Is freelance work for you?

Fed up with working for someone else and enduring the office politics? Want a bit more freedom? Then perhaps the world of freelance working is for you. I’ve been freelance for many years now and wouldn’t change virtually any of it. The freedom of being able to pick and choose clients (that’s if work is plentiful and believe me that’s not always the case), being flexible with working hours and being answerable to yourself is a real bonus but it doesn’t work for everyone.


So what are the plus points of freelance:

  • Working hours can be flexible so you can pick the children up from school, go for that dog walk or just plan your own time
  • Working from home so the commute is only a minute but you do need a home office
  • Picking and choosing what work you do
  • Everything you earn goes straight to you
  • Maximising your skills to their true ability
  • Allowing the possibility of doing some charitable or volunteer work alongside paid work
  • Flexibility on how much you work and what you work on. It can be full time, part time or even just 1 day a week


And the downsides:

  • Freelance can mean long hours and often finishing work in the evening or weekends
  • Working on your own can be lonely so ensure you have colleagues to chat to and bounce ideas off
  • You need to do your own tax return and budget finances – that July or January summons from HMRC for tax is depressing so make sure you always put money aside
  • No pension or benefits – again plan your finances
  • No office benefits of away days, expenses lunches or office chat
  • Always looking out for the next piece of work so you don’t suddenly have a dearth of work so you must be visible to your market
  • Working out your charge out fee – this often has to vary depending on the client and in the world of PR it’s usually fixed. All too often we can put in far more hours than we’re actually paid for as you want to produce the best work. You have to keep monitoring this.
  • It needs self motivation to sit down and work each morning


But freelance work is becoming far more common, especially post pandemic, as it allows companies to bring in experts for their expertise on certain projects without employing them while giving workers flexibility. So if you’re thinking this is the life for me – and I’d highly recommend it – then go for it and follow your dream!

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Read more about the article Have trade shows had their day?
Scotland's Trade Fair Spring and Scotland's Seciality Food Show at SEC Glasgow.

Have trade shows had their day?

If we listen to the ‘doom and gloom news’ you’d think that trade shows have been delivered a death knell by the internet and the pandemic. But the resounding word on the street is NO! Retailer after retailer, visitor after visitor, keeps telling us that nothing beats the face to face chatting and seeing and touching products that attending trade fairs offers. We’re coming into the trade fair season of January and February when every good retailer will head to their local or national trade show to see new ranges, source stock and network with their suppliers. And again and again they say this can’t be replicated online. If you spent the same time sourcing online you’d never discover those hidden gems from new young suppliers, or feel the quality of the products, see the packaging or keep your stock fresh.


Added to this trade shows are working harder than ever to attract buyers with added value such as awards, educational masterclasses, entertaining seminars, a huge range of exhibitors and clear and concise show layouts. Although maybe businesses in these harsh times can’t afford to send a huge team of buyers, those buyers that attend will work harder with every moment at the Show counting.


There is one thing the pandemic has taught us – we are all humans and humans naturally crave company and nothing beats the face to face interaction of a trade show. As local shops have, in the main, performed relatively well over the last few years with people shopping local, these shops must attend the Shows to ensure they have the best products for their customers. If they don’t they main find they’re behind their competitors with the range and quality of products they offer.


So if you own a shop make sure you’ve registered for your local trade show this spring and get along there – you’ll be surprised at how many orders you can make and how much you’ll enjoy it!

PS If you’re in Scotland, Scotland’s Trade Fair and Speciality Food Show takes place at the SEC, Glasgow from 22-24 Jan. See you there!

Continue ReadingHave trade shows had their day?

How to do your own PR

Given that we are a PR company, telling people how to do their own PR should be like shooting ourselves in the foot. However, our advice to small companies, whose budgets may be very tight, is to gently tip their toe in the water and do a little PR yourself before engaging a PR company as this way you will have defined exactly what you want from it. But make it a priority on the marketing schedule – don’t leave it until late on Friday afternoon when creative juices may have dried up.

