Saturday, 30 August 2008

Website analysis tool for PR 2.0 planning

Came across great free tool that's very useful for planning PR 2.0 or social media campaigns called quarkbase. It gives all the data you need to evaluate a site or blog: alexa rank, short profile of blog, where it is hosted and perhaps most importantly its social popularity.

To measure social popularity, Quarkbase tracks the number of bookmarks on delicious, diggs  on Digg, blog reactions from Technorati and the number of subscribers. Plus a few others. I ran, a popular tech and social media blog, through quarkbase and this is what its social popularity looks like: 

One of the hardest parts of planning social media campaigns is explaining to clients/bosses how you will measure a campaign that engages social media e.g. bloggers. While this tool isn't the all encompassing  solution the PR industry needs, it's damn handy. 


Thursday, 28 August 2008

Great social media initiative for PR 2.0 types

Met with an interesting chap today, @BillKMP, who is building a cool tool to optimise news for social media. It's branded Ackura and called a social media press room, although it does a bit more that just being a press room.

Taking the lead from the Godfather of PR 2.0, Brian Solis, he has built a hosted service that allows PR peeps to make news for social media. It's dead simple, too. You just type in your news, upload the accompanying photos and videos, include a bullet point summary, info on your client and any links. His tool then SEOs your news, feeds your story direct to news aggregators like Google News, Topix etc. Aswell as giving you all the necessary bookmarking tags to, say,  share the news with your own networks on Facebook or post on delicious.  

Plus, he works with Paul Fabretti, who writes a very good PR 2.0 and social media blog.

As Cartman would say: 'Sweeeet'.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

PR Stunts in a digital world

I've never been sure if PR stunts are worth doing. Only a few really good ones stick in my mind: Gail porter projected on the houses of parliament for Loaded magazine or Homer Erectus - Homer Simpson as the Cern Abbas man to launch the Simpsons movie. 

The question I've been toying with is: in the age of PR 2.0 and social media, do stunts become completely redundant as clever visual things are common place are commonplace on YouTube and Flickr? Or are they given a new lease of life?

After seeing the Death Star projected over San Francisco last week, then I definitely think that stunts are back. Provided they are really imaginative and not too cheesey. 

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Subway ad: why do I love it so much

If I did the advertising or PR for Subway I would be so proud of coming up with the 'Too spicy, too hot for you. Hot! Hot!' catch phrase. I don't know what it is but the talking jalapeno saying 'Oo Mama, too spicy, too hot for you. Hot! Hot!' as he runs out of the shop makes me laugh each time I see it. 

I wonder if the person who came with the idea realised s/he had a moment of genius, or if they thought they were making a stock standard ad that people would forget about as soon as they saw it. Either way, I thank you for making me giggle at a talking chilli advertising a fast food sandwich maker.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Tips for PRs targeting bloggers

Tips for PRs targeting bloggers, or any one on t'internet who you want to start a conversation with for that matter, was posted by Mike Butcher at TechCrunch today. They are very wise words and can apply all forms of PR. Read the link at your leisure, but you can summarise it in three basic principles:
  1. Know you have a story and don't be afraid of saying to a client their story isn't going to work - as long as you can advise them on how to make the story better or come up with a better story to get the message out.
  2. Get involved - talk to the blogger regularly with relevant info and know your subject matter so you can have a meaningful conversation.
  3. Be human - talk to them like a normal human being, not a drone trained to repeat corporate messages ad nauseum [did I mention I worked for Apple's agency for a while?]
Most of this is common sense, but unfortunately in times of stress, common sense can go out of the window.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Online platform to connect PRs and journalists

New online PR tool to connect PROs and journos was highlighted to me by Jopkins at shed.

It's called PitchSpace and it is a platform about to be launched that enables PROs and journalists to connect. PR people get to give stories to journalists and journalists get to choose the stories they want.

Apparently there will be some way of ranking both PR people and journalists, which will be interesting to see - particularly for clients to see how their agencies are performing in building relationships with media.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Landscape graffiti: man vs nature

Came across two really cool sets of images - one set made by man, another made by nature. Both of which are equally dramatic. 

