pr agency

Journalist of the Month

Gemma Ralph is the Deputy Editor at Hospitality Interiors magazine. A self-confessed foodie, fairy light fiend and lover of all things cosy, she has taken a few moments away from glam interiors to ask the infamous Sunny Bird PR questions for Journalist of the Month…

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Perceptive, odd, bookworm, nosy, romantic

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? Women’s Health – I sit and read it cover to cover every month because it has so many in-depth and inspiring articles.

3. What is your favourite book?  This question is my nemesis, I LOVE all books. I’d have to say Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf as she is my absolute hero, but if I could sneak a cheeky close second in it would be Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

4. Which song makes you dance?  Any song that comes on when I’m 5+ drinks down…I’m definitely not a natural when it comes to dancing!

5. What has been your best career moment?  I count myself lucky any time I get a sneak peak of new interiors, sometimes when they’re still building sites. A highlight would definitely be touring Mondrian London with Tom Dixon and hearing all about his inspiration and vision for the project – I’m so privileged to be part of such an interesting and creative industry.

6. What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Don’t devote so much of your headspace to other people and their opinions of you.

7. Where are you happiest?  Probably when I’m in a restaurant with good food and drink.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why? I’d say Bill Murray – he’s immensely talented, doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, and I think he would have some epic stories to tell … also I might have a slight dad-crush on him!

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?   I think I would choose the ability to time travel – I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong era, so I’d love to travel back in time to experience different periods and historical events.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? What would you say is the most rewarding element of your work?

The team all had the same answer – seeing the coverage they’ve achieved come out in publications and online – our favourite was of course in Hospitality Interiors!


Why Working By The Sea Can Boost Your Health, Happiness And Productivity


The Sunny Bird PR office is literally five minutes from the beautiful Bournemouth sea front. With seven miles of award-winning beach to choose from, its own micro-climate that provides us with smog-free, blue skies and a bustling atmosphere with lots of exciting start-ups. I’m going to try my hardest not to city bash (although a number of us are ex-city dwellers) but living in Dorset truly is a dream.

As a team, being based in Dorset helps us to achieve that elusive work/life balance, encourages us to get outside and exercise more and nothing beats a sun downer on your doorstop whilst taking in the stunning views of the Purbecks. All of these factors (and many more) contribute to happy, healthy staff members who come into work ready to smash our PR targets.

Being based on the costa del Dorset coastline may make us biased, but recent environmental research has found that living and working by the coast can improve the following:

1. You don’t have to get your feet wet to reap the health benefits – even just a view of the sea can promote reductions in heart rate and improvements in mood

2. You rate your health as significantly better if you live within 5km of the British coastline

3. You are more likely to exercise regularly if you live within 1km of the English coastline

4. You are more likely to have better mental health if you live within 5km of the British coastline

5. The UK economy could benefit to the tune of £176m of healthcare savings per year from water-based recreation alone.

Still not convinced? The team have compiled their favourite places to eat, drink and visit so that next time you consider a weekend away (or perhaps a PR company) Dorset will be front of mind.


Sunny (MD & Founder)

Eat: Koh Thai in Boscombe – The best 24hour ribs and they do an amazing Pad Thai. I love that it’s a Dorset company set to take over the world!

Drink: 1812 (Bournemouth) or The Kings Arms (Christchurch) – I love a cocktail or two and I’m completely torn between two places… the drinks in both are incredible.

Visit: The New Forest – Fall in love with the forest’s idyllic glades, ancient woodland and cliff top walks. You may even bump into a few ponies or donkeys that run wild near Lymington.

Why you love living in Dorset: Nothing beats being able to walk on the beach in your lunch break. Being just 2 hours away from London allows us to be able to work with regional, national and international clients without giving up on our wonderful lifestyle.


Lizzie  (Account Manager)

Eat: Urban Reef – 5 minutes’ walk from my flat, right on Bosombe’s award-winning beaches and undoubtedly serving the best Eggs Royale and Bloody Mary.

Drink: Chaplin’s – Quirky and cool, an award-winning bar and live music venue in Boscombe.

Visit: Worth Matravers – One of my favourite places in the Purbecks, the Square and Compass serves the best pints and pasties and there’s the beautiful walk down to Winspit caves and the sea. Perfect for any time of year.

Why you love living in Dorset: In my opinion it is the best place to live in the UK, best beaches, best nightlife, best countryside, best climate and the best people!


Rian (Senior Account Manager)

Eat: The Stables – Nestled on Weymouth’s harbour side in the old harbour master’s building it has a great atmosphere and a great selection of ciders. The company started in Dorset and now has restaurants in Cardiff, Bristol and London to name a few – definitely worth checking out.

Drink: The Cove House InnA bevvy at The Cove House Inn on Portland’s Chesil Beach can’t be beaten. In summer it boasts the BEST sunset and in winter you can hunker down by the fire and watch the crashing waves as they pound the pebbles.

Visit: West Bay – The home of Itv’s Broadchurch and not far from Bridport, which is worth a visit too. Stunning sheer cliffs and the perfect place for random celeb spotting (PJ Harvey and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie have both been spotted in the last month).

Why you love living in Dorset: Nothing beats a walk down to the beach and being able to take a deep, breath of fresh sea air. When you hear the phrase “why do you need to go on holiday when you live in a place like this” then you know you’re on to a winner.


Lucy (Account Executive)

Eat: Vesuvio – If you take a stroll along the beachfront to get to Vesuvio, it offers a relaxed vibe and a range of pizzas and pastas.

Drink: Aruba – Right on the beachfront, you can walk out onto the balcony with a cocktail and enjoy the amazing views of the pier and beach.

