Getting to grips with digital

Meet Maxine Kerley, a digital marketer and owner of Digital Bon Bons, a marketing company for parent and children focused businesses.

Tell us about yourself

I am a digital geek and I can’t hide it. I’ve worked for a number of different industries over the years from a dental software company to a fashion brand and it was while I was working for this fashion brand that I really discovered and fell in love with digital marketing. I say love because I really did, it hit me hard and to have something you do for a living be a passion as well – I’m grateful for that.

I’d had experience working with parent and children focused brands in previous job roles and it was while I was on maternity leave with my daughter Ava, that I really started to get to know these type of businesses and what their challenges were. I returned to work in 2015 and then last summer created Digital Bon Bons – a marketing company helping business owners reach their target audiences of parents and children, digitally. I officially launched on New Year’s Eve 2016.

Top tips

Getting to grips with digital marketing takes time and making a business work online can take even longer. For a business owner, you want to see results for all the efforts you’re putting in. I’ve collated together some tips that can help you get started.

Get verified

You have a fantastic website and it’s live but Google doesn’t know about it and it won’t until you verify. You need to tell it that it’s there, waiting to be crawled and picked up for search results. This is done using Google Search Console, so you will need a Gmail Account to do this, but a Gmail Account is so important, especially if you want to take advantage of Google Analytics too. Once verified you will start seeing your site appear in listings.

Have a plan

To really make a success of digital marketing in your business you need to have a strategy outlining your goals. Ask yourself – “What do I actually want to achieve with my digital marketing?”. Is it website hits, e-commerce sales, thought leader? Whatever your goals, you need to have these on record. The next step is creating a plan. This will detail how you will achieve those goals, the actual methods that will be put in place across all the digital platforms you are using. This will not only help you stay focused but will save hours of time, crawling the internet for content ideas, posts, designing newsletters late into the night.

Local search

You want your business to get found when people type words into search engines – this is all down to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and one of the big topics so far this year is about ‘local search’. If you have a local business, for example, a class or a bricks and mortar shop then you need to be thinking about local search. Using tools like Google My Business to highlight all your business information is really key. This means when someone is searching and your business is applicable, it will not only pop up in the page results but also on the right hand side with a box full of your images, website, opening times, address and reviews.

Use tools

Being your own boss is hard work and time management is an issue a lot of my clients struggle with when it comes to social media. With so many platforms and trying to reach the right customers, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up. A social media management system is a huge help in not only planning your posts and content but also for providing reporting so that you can see how well it is all going or where your challenges are. I’ve used several systems over the years so some of my recommendations are Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social (ideal for larger businesses), Planoly and Later. The last two are specifically for Instagram and while they won’t automatically post for you like other systems for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it does prompt reminders for you. Come on Instagram, change that API and help us business owners out huh!

Digital success definitely doesn’t happen overnight, even though it may seem that way for some. It takes work and planning but it can be done and you can do it.


Maxine’s following…

Doing it for the Kids
When I launched the business I discovered Frankie’s account on Instagram and it was brilliant. For a newly launched business I felt like I was amongst friends. The community she has created around DIFK is brilliant because not only are there regular blog posts from inspirational people but you always feel you have support and you’re never alone.

A Branch of Holly
Her blog is filled with productivity tips to help keep you focused on what you want to achieve in your business. I’ve read so many of her amazing post on helping you manage your time, how to achieve better results in your blog and much more. She is truly fantastic at what she does.

Emma Gannon
I discovered Emma on Twitter first and before I knew it I found her Podcasts and I just couldn’t stop listening. She interviews truly amazing women about their journeys, their inspiration and it’s funny and light.  Her website is a fantastic hub of life online and last year she published her first book of the same name all about growing up online. So many things I identified with having grown up with Yahoo Chat and AOL, not to mention a dial up modem.


Maxine’s work…

digitalbonbons.com
instagram.com/digitalbonbons
twitter.com/digitalbonbons
facebook.com/digitalbonbons
pinterest.com/digitalbonbons

Making your voice heard

Consumers make quick judgements about brands. We spend so much time online these days, we are constantly making snap decisions on who to follow. There can be different motivations as to why someone chooses to follow you, but for the purposes of this article I want to focus on businesses who are trying to attract new customers, and retain existing ones. If you’re looking for some quick pointers to help you stay on track with your marketing strategy read on.

