Equestrian marketing

Marketing is a key part of any business… including equestrian, country and rural businesses.

It’s one of the ways that a business promotes itself to its target market, to the end user or business (if they’re a business-to-business product or service). Of course, PR tends to work hand in hand with it, but it’s a key part of getting your message out there.

As part of my website, I like to shine the spotlight on the marketing that goes behind small businesses, particularly in the equestrian sector. I guess part of the reason for this is because I find it fascinating, another part is that I’ve working equestrian, canine and country PR and marketing for years, and thirdly because it is essential in terms of a business’s success.

Here you’ll find a mix of tips and tricks as well as real life experiences from some of the small business owners that I have had the pleasure of speaking to.

As ever, you’ll find a lot of this content is related to equestrian marketing, or rural marketing – that’s just because that’s where my experience is. You’ll also find that the tips and ideas discussed are very transferrable!

pile of business books

If you had a listen to my Small & Supercharged podcast about how to learn on a budget, you should have heard one of my book buying tips. I wasn’t planning to go into it again, but when someone posted on my Instagram feed stating that they had just saved £80 because of this tip, I had to share. It’s completely legit, I promise. But it could save you a lot of money on business books. Well, any books in fact… are you ready?

How to save money on business books

There’s no hiding that I am a big fan of business books. I read a lot and I listen a lot too. I love them. But a book habit can get a bit expensive, if you consume them at the rate that I do. Of course, good books are worth their weight in gold, and the value of the book vs the cost is a whole different blog, but I’m talking about the straight up cost. Now, a few years ago, I stumbled across a few options on Amazon that made buying books a whole lot cheaper. I have bought books for 1p (plus postage). And good books at that. It’s not a dark art, but it might be an area that you may not have explored before. And that’s what this blog is all about.

Let’s walk it through…

So, the best way to show you what I mean is a real life example. So let’s start with Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushing It, shall we? If you have a look at the link, you’ll see the cost for a shiny new copy of Crushing It is £9.34 (Jan ’19) with free postage if your book order comes to over £10. So if I was being picky, I’d add the postage charge to make my hack seem even better value, but I’m not going to do that. So let’s say this new book costs £9.34. To be honest, for this book, that’s a real bargain.

But before you press Buy Now, take a stroll with me. Under the title of the book you’ll see other buying option. There’s a Kindle version, audiobook, hardcover and paperback. Now, under paperback, see the ‘Used’ option, and see it’s from £3.67 (Jan ’19)? Click on there. This will take you through to a list of used books and their various conditions. So if you spend an extra penny, you can get a ‘Like New’ book for the sum of £3.68. And the postage is £2.80, so we need to add that on. This comes to £6.48. Ok, it might only be a saving of £2.86, but it takes no more time, and could add up to quite a lot.

The thing is, many people aren’t happy to have pre-read business books. Me? I don’t really care! I tend to go for ‘Like New’ or ‘Very Good’ in the condition stakes, and on a number of occasions I did think they probably were new. And that means I can buy more books with that saving!

I do appreciate it’s only a few pounds saved, and if you want to buy new books all the time – DO IT – it’s fine! But if you’re on a budget or really like a bargain, this is quite fun.

Here are a few more business book bargains…

Just to prove the point a bit further, I’ve had a little look at some other book bargains in the business book category. These are all books I like and have read. And these are all correct as of Jan ’19… prices will and do change…

Gary Vaynerchuk – The Thank You Economy – new £14.54. Used (Very Good condition) inc postage £6.65.

Gary Vaynerchuk – #AskGaryVee – new £13.65. Used (Very Good condition) inc. postage £4.31.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith – The Million Dollar Blog – new £11.43. Used (Like New condition) inc. postage is £6.03.

Seth Godin – Purple Cow – new £8.69. Used (Very Good condition) inc. postage is £4.87.

Michelle Mone – My Fight To The Top – new £7.99. Used (Very Good condition) inc postage is £2.89.

Now, before you think all your business book costs have been slashed forever, this only applies to some books. I look at every one I buy and I have a good hit rate, but some cost the same if you buy this way. That said, it’s very easy to see if that’s the way it’s going as all prices are clearly displayed!

Have you bought books like this? I’d love to know – come and find me on Instagram and share!

