Political Services Overview

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

Brandjacking #Halloween

Brandjacking trending hashtags are getting enormously popular on social media. While it undoubtedly gives brands the visibility they are after, it has also changed the way companies talk to audiences, pushing the most corporate (serious) brands to infuse creativity and fun into their messaging. With Halloween around the corner, here’s our pick of the most frightfully good campaigns out there: 


Fanta has come up with a host of cheeky ads around Halloween from a new witches brew to strawberry Fanta thirsty vampires . The beverage company has also tied up with MTV for a #trickortreat competition.

   Tesco, seriously creepy


Starbucks has rolled out a vampire frappuccino. More #delish than #scary, no?


On BBC Good Food today, Eyeball Pasta


Lenovo Tablet, it’s simply spooktacular!

  And finally, Sainsbury’s trick that is sure to take all the fun out of treats

Happy Halloween!

Twitter as a PR Platform

As PR platforms go, Twitter is pretty powerful. It has the potential to reach a targeted audience within seconds and can harness the viral opportunity of a community almost instantly. News can be broken and distributed (both to the public and the media) in the time it takes to send a simple text message.

If you doubt the power of Twitter (and other social media channels) consider how much news traditional media outlets pick up via social.

One of the things I really like about Twitter is the fact it likes to eat its own dog food. When the company recently announced the return of Jack Doresy to the role of CEO, it did so first via Twitter, sending social media into a frenzy of re-tweets and likes.

And the Twitter platform is set to become an even more powerful PR tool with the growing popularity of its mobile broadcasting technology, Periscope.

Thanks to Periscope, live, video press conferences can now be arranged and broadcast in the time it takes to position a spokesperson in front of a mobile phone while journalists and other influencers can engage in the live environment.

Despite this, many PRs fail to adopt a more advanced Twitter strategy. Output is limited to press releases and re-tweets of positive press and social engagement remains low as audiences are left to wither in what is far from a social environment.

Twitter is like any other PR resource. It will only deliver positive results if you put in the time and the effort to amplify your output.

How are you engaging your audience via Twitter? Do you see Twitter as a valuable PR tool or a drain on your resources?


People are hooked on smartphones & social media for communications, finds Ofcom report

Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report marks the rise and rise of digital communications. Whether it is smartphones or social media, the findings reflect how people have become ‘hooked’ on their phones and social networks to communicate all aspects of their daily life.
According to the report, as many as 70% of internet users say that technology has indeed changed the way they communicate. This is because the phenomenal uptake of smartphones have enabled people to stay connected all day long.

The report found that two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online. Moreover, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the ‘most important device for going online’ with 33% opting for their phones compared with 30% still using their laptops.

It is no wonder that half of all smartphone users admitted to being ‘hooked’ on their phones.
The story is no different for social media users with more than seven in ten (73%) internet users ohaving a social media profile and one fifth admittedly ‘hooked’ on to it.

So what is everyone doing online? Communicating to other users of course.
Data shows that almost three-quarters (72%) of the time spent on a smartphone is on communications activities, including text messages, email, using social networks, instant messages and calls (voice or video). However, email remains the most popular form of communications undertaken on a smartphone (81% of users), photo and video based forms of communication are used by some smartphone owners. Just over four in ten (42%) smartphone users send photos or videos via text, while 18% use their phone for video internet calls.

On social media, Facebook takes up the most amount of time and reach with a fifth of Facebook users (19%) accessing the site more than ten times a day.
Interestingly, Twitter is increasingly being used to share news and air complaints. The study found that a quarter of adults with a Twitter account use it to air complaints or frustrations.

Twitter activity


For PR and communications professionals, this report validates the arrival of mobile and social media marketing. It is clear that digital marketing should not just complement but lead marketing plans and budgets for brands. In addition, the report also provides valuable insight on consumption and communication patterns of individual social platforms which can help streamline the approach PRs use when it comes to marketing and monitoring their brand online.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Coghlan on Flickr



General Election 2015: A lesson in social media communications

With 27 days to go before polls open, social media has become a battle ground for election campaigns and political coverage in the UK. While there’s still a way to go before networking platforms dictate election outcomes, this year has certainly proved social media’s reach, influence and power to share information and sway votes.

According to a Twitter study of 3,000 respondents aged between 18-34, 37% of users are visiting the microblogging platform to actively look for information about politics or the UK general election. Moreover, one in three respondents (34%) have changed their vote from one party to another based on something they have seen on Twitter.

On Facebook, meanwhile, there were over 21 million interactions (posts, comments and ‘likes’) across the UK around the general election since the start of this year.