  1. Define what you want from PR – don’t just think you want 5 articles in the national press in your first week because this is unlikely to happen unless you have some incredible announcement. PR is usually a slow burn and is about increasing awareness and building brand or company loyalty.
  2. Define your target audience – a big mistake many companies make in the early stages is thinking their audience is everyone. Think hard about who you’re aiming at and target all PR material to them.
  3. Set out a realistic strategy that you can commit to. So work out a plan of what you want to say, when you want to say it and what are the key messages.
  4. Define your key messages – what is your brand or organisation about and what is its USP.
  5. Select which media channels you want to use – press releases and targeting press are often the bedrock of PR and are a good place to start. But remember to make your press releases succinct, newsy and relevant – no journalist will read through pages of long winded script about how wonderful you are. Social media is a key part of PR but choose the channel or channels that works for your audience and again make it interesting and relevant.
  6. Get writing and start to target press, social media, events etc. Remember your audience are busy people, as are journalists, so don’t pester them – simply get the information out there in a newsworthy way.
  7. Monitor your progress – have you reached the goals you want and is it working? If not refine it but give yourself some months before assessing its success as it won’t come overnight unless you’re very fortunate.

So this simple guide can help you get started. We are here to help so if you feel this is beyond you or you simply don’t have time speak to us to give you a helping hand.

Good luck!

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If there’s one thing the pandemic has highlighted, it’s the importance of kitchen design. As the room in the house where most time is spent, kitchens in 2022 need to be multi- functional hubs of the home and include work spaces. Designs haven’t changed radically but the focus ow is on what clients want in their kitchen and the designs must work as hard as possible to enhance every detail and benefit.

Key trends – the inclusion of gadgets is paramount now with the Quooker tap, dispensing not just boiling water but also chilled and sparkling water and wine coolers being top of the list. Pocket doors are more popular than ever as they hide away appliances, larders etc and are particularly effective in more compact kitchens.

Kitchen design – open plan kitchens with an island are still on trend as now, more than ever, this design allows the kitchen to offer a social space that is always high on clients’ wish lists. Breakfast bars with stools are most common with a separate dining table nearby with comfortable seating.

Must have – one aspect most kitchen designs cannot overlook now is good extraction, especially as the kitchen is no longer just a cooking space. Coupled with layers of lighting and wine coolers these are often top of the wish list.

Colours & textures –  natural, industrial colours are on trend for 2022, with sprayed steel finishes becoming popular, along with real timber doors, earthy tones and copper finishes. High gloss kitchens are going out as darker, matt finishes and natural colours abound.

Worktops – the kitchen worktop must stand up to the rigours of day-to-day family living in a hardworking kitchen, meaning that Dekton and suede Silestone are increasingly popular. Veined granites and quartz are also seeing a comeback.

Storage – larders, either walk-in or in-built, remain the best storage, often hidden by pocket doors.

Follow these kitchen design tips, as suggested by experts and you’ll have a kitchen you’ll love this year and in 10 years!


Don’t panic – Christmas is only 100 days away!

At this time of year PRs who do product PR are madly pitching their products to the many journalists, bloggers and influencers who are all compiling the infamous Christmas gift guide. If you read them all you’d need a Christmas sack the size of Britain but many offer great ideas when faced with ‘what should I get so and so for Christmas?) We’ve pitched many varied interesting, unusual and desirable (or so we think) Christmas gifts to many hundreds of journos in the years. But what makes a good pitch?

  1. Give them what they want – if they’re looking for gifts for kids don’t pitch alcohol! This may sound obvious but so often people pitch all sorts of irrelevant items
  2. A picture says a 1000 words – make sure you include a photo (can be low res to start but have the hi res ready) to illustrate the gift
  3. Provide a clear, succinct caption complete with price and link
  4. Make sure you have researched the publication so it’s for your target market
  5. Be prepared to offer samples, the odd competition prize, subscriber gift or giveaway as sometimes that may swing whether they use it or not
  6. And lastly be enthusiastic – if you love the gift and can sell it well, so will others!

So get that Santa hat on and start pitching!

Continue ReadingDon’t panic – Christmas is only 100 days away!

