Steel City Hub

It’s all about small businesses, copywriting, social media and all things digital marketing.



Community and Business: Alternative Marketing

Community and business don’t generally go hand in hand, traditionally, but that was the past. This is 2018. Welcome to the future! Here in 2018, showing some ‘community’ love can give your business the boost that it needs. Here at the hub, we’ve helped several clients adopt a more alternative marketing strategy for business and what a difference it can make…

In all seriousness, you might wonder what community has to do with business and marketing one at that.  If you’ve been in business for a while, you are probably familiar with the mounds of charity mail, sponsorship requests and cold-calling methods used by charities on a weekly basis.  We all have to earn our bread, and usually, if you’re not completely cold-hearted or being scammed, you feel a well of empathy for the cause.  “Not this time, sorry.”  It’s profits or poverty for some business owners, literally.

Turn it on its Head

However, if you believe in universal laws of attraction and manifestation that I touched on briefly in my blog, Business and Mindfulness, you’ll know that giving means that you’ll receive. As a business owner, you don’t have to believe in this but what you do have to believe in is the people around your business who prop you up, support you and show you some love.

You can be creative on how you give back to the community.  Giving your time around work for a good cause or developing creative ideas on how to raise awareness/money for a local charity works not only for your chosen receiver, but it has miraculous ways of working for your business too. Here’s an example of how we’ve encouraged a very ethical, community-led marketing strategy for one of our clients:

Air Environmental: The Family Fun Day & Football Tournament

logo air environmental

On 29th April, Steel City Hub is helping our very community-focused client, Air Environmental Ltd pave the way for business owners with a large-scale, local fundraising event. The football tournament, made up of teams from various businesses and organisations around the South Yorkshire region, will be held in aid of two special charities,

The Children’s Hospital Charity #TeamTheo

Muscular Dystrophy UK

The event will be held at Niagara Sports & Social Club, Sheffield, S6 1LU.

Time: 1-5pm

The fundraising for the event has already passed £500 and donations are expected to flood in from local businesses and individuals over the next few weeks. Here’s the fundraising page:

On the day, it’s free entry and families will be presented with a host of games, a raffle, live music, activities, food, opportunities to partake in the fun of the day with a penalty shoot-out for children and so much more. The teams battling it out in the football tournament will be able to enjoy some brief fame and winners will be presented with a trophy. It’s all to play for.

For more information about this event or for sponsorship details, please e-mail: or click the link above to donate online.

Although the event is first and foremost about raising funds for the charities, it’ll prove to be a great advertising and PR opportunity for Air Environmental, not only in terms of media attention but in raising the company profile across the region.

Getting your company’s name into the minds of local people is important, as it is to show that’s you’re not all about profits. As a business owner, you are basically your own public relations team, unless you’ve got the manpower so trying alternative methods of marketing to reach your target audience and build your brand awareness is key.

Alternative marketing can be fruitful if done correctly. Sometimes it pays to think outside the box and be more creative with your ideas as a business owner. If the hard sales pitch isn’t working, try showing some community love. We will update you on the marketing success of this event over the coming weeks; and of course, talk a bit more about these two amazing charities!

We offer a range of marketing support packages, for small and growing businesses, please get in touch if you’d like more information.



Why Do I Need Social Media For My Small Business?

Why Do I Need Social Media for My Small Business?

Today, I was proud to support my client, Powers Martial Arts Centre and GB Promotions with their K1 Kickboxing Championship Show at the Mercure St Paul’s Hotel in Sheffield City Centre. It was a special event because Steel City Hub was sponsoring the main and last ISKA Title Fight of the night.

You might wonder what this event has to do with social media? Whilst I was there, I spoke to several business owners who, unlike Powers Martial Arts Centre, did not use social media to promote their businesses. Even if they were on Facebook, they didn’t maximise its free potential to help advertise their own businesses.

I asked how they advertised – there was a mix of paid advertising and word of mouth recommendations. Their answers to why they don’t really bother with social media include, “friends say it’s pointless,” “I haven’t got the time,” “I don’t know what I’m doing with it.”

I could sit and write all day about why small business owners benefit from using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest…there are many different social media platforms out there but at the end of the day, as we all know, word of mouth recommendations are the best way to get business. Agreed.