The influence and reach social media has so far demonstrated has not gone unnoticed by news organisations who have stepped up their digital presence and adopted new reporting tactics online to allow readers to interact real-time with election coverage.  According to The Guardian, news organisations are experimenting with new formats for the general election because ‘people are switched off by the predictable theatre of the campaign and the way it’s covered…’

It is perhaps for this reason that Tony Grew, former parliamentary editor of and reporter for the Sunday Times, is launching Parly, a crowdfunded project that is starting out as a website with the aim of transitioning into an app that will bring readers the latest news from inside Westminster.  ‘I want it to be an app because the way we consume information has changed so much,’ Grew told

The shift in the way news is reported and consumed this election will also resonate with businesses looking to get involved in the political debate – whether it’s a light-hearted campaign linked to the election or a serious viewpoint representative of the business and industry on the whole, PRs behind the brands will also need to adopt a fresh approach that will make their message stand out on social media.

Regardless of election outcome, social media will carry much greater weight in forming and influencing public opinion, setting the tone for a new era in political journalism and public debate.

For more insights and tips on how media and marketers are getting involved in election coverage, check out Cision’s latest white paper: The Politics of PR

Download the white paper NOW!

Photo Courtesy of Adam Fagen on Flickr



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 Top 10 PR Stories of 2014

Here’s a look at the top 10 stories that made, shook and shaped the UK PR industry in 2014, according to @DayalPriyanka.

1. Mastercard #PRFail

An email from Mastercard’s PR company reportedly asking journalists to tweet about the credit card company in exchange for being officially allowed to cover the Brit Awards prompted an avalanche of ire on social media, according to The Independent.

 The Telegraph’s diary editor Tim Walker was one of a number of journalists said to have been emailed by House PR and asked to agree to a number of conditions in return for their ticket.  The supposed email, published in full on the Press Gazette’s website, included draft tweets to send before and after the event, which journalists were expected to publish both on their personal and publishers’ accounts.  The verdict: #PRFail

2. Malaysia Airlines: A lesson in crisis communications

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 in March shocked and saddened people world over. While there are questions that remain unanswered even now, it was the airline’s first response to the crisis that was quickly labelled as one of the worst examples of crisis comms in history. The airline was criticised for the massive gaps in information shared, the lack of a cohesive communications plan and empathy conveyed to family members of the missing passengers. The handling of the incident has since highlighted the importance of communicating in times of crisis and on social media for companies big and small.

3. Omnicom and Publicis call off $35 billion merger

Advertising giants Omnicom Group Inc. and Publicis Groupe SA called off their $35 billion merger, citing “difficulties in completing the transaction within a reasonable time frame,” according to the WSJ. The deal billed as a “merger of equals” had been challenged by battles over position and power, including difficulties in getting tax and other regulatory approvals. The tie-up, announced with much fanfare in July 2013 and originally expected to close by the end of last year, was designed to give the companies more heft in competing with deep-pocketed Silicon Valley giants like Google Inc., which have gotten a leg up on mining data about consumer habits.

4. Brunswick tops PRWeek’s top 150 UK PR Consultancies

Communications firm Brunswick has topped PRWeek’s Top 150 PR Consultancies for the second year in a row with an estimated £46m in income from fees, followed by Edelman and Weber Shandwick pegged at £45.8m and £38m respectively.

The Top 150 report, released in July by The Haymarket Group’s public relations’ trade magazine, is a guide to the performance of UK PR firms and their fee income.

5. BBC spends £35,000 of licence-fee cash on PR agencies 
In August The Daily Mail reported that The BBC has spent almost £35,000 on external PR agencies – even though it employs a 140-strong in-house communications team

The corporation admitted that it had spent £34,323 on four PR companies in response to an FOI request, and confirmed it also had 141 communications staff in post.

The BBC came under fire from taxpayers’ groups and MPs for ‘wasting money on external spin doctors’.

6. FIFA World Cup is the year’s most social event

FIFA World Cup 2014 has been crowned the most tweeted event in 2014 and in history (of well, tweets). According to Twitter, there were 672 million tweets on the World Cup finals in Brazil, and that eight of the top 10 tweeted about moments of 2014 in the UK were sports related; others being New Year wishes and One Direction’s win at the Brits. The World Cup also featured on Facebook’s list of top trends, The Drum reported.

7. ALS Challenge campaign proves social media is the way forward for charity comms

A 26-second video clip of a shirtless David Beckham dunking ice water over his head was enough to make him a trending topic on Twitter this August, among a long list of celebrities to take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took the internet by storm this year, pushing donations up for The ALS Association to over $220 million globally

The Challenge, a social campaign rolled out last winter to raise awareness for motor neurone disease or ALS, went viral when family and friends of Pete Frates, an ex-baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago, uploaded their own videos end July.

What started out in America, has quickly spread to become a global phenomenon, flooding newsfeeds and compelling the likes of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga and Mark Zuckerberg among other A-listers to join in.

What worked? Simply put: social media.

 8UK firms raise marketing spends

It’s good news for the communications industry as UK firms raise marketing spends, albeit marginally for PR budgets. The Q3 2014 IPA Bellwether Report, published in October, revealed that marketing budgets were revised up for the eighth consecutive quarter, and to the third highest level in the survey’s history, as companies remain bullish about the business outlook.

The report found a net balance of 12.6% of companies registered an increase in budgets during Q3 2014, although this was down for a second quarter running.

