With ten years of public relations experience under her belt, Kirsty Jarvis founded Luminous PR, a full service tech PR agency with one mission: to bring its clients success. Luminous partners with businesses of all sizes across various sectors, both in the UK and internationally. Her hand-picked team is made up of award-winning journalists and media experts. Kirsty loves working with people and is passionate about helping her clients meet their business objectives.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch. While I enjoyed my career and being part of other people’s teams, I always wanted to start something by myself. I craved the satisfaction of growing something and seeing my ideas develop into something big. Eventually, circumstances got me into a position where I felt ready and confident to do it.
Tell us about your business.
Luminous PR is a tech PR agency. We work with technology brands to gain them coverage in relevant media outlets. We write a lot of the news stories ourselves. We also provide social media, blogging, and marketing services.
In our first year, Luminous PR was nominated for ‘Mobile PR Agency of the Year’ at the Mobile Entertainment Awards. It was really rewarding even to be nominated – we were so new at the time! We’re planning to enter some more awards next year, so watch this space!
Where is your business based?
At the moment, we have offices in both London and Norwich, England. We’re currently exploring some options more further afield, too!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
We started by expanding our network, going out and meeting people as often as we could. We went to a lot of talks and networking events. We also really refined and honed our proposition. We learned a lot very quickly, and adapted to be the best we could be.
Building a strong reputation was also really important for us – especially as a PR agency. We knew it wasn’t just about building turnover, but creating a good reputation which would pay dividends. If you’re a doctor looking to develop your reputation, you could start by asking for a review template from repcheckup.com in order to start tailoring the reviews you get. We were – and still are – selective about the clients we take on so we know we can do the best job possible. With those early jobs, we spent a lot of time creating case studies out of them, and used them to market ourselves to similar brands.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
As a communications agency, we practice what we preach. We keep up regular blogging and social media, which plays a huge role in getting our name out there and driving traffic back to our site.
We’re also big believers in supporting our local business community and being a collaborative agency. We are passionate about helping tech businesses succeed, but we know there are tech businesses that don’t always have the budget for PR. We think it’s quite shortsighted to only work with brands with large budgets, so we try to be helpful to those we know as much as we can. Everybody likes to work with someone helpful, so chances are brands will remember us in the future, or even recommend us to others. As well as being rewarding and satisfying, it shows others we’re a credible agency that knows what we’re doing – and aren’t afraid to share our wisdom!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
There are some really amazing and well-respected PR agencies out there, so it can be tough competing against them!
Attracting talent and recruitment is another challenge we’ve had. A business is only as strong as the people within it, so it can be challenging to find the right people to add to the team. We’re a close-knit bunch, so anyone we take on really has to fit in like part of the family, as well as having outstanding skills and expertise.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Spending time on building a reputation has helped us compete against some big players. We’re in the business of building reputations, so we have really taken care of our own public persona. There’s no space for being sloppy or doing poor job.
To attract talent, I’m really committed to making Luminous PR a place where people want to work. I value every one of our team members, and I’m happy to be flexible around what each of them needs to succeed.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I love running, and no matter how hectic my schedule at work becomes I always make time to go for a run. Sometimes I like to run alone and zone out with a good audiobook. Other times I run with my friends. Back in the office, me and my team try to do a small, fun challenge everyday to perk us up. Even just cracking a joke or getting up and moving about a bit as team can be enough to make you feel better when the going gets tough.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Unlike many PR agencies, our team features a number of journalists. It’s much easier to gain PR coverage for clients when you have insider knowledge of how the media works. It also allows us to contribute content to publications, which isn’t something that all PR agencies can manage. We’re also an international team, so we can help clients raise their profiles all over the world.
Tech PR is our specialism, so we’re actually really geeky and proud of it! We have a solid knowledge where we can understand our clients’ propositions and promote it to the media. Focusing on what we’re good at has really helped strengthen our reputation, too.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Tough decisions need dealing with head on!”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be prepared to be resilient. Even though you don’t feel like it, be fearless and push yourself. But, be kind to yourself too. Celebrate successes, and let the not-so-success go easily! As long as you learn from them, it’s never a failure.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I’m quite a ‘hands on’ CEO, so I really value Asana. It allows me to keep track of all our client projects, plus how the team are getting on. I can spot problems before they develop and generally just keep ahead of the game!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
- “The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness” by Steve Peters. It’s a different way of thinking about thinking and decision making.
- “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni is also really interesting.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
- Putting together a realistic and actionable growth plan based on where we are now, and not where we were 6 months ago!
- I’m also always trying to gain insight into being the best leader I can be.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Refreshing and changing the look and feel of Luminous so it reflects the business we have become.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
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