Last night we went to the launch of ‘Hype Yourself’ : 'A no-nonsense DIY PR toolkit for small businesses' which is the new book by our pal, and PR superstar, Lucy Werner. And wow was it fun. A bit too much fun actually. That ‘taking it easy’ for January had a little bit of a set back. There was gin, her partner, Hadiren, on the decks laying out funky house, a drag queen performance - Virgin X, photo booth props and a room packed with friends, strangers, dancers, blaggers and chancers.
And marshmallows ( of course we brought marshmallows!)
So why all the fuss? Well, Lucy has cracked what every small business needs and delivered it in less than 200 fabulously written pages. It says it’s about PR but it feels more than that- it’s about how to make a living by doing something you care about and convincing other people to care just as much. Because that’s what she’s passionate about. Her enthusiasm, sass and bullshit- free way of delivering advice are life affirming. If you meet Lucy you come away buzzing, bouncier, more confident and ready to just crack on. And that’s how you feel at the end of this book. So, before all the fun kicked off last night I sat down with Lucy for a chat about her book (having –literally- just finished it on the way over to see her)
Me: Lucy, I LOVE YOU and this book is amazing but… you’re a PR whizz so why on earth do you want to share all your secrets for free?
Lucy: Ha! Thanks doll, well…there is so much fake news around publicity and I really wanted to dispel the myths so that business owners could do it for themselves. For me, it is so much more than just getting into a newspaper and rather than just people blindly pitching to journalists I wanted to give a bit more structure and wider context.
Me. Yeah, from both working and being friends with you- you’ve always been good at that. Asking the ‘why’ questions…So to follow that up…why do you think it’s important that you wrote this book?
Lucy: Well, firstly, this is my bug bear…the PR industry is a female heavy business (66% according to the PRCA) and yet there were no female PR authors in the Amazon Top 10. Can you believe that?
Me: Yup. I can. I was chatting to a pal the other day about you and how relevant this book is after we discussed another book called ‘invisible women’- it explains why everything from your phone being too big for your hand to roads being cleared of snow before footpaths is because women are systematically ignored. It doesn't surprise me that in a female dominated industry the 'experts' would be men!
Lucy: Right…that’s why I wanted to write this and that’s why it’s so important to me that it does so well. Also, I don’t want it in the top 10 as a ‘vanity metric’. I want to help as many people as possible with this. It’s an actionable toolkit that would suit a complete beginner. It walks you through the whole process as well as giving some useful reminders to those with a bit of existing publicity experience.
Me: So, on to the stuff you’re good at… which brand or brands are getting it all wrong at the moment and how would you shake them out of it?
Lucy: Oh my god, easy.. almost all the traditional banks/financial services. Starling, Tide and Monzo have come crashing in and show the old dinosaurs how to do it, let’s see if they can shake themselves up quick enough.
Me: You are completely right on this…as ever! So what brands are giving good hype at the mo?
Lucy: Soda.Says – couldn’t love them any harder. KFC – I know they are a major player but their PR stunts are small business style. Extinction Rebellion – Into it or not into it. We are all thinking about climate change now right?
Me: I’m with you here. Oddly, we’re also having a publicity crush on KFC at the moment. Everything from those ‘guys, we flattered 'billboards to their Tory party twitter put downs…So before you have to get ready for the paaarrttyyy….What’s your top tip for any small brand that needs to hype themselves but doesn’t know where to begin?
Lucy: Start with investing in some personal branding photography and nailing your one-liner. Once you have invested time and money you have no excuse to not getting yourself out there.
Me: Ta very much for the chat my love and congratulations on a fantastic book- I’m recommending this to everyone at the moment and I genuinely hope it's HUGE.