January 24 The MGMPR Blogger

MGMPR Director Eleanor McGillie practices brand journalism to get results for clients

A brand journalism approach strengthens public relations for all of our clients

By Eleanor McGillie, Director of MGMPR Ltd

MGMPR Ltd, like a lot of start ups, was an invention of the recession. One minute you are working hard and climbing the ladder in a career you have worked so hard to make successful, the next, the company you work for is making cuts, jobs are being lost, redundancy packages are being offered and it’s crunch time – stay and sink or jump overboard and fly off! I chose the latter and I have never looked back.

For almost 20 years I have worked in the media – print, broadcast and digital, in weekly and daily publications. I have worked in magazines and radio stations. I have pretty much ticked all of the boxes.

I am sure everyone reading this who has worked in the media can see how the industry has changed dramatically over the years. Media outlets are hungry to make money, they are constantly battling the regionalisation of newspapers, combating the internet, titles are being lost, posts are being made redundant and journalists are working against the odds on a daily basis. Journalists have become subs, the public have become photographers, titles merge, dailies become weeklies and with the rise and rise of social media platforms, the world and his wife become publishers in their own right.

And, as much as I embrace all media in all of its forms, I decided to jump ship from being a news editor of a regional daily newspaper which covered the south west of England to start up on my own. I always promised myself prior to this that I would be working in newsrooms until the bitter end. But I got fed up working in an environment that was essentially sucking the creative life out of me and I decided to do something about it.

Public Relations was always the career that most journalists pledge never to do. No journalist I knew ever wanted to jump the fence. But, as times were changing and the recession was seriously impacting on businesses across the whole spectrum, I started looking at PR in a very different light.

When I was working as news editor of the Western Daily Press about 80 per cent of my day was battling with PR people on the phone because they didn’t know how to approach a news editor, didn’t know what made a newsworthy story, didn’t know what platform in the paper they were targeting and certainly didn’t know how to write a news story – pure and simply because writing was never their craft. And, as annoying as it was, it was their clients I felt sorry for because they weren’t getting the exposure they deserved and their message was being blurred by account executives who weren’t really sure what they were doing.

Businesses were suffering and I worked hard in my role as news editor to present new editorial platforms to help businesses, to give them a voice, to campaign at Westminster for support for local businesses and to help drive sectors forward.

I was very heavily involved in working to help promote sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, education, aviation, rural affairs, leisure and tourism, construction, food and drink and many more. During the recession I watched sectors get hammered because of public sector cuts, I watched towns lose their high streets to out of town shopping outlets or online shopping, I watched communities crumble because a factory, which employed people living in that community was forced to shut down, I watched rural pubs, post offices and village shops close and I saw how people had to fight for survival by living from food and clothes banks.

So, because of a whole mix of things I decided I would move back to Northern Ireland from Devon, jump the fence, do my research and set up my own company and I can safely say the grass is greener on this side of the fence.

My focus is to help businesses using our brand journalism approach as one of our many communication tools. There are so many businesses and organisations out there which are doing great things with real gusto but are suffering because they simply don’t know how to raise their profile.

So I decided that it was time for me to jump the fence and use the skills which I have perfected over the last 20 years to create a company which gives me all of the challenges I need, to help businesses maintain existing clients but also to attract prospects which will secure their future position in the marketplace.

So, after a year in the making, MGMPR Ltd started trading in August 2012. A rural based PR agency in Northern Ireland. An agency which prides itself in having the necessary skills to communicate your message effectively and efficiently through the appropriate platforms; an agency which is at the heart of rural affairs,  an agency which has excellent press contacts across the region and nationally, an agency which has a vision to grow and grow.

As a start-up, like most other start-ups, there’s a willingness and ambition to grow and grow. My aspiration is that we will create jobs, add value to the local communities and to become the PR contact for businesses in Northern Ireland who want to do great things and make a difference.

Our approach is fresh.  We are here to manage the flow of information from your organisation to your public. We know what makes a good story and we know how to write it well. By Telling Your Story we are building on your success.

2013 has got off to a great start and I look forward with great optimism for myself and my clients. Would I encourage anyone who is thinking of starting up their own business to go ahead? Absolutely. There’s no point on sitting on a fence – just do it. Planning is key!

If you would like to find out more visit www.mgmpr.co.uk or call Eleanor McGillie 028 3756 9569 or 07709805379 | PR Public Relations Northern Ireland

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