Rhea Freeman Newsletter
learning on a budget with rhea freeman

Continual learning is something I am a huge advocate of. But not just the kind of learning that goes on via courses, coaching and workshops. Don’t get me wrong, I do all three of these, but I’m also a big advocate of learning when you have zero budget. The great thing is that there are lots of ways to learn on a budget. Even if that budget is zero. And by putting in the work and learning, you’ll not only be able to deepen your understanding and increase your knowledge, you’ll be up-skilling to make yourself a more ‘valuable’ addition to anyone’s team. Even if you’re the only one on that team.

Learning on a budget – how to learn on a budget and why you should look into it!

I’ve actually written a blog about how to learn on a budget before… and I produce a lot of content to help people learn for free. This podcast is just one example. Of course, this podcast isn’t about what I do that you can use, but the variety of resources available to help you learn on a budget. Even if your budget is non existent! Show notes for episode 18 – Learning on a budget…

  • We talk about the variety of learning options out there- from resources that are free to thousands of pounds.
  • I talk about when I learn (walking the dog, in the car, etc!)
  • We discuss overwhelm and how it’s important to pick the people you want to learn from and focus in on them.
  • How you need to pick a few people you really rate and trust, so you don’t get overwhelmed and procrastinate.
  • We talk about podcasts and the value that these can bring. I also recommend Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast and Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. And I also talk about the problems I had when I listened to too many.
  • Moving through to a low cost paid for option, I talk about the value of audiobooks and how I use Audible. I really do like Audible – I wrote a blog about my Audible obsession a little while ago.
  • We talk about books and a little hack I have on Amazon where you can pick up books for much less than the new price. I’ve actually picked up books for a penny (I have to add postage, obviously!), but these can still be a lot less than the new price.
  • I talk about blogs and how these can provide a great free resource of tips and information. You can subscribe to people’s mailing lists too, so you get that information into your inbox.
  • Video – there’s a surprise – yes, video is a great way to learn. YouTube is a fountain of free how to videos (and, you know, baby monkeys riding on pigs). I use YouTube a lot actually, especially for more visual things.
  • How membership groups can be really, really useful. I also talk about the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group and how group coaching can work and deliver really good results for a good price.
  • We discuss paid for online courses. I talk about the courses I’ve done online, particularly with Fiona Humberstone, and how these go a lot deeper into subjects and are usually better produced and more structured than free content.
  • ‘Live’ events, like workshops, talks and seminars, can vary hugely in price, but are a great way to learn. Websites like EventBrite can be a good way to find workshops and events near you.
  • We talk about low cost courses, like the ones provided by providers like Udemy. These are generally much lower value and run by people who aren’t brands in their own right. But if you have something specific to learn, Udemy might be perfect for you.
  • And we finish by talking about the main differences between free and paid for content. Not just the cost…
Subscribe to the Small & Supercharged podcast on iTunes
Hiho & Co Instameet

What are you doing on Monday 11th February? If the answer is ‘nothing’ or ‘nothing that can’t be changed’ – read on – I have the perfect way to spend the day. The Hiho & Co Instameet. Well, I call it an Instameet because I think that’s a term that everyone gets, but it’s SO much more than that. A bit like saying a Lindt ball is a chocolate. It does it no justice at all.

So what’s Hiho & Co?

You may remember that last September, Hiho ran an event called ‘Style, Skills & Silver’ at The Fish Hotel in Broadway. This was the very first of its kind in our industry and brought together bloggers, vloggers and small businesses with some of the best brands in our space, and various experts too. There were two workshops- one about style and one about skills, and a group of the most amazing people learnt lots and got hands on in both workshops. I ran part of the skills side with Sophie Callahan, Ruth Chappell and Rachel Bragg, and I had the most amazing time. As soon as the first one was finished, we all agreed we wanted to do it again. We’d had the best fun, met lots of amazing new friends, and learnt lots too. It was great. So then we started plotting. And that’s where Hiho & Co came from.

Why not Style, Skills & Silver?

As I mentioned, the first event was called Style, Skills & Silver, but this one has had a name change. Emma Warren (Queen Bee of Hiho Silver) felt that Hiho & Co was a true reflection of the collaborative nature of the event. Not only the brand ambassadors and experts, but also the people attending. Because without exception everyone worked together. And not only that, but created some mind blowing content and further collabs long after the event ended. I like the new name a lot!

So what’s happening at Hiho & Co?

