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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

Networking the social media room

If you’ve ever attended a busy networking event (and who in PR hasn’t?) you’ll know how hard it can be to pluck up the courage to introduce yourself to a group of strangers and start a conversation.

Many fear breaking into a well-formed clique might be akin to social suicide if you don’t get your timing right.

We’ve all seen those uber-confident networkers who seem to work the room with ease, knowing all the cool people and flitting from group to group like the proverbial social butterfly. They don’t make it any easier for the rest of us left hugging the walls or speaking to the same people we arrived with.

The fact is, networking is difficult and the people who are really good at it have to work really hard to make it appear so easy. They take the time to swot up on fellow networkers, ask the right questions, listen carefully and know when to move on when there is no opportunity.

Building a successful social media following is just as difficult.

Too many “professional” people under-use their networking skills on social media and as a result speak to empty rooms. Having your mother, your colleagues and the odd friend from university following you on social does not constitute a valuable business network.

Socially savvy PR pros build their own following by (a) targeting the right people (current and potential clients, journalists, other PR Pros) to follow (b) sharing insightful content that their followers will want to consume and go on to share themselves and (c) engaging followers in intelligent conversation.

Less than socially savvy PRs post pictures of their hot dog legs, Friday night drinks (on a Tuesday) and endless images of their cats/dogs. It looks like they are having a lot of fun but are they getting the job done? Would you hire them?

As social networkers, we need to put in as much effort as we do into those real events and start working the room. The opportunity social media represents for the PR industry is vast. Will you use social as an opportunity to thrive or will you stay in your comfort zone (close to the wall)?

Classical Music Blogs UK Top 10

Updated: 08/07/2015

1. Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music Blog

2. Planet Hugill

3. The Cross-Eyed Pianist 

4. Boulezian 

5. British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content

6. Where’s Runnicles?

7. Richard Bratby

8. new:dots

9. Classical Iconoclast

10. The Official two Moors Festival Blog

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. For a detailed understanding on how Vuelio decides its weekly blog ranking, please click here.

Photo Courtesy of Antonio Castagna on Flickr

 

How brands used #Glastonbury to connect via social media

Hashtags on Twitter, Facebook competitions and Instagram posts are making it easier for brands to connect with their audience on trending topics and talked-about events. The Glastonbury music festival is a prime example of how brands big and small jumped on the #Glastonbury hashtag to pitch their message to the over 175,000 revellers at the festival as well as people tracking it around the globe. While music festivals have always been a hub for brand tie-ins and sponsorship, the rise of smartphones and social media technology has now made it easier for brands to get in on the hype – for little or no cost. Below is a look at some of brands that used social media to connect with Glastonbury goers and beyond. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media for PR: Your Questions Answered

Cision UK’s latest webinar, The State of Social PR, that took place last week, was a raging success. How do we know that? From the comments, questions and observations that continue to pour in from the PRs in attendance, highlighting some of the key issues faced by the industry and addressed by our guest speaker at the webinar, Stuart Wilson, head of corporate affairs, communications and marketing at Skills Development Scotland. While we answered most questions real-time, Stuart took time out to follow-up on some of the others that were raised:

What are the best methods for increasing our brand’s following on Facebook and Twitter?

First of all that’s a great strategy because you get to interact directly with your followers. My suggestion is that you grow your followers and “likes” organically. Avoid anybody who claims to be able to buy them for you. Join in conversations that are relevant to your organisation or which you can give advice and guidance on. Search hashtags and like-minded organisations and people and be part of their conversations. Find a popular hook or hashtag being used and adapt it to your needs. When I was at the NHS and the Andy Murray Wimbledon final was on, we got great pick up on public health messages by tying them into the final in humorous ways.

 How would you advise your clients on time management of engagement on social media – it can be a full time job?

That’s a very important point but let’s look at it this way. Every communications team I have either managed or worked for has had a 24/7 media on-call facility worked on a rota basis. Why pay people a retainer and on-call allowance for media calls but not to monitor social media? You can never watch it every second of every day but it is easy to set up notifications and to have a rota system in your team where properly trained people are able to respond to social media. Remember the peak times are before 9am and after 5pm so be prepared to be flexible. This is rarely a 9-5 experience. Monitor the usage of your platforms are adapt you rotas accordingly.

Old school PR’s don’t have their own following on social networks. How do they get the message across?

First of all if they were good PRs they should be looking to get onto social networks and will quickly find that their peers and people interested in them will soon follow. If you are well enough known people will seek you out on social media anyway. That said I would never advocate changing some of the old PR methods. Social Media is another tool in the box. You really cannot beat face to face communication, building a network of proper contacts and “getting out there”.  Social media just extends that reach but don’t forget to be social too!

What would you say is best practice in approaching a journalist via social media. Do you have a particular formula you use?

It depends what you are approaching them about. If you are seeking to pitch something to them then a phone call or personal meeting is always best. If the journalist in question is following you on social media then a personal message or DM is also a very good and personal way to do it. That is the method I use most in relation to social media these days. Journalists like to feel that your contact with them is exclusive and a personal touch is always best. Sending a generic tweet or Facebook posting to a journalist will seldom be successful but contacting them on a personal basis will be.

How do you deal with the serial complainers who are irrational?

Again this depends on the type of organisation you are working for or representing. It also depends on your definition of “irrational”. However in general terms I would always try to interact with someone. If that didn’t work,  I would signpost them to official channels in-house. If that still didn’t work or if the interaction became abusive in any way I would block them. You don’t take abuse face to face so why should you take it online? Don’t be afraid to block but don’t do it just to get rid of someone who actually might have a point.

Cision’s Social Social PR Study shows that 40%+ organisations not responding to media enquiries by social media channels – implies that 60% do. surprising stat?

Surprising only that the 60 per cent is not higher.  This will grow as the years move on.

To what extent should the tone of voice used to communicate to journalists be directed by the PR team or digital teams? There seems to be conflict in some organisations as to how has the ‘final say.’

Again, I’m afraid this depends on the organisation, its values, its size and the profile of its senior person or people. When celebrities or politicians use PR companies to handle their social media it can be quite sanitized and obviously not from the person or organisation named. Corporate fluff does not work well on social media so the PR team should ensure it is using language that is appropriate and reflects the organisational values. It should be similar to walking in the front door of that organisation and speaking to someone.

 How do you go about reaching journalists on social media?  Most journalists, who are under pressure, still ask us to “send us a press release”. . . . .

