Could you be a brand ambassador?

Could you be a brand ambassador?A little while ago, I wrote an article for Horse & Hound about this subject, well, could you be an equestrian brand ambassador, more precisely. Brand ambassadors take up a fair amount of my time. By which I mean looking at them, working with them, dealing with enquiries about being one for a brand of mine. The list goes on!

So, could you be a brand ambassador?

The Horse & Hound article is a must read, and I have some great advice from some big brands including Ariat, Hiho Silver and Saracen Horse Feeds. And the insight these brands gave, through working with brand ambassadors every day, is absolutely bang on and brilliant. If you’re a brand looking to work with brand ambassadors, I would urge you to have a read, and if you’re a rider hoping to become a brand ambassador, please read it too.

Equestrian brand ambassador dos (whether you’re looking to be one, or you are one!)

I thought, to help provide a little extra guidance on the issue, a list of dos and don’ts would be in order… and if you feel I have missed any then please do let me know.

  • Have a genuine affinity with the brand you’re an ambassador for. If you’re applying a scattergun approach and emailing everyone, including brands you’ve never used, it’s not a good place to be.
  • Get your own house in order. Make sure you own social media, website, etc is good. If you can’t look after your own brand, why would I trust you with one of mine?
  • It’s not all about you. Think what you can offer not what you want.
  • Give it enough time. If you’re approaching someone and you promise the world, make sure you have time to deliver it.
  • Be honest, authentic and genuine. Always. Being false will annoy your audience and hurt your credibility… which is not what any brand wants to be associated with…
  • Start creating content, featuring the brands you like and own, with no ulterior motive. I always try and tag the brands I’m wearing and using because I (believe it or not) get quite a few messages from people asking me where I got my hat from/what bracelet I’m wearing, etc. From a brand point of view, it fills my heart with joy when people tag a brand I work with because I love seeing kit in action and it also means I have the potential of user generated content I can share. And that makes me very happy.
  • Be creative. When you do go in for the big ask, after you’ve put in a lot of groundwork I hasten to add, don’t just offer the obvious. Think about what you can do that’s different and makes you a better proposition…
  • Be consistent. Show up when you should on your social media and website even when you have zero energy. People who are inconsistent pose a risk as they might not deliver.
  • There’s loads more… but these are a few top ones…

Equestrian brand ambassador don’ts (again, whether you’re looking to be one or you are one!)

As important as the dos in my world!

  • Don’t email every company in the world who makes products you would like to own. Buy the products, use them, make sure you like them and would be happy to be associated with them.
  • Be careful you don’t work for too many brands as you will run out of time to deliver what you need to.
  • Don’t work for brands that directly conflict. Many brands have products that overlap, but think about what they’re known for the best or what their messaging talks about the most and don’t tread on their toes. It does not go down well.
  • Don’t let your ego get out of hand. It’s lovely to have the support of brands, but be aware that arrogance is an ugly quality and won’t win fans with your current supporters or future ones. Trust me on this one.
  • Don’t become a pain. If someone says thanks but no thanks, don’t keep barraging them with messages and emails. By all means keep using their products and tagging them – prove that they should back you in the future, but becoming a pain in neck is not a good strategy.
  • Don’t send a FB message begging for sponsorship. Just don’t. Email. Find the right person, PLEASE DON’T SEND FB MESSAGES.
  • Don’t work with people who don’t fit your values. If you’re anti-fur, don’t work with someone who sells fur, for example. It confuses the message. And will annoy your audience. While you’re working with them as a brand ambassador for their brand, YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. Protect this.
  • Don’t behave badly. I mean in real life and online. Our lives are captured on social media these days and if you’re out at the weekend getting blind drunk and vomiting in an alleyway (sorry… a bit graphic!) and that is plastered all over social media, how does that reflect you as a brand AND the businesses you’re connected to? I know it sounds like I’m being a killjoy, but I mean this from you point of view too. Trust me on this…
  • Don’t feel you’re not worthy because you haven’t ridden at the Olympics. A good, engaged following doesn’t always go hand in hand with ridden prowess. Find your USP and create your content around that. That is what a possible supporter will want to get involved with. It doesn’t always have to be that you’re at the top of your sport.

