Chairing a press conference with Sir Richard Branson

I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Richard Branson and James Caan this week. Why? How?

Well, I was the PR Director for Business 2012, a show that had over 200 exhibitors, 200 speakers and over 40,000 delegates over 3 days at the o2 in London.

Sir Richard, James Caan and on the final day, Lord Sugar, were our keynote speakers. With 80 national press asking me for press passes for the show in the weeks leading up to it I was in the fortunate position to be able to offer them all 20 minutes with these business icons.

I was particularly pleased to be able to bring my client, 24 year old Vishal Misal, onto the stage to meet the press too. Even though Vishal is a naturally shy person, both Sir Richard, James and the assembled press were eager to give him a platform after a hugely stressful first day (internet access at the o2 played havoc with the registration system). Sir Richard later brought Vishal on stage during his keynote address, hugged him and praised him for his vision in bringing so many people to such a huge show for free.

What were they like to meet? Sir Richard is one of the most down to earth people I have ever had the pleasure to meet and was very keen to share stories and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs. James Caan was also charming, both to our delegates and to the press. Both of these men are hugely busy people so I am incredibly grateful to them for taking the time to speak to the media.

Both of them had a similar thread running through their messages to would be entrepreneurs and business owners…prepare, research and then, once you have everything in place, just get on with it. At a show with so many ambitious young people I think that advice is simple but hugely instructive.

My top PR tip from the show:

When I did get to man my stand, I ran a series of live PR clinics for any delegate that fancied a chat over a coffee. So many of them wanted to get their stories out and a huge number of them were service providers or consultants in their own right. My top tip was for them to share their expertise with their core customer base. If you are a specialist, chances are you know more than a journalist with a general overview. Seek them out, offer to help them with an objective piece and make it easier for them to do their job. Move away from a “them and us” sales approach to the media and become their partner. It is far more effective in the long run.

Business 2012 PR offer

Those who visited my stand and who I managed to speak to were given an offer which I would like to extend to anyone reading this blog post. I used this fantastic software to deliver a series of press releases and quick announcements to the registered media during the show. I also used it as a live News page for any exhibitors to share their news. See here

The offer, is a month’s free trial of the software which includes a databse of 20,000 journalists. In order to see if it can work for you with a fair test, I am offering to draft a professional press release for just £99. All you need to do to activate the offer is request a demo on the home page and use the code Business2012

Here’s to an exhausting but hugely rewarding week.