Visit: Durdle Door – no matter if the sun is shining or if it’s slightly overcast, Durdle Door is the most beautiful place on the coast. The water is crystal blue and the views are breath-taking.

Why you love living in Dorset: Originally from Oxford, I’ve always known that I wanted to live near the south coast. The weather is 100 times better and it never takes any longer than 20 minutes to get somewhere. Places to visit and attractions to see are never far and come summer, the beach is just on our doorstep.


Darren(In-house Graphic designer)

Eat and Drink: Aruba – I often take clients or have internal meetings in Aruba, I love the fact you can eat and drink and look out on Bournemouth’s amazing beach. When the sun is shining you could be anywhere in the world.

Visit: Mudeford Spit – Is a lovely place to visit with great views of Christchurch on the harbour side. My kids will say “the best part is getting the noddy train” to the beach.

Why you love living in Dorset: I love working in Bournemouth, we are a stone’s throw from the amazing beaches and a 5 minute walk into the heart of Bournemouth town centre.

How to...Get the Most From Your PR Agency

First Date

You know all there is to know about you; now your agency needs to know all of that too. The more information you can give your agency the better, they need to know who you are, where you came from, what makes you tick, your story, your audience, your tone of voice, your likes and dislikes. It’s like starting a new relationship and staying up ‘til 3am swapping life stories – you need to do that with your new agency. And in the same way you’d bare your soul and tell your worst secrets to your new beau, you need to tell your new agency the bad bits too so they have the best chance of managing any future issues that might rear their ugly head. Once your agency knows you inside out and back to front then they can truly be an extension of you and your brand.

Meeting the Family

If there’s more to your company than just you then your agency needs to get to know them too, give them access to your company’s thought leaders. At Sunny Bird PR, we speak to the movers and shakers at your company, the product managers, marketers, customer service representatives, case studies, ambassadors, you name it, anyone that can give valuable insight or a juicy story to get your brand into press.

Plan for the Future

Together, you and your PR agency should agree on a strategy including timings and KPIs. This should be a document that you’re both happy with that you can each refer back to week by week, month by month so you know where you are and what’s happening. Life does get in the way of the best laid plans and agencies are flexible enough to work around your changing business needs so don’t feel that your timing strategy is set in stone. If you need to change your focuses or tactics just let them know and they will accommodate you and your needs.

Expect the Best

You can ask and expect creative ideas from your new PR agency, share yours, get their input and see where your fledging relationship goes from there. A PR agency should be open to your input and also not afraid to guide and advise you on how they can tweak your ideas to achieve more coverage, followers or engagement – or even break the news to you that your brilliant idea is not quite as brilliant as you thought. An agency will be built on a team of experts so always remember that you’re investing in the team’s creativity and industry knowledge – a bunch of heads are better than one!

Communication is Key

This really is a two way street, you need to keep your agency fully up to speed with all developments your end, you might not think something is press worthy but your agency might know the journalist who’s looking for that angle. Your agency should also be in regular contact with you so you know what they are working on each week. This goes back to being flexible, a weekly email gives you the perfect prompt to change your agency’s focus for that week.  Communication also keeps goals on track as agencies will communicate with you at the end of each week to let you know how they’ve spent your hours and what they’ve achieved with them.

Do More

PR agencies don’t just stop at writing media releases and meeting journalists for you. Most offer a wide array of services, including creative campaigns, press trips, social media management, blogger campaigns, case study management, event management, internal communications, videography and photography services, design, web content creation and award applications. So next time you’re faced with a challenge, don’t overlook your PR agency, chances are they can help.

Be Realistic

This needs to happen from the word go and is key in establishing a successful, long-term relationship with your PR agency. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is PR, the most realistic expectation is that the process takes time. The best news is that PR usually offers the best ROI from the marketing mix, it often makes up the smallest part of the marketing budget whilst delivering the best results.

PR works best when it is supported by other marketing disciplines but remember PR is different to advertising. An agency doesn’t pay the publications or TV channels for the media exposure it secures, hard work and relationship cultivation does. It’s that third-party endorsement that gives PR its power and credibility.

Set Objectives

Work with your agency to set short term and long term objectives, these need to be reviewed regularly (monthly/ quarterly/ six monthly). Status meetings at agreed intervals with you and your agency can make sure that these objectives are on track and reflecting your focuses.

Who’s Doing What

In an ideal world there should be just one person from your end that is responsible for managing the agency. Too many people working with the agency at once or having to gain approval or input into written materials will slow the process down and limit the results your agency can achieve. Equally, you should have one point of contact at your agency so there’s no risk of mixed messages or instructions.

Do Your Bit

One of the most frustrating stumbling blocks for PR agencies is sending out a press release to journalists only to discover that your company spokesperson isn’t available for interview. It’s up to you to ensure a spokesperson is on hand and available for interviews on the day the story is pitched to journalists. This can be tricky with work commitments and meetings, but if you want to get the most out of your PR agency, you need to be able to provide a spokesperson who is actually available for interview. Journalists are notoriously short on time so if they have to chase, follow up, wait or hassle someone to get their story the likelihood is they’ll move onto the next message in their inbox that does offer all assets at their fingertips.

Honesty is the Best Policy

If you don’t like something your agency has done or the way they have handled something, don’t bottle it up – tell them. There’s no way issues can get ironed out without airing them. A good PR agency will want to address this issue and remedy it immediately by finding a solution that everyone’s happy with.

If your relationship with your PR agency doesn't read like this then get in touch with us and we'll give you the Sunny Bird PR treatment!

Email us at or give us a call on 01202 293095