Interview between Paula Gardner MD of DoYourOwnPR and Jan Klin

How would you describe your company and its mission? teaches small and growing businesses how to do their own PR, saving them thousands of pounds in PR agency fees every month. I’ve been in PR since the early nineties, first working for other agencies and then as owner of a PR consultancy myself. However, as the owner of a business with offices and staff to pay for I found that the clients I ended up working to pay the bills with weren’t necessarily the most interesting for me. I wanted to help the smaller guys, the one that couldn’t really afford big PR contracts. These were the companies with the innovative ideas that still had the passion for their business. So, Do Your Own PR was born. We now show businesses how to do their own PR in a variety of ways. These are :

* A straight forward email 30 day PR course that takes them through how to plan and run a PR campaign
* PR coaching where we have a monthly teleconference to work on their PR campaign
* A full PR consultation, where we put together a PR plan and write a press release for them.

How long have you had a website and what is its main purpose?

I have had a website since 2002, this particularly version since 2004, and its main purposes are to sell the courses and also encourage people to sign up for my newsletter. After they’ve had a few months of getting our suggestions of how to do their own PR they often get in touch to move onto becoming clients.

Does the site work for you? ie deliver the benefits you were expecting?

We can definitely see it growing and see SEO as a vital part of our overall promotional mix.

What is your online marketing strategy? – which methods do you use to attract potential customers?

I write articles and post them on article sites, offer them to other business people for their website or newsletter. We obviously do a lot of Pr too! I used to do a lot of online networking which worked very well when we were starting up and had more time. I just don’t get the same time to do that now but it’s something I feel is important. Our own newsletter is vital – we get about 80% of our business through it.

How does your online activity mesh with your offline marketing?

Offline I do a fair bit of networking and speaking which works well – we have people coming to us who heard me speak four years ago and remembered it. I also write for business magazines on the subject of PR.

How much business do you do on the web?

Numbers of sales are split equally, although our offline sales tend to be larger.

How do you see the future regarding your online activity?

I want this to increase. We have a number of courses, not just the PR course, but also courses on creating a newsletter, networking, copywriting and cold calling, and I feel that we haven’t really even got going on the marketing of these yet. We’ve also just put together a course of how to start and run your own PR agency which I feel has huge potential.

What is the single biggest lesson you have learned about your web activities?

Persistence – little and often seems to work both for the business and for us as it’s not too overwhelming and can be incorporated easily into the working week. I aim to do something promotional every day, whether it’s visiting a networking lunch, posting an article on the site or someone else’s site, or just dropping an email to an old contact.

Can you imagine life without a website?

No! not at all – it’s part of me and what I do now. Even my kids want one now – my 11 year old wants one to sell his home made comics and my 9 year daughter to sell her home-made cards. Good to know they’re learning about business early!

DoYourOwnPR – specialises in PR strategies for Businesses