Fitness blogger

Blogger Spotlight: Paul Stainthorpe, Father Fitness

Paul Stainthorpe is responsible for Father Fitness, a health and lifestyle blog for the whole family. Father Fitness was recently ranked as one of the Top 10 UK Fitness and Exercise Blogs. Here, Paul talks to us about freestyle 80s dance, his nature trail activity sheet and working with PRs.

Why did you start your blog?
I started Father Fitness back in 2010 when my little lad was born. Becoming a dad for the first time and getting myself fit and healthy was the main motivation behind my blog. I wanted to share my story and maybe help other dads do the same.

What makes your blog different from other fitness blogs?
I don’t think there are many health and fitness blogs created by men. My site also includes many posts on keeping fit and healthy as a family so it’s not just a blog about one guy working out in a gym.

What’s the next big fitness trend going to be?
Tough one! I’d love to say freestyle 80s dance classes! Imagine the music and the fashion – it would be awesome! It would certainly be loads of fun to do and keep you fit and healthy. Honest answer is… who knows and it changes so quickly.

What piece of equipment or tech is your go-to workout companion?
I bought a pull-up and dipping station last year and I love it. I use it all of the time! It also has a press-up section and I love to create a little bodyweight circuit involving dips, pull-ups, squats, press-ups and leg raises.

What’s your favourite workout class or routine?
I love weight training and I create lots of different circuits using a range of barbell and dumbbell exercises.

Paul StainthorpeWhat was your favourite blog post to create and why?
Funnily enough, one of my favourite posts so far this year wasn’t gym related. It was a nature trail activity sheet and I created it to keep your kids entertained on long walks. It was so much fun to create with my kids and I’ve had a lot of pleasure knowing other people have used it with their children too. I love being tagged in their tweets or Instagram pics!

How do you see your blog developing in the future?
I hope to establish further relationships with key brands. Speaking from experience, both brand and blogger benefit from long term sponsorships. As with any relationship – the more you get to know each other, the more you learn how best to approach projects.

What makes your blog successful?
I like to think a lot of dads can relate to the foundations of my blog and the fact I’m never in completely ripped shape all the time. It means that fellow dads see a realistic target. I personally don’t find looking at men in ‘perfect’ shape very motivating. It can all seem unachievable whereas I’ve always described myself as bridging the gap.

How do you like to work with PRs?
Honesty. Both blogger and PR company have an objective to achieve, by working together and being honest, great things can happen! Overall, they’re great and I love working with PRs because I’m given the opportunity to try new technology and be introduced to other like-minded people.

What one thing should PRs know about you?
I do NOT work with gaming companies so please don’t even ask.

What are your favourite blogs to read (outside of your own!)?
I don’t think I can answer this question without mentioning my wife! Haha! She runs Mutha Fitness. I love the honesty of Amy’s blog as she’s always battled with her weight since being young. Her blog is really inspiring and covers similar topics to mine from a female perspective. I also love to read the Hoyles Fitness blog and Steve and I are currently working on an exciting project together.

 

Paddle Pedal Pace features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

Lucy lunges

Blogger Spotlight: Lucy Edwards, Paddle Pedal Pace

Paddle Pedal Pace was previously called Lucy Lunges before it was rebranded by author Lucy Edwards to reflect her love of triathlon. With her blog recently ranking in the Top 10 UK Fitness and Exercise Blogs, Lucy chats to us about female-specific training, her favourite piece of kit and working with PRs.

How would you describe your blog?
Paddle Pedal Pace is all about living an active lifestyle, with a particular focus on triathlon. I aim to share an honest account of my experiences in sport and fitness, with the hope of inspiring other people to try triathlon. I went from being someone who was very inactive to someone who races every weekend, so I hope to show what is possible if you try. I share tips, advice, race recaps, injury prevention and training diaries.

Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in 2013 as I had some time off between jobs and wanted a project to work on. I’d been following several other fitness blogs and decided I wanted to share my own thoughts and experiences.

What makes your blog different from other fitness blogs?
Whilst triathlon is growing as a sport, there aren’t many UK-based, female-written triathlon blogs. Several pro-athletes and coaches write triathlon blogs, but I’m very much an amateur and honest about that!

What’s the next big fitness trend going to be?
I think there is a shift towards more female-specific training techniques. People are starting to understand that women need to train in a way that takes into account their physiological and biomechanical differences.

What piece of equipment or tech is your go-to workout companion?
My Garmin 920xt which records and tracks data from my training sessions, including pace, distance and heart-rate zones. It links up to the programme which my coach uses to schedule my training, so he can see my results.

What was your favourite blog post to create and why?
My recap of my half-ironman last summer as it was a huge challenge. Writing out the day from start to finish helped celebrate the achievement and cement the memories in my mind. I try to write up race reports as soon as possible, as there are so many little details which I’d otherwise forget.

How do you see your blog developing in the future?
I’d like to develop the active travel side of my blog further. I’m fortunate enough to have been on blogger trips to Tenerife, Nice and Edinburgh to run, cycle and hike. I’d love to explore more opportunities for combining fitness and travel.

What makes your blog successful?
Success for me comes from inspiring other women to try a new sport or activity. I love receiving emails, comments or messages from readers telling me that they’ve decided to start swimming lessons or sign up for their first triathlon. It makes it all worthwhile!

How do you like to work with PRs?
I’ve worked with PRs on product reviews, sponsored content and blogger trips. I’m happy to work on campaigns as long as they are relevant to my readership.