BE CONSISTENT

One of the biggest turn-offs for a lot of people is inconsistency. As a consumer if you aren’t sure what a brand represents it can be confusing and you are less likely to commit to following and engaging with them. If you are starting out and want to build a community (and ultimately attract customers) you need to set out a clear brand identity for your company. I’m not just talking about visuals, but knowing how to translate your brand’s personality into the written word is crucial too. Are you funny, informative, irreverent or serious? Try anthropomorphising your brand – for example if Social Butterflies was a person it would be a career driven mother who was a savvy consumer of lifestyle products and services. If you can define its personality and attributes you can begin to see its place in the market. Being confident about this information will help you stand out from the crowd and create a niche for your business.

STAY TRUE TO YOU

Don’t keep chopping and changing your offering. Nothing says “I don’t know what I’m doing” more than a company that regularly changes its image and business offering. Being consistent doesn’t mean you can’t evolve of course, but over time. If you’re overhauling your entire proposition within a matter of months from launching (or even every couple of months) then something is seriously wrong. You need to take time out, reassess what it is and have a clear business strategy before you start marketing your services. Particularly if you are offering any kind of marketing services – this could be the kiss of death for your business otherwise.

THINK LIKE A CONSUMER

The best way to get back to basics with your online business presence is to think about how you interact with social media as a consumer. Sometimes you can be so immersed in the day to day running of a business you forget to put yourself in the consumers’ shoes. Look at how other businesses project their image online – what works and what doesn’t.

BE A LEADER

But don’t follow a lazy business model by simply copying what other people are doing. Authenticity and originality are the attributes which will engage and retain your customers, so keep it real. You’ll find that customers in a niche audience will tend to follow the same people, so you will stand out as a copycat pretty quickly. If you’ve been inspired by someone else’s success then that’s great, but trying to keep up appearances and shadowing someone else’s online persona will only lead to feelings of disappointment. Concentrate on your own strengths, your company’s USP and carve out your own voice.

DON’T OVERSTRETCH YOURSELF

Don’t compare your business offering to others and simply try to match or exceed it. If you have a strong offering in one or two keys areas, then focus your energy on building those up and making them pay. Once you’ve honed those, then you can look to expand your services or product range. Spreading yourself too thin just to keep pace with competitors is not good business practice. Always remember what your key skill sets are, refine them and teach yourself new ones.

IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

The message is pretty simple: know who you are and what you do. It’s not rocket science, but so often people get overwhelmed by the mass audiences online and start to panic. This is totally understandable; it can be an overcrowded marketplace. But all the more reason to take a step back and have a clear digital marketing strategy in place before you go live. Be confident in your offering and if in doubt seek advice from professionals.


If you’re interested in finding out more then visit my new digital marketing consultancy website: amywhitedigital.com.

The authentic face of PR

Kelly Pike is an arts and culture PR Consultant based in Bristol, and owner of Folk Public Relations. The phenomenal rise of digital and social media has changed the landscape of public relations. With that in mind we asked Kelly to share her thoughts on the industry, the age of the social media influencer, and how best to promote your business online.

Tell us about yourself

A lot of things can lead a girl into PR and for me it was books and a love of talking to people. Non stop. I spent most of my career working in London publishing houses looking after household names and award winners of all kinds. I loved it. Big time. But children and London’s crazy property ladder saw a move to the south-west and Folk Public Relations was born. Slowly and on the back of very little sleep. I specialise in arts and culture PR but am excitingly branching out into some mama-brands such as This Mum Runs.

How has digital technology and social media changed the PR landscape?

Recently I’ve found myself thinking back to the start of my career, in the early noughties. Back then we used to joke about bloggers asking for review copies and how really they were for their nan or a present. Not for promotion. Publicity was very traditional then. It probably hadn’t changed for decades. Digital technology and the social media revolution have changed my industry more than many. It’s not enough to get great coverage in a women’s glossy or a TV show. Now a campaign needs to feel holistic and organic. And it needs to feel real.

Social media is a key part of this. We’ve seen the traditionally fairly separate disciplines of marketing and publicity merge so that quite often now publicity includes social media marketing and all my plans will include social media influencers now in the way they used to include celebrities.