However, a net balance of only 1% of companies increasing their PR spends this quarter, which is down from 3.9% of companies that did so during the April-June period.


9. George Osborne named London’s most influential person

George Osborne is London’s most influential person, at least according to a panel of editors, critics and journalists behind The Evening Standard’s 1,000 power list that was unveiled in October.

The Chancellor eclipsed Prince George, who ruled the list last year.

London Mayor Boris Johnson came in second, while Demis Hassabis, a renowned artificial intelligence (AI) mastermind occupied the third spot.

Newlywed Amal Clooney, the human rights barrister who is currently advising the Greek government came in at number four, and Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor at five.

10. 2014: The Year of the Selfie

2014 has officially been declared the year of the selfie. According to Twitter’s top trends of 2014, that is.

The CNN reported that the term “selfie” has been mentioned more than 92 million times on Twitter — a 500% increase on 2013, when “selfie” was named Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, according to Twitter. Television show host, Ellen Degeneres’ star-studded Oscar selfie, dubbed as the “Golden Tweet,” was retweeted more than 3 million times, making it the most shared message ever on Twitter.


UK – 26 June 2014

This week’s Media Updates covers changes at news titles including BBC, Cork Independent and Derby Telegraph; fashion and lifestyle changes at House & Garden and business changes at Financial Times, Transform and Real Business. There is also a blog spotlight featuring a interiors blogger.

News & Current Affairs

  • Claer Barrett has confirmed via Twitter that she has started a new role as senior online reporter at the Financial Times.
  • Andy Akinwolere is to join BBC Inside Out West Midlands from 1 September.
  • Chris Towner will leave his role as editor of Stratford-upon-Avon Herald in August. Chris will be replaced by Amanda Chalmers.
  • Cork Independent has announced via Twitter that Wendy Good is the new editor of the paper.
  • Lara Kilner, contributing editor at Notebook magazine, has begun her maternity leave.
  • Chris Peddy has been appointed as a reporter at the Derby Telegraph.
  • Dominic Shaw has left his role of reporter at the Hartlepool Mail.
  • Ferrari Press Agency has appointed Lucy Clarke-Billings as a reporter.
  • Steve Canavan has left his role of entertainment writer for the Blackpool Gazette.

Fashion, Lifestyle & Entertainment

  • House & Garden has announced via Twitter that they have appointed Hatta Byng as editor.
  • Stream Publishing is to re-launch and reinvent the in-flight magazine for Flybe, with a new name Flight Time scheduled for 1 September.

Business & Finance

  • The Financial Times has appointed Shannon Bond as US media and marketing correspondent as of 30 June. Shannon was previously a general assignment reporter for the organisation.
  • The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport has appointed former content team editor Melanie Stark as editor of their journal, and its PR manager. Melanie takes over from David Jinks after he became Head of PR and Publications at
  • Cravenhill Publishing has launched Transform, a global magazine focused on rebranding and brand development.
  • Emma Maier has been appointed as editor of Inside Housing.
  • Jack Flanagan has announced via Twitter that he has joined Real Business as a reporter.

Speedy Spotlights

  • An interview with Kate Waters, author of the interiors blog, The Inside Story. As a PR professional herself, Kate gives us an insider’s view on how bloggers can best collaborate with brand marketers, advice on how new bloggers can make an impression on readers and a peek into what will be big on her site in the coming months.


Has social media reached its saturation point?

Social media has become an integral part of most of our day-to-day lives, both for personal and professional purposes, with 72% of all internet users socially active in some way. But what does the future of social media look like?

Most of the big social networks such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Twitter continue to gain users, but the growth rate has become sluggish of late, raising the question of whether social media has reached saturation point.

Trends are constantly changing and recently growth has been the preserve of the private and semi-private messaging space, with apps like SnapChat, WhatsApp and Tinder coming out on top. Parent-free digital spaces now lead the way for social media.

When Facebook bought WhatsApp earlier this year for $19bn (£11.4bn), it was the social network’s biggest acquisition to date. The messaging app gives Facebook an in-road into the mobile web market and with it, access to new international markets with the fastest growing mobile usage, such as Hong Kong, South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore. More importantly however, this partnership puts Facebook more in touch with its youthful core audience. Ben Bajarin, from California-based technology consultants Creative Strategies, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the move would open Facebook up to an expanding market. ‘WhatsApp is on a path towards a billion users,’ he said. ‘They’re growing exponentially – much, much faster than Facebook.’

Some experts have compared the possible decline of Facebook to that of MySpace. While Facebook remains the most populous social media platform with  the largest concentration of consumers in one space, its largest demographic comprises 25-34-year-olds (26% of users). There is little doubt that with the WhatsApp acquisition Facebook is looking to maintain future growth by appealing to a younger, teenage audience.

Another social media platform battling a slowdown is Twitter, which faces challenges in the amount of time its users spend with the service. This may have something to do with the ways in which people use the platform: Twitter has previously explained that a lot of its users prefer to read Twitter, using it as a news feed, rather than sending tweets themselves.  In the hope of boosting active engagement, Twitter recently unveiled a new, more image-focused format that leaves Twitter resembling Facebook or Pinterest. This is in keeping with the snap-happy nature of most of its users, many of whom are spending more time with Instagram. 

