Sue Ingram is the author of “Fire Well: how to fire staff so they thank you” and founder of Converse Well, a training company which provides workshops for managers in how and what to say when managing and firing staff. In 2000 she became one of the UK’s first Executive Coaches; she is an Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University and her workshop on Difficult Conversations formed part of their International MBA program.
Why did you decide to go with a PR service and what were you hoping to achieve?
Well, there are a lot of coaches around at the moment and some of them may be very good so it’s a somewhat difficult field get ahead in. I wanted to gain visibility and increase credibility in my niche.
I have over 27 years’ experience of working in HR and related fields and as well as writing my book for managers, I run a workshop called “How to Fire Staff so They Thank You”. Not many people believe this but it is possible to fire someone and have them say thank you. You need to know how to sit down and talk with an employee who isn’t happy in their job and therefore isn’t the best they can be within your company. If you can do this in the right way then, even if the conclusion is to let that employee go, they will see that it’s the best thing that could have happened to them.
I have a very specific niche, so it’s important for me to be noticed by the right people, in particular managers and those working in HR. They are more likely to pay attention to what you have to offer if you’ve had quality media coverage where it matters. So, gaining recognition and generating awareness, that would then generate more business – that was the end goal.
What are you most pleased with about the service you received from Panpathic Communications?
It’s been a pleasure and a very positive experience; it’s good to have someone like Chantal Cooke to guide you and encourage you. She promised at least one publication each month and I received far more than that. However, I’m not a real writer; I struggled to write the articles every month so it was good to have her holding my hand generally.
She also didn’t hype me, she explained to me in the beginning that this is a long-term thing. But she has good contacts in the industry and knows how to speak to journalists and get their attention. Which is why I’ve written for, and been seen in some great publications. For example, I’ve made regular contributions to CityAM and one of my dreams was to be featured in People Management. That dream has now been fulfilled and I’m really chuffed about that, it’s been the highlight for me so far. It really adds to your profile if you can post links to media material of that quality. And this year a conference contacted me directly to speak at their event in front of 200 people; that came directly from Chantal’s PR activity and the articles Panpathic got published for me.
It’s also a matter of confidence; to have articles out there that I can point to; that gives me confidence. And being a published author is important; the book has changed the perception of my business. The coverage I’ve had has differentiated me from the rest of the coaches and trainers, it’s given people the reassurance that I’m credible and know what I’m talking about.
What advice would you give others thinking of hiring a PR service?
Realise it’s a long-term game; it takes time to build a reputation and make what you have to offer exciting to others. Follow the advice you’re given by your PR person, and use social media. I have very proudly shared everything that’s been posted about me and my business and people have responded and been very enthusiastic. So, building a general awareness at a respected level is part of it too, it’s not only about generating more business and new clients, that comes later.
Chantal for instance knows how to rewrite titles to make them grab people’s attention; she just knows what works and what not. With her, you’re in a safe pair of hands, she knows this business, she knows what she’s talking about and she delivers.
Book: “Fire Well: how to fire staff so they thank you.” Find it here