Here’s why, even if your business runs great on word of mouth recommendations, it’s so important to have a business presence on social media:

  1. Your services are needed every day by potential customers and that makes your business important if you’re good at what you do. Someone, somewhere, especially local people to your business need your services. Example, I’ve just bought a new house and it’s pretty run down. I need a plasterer, an electrician, a plumber, a roofer and so many more skilled people to help me make it a home. Where do I turn? I post a ‘recommendation’ post on Facebook for everyone to see and my friends ‘tag’ business pages of people they’ve used. Brilliant – a word of mouth recommendation that I can find online. If you haven’t got a business page, you’ll miss that.
  2. A social media business page (particularly Facebook) helps people find you because it’s a directory, it shows your business on a map, it gives all the details someone needs to make a decision on contacting you and it tells them how to contact you. It also lets them message you if they are shy to logos
  3. People can leave ratings and recommendations on your business page that others will look at to make a decision about whether to contact your company. If I’m really pleased with the work my tradesperson has done, I want to post pictures of it on Facebook. If you haven’t got a business page to help share that great client recommendation and those images of your work, and you don’t comment i.e. “it was a pleasure,” showing that you’re a human too, you’re not reaching your potential. You’re not reaching my friends who might also need some work doing that you can offer. You’re missing an opportunity. twitter-292994_960_720
  4. Social media helps you interact with your customers in a special way. If someone has a question, they can tweet you, they can message you on Facebook, they can ask online at any time of the day or night without having to wait till the next day to phone you. No one is saying that you have to respond straight away but these days, many people and potential customers are put off by the thought of having to phone someone as the first option. Give your customers options. Let them ask.
  5. Social media advertising options are completely different to traditional advertising in newspapers and magazines. The amount of money you pay if you want to reach more people by creating a targeted advert is minimal in comparison to traditional methods of advertising. It’s really cheap to run an actual advert on Facebook that brings people to your business page. The best part is that you can target specific people. Say, for example, your best customers for your plumbing company are mothers who work and are making home improvements. You can actually create an advert for a few pounds a week targeting mothers who work and who are making home improvements at the moment…It’s not magic, it’s data. Facebook and other social networks collect a lot of data from all members.

There’s the list of why you need social media for your small business. It’s not an option anymore, it’s a must if you’re serious about your business and the customers you care about. You’re not doing anything cringeworthy or wrong by getting your business name out there. Someone needs you. You can help someone have a better life, even if it’s just repairing an old boiler, fitting a new stove, painting a wall, building an extension; if you are a real business, with a real desire to do the work you do for others, you are a great part of the community.


I would like to personally thank Paul Powers at Powers Martial Arts Centre for involving me in the K1 Kickboxing event today and helping me show the importance of social media for small businesses. Take a look at their social media accounts – you’ll see that they’re building more and more customers each week, posting lots of great photos and information for all to see. Make your time online worthwhile.

Bye for now.

Branding for Business in 3 Easy Steps

Branding is a term that’s largely ignored or misunderstood, especially by small businesses but it is a very powerful, passive way of attracting your target customers and raising awareness.

To us, branding means helping customers and the general public identify your business through a logo, images, wording and even sounds – think about the McDonald’s whistle we hear on the radio and TV or the slogan “I’m Lovin’ It.” Those, along with the yellow ‘M’ sign and the new green and cream coloured interiors are all examples of a brand that raises awareness of its products through a unified, consistent approach.

What we find when working with small business owners who are trying to promote what they do is a lack of brand awareness, identity and a uniformed approach to marketing. We are not saying that you have to go as far as McDonald’s with their humongous budgets for branding, marketing and advertising. However, there are powerful ways that small businesses can compete without the price tag or staff.

Uniformed and structured branding is key to successfully setting your business apart from the competition and passively making sales. Here’s a little overview of what you need to do to create great branding and let your customers come to you:

  1. Create a Brand Strategy

It’s a fancy term for a relatively simple process. All that’s involved in creating a branding strategy is:

