Sunday, 6 December 2015

A kiss of life for ‘Daney’

A kiss of life for ‘Daney’

Hello and happy Sunday #Daneyblogs readers/friends/supporters- hope you’re all wrapped up warm today, and not being too affected by the Forth Road Bridge closure..

Okay, so, this blog is a real departure from my other blogs and like all the best things which have happened recently, this blog has come about unexpectedly…

This blog has all stemmed from a chance encounter I had today in the Edinburgh Princess Mall Food court with a random, sweet guy who ended up kissing me on the cheek in Sainsbury’s.

Now… let me expand on this…

Last night, I was treated to dinner by a friend who wanted to say congrats on all my Employ Daney success so far..

Being featured in the East Lothian Courier for #ComeDaneWithMe:


Being featured in the Fairer Scotland Blog:


Being called by the producers from Come Dine With Me:
Securing 5 job interviews directly on the back of Employ Daney:
 & many more:

As it is the party season, we had a couple of festive fizzes as part of our celebrations. As a result, today, I just fancied some KFC comfort food...

So, off I went to KFC….

There were no seats available indoors at KFC so I just ate my food outside in the food court, standing. This guy appeared from nowhere and with his broad accent said (I’m paraphrasing here) ‘that lassie over there is stunning’ to which I replied (trying to subtly say… I’m gay and don’t fancy girls) ‘yeah, she has a stunning designer bag’… to which he clicked and apologised, saying “I didn’t offend you did I” I said (chuckling away) “no, you’re fine, honest”. So first off, the fact that he was really respectful of my sexuality, that was so cool.

I then quietly nipped off to put my stuff in the bin, and toddled into Sainsbury’s for some chocolate. So, here he appears again, really chuffed to see me like we’re old friends, and said “Hey, we meet again”, and then shook my hand, hugged and gave me a big kiss on the cheek, and then parted with (again, paraphrasing here) “You smell really nice”.

He asked my name, I said Dane, he thought I had said ‘Dave’, which I did correct, but don’t know if he caught it. I asked his, and I’m sure he said “Theo” or “Leo”, I was genuinely still taken aback (in a good way) by the whole encounter. It was just so random, but so cool.

The reason why it has so much significance is that it genuinely made me smile and really lifted my spirits after a tough week emotionally and has motivated me to write another blog again, and to do so from the heart.

The ‘What If’s’ have been springing to mind….

I’ve been shying away from blogging just now as I’ve had a short spell of feeling lost professionally. Upon my upcoming freelancing journey, I’ve been suffering what I can only describe as stage fright. I’m only human and have been really worried about what lies ahead. All the ‘What if’s’ – What if…. It doesn’t work? What if…..clients don’t like my different, creative approach… etc.  as well as all the non-PR/Marketing things I’ve to think about too which come part and parcel of going it alone.

And the Christmas season is here……

I’ve also been feeling pretty overwhelmed with the upcoming festive season (like many of us). Although I believe it’s all about our loved ones, and spending time with them is what matters, not having as much income as I would normally to spend on people for Christmas has got me down a bit. I like to be quite lavish, and I’ve always worked near Christmas, so this year, with a much lower income, I’ve felt the pinch and I really just want to give back as much and more of what all my loved ones have gave me this year.

Back to today….

So, back to today, despite stresses, I came away smiling from such a random act (of what I can only describe as sweetness). The guy took a chance, to kiss a complete stranger/another guy in public, it really mirrors what I’m doing with Employ Daney (even though I’m not physically kissing anyone). I’m putting myself out there, and how someone is going to react to a blog post, a social media post, I never know, just like that guy today didn’t know how I would react today.

So with a new week about to start, I’ll be working hard to get re-energized and face my fears of freelancing and tackle them head on. After all, what have I got to lose?

Keep your eyes peeled on here ,
Twitter  @daneybash88
LinkedIn: Dane Thomson 
.....for exciting developments as they happen.
Fancy talking to me direct? Drop me a wee email:

Monday, 23 November 2015

#DaneyForADay… a new day for Employ Daney

#DaneyForADay… a new day for Employ Daney

Hello….it’s me…(okay, so I couldn’t resist the Adele reference!), I’d like to welcome you to the brand new blog in the #Daneyblogs series.  

What a productive few weeks it has been and my upcoming weeks are showing no signs of slowing down!