It is important that businesses stay aware of these changing trends so as to incorporate them into their social media practices where necessary. The waxing and waning of various social networks suggest new channels as the value of others declines, while new technologies and designs often mandate a change in tactics.

Constant, however, is the importance of identifying, understanding and engaging with the right influencers – whatever media they might habit.

Photo Courtesy of Marsmetn Tallahassee on Flickr

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!

Newspaper circulation not linked to Twitter share

Circulation_IndexThe Sun may have the highest print circulation among the national dailies in the UK, but on Twitter it ranks the lowest in terms of posts shared, according to a Vuelio analysis that compares the popularity of the 11 most widely circulated daily newspapers in the UK to the Twitter share values of their websites.

While the paywall on the The Sun’s website might explain the disparity in this case, the difference in The Guardian’s circulation ranked ninth in the UK, versus its Twitter share values which are the highest in the region, throws light on newspaper consumption patterns in the uptake of digital media.

The Independent showed a similar disparity as it emerges as the fourth most popular on Twitter even though it is the number 10 in the circulation index.

The Times and The Daily Mail however showed consistency in their readership in print and on the microblogging platform with ranks that were levelled on both platforms.

The circulation figures are based on the  Audit Bureau of Circulations (UK) figures while the Twitter share values are calculated from the beginning of this year till date using Vuelio’s social media index tools, and do not take into consideration weekend newspapers.




#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. 




Speedy Spotlight: Jen Stanbrook’s Love Chic Living

An interview with Jen Stanbrook, author of the interior design blog Love Chic Living. Jen discusses how she convinces her readers to have beautiful homes – even after having children, embracing the social networking community, and offers advice on how PRs can build a mutually beneficial relationship with bloggers. 

Jen StanbrookWhy should people read your blog?
Love Chic Living is aimed at anyone who loves a bit of contemporary style and design in their family home, and who also wants a little bit of achievable inspiration. I run regular features on wallpaper, offer tips on interior design and showcase women who run their own small design business in Design Divas. If you want a little encouragement in experimenting with colour, techniques, new trends and accessories why not give it a read.  

What makes your blog different?
I think there are lots of wonderful design and interiors blogs out there, some more attainable than others but I hope mine is stylish without scaring people away. Love Chic Living is about creating a beautiful family home, and convincing people you don’t have to give up on your interiors just because you have children.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
Oh there are just too many to pick just one. For their variety and diversity in the interiors blogging world, I love Patchwork Harmony, Bright Bazaar, The Design Sheppard, Tidy Away Today, The Treasure Hunter and of course, Apartment Therapy.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Do a bit of research, maybe a course if you can so you can understand a little about blogs and blogging before you start. Fundamentally you have to love your topic, or  your niche, if you have one. If you don’t, you’ll soon lose interest and it will show in your writing. Embrace the community, network with others, comment on other blogs, go to workshops and conferences, and learn what you can about the technical side. Understanding Google rules, SEO and how to maintain your blog will put you in a great position when you start talking to a PR. Knowledge is power!

How does a good PR work with you?
In a variety of ways really. They know my blog, have read my About page and looked at a variety of posts before getting in touch. The initial email is personal to me, is honest, truthful and appreciates that I get a huge amount of email every day asking me for my time. If they want to collaborate, they have a clear idea on the campaign or project, how they’d like me to be involved and what they are offering in return. They work on building a relationship and always respond to emails. If I’ve pitched an idea to them, they reply quickly even if it’s a no. They don’t reply and offer me a press release instead!

 What do PRs do that’s bad?
Expect me to offer my blog as a platform for promoting their client and expect that I’d do this for free. I’m not saying that every PR has to offer money or a product, far from it, but they do have to respect that I’ve worked long and hard to build up a readership, a ranking in search engines and a strong following. If they want a part of that for their client they do need to offer some kind of compensation. I do find good PR’s are becoming much more creative and offering interesting and worthwhile collaborations. These are the relationships that last and hopefully grow stronger over time. Working with brands and PR’s is one of the huge blogging rewards for me and I look for collaborations that will work over a longer period. And offering me constant press releases and high res images in a bid to get their client covered on my blog isn’t the way to build a relationship!

92% of UK journalists are on Twitter, how important is it to bloggers?
I think it depends on what type of blogger you are, but generally Twitter plays a key role in blogging. It’s incredibly important for spreading a message and can be hugely powerful when bloggers come together to talk about a certain topic, cause or brand. The reach can be phenomenal and many more PR’s are tapping into that and want to be part of it.

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

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.

Weekly Comms News Round Up 19/02/2014

Comms News logoThis week’s comms news round up comes a day early but here are the most interesting stories from the past week including the controversy surrounding Mastercard’s Brit Awards sponsorship, Facebook’s new custom gender options as well as LinkedIn’s decision to open its publishing tools to all users. All news curated via @CisionUK.