 

I’m really thrilled with my article on Horse & Hound, and I’ve genuinely had some really lovely feedback from it, from brands and riders alike. So if you’re looking to become a brand ambassador for an equestrian brand, you have to have a read!

The Equestrian and Country Advent Calendar Competition… starting on 1st December

Robin Roadnight Hanging HeartI can’t contain my advent calendar based excitement any longer… because my Equestrian and Country Advent Calendar Competition launches on Friday, 1st December. And yes, I’m pretty flipping excited. As with a lot of what I do, I wanted to explain why I’ve done it the way I have, as well as the kind of things you’re likely to find in there.

What’s the idea behind the Equestrian and Country Advent Calendar Competition?

There are a few reasons why I decided to do an Equestrian and Country Advent Calendar Competition. The first reason is that by creating video content around some great products from my clients and friends, I get to introduce them to you in a more personal way. Every product I am giving away I genuinely love and have a connection with in some way. I’m very, very lucky in that I’ve had a lot of the prizes donated, but I have also bought some too. The ones I have bought are generally connected to the business side of what I do, so books I rate and have talked about, a bit of stationery and the like. I have also bought some of the other products, and I will explain this aspect in the blog that accompanies each day of the calendar. Because I like to give people credit when they go above and beyond. And it’s only fair that people who have been kind enough to gift prizes to you, my lovely followers, get that recognition.

Sophie Callahan Equestrian CalendarHow will the Equestrian and Country Advent Calendar Competition work?

Each day I will be giving away one lovely prize over on my Facebook page. I did think a lot about the best way to do this and keeping it on one platform just seemed a lot more clean cut and a lot easier to manage. So, each day, a short video will appear on my Facebook page with the prize I’m giving for that day, and the entry mechanism will be a simple ‘Like & Comment’. Of course, I’d be very grateful for any shares, but that’s not part of the entry criteria. Each video will also have an accompanying blog that will explain more about the prize. It’s a simple competition, because I like to keep things simple… especially at this time of year!!

What kind of things can you expect to find in the Equestrian Advent Calendar Competition?

You’re in for a treat! There are books from some people I find hugely inspiring, products from Hiho Silver, Annabel Brocks, Sophie Callahan Photography, Sweet Images Photography, Hoofprints, Noble Outfitters, Robin Roadnight… the list goes on. I hope you love taking part as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. The first one launches on Friday!

Equestrian Christmas Gift Guide – for children | Rhea Freeman

equestrian christmas gift guide for childrenFollowing the equestrian and country gift guide theme (and there will be a few more to come!), I have a real belter- Equestrian Christmas Gift Guide – for children. If you’re looking for gifts to delight any children in your life this Christmas, pop the kettle on – I’ve sorted it for you!

Equestrian Christmas Gift Guide for children – the video

So, that’s the Equestrian Christmas Gift Guide for children video, but below I have put together a bit more information for you in case you’re on the fence and want to know a bit more.

First up we have Hiho. Hiho is well known for its equestrian jewellery for her, but for children the company also has a great collection. In this Christmas Gift Guide, I have included two great Hiho products, the Thelwell Necklace and the Springy Bangle. The Thelwell Necklace is gorgeous and produced with full permission from the Thelwell Estate. The solid sterling silver disc is engraved with a Thelwell scene on one side, and has a plain side on the back, which is lovely just as it is, but can also be engraved with a special message. How lovely is that?