The answer to this is given in more detail above but do not be afraid to get a message or call from a journalist saying “send me a press release”. That shows that your interaction is working and they are seeking more information. This is a success!

 As a B2B SME we don’t get asked any questions on Twitter – how else do we keep communicating with potential customers?

Similar to answer given above in regards to seeking out and responding to relevant conversations. Also just as social media is being used as an additional tool to mainstream media, it can also be used as an additional tool to industry media. Many of your customers will be online and you can copy them in by name to blogs, articles etc.  Make sure you push the existence of your social media channels on all your materials and assets. There are millions of industry specific conversations/blogs etc taking place on social media 24/7. (Check the PR industry for example) and you need to be active in these.

Any recommendations for best new social platforms that companies should be using?

It’s hard to see beyond the big three of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn currently but, depending on what your company is, I find Instagram, Vine, Periscope, YouTube and Pinterest to be good for PR purposes. They all serve a different and flexible purpose and it can actually be fun having creative team chats about how you can use these platforms in a way that engages audiences and pushes your brand.

 How much of your personality should you inject into your PR social media accounts and how much professional distance should you maintain?

I think you should inject as much of your personality into social media as you can – as long as you are not a serial killer!! That’s if you are speaking as an individual. If you are speaking on behalf of an organisation then it’s more important that you reflect the tone of voice of that organisation and its values than put your own personal touch into it. Being personable and conversational does not necessarily mean you put your own stamp on a company’s social media platform which could backfire.

 What is a reasonable time in which to deal with a client query on social media?

Within working hours the response should be instantaneous, even if just to acknowledge you have noticed the contact and are dealing with it. If you are equipped and empowered to answer the question then you should do so with the bare minimum of bureaucratic red tape. Acknowledging is key.

 I’m just starting out in the world of PR (having spent last year working on our company’s social media strategy).  What are your top 3 tips for starting out in the wonderful world of PR?

1. Be creative and use your own imagination, gut instinct and personal experience to discover the best way to get a message across. What works for you is likely to work for others. Use that!

2. Join a professional body such as PRCA or CIPR and take part in their training courses, conferences and events which lets you meet peers and get great ideas, advice and training.

3. Join as many PR and Comms feeds on social media as you can and learn not just from your peers in the UK but around the world. We are lucky enough to work in such a richly talented profession with so many inspirational leaders that a brilliant article is only ever a click away. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Is Twitter the best way to communicate press releases and do you just use a link after the hook?

Honestly? No. Twitter is a way to replicate the press release, not direct people to it. At the very most you can indeed link to a copy of your press release on your website but the way you do it has to NOT look like a press release. It should be a teaser that is going to make the person want to look further. The press release may not be dead, but it is certainly dying. It still has its place, particularly with local media but it’s a busy and noisy world out there now. Make your message stand out.

Photo Courtesy of Ash Carter on Flickr

 

Blogger Spotlight: Kimberly Duran, Swoon Worthy

An interview with Kimberly Duran, author of the interior design blog, Swoon Worthy. Kimberly spoke to us about the boho glam influence behind her blog, how she uses media kits and social media to connect with brands and her audience, being nominated as one of the Top DIY blogs and more. 

Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? I have a very unique style that I like to call ‘Eclectic Boho Glam’ – it’s a real mix of styles, colours, pattern and texture and a lot of gold and brass to create a bit of glamour too. I don’t think it’s typical by any means (especially not in Britain) but achieving that really individual look on a budget is what I focus on. Providing guidance and advice in creating a home that’s uniquely your own when you don’t have a lottery win is something readers appreciate and I use my own home as my ‘guinea-pig’ to share my ideas, inspiration and the results of those in the spaces I design. Most of the imagery on my site is my own as well so there’s lots of unique content, plenty of DIYs and tutorials and it’s quite personal as well. I like to have fun with my audience and my readers are a wonderful, supportive crew and really engaged.

How do you measure the success of your website? Of course things like visitor numbers and page views are important but it’s really the interaction from my readers that is the measure of success. If a post makes people react enough to take the time to leave a comment or to share the post with others, then I know it’s resonated and having an engaged audience is so important because it’s valuable feedback to me that what I’m doing is what my readers want to see.

What’s your favourite blog and why? This is a hard one because as a blogger, I read so many other blogs and I have loads of favourites. I think if I was considering which blog I think is a real model for other bloggers, it has to be Emily Henderson. Her blog is warm and full of personality (and she’s funny!) but also really informative. You feel like you are spending time with an incredibly talented and fun friend. It’s also, of course, beautiful to look at which an aesthetic field such as interiors is just so important nowadays. She really is the whole package.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? I know it’s a cliché but you have to be true to yourself. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but it will get you nowhere in this very competitive and saturated market. It’s so important to really stand out as an individual and to offer something different. You also have to give of yourself – not just of your time and your energy because it’s a huge commitment – but also to your audience. They want to know there’s a person behind your writing and while I’m not suggesting you spill every secret of your personal life, it’s crucial that you let them get to know you as the unique, interesting individual that you are.

How do you work with marketers and PRs? I have a Media Kit which I send out to anyone interested in working with me. In it, there is vital information about me, about my blog, my reach, about how I like to work with companies, my rates, where I’ve appeared and testimonials. It provides a very good roundup of what Swoon Worthy is all about and who my audience is. From there, it’s about creating great content that not only reflects my own aesthetic and style but which I know my audience will love as well as allowing companies to get great exposure to a new audience. This might mean a few emails discussing how to partner and what the best approach is. Every collaboration that I do is individual.

How do you use social media to promote/share content? What are the challenges? I’m active across a number of social media channels to promote my posts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – and each one caters to slightly different content. Twitter is a quick ‘hey check this out!’ and you need to capture people’s attention very quickly because it moves so fast. With Facebook, unfortunately your full audience will not always see every post so it’s important to get as much engagement as possible – by asking questions, by providing a call to action – so that it’s seen by others in turn. Instagram and Pinterest are both visual so it’s important that you have great images to capture people’s attention. Each one has a slightly different audience and different needs and it’s important to cater to that.

What can PRs do in working better with you? I think flexibility is so important. Show me you’ve read my blog and understand what I do, come to me with a creative idea and then let’s work together to perfect it. I know my audience really well and what they respond to so if I suggest something different to what was originally presented, it’s because I want the collaboration to be a success and I know from experience what has and hasn’t worked in the past. So a willingness to really spend some time to get it right is important to me.

