While the entries for this year's Smarta 100, together with O2, come in at a
steady pace, we are catching up with previous winners. Here Ella
Gascoigne from Startup PR explains why she decided to enter last
year and how winning spurred on her business.
What stage was your business at when you won
the Smarta 100?
My business was just over two years old, so it was still in the
early stages but growing rapidly - turnover had doubled from year
one to year two and client numbers were increasing,
mainly through word of mouth and social media.
Why did you enter the awards?
Two of my clients were winners in the Smarta 100 the year
before. They suggested that I should enter myself, and when I saw
what a positive effect the award had on their business, I decided
to give it a go.
What was the experience like?
It was fantastic. It was a very simple entry process - which,
let's face it, is so important when you are busy running a
business. The build up, announcement and voting stage were all
I won several awards last year, but what was different and
better about the Smarta 100 was the support and networking
opportunities after the event. There is a thriving Facebook group
for winners where we all support each other in our different
How has your business benefited from being a part of
My business has benefited hugely in many ways. Traffic to my
website doubled for the months before and after the awards and I
was overwhelmed by the number of calls and email enquiries I had as
a result of being in the Smarta 100. A year later, people mention
that they noticed me and my business via the Smarta awards.
Being in the Smarta 100 also resulted in PR coverage, not only
on the Smarta website but also in several business trade
publications and regional media. Finally, there is the feel good
factor; getting recognition from the Smarta100 judges was a huge
pat on the back and a boost to my confidence. It was nice to get
some positive feedback from somebody outside of my business - it
showed that I was doing something right.
What has your business achieved since being named a
Smarta 100 winner?
I have re-launched my Startup PR website and also launched a second
website for my books publicity busines.
I have continued to work with exciting and innovative new
start-ups, securing high profile national publicity for them.
Since winning I have also developed my services further,
offering PR mentoring and training for businesses that want to do
their own PR, called the PR Toolbox package. This option allows people
to learn the tricks of the trade - I share contacts, tips and teach
people how to run their own campaigns. It is proving a big hit.
What is your top tip for any company thinking of
entering Smarta 100 this year?
Don't be afraid to say what you are doing well and different.
Sometimes it is hard to praise yourself, so why not ask your
clients what they think is different and better about you and your
service. Why do they love you?
If you are a Smarta winner make sure you maximise the PR
opportunity that it brings. Tweet about it, tell your clients and
potential clients in a newsletter, write a blog about it, post the
news on your website and send a press release out to your regional
and trade contacts.
For all the information about the Smarta 100 and how to
enter, click here.