The Springy Bangle is a real classic. I have the adult version that rarely leaves my wrist… and hasn’t actually for the last few years. When I had my children in hospital I was kind of gutted that I left my jewellery at home. It just seemed like a good idea. But I was sad to leave it behind. But anyway, I digress. The bangle has a nifty design that means you don’t need to contort your wrist and dislocate fingers to get it through the wrist shaped hole. You just pull it and you put it on, and then it goes back to its original shape. The children’s version is lighter and thinner… and smaller too, but then it would be. It would make a great gift for a little girl, so it would be fab for a goddaughter, daughter or special little girl, and also great as a Christening gift. So that’s one to remember.

I’ve included Robin Roadnight Equestrian Art in this guide as well as one of my ‘for her’ guides, because I think that, depending on the fabric choice, it is perfect for little people as well as adults! The print that I’ve featured, I think, is great for adults, but there’s a gorgeous Shetland print, candy floss colour and there’s also a really cute ‘Small But Mighty’ print that I think would be great for children too.

Hoofprints sent over some brilliant personalised gifts for this guide, and I have to say I was blown away by the lovely quality and the price of these products. The website is bursting with items that allow personalisation, but I featured the t-shirt and money box here. To get these items personalised, all you need to do is send a high res image that matches what the team need… and they’ll do the rest. With some kind of witch craft (also known as Photoshop!), the background is removed and it’s ready to go.

And last but not least is Forelock Books. Forelock Books produce lovely children’s pony stories for all the family to enjoy. There’s a huge range of stories available for boys and girls, whether the stories are read to them or the children read them themselves. They’re made to last, so the chances are these books will see them through both stages. Lovingly written, carefully published and a great gift that will bring hours of pleasure (and quiet time for mum and dad!) too.

So that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed my Equestrian Christmas Gift Guide for children. Thanks so much for watching and reading!

Make sure you check out my other gift guides for festive inspiration.

Gifts for her- part 1

Gifts for her – part 2

 

How to promote your equestrian and country business this Christmas

How to promote your equestrian and country business this ChristmasToday’s #wisdomwednesday post is all about how to promote your equestrian and country business this Christmas. Now, not only will you see some top tips written below, there’s also a podcast, created in conjunction with Haynet, that I put together about it. Now, one point to note, when I recorded this I did have a cold, so the husky voice isn’t here to stay, but I needed to get this podcast and these tips out into the world. So please excuse that!!

How to promote your equestrian and country business this Christmas – the podcast

The actual podcast is called How Can You Make Your Rural Business Standout This Christmas – and you can listen to the Haynet Podcast on their website. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘God no, I’ve left it too late – all is lost’. Just breathe. It’s fine. I’m going to help you. Ok? 

How to promote your equestrian and country business this ChristmasNow you’ve had a listen to the podcast, I wanted to just cover a few key points here, so you can crack on NOW and get started in promoting your business and your products on the run up to Christmas. Are you ready? Well we will begin…

  • Make sure you know your last posting days – these are your real deadlines. It’s not over until it’s over – by which I mean don’t throw in the towel until it’s time to stop. When you can do no more. If you sell a physical product, get your last posting dates sorted and have that as your new deadline. That’s not to say leave everything until then. DO NOT DO THIS. Get cracking straight away. I’m just saying that all is not lost until the end.
  • Use your social media… and use it well. If you have a promotion or a visual or a competition, make sure it is native to the platform. These always do better. So don’t ask people to share on Instagram. You can’t. You can repost, but you share on Facebook.
  • If an idea you have will work really well on one platform and not any others THAT IS FINE. Use the other platforms to promote what’s going on on the one platform. Not everything needs to work everywhere. That’s fine.
  • Put time into your visuals. Put energy into your images. While Instagram is all about the visual, Facebook and Twitter posts perform better too when accompanied by a good pic.
  • You can advertise – yep – on social media. The targeting is incredible. Make sure your content is good first though, and your visual and message are strong, otherwise it’s a waste of money.
  • Make sure you tell your database about what you’re doing. These people have engaged with your before, so why not give them the chance to engage with you again? Don’t SPAM them, but do keep them informed. It helps.
  • Get on video. Get on video. So that would be GET ON VIDEO. Talk people through your products and get this content on your social media, on your website, in you newsletters.
  • Add value. Write a note. Offer gift wrap. Add value and help your customers out. This will help your user generated content and is also something nice you can talk about.
  • Collaborate. Look to collaborate with brands that could help you. I’m currently working on a mega equestrian prize collaboration, and I can see how well it’s working. You can find out how collaborations work here.