  • Research – looking at how other companies in your trade and competitors raise awareness of their business. Do they have a logo? Do they create graphics with their branding on?
  • Analyse – look at how your competitors are using their branding I.e. Their logo, their advertising, their wording for their services. Then look at global or U.K.-wide companies whose advertising you see a lot of. Make a list of what you like and dislike about the branding of competitions and larger companies.
  • Target Audience – who is your target customer? Where do they live, work, what do they enjoy doing? What might they need from you? A lot of advertising and brand awareness needs to be focused on your target audience so it really helps to have a clear audience in mind in your planning.
  • Aims & Objectives – create a plan for the aims and objectives of your branding. What you want people (your target audience) to think about when they see your logo or read your slogan. Would you want them to think: “They’re the best plumbers in the area because they have a 24-hour helpline.” Think about how you want your company to stand apart from others. Will you offer a free-consultation service? Will you be available 24/7 for call-outs? Will your engineers always have a smile on their faces? Whatever your business ethos and aims are, write them down.
  • Design & Write – this is the part we help a lot of businesses with. Writing down words that encompass your company that you can use for branded material such as flyers, adverts, posters, Facebook pages and so much more is vital for business branding success. The right words that speak to your target audience. Think about the design and colour scheme of your business, what will your logo look like, what colours could represent your brand the best? Write down all of your branding ideas and design thoughts.
  • Getting Your Brand Out There – here’s a good place to think about how you’ll market your brand following on from your research and understanding of your aims and objectives. Will you use social media? Will you blog? Will you advertise?

     2. Get your Staff Behind your Branding

Whether your staff are young, old or in between, every one of your employees can help with promoting your brand. Following on from your strategy, give your staff clear guidelines about what you expect from them in representing your company and branding. From what they wear to how they act right through to what they post on social media, several people are better than one at raising awareness of your branding.

Let your staff, family, friends and associates know that you’re taking branding seriously and get ready to launch your brand identity.

    3. Brand Identity Launch

Whether you already have a logo and a website or not, you can re-brand or build your brand identity at any point.

You’ve planned what you’re going to do and got some support behind you so now’s the time to take action! Get your brand out there through:

  • A website
  • A regular blog
  • Advertising
  • Social media
  • Events
  • Trade shows
  • Sponsorships
  • Press releases

There are so many ways to raise your brand awareness with your customers making you a trusted name in your industry. For more help with marketing your brand and creating your brand identity, get in touch with us:

Check out our Branding Pack – a great way to help you get started with branding. This pack offers everything you need to get going with a logo, designs, colour-scheme, blurb writing and expert advice.


Introducing: Build With Steel

Build With Steel

You wouldn’t start building a structure without first putting in strong foundations.

The same goes for your business. The best way to build is with steel. It’s effective, reliable and it’s got a lot of experience…best of all, it used to be made in Sheffield. Sounds a bit like us, doesn’t it? That’s why we’re proud to launch the Build With Steel packages for small businesses and start-ups:


  1. The Intro £250 (One-Off Fee, No Contract)

Our popular Intro package is for all the basics when you set up your business. It offers the most affordable, one-off, no contract option for small businesses who need a little help getting started. Here’s what we offer:

  • Social Media – the set up of two social media platforms. We always recommend Facebook being the first and depending on your type of business, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest being the second.
  • Blurb – this is what people read about your business on social media. It’s the description of your business and we help you say it in a way that attracts interest from the people you’d like to notice. The blurb has to vary between social platforms so for two channels, we have to write two separate blurbs.
  • Directory Listings – listing you on all available, free websites where you can add your website, address and other important information about your business. This also includes more blurb/description writing about your business as again, it’s best if it’s written differently on all websites.
  • Access to Templates and Guides – our templates for social media posts and marketing plans are pretty simple and easy to follow. We think the best way to start out is to learn to do things yourself – with a little support from us.
  • Exclusive Made with Steel Group – you get access to our Facebook group for 1 month where you’ll find useful links, documents, templates, articles and offers. We’ll also be posting videos on there for extra assistance. (If you decide to progress onto one of our monthly payment packages, you’ll be able to stay in the group throughout the 12 month contract period).
  • Meet the Experts at Branding – we introduce you to some branding experts who can guide you through setting up your brand including your logo, design of your headers for social media, design of your e-mail campaigns, stationery and so much more. See our other packages below for more information.


 2. BUILD WITH STEEL PACKAGES: Gold, Silver & Bronze

(A 6 or 12- monthly contract between your business and Steel City Hub offering monthly support on 3 levels).

GOLD  £400 Per Month

Our Gold package is the best monthly support we can offer at this current time. It helps to create real momentum for your business, especially if you sign up to the 12 month contract with Steel City Hub.