We’re building on the very firm foundations of the first event, but with a few changes. We’ve moved location to Hiho’s home county and are able to hold the event at Blackdown Shepherd Huts. These huts contain the most Instagrammable interiors and details I’ve ever seen, and with the workshops we have planned, are going to work so well. Their exteriors are pretty extraordinary too, with the craftsmanship shining through at every opportunity, providing the perfect backdrop to our plans.

At this event, you’ll still have the chance to work with Sophie Callahan, Rachel Bragg, Ruth Chappell, Melanie Clarihew, me, and the Hiho team, but you’ll also be treated to a workshop run by the very talented Capture By Lucy. I promise you, it is going to be superb.

You’ll also be treated to a delicious lunch, cakes, a goody bag, plenty of opportunities to chat to people to help your business flourish… and you’ll make some new friends too. Probably people you feel you already know through Instagram. But in real life.

The bad news is that, at time of writing this, there are just FOUR spaces left. So if you want one, get in quick! You can book your ticket to Hiho & Co here!

how to sniff out time wastersI know that most people have to deal with time wasters in their business… and I guess it’s part of it all. To be honest, I can usually spot them a mile off, and I don’t always mind. I regularly take calls from people who just want to pick my brains. I get it. I have questions pop through on social media and I don’t mind answering them when I can. But proper time wasters are different.

Are we thinking that time is money?

I would like to note here that it’s not about money. It might be for you but, for me, it’s a bit different. I have a number of lovely PR  social media and coaching clients who pay me. They have paid for my time. And I am sure you’re the same – you have people who pay for the service you offer, or frequent your shop/store regularly and purchase from you. These people, our customers, allow our businesses to exist and allow us to do what we love. So we need to treasure these people. So why should some people have to pay and others not? Is that showing our customers a lack of respect? Is it a bit like being an insurance company and offering a HUGE discount for a new customer as you shaft your old ones and don’t offer them the same discounts and rewards?

On top of this, it’s our time that is being used. Time is one resource we can’t buy more of. If it’s my time, I could be working on my own business, I could be walking the dog, playing with the children, keeping the house in order, doing some ‘life admin’… but this doesn’t seem to figure on some people’s radars. I, like the vast majority of the population, am a very busy person. And I like to be busy. I go above and beyond for my clients and I enjoy doing this. I love my job and the work I do. And I don’t want you to think otherwise. But as with any resource, time needs to be protected and looked after…

It’s more about respect… and it’s rarely deliberate or malicious

I appreciate that the goal posts change and that life moves on. And the lack of respect for your time or knowledge from the time waster is rarely deliberate. If ever, actually. But I’m going to share five ways to spot time wasters so you can conserve your most valuable resource and spend it where you want…

How to sniff out a time waster…

  • They’d like to work with you but…  I work with some of the most incredible people in this equestrian and country industry and one of the things that comes through time and again is the importance of honesty. If you want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, that’s absolutely fine too… just be straight with people. It saves everyone a lot of time.
  • They forget your sessions/appointment… they book, it’s sorted… and then you call at the allocated time and they’re not there. A while later it becomes apparent that they have completely forgotten the session/appointment. I’m lucky that this doesn’t happen very often at all, and I also charge for missed sessions when less than 24 hours notice is given.
  • There’s always a crisis… and you feel you need to help. As a people pleaser when someone sends me a ‘help’ message, I tend to respond. Well, at least I did. For clients, I’m all over it and I will help them solve it if I possibly can, but for people that have never even bothered to comment on a social media post? Umm. They’ll happily use my time and then carry on with their lives. Umm.
  • They start off chats with ‘I don’t have any money, but…’. That’s completely fine… I get that 100%. But maybe have a Google? I also have a lot of free resources out there – blogs, podcasts, free groups – use them as much as you like. Please. That’s why they’re there.
  • They don’t do as they say. One of the things about coaching is that if you don’t put the effort in – if you don’t do the work- nothing will change. And that’s true of life. The sad thing about this is time wasters aren’t just wasting your time, they’re wasting theirs too. Making progress isn’t just in the theory – if only- it’s in the action. Also be aware that if someone hasn’t done the work before and they’re promising you the moon on a stick, but a bit wary.

See, time wasters don’t just eat into my time, or your time, they’re eating into theirs as well.

Why have I shared this blog? Is it a rant?