So there you go, some additional information about how to promote your equestrian and country business this Christmas.

And don’t forget to have a listen to the other Haynet podcasts. I alternate these with Sam, founder of this fab platform, and there’s LOADS of information there you can tap in to. Enjoy!

 

A Christmas collaboration in action – equestrian prizes galore

Christmas collaboration - equestrian gifts galoreI’m very excited to be able to tell you about a competition I’m participating in – by which I mean, I’m providing a prize for. This amazing Christmas collaboration was arranged and organised by the lovely Becci from Super X Country. It unites a number of businesses, all providing a prize for one lucky winner. It’s a fairly simple competition in terms of the entry mechanism. But more and more I am convinced simple is the best.. you can enter over on Super X Country’s Facebook page.

Who’s the Christmas collaboration between?

The competition is between eight equestrian businesses – each providing a great prize. The lucky person will win a prize worth over £500- how good is that?

So, first up we have Annabel Brocks. I am lucky enough to work for Annabel and own one of her lovely headwarmers and neck warmers, so I can vouch for these products first had. The winner of this competition will win a sumptuous faux fur reversible head warmer. Definitely the most stylish way to stay snug this winter and beyond!

Then we have Super X Country, the brilliant brand created by the ever-so-lovely Becci. Super X Country creates custom cross country sets for riders of all levels, allowing people to get their own colours (and some really fun designs too!) without breaking the bank. In addition, Super X Country also sells gilets, breeches and lots more, all designed with the competitive eventer in mind. As part of this competition, you could win a customer cross country set.

Then there’s me. I’m offering a one hour coaching call. Now, as you know, I coach a lot of equestrian and country businesses, but I can also work with riders looking to develop their social media presence, work with brands, etc. So my bet would be that that’s the kind of advice I’ll be providing in this session, but it will be up to the winner.

Events Through A Lens is offering a shoot worth £150. I’m not 100% sure what this shoot entails, but no doubt it’ll be a great experience and lots of fun too!

LD Equestrian is run by Lydia, again, a bit of a star in my book! She’s developed a range equestrian apparel for the modern equestrian that’s elegant and stylish as much as it is practical. And she’s giving away one snug LD Equestrian hoodie.

Next up we have Caracal Equestrian. Ailsa is the lady behind Caracal and is one of the most creative people I know! She creates (and when I say create, I mean designs and actually makes!) gorgeous show shirts with pops of colour via stunning fabric choices. They’re SO pretty. And there are bespoke options too.

Muzzle & Snout is a fairly new business, headed by the lovely Debra, that handpicks gorgeous gifts and accessories and showcases them. There’s a stunning range of products available to suit all budgets and tastes. For this competition she’s giving a hip flask, unicorn socks and earrings.

Last but my no means least, we have Rico Reins. This company sells, well, reins, but in a HUGE range of lengths, widths and styles. So if you have a teeny Shetland or a HUGE Shire horse, Rico Reins will have the right reins for you! And as part of this competition, Rico is giving away a pair of Bio Grip Reins.

Why is the Christmas collaboration such a good thing?

You probably know my views on how positive collaborations can be, but just to reiterate, I want to use this example. So, here, each of the people above have provided a prize that someone would like to win to make one large prize bundle. So rather than, say, Rico Reins just offering a pair of reins, or Caracal just offering a shirt to their following, they, like I, am offering the same thing but there’s a difference. Everyone is getting exposure to each other’s audiences. So all the brands benefit. But more than that, the AUDIENCE benefits too. I could offer my following a prize of a session with me. They’d like that. But my audience is largely equestrian and country… so they would LOVE to win all of the above too. And I am sure the same applies for all the other brands too. Super X Country’s audience is horse riders, predominantly eventers, so all the above works so well for them too.

