Sunday, 30 November 2014

Silent Sunday 30.11.14

From awesome "Have the business you've always dreamed of" session with

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A workshop to help you plan your PR for 2015

Most people have lots of good ideas about their PR but are too busy working on their business to put them into action.

If that sounds like you, then this small workshop is for you. There are only five spaces in each session, so plenty of opportunity to discuss ideas to get you and your business into the press. We'll be discussing some simple PR ideas and you will go home with lots of PR to action and plenty to think about. It costs just £10!

The first one is on Wednesday 7th January from 9.30am to 11am, with more to follow.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Cheek2Cheek tips

Alison was an absolute pleasure to work with and I was thrilled to see that there were two pages in the NWN's Out and About supplement yesterday. The journalist wrote a first person piece about his experience at a recent "learn to dance in a day" event which really captured Alison's fun side.

There were some things that Alison did that make life so much easier for a journalist, and that really helped her to get some positive coverage. While most are obvious, not everyone does them and it's something to think about if you're about to "sell in" your press release.

1. Provide as much information as possible.

Alison was happy to provide the basics; her age, a headshot and information about her background. The more information you can provide, the better. Having all the relevant information to hand means that busy journalists are more likely to use your story. And the more information they have, the more interesting the piece is. Not everyone does this though; when I was a journalist, I was once contacted by a businesswoman who wanted a piece about her business but wouldn't tell me her first name and insisted I call her "Mrs"....

Additionally, when the journalist had a question, Alison got the additional information to him as quickly as possible.

2. Invite the journalist to try it.

I suggested she invited journalists to come and take part in her dance day - after all, the best way to write about something is to experience it for yourself. This led to a piece that really shone a light on Alison's passion for dance and her ability to make learning enjoyable. Could you invite a journalist to test out your product or service for themselves?

3. A news hook

We timed our release on dance to coincide with Strictly Come Dancing, as well as the forthcoming Christmas party season. Have a look through the calendar to see if there's something happening to make journalists take an interest in what you have to say.

4. Case studies

Have you got a happy customer? Then they are better placed to tell your story, as they're impartial and can blow your trumpet for you! Alison provided a number of past and current clients who provided a few quotes for our press release on how she had transformed their wedding dance.

5. Human interest

Every story should be about PEOPLE. Alison was able to provide a lovely human interest element in her press release; after all, everyone loves dancing and weddings. She really thought about the impact that dancing has on people, the joy it brings, the togetherness and the feel-good factor of putting together a routine.

The bonus sixth thing she did of course, was to ask someone else to write it. While you might want to write your release yourself, always ask someone else to check it for sense and for grammar, as you'd be astonished as to the errors that you don't spot when you've written it yourself!

Good luck!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Alison from Cheek2Cheek in today's Out and About mag (free with NWN)

Lovely piece of coverage for Alison from Cheek2Cheek Dance in today's Out and About. It's free with the NWN, so please make sure you get a copy if you're in West Berkshire and have a spare 75p!

Just got this lovely testimonial from Alison:

Hi Margaret, I just wanted to say thank you for all your help in getting this coverage. It wouldn't have happened without you and I can highly recommend your services. Regards, Alison x

In tomorrow's blog, I'll share with you five things that Alison did that helped her get two pages (worth thousands of pounds)of coverage.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Thanks Falkirk Herald!

Callendar Pharmacy story here:

(PS their headline was far better than the one I came up with...)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

People, especially Athena ladies....

I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the Athena Network Newbury north meeting yesterday. It's always a pleasure to network with positive women in lovely surroundings over lunch and coffee, and people were very nice about my presentation which was everything I know about PR in 10 minutes.

We started with a brainstorm.

To be quite honest with you, I can't even read this myself; definitely need to do 100 lines: "I must improve my handwriting".

These were the words that came back at me when I asked people which news stories they found interesting and why:

family business/local employer





good news









These are all great, but at the heart of everything is PEOPLE. Make sure PEOPLE are at the heart of your press releases too.


Monday, 10 November 2014


Vici Language Academy held a graduation event this weekend at the Chequers Hotel in Newbury for about 70 children and adults who have recently completed language programmes in French and Spanish.

The day comprised workshops, taster sessions and oral exams and each participant was presented with a certificate by academy director Nathalie Danon-Kerr.

Presentations were also made to students who had made the most progress, showed the most enthusiasm and for the best behaved children.

