Oct 27, 2020

Pitch Perfect: Martha McNaughton, Founder of May Communications.

By Hello Human.


Martha McNaughton, PR Consultant & Founder of May Communications.



Find me on

Instagram & LinkedIn.

Clients & Collaborators

Marc Wood Studio, Melissa + Miller Interiors, Aaron Probyn, State of Craft, Moose, Design Dialogue, Barney McCann, Juli Bolanos-Durman, Piebald Marketing, Beth Davies, Brand Story, Informare, Zosia Swidlicka and more.

In “Pitch Perfect” we tap Hello Human’s publicity pros and the PR experts we admire to share 5 practical PR tips, useful insights and experiences they’ve learned on the job, so small businesses can start implementing them today.

One piece of advice for a small business starting out with their own PR.
If you are a maker / designer then it’s worth investing in good lifestyle photography that you can use for PR and your social media channels. Good images are the difference between getting featured in the press or not. Spend some time reading the types of magazines you’d like to be featured in to see the stories and images that get published. This also doubles-up as a great exercise in competitor research also.

What’s your latest big PR win and how did you get there?
My first client win since I took the plunge to go freelance was the lighting designer Marc Wood, and I’ve been managing the PR for him since December 2019. Marc is London based and new to PR but with a product portfolio that deserves international recognition. In October this year we managed to secure two great pieces of coverage for the brand in leading US design publications - Surface and Interior Design’s upcoming Fall market tabloid - which has provided the perfect launch pad to present his designs to the US market. We have played the long game as is often the case in the world of PR but it’s great to see the efforts now pay off.

One lesson that I’ve learned along the way is that you can’t take a brand from 0-100 overnight and expect everyone to get as excited as you are about a story. The brands that deserve to get attention will, but it doesn’t happen instantaneously and requires a well-thought out strategy and a fair amount of patience. 

Marc Wood Studio’s Rosa Cluster 3-piece as seen in Surface,
Story by Ryan Waddoups: “Designer of the Day: Marc Wood” Photo: Courtesy of Marc Wood Studio

Best tech recommendation for making your PR job easier.
An obvious answer I’m sure but social media has been a game-changer these past few years. Hashtags such as #journorequest on twitter is a great way of knowing what stories journalists are working on that they need support with, and Instagram gives behind-the-scenes access to brands and journalists that can help with market research and creating personalised pitches.

Best advice for dealing with rejection.
Remember it’s not personal and that everyone has subjective taste. Just because a story doesn’t work for one journalist / publication doesn’t mean it won’t work for another.
Best advice for building relationships from scratch.
This is more of a challenge in today’s climate but social media is a great way to open doors. Follow the journalists, brands and industry stakeholders that you want to work with and get to know and engage with them online. I’ve often sent a journalist a DM when I didn’t have their email address and by being friendly and polite I’ve almost always got a positive response. That initial dialogue also helps when you do then get around to sending the email as they already know who you are.