And that’s the power of collaboration, whether it’s a Christmas collaboration or any other, EVERYONE should win. And I think this one ticks all those boxes and then some. Well done Becci!

How can you enter this Christmas collaboration to be in with a chance to win?

Simple… pop on over to Super X Country’s Facebook page

Why I stopped vlogging (and why I am pleased I did it!)

why i stopped vloggingYou may remember a little while ago, I decided that I was going to produce a weekly vlog. And I did it for a while. But a few weeks ago I called time on it, and I wanted to tell you why. Not because I think vlogs are ‘over’ or old, far from it. I’m a huge fan of vlogs and would rather watch these on Youtube than the rubbish that appears on my TV screen but, for me, it wasn’t working. Here, I’m going to tell you why I started vlogging, why I stopped vlogging, and what I learnt… so you can learn from my experiences.

Why did I start vlogging?

Well, I love a vlog. And I love video. And as with all things I like to have a go. I find this useful because, for my coaching and PR clients, I like to have been there and got the t-shirt before I advise or suggest things. And nothing works better than actually doing it. I have an iPhone 7 plus, so I had the tech (or, at least, tech that was more than capable of the job), my husband edits videos… so I was all set up.

And what did I learn through vlogging?

Well, a lot! In order to make 10, or even 15 minutes of interesting content each week, you have to do a lot of recordable things. This posed a problem for me. With my coaching, I couldn’t record what I was doing due to client confidentiality, so that was that scuppered. I spend a lot of my time writing and planning… and that’s dull to watch. I spend a LOT of time organising my toddlers (well, I say organising… more like managing!!), and I’m not happy filming them (that’s another blog I need to write!!). So what does that leave me with? Walking the dog? Dealing with the horses? OK- not the worst content in the world, but I felt I was majorly lacking on sharable content. So I guess that was the first thing I learnt. You need to be doing a lot of interesting, sharable stuff to vlog.

Next thing I learn was the need for good light and sound. I know this is important because of the other videos I create, but many a time I had to delete a decent vlog clip because I filmed it when I was walking the dog and there was a slight breeze that really messed with the microphone.

I also learnt that it is incredibly time consuming… and I don’t even edit my own videos. The filming takes a long time, the checking, the Youtube element, the promoting. It took a long time.

Because of the time it took, the other, more informative videos I make fell by the wayside. And I didn’t like this. The instructional and informative videos add more value to my brand and to my clients and following. And it felt a bit frivolous to abandon that in favour of this.

I also learnt that I need to be careful how I spend my time. It’s good to try new things, but also being able to say ‘it’s great but it just isn’t for me’ is also a really important thing. You have to try things to make them ‘break’, or find out if they work for you.

And I learnt a HUGE amount that I have passed and can pass onto my clients if they want to have a go at vlogging or creating more casual videos. And that’s worth its weight in gold.

Do I regret vlogging?

Absolutely not. I might revisit is again in the future – you know – if I get more interesting(!). No, in all seriousness, I don’t regret it for a second and I have learnt a huge amount that I am sharing with clients all the time. I also think that increasing popularity in Instagram Stories made the decision to shelve vlogging a lot easier, because that’s kind of a daily vlog anyway. Well, for me it is. And as I say, I might well vlog again in the future, Vlogging can have MASSIVE value for the right people and the right businesses. People have made their fortunes through them, have gained clients through them and a lot more too. I had plenty of lovely comments on my vlogs, and I did actually attract clients and enquiries through them, but they didn’t feel right for me at this time. But I would encourage EVERYONE to have a go.

You can see my vlogs over on my Youtube channel. I hope you enjoy them.

Equestrian and country gift guide – for her – part 1

equestrian and country gift guideThis year, I’ve decided to embrace the Christmas spirit full on, and share with you some of my top finds in a series of equestrian and country gift guides. First up, I’m addressing gifts for her… and I’m doing this in a series of videos (along with for him and for children…) so stay tuned.

