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What do you do when you run your own business and you hit the summer holidays? For many parents who are running their business from home, the summer holidays can be something of a challenge.
Melissa Talago knows what it’s like as she has run her own PR businesses for the last 10 years or so since she had her two children. “When they were babies it was easier as they could go to nursery, but now there are the school holidays and currently we have nine weeks of summer holidays. It’s too long for summer camps. The challenge is being able to run your business, especially if you work from home,” she says. “There’s more noise and disruption, more cooking and household chores. It’s hard to keep any strategic thinking going. What I have found is that you can juggle your existing responsibilities, but almost always you lose the momentum you have built up from the early part of the year and just tread water. You can stay on top of the things you have to stay on top of, but you leave planning until September and it’s like starting at zero again.”
Melissa, who is Founder of Campfire Communications, adds that you then only have from September to November to build things up until people start winding down for Christmas. “There’s a stop start effect and it’s difficult to keep the momentum going,” she says. PR-wise, often Christmas deadlines for long-lead publications fall in the summer. “There’s a double whammy effect as you lose opportunities in the second half of the year if you don’t do any strategic planning in the summer,” says Melissa.
She adds that often people think strategic planning takes a lot of time and that you need peace and quiet to get it done. She has come up with a short PR planning programme for the summer which aims to save people time and break down strategic thinking into three bite-sized modules held at the beginning, middle and end of the summer.
The modules are done as one and a half hour telephone calls. “The aim is to allow people to plug into an overarching template so by the end of the summer they have done their strategic thinking. They don’t have to do it in one go and they won’t have that nagging sensation throughout the summer they they should be working so that they never relax or enjoy their time off,” says Melissa who is based in York.
The first call focuses on the big picture such as assessing your target market and evaluating what you are offering. The second is on how to reach your market, press outreach, social media, building a calendar of big events coming up that you can feed into and creative brainstorming, for instance, about freebie downloads you can offer. The third is a critique of what you have done and a look at what more you could do. The programme includes devising a press list so businesses can hit the ground running come September and an 11-module course on how to do their own PR. “It will save them the month of September,” says Melissa.
The one on one marketing support costs £250 a month and the last sessions includes email support for the whole of September and Melissa’s help in investigating press opportunities.
She says the idea for the programme came about because she was planning her own summer. “I wanted to really be with my kids, but I knew I needed to focus on my business. I thought if I feel like that then I know others will be sharing that feeling.“
*The Summer Camp will start on 1 July 2015 and is now open for registration. For more information and to register for the camp go to www.campfirecommunications.co.uk/summer-camp