A Lockdown Conversation with Claire Etchell, Naked PR Girl!

The day Claire Etchell reallly hit my radar she’d already posted an outfit selfie at home, the London skyline from the train coming into central and brief snippets from a secretive meeting she had in Mayfair… All before midday. Who is the mythological superwoman? I literally thought to myself. The more I watched Claire bounce around London for meetings, events and girly catchups at Peggy’s, the more intrigued I became. I developed this deep admiration for her work ethic and tenacious go-getter attitude. If I ever felt unmotivated, I’d log onto her Instagram page, Naked PR Girl and instantly found the motivation I was looking for! Claire was unknowingly sprinkling her inspiration on me.

I wanted to know more about Claire, her PR background, what she was up to during lockdown in London and what her predictions are for post lockdown life.

I asked, she answered…

Tell me a little about yourself and how you entered the world of PR?

Ok so I am Claire Etchell, I got my first job at a brand called Moda in Pelle after university and a quick stint travelling the world. My job title was Brand Support Administrator to start with but I started sending samples out to journalists….and then the shoes would sell more, and the rest is history! I’m now freelance with my business NakedPRGirl which is all about an honest and pragmatic approach to marketing. I have lovely clients plus I have my website which has loads of handy PR tips and guides for entrepreneurs or small businesses trying to do their own marketing.

I love the energy behind your Instagram, it’s positive and encouraging, you honestly keep me motivated. How many hours do you devote to Instagram?

So, I would split this into content creation and then posting and engagment. Creating the content is my favourite part. I love writing, I enjoy filming videos and my favourite girl time with friends (mainly Kate Gorbunova and Fatinah Hayat)  is roaming around London with a camera. That I definitely dedicate at least half a day each week to, whether it is spending half a day with a tripod or writing as fast as I can.

For posting and more importantly engaging with people, I spend probably an hour a day, probably two hours if there is a lot going on. Sometimes I find this side harder to manage as I have clients that I work with on Instagram too. The devil is in the detail though, give those thoughtful comments out and they’ll come right back!

Claire Etchell / Image Credit: Kate Gorbunova of SeventhElement

Given the current global climate where uncertainty can be felt all over, what do you believe is the future for many of the influencers we know and love? Is the influencer bubble on the brink of busting? Will brands still be interested in influencer marketing? Do you believe that the consumer will be interested?

I think many things are bound to change from the impact of Coronavirus. How we consume for sure, how we communicate, where our priorities are. The best influencers know exactly what you want before you do and they are able to pivot really quickly.

Think about how hard it is to change direction when you’re a big brand, with a big board of directors, and stakeholders, and 500 employees. But if you’re an influencer, you can change your business whenever you like and this I think which mean the big influencers will definitely go the distance.

Take LornaLuxe for example, since lockdown she’s switched from travel and fashion for more beauty on Instagram stories, sold some of her designer wardrobe for charity and run two £1000 giveaways for Zara and ASOS vouchers on her Instagram channel. This shows me she is versatile and empathetic to the current situation, she really knows her audience and what they want to see from her.

“I think many things are bound to change from the impact of Coronavirus. How we consume for sure, how we communicate, where our priorities are.” Claire Etchell

Have you noticed any opportunity for a new type of influencer to emerge?

I think anyone with a strong niche is always going to stand out. Whether that is aesthetically, content wise or ethos. Standing for something you believe in is always the best place to start. Also TikTok, I think we shall definitely see a new wave of influencers from that platform.

You’re a girl about London, you have frequented a lot of the places that I love to go to. If you were to guide someone who has never had a night out in London, where would you recommend they go? (from restaurant to drinks afterwards)

So my guide starts in the daytime and you’re gonna need trainers. I’d start on my favourite walk from Kensington Palace (which I wrote about here), it is called the Princess Diana Memorial Walk and it goes the whole way through Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace, St James Park to Westminster Abbey and Parliament – I mean, it is just pure heaven! After that, we’ll sit by the Thames on the Southbank drink wine to take in view. If you’re not too tired, we can head for cheese and  baguettes at Gordon’s Wine Bar, or if you want to dress up, let’s try Sketch where they just picked up three Michelin Stars for the quality. After that, you really have to end up in Soho dancing the night away!

