SUP & Soul’s PR Power Hour with Melissa

January 4, 2022

Last month, I had the pleasure of hosting a PR Power Hour with Camilla Todd and Clare Osborne, from SUP & Soul. Once upon a time (back in my agency days), Camilla was a client of mine. So, it was great to reconnect and help with her latest project. It was particularly enjoyable as it’s something Cami and Clare are so passionate about.

Camilla founded SUP & Soul in 2019 with a vision of offering paddle boarding experiences that go deeper than just learning to SUP. The company’s vision is to bring together a team of like-minded free spirits to share a love of water, the great outdoors, looking after one another and protecting our planet. On a mission to inspire people to connect with nature, sustainability and wellbeing coach Clare joined the team more recently. She is helping facilitate the coaching and nature-based founders retreats where for-purpose business owners can nurture their projects and ideas.

Cami and Clare were kind enough to let me give you a sneak peek into our discussions. I’m happy to share a glimpse here.

Meet SUP & Soul

I love it when my work neatly combines with my interests and hobbies. This is definitely one of those moments. Given my love for wildlife and water-based activities and my focus on for-purpose comms, SUP & Soul’s combination of paddleboarding, getting back to nature and coaching for purpose-driven businesses really struck a chord.

SUP & Soul offers water, nature and wellness experiences across Sussex. The range of activities they offer include stand up paddle boarding lessons; one-day and multi-day women’s nature-based events (with paddleboarding, wild swimming and life coaching); business coaching workshops and retreats for purpose-driven business founders; and paddle boarding adventure trips and cleanups for all level of paddler.

So, it ticks all the boxes for me. How can we make it tick all the boxes for media? Read on for some insights into our discussion about the company’s upcoming media outreach.

Where Cami and Clare needed guidance

Having worked with Cami before in her previous life as a marketeer, I wasn’t surprised their comms plans were already well ahead of many founders at this stage in the business. They were clear on their target audiences, target publications and had clear comms goals, including how they’d measure success.

So, why did they need me? As many startup founders will relate, there are many plates to juggle when it comes to running a business. Comms plans need to be realistic and manageable from both a time and budget perspective. As well as developing a strategy to get noticed on a shoestring, the pair also wanted to maximise Camilla’s extensive communications expertise while allowing her to step away from the marketing side of things. That way she can focus on running the business.

What we love

I’ve already mentioned above some of the things I love about the business: watersports, nature, mission-driven businesses. Tick, tick, tick. The company’s focus on using nature to inspire change for people and planet is a clear winner for me.

From a media point of view, this is also strong. There’s a lot of chatter in the sustainability space at the moment. But Clare and Cami’s genuine passion comes across strongly, giving the business a feel of true authenticity. They’re also experts in a wide range of topics that might appeal to media (we’ll come onto that). So, offering their insights and opinions will be a great way to help raise the company’s profile. Not to mention they have a clear business strategy and know what they want any media coverage to achieve. Those who’ve worked with me before will know I’m not a fan of doing PR ‘for PR’s sake’. This is why I wanted to make sure any articles add value to the bigger picture. Press coverage should help raise awareness of and confidence in the brand among their target audience.

What did we chat about?

We were starting from a strong foundation. So rather than giving an intro into the basics of PR, as I might for some startup founders, we dove right in. Among other things, we brainstormed which topics would be appropriate for SUP & Soul to comment on in the media. We also looked at some of the specifics when it comes to media outreach. As always, this is just a snippet of our chat but I hope you find it useful.

Tips when sending a press release

The details of sending a press release is something that comes up quite often when I run training sessions and Power Hours. How should I send the release? Who to? What about attachments? A few of the tips I shared with Cami and Clare were…

  • Include the release in the body of the email as attachments can go awry!
  • Make sure images are accessible in the same email via a non-expiring link e.g. Dropbox. Journalists often file content away to return to later and it’s, put simply, a bit of a nightmare if they need to access pics urgently and the files have expired (it could be late at night or you might be busy).
  • Unless the journalist specifically asked for a file as an attachment, it’s usually a no no because it can get caught in spam filters or clog up their emails (among other reasons).

Thought leadership

One of the key things Cami, Clare and I discussed was how to maximise their extensive knowledge around coaching, nature, wellness and blue health without needing them to be involved in the day-to-day comms outreach. As they’re likely to have comms support in the future, we outlined which topics were suitable for them to be positioned as thought leaders and which weren’t quite right.

In this instance, mental health and wellness, becoming more sustainable and using your values to create the impact you want were all relevant topics that the team can be positioned as experts on. Whereas they didn’t want to focus on the more technical aspect of paddleboarding and wild swimming. There are other experts who are better placed to walk about which board to buy, water safety and whatnot. Similarly, articles focused on straight-up business coaching that aren’t relevant to mindset, values and the purpose of your business aren’t quite in line with the company’s ethos. So, when their comms support is looking for PR opportunities or drafting social media posts they know exactly what’s fair game and what to avoid.

A word from Cami and Clare  

Our time with Mel was truly valuable: the advice offered felt unique and tailored to SUP & Soul. Mel had clearly put a lot of thought into how we might best approach our PR and comms strategy so that it aligned with our vision and values. It was comforting to know that Mel’s own values and comms ethos aligned with ours from the outset – something that is super important when working with a consultant. We walked away from our Power Hour with lots of ideas for moving forward as well as some actionable takeaways that felt achievable. Mel’s genuine enthusiasm for SUP & Soul’s vision was heart-warming. Thank you, Mel!

Thank you

I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Cami and Clare and would like to thank them for giving you a glimpse into a few minutes of our chat (of course, with a full hour there were so many other topics we covered!). I’m excited to see where the business goes in 2022 and, hopefully, I’ll be able to join the ladies on the water one day in the not-too-distant future. If you’re close to Sussex and think their retreats could be a good fit for you, I’d highly recommend checking them out!

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