PR Media Diary for UK Manufacturers 2018 #ukmfgprdiary

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.  

Connect with Ellen Carroll on LinkedIn

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Work with Ellen or book a call with me.  

Visit Nellie PR and check out my blog and helpful PR advice and resources.  

Ellen Carroll

PR champion with a passion for profitable PR and newsworthy content. Setting up Nellie PR in 2007, Ellen has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and marketing industry.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

Illustration for PR and Live events

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.

Ellen Carroll

PR champion with a passion for profitable PR and newsworthy content. Setting up Nellie PR in 2007, Ellen has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and marketing industry.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

Hidden benefits of cultural change  


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.

Ellen Carroll

PR champion with a passion for profitable PR and newsworthy content. Setting up Nellie PR in 2007, Ellen has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and marketing industry.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

New Year Business Resolutions

New Year Business Resolutions
I don’t believe in New Year resolutions – business revolutions are more my thing and at any time of the year. It just so happens that the best time of the year for me is now. Why?

The Power of Time Off

I’ve taken some time out thanks to maternity leave and have come back with a renewed passion and excitement for my business, for me and the people I work with and the work that I do. The sun is shining (right now) and Nellie PR will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary next year so I’m giving myself a rare pat on the back for getting this far and writing down my New Year business revolutions.

And, with all revolutions, I’m breaking the rules – not setting specifics goals – I’m just writing my wishlist down to keep me on track. Here goes – these are the changes I want to make.

The Business Wishlist

  • Write, just write more. I’d forgotten the joy in writing, writing for yourself, for and about your own business and sharing your knowledge. My goal is to write (at least) a weekly blog post providing PR tips and advice, and share the ups and downs of my business as I grow. I also want to set up my own personal blog
  • Become Watertight. A few years ago I was on the first cohort of the Watertight Marketing masterclass aimed at putting a watertight marketing plan into action to grow your business. It took me a while to get going but I’m finally on it. I’m fixing my leaks, finished my marketing plan and back out there, marketing again, growing my business
  • A new name. Nellie PR was named after my mum. Not the rapper, not the singer and most certainly not the elephant. Whilst I don’t think it has lost me business, I don’t think has done me any favours either and doesn’t really reflect what I do
  • Buy some great stationery, organiser and a pen. I going to buy this bright pink Filofax. The Filofax is Made in England so I can support our manufacturing industry while at the same time indulging in my love for a to do list, pretty paper and the magic of good-looking stationery. I’ve also got my eye out on a new fountain pen. I’m really fussy on the pen front so this could take a while, but I’m going to make a conscious effort to write down my ideas. A decent office chair (good on the old back) is also on my shopping list and being brave enough to take my fitball with me when I’m hot-desking
  • Get a view. I ditched the office a while ago. It is amazing what a difference a great space can do to motivate and inspire you to produce better work and be more creative. I want to seek out more creative places to work like Unit Seven with its fabulous harbour view, and sort out a new home office
  • Exercise more. This business girl can and will commit to exercising more, at least three times a week. Not only is it good for my health and figure, it also makes great business sense. You’ll be surprised how many ideas you come up in while busting your aqua fit moves to the Ace of Spades
  • Sort out my image. When I look at the Nellie PR website I shudder – it doesn’t reflect what we do and doesn’t look good. I’m building a new brand. A new website is just one part of it and you’ll be getting a sneak preview soon. When you look good, you feel good, and I’m definitely going to sort out great images to go with my blog posts
  • Offer more. I’ve been asked time and time again to provide training, to run workshops, to help businesses and business people do their own PR. No more excuses, I’ve got out there and been doing it, and I’m busy working on a range of PR and content workshops. Hope to tell you about these very soon
  • Don’t do it alone. I’ve expanded and taken on a small team of content writers and a PR consultant, and looking for more talent to join our team. I want to collaborate, share and get out more, build a stronger network and start up my own regular event
  • Stop waiting for the right time. In making these revolutions, I realised it doesn’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to wait until everything is ready. Just writing my wishlist is enough, enough to start doing, to start making changes
  • Take time out, regularly…

How about You?

Over to you – are you making changes, setting up new business goals? Don’t wait till the New Year – I would love to hear from you right now. Come on drop me a line, tweet me a tweet, pick up the phone, and share your New Year revolutions with me.


