Review of Your Year In PR 2017

Attending a live workshop or conference can be an inspiring experience. Taking a break from the day-to-day routine - and connecting with like-minded business owners - can leave you full of ideas for your business.

But with so much valuable content being shared, it can also leave you feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering if there is anything you’ve missed. With that in mind, here is a review of the highlights of Your Year in PR on November 23 and 24.

You may also find this post useful if you couldn’t make it along this year and/or are considering coming along to a future Soulful PR event. If you run your own events, you might also find this an interesting behind-the-scenes account of how we run ours.

The concept

Your Year In PR is a media planning masterclass for small business owners.  The aim of coming along is to create a long term PR plan for your business - one that sets out what kind of content you’re going to publish, when and where - on your blog/vlog (if you have one), email newsletter, social media platforms and in the press - across the coming year.

The guests

This year’s event attracted 75 delegates (mainly small business owners) - from all over the UK including Inverness in Scotland and Devon - and featured two expert speakers (one from Ireland, the other from Malta).

Delegates included a wide range of both product and service-based business. I’ve listed some examples below.

Service- based businesses: design, yoga and pilates instructors, relocation consultancy, PR/marketing consultancy, photography, tailoring, furniture design, business coaching , virtual assistants 

Product-based businesses: subscription gift boxes, jewellery, wine, dog clothes, healthy snacks, haircare products, books, bridalwear, cakes and brownies

Nine delegates opted for a VIP ticket which included a two-hour mastermind with me and the other expert speakers, including 20 minutes to talk specifically about their own business and get feedback from other delegates and speakers.

Based on feedback from last year’s event, we introduced a second day of training this year, which gave a smaller group of delegates a chance to reflect on their learning from Day 1 (for which the focus was planning) and get support with content creation. This proved really popular. In fact we may look at making the event two-day ticket only next year.

The Venue

For the second year running the event has been held at The Trampery, a co-working space in trendy Shoreditch, East London. We used the ballroom, a versatile space that includes a 12-metre long art installation by acclaimed London designers, Bad Marriage.

The Trampery

The speakers

Kate McQuillan, founder of Petsitters Ireland who talked about how she uses content to generate cash in her business and video marketing expert LivestreamKatya.

Kate McQuillan, from Petsitters Ireland

The gift bags

The contents were provided by small business owners - so we supported them by taking lots of pictures/video of their products and tagging them on social media including our event hashtag #YYIPR17.






Delegates loved opening their gift bags when they arrived
The gift bags included lots of treats, including a copy of my book Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart

The marketing strategy

Tickets ranged from £210+VAT for an earlybird ticket for Day 1 only to £585+VAT for a last minute VIP ticket.  This included a 2018 media diary which guests used in the masterclass for their planning.

To create ‘buzz’ about the event, before the tickets went on sale, we shared our ideas for the event artwork in my Facebook group and invited members to give their feedback.

The event was mainly marketed by email with regular updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I also talked about the event on the Soulful PR Podcast which definitely led to ticket sales.

In the run up to the event, I created eight blog posts aimed at helping guests to get the most out of the event. You can read them here:

How to prepare for Your Year in PR

Eight common concerns about attending Your Year In PR 

Reasons to attend Your Year In PR 

5 reasons to blog about attending a live event

How to write a blog post about an event you're attending 

7 non-sucky networking tips for live events 

How to use social media to stand out at a live event 

I also created a dedicated Facebook Community, Twitter list and held a pre-event briefing call, using the video conferencing software Zoom to allow guests to ‘meet’ one another ahead of the event.

I also encouraged guests to create preview content ahead of the event, which led to 12 pieces of content, which you can read here:

Why attending Your Year in PR is a no-brainer …for a PR

Nine tips for attendees using Twitter at live events 

4 reasons why I’m attending Your Year in PR (and how I intend to make the most of it!)

How to stay gentle when doing PR

3 Reasons Why I’m Attending Your Year in PR 2017 next week…

3 reasons why I am not letting another year pass without a plan #YYIPR17

How to Prepare for a Live Event

Planning an awesome 2018

Three reasons why you should outsource your event social media

Why your photography business needs a content marketing and PR strategy 

Why my business mistakes led me to Your Year In PR 2017

3 steps that will help you towards success

A ten-day email ‘countdown’ sequence helped create excitement ahead of the event (and made sure all our guests were completely clear about where they needed to be, when). Including shareable images like the example below encouraged guests to start using the event hashtag - #YYIPR17 -  well ahead of the event. So it was no surprise to hear we were trending on Twitter on the first morning. 

Guests were able to download the countdown images to use on their own social media and blog posts


YYIPR17 - trending on Twitter just behind Thanksgiving!