No, it isn’t. These are things I have observed over the years. Some have happened to me, some haven’t, but they have to friends. The thing is, if you sharpen your identification skills when it comes to time wasters, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress. Being aware of what’s happening is half the battle. And if you want your year to be the most amazing ever, and to achieve your biggest goals, you’re going to need every space second to make that happen.

5 easy ways to use Instagram Stories

 

Today we’re going to have a chat about PR, and why you should do your own. Whether you’re a PR or a business, I think you’ll take something from this podcast. Honest. It’s what I really do believe, what I’ve found works really well for businesses and, actually, what I know works well for me when I’m working as a PR for equestrian and rural businesses.

Why you should do your own PR

Show notes from episode 14 – why you should do your own PR. In this episode I’m going to talk about why I think it’s really important to do your own PR, particularly for niche markets. 

In this episode you’ll hear…

  • Why I think it’s important to do your own, particularly for niche businesses. I do a lot with equestrian, country and rural businesses, but I think for niche businesses it’s really important.
  • The value of doing your own PR and how this will help you if and when you decide to outsource in the future.
  • How it’s not rocket science to write a press release.
  • How to learn how to write a press release – have a read of ‘what is a press release’ for a bit more info.
  • Why it’s important to give your press release the best chance of being used.
  • Ways to get around writing press releases (yep, I know that not everyone loves them as much as I do!).
  • How doing your own will allow YOU to build your own connections with the press.
  • The value of constantly updating and tweaking you press lists.
  • How to build connections with magazine editors, bloggers and vloggers and how you can use these connections..
  • Why it’s important to understand the process – things like lead times, image quality, deadlines, etc.
  • Why it could cost you less money to do your own, how it might not (good PR can deliver a really good ROI), and also how doing it yourself could help to reduce your costs even if you outsource!
  • How you can use all of the above to work with your agency (if you’ve outsourced).
  • When you might want to outsource your PR, and when you might want to outsource other elements of your business if you love this side of the business.

As I mentioned at the start of the podcast, this podcast was inspired by my 5 reasons to be your own equestrian PR blog I wrote a little while ago. If you fancy a read, the title is a live link.

Rhea Freeman Newsletter Link

be your own equestrian PRI get asked a lot if people can do their own PR for their equestrian business. You want to know my answer? Without fail? It’s YES. Not only CAN you do your own PR but, initially at least, I think you should. You might think I’m poacher turned gamekeeper here. But trust me, I’m not. The way that marketing has moved over the last few years means that your PR and marketing budget needs to be spent in more areas than every before. It used to be that PR and marketing were the only ways to get your equestrian business out there. That’s no longer the case. In fact, some people don’t invest a penny in ‘old school’ equestrian PR and still do really well because they’re leveraging everything else available to them. So here I’m going to give you five reasons to be your own equestrian PR… it’s not as hard as you think…

5 reasons to be your own equestrian PR

 

Reason 1 – It’s not that difficult

Some people would have you believe that writing a press release is the same as brain surgery. It isn’t. Press releases should be short and to the point, contain newsworthy information, cover a handful of key points and be well written. This applies to all businesses, not just equestrian businesses. Obviously an equestrian PR should do more than just write press releases but this is one key thing that they should do. The truth is if you have a bit of time and a good command of the English language, you can do it.

Reason 2 – YOU build the contacts

If you undertake your own equestrian PR, it means that when you start you’ll have no contacts to send your press release to. Oh no. Game over. Well no. When I started my equestrian PR business I had a list like yours… and you know what I did? I just started contacting editors of magazines and websites, forming contacts and building a press list. My press list. A press list that I can contact with news and exciting things whenever I like. Without a gate keeper. More than this, a number of the contacts I made as an equestrian PR have become great friends, so that’s a win too. If you do this yourself for your equestrian business, the same will happen for you.

Reason 3 – You can nurture relationships

Press releases aren’t the only thing to be aware of when it comes to equestrian PR, there’s a few other facets to this… but all are infinitely easier if you have good relationships. I’ve managed to secure a number of regular monthly columns for a number of my clients – why? Well, they’re exceptional at what they do, first up, but secondly I have built the relationships with the press to say ‘Hello – I have this idea – what do you think?’. You can do this for yourself. You can nurture the relationships for your business yourself. You can start to work with and help magazines under your own steam.