Also, don’t just email me and ask if I’ll put an infographic on my blog or share a post with my audience if there’s no return either – both my audience and I need to be getting something back from our collaboration as well. I think a lot of PR’s unfortunately view blogs as free advertising but we work really hard, blog posts literally take hours to create and we’ve taken the time to develop a trusting audience – when a PR appreciates that fact and respects what you do, everything always goes so much smoother.

What has been your blogging highlight? Being nominated for Amara’s Top DIY blog award last year was certainly a highlight and my home appearing in a book and various magazines have all been highlights. It really is something that I constantly get excited about and pushes me to do more each year.

What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? I think there’s a big push to create more engaging content and certainly, video comes into that. So I think we’ll start to see a lot of cross over in interior blogs and video content in the future (similar to what has happened to fashion and beauty blogs). For now, I think everyone is realising the importance of great photography and if you don’t have that, your blog is going to stagnate. You have to keep innovating and improving and providing your audience with topical and helpful advice. It’s quite an exciting time to be a blogger because there’s always so much more you can do.

Editorial information on Kimberly Duran, Swoon Worthy and thousands of other media/blogger contacts and outlets, can be found in the Cision Media Database.

How important are celebrities for PR?

A discussion on our PR Monday Club recently highlighted the influence celebrities have on social media. The post pointed out that celebrities such as Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) and Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) boast more followers on Twitter than the combined influence of some of the leading news outlets in the country.

It further argued that when celebrity controls so much of the conversation, should PR’s focus move from the traditional print, broadcast and online media world and start moving in more entertaining circles? Could celebrity endorsement ever be more credible than old world media coverage?

The above questions are valid, but difficult to put into practice. Why? because both social media and celebrities on these networks still have a long way to go to prove their credibility. According to the latest Cision Social Journalism Study 2015, while the majority of UK journalists now use social media to source news, they actually spend less time using the technology than they have in the last two years. This is because for the first time in five years concerns about social media’s threat to journalist values has been expressed

SJS - Sources ranked by importanceMeanwhile, celebrities too ranked the lowest (#7) in the list of sources media depend on for their stories.

As John Ward, reporter and columnist at the Daily Star Sunday pointed out:’Social media is a valuable source for news but the limitations are that a lot of what is on there cannot be backed up with facts. It is also increasingly manipulated by celebs and PRs in a bid to get things into the press.’

While celebrity endorsements is definitely a money-spinning industry for brands, on social media it seems to be an entirely new, perhaps too new a story for marketers.

What do you think?

Photo Courtesy of Eva Rinaldi on Flickr

Journalists are changing the way they use social media – and this affects PRs

Annual survey of UK journalists’ social media habits confirms that the technology remains central to their work even as their approach becomes more selective

While the majority of UK journalists now use social media for their work, they actually spend less time using the technology than they have in the last two years.

The latest Social Journalism Study from Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University concluded that the apparent paradox reflected an increased selectivity – and a growing caution – in the way journalists use social media. The journalists often said that the technology had changed the meaning of their work, as well as the way that they approached it – but there was for the first time in five years a significant expression of concern about cyber security, as well as social media’s threat to professional values.

Among the key findings were

  • The majority of UK journalists use social media as a professional tool. However, the percentage of journalists using social media regularly, for four hours or more a day, has declined during the last three years, from 24% in 2012 to 13% in 2014, indicating a level of saturation in its use
  • Over half (53.5%) of UK journalists said they cannot carry out their work without social media, an increase from 42% of journalists last year
  • Twitter (75.1%) continued to be the most popular social networking app for journalists followed by Facebook (56.7%) – while a strong showing for Google+ (41.2%) reflected the now-redundant importance of Google Authorship for search engine optimisation
  • PR professionals are the most important sources for journalists, followed by experts/academics and then other journalists and media outlets
  • While journalists tend to perceive the impact of social media on their work as generally positive, there are growing concerns about privacy, data security and journalistic values

Social Journalism Study Infographic

“There is no doubt that social media continues to play a key role in all areas of a journalists’ work,” said Kristine Pole, who co-authored the Study.  “Over half think they couldn’t do their work without it and the same number think it has improved their productivity.   What is noticeable is that journalists feel using social media is an additional aspect to their work rather then relieving them of other tasks as over half think their workload has not decreased.”

Cision Europe and Canterbury Christ Church University conducted an online survey about the behaviours and attitudes and the uses and perceptions of social media among journalists.  Respondents were taken from Cision’s media database of more than 1.5 million influencers globally. The United Kingdom report is based on 466 responses from journalists and media professionals collected during July – September 2014. Throughout the survey the term ‘journalist’ is used to include all media professionals, e.g. researchers, editors, etc., who took part.

Download the full version of the 201 5 Social Journalism Study.

 

4 social media trends to watch in 2015: Matt Webster

Matt Webster, co-founder and client services director of Media Bounty, a digital marketing agency, shares his predictions for social media and consumer engagement in 2015. 

#1. Engagement

In order to keep consumers engaged on social next year, it’s crucial that marketers launch their social media activity at the right time, serving the right message to the right audience. This has, of course, always been the aim – but given the huge surge of activity in recent years it’s now more important than ever to cut through all that noise.

It’s not just the ever-increasing competition that will continue to present challenges in 2015; research has shown that consumer’s brains are changing too, with the average adult attention span having reduced from a worrying 12 seconds in 2010 to a goldfish-esque 8 seconds last year. So it really has never been more important to deliver engaging social content with the ethos of right time/right message/right audience.

#2. Video and mobile

Video and mobile usage will continue on their exponential rise. The smartphone has become the ‘first screen’, and digital consumption in general finally overtook TV last year. In essence, this means that video is now the consumable content of choice, and that the smartphone has become the chosen platform on which to watch it.

With that in mind, I think we’ll see more video content being specially created for use across the social platforms. In doing so, it’s important to consider that autoplay video in peoples’ Facebook newsfeeds have approximately 3 seconds to get the attention of the smartphone user as their finger scrolls down – so that first 3 seconds better be engaging!

I also predict that we’ll see more video content hubs and portals on YouTube that direct people brand websites as well as to social channels.

#3. Regaining traction and renewing previously successful formats

Last year saw a growing number of highly successful campaigns across social media that embraced user generated content (UGC). The world’s obsession with the selfie has been used by brands to encourage engagement and peer to peer advocacy, mainly through photo uploads. The amazing success of the Ice Bucket challenge has seen uploaded video become a valid way of tapping into UGC too. I think it’s a fairly safe bet that UGC will continue to play an important role in campaigns throughout 2015.