Journalists seeking accreditation for Brit Awards asked to agree coverage of sponsor Mastercard by @Domponsford via Press Gazette

A PR company representing MasterCard, who are a major sponsor for tonight’s Brit Awards for pop music appear to be asking journalists to guarantee coverage of their client as the price of attending. 

Before providing journalists with accreditation to attend the event House PR has asked journalists to agree to a number of requests about the coverage they will give it.

They have even gone as far as to draft Twitter messages which they would like journalists to send out – and asked that they include a mention of the marketing campaign #PricelessSurprises and @MasterCardUK.

LinkedIn Opens Publishing Power to All Users by @KurtWagner8 via Mashable

LinkedIn expanded its publishing platform on Wednesday to allow all users the opportunity to write and share longform posts to their LinkedIn profile.

The network has long offered this publishing power to a hand-selected group of industry leaders, known as LinkedIn Influencers, but now all of the platform’s members can publish work to their profile. The influencer posts do well, says LinkedIn’s Head of Content Products Ryan Roslansky, generating nearly 31,000 views and more than 80 comments on average.

Reader’s Digest sold for £1 by @marksweney via the Guardian

Reader’s Digest has been sold for just £1 to Mike Luckwell, whose previous major investments have included Bob the Builder creator HIT Entertainment and WPP.

Jon Moulton’s private equity company, Better Capital, has offloaded Reader’s Digest UK – the waiting room staple that was once the biggest selling magazine in the world – after investing tens of millions of pounds into trying to rejuvenate the struggling business.

Facebook allows users to customise gender via The BBC News

Facebook has announced that it will allow users to customise their gender, after consulting on the subject with gay and transgender advocacy groups.

The 50-odd options, which include “bi-gender”, “transgender”, “androgynous” and “transsexual”, will allow people “to express themselves in an authentic way”, Facebook said in a post. Users can also choose whether to be referred to as “he”, “she” or “they”.

Thousands hit in attack by Mark Ward via The BBC News

Tesco has deactivated some customers’ net accounts after their login names and passwords were shared online.

The list of more than 2,000 accounts was posted to a popular text-sharing site earlier on Thursday. The supermarket giant said the data had been compiled by hackers using details stolen from other sites.

GNM launches branded content division Guardian Labs by @marksweney via the Guardian

The publisher of the Guardian has launched branded content division Guardian Labs, striking a £1m-plus deal with Unilever to push a sustainable living marketing message.

The division is being set up to operate like an agency within Guardian News & Media, publisher of the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Labs aims to work with companies to create marketing campaigns that go beyond buying advertising space online or in the newspaper.

This could include campaigns that integrate brand messages with multi-media editorial content – and other forms of native advertising.

Twitter launches redesign: what’s changed and what’s new? by @smurraymorris via The Independent

Twitter is currently rolling out a redesigned web version of the service. The social media network announced the changes on Twitter, tweeting “We’re now rolling out a refreshed reflecting the look & feel of our iOS & Android apps,” on Monday.

The redesign looks cleaner, with tweets appearing on a white background. The upper navigation bar has changed from black to white, with the navigation icons looking more similar to those that appear on iOS and Android. The icons that have been redesigned include the Direct Message icon, the button to view your own profile has also changed, as well as the button to write new tweets.

Valentine’s Day: Brands help share the love…online

It’s Valentine’s Day and brands are helping users share the love (at least on social media) with loved-up digital interactive campaigns. Here’s our selection of some of the love online:

After the low scores Ryanair received on customer satisfaction last year, it’s hardly surprising to see the company trying to win back some love this Valentine’s Day. The low-cost carrier launched a ‘Love Ryanair’ Valentine’s Day competition, that asked couples who found love with Ryanair to tell their story and enter for a chance to win a €20,000 prize of a ‘dream wedding,’ as well as the chance to make a surprise proposal onboard a Ryanair flight. Seriously.

Google’s homepage has an interactive doodle that lets users personalise chocolates and share it on social media.

 google doodle

Innocent drink brand allows users to create their own love label to wrap around a bottle or simply share it with their loved ones online. Consumers can either compose their own message or pick from existing ones:  


For 2014, Heineken launched a ‘Date in a Box’ for Valentine’s Day. All you have to do is ask your partner to Instagram his feelings. Let the video do the explaining:

If Instagram doesn’t cut it, you could always take a walk down to Starbucks and declare your love. The coffee shop’s ‘If you love someone, let them know’ initiative lets consumers get two Triple Hot Chocolates for the price of one, if they tell the barista who they are in love with. And then to the rest of the world on social media…

Weekly Comms News Round Up 23/01/2014

Comms News logoHere’s my selection of main comms news including the Guardian Media Group announcing the sale of its Auto Trader stake, the launch of ‘trending’ topics on Facebook and the use of Twitter by top 100 brands.
All stories have been curated via

Guardian Media Group to sell 50.1% stake in Trader Media Group by Jason Deans via the Guardian

Guardian, Observer and publisher to invest sale proceeds, thought to be £600m to £700m, in core business

Guardian Media Group is selling its 50.1% stake in Auto Trader owner Trader Media Group to private equity firm Apax Partners in a deal thought to be worth £600m to £700m to the Guardian publisher.