Reason 4 – You’ll understand the process a lot more

Equestrian PR is a long game. You do get some results overnight thanks to the digital age we live it, but many magazine lead times are long so it can be months before you make it in. It’s important to understand this process. It’s important to understand that quality images matter, that when someone says they want 50 words – they mean it, and lots more too. This means that if you do decide to work with an equestrian PR, you will understand what they have to work with.

Reason 5 – money, money, money

If you undertake your own equestrian PR you will save money. You might decide you’d rather pay for someone to manage this side of your business for you, and that’s fine. Conversely, you might be able to use that money on a professional shoot, or a Facebook ad campaign, or a trade show. I’m not saying that PR isn’t worth spending money on – good PR certainly is an great investment – but you might find that YOU can perform many of these tasks yourself, allowing you to pay for help in other areas, or spend your money on other things.

Other blogs you might like…

Five things to look for in an equestrian PR agency

What is equestrian PR?

Follow me on Facebook for more hints and tips on how to promote your equestrian business

The Fish Hotel BroadwayThere are going to be a few blogs about Hiho Silver’s amazing Style, Skills & Silver event, because I’m still buzzing from it. Last Thursday (6th September) was the day of the event we’d been working towards for a while. And I say we because it really was a we. The event was the brainchild of Hiho’s Queen Bee, Emma Warren, but the two workshops that were held were a huge team effort, that I will tell you about in more detail soon. Today, we’re focusing on the beautiful venue – The Fish Hotel, Broadway.

The Fish Hotel, Broadway

Based on the Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel is a real hidden gem. And it is properly hidden too! You clamber up a hill called Fish Hill (and it’s a serious hill with some quite surprising bends!), before taking a left down a long drive. The Estate is massive and contains three amazing venues/hotels – there’s The Fish Hotel, Dormy House and Foxhill Manor. As you turn off the main road, you are taken down an incredibly long drive. It would have been useful if I’d measured the length of the drive but this thought only dawned on me as I started to write the paragraph. The thing is, the length of the drive isn’t the thing you remember. It’s the view. I headed to the venue with Ruth (Dressage Anywhere) and as I’d been there before, I wittered on about the view for most of the drive down the drive. I’ve seen the view before but it was no less impressive second time around. Worcestershire stretches out beneath you and it’s just a sight to behold. I took a picture when I went for a recce, but it doesn’t do it justice. The scale can’t be appreciated in a picture. The entrance is impressive and sets the tone for everything else.

Springfield House

The Fish is made up of a few different areas. The Hook is the restaurant were we had a very nice pizza for dinner the night before, Springfield House is where we held Style, Skills & Silver, we stayed in the Coach House (I think). They also have a number of other buildings in the grounds, including some stunning shepherd huts by Blackdown Shepherd Huts that people can stay in too. It’s clearly a big place, but the careful design of it all means it all feels rather private and lovely. There’s also a lot of greenery – when we walked up from the restaurant the night before (we didn’t stop setting up until gone 9pm so dinner was quite late), it was lovely – tree lined, beautifully lit… heavenly.

Springfield House has quite a different vibe to the restaurant but it’s absolutely lovely too. It manages to strike the mix of modern, cosy, funky, quirky and practical. And that’s quite a combination! We had four rooms in total on two different floors. The first floor was where we held the workshops – the space and the light were lovely and worked so well with the practical workshops. Up a level we had a lovely lounge where we met at the beginning and end of the day, and the room next door where we had lunch and chatted too. The rooms were lovely and having the space over the two floors worked so well with the way the day ran.

Where we stayed

The night before I stayed in the Coach House. I shared a twin room with Ruth and it was the most beautiful room. Lovely fresh white bed linen, Galaxy hot chocolate (yes, I’m very easily bought!), a huge bathroom with lovely toiletries. Everything was beautiful. But like with Springfield House, it was beautiful but very cosy and comfy too. There was a handwritten welcome note, really lovely blankets on the bed, a wooden book with ‘All you need to know’ written on it including all the important things you needed to know, like how the wifi worked. The decor was so pretty, but so comfy. I couldn’t fault it.

Breakfast was included but as I made my way down I got summoned by Sophie and Harriet, who were also staying in the same building, to have a look at their room and give opinions on what to wear. I say summoned. Sophie shouted out the window and I decided I’d rather spend time with them than eating. I felt a little nervous anyway and the last thing I need when feeling a bit nervous is food! Their room was as lovely as ours. It was a slightly different design. It had a little hall and a gorgeous outside terrace space with a glimpse of the stunning view I have spent a lot of this blog wittering on about.