Getting a taste for this

If there’s one thing I love it’s doing food PR so I am delighted to be working for the tireless Sheetal Revis who’s created The Pakora Explorer. Sheetal is inspired by her Asian roots, and has started production of delicious fresh pakoras. All handmade in Scotland in small batches these really appeal to people who want ‘food on the go’. Originally a street food operator, The Pakora Explorer diversified during lockdown to get the products into convenience stores, farm shops, fine food shops, delis etc so that everyone could enjoy them. At the moment we’re launching to the trade but hope it’s going to go nationwide. If you’d like to stock them please get in touch. So impressed with the products and the enthusiasm of Sheetal! And please do get in touch if you want some food PR. The route to my heart is certainly through my stomach!!

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Read more about the article Working from home – love it or hate it?
notebook written work from home text with stationary

Working from home – love it or hate it?

Are you into your tenth month of working from home and feeling the novelty has worn off? Or are you loving the flexibility it offers and not missing the photocopier chat? As a #WFH since I set up my own PR agency many moons ago, I relish the working from home. But there are some things that are a must to make it work well. Firstly make sure your set up is comfortable and quiet. There’s no way we can work efficiently if having to move locations a few times a day when others need the space so set up a small area – perhaps in the kitchen, a bedroom or living room that is dedicated to your “home office.” Get a comfortable chair and perhaps even a laptop stand to make it easier, and 2 screens give you space to move from one to another easily. Try and get the best wifi – this is easier said than done for anyone in rural areas – we have just gone to mobile broadband and it works well, with much higher speeds and costs the same as landline broadband … well most of the time. Give yourself coffee and lunch breaks at certain times to give structure to your day. Try and ensure your day has a definite start as you would in the office and don’t be tempted to work later than you would normally. And most importantly take plenty exercise – whether it’s going for a brisk 20 min walk at lunchtime or a HIIT session at 6pm, build that into your day. Given you aren’t seeing anyone make time for calls or texts to friends and family as that will ensure you stay in touch which is even more important if you’re in the house all day.

Enjoy it as the benefits of not being crammed on a crowded bus or train, having to deal with office politics and perhaps being able to get more fresh air and exercise are invaluable to a sane and fun life!

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Shop local, eat local, love local

If these unreal times have taught us anything, it’s the importance of family, friends and community. Many of us, unable or unkeen to travel any distances, have discovered what shops and services we have on our doorstep. Most of these will be small businesses, often run by just family members, and many will be struggling to make ends meet at the moment. However, they have been incredible in opening long hours, sourcing products or services people want or need, any even delivering to customers’ homes. Shopping at local shops is usually a much friendlier and more satisfying experience than a large faceless supermarket or store and even though you sometimes may have to pay a little more, it is worth every penny to know you are supporting a local business and a local family. If and when we even go back to a more normal life, remember those who have supported you during these tough times – in local shops, cafes and restaurants – and keep using them and then we may begin to see a revival of local town and village centres and there’s no doubt that will improve general well being. So in these particularly tough times try and do most of your Christmas shopping locally, your daily shopping locally and support your local businesses. #loveslocal #shoplocal

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What, where, who, why, when and how – the great 6!

Imagine the scenario – you have a new product and you want to generate sales. The product is all ready to be sold, the packaging looks great but how do you get sales? PR can be the answer but before you embark on that campaign you must answer the 6 questions that start any campaign – what, where, who, why and how.

What are you trying to sell and what is its USP?

Where are you selling it – online, in shops or in a marketplace

Who are you selling this to? Who are your target market? Make this as defined as possible to get the best results

Why should anyone buy this and what are the messages about the product that you’d like to transmit?

When do you want to market it – is it ready now or will you wait? What is the best timing – for example don’t bring an ice cream to market when it’s cold

How do you want to market it – are you doing advertising, or just a PR campaign? Is your target market on social media and should you use this.

If you can answer all these 6 key marketing principles in full then you’re ahead of the game and ready to start a good marketing campaign. Good planning at the beginning will ensure you’re focused and know what you want to achieve, which will probably result in success. So work out your 6 ‘whs – and how’ and you’ll be well on your way to sales.


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