Other simple tweaks to pre-existing formats include making video work harder on the channels it’s placed on. For example, adding an ‘interactive’ plate at the start of the film where you can choose from a selection of content. This is a great way of using material that’s worked to date (such as the ever popular recipe video for example), but by offering the consumer a choice you’re encouraging an extra level of engagement. If you go ahead and make the content episodic you’re able to create a ‘lean back’ series that people can watch on their personal devices. Some online video of this type have in the past tended to be squeezed into blocks of 2 or 3 minutes, but it doesn’t have to be that way going forward.

#4. Consumer rewards

Consumers will always engage with a brand via social media if they’re offered an incentive that’s relevant to them. But it’s time to rethink what we mean by reward: it doesn’t always have to be an experience, a product or a prize. Increasingly, consumers feel rewarded if they’re being offered entertaining content – content that they want to share. That’s a bit of a win:win situation!

 You can follow Matt Webster on Twitter @MattWWebster

The 6 hottest PR trends in 2015: Stephen Waddington

In a guest post for Cision UK, Stephen Waddington, European digital and social media director for Ketchum, former president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), and author of #BrandVandals and Brand Anarchy, lists the 6 hottest PR trends and predictions for 2015. 

At the end of last year I posted a list of 15 areas of work in progress for the public relations business for the New Year. It’s 2015 after all.

A friend asked on Twitter how many of these I thought would still be work in progress in 2016? 16 I said.

I don’t think he got the joke.

I’m not sure predictions over a 12-month period are useful especially given how fast our business is moving.

That said there are some fundamental shifts that are taking place. Media is fragmenting and we’re help organizations engage directly with their customers and prospects.

Here are six issues that are front of mind for me this year.

 #1 Internal influencers

The best advocates for an organisation are almost certainly the people on the payroll. Yet most organisations gag their employees with policies and rules.

Equal effort should be applied to external and internal publics. My tip would be to always start with your internal stakeholders and work out.

Glassdoor gave us a $70 million reason for this to be front of mind last week when it announced an investment round led by Google Ventures.

#2 Workflow

A burgeoning tool market has emerged to support campaign planning across fragmented forms of media and devices. Be careful as there’s barrel loads of snake oil and solutions looking for a problem.

Think hard about your workflow and how you can best integrate tools to deliver against your campaign objectives. Challenge vendors to demonstrate how their tools can help you deliver the outcomes that you need.

I’m build a wiki focussed on this issue. Come and help out.

#3 Difficult conversations

Brands are increasingly becoming over enthusiastic on social networks in a bid to seize the moment. This issue particularly relates to the rise of so-called content marketing. The results are polarised between the minority of campaigns that are rooted in listening and engagement, and the majority that make a lame effort to tame the zeitgeist and churn out bland content.

There’s a related game that I play whenever I have an idle five minutes. I tweet brands that sponsor content on Twitter and ask them a question. Do it and see how often you get a response. The use of industrialised marketing tactics in social media has got to stop. Consumers are starting to fight back and this approach certainly won’t work in messaging networks.

 #4 Vision and values

Organisations without a clear vision and values will really struggle in an era of fragmented media. There’s simply too much noise. The purpose of an organisation should be rooted in its values and core to every aspect of its communication. Values should define what an organisation says and does as much as what it doesn’t.

Public relations increasingly has a role in every area of an organisation to help it deliver against the organisation’s objectives. It is shifting from the communication department to human resources, customer service, sales and product development. It is the ears, eyes and mouth of an organisation, and increasingly the conscience.

#5 Competency and continuous learning

The public relations profession is undergoing tremendous change. The skills required to work in this fast growing discipline remain a work in progress. Yet the profession has no barrier to entry and requires no formal qualifications or Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Competency frameworks are commonly used in other professional disciplines to address these issues but no such unified framework has been defined or adopted for public relations. We should all be committed to ongoing learning. In 2015 I want to explore the value and opportunity for developing a competency framework for public relations.

#6 End of the line

The future of the media remains a work in progress. Facebook continues to tweak the newsfeed. Twitter is rolling out changes to how it serves content and Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving. Publishers and networks are all trying to figure out how to develop sustainable business models.

In order to optimise campaign investment, paid media may need to be integrated into earned campaigns and earned media into paid campaigns. Public relations practitioners need to get over the fact that sometimes you simply have to pay for it.

 You can follow Stephen Waddington on Twitter @wadds.

Blogger Outreach: Something Sweet, Something Savoury

A Speedy Spotlight with Nicola Thompson, a working mum who loves baking and cooking and blogging about it on Something Sweet, Something Savoury. Nicola spoke to us about how she measures the success of her blog, working with brand marketers and interviewing Ruth Clemens, AKA The Pink Whisk. 

Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? I’m a normal working mum who loves cooking and baking but like so many other families, I have to do it on a pretty limited budget. My blog has a wide variety of recipes – there is really something for everyone – from low cost family meals, simple home baking or fancy desserts for when you’re looking for a recipe to really impress.

How do you measure the success of your website? By how much traffic a certain post generates – I check my stats on a daily basis
What’s your favourite blog and why? I love Recipes from a normal Mum by Holly Bell.  Her recipes are tasty but simple, and not too expensive to make!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? I would tell them go for it! It might be slow to start with, but don’t be discouraged.  Share your posts on social media platforms like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook – this really helps you build your audience.
How do you work with marketers and PRs? I really enjoy reviewing cooking/baking related products.
Who do you work with in brand marketing? PRs? SEOs? Anyone else? I’ve mainly worked with PRs and small companies directly. I’m open to any offers providing it fits in with the theme of my blog.
What can marketers do better in working with you? Basically just contact me and see how we can work together! I’ve never had any problems with marketers in the past.
What was your blogging highlight of 2013? Interviewing Ruth Clemens, AKA The Pink Whisk, finalist in The Great British Bake off series one.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? Lots of seasonal recipes and giveaways!
Editorial information on Nicola Thompson, Something Sweet, Something Savoury and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Dane Cobain, SocialBookshelves.com

An interview with Dane Cobain, the man behind the blog SocialBookshelves.com, and a social media marketer at fst The Group, an integrated creative agency. Dane discusses key social media trends, what the World Cup taught us about real time marketing, starting his book blog and his top tips for PRs wanting to work with bloggers. 