First of all, let me just say, I’m absolutely delighted with how well received my #IndustryChats mini-blog series has been so far. I’d like to say thank you once again to my fantastic guest bloggers, Stacey Dent, Dylan Macdonald and Linsay Moore for sharing their graduate empowering tips. I’m genuinely in awe that people would give up their time to be part of my blog. Thank you! In total these blogs have been read by over 500+ people and counting! Amazing!

Secondly, I’ve teased on Facebook and Twitter about the next phase in Employ Daney and I’d like to use this blog to exclusively reveal more details about it… after all, the blog was where this whole journey started.

So, I’ve been having A LOT of chats with people in the industry recently. I’ve had in total 5 interviews on the back of the Employ Daney campaign starting in September. The situation I’ve been in with interviews is that I’ve been shortlisted for the position, but then narrowly losing out at the last gasp, or the interviewer has left and they’ve scrapped our applications and re-advertised the post (yes, that part is as soul destroying as it sounds!).

I’ve been wracking my brains as to why this is happening. I’m doing all the ‘right’ things am I not? I research the company fully, I dress smartly, my CV and Linkedin are up to date, I volunteer with a fantastic organisation called Changes, Musselburgh. I’ve even been pro-active and created my own PR campaign to get myself employed, showcasing my skills and passion for the industry, and got my professional peers on board through #IndustryChats to cover relevant issues for graduates, and to show how great my network is. Oh! And the Scottish Government even asked me to blog for them and it’s been shared over 50 times online so far!

I’ve came to the conclusion that I need to change the narrative on this campaign and I need to change my approach to employment. ..The perfect job for me, is one I’ve already created for me by myself…. by accident….

You’ve heard the phrase ‘it’s a full time job looking for a job’ …well, I’ve taken this literally… I’ve accidentally created my dream job- PR and Marketing freelancing. With my first client being… well… me.

As a professional, my background is both PR and Marketing. However, honestly? I am PR focussed at heart. I’m focussed on building relationships to make a difference. That’s what I’m about. I’m genuine, down to earth and speak without the jargon.  

What and where does #DaneyForADay come in?

#DaneyForADay is brand new initiative whereby I’ll be offering my PR/Marketing support FREE for 1 DAY to a potential, longer term client (just like you reading!) as part of my new exploratory PR/Marketing freelancing journey.

With my FREE for 1 DAY approach, I will work with you on things such as:

·         Social media training/guidance

·         Marketing strategy discussion/guidance

·         Newsletter content ideas/discussion

·         Blog writing topic generation

·         Networking guidance

****The above list is an example, and will be discussed with the client on an individual basis.

Why the FREE for 1 DAY approach?

·         It’s a quick and easy way to decide whether you’d like to work with me on a longer term basis, and see whether professionally we gel


·         It’s fantastic PR for your organisation. You’re getting involved in a brand new initiative (led by a graduate) which has never been done in Edinburgh before!


Why me?

·         With over 4 years in the PR industry and having completed projects under my belt with fantastic organisations such as Support in Mind Scotland, Changes Musselburgh and Queen Margaret University, I have a lot to offer and my person-focussed approach allows you to develop a long lasting good impression your clients will remember


·         Through working with me, you’re empowering a graduate, opening your mind to a new approach to working in the industry and being even more forward thinking than your peers


Are you someone who would like to work with #DaneyForADay? Whereby you receive my knowledge, expertise and person-focussed approach to your business for FREE for the day?
Get in touch with me, and let’s discuss it further. I look forward to hearing from you.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

#IndustryChats......Linsay Moore, Account Manager at Muckle Media

#IndustryChats......Linsay Moore, Account Manager at Muckle Media

Hello and welcome to this very exciting, 3rd edition of #IndustryChats.

#IndustryChats is an exciting new mini blog series where I'm giving PR/Marketing professionals in employment guest spots on this blog. Their guest spots will focus on offering their expertise and advice to unemployed PR/Marketing graduates at the moment, with the aim of empowering us through tips/lessons they've learned from the industry.

So, as this blog is being led by my fantastic guest blogger with so much great advice to share, without further delay, I'd like to introduce you to the lovely, Linsay Moore, Account Manager at Muckle Media.