This isn’t a TripAdvisor review – I mean, why be conventional?! But I wanted to explain a bit about the venue as it was really special. It’s not your average hotel, or conference room, or meeting place. It’s way more special than that. I’m looking for an excuse to return as soon as I can!

Find out more about The Fish Hotel here…

To see more about the event, see Karen & Clan and Sophie Callahan’s vlogs.

Do press releases only work if you advertiseA little while ago I had someone explain to me that press releases were pointless if you don’t advertise with the publication. I couldn’t disagree more. In my experience (and, let’s be clear, I send a lot of press releases and have been for a number of years!), this is certainly not the case. More than this, it’s really underestimating the full scope of a press release. Let’s have a look at this in phases…

What’s a press release?

In really simple terms it’s a document that informs the press about a new product, services or newsworthy ‘thing’. This has changed a bit in recent times because ‘the press’ now includes websites, bloggers and various other channels too.

A press release is usually a concise text document that gets over the key points in a concise way. It’s not a book. It’s not a brand manual. It’s not your company’s history. It’s newsworthy content delivered in a succinct way.

Then what do you do with your press release?

You send it out to your contacts. These should be people you have reached out to in the media connected to your business (could be niche, national, regional, B2B, B2C… loads of options). The idea (and hope!) being that the person who receives it (traditionally a journalist but could be blogger, website editor, etc etc), sees some merit in what you’re saying, feels it’s valuable to their audience and uses this content. It could be online or in print. That’s the basic idea.

Ah- so press releases only work if you advertise?

No, no they don’t. Some magazines/websites work on a policy that DOES favour the content from advertiser- I’ll give to that. Why? Because advertisers support their business and allows it to run and keep functioning. There. That’s the basics. BUT many do not operate this as an editorial policy. I mean, one could argue that the above is actually advertising in itself, but that’s another debate. Many review and consider content in a press release (if it is worthy and actually new/interesting) for the what’s new sections, or product sections, or editors/bloggers reach out about tried and testeds and further opportunities. I’m not saying ‘this is what should happen, but it doesn’t’, I’m saying this is what DOES happen, because I know it does and have a lot of press cuttings to back this up.

But let’s clear one thing up right now. Not every press release you send will get the exposure you think it should. Some might not get picked up at all. This is annoying. If you were to speak to a magazine and pay, you could well bag yourself some advertorial space in the publication to run your release. Or you might be able to negotiate additional promotional opportunities moving forward. That is true. But people also pay to advertise and their product doesn’t get chosen. It might have a bearing on it (in a keeping advertisers sweet way) but I can categorically tell you that there IS a point to press releases. Even if you don’t advertise.

But if the press release doesn’t get used, it’s wasted

No. Whether it gets used or not, you should not send out one press release about a new product, service or newsworthy thing, mop your brow, and exclaim that the job has been done. It hasn’t. Repurpose the content. Tweak it and write a blog – or even a series of blogs depending on the story. Create a video. Take images and short clips for social media. Create graphics using snippets from the press release. BE CREATIVE. Having a press release written can be the core around the promotion of a new product or service. Repurposing and making sure you extract every bit of juice out of the story makes a press release incredibly valuable – it’s the cornerstone to the rest of it.

So, when you get told that press releases only work if you advertise, if you get asked ‘do press releases only work if you advertise’ then I would urge you to say no… because it’s simply not the case.

Royal Wedding What’s lip balm got to do with a Royal Wedding? This was the exact question I asked myself when an ad for a very well known brand of lip balm popped up in my Instagram feed. Oh- did I forget to mention- it was a special edition Harry and Meghan wedding edition one? Yep- I thought it was a bit strange too… and even though the angle is clear, it still feels odd to me. As a long game strategy, what does it bring to the table?

Has lip balm got anything to do with a Royal Wedding?

In my opinion? Nope. But then I don’t think that half the wedding themed stuff I’ve see has either. I completely 100% understand why people have brought out Royal Wedding themed things, I really do, but for me it’s got to fit the brand. It always has to feel on brand and not like the company is clutching at straws. An attempt to grab a bit of the spotlight when it’s shining a long way away from them and their brand. Do you know what I mean? Capitalising on the things that your brand is doing, that match the values of your brand – absolutely – but when it’s random? It just feels odd. Like a vegan friend eating a steak because it’s now on trend and popular.