The man-made images by artist JR use the walls of houses in a favella in Rio to host a multitude of eyes  looking down over the bay.

The other set are the world's largest craters left by meteor impacts, from a site called environmental graffiti

Both are extremely powerful. JR's all-seeing favella sends a not too subtle message about the poor looking over the beauty of the world [I'm not an artist so apologies if there is more too it]. However, a big hole left by a random event completely outside of all man's control that at one point wiped out all major life forms on earth makes a much bigger statement.

Again, if I was an artist or critic I'd come up with a cunning explanation around man's insignificance, the beauty of nature, etc. But, as I'm not the best I can do is: 'stop fucking around with the planet or we'll get a big rock dropped on us'. 

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Online PR Planning: learning from Ad Land

Planning an online PR campaign is made a lot easier if you have access to data like Comscore and TGI. You are able to say, relatively precisely, how many of your target audience you will reach with a campaign - assuming you hit all the coverage targets you set out.

The reason being is that both companies give you detailed breakdowns of the people who read certain titles or sites. For example, if you've got a great campaign that is targeting 18-24 yr old affluent men that you reckon will be picked up by Guardian Unlimited, Times Online, BBC News, Comscore, in the hands of a media planner, can tell you how many of these people will read your story, should your campaign go to plan. This means, as a PR person, you can say to a client you will hit X percent of the total number of 18-24 year olds in the UK.

Ad agencies have been doing this for years and invest in subscriptions to Comscore and TGI [which are really expensive]. They use this data, plus polls and surveys, to offer much better evaluation than PR agencies. 

You don't have to be Taggart to work out that if you can predict your results better, you are able to command larger budgets. Hence typical PR budgets are often a factor of ten smaller than Ad budgets.

Perhaps it's time for the PR industry to either invest in these kind of tools or partner with media agencies to plan joint PR and ad campaigns.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

PR 2.0 Book: starter for 10

A book on digital PR, called PR 2.0 by Deirdre Breakenridge is a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn the basics of digital PR and communicating in social media

It covers what makes a good interactive newsroom, how to construct a social media press release, explains the basics of social networks, some good tips on using RSS for monitoring and some food for thought on how to measure social media - that elusive goal that that most people are trying to find a definite answer for. 

On the down side, the examples are very US focused and there is perhaps too many interviews with people who supply services to PR companies. But still, it's worth a read to get an overview on some of the useful tools for doing digital PR and communicating in the world of social media.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Social media measurement

For tips on measuring social media, the measurement camp wiki is a great resource. Founded by Will McInnes, it's a group of people from the worlds of advertising, PR, marketing, media measurement, that have come together to try and work out how the hell you measure social media.

I missed the last one, but the two I attended over the summer were extremely useful. Discussions revolved around: 
  • what to measure
  • how to measure it
  • benchmarking social media campaigns.
Traditional PR Measurement
Unfortunately, we didn't come up with a definite answer but what was clear is that the PR and media measurement industry can contribute a lot to the deciding the future of social media measurement. In PR, we have traditionally relied on three measures:
  1. Activities: [What you do] Releases, interviews, case studies etc. Things that are in your control.
  2. Outputs: [What this results in] Usually this is coverage, measured by column inches, messages, favourability, OTS. This can be done by a variety of media measurement companies e.g MER, Report International etc. A further measure is AEV [ad equivalent value], which puts a value on the coverage obtained based on how much it would have cost to buy the same amount of space. Not really a measure but allows you to talk about cash.
  3.  Outcomes: [What impact this has] This is a change or action in the target audience. Ideally, this is an increase in sales for commercial organisations, a shift in opinion, voting a certain way. This is the most important and most difficult to measure as it is hard to scientifically show a direct cause and effect between, say, coverage in The Sun on a new car and someone buying that car. Most times this is done by consumer polls to monitor shifts in opinion, or to determine likelihood to buy, but this can be expensive.
I believe the same kind of approach can be taken to social media. Naturally, it will have the same shortcomings i.e. accountability of outcomes. But, as a starting point, measure the number of blog posts you will write, forum discussions you will start i.e. Activities and then look at the volume and tone of the comments i.e. Outputs.