Here’s what it includes:

  • Weekly Management of 3 Social Media Platforms (includes Facebook and a choice of two of the following: Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest (advice will be given on which platforms best suit individual business needs). Management includes posts 2-3 times per week, per platform.
  • Weekly interactions with followers, fans and Likers i.e. re-tweets, comments and more. We will also monitor who’s following you and follow market trend leaders and influencers in order to gain natural, organic Likes and Follows.
  • Exclusive Access to the private Build With Steel Facebook Group where you’ll fine useful hints, tips, templates, videos, links and many other support features; including a community of like-minded people.
  • Monthly Personalised Meeting/Support Session via Skype, another online platform or face to face depending on where you are based, to make sure you’re on the right track, help you with other marketing ideas and promotions to increase sales, improve profitability and reach a wider audience.


Silver  £240 Per Month

Our Silver package is an in-between package. It still offers many of the same benefits as the Gold package but is less intense.

Here’s what it includes:medal-2163349_960_720 silver.png

  • Weekly Management of 2 Social Media Platforms including Facebook. Other platforms will be chosen either by you or through our initial consultation process. Management includes us posting 2-3 times per week from both accounts as a mixture of relevant articles, news from your company and portfolio images (if images are provided regularly).
  • Weekly Interactions with followers, fans and Likers i.e. re-tweets, comments and more. We will also monitor who’s following you and follow market trend leaders and influencers in order to gain natural, organic Likes and Follows.
  • Exclusive Access to the private Build With Steel Facebook Group where you’ll fine useful hints, tips, templates, videos, links and many other support features; including a community of like-minded people.
  • Quarterly Progress reports and suggestions for improvements in marketing.


Bronze  £120 Per Month

The Bronze package has been a very popular package for many of our clients who have then progressed onto our Silver or Gold packages. Much of the time, businesses opt to get set up initially with the Intro then move onto the Bronze for a few months to see how it all works. The main aim of this package is to get you noticed as a business and help you make your mark on the social media world.

Here’s what it includes:


  • Weekly Management of 2 Social Media Platforms including Facebook. The difference with this package is that we will post once per week, sometimes two if you have an event or something prominent happening.
  • Weekly Interactions with followers, fans and likers i.e. re-tweets, comments and more. We will also monitor who’s following you and follow market trend leaders and influencers in order to gain natural, organic Likes and Follows.


For more information on these packages, contact Kate:


3. The Branding Pack  £675

This is a great offer for those who are in the process of developing a brand for their business or don’t have a clue about branding so want some professional help. Working with our top, professional design partners, we can offer you:

  • A 1-hour consultation session and creation of a brief (a plan for what you want from your branding, who you want to target and what kind of image you want to present).
  • Creation of final wording including a strapline (the line of text beneath your logo).
  • 4 x Logo design concepts from a supplied brief with one developed in to the final logo.
  • Artwork for the logo supplied in CMYK, RGB, and Black and white colour options.
  • All file formats will be supplied.
  • Strap line/position statement if required.
  • Brand guidance manual with all logo positioning, typography, brand colour palette.
  • Short blurb creation of between 20-100 words for your use on directories, other websites, social media etc.


5. Professional Sales Folder/Letter Pack £849

This bespoke, professional sales pack gives you that professional edge, whatever your business. If you regularly need to visit clients, customers and other businesses in order to raise your profile and deliver your services, this pack would benefit your business. The pack incorporates your branding and business ethos and is well worth the investment. This is one of our clients with their professional sales packs:



Here’s what’s included:

  • An initial 1-hour consultation with a marketing expert to help you understand what aspects of a professional sales pack you require for your business type to present that professional, important image.
  • Folder and Inserts – from a brief of what you want, we’ll work with our professional designers, who have worked with some huge names, to create a folder with inserts that reflects your business and what you want to achieve i.e. more sales.
  • Written copy and content – with design underway, it’ll be time to put together some content including images, writing and a good dose of copywriting expertise. Our copywriting experts will work with you to get the tone and style of your content just right. Professional copywriters can charge thousands for a few hundred words so we are really pleased to be able to offer writing that is high quality and affordable. Copy in sales documents should always encourage your customers to buy from you.
  • Print costs advice – After the final draft has been produced, we will advise of print costs and find you the best prices for printing your sales folders. We can also advise and deliver other stationery items, if required (at an extra cost), such as business cards, pens, pencils and much more.
  • How-to-guide – finally, we will provide you with a how-to guide on delivering your sales folders and advise on how to approach businesses or customers with your services.


