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How to get in maximum press coverage in minimum time with Emily Thomas

by | September 2, 2021

Would you love to raise the profile of your pet business but feel your so busy trying to spin a hundred different plates that you just wouldn’t be able to find the time?

If the answer is yes then I think you’ll be inspired with this podcast episode with Emily Thomas who runs two pet businesses.

Emily is one of the busiest and most productive people I’ve ever met. She runs a hugely successful Canicross equipment business, K9TrailTime, and travels across the country to events.

Emily also runs a hydrotherapy centre, Canactive, where she lives in Gloucester along with her business partner.

In the last nine months we’ve been working together on raising her profile with Emily featuring in several national newspapers, in magazines, including a six page spread in Edition Dog and lots more.

Emily shares how she fitted it in her hectic schedule in this episode and her advice for other pet professionals when it comes to getting your name out there.

You can listen in on the player link below or carry on reading the highlights as a blog post.

Emily’s background

Emily started her K9TrailTime business providing Canicross kit for people who wanted to run with their dogs in 2012.

Since then she has grown her website with equipment, blogs and information making her the go-to place for all things Canicross.

Emily said: “In 2012, very few people had specialist harnesses, belts and lines for Canicross and there wasn’t a central place for information so I saw a gap in the market.

“In 2018, I wanted to move to the physical side of working with dogs so I did a course in hydrotherapy and opened up that side of the business with a friend of mine.

“We set up the Canactive Hydrotherapy Centre in 2019, just before the pandemic. Since then we have worked with rehabilitating dogs which is massively rewarding.”

How lockdown hit her businesses

Emily regularly attends Canicross events across the country every weekend, both for her own enjoyment and to showcase her products.

She has stalls where people can try out her kit, have it fitted on their dogs and learn more about the sport.

But when the pandemic hit in March 2021, everything stopped, meaning a huge source of Emily’s business awareness was taken away.

Thankfully, because of the restrictions, people were making the most of their hour a day exercise and looking to learn more about Canicross.

So her sales soared with her experiencing a 52 per cent increases in online sales in January 2021 compared to January 2020.

Emily recalled: “I panicked at first because the events and trade shows were such a big part of my business.

“And then the orders started trickling in until they flooded in because people who would have never thought about Canicross before now to research it.

“People wanted to exercise in different ways, combining their exercise with their dogs, and all the hard work I’d done on my website meant I was being found.

“I started to reach more people and let them know about Canicross, and I saw a massive increase in online sales.”

Why Emily decided to work on getting her business in the press

Emily joined my free Publicity for Pet Business challenge in January 2021, having already had some press coverage.

While her business was thriving, she wanted to learn more about how she could use the media to reach her ideal client.

Emily recalled: “Before I joined the challenge I’d had a few bits of publicity in Triathlon magazines about an event that I run called Dog Triathlon.

“But I had no structure or plan, so when I saw how experienced you were with guiding people I was really on board.

“I knew I wanted to widen my audience and let people know how fantastic Canicross is to exercise their dogs without the fear of them running away or doing anything to another dog.

“So I joined the challenge, then joined the programme and started working on my publicity.”

Emily’s media wins and the impact on her business

Emily has had the following pieces published:

• Competition in The Sun newspaper and website with a competition to win a Canicross starter kit.

• Feature in the Daily Mail in a product round up on protecting your dog from being stolen. The reported talked about using Canicross kit to keep your dog safe.
• Comment in The Sun about the popularity of Canicross in an article with Victoria Pendleton.
• Feature about Canicross in Trail Running magazine.
• Six page feature about Canicross in Edition Dog where Emily was referred to having ‘grown K9Trailtime into the most trusted and experienced canine sports retailer not only in the UK but overseas too.’

• Emily has also won Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday.

Emily said: “Many of these articles have included backlinks that have been amazing for my website and SEO, and the Edition Dog piece was just incredible.

“I’ve also done lots of Instagram lives with people I’ve met in the programme which have been great to access other peoples audiences, and I was featured on the podcast PupTalk where I shared my knowledge about hydrotherapy.

“Through the programme, I’ve realised the importance of little tasks and looking for different ways to approach people.”

How Emily fits working on her publicity into her very busy life! 

Many people I speak to feel worried that committing to working on their publicity will take a lot of time.

Emily said: “I was pleasantly surprised by how little time everything takes.

I tend to spend a small focused amount of time on specific tasks which has a big impact.

“My goal was that I wanted to encourage more people to get involved in Canicross and that has happened.

“I also feel really confident positioning myself as an expert and talking about what I’m passionate about.

“I have a lot of information that I can give to people and when I started to get coverage I felt like I could set myself aside as an expert that people can come to when they want to know more about Canicross.”

How Emily overcame Imposter Syndrome

Being featured in the press is a huge validation of your expertise, but getting there can come with some mental challenges.

Emily said: “I wanted to share my knowledge but I didn’t feel comfortable until this year.

“It’s hard because you don’t want to be big headed and feel awkward but you do have the experience so it’s about growing your confidence and thinking about your passion.

“When you do that, you do think, ‘you know, I love what I do.’ And I realised that I am an expert.”

Emily says putting your personality into your publicity is important too

“Don’t be afraid to put your personality into things, it took me a long time to do this,” she said.

“What works best for publicity is being the person that you are and having the ability to accept that sometimes things go wrong because people can relate to that.

“With publicity it’s all about being relatable, people don’t necessarily want to hear about how fantastic your business is, they want to see the other side and know about you and how you can help them.”

What’s next for Emily and her business?

With press coverage under her belt and her new found confidence Emily says she is excited about the future.

“Everything has gone online so I would like to provide more online training,” she said.

“I get requests from people across the country to go and train them but sometimes I want to stay home with my own dogs!

“So I want to make myself more accessible in terms of training, reach more people and help them have healthy, happy dogs.”


Emily’s feature in The Sun and with Victoria Pendleton story

Emily’s feature in the Daily Mail.

Her website K9TrailTime

Her website Canactive

If you enjoyed this episode, you might like How Karen Boyce secured 30 pieces of press in a year or How Suzanne Gould went from being shy dog trainer to sharing training tips with celebs, or How Becky Baker’s puppy blues led to the K9Nation app.

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Hi, I’m Rachel, a freelance journalist and PR and content consultant and crazy dog lady!

I’ve written so many stories about animals and pet brands that I wrote a book on how pet entrepreneurs can do their own PR.

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