But it gets even weirder than lip balm…

Yep… after that Royal Wedding edition of lip balm popped up, I kept seeing everything connected to the Royal Wedding. And don’t think I’m anti that either – I really hope they make each other very happy and live happily ever after. I have no issue with weddings, or marriage, or the Royals, or businesses trying to capitalise on a current event – newsjack if you will – it can have huge value. Note the use of the word can. I think when done well, and in a way that is reflective of the brand’s values, target market, etc. etc, it can be a very valuable tool. Shall we explore some of the other fun wedding themed products I’ve found? Just for kicks… I’m not going to name brands because I am sure there’s more than one doing the same thing… but here we go…

Wedding sausages. The one I found did amuse me as it combined sweet ginger and American mustard, but a wedding sausage still seems a bit of a stretch,

Crisps. I’ve seen ones combining ginger with edible glitter

Swimming costumes. These are very, very special and Harry’s chin groove falls in a really awkward place…

Dog neckerchiefs… because all dogs are pro the Royal family, aren’t they?

Specially designed deep fried chicken buckets. No other words needed 

Wooden spoons. So you can see Meghan or Harry’s face when you’re cooking.

There are more – plenty more… just have a Google.

 

So, why do I object to these? On one hand, I don’t. All of these have attained many column inches online which has, no doubt, raised the profile of the brands involved. It’s probably generated significant sales too. So that’s gone well…

But long term… will it make a difference to the brand, to loyalty, to product development and reputation? Will it make people become raving fans of the brand… or fans at all? For some, it might do. If someone tries one of the wedding themed sausages or crisps and really likes it, they might be tempted to buy more from that brand. Maybe. Or maybe they make a ‘serious’ company that prides itself on a range of values appear more flippant and frivolous?

What do you think? What Royal Wedding themed products have you seen?

Do you think they’re a stroke of marketing genius or a bit tacky?

What's thought leadership and why should you care?Have you heard the term ‘thought leadership’? Have you wondered what it means and why you should take thought leadership seriously? It sounds a bit weird, but in essence it’s very very simple, and it’s something that you can use your blog to help you with.

What does thought leadership mean?

When I talk about thought leadership with my clients, I usually then mention blogging… maybe even vlogging, but blogging is the first point I talk about. In whatever profession you’re in, if you’re looking to attract clients, becoming seen as an expert in your field is a very very good strategy. This does, however, rely on you being good at what you do and actually being an expert, but that’s a whole different blog. Even if you’re an expert in your niche only, that’s fine. You don’t need to know everything about everything. You need to be able to inspire, be honest and genuine, and share your thoughts and your style online. Thought leadership allows you to share your thoughts, ideas and expert advice in a way that people will see you as a leader – as an authority. This authority will make people think about you when they have an issue or a question about something that’s well within your field of expertise. And that’s why it matters…

And what if you don’t want to be seen as an expert?

Well, exploring the idea of thought leadership might not be for you. But then you might also need to think about what this is projecting to your potential customer. If you are looking for help and advice in an area, who do you look for? The chances are that you’ll look for someone who is an expert, well known, etc. in that area. It would be a bit weird to work with someone who wasn’t, wouldn’t it?

There are many ways that you can find people to work with. Word of mouth, social media, asking for recommendations, etc. But having a point online, such as your blog, where people can come and read your genuine and honest thoughts and ideas is a great idea. It’s another reason why blogging should form a key part of your marketing strategy.

Does it work?

Yes. I can honestly tell you that I have had people reach out to me because of something that they have read that I have written. However, there’s one way that it really won’t work. I write about stuff that I know about, that I’m confident about, that I have read about and learnt about and that I’ve tried and tested and experienced. I will never stop learning. In many ways the term expert does feel a bit like an itchy jumper for me, but I do know my stuff and I know that the theories I apply and the knowledge I share works, and works well, when applied. But this has been achieved through failures, trying and testing things.

I really enjoy sharing my knowledge. I love helping and supporting people. And I feel humbled and honoured when people email or message me to tell me that something they read on here changed the way they viewed things, allowed them to try new things or helped them learn something… or even explain something they haven’t really understood previously. I like that. I like it a lot.