Linsay Moore
Linsay joined Muckle Media from The BIG Partnership in April this year, where she previously worked on a range of consumer, charity and tourism clients for over two years, delivering PR and event management.
Since joining Muckle Media Linsay has taken the lead on a variety of accounts across the corporate and consumer sectors, helping to build brand awareness, manage events and raise the profile of clients with media and key stakeholders. Linsay also works on several social media accounts, creating content and developing client’s social media presence to help raise their profile. A graduate from Queen Margaret University, Linsay has a BA Hons in Public Relations and Media.
Industry Chats l Linsay Moore, Account Manager, Muckle Media
What's the first thing you do in the morning to set yourself up for a busy day ahead at work?
As cliché as it sounds – normally I get myself a large coffee to wake me up! Usually I read through the emails from the previous night on my commute to work, which means by the time I get in to the office I’ve got a better idea of what else is going on that day. I’m also a big lover of to-do lists, hence being called ‘LOM – Linsay Organised Moore’ in my previous role! So I always start out the day by writing out my to-do list and trying to figure out how much of the massive list can be squeezed in to one working day…
How long have you worked for your organisation and what do you enjoy most about working there?
I’ve been with Muckle Media since April of this year, starting out as a Senior Account Executive and being promoted to Account Manager in only a couple of months. I love the fact that I have such a diverse job, from putting together a two day food and drink tourism event in Oban through to setting up interviews with BBC Business and launching the world’s most expensive whisky. Previously I worked in consumer PR, so it’s nice to have a bit of a mix now and broaden my strengths and experience through working with clients across a number of sectors. 
How would you say the PR/Marketing industry has changed from the first day you started your job where you are now, up until now?
I think it has changed quite a lot in the past three years. Personally I’ve seen a lot of communications change since online platforms really took off, there’s a lot more of a focus on developing relationships with bloggers, the introduction of vloggers like Zoella, and also the shift in how you position news to an outlet depending on whether your client wants to see it in print or online. I also think it’s quite interesting how social media is changing the way companies look at setting up campaigns, not only do they have to think about how to launch their new campaign to consumers via traditional platforms but they also need to consider how/if they’re going to seed it through social media. With Instagram influencers and vloggers charging thousands of pounds now to get involved in a campaign you can see that people are changing how they get their message across to consumers.
What advice would you give you PR/Marketing graduates out there who are looking to secure a role like yours?
In short? Don’t turn your nose up at internships. I’ve known a few people throughout my University course and career who say they’d rather keep looking for full time employment than take an internship. In my opinion this is the wrong attitude to take. If you manage to secure an internship then you’ll learn far more during the three to six months you’re with that company than you would spending that time searching for jobs. Coming from someone who was only a few weeks in to a work placement when they secured a full time role with the company, it really is worth it! Organisations are giving you a chance to prove yourself and show that you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and at the end of the day whether you come away with a job or simply more experience, it will set you up for a more successful career in the longer term.
What recommendations would you make for the Employ Daney Campaign?
I think you’re doing a lot of things right, you’re doing something different and standing out from the crowd, you’re engaging with the industry over various platforms and you’re not afraid to put yourself out there. Honestly I think you just need to keep going and continue to attend the various networking and PR events you have been going to and keep meeting new people and getting your name out there.
....and that's a wrap! Thank you Linsay for kindly taking time out of your very busy schedule to answer these questions. For further information on Muckle Media:
Check out their website:
Like them on Facebook: Muckle Media
Follow them on Twitter: @MuckleMedia
On a closing note....
As a PR/Marketing graduate looking for work/opportunities reading this, is there any questions you'd have asked alongside these? If so, comment below or email me so that they're incorporated into the next edition of #IndustryChats
As a PR/Marketing professional in employment, are you reading this and would like to get involved and offer your advice and empower unemployed PR/Marketing graduates? Email me I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

#IndustryChats... with Dylan Macdonald, Founder of Innovate Scotland

#IndustryChats... with Dylan Macdonald, Founder of  Innovate Scotland

Hello and welcome to this exclusive 2nd edition of #IndustryChats.

#IndustryChats is an exciting new mini blog series where I'm giving PR/Marketing professionals in employment guest spots on this blog. Their guest spots will focus on offering their expertise and advice to unemployed PR/Marketing graduates at the moment, with the aim of empowering us through tips/lessons they've learned from the industry.

This edition of #IndustryChats takes a different approach with the questions, which focus on if you're a PR/Marketing graduate thinking of starting up your own business. If you're a PR/Marketing graduate, I'd especially recommend you read this blog. It's crammed full of useful info!

Now, without further delay, I'm absolutely delighted to hand you over to the dynamic, digital powerhouse, Dylan Macdonald.