6. The Website + Hosting + Content Pack  £2499

This pack includes everything you’ll need to create a professional website with no hidden fees or extra charges. We all know websites can be created for pittance on template-based systems. The costs usually don’t account for extras needed such as hosting, domain names and content. They’re also rarely as effective in terms of SEO unlike websites that are built by professional designers.

That’s why we’ve put together a pack that includes everything you’ll need to get you started. If there are items that you don’t need, i.e. you’ve done the writing for your website yourself, we can offer you a reduced rate.

Here’s what this amazing price includes:

  • An initial consultation with our marketing expert to work with you on how you want your website to look, what style and what kind of content and functionality you’ll need on there.
  • A Theme-based WordPress website that is specifically tailored to suit your business style, tone and colour scheme.
  • A professional copywriter to work with you on creating content that is focused on SEO (getting you noticed by the search engines such as Google), for up to 4 x pages on your website. Any extra content for pages is charged at an hourly rate.
  • Sourcing images for your website or working with a professional photographer to create images that can be used to boost the appearance of your website and present your business much more professionally (additional fees may apply according to how much photography you require).
  • Website hosting for 1 year including up to 5 e-mail accounts that will be aligned to your website address.
  • Domain name registration for 1 year is included in this price!
  • Training and Support – Finally, it includes a meeting/wordpress training session with the developers so you can add content yourself when needed and you’ll know the basics of using your own website. Otherwise, you can view our Blog Package below. 


7. The Blog Package  £149

Our final package is the blog package. It’s best suited to WordPress websites but not exclusively. If you know what you want to write about but don’t have the means, we can offer a one-off or monthly website blog package to suit your business needs.

the blog package

Here’s what’s included:

  • Research into your business area and a list of topics created that would best suite your own website. We will also work with you to source relevant images and videos to populate your blog.
  • Creation of blog content – this can be images and word-based or it could include videos. Whatever your business, we create your first blog based on our research and your ideas about what you want your customers to know. Our writing for blogs is SEO optimised and helps populate your website with relevant, timely information.
  • Blog template for you to use thereafter or a pay-monthly contract option where we can create a monthly blog to go on your website, keeping it updated and informative for your customers/audience.
  • Advice and information session for an hour where we discuss your needs for the first blog and for future blogging, including information on how to share it across your social media and other websites.
  • Monthly blogging and support – this is an additional cost and is based on our time to create a blog per month. Usually, with research and structure, a normal blog would take us around 1.5 hours. Our hourly rate is £60. This means that any normal blog would cost you a regular £80 per month with the applied £10 discount for being a monthly blog member.


These are our full Build With Steel services but it is by no means a comprehensive list of what we offer as a fully-functional marketing agency. We like to think that we offer much more than a typical marketing agency and always strive to offer the best services for your business needs.

If you’d like more information, use our Contact Us Page or e-mail:

We are happy to provide fully online service and support as well as face-to-face consultations. Please read our Disclaimer for our service terms and conditions.



We won’t share your details with anyone else. Your details and information about your company will be used solely to help us gain an understanding of how you work, who’s involved and what your goals are. Those details that you are happy to share or information that you would like to express should be shared directly with Steel City Hub in order for us to promote and deliver your campaigns.

Steel City Hub Ltd has the right to cancel any contract at any time without reason but we agree that 1 month’s notice will be given to those on a 12-month contract and 2 weeks notice will be given to those on a 6 month contract. Sometimes due to ethical/legal issues, we might not be able to act on your behalf as your marketing/social media consultants but we will express this in the first instance of communication between ourselves and you.

We will always inform you first if your additional requirements mean extra costs and we will endeavour to work with you to meet the costs above, if you require additional services that are not covered in the above, we reserve the right to refuse or provide additional charges for extra work.


Community: Help it and it’ll Help Your Business

The community that surrounds you is a rich source of marketing potential for all businesses. Being good at marketing isn’t about following the norm. It’s about thinking outside the box or literally outside your front door.

Promotion PR Mummy Power community
Our client, Powers Martial Arts Centre, Stannington, helped a small group of mums get Big Lottery Funding from the National Lottery. Image: @MummyPowerKick

Alternative Marketing

Here are two questions all business owners should have on their lips:


  • What can I do for my community?
  • What can my community do for me?

As a resource for your business, the community around you whether that be within the local vicinity or city-wide, is full of quirky, inspiring and media-hot stories that are just waiting to receive your backing. We are not talking about donating £10 to your local children’s hospice, which is always admirable; but doing something that grabs the attention and reaches the hearts of your customers.

