A Day in the Life of… Richard Woolliams, Business Development Director for Newhall Publishing
Richard joined the Newhall team in 2014 bringing more than 25 years’ experience, as a Director of Marketing and Communications, Business Development and Client Services Director in content publishing, to launch a new content publishing agency within a long-established publishing house. It’s an exciting time in the world of content marketing and publishing as clients grapple with the digital vs print debate and the best media to ensure effective customer engagement, deliver value for money and provide the all-important ROI.
4am alarm goes off. In honesty, it doesn’t – I’ve been waiting for it to go off for at least 15 minutes and turn it off just before it disturbs my wife. Quick shower and shave and I hit the road for a 4.5-hour drive to work. Yes 4.5 hours. I obviously don’t do it every day – just once a week to travel from Norwich to the North West where our head office is located.
No early morning swim to clear the head for me or half-hour bike ride to blow the cobwebs away. No posh coffee, no first-class travel, no early morning breakfast meeting – no just the long drive to work. ‘Mad’ I know, but the reason I spend 4.5 hours driving to work is I love what I do. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t. Our business has grown considerably since the formal launch of our content publishing agency in September 2014 and we are proud of our growing client list, working with great people, so it really is worth it.
The day I have chosen to write about was one that didn’t have a 4am start. In fact – and despite it being a Monday – it started at the usual time, 6am, with the opportunity to pursue my other passion, horse riding.
I’m lucky that our Norwich office is only 25 minutes from home, so it gives me the opportunity to take the horse out during the week.
I have always admired former colleagues who get fully involved with client activities. This is true for me with our growing equestrian portfolio – it really does make a difference to the clients if you share the same passion and enthusiasm for the sport or sector that you are creating content for or developing a brand in the marketplace. It provides that extra insight and experience to create engaging content for the target audience whether membership, retail or business.
Back to the day in question. After 45 mins on the horse, check emails, wash and brush up and into the car, delivering two of the children at school on the way. After totally confusing the youngest on her weekend’s French vocabulary homework and a short but fascinating insight into tectonic plates from the other, I realise I do have a full-on day ahead starting with a team photoshoot for a new promotional brochure and website.
I’m first to arrive at the hotel. Check emails (again) and meet the photographer before colleagues arrive – Anita Comerford, Group Editor, Gareth Evans, Art Editor, and Gerallt Davies our Business Development Manager. We have a good laugh as Tracey Pocock, our Picture Editor, tries to keep control.
Job done and then into the Norwich office for the 11am Media Sales team meeting to see what’s been happening and the plans for the week ahead to hit those all-important revenue targets. The team are upbeat having closed a new title 12% over target on the previous Friday. I had been tipped off by our Media Sales Manager, Dean Brown, on the Friday night… the client will be pleased and so are the team as commission kicks in!
Leave the office for the 5-minute walk to catch the 12-noon train to London. The train is empty, so I can spread out and put further thought into the two meetings ahead.
While on the train the family What’s App is busy as my eldest daughter has seen a friend’s post who has some Cockapoo puppies for sale. Everyone very excited, but sorry ‘It’s a no from me’!
Arrive into Liverpool Street station on time and meet up with our Managing Director, Christine Blackford, and head off to the first of two client meetings. First stop, Costa Coffee as all the client’s meeting rooms are all booked. No problem – hot chocolates all round. This first meeting is to review a show magazine. Anyone who knows me knows that we are open and honest and say it as it is. It saves so much time. In this case, the product was excellent, but sales were a bit disappointing – not due to effort I hasten to add, as our new Event Sales team did a great job, but the punters just weren’t interested! You can take a horse to water etc.
The client is a real character and fun to work with and appreciates that we are working in partnership to break the mould of the usual Show Guide model and create a publication that is more engaging and has longevity – something of real value. After a short discussion, we tweaked the approach and are now all set for the next event. Client happy. Tick.
Short tube ride (how did I manage to do this every day for nine years? I really don’t miss it) to the next meeting to explore a new approach for a long-established event in the Spring of 2018. Last year’s publication was tired, and the organisers were not convinced it was being used or even being read at, or after, the event. We discussed the need to satisfy the inclusion of having the usual content – exhibitor listings, daily timetable, site map and so on. But we want to inject something different – content that would engage and truly add to the overall experience. Our discussions went around in circles for a bit as we explored several different ideas. Understandably it will come down to cost and the product needs to be cost appropriate while fulfilling the brief. As I write we are still in discussion but will need to crack on as time will soon be against us!
It’s then back on the tube (grim – it’s rush hour) across London to the hotel to get the DJ on and off to The May Fair Hotel for the Condé Nast Johansens Excellence Awards. Earlier in the year we were invited to become the CNJ in-print publishing Hospitality Partner and as a result Christine and I are down to present two awards on the night.
As we arrived I give Dario – The May Fair’s sales manager – his birthday card. He was chuffed that I had remembered after meeting him earlier in the year. It’s a simple thing but it makes a difference – we pride ourselves on always trying to inject the personal touch into what we do.
It was a great evening surrounded by some of the best hoteliers across Europe. Christine and I present the Awards for Best Luxury Value Hotel, UK & Ireland and Europe. Met some of the winners and secured two follow-up meetings to discuss projects for 2018. They all have a story to tell and we are here to help them craft that story in the form of a bespoke magazine, book or brochure. Who said print is dead? A quality product in people’s hands just can’t be beaten and it has longevity – it’s not a flick on an iPhone.
Sent my only Tweet of the day before leaving the hotel at 11.45pm. An early night was needed as we had to be up early to get the train to Rugby to meet other colleagues for a big pitch the following day. However, I made the mistake of turning the television on when I got to my room. A repeat of The Graham Norton Show lit up the room – it really didn’t help with getting to sleep but it was hilarious.
12.30am Check my phone again. How many times … we are still not buying a puppy.
Newhall Publishing, the content publishing agency, offers a complete integrated marketing and communications service through intelligently written and beautifully designed multi-channel branded content. Newhall is a family-owned company, grounded in tradition but young in spirit, with a team of over 100 talented and dedicated people. Now based in two locations in Hoylake, on the Wirral, and Norwich in Norfolk. The agency works with clients across the country to bring a refreshing approach to working with businesses and membership organisations, gaining greater engagement and sales for clients.
Richard can be contacted on 07903 700485 or firstname.lastname@example.org