable contact she knew from her journalism career but also to new contacts focusing on branding, ethics and sustainability.
    Ahead of her time, Jo also went after the celebrity chefs and writers or what we would now call ‘Influencers’. 
    Pretty soon, Green & Black’s was in every glossy magazine and frequently becoming an essential cupboard staple for aspiring foodies.
    However, Jo didn’t just rely on her skills with the written word or her contact book in the media, she did what we can ALL do if we think creatively but so very few of us bother with.
    Jo sent samples. Lots and lots of samples of chocolatey goodness.
    Having something to look at, touch, feel or in Jo’s case, taste, makes a HUGE difference.
    Now, I know that not everyone has samples, especially if you are B2B or a service business but Jo had a great reply to that, testimonials.
    They are a ‘flavour’ of what you do and how you do it. They give the media extra colour and an insight beyond the branding.
    So, if you’re planning a launch or looking to reach out to the media, think about how you can play the media game with some samples of your own, whether edible, audible or visible.
    Just ensure you stand out.

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  • Awards, don’t just make a night of it – think BIGGER

    Jul 25 • Uncategorized • 125 Views

    By the time you read this, I should know whether I am the TOP PR adviser in the UK following the Enterprise Nation #TOP50Advisers Awards.
    It will be a BIG day for me, whether I win or not, having already made the final 5 in a national competition and I’m being dragged down to London for the final. 
    However, I am not going to just make a day of it, I am going to make a campaign of it.
    You see, I already have a marketing and PR plan in place for whether I do WIN or I don’t so either way, I will be making a song and dance about it.

    The problem is, when I see OTHER people and businesses winning awards or making shortlists, I don’t see them really leveraging the opportunity. So, in the spirit of transparency, here is what I will be doing.

    If you think about it, I’m already doing it now with this piece.

    1. Announce that I have made the Top 50 and indeed the final 5. Blog, social media and newsletter. I have also let some choice media contacts know, including of course this magazine. That isn’t to jump the gun, rather, it has two motives – to flag it as a POTENTIAL story and get it on the radar should I win and also to flush out any other opportunities they may need for comment in the lead up and aftermath of the event.

    2. Plan and write a direct mail campaign which will dovetail with a lead magnet – basically a FREE download – on how and why you should enter awards using myself and other clients as the case studies. Watch this space for that.

    3. Be ready to share the day and the evening of the awards on social media, joining in the chat to explore potential joint ventures and forge new alliances with like-minded business owners.

    4. Ensure I get a photo at the awards, win or not, so that I can leverage the opportunity on getting back to the office.

    5. Should I WIN, release the story to the press and across all social media channels. Seek to position myself further as an expert in my field.

    This is by no means an exhaustive account of my media and marketing machinations but I wanted to show you what can be done at a MINIMUM so that when you are next up for an award, you can make the most of it.

    Who knows if I will win, it is a lonnnnngggg shot but I thank you for your support so far. Here’s to next week.


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  • ‘Carpe Diem’ – how you can leverage the calendar to power your PR

    Jul 4 • Uncategorized • 322 Views

    I am writing this on a Thursday.

    However, this isn’t just ANY Thursday, as M&S might suggest, it is July the 4th, or ‘July 4th’ as our American cousins across the pond prefer.

    So what? I hear you cry. ‘We’re British and threw our tea in the river and that nasty lady mocked our footballers when she scored too. They can keep their stupid holiday.’

    Valid points both but, if you think like a marketer, you would be seeking to leverage this and all manner of other similar days in the year. Imagine you are a restaurant or bar. What could you have done today to give your menu an American theme?

    If that sounds limited, check out the REAL opportunity today, Retail Independence Day.

    I’ve just googled news searched ‘Retail Independence Day’ and discovered that the Leeds Corn Exchange is leveraging this beautifully, gaining media coverage for the venue and its ‘30 unique retailers of fashion, eyewear, music, home and garden, food and further locally sourced goods’.

    Hats off to them. This is EXACTLY what I would expect forward thinking locations and even villages, towns and cities to do to support small businesses. 

    Maybe you think that one day can’t make a difference but fear not, there is actually an entire month of activity in July with Independent Retailer Month. This campaign runs annually to ‘highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.’

    Now, I appreciate that many of you are not retailers and that by the time you read this, it will be too late but that isn’t my message here, my message is to look ahead and leverage the OTHER days that lurk on the yearly calendar.

    We all know about Black Friday, Cyber Wednesday, Boxing Day sales and Christmas of course. New Year’s is a great time for anything health and habit related, I’m looking at you PTs, physios and coaches and then there’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and many other religious holidays.

    Think about how your offering can be highlighted by these days. It doesn’t even have to be press-worthy, it can be simple stuff more suited to your website and social media campaigns.

    I have had push back on this before from my B2B clients, saying it is all very well for consumer campaigns but this sort of stuff doesn’t work for them.


    By injecting a bit of colour and dare I say it ‘FUN’ into their PR they can reap huge rewards in terms of attracting and retaining staff by showcasing their different company culture. I used to work with a major international bank from Down Under.

