Lynda Redington, co-founder of Another Word with Nichola Mughal, explains why the pair started their own agency, their successes and challenges so far and ways in which communicators can be better at phone pitching to journalists.
What made you and Nichola want to start your own agency?
We’d both spent our entire careers in big agencies and learned lots in that time but ultimately we wanted to be masters of our own destiny, to define how we worked and who for.
Is there a reason you went into partnership rather than striking out on your own?
Nichola and I work really well together and share the same values and work ethic. I enjoy working as part of a team so a partnership with someone I already loved working with and respected made total sense.
Why the name Another Word?
Audiences are very diverse and disparate. Our name reflects our approach: identify what audiences are doing, sharing and reading and then engage them by talking their language.
What was it like getting Another Word off the ground? Were there any teething problems?
Starting out we had very little to lose. Blind optimism, ambition and the confidence of some progressive brands helped us win big in the very early stages. Of course there were challenges but the benefits far outweigh any issues.
What are the advantages in having your own agency instead of working as part of a larger organisation? What are the disadvantages?
The freedom, the focus on the client work without distraction and the ability to shape a progressive and genuinely flexible culture are massive benefits and something we absolutely set out to deliver.
In the early stages of the business it’s difficult to be jack-of-all trades, especially when it comes to business administration.
How have you been to attract a number of well-known brands to work with you in a short period of existence?
Ultimately it’s strategically sound creative thinking. But also brands are recognising there’s a lot of wastage in the traditional agency hierarchy so even big brands are happy to work with a smaller agency in the knowledge we’ll deliver a dynamic service and have a vested interest in doing so.
What is the most memorable moment you’ve had so far?
Winning PRCA New PR Agency of the Year. Shocked but delighted.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d have for someone thinking of starting their own agency?
Keep your nerve, hire well and early, focus on exceptional delivery and the rest will fall in to place.
Finally, you’ve said that younger communicators can struggle when delivering phone pitches to journalists. What advice can you provide to them about making a successful phone pitch?
Preparation is the key. Plan what you are going to say before you pick up the phone to avoid getting flustered. Make sure you have all the information you need to hand and be prepared to think on your feet and answer lots of questions.
Make sure you’re familiar with the both the outlet and journalist you’re pitching to and find the right time to pitch to them. Also, be friendly, upbeat and personal – and avoid sounding like a robot!
To discover more of Lynda’s phone pitching tips – and get phone pitching advice from journalists themselves – download our latest white paper: How to master modern media relations and deliver the right results.