What one thing should PRs know about you?
I don’t tend to review or cover nutrition products on my blog. I think nutrition is a personal choice which takes some trial-and-error, so it’s not something I like to give advice on. I’m regularly contacted to review protein shakes, energy bars and gels, but they aren’t something I personally use.

What are your favourite blogs to read (outside of your own!)?
The Runner Beans was one of the first blogs I discovered and I still enjoy reading every post up to this day. I also love to read Keep It SimpElleHels BelsMiss WheezyFitBits and How Many Miles.

What’s your favourite workout class or routine?
My favourite training session is track running, such as 400m or 800m intervals. I love the feeling of pushing myself hard over a short distance then recovering and going again!

 

Paddle Pedal Pace features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

Whitehouse PR director of comms

First Rule of Successful Comms: Don’t Become The Story

One of the first rules of successful communications management is that the comms professional should never become the story.

And so it is perhaps unfortunate that the names Sean Spicer, Andy Coulson and Alastair Campbell are so well known.

These comms guys went beyond the call-of-duty and in some cases became bigger and more newsworthy than the ‘brand’ they were representing.

The PR and wider communications industries do attract a certain kind of person. To be successful you need to be confident, occasionally thick-skinned and quick thinking. You also need to know when to disengage the mouth and use your head.

Enter Anthony Scaramucci (aka The Mooch) as Donald Trump’s new communications director (seriously, you’d have to be a gluten for punishment to take this role on). This man could be about to take ego-powered comms management to the next level.

Within hours of taking the post Scaramucci has earned himself acres of news coverage – and mainly for all the wrong reasons.

He’s described colleagues in Trump’s inner-circle as ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ and suggested he was different from Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, with some NSFW language.

Perhaps taking a lead from his bosses previous career in reality television, Scaramucci has promised to fire any colleagues he suspects of leaking information to the press.

Speaking to journalists, Scaramucci said: ‘They’ll all be fired by me. I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you.’

So here is the question: Is this just a PR-manipulated sideshow (bread and circuses) to distract the public from greater issues?

It is said that a career in politics always ends in failure and it seems a growing number of comms professionals are only too willing to go down with the ship.

And while these power-hungry, egotistical comms bosses attempt to catch bullets aimed at the overlords – you have to wonder what sort of damage they are doing to the reputation of an industry where reputation used to be everything.

Facebook Generates $1 Million per Day for Publishers

Despite often being viewed as the enemy by many in the newspaper publishing industry, Facebook claims to be currently generating $1 million per day for publishers around the world.

Speaking to The Press Gazette, Patrick Walker, Facebook’s head of news partnerships in the EMEA region, explained why he thought partnering with the social media giant made so much sense for publishers and how trends that pre-dated Facebook were the real reason behind the decline in newspaper publishing fortunes.

Walker suggests that publishers benefit from audience growth, direct revenue and technical collaboration when they partner with Facebook.

Walker said: “We look at partner [publisher] value in many ways. That’s something that we constantly check in our conversations with partners, we’ve just doubled the size of my team in the last year to make sure we have people in all the different markets.

“They derive value in three ways. One is audience growth which they can convert into subscriptions, emails, branded content and brand value.

“The second one is direct revenue, where we’ve been slow – and that is getting most critical now in this question of where does the money go – ad breaks, ad formats, instant articles, direct subscription conversions through Facebook.

“And the third is technological collaboration. A lot of our time is spent introducing partners who don’t have the wherewithal or the budget to invest in things like augmented reality, virtual reality, messenger bots – we get our partner engineering team to go and directly train them and help them develop tools.”

While the $1 million headline figure might seem impressive, it should be noted that Facebook now works with 10,000+ publishers – meaning the revenue shared amongst partners will be severely diluted.

However, Walker doesn’t believe advertising revenue is the be-all and end-all of why newspaper publishers should partner with Facebook and believes various subscription models offered in partnership with the social network might be very attractive to publishers.

Walker said: “It will take some time until we’ve got clear results. But we are committed to a format subscription because it supports good journalism, it’s the only way to get certain types of content and it’s become an important model in a rapidly transforming publishing industry.”

Is Facebook emerging as a friend to the publishing industry, or is it just doing enough to keep publishers distracted while it gobbles up the rest of their business?

Radio and facebook LBC

A Face(book) for radio

Radio, in many respects, seems anachronistic in an age of social, smart phones and Netflix. The original broadcast medium is still a huge part of the population’s lives though – according to RAJAR, 89% tune in to the radio every week.

Even more surprising is the amount of content being consumed – on average each listener tunes in to 21.2 hours of live radio per week.

Global is one of the world’s largest commercial radio groups, reaching 24.4m listeners across its stations each week. Charles Ubaghs is the company’s head of social media and recently spoke at newsrewired about dragging their content into the 21st century.

Focusing on Global’s talk-radio brand LBC, Charles explained the issue wasn’t the content – which always had the capacity to be engaging – but the packaging. By taking the station online into the social space, Global went from having a handful of competitors in traditional radio broadcasting, to going up against every news and media outlet online. In fact, the competition became the entire internet and everything going on in a person’s life.

Charles’ challenge was to turn radio content into ‘thumb stopping moments’.

To strive for success, LBC completely changed the way they presented their content and everyone involved had to become ‘socially conscious’. The studios were redesigned by people who generally work for TV stations, so the visual became important for online success.

The social content went from looking like this (which Charles admitted looked like dodgy CCTV):

LBC

 

To this:

 

LBC New look

 

Audio content still struggles online; there were many sessions at newsrewired discussing how Facebook, in particular, does not support audio content. LBC’s studio redesign created visual content, packaging radio moments into socially shareable clips which regularly go viral.

