A question we get asked time and again is ‘As an entrepreneur or founder of a business should I do my own PR?’ And our answer time and again is, ‘hell yes you should’. No-one knows your story better than you so you should be the one to shape and share your story.
But don’t just take our word for it. Mel Nicci, is the founder of Baby2Body, the app that helps new and expecting mothers live healthier and happier, with daily guidance on fitness, wellbeing, nutrition and beauty. Mel joined The Famous Business Podcast for episode TFB 026 and shared her inspiring story with Alistair Clay, our fabulous host. We join them halfway through their conversation as they discuss why, despite having a team of people who work for her, Mel makes sure she is in control of her own PR.
Photo credit: Copyright Baby2Body
Alistair: With such a content-led business, it’s almost that everything you do is communications. Everything is PR in some ways. Everything is shaping the reputation of the business and how you relate to your customers all the time, because your product is content. You’ve had some great media coverage and endorsements from big media outlets. How important is it to have such influencers acknowledge and recognise you?
Mel: I think it’s really interesting. I get asked this a lot. I’ve had quite a lot of press contact and I think it’s about being consistent, being confident in your story, and then also being able to be adaptable for certain things.
For example, I was on MSNBC on Sunday. That was all about using content. Did I use LinkedIn? How did I get funding? How did I put my percent I write or have posed? All that kind of thing. There’s also the other side, which is talking to consumers. I was in the Daily Mail a few weeks ago talking about lifestyle stuff.
I think it’s about being adaptable. It’s about becoming a thought leader. It’s about giving people value. At the end of the day, people are not going to want to read or listen to you if you don’t help them. We all have a very limited amount of time. We are only going to follow or listen to something that we feel we’re going to get some value out of.
I think it’s very important to be authentic, to share real experiences. Not to say everything is amazing and beautiful and fantastic and never goes wrong. You have to be approachable, but then also credible. Do your homework. Understand who your audience is. Understand exactly what the whole purpose of, say, an interview is.
If I were going to talk to MSNBC, I wouldn’t be necessarily talking to a pregnant woman. I’m talking more on a business basis, but then I was on LittleThings USA in the morning. That was all about talking to moms at home about getting back into shape after having a baby. It was a different audience. I had to really think about it, structure my thoughts. It takes a lot of work. It really does.
Alistair: Absolutely not. It’s amazing how many people get that wrong. They forget who their audience is and who they’re talking to, especially in media. It’s quite incredible to see. Presumably, though, you were saying there’s great value in doing that external PR work, then. Of course, the advice, the content you have on your own platform is of the highest quality, but when you are then seen in trusted media, does that then just reinforce your position as a thought leader, and, therefore, the content that’s on your own site?
Mel: Yeah, a hundred percent. I think that external validation is really important, especially when you’re starting to build a brand. The external validation, kind of if other people recognise.
Also, it’s about people understanding who you are and getting to know you. It’s not only the credibility and the validation you get. I don’t know. You probably know more than me, but it takes 10, 15 times that people here will see a brand before they even recognize it. That’s a lot of work [laughs].
As a small company, at the beginning, it was just me, and now, obviously, I have a team, but I still do most of the PR. In terms of the actual interviews and things like that, I am the spokesperson and I am the face of the brand. It takes a lot of work, but I think it’s hugely valuable. It’s also a drip-drip thing. It takes some time. You can’t expect that it’s going to move the needle in a minute. You’re not going to have one thing in one newspaper and that’s going to be like, “Oh, great. Now we are going to do X, Y and Z.” It’s not going to happen.
But then there are different things have happened. We had an investor contact us who saw a blog post I wrote on how to post. So… You never know.
Alistair: It’s much more organic, isn’t it? It sounds like you very much get the media relations game, so are you somebody who is willing to make themselves available at a moment’s notice to do media work as well? Often, these opportunities just suddenly pop up on a Sunday at three o’clock in the afternoon or something. Is that something that you’ve come to appreciate about how the media works?
Mel: Yeah, absolutely. I really make the most of it when the opportunities come, if it’s the right opportunity. Some opportunities come and I think it’s not. I’ll say, “Look, it’s not the right thing for us. It’s not the right platform.” That’s also interesting. It’s not about just doing anything that comes up.
It’s about really choosing your outlets, your partners properly, so that, again, you’re consistent. Again, you have a valid message. It’s the company you keep, as well as your own company.
Yes, often I’ve been called and say, “Can you do an interview in five minutes” or “Come to the studio at six a.m. tomorrow morning,” and I’m out having drinks with friends the night before. But you go do it. Put your game face on and get out there.
Alistair: It’s amazing how many businesses miss out on those opportunities, because they, “Oh, we’ll call you back tomorrow” or something. That’s just not how it works [laughs].
Mel: Yeah. No, it’s not at all. I was on CNN once. I think the guy called me. It was a Sunday afternoon. He goes, “Can you come in 45 minutes? Can you be in central London?” I said, “Yes.”
Alistair: They’ll love you for it because you’ve helped them out.
Mel: Yeah, and then I went back four times. Exactly. They needed someone to comment. It was about some app that had gone public. Definitely. If you help the journalists out, and also if they know you’re reliable. They know that you are going to have something good to say, then they’ll come back to you. Definitely. That’s happened quite a lot.
Alistair: That’s such sound advice, thank you, Mel.
Want to hear more advice from Mel? Listen to the rest of the podcast here or check us out on iTunes and all good podcasting platforms.
Find out more about Baby2Body here