Taking your business marketing activities away from the norm to do something great such as an event for charity, a sponsored challenge or a campaign to raise awareness of local issues or problems could be the difference between, “Oh, there’s an IT company there,” and, “oh look! There’s that IT company that did that amazing challenge.”

We are not talking about donating £10 to your local children’s hospice, which is always admirable, but doing something that grabs the attention and reaches the hearts of your customers.

Benefits of Community Involvement

Implementing the community-focused strategies into your marketing plan can have many benefits for your business but also for the initiative, charity or scheme that you’ve involved yourself with.

Here are some of the main benefits for your business with community involvement:

  • Your business gets noticed more effectively than standard advertising.
  • It promotes your company as socially conscious, to which there are huge customer loyalties. Examples of successful, well-known ethical companies include Innocent Smoothies, People Tree Clothing, The Green People, and the list goes on.
  • It gets you press attention. The media will charge you for an editorial (a salesy-type article), but if you’re smart and have something to say that is in the public interest, you’ll get a mention for free.
  • If you raise your profile through community involvement, your chances of being thought of first by customers above other companies in your sector are much higher. Familiarity and subconscious linking are two ideas behind this.

Any business can find an angle to raise their profile through effective PR and positive community involvement. You want your customers to know you’re approachable. You want them to know you care.

For more advice, information or an example of how community involvement works for local businesses, see our Portfolio or Contact Us for more help.

“Be part of your community, not a separate entity. Get involved in order to achieve greatness in 2017” ~ Steel City Hub Ltd (2017).

Business Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2017

If, like many other business owners, you’re planning your business strategy for 2017, there are some new and expected business trends that you’d be foolish to ignore. These trends bring with them fresh opportunities to grow your business and develop your brand beyond anything you’d imagined.


To save you scouring the internet for business trends in 2017, we’ve compiled a list and some resources for you to consider whilst planning a strategy to suit your business:

  1. E-Commerce is Growing and Changing

We all know someone who is selling stuff online. For some, it’s a hobby to make a bit of extra cash. For others, it’s a living and makes up most of their business model. Traditionally, e-commerce involved platforms like eBay. Over the last year, e-commerce has evolved and surrounded us. Targeted ads on Facebook, YouTube and Google are part of our everyday lives. Much of what the ads are showing us is available on the giant that is Amazon. Not only does Amazon dominate the e-commerce world with a huge proportion of sales via its global site, (see Statistica), but it also offers businesses the freedom to concentrate on marketing, sales and its own brand with its FBA programme. Many of the statistics for Amazon are US-based, however, the UK is quickly waking up to the opportunities for businesses and the convenience for consumers, are you part of the e-commerce boom?

  1. YouTube vs Traditional Advertising

The younger generation – typically those between the ages of 18-30, are increasingly preferring YouTube over traditional TV, this brings positives and negatives for businesses. YouTube videos are cheaper and easier to create and upload. Traditional TV advertising however is much more expensive but can reach a huge audience straight away. With YouTube, the content has to be interesting and current for this younger audience so it can be shared across social media platforms. For example, the Christmas 2016 race for best TV advert in the UK was hotter than ever. The adverts created by John Lewis, M&S, Waitrose & Aldi, the leaders in the race, made their adverts available on YouTube. Why? Because there it could be shared across social media and debated by its audience. No more panels for feedback.

  1. Outsourcing and Freelancing

Over the last few years, there’s been a huge rise in businesses using outsourcing websites such as Upwork. Freelancers can be hired at a relatively low-cost for businesses to produce content (written and video), hire programmers, graphic designers, customer service support and much more. They offer a cheaper and quicker alternative to traditional employment routes. Outsourcing marketing, social media management and administration tasks have become particularly popular and have meant that business owners can free up time spent doing tasks that are not either within their skill range or distracts from their potential sales. The old saying springs to mind, “Time is Money” ~ Benjamin Franklin.

  1. That Personal Connection

Some business models still involve keeping the customers at arms-length to a certain extent. The larger your business, the harder it may seem to create a personal connection with customers and potential customers. However, recent studies have shown that consumers and your customers, even B2B customers, no longer want or have time for the ‘hard sell.’ If your business can make a personal connection with your customers on social media, through good-quality content and through using targeted advertising and marketing methods, you’ll find that people have more time for you. LinkedIn is a great platform, particularly if you’re in B2B. Getting people to know you and your brand personally before making a choice. Sometimes, being a successful personal brand can boost your business brand. Customers like to know that business owners are accessible and willing to interact.