Dylan Macdonald

Dylan Macdonald is the Founder of Scotland’s entrepreneurial hub, Innovate Scotland. Alongside this, Dylan is currently the Marketing & Social Media Representative for Europe’s biggest tech start-up, Clear Returns.

Despite only achieving his HND in Marketing in the summer of 2015 and being a BA (Hons) student at Glasgow Caledonian University, Dylan knows the entrepreneurial and Marketing/PR communities as well as some of our most experienced business minds.

A regular business volunteer for Scottish based charities, Dylan also works closely with the world’s largest entrepreneurial accelerator, Entrepreneurial Spark.

After watching Dane’s campaign flourish so far, Dylan decided to offer his support for the ‘Employ Daney’ campaign by taking part in #IndustryChats.


Twitter - @Dylan_Mac95

#IndustryChats Questions

Can you tell us more about how Innovate Scot came about? When was the light-bulb moment to create such an exciting community?

Innovate Scotland had been an idea myself and a small group came up with around 6 months ago. We knew it was a good one but needed all of the right tools in place to take things forward in order to have a better chance of success along the way, examples of this being having the right people and organisations on board in the planning and early launch stages.

Luckily, I’ve managed to surround myself with a talented group of experienced and up & coming business minds, which of course include my Co-Founder, Colin Adam. Despite only launching 3 months ago, we have managed to attract some of Scotland’s most exciting organisations such as MadeBrave, This Is Milk and the Entrepreneurial Spark chiclet businesses based all over the country in their hatchery facilities.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning to set yourself up for a busy day ahead with Innovate Scotland and Clear Returns?

Every morning is different for me, which I love.

Whether it’s getting up to head to a lecture/seminar at University, heading into Clear Returns HQ or an early morning Innovate Scotland meeting, making sure that passion and drive gets you up from bed is the most important thing. Without that, you may as well stay there.

Personally, being prepared for any situation is an early morning habit of mine. Getting up, sitting with a cup of tea and doing reading or research in advance of my day is a strange (so I’m told…) passion of mine.

Preparation and passion make those dull Glasgow mornings much easier for myself. However, living in such a diverse and exciting city also helps!

In the ever changing digital marketing landscape of today, what skills and knowledge do you think graduates must possess in order to succeed in digital marketing job positions/ventures?

Experience, enthusiasm and a mentor.

One thing I tell my fellow students or marketing professionals seeking employment, is that giving up your time for free IS worth it. Going through my final year of my HND last year, I accepted the voluntary digital marketing role at Scottish charity Cure Crohn’s & Colitis (C3), this position enhanced my CV and gave me the opportunity to not only learn from more experienced business volunteers but make important contacts for the future. I still volunteer with C3 to this day and it’s something I’d highly recommend as it emphasises your passion for the industry and social aspects to potential employers.

What advice would you give to a PR/Marketing graduate if they were thinking about starting up their own PR/ Marketing business instead of pursuing the traditional employment route?

Plan. Plan. Plan.

The success of Scottish based digital/marketing and PR agencies is something to be celebrated and I’m lucky enough to know and work with a lot of them around the country. However, it can be a very saturated market at times and unless you know that you have a distinct niche that is desired by a sizeable/profitable target market, I’d be wary of jumping in too deep at first.

However, gaining experience in some of these workplaces can set you up for entrepreneurial success in the future. The new found experience, contacts and knowledge will give you a much better chance of success! 

What recommendations would you make to the Employ Daney campaign?

Network on a regular basis and stay relevant to your target audience (potential employers).

Employers want to see (through your CV and even your social media channels) that you are the best individual for the role and through syndicating the correct content and writing catchy blog content, this should stand you out against the rest.

A small social media tip? Utilise live chats on Twitter. Some are fantastic for networking on social and LinkedIn, which could potentially lead to a meeting regarding a job post or a recommendation.

What’s next in the pipeline for you, Dylan?

Well, it’s safe to say in my short career so far, it’s the busiest I’ve ever been and to say I’m loving it is an understatement. I couldn’t have asked for a better and more exciting two years in the business and I can’t wait for many more to come.

For me? I’m hoping to achieve my BA (Hons) Marketing in 2017. Alongside this, Clear Returns continue to go from strength to strength and it’s been the perfect job for myself over the last 6 months after having my own start-ups towards the end of my teenage years. Our talented team continues to grow as does our impressive client list. It’s a great place to be (Europe’s best tech start up!) so I consider myself a very lucky guy and hope the good times keep on coming. Innovate Scotland is going from strength to strength. Where it will be in the next 6months to a year? Looks like everyone will just need to stick with us and find out!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

You cannot see? Open your eyes DWP!

