Ashleigh Dandridge is a public relations professional specialising in media relations and social media management for entrepreneurs in the creative industry. With a passion for research, she values building partnerships with the media and her clients to help authentically tell their stories. Ashleigh has planned and managed public relations campaigns that resulted in a variety of media placements for her clients including The Source Magazine, FOX 2 Detroit, CBS, Xconomy, The Detroit News and more.
It is great to have you with us, Ashleigh! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Born and raised in Detroit, MI, I’ve always considered myself a storyteller. I pride myself in being able to use my talents to help those who may not be aware of how to use their voice. I’ve worked in the communications and marketing industry before I realised what it was. Whether it was writing for my school paper or producing events, I’ve always had a passion for creating. Outside of work, I love music, shopping and I’ve recently started to dabble in screenwriting.
Can you talk us through your consultancy, your content creation programs and what your clients can expect when working with you?
My company provides digital PR and marketing strategies for creatives by creatives. As a fellow creative, I decided to focus on helping entrepreneurs in the creative space (music artists, actors, artists, etc,) since generally, there are fewer resources offered to those industries. We often see companies focus strictly on big business and startups, without much focus on creative industries.
I specialise in media relations and social media strategy. Working with creatives, there are tons of opportunities to create remarkable and memorable campaigns. At the end of the day, I really love what I do.
Give us 3 reasons for the importance of a strong social media presence for start-ups today?
- Consumer/business relationships go beyond business transactions now. Customers and clients want to know about the companies they support on a deeper level and social media enables companies to post behind the scenes content that allows users to feel connected to their favourite businesses.
- Social media allows you to tell your story your way. With our personal accounts, many of us use social media as our “highlight reel”, same can be applied to business. Social media is a fun strategy for companies to tell stories in a timely and cost-effective way.
- Understanding where your audience is online is extremely important when working to gain sales. Social media platforms like Instagram can be used as a lead magnet for new customers.
Startups should always make social media a priority.
How you are balancing the work/life strife?
It depends on the day, honestly. Running a company while still working a 9-5 can be challenging but extremely rewarding. I live by my calendar and planners. Those calendar dates don’t just include work-related activities. I’m intentional about making time for friends and family, as well as for myself. If it’s just binge-watching something on Netflix or finishing a book, I have to include some “me” time.
What was the setup process like for Ashleigh Creative?
Well, this is the third revamp of business actually. I started freelancing in 2014. I had no guidance and took on a lot of pro bono clients in all industries. I also offered a ton of services that I had no interest in. I later narrowed down my service offerings to media relations and social media management, but I still hadn’t narrowed down an industry. While I enjoy working with various clients, creative entrepreneurs are the group I decided needed my help the most, so in 2018, I relaunched as Ashleigh Creative LLC. As an entrepreneur, don’t be afraid to pivot.
Who are the team behind you and do you currently have any mentors?
Right now, I’m a team of one, but I do have mentors I can turn to in-person and online.
What platforms are you using as marketing tools?
Social media first. Specifically Twitter and Instagram. I also write blog posts on my website as a way to market myself as an industry expert. Currently working on building my email list for the new year.
Do you currently use any apps or tools to help the functionality of your business practice?
Absolutely. I’m not a graphic designer by any means so I love Canva for quick, professional design work. For accounting purposes, I use FreshBooks. I use SproutSocial to manage my business social media accounts and to work through strategy with my clients.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN means being unapologetically you, in every area of your life. Understanding that your voice is a gift and you bring something special. Letting go of imposter syndrome and realising we’re all figuring out this perfectly imperfect thing called life.
What does 2020 look like for you?
I want 2020 to really be about execution. We get so caught up in the planning phase, that sometimes we forget to just do. I’m excited about the amazing projects I’ll be working on, I have some really fun things in store. I want to continue to connect with great people and continue to be a resource for those who need me.