Trolling

The Antisocial General Election campaign?

Vuelio’s Sam Webber highlights how candidates of all parties are facing high levels of abuse in this election campaign and how many are using social media to highlight what his happening on the ground in different constituencies and to call it out. One challenge for the next government through the Online Harms White Paper will be to improve the online environment for users and to ensure it is regulated more effectively.

As votes are cast in today’s General Election, parties and policies aside, one of the more damaging aspects of the campaign has been the abuse directed towards candidates and party activists. This is often intensified by or begins on digital platforms.

Social media has also offered candidates the opportunity to highlight what has been happening on the ground in different constituencies, which might not otherwise be picked up beyond local or regional press. While not exclusively, this abuse seems to be directed more heavily towards female candidates of all parties.

Labour candidate Natalie Fleet, defending the Labour seat of Ashfield, tweeted a photo of her Nottinghamshire campaign HQ with its windows smashed.

Tweeting out a photo of the damaged shop front, she said: ‘This is the reason those that love me didn’t want me to do it. It is hard, yet I can’t stand by & see #Ashfield left behind.’

She spoke to the Guardian about the attack: ‘It’s deliberate, it’s targeted and it’s not very nice; and, unfortunately, in this climate it’s also predictable.’

A Liberal Democrat candidate, Hannah Perkin, standing in Faversham and Mid Kent said last month: ‘I have the police coming to my house tomorrow following personal threats to the safety of myself, my friends and my family. I am standing up for what I believe in. When did we lose the ability to do that? Honestly heartbroken.’

Luke Pollard, the Labour candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport also reported a case of homophobic graffiti on his campaign office to the police. He said: ‘There is no place for hate in our city and I will continue to call it out wherever and whenever I see it… There is no place for hate but with each attack more and more people stand up against it.’

Only this week, the Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani tweeted out a photo of racist hate mail she received and said: ‘Today’s post – so I’m the racist & being told to go back to where I come from?’

While the number of MPs standing down at the 2019 General Election at 74, is lower than the 1997 election where 117 MPs stood down and 2010 when 149 stood down, many have noted the number of MPs and primarily women who have stepped down citing the pressure of serving in the House of Commons since the EU Referendum and indeed citing social media abuse.

Among the 74 people are a significant number of female MPs who have served as cabinet ministers including Nicky Morgan who took the rare step as the serving Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary to announce she would not be contesting the election as a Conservative candidate. Morgan said part of the reason for stepping down included the abuse she received for ‘doing the job of a modern MP’. She added: ‘I think the abuse, because of the platforms, because of how strongly people feel about the current political situation, that has changed enormously in the almost 10 years since I started’.

Justine Greening, Amber Rudd and Dame Caroline Spelman also stood down as well as prominent opposition MPs including Gloria De Piero, Heidi Allen, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and former Conservative minister and brother of the Prime Minister, Jo Johnson.

As the campaign concludes this week, the National Police Chiefs’ Council told the Press Association 198 reports around candidate safety had been made between November 15 and December 4 and that around half were serious enough to be treated as crimes. The majority of these were allegations of malicious communications online, but there were also reports of criminal damage and harassment.

Vuelio’s recent White Paper, The Politics of Social Media, which was discussed in a fringe meeting at Conservative Conference attended by Nicky Morgan looked at the changing role of social media in British politics. The 2019 campaign has only highlighted the importance of online campaigning even more. The next stages of the Online Harms White Paper, which seeks to improve the online environment for users and tighten up regulation will be a major issue for the incoming Government whatever the result of today’s election.

 

Sam Webber is External Relations Manager at Vuelio. He is a prospective parliamentary candidate in the general election, standing for the Liberal Democrats in Erith and Thamesmead.

Unsplash

Stock image provider Unsplash dives into the digital marketing space

Media platform Unsplash has launched a digital marketing arm for companies looking to leverage branded images for online and distribution. Brands will now be able to curate and share their native content with 300 million monthly users on the Unsplash media platform.

Starting life as a Tumblr blog in 2013, Unsplash is now the largest image provider across the globe with free access to one million images for its community of users.

‘People want to connect with brands in a way that doesn’t feel fake or forced. We knew that we could offer brands a positive and authentic opportunity to engage with people at scale, in a way that doesn’t feel like any of the traditional ad products,’ said Unsplash co-founder/CEO Mikael Cho of the launch.

Although currently invite-only, the ability to publish branded images, align them with relevant search terms and syndicate them to creators across the world provides value for both brands and their PR agencies. Images spread across the Unsplash website will also be shared on over 1,400 popular online platforms with the potential for earned media and authentic influence.

Brands already working with the newly-launched digital marketing arm are Google, Harley Davidson and Square.

More information about the platform can be found at unsplash.com/brands.

Want to get coverage for the brands you’re working with? Reach relevant media contacts with the Vuelio Database.

(Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash)

New followers by party

Tactical voting spikes on social media in final days of #GE2019 campaigning

Vuelio’s sister company Pulsar has been tracking social media conversations across different platforms and highlighting the most popular policies, as well as what voters are saying and sharing online during the general election campaign.

The latest update of the Pulsar/89up social election index analysis of social media followers and content engagement across the main social networks and online sources reveals over 700,000 mentions of tactical voting on Twitter since the beginning of the general election, with a significant spike in interest from 5 December. The level of conversation on this topic has consistently risen since the start of the general election.

This follows prominent public figures with large social media followings endorsing tactical voting, including Hugh Grant and Deborah Meaden.

Graph 6

The 2019 General Election is primarily a two-horse race on social media with the Conservatives’ higher social media spend going toe-to-toe with the huge personal social media presence of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour campaign organisation Momentum and prominent party supporters like Owen Jones have also been amplifying the Labour campaign messages and directing activists to the most crucial electoral battlegrounds.

Analysis of social media followers and content engagement across the main social networks and online sources (blogs, forums, online news) between 8 November and 10 December 2019 reveals significantly higher volumes of engagement with content from Jeremy Corbyn in comparison to that from Boris Johnson. For both leaders, the engagement levels of their social media posts have dropped in the last week.

Post engagement

Media sources
The social election index also collated information on the media sources that have been shared most widely during the campaign. These point to sources which are arguably more favourable to the Labour campaign and show that the Guardian, the Independent and the Mirror are the three biggest websites shared during the campaign, with the BBC in fourth place.

Media sources

In terms of actual content, the most widely shared links during the campaign includes highly debated photo story of a four-year-old boy sleeping on a hospital floor due to a lack of beds. It also includes the ‘Register to vote’ link which ensured a large boost in voter registration early in the campaign. The impact of this spike in registrations will not be fully known until the results are in but it reveals new levels of engagement with politics.

Most shared links

Corbyn ahead
Jeremy Corbyn has been adding new followers at a much more rapid pace than Boris Johnson across social media platforms, with the Labour leader getting a major uplift in the number of his social media followers after his much-criticised interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil on 26 November. Conversely Boris Johnson received heavy criticism for not agreeing to an interview with Neil despite all other party leaders doing one. A video clip by Andrew Neil with the topics he wanted to ask the Prime Minister about became one of the most widely shared pieces of content on social media.

New followers by party

Graph 2

The Jeremy Corbyn social media surge has had knock on impact on engagement for the respective political parties with Labour staying ahead of the Conservative party in terms of engagement across Twitter and Facebook. This could make a huge difference on election day itself in terms of boosting voter turnout and ensuring that party activists are campaigning in the constituencies where they can have the most impact on the overall result.

post engagement

The major issues of the campaign

Brexit remains the topic driving the most online conversation during the General Election, followed closely by the NHS. Yet, for arguably the first time in British history, the discussion about racism has driven almost as much conversation as the economy. Social media conversation about racism, whether anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, had 484,360 mentions compared 508,124 of the economy on Twitter in the period up to 10 December. Of the 484,360 mentions of racism, 86,108 are specifically mentions of Islamophobia (18%) and 203,224 mentions of anti-Semitism (42% of total mentions).

top issues in GE

On Monday 16 December, Pulsar will compare social media success with the results of the General Election to determine the impact of social media on the results. Whether Corbyn and the Labour party can use their current social media momentum to boost voter turnout remains to be seen.