The sale to Apax, which bought 49.9% of Trader Media Group in 2007 and has been GMG’s joint venture partner in the business since then, is thought to give TMG an enterprise value of about £1.8bn. The exact financial details of the deal were not revealed.


Facebook follows Twitter with Trending, a tailored list of popular topics beside your News Feed via The Next Web

On Thursday, Facebook announced Trending, a new section of the News Feed which offers a personalized list of topics that are currently popular or growing in popularity on the social network.

The company has experimented with trending stories and articles in the past, in order to combat Twitter and help its users to discover content that wouldn’t normally surface in their News Feed. In its latest incarnation, each topic has a keyword and a headline that explains why it should be of interest. Facebook has positioned it in the top right-hand corner of the screen and users can review more topics by selecting the ‘See More’ option.


BBC targets social media users with Instagram video news by Leila Haddou via the Guardian

BBC News is stepping up its efforts to reach new audiences on social media platforms after mobile and tablet viewing figures overtook desktop use for the first time in December.

On 16 January, BBC News launched Instafax, a new short-form video news service delivered to Instagram users. The project is a month-long experiment, with three 15-second videos uploaded a day, intended to serve as a roundup of the day’s news.


How the top 100 brands use Twitter by @ChristopherRCLF via Econsultancy Blog

Audiences for brands grew by 20% in Q4 2013 and brand tweets that included pictures and content links generated the most engagement. 

During Q4 2013, the top 100 brands according to Interbrand averaged 210 engagements per tweet when they added a picture link. This comes from the latest research by Simply Measured, analysing the Twitter activity of brands listed in the Interbrand 100, compared with the Forbes 100 Best Small Companies in America.


The rise of cryptocurrencies and what Bitcoin can mean for your brand by @LoullaMae_ES via Marketing Magazine

Bitcoin is fast gaining traction in the online business world and Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith speaks to BitcoinGlobalInvestments chief Javier Marti to see what the cryptocurrency can do for brands.

Barely a day goes by without a fresh story on Bitcoin. If it isn’t about the cryptocurrency cash points making their way to a high street near you, it’s about fears from the UK government that Bitcoins could be used for tax evasion and money laundering, or that two Las Vegas casinos have started accepting the it as a form of payment in their shops, restaurants and hotels. The gambling floor still remains Bitcoin-free, however.

The Top 10 PR stories of 2013

In continuation of our Top 10 Top 10s, here’s a look at the leading stories in public relations this year, according to @DayalPriyanka. Read up on the top 10 news that made, shook and shaped the UK PR industry in 2013. 

Photo Courtesy: Gene Hunt

Photo Courtesy: Gene Hunt

1. Horsemeat scandal
2013 got off to a hectic start for PRs of major Irish and British supermarket chains and food companies embroiled in the horsemeat scandal that first came to light on 15 January. Comms teams scrambled to pull together a strategy that would protect the damaged reputation of their brands while restoring consumer confidence. Apart from raising concerns about European health and food safety standards, the horsemeat scandal highlighted the importance of crisis management for the entire PR industry.

NHS Petition Hand-in: Nick Clegg2. NHS’ £13 million public relations spend
In March,  BBC unveiled the £13 million NHS spend on public relations of the last three years which was enough to recruit 600 nurses, a much needed measure for the cash-strapped, short-staffed health service provider. 

Critics called for “medical doctors not spin doctors”, pointing to longer waiting times and cancelled operations.

coke23. Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign
Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign launched this summer was one of the most successful PR/marketing stories of the year. The campaign removed branding ‘Coca-Cola’ from the bottle, and replaced it with 250 of Britain’s most popular names. Each bottle carried the hashtag #shareacoke to encourage users to promote the brand online on multiple social media touchpoints. It was not long before Twitter and Facebook feeds were filled with people posting their personalised bottles of Coke.

According to the Guardian: ‘from a social perspective, Coca-Cola has seen its Facebook community grow by 3.5% and globally by 6.8%. The hashtag has also been used 29,000 times on Twitter (Brandwatch, 2013). 

Photo Courtesy: Eirikso

Photo Courtesy: Eirikso

4. The Omnicom and Publicis merger
The merger between France’s Publicis and America’s Omnicom  announced in July created the world’s biggest marketing and advertising powerhouse, ending WPP‘s four-year dominance of the industry. The Guardian reported that the ‘French and US multinational will be worth nearly $23 bn in revenues, beating previous sector leader WPP’s $10.4bn.’

Haymarket Group’s PRWeek  warned of cost saving consequences the deal will have on ad and PR.

@mcomgroup via Twitter

@mcomgroup via Twitter

5. M: Communications closes doors
M: Communications, one of London’s leading PR firms with revenues of £14 million, closed operations mid-year following the resignation of its founders and other senior members of staff.

