With most economies feeling squeezed, lots of companies have had to let staff go. This has a massive impact on the economy (there are less people with spending power) and on businesses (the remaining staff are stretched). However, it also leads to an increase in entrepreneurship.
As experienced staff find themselves made redundant or taking early retirement, they often turn to self-employment as a way to earn an income.
The worldwide economic meltdown, the advance of social media and widespread availability of technology has created a perfect storm for the small business person. The ranks of freelance consultants and small businesses have swelled to enormous proportions that could not have been envisioned even ten years ago.
What this means for communication and marketing companies is that two new sectors have sprung up. Mid-sized companies who would previously have employed their own communications team are increasingly looking to outsource their needs. From proof-reading to newsletter writing, companies realise that they can keep their overheads low if they recruit independent professionals rather than a new staff member.
Equally, the newly redundant who set up their own businesses are suddenly faced with creating a professional image and issuing communications.
Recently, we've been completing contracts for both these sectors. From a business plan to a risk assesment to a method statement, there are strict criteria that need to be met. We're experienced in compiling all of these documents and have been doing so with greater regularity as the economy has waxed and waned.
At the same time, we've also been creating newsletters, websites and company brochures for businesses that were started by experienced professionals in their field but who recognise they do not have the communication, design or IT skills to present a professional image to their public.
It is sometimes difficult to see any silver lining in a time of global economic crisis but our clients prove that there are small companies who are thriving and individuals who have grasped their release from employment with both hands and set up their dream businesses. We get on with the business of writing, and they can focus on growing their dreams.
CE Contracts, a company that services the cavity wall insulation industry, has just launched its new website, created by McShane Media.
With the focus on environmental sustainability, green energy solutions are becoming increasingly important. CE Contracts was established to provide essential services to the cavity wall insulation industry. An industry that is committed to making homes more energy efficient, saving on bills and saving the planet.
As CE Contracts services have grown to include technical surveys, pre and post-installations surveys, repairs and machine hire, their website hadn't grown accordingly. McShane Media spent some time with the company director to gain a full understanding of all the different aspects of the business.
The resulting website had a new design, new content and a number of additional sections and pages. As well as providing all the content, McShane Media sourced photographs, established email addresses and provided information sheets for future use.
CE Contracts are extremely happy that their website now conveys their professionalism and the comprehensive support they provide to the cavity wall insulation industry. McShane Media is proud to have been able to assist CE Contracts in better conveying their business, and in providing support to an enterprise devoted to creating environmentally sustainable solutions to homes across the country.
We've been advising one of our not-for-profit contacts on the best way to get public figures and groups to endorse their campaign. There are a few simple steps to follow:
Identify a person/group with similar aims. Research anyone you plan to approach. If, in the past, they've held an opposing position then you need to be aware this could mean they still won't agree with your stance; or if they have changed sides then their backstory may overshadow your campaign. Also if they've had a change of heart, you need to consider how likely it is that they will change back in the future, gaining you publicity for all the wrong reasons.
Once you've identified them, think about the best way to work with them. Would a photo get in the papers quicker than issuing a statement? Are they only one person of many that you want to support your cause? In which case, will they be happy to stand or be named alongside your other high profile supporters? Or should they be used individually?
If opting for a statement, then make it easy for them. NOTE: at this point, you still won't have contacted them yet. However:
*draft some possible statements for them to make
*write a briefing sheet for them that identifies the key issues in your campaign
* draft a covering letter or email that explains why you think you should work together, mention your shared aims, complementary audiences, timeline for the campaign, coverage and budget for the campaign, etc.
Now, make your first contact. Send an email or letter with all the information outlined in the step above.
Follow up with a telephone call. And another if needed.
It may be that your first attempt to work together will be refused but focus on building a good relationship with your contact, and make it clear that even if they feel this campaign doesn't fit you would like to contact them again in the future with other campaigns.
If your first contact is succesful then work with both press teams to issue press releases and manage publicity. You'll automatically double your reach and certain sections of the media may respond to press releases from your collaborator better than from you.
So to summarise: Prepare. Persevere. Publish
Maggie will be blethering about our latest projects, marketing news and events.