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Do-it-yourself PR aims to give small business an edge

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Nadia Laws, of Media Maven, is launching a DIY PR course on Monday (Photograph supplied)
Nadia Laws, of Media Maven, says business can keep their PR simple, but still be effective (Photograph supplied)

Some business pundits claim that budding entrepreneurs should be spending an entire day just focused on promoting their company.

But Nadia Laws, of PR firm Media Maven, says that with all the things that many small business owners do themselves — design, administration, human resource management, book-keeping, product delivery — who has time for that?

“I can say confidently, from the business owners I know and speak to, that spending 20 per cent of your time on marketing isn't feasible when you are a sole proprietor and managing multiple roles in your business,” Ms Laws said.

“Instead of one day a week you can essentially just invest one day every quarter or every three months to just batch that content and get it out, and help your engine of growth keep going.”

On Monday, she launches DIY PR, a five-week public relations course designed to help small businesses and non-profits to crush their PR game, more successfully and efficiently.

Each week, participants will learn about a different area of PR and marketing, from brand building to creating your story, pitching to the media and conflict management.

Ms Laws was partly inspired to create DIY PR after taking part in the Ignite business accelerator programme, this year.

She won third place in Ignite’s Rocket Pitch competition. After she pitched Media Maven, many of the people in her cohort gave her their business cards saying, ‘I need your help’.

“There are so many small business owners and non-profits that could benefit from having even a basic amount of knowledge about PR and marketing,” she said.

After working for more than a decade as a journalist, she started Media Maven five years ago, expecting her customers to be small business owners and non-profits. She quickly realised that few people in this demographic could afford to hire a PR firm.

“PR is a really expensive service,” she said. “I have always priced myself competitively. Some agencies charge $200 an hour or more, and for that reason, it is out of the reach of small businesses and non-profits.”

To be successful, she had to pivot and focus on larger businesses.

An article in The Royal Gazette helped Ms Laws to get the word out about her business.

“Raymond Hainey, who was in the business section at the time, approached me about doing an article,” she said.

Over the years, her reputation has grown. She won several Bermudian magazine Best of Bermuda awards for best PR professional.

“I’ve also gained the attention of clients in the reinsurance, law and finance industry, as well as the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation and Bermuda Hospitals Board, to name a few,” she said.

Ms Laws said that many new business owners rely heavily on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook, but you can not rely on that entirely.

“If you have a Facebook page, only 5 per cent of people who have liked your page will organically see that content,” she said.

“Because of that you have to think of other strategies. How will you go beyond social media? Social media is an awesome tool. I love it and use it all the time, but you have to be a bit more creative than just posting once a week. You want to get momentum and get more eyes on your business.”

But Ms Laws said that in a small community like Bermuda, it is not necessary to be super flashy to get attention.

“Bermuda is a slower-moving culture,” she said. “I think that actually works to our advantage. Because we are such a small community, and word of mouth is so important, we can keep it simple. You don’t have to sky dive with a big sign to get people to notice you.”

She said that kind of publicity has its place, but the everyday small business owner or charity can keep it simple and still be successful.

“It is just about the strategy,” she said.

Ms Laws wants people to know that they do not have to be perfect.

“You just use the skills you have, and adjust,” she said.

Even after five years she sometimes makes mistakes. She said, for example, because she was busy with other projects she did not give herself a lot of time to launch this course.

“I am going with the flow for this,” she said. “If I do it again, I can have a longer runway for the launch. But it is important to just start, even if it is not perfect. That would be my biggest advice to anyone.”

The course has packages starting at $697.

“It is an investment,” she said. “The skills you learn you will continue to use month after month in your business.

“Marketing is such an important part of growing your business. I am really excited to offer DIY PR. There is a VIP option for those who want more support.

“That will include four quarterly sessions in 2022 with me helping them navigate whatever challenges they come up against.”

The course kicks off on Monday, November 1, and runs weekly every Monday for 90 minutes each session.


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Published October 27, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated October 28, 2021 at 8:01 am)

Do-it-yourself PR aims to give small business an edge

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