While LBC still only uses about 0.5% of all footage for its Facebook feeds, presenters and producers are now mindful of trying to create ‘Facebook moments’ throughout their shows.

How to write a killer headline

The perfect headline can encourage click-through rates, audience engagement and the holy grail of social – going viral. At newsrewired, Steve Rayson from BuzzSumo presented an analysis of 100m headlines.

The first thing they looked at was the most engaged-with three-word phrase on Facebook, discovering ‘will make you’ had extraordinary engagement over anything else.

It has the ‘promise’ element that is key to a headline’s success. It also ties in with an emotional angle – whether the article will make you happy, laugh, cry or feel old, it is likely to be highlighting an emotion – another element that’s vital for Facebook success.

Most used phrases

The inclusion of top phrases relying on numbers is perhaps less surprising in the age of BuzzFeed, with listicles still going strong. In terms of how long that list should be, on Facebook the most engaged with were 10 items long, followed by 5, 15, 7 and 20.

The worst performing headline phrases are also helpful for all headline writers, though they do reveal the difference between popular social platforms.

least popular phrases

While ‘on a budget’ is one of the worst phrases that can be used on Facebook, it is conversely one of the most popular on Pinterest.

This reminds us all to consider the platform we’re writing for and not just mindlessly repeat content irrespective of medium.

Another example of this can be seen in the optimum length of headline. On Facebook, the most engaging headlines are perhaps longer than you would think, with 15-17 words achieving the most success. On LinkedIn, the audience has less patience for such long titles (it’s business after all) so the optimum length is a much reduced nine words.

A possible reason includes the B2B/B2C divide, with shorter, snappier content appealing to those that are using social media at work on company time.

linkedin shorter headlines

Steve finished his talk at newsrewired with an example of the perfect headline. Unsurprisingly from BuzzFeed, it hits all five elements that are important to a successful viral headline.

The five elements are:

  • Format – let people know what kind of post it is
  • Emotion – a superlative is enough to convey emotion
  • Content type – how is the information going to be displayed
  • Promise – convince people the post will change their lives (big or small)
  • Topic – appeal to an interest or existing tribe

And the headline: 27 Amazing Charts That Will Turn You Into A Baking Whiz

The perfect headline

business speak

Is it Time for Business Leaders Bin The Jargon?

Business leaders need to bin their use of impenetrable business jargon if they want to better engage the general public according to a recent report conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), PR company Porter Novelli and the research firm Opinium.

The report suggested that business leaders needed to engage more directly with employees and avoid jargon and business speak if they wanted to appear less remote.

The report, which was based on a survey of 2,000 people, also suggested business leaders needed to be more transparent in regards to their qualifications and experience and what they actually do.

The findings detailed the perception of distance between business leaders and ‘ordinary’ people is vast with the accompanying report stating: ‘The British public is looking for the human face of business, they don’t identify with business leaders and want to see businesses represented by someone like themselves. A massive 77% of British people say, ‘Heads of businesses are very far removed from the world of ‘ordinary’ people’, reflecting the desire for common ground that the public don’t have with CEOs.’

Highlighting the importance of building better connections, the report stated: ‘The public are more sympathetic to businesses that they know. The more remote a business is from people’s daily lives, the less they know about it, and in turn the less they value it. Demystifying what business does, so that more people “understand” business will have a positive impact on its reputation.’

‘The public base their view of value on their knowledge of and relationships with those industries – not how these industries are traditionally measured as contributing to jobs or the economy. The public underestimate certain industries because they are more remote from their daily lives.’

How could you or your clients improve their relationships with the public? Would speaking the ‘same language’ and binning business jargon help?

Caron Sprake

Blogger Spotlight: Caron Sprake, Caron Cares

Caron Cares is the advice and information blog for people caring for the elderly and those with dementia. Created by Caron Sprake, the blog recently featured on Vuelio’s Top Ten Healthcare Blog Ranking. Here, Caron talks to us about covering an unsexy topic, her open invitations to PRs and the current state of care in the UK. 

How would you describe your blog?
Caron Cares offers advice and information to anyone caring for someone elderly or someone with dementia. A cross between Age UK and Which? with a passionate campaigner and a soap box firmly installed.

It is so much more than just a blog, it is my passion. From that platform I have been involved in so many projects that have made a real difference to the lives of elderly people and their carers.

Why did you start your blog?
I started Caron Cares as having cared for my disabled and blind mother-in-law for many years whilst raising a young family. I felt I had useful advice and helpful tips to share with others. It was initially going to be a monthly paper newsletter until a friend suggested in 2012 I wrote a blog. At this point I was a complete technophobe, I couldn’t even copy and paste. I’ve gone from that to winning two national awards in 2016.

What makes your blog different from others in your field?
Well apart from the fact that not many people focus on issues faced by the elderly because it is not sexy, I really do care. People come to me via the blog and social media almost daily asking for help and advice, and I am always happy to help. I have experts in dementia and social work issues I can turn to as advisors if I don’t have the answers.

My blog is also different as not only is it a depository for over 800 articles, it is also my safe space to share my concerns and frustrations about the future of social care and the failings shared with me.

What’s the biggest issue facing health in the UK?
You would have had to have been living on the moon to have escaped the issues facing health and social care as we move forwards. Despite prior knowledge that the baby boomers would probably mostly live to be elderly, no government has seen fit to put suitable measures in place to fund this. It is not down to money alone though, we need a shift in attitude towards elderly people and especially those with dementia and a whole new approach to the delivery of social care. Good employed care workers are leaving in droves, poor pay, long hours and challenging environments, make retail a favourable alternative.