According to PRWeek, a number of other businesses have spun out of M: Communications with members of the energy team forming Vigo Communications, its Russian practice launching EM and the agency’s former healthcare division spinning out into Consilium Strategic Communications. Many of M:’s former clients have migrated to these start-ups, while a number of others have since moved to M:’s former rivals.

PRweek26. PRWeek goes monthly
PRWeek, a leading trade title in communications and PR news, relaunched its weekly print edition in September as a monthly, but kept the magazine title unchanged.

Apart from industry news coverage PRWeek, part of the Haymarket Business Media, added a monthly interactive app in November.
Group publishing director George Buckingham said: ‘The way our readers consume information has been transformed in the past ten years and we will ensure that PRWeek’s essential mix of news, views and in-depth knowledge is available to them wherever, whenever and however they want it.’

Michael O'Leary via Twitter

Michael O’Leary via Twitter

7. #PRFail: Twitter Q&A’s
In October, British Gas director Bert Pijls was slammed as he engaged the public in a Twitter Q&A session the very day it announced a 9.2% price hike. A week later, low cost carrier Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary made the same mistake by hosting a Q&A session with the public in an attempt to rectify the airline’s reputation for poor customer service. But it all went downhill for the company when he inappropriately responded to the first person who asked him a question with ‘Nice pic. Phwoaaarr! MOL’, using the #GrillMOL hashtag. British Gas’ and Ryanair’s attempt at being “open and transparent” quickly became dubbed as the year’s worst ‘PR disaster.’

JPMorgan Chase took note and cancelled its Q&A session on Twitter after it prompted a tirade of verbal abuse from thousands of people on the site, according to The Telegraph. Despite bailing out, at least two-thirds of 80,000 tweets sent using the hashtag #AskJPM were negative, according to Topsy, a company which analyses Tweets.

PR show8. The Public Relations Show 2013
The inaugural Public Relations Show hosted by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) took place in November at the Business Design Centre in central London. The free-to-attend event allowed the 1,000 PR professionals in attendance a chance to network, discuss business ideas and shop for the latest tools and solutions in the market to best match their PR strategy.

The show included an Advice Hub by leading PR agency Ketchum; a Careers Centre sponsored by F1 recruitment; CIPR Taster Workshops and an exhibition featuring an array of leading public relations products and service providers.

prca 20139. 2013 PR Census: Industry contributes £9.62 billion to UK economy
The UK PR industry is worth £9.62 billion – up £2 billion from two years ago, according to the 2013 PR Census released in December. 

The number of professionals employed in the industry is also slightly ahead at 62,000 people as compared with 61,600 in 2011. This is probably because the profession has become more rewarding with salaries averaging at £54,000, with the most popular bracket being £30,000- £40,000 applying to 18% of professionals.

The results indicated that overall optimism in the sector is also on the rise in terms of rewards, revenues and recruitment.

Pope Francis via Twitter

Pope Francis via Twitter

10. Person of the Year: Pope Francis 
Pope Francis is a lesson in PR done right. Time Magazine voted him its Person of the Year, and so did The Advocate magazine, a leading gay rights publication, despite his strong stance against same-sex marriage.

Nancy Gibbs, managing editor of Time Magazine said: ‘In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power.’

As columnist Adam Brereton argued, ‘Pope Francis, Time person of the year, should be rebranded as the PR Pope.’

The Top 10 Comms News in 2013

Comms-News-Latest1As part of our Top 10 Top 10s, I’ve compiled a list of major comms news stories which have been curated via @CisionUK Twitter account over the year. Read my pick and let me know your thoughts!

1.      Twitter announces IPO 
The microblogging giant followed Facebook by filing for an initial public offering in September 2013. The announcement was made via their official Twitter account and the company started trading in the New York Stock Exchange on 7 November with an initial pricing value of $14.2bn.

  via the Guardian

2.      Yahoo! acquires Tumblr for $1.1bn
One of the mega deals of the year was Yahoo agreeing to buy the popular blogging platform for $1.1bn in May 2013. Yahoo’s President and CEO Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw it up”and let Tumblr operate independently. Another memorable deal of the year was Bebo’s founder Michael Birch buying back the failing social media network of the 90s for $1m.

 via the Guardian and The Independent

3.      Instagram launches 15 second video sharing feature 
In 2013 Instagram managed to establish itself as one of the top social media networks. The photo sharing app made headlines in June when it announced its new video sharing feature. The company was the first online photo-sharing site to allow users to publish videos with 13 filters and a ‘Cinema’ stabilization feature. The move also opened the doors for brands to use the platform for marketing and advertising. The first ever teaser trailer for a film, the biopic of Steve Jobs, was unveiled on Instagram in July. Michael Kors was the first brand to advertise on the site in November, after the brand announced that ads would be filtered in users’ newsfeeds.

  via The Wall Blog

4.      Vine tops 40 million users
Major social media networks have continued to grow in 2013. Instagram’s biggest competitor, mobile video sharing app Vine, which launched in January 2013 announced in August that it has over 40 million registered users. Another social networking site, LinkedIn, also grew significantly in 2013. The company now has 259 million monthly active users, up from 238 million in the previous quarter and 187 million a year earlier.