    Every Australia Day in January we’d have an Aussie themed event at a big venue in town, with well over 250 ‘professionals’ queuing up for various buck-tucker challenges, beer, BBQs and branded cork hats.

    It isn’t about the day itself, it is how you leverage it. Imagine being a business editor receiving yet ANOTHER photo of a grey man in a grey suit being ‘delighted’ with the latest growth figures and then receiving 10 photos of some local faces all letting their hair down and raising money for a great cause.

    There’s loads of these days, some more spurious than others – ‘International Bubble Bath Day’. also in January anyone?

    Halloween? Easy. Nightmare business scenarios thought leadership article.

    Bonfire Night? Make it a social event for clients and staff.

    Valentine’s Day? Come on guys, you’ve got this.

    If you’re stuck for inspiration, get Googling or, give me a call. I am working on a diary for this very purpose and will be more than happy to send it to you once finished or have a chat about the ideas I’m talking about anytime.

    PS one more thing about things like Retail Indie Day, if you don’t have the benefit of forward thinking, proactive venues, towns, Retails Business Improvement Districts or ‘BIDS’, make sure that next year, YOU are the independent leading the charge for your area. 

    One of the biggest tips I give with regards these sort of campaigns is to stop trying to be the star of the show and aim to be the producer, the Steven Spielberg or PT Barnham if you will. You gain the reflected glory and you become the thought leader, the guru and you know how much people like me LOVE a guru.

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  • Your fleet and your image – driving growth or a vehicle for trouble?

    Jun 7 • Uncategorized • 229 Views

    What do you get if you cross a 6ft 5 inch, 100kg PR guru with a Fiat 500 hire car?

    Answer…a marketing opportunity.

    I’ve had a lot of fun with this after picking this little beauty up yesterday. I actually ASKED for it because it is remarkable.

    If I’m going to get a hire car it will either be a monster truck or a tiny car. It has to say something, in this case, it was comedy gold as I was on my way to meet a prospect on a building site. 

    They know my personality but this didn’t half raise some eyebrows.

    Then it got me thinking about how YOU and your brand shows up when it comes to your vehicles and even your driving. 

    You may well have a lovely sleek Merc, a sporty BMW, a Porsche or even a ‘super car’ – a few of my clients and readers of this post certainly do and hats off to them for rewarding themselves for their hard work.

    I am more concerned about HOW your workforce drives and the image that sends out. 

    Are your vehicles clean and well maintained? No ‘hilarious’ messages written in the dust by the team?

    Are they branded consistently? Is there a call to action for people to take if they are interested?

    Is it measurable? You might have ONE phone number exclusively for your fleet, another for website, social media etc.

    Then there is the one that can REALLY impact on your business, positively or negatively….

    How are they being driven? 

    Your brand is out there on the road and the way your employees behave can have a huge impact. I’m not talking just about speeding, collisions or accidents where the chance of being named and shamed can have huge consequences.

    I’m also talking about Road Rage, littering, aggression, being on the phone and general courtesy.

    If your team wears uniform, you’d expect them to uphold the highest standards in public but forgiving the pun, what if they could go the extra mile when it comes to their behaviour?

    Would you want them to open doors? Yes. How about offering a hand with bags to the car? Yes.

    Think about how this could apply to your fleet and see if you can leverage this opportunity to drive your business.

    Happy Headlines.


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  • The expert card – marketing to Money AND the Many via the power of media

    May 24 • Uncategorized • 362 Views

    I wonder how many people reading this truly understand the full power of positioning and how PR plays a vital role in that.

    You see, what I do, in fact, what I really LOVE to do, is to help people get known for what they know. I help them leverage their expertise on their subject to get them into the press.

    It is very rare that I will do a simple ‘New widget for ACME Ltd’ story, although they can and do work. What I try to do is to get the info and advice out of my clients’ heads and into their target media i.e. where their customers might see them.

    I do this because I know it generates high quality editorial coverage for them and helps to elevate their profile but I also prefer this tactic as contrary to a lot of folk in the publicity game I’m playing long-term.

    It is also my preferred tactic because you and your client go from PUSHING sales messages to PULLING in leads via an info-first marketing approach.

    You see, I want my client to be asked for comment again and again on their subject. In fact, I want them to become the DEFAULT commentator on their niche, the go-to-guy or girl.

    You get to this stage by constantly seeking to ADD VALUE or your ‘two penneth’ to the debate that you and customers care about.

    By becoming a trusted and reliable expert you can elevate your offering from that of marketer of your stuff to the holy grail of PR folk like me, the trusted adviser, the authority.

    You can do this too by changing your thinking ever so slightly.

    Rather than thinking ‘how can I get this sales message across via the media’ think more along the lines of ‘wow, the readers of Widgets Weekly would love to better UNDERSTAND this and I can help them.’

    You are being USEFUL, not noisy. Journalists love this and they will love you.

    This is the key difference when it comes to getting PR and media relations right. You don’t, or you shouldn’t, want to be famous just for being famous. There IS such a thing as bad publicity, just ask Gerald Ratner.

