Your Year in PR

How to prepare for Your Year in PR

Committing to attend Your Year in PR, whether for just one day or for both days, is a big investment of your time and money. To get the most out of the experience, preparation is vital.

There is nothing more annoying than arriving at an event feeling flustered because you’re late, don’t have everything you need – or even that you haven’t got the dress code right for the occasion.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about preparing for Your Year in PR.

1.Set up a dedicated email folder for Your Year in PR

Redirect any mail relating to Your Year in PR to the folder, so you can find emails relating to the event easily - including when the pre-event call is and the directions you'll need on the day.

Whitelist my email address (i.e. add it to a safe list of emails) to ensure they don’t end up in spam. The method for doing this will vary according to your email provider, but if you Google ‘how to whitelist an address with [INSERT NAME OF EMAIL PROVIDER]’ you can easily find instructions.

2.Introduce yourself in the Your Year in PR Facebook Group and connect with other delegates

Attending live events is not just about the speakers; you also get to connect with like-minded business owners you might end up working with in the future.  But walking into a conference can be hard – particularly when you don’t know many people.

Even if you haven’t met in person, it’s much easier to walk into an event when you ‘know’ people from social media.  There's a private Facebook Group for Your Year in PR delegates. This is the place to get to know people, pose questions (both to myself and other delegates) and have conversations.  Do go ahead and introduce yourself to everyone.

The Your Year in PR delegates 2017

4.Join Twitter (if you haven’t already)

Twitter is the social media network where most journalists hang out - and when you're planning your content and PR for the year ahead, you'll find that Twitter is a great place to share your content. So if you’re not already active on Twitter, you should think about setting up an account and starting to use it.  (It's not essential, just something I recommend). 

If you’re a complete newbie, this article on how to get started with Twitter is a useful guide.

Your Year in PR has a dedicated Twitter hashtag you can use before, during and after the event (#YYIPR17) which can be a great way to find and stay in touch with other delegates.

If you want to get more experience of using Twitter, do join my #soulfulprhour Twitter chat on Sunday evenings 8-9pm (BST). If you're a complete newbie, read my guide on how to take part in a Twitter chat.

You might also want to follow our Your Year in PR Twitter list.

5. Research the venue and book travel in advance

The last thing you want is to arrive at the event late, sweaty and flustered, having spent half an hour running around looking for the venue. So book your travel well in advance if you can, get the exact address of the venue and plan your route from the station/airport/car park. Booking travel well in advance can also help you save money on attending the conference.

Plan to arrive early if you can (the doors open at 9:15am), but unless it is unavoidable, we would ask you not to arrive before that time. The hour or so leading up to the start of an event can be a busy (and sometimes stressful) time. Allowing us to get on with our preparations uninterrupted will help you have a much better conference experience (and give you time to gather your thoughts before you arrive). There are plenty of cafes around, including Shoreditch Grind,  Look Mum No Hands and Central Street Cafe, where you can grab a coffee.

6. Study the conference schedule

Spend some time familiarising yourself with the conference schedule, including the time the doors open and timings for breaks and lunch. This will help you plan for networking opportunities. Many conferences have networking over coffee and/or breakfast before the event start, which can be a great time to connect with others delegates and introduce yourself to speakers.  We'll post the Your Year in PR schedule here as soon as it's confirmed.

7. Do some background reading

If there are topics being covered in the conference that are unfamiliar to you, it can be a good idea to do some background reading.  My book, Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart, is a great starting point for Your Year in PR delegates (but is absolutely not compulsory) and will be particularly helpful if you're fairly new to PR.

 

If you're new to PR my book is a great starting point but is absolutely not compulsory

8. Organise your marketing materials

Make sure you have plenty of up-to-date business cards to share with people you meet at the event and any other materials you might want to share. For example, even if I’m not speaking at an event, I usually take along some copies of my book and media diary which often results in online sales.

9. Consider blogging about your experience

Attending a live event can be overwhelming. There is so much information coming at you, it can be easy to miss things. Reflecting on your experience and setting goals can be a great way to document your experienceYou may also be able to turn it into useful content for your own audience.