How important is accuracy and truth to your blogging?
I am probably too honest! I tell it like it is and am proud to do so. Far too much is going wrong in social care and care for the elderly in hospitals is not ideal either. I write punchy, emotive articles on my blog and also share them elsewhere, raising awareness is the name of the game. Be aware, prepare!

What are your favourite topics to cover?
Everything to do with issues faced by elderly people, people with dementia and their carers. Unpaid carers save the government £132bn a year and deserve to have their voices heard and their huge contribution rewarded and respected. I write about age related benefits, products and services, nutrition, health and safety – everything.

What makes your blog successful?
Passion, commitment, regular updates, simplicity of use and me! Caron really does care. Find me on FB, Caron Sprake, to get a feel of the conversations I have with readers and supporters. You can have the best blog in the world but if you don’t let people know, its useless.

How often do you work with PR professionals for your blog?
As my subject is very unsexy – although I consider it essential – I have only had one PR company approach me in five years (sob). Without being biased, I think Caron Cares will really come into its own in the future; with less choice of care, more people will become unsuspecting carers for loved ones and I will be here with my busy blog and open arms!

What top tips would you give to PRs who want to work with you?
Bring it on, care is the growth market in an ill funded environment. We are all going to have to assume more responsibility for the care of others and if agencies realise the urgency of the matter they will understand they SHOULD be working with me!

What advice would you give to new bloggers?
Just do it! Nothing to lose, be yourself, enjoy and most importantly – help others.

What are your favourite blogs/publications to read?
Mental Elf blog, The Unmumsy Mum, Deliciously Ella, BBC Good Food, Age UK, Independent Age, Pippa Kelly… the list goes on. I am also an avid follower of all news updates and articles relating to social care, as you would expect.

Caron Cares features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists. 

woman cleaning man being lazy

How Will The ASA Really Tackle Sexist Advertising?

Let’s face facts, the ASA has a reputation as a toothless attack hound and is seen to struggle when it comes to protecting the general public from ‘dodgy’ advertising campaigns.

The news that the UK advertising watchdog will have increased powers to tackle sexist advertising should be welcomed – but how will these new powers be exercised? Is this just attempting to stay relevant in an era that moves far too fast for the old dog?

In this socially-enabled age, people power has almost certainly replaced slow-moving organisations like the ASA.

When big brands drop the ball, the general public have the power to close campaigns down – and quickly. By the time the ASA get to grips with an issue, many campaigns have already passed their best before date and essentially served their purpose.

It wasn’t the ASA that shamed McDonalds to stop showing their ‘Childhood Bereavement’ television campaign. The ASA did little but pour fuel of the fire of Protein World’s ‘Beach Body Ready’ campaign on the London Underground. It was an incredibly vocal public backlash that put an end to those sorry campaigns. How would the ASA have reacted to Pepsi’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ hijack? I guarantee they would have not moved as quickly as the general public on social media.

The fear of public outrage, amplified by social media is of far greater concern than any ruling issued by the ASA months after the campaign has run its course. Just ask advertisers like Paddy Power or Ryanair who regularly push the ASA’s buttons.

It’ll also be interesting to see how the ASA selects campaigns for censure.

Is a TV campaign showing a woman cleaning the house while her feckless husband lounges around on the sofa sexist? Yes – but should we be more offended by the use of stereotypes or just the sheer laziness of the creatives that put the ad together?

Surely the general public are far better suited to name and shame any lazy, outdated and sexist campaigns. They are the ones who have the purchase power and social influence to shake brands into a new reality.

RISJ

The short-term memory of social

At newsrewired yesterday (19 July), Nic Newman from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism presented new research on ‘Brand attribution when accessing news from distributed environments’.

The news for most publishers is not good; social traffic generally doesn’t remember where it reads stories.

While 23% of the surveyed group use social media as the main route to news, a shocking 53% of those couldn’t correctly attribute the news brand that delivered the story. For news found by search it was even higher, with 63% not recalling the news brand – though with less chances for a news organisation to brand a Google results page, this is perhaps more understandable.

Another surprise is 19% of those that access their news directly couldn’t remember the news brand which begs the question how they find it in the first place.

RISJ study

These numbers don’t speak true across the board though, with brand-loyal news readers much more likely to recall when they’ve read the story on their favourite site no matter how they get there. This suggests an engaged reader who is familiar with the tropes of their chosen site.

Loyalty in the media

This can be broken down even further by brand. If we look at social traffic to different brands, it’s clear the Guardian and Buzzfeed are riding the waves of success while the Independent, Metro, Sun and Mirror, were struggling much more.

Social media good outlets

Nic Newman pointed to the way the news is presented on social media being a source of explanation, with the Guardian clearly branding posts at every opportunity compared to other major news brands that have more generic-looking posts. Another consideration is the demographics of the readers with younger more internet savvy readers drawn to the Guardian and BuzzFeed over other traditionally presented sites.

The report finds that other factors affect social traffic’s ability to correctly attribute stories, including age (where young readers have higher attribution rates), and topic – with political news and weird news leading the charge in terms of brand memorability.

The full report is available online and offers a fascinating glimpse into the behaviour of online traffic and the significant work that lies ahead for news brands.

Tania Tirraoro

Blogger Spotlight: Tania Tirraoro, Special Needs Jungle

Special Needs Jungle (SNJ) is the special educational needs and dibailities (SEND) specialist blog that aims to empower parents. Founded by Tania Tirraoro, Special Needs Jungle recently topped the Healthcare Blog Ranking. Here, Tania talks to us about the breadth of her blog, the importance of truth and accuracy, and working with PRs.

How would you describe your blog?
Special Needs Jungle is a parent-led blog, founded in 2008. Since then, it has grown and regularly features columnists and guest bloggers on all topics around SEN, disability, child health and disability parenting. We’ve produced helpful resources and infographics for people involved with SEND that are endorsed by the Department for Education. SNJ is the most influential SEND blog in the UK and aims to help empower parents with knowledge and resources as well as informative articles.

Why did you start your blog?
I started it as a way to help parents get the special educational needs support their disabled children needed, after I had successfully got my own sons’ statements of SEN. As the need for help and information grew with the SEND reforms, so did the blog.

What makes your blog different from others in your field?
There are now many SEND blogs out there, but SNJ was one of the first. We’re different as it’s not about one family or one subject but crosses all types of children and young people’s needs. We have a strong pool of expertise in our volunteer writers who are both expert parents and SEND professionals. We also work with the DfE and children’s charities to ensure that we provide a comprehensive range of articles and information. We have a very large audience for our niche, and a far-reaching social media presence. I hope we’re seen as a trusted source.

What’s the biggest issue facing health in the UK at the moment?
The cuts to the NHS and education are undoubtedly the biggest challenge. The population is growing and better medical treatment means more people, from preemie babies to the sick and elderly, are surviving longer. Not paying health workers enough and taking away training funding is putting stress on staffing, while cuts across the board are causing unsustainable pressure. You cannot continue to get more for less and the funding that’s being put in is just not enough.

How important is accuracy and truth to your blogging?
Vital. We tell it like it is and if we didn’t, our readers would lose trust in us. As an experienced journalist myself, it’s fundamental to me that if you’re going to put out information to vulnerable people, it has to be easy to understand and totally accurate.

What are your favourite topics to cover?
Although we talk a lot about the difficulties of SEND, I love posts about self-help and alternative therapies that will work for children and parents. As someone with a rare condition, I also like to cover rare disease topics. And of course, top tips.

What makes your blog successful?
Being consistent. We’ve been around for a long time and I hope we have something for everyone. We also have a growing readership of people who are not parents of SEND children but who work in the field both in education and health. I often think people forget that at its heart, it’s just me, unpaid, my SNJ partner, Renata Blower, and whoever can get a good post to me that I think people will be interested in. I figure if I’m interested in it, others will be too.

How often do you work with PR professionals for your blog?
We work with book publishers often to highlight new books and are open to good ideas, but we do charge for talking about commercial products as you would expect (though it sometimes comes as a surprise to them!). We have to pay the hosting and other fees at the end of the day and we know that a feature on SNJ is worth something. We will often run a giveaway for a new book so our readers benefit, which is fab! We feature articles from charities and non-profits for free.

What top tips would you give to PRs who want to work with you?
Know your stuff about SEND. Know our blog and its readership and don’t expect something for nothing. And don’t believe the readership stats you get from anywhere except us.

What advice would you give to new bloggers?
Think about the long term. Are you going to just talk about your family and if so, how much are you prepared to make public? What will your kids think if they read it now or in years to come? And most of all, be aware that any pictures of your children you put on there are likely to end up in places you’d rather not think about. Trust me on this. At SNJ we now never use pictures of other people’s children unless the parent is also in it, very close, so the child’s image can’t be easily isolated. There’s no need for us to add to what is already so freely available to be used in other, sickening ways.

What are your favourite blogs/publications to read?
Well, other than my other blog, A Life, not As Advertised and Renata’s blog, Just Bring the Chocolate, I like Hayley Goleniowska’s Downs  Side Up and Nancy Gedge’s The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy. I like others too, but I don’t get a lot of time to read them, as my other big interest is in consciousness studies, healing and remote viewing. I’ve just been on a consciousness exploration course with The Monroe Institute and so free time is spent reading about these subjects.

Special Needs Jungle features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists. 

Iron throne

Can Vuelio win the Iron Throne?

The challengers to the Iron Throne are now in full combat mode as Game of Thrones Season 7 started this week.

But the burning question on everyone’s lips is, ‘what PR tools would benefit the respective kings and queens?’ Well ask no longer as here we present the top challengers and how they’d take over if only they had a good internet connection and a computer.

BEWARE: SPOILERS AND FRIVOLITY LIE AHEAD

Cersei Lannister – Influencer Rating
Cersei is the current ruler of Westeros so can call the Iron Throne her own. After destroying the Faith, and many of the country’s elite, her public stock is at an all-time low. An unpopular leader doesn’t bode well, often leading to riots and challengers to the crown – though Cersei has those in abundance anyway.

The main issue with Cersei as a Vuelio customer is she just doesn’t care. There’s very little to suggest Cersei wants to improve her standing with the public, using fear and secrets to keep the people in their place – so what good would Vuelio be?

Influencer rating
Vuelio’s unique Influencer Rating will give Cersei immediate access to the most popular people in Westeros and snuff them out before they become challengers. The influencer rating makes it quick and easy to find people who are influential by topic or outlet, allowing Cersei to quickly weed out her enemies. Cersei would obviously try all she could to manipulate the system so she was the only one with a score of 100, but as it is infallible she’ll have to settle for destroying the other influencers.