    The publicity you want is to get known for what you know and become the expert.

    From here, not only is your profile a great deal higher but it means you can differentiate yourself from your rivals. Sure, they can run offers and discounts to get market share but that is a losing game.

    Now, I’ve had a few people say to me ‘oh that works for consultants Greg but not for me, we make X or sell Y.’

    Nonsense. It works for everyone, especially in the age of niche media and 24/7 news.

    Consider a butcher. As a reporter I might write about a new shop opening but after that, we’re struggling….UNLESS that butcher is happy to share advice on how to cook the perfect steak, why punters are eating ostrich this summer or the trend for goose over turkey this Christmas.

    It’s Bank Holiday and BBQ season again. If I was working with a butcher as a client I’d have them preparing recipes for sauces, how-to guides for the perfect flame and heat, best sauces, best fuel, top tips on pairing drinks or how to select the choicest cut for your party.

    That butcher could do all of this within the confines of their own media, website, blogs, social media channels etc or….they could be brave and offer to give a demo on live TV or maybe pop into the local radio station to explain how they as an EXPERT would cater for a BBQ.

    Why bother with all this? You stop competing on price. Bottom line, you can charge more because you are the GURU.

    Everyone knows that.

    Caveat here…when I say EVERYONE I don’t really mean everyone, I mean everyone that matters to you and your bottom line. Your prospects and customers, be they local, sector specific or niche.

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  • What a convicted peer of the realm can teach you about marketing

    May 14 • Uncategorized • 513 Views

    Birmingham, May 13th 2019, European Elections loom over the country, the eyes of the world are on it

    A convicted peer of the realm, multi-millionaire and literary record-breaker takes to the stage. 500 people crane their necks, leaning in to get a closer look.

    Another 1000 are watching it LIVE online.

    ‘Ladies and gentlemen. I would like to announce…’

    He hesitates, taking in his surroundings and the enormity of the occasion.

    ‘I would like to announce, my intention to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party.’

    The room erupts. A joke of course but Lord Jeffrey Archer already has the audience eating out of his hand.

    It has often been said that Jeffrey Archer’s own story would make an international bestseller and I met him yesterday, hence sending this email out a few days early as I wanted to share a very important idea with you.

    You see, I am a writer. I communicate.

    Jeffrey Archer, among many things as I’m sure you will know, is a storyteller. In fact no, he’s a master storyteller.

    Over the course of 2 hours he discussed the craft of writing, politics, his time in prison, even his record-breaking career as an amateur athlete. 

    Now published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages, Jeffrey Archer is firmly established, with international sales passing 275 million copies. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (nineteen times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).

    The key lesson to take from Lord Archer was that yes, he is a professional writer but really, he is a storyteller. There is a difference. 

    Ask yourself, does your marketing tell stories? Would you HONESTLY want to read one of your case studies? 

    Everything, from your About Us page on your website, to your testimonials, case studies and yes, even your sales letters should tell stories. Don’t even get me started on your press releases

    So next time you sit down to write some copy, just think about the power of a story and how you can weave your own.

    I did that in the first 10 lines of this email and if you enjoyed them, I bet you’re still reading now. So think creatively, make your customers the characters, set a scene, lead people on a journey and don’t forget, you are the narrator. 

    Your are the storyteller.

    Happy Headlines.

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  • Don’t just visit a trade show – report it

    May 9 • Uncategorized • 590 Views

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

    It is something I have done for myself to build authority for years and something that I also now do for clients and it involves trade shows. 

    You know the places, a glorified aircraft hangar replete with mega stands costing thousands, keynote speeches, celebrity masterclasses and ‘fireside chats’ with business megastars.

    Maybe your stand is there too?

    Perched on the end of the aisle, you and your team hoping for someone, ANYONE to pop over to look at your new widget.

    Maybe you didn’t take a stand at all as it was a ‘rip off’ or you don’t have the manpower to make it pay this year? Maybe you have nothing new to show this year so you’ll either not go or just register as a visitor?

    We’ve all been there, me included.

    However, there’s a little trick I have used time and time again which has not only enabled me to meet people, it has also elevated me or my client right there at the show and in the crucial days after.

    Very simply, I stop thinking like a marketer.

    I don’t REALLY, I’m always thinking like a marketer, I just put on a different hat.

    I revert to my old role as a journalist.

    I roam the halls and stands looking for interesting stories. I listen to the seminars and take notes. I Tweet live during the talks, I share interesting stands, different ideas and concepts.

    What I’m doing is rising above the noise and rather than trying to OVERTLY make myself or my client’s brand heard, I get people to want to hear from me. I become a USEFUL part of the show.

    Even with BIG sums invested in stands, too many people spend 2-3 days out of their business with the best of intentions, branded up to the max, novelty sponge balls, paperweights and the ubiquitous branded USB stick in hand.

    But sadly, it rarely seems to pay off.

    Ask me about how I turn these events into a content generating marathon and more crucially, a chance to elevate yourself or your brand to the role of authority and thought leader by clicking HERE This is UK only I’m afraid.

    Happy Headlines.


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