You cannot see? Open your eyes DWP!

Hello and welcome to the Support in Mind Scotland, Members Event edition of #Daneyblogs.

For those of you who don’t know, Support in Mind Scotland a national charity who seek to support and empower all those affected by mental illness, including family members, carers and supporters, and you can find more information about them here on their brand new, relaunched website:

I’m delighted to say that Support in Mind Scotland is a charity who have been in my life for the past 3 years now (Can’t believe 3 years have flown in so quick!). Yesterday’s Members Event was an uplifting reminder of just how fantastic they are, how connected they are with the people they help and how much they’ve done for me personally.

Support in Mind Scotland gave me my first professional internship back in the beginning of 2013 through the Queen Margaret University, Placement Speed Networking Event- which coincidentally took place again this week!.

I went into Support in Mind Scotland with my big heart and genuine intentions to help people, and they gave me their time, expertise and assistance to brush up my skills so I could thrive as a professional. I’m forever grateful to them for giving me a chance and for still being a key cheerleader of my work today.

So, whilst I could write all day about how fantastic they are overall, I’m excited to tell you about the key highlights from yesterday’s event (in other words, I’ll get to the point!)

Yesterday’s Member’s Event was just heart-warming from start to finish! We were delighted to see the official ‘all members in the room’ premiere of the fantastic film called – You Cannot See:

You Cannot See is an innovative film by the Life Skills Project in Dumfries, focusing on the difficulties people with mental health issues encounter when undergoing employment and benefits assessments.

From the chuckles of hearing “Deirdre up the Day Centre” over and over, to tears in our eyes of seeing just what a negative impact the Employment and Benefits assessments have had on people’s lives, this film is powerful and I highly recommend all of you watch it! It gives a real, no holds barred account of what life is really like for those who suffer with mental illness.

I openly admit I have struggled in the past with mental health issues, and being in that room yesterday with people who have faced bigger struggles than I have had in the past was humbling and a great reminder of just how lucky I am.

Watching the You Cannot See film just cemented my views that mental health still isn’t being taken seriously by DWP professionals and these ‘assessments’ are a disgrace and unfit for purpose.

With the film watched and my eyes dried from the couple tears that escaped from my emotions, next up was Karen Armstrong from The Scottish Government who spoke about Creating a Fairer Scotland. Now, Karen’s address really touched my heart for a couple of reasons, but most notably her genuine enthusiasm for helping people in need and for using all her resources to make a difference. She began telling us about mentoring, and about her mentor- straight away I envisaged this CEO type figure mentoring her through the mechanical aspects of her job, but, no! Her mentor is someone who is long term unemployed and has felt the bitter bite of the DWP’s degrading tactics, such as benefit sanctioning. She told us that she learns so much from her mentor, and I just think it speaks volumes and puts my faith back in the Scottish Government that they’re listening to real people who have real experience of this issue.

From discussing the Creating Fairer Scotland with Karen and then beginning group chats, I was very touched when Frances Simpson, CEO of Support in Mind made reference in her address to the Place of Safety project she and I worked very hard on last year. When I heard her say “We have Dane here who really led on this project…” I was bursting with pride and gratitude one year on.

The report for this project we worked on which focused on gathering the experiences of those who had been mentally unwell and had been placed in police custody is available here >

To still be a member of Support in Mind Scotland fills me with pride. To have worked on such an important project and have my name on the publication one year on fills me with pride. To now be in discussions with them about becoming a board member fills me with hope, the hope I can make a difference and play a part in helping other families who have suffered or have been affected by mental health issues get the support they need, and to live life to their fullest.




Wednesday, 28 October 2015

#IndustryChats... with Stacey Dent, Account Assistant at Niche Works Marketing & Public Relations

#IndustryChats... with Stacey Dent, Account Assistant at Niche Works Marketing & Public Relations

Hello and welcome to the #IndustryChats edition of #Daneyblogs.

#IndustryChats is an exciting new mini blog series where I'm giving PR/Marketing professionals in employment guest spots on this blog. Their guest spots will focus on offering their expertise and advice to unemployed PR/Marketing graduates at the moment, with the aim of empowering us through tips/lessons they've learned from the industry.

So, as this blog is being led by a guest blogger with so much crucial advice to share, without further delay, I'd like to introduce you to the fabulous Stacey Dent, Account Assistant at Niche Works Marketing & Public Relations.