 

Jon Snow – Horizon Scanning
Jon’s had a mixed bag of public relations experiences – gaining support among many noble families who are happy to declare the honourable man ‘King in the North’, but struggling against those who believe he should never have let the Wildlings through The Wall (the ones who murdered him, for example). After his victory over Ramsey Bolton, he also has his cousin Sansa Stark to work with (while Littlefinger continues to whisper in her ear).

Horizon Scanning
Jon’s a busy man and has a number of competing priorities, that’s why he needs Vuelio’s Horizon Scanning. A custom report from the Vuelio team will give Jon everything he needs to know about his stakeholder community, including: key events among the noble families, the latest reports from his competition and Castle Black, and debates between allies and foes. Jon will then be equipped to take on all his challenges with one concise report.

 

Sansa Stark – Stakeholder Management
While Sansa doesn’t claim to desire the Iron Throne, Littlefinger’s persistent meddling is clearly niggling in her mind and she’s shown strategic brilliance before now that can’t be ignored.

Sansa wants her voice to be heard, and she’ll be making use of Vuelio’s engagement tools internally as much as externally.

Stakeholder management
Working closely with Jon, Sansa will be able to track every item of communication which comes from their joint claim to Winterfell. She’ll be able to see what messages Jon’s spreading and also log her own, so they can share the success as a team. This also means that next time there’s a battle, she doesn’t have to keep the Men of the Vale a secret.

 

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Freer of Slaves, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons – Media Monitoring
Daenerys is effectively entering a new market, bringing a new product (House Targaryen) and looking to quickly become the most-loved brand.

Waging war is tough, people die and the public’s emotions are up for grabs. Tackling the Lannisters head on will likely gain the Mother of Dragons early support but Westeros is bigger than King’s Landing and there are many other pretenders standing in her way.

Media Monitoring
Daenerys needs to keep track of her progress as she invades her homeland, monitoring all the coverage whether it is in Dorne or the Riverlands. Is her brand’s message being spread in the right way? Do people love the Targaryen name once again? With built-in sentiment tracking, Khaleesi will always know where she’s loved and where she’s not.

 

The Night King
The Night King doesn’t need PR software, he has influence over all the dead and in war, there’s a constant supply. Also, his icy touch would struggle to operate cutting edge software and at the moment Vuelio is only available south of The Wall.

man on the phone from behind

Newsquest Needs a Better Mobile Phone Deal

As work-related perks go, the occasional personal call from a work-owned mobile phone is hardly excessive. However, according to a recent report from The Press Gazette, regional publisher Newsquest is clamping down on all personal phone calls made from company-owned mobile devices.

An email to Newsquest staff said: ‘From 1 July all calls must be tagged, and non-business calls will be deducted from your salary. This means that if you do not tag a call at all it will be deemed to have been personal, and be deducted from your salary automatically.’

Essentially this move will introduce another, unwanted administrative task into already stretched journalists’ working days.

An inside source at Newsquest told The Press Gazette: ‘People are too busy to deal with this. There have been so many staff cuts that people simply do not have the time to deal with unnecessary admin. The feeling is that the company is hoping people will forget to do this so they can get money out of them.’

The source complained: ‘Why, when they have lost so much goodwill among their staff after years of job cuts and frozen wages, can they not find it in their hearts to let people off with the odd 50p phone call if they do find themselves in a position where they have to use their work phone?

‘Are they going to start charging people if they call to make a dentist’s appointment from the desk phones? Is this the best way to go about saving money?’

Newsquest recently switched mobile providers from Vodafone to Alternative Networks.

You have to question how good a deal they got in the switch when they are forced to make such an unpopular decision which could lead to poorer workplace productivity and morale.

Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

The Vuelio Blog Awards are back

Due to overwhelming popular demand, the Vuelio Blog Awards are back with a bang in 2017.

The annual celebration of top bloggers from the UK and Ireland will this year take place on 24 November at a brand new venue – the Bloomsbury Big Top. Vuelio will take guests on a journey into another world with live entertainment and fine dining accompanying the presentation of 15 awards to the best of the best.

This year’s categories aim to represent as many bloggers as possible, giving everyone a chance of bagging themselves one of 2017’s hottest prizes.

The categories are:

  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Beauty
  • Best Newcomer
  • DIY and Interior Design
  • Food and Drink
  • Health and Fitness
  • Fashion
  • Men’s Lifestyle
  • News and Politics
  • Parenting
  • PR, Media and Communications
  • Travel and Leisure
  • Wedding
  • Women’s Lifestyle
  • Best UK Blog

In order to be in with a chance of winning, and joining giants such as Slummy Single Mummy, London Beauty Queen, Mad About The House and Guido Fawkes, all bloggers must be listed on the Vuelio Media Database.

As well as improving the categories, Vuelio has also increased the number of shortlisted finalists from four to six, ensuring the judging panel has a wider selection when they make their ultimate decision.

Now in its third year, the Vuelio Blog Awards are firmly established as the industry’s most prestigious night. Sponsorship opportunities include award categories, the drinks reception, Twitter Wall and photo booth, with packages to meet every company aim and budget.

If you’d like more information about sponsoring, please contact Jake O’Neill: 0203 426 4012 or email: jake.oneill@vuelio.com.

Keep your eyes peeled for further Vuelio Blog Awards announcements, including the judging panel and ticket sales.

Drop of Light / shutterstock.com

Theresa May in the Wrong Trousers

Theresa May may rue the day she ever heard the name Amanda Wakeley. Who would have thought a pair of trousers by the British designer could have caused the Prime Minister so much trouble?

