It’s been a while since I did an interview on SEOno – the last one was with Emma Barnes about selling her blog (you can see all past interviews here). However I recently discovered that James Crawford (@jamescrawford) of PR Agency One had started his own coworking space within his agency’s office and – given that I’m a bit fanatical about coworking(!) – I thought it’d make for a good interview.
In addition to being a fellow State of Digital author, I met James when we were sat at the same table during a UK Search Awards event a few years back. I was chuffed that he was happy to answer my questions about how it was going with his agency’s new coworking space.
Steve Morgan: Hi James! To start things off, tell us about PR Agency One.
James Crawford: PR Agency One (pragencyone.co.uk) is an award-winning consultancy that has specialist teams focusing on communications, reputation and digital. We like to measure what we do, be that sales, brand or reputation and we believe that we have an industry leading suite of measurement tools designed to attribute even the most complex mix of marketing. Founded in 2011, the agency is currently the CIPR PR consultancy of the year and has a turnover of £1.5m.
Steve: You recently launched a coworking space within your office. What was the inspiration for this?
James: I wanted to give something back and support people who – like me back in 2011 – want to start and grow a business. Secondarily, the reason for the coworking space is ‘innovation’. By bringing in specialists in their field who are both accountable for themselves and to us, we can ensure we have the highest standard of consultant support, all under one roof. We’ve all seen agencies hire full-time staff in non-core services and often this cost-centre quickly falls behind the industry and stagnates. We wanted to avoid that and always remain at the forefront by working with with and nurturing best-of-breed experts.
Steve: How many people can you accommodate?
James: At the moment just four, but we have plans to extend the office still further.
Steve: What perks do you offer beyond the usual stuff (the desk, the coffee and the WiFi)? E.g. Do you offer meeting room use? Anything else?
James: The main perk is being around one of the UK’s fastest growing, award-winning PR agencies. As a business, the ability to knowledge share is important.
We are also looking for a particular set of skills. Ideally people with a grasp of branding, analytics and website development would be favourable. In return they will win projects from the team here as we are asked for these types of services all the time.
Apart from that we offer the usual: free coffee, water and WiFi.
Oh and did I mention our sun terrace complete with BBQ…
Steve: What type of ‘membership’ do you offer? Is it a pay-as-you-go/drop-in-for-the-day type arrangement, or more of an on-going monthly fee? Or both?
James: We offer a monthly £150 per-desk rental. Anything more informal than that is difficult to manage and raises issues on security and health and safety.