Let's be PR - The Launch
When it comes to Public Relations, there's a new kid in town: LET'S BE PR! Launched by Laura Hepburn (nee Baldry) in 2016, LET'S BE PR provides creative PR and communications consultancy for interiors and lifestyle clients. I have known Laura for some time now, having first been approached in 2015 to help with the launch of A Splash of Colour - and you can read about that here.
Maybe it was a light bulb idea that got Laura into PR. Whatever it was though, her client-first attitude, organisational skills and approachability make her an asset to the industry and really easy to work with, from a blogger's perspective.
Laura works with brands like Florrie & Bill which is run by Amy Cawson. Amy seeks out classic British designs and furniture brands such as G Plan, Ercol and Parker Knoll, renowned for their quality workmanship and longevity and restores them to their former glory! The retro German sofa above is available here.
A week before her inaugural press show under the new brand name, I caught up with her to find out what it's like to work in PR.
How do you start your day?
Laura: "Every day starts pretty much the same – I get up when my husband leaves for work at 6am… working from home it’s all too easy to lie in for too long so it’s crucial for me to have structure and routine. I’ll then kick off the day by taking my little pooch Ralph out for a walk.
I really try not to check my inbox until I’m home… life’s too short to be glued to a screen, so while I’m out in the beautiful Surrey countryside I like to take it all in: I’m often lucky enough to witness some pretty epic sunrises which makes it all the more special.
When I get home I’ll pop the kettle on, grab some breakfast and check out the online portals of a few newspapers, skim through some quick emails and make a to-do list for the day. I’ll be at my desk by 8am."
Above: Modern furniture with a twist from LET'S BE PR Client OUT & OUT ORIGINAL. From left: Wingman armchair in wool grey, £399 in stock and ready to ship with free delivery; Natural Bamboo floor lamp, £249; Black and natural bamboo pendant lights, £149; Louis Shelving Unit, £799.
What is your best tip for staying organised ?
Laura: "I love a good list! Aside from my morning ‘to-do’ list I mentioned above, I will always jot down additional tasks that spring to mind or arise throughout the day… I get through a lot of post-its!!
Anything particularly important goes into my digital calendar with an alert set, which I can access from the computer and my phone."
"Aside from the basics of making notes and lists though, being tidy and having a filing system is essential. Now I’m not only a PR consultant, but also an accountant, book keeper, office manager etc too, it’s all the more important to keep each area of the business in check and up to date."
With a consultant husband who is travelling a lot, I know how hard the admin part can be. Who wants to spend their evening going through expenses anyway!
So what is it like to organise a press day ?
Laura: "I love working on events and press days – there’s a lot of room for creativity and it allows me to really express why my clients are so special. As all of my clients are online-only retailers it’s a chance to show the quality and design of the products – something that I can (and do!) talk about until I’m blue in the face but sometimes you just can’t beat touching and seeing something in the flesh.
In the run-up to the event I will manage everything from the date to choosing the venue, working with the stylist to create a theme, ensuring the clients are happy throughout, managing budgets and of course ensuring the press all know about the event!
And on the day ?
The set up is often manic but lots of fun. On the day itself it’s wonderful to catch up with lots of media friends, lots of whom I’ve worked with for the last ten years… PR is all about relationships so face to face contact is invaluable in building lasting friendships within the industry.
Once the doors close on the event day, we then have a couple of hours to completely pack everything up and move out again… there’s something lovely about the temporary element to the show."
Somehow I thought she was about to say "Once the doors close, we have a couple of glasses of wine to get over the manic day"...! But Laura. Is. Just. So. Professional.
What is the best thing about working in PR ?
Laura: "The variety. I get the best of both worlds – I get to work from home for the majority of the time but I still have daily contact with a host of wonderful clients, journalists and stylists. In addition, I get the chance to express my creative side when it comes to creating PR campaigns, art directing shoots, hosting events and writing materials.
As a freelancer, and now going on to becoming a small agency, I have the opportunity to really become an extension of my clients’ in-house team, which is an aspect of my work that I particularly enjoy – I really feel invested in the brands that I work with which makes everything just a little more worthwhile."
One of my favourite posts was in collaboration with LET'S BE PR client SOAK & SLEEP. See here their Pure French Linen in Pink Blush. Just. Lost. For. Words.
Now, I have to ask! Working with bloggers - what's the value added to your campaigns?
Laura: "Bloggers and social media influencers have fast become a crucial factor in any PR campaign – with thousands of followers looking online for quick, achievable inspiration it makes perfect sense that brands and businesses will utilize the outlet, too.
With new bloggers popping up every day it’s important to really focus on those that retain their integrity and focus on providing quality content for their followers; they’re easy to spot – like you, they have beautiful and rich blog feeds and social channels, with lots of interaction and a variety of content." (see, I told you she is good!)
"My clients trust me to make the best choices for them, so it’s important that I find opportunities that will be beneficial for the brand - I look to work with bloggers that are professional and will showcase my clients’ product in a beautiful and/or informative way… as lovely as it would be, we just don’t have the budgets to simply send product and hope for the best.
On a personal note, I always like to follow those that will feature a brand or product just because they love it – it’s where blogging began and, as much as I understand that many now rely on blogging for their primary income, I’ll instantly overlook anyone that says they will only accept paid-for opportunities."
OUT THERE INTERIORS, has been a client of LET'S BE PR for some time now. You can get contemporary and unusual products on their online store, here. The set of 3 tables above in pink and cream is £255. Below, an oriental style gold table (Tanica) available here.
So what do your clients prefer most: mentions in printed publications or online social media?
Laura: "It’s a complete mixture and both outlets offer something different. As online retailers, the direct links provided by online mentions is incredibly important, allowing customers to find their product instantly. We also love to see how different influencers and bloggers style the product – it’s direct feedback and inspiration for the brand.
Printed coverage provides access to a completely different audience – there are still a lot of people that will look to the leading interiors and lifestyle titles for inspiration. There’s something lovely about flicking through a magazine that will never be replaced by online. Additionally, featuring in a printed magazine offers unbiased and non-paid for coverage that I really think the reader respects.
A successful PR campaign will see a healthy balance of both printed and online coverage – you can’t take one or the other these days; you have to have both."