2018 is the Year of Engineering, this week is National Apprenticeship Week and today… today is the day I’ve published my Ultimate PR Diary for UK Manufacturers full of all the dates you need to know to raise your profile. 

But why?  Manufacturing is a passion of mine – it’s in my blood.  After emigrating from Ireland, my dad worked at Stanton Iron Works and my mum worked at the local sock factory and was also a skilled seamstress.  My sisters have all worked in manufacturing too – from a bra examiner at Charnos to a part-time pencil maker. Me? I blog about well-made womenswear over at Well Fashioned and as student I worked in a chocolate factory or two.

Manufacturers often struggle with their PR

Today, I love working with UK makers and manufacturers – providing PR consultancy, PR training and advice.  Very often the people that are great at making things aren’t that great at telling their story and often miss out on PR opportunities to help raise use their profile and build their reputation.  I’m on a mission to change this.

By being more planned and strategic in your PR means that you can help position yourself as the expert in your field, be known and build relationships with the right people, use your higher profile to help secure funding and generate new business opportunities.  It can help you attract the right talent to your business and shine a light on you and your business to win new customers and retain loyal customers.The Ultimate PR Diary for UK Manufacturers


The PR Diary is focused on the key industry announcements, research and survey dates (with a few national events thrown in) that the media tend to use to help inform their editorial calendars, plan news and feature items.  To bring these stories to life they need real-life businesses to talk to and are always looking to interview businesses as part of their coverage of issues such as the budget, election, Brexit, manufacturing output figures, labour market figures and trade statistics, GDP estimates, retail sales figures, government consultations – the list is endless.  

Don’t miss out on the key dates to secure press coverage

How to use it to secure PR:

  • Prepare your story in advance so you can provide timely comment to the media  such as your predictions, expectations and even your hopes ahead of big announcements
  • Provide commentary following the publication of trends or figures
  • Piggyback on survey results to position your business in a positive light
  • Pitch to the media to secure press coverage or an interview.  For example, put yourself forward as a case study to be interviewed during or ahead of a big release such as the latest UKMFG statistics or big initiatives such as National Apprenticeship Week  
  • Help you plan your social media – join in conversations, celebrate and champion initiatives  
  • Events and visits – plan you own and/or take part in events to raise the profile of UKMFG and attract young people into the industry.  You can even secure speaking opportunities to tell your story
  • Awards – boost your credibility and chances of being nominated and winning awards with a stronger profile
  • Secure guest blog posts and opinion articles on the back of issues raised and changes taking place in your industry
  • Plan your blog posts and content marketing in advance such as behind the scenes videos of your skilled staff in action
  • Email newsletters – themes to focus on for your customers and decision makers  
  • Marketing such as timely direct mail – send your customers a thank you for buying from you on Buy British Day, for example
  • Add to it – think of all the other issues and key dates coming up such as changing legislation and focus on the issues that you are passionate about – where you want your voice to be heard.

PR Tips

  • Use it #ukmfgprdiary as your guide to greater PR success – helping you secure recognition, attract better business, build long-term relationships, and protect your most important asset – your reputation
  • Set up relevant Google alerts so you can get a feel for what UK manufacturing stories get covered
  • Check out #journorequest on Twitter to see if any journalists are calling out to you for comment.  Please note that #journorequest isn’t what it once was but you’ll still find some great opportunities on there
  • Build up your relationships with your key media, including the local press, national media, online, trade media, associations and membership bodies, influencers, decision makers and customers – be known for all the right reasons, be helpful and support UKMFG
  • Want advice on how to pitch to the media, get your timings rights and become a great spokesperson – get in-touch and work with me.

Before you go

For more PR ideas and advice sign-up to my monthly PR that Pays newsletter, you won’t regret it.  And, don’t forget to connect.  

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The Budget

On the 22nd November, Philip Hammond delivered the Autumn 2017 Budget. Alongside key economic figures, such as the UK growth forecast falling from 2% to 1.5%, the budget outlined key changes that will directly impact UK businesses. These include a freeze of the VAT threshold at 85,000 for the next 2 years and a total of £2.3billion being set aside by the government for R&D purposes. Read a summary of the budget from the BBC and a focused report on what the budget means for small businesses.

Guardian B2B Launches

This month The Guardian has launched Guardian B2B,  another great platform for business owners alongside the Guardian Small Business Network. Guardian B2B is a great way for business owners of any capacity to keep up to date with the latest news, trends and tips.

Small Business Saturday

The run-up to Small Business Saturday has been happening throughout November. In its 5th year, Small Business Saturday (2nd December) aims to help UK businesses and customers connect, encouraging Brits to shop locally and support small businesses in their community. Businesses are encouraged to offer deals or events to promote the campaign

I absolutely love illustration but find myself visually inapt – I’m more of a words person – but that doesn’t stop me looking on longingly and with more than a hint of a green eye when it comes to other businesses and their pretty pictures.  And, don’t get me started on people that draw amazing visual notes at events, putting my own boring notes to absolute shame – how dare they :-)

But not to worry – as there are so many absolutely fantastic illustrators’ to call upon to help you visually communicate your business story or bring to life your content, your message or a live event.  With so much PR and social media noise, using illustrations rather than the same old stock photos, can also really help you to stand out and achieve PR that Pays.  This is especially true if you work in an industry that isn’t usually visually stimulating because why the hell not – some amazing illustration could really lift our your PR and marketing.