Accepting change is the first step for your business. 2017 will probably open up more unexpected doors for businesses, as well as close some in terms of marketing and revenue streams, however, it’s vital that trends are acknowledged, built into strategy and steps are taken to develop your business into the future.

If you’d like more information or want to discuss your business strategy and marketing, get in touch:


Getting the Press to Notice You

PR, Press Relations, Public Relations, Media Coverage; whatever you call it, for organisations like charities and some businesses, PR is a vital way of promoting services or fundraising efforts and gaining more revenue streams.

I have been the voluntary press officer/marketing manager/social media manager for a small charity called the Myotonic Dystrophy Support Group (MDSG) based in Nottingham for some time now. Partly because I like to always make sure that I’m offering as much to charity as possible in anyway that I can and partly because my father and twin sister were diagnosed with the condition, Myotonic Dystrophy (MD), a few years ago.

But what does MD have to do with PR?

This article was written by the Mirror, a national newspaper in the UK because of a press release I sent to them on behalf of the MDSG charity. See link below:


Source: The Mirror, 28th October 2016. (

MDSG is a really small charity that raises a small amount of funds each year to enable it to support the families of those suffering from MD. So how did I manage to get national press coverage for such a small charity?

Luckily, the popular UK TV show Coronation Street decided to run a story-line on this very rare form of Muscular Dystrophy where one of their main characters, Steve McDonald is thought to suffer from the genetic muscle and multi-organ affecting condition. The mention of the story-line appeared in the national media and smaller, local media outlets.


Such opportunities present an excellent promotional footstool for small charities to get massive amounts of coverage and raise vital awareness for extra fundraising efforts and to improve the general public’s knowledge of the condition – potentially helping to save more lives and allow for better diagnosis rates.

Case Studies

Through asking for volunteers on social media channels and collecting case studies of MD sufferers and their experiences with the condition, I was able to build a strong press release to send out to local media, which is effectively an in-depth article giving a newsworthy angle that promotes what news the charity is wanting to share. The press release was sent out to some of my contacts in the national and local media in time to fit in with the Coronation Street story-line.

The media channels who accepted the press release from me were all nationals and with some additional research and contact with a couple of the case studies that I’d collected for them, they were able to produce some carefully-written, considerate articles with links back to the charity’s website, meaning huge coverage for this charity.

You can find all of the published articles here:  

The Daily Express (November 2016)

Daily Mail  (October 2016)

The Mirror (October 2016)

“Good PR is all about timing. Imagine you run a business that provides specialist antiques. One day, some lucky person finds a wonderful antique and the social media coverage and press coverage goes mad. Say that antique comes into your field of expertise, there’s your opportunity to shine in the media. It’s all about timing, who you know and how you can get your story and services across in the best possible way. Writing your story is what I do. Timing is everything.”

~ Kate Hill, 2016. Copyright.

Start-Up? The Ultimate New Business Checklist

5 Simple Steps to Starting Up in Business


Unless you fall really lucky with a totally unique idea that large corporations are already willing to invest thousands in, chances are, you’re starting from the ground up like most of us. Despite what some overconfident fools may think, starting-up requires some real thought, a lot of work and a half-decent checklist of progressive steps in order to attain the goal of issuing your first sales invoice.

Here is a checklist. It’s not entirely comprehensive and it’s not pretending to be the best in the world but it is a start. These are all points I wish someone would have ordered for me when I started out on my first business adventure:


  1. Business Planning

Let’s start with the obvious. You don’t jump down a mine-shaft without firstly preparing yourself for what lies ahead i.e. protective clothing, a torch, an instructor who knows where he/she is going…It’s the same in business. Many people who start up a business will never even produce a business plan. When you research ‘business plan,’ it seems quite daunting. It’s not. It’s a structured way of doing some research, writing about what you’ve learned, looking at your competitors i.e. people who have set up similar businesses and also, a good way to get down your ideas and plans for the future. It doesn’t have to be huge, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to reflect your business. Research and planning is also part of finding your place within the market, looking at how you can fit in and what you can do differently to others in order to be better than they are (making more sales).