Ed Davey

Ed Davey: Lib Dems can stop Boris Johnson and build a brighter future

This blogpost is part of a cross-party series on Vuelio’s political blog Point of Order which publishes insight and opinion to help public affairs, policy makers and comms professionals stay ahead of political change and connect with those who campaign on the issues they care about. The blog has recently published on voter turnout and opinion pollingthe immigration systemthe environment, the justice system and tackling the climate emergency. To find out more or contribute, get in touch with Vuelio Politics.

Lib Dem deputy leader Ed Davey writes that his party is ‘best placed to take seats from the Conservatives and block Brexit’ and adds that neither party leader deserves to be Prime Minister because both ‘have led their parties to the extremes’.

If Boris Johnson wins on Thursday, you lose.

If you want concerted action to tackle the climate emergency, you lose.

If you want to fight poverty and build a fairer society, you lose.

If you want a strong economy to fund decent public services, you lose.

If you believe in working together internationally to tackle shared challenges – from political instability to the power of the tech giants – you lose.

There is not a single one of the major challenges facing us that will not be made harder by leaving the European Union – abandoning the single market, scrapping freedom of movement, imposing barriers to trade.

You don’t make Britain better by making Britain poorer.

Stop Brexit and we can start building a brighter future. Straightaway. No need for more years of negotiations.

We can invest the £50 billion Remain bonus – the boost experts say the Treasury would get from an economy two per cent larger by 2024-25, if we stay in the EU – in public services and tackling inequalities.

We can tackle the climate emergency with a plan to generate 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030.

We can transform our mental health services by treating mental health with the same urgency as physical health.

We can give every child the best possible start in life by recruiting 20,000 more teachers as part of an extra £10 billion a year for our schools.

We can build a fairer economy by providing free childcare from nine months and giving every adult £10,000 to spend on skills and training through their lives.

Only Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats have a plan to stop Brexit and build a brighter future for everyone.

The Liberal Democrats are winning. We gained more than 700 seats in the local elections. We beat the Conservatives and Labour at the European Elections. We took away Boris Johnson’s majority with MPs joining us from Labour and the Conservatives.

Polling suggests Boris Johnson is on course to regain that majority on December 12 – unless the Liberal Democrats can stop him.

We are the party best placed to take seats from the Conservatives and block Brexit. Labour are down since the last election. The Liberal Democrats are up. It was the threat we pose, especially in London and the south of England, that so petrified Nigel Farage that he stood down hundreds of his candidates and told people to vote Conservative instead, to avoid the risk of a People’s Vote.

What does it say about Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party that there is no place in it for moderate voices like Sam Gyimah and Sarah Wollaston, or for Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine, but Nigel Farage, and even Tommy Robinson, can cheerfully give it their endorsement.

A majority Conservative government, led by untrustworthy Boris Johnson, will leave Britain poorer, more divided and standing alone in the world.

Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have led their parties to the extremes. Neither deserve to be Prime Minister.

The Liberal Democrats are the party that can stop Boris Johnson, stop Brexit and build a brighter future for people and our planet.

This is a guest post from Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Deputy leader and Shadow Chancellor. He is the party’s candidate for Kingston and Surbiton.

Katzenworld's-Marc-and-Iain-Featured

Pet Blogger Spotlight with Marc-Andre Runcie-Unger, Katzenworld

‘Everyone has a soulmate pet!’ believes blogger Marc-Andre Runcie-Unger, who covers all things cats with Iain Runcie-Unger on Katzenworld. Feline friends are the focus for Marc-Andre, who recommends ways to keep them in all the treats, empty boxes and feather toys they could want.

But alongside all the fluffy stuff, is there a darker side of pet blogging?

How did you get started with blogging about pets?
We adopted two rescue cats and at the time there weren’t many cat-focused blogs around. That’s how Iain and I, with a few friends, founded Katzenworld during a board game evening!

What’s your favourite thing to post about?
My personal favourite is content that helps people. Tips and advice to help other people out there know more about how to care for their feline friends.

What are the best things about the pet blogging community that other blogging sectors might not have?
Everyone has a soulmate pet! Might it be a cat, dog, rabbit or even reptile. It really seems to set the scene apart.

What are your thoughts on pets/animals becoming celebrities through blogging and featuring on social media?
I personally think that one needs to listen to their pet and recognise what their limits are. There sadly are some celebrity pets out there that don’t seem happy about the ‘fame’.

Is there something you would never feature/write about on your blog?
A lot of Americans are still into the declawing of cats… there is nothing beneficial about this and it’s outright cruel. I would therefore never permit any content promoting such a barbaric practice.

Do you think it’s necessary to have pets of your own to blog about pets/animals?
Yes! While there are general pet blogs out there from people without animals, their content does not manage to have the same appeal as those of bloggers with animals.

Very important question here – which are really better, cats or dogs?
Cats, of course.

How do you work with PRs and brands – are review products and new launches useful?
I try to have a two-way beneficial collaboration with PRs and brands and treat everyone as uniquely as they should be treated. Review products and new launches are most certainly useful.

For PRs looking to work with you and your blog, how would you prefer they approach you?
Initially via email with a pitch followed by a phone chat.

What other blogs do you read (whether pet-related or not)?
Nintendo Insider, Bionic Basil and Cat Chat With Caren and Cody.

Reach-the-right-influencers-with-the-Vuelio-media-database

Loan Charge

Using the power of social media to make the #LoanCharge an election issue

This blogpost is part of a series of guest posts on Vuelio’s political blog Point of Order, which publishes insight and opinion to help public affairs, policy makers and comms professionals stay ahead of political change and connect with those who campaign on the issues they care about. To find out more or contribute, get in touch with Vuelio Politics.

In this post, Steve Packham from the Loan Charge Action Group, argues that the General Election has been ‘both a challenge and an opportunity’ for the campaign and he writes that his group will continue to lobby newly elected MPs to suspend the date people must declare and pay the charge, which is still set for 31 January 2020.

In the heat and fury of the election campaign, it can be difficult to get messages heard about many important issues, with Brexit, the NHS and a few other key national issues inevitably dominating. However, for many people, there are issues that are personal to them, that affect them directly and that are more important than anything else in deciding how they will cast their vote in #GE2019.

One such issue is the draconian Loan Charge, a policy introduced by the current Government giving HMRC the power to demand life-changing retrospective tax bills for arrangements that were legal. It has led to at least seven suicides but still the Government refuses to suspend the date people must declare and pay it, which is 31 January 2020.

It is difficult to get such issues noticed above the media coverage of the election campaign, but it can be done through a combination of people power, campaigning savvy and clever use of social media.

In normal political times, for a Government policy to have led to seven people taking their own lives and with over two hundred MPs in the last Parliament calling on the Government to halt it would surely be enough to succeed in stopping the Loan Charge. Yet these are not normal times and, with so much focus on the Brexit saga, Ministers have proved astonishingly and callously stubborn.

The calling of this election has been both a challenge and an opportunity for our campaign. A challenge because all our efforts and the support of over 200 MPs had already led to the Treasury reluctantly announcing a review, but the report was then delayed till after election. The Loan Charge meanwhile remains in place and the clock is ticking.

Yet the election has proved to be a real opportunity too, with the chance to lobby election candidates up and down the country. As they hear about the retrospective Loan Charge and the damage it has done and will do to thousands of families, including in the constituency they are standing in, the more sign up to oppose this policy if elected. We have had some real breakthroughs, most notably when the Liberal Democrats pledged in their manifesto to scrap the retrospective Loan Charge; a very significant development.