Stacey Dent

Stacey is a PR and media graduate from Queen Margaret University. During her time as a student she undertook multiple internships which gave her experience in both agency and in-house PR, marketing and event management.

Prior to this, Stacey studied at Cardonald College in Glasgow where she worked in a team of three organising The Write Stuff Awards, the largest student journalism awards in Scotland.

Stacey enjoys implementing Niche Works clients’ social media activity and is always on the lookout for the latest tips on how to maximise the benefits of social media. She also writes much of Niche Works clients’ monthly newsletters, helps the team out with copywriting and research projects, and takes care of monitoring media coverage. Recently Stacey has been involved with press release writing and securing client coverage as well as supporting the events management process for client events. 

Now Stacey let's begin #Industrychats

As you can see from the above, Stacey is a key figure in the PR industry and I'm delighted she has very kindly gave her time out of her busy schedule to answer the following questions which are on every unemployed PR/ Marketing graduates lips...

What's the first thing you do in the morning to set yourself up for a busy day ahead at work?

The first thing I do when I get to work is check through my emails. Then, I catch-up with online news and look through the newspapers for any client coverage or interesting articles.
How long have you worked for your organisation and what do you enjoy most about working there?
I’ve worked at Niche Works since August 2014 and enjoy the variety of the job. We have a wide range of clients, from hotels and restaurants to medical education and psychology, and every day is different. One day I can be writing copy such as press releases and newsletters, and the next day taking pictures and live tweeting at a client fashion show.
How would you say the PR/Marketing industry has changed from the first day you started your job where you are now, up until now?
I think the digital market is constantly growing with social media and blogs playing a big role in the way organisations reach their audiences.
What advice would you give you PR/Marketing graduates out there who are looking to secure a role like yours?
Keep trying and don’t give up! Unpaid internships are a great way to build up experience and make contacts so I’d recommend doing as many as you can. Also, attend networking events as you never know who you might meet and what opportunities there may be.
What recommendations would you make for the Employ Daney Campaign?
Keep putting yourself out there over Twitter and LinkedIn, and try to make sure you’re noticed by the right people.
and that's a wrap......
Thank you Stacey for your excellent responses. For further information on Niche Works Marketing and Public relations:
Check out the website:
Follow on Twitter: @NicheWorksPR
Like on Facebook: Niche Works PR & Marketing
On a closing note....
As a PR/Marketing graduate looking for work reading this, is there any questions you'd have asked alongside these? If so, comment below or email me so that they're incorporated into the next edition of #IndustryChats
As a PR/Marketing professional in employment, are you reading this and would like to get involved and offer your advice and empower unemployed PR/Marketing graduates? Email me I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Creative Writing with Changes… As told by Daney.

Creative Writing with Changes… As told by Daney.

Hello and welcome to the Creative Writing edition of #Daneyblogs. I’m going to turn this blank blog page into a creative space for sharing with you what I learned from the inspiring, ideas-stirring, ‘I didn’t want it to end’ creative writing course.

The Creative Changes course was hosted by the lovely Joanna Tindall, an experienced English teacher, on behalf of health & well-being focussed organisation, Changes Musselburgh. It was an absolute gem and I’m so glad I attended.

So, just what did I get out of attending Creative Changes?

·         Firstly and foremost, I faced one of my biggest fears…. Seeing a blank piece of white paper…and a question attached..

In the past I’ve been prone to panic at the sight of blank paper, I’ve been left with that knot in my stomach and watched the perfectionist side of me running wild with a million thoughts at once on what I can creatively do for the task at hand, then discounting all of the ideas, thinking ‘this isn’t good enough’ and then leaving myself feeling deflated.

Thankfully, as the years have gone on, I’ve got much better at taking control of this perfectionist side in me and the course helped me realise that my approach of not thinking, and just freestyling at first to get my thoughts flowing, really works. I also took comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one intimidated by a blank piece of paper, and that we, once we’re kinder to ourselves and get going, we can create magic!

·         Secondly, there is no right or wrong way to be creative in writing, however, you CAN get really creative with words

A lot of us get intimated, and put off creative writing as we think 1) ‘I don’t know what to write’ and 2) ‘What I write won’t be good enough’

Firstly, you (like me) need to sit down, stop thinking and write down all the thoughts that come to mind, then from there, pull out the really good points and develop from there.

