Freelance PR consultant Claire Thompson an interview
Tell me about your Blog –
My blog is a business blog: one that reflects some on the interesting places I’ve been that would appeal to the tech and telecoms startups, online businesses and other PR companies who make up my customer base.
What was your first blog?
I’ve worked on-line for the best part of two decades, but the first ongoing ‘blog’ that I wrote was around a charity cycle ride I was doing, as much to test the medium as anything else.
It was a big learning experience – you have to be conscious of who’ll be reading it, and I was conscious that professional cyclists weren’t my audience – it was clients, friends, family who were rooting for me, along with others who might be thinking of challenging themselves to ride.
It was impossible to completely transparent – that’s a luxury afforded to genuine journalists. There was only so much I could say about chaffing and Vaseline to that particular audience without putting them off. Although I dare say it might have been good in today’s more cut-throat world of traffic rankings!
Are you contacted by advertisers/PR people?
Advertisers, no not really. I haven’t set up the blog to attract advertising, although it’s something I’d consider in future if I spin off the thupr events site (thupr – the things that help us (PR) is and informal, collaborative eway to bring tools and discussion together to help us develop better practice)
PR people do contact me with potential blogs from time to time. I really don’t have a problem with that if someone has something interesting to say, or an issue to discuss. I’m a bit more cycnical than most, though, and won’t just do a genral PR puff piece.
My (wavespr.com) blog is still growing and taking shape, but generally debating issues is what attracts new traffic, along with anything to do with helping people develop their writing skills. Event reports do garner traffic from people who were there, but I’m not really under any illusions that they’re potential customers or partners.
What do companies or PR companies do that you wish they wouldn’t/ do that you like?
I get infuriated when PR companies start to follow me to see what I’m up to, but won’t engage when I talk to them. They may be looking for ideas or following me because they think I’m working with a competitor. They may be looking for a freelance to employ. I don’t really mind any of that, they’re just doing their jobs, but would it really hurt to start a conversation? Even if it’s about the relative merits of clients products, or approaches to market – PR folk aren’t good at working collaboratively. It’s very competitive, and there’s little ‘honour amongst thieves’.
What do PR companies do that I like?
Work with me on projects. I love being freelance because it divorces you from the politics, but it’s lovely when a client (PR company or otherwise) keeps me up to speed with what’s going on so that I can slot in very quickly when I’m needed.
What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t/do that you like?
Every blog has its own character, so I think each has different strengths and weaknesses. If I have any general criticism, it’s of people who aren’t transparent about when they’ve taken money or products to produce a blog post. Not mommy-blogger types, where it’s relative peanuts and mostly obvious, but senior ‘social media’ bloggers who seek to influence others who talk the talk and criticize lack of transparency and other peoples mistakes, but are less than ‘white’ themselves.
I do worry about the number of people blogging who aren’t aware of the law with regard to copyright and reporters rights (public domain). It creates conflict, and I do think that over the coming year or so we’ll probably see laws tested.
Where do you see growth in the blogging field?
Really, really niche blogs about really specialist things. There’s limited budgets around, and I heard a brilliant summary of a market the other day which could just as easily apply to blogging: get big, get niche, or get out!
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
I broke my leg parachuting. I landed in a tree. Caused much hilarity and made the national press.
What’s your favorite book?
Now you’re asking! There’s not just one. I love Isabelle Allende and Paulo Coelho for their ability to write on lots of different levels – Joanne Harris’ novel Chocolat does the same kind of thing. Most business and self improvement ‘how to’ books are a real turn off, and I end up with another bad habit every time I read one. These days I’d rather ask people I trust.
What is on your iPod?
Apart from the dust, a really eclectic mix of happy, poppy, heart lifting music that has some emotional resonance with me. I’m very loyal to albums I love, and have absolutely no street cred whatsoever, so I’m not naming names!
What events do you attend?
I’m getting fussy. I don’t generally pay for expensive conferences where people talk at you. I look out things where I may get ‘face time’ with people I admire. You can always learn from people, but time is my most precious asset.
Of course I attend the events I set up too, including the thupr events http://www.wavespr.com/thupr/. These are just finding their tempo. I’d like to grow these, and we have some great sponsorships and speakers lined up, although they tend to be people at the chalk face, genuine do-ers rather than talkers.
How do you prefer to communicate?
Over a glass of wine.
Who would you recommend, and why?
Different people for different things. I always do ‘follow fridays’ on Twitter – and say why I recommend people. A lot of people won’t do them any more, but I think they’re useful if they come with a recommendation rather just being a meaningless list of names, particularly for anyone new to the medium.
What is one thing people can do for you?
Get along to Twestival’s site and donate a few pounds to Concern, using the URL http://uk.twestival.com. (I did get dunked with wet sponges in case anyone’s wanting me to earn it!)
People worked so hard together, in their own time, to make their fundraising Twestival events come off. Our cities are just a tiny way short of hitting $100k fundraising, so even small amounts count.
email: claire(nospam)@wavespr.com Remove the (nospam)
(Find me most places socially as claireatwaves)