It’s actually quite nice because I think it all feels a bit more authentic. Influencers are already your target demographic so what you end up with is publicity which feels much more authentic and real. And PR which feels like that is much more likely to end up creating the much courted and incredibly elusive word of mouth affect.

What are your top PR tips for women wanting to promote themselves and their businesses online?

What social media has also done, of course, is make promoting yourself much more accessible. Social media influencers should be the core part of anyone’s campaign; sometimes the only part of your campaign. And because you can usually contact them directly through Instagram or twitter, there’s no excuse.

Make it authentic
You need to get to know the influencers and treat them as people. Chat to them, make friends. It’s social media after all. Then they are much more likely to want to help you by featuring your product. And you gain some new friends. Win, win. It all makes sense really. Call it PR karma if you will.

Stories
If a career in book publishing has taught me anything it’s the power of the story. Stories sell; stories get under the skin; stories help people connect with a product. Everyone has a story and the key to a great PR campaign is finding its story. I will always ask my clients if there are any personal stories behind what they are selling. And there is always something – be it that eureka moment, a journey through adversity or a family member who inspired them.

Read the papers
Whilst social media adds depth and voice to your campaign and many great brands have started out there, you lose nothing by knowing the media. I keep a reference collection of newspapers to remind myself of columns and writers and headlines which work well. And I read as much as I can. You then start to get a sense of where your story will work best – life and style sections for example, or first person columns. Keep and eye on the news to see if you can use it as a launch pad for an opinion piece.

And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone
I’ve noticed that fewer people like to do this. It feels almost rude but it’s still the best way to make sure things happen. At least you know they’ve heard you when you speak to them.

Don’t give up. Keep being you. Making friends. You’ll get there in the end.


Kelly’s is following…

This Mum Runs: I recently started running. I never ran. Ever. I would stand in the cold and laugh in people’s faces weekly at the park run as I waited yet again at Park Run. I would never run. But then I came across This Mum Runs and it’s ethos has been a total game changer for me. Mel Bound is an incredibly inspiring woman who has made it her mission to empower women who felt like they had lost themselves, or felt lonely, isolated, depressed or just lacking in me-time and give them headspace through free social runs and a hugely supportive, welcoming and active Facebook community. She also runs a totally parent friendly business and she recently was picked as a figurehead for a huge Facebook campaign #SheMeansBusiness and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of their 100 disrupters.  They have done incredible things in the south-west but are expanding to London in April. I urge all mums everywhere to check her out.

Doing It For The Kids: One day when I was felling a bit worried about where my next project was coming from I came across Frankie and her blogline Doing It For The Kids. We got chatting and before I knew it I was writing for her. It has hugely increased my love and engagement with Instagram because the community of freelance parents there are so supportive. We’re all going through the same issues. It’s great to not feel alone. Plus I got some projects out of it


Kelly’s work

folkpublicrelations.co.uk
twitter.com/publicistkelly
instagram.com/bristol_mama

CV reality check

I work from home a couple of days a week, and like all women I end up doing chores in between work. Loading the washing machine, unloading the dishwasher (and reloading), checking the fridge for missing items before the inevitable ‘top-up’ shop to the supermarket later (I feel a sad sense of achievement if I can avoid going at least once a day). My ability to multi-task is second to none, as is my ability to procrastinate. The internet has been calling me today with its cheeky loveliness and I’ve been powerless to resist. However, and quite unbelievably, amid endless cups of tea, a quick power-up in the form of a few ‘Waitrose-mini-hot-cross-buns’, I have actually written my CV. I know, I’ve even impressed myself.

I run this magazine alongside my day job, and I’m currently trying to find time to launch my freelance business (digital marketer and editor). During this process I’ve been going through my CV for the first time in a long while, and oh my lord it’s been an uphill struggle. Does anyone else find writing in a self-promotional style buttock-clenchingly awkward? I’m happy to write about other people and tell their story, but when it comes to listing my own experience and achievements I feel out of my comfort zone, much like Nigel Farage at a Eurovision party.