I’d recommend writing a ‘before’ and ‘after’ blog post. Stating publicly on your blog that you are attending an event also gives you accountability (telling your audience you’re learning how to plan your PR strategy means you have to follow through, right?).

Here's some content the delegates from my Soulful PR Live event created:-

Why I’ve decided to attend a PR conference by Adanna Bankole

How to overcome secret nerves about attending networking events by Clare Josa

How to prepare for an important conference by Cathy Wassell

Into the lion’s den: five mindset strategies that will have you waking into a conferences feeling like you can take on the world by Rebecca Morley

Keeping your energy high at live events – five top tips by Raphaelle Cox

10. Do a technology check

Your Year in PR delegates are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to the event, but a pen and paper will do just fine.

If you are bringing some tech, make sure all your electronic devices are fully charged before the event. The venue does have wall sockets, but only a handful – some of which will be in use for the audio and visual equipment – so don’t rely on them being available.

Personally I always carry a portable charger for my phone and it’s definitely worth investing in one. I use the Juice Bar.

It’s also worth checking you have enough memory on your phone for taking photos and videos at the event.

Oh and don’t forget your favourite notebook and pen. We will have spare paper and pens, but collecting your thoughts in one place is usually much better than scribbling on scraps of paper that can easily be lost.  And of course, you'll be picking up your 2018 Media Diary at the event!

11. Plan your outfit (yes really!) 

Your Year in PR delegates are generally casual/smart casual, which is pretty typical of most conferences these days, so anything goes, but if you run your own business, you are your brand. It’s worth thinking about how you want that brand to be perceived and how that is reflected in your personal appearance on the day.

Do bear in mind that you will be sitting around for long periods of time and that the venue is air-conditioned so can get chilly (so having a jumper or cardi in your bag is a good idea). And if you go for killer heels, you might be glad of a change of shoes for the journey home.

12. Design your follow-up strategy (and block out time for it)

It’s easy to leave a conference full of brilliant ideas – that’s what events are all about. Sadly, it’s just as easy to get bogged down the minute you get back to your desk,  forget everything you’ve learned and not follow up on the opportunities you’ve created. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally as soon as you get back to your desk) to reflect on what you’ve learned and follow up on the connections you’ve made.

The great news for Your Year in PR delegates is that we’ve created Day 2 of the event as a content creation day, an opportunity to really get to grips with all the learning from day one, and start to formulate a plan to put into action everything they’ve learnt.

Like the idea of starting 2018 with a fully-fleshed out PR plan for your business?  Why not join me and an inspirational group of like minded people at Your Year in PR in London on November 23 & 24.

Eight common concerns about attending Your Year In PR

Thinking about attending Your Year in PR but can’t make up your mind? I get it.

It’s perfectly natural to worry about whether you’re making the right decision to attend a conference or workshop.

It’s not just about the ticket price. On top of the cost of your ticket, you may also need to budget for travel, accommodation, food - and time spent away from your business. So you need to be sure you’ll get a return on your investment.

With that in mind, here are some of the most common concerns small business owners raise about attending Your Year in PR - and the advice I offer.

If you’re not familiar with the event, Your Year in PR is a media planning masterclass. It’s your chance to dedicate a day planning out the content for your blog/vlog (if you have one), social media, email marketing and press activities for the whole of 2018. You’ll learn strategies you can use to generate ideas, re-purpose content and schedule well ahead of time - so you’ll never be stuck for ideas again. If you want to create content that attracts more likes, comments and shares, you can stay on for a second day of training that focuses on creating shareable content that will help you make more sales in your business

Concern 1: ‘I can’t afford it ’

Some prospective delegates tell me they love the idea of the event - and would attend if they could - but can’t afford it.

My advice

If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to do is change your mindset. Instead of saying ‘I can’t afford it’ ask yourself ‘‘what could I do to make it affordable?’

If you’re reading this post, you’re an entrepreneurial sort. So if you really want to attend an event, I believe you’ve got what it takes to figure out how to get yourself there. Here’s a list of ten things you can try to raise the money to attend a live event.

Try them and let me know how you get on.