What would you say are the main trends in social media at the moment? The main thing that I’m seeing is the diversification of social media. There are now so many popular sites available that there’s something for everyone, whether you just want to say ‘yo’ to your friends or whether you want to share your photos and videos on Instagram, your music on Soundcloud or your book reviews on Goodreads. Everything is getting more visual, too. As well as visual-based social networks like Instagram, Vine, Vimeo, YouTube, established sites like Facebook and Twitter are assigning increased important to photos and videos. Finally, everything’s going mobile. I’d predict that the next big social network to make itself known will start out as a mobile app and grow from there.

What lessons do you think can be learned from the World Cup in terms of real time marketing and how can brands take advantage of opportunities? That’s an interesting one, as real-time marketing has been a big thing for a while but the World Cup has broken usage records on both Facebook and Twitter and proved the perfect avenue for brands to try to make themselves heard. I think one of the big lessons is that real-time marketing is no longer cutting edge, it’s simply expected, and if brands don’t participate then they’ll be left behind by their competition. There’s actually a lot of noise out there now and it can be just as difficult to cut through it as it is with regular marketing. I think brands who want to take advantage of real-time marketing opportunities need to plan as much as they can in advance, prepare a ‘war room’ of sorts so that content can be created and signed off as quickly as possible to give them an edge. They also need to assign some budget to paid ads (Facebook’s sponsored stories and Twitter’s promoted tweets spring to mind) to boost the effects of the campaign as much as possible.

What was the motivation behind starting your own blog, SocialBookshelves.com? What makes it different and why should people read it? Part of the motivation was that I wanted a project that I had full creative control over. Quite often, the work I get to do with clients can be fairly restrictive, with a hefty sign-off process. I wanted an outlet where I could just talk to random people about a subject that I loved, without having to worry about the consequences. I also love reading, I always have done, and I do a lot of writing in my free time as well. Starting a book blog seemed to be the best way of sharpening my social media skills and doing something that I loved at the same time. In terms of why it’s different, one of the main things is that the word count of the reviews is the same as the number of pages in the book, so that a short book gets a short review and a long book gets a long one. I also review a lot of books. I’ve released around 250 reviews so far, but I eventually want to catch up with my book catalogue. In around two years’ time, I should have over 1,000 reviews on the site. I also do a lot of vlogging and blogging on top of the reviews, and there are some great author interview pieces up where people can not only read the review but also listen to the conversation that I had with the authors.

As a blogger, how do you find the balance between honest opinion/reviews and the marketing/promotional side of blogs? I find it pretty easy, to be honest. As I’m the only person running the site, I’m just honest in everything that I write. It can be a little bit awkward if someone sends me a book for review and I don’t enjoy it, but I try to be honest when I speak to authors, publishers and PRs by explaining that I’ll be honest either way. I also turn down opportunities if I think I won’t enjoy them. In terms of the marketing of the site, I run a competition once a month which I don’t think really affects the honesty of the site, and I do a lot of networking as well. Again, as it’s my own site rather than that of a client, it’s pretty easy to ensure that I only really bother with stuff that I’m interested in. That said, there have been some awkward moments. I remember trying to avoid getting into an argument with Brian Solis (a well-known social media figure and speaker) because I gave his book a bad review, and I also had a huge backlash when Richard Dawkins retweeted my review of the God Delusion. I’d tried to avoid drawing any conclusions about the nature of god in my review, despite being a staunch atheist myself, but that didn’t stop loads of people arguing with each other and, as a consequence, with me as well!

Do you have any key tips for PRs, marketers and brands when it comes to approaching bloggers with content? Yes, everyone says this, but find out more about the blog. In my case, the best relationships I have are with people who’ve learned the sort of thing that I like and that only approach me when they have something relevant. One of them works for a publishing company and has sent me a dozen books, and I only disliked one of them. A couple of them earned a 10/10 rating, which I reserve for books which have changed the way I look at the world! On Twitter especially, I see a lot of bloggers asking brands for free stuff, i.e. ‘My washing machine is broken, can I have a new one for review?’, and it gives blogging a bad name. As a blogger, I’d be buying, reading and reviewing books anyway. If I accept a free book for a review, that’s only because I otherwise wouldn’t have read that particular book and would have bought a different one instead. I see a lot of bloggers who set up blogs purely to accept free products for review and I’d caution brands to avoid those (it’s usually easy to tell), but also to consider the way that they approach bloggers themselves. As annoying as bloggers can be when they only ever ask for free stuff, brands can be just as bad when they get in touch with bloggers and expect an article about their press release. Brands pay bloggers with product, and bloggers pay brands with their time.

 

Take 5

What is your favourite book?

Philip Pullman – Northern Lights. That whole trilogy is phenomenal, I first read it ten years ago and still can’t get over how beautiful it is.

Which fictional character would you like to have dinner with and why?

Probably Lord Vetinari from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series because he’s such a complex character. I think he’d make a fascinating conversationalist, even if he did send you to the dungeons after dinner.

Would you go forward or back in time and why?

I’m a bit of a technology geek and so I’d go forwards, just to see what happens and what technology mankind develops. If it’s anything like Isaac Asimov would have me believe though, then perhaps I’d be better off going backwards!

Do you have any surprising hobbies or interests?

I’m not sure about surprising, but I spend a lot of my time writing. I write a poem every day during my lunch break at work, and I keep a diary and write more poetry in the evenings, as well as a lot of fiction. I’m working on my second novel at the moment, which is about a social networking start-up for the dead – I can’t say more than that though, at the moment. I also play guitar and sing, which probably isn’t much of a surprise!

Who would you like to play you in a film?

I’d like to say Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp, but I think that someone like Paul Bettany or maybe Paddy Considine would do it better!


Editorial information on Dane Cobain, Socialbookshelves.com and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

LinkedIn beefs up content offering with Newsle

In a bid to boost its content marketing offering, LinkedIn has acquired Newsle, a California-based startup that updates its over 2 million user base on news articles, blogs, and other mentions of people and companies they follow on social networks.

The move comes on the back of several content-focused developments introduced by LinkedIn over the past year which are aimed at providing users with more ways to stay connected and network with business professionals. This includes LinkedIn opening its site to long form publishing; allowing users to add pictures, videos and presentations to their profile; an integrated partnership with news app Pulse; and the launch of its Influencer program.

While the actual size of the deal is not yet known, Forbes.com reported that before the acquisition, Newsle raised over $2 million in funding from investors like Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Advance Publications , Maveron and Transmedia Capital.

Newsle’s official confirmation of the acquisition on its site says that it the company will continue to operate as a standalone product as they combine their functionality with LinkedIn’s core services.

Further, all of Newsle’s employees, including founders Jonah Varon and Axel Hansen, along with their team of designers will be making the move to LinkedIn.

‘We founded Newsle with a simple goal: to deliver important news about the people who matter to you. Three years and 2 million users later, we’re happy to say that we’re well on the way toward realizing that goal,’ said Axel and Jonah.

In a separate blog post, LinkedIn head of content products, Ryan Roslansky said: ‘LinkedIn and Newsle share a common goal: We both want to provide professional insights that make you better at what you do. For example, knowing more about the people in your network – like when they’re mentioned in the news – can surface relevant insights that help you hit your next meeting with them out of the park.’

 

Germany and social media win 2014 World Cup

Even as Germany is crowned champions of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the real winners of this tournament has undoubtedly been social media platforms and newsrooms. With every exciting match leading up to the finals, top sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google among others, witnessed interactivity soar, setting new engagement records and making this year’s World Cup the most social sporting event in history.

Facebook released its official World Cup data today. The networking site reported an estimated audience of more than 750 million people worldwide over the course of the 64 matches played. Facebook data scientists Carlos Greg Diuk and Onur Ismail Filiz  said: ‘With 1.2 billion users around the globe, Facebook is the main social platform where people express their support for teams and players. Through the end of the semi-finals, over 300 million people on Facebook generated more than 2 billion interactions (posts, comments, likes) related to the World Cup.’

Meanwhile, Twitter released official stats from the final claiming:

The micro-blogging platform kept audiences up-t0-date with consistent updates and insights on how the world watched and tweeted the World Cup:

 

Google’s World Cup newsroom had a dedicated team of data scientists, designers, editors and translators capturing what people were searching for in relation to the World Cup  and breaking it down into interesting and sometimes quirky trends:

Google trend

 

FIFA World Cup’s official profile on Instagram meanwhile is a look book of the tournament, reflecting excitement, despair and all the emotions in-between, triggered by the games.

FIFA on Instagram

 

 

Meanwhile, brands also played an important role in communicating online. Here are some of the best (and worst) examples of real time marketing: 

When Holland beat Mexico, KLM tweeted (and was under fire for):

KLM2

 

When Luis Suárez was accused of biting his opponent Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder in the Italy v. Uruguay match on 24 June, Specssavers tweet went viral:

specs savers

 

 

And Adidas celebrates Germany’s victory with:

 

The World Cup has come to an end but what these levels of online interactions signify is a step forward for the media and entertainment  industry, particularly as brand marketers increasingly try to captivate audiences on mainstream and digital media through integrated campaigns.  

Google ruling: ‘Right to be forgotten’ will make PR easier

Online Reputation Management could get a whole lot easier for PR and communications professionals after a landmark ruling by European Courts on Tuesday has given individuals the right to control personal data on search engines.

The European Commission is considering a formal ‘right to be forgotten’ law following the court battle which granted a complainant the right to delete some personal data from Google.

The European Court of Justice court ruled that individuals should be able to request ‘irrelevant or incorrect’ personal information to be taken down from search engines.

The case has sparked a debate on online censorship and privacy laws across mainstream and social media.

A Cision social media analysis found that the case has been a hot topic of discussion with over 2 million online mentions in less than 24-hours. Privacy campaigners have welcomed the ruling while analysts watching this space remain sceptical on the implications it could have for online behaviour.

Digital and social media director for Ketchum’s European operations and CIPR president Stephen Waddington is certain that the ruling will be challenged but remains optimistic about the impact it can have on the communications industry. ‘The ruling has the potential to make online reputation management pretty straightforward as it creates an opportunity for PR to erase negative content regarding individuals from search engines if they can prove the information based on historical circumstances are no longer relevant.’

‘The real challenge will be in how Google and other online publishers actually manage the process.’

If the law comes into effect, search engines such as Google will indeed have to take on larger roles as data controllers and  gatekeepers but it will be interesting to see just how many people have deep enough pockets to challenge the search engine giants.

What do you think?

Speedy Spotlight: Lauren, Real Housewife of Suffolk County

An interview with Lauren, author of the mummy blog, Real Housewife of Suffolk County. Lauren spoke to us about keeping her posts honest and fresh, working with her favourite brand, Medela and representing a PR firm for Britmums Live this year. 

realhousewifeWhy should people read your blog?
I write an open and honest account of being a stay at home mum and housewife. I think readers can relate to a lot of what I write, especially when its something they themselves are not able to share for whatever reason.

What makes your blog different?
I think that the content isn’t predictable. I don’t really stick to a routine with post topics, and although I like to blog everyday, each post is different. So one day I’ll be posting about a family day out and then the next day could be posting about mental health.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
I have a few favourite blogs. I’m really attracted to a clean blog design and photography. I’m finding myself reading a lot more lifestyle blogs at the moment too rather than just parenting.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Join a community and be active on social media channels such as Twitter. Also research other blogs. Look at the type of design and content you are attracted to and then apply that (without copying) to your own blog so you are proud with what you are doing. I think you have to be able to enjoy reading your own blog to be able to make it what you want it to be.

How does a good PR work with you?
As I write a personal blog I like a personal approach. Get to know me by looking at my About Me page or by looking at some of my recent blog posts and start a conversation about that. I think you can be personal and friendly alongside being professional too.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
I think I’m one of the only bloggers who doesn’t mind receiving a generic “Hi” email without my name being addressed. I think short deadlines for reviews or not replying to emails is my pet hate, especially if they approached me first.

What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
I attended my first blog conference last year and was sponsored by one of my favourite brands, Medela. I was so proud that they wanted to work with me and felt I was good enough to represent their brand.

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
I feel quite settled and confident with the direction I want my blog to go in. I want photography to be a strong point throughout every post.

I’m also sponsored to attend Britmums Live again, this time by a PR company I have worked with since I started my blog. I know they work with a lot of other bloggers so I feel honoured that I’ve been chosen to represent them.

Ideally by the end of the year I would like to be working with a charity too.

Editorial information on Lauren, Real Housewife of Suffolk and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Guardian’s Owen Jones: ‘Social media democratises the media’

Owen Jones is an award winning journalist and is the author of the book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, published in 2011. Previously at The Independent, Owen was recently appointed columnist at The Guardian.
In the first of his two part interview with Vuelio, Owen shares his views on the importance of social media and his passion for politics.  

owen jonesCongratulations on your appointment as a columnist at the Guardian – How have you found the role so far?
The Guardian is a newspaper I have read for many years. My parents read it. I have so much respect for the columnists and journalists there. They have impacted me growing up, so it definitely feels like home.

Plus the Guardian is at its peak right now. It just won the Pulitzer Prize. Its website gets millions of unique users. It exposed the NSA eavesdropping scandal. It is a newspaper that has a lot of influence in progressive politics. I always like to challenge the consensus and explore ideas using my writing as a platform to reach people, so it just made sense to write for the Guardian.

You are known for your political views and you previously worked as a researcher for Trade Unions. Did you ever consider going into politics?
I worked for the MP John McDonald and organised back bench rebellions on issues such as war, pay and pensions. But I have always said no to standing as an MP whenever I have been asked. I am happy doing what I’m doing right now. I’m not a careerist in any way. I want to raise ideas and issues to as many people as possible. I have always stood up for what I believe in and would rather encourage other people, particularly from working class backgrounds, who I think would make great MPs. For example, last year, I won the Young Writer of the Year at the Political Book of the Year Awards. I was given the £3,000 prize, donated by Lord Ashcroft, and I gave half of the prize money to a charity for Disabled People against the Cuts and the other half to a lady called Lisa Forbes who I believe would make a great MP.

Where do you get ideas and inspiration for your writing?
I sometimes use Think Tanks and see what research is being done. I also get a lot of emails from people, be it ordinary people or activists, who come to me with issues they want me to raise. People know that I am passionate about politics and so will often think of me for certain topics. I always like to challenge myself.

How do you work with communication and PR professionals?
I don’t really have a direct relationship with PRs. But as a journalist you always have to be aware and scrutinise any spin or potential vested interests in content. I think that as long as journalists scrutinise the content they receive, that should pave the way for healthy relationships with PRs.

How has social media changed the way in which you publish and promote stories and how important is the use of social media to you?
Social media holds journalists to account and it also democratises the media by giving people a voice. It also means that you can reach greater numbers of people instantly. It allows people you trust on the ground, who don’t work for newspapers, to get their point of view across to you. As a columnist this is a great way for me to reach people who have been affected by the topic that I may be working on. For example, if I am writing a piece on racism, then I can use social media to communicate with real people who have been affected and learn from them. It is also a great way to give shout outs to people who may be raising money for charity. Another great example of the instantaneousness of social media is when I was working on a piece about soldiers and within five minutes of putting it on Twitter, I had lots of soldiers getting in touch with me.

Particularly for someone like me who stands on the outside of the mainstream establishment, social media is a great way for me to get my views across and to engage with other people and hear what they really think. This is important as there should be always be communication, I don’t want it to be just me in a one way dialogue.

Is it now a part of traditional media’s policy to actively generate interest and activity on social media or are journalists taking it upon themselves to use it as a tool to promote content?
I have always used social media, from when I was blogging to when I worked at The Independent, so I have always been aware of its importance. Social media now plays a major role in how people read the news. People pick and choose articles from a range of publications, with more people reading news online than in print. This is true of The Guardian and its vast online readership.

I have quite a diverse Twitter following. I also use Facebook a lot. I personally believe that as a columnist you should be on and using social media, otherwise you are potentially cutting out up to three quarters of your readership. I know that I have needed social media in my career and I owe it a lot. On certain occasions producers have seen a tweet and asked me to talk about it on TV, which is yet another platform to get ideas across and create a space for discussions.

In part two of the interview, which will be published tomorrow, Owen discusses the reaction to his debut book which tackled the stereotypes associated with the British working class and lets us know what we can expect from his latest book venture about the British establishment. Stay tuned!

#Budget2014: Not such a hit on social media

The UK economy is ‘recovering faster than expected’ and what better way to spread the cheer than to lower the cost of beer, bingo and air travel!
While Britain’s mainstream media has given George Osborne’s 2014 budget the thumbs up with mostly positive coverage, social media has been less compromising, though spot on, in capturing the overall public sentiment relating to the budget. 

Using Cision Social Media, we found that #Budget2014 was mentioned over 204,214 times in 24 hours since the budget was presented. Peak traffic was recorded at noon yesterday. 

The conversation topics surrounding #Budget2014 included the following key words:

budget conv cloud

The Conservative Party chairman Grant Schapps stirred things up on Twitter after tweeting an advert highlighting the Chancellor’s decision to cut duty on beer and taxation of bingo. The online advert said the measures were aimed at helping  “hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy”.

 

The tweet received much criticism from the Liberal Democrats, but also provoked anger and bewilderment from the general public:

reactions to twitter

Meanwhile, business editor for the BBC, Robert Peston hosted a live Q&A session with the hashtag #AskPeston  on Facebook today addressing the question: How will Budget 2014 affect you? Some of the questions he tackled included:


Paul Cotterill What do you think is the risk that ending the need to buy an annuity on a defined benefit pension will lead to a further escalation of house prices as people enter the property market in the belief that they may get better returns, either through capital value or buy to let (or both)?

Ian Chalmers Can you explain just what is to blame for our current financial position; is it (a) poorly targeted overspending by previous government (b) borrowing by previous government to buy us out of banking crisis and alleviate recessionary pressures and is the present government reallly any better given the poor progress of debt pay down coupled with more debt addition than previous govt?

Ron Patrick Walker Do you think more could have been done to help with the cost of living? On the surface a £10,500 base rate seems decent but as a low earner this won’t make too much of a tangible difference.

And our personal favourite question was:

Fiona McCormick I am almost 60 single. I have No savings or pension at all. ? I do not drink or smoke. I hate any kind of Bingo or Gambling. I have never bought a lottery ticket. I am struggling to pay my Bills ( What Can He Offer Me)

The nature of the questions forced Robert to ask his audience: 

‘Is there nobody out there who has anything positive to say about the budget. I am paid to be impartial, neutral. But I am fascinated that pretty much all of you feel totally ignored – or worse – by the Chancellor’ 

That pretty much sums it up for 2014 Budget, socially at least. 

 

 

 

BBC’s Mark Frankel on the latest social media trends

BBC News is a leading social media publisher and recently topped a list of the most shared content on Twitter in the UK.
Mark Frankel – assistant editor, social news at the BBC who manages the 8.9 million-followed @BBCBreaking Twitter handle, attributes the right mix of language, tone, speed and imagery used to the high uptake on social media.
In an exclusive interview with Cision, Mark discussed what’s new at BBC’s social sphere, listed the hottest social media trends and explained how PRs can better use the platform in communicating with journalists.

unnamed

Mark Frankel at the news:rewired digital journalism conference last month.

