Background on Press Loft – interview with founder Nicola Snell

Press Loft launch in 2006 and since then, we have had the pleasure of helping thousands of interior and gift brands to get in the press. As Press Loft continues to grow, we thought it would be a great opportunity to give some more insight into the company and how Press Loft has evolved! Director and Founder of Press Loft, Nikki Snell, has given us some insight including how Press Loft started and some exciting projects that are in the pipeline! 

Nicola Snell – founder of Press Loft

Hi Nikki, can you tell us a bit more about how you started Press Loft?

It has been 18 years now (I started in February 2003… wow!) since I sent the first email to clients offering PR services as a rather nervous 23-year-old on my first business – zero2one PR! 

As zero2one PR grew, I realised I couldn’t cope with all the clients I had, the journalist lists, press releases and the images.  It was all too time consuming. My Dad was working for a marketing system at the time and said, ‘there is a system in there Nikki’…. and so, we started fleshing out the basics of a system to manage the images and press releases, journalists and clients. I loved it!

One morning in 2005 I went to try out one of those free breakfast events with BNI (British Networking  International). I was trying to get new business but mentioned I was looking for a developer and there was one there (Graham!) who is still working with us at Press Loft today, 12 years later!

So in 2006, Press Loft launched, and it was a huge time saver for me for my PR business to manage my PR clients, allowing me to generate coverage 24/7… and keep track of everything I had done.  

I quickly realised that other PR’s and brands would want to use Press Loft to generate coverage for their brand and clients. It didn’t take long after signing up lots of brands and PR agencies that Press Loft really started to take off!
Press Loft has since been growing continuously. It is now a platform used around the world by thousands of journalists and thousands of brands every year. 

Just a bit more info on the timeline! 

2006 – Press Loft (then called Image Loft)  launched

2008 – We launched journalist requests and press release distribution

2011 – Press Loft  Australia launched

2013 – French and German versions of Press Loft launched

2014  – We merged all our sites and launched internationally

2017 – Launched influencer outreach service

2018 – New search tool which increased downloads by 30% 

2020 – We started using AI to match clients with journalists

2021 – Press Loft Studio…

I have also had two daughters while working! My first in 2011, and my second in 2013.

Since Press Loft started, how has your role changed?

I used to do everything from customer support, wireframing, image admin and sales all while juggling running the PR agency.  Now we have a bigger team, I mainly focus on the product development side of Press Loft and project manage the teams while constantly reviewing the data (I am a complete data geek!)  During the pandemic I have also been  enjoying doing a lot of webinars with Celine (our Marketing  Manager) and it has been great to connect with so many clients more regularly.

Any advice for people that want to walk in your shoes one day? 

If you want to run any company my advice would be to keep evolving and, in order to do that, you need to try to measure as much as possible and tweak what is working and build on that. So at the basics start by adding Google Analytics so you can understand where your sales are coming from and spend more on those channels. 

I think the other important thing to realise is you need to spend on your business to grow it, so whether that’s on ads, email, PR or SEO – your goal is to know that if you put £x in – you get £x out. The more repeatable business is, the more you can trust that putting in more money will yield more results. 

What is your company ethos / vision

It’s all about making PR simple for brands – PR doesn’t need to be complex or expensive so we are always trying to make it easier and easier for our clients to get higher levels of coverage. 

What makes it a great business to work in

Without doubt, the team, we get on so well.  We hire very carefully based on fit as much as skills.  So it makes it a great place to work. We are also fast paced and always pushing forwards which keeps things interesting! 

How easy was it for your teams to adapt to working from home at the start of the pandemic?

We were already using Slack and part of the team, myself included,  were not in the London office every  day.  When lockdown happened, it felt quite intuitive to do a daily morning meeting as things were changing every day with the pandemic so I wanted everyone  to feel connected and  reassured.  We carried on doing daily Zoom meetings and  we all made the decision to remain working from home and end the office contract.  It has been a fantastic, positive step forwards for the company allowing many of us to more easily juggle childcare and other commitments without the commute eating into personal time.  Some team members even moved countries! 

What have you learned during that time?

How robust Press Loft is as a business – we  grew 40% during the pandemic which gave us a lot of confidence in our product and marketing abilities.

What project are you the most proud of so far?

Back in 2017 we changed the site search to be global and  some clever tech changes – this led to a huge 30% increase in downloads overnight.

A more recent project we have delivered is Studio – a content creation platform. It  has been a  huge build and pivot for us but it is proving to  be an instant hit and generating  hundreds of pieces of influencer coverage for clients in the first month.

Can you tell us about what is coming next on Press Loft?

We have some fun new features on Studio coming up and some older service rebuilds in the pipeline. 

Where can we find you on the weekend and during your time off?

I spend my down time with my family, paddle boarding or camping in our campervan.  We recently did  a  garden renovation so  I have enjoyed  learning about plants  – although I’m a total novice!  I also love yoga and do it every day which helps me to switch off (for a moment!)

What is Press Loft?

Press Loft is a PR platform specialising in the home, gift and lifestyle sectors that helps thousands of brands to get their products into the press.Their PR tools allow companies to easily secure press coverage and quality backlinks for SEO by connecting with their network of 20,000+ journalists, bloggers, and influencers. Get free press coverage – take a 60-day free trial (available to new customers only.)