Concern 2: ‘I can’t afford to take time away from my business’

Some prospective delegates tell me they love the idea of the event - and think it could be really beneficial - but can’t spare the time away from their business. This is particularly common in product-based business owners, who are often at their busiest in the run up to Christmas.

My advice

Are you really so busy that you can’t spare a day to invest in the long-term health of your business?  Could you put in a few extra hours on a weekend or in the evenings to make up the time - or outsource some tasks that would free you up to attend?

It’s great to be busy, but if you’re firefighting at the expense of promoting your business, in a few months time, you may find you’re short on clients.

When you run a seasonal business, it’s easy to tell yourself that quieter periods are the norm - but it doesn’t have to be the way. Taking time out for some strategic PR planning could help ensure you’re busy all year round - not just at Christmas.

Concern 3: ‘I’m afraid I won’t have time to implement what I learn’

A common concern I hear from owners of prospective delegates is that they won’t get time to implement everything they’ve learned.

My advice

Taking some time out of your normal routine is bound to leave you buzzing with ideas. But once you’re back at your desk, there’s a risk you’ll get bogged down in the day-to-day running of your business and not put into practice what you’ve learned.

Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally in the week or so after the event ) to reflect on what you’ve learned and make a plan to put it into action.

If you come along to Your Year in PR, you’ll also be invited to take part in a live follow-up call with me in January 2018, which will give you accountability and a chance to ask questions about what you’ve learned.  

Concern 4: ‘I sell products rather than offer a service.’

Some prospective delegates tell me they don’t think the event is right for them because they run a product-based business.

My advice

If you’re selling products online, you need to be publishing regular content - ideally on a blog/vlog, on social media and via email - so you can build relationships with prospective customers and attract them to your website (or wherever you’re selling your products). Creating a content schedule - so you know what you’re going to publish, when and where - will keep you consistent, accountable and ensure you never run out of ideas. It will also save you tons of time.

Concern 5: ‘It’s not the right time for me’

Something I hear a lot from prospective delegates is: ‘I love the idea of this event but I don’t think it’s the right time for me. I’m too busy working on my website/I’m building up my client base/I’m not ready to be the face of my business.’

My advice:

A bit of tough love: if you’re selling your products/services online you need to be publishing regular content - ideally on a blog/vlog, on social media and via email - so you can have conversations with prospective customers and attract them to your website. So if now’s not the right time to focus on your content strategy - and make sure this actually happens in 2018 - when will be?

If you’re too busy working in your business to take time out to work on your business I can pretty much guarantee that this time next year you’ll be in exactly the same position as you are right now - wondering where your next customer or client will be coming from. Do you really want to leave it a year to start making positive changes in your business?

Concern 6: ‘I’m worried the content/delegates aren’t a good fit for me’

Some prospective delegates say they love my content - and the Soulful PR community - but they’re not sure if the content/delegates will be a good fit for them.

My advice:

I’ve tried to give as much information as I can on the sales page - including a list of who I the event is right for (and who I think it isn’t). If you have any other questions...just ask!

It’s really not in my interest to have you at the event if it’s not a good fit for you. I want everyone who comes to have a great experience and I certainly don’t want you to leave negative feedback (!) so if it’s not a good fit for you, I’ll tell you straight. So please feel free to share you concerns and ask anything you like. Email me on [email protected] and I’ll get straight back to you.

Concern 7: ‘I’m worried it won’t work for me’

Some prospective delegates say they love the idea of the event, but are worried my media planning strategies won’t work for them.

My advice:

I can’t give you guarantees.  What I can tell you is that I’ve trained hundreds of people in this approach - and it works (even if you have a product-based business).  The key thing is that this is a partnership. I can share all my best ideas, tips and strategies but if you’re not willing to put in the work to make it happen, you won’t get the results you desire. But if you’re willing to do the work and make media planning and content creation a priority, you will get results.

Concern 8: ‘I won’t know anyone else attending’

If you haven’t been to a Soulful PR event before, you may feel worried about not knowing anyone.

My advice

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’m in the process of putting together a 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 can also check out this video to get a feel for what it’s like to attend a Soulful PR event.

I'd love you to join me at Your Year in PR, so if you're ready to get your 2018 PR plan in place, then click here to book your place