In Conversation With Ellie MacDonald, Founder and MD of MacComms PR

MacComms is a West Yorkshire-based PR, marketing and communications firm founded by Ellie MacDonald. The agency aims to raise the profile of businesses, helping to generate publicity and aid with growth.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Ellie this week about where MacComms began, the impact of COVID-19 on the firm and plans for the future.

The Beginning 

Conversation began with the history of MacComms. Ellie explained that prior to setting up the firm, she had worked in PR and marketing for a few years, undertaking a variety of roles. One of the roles that she particularly enjoyed was at a PR agency, where the fast pace and variety was perfectly suited to her preferred style of work. However, ‘I wanted to do it myself,’ Ellie explained. She said that she has always been a ‘massive advocate for carving out my own destiny’ and founding MacComms gave her the opportunity to do just that, allowing Ellie to choose who she works with, which she feels is hugely important. She’s able to work with clients who she is passionate about helping, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) because it gives her the ability to work directly with the company MD. ‘When you work with lovely and decent people, you want to work hard,’ she said.

The Impact of COVID-19

Although COVID-19 has caused difficulties for many businesses across our region, Ellie explained that, following a business model change in 2018, the firm was already operating remotely and so was well adapted to working from home when the lockdown was enforced in March. The business model change means that she works primarily with freelancers, so she is able to ‘hand select people, all of whom are very motivated… It is a different way of working,’ Ellie went on, ‘but it is great to be able to get people with specific knowledge for each job.’ Ellie works with a range of different freelancers, including traditional and digital PR professionals, journalists, copywriters and social media experts who, together, help to ensure that MacComms can support business growth.

Despite being prepared, Ellie said, ‘Initially I was worried because a lot of our clients work in manufacturing and when lockdown hit, they had to stop their operations.’ Thankfully, most of the businesses are starting to function again now, and instead of losing work, MacComms has ‘actually picked up more business. July was really strong.’ Ellie believes the reasons for this include the captive audience online, the importance of getting in front of customers and the need to utilise social media. So, Ellie told me, ‘It is not all doom and gloom – the most important thing I have learnt, is that mindset is everything, and saying things are bad is not going to help people.’

MacComms Supports Business Growth  

MacComms has PR at its core’, Ellie explained. ‘We write press releases in key publications and have invested in international media databases to get to the right people.’ The company also supports businesses to apply for awards to support recognition. ‘We have some really impressive clients and working with them and seeing them succeed is great,’ Ellie said. Although MacComms supports businesses in several ways, Ellie doesn’t want the company to become a jack of all trades. ‘Instead, we collaborate with others who are experts in their fields. For example, we work with Dan at PixelLab when we need to support a business with its branding’. Ellie also supports Simon on the Streets with all their PR, something that she really enjoys, especially because the charity has grown massively over recent years, and MacComms has helped them to achieve that. 

The Future

Ellie explained that she would like to continue to support startups, but increasing business costs are prohibitive. To enable MacComms to help startups, Ellie is launching a range of online resources and tools that they can use to do their own PR. She is also hoping to run some online PR consultancy to guide and support businesses to get started or improve their communications, and to work with more local businesses as there are ‘so many great businesses in Yorkshire, particularly in tech and manufacturing. I don’t want to have a huge empire; I want to support great people… I am really happy with how things are going. We have supported hundreds of businesses and have even picked up some awards, so I would like to continue with that.’

With Ellie’s determination, resilience and resourcefulness, it seems that MacComms is in a safe pair of hands. 

Dr Gemma Bridge

Gemma, who works at Leeds Beckett University, has been writing for over 10 years and loves to share what's going on in and around Leeds. She is also an international athlete, artist and the creator of Leeds Food Guide. You can find her on Instagram at @GLB_racewalk or @Leeds_FoodGuide

Do you have a story to tell?
We want to hear your stories and help you share them.