By June 14, 2016 Read More →

PR for rural businesses

PR for rural businesses, Megan Allen, Rural RootsI spotted Megan Allen on Twitter and thought what an excellent business idea!

She specialises in PR for rural businesses. We don’t all live in London or the big cities and Megan understands the needs of a country business:

Hi Megan, what gave you the idea to start doing PR for rural businesses?
The concept behind Rural Roots is to give a voice to young entrepreneurs who have chosen to build a career in the countryside.

I think as a demographic we’re very often overlooked. If you listen to the media, Millennials all live in cities or with their parents which just isn’t true.

When I started to talk to people about PR for rural businesses I found that there wasn’t much out there. The majority of rural businesses were struggling to get their stories out through the media because they didn’t have the time or skills to do it. 

How do their needs differ from those of city business?
Rural businesses are often remote which is always a challenge when trying to build up an audience. The majority are small businesses started by someone who has great skills in their area, but are not necessarily up to speed with the latest marketing trends and channels.

City businesses generally have a much higher turnover so can afford to employ someone within their company to do their PR for them.

My aim is both to tell great stories about successful rural entrepreneurs, and also to up-skill the people behind them. Smaller, rural businesses don’t always know the difference between social media platforms so although they might have pages set up, they’re not targeting their communications or getting the right messages out.

They are also much more traditional in their communication methods so my targets are to get them thinking outside the box and convincing them that spending £500 on good PR is much more effective than booking a quarter page ad in a regional newspaper that might only reach a few people.

PR for rural businesses, Megan Allen of Rural RootsWhat kind of businesses have you worked with?
I’ve worked as a PR and Communications Manager for a small farming charity for the last four years so my expertise lies in the third sector and travel and tourism industries, but saying that, I am not restricting myself.

Rural Roots is still a very new business but I am already working with heritage attractions, schools, colleges and even a battery company which wants to target more agricultural clients.

I like to think of myself as a story-teller rather than a PR consultant because it sounds less daunting. People love to talk about their stories and it’s a real ice-breaker when introducing yourself.

What successes have you had? 
I suppose my favourite success story is seeing Sacrewell Farm, where I worked for the last few years, on Victorian Bakers in January. I did a live Tweet-along with the bakers and viewers of the programme and the feedback we got was astounding.

It was filmed just as we were completing a £1.8m restoration and conservation project on the watermill and it really opened the farm up to an entire new audience. To see the mill looking so beautiful and welcoming was a turning point in its PR journey.

How have you accommodated a workspace at home?
We moved. It had been on the cards for a while but once I knew I was going freelance we had to look for somewhere bigger to accommodate an office. We lived in a small two-bed apartment before I started the business and had to sit at my kitchen table to work.

The house we moved into has a converted attic which we’ve turned into an office. If I need to meet clients I go to them as in PR it’s best to get a feel for the people/place you’re writing about.

PR for rural businesses, Rural RootsDo you have a routine or is every day different?
At the moment every day is different. I’m networking, meeting clients and working on location a lot, as well as working from home. Plus, I have a part-time job, so it all keeps me busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

I have a chair in the living room which I call my ‘blogging chair’ and I sit in it if I need to work in the evenings so that I can spend time with my husband and our kitten as well (although she thinks my laptop is a great seat).

Working in PR is a 24-hour operation because social media never stops. We have to be on hand in case we need to respond. Things can go viral very quickly.

work from home secrets

Megan is based in Oakham, Rutland, and her agency Rural Roots PR provides public relations and creative communications for rural businesses. She can help with copywriting, marketing strategies, media training, event promotion and much more.

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