by helen on November 22, 2013

My dad used to teach people how to fly. No really. He was a pilot in the RAF and, amongst other more covert operations, his career included instructing trainee pilots. It was a career path that was never available to me as I grew up – following in my father’s footsteps wasn’t an option. And then, when I graduated from polytechnic in 1989, the RAF started to recruit women pilots and I just had to go along to the recruitment office in Hull.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. But when they asked me if I would be OK with dropping bombs, I decided that it wasn’t a career I wanted to pursue after all.

So what’s all this got to do with what I do now? Bear with me, it is relevant!

Earlier this week, I attended a Consult Yorkshire networking meeting in Leeds. It’s a group I have been involved with for just over two years. It’s an offshoot of a Linkedin group, the Yorkshire Mafia and its sub-group, Independent Consultants and Freelancers. In addition to the Linkedin sub-group, a hard core of “members” has been meeting every month for about three years.

We’re a diverse group of independent business coaches, but we’re all advocates of the Mafia’s motto “Together We Are Stronger”. Well, as independents, we would say that wouldn’t we!

When I joined, I regarded myself as a freelance PR consultant, providing services to organisations and helping them to raise their profile. I never saw myself as a trainer or teacher.

But over the past two years, for a number of reasons, my role as a consultant has taken a new direction.

To cut a long story short (Spandau Ballet eat your heart out), in 2010 I spent about 12 months learning about social media, training and immersing myself in Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. I recognised as a PR consultant that if I wanted to keep doing what I loved to do, I needed to embrace the new media channels/platforms that were emerging.

Consult Yorkshire gave me an audience to share my newfound knowledge and find out what people wanted to know more about. I found myself sharing what I had learned with my “colleagues” at Consult Yorkshire – and fine-tuning my skills according to what they wanted to learn more about.

I started to provide training and more recently presentations about how to “do” social media.

My role as a PR consultant has evolved. Business people don’t always want to “outsource” their PR. And now that social networking has made it easier for individuals and even companies to reach out to their audiences themselves, more want to know how to do it for themselves.

I’m very happy continuing with my previous role, managing organisations’ PR and advising on strategy and tactics. But now I’m also happy to share my knowledge and experience so those who want to DIY (or DIT, do it themselves) can too.


An affordable, practical alternative to paying a PR consultant to spread the word about your business An affordable, practical alternative to paying a PR consultant to spread the word about your business

MyPRGuideUK is a product of my experience – in every sense of the word. While I am busy working for other organisations (and very happy to be so gainfully employed by some very ambitious businesses), I am also happy in the knowledge that I have created something which hopefully those who don’t have the money to invest in professional PR services, can learn from and use to raise their profiles themselves.

So, in a way, I think I am teaching people how to fly and in doing so, helping them to “kill” their competition.

Now that’s not something I even dreamt of doing when I walked away from that RAF recruitment office in 1989. But I’m very happy with the way things have turned out.

Please do have a look at MyPRGuideUK and let me know what you think. What’s the one thing about PR you’d like to learn more about? Please let me know, I’d love to help :)

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