Our founder, Ellie MacDonald, shares her views on ‘defining success’ in this months ‘founder’s thoughts’ piece:
This September I’ve been thinking about success. How do you define it? Is it based on cash in the bank and statistics, the house you live in and car you drive? Or a deeper sense of happiness?
Success is not a one size fits all approach. It is subjective and based on what makes you truly happy.
However, when asking business owners to part with their hard-earned cash in exchange to promote their business, of course we need to provide evidence of the results we get for our clients. Furthermore, my team and I often get asked how we can measure the success of PR campaigns.
Firstly, it is important to recognise that a PR agency such as MacComms is exactly that and isn’t a sales agency. Naturally most senior business leaders appoint us to support their business growth. However, it is the ones with a well-defined sales and marketing strategy in which we can build a PR strategy into which allows us to be proactive. This strategic plan, alongside good, regular newsworthy content and strong communication with us are the ingredients to gain the most successful results.
Business people tend to love statistics and so each month we provide a report providing an overview of the activities that have been completed for them as well as upcoming actions, press coverage and media exposure achieved. We also ask for access to Google Analytics and social media insights so that we can report on web and social traffic from the online media coverage achieved.
This is only one strand of the success gained from our work throughout the month. We need our clients to communicate how many enquiries, sales and overall business growth has occurred because of our activity and most importantly the simple but rarely asked question ‘where did you hear about us?’ I’m always astonished how few business owners ask this basic question which provides the most useful information as to what element of the company’s marketing and PR is working best for them. A good agency will use this information to tailor the future activity to ensure a consistent ROI is achieved.
Bigger than these immediate statistics is the credibility and brand awareness achieved from seeing you and your firm in the press, active on social media and providing an expert voice in your industry and/or geographic location. This is something which takes time to build – and is incredibly difficult to measure.
I know from my own experience of having people say they see me everywhere, that my own and MacComms’ brand continues to become increasingly known and credible and I am confident that our own PR efforts are working.
For me and my firm, measuring success is something greater than receiving increased new business enquiries, converting more enquiries into successful clients and seeing your bottom line grow. This appeases my FD and certainly helps take the pressure off rent, bills and salaries to pay each month. But, for me, and I would imagine most entrepreneurs, real success is seeing your dream and passion manifest into reality and being able to make a living from doing something you love.
When I set up in 2015 using my last few hundred pounds savings to get started, I was driven by the desire to only work with good people. I dreamt of building a team of people I really like, who genuinely care about me and the business, and love their work in promoting lovely, passionate people behind some of the most exciting, up and coming entrepreneurial businesses.
Fast forward three years and that’s absolutely what I’ve done! It certainly hasn’t been easy, and I’ve learnt so much along the way but one of the highlights of my year has to be reading MacComms’ intern Emily Daly’s blog post detailing her experience as exactly that which I’d dreamt of creating.
My team is the biggest source of pride for me. Having seen our longest standing recruit, Emily Docherty arrive in July 2017 as a rather timid and shy intern to proudly promoting her to our senior account executive, I have seen her confidence flourish (almost too much on a team night out but the less said about that the better!) (Read Emily’s own words about her experience of a year at MacComms here). And when I first met Sophie, she helped us get out of a bit of a pickle when we were under resourced and at maximum capacity. Not an experienced PR professional but an incredibly talented digital whizz, I fit a role around her capabilities. And with help from our recruitment partner, myinternalrecruiter.com, we’ll shortly see another talented superstar join our team in October.
Before finalising this blog I received my greatest recognition to date. Friday 14th September saw my sister and I attend the regional Forward Ladies heat where I was awarded start-up business woman of the year! Absolutely blown away, I rang my team who had already seen the news on Twitter and were crying with pride with me.
For me, that is success. Great people surrounding you whilst you do something you’re passionate about. Carving your way in life, overcoming hurdles to become stronger than ever and taking a moment to realise just how successful you already are.
For now, the fancy house and car can wait. I know I am already successful and on a journey for even greater success for me and my team.