Secondly, you (like me) need to be kinder to yourself and tell yourself that you’ve done great work before and you can do it again! I find now more than ever that every piece I write, whether for myself or an organisation, I learn something each time I do it. So, this course really taught me that I should just keep going for it, keep writing and see what exciting things come out from it.

So the course then had us look at words themselves…

Jo walked us through the words which are ‘go-to’, safe, overused words such as;






And then encouraged us to pro-actively create a word bank, other words we could use to replace these words, and make our pieces more imaginative and interesting. The examples we conjured up collaboratively were excellent.  

·         Thirdly, (and back to my 3 key points) I was challenged to show, not tell.


Instead of factually reporting an event, I had a go at showing my reader how the event unfolds instead of just telling it…

I had a go at doing this in the following piece:

“It stares at me from afar, its shiny, bright, ribbed wrapper. It feels cold, and firm and I stop myself from ripping it open. I can no longer wait… the anticipation is too much.. so I grab it and tear the packaging off… it smells so sugary and its sweet scent lingers under my nose. I take a bite… it’s like an explosion of sugary, sweet, sticky caramel and the roof of my mouth is covered. I feel no guilt for putting two pieces of the delicious, caramel, old friend of mine chocolate in my mouth at once. Caramel chocolate fills me with joy and puts a smile firmly on my face.”

I also created a haiku about a snowman…. See below:

A snowman is there

With the buttons neatly placed

His hat also is white

Now, yes, this haiku looks pretty basic, however, I was following the style of it which is words with 5 beats on the first line, 7 on the second and 5 on the third and last.. so it’s:

|A |snow|man|is|there



Another great part of the course, involved me being re-acquainted with key writing terms I hadn’t come across in years! (well, since the English exams at school days) such as simile, hyperbole etc.
We actively looked out for examples of them being used through reading an excellent piece called ‘The Trick is keep breathing’ written by the fabulous Janice Galloway. What I really enjoyed most is discussing our interpretation of what the writer was getting at. It was almost like a mini-book club. It was really enjoyable.

So, I’m bringing this blog to a close, and I’m going to end it on the 6 words I was asked to summarise my day, today 15/10/15 (at the time of writing) …. COME DANE WITH ME GOT PUBLISHED

I’m so happy to see that the East Lothian Courier published an article on my #ComeDaneWithMe event and that they mentioned Changes Musselburgh too. I think Changes are a fantastic organisation and I’m really looking forward to further volunteering with them.

Over and out for now,


Thursday, 8 October 2015

#ComeDaneWithMe…. It happened! All eyes were on me…

#ComeDaneWithMe…. It happened! All eyes were on me…

Hello and welcome to the #ComeDaneWithMe edition in the #Daneyblogs series. I want to start this blog by firstly saying how overwhelmed I am by the support and great response I’ve had from my family, my closest friends, my peers in the PR, Marketing world for #ComeDaneWithMe and of course, my Employ Daney campaign overall. Thank you.

Secondly, I would like to give a huge shout out to my fabulous #ComeDaneWithMe guests; Kay, Rachel and Yvonne, who came with an open mind,  a genuine interest in my campaign, the encouragement and feedback I need to succeed in achieving what I want from the Employ Daney campaign…. finding a PR/Marketing job.

Now, that my thank you are done…..let’s talk about how #ComeDaneWithMe went and what the highlights and key learning points for me were..

I made #ComeDaneWithMe happen…

I’m so proud of myself for making #ComeDaneWithMe happen and I’m genuinely sad it’s been and gone now! It was such a rich learning experience and it saw me adopt so many different roles. From Daney with the idea >> to Daney the PR person building relationships with the right people to make sure I had the fabulous guests I did and it could go ahead >> to Daney the marketing person, coming up with exciting and eye catching ways to keep interest in the event and using social media to my advantage >> to Daney the event organiser- sorting out the logistics of the event, how many people, drafting up a budget, selecting the venue, date and time etc. >> to Daney the chef and baker which saw me whip up a 3 course menu from scratch! >> And, of course, Daney the host…PHEW!  Yes, I was as busy as you can imagine! But do you know what? I loved every minute of it!

And #ComeDaneWithMe the ladies did…

The night started with the arrival of the lovely Kay. She had managed to find my place with the help of my personalised signage directing the ladies to the flat.  On a side note, I think it’s so important to clearly mark where your event is. Nothing frustrates people more than being lost!

