[Smoothie Success] Karen Walker, co-founder of The Nowt Poncy Food Company shares how a boring car ride turned into free PR on a national radio station with loads of new orders as a result!
Always be ready for any PR opportunity…
Responsive PR is a numbers game – the more journo requests you reply to, the better your chances are of getting picked.
When a journo picks you, it can often be for a mix of reasons – you sound like you’re a good fit based on your response, the timing was right and there’s often a stroke of luck mixed in too. Responsive PR means that you’re always ready to jump on the next PR opportunity and that’s exactly what my Smoothie Karen from The Nowt Poncy Food Company did.
She took a leap into the unknown and ended up with PR coverage on national radio, so I’ll let her take the story from here!
“It started out as a silly thing…
I was a bored passenger, stuck in traffic and listening to Sara Cox on Radio 2’s Drive Time for a bit of light relief. Every week, she has an ‘All Request Friday’ segment so I thought I’d see if I could get a song played on the radio.’
I called several times before finally getting through and the researcher asked me what I was doing that weekend, to which I replied, “Sleeping!”
I explained that Julian and I own a small business and that we’d had three very long work days during the week, so were shattered. (The joys of being self-employed!) She asked what the business was and I told her.
I really hadn’t phoned up thinking that I would be able to talk about the business as I know that the BBC don’t like advertising stuff, but when she asked me about it, I thought I may get a chance if they called me back.
When I eventually spoke to host Sara Cox, she asked where I was from and I proudly told her we’re based in Rossendale, Lancashire.
We then moved on to what I was doing at the weekend and I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s go for it!’ and told her Julian and I would be sleeping because we’d had a manic week working together in our small business, just as I had done with the researcher. To my utter astonishment, she asked me what the business was!
Can you imagine how amazed I felt when I told her that we are The Nowt Poncy Food Company and she said that she had seen us on Twitter?!
NEVER underestimate the power of your social media posts, especially if you keep sending them out regularly, as you never know what your potential reach is until it comes back to you in a way like this!
We chatted for a little longer with her asking me what kind of products we made and me explaining that we have a range of healthy cooking sauces which are all low in sugar, fat and salt.
I said that more and more people these days are concerned with what they put into their bodies and this was obviously something that hit home with Sara, as she reiterated that so many products have a surprising amount of sugar in them when you look at the ingredients label.
It wasn’t until I came off the phone that the impact of what had just happened hit me.
Of course, I got the expected messages from family and friends saying, “You’re on the radio”, (like I didn’t know 😂), but our social media sites also went mad!
Likes and followers ensued and, on the advice of Charlotte, we responded to all of them immediately to carry on the conversations people were starting with us, while also proactively sharing the experience on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for those who hadn’t heard.
We knew that this was a huge window of opportunity that had to be used NOW, so Julian had already thought ahead and started it all while I was still on the phone.
We knew that the best way to make it into a PR win for us and our customers was to run a special discount code on our sauces to celebrate.
We came away from an hour and a half of madness on social media with over 50 new followers and 11 orders through our online shop!
We also had several new leads via emails asking us for more info as well as someone trying to sell us something. All of this was a result of a 2 1/2 minute conversation that came about purely because I was stuck in traffic and bored!
And of course, we sent a box of sauces to Sara Cox with a huge thank you and a secret hope that she might join some of our other famous followers on Twitter including chef Phil Vickery and actor John Thompson. Oh, and in case you’re curious, my drive time pick was one of my all-time favourites – ‘Fast Love’ by George Michael.
Why are we Smoothies?
One of the things I’ve learned since being a Smoothie is that PR doesn’t have to be as hard as you think it will be.
We signed up to The Smoothie Bar because we didn’t have a clue where to get started, but listening to Charlotte talk and show us lots of simple ways to get responsive PR for the business has been a total lightbulb moment.
It gives us the confidence to reply to journalists or call up a radio station and the more we do it, the more confident we get about actually doing something that we’re still learning about.
Follow our Nowt Poncy journey!
More food for thought…
Hey, Charlotte here, thanks for reading through to the end! If you enjoyed this then you’ll love Wajeeha from Chocolateeha’s success story ‘How to nab free PR and a glam photoshoot for your start-up‘.
Or, hang out with us for a bit longer and try out my 10-day free trial in The Smoothie Bar – I’ll teach you how to do your own responsive PR in only 10 mins a day!
The Smoothie Bar 10-Day Free Trial
(You only get to do this free thing once, so make sure you’ve got Twitter, a FB account and those 10 mins a day ready!)
Join us in The Smoothie Bar and learn how to do your own responsive PR in only 10 minutes a day. This is a quick and easy way for any start-up working in the food industry – producers, consultants, nutritionists etc. – to get their brilliant brand out there.
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