With the need to get a suspension of the 31 January declaration date declared by current Treasury Ministers, we’ve taken the message directly to the Chancellor Sajid Javid, with powerful protests highlighting the seven tragic suicides, in Westminster and in his own constituency of Bromsgrove last Saturday. Although he refused to speak to the protesters – who were outside three of his local meetings in Rubery, Bromsgrove and Cofton – he was challenged on the issue by constituents at two of these meetings.   Clearly rattled by the protests, he sent out a member of his campaign staff to say that that the Chancellor wants the Morse review report published straight after the election. He did, however, again refuse to do the obvious and right thing, and suspend the January declaration date to allow the review recommendations to be implemented.

We have had amazing people who have turned up to protest in Westminster and Bromsgrove in the December cold, as well as a few months back in Runnymede – then the constituency of Loan Charge architect Philip Hammond. Real people power. Alongside this we have used social media and we have had #LoanCharge #LoanChargeSuicides and the question #HowManyMoreSajid? trending on Twitter in the UK. We have followed that up with protests aimed at Jesse Norman, current Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and at the Prime Minister himself, Boris Johnson.

So, through passion and powerful campaigning we have managed, even in this cluttered environment, to make the immoral Loan Charge an election issue. We will keep going and you can be sure that once the new set of MPs is announced on Friday 13 December (which will be lucky for some, unlucky for others) we will be holding them to their promise to #STOPtheLoanCharge and to #SaveLives.

Steve Packham, Spokesperson for the Loan Charge Action Group.

Winners revealed at the PRCA Public Affairs Awards 2019

Leading public affairs and lobbying experts came together last week to celebrate the best in the industry for the PRCA Public Affairs Awards 2019. The black-tie event at the Park Plaza Riverbank hosted by BBC Politics Live presenter Jo Coburn awarded winners across 21 categories, recognising voluntary, corporate and in-house across the country.

Successful in the Corporate Campaign of the Year category as well as Social Media Campaign of the Year was Battersea and APCO Worldwide. Also winning double on the night was Big innovation, taking home the prize for both Party Conference Fringe Event of the Year and Think Tank of the Year. The Douglas Smith Prize 2019 was given to Atlas Partners’ researcher Sophia Stileman MPRCA and political consultant Lionel Zetter FPRCA (pictured) was recognised for Outstanding Contribution.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham MPRCA said: ‘It was an enormous pleasure to recognise Lionel Zetter’s forty years of achievement with the Outstanding Contribution award. His status in public affairs is truly legendary, so this award was a fitting way to mark his retirement earlier this year, and to thank him for all that he has done to advance the interests of ethical lobbying’.

‘This is the sixth year of the PRCA Public Affairs Awards, and once again it was a night to remember. The standard of entries has never been higher, and is evidence of a thriving, rapidly-growing, and highly ethical industry. Congratulations to everyone who took home an awards, and indeed to all finalists.’

Here is the full list of this year’s winners:

  • Best Campaign in Scotland – 3×1 and Viridor
  • Best Campaign in Wales – Deryn
  • Best Campaign in Northern Ireland – British Heart Foundation NI & Donate4Daithi
  • Corporate Campaign of the Year – APCO Worldwide
  • Trade Body Campaign of the Year – Federation of Small Businesses
  • Public Sector Campaign of the Year – BCW
  • Planning Campaign of the Year – Connect
  • Voluntary Sector Campaign of the Year – Dogs Trust
  • Social Media Campaign of the Year – APCO Worldwide
  • Best In-House Consultancy Collaboration – OVID Health and NHS Confederation
  • Consultancy Campaign of the Year – PB Consulting
  • Party Conference Fringe Event of the Year – Big Innovation Centre
  • Party Conference Reception of the Year – PLMR
  • Party Conference Stand of the Year – NFU
  • In-house Professional of the Year – Hannah Marwood
  • Consultant of the Year – Rob Dale
  • Think Tank of the Year – Big Innovation Centre
  • In-house Team of the Year – The Investment Association
  • Consultancy of the Year – Atlas Partners
  • Douglas Smith Prize – Sophia Stileman
  • Outstanding Contribution – Lionel Zetter
Positive Marketing's Paul Maher

A Positive PR Spotlight with Paul Maher

‘There is no finer place to be than tech PR,’ believes Positive Marketing founder and CEO Paul Maher. Originally started in 2009 with an aim to reach across the Atlantic divide to tech leaders in the US, the agency is now a top thirty PR firm and award-winning consultancy, using all the technology at the PR industry’s disposal – video, memes, AI – to tell a story.

Bringing together experience from diverse backgrounds is how Positive promotes the new tech it’s excited about, with graduates from law, chemistry, economics and even art on the team. Paul’s past as a tech journalist as well as in-house roles at HP, VMWare and Mercury have helped – Positive is the only European agency to have been certified by the creators of B2B Tech Category Design, authors of ‘Play Bigger’.

Paul shares what he sees as the big challenges coming up for tech PR in 2020 and what he misses from the PR industry of ten years ago (it’s been a busy decade).

What were your original aims when founding Positive?
We wanted to create a way for UK-based tech leaders to gain the awareness of tech leaders in the US. I knew, from my time at HP and VMware, if we did this and stayed true to our roots in B2B tech we would be able to create amazing careers for young European talent.

Having worked in both journalism and PR, what do you bring to Positive in approach and skillset?
Our approach is entirely-driven by the excellent British tradition of independent journalism. Even if these days we may be delivering a video, a meme or an entire campaign fronted by PR, we have never forgotten the basics of storytelling. It’s all about angles, headlines and deadlines.

The Positive team has experience in a diverse set of sectors including Law, Chemistry, Economics and Art – how do these give Positive a different perspective on the tech industry?
Almost every industry has been ‘eaten by software’, so our diverse backgrounds really are a key differentiator. While everyone at the firm shares a massive love of tech, it’s what we do, they also bring specific experiences which really help. For instance, when you think about data compliance, it helps to have legally-trained team members, when we work with industrial software companies, it pays to understand what a catalyst is. The blend of tech and sector-specific experience is becoming critical to stand out in a world of PR generalists.

What do you see as upcoming challenges for the tech sector in 2020, and how are you preparing to help clients with them?
The tech sector is about to see change like never before. Politicians have woken up, some would say decades too late, to the power of tech to provide and eliminate jobs, to evolve economies and to simultaneously boost and hinder personal freedoms built on privacy. Not being ready for techlash, or thinking tech for tech’s sake is good enough, will not cut it. We are working with upscaling our clients’ messages to meet these new challenges. Soon we believe there will be nowhere for the disinterested or apathetic to hide.

Do you work with influencers? How, and which kind of campaigns do you think they work particularly well for?
The traditional influencers in this market are analysts like Gartner and IDC. A lot of people pay their ‘taxes’ and hate doing so. We work with an increasing number of experts who work in the grey space between analysts and consultants, often what is unfairly called ‘Tier 2’. This is a much smarter use of time and budget. Often these are people motivated by a professional passion and who can help us broadcast a message, with some degree of independence, which our clients value greatly. The proliferation of podcasts and vlogs, both owner and earned, are now a regular part of our repertoire.

What is an example of great PR you’ve seen over the last few years that made you think ‘I wish we’d worked on that’?
In B2B tech it is hard to think of a more inspiring shot than when Space-X synchronised the landing of their rockets. Poetry, ballet and literally a picture that launched a million words. The rebel in us loved Amazon switching off Oracle kits – regardless of the veracity of the story. On the B2C side, Paddy Power and Greggs are our sort of irreverent brands.

AI is a big story in PR and journalism at the moment – do you see it having an impact at Positive?
As the agency behind Big Data London, the largest data show in Europe now, we know more than most about AI. As it relates to our work, there will be a lot of change from bot-written financial stories, to deeper online sentiment analysis. Ultimately stories are not what AI does, it merely pulls together data points, so we will be augmented by AI, as we already are with several of the digital tools we use. As you might expect, we are very much up for embracing this exciting new tech.