How have I put the equestrian and country gift guide together?

Well, let’s be clear, I know there will be a LOT of gift guides online this year, but I wanted to tell you how I’ve put mine together. I specifically asked the brands who I am featuring to be involved and picked the products I wanted to feature too. In order to be involved, I needed the product, which I said I was happy to return. Some brands very (very) kindly said I could keep the product they sent, some I have bought for gifts and some I already owned, but the vast majority are being returned… and some you’ll see in the not too distant future… but I’ll tell you more about that soon. I don’t have any issues with people who do it differently at all, but I wanted to tell you how I’ve done it. In the equestrian and country guides you’ll see lots of products from brands I work with, and some from brands I have the pleasure of networking with via my groups on social media. I’m not saying this is a definitive guide, and I am looking forward to getting inspired by lots of other equestrian and country gift guides as Christmas approaches. These are products that I know extremely well and adore, or ones that have caught my eye online and I like how the company operates.

I love supporting small businesses, and I think showcasing products in this way (as well as buying them as gifts!) can help. I’d love it if you’d consider giving this video a thumbs up on Youtube (the video below is on Youtube) and even a channel subscribe – that would be brilliant. But it’s completely up to you. So, without further ado…

 

In this equestrian and country gift guide, you will find…

Annabel Brocks’ reversible faux fur head warmer and neck warmer in bubblegum pink tweed, and her wool Bugsy Hat in navy.

Hiho Silver’s Exclusive Foxtail Bracelet, Exclusive Cherry Roller Bangle (find out about the Cherry Roller Bangle’s iconic design), and a number of CZ Roller Beads (find out why I love the CZ Roller Bead).

Fairfax & Favor’s Henley Drivers in navy (find out about the wow factor your friend/relative will get from Fairfax & Favor’s packaging here).

Evemy & Evemy’s Alpaca Socks (read about Evemy & Evemy founder, Sophie Carroll here).

 

You’ll find links to all the products underneath the equestrian and country gift guide – for her – Youtube video.

I’ll blog when I have business

I'll blog when I have a businessA few weeks ago, I was chatting to someone about their business. They had big plans and great ideas, but a line that they said had me confused. And that was a line about blogging. And when they were going to start blogging.

See, part of their marketing plan was to use their blog. I liked that. It ticked my content marketing box. The thing that I queried was when they were planning to put the time into blogging. And that was when their business had become a success. Not before. The line ‘I’ll blog when I have a business’ stuck with me. I didn’t really get it. Here’s why.

Let’s look at why we blog

There are plenty of reasons to start a blog. I mean, I could rattle a load off to you now. SEO, brand awareness, social media content, exclusive content, thought leadership, promotion, etc. etc. etc. All of these elements work for established business. I have absolutely no doubt about this – they’re one of the reasons why I put so much time and effort into blogging and why it’s an important part of my marketing strategy. But do you think that all these things could also help new businesses? Yep. I do too.

Another major perk of blogging

Another major bonus of blogging against other forms of marketing is the cost of entry. That would be zero. You can get a blog on a platform like WordPress for £0 if you’re happy to have wordpress in the URL, and we’re talking pounds if you aren’t. So, something that is FREE, that can allow people – customers, partners, collaborators and more- to find out more about you, and it goes to the bottom of the pile? See… I just don’t get that.

I get that blogging can be tricky

I understand that some people struggle with blogging. In fact, I’ve written an article all about it and ways to help overcome some of the common issues. I also understand that some people will never ever ever blog. That’s fine too. It’s not something I would advise or suggest (as in, I think everyone should blog), but that’s fine. Everyone has their own beliefs and quirks. But if you’re looking to integrate blogging into your marketing plan in the future to help promote your business, then please PLEASE consider starting sooner rather than later. As you get busier, your time will be more stretched, especially as your business grows, and blogging might find itself at the bottom of your list. But what if you could put in some of the legwork now, when you have more time, and have this content continuing to generate leads and interest now and in the future? If you’re new to your business and you’re trying to build one, and blogging is part of your plan for the future, then I would really really urge you to consider starting it now. It could help you to reach where you want to be quicker at the same time as helping to support you moving forward.