Ms Danon-Kerr added: “We’d like to thank everyone who attended the graduation as it shows a real commitment to their language learning. More than 70 people attended and it was lovely to see French and Spanish students of all levels together in an informal setting.”

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Seven reasons how your child could benefit from being bilingual

“The simple fact is children will flourish in so many aspects of their lives and the sooner they begin their bilingual journey the easier it is and the faster and greater the results will be,” said VICI Language Academy owner and language expert Nathalie Danon-Kerr.

“Many of our schools are truly excellent at teaching other languages and only fall down when you realise children are taught to pass an exam rather than love the language, understand the culture and yearn to use their bilingual skills,” added Nathalie.

1 – ‘Children who can speak more than one language are more intelligent than their monolingual peers’

The challenge of learning another language means the brain works in a different way allowing the child to improve their intellectual capacity and develop a greater analytical mind.

2 – ‘Bilingual children have better memories’

Learning a second or third language and having to remember lots of new words and language rules means the brain works harder and becomes fitter creating enhanced working memory allowing kids to perform better in exams.

3 – ‘Being bilingual can delay the onset of dementia’

Recent studies confirm that for adults speaking one language the mean age for the onset of dementia is 71.4 but for bilingual adults it is 75.5.

4 ‘Learning languages makes you more confident’

We see the difference learning a language can make to self-esteem and it boosts the confidence of those who learn with us.

5 ‘Bilingual children are more sensitive and culturally aware’

Bilingual children are more sensitive to others thanks to the way they are exposed to other cultures, foods and different ways of life from a young age.

6 ‘Being bilingual offers your child a competitive advantage in the job market’

An estimated £48 billion is being lost each year in the UK because we can’t speak languages required to do business. Speaking English no longer holds a competitive advantage. Wouldn’t it offer a huge advantage over
the competition if you could hold a meeting in another language or could speak to suppliers? Here at Vici, we’re constantly being asked to help source job candidates who can speak other languages; German in particular.

7 ‘Bilingual children earn higher salaries’

Learning a second or third language will differentiate you from other candidates who place a higher value on your additional skills.
Fourteen-year-old Jess Kerry is considering perhaps studying for an Oxbridge degree in French, having started learning the language since she was two and a half.
“Jess has just taken her options and had to negotiate the right to study two languages at GCSE,” says Mum Lesley who also studies French at the Academy.
“With the cost of higher education Jess was talking about using her languages to study abroad rather than here in the UK. VICI staff have shown her that it is quite possible to study abroad.”
“Last week she was lucky enough to go to Oxford University as part of an aspiration focus through school and now she is determined to study hard aiming to get the grades she needs. Like most teenagers she doesn’t know what she wants to do yet but sees languages as part of her future. Jess is now, proudly, a VICI classroom assistant, something she aspired to for a long time!”
Vici offers group and individual programmes for children and can offer a VIP pass enabling potential students to try lessons for a month free of charge. For more information visit

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Newbury Childhood illness booklet launched

Newbury and District Clinical Commissioning Group and West Berkshire Council’s Public Health Service are launching a comprehensive guide to common childhood illnesses aimed at parents and carers of children aged between birth and five years old.

The free booklet contains helpful information on general welfare and well-being, common illnesses and how to keep children safe and healthy. It also provides advice on when to consult the GP or health visitor and information on common illnesses such as chickenpox, colds, sore throats and ear infections.

Dr Abid Irfan, Northcroft GP and chairman of the Newbury and District CCG said: “The new guide is a fantastic resource for both parents and carers of children aged five and under to advise on how to manage everyday illnesses like conjunctivitis, coughs and colds to knowing how to recognise and act on the more serious conditions like meningitis.

“The website is very clear and the booklet is available in a downloadable form to use by children’s centres, health visitors and other healthcare professionals.”
West Berkshire Executive Councillor for Health and Wellbeing, Marcus Franks, said: “We’re very pleased to support this booklet. Health needs vary for different age groups so it’s good to have a succinct, easy to read reference specifically aimed at those caring for very young children. I’m sure it will be broadly welcomed.”

The free booklet is available from GP surgeries, children’s centres and is also online at with translations into Polish, Urdu and Punjabi.


From left: Dr Abid Irfan, chair of the Newbury and District CCG; Fatima Ndanusa, Senior Programme Officer for Public Health and Wellbeing, West Berkshire Council and Marcus Franks, West Berkshire Executive Councillor for Health and Wellbeing.