With so much having changed in the industry over the last decade, what do you miss about the PR industry from ten years ago?
Easier to say what is not missed; pointless product launches, snooty entitled tech analysts, advertorial masquerading as earned media, heaving printed press packs around shows and clippings books. If we do have to get misty-eyed, perhaps we miss proper off-site agency planning days, international press trips and the sheer joy of explaining at social gatherings that tech PR is not tech support and they would have to fix their printer or WiFi themselves. These days most people actually understand what tech PR is all about.

Which magazines, columnists, blogs, or podcasts are vital reading/listening for people working in tech PR?
This has changed a lot. Clearly the tech writers on nationals and broadcast media are of interest, but we need to be ‘more upstream’ to predict what will interest them and the general public they cater to. This means now tech PRs need to be across the blogs and podcasts of all the major players as well as the core tech media and it also helps to keep an eye on what the VC industry is funding. There’s never enough time and so being smart about feeds is just good business.

What’s the most positive thing about working in PR today?
If you like technology and have the sort of crazy curiosity which we all share, there is no finer place to be than tech PR. Because tech touches everything and B2B tech remains the foundation of almost every human innovation today, this is the perfect moment to be at the forefront. Apart from coding, there is no better way to get to the heart of the human genius which drives the world’s economies. Who would not want to be a critical part of that?

Find Paul and Positive Marketing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and connect with top tech influencers and journalists on the Vuelio Media Database.

Pulsar social election index

Corbyn’s winning the social media general election

Vuelio’s sister company Pulsar has been tracking social media conversations across different platforms and highlighting the most popular policies, as well as the most engaging political parties and their leaders during the general election campaign. The influence of social media on campaigning is greater than ever, and this analysis shows who is finding success.

The Pulsar/89up social election index analysis of social media followers and content engagement across the main social networks and online sources reveals significantly higher volumes of engagement with content from Jeremy Corbyn in comparison to that from Boris Johnson.

Pulsar social election index

Corbyn is also picking up new followers at a much faster rate than Johnson, with both finding more success on Twitter over Facebook.

Pulsar social election index

He had a major uplift in the number of his social media followers after his much-criticised interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil on 26 November, as well as this tweet on 24 November, which was by far the most engaged with piece of content from the period we tracked.

Issues
The index also shows that people are developing and evolving their arguments on social media, with Brexit dominating the general election in terms of the volume of social media conversations, closely followed by the NHS.

The biggest surprise, compared with previous elections, is the dominance of Racism in the social media conversation, on par with the Economy in the discussion. This follows media coverage in recent weeks about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia largely affecting the two main parties.

Pulsar social election index

The comparatively low volume around Crime and Security and Defence, will presumably change in the final two weeks of the campaign leading up to polling day on 12 December, following the tragic terrorist incident in London on 29 November. It has already led to wider questions being asked about resourcing of the UK’s police and security services as well as the prison and probation service.

The breakdown of issues by party show which policy areas are cross-party in terms of the social media conversation and which are dominated by either Labour or the Conservatives.

The Lib Dems and the Brexit Party, who have polarised positions on Brexit, have their biggest share of the conversation around the EU, while the Green Party takes a larger share when it comes to Climate Change and the Environment as expected. Following media reports of the SNP’s position on Trident and the UK’s nuclear deterrent, it is unsurprising to see their highest share of the conversation is around Security and Defence.

Issues such as Housing, Pensions and Nationalisation see Labour dominate the social media conservation, whereas Privatisation, Crime and Immigration are dominated by the Conservatives.

Pulsar social election index

The index is noteworthy given the amount of influence social media is expected to have on the final two weeks of the campaign and the eventual outcome, which is reflected in widely reported party spend on social media advertising. Whether Labour can convert its social media success into votes remains to be seen, but this tracker will give an indication of the public’s behaviour online right up until 12 December.

The party with the greatest social media influence will also have an advantage on election day itself in terms of ensuring members and supporters are amplifying the party’s ‘Get out the vote’ messages and are also directed to the most critical target seats.

The social media analysis in the Pulsar/89up social election index offers insight into the general election campaign across social networks and other web sources, such as Blogs, Forums, Reddit, Online News and YouTube from the 8 November to 2 December. The report tracks mentions of key political issues and UK political parties and their leaders.

Content Chaos

9 in 10 communications directors struggle with creating content

Concerns about content creation is one of the big obstacles the comms industry will face in 2020, according to a new survey commissioned by Speak Media and conducted by The Pulse Business.

Among comms directors responding to the survey, 90% regularly struggle to produce content, citing lack of measurement and analytics as the main issue. Content silos also cause stagnation in teams, with 29% of comms leaders finding themselves stuck due to a lack of communication and sharing within their own organisations.

Slimming World director of external affairs Jenny Caven recognised the issues: ‘Business units are fragmented and used to being measured on the success of their own initiatives. Working to tight deadlines doesn’t help when you need to take time out to pause and reflect on better ways of doing things’.

Other struggles uncovered in the survey included teams having to work with poor video and imagery as well as a lack of editorial strategy to guide them. According to an anonymous respondent, too much ‘random content’ is generated as a result of ‘too many competing pressures and no prioritisation, because we don’t know what works and what matters’.

Lack of skill across the team was another issue being faced – another anonymous comms professional sharing the view that ‘we need to be more rigorous in checking what content generates the most engagement’.

Though 10% of those surveyed reported no challenge at all, the tight deadlines, lack of direction and skill the rest of the comms industry faces needs to be addressed and remedied according to Speak Media head of content George Theohari: ‘Content Chaos is going to cause some huge issues for organisations in 2020, as the breadth, ambition and time-sensitivity of content needed to fill their channels now rival that of some traditional news outlets’.

‘Many large-scale communications teams can lack the specific editorial expertise needed to lead and coordinate the kind of multi-channel news team that will satisfy a brand’s many channels and stakeholders. This development can create huge challenges for communications leaders.’

Old Bailey

Bob Neill: Our frequently overlooked justice system needs to be properly resourced

This blogpost is part of a cross-party series on Vuelio’s political blog Point of Order which publishes insight and opinion to help public affairs, policy makers and comms professionals stay ahead of political change and be connected to those who campaign on the issues they care about. The blog has recently published on voter turnout and opinion polling, the immigration system, the environment and tackling the climate emergency. To find out more or contribute, get in touch with Vuelio Politics.

Conservative candidate and most recent Justice Committee Chair Bob Neill says that the UK justice system is ‘as integral a part of our social services as anything else, employing, directly or indirectly, some immensely dedicated, talented and brave people’. He calls for greater investment in our prisons, more money for the legal aid system and a proper strategy for recruiting, retaining and making the best use of magistrates, who deal with around 95% of criminal cases.

For many, the justice system can seem a distant and complex web of solemn juries and impenetrable legalese. Taken together with the fact most of us rarely have any direct contact with it, it can be easy to see why the sector is frequently overlooked and often under-appreciated. However, we do so to the detriment of us all.

Indeed, the justice system underpins everything we do, managing how we deal with those who break the rules and offend; how we try constructively to prevent that, protecting the public from harm and supporting the victims of crime; and how, wherever possible, we attempt to rehabilitate those who have done wrong, giving them the tools they need to forge a second chance for themselves. At the same time, our courts system helps to protect our fundamental rights, provides us with a means of seeking redress when the law is broken, and resolves disputes between individuals and businesses. These are all measures of a civilised society.

It is for those reasons the justice system is as integral a part of our social services as anything else, employing, directly or indirectly, some immensely dedicated, talented and brave people. It needs to be properly resourced and the people working in it better supported.

Against that backdrop, the Justice Committee, which I had the privilege to Chair over the course of the last two Parliaments, has in recent years carried out an ambitious and broad programme of scrutiny on everything from bailiffs and the enforcement of debt to the probation system and the small claims limit.

So, what needs doing?

In short, from a criminal justice standpoint, we need greater investment in our prisons so we can recruit more staff and, importantly, retain experienced officers; reform the prison estate, to ensure it remains fit for purpose; and make education and training opportunities central, providing support to help offenders find employment and housing once released. The recent announcement, included in the Conservative Party Manifesto, to create a prisoner education service focused on work-based training and skills is a very welcome first step.