Writing down your professional story is an exhausting process, but once you’ve written it you can spend an infinite amount of time refining it, or as I like to call it, disappearing down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest (goddamn you Pinterest). There are so many styles and designs these days for CV writing that I find it all a bit overwhelming. So I’ve decided to stick to my guns and opted for simplicity. A clean design coupled with riveting lists of experience and achievements *should* speak for themselves.

Part of the reason I’ve done this, is so I have a clear vision of what I can offer, what I know and how much that is worth to a business (and I don’t just mean financially, don’t underestimate sparkling wit and personality). If you’re thinking of returning to work, looking for a new job or perhaps starting a business, writing a CV can be a cathartic process – think AA meets NCT (but with jobs) – the first step is admitting you’ve got a problem, and remember, it’ll be worth the pain! It’s a good idea to get other people to check for errors obviously, but most importantly, writing about yourself in the third person (always a bit weird, but necessary in this context) helps you think objectively about what it is you have to offer. Which, I can guarantee will always be more than you think – age for once is a distinct advantage!

Desk reality: clearly need to buy A LOT more wine by the way

I’ve used two photos to illustrate visually what I mean about having a ‘CV reality check’. The main image is obviously not mine but an idealised, Instagram composition (credit to desk of dreams creator: Emma Highfield). The second one is the reality of my home working situation (it’s my kitchen table surrounded by crap). My point is that you need to think of a CV as you would the picture perfect desk – it’s a contrived version of reality. We recognise the same concept in the real picture, i.e. there is a table and a computer, the similarities end there sadly. So don’t stress about how to present yourself on paper – just write it down and tidy it up later.

We all have bundles of experience to offer future employers, particularly once you’re over the hump of, ahem…35 (ish). We should learn to celebrate our achievements for what they are, not compare ourselves to Instagram perfection (that gorgeous desk can bloody well piss off with all its neatness). Being a mum unofficially qualifies you as a PRINCE2 practitioner, referee, chauffeur, wine taster extraordinaire, UN diplomat (I could go on). Basically you’re awesome, even if at first glance your CV needs sprucing up.

Something for the weekend

Meet Claire Robinson, a travel blogger, digital trainer and consultant based in the Cotswolds. An established career as an advertising creative enabled Claire to go freelance as a creative copywriter seven years ago to work more flexibly around her daughter. As well as writing her travel blog Weekend Candy, running training courses and launching her digital consultancy, Claire has found time to share her story and her Spring weekend recommendations with us.

Tell us about yourself

By day I’m a freelance copywriter for digital and advertising agencies, then by night I’m the founder and owner of a travel blog about weekend breaks in the UK and Europe. I’m not quite sure how I ended up here, but I guess it had something to do with doing English at university, followed by a creative writing MA. I’d always wanted to write (particularly about travel) and kind of fell into my first writing gig with a small nutritional company after university. From there I went to a publishing house, then to advertising agencies where I worked in the creative department and came up with ideas for advertising and digital campaigns. I went freelance about seven years ago to help fit in with being a single parent to a beautiful girl. I didn’t know if freelance would work, but I’m a big believer in ‘leaping and building your wings on the way down’. Thankfully it worked (big yay) and I’m still freelance with a good base of clients. My blog Weekend Candy, started after I won Eurostar as my freelance client. I was writing travel destination content and it reignited my passion for this sort of writing. In the old days, to be a published travel writer you’d need to be featured by a magazine or newspaper but digital has changed all that (very big yay!). Knowing this, I gobbled up books about blogging and went on courses about starting and running a blog – then I just did it. I pressed publish on my first piece and have never looked back!

How has digital technology and social media has changed the way you work?

Digital technology has made it possible to live my dream: travel, write and share my stories with others. I think it’s incredible that people with a passion can now turn that into a viable online business, it’s so exciting, so liberating. It’s wonderful watching and sharing in others successes online.

I love the way digital has broken down traditional barriers: we’re no longer tied to 9/5 or an office desk. We can work from just about anywhere. One day I hope to be fully remote, working when I want, where I want – that’s the next part of the dream. I also love the instant gratification that comes with working in a digital medium as opposed to print. I can see immediately who’s read my posts, who likes my stuff, the affect my work has had (if any!).