Photo by Lauren Peng @Unsplash

Ellen Carroll

PR champion with a passion for profitable PR and newsworthy content. Setting up Nellie PR in 2007, Ellen has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and marketing industry.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

How to Write a PR Brief

Looking for a new Public Relations agency? A PR brief is key to finding a good match.

In my time at the PR coalface, I’ve managed numerous PR agencies and been on the receiving end of countless PR briefs – the good, the bad and the downright shameless i.e. expecting a marathon hoop-jumping exercise and the most over-ambitious of requirements in return for the tiniest of budgets. I’ve also written my fair share of briefs and what follows is my handy checklist – whether you are appointing your first-ever PR agency or freelancer or seeking a new agency to replace your incumbent.

Choosing a PR agency is always nerve-racking experience – mainly due to your fears of appointing the wrong one. That’s why getting your PR brief in order is so important – it reduces that ‘poor choice’ risk and means that you are more likely to find a good match for you and your business.

A good PR brief should challenge and inspire people to want to work with you and do a great job. It should also act as a deterrent, putting off the wrong people for the job.

In terms of the basics, try and limit your brief to a maximum of three pages, invite responses from at least five agencies and select three of the best to come meet you and present their recommendations. Always give feedback and enjoy a great relationship with the people you choose. People always work at their best and their hardest for the people and businesses they like.

Checklist – What to Include in your PR Brief:

Your Brief

A summary of your brief and requirements – you’ll go into more detail later in your brief, but don’t be afraid to sell yourself, especially if you are a start-up or an unknown name. If you are passionate about your business and what you want to achieve, your brief should illustrate that and help encourage the passion and talent of the best PR people to take up the challenge of responding to your brief. You want them to want to work with you.


In this section, you should provide some background information about your company, team, target audiences, key products or service, and your core focus. It is also useful to note some of your competitors and whether, for example, you’ve used a PR agency before. You can refer people to website links for more information.


List what you want to achieve – your overall objective and aims.

Don’t be afraid to say what is on your ultimate wish list or what success would look like to you. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Or, in the words of Nora Roberts: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

Requirements & Measurement

Actual specifics in terms of deliverables – the measurable outcomes you want to achieve. You can also use this section to include the remit i.e. UK-only focus, 12-month campaign, tactics you want including such as social media management.

How the PR agency will be able to demonstrate return of investment will be core moving forward, so outline how the success of the campaign will be measured, and list your key performance indicators (KPIs) such as specifics on deliverables and outcomes i.e. on share of voice, number of leads generated etc.


Always include details of your maximum budget. Even if it’s a ballpark or sliding scale, the inclusion of a budget will ensure that the responses to your brief are on target. The inclusion of a budget will also help exclude those agencies that ‘don’t get out of bed for less.’

The Process and Timetable

It is always useful to include a timetable of what happens when. For example, when the pitch interview and presentation will take place, and the end date for receiving initial responses. Let the agency know how many agencies you will be inviting to pitch and limit this to a maximum of three. Any more than this – a lot of agencies won’t be willing to take part.


Be very clear on your expectations for pitch the process and the next steps.

For example, confirm that you require the presentation to be carried out by the people/person who would be working on the account. Some agencies, unfortunately, bring out their best people to wow you at the presentation stage, only to leave the business lumbered with an inexperienced junior.

I always also recommend that you ask for testimonials and contact details for their clients you can speak to.

Confidentiality and Any Other Business

In this section you can add in important clauses such as confidentiality.

In order to understand your business better, some agencies will want to talk to some of your customers and key media and to ensure they get a better feel for your business and what you need to achieve. Be very clear if you DON’T want this to happen.

Contact Details

Stating the obvious here, but include your details so the PR agency has a point of contact to get further information and knows who they can speak to as part of their research.

Need to Know More?

Hope you’ve found my checklist on how to write a PR brief useful. If you want to know more, or require a little extra help, please give me a shout. If it’s writing a marketing brief you want help with, check out this blog post on how to write a marketing brief by our friends at Watertight Marketing.

Finally, some tips from those in the know on what you should include in your PR brief:

Daljit Bhurji from Diffusion: “Be crystal clear on your maximum budget and set very clear measurable KPIs for your prospective agency.”

Patrick Smith at Joshua PR: “Be honest about your real requirements.”

Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing: “Why people would be interested.”


Photo by Dustin Lee at Unsplash


Ellen Carroll

PR champion with a passion for profitable PR and newsworthy content. Setting up Nellie PR in 2007, Ellen has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and marketing industry.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook