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Interior Design Blogs UK Top 10

Last Updated 24/03/2016

1. Mad about the house
If you are mad about interiors, then you better visit this blog. It’s got ideas that range from mild to wild and visuals that make you want to redecorate. Author and interiors journalist, Kate Watson-Smyth, uses a friendly, conversational tone that puts readers at the heart of every home.

2. Dear Designer’s Blog

Author Carole King started this blog in 2009 as a way to create her ‘own little library of loveliness.’ The library she created helped her to then start up a digital interiors magazine. The Dear Designer blog remains her first love and boasts an extensive blogroll.

3. The Design Sheppard

Author Stacey Sheppard calls the blog her ‘online home’ and you are invited in. This blog stands out from others on the list for the functional yet beautiful ideas it offers – like for real homes.

4. Design Hunter

Launched in 2009, author Helen Powell’s Design Hunter is now an award-winning design and lifestyle blog with a focus on understated luxury and enduring modern design.

5. Love Chic Living

Author Jen Stanbrook has been busy writing a series about loft conversions and at other times, picking up awards including the Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Best Interiors Blog award! Jen shows off her ‘insatiable love of home decor, interior design and home accessories’ through the blog that first started out in 2012.

6. Fresh Design Blog

The name says it all – it’s a fresh take on interiors. This blog offers ideas  and inspiration for the modern and contemporary home and does so keeping costs in mind. Palm reading wallpaper, back to school bargains, geometric coffee cup sets…you get the gist?

7. Abigail Ahern

Recognised amongst design aficionados and devotees, Abigail Ahern’s blog is still one of the most influential interior design blogs out there and is a regular in our Top 10!

8. Sophie Robinson

Sophie has worked interior design for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about the industry. Over the years Sophie has made a name for herself and appeared on BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge.

9. HomeShoppingSpy

Featuring an array of different writers this blog features the latest decorating looks to the best new home-improvement ideas, plus new products from high-street stores that will help you to create your ideal home.

10. WowHaus

This is a blog that picks out the best and most interesting properties on the market. The properties featured on the site are very stylish with stunning architecture.   

 

 

The fundamentals of working with bloggers are the same as with traditional journalists at traditional media outlets: respect their schedules; take time to read their material to learn their interests; and only contact them if/when they want to be contacted.

Vuelio’s blog ranking methodology takes into consideration social sharing, topic-related content and post frequency. Profiles of these interior design blogs and their authors can be found in the Vuelio Media Database.

 

Other Blog Rankings

Photo Courtesy of mattwalker69 on Flickr

#VuelioBlogAwards judges open up about selection process

Now that the nominations for the #VuelioBlogAwards have been announced, the difficult task of selecting the winners is upon us. Next week our judging panel will gather together to decide the fate of the nominated bloggers. Giving you inside information, our judges reveal what they’ll be looking for in the winning blogs, what they think about being on the judging panel, and what they are looking forward to on the night of the #VuelioBlogAwards.

Jo Middleton, author of blog Slummy Single Mummy

jomiddleton

I’m really excited about being on the Vuelio Blog Awards judging panel. To be totally honest, having won two awards last year, I was a little bit nervous about the anti-climax of not winning again this year. Being a judge instead gives me a brilliant way out of that! On a slightly less selfish note, it’s genuinely a real thrill to have been asked, and I feel very honoured. There are so many fantastic blogs out there now, that to be chosen as a judge is a massive privilege.

Being on the judging panel is going to be really difficult, as there’s such variety in blogging, and so many people have such different areas of expertise. I think it’s easy nowadays to get distracted by a beautiful design or brilliantly edited pictures, but I’ve always been much more of a words person, so I’ll be trying to look a little deeper than the visuals. Don’t get me wrong, I think photography and design are hugely important, but I want to look at the whole package – I want words and stories that speak to me, inspire me and that make me feel something. That something doesn’t have to be hugely high-brow or serious, but I want to be engaged and connect with the writer. I’ll also be looking for writers that aren’t afraid to be themselves and who have a consistent voice whether they’re writing personal posts or more commercial content. I’d like to immediately feel someone’s personality through their writing, rather than feeling like they’re writing to a formula or to please an audience.

On the night of the awards I’m looking forward to the food and drink obviously. I mainly plan my life around meals. What I loved last year about the event was the enthusiasm and excitement – the atmosphere really was buzzing, and that’s always brilliant to be a part of. When I won my awards last year I was so genuinely blown away, that everything ended up as a bit of a blur – I’m looking forward to being there to see other people have that same feeling, but being able to concentrate on what people are saying!

 

Andrew Smith, Associate Director at Weber Shandwick

andrewsmith

I am very excited to be a judge this year. I presented an award last year so it will be great to have the opportunity to take part in the decision making on this year’s winners.

I love blogs that combine being entertaining but also provide me with insight that I can’t get elsewhere. I read a lot of political blogs as part of my work, but I am increasingly turning to blogs as a source of information across everything that I do. The best blogs are the ones that help share some of the personality of the writers as well as their knowledge about the issues they write about.

I had a great time at the dinner last year. The one thing that I enjoyed the most was talking to people from such a wide range of sectors from fashion to travel to politics so I am looking forward to interesting conversations again this year.

 

Andy Oakes, Managing Director at The Drum

andyoakes

I’m chuffed to be on the Vuelio awards judging panel. This is an important awards show and I’m excited to learn about best practice in this area. Awards do more than pat people on the back; they set standards of excellence for others to aspire to. Look at the awards in the mainstream media: newspapers, broadcasters really want to win them because that demonstrates to their audience that they’re constantly improving, not sitting on their laurels. It’s important that emerging media channels and commentators experience the same scrutiny and when they’re evidently good, enjoy similar recognition.

As a long-time journalist, I’m looking for distinctive voices and opinions. I’m looking for a new point of view on the world; something that is well argued and is obviously demanding its readers’ attention. That said, good bloggers need to do more than rant; they need to bring the same scrutiny, rigour, evidence and good writing that you find in the best mainstream media.

On the night of the actual award show I’m looking forward to receiving the lifetime achievement award, only kidding! For me, the best test of a good awards show is whether participating in it really does propel winners and candidates onto greater things.”

 

Matthew Rock, Content Development Director at Think Publishing

matthewrock

I’m really looking forward to it and meeting my fellow judges. I follow most of them on twitter so it will be great to meet them. And it’s an amazing mix of people and backgrounds too.

In relation to the selection process, I’m looking for high quality engaging content, a point of difference and a distinctive voice. I really want to see people who go that extra mile for their followers.

I’m looking forward to meeting the winners on the night. Awards nights are always fun but it’s also a great way to meet new people and catch up with some old friends.

 

Mital Patel, Media Research Team Leader at Vuelio

mitalpatel

I feel honoured that I have been chosen to be a judge and looking forward to meeting and talking with Andy, Jo, Andrew & Matthew and learning from the experts themselves. I am also quite nervous and hoping that I represent Vuelio in the best way.

In terms of what I’ll be looking for in the winning blogs, I`ll be looking for bloggers that know their audience, give insightful industry knowledge and have great content. Of course, content is not everything so special points will go to the bloggers who actually engage with their readers through various channels.  Design and usability is also very important, as bloggers need to make sure that their blog is easy to navigate and easy for the readers to enjoy the content.

Last year was amazing as it was our first blog awards and to be honest I was a bit star-struck as I was finally meeting all the bloggers in person after having many years of just “e-chatting”. I have made some great connections and am looking forward to meeting some of the new faces on the scene.

Where do you hide when even the PR Industry won’t touch you?

I’ll wager the now infamous killer of Cecil the Lion, Dr. Walter Palmer, now understands it’s virtually impossible to keep your personal and professional lives separate. This is especially true when you indulge in hobbies that go beyond most peoples’ perception of what is acceptable in modern society.

According  to newspaper reports  (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/confidential/conf-hed-article-1.2311727), Dr. Palmer faced a real crisis management problem when he was unable to find a crisis management PR firm to help him protect his dental practice which was being targeted by protestors. Considering the fact that the PR industry can handle the accounts of some pretty distasteful characters, it’s easy to see how far the “good” doctor strayed across the line of common decency.

The fact is, while most of us seek that elusive work/life balance there is no watertight barrier between the two. Screw-up in your personal life and there is every possibility it will spill over into your professional life.

Prior to his trip to Africa, Dr. Palmer probably thought he didn’t require the services of a good PR firm beyond the occasional press release highlighting a new procedure or dental health message. In reality, he needed a good PR to protect himself from himself.

Is it the job of a PR to go beyond the professional life of their clients? Should we be checking personal social media channels and delving into aspects of life not normally associated with everyday business?

The moral of the story is a good PR (like the very best dentists) knows that prevention is better than cure, so it’s time to brush up and ensure that good practice goes beyond that gleaming corporate smile.

 

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Social media is a great source of stories for journalists: Caroline Baldwin, EssentialRetail

Journalist spotlight with Caroline Baldwin, the new deputy editor at EssentialRetail and a self-professed foodie who set up her own food blog, Breakfast at Caroline’s. Here Caroline fills us in on how she is settling into her new role, the challenge facing traditional retailers due to the competition from the likes of Amazon and its experimentation with drones, and why she wishes she could fly!

So how are you settling into your new role as deputy editor at EssentialRetail? Can you describe a typical day at work for you?
Things are going well. We’ve just launched Essential Retail’s sister website Essential eCommerce, which I will be editing. Essential eCommerce will put a spotlight on online retail innovations from the big e-tailers like Amazon and Asos to small e-tail startups, as well as looking at how traditional retailers are keeping up to speed with the challenges of trading online.

EssentialRetail is a digital resource. How does working on a solely digital platform differ from working on print media? How do you engage with your audience? The deadline day is every day! But in all seriousness, there’s not a lot of difference as most print publications now take an ‘online first’ approach to their stories. As for engaging with our readers, Twitter is important, I’m trying to create a voice and inject personality into my Tweets. It’s also important to listen to comments and what readers want so you can tailor your content to them. Essential Retail and Essential eCommerce supports RBTE (Retail Business Technology Expo) – a huge annual event in London, so our content will hopefully encourage people to sign up for the conference, so connecting with readers is really important.

What trends are you noticing in the retail and e-commerce industry?
The big trends at the moment are surrounding digital. If you’re a traditional bricks and mortar retailer who has started trading online – how do you compete with the likes of Amazon which offers free two-day delivery for Prime Members and is experimenting with drones?
The fundamental issues around getting the online orders to your customers as quickly and as cheaply as possible are still important, as is keeping on top of the latest technologies like smartwatches, internet of things and iBeacons. Never mind the need to have strong infrastructure and data analytics tools in place to support the online business.

You also have a blog, Breakfast at Caroline’s, where you blog about food. What was the motivation behind starting your own blog? Can you tell us a bit more about your experience as a blogger?
I started Breakfast at Caroline’s last summer while I was working at Computer Weekly and I needed to write about something that wasn’t IT and technology! It’s nice to have another place to write which is a completely different tone of voice from my day job. It’s my second food blog and I’m a self-confessed foodie so I spent a bit of time trying to think about what might make an interesting food blog. Breakfast and brunch is a bit of a food trend at the moment and my blog takes a look at cool places to eat breakfast out, and I also share recipes on there for weekend brunch. I’m always happy when a PR suggests meeting over breakfast – but be warned I do take photos of my food! You have to be very disciplined so all your (extra and unpaid!) hard work doesn’t go to waste. I tend to post once a week if I can, so I usually a set aside an afternoon every month and write a handful of articles and then post-date them so that all I have to do during the week is seed them out on social media.

What are the advantages of social media for journalists? Are there any challenges?
Social media is integral to every journalist as it’s a great source of stories. But it’s also important to use Twitter in B2B to build up a profile and to show yourself as authoritative in your field. That said, I’m a perfectionist, so I have to make sure that the tweet is spelt correctly before posting which sometimes delays the impact of what you are going to say!
Instagram is also important for my blog, and I try to keep it “on brand” by keeping to photos of food and not selfies of my friends and I. LinkedIn is also important for engaging with readers and to keep your CV fresh as you can now embed things like videos on your profile.

How do you work with PRs, both in your day to day job and also as a blogger? What materials are you interested in receiving from PRs and marketers?
I’m very happy to work with PRs and I have some great contacts who inspire me to write interesting features.
I like to receive comments on breaking news as soon as possible, and I don’t take opinion pieces unless they are from industry bodies (so not vendors unfortunately). I love case studies with retailers and if you’ve got a feature idea, package it up and give me a call – I’ll tell you if it’s not for me. I’m also interested to hear from vendors who have a budget to create videos with myself and perhaps a customer.

Quick Take:

Do you have any surprising interests or hobbies outside of work?
Nothing surprising I don’t think – which makes me sound rather boring! I love travelling and try to take advantage of seeing new places when I’m lucky enough to go on press trips – San Francisco is my favourite.

If you could go on a food tour of 3 different countries, which countries would you choose to visit for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Breakfast would have to be America for pancakes
Lunch would be Peru for ceviche
And dinner would be Beirut for Lebanese food

What would your super power be and why?
Flight so I could skip public transport and get to places quicker – and just fly off to foreign countries whenever I wanted.

 

A Great Time to Work in PR

It’s a great time to be working in the PR industry according to a recent report by the PRCA.

With client budgets on the increase, many agencies are actively looking to increase their payrolls and look at graduate recruitment programmes to cope with work levels described as “busy” and “very busy” by the majority of PRCA members.

As PR pros we are generally an optimistic bunch, with many of us reportedly believing that things are only going to get better in the next 12 months.

But investing in the future of PR isn’t just about ensuring there are enough bright sparks in the office to handle the demands of a burgeoning industry. It’s about ensuring you stay ahead of the curve and are fully equipped to handle the challenges in an increasingly disrupted landscape (think digital media and everything it can throw at you that you haven’t even thought about yet).

Remember: Optimism alone will not help you reach your desired destination if there are some unforeseen bends in the road ahead.