Anyway, back to Kay, she came bearing Margarita, which was an ode to how we met. Kay and I had met a couple weeks previously at the snazzy El Toro Loco launch night where we chatted for like 3 minutes, blethered about blogging, and how tasty the burritos were. From there, and as a blogger myself, I knew she’d be ace to have at #ComeDaneWithMe and she came! Result!

Next up, came the fabulous Rachel, and Yvonne who came bearing prosecco as a gift to open when I do finally get a job, which I thought was such a thoughtful, lovely thing to do. Rachel and I studied at Queen Margaret University together. Having not had the pleasure of seeing her in ages, and with her digital marketing background, and general all round awesomeness, I decided she’d be a fantastic guest for #ComeDaneWithMe.

Yvonne, I’m very lucky to have known for a couple of years now. We worked together back in 2011 at Next Retail. She’s been a constant shoulder of support for the Employ Daney campaign, offering me tips, advice and information on sources of support I can tap into for help on the graduate job hunt. She has a strong digital marketing background too, she’s an all-round lovely person and I was delighted to have her as a guest for #ComeDaneWithMe.

So what did I have up my sleeve for #ComeDaneWithMe?

For #ComeDaneWithMe I wanted it to be fun, and very different, but engaging. So, instead of having placements at the table, we designed our own table mascots. I wanted the ladies to personalise their own space at the dinner table, so they could feel that the event was there’s too. I also had the #Daneysguestfact raffle (an ice-breaker), where each guest would pick three pieces of paper and answer the wide ranging questions which ranged from ‘who’s your favourite viral star online, to what’s your thoughts on the Facebook Dislike button, to what’s your least favourite destiny’s child song etc. I also had the golden ‘question time’ box which covered more questions related to the PR and Marketing industry. We needed no ice breakers, we chatted away the whole night with ease.

The hot topics for the evening were…..

>Digital marketing:  the importance of being clued up on google analytics and utilising google ad words effectively. There was just so much to chat about on this, it blew my mind!

>>Great networking events worth going to and where to find them

>>>>> Great places to volunteer which really facilitate finding a job and making best use of your time you’re giving for free

>>Employ Daney (of course) and what aspects have worked really well so far, and what I could do to make it even better. I was asked the golden questions:

‘What have you gained directly from your Employ Daney campaign?’ and I answered as following:

·         1 interview with a social enterprise supporting agency – was shortlisted but narrowly missed out on the job unfortunately

·         2 PR agencies requesting I submit my CV to them

·         Finding 2 networking events (El Toro Loco event & Opportunity Knocks event) to attend that I’d have not known about had I not did this campaign

·         An interesting topic to discuss in the other interviews I’ve had. Employers are always keen to know what I’ve been doing whilst job hunting. Being pro-active like this gives me the competitive edge 

‘How have you been promoting your Employ Daney Campaign and #ComeDaneWithMe event and what 3 key things have you learned through doing this?’

I’ve been promoting both Employ Daney and #ComeDaneWithMe through:

·         Facebook (Posting regular photos and updates on how the event is shaping up)


·         Twitter (getting involved in key Twitter initiatives such as #EastLothianHour; #ScotlandHour)

·         Linkedin (both as statuses and ‘publish post’)

·         Blogging (blogging regularly and covering other topics other than #ComeDaneWithMe so my audience doesn’t tune out)

·         Website (regularly updating my website to incorporate all the things I’ve been doing in terms of networking events, initiatives (I turned £4 Iceland gave me as a gesture for some spoiled chicken into £4 worth of food for the East Lothian Foodbank last Friday)

·         Attending Networking Events (working on the elevator pitch to sell myself and my campaign succinctly in 60 seconds… I’m still working on this!)

What’s worked well promotion wise for #ComeDaneWithMe?

>Not revealing my guests until the last minute built up suspense and excitement for my event. I revealed on Facebook and Twitter the night before.

>>I’ve found publishing the posts on Linkedin instead of posting as a status has worked really well as all my connections see it, with statuses, I’m never sure who’s seeing them and when!

>>>Blogging regularly and about different topics has worked really well as people seem to like my blogs

What were my 3 key pieces of advice from my #ComeDaneWithMe guests?

>Keep blogging, it’s a fantastic way to keep raising my profile to PR and Marketing employers

>>Keep networking and just keep putting myself out there! I never know who I may meet!

>>> Keep making chocolate brownies, after all, mine are “even better than a restaurant” J

What’s next for Employ Daney?

Well you’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled J

Daney over and out for now!
P.S. How GOOD was the Great British Bake Off last night! So happy Nadiya won!