To those who doubt the need for reform, I would say this: with the cost of reoffending estimated to be £18 billion a year, and recidivism rates remaining stubbornly high, the stark reality is that none of us as taxpayers are receiving value for money. All but the most serious offenders will one day be released from prison. The current status quo, in which not enough support is available to ensure those same people don’t simply revert back to a life of crime once on the outside, is neither economical nor does it represent smart justice.

From a civil justice perspective, we have to make sure our courts are more efficiently run and properly maintained, also putting more money into our legal aid system to ensure access to justice isn’t hindered. One of our main concerns has been an increasingly depleted magistracy. Given these volunteers deal with around 95% of criminal cases and a substantial proportion of non-criminal work, including family law cases, it’s a challenge that needs to be urgently addressed via a proper strategy for recruiting, retaining and making best use of our magistrates, including through advertising campaigns and work-based support schemes to help those who serve.

Whichever party comes out on top on 12th December, these will be the tasks incoming ministers have to grapple with. A good start would be to move forward with a pragmatic, evidence-based approach that seeks consensus across the House of Commons on these vitally important issues.

This is a guest post from Bob Neill, who has been Chair of the Justice Committee since 2015. He is the Conservative candidate for Bromley and Chislehurst.

Raindrops of Sapphire

Fashion Blogger Spotlight with Lorna Burford, Raindrops of Sapphire

Get some style tips in our catch-up with Raindrops of Sapphire’s Lorna Burford, who recommends a good pair of jeans (she previously edited the DenimBlog), loves Dior and sees a fashionable future in blogging despite some of her fellow stylistas moving over to social media.

As well as getting some notes on what to wear this winter, read about some of Lorna’s favourite collaborations and how you can work with her (jeans optional).

How do you describe what you do to other people?
I usually say it’s a mixture of modelling, writing and photography if they don’t know what blogging means. I find it depends who you’re speaking to as ‘blogger’ is still a relatively new career term.

How much of a community is there around fashion bloggers?
I would say there’s quite a large one. All the girls I have met or spoken to are usually lovely and there’s a lot of support from followers, too.

What’s the best thing about being a professional blogger (if that’s how you refer to yourself)?
I do refer to myself as that, or self-employed; either one. I would say the best thing is the freedom you have. You make your own hours, everything is on your terms (usually, unless there’s some specific collabs) and you generally just get to be creative how you see fit, so it’s very rewarding. However, it does always come with a downside of having next to no breaks or shut-off time.

What does the future of blogging look like?
I was worried for a while that everyone is going in the direction of social media instead, and I know a lot of blogs have dropped and been given up on because of this, but I would hope blogging still remains a popular and huge thing.

How do you describe your style?
It depends purely on the season and my mood, but I would say currently it’s got a little bit of a country mix in it, and I have been wearing a lot of black lately. Mostly it’s classic, though – wearable, with an element of statement here and there in the form of a bag or boots.

Which designer(s) should we keep an eye on?
Dior are having their moment right now and I’m also feeling Saint Laurent lately!

What one fashion item or accessory could you not live without?
That would be a pair of jeans, probably. Good-fitting jeans are everything! However, I am always in need of a pair of amazing boots!

What’s the best collaboration you’ve worked on with an agency or brand?
I’m going to say Clarks Village! I did a collaboration with them in the summer and it was fantastic! Not only were the ladies handling this campaign incredibly friendly and nice, and a joy to get on with, the village is great and I had such a fun experience with it all at the same time!

What advice would you give PRs looking to get in touch?
I would say try and make your emails personal. I receive a high amount of cold/spam emails every single day, so if you really want to work with a blogger or form some kind of relationship, please be personal and friendly in the email. Mention things they have recently been up to or take an interest in their blog first, before reaching out. I’m pretty certain you will get a reply then as the blogger knows you’re serious and won’t just delete the email in among the mass amounts of others.

What other blogs do you read?
I mostly read Cupcakes & Cashmere and Brooklyn Blonde. Love those two ladies!

Reach-the-right-influencers-with-the-Vuelio-media-database

The Looneychick blog

Mental Health Blogger Spotlight: Vicky Williams, The Looneychick blog

‘Blogging is a great outlet for me and has grown into a tool to share, educate and connect with others,’ says Vicky Williams about her work on The Looneychick blog. Sharing stories about people who suffer with mental illness, Vicky also features articles and tips on staying mentally healthy to raise awareness of the issues so many struggle with.

Despite the growing awareness around mental health issues in the media, Vicky feels more can be done – learn more about Vicky’s work and some of the campaigns she feels are helping.

How do you describe what you do to other people?
I started my mental health blog as a healthy outlet to let people know that they aren’t alone, no matter how bad things get. I was in a very dark place when I started this blog and at the time there wasn’t a lot of information on my experiences out there. I’m now in a place where I can share my experiences, good and bad, with people all over the world.

How much of a community is there around mental health bloggers?
Since I started the blog three years ago there are a lot more mental health bloggers out there. There is still a huge stigma around mental health and sadly not much help on the NHS, but at least everyone can share their experiences with fellow bloggers with so many blogs and social media MH groups online now. I find most of my mental health audience are active on Twitter; it tends to be more popular than Instagram and Facebook.

What’s the best thing about being a professional blogger (if you consider yourself to be one!)?
I don’t consider myself as a professional blogger. Blogging is a great outlet for me and has grown into a tool to share, educate and connect with others.

What does the future of blogging look like?
I think blogging is continuing to grow and more people are sharing their experiences online. Businesses are even starting to blog about their daily activities as well.

It seems like mental health is attracting more attention in society recently, why do you think that is?
This is due to the fact that royalty and celebrities are getting in on the act and making mental health more fashionable. The fact is there isn’t much help available out there in terms of the NHS – if you look at the statistics in the UK, most mental health teams are poor.

Are businesses/employers doing enough to support the mental health of their staff?
No – the law doesn’t protect people with mental illness and there is still a stigma around employing people with mental health issues because of the amount of sick leave we require. Many employers can’t tolerate some of the behaviours that people with mental illnesses show.

What’s the best mental health initiative you’ve seen?
The work of charities such as Rethink Mental Illness, Time To Change and Mind is so important.

How do you work with PRS and brands?
I work with brands I believe in that match the outlook of the blog. PRs often send me press releases and sometimes I will review mental health books or fitness and wellbeing products.

What advice do you have for PRs looking to get in touch?
I am a mental health blogger, so please send me something relevant to this that I can include on the blog. I am also a 36-year-old woman, so anything around fitness, beauty or wellness is also good to review.

What other blogs do you read?
I like reading Cara’s Corner.

Reach-the-right-influencers-with-the-Vuelio-media-database

How to find award winning influencers

How to find award-winning influencers

Following the success of the Online Influence Awards, a number of PR contacts have asked how they can source the very best influencers for their organisation and clients. With Vuelio, you can identify the most influential people talking about the subjects that matter to you and your campaigns.

Vuelio Influence Score
Using over 40 different factors such as audience reach, circulation, followers and domain authority, the Vuelio Influence Score ranks media and influencers on a scale of 1-100 to help you see who is most influential on any given topic.

Increasing your influencer network
Every day we add and update the market-leading influencer and journalist database, which includes profiles for the top podcasts, vlogs, Instagrammers and Facebook groups helping you reach your audience and those who influence them.

Insight from Vuelio’s community of influencers
As well as great data, profiles and scores, we also work with our influencer community to give you insights into best practice with top tips on how to collaborate on campaigns in our interviews and spotlights.

Influencer Search
Finding the influencers, journalists and broadcasters who matter to your audience is simple with Vuelio Influencer Search.

  1. Enter a keyword in the search box:
  2. The search will return the top influencers listed in the Media Database that are talking about your topic. Results are ordered by Vuelio Influence Score.
  3. Select the relevant contacts to add them to your lists and groups. From there you can send releases and track your activities.