You’ve probably figured that I am a sober blogger which may sound very boring to you as I’ve noticed you have a love for champagne (so did I once upon a time). I used to say that Ruinart Blanc de Blanc was the most underrated champagne in the world. Which champagne is your favourite?

I thought Perrier-Jouët Rosé at Harrods was pretty special actually! So delicious. I recently got introduced to an independent brand called Frerejean Frères which have exceptional Champagne too! Very fresh and delicate.

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If there’s one thing I’m brilliant at it’s excuses. Anyone else? Here I’ll start: * I don’t have time * I don’t have equipment * I’m not good enough * I can’t decide what to do first * Is this the right thing? * Will they laugh? * Will they say I’m wrong? * Am I wrong? * Is there any point? * What is the most important? * I’m scared. * Is that a glass of wine? Anyone have anything to add? I’ve realised, although I feel {relatively} comfortable on Instagram, LinkedIn is my fear blind spot. So prompted by my @sethgodin course and friends @laurafromaura and @rpate , I’ve posted my IGTV videos on there today…and you know what? Nothing happened. And now I’ve started maybe I can start a new pattern by leaning into the fear! Share your fears with me, if you dare and let’s smash them together ✒️ 📷 @fatinahhayat . . #londonfashion #londonblogger #publicrelationslife #prgirl #londoners #thisislondon #fbloggersuk #lifestylepr #fashionpr #wonderlustlondon #streetstylelondon #nakedprgirl #discoverunder5k #londonpr

A post shared by Claire Etchell PR & Marketing (@nakedprgirl) on

How are you spending your time in this lockdown in London? Have you found that you’re more productive? How are you staying motivated?

I am taking The Marketing Seminar by Seth Godin at the moment. To say it is challenging is an understatement. It is like trying to do a giant Rubik’s Cube but I am enjoying challenging myself. I’ve found the Calm App particularly good for meditating and stretching the mind (I rate the sleep stories by Frankie Bridge and Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn) and Yoga by Adriene is fantastic for stretching the body. That, teamed with chocolate and wine is helping immensely! I have my bad days too, but I’m old enough to understand now that they will pass.

In your recent post, How to stay relevant & keep business coming in during Coronavirus, you said something that really resonated with me, “Don’t be scared to keep showing up.” This is something I struggled with as I’m sure many others will too where you don’t want to seem like you’re oblivious to what’s going on out there but obviously want to stay connected with people. How does someone maintain a balance between showing up and having self awareness that is not insensitive to others on social media?

I have talked a lot about this as a lot of people don’t agree with me. I know businesses that panicked and shut down their websites, only to realise they suddenly have no income and went on to reopen. I know people who have been paralysed by fear and said nothing but have also been so confused on where their place is in this pandemic.

I am always here to remind you that if you can keep going and keep shipping, then you owe it to yourself, your business and your community to keep going. You can always be respectful of course, but it will be a lot harder to pick things up in three months time if you have been completely absent. I truly think this is a time to give back, be involved with the community and be present.

Claire Etchell / Image Credit: Paul Griffiths, Paul Griffiths Photography

“I am always here to remind you that if you can keep going and keep shipping, then you owe it to yourself, your business and your community to keep going.” Claire Etchell

What are your predictions for the post-lockdown lifestyle in London? Will we continue where we left off or are things about to change?

I think things will be slow in a really good way. I think we will go back to normality gradually and savour everything. Imagine how nice it will be to just SEE your friends again? And go for a coffee. Maybe go to an art gallery. We will appreciate the every day all over again and we will all feel so lucky.

What is the first thing you’ll do when the lockdown in London is lifted?

Go to The Thames with my friends and drinks alongside it. I feel such peace when I see the river  and it makes me remember why I love London so much when I see all the history; from the Tower of London to Tower Bridge and even modern landmarks like the Tate and London Eye. Ah I cannot wait.

 

Thank you for the lockdown conversation, Claire!

Read more about Claire on her Blog & follow her on Instagram 

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