How I embraced blogging

I’d blogged for clients for a long time, but my own blog got knocked to the bottom of the list for a long time. I know. Pretty shameful given my line of work. I was determined to do a better job, so I decided, in my infinite wisdom(!) that writing a blog every day for 40 days was a good idea. Yep – I doubt my sanity sometimes too. However, it was the ‘baptism of fire’ that I needed and I really haven’t looked back since. I would urge you to try blogging, You don’t need to do one a day, or even one a week, but start. Write something relevant and authentic, promote it, and see where it leads. And keep doing that over and over again. And if you’re stuck, I have some blogs that might help you…

End of the 40 day blogging challenge

How dictation software can make blogging a whole lot easier

Should you bother with a blog?

Why I love… Twitter

Why I love TwitterYes, today it’s a big one – why I love Twitter… and why you might love it too… even if this love for Twitter has eluded you before!

What’s Twitter? And why should you care?

Well, I am sure you know what it is, but just to recap, it’s a micro-blogging social media platform. There are a few things that make Twitter different. The first is the length of the posts or updates. They’re limited. And limited to 280 characters (although it used to be 140). You might think you can’t say anything in that many characters, but you’d be surprised. It teaches you to be concise. Anyway, there are other differences too. The Twitter algorithm is different to Facebook, although it isn’t quite what it used to be. Historically, your timeline was a very very fast moving feed that was more chronological than anything else. This was great in some ways, but there was the possibility of missing tweets from your favourite people, and that’s what the Twitter algorithm aims to avoid. This shouldn’t happen as much now. Which has got to be good. Well, I think it is. Personally, I have noticed the changes on Twitter, but I haven’t felt it’s hindered my user experience. But maybe that’s just me?

I should say that, quite off piste, that I do have a bit of a thing about when social media networks announce changes in the algorithm. You know everyone goes into a panic, creates really naff blog posts and content about how Facebook is screwing us over, or Instagram has turned into the devil? Yeah. I like to wait and see. And even then I know it’s a borrowed platform, by which I mean I don’t own it. So I can’t control it. I just need to work with what I have. But that’s a whole different blog…

Why do I like Twitter?

I like Twitter. Yep. I said it. I recently asked my followers on Facebook and Instagram whether they preferred Twitter or Facebook. And Facebook won hands down. But the people who came forward and said they preferred Twitter did really love it. I like it because I enjoy the chatter and the fast moving pace, and I really like the conversation. Unlike Facebook, I think Twitter is ALL about the chat. The tooing and froing. The chatter. With Facebook you make a statement and then address comments (in general), but with Twitter, you can say something and that can lead to more of a chat. I also like the hashtag function. You want to see what’s going on in the Great British Bake Off (I know it’s finished!), you type in the hashtag and you can see and join in the conversation. In some ways it’s higher maintenance than Facebook or Instagram, but it’s a lot more interactive and a lot more friendly. I also think that, as I’ve been on Twitter for so long, I kind of love it. Like a jumper I’ve had forever.

From a business point of view, I have made really good connections through it, responded to the #journorequest hashtag and been featured on various websites, and I have also got clients and work through Twitter. But these things don’t happen overnight. they take time.

Why should you like Twitter?