Illustrators’ like Corrina Rothwell whose work I’ve used for our own visual storytelling, blog posts and even client gifts; creative director Lizzie Everard who’s strapline ‘ideas made beautiful’ sums up exactly what she does, and Niki Groom of Miss Magpie Fashion Spy fame.  Talking of Niki, she’s written this great blog post on how to run a live illustration event.  Written for PRs and brands, it’s full of useful tips on how to run a fantastic live illustration event such as the importance of having a hashtag agreed in advance, how to find an illustrator and how much they charge.

Go on give it a read at how to run a live illustration event and please share with me any great examples of illustration and live illustration you’ve seen or experienced as I’m creating a Pinterest board to showcase great illustrators and case studies.

Nellie PR Credits:

Images used in order of appearance:

 © Miss Magpie Fashion Spy: illustrations of the Middlesex Cricket Team for Chestertons

 © Corrina Rothwell

 © Miss Magpie Fashion Spy: Niki Groom illustrating live for La Martina.  Photo by Alex Treadway.


I recently attended From Start-up to Scale-up: a Like Minds event in Exeter.  And, despite the great and the good from the likes of LinkedIn, Lego and Amazon featuring as keynotes, I found myself more drawn towards the story of how a traditional law firm transformed its culture.

Now, law firms (like many industries and B2B, in particular), aren’t known for their storytelling and that’s more than enough reason to take a look at the talk from Robert Camp, managing partner at Stephens Scown in this video about transforming the culture of a traditional (and conservative) law firm.  Or rather, how they set out to destroy the culture of negativity and negative criticism that pervaded.

I’m hoping to interview Robert for the Nellie blog soon, but in the meantime, the video is really worth watching, as there are some great lessons and ideas for us all – whether you’re a start-up or undergoing a business culture transformation.

Here’s my notes from his session – a summary of the main takeaways:

  • Importance of having engaged people that are proud of who they work for; proud of the people they work with; proud of their clients and proud of the quality of the work they send out
  • How positive messages lift the business and the odd bit of colour too
  • The power and hidden benefits of the little things such as positive postcards to help thank people
  • Don’t be afraid to do a lot of cheese – in their case x two company choirs  
  • Importance of community and campaigns such as #lovewhereyoulive
  • Take inspiration from outside your sector to improve and champion great customer service. In the case of Stephens Scown, they took inspiration from Nordstrom and its legendary Nordy           stories to create Scowny stories.  I love the Scowny story of how they supported their own start-up clients by spreading the love of chocolate cake. With  Small Business Saturday coming up         – maybe you’ll be inspired to support your small business clients and suppliers too  
  • Small steps over time make a massive difference – the journey isn’t a big bang.

For more information on Like Minds, both in Exeter and elsewhere, click here.


Business Zone Closes

At the end of September Business Zone announced it would be closing its doors, after re-launching itself in 2015. SIFT has made the decision to no longer run two publications and over the last month, it has merged Business Zone into UK Business Forums.

Twitter is developing a Save for Later feature

On the 10th October Twitter announced they are in the process of developing a feature that will allow you to bookmark interesting Tweets that you would like to read later. They have put out a call for suggestions through the #SaveforLater hashtag. Up until now many of us had to rely on liking tweets in order to bank them for later reading, this feature will now offer greater clarity as to whether someone approves of your tweet or whether they wish to bookmark it.

MailChimp introduces Google Remarketing Ads

At the end of September MailChimp announced a new channel which sets up an advertising campaign that reminds people of the products they left behind, Google Remarketing Ads. Through the Google Display Network, your published ads will appear on websites that make a clear connection to your business and/or products. For example if you sell cooking equipment, your ads may appear on frequented recipe blogs. MailChimp can automatically build ads that feature your best products or you can tailor the ads to your preferences. MailChimp does not charge more for the use of the feature. This is a great new tool for SME’s using wishing to expand their digital advertising campaigns.

Facebook trials only permitting paid-for articles to appear on News Feeds

This month Facebook has introduced a split news feed in 6 countries, including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka. The main news feed now only displays commercial posts that have been paid for. Although this change may not drastically impact companies and publishers with large budgets, various SME’s digital marketing plans may be forced to change. Facebook says it has no current plans to roll out this trial to all of its two billion users, but it is something to keep your eye on.

Google and Facebook announce features to support publisher subscriptions

Alongside their split news feed tests, Facebook announced that in the upcoming weeks it will launch a test to support a paywall in Instant Articles in the US and Europe. Facebook is working with publishers to set up either a metered approach (10 articles can be read for free) or freemium models (the publisher can lock certain articles) and after this, the reader will be encouraged to subscribe for full access.

Google plans to replace it’s ‘first click free’ model which has been criticised for prioritising titles that offer more free stories in Google searches. Through integrating user data with its applications including Google News, Google hopes to convert readers into subscribers by permitting publishers to set limits to how many articles readers can access for free.