First there were the accusations of being out of touch with the rest of the country. At £995 the leather trousers seemed a little excessive in times of austerity.

Then fellow conservative Nicky Morgan poured fuel on the ‘Trousergate’ controversy by suggesting that the cost of the trousers eclipsed anything she had bought with the exception of her wedding dress, only to be seen sporting a £950 Mulberry Bayswater handbag a couple of days later.

OK, perhaps we can forgive the pair who have reached the top of their political careers for their expensive tastes.

But it gets worse.

According to a report in The Independent, Theresa May didn’t want to wear those ‘bloody trousers’.

It seems the most powerful person in British politics (not to mention one of the most powerful woman in the world) was convinced to wear the expensive trousers by a political aide, former joint chief of staff Fiona Hill.

The allegation was made by the Prime Minister’s former spin doctor, Katie Perrior, who described the who situation as a ‘PR Screw-up’.

Perrior said: ‘I didn’t even like the bloody trousers – they were the wrong kind of brown, if you know what I mean.’

Perrior suggested that the PM wanted to wear her own clothes for the much-criticised photoshoot but Hill was insistent.

Hill famously fell on her own sword following the conservative’s botch election campaign.

Sure, we might all need a little fashion advice from time to time, but surely the Prime Minister of a ‘strong and stable’ British government has the strength to decide what trousers she should wear on any given day.

enterprise software Workplace by Facebook

Does your agency need Workplace by Facebook?

Workplace, Facebook’s newest enterprise product, is a promising tool for the marketing communications industry. Here Ketchum’s Melissa Barry writes for #FuturePRoof on the benefits of the system. 

Workplace by Facebook has the ability to fundamentally change the way that organisations work. Workplace is Facebook’s enterprise product where employees can connect, communicate, and collaborate in a secure space. Having launched at the end of 2016, there are currently over 14,000 companies using the platform across a variety of industries throughout the globe.

One of the best things about Workplace is that it is familiar and easy to use. For marketing and communications professionals who are often active on this social network in their personal lives, there is no training required.

Features
Workplace has many similar features to Facebook such as a News Feed, messages, and most importantly, groups. It also looks great on your desktop or on your mobile device. I like to describe Workplace as being similar to your personal account, but with fewer political rants and cat memes.

Groups are the essential feature and the main way employees communicate on the platform; you can have a group for a specific team or project, a social employee group or even an all-company group to reach your entire organisation.

Distance bias
As someone who works on a global team with members in New York, London, and Düsseldorf, and with many of us often travelling, I can personally attest that this platform has reduced distance bias. We are constantly connected through Workplace sharing daily updates ranging from where we will be that day, real-time learnings, and of course fun, social sharing such as what we are eating on an international business trip.

Workplace also has a video chat capability and actually seeing each other and easily connecting via video has helped to alleviate distance bias.

Beta test
We were selected to be part of the Workplace beta test with a small group of 200 companies. We were thrilled to try it out launching a ‘pilot’ for our agency. I put the word ‘pilot’ in quotes because we had so many employees ask to join the initial group, about a quarter of our organisation, that it no longer felt like a pilot. There was huge enthusiasm over a collaboration platform that everyone instinctively understood.

Excitement and momentum of the tool continued to grow, but in terms of publication, engagement has slightly plateaued. We have about 70% of the agency with accounts and about half of the organisation as monthly active users.

With any new technology or change, there are those who are innovators and early adopters. The innovators and early adopters were those who self-selected into the initial pilot. Commitment and enthusiasm around the platform is still strong with this audience. The early majority has engaged, and now we need to conquer the late majority and the laggard population.

Overall, Workplace, and other enterprise social networks, have huge potential. Workplace has been a smashing success in some pockets of the agency, and I see it as a major area of opportunity for other areas of the business that are currently less engaged. If we can get 80% or more of our business as active monthly users, I think this can positively shift our agency resulting in a more borderless organisation with engaged employees who create the best ideas and programmes for our clients.

[testimonial_view id=7]

Eddie courtesy of @SouthernRailUK

#AskEddie Wins

Want to deflect a little social media heat away from your brand? How about letting a smart, polite and socially-savvy teenager run your Twitter account for the day?

That’s exactly what embattled train operator Southern Rail did last week with amazing results.

Eddie the intern signed on the company’s Twitter account with the Tweet: ‘Hi, Eddie here! Here on Work Experience and ready to answer your questions! J’

Within minutes, 15-year-old Eddie was flooded with all manner of questions, very little about train travel, and soon after a flurry of job offers.

For two days, Southern Rail’s Twitter feed was full of smiley faces, fun facts and plenty of hilarity – but not everyone appreciated the joke.

Some even went as far as to suggest the company used #AskEddie to divert attention away from the usual grumbles they face. Planned positivity or not, letting a 15-year-old work experience boy loose on a huge corporate account suggests either a brazen belief in Eddie or a lack of consideration for the power social media has.

It is all too easy for things to go wrong on social media and tweets can quickly damage reputation. The fact Eddie announced his age and employment status probably played in his favour but it still seems like a risk to have let him communicate with the public, especially when, in this case, they are often irate. Southern was lucky that this risk paid off.

Was #AskEddie a stroke of PR genius, a bit of light-hearted fun or a complete disaster? Share your thoughts in the comments section below:

ITV plc

ITV appoints first female chief executive

Carolyn McCall has been appointed ITV’s first female chief executive. She will succeed Adam Crozier early next year.