To be honest, you don’t have to, and that’s fine. At this stage, Snapchat isn’t my favourite platform. And that doesn’t bother me, it’s just the truth. I’m not saying it’s a bad platform but it’s not my favourite. I understand it and I’m on it, but others have a bigger space in my social media heart. You might feel the same way about Twitter. And that’s fine. However, if you fancy giving it a go, then you might just love it. Here are a few tips…

  • Get yourself an account – it’s free
  • If you have a business, do your best to make sure your Twitter name is the same (or as close to the same) as your other social media profiles
  • Follow some people you’re interested in. These might be celebs, websites, magazines, friends, etc. And it’ll help you find some people you might like to follow too.
  • Get involved. Respond to people’s comments, put your own tweets out there, share some pics.
  • Give it time. If you’re serious about Twitter, give it time. It gets more interesting as your following grows, you get the hang of it, and the more really interesting people you follow.
  • Search by hashtags. This will help you find content that might be of interest to you. #horsebloggers is a great one for equestrians, as is #247equestrian, but events and shows also have their own hashtags you can follow and participate in.

And, if you’d like to get more involved and are looking to follow some people, then you can find my Twitter profile here. 

 

Do you need to write press releases for your equestrian business?

Do you need to write press releases for your equestrian businessHave you heard people talk about press releases? Do you know how you could use them for your equestrian business? I’m here to give you a few ways a press release can work for your business, to help you further your reach, your exposure and to help you keep the press and more fully informed with what you’re up to. And do you know something else? You can actually create your own press releases AND send them out really easily. Yep. You heard it here first.

So, what’s a press release?

A press release is, quite simply, a document that should concisely explain what is new or newsworthy in your business. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for journalists, bloggers, influencers and editors to read, understand and process. Your press release should help them quickly establish whether your equestrian business is of interest to them on this occasion. It might not be, and that’s fine too. But if you don’t tell them, you don’t really stand a very good chance of being featured. If you tell them, you’re stacking the odds in your favour.

How does this relate to equestrian business?

In exactly the same way as any other business. The equestrian industry is made up of all sorts of people who could help you to promote your brand, service or product. This might be editors at magazines, freelance journalists, roving reporters for websites, bloggers or influencers. the list goes on. As with any business, if you don’t tell these list of people what you are doing, they won’t know that they’re interested in it… you’re not giving them the chance, and this means that you are making it much harder for people to find out about your eqiestrian business.

What should you include in a press release?

There’s a bit of an art to writing a press release, but it’s an art that can be learnt and improved upon as you go. You should always make sure that the reason you’re writing the press release is a good enough reason. The fact that you have a load of product to sell is not a good enough reason to clog up an editor’s inbox with a press release. NEW or NEWSWORTHY are the two words I always consider when I work with clients on creating their press releases. Is it new – so a new product or service? If yes, it gets a tick and we move to stage two. If not, is it newsworthy? This might be something like a charitable donation. Or maybe a collaboration? Or maybe a sponsorship or an award. These are great subjects for press releases. If you have something that is new or newsworthy, that you think the equestrian public at large (or even just a specific area of the equestrian market) would like to know about… then a press release is a great way to get that message out there.

Do you need to do it yourself?

Nope. You can work with equestrian PR and marketing consultants or copywriters to help you craft a press release you’re proud of. But don’t be fooled. They’re not that hard to write. The most challenging bit is building up your list of contacts, but effort in this area can pay massive dividends in the short and long term, so it’s not something that I would shy away from at all. By just thinking about the problem and spending an hour on the internet, you can start a really good press list that you can build on. And this will then allow you to inform the press of what you’re doing. And if you provide them with the right content, in the right format, at a relevant time, then they might just decide to tell their fans, followers and readers all about your equestrian business.

So, do I need to produce press releases for my equestrian business?

Yes. In one format or another, I would strong advise you do. Press releases can be a hugely effective way of getting your message out into the world, whether you write about your equestrian business yourself or you work with an equestrian PR. To bridge the gap you could always work with someone to help you create a press release, so you start to build up your own contact list and learn the skills you need to promote your business well.

As for the shameless plug…

Through my equestrian business coaching service, I teach people how to write press releases, build press lists and get their products featured. And I do a lot more too, depending on the coachling’s needs and wants. You can find out more about equestrian business coaching here if you need a hand or a bit of help developing a more strategic approach.