Owner of Stirling PR,  Lesley Wilkinson has been appointed as a Director of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce. She brings almost two decades of experience working with and for the media to the Chamber’s Board.

Lesley started her career as a print and broadcast journalist before working for the University of Stirling as their Head of Communications and Media. In 2014 she established her own consultancy Stirling PR, which specialises in offering communications support to small businesses across Central Scotland.
 
What led you to start your own business?
 
“One of the main reasons I decided to start my own business was flexibility – freeing myself from the 9 to 5 was hugely liberating. Branching out on my own has also helped me discover what makes me tick. I crave variety and running my own company means I’m always working on something new. I also love using my expertise to help good causes; you can’t beat the feel good factor of helping a charity on a shoestring hit the news headlines.”
 
What top tips do you have for local companies looking to boost their profile?
 
“As a reporter I received dozens of emails every day from companies desperate for media attention. So having a story that stands out from the crowd is a must. Monitor media outlets to get a feel for the types of stories they typically cover. With news the clue is in the name, is there anything ‘new’ in your story? Is there anything unusual or unexpected about it? Do you have a fresh perspective or local angle on a national story? Pay particular attention to the style of writing that journalists use and package your story in a similar way. Make sure your first line summarises the story in no more than 10-15 words. With PR not much has really changed over the years, you just need to tell your story faster. We live in a digital age where everyone skim reads content. So be concise, keep it under one page, and make sure you have some eye-catching images or video to illustrate your story. This will increase the chance of your story being picked up by journalists and shared on social media.”
 
Why did you decide to become a Director of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce?
 
“I joined the chamber as I’m passionate about my local area, I grew up in Stirling and think it’s a great place to live and work. I’m excited about the city’s future and what can be achieved with the right investment through the city deal. I’d like to see better job opportunities created to attract more people to the city, as well as to help retain home grown talent who previously may have left the area to fulfil their career ambitions. As a Director, I am looking forward to sharing my PR expertise with the Chamber and its members to help them get the profile they deserve in national media.”
 
Do you have a hero/heroine who inspires you and why?
 
“I was inspired to become a journalist by award winning reporter Kate Adie. I have huge admiration for Kate and the other brave journalists who put their lives on the line to bring us news from conflict zones across the globe. In 1999 I travelled to Kosovo with the army to report on the NATO peace keeping mission. I will never forget stepping off the plane and being quickly ushered into a tent for a landmine awareness briefing – a far cry from the safety of my regular newsbeat in Stirling. I also take inspiration from the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, who said: ‘You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal.’ In business I have chased the projects that make me feel good. I may never make a million, but if my work has a positive social impact then that’s good enough for me.”

 

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