McCall is joining ITV from easyJet where she has been chief executive for seven years. She was also previously group chief executive of the Guardian Media Group.

The Guardian has reported that she was chosen as the preferred candidate at the end of last month and negotiations since have focused on her remuneration. She is expected to earn broadly the same as Crozier who earned about £27m in his seven years in charge.

ITV has reported she will receive, ‘an annual salary of £900,00 and a pension allowance of 15% of salary. She will also be eligible for a bonus plan up to a maximum of 180% of salary and a long-term incentive plan up to 265% of salary.’

Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of ITV plc, said: ‘Carolyn stood out for her track record in media, experience of an international operation, clear strategic acumen and strong record of delivering value to shareholders.’

McCall said: ‘I’m really pleased to be joining ITV. It is a fantastic company in a dynamic and stimulating sector. I am looking forward to getting to know all of the people at ITV and helping it make the most of the amazing opportunities that it has in the future.’

McCall will start her role on 8 January 2018.

Game of thrones, whitewalkers

Five things you shouldn’t have missed

A round-up of all the trending media, marketing and PR stories you shouldn’t have missed this week.

1. Eddie wins the internet

Eddie courtesy of @SouthernRailUK
A 15-year-old schoolboy on work experience was given the opportunity to monitor Southern Rail’s official Twitter account, immediately spawning a new subculture of Eddie fandom. Using the hashtag #AskEddie, Twitter users threw a variety of questions at him such as ‘Shall I have chicken fajitas tonight or chicken thai green curry’ and ‘What biscuits would you suggest we get for our clients in our Business Lounge?’, but Eddie was ready for them all, with popular responses making him an internet sensation.

Eddie’s 15 minutes, which encompassed national news coverage and an interview on Radio 1, came to end on Wednesday, leaving Southern to deal with the usual complaints and grumblings (normal service has resumed).

2. Stormzy isn’t Lukaku

The Herald in Ireland was subject to a sense of ire and mirth online when it somehow managed to print a picture of grime artist Stormzy alongside a story about Manchester United’s new £75m striker Romelu Lukaku. The mistake caused cries of racism from some and incompetence from others, while many unsurprisingly just found ways to make jokes. Unfortunately for The Herald, Stormzy himself was unimpressed:

The Herald later apologised.

3. Andy Murray calls out ‘casual’ sexism

Andy Murray crashed out of Wimbledon this week (along with fellow contenders Djokovic and Nadal) in the quarter finals. He still managed to find victory online though, through his post-match interview. Murray, stolid as ever, picked up a journalist’s ‘casual’ sexism in a question that started, ‘Sam [Querrey] is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009’, to which Murray quietly corrected him, ‘male player’. Among thousands of fans online, Murray’s clearly proud mother Judy led the way on Twitter, commenting: ‘That’s my boy’.

4. Winter is coming

For those that didn’t know, and really where have you been?, Game of Thrones returns to UK screens on 17 July. Sky Atlantic is the place to catch Season 7 and to remind the public, Sky released a number of White Walkers across famous UK landmarks. Taking in Hadrian’s Wall, Oxford Circus, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace, the White Walkers were hard to miss as they posed for pictures, complete with skeletal horse.

Game of thrones season 7 on Sky Atlantic

Zai Bennett, director of programmes, Sky Entertainment UK and Ireland said: ‘It may be summer in the UK, but after six seasons, winter has finally arrived in Westeros. With Jon Snow crowned King in the North, Cersei on the Iron Throne, Daenerys Targaryen and her colossal armada crossing the seven seas to Westeros and the Night King moving south at the helm of a truly terrifying army of the dead, the greatest battles are truly ahead of us.’

5. Top 50 Blogs

Vuelio has updated the Top 50 UK Blogs, the country’s most definitive guide to leading blogs. The methodology considers frequency of posting, social presence, Vuelio influencer score, traffic, the recentness of posts, currency and interaction from the blog’s readers, creating a diverse collection of bloggers. Guido Fawkes managed to retain his top spot, but the ranking changed greatly beneath him, with a total of 17 new entries.

Seen something that we shouldn’t have missed this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Digital and print media

Have News Aggregators Had Their Day?

The Independent recently made the headlines themselves for all the wrong reasons after a freelance journalist accused them of lifting his story from an online news source and refusing to pay for it.

According to reports on The Press Gazette, The Independent told the freelancer: ‘There is no copyright in news.’

In law, this statement is technically correct, however some media pundits have questioned The Independent’s ethics, highlighting how little text from the original article was rewritten.

Jon Harris, in his role as the chairman of the National Association of Press Agencies, said: ‘Journalists are of course entitled to follow up news stories filed by others but as long as they do their own work on it such as getting extra background, extra quotes and extra pictures. Bashing the original version around a bit doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

So the news that Rochdale Online, a hyper-local news site, has recently won a court battle against Manchester Evening News for a similar issue, will surely be seen as good news by freelance journalists, smaller news publishers and news agencies.

Rochdale Online claimed Manchester Evening News had taken a story from its site and attempted to pass it off as the work of one of their own journalists.

Rochdale Online chairman told journalists: ‘The MEN defence was “there is no copyright in news” and as the article was not copied “verbatim” there was therefore no copying and hence no breach of copyright.’

The court disagreed with this line of defence and ordered Manchester Evening News to pay £200 plus costs.

Will this set a precedent in future claims of plagiarism and how will it impact on the now widespread practice of news aggregation? Have the news aggregators (and who isn’t an aggregator these days) had their day or will ‘copy and paste’ journalism continue to thrive in this digital age?