Social media is my closest friend! It’s the lifeblood of my blog, driving traffic my way, but more importantly, allowing me to connect and reconnect with exceptional people, readers and long lost friends. I love that I’ve friends via social who I’ve never met but feel close to because I follow their online lives.

I’m a huge fan of live broadcasting and ‘stories’. Both are great for my brand because they give people real insights into me and my life. It also allows them to see behind the scenes of the work I do. I think that helps people feel connected to my brand and, hopefully, deepens their loyalty to me.

Social has also allowed me to co-found a group called Cotswolds Bloggers and Influencers – connecting brands with local bloggers for mutual benefit. We started it with a Facebook group and the group is growing rapidly. We host social events and will be launching training sessions and Insta-walks soon, too. All thanks to the power of social.

TOP WEEKEND CITY BREAKS FOR SPRING

BRISTOL: FOLLOW THE BANKSY TRAIL

DO THIS: Zip straight to Bristol’s gritty graffiti core with a Where the Wall Banksy Street Art Tour. Led by street art legend (and Banksy mentor) John Nation, it’s two hours of brilliance serving up works by Banksy, Inky, Stik and Nick Walker.

SEE THIS: Cruise around Stokes Croft for a while longer – the tour ends here – lapping up the eclectic vibe before heading to Bristol’s historic waterfront. Bristol Harbourside today is almost Parisian in its cosmopolitan style. Trendy bars, shops and galleries flag the dock where the city once traded with new colonies. Cross to the M-Shed where Bristol’s past and people are innovatively celebrated in three exhibit-filled floors. Don’t forget to check out the famous Banksy The Grim Reaper on the First Floor just outside the Bristol People Gallery.

EAT HERE: Fill your belly with a distinctly modern crust in Pieminister, Stokes Croft. Industrial in décor, inventive in design, it’s got enough hipster pies to satisfy the most fussy pie-lover.

STAY HERE: Retreat to the enchanting Boutique Arthouse B&B five minutes’ drive from Bristol’s city centre. Run by art lecturer Sadie Spikes and her husband, it’s a B&B that’ll leave your soul nourished and your spirits forever lifted. I can’t wait to return.

DISCOVER MORE: What to do in Bristol in 2 Days

EDINBURGH

DO THIS: Walk the The Royal Mile, said to be the oldest street in the city. It snakes through the old town from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood house flanked with shops selling tartan, whisky and shortbread; restaurants, bars and cafes; and historic monuments. Afterwards, pay a visit to Edinburgh Castle. It costs £16.50 to get in, but is worth the fee for the treasures inside.

SEE THIS: Take a tour of Greyfriars Kirkyard – the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk church near Grassmarket. It’s alive with history and character and is particularly famous for Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal police dog that wouldn’t leave his master’s grave for 13 years.

EAT AT: Scotland is synonymous with whiskey. So to mark the partnership, eat at the Whiski Rooms restaurant where they serve seasonal Scottish food. And if you want a dram of whiskey on the side, you’re in the right place: tastings are also on offer.

STAY HERE: Just a 10 minute stroll north of the hustle and bustle of famous Princes Street, you’ll find Nira Caledonia – a boutique, luxury hotel nestled quietly in a high-class, historic neighbourhood. (Romantic Getaway Packages start at £176.)


Claire’s following…

Paris in Four Months
For her beauty, style and astronomical success I have to say Carin Olsson. I love her pictures and watching her Instagram Stories. She’s definitely my go-to Insta-Crush for inspiration and to stay on focus in that medium. She’s also my injection of Paris beauty when it’s a grey day in the muddy Cotswolds!

Melyssa Griffin
A true girl boss and entrepreneur. She went from designer to creative coach in a relatively short space of time. I love the in-depth, no-nonsense, smart-talking, free value she gives to women who want to rock their online business. I’ve bought a couple of her courses and find her a real inspiration.

The Blonde Abroad
Kiersten Rich was the first travel blogger I came across and had the sort of fizzy, feel-good blog that I aspired to. She’s always full of beans and her articles and pictures are so vibrant that you totally get sucked into her travels.