Find out how the influencer database can provide you with all the information you need to better understand and connect with the people that matter to your story, topic or campaign.

Polling booth

How will turnout and opinion polls affect the General Election result?

Vuelio’s External Relations Manager Sam Webber investigates the final push for voter registrations before the deadline and whether opinion polls will have an impact on turnout in the first December election the UK has had in over 90 years.

Polling day for the 2019 General Election is now less than two weeks away.

The first December election campaign since 1923 is drawing to a close with the final debates, opinion polls and seat by seat projections set to dominate the media coverage.

Postal votes are landing on doormats across the country. Many are often completed and returned within a day or two, so this weekend is in effect the first polling day of the campaign; a dry run for party activists before the main event on 12 December.

In 2017, 8.4 million people voted by post (18% of voters) and given the time of year and weather conditions, it is likely that the number voting by post this time will be higher still. Overall turnout for this election will be crucial, especially given the high number of marginal seats which are likely to decide the outcome.

68.8% was the turnout in 2017 but it could be even higher in 2019 given how important the result will be in deciding not just the next Government, but the next stage of Brexit and whether or not the UK leaves the EU and the end of January.

Equally, polls pointing to a 10% lead or more for the Conservatives and a key poll and seat projection suggesting a Tory majority of 68 might mean people stay at home if they believe that the result is beyond doubt.

It might also mean that the traditional Labour voters in the North, the Midlands and Wales who are likely to support the Conservatives on this occasion to ensure Boris Johnson has a majority to deliver Brexit, are persuaded at the last minute to stick with Labour instead.

Another factor to consider is the final push for voter registration right up until the deadline of 23:59 on Tuesday 26 November; 3.85 million people registered to vote by the final deadline which was 67% higher than the 2.3 million people who registered in the same period leading up to the 2017 poll. A significant proportion of these people will already be registered to vote though they are still counted in the total figure. However, this still points to a high level of interest in this contest despite the festive season.

67% of registrations also came from people aged 34 or under which would usually be more beneficial to Labour and proved to be true in 2017 when the party captured seats in university towns like Reading, Canterbury and Warwick and Leamington.

Labour will be hoping its dominance on social media and ability to get its party message out, drives up turnout in those key seats they need to win or retain to deprive Boris Johnson of a Conservative majority. The Conservatives will be pushing their message, that only a Conservative victory on 12 December will see Brexit delivered and take the country forward, even harder in the key seats they need to win and more widely on social media platforms. The public will decide which option they prefer.

 

Sam Webber is External Relations Manager at Vuelio. He is a prospective parliamentary candidate in the general election, standing for the Liberal Democrats in Erith and Thamesmead.

PRCA SEA

PRCA SEA takes a closer look at Asia-Pacific PR practice

Do you consider PR an industry or a profession? Research from PRCA SEA shows that two-thirds of those working in PR in the Asia-Pacific region consider their public relations calling a profession, and practitioners spend nearly a whole extra day above their contracted hours doing it.

The first PR Asia-Pacific PR and Communications Census published by the PRCA this week is based on more than 500 responses to a survey sent out earlier this year. Following the launch of PRCA Southeast Asia [SEA] in September 2018, the study shows some differences in attitude and approach as well as worldwide similarities across the profession (or industry, depending on how you see it).

Overwork and stress are issues in the Asia-Pacific, just as in Europe – PRs in the region are contracted to work an average of 39 hours a week, but often work seven hours longer than that. 31% of those surveyed make work-related calls and emails outside of office hours. Unsurprisingly, mental health is another area flagged in the survey – among those under 35-years-old, 11% have been diagnosed with a mental health condition; 55% have applied for flexible working; and in-house practitioners are more likely to get health checks or stress management workshops to help with their health.

Despite the region’s PR sphere being mostly female (61%) and young (median age of 35), women are likely to earn less than men and receive fewer bonuses for their work (even though pay rises are more common for younger professionals).

More than half surveyed speak at least one language in addition to English, and 94% had been to university – 24% of those had studied PR. Those taking part in the survey saw online communication and digital and social media as the most important parts of their work, taking over from sales promotion and general media relations. AVEs are still used, though communications strategy development is the main function of PRs in the Asia-Pacific PR profession.

Management of hours, mental support and equality across PR – industry or profession – are issues workers are experiencing across the globe. For International Communications Consultancy Organisation president Nitin Mantri, the world of PR needs to tackle these problems: ‘Workplace mental health policies should become a norm. Sustained efforts should be taken to encourage conversations around mental health because awareness and sensitivity will play a crucial role in bringing meaningful change.’

As for how to bring change in the profession, JLL executive director (communications) Eva Sogbanmu had some thoughts on how to use the findings from this first survey to change PR in the future: ‘I personally would like to see more diversity in background, ethnicity and gender at all levels of the profession – I also think that we need to work hard to demonstrate that PR is a rewarding career to consider.’

The full report from PRCA SEA can be read here.

Stanley Johnson

Stanley Johnson: Rebuilding environmental bridges with the EU after Brexit should be a key UK priority

Former Conservative MEP and environmental campaigner Stanley Johnson writes that despite backing remain in the referendum, he now fully supports his son Boris as Prime Minister, who is seeking to ‘Get Brexit Done’ as long as the UK and EU can continue to work together on world-leading environmental policies.

During the seventies and eighties, I was personally involved, both as an MEP and as a senior official of the European Commission, in drafting environmental legislation on a wide range of issues such as air and water pollution, the disposal of waste, noise and nature protection; measures which have since been introduced and applied on a common basis among EU Member States.

In the run-up to the EU Referendum in June 2016, I co-founded (with Baroness Young of Old Scone) and co-chaired an all-party group called Environmentalists for Europe. We argued that the UK had contributed in important respects to the development of EU environmental policy and had derived much benefit from it.

So, I can’t pretend that the result of the Referendum, with its clear majority for Leave as opposed to Remain (17.4 million against 16.1 million votes), did not come as a shock. It was not what we were hoping for. Since then, however, my personal preference has been clear. The people having spoken with a clear voice, we have to deliver the goods and ‘Get Brexit Done’.

But that doesn’t mean that one-time Remainers like me have forgotten about the environment. Far from it. My concern now is that in leaving the EU, we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

As I write, opinion polls suggest that the Conservative Party is on course to achieve a working majority. In that context, the commitments made in the recently-released Conservative Manifesto are obviously relevant to any assessment of ‘the environmental future’.

The climate issue is a case in point. Last Monday, 25 November, the World Meteorological Office Secretary-General Petteri Taalas announced: ‘There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

‘We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of the mankind. It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago. Back then, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer, sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.’

The Conservative Manifesto states: ‘The climate emergency means that the challenges we face stretch far beyond our borders. We will lead the global fight against climate change by delivering on our world-leading target of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.’

It goes on to say: ‘We have doubled International Climate Finance. And we will use our position hosting the UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in 2020 to ask our global partners to match our ambition.’

As we look ahead to next year’s key Climate Summit, COP26, in Glasgow (and in the light of the woeful situation highlighted this week by WMO), UK diplomats and negotiators will have to be ready to work overtime. Whereas the eyes of their political masters may be trained on potential trade deals with other key players (Japan, US, Australia, India, China, Canada etc), our diplomats will need to focus on how the UK can continue – once outside the EU – to play a leading role in dealing with the world’s key environmental challenges.

Ironically, rebuilding bridges with the EU (retrieving the baby from the bathwater?) as far as the environment is concerned at least, may well be one of the key priorities. After all, as the Prime Minister is keen to remind us: we are leaving the EU; we are not leaving Europe.

Online Influence Awards 2019

Top 25 Influencers of 2019

The Online Influence Awards took place on 22 November 2019. Find out more about all the winners below.