  1. Marketing Plan

Similar in some ways to your business plan, the marketing plan is just as vital for modern companies. We are in an age where social media has propelled some businesses into orbit and caused others to be a drifter upon the tide. You could either speak to a marketing professional about planning your marketing strategy or you could watch videos on YouTube or do a spot of Googling; however you choose to look into writing a marketing plan, the basic idea behind them is: It shows how you are going to raise awareness of your business, what steps you’re going to take to communicate with your audience and how you want to sell your product or services. Here are some points to think about:

  • Market research – looking at what your competitors are doing to attract attention.
  • Branding – how you want your company to look i.e. logo, tagline, colour scheme etc.
  • Social Media – what platforms will you use? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+?
  • Directory listings – where will you list your business for maximum impact?
  • Advertising – how will you get people to find out about your business? What will you pay?


  1. Budget

Have an idea in mind for what you need to spend. Some of this, you’ll need to cover in your business plan as part of your cash-flow forecast (usually more necessary when you’re looking for a business loan, grant or other investment). Everything costs so the more you can learn to do yourself, if you have the time, the better. Here are some costs that are in most business budget plans:

  • Starting up the company on Companies House.
  • Buying or financing your equipment i.e. machines, computers, cars etc.
  • Website design and brand identity – making everything look professional and fit nicely together. Foster & Scott is who I always advise for clients for straight-talking, honest and high-quality design and branding.
  • Printing costs of flyers, leaflets, anything your company needs.
  • Advertising costs to get those initial sales coming in.
  • Telephone and internet set up.
  • Rates, water, light, heat, rent and other premises costs.
  • Staff costs if you’re planning employees already.
  • Bookkeeping (cloud-based or traditional methods) and accountancy costs – I always advise Hill & Co Accountants in Sheffield (obviously).


  1. Save your names!

Something I always tell people to do. Whether you’re going for a website straight away or not, buy the domain name for your website for the future i.e. www. yourbusiness .com. Some companies make money by buying the domains once a company is registered and selling them back to you for a lot more money. A cost that you just don’t need. Where else to save your name:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google+
  • Anywhere else you’re looking at promoting your services on.


  1. Register and Go!

Ok, there may be a few more steps for some new start-ups such as securing investment in the company, getting the premises organised and looking for staff but at this stage, it’s good to get things moving and actually register your company with trading name and address on Companies House. Right from the off, get your accounts in order. Keep ledgers for your sales and purchases (records of who you owe and who owes you). If you haven’t already, invest in some quality bookkeeping software such as Kashflow or Xero, both inexpensive for what they offer.


Once you’ve checked off these five steps, it’s all work, work, work. Don’t overlook the importance of words or marketing – tips you can find in the other blogs. If you’d like more information or would like help with your marketing, accounts, bookkeeping or writing, get in touch HERE.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is a word that is brandished around far too much. Unfortunately, not many people actually know what it means, or how to do it.

I get asked all the time: “Do you mean advertising?” No, I don’t mean advertising. Advertising is similar and is effectively an end product or a statistical, measurable way to bring together a stronger marketing plan but it’s not marketing.

A Quick Definition:

Through my experience and knowledge, marketing is the deep understanding through research and market analysis of a brand, product or service that is shared with the necessary, targeted audience across various print, online and technological platforms for the purpose of raising awareness of it, of increasing sales or of promoting attendance (i.e. an event) to it.

Ultimately, marketing is the process of engaging people (a specified target audience i.e. attracting new mothers to a mother and baby magazine) in a brand that has an impact on them. Raising such awareness that they will remember that brand and share their knowledge of it for a period of time.  ~ K Hill. Copyright 2016.

In my experience, some businesses are great at marketing without knowing it; they post all over Facebook, take great photos and videos, ask their friends and family to share posts and best of all, they manage largely on word-of-mouth referrals. Their marketing efforts are not consciously part of a ‘marketing plan,’ however, their success is comparable to companies with great marketing structure.

Then there are companies who are new, high-tech and all over social media. They respond with an automated message as soon as you follow them. They have thousands of followers and a huge online presence but one big problem, they struggle to turn followers into buyers. It works for some, but not all.

Marketing is a fine line between these two examples. The moral of this? Don’t overdo it but don’t forget it all together. It’s great if you can rely solely on word-of-mouth but as I’ve told the majority of my clients, there comes a time when in 2016, you have to have an online presence, even if it’s just so your customers can find you. Creating a simple marketing plan is an effective way to do it and it’s not difficult.

Read my next post: 10 Simple Steps To Marketing in Business (due next week).


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