Antonia Taylor is a PR strategist focused on small businesses. She specialises in creating bespoke, effective and inspiring PR programmes, helping businesses grow with great storytelling. If you’re looking for a compelling narrative for your business or brand, then look no further than Antonia!
As soon as I met Antonia Taylor at a coffee shop in the city of London, I knew we would be the best of friends. We have so much of the in common from our work in the PR world but just slightly different specialisms. She was also the first person I turned to when I needed a pep talk before my live interview in front of an audience with Jim Kwik. She told me to imagine a ball of light spreading through my body, and it worked!
She’s my go-to for all things business, she excels on LinkedIn and she’s an all round super positive good egg.
I chat with Antonia about her career path, the growth of her business and her approach to PR in my latest GETTING NAKED WITH INTERVIEW…
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Antonia Taylor: So born in Streatham and London still has such a place in my heart. We moved to Cyprus when I was 5 – my dad was Greek Cypriot – and had a pretty magical childhood growing up. We came to Reading when I was 14 for my mum’s work – she worked for the US government in news, which I think massively shaped a lot of my choices. Of course I did the whole London thing as soon as I could then came back when my darling dad got sick. Reading’s home and I have huge affection for it.
NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?
Antonia Taylor: American Studies at Manchester. Growing up next door to the Middle East I had a massive sense of the US’ role in the world plus my mum’s work. I ended up leaning very heavily to literature though and American writers are still my favourite. My first EVER job was in my local library at 15. My love of books and writing tracks my career now I think about it.
NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your business, what is the idea behind it?
Antonia Taylor: My business has evolved so much in the last 8 years. I was frustrated at how smaller businesses couldn’t access excellent PR consultancy and partnership and, at the same time, was struggling to keep all the plates spinning when my kids started school. My approach is about modern PR helping small businesses grow – it’s channel agnostic. My process looks at storytelling, thought leadership and community building. I’ve always had a small biz sweet spot. Before Covid-19 hit I was looking at taking this more human approach into corporates so that’s still on the agenda.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the business plan? And name? Who did your branding for you?
Antonia Taylor: Er…there wasn’t a business plan, I used Antonia Taylor PR as it was my name and what I did. I had a brand overhaul around 2 years ago with Ian Guppy and the Feelgood Creative team. We decided to add “& comms” into the brand to capture the expansion of communications services I offer now.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your USP?
Antonia Taylor: Thought leadership is in my PR DNA. I believe in the power of a brand utterly owning their category or market. I think thought leadership is also an incredibly powerful way to build out your personal brand and brings in that human element which is so needed in modern marketing and comms.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?
Antonia Taylor: I cut my teeth in a big London agency and loved it. We worked on a lot of government accounts so had amazing projects with cabinet ministers. Definitely fun. That said, I remember coming out of a meeting a couple of years ago and realising that two dream clients had invited me to work with them – I believe in pull marketing rather than push so that felt really good.
NakedPRGirl: I LOVE getting your newsletter as it is so thoughtful, how do you approach this and what advice do you have for others who haven’t started a newsletter yet?
Antonia Taylor: Thank you lovely! I’m super-proud of it. I sat on it for 3 years though so my advice is just start. I’m also clear on who it’s for and its purpose – it’s an essential guide for thought leaders who care about smart, modern marketing. That helps with planning and strategy.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?
Antonia Taylor: Personal style? VERY classic. Very understated. I heard Karren Brady speak once and she joked about having the same hairstyle for 20 years – that’s me. I definitely have a personal brand but it’s grounded in values and behaviour, I hope. Maxi dresses and skirts may play a very small part 😉
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business? What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?
Antonia Taylor: I try to use social media intentionally and honestly. For me it’s all about the conversation – when you show up on social media you become present and accessible which is essential for building great relationships. I love LinkedIn as I think there’s room to show more personality that perhaps a lot of businesses aren’t quite doing yet. Instagram’s been great for building a community of female founders in particular. I know I need to do more video – don’t tell @notaboutthekids [Helen Perry, interviewed here].
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog/social media workload – are you a planner and a scheduler? And do you get techy in the back end?
Antonia Taylor: Spontaneous at best and currently doing a lot of work on consistency. I’ve spent years promoting other people and prioritising client work over my own marketing. Having the timings of a monthly newsletter has been a great accountability tool as it structures my thinking, what I want to focus on, research more and of course that inspires other ideas.
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years?
Antonia Taylor: Babe, this is PR! It’s been massively disrupted but the core principles of managing reputation remain the same – it’s just via different channels now.
NakedPRGirl: Where do you see it evolving in the future? Particularly post-Lockdown?
Antonia Taylor: I’m excited as I think people will return to that more strategic approach to brand building. There’s been a huge call-out on transparent brand behaviour – you can have the best product in the world but if you sacked half your workforce in CV19, your customers will remember that. The BLM protest really affected me and I’m committed to addressing diversity in our industry – we need to look at the talent pipelines urgently.
NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?
Antonia Taylor: For me it’s other female founders that are shaking up communications – Ann Handley, Katie Martell and I love what Laura Belgray’s done in the email space with Talking Shrimp- she’s so unapologetically herself I want to basically sunbathe in her fearlessness.
NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between business and real life?
Antonia Taylor: Literally I don’t. It blends, it mixes, it’s all part of the same thing. I appreciate being at home for my kids so much but they’re 12 and 13 now so that dynamic’s shifted too.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
Antonia Taylor: I heard a luminous, brilliant poet called Ella Frears say she keeps the mantra “Always do the thing” by her desk. That’s now on my desk too.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Antonia Taylor: Definitely doing more with writing. I’m not sure what that looks like but it’s what lights me up and I believe I can help more businesses do it better – find their voices, speak to their customers like humans – tell their stories in a way that really connects and inspires change.
All images by Caroline Gratrix at Viva Photography. Visit Antonia’s website here.