Lisa Ashurst

Contributor: Lisa Ashurst
Lisa set up Ashurst Communications in January 2009 to build on her 14 years experience in public relations and communications. Her clients include Corridor Manchester, a partnership set up to drive economic growth on the Corridor, the Oxford Road area of the city, and interior designers NoChintz.
Before setting up on her own she was head of communications at award winning property developer Urban Splash. Lisa spent six years with Urban Splash as it grew from a niche northern player into the country’s leading regeneration company. One of her main highlights of working at Urban Splash (and there are many) was winning the National Charted Institute of Public Relations Pride Award in 2007 for the campaign to launch the houses at Chimney Pot Park for sale.

She has a Masters Degree in Public Relations and is director of New Islington Festival.

Tip1 Network, network, network! Take your business cards to any events you attend, talk to the person you are standing next to at the bar. You never know, that person could be your next client!
Tip2 When someone gives you their card, quickly note on it where you met them and what you talked about. This will be very handy indeed. But, don't start writing on their card in front of them, that's a bit rude.
Tip3 Before you send out a press release, make sure someone proof reads it. Silly mistakes aren't the end of the world but they are sloppy and make it look like you have rushed the work. Spell check is your friend; just make sure it is set to English-UK.
Tip4 Never put a post on a blog, send a Tweet or write a Facebook status about anything you wouldn't want to see published. Think of the social media in the same way as the print media in terms of the information you send out there.
Tip5 Honesty is the best policy. People who tell lies do get caught and that can only lead to bad things.
Tip6 Always have a smile on your face. PR people are naturally happy, even if chaos is breaking out all around you, smile and calmly work out how to fix it. If you don’t love what you do, PR is probably not for you.
Tip7 Your contact book is your most important item. Take good care of it. You can replace a phone and a computer but you can’t replace what’s on them.
Tip8 If a magazine phones you and says “We would like to do a big feature on your client. All we need is a list of your clients suppliers.” Say no thank you. The publication will call the suppliers and tell them their client wants them to advertise. They are effectively making someone else buy editorial for your client. This is not a good way to work with people. Unless you have a nationally significant news story, or local or trade press equivalent, never ever call news desks around deadline times. They really don’t appreciate it.
Tip9 While you are the main contact for your client with press, be pragmatic. Journalists do speak to other people who are not PRs. Enthusiasm can get the better of everyone and occasionally a-top-secret-not-to-be-announced-for-another-week-story will find its way to a journalist. As long as you didn’t leak it, there’s very little you can do about it. Just be honest with the client and work out how to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Tip10 Get to know your clients business and the industry it is in. If you don’t understand something ask a question and keep asking until you do. A journalist can tell a mile off if you don’t know or understand what you are talking about.
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