Claire’s work 

weekendcandy.com
instagram.com/weekendcandy
twitter.com/weekendcandy
facebook.com/helloweekendcandy

Workshops
I’m fortunate to be working on many exiting projects at the moment. The first is two workshops I’m running with Lucy from On the Luce. We’ve co-founded Cotswold Bloggers and Influencers and are now offering training to aspiring bloggers and businesses. Our first two sessions, Blogging for Business and Social Media Booster, are being held at Meggies in Stow on the World. Click here to book tickets: cotswoldsbloggers.co.uk/training

The Business Suite
Secondly, I’m also setting up a digital business suite for SMEs who want to start rocking their online presence, called The Business Suite. Once launched, it’ll have online courses, free downloads and bags of free advice about blogging, social media and websites. To sign up click here: weekendcandy.leadpages.co/weekend-candy-business-suite

Key digital trends for 2017

Ever feel like you can’t keep pace with the digital scene? You’re not alone. Even for someone like me (who works in the industry) it’s a constantly shifting landscape and I try my best to keep my skills current (attending courses, meet-ups and networking). But it can feel a bit alienating when you attend a conference and one of the speakers is 24-year-old Steven Bartlett, CEO of a global agency Social Chain (I felt a bit like Mrs O from Acorn Antiques in comparison). OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but the point is if I felt like that, then how bewildering must that be for others trying to get to grips with the digital scene.

 

Steven was speaking at an amazing conference I attended today called Digital Gaggle. It’s a digital marketing conference today run by Noisy Little Monkey – a search and social media marketing agency in Bristol. I’m always looking for opportunities to enhance my digital knowledge and get to know people in Bristol and it was a great opportunity to do both. I’m currently trying to get my head around all the different data analytics tools available to measure web and social media traffic and engagement. It’s not my natural playground if I’m totally honest, but I’m determined to enhance my knowledge and feel confident discussing it.

I had a great chat with a delegate about the way marketing has changed so fundamentally. In the old days before digital marketing it was much harder to measure success in a tangible way: for example you could never prove how many people read a press ad and then went on to buy that product as a result. With the advent of digital analytics you can pinpoint the exact route that customer took to the point of purchase. The ability to prove this precisely and quantitatively has split marketing into the ‘analysts’ and the ‘creatives’ – if you can manage to straddle both then I bow down to you.

The speakers at the conference today were full of inspirational stories and happy to share their inside track on different aspects of the industry. I’ve outlined below the key points I took from today which I thought it might be useful to share for anyone with an online presence.

KEY DIGITAL TRENDS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2017

LIVE VIDEO
Already gathering popularity on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook – streaming will become ubiquitous across platforms. Get ready to watch a lot of crap on Facebook as people accidentally click ‘live’…

THE ‘STORY’
The ephemeral video feature which began life on Snapchat (copied by Instagram) will dominate and move onto other platforms. I’m a big fan of this and the fact it disappears after 24 hours means any mistakes will die too!

RISE OF THE MICRO-INFLUENCER
The celebrity status of the mainstream influencers such as Zoella and Deliciously Ella etc) has created a gap in the market for the micro-influencer (20-30k followers). It’s a numbers game – if you have over 500k+ followers you simply can’t engage with them all and brands want access to engaged audiences. Micro-influencers offer brands this access with niche, hyper-engaged audiences (and they are a lot cheaper). As Holly from Noisy Little Monkey, says: “size isn’t everything”.

SOCIAL LISTENING
Attention spans aren’t dwindling: they are in perpetual motion, according to Steven Bartlett from Social Chain. We are all simultaneously consuming multiple media platforms: watching TV, scrolling through Instagram, checking Twitter, surfing Facebook, browsing shopping sites. Brands are increasingly using sophisticated social listening software to track what you are talking about, searching for and following online (it’s all a bit Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror if you ask me!).

MESSAGING APPS & BOTS
Ever thought of WhatsApp as a social media platform? No, me neither until today. But apparently in the Far East private messaging apps are the dominant players and big brands are getting in on the action. This success is being replicated elsewhere in the world and it’s coming our way, with the use of artificial intelligence bots.

My final thought however is not about technology trends, but something I hold closer to my heart. It was a message from the final speaker of the conference Lisa Myers of Verve Search: if you want to succeed in the digital world then you need to show passion, grit and hustle. Think what can do you for the person sitting next to you, and help elevate them. Well, I may not be literally sitting next to you, but hopefully my blog post will help ‘elevate’ your digital knowledge and awareness. That’s what I love about the digital scene – it’s all about collaboration and democratising information. I may never get to grips fully with Google Analytics (or be a creative geek) but maybe there’s enough room for everyone to stand out in their own way.

