This week at Book Therapy, we're itching to share news of an exciting book on brands that's due to be published on 9 January 2020. The book's author, Lucy Werner, is the founder of The Wern, an award-winning PR & design consultancy for startups and entrepreneurs. She's also a publicity coach, teacher, podcaster and writer focused on brand development. When not working on her own roster of clients, Lucy can be found chatting about all things brand building at General Assembly, Courier, Mothers Meetings and a host of shared workspaces across London. She's a guest lecturer for Jolt LDN and Cass Business School, University of London.
We had a roadside chat with Lucy to find out a little bit more about her and her soon-to-be-released book. Here's what Lucy shared with us and why we're super excited about its power to boost young businesses and startups as well as teach individuals and influencers about how to build their own business and personal brands.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, i.e. your background and how you landed in PR?!
A: Hello! I’m Lucy Werner and I started out in PR when I was 17. My older brother had a job in IT at the time and knew a business owner of a small PR start-up who needed an apprentice. He got me in the door. The rest as they say, is history. I’ve now worked in public relations for the last 15 years, either inhouse for brands or for some of London’s top award-winning agencies and for my sins, I love it. In the last five years, I’ve specialised in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs with my own agency The Wern. As well as consultancy, we provide courses, products, coaching and offer tonnes of PR & branding advice to help you build your business.
Q: What inspired you to write "Hype Yourself: A no-nonsense DIY PR toolkit for small businesses"? Specifically what gap in the market are you trying to fill, given there are other books on managing your own PR?
A: Every other PR book I’ve read focuses on media relations but for me that is just one slice of the publicity pie. I wanted to get small business owners thinking strategically about publicity because landing a piece of national newspaper coverage isn’t a silver bullet. And often entrepreneurs only focus on big titles without giving any thought to what will nail their business objectives.
Q: What would be your top 3 PR tips for seasoned and novel entrepreneurs alike?
1. Hype Yourself consistently because talking about your work brings more work.
2. Your PR breathes through everything you do, from how you speak to a journalist to how you treat waiting staff in a restaurant. You can hype yourself all the time by being a decent person.
3. A good headshot is mandatory. I can’t tell you the amount of times you'll need it and am astounded at the number of selfies or holiday snaps featuring sunglasses are submitted.
Q: Is the book relevant for influencers and people who might just want to build a following online and offline?
A: Yes 100% - for me the story of the founder is often more interesting than the product or service and the book provides plenty of examples of how to put together your own story as founder.
Q: Do you want to share a particular passage/quote from the book that might be helpful for readers?
A: "It is totally commonplace to spend time on self-love, but your business doesn’t need a self-help book; if your budgets are tight and you need help with sales, awareness, opportunities, connections or are struggling to put your face at the front of your work, then you need some self-hype.
Put simply, people buy people. The Hype Yourself mission is to make sure that you are doing everything you can to showcase who you are, so that you can build that emotional connection with your audience.
We are inundated by branding, advertising and companies pushing us to purchase. If Brexit or Donald Trump taught us anything, it’s that consumers make decisions based on emotions not statistics.
Consumers engage with the people behind brands because it helps them understand how the brand fits with their own identity. When you share who you are and what you are about you don’t even need to sell to your audience anymore because they have bought into you.
We are seeing even larger companies shifting towards this trend, but entrepreneurs are lucky in that they have the agility and personality to become their own content creators easily."
Q: What would you say is a PR no-no?
A: Sending out the same press release and 'pitch email' to over 400 journalists.
Q: You also offer PR coaching for businesses - can you explain how this works?
A: Sometimes I offer a 15-minute freebie or a one-hour coaching call. When people have quick questions, I answer these in the freebie call, or I use the freebie call to prep for what I can provide in the one hour call. Often business owners have a specific problem that we address on the call from how to refine their pitch email to a journalist to advice on a launch – that sort of thing.
Q: You often say connect with your competitors! What is the best way to do this (without ruffling any feathers!)?
A: I've spoken on panel events with competitors, collaborated on courses where we have complimentary knowledge, shared new business leads or passed speaking opportunities where I’ve not been able to attend. I often pitch a feature with my clients and a few competitors to represent a feature as a new trend. For me, it's good to have an industry cohort to support you.
Out on 9 January 2020, it's available for pre-order on Amazon.
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