The workbook

At every event, I set myself the challenge of creating the best workbook ever and I hope this one was no exception. As well as the standard programme information, I included templates, checklists and cheat sheets to help with content planning and creation. The workbook also included pictures and social media handles for all of the guests and speakers - something that proved really popular with delegates.

Day 1

Session 1: Creating your annual PR plan with Janet Murray

I kicked off the first day of the event by inviting delegates to set their content intentions for the coming year (i.e. what content they were intending to publish on their blog/vlog, in their email marketing, on social media and in the press).

Then I showed them  how to personalise their media diary adding key dates and awareness days that were relevant to their business/brand (in addition to those provided in their diary). This sparked many ‘lightbulb’ moments in terms of content they might be able to create throughout the year.

Next I showed them how to created a yearly overview, including the key pieces of content they intended to create and the key ‘moments’ in their business for each quarter.

Session 2: Creating quarterly and weekly content plans with Janet Murray

In this session, I showed delegates how to take their annual plan and turn it into quarterly plan which maps out what kind of content you are going to create each week of each quarter. I challenged them to get content ideas pencilled in for the whole of the first quarter, which many of them did.

Session 3: How to turn your content into cash with Kate McQuillan

In this session, Kate McQuillan, founder of Petsitters Ireland showed how she uses content (on her blog, social media, email marketing and in the press) to generate leads and sales in her business. She also showed how she has launched a national competition and a national survey to build brand awareness and get national press coverage for her business.

Session 4: Developing  a repurposing mindset with Janet Murray

In this session I shared a case study (of the recent launch of my online course in traditional PR - Soulful PR for Starters) showing how I took one piece of content (the sales page) and turned it into dozens of pieces of content to promote the launch. I also broke down my launch strategy (and shared the numbers).


Nine delegates choice to stay on for a two-hour mastermind session in which they got 20 minutes in the hotseat to talk about their business challenges. We served beer, wine and nibbles at this session, which created a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

The social

On the first evening, 38 delegates joined us at The Bike Shed in Shoreditch - a funky venue with a restaurant, barbers and motorcycle shop - for dinner. This was a really great way to relax and do some informal networking.

Day 2

Session 1: The six types of blog post you should be creating regularly

We spent the first hour of the day exploring the different kinds of content small business owners should be creating:

  1. ‘How to’
  2. Cost questions
  3. Problems (issues and drawbacks)
  4. Dealing with objections
  5. Costs and comparisons: your product versus another (or others) in the industry
  6. Reviews

Want to know more? Listen to this podcast: six types of blog post you should be creating regularly.

The workbook included tons of examples of each kind - for both product and service based businesses.

We also looked at how to write blog posts more quickly (including how to come up with SEO friendly headers).

The highlight of the session was the roundtable where each delegate got six minutes in the hotseat to discuss their business and get content  ideas from fellow delegates. Most ended the session with a long list of ideas for their blog/vlog.

Session 2: How to write engaging sales copy with Janet Murray

In this session I shared a technique I use regularly to write sales pages (including marketing emails, Facebook ads, social media updates) in 30 minutes or less. This was a real lightbulb moment for many delegates; they all created a workable draft sales page for an upcoming launch of a product/service in less than 10 minutes

Delegates all created a workable draft of a sales page in less than 10 minutes

Session 3: How to write engaging ‘shorts’

I opened this session by showing a list of my most popular email subject headers (for marketing emails) and inviting delegates to vote on the three they thought had the highest open rate. After revealing the answers, I shared the seven types of headline that get the most engagement, along with plenty of examples.

Session 4: Video marketing made simple with LivestreamKatya

In this session LiveStreamKatya shared practical tips and strategies for creating effective marketing videos. She even got delegates to make a video and post it on social media ‘live’ in the session.

Video marketing expert Livestream Katya encouraged delegates to create a video and post it on social media in her session

Session 5: Writing articles for the press with Janet Murray

In this session, I shared the three kinds of content you might be asked to write by a journalist: a first person/confessional style article, an opinion article or a ‘how to’ article.

Having already discussed ‘how to’ articles (in the context of the kind of content you might publish on your own blog), I felt it was best to focus on opinion articles. As well as discussing how to come up with ideas for opinion articles and pitch them to journalists, delegates got another five minutes in the hotseat in a roundtable session to brainstorm ideas for opinion articles.

Delegates love the roundtable sessions at Your Year In PR

While there are always things to improve, overall I think it was an incredible value-packed event. While the speakers provided immense value, guests also gained so much from spending a couple of days with like-minded business owners who share their visions and values. The roundtable sessions - a new feature I’ve introduced this year - were particularly popular with delegates. With the support of my team, I put my heart and soul into creating an unforgettable experience at Your Year In PR, so it was touching to see relationships being formed that will last for years to come.

Would you like to attend Your Year in PR 2018? Register your details here and you'll be the first to find out when super early bird tickets go on sale.