This means investing in training and technology – and what better time to do this than a time when we are feeling so positive about the future?

The best time to fix a leaky roof is when the sun is shining. Make your investment in the future of PR today and ensure the good times continue to roll for many years to come.

Monday PR Club

News outlets lose out to social and mobile platforms – what does this mean for PRs

Smartphones have overtaken traditional media outlets when it comes to news consumption. According to the fourth annual Digital News report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ), many news brands are struggling to make money as readers increasingly look to third-party platforms such as Facebook, Apple and Google for their daily news download.

The report, based on research conducted in 12 countries, shows that news accessed from smartphones has jumped significantly over the last year with average weekly usage growing 33% to 42% in the UK, and 37% to 46% globally.

‘Our research documents that most people like news and use news, but they don’t want to pay for it, don’t want to see advertising around it, and don’t want to see it mixed up with sponsored content. This means sustainable business models remain elusive even for those who succeed in building an audience,’ said Reuters Institute Director of Research, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen.

Where does this leave traditional media outlets? busy upping their digital presence and moving into more social-friendly formats. The report provides evidence that digital-born franchises such as The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed are beginning to rival old media giants including the BBC and CNN in terms of reach.

In addition, the rise of ad blockers is combined with industry concern about fraud and a lack of transparency, pushing some publishers to abandon old models in favour of new ‘native’ advertising or sponsored content.

Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center at Columbia university, in a lead commentary for the report said: ‘Fragmentation of news provision, which weakens the bargaining power of journalism organisations, has coincided with a concentration of power in platforms. The only remaining question is how fast will we see a shift from old models of distribution to the new.’

Emily’s point is as valid for media outlets as it is for the global PR industry that has also been forced to keep up with their allies in the media in wake of the digital revolution of news. As Cision UK’s inaugural Social PR Study  indicates, an astonishing 38% of PR professionals admitted they never respond to questions from the media on networking platforms, and 21% said they never respond to queries from consumers/community outreach.

It is clear therefore that PRs too need to embrace digital platforms beyond publishing and promoting news and more aggressively into engagement, monitoring and sponsored content to better serve journalists and consumers at large. In doing so, it will  prepare PRs to be ahead of the digitization of news as it shifts beyond traditional media platforms on to mobile and social platforms.

Photo Courtesy of Esther Vargas on Flickr

 

 

Journalist Spotlight: Laura Barnes on the launch of IT Channel Expert

Laura Barnes, the deputy editor at PCR, and now editor at the recently launched sister publication, IT Channel Expert, speaks to Cision about the new website. She explains what it took to get the website up and running, the challenges faced and what makes IT Channel Expert differ from PCR and other IT and technology publications.

Can you tell us a bit about your latest venture, new website ‘IT Channel Expert’, and the idea behind it? 

IT Channel Expert has been set up as a sister publication to PCR, a magazine for the tech and IT trade. The idea is that we wanted to have a place where people in the industry could learn from, whether that’s a services provider looking for advice on how to grow their business, or a tech reseller researching the pros and cons of selling cloud.

How did you go about getting the website up and running? 

We had a design team building the whole thing from scratch. Our digital team and the designers worked really hard to get everything just how we – the editorial team – wanted it, and we had a LOT of requests. It was a bit time consuming but definitely worth getting everything just right.

Who is the target audience? 

Mainly IT and tech resellers, as well as other businesses in the industry and IT managers.

What makes IT Channel Expert different from its sister publication, PCR, and other IT and technology publications?

While PCR does cover the reseller market, it focusses on news, interviews and features. IT Channel Expert acts as a dedicated portal for resources, such as white papers, reports and research, as well as opinions and advice from key figures in the industry. There are other publications out there that look at the reseller market, but we believe we have a much heavier focus on opinions and advice and really want to give the industry a voice.

How do you juggle your role as editor at IT Channel Expert with your role as deputy editor at PCR? 

Well, luckily we have a very good team on PCR! We recently expanded our editorial team, which has helped a lot. There’s quite a bit of crossover between the two publications, so I can usually get the word out about both publications in one go.

IT Channel Expert is a digital resource. How does working on a solely digital platform differ from working on print media? 

It’s a very different way of working. PCR also has PCR-online.biz so I’m used to working online. Being free of a monthly deadline has its pros and cons. On the plus side you have an unlimited amount of space to play around with and you can do everything yourself, editorial-wise. While you may not have a monthly deadline, everything is instant, so in a way you have a deadline every single day, which can be difficult if you have a day out of the office. Another plus for being online-only is that effectively, you could work from anywhere in the world.

What materials are you interested in receiving from PRs and marketers?

I would love to hear from companies (or people that represent companies) that produce white papers, reports and research that they would be interested in us hosting on the site. As well as this, anyone who has sound advice on issues surrounding our core categories: Hardware, Software, Business Management, Cloud, Networking, Market Data, Services and People Management.

What do you hope the future holds for IT Channel Expert? 

The plan is to work on growing and growing. Whether that means we’ll eventually produce more types of content or host reseller-focused events, it should be an interesting journey.

Get in touch with Laura directly for any enquiries about IT Channel Expert at lbarnes@nbmedia.com

 

 

‘We don’t do PR without social media’ Steve Lipscombe, RONIN Marketing

Steve-RoninSteve Lipscombe, managing director of creative communications agency RONIN Marketing, spoke to Cision about the changing nature of marketing campaigns, the role social media plays in communications today, why he loves what he does and his ‘nasty little addiction.’ 

Getting to know RONIN Marketing:

What’s new at RONIN Marketing? Reassuringly, our own digital marketing and social media are working well. We seemed to have cornered a bit of a market in Royal Warrant Holders lately, which we are quite pleased with.

How has the nature of campaigns that you create for clients changed recently? Increasingly we are running fully integrated communications campaigns for clients – including digital and print design – because they want to spend more time on ideas, rather than briefing and coordinating multiple agencies. That suits us because of the way we are set up with all comms and design in house – we’ve been that way from day one, 13 years ago; honestly, it was by accident rather than design, but it turned out to be the right thing to do.

How important is social media as a communication tool for PR today? It’s the big thing. We don’t do any PR without it. You might argue that it is what PR has become

What is the most interesting campaign that RONIN has recently been involved in? What was different about it? Working for a long established and rather conservative estate agency group on their first brand relaunch since WWII. Since banks, food manufacturers and energy companies become public enemy number one, two and three these days, estate agents are choirboys by comparison, and as it turned out, they really are very nice people. And despite the partners being of a certain age, they enthusiastically embraced social media and are using it properly to engage with their market rather than just trying to punt houses.

 What is the road ahead for the consultancy? We’re planning to continue growing carefully and now we’ve reached a certain size, introduce a little more specialisation in the roles we recruit for, without painting ourselves into a corner – our diversity has been our strength and we want to retain that, but without everybody having to do everything.

How has CisionPoint helped RONIN Marketing’s outreach and campaign distribution? It’s saved us a lot of time and aggravation in targeting some of our clients’ niche markets, reaching bloggers and identifying social media contacts through journalist profiles. Our clients like the newsrooms too; to see what we’ve been putting in front of the press for them.

 

Take 5 with Steve Lipscombe

The first thing I do when I come into work: I have a double espresso and a fruit scone – it’s my only coffee of the day. I really can’t function at all until I’ve had it. It’s become a nasty little addiction

My biggest social media peeve: People using it for blatant self-promotion or as a direct sales channel

If I wasn’t in PR I would be: A gardener and handyman

I wish journalists would: Have a little more breathing space with their deadlines

The best thing about my job is: Working with young, talented people who know and do lots of wonderful things

85% of agencies set to increase inbound marketing to meet client demands

Content is playing a dominant role in lead generation and campaign outreach for business in the communications and PR industries, pushing inbound marketing techniques to the forefront of strategies and budgets.

Results from the latest Inbound for Agencies 2014 Benchmark Report found that 70% of marketing agencies have increased their leads from inbound marketing techniques while as many as 85% of agencies are looking to expand their inbound marketing options in the year ahead to meet client demands.

Apart from lead generation, the survey found that inbound marketing, effectively assists in increasing overall brand awareness and aligning sales and marketing efforts within a company.

The report produced by HubSpot and DigitalDoughnut, surveys 370 marketing agencies and successfully uncovers key insights on how content is being used by agencies to retain and win clients.

The results show that social media (85%), followed by SEO (73%), email (72%) and blogs (61%) are the most popular channels, while ‘driving product enquires’ is the primary reason agencies use inbound marketing techniques.

However, 17% of respondents expressed dismay on measuring and proving ROI on inbound marketing activities for clients, making it harder to prove the business value of content generation to senior management that have control over the purse strings.

Meanwhile, a lack of skills and technology were some other obstacles in the adoption of more inbound marketing formats.

However, when it came to future plans, agencies surveyed were more optimistic. According to the report, 76% of respondents said their clients were asking them for more inbound marketing services and to meet the demand almost three-quarter of respondents said they were looking to hire more digital marketing specialists in the near future.

10 Steps to Social Success: Your questions answered

Cision’s webinar ’10 Steps to Social Success’ that was held last week was indeed a social success with questions, comments and conversations spilling over from the webinar into Twitter and other social platforms. While we answered most questions real-time, here are the responses to some of the other questions our visitors asked:

How does a tweet become successful and retweeted?

We answered this question in a post – How many tweets make a trend? Check it out!

Is Facebook booster advertising a good advertising method since the audience can hide the sponsored links?

Facebook has over a billion users and an advertising model which allows you to go mass or target particular groups, to suit your audience on the basis of demographics and topics of interest. The ad boost feature further allows marketers to improve ad engagement by optimimising visibility by driving a surge in likes and activate sharing via social widgets in ads. The platform also allows advertisers to set up a budget and work within it so they can control how much they are spending on the channel. However, Facebook has received flak from users for the number of ads that flood newsfeeds and the web savvy users have found a way to block sponsored posts. However, the cost effectiveness of the medium and the sheer reach still makes it an effective medium to connect with a massive chunk of the population that is active on social media and drive brand awareness.

How about the usefulness of Twitter in boosting the media profile/brand awareness of an organisation?

Nearly 80% of brands use Twitter to boost awareness rather than drive sales, according to research carried out by the Social Media Marketing University and published by Mashable earlier this year.  While the results are testimony to Twitter’s growing user base, how marketers use the platform makes all the difference in the success rate achieved. Simply sending out several tweets a day will not guarantee visibility – marketers need to target the right audience and engage influencers to get their message seen and shared. Follow Cision’s 10 Steps to Social Success to learn how to optimise brand awareness on Twitter and other social networks.

For a global company with presence in US and Europe, would tweeting in different time zones add value? What is the best way to manage this process if a client that wants to reach a US and European audience with the same message?

Each social media platform has different peak hours, and each user group may use social media at different times. Test posts at different times of the day to see which ones get the most visibility to figure out when your audience is most active. Tools such as Cision Social Media, Followerwonk, Who Talking, Facebook Insights and good ol’ Google Analytics can help you determine who your followers are, which platforms they are most active on and when they are likely to interact with your content online, and publish your posts accordingly. This is especially pertinent if you are targeting particular geographic locations – be they local or international. Experiment with scheduled tweets and posts to get your message out when your target audience is most likely to see and share

Will social channels become purely paid platforms?

Most social media works for huge brands but what can smaller businesses do to get more of a following?

The above two questions, submitted separately, are related which is why it would be best answered together. With the rise of social networks and the overcrowding that exists in the digital space, it is becoming increasingly clear that brands will have to do more than just being present on social media. We’re therefore likely to see marketers more pressured to pay for sponsored posts for more visibility. This will make it harder for small businesses to position compete for eyeballs. A strong content strategy underpinned by attention grabbing visuals and effective placement will be key for small businesses looking to break through the clutter.

Which companies do you think have the best social media presence?

There are lots of companies representing different sectors that have fantastic online presence, be it American Express or Mars. However, when it comes to using social media effectively, not just in connecting with audiences but in making the best use of real time connectivity to communicate the essence of a brand, Lego is by far the best company website there is. Lego connects with kids as it does with adults with content that is both interactive and shareable. It takes advantage of every social channel it is present on with content that is tailored to suit the needs of the people present on the platform in question. Whether it is a competition, movie or third-party association, Lego’s communications strategy on social media is bang on, and a lesson for all other companies in this space.

 If you would like to add to the answers or have questions of your own, feel free to let us know in the comment box below: 

 

Photo Courtesy of www.dexmedia.com

Highlights from the Online Media Awards

The Guardian has much to celebrate after winning the maximum awards including the top accolade at The Drum’s Online Media Awards that took place on Wednesday at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel in London.

The awards night, co-sponsored by Cision UK, celebrated the best in online news and journalism, and was attended by some of the world’s leading media organisations including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Times, Channel 4, ITN and The BBC to name a few.

The Guardian won website of the year which was also chosen as the Grand Prix – the group took home an overall of 4 awards and a commendation. The Chairman’s Award, chosen by Noel Young of ReportBoston.com, went to RadioTimes.com.

BBC News Online and Channel 4 News both won 3 awards each while BACP won the award for Best Health/Education News Site for TherapyToday.net.

In the Individual awards the Online Editor of the Year went to Anna Doble, Channel 4 News. Digital Writer of the year was presented to Geoff White also from Channel 4 News and Best Freelance writer was awarded to Simon Hooper for Al Jazeera English Online.  Outstanding Digital Team of the Year was given to the.guardian.com.

The full list of winners, across all award categories, can be found on the Online Media Awards website but for a look at what really went on at the awards ceremony, scroll on down:

The event started out with a champagne reception:

drinks reception 2

And was followed by a selfie competition. Some of the entries included:

 

 

Taking home the bubbly, the best selfie of the night went to:

Doc Brown, comedian, rapper and actor, in performance:

The winners of the night included:

Cision’s Kirsti Kauronen presented five awards. Here is she on stage:

KK

 

Summing it all up in a single tweet:

Feature Writer of the Year – David Jones, Daily Mail

David Jones, chief foreign writer at the Daily Mail, was named Feature Writer of the Year at the annual Press Awards for 2013 which took place at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel in London this month. In an exclusive interview with Cision, David discussed the stories that won him the award, why the pace of breaking news online worries him and how comms people can be ‘brilliant.’

 

Congratulations on being named the Feature Writer of the Year. How does it feel?
I’m Delighted. There are so many good writers out there so it’s really an honour to be recognised. I’m not getting any younger too so it’s great to know that there is still enthusiasm for my writing! I won the same award the year before last – I’m glad to be keeping up with people.

Also, journalism has received so much criticism these days but when you attend an event such as the Press Awards you know newspapers are still an honourable profession. There is talent and belief in good writing. The Press Awards were also a reminder that British newspapers investigate important social issues and change people’s lives for the better.

Which one of your stories best contributed towards the win?
There are three pieces I wrote for which I won. The first was about a man from Iran who was burnt to death by vigilantes in Bristol. He was a harmless man but his neighbours accused him of being a paedophile. I went down to the Bristol estate where he was killed and spoke to people he knew and as it sadly turns out, he was just an oddball who was wrongly accused and killed for it.

The second set of stories were on Nelsen Mandela – the shambles of his memorial service (with politicians taking selfies and the sign-language interpreter that crashed the event, etc) and then the dignity of his funeral service.

The third was a highly personal report from Guantanamo Bay in which I argued forcefully that Obama must adhere to the promise he made on taking office and close the detention camp.

What does this award mean for The Daily Mail?
Our website is pitched to a difference audience from the main paper – it is more comprehensive and appeals to a more youthful global audience. It still carries the serious articles you find in the newspaper. However, they sometimes get more prominent projection in the paper. In fact, the feature articles in the Daily Mail paper are about 2,000 to 2,200 words, generally longer than those in supposedly more heavyweight papers such as The Times, Telegraph and Guardian. So winning this award goes to show that we can do the heavy stuff just as well too.

As a features writer, how do you keep up with breaking news on digital channels? How do you keep your story fresh?
I do find it really hard – it is very difficult to keep up with digital media and I don’t know what to do about it. I just rely on the fact that I’ll find something interesting to elaborate on. I’ll write the story behind the news.

To give you an example, I recently wrote about the Mexican fisherman who drifted across the Pacific Ocean for 14-months. I was on my way to Mexico to write about him even as all the news was unravelling online. It’s difficult to keep up as a features writer. The pace of breaking news is so much faster, and the news cycle so much quicker that there is sometimes not enough time for analysis and thorough investigation. My son is in PR and always tells me to tweet what I do but I’m very old school.

Mail Online uses the full range of social media and they push my stories out on their platforms but I don’t – I go on TV if I have to.

How do you work with communications and PR professionals?
My first reaction to PR is always one of suspicion – ‘why do they want me to put this in the paper?’

I get about 50-60 messages a day from PR and sometimes it gets quite ridiculous. I get emails on beauty products asking – ‘Is this for you?’ No it isn’t.

But then again, there are some in communications that are brilliant. Ian Monk, an ex-journalist who is now in PR, is an example of someone who knows what will make the paper. Brilliant PRs, like Ian, have full knowledge of what will make a proper story and will only get in touch with you for that. It’s about knowing your market and who to pitch what to, and when.

Is this the advice you would give to your son who is in PR?
Yes. He knows how to approach journalists and what they want. If they (journalists) happen to sell a product for your client then that’s great but that should not be the aim of your pitch.

 

Take Five

What hobbies or interests do you have other than writing?
I go to the gym, swim and play golf, even though I’m not very good!
What would you super power be?
I just want my knees back.
Would you go forward or back in time?
Back in time. I love history and the future can wait, thank you.Who would play you in a film?
Elliot Gould.

What are your weekends incomplete without?
A cuddle with my grandchildren.

PRspective: Media Bounty’s Matt Webster

Matt Webster, co-founder and director at Media Bounty, a digital marketing creative engagement agency, talks to Cision about its expanding client portfolio, changing expectations in PR and scouting for the nation’s best dancing pets for a recent brand campaign.

Getting to know Media Bounty

media bountyWhat’s new at Media Bounty?
We’ve just had our first TVC of 2014 aired for one of our healthcare clients – SpermCheck. We’ve seen the movement from desktop to mobile/tablet happening first hand with consumers engaging in impressive numbers on a recent digital and mobile app campaign for Direct Line. Our first fully responsive Facebook app featuring video has just gone live for Lee Kum Kee in the UK. And in Germany we’ve recently produced and launched their first series of online recipe videos – entirely in German of course. There’s new hires across the accounts, project management, social media and production departments.

What are some of the prominent trends in the marketing and PR industry?
Making any activity work harder than simply broadcasting a message is now key. No more can you jump on your desk and high five the nearest colleague just because your key message was thrown out into the abyss where the audience may or may not be paying attention (hunched over their smart phone). That’s true of media coverage, social campaigns, video projects, any multi/omni channel marketing campaign. It’s now much more than a one way street of communication. Increasing Facebook likes is pointless if the expanded community isn’t engaged. Producing a brilliant video is a waste of time and money if no one watches it. So it’s all about thinking a bit more strategically about how an idea works across the various channels and how consumers will engage with it from first contact to point of action.

 How have communications within your business changed in recent years? How important is online media?
Media Bounty is over 5 years old and we’ve always created campaigns that cross over the online and offline worlds. Although this is still the case, there has been a definite migration of work towards digital. The fact that the number of networked devices is approaching double the global population and the digital adoption of consumers in general, has definitely had a say in this.

What is the most interesting campaign Media Bounty has ever created? What was/is different about it?There are a couple in the pipeline that we’re working on at the moment that will seriously compete for this title in the coming month. If I have to mention only one I’d have to acknowledge the ‘Pet Step’ campaign that we did with Direct Line in the second half of last year. The Pet insurance team at Direct Line wanted us to find the nation’s best dancing pets. We created a responsive microsite which allowed user generated video content of peoples dancing dog, cat, tortoise, rabbit – any pet,  to be uploaded. The winner was voted for by the public with each vote counting towards a ‘totaliser’ which released various tiers of prizes once certain numbers had been hit. As well as the voters being rewarded, uploaded dancing pet videos got a chance at pet stardom as the top 15 videos were aired on the Animal Planet Channel as TV indents. As you can imagine this was a very popular campaign and a lot of consumer data was captured as well as some brilliant user generated content.

What is the road ahead for Media Bounty?
We are expanding rapidly. The reason for this is that our internal departments of media, accounts, social, digital and production work together closely to produce creative campaigns that are engaging. This is being consistently delivered to a high level to a multitude of clients and brands across a variety of industries. The future will see us offering more detailed pre and post analysis of not just individual campaigns but across a 1 – 5 year journey. Producing this level of insight and consultation as well as delivering great ideas is allowing us to be an important strategic partner and lead creative agency for many of our clients both in the UK and abroad.

 

Getting to know Matt Webster

Matt Webster - media bountyThe first thing I do when I come into work is: I still like to read up on what’s happening in my home town of Sheffield, even though I haven’t lived there for over 6 years. I usually sit at my desk and wake up with a coffee reading the latest news from the South Yorkshire region online. Oh, and I’m wrongly addicted to Pop Tarts.

My biggest social media peeve is: People who use it as a personal broadcast service to tell you how tired or ill they are. Yawn (I’m not tired).

I wish journalists would: Take me to more posh lunches and ask me questions about what I wish journalists would keep/stop doing.

The best thing about my job is: The people. The humans that I work with both in our office and client side are brilliantly weird, fun, hard-working and generally awesome creatures.

The future of PR is in: An ever growing number of media channels that cross online and offline. But with digital adoption almost fully in place and the rise and rise of the smartphone, PR has to bridge the channels so that consumers can experience editorial via all touch points. That might require a fatter contact book but also a different way of thinking about coverage.

Five years from now, you can find me: You’ll probably find me at a digital conference drinking too much coffee and sitting wide eyed and open mouthed while someone explains how much Google or Facebook spent on their latest acquisition.

 

news:rewired digital journalism conference; an overview

‘Mobile is not coming, it’s here, it’s now…but it’s just the beginning.’ The quote from David Ho, editor of mobile, tablets and emerging technology at The Wall Street Journal perhaps best sums up the central theme of Journalism.co.uk’s 2014 news:rewired conference held on 20 February at the MSN Headquarters in London.

From cats to conflicts, speakers representing leading newsrooms and digital media companies, covered the key topics and tools that make content read, liked and shared online.

BuzzFeed’s editorial director Jack Shepherd stayed true to the company’s style by listing five ways to make content shareable. Jack supported his presentation with the examples that helped turn BuzzFeed into the internet phenomenon it is today. 

Other highlights include a keynote address by Hannah Waldram, community manager, EMEA for Instagram and a session on immersive storytelling and production led by John Crowley, digital editor, WSJ.com and Joseph Stashko, digital news development editor of The Times and Sunday Times. 

Cision caught up with speakers and journalists between sessions to learn the part PRs can play in this digital transformation of news. We will be publishing the interviews, BuzzFeed’s winning tips and other key takeaways from the conference over the coming week,  so stay connected!

For now, here is a look at the best of the conference as reported collectively by attendees on Twitter via the hashtag #newsrw

Highlights from #newsrw

PRspective: Joanna Lennon of TC Communications

Joanna Lennon is the head of PR at TC Communications (TCC) an integrated marketing agency based in Ascot. In conversation with Cision, Joanna discusses the importance of social media in PR, the challenges associated with it and her plans to be in the Caribbean in five years. 

TC Comms alternate picWhat’s new at TCC?
We have reshaped the company in the last six months and have a new senior management team that combines TCC’s 29 years’ experience with new skill sets. We have also started the year with some excellent new business wins.

How has the nature of campaigns that you create for clients changed recently?
In a word – digital. There are more channels for PRs and marketers than ever before and almost every campaign has a digital element. Clients like the instant reporting and ROI that digital media offers while also complementing all other marketing activity. However, it is short sighted to think that digital is the new solution to everything as clients still need long term, slow boil customer awareness and corporate campaigns.

How important is social media as a communication tool for PR today?
All our clients have now embraced social media (some more reluctantly than others) and none have looked back. Social media allows a conversation between brands and their customers and, in some cases, the customers’ online influence is crucial. For example, when you are planning a weekend away, the chances are TripAdvisor influences your decision more than any PR.

What are the challenges of social PR and how do you overcome them?
Because of its immediacy and influence, some companies have been badly bruised in brief encounters with social media – usually because they have not planned and run their digital strategy very well. We manage a great number of clients’ social media to ensure 24/7 response times (to good and bad), a consistent style, on-brand messaging and engaging, interesting content.

What is the road ahead for TCC? 
2014 has kicked off with some excellent new business wins and what is exciting is that they are all in different sectors. One of the best things about TCC is that we have an unusually diverse client base and we do not put them (or our account handling teams) into old fashioned pigeon holes. We know some people think one has to specialise to be an expert, but at TCC we believe that marketing skills, experience, knowledge and creativity are applicable across the board – in fact, it is just plain old fashioned to think otherwise. For 2014 we have a number of businesses in our sights.

joannaGetting to know Joanna Lennon

The first thing I do when I come into work is: A pint of black coffee and a big sigh of relief that I haven’t lost or forgotten my glasses.

My biggest social media peeve is: Drivel. I honestly don’t care if you are standing in the rain on Platform 12. Please stay off Twitter until you have something interesting to say.

If I wasn’t in marketing/PR I would: Run a Palapa bar in the Caribbean.

I wish journalists would: Be more polite.

The best thing about my job is: Hearing my teenager son or daughter say that one of our campaigns is “Sooo cool.”

Five years from now you can find me: In a Palapa bar in the Caribbean with…

 

PRspective: Daniel Donovan of Corel

Corel Corporation revolutionised the graphic design industry when it introduced CorelDRAW® in 1989. The company today boasts of a community of more than 100 million active users in over 75 countries, and a well-established network of international resellers, retailers, original equipment manufacturers, online providers and Corel’s global websites. 

In conversation with Cision, Daniel Donovan, Corel’s PR manager, addresses the competitive nature of businesses in graphic design and digital media and discusses the communications strategy used by Corel to stay ahead. 

Getting to know Corel Corporation

 

Boxshot of CorelDraw, the company's flagship product

Boxshot of CorelDraw, the company’s flagship product

What are some of the prominent trends for the graphic design and digital media businesses? Competition is fierce with manufacturers across the industry developing new and improved software all the time; new features, enhancements, fixes, upgrades, improved compatibility, adapting to new technology, etc. all play their part in a rapidly developing and fast-paced industry. Staying ahead of the game and maintaining a competitive advantage is a constant struggle.

Some profit-hungry software manufacturers out there, keen on cost-saving, are forcing their customers to subscribe or ‘rent’ their software – this is not the case with Corel. By providing a variety of ways for customers and business to buy their software including; boxed, download or ‘perpetual license’ as well as yearly and monthly subscriptions, Corel caters to a variety of needs and budgets and has seen an increase in new customers. 

With competition intensifying in this space, how has Corel used technology to keep up, and stand out? Ensuring compatibility with the latest technology; new cameras, tablets, operating systems etc. helps Corel’s software stand out. Clever use of companion apps cater to changing customer behavior, and a wealth of support, free tutorials, patches, upgrades and additional content maintain Corel’s prominence as ‘friendly, helpful and approachable’ in the industry.    

How has social media changed communication/PR strategy for Corel?  Graphic design and digital media practitioners are incredibly active on social, constantly sharing examples of their best work, hints and tips, and creative ideas. Corel has a big voice in this arena and is actively engaged on many platforms. Lead-generation, customer support, news broadcasting and content marketing all lend themselves perfectly to social media and are a key aspect of Corel’s PR strategy. 

What is the road ahead for Corel Corporation?  Through a number of acquisitions, Corel’s extensive portfolio already includes several global brands; WinZip, Pinnacle Studio, Bibble Labs, Roxio. Acquiring similar organisations to make use of Corel’s software development expertise, extensive network of international resellers, retailers, original equipment manufacturers, and online providers has been a key part of their strategy for a number of years. Corel has also recently successfully partnered with German action-camera manufacturer Rollei, providing on-board video editing software with Corel VideoStudio X6, and they seek similar opportunities moving forward.

Getting to know Daniel Donovan

Daniel Donovan

Daniel Donovan

The first thing I do when I come into work is: Before I even get out of bed, I check Corel’s social accounts on my iPhone and check my email for any urgent issues – working for a global company, Corel technically never sleeps and there’s always something going on! When I get to the office, I mix myself a protein shake, take my vitamins and boot-up my laptop. Email, calendar, voicemail, TweetDeck, Facebook, media monitoring, Google News Alerts; somehow, all these activities are my ‘first thing’ when I get to work.  

My biggest social media peeve is: when organisations are slow to respond or interact with their audiences. If you can’t maintain two-way, dynamic communications, you shouldn’t be on that platform – and there’s no shame in that. Too often we see organisations using Social platforms inappropriate for their business, just because they feel they ‘have’ to be on there.

If I wasn’t in PR I would be: a journalist and sit on the other side of the fence. I love writing, Tweeting, maintaining my blog, staying on top of the latest news – the skills needed for PR are very similar which is why there’s always been such a blur between the two symbiotic industries.

What’s all the fuss around: Vines? I love them. What started as the natural development of the animated GIF, and a fun, silly way to share short clips has exploded and we’re now seeing businesses take part. Boiling your marketing or PR messages down to just six seconds of flawlessly edited video, that’s appealing enough to share is no easy task, but the industry has seen some excellent examples already. Perfectly suited to mobile and changing consumer trends, it’s easy to understand why they’ve become so popular.

The best thing about my job is: the incredibly diverse workload; I could be writing and issuing a press release, dealing with media enquiries, pitching for news coverage or promoting Corel’s messages on social and interacting with customers and businesses. Other days I could be organising and hosting a launch event, catching a flight to run a press tour in Europe, or media monitoring, and attending management meetings, promoting the PR team’s successes internally.

Five years from now, you can find me: First in line to trial the latest social tool, app, tech or gadget. I’ll still be flexing my PR muscle, but perhaps in a different sector – luckily, the communication skills of a PR are transferrable to any industry. Often, in PR the attention grabber is not what you say, but how you say it.

 

 

Media Spotlight: MotorTorque

Simon McBride is the Head of Content at The Auto Network and editor of its flagship motoring title, MotorTorque. MotorTorque recently launched a print magazine following the success of the website. Simon spoke to us about the launch, targeting a high-end audience and Irish Dancing.

MotorTorque's Simon McBrideWhy did you decide to launch in print?
We wanted to put a magazine out there because we wanted to increase the PR around the website in places we didn’t really touch before. So we created a freemium magazine that went to 30,000 commuters around London – we distributed the issues at train stations because people would drive to the station and then get on the train. It’s aimed at someone with the average salary of around £80,000.

We wanted to go high-end to start off with to see what the business community thought of the mag, and also because a lot of that target market has money in the current economic climate and are still looking for their next new car.

How did you appeal to such a specific audience with a free them?
We looked at what City A.M. offered, because it has a similar clientele, and thought it would be good to go for high-end cars. Our cover feature was ‘The Best of British’ with the Range Rover Sport, the Aston Martin DB9 and the Jaguar F-Type. We want to target other cities going forward: Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh and maybe Aberdeen because they have the oil industry up there. There’s quite a lot of wealth in those cities and a big footfall that use both public transport and their own cars.

What kind of feedback have you had?
One of the biggest bits of feedback was Nokia getting in touch and we’ve already done a feature with them for the second issue. Their CEO for entertainment spoke to us at length and wanted to do an automotive feature.

We’ve also had interest from the grooming industry. We had a lifestyle section at the back of the magazine, with watches, fashion and grooming. There are also obviously some cars that are meant to appeal to fashionistas – like the Fiat 500 Gucci and the Victoria Beckham-inspired Range Rover Evoque. A few grooming companies have been on touch for collaboration in the future.

What kind of content are you interested in?
All sorts: test drives, news, features, blogs and buyers’ guides. We provide intelligent car content and work with pretty much every automotive brand with a press department in the UK. We’re working on making the second magazine stronger and building up content for the website to make that stronger too.

What tips would you give a journalist who works with PR?
Always try and stay in contact as much as possible with the relevant PRs, even if it’s not about a news story you can ask them what’s going on and, often, you find a story that way. It’s really good to talk to people in person but having PRs on the phone line is good too. We try and talk to one person from every brand every week. It does get busy but nowadays it’s so fast moving with the internet that if you can get a story from the PRs first, before it goes to the wires, then the readers will come to you because Google will pick up your story up first. We’re keen on creating relationships, maintaining relationships and building new ones.

Take Five

If you could have any car, what would it be? 
That’s a very hard question to answer so basically I’m not going to give you one. I would have one for every day of the week. Is that okay? It’s not is it? The DeLorean then. With the time machine built in – obviously. 

What’s your favourite car you’ve ever owned?
My first car, my little 1.1 Ford Fiesta. It’s the car I learned to drive in and I grew very fond of it. 

Do you have any surprising hobbies or interests?
Probably the most surprising hobby is that I was quite a successful Irish Dancer when I was younger. But a lot of people in the industry know that so it won’t come as a surprise.

What super power would you have? 
Probably some sort of mind-reading device. I would use it on a Monday morning to make sure the team were happy and to extract ideas from time to time.

Who would play you in a film? 
It would have to be an Irish actor. Probably Colin Farrell, because he’s a bit cheeky, like me.

Editorial information on Simon McBride, MotorTorque and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Should CEOs tweet?

MOL

Image source: Twitter

The current economic climate has required chief executives and senior management within businesses to take on more responsibilities and get involved in the daily running of a company, in and out of the boardroom. Even communicating directly with customers and clients, which has traditionally been the duty of the PR and marketing department, is now often undertaken by senior leaders on social media networks.

However, with the unprecedented growth in digital media, online reputation management has become a vital part of any brands’ long term PR strategy. As executives continue to initiate dialogue with customers, it is important to question if direct and unmanned interaction between clients and company top bosses improves brand transparency or has the potential to backfire on the brand all together?

Let’s look at two examples in recent news:

Low cost carrier Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary, (for some) a disliked personality for a disliked brand took to micro-blogging site Twitter on Monday for a Q&A session with the public. It was an attempt to rectify the carrier’s reputation for poor customer service and address (as O’Leary admitted in a stakeholders meeting last month) an ‘image problem’.

By no means however was this a formal CEO-versus-disgruntled-customers exchange. O’Leary had on a green hat and leprechaun beard with his thumbs up, set against a backdrop of bikini clad women standing in front of a plane. His answers were cheeky, flirty and even offensive.  For example, one questioner alluding to the book The Tipping Point, asked him: ‘Would you agree you’ve reached the point where customers no longer trust you?’

O’Leary responded: ‘Sorry, can’t read, can barely write. 81m customers would disagree with you.’

Other questions O’Leary answered with similar cool brazenness included: ‘how is it appropriate for an airline CEO to be a sexist pig?’ and ‘what type of people do you enjoy mistreating most? I’m guessing elderly and disabled?’ followed by ‘is it company policy for your staff to be rude and unhelpful as possible?’
O’Leary’s riposte can be well summed up with his tweet: ‘call me genius, Jesus, Superman, or odious little s**t, whatever takes your fancy as long as you fly Ryanair!’

Did it work for Ryanair? It may have pushed the airline further down the customer satisfaction league, but if Twitter reactions are to go by, the exercise has been successful in fuelling more buzz and (bad) publicity for the brand than perhaps a traditional marketing campaign would. 

Here are a few examples of how the public and media responded to O’Leary’s  hashtagged ‘#GrillMOL’ session: 

For British Gas, a similar Q&A session that took place last week was termed by media as a ‘social media car crash.’ British Gas director Bert Pijls was slammed when the company engaged the public in a Q&A session the very day it announced a 9.2% price hike. According to BBC, ‘hashtag #AskBG  ended up crowd-sourcing a riot of opinion that included black humour and rage.’

 Examples: 

 

What Ryanair and British Gas did was right in being open to the public and initiating a dialogue with unhappy customers, but the reaction from followers were beyond their control. It is perhaps for the sheer limitlessness scope that the internet presents and the indefinite response a simple tweet can generate that still makes senior management skeptical about being the social media voice.  According to a study by CEO.com, 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence whatsoever on any major social media channels, while the remaining that do, are mostly present on professional networking site LinkedIn. 

It will be interesting to hear what you think is the right approach for senior executives using social media to communicate to the public. Is not having social media presence in this age of connectivity better than engaging the public in discussion with the brand? Is there a fine balance between the two? Tell us what you think. 

Journalist Spotlight: Duncan Wright

Duncan Wright was recently appointed head of sport online for the Daily Star and Daily Express. Involved with the day-to-day editorial, Duncan is also looking at possible partners for content sharing and social engagement.

Duncan WrightHow will the partners work with you?
We’re looking to target multiple audiences to make people more aware that the Star and Express websites are expanding and seriously covering the day-to-day sporting aspects that involve teams, clubs and sports in this country. Partners could be sporting sites or sites like AskMen that have sports news but haven’t got the capacity to keep it up-to-date. We can provide them with a sports news feed which links back to the Star and Express websites.

What are the challenges of working online?
The editorial concept of having stories that have to be published online even though they don’t really generate traffic. It is about understanding that while making the site credible you also need to drive traffic; I think the two work in tandem. It’s no good just doing stories that create interest in terms of traffic on a one-off basis that some news aggregator might catch, if the rest of the site is not going to be credible. Ultimately we want people to come back time and again to the Star and Express websites. We want them to see that we provide credible sports coverage.

We also want people to comment and interact, which hasn’t been a focus for the site so far. It is something being taken very seriously to expand and build-on for the future. The print newspapers have got to be there as well – they serve a very valuable and real purpose and should work in partnership. The brand of any news site only exists because of the brand of the newspaper.

How do the two sites work together?
There are certain stories that go on both sites, it’s the nature of sport. The audience of the two newspapers is different, we might weight one story more on one site than the other. For example, the Express has more rugby union than the Star, which is more rugby league. The Express can also be more considered at times; there are possibly more thoughtful pieces online and in the paper as opposed to the Star which is more news, stories and transfer rumours.

Do they also have different competitors?
The competition is different for each paper but not for the websites because the audience is huge on the internet. People have their buying patterns for newspapers but once the news is out there online – especially if it is picked up by aggregators – people go to whichever site they see first. Apart from The Sun and a couple of other news sites, you don’t have to pay, so you don’t have to have loyalty in the same way.

Has The Sun going behind a paywall affected you?
It has naturally had an effect but it’s difficult to quantify how much. Obviously The Sun has incentivised and you can see why, as a business model, they would do that. We have to try and capitalise on their paywall and pick up what we can from the fall out of it.   

What’s your relationship with PRs like?
I have worked with PRs for many years in print and now online. When you have good relationships it’s very good. Sometimes they’re limited to what they and can’t do, but if you strike up a relationship they can find out what you need. When it works, it works for the benefits of the PR because they get exposure.

Are there any issues?
One of the biggest problems is when a PR says, ‘I have an interview with a player’, which is actually a quote about a product; they don’t understand why it’s not getting coverage. Well a) that’s not an interview and b) we’re not just going to put a quote in about a product – it’s not going to work. You need a story to hang it on. Still to this day we encounter PRs who don’t understand that.

Take Five

What’s your favourite sport?
Football.

What team do you support?
West Ham, for my sins. 

Who is the greatest sports person in history?
Muhammad Ali.

Do you have any surprising hobbies or interests? 
I think, like most sports people, we’ve actually got a deeper understanding of news, history, current affairs and politics than people think. We’re not just sporty.

What would your super power be? 
To be the world’s best sportsman – at every sport.

Who would play you in a film?  
I’m bald with some stubble at times, so probably someone like Jason Statham because he’s bald and has some stubble.  

Editorial information on Duncan Wright, the websites of the Daily Express and the Daily Star as well as thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Weekly comms news roundup

Last Friday Cision’s release of the Social Journalism Study squeezed out my weekly roundup of comms news, curated from @CisionUK. Better late than never! Here we go.

How the BBC lost 60,000 Twitter followers to ITV by Tom Callow via THE Wall.

“Back in March, I wrote this piece looking at the ownership issues around Twitter profiles used for professional purposes. I noted that sensible consensus seemed to be that a personal feed (with no inclusion of a company or brand name) is owned entirely by the individual behind it, whilst a corporate feed (with no inclusion of an employee name) is owned entirely by the organisation to which it makes reference.”

Vogue.com to host online fashion week by @Shearmans via Brand Republic

“Vogue.com is planning a week-long online fashion event on its blog, featuring exclusive shopping deals and editorial content.”

Bloggers! Life & style needs you by @katehelencarter via Guardian

“The Guardian’s Life & style site is looking for bloggers interested in becoming part of our network.

As readers of the Guardian website, it can hardly have escaped your notice that we like to stay open. There are no pesky paywalls here, and we try to reach out as much as we pull in, but there is always space for more. And in few areas can this be as true as lifestyle – encompassing homes, gardens, parenting, food, fashion, relationships, health, fitness …”

Twitter launches adverts in people’s timelines by @Emmabarnett via The Telegraph

“Twitter has launched promoted tweets, its own form of advertising, in users’ timelines.

Until now promoted tweets have only appeared in search results and on the top of the Twitter trends lists. From now on users will start seeing sponsored messages appear in their timelines.”