Attending a conference or workshop is a big investment of your time and money. Not only is there the cost of the ticket to consider, you may also need to budget for travel, accommodation, food – and time spent away from your business.
It’s perfectly natural to worry about whether you’re making the right decision to attend a live event (and the consequences of making the wrong call).
With that in mind, here are some of the most common concerns small business owners raise about attending Soulful PR Live 2017 – and the advice I offer.
If you’re not familiar with the event, Soulful PR Live is an annual event for small business owners who want national media press coverage. We get you in a room for a day with eight national journalists (this year’s speakers are from the Guardian, Marie Claire, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the Mirror, New Statesman & the Pool) so you can build media connections and learn how to get your business in the national media.
Some prospective delegates tell me they love the idea of the event – and are keen to get national press coverage for their business – but want to wait until they’re ready to launch a new product or programme.
It’s never too early to start building your media profile – particularly when you consider lead times on national publications and programmes. Monthly magazines can work up to 3-6 months ahead, weeklies 4-6 weeks ahead, while some TV/radio shows are made up to a year ahead. Wait another year to learn about PR and you may miss the boat on cracking your ideal publications or programmes. That aside, just because you’re not ready to launch a new product or programme – doesn’t mean you can’t be featured in the press right now (in fact, if you’re running your own business, you absolutely should be). And building relationships with national media contacts now will make it far easier to get PR for your launch.
Some prospective delegates tell me they can see how national media coverage could help their business – they just don’t have anything interesting to offer journalists. A few have said they are nervous of coming along to the event in case the speakers tell them their business just isn’t that interesting.
In 16 years of journalism, I’ve yet to come across a business owner who doesn’t have an interesting story to tell or an expert point of view that is helpful to journalists. Coming along to an event like Soulful PR Live will help you understand what journalists are looking for (and what they’re not) so you can identify the publications and programmes you should be targeting and the best way to ‘pitch’ your ideas.
A common concern I hear from owners of product-based businesses is that if they get featured in the national press they’ll be inundated with orders they can’t fulfil i.e. they’ll run out of stock.
As much as I’d like to tell you that a single piece of national coverage will make you millions…this is very unlikely to happen. If you’ve got some experience of marketing, you’ll know it takes, on average, around seven or eight touch points before a prospective customer buys. PR is just one of those touch points. So the more times a prospective customer sees/hears a mention of your business or product, the more likely they are to buy. Yes there are always exceptions. But if you happen to be in the minority of businesses that does manage to make a ton of sales from one piece of press coverage, that’s a good problem to have, right? You’re resourceful enough to find a solution.
Some prospective delegates tell me they don’t think the event is right for them because they run a product-based business.
If you’re looking to get national media coverage for your business this event is relevant for you. Our speakers – all national journalists – will be able to guide you on the best ways to get media attention for your business – whether you sell products, services (or something else entirely).
Some prospective delegates tell me they want press coverage for their product or service – but they don’t want to be featured in the media themselves.
Here’s some tough love: journalists are far more interested in people than products. So unless you’re prepared to step out from behind your logo, your media opportunities will be limited to the odd review and/or product round-up. Meeting journalists in person and hearing about other ways you might be able to get your business featured in the press, will not only open your eyes to other types of media opportunities, it should also help allay your fears about being in the limelight.
If you haven’t worked in the media, journalists can seem a bit scary and intimidating. Some prospective delegates also tell me they’re afraid of being featured in the media in case they are misquoted.
Journalists often work to tight deadlines and are inundated with emails and phones calls (which is why they can sometimes seem a bit short). But they need people like you to help them create content for the publication or programme they work for (which is why you should never be apologetic about getting in touch). Meeting journalists in person and hearing them talk about how they work and the daily pressures they face will help you see they are just people like you, with a job to do. You’ll also be able to ask them anything you like about how they work (including what they are and are not allowed to report) which should allay any fears you have about being misquoted.
Some prospective delegates tell me they don’t think the event is right for them because they don’t know much about PR.
If you’re not an expert in PR this is exactly the right event for you. Delegates are typically small business owners (of both product and service-based business) with little or no experience of PR. To make sure everyone is on the same page, the first session of the day is an introduction to PR. You’ll also get a glossary of key terms in your delegate pack.
If you haven’t been to a Soulful PR Live event before, you may feel worried about not knowing anyone.
Walking into a conference hall can be intimidating – even when you do know people. That’s why I hold a briefing call ahead of the event where you can ask any questions you have. I have also created a Twitter list and a Facebook group where you can meet other delegates ahead of the event. I’ve also put together this blog post on how to prepare for the event – so when you arrive at the event you’ll already feel part of the family.
You may have noticed I haven’t included ‘I don’t have the budget’ in this list. That’s because, in over ten years of running live events, I’ve yet to meet a business owner who can’t think of ways to find the money to attend a live an event they really want to go to. Lurking behind the phrase ‘I don’t have the budget’ is often one or more of the concerns in the list above.
Like the idea of getting featured in national newspapers, magazines, and on radio and TV? Why not join me, eight national journalists and an inspirational group of like minded people at Soulful PR Live in London on July 13 & 14.