Best UK blogs by sector

Caroline Hirons

Beauty & Best UK Blog – Caroline Hirons

A true beauty superstar Caroline Hirons takes home prize for Best Beauty Blog for the second year running. Caroline has had a brilliant 2019 and it doesn’t look like it’s about to slow down any time soon! With a book out early next year, Caroline is taking her beauty expertise to the people.

Describing Caroline as the gold standard for influencers, our judges were blown away by her content and tone of voice. Whether it’s Caroline’s video tutorials or her famous cheat sheets, it’s clear why the queen of beauty has such a loyal following behind her.

Taking home the award for Best UK Blog, Caroline was a clear winner and the judges loved her no-nonsense approach, speaking directly to her audience with a clarity and honesty that is refreshing.

Dad-Blog-UK

Dad – Dad Blog UK

John started Dad Blog UK after he left his job in government communications to become the main carer for his children, sharing his experiences as a ‘school run dad’

Writing about the highs and lows of being a parent, John also tackles the bigger issues from talking about health with kids to the rise of gender reveal parties. The judges praised his tone of voice which is always useful without being preachy.

Passionate about creating the best future possible for children, John is a superhero dad! Plus, he’s always got plenty of dad jokes at the ready.

Teacher Toolkit

Education – @TeacherToolKit

Top of the class and receiving more than a gold star is the founder of TeacherToolkit, Ross. What originally started as a Twitter account today has a worldwide following that provides a professional platform for teachers and fantastic free resources.

This includes the globally famous five minute lesson plan which received a big thumbs up from the Department of Education for helping to reduce teacher workload.

My Fussy Eater

Food & Drink – My Fussy Eater

Blog Award winner in 2017, Ciara has taken the top prize again with her fabulous blog, My Fussy Eater. Answering the call of parents everywhere, Ciara shares her tips and tricks on how to get kids to try new foods and expand their culinary horizons. If you’re looking for ways to get your little ones eating more veggies or perhaps your partner prefers biscuits over broccoli, Ciara has got plenty of advice to turn a fussy eater into a foodie!

The Runner Beans

Health & Fitness – The Runner Beans

Marathon runner, award winner and creator of The Runner Beans, Charlie is incredibly talented. She originally started her blog to share her experience of training for her first ever marathon which expanded as she became bitten by the running bug.

Whether you’re thinking about tackling your first marathon or just want to discover more about running, The Runner Beans has plenty of tips and advice on how to find motivation to get out there.

Sophie Robinson

Interior Design – Sophie Robinson

Sophie’s love of interior design started at university and has led to a hugely successful 20 year career. Most recently, Sophie graced our screens as a judge on The BBC Two programme, the Great Interior Design Challenge.

Not content with being a TV star, Sophie also co-hosts the podcast, The Great Indoors, with fellow interior design blogger, Kate Watson-Smyth sharing inspiration wherever you are!

LesBeMums

LGBT+ – LesBeMums

Kate and her wife Sharon started LesBeMums back in 2012 when they started their journey to have a child. In 2015, their family of two became three with the arrival of T and their lives have never been the same since.

Sharing their experiences of what it’s like to be a same-sex family and the issues they face, Kate and Sharon provide great advice and inspiration – for the LGBT+ community and their allies.

The judges felt that the mums gave this category a real voice and authenticity, shaping our understanding of modern families today.

Man For Himself

Men’s Fashion – Man For Himself

Robin James’ Man for Himself proves that fashion is so much more than wearing the right threads, with expert grooming advice and men’s lifestyle creating the whole package.

Robin started in 2012 while working in digital marketing before success in style made it his full time job in 2016.

Man for Himself was considered a worthy winner by our judges for his quality content and strong audience engagement on crucial topics such as finding the best haircut to men’s grooming essentials.

Car Throttle

Motoring – Car Throttle

Taking the winners’ flag in the motoring category is Adnan Ebrahim’s Car Throttle.

Considered the ‘Buzzfeed for cars’, this blog has sped along to build a dedicated audience influencing car enthusiasts for over a decade.

‘This feels like what influencer content should be’ according to our judges – authentic, useful and designed with the audience in mind.

Mum-In-The-Madhouse

Mum – Mum In The Madhouse

The Mum behind Mum In The Madhouse is Jen Walshaw who writes about a huge breadth of topics from cooking to arts and crafts at home.

Useful for all of us with our own family-filled madhouses, Jen also covers the bigger issues that come up when raising a family and has many insightful tips for parents.

Conservativehome

Political – ConservativeHome

Despite their political affiliations, the judges’s gave their vote in the politics category to Tim Montgomerie’s blog ConservativeHome. Created in 2005 for grassroots party members looking for round-ups of news and analysis of events in the Tory Diary, Tim encourages conversation and reasoned debate, which has never been more important.

The judges picked out this blog from a category full of heavy weight authorities for its broad range of great columnists and highly regarded content.

Stephen Waddington

PR & Comms – Stephen Waddington

No stranger to anyone working in the PR and communications industry, Stephen Waddington brings his experience in the field to his work, covering industry trends, tips for practitioners and hot topic posts.

Understanding his audience and knowing what they need is what makes this blog particularly useful for those in the industry, whether the focus is corporate, PR, marketing or social.

Global Grasshopper

Travel & Leisure – Global Grasshopper

Conquering the world of travel blogging, Becky Moore creates beautiful, impactful and wide ranging content on the Global Grasshopper.

Featuring a collective of travel writers sharing their adventures around the globe, this blog hops from luxury hotels in the British countryside to under-the-radar destinations in cities across the world. Global Grasshopper is worth packing in your suitcase, wherever you’re going.

That's Not My Age

Women’s Fashion – That’s Not My Age

Alyson Walsh started That’s Not My Age in 2008 to address the glaring gap in fashion advice for women whatever their age.

Her brilliant content is created to keep readers ahead of trends, able to find must have brands or latest seasonal items. Alyson’s clear tone of voice has carved out a distinct space in the fashion scene, and is a worthy winner of Best Women’s Fashion Blog.

Best UK podcasts by sector 

Brexitcast

Current Affairs – Brexitcast

This team set themselves the unenviable task of deciphering a topic no one understands. Brexitcast makes the topic of Brexit less intimidating for listeners – and for our judges, they managed it, balancing humour with much-needed information.

Throwing the BBC rule book out of the window, this essential guide to Brexit is a must-listen for anyone confused by the intricacies of Brexit. And by that we mean: probably everyone.

Ctrl Alt Delete

Business – Ctrl Alt Delete

Emma Gannon is the brilliant brain behind Ctrl Alt Delete, a best-selling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method and a well known broadcaster and columnist. She has been rightly described as the spokesperson for the internet generation.

Over five million people have listened to Ctrl Alt Delete to hear Emma chat with experts, thought-leaders, writers and creatives about the internet, their careers and everything else in between. Guests represent the rich mix of UK culture and have included Mrs Hinch, Jameela Jamil, Emma Barnett, Alain de Botton, Poorna Bell, Ellen Page, June Sarpong and Fearne Cotton.

Judges were impressed with the impact this podcast has had – even referencing the number of millennials who have launched careers off the back of its advice. They found Ctrl Alt Delete empowering and timely, providing the support the industry needs in fast changing times.

Off Menu

Best UK Podcast – Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster

Making dreams come true, Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite special guests to choose their favourite meals for a slap-up dining experience in their magical restaurant for the Off Menu podcast.

The judges ordered Off Menu as their Best Podcast choice for its ‘funny, frivolous and compelling’ ingredients as well as the quality of servings. The pair surprise listeners with their insight into London’s restaurant scene and have reshaped our perception of one of the world’s busiest dining scenes.

Best in UK influence

Patricia Bright

Vlog – Patricia Bright

Coming first in a crowded space is Patricia Bright, who originally started her YouTube channel in secret whispering to her camera in the bathroom. Good things should always be shared, and now, nine years on, Patricia reaches over two million subscribers with her honest videos and tutorials on female fashion, beauty and hair.