Design with style

Gayle Mansfield lives in Worthing and runs her own company Gayle Mansfield Designs, which specialises in producing bold, typographic prints and cards. Having changed careers and taught herself design and typography she successfully setup her studio and was able to pursue her passion for design and interiors. Gayle now runs a growing business and is a great entrepreneurial example to other women looking to find a fulfilling career which fits around family life.

We asked Gayle to share her story and her interior styling tips – check out her dreamy Instagram accounts for beautifully curated photographs of her prints (see images below) and her magazine-worthy home (which will be featured in House Beautiful magazine later this year).

How and why did you set up your design business?

I’ve always loved design and interiors in particular but never had the confidence or opportunity to pursue a career in the industry, instead I worked as a project manager for a housing organisation and interiors stuff was a hobby. After I graduated (more years ago than I care to remember!) I started working for a local council and progressed from there. After about 15 years in that field I had the opportunity to quit and took a couple of years out, focusing on renovating our house and looking after our young daughter. I felt the time had come to set something up by myself. I’ve always had friends telling me I should be an interior designer and I do hope to end up doing some styling in the future.  My partner is a graphic designer and I kept having ideas for designs for wall art so he encouraged me to set up a small shop and see how it went. He has been instrumental in the whole process and I absolutely couldn’t do this without him. We bought a huge industrial printer from one of his clients as I was keen to do all our production in-house.  I had a business idea years ago when my daughter was a baby but due to personal reasons I couldn’t pursue it (someone else has since done it!) and that really spurred me on to come up with something else.

How has digital technology and social media helped grow your business?

There really is nothing else quite like Instagram for small businesses, particularly a visual one such as mine. I owe a lot of my success so far to Instagram. I tend to use the same content on Facebook but it’s not really so instrumental to my success (aside from nudging my friends to buy something!) and I feel my business is best placed on Instagram at the moment. Having said that I am a member on some Facebook groups set up for women in business and these are brilliant. I’m currently doing a course about how to use Pinterest effectively for business, which is really exciting.

How to style prints in your home

Try hanging pictures without a frame for a relaxed look

gayle mansfield

“In our daughter’s room I have styled one of our personalised prints with a Happy banner from This Modern Life and some ball lights from Tiger. I like to hang pictures with no frames for a relaxed look.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple picture ledge creates an effective display

sofa and picture by gayle mansfield designs

“Above our sofa we have an IKEA picture ledge with framed photos we sourced from Unsplash. I really like the thin profile frames from IKEA as shown here in black.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group prints together for a bold, contemporary look

pictures on wall by gayle mansfield

“We have an area at the end of our kitchen that needed to be pulled together and I have achieved this by hanging two prints above this upcycled (by me) dresser. I like the look of two different sized prints together but with the same colours (one on the left by Seventy Tree, one on the right by me).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t have to attach pictures to a wall – try propping them up instead

shelf display of pictures and objects by gayle mansfield designs

“I like to prop prints up rather than commit to always putting them on the wall, as I am constantly moving things around! I have left the cat eyes print unframed as I like the relaxed look.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By placing simple, typographic prints on shelves you can create Instagram-worthy displays

shelf display of pictures and objects by gayle mansfield designs

“Again, I have propped up two prints here, on our shelving in our living room, so that I can move them around easily.  I am naturally drawn to prints that are typographic and simplistic.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gayle is following…

sarah akwiscombe

 

 

 

 

I find @sarahakwisombe‘s approach just so refreshing and real, she really inspires me so much.  She’s clearly very hard-working and knows what she wants and is very passionate about what she does.

blogga i bagis

 

 

 

 

I cannot get enough of @bloggaibagis interior styling.

selfish mother logo

 

 

 

 

I have a lot of respect for Molly Gunn @selfishmother.

Gayle’s work…

gaylemansfield.co.uk
instagram.com/gaylemansfielddesigns
Pinterest.com/gaylemansfield
hello@gaylemansfield.co.uk