What’s the latest on BBC’s social media domain?
The latest thing we’ve done in social media is the new Instagram channel that we started in November which was about developing bespoke content with 15-second videos. This channel is targeted at younger audiences that tends to consume short-form video. This channel was originally known as Ceefax, which was a text driven TV service that was decommissioned in October 2012, after 38 years. We decided to experiment with bringing it back as “Instafax” for Instagram. So these are 15 second videos with text wrapped around them.

We’ve also been developing how we tweet. We have a number of official BBC News Twitter accounts – programmes, brands and correspondents

We have also stepped up our presence on Facebook which is a more traditional social media platform with a renewed focus on being more innovative, visual and engaging.

What are the three most prominent social media trends?
The biggest, most important trend on social media is the increasing use of mobile as opposed to desktop. It is becoming important therefore to develop bespoke content which is responsive. A lot of media organisations have been quite slow on the uptake but this will become a big challenge in the months ahead as more and more people go to social media content via smartphones rather than desktop computers.

The second most important trend is Chat apps. We saw Facebook’s decision to purchase Whatsapp and that will be the beginning of a trend. Chat apps will become very dominant in the social media marketplace and other social platforms are playing catch-up to some extent – seeing how they can integrate some of what the Chat apps are doing into their platforms. Is it a question of buying them out? Is it a question of copying and aping some of the characteristics that they have?

Third, is about – in a sense, what the social media industry is doing to the traditional broadcast and media industry.  Is it becoming more pertinent and relevant to the way people are consuming news via traditional media? And to what extent will it have an impact on the television and broadcast industry? Will continuous TV news become less important or more driven by social media? And how will the two of them work hand in hand? These are questions dictating the trends.

How does the BBC work with PRs?
We work closely with PR organisations from time to time to help us think through how we can engage more actively with our audience and make the most of our content.  We have no advertising remit on our license-fee platforms but work with colleagues at BBC News Global on targeted campaigns, including sponsored tweets and other social media events.

What can PRs do better in working with the BBC?
A lot of it is understanding the difference between news and brand because BBC is both – a news organisation and a brand – but we’re primarily about our audiences and about what people want to see and consume on news terms. It’s very different when you’re marketing a consumer product – you’re looking at individual items and how they can be placed on different platforms. You’re looking at how to entice people into something. I think when you’re looking at a news organisation and the delivery of news, it’s a very different proposition. And I think sometime PR need to think of news with a different hat on.

Take Five

Would you go forward or back in time?
I’d love to go back in time, which sounds like a contradiction because my work is looking to the future and new technology. But, I’m also a historian.

Who would play you in a film?
Matt Damon. 

What super power would you have?
To travel back in time

If you weren’t a journalist, what would you choose to be?
I would be a teacher.

What is your weekend incomplete without?
Seeing my kids. 

 

Speedy Spotlight: Angie Solomon’s SilverSpoon London

silver spoonAn interview with Angie Solomon, author of the lifestyle, food and travel blog SilverSpoon London. Angie (soon to be Mrs Silver) spoke to us about the exciting mix of content that makes up her blog, working with PRs and why Twitter has over-taken Facebook as her social media love. 

Why should people read your blog?
My blog is about the life and times of a London girl. SilverSpoon London features stylish restaurants, parties, bars and nightclubs but most of all it’s about food and having fun! I want my readers to get to know me through my blog posts so they feel that they can trust my advice and recommendations. My other great passion is travel, and the blog specifically focuses on luxury travel, beautiful hotels, fantastic restaurants and cultural highlights. I try and give the reader a bit of a laugh and some stunning photography along the journey.

What makes your blog different?
SilverSpoon London is not quite a lifestyle blog and not quite a food blog, it fuses both together to make something exciting and fabulous! There are so many lifestyle blogs out there and many that focus on luxury London lifestyle coupled with high-end travel, but each blog is driven by a different personality. My blog is all about my adventures in and outside of London particularly with my other half, Mr Silver. I never want anyone to accept second best so I’ll recommend places that are totally amazing and those to avoid. My standards are very high and I would never recommend somewhere not SilverSpoon-worthy!

What’s your favourite blog and why?
I have a couple of favourites and I was inspired by the first blogs that I started to read. Those were Cocktails and Caroline and The Londoner. They are both stylish lifestyle blogs by ladies enjoying London, parties, travel, fashion and beauty. What makes a blog unique is the personality of the writer. Anyone can write about London lifestyle, but there is only one you.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
It can be intimidating to put yourself out there but just start and it’ll grow organically. Always write about what you are truly passionate about and your love for the subject will shine through. Bells and whistles such as amazing design, SEO and marketing strategies can come later so just start by developing some really great content both in terms of writing and photography. Write how you speak so that you blog comes across naturally and is personal. Remember your blog is not a broadsheet journal and you can use slang; just be yourself.

Intersperse your blog with lots of personal anecdotes and photos of your friends and family so that readers get to know you. Make sure that you know your audience so that you can keep you blog posts relevant

How does a good PR work with you?
A PR should have read my blog before contacting me so that they really understand what I’m about and what I like to feature. It’s really important to target products, venues and events correctly otherwise it’s not the best use of time. Press releases should be tailored towards me individually and reference specifically from my blog. The introductory email or phone call should be exciting and energetic so that I’m really keen to get involved. My blog is supposed to be fun, so a bit of banter with a PR goes a long way!

What do PRs do that’s bad?
I’ve received press releases that haven’t been tailored personally and are not particularly relevant to me; a personal touch is always much appreciated and helps to open lines of communication and to establish a relationship. Not checking facts and getting names and locations wrong is very bad practice.

A follow up is a good idea, it’s easy to miss a press release or invitation in the ether, and a subsequent email or phone call can be really helpful.

92% of UK journalists are on Twitter, how important is it to bloggers?
In terms of social media, Facebook was my first love! But I’ve now come to find a new favourite. I think Twitter is by far the best way of promoting a blog. Without Twitter I wouldn’t be able to reach out to other bloggers and form communities with like-minded people. It is one of the best ways to open communications with brands, restaurants and PR contacts. Facebook is great for friends and I love Instagram for the visual side of things but its got to be Twitter to open up new avenues and meet new people! It’s so immediate, everything is up to the moment and in real time.

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