Our judges particularly loved her honesty, as well as the distinctive and strong personality that comes through.

bodyposipanda

Instagrammer – @bodyposipanda

Megan Jayne Crabbe is the body positive feminist who instagrams as bodyposipanda. Our judges, and her followers, love her for her refreshing and relatable views on body issues. She is truly redefining this category and setting the standard for influencers across social media.

Kicking butt online and in life, the positivity and bravery Megan brings to Instagram is as stand out as the colours in her hair.

Our Transitional Life

Newcomer – Our Transitional Life

In one of the most hard fought categories, Kelly and Zoey stood out for the quality of their content and heart felt understanding of their audience. They started their blog, Our Transitional Life in February this year after Zoey came out as transgender. Living a life of positivity and acceptance, Kelly and Zoey aim to challenge society’s misconceptions one day at a time – and in doing so, help society to new levels of understanding.

Over the past 9 months Our Transitional Life has gained quite the following across social media and Kelly and Zoey have made the headlines and had their tv debut, appearing on This Morning in September.

Described as truly inspirational by the judges, Kelly and Zoey tackle a sensitive issue in an honest and delicate way – demonstrating what positive impact influencers truly can have.

Best in UK PR and communications

Kairos Media

Content Agency – Kairos Media

Kairos Media impressed the judges with the growth of their business from university dorm to a growing team of over 50 staff in just 4 years.

Founded by Mike, a former YouTube content creator with over 300 thousand subscribers and Chris, a former director at Machinima they set out to bring solutions to brands looking to market through social media and reach new audiences online.

Kairos Media are always looking for new ways to innovate and provide more value to their clients by disrupting traditional media, sports and the creative industries.

Vamp

Influence Campaign – Adobe Lightroom’s Vamp

With a wide variety of campaigns in this category the judges had a tough job on their hands but Vamp’s Adobe Lightroom campaign stood out from the crowd.

Vamp made sure that the campaign was consistent with Adobe’s brand values and spoke directly to their target audience, using influencers and social content creators to act as authentic advocates for Adobe Lightroom.

Vamp understand the value of working with the right influencers and the results and longevity of the campaign show that they were spot on with their decisions.

Ministry of Justice

Cause-Led Campaign – Ministry of Justice’s #UpskirtingLaw

Described as the stand-out winner, the judges had one word for this campaign – exceptional.

The Ministry of Justice supported Gina Martin’s campaign to change the law on upskirting, with the law officially being passed in February this year. This is an extraordinary result which demonstrates the power of influencers in mobilising people to realise change.

Crucial to the campaign was Gina Martin who worked with the Ministry of Justice to make this happen. Empowering people to understand their rights and take an active role in politics, Gina proved her role as a trusted and authentic influencer who used her profile to make positive change happen on an issue that had been damaging to women across the UK.

Hall of Fame

Hall of fame

This year, five very special influencers entered the hallowed Vuelio Hall of Online Influencer Fame. They are those who have truly transformed the industry, setting new standards and inspiring people around the world.

These five influencers are worthy winners of the hall of fame title and have been integral in transforming the blogosphere. With a whopping 16 awards between them, this group have kept top spot in their category time and time again.

Inthefrow and Menswear Style continue to lead the way in fashion, making sure their followers know about the latest trends to hit the high street. Mad About The House is the only blog you need to read if you fancy a spot of decorating or you have a house renovation project on the go. We’ve been on the journey with Slummy Single Mummy as she’s brought her fabulous daughters up and recently became a granny. And Guido Fawkes continues to be the most feared man in Westminster.

Rachel Friend

Weber Shandwick’s Rachel Friend Elected PRCA 2020-2022 Chairman

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has elected Rachel Friend, CEO of UK & Ireland, Weber Shandwick, as its 2020-2022 Chairman, following a vote at the AGM. 

Friend is responsible for Weber Shandwick’s network of offices across the UK. With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, she has spearheaded marketing and communications campaigns some of the world’s leading brands.

Friend will succeed Jim Donaldson when his term as Chairman concludes Autumn 2020.

Francis Ingham, Director-General of the PRCA said: ‘It’s a sign of the PRCA’s strength and size that someone of Rachel’s global standing will become our Chairman in 2020. In following Jim Donaldson, she will oversee the next phase of the PRCA’s story, as we build on our status as by far the world’s largest and most dynamic PR association.’

Rachel Friend said: ‘I am pleased to take on the role of Chairman of the PRCA. We are living through a period of unprecedented change; politics, sustainability, diversity, technology.  Our industry must continue to evolve at a rapid pace to engage audiences.  I’m very much looking forward to working with the PRCA to fuel the change.’

Shoestring budget

Producing successful PR campaigns on shoestring budgets

Got big ideas, but a small budget? Getting a campaign to go viral or grabbing sign-ups for your service doesn’t necessarily have to come at substantial cost (though it certainly helps).

Some solid strategies for how to get your message out when money is tight were shared during the CIPR National Conference session ‘Digital Communications on a shoestring’ – experts Helen Reynolds (Comms Creatives), Katie Lawson (Tiny Tickers) and Leanne Manchester (The Wildlife Trusts) talked making something good out of nothing and how fellow budget-poor people in PR can do the same.

For getting engagement without a sizeable budget (it’s often close to zero for Tiny Tickers, Katie shared), all speakers admitted that having goodwill from your potential audience is a good start, and they have that. Tiny Tickers is a charity for children with heart defects and works with a community of families looking for support. The Wildlife Trusts describes itself as a ‘grassroots movement’ of people with an interest in making a positive difference to wildlife, and future generations of wildlife lovers. The tools Helen, Katie and Leanne use, however, can be utilized by agencies and brands outside of the charity sector that don’t have a public ready and willing to listen to them.

For each of the speakers, time rather than money is the most important investment you can make when putting a plan together.

‘All it took was time,’ said Leanne of their Random Acts of Wildness campaign – a bid to get more people out and engaging with nature through information packs and social media sharing. ‘We don’t have budget to do fancy insight,’ said Katie, who spoke about the Twinkle Twinkle Tiny Heart takeover of the Seven Dials Christmas lights. Putting time aside to go through social media channels and see what audiences had engaged with previously was what really worked. Katie said: ‘It’s spending that time – and then reviewing.’

Posting times on social?

Not important, according to Helen, who advised that quality content will find its audience whichever time of day it’s posted. An authentic voice also helps. ‘There is always a personality behind your brand,’ said Helen when asked by those taking part in the panel how to engage when your brand isn’t necessarily one your intended audience wants to hear from. ‘There’s fear to put things out. It’s worth building up resilience on your team.’

And when things go wrong?

‘It’s not a reputational failure to give your audience an opportunity to complain, either’.

If you want eyes on your campaign, celebrity spokespeople are going to attract them. For those that can’t afford the top-tier influence elite like Zoella, the Pauls or a Kardashian (that’s most of us), Helen, Katie and Leanne advised getting in touch with micro and macro influencers you already know have an interest in your focus and people you already follow (‘I just DMed load of people on Instagram,’ said Leanne).
For Katie, the collaboration has to be heartfelt – ‘if we have to pay for an influencer, then it’s not the right fit’. Social media takeovers have worked for The Wildlife Trusts, and video (recorded on a colleague’s phone) was an important tool for both, especially for getting complicated ideas across that won’t be as sharable in a slab of text.

Keeping things cheap has been made infinitely more possible with the evolution of social media and digital tools (Facebook was a major convertor to sign-ups for The Wildlife Trusts’ Random Acts of Wildness campaign, and a message through LinkedIn was what sparked Twinkle Twinkle Little Heart for Tiny Tickers). It’s where the right communities and affordable tools can be found for wrangling your content together or organising your team (Katie’s workforce of six swear by Canva and Slack, for example).

As communications and PR professionals, wanting more money for campaigns is a given – but the importance of the actual work is what speakers at the CIPR session argued for. A lack of budget means an opportunity to experiment – with borrowing and pro bono help (works for Leanne) or a liberal use of memes (works for Katie, and best of all – they’re free)