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Ahead of their Be More Hive Blogger and Brand workshop at Pot Kettle Black next Tuesday evening, we chatted with founders Jessica Sims and Kate Baxter to find out what’s in store for those attending, learnt more about their background in PR and content creation, and their recommendations and top tips for exploring all that Manchester has to offer.

What was the inspiration for creating Be More Hive?

As PR consultants both Jess and I spend a lot of time having the same conversations with brands, being asked the same questions again and again about how to engage with influencers. Similarly, we have both been part of countless discussions with frustrated influencers who are fed up with brands not taking the time to properly understand the way they work. Jess and I both believe that there’s room for improvement on both sides; brands need to understand how the whole thing works and influencers need to be more consistent with their approach to brand partnerships. That’s how Be More Hive was born. We were fed up of there not being a central source to remedy the issues the industry is having and a safe space for discussions to unfold, and more often that not, what’s currently happening is that these conversations are taking place on consumer-facing channels – particularly Twitter - and often inadvertently damaging the reputation of both sides.

Can you describe Be More Hive in one sentence?

In short, Be More Hive is a conversational hub to help both brands and influencers work more seamlessly together. We provide resources, events and workshops to help show both sides of the party how to make the magic happen.

What can people expect from the event?

Next week’s workshop will walk you through all the elements you need to consider, and fundamental practices you can put in to play, to set you on the path to creating unique, inspiring and most importantly, fruitful collaborative content.  Whether you are an influencer looking to work with brands, or a brand seeking the right influencer for your message, we have a range of practical exercises to work through that will help you define the relationships you should be building to help reach your goals.

How did you first getting into blogging and content creation?

I started blogging in 2009 when I was a freelance styling assistant and wanted an online space to develop my own personal creative ideas alongside my day job. I started before Instagram and Pinterest existed, and in the early days my posts generally consisted of the type of content that would live on those platforms nowadays. Over the years my blog has evolved, as I’ve taught myself new skills, gained new interests and been inspired by those around me, and out of that little corner of cyberspace I’ve been able to craft a career, develop lifelong friendships and experience incredible opportunities that I could never have dreamt of when I first sat down to write my first post.

What is the best advice you can offer to those just starting out in this career field?

Most importantly: don’t let fear hold you back – just start creating content for yourself: to pursue your interests, develop your personal passions and teach yourself new skills. If you’re enjoying what you’re creating you’ll be motivated to continue.

Secondly, support others in the way you would like to be supported yourself. A kind word goes a long way. Acknowledge and promote those who are creating great content that resonates with you.

Where can we find you at the weekend?

Always with a coffee in hand, more often than not in the Northern Quarter, either with a good book or my laptop in tow. Usually both.

Any hidden gems of Manchester that you can share?

Manchester is a HIVE of hidden gems and as a relative newcomer to the city (I’ve been here 18 months), I’ve still really only just scratched the surface.

Just Between Friends is my new favourite place for coffee, Form Lifestyle Store is a perfect minimalist haven for great gift ideas and homeware treats, and when I’m looking for a little cultural escape I like to head to HOME and see what interesting independent films they’re showcasing that week.

Do you have any favourite blogs/podcasts/books right now?

I read A Field Guide To Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit when I was on a city break in Glasgow a few months ago, and so many of the chapters resonated with me that I’ve found myself dipping back into its pages time and again ever since. I also love listening to Pardon My French with Garance Doré and Sara Tasker’s Hashtag Authentic podcast whenever I’m on the train between London and Manchester.  

What's next on the agenda for Be More Hive?

We have plenty in the pipeline – mostly under wraps at this stage I’m afraid! – but we’ll be popping up during London Design Festival in September with a special seminar at Decorex, talking about how to use influencer marketing to grow your interiors business.

What helps you to relax and unwind away from work?

I love to lose myself in a good book or captivating TV series to help unwind at the end of a long day, but lately I’ve been taking advantage of the wonderful summer weather and escaping down to the waterside walkways of Salford Quays to catch a few early evening rays and let my mind wander as I walk.

Do you have any daily rituals that help motivate you?

I’ve really want to develop a more mindful morning routine to help kick-start to day, but the reality is that I roll out of bed around 6am, hit the button on my Nespresso machine and open my laptop. Then around half an hour later I have another coffee.. I think it’s safe to say that coffee is probably my daily motivator!

The Founders:

Kate Baxter is the Founder of award-winning blog Fabric of my Life and freelance PR & marketing consultant for the design industry.

Jess Sims is a freelance PR & marketing consultant with a decade of experience working with consumer-facing retail brands, you can view her work and most recent clients on her website Jess Does.

You can still grab tickets here! See you there.

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