  via Mashable

5.      Facebook agrees to review controversial and hateful content and causes a stir over allowing beheading videos on the site
“Internet trolls” or incidents of online abuse were highlighted in the media in 2013, which caused many social networking sites to review their policies on reporting abusive behavior. In a blog post in May, Facebook announced that it would begin rolling out changes immediately after it became “clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like”. However, a new scandal emerged and online safety advisers were alerted in October when it was revealed that the site allowed decapitation videos to be posted and shared by its users.

  via The BBC

6     The Syrian Electronic Army hacks… everyone
The group of computer hackers acting in support of the Syrian government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continued their cyber-attacks on various news outlets in 2013. The group’s targets in the past year include  Sky, Financial TimesBBC Twitter accounts, the National Public Radio servicethe Guardian newspaper, and the Associated Press.

  via The Next Web

7.     Apple releases iPhone 5s with a fingerprint scanner
Apple unveiled its latest smartphone featuring a Touch ID – a fing
erprint sensor which allows users to access their phone without the need to remember a password, in September 2013. The biometric technology ignited discussions around mobile security but was also seen as a pivotal moment for the whole industry.

  via The BBC

 8.      Google introduces its biggest algorithm change since 2010
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm in September made PRs and online publishers rethink their press release writing style and online distribution strategies. In simple terms, Google’s move meant that press releases which try to manipulate search rankings through hyperlinks, would be ruled out of its link analysis algorithm altogether.

  via the Guardian

 9.      Twitter opens its adverting doors to small businesses in the UK
Twitter announced in November that it would allow small- and medium-sized businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada to make use of its self-serve advertising platform. Twitter’s suite of ad products include Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends.

 via The Next Web

 10.   Google & Microsoft announce child porn clampdown
Internet search engines Microsoft and Google have agreed to block search results for child abuse following a campaign by Prime Minister David Cameron. The move will see as many as 100,000 search terms return no results containing illegal material and will also trigger onscreen alerts that such content breaks the law.

  via The Drum

Is it time to rethink your Twitter PR strategy?

corpcommsJournalists use Twitter to source and promote stories; PRs use Twitter to promote stories and help journalists source them – yet, few journalists actually bother following leading corporate Twitter press feeds.

Case in point: British television network ITV’s press centre has over 84,000 followers on Twitter, making it the most popular press feed among the FTSE 100 companies present on the microblogging site. Yet only 14 (or one in 6,000) of its followers are journalists. 

The story is no different for the other 16 FTSE companies on Twitter: many takers for their press updates, but few journalists, their target audience.

Does this mean corporates need to rethink their press strategy on Twitter?

The results from two separate research surveys, an analysis of the FTSE 100 press office Twitter feeds from CorpComms magazine produced in conjunction with Cision, and the Social Journalism Survey from Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University indicate that it is in fact time for PRs to step-up their communication strategy on Twitter.

The findings from both studies suggest that Twitter is a powerful communication tool, and as more people join the 250 million strong active user-base, the site has become a resource for real-time information. 

This makes Twitter an integral part of how journalists and PR now work. The SJS study reveals that Twitter is the most popular social media tool with 92% of UK journalists using the platform in a week, up from 70% just two years ago.

The study also indicated that a third (30%) of journalists chose social media (mainly Twitter) as their preferred source of communication with PRs.  However, social media is the third most common platform used by PRs to communicate with journalists after e-mail and telephone.

Meanwhile, the findings from the CorpComms analysis show that while the press feeds of Britain’s largest corporate accounts were intended to be a resource for journalists, their followers are a mix of bloggers, politicians, customers and even colleagues.

The study also pointed out that the personal nature of interaction possibly suits journalists well: ‘While enjoying the interaction and banter with PRs on Twitter, when it comes to researching stories they prefer to do so away from their competitors. ‘

As Ian King, business and city editor of The Times, pointed out in the study: ‘To be perfectly honest, I never look at corporate Twitter feeds. If I have a question I ring the press office or PR man.’

Added Andrew Hill, management editor of Financial Times: ‘When I look at such (corporate) feeds, I’m after genuine, non-robotic responsiveness to customers, perhaps a sense of humour, where merited, and evidence that there is a real person or people behind the tweets.’

Ian and Andrew are among other journalists to express the need for PRs to change the content strategy on press centres from corporate updates such as annual results, speeches and competitions, to real-time news on resignations, movements, customer grievances redressal and real-time honest feedback and information during a crisis.

Meanwhile, Steve Hawkes, consumer affairs editor, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph points out how Twitter feeds done right can be a ‘goldmine’ for journalists. He said in the CorpComms study: ‘There are some very good examples of companies using Twitter to engage with customers, such as Tesco and even train operators and British Gas, despite the negative publicity surrounding the #AskBG question and answer session. But remember, journalists will use them as valuable source material. They can be a goldmine.’