Showing how social media campaigns directly result in an Outcome or impact, requires more thought and a fair amount of work before we get anything definitive as an industry. But it's a start.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Online PR dudes storm Top 50 Marketing blogs

Digital PR gurus are doing well in the Top Marketing blog rankings, out today. Its good to see Ged, Simon and Drew doing well. It's also good to see digital PR blogs holding their own with blogs that look at all forms of digital marketing. Perhaps this is a sign that digital PR is now starting to get the same respect as other digital marketing disciplines?

Sunday, 10 August 2008

PR Tools for analysing social media

Digital PR people who need to get a snap shot of where brands appear in social media and what is being said about them, should check out two useful tools.

Addictomatic allows you to put in a search term and it produces a dashboard of all what is being said about it in a predefined collection of social media channels.

How sociable is more about scoring a brand's presence in social media. Again, you put in a brand name and it checks its presence in things like twitter,
 Facebook etc, but with this service you get a score rather than what's been said. The score is a comparative scale, i.e they took a bunch of companies, analysed their presence and used it them to get a baseline benchmark. They then compare other brands presence against this benchmark.

Both are good in their own right. Addictomatic for finding what's been said, How Sociable to see how much of a presence a brand has in different channels.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Social network for shopping locally

A social network has been set up by a bunch of local food producers to encourage people to shop locally and support local producers, called Purple Love.

Its a really nice online community that I came across in my local coffee shop in Bollington. You sign up to the site and can add comments about your favourite local restaurant or shop. You can type in your town and it shows you what local producers are nearby. For example, for Bollington, you can see there is a deli and country market nearby.

It neatly links to other sites and blogs that give you tips on recipes and money saving tips.
A nice example of new media - social networks - supporting a traditional industry.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Online custom mapping from OS

Digital maps customised to your chosen area from Ordnance Survey, which is great for Mountain Biking. You just go to OS Select and put in the town name or geographical area and move the cursor  around to mark out the area you want. Here's one I did for my new home.
It costs £15 and is delivered in a couple of days. Great for avoiding those annoying instances where the location you want is spread over two OS maps.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Useful PR Tool to research companies

For quick PR research on a company, have a look at Zoominfo, It's a simple site that allows you to find out about a company or person online.

You just type in the name and it brings up the main site of the company. There is also a drop down box where you can click on competitors, jobs, employees to find out more info. Quite handy if you need some quick and dirty research or if you are caught short before a meeting.

Is there money to be made from rights management?

today said it was pulling out of its Sony BMG venture to concentrate on rights management . This surprised me a little as I thought rights management as a revenue stream was declining. 

Bands giving away music

There seems to be an increasing trend for bands to give away recorded music for free and concentrate their money-making efforts on live performances. There is a good discussion on techdirt on this subject. 

From my limited knowledge of the music industry, [gleaned from working with the people at iTunes and MTV] bands make far more cash from live performances than sales of recorded music - CD, MP3 etc - as they don't have to give away most of the earnings to record companies. This is why there is an increasing trend for bands to give away recorded music - the aim being to give people a taste so they come to the gig.

Radiohead are probably the most well known for doing this, which you kind of expect from an altruistic intellectual band. But when bands like McFly do it, you have to think it's no longer a niche thing.

So, I guess my question is, based on my limited knowledge of the workings of the music industry, can a company make money just on rights management? Or do they need something else, like a cunning distribution model [see iTunes].

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

What this blog is going to be about

I thought I’d set out my stall as to what this blog is going to be about. Basically, I’m going to write about the things I come across that makes my job and life simpler and more fun. Hopefully it might be useful for others – if not, I’m gonna do it anyway because its fun.

Social Media Resources 

There are loads of good blogs and other resources out there that will give you loads of good stuff on social media and digital PR. For example:


Will McInnes;

Neville Hobson’s


Chris Reed's

Drew B’s

Plus some with an ad industry grounding:

Iain Taits

Russell Davies

Amelia Torode’s 

 And some from the US gurus

Danah Boyd


Brian Solis  

These guys are great thinkers and really know their stuff. What I hope to do is add to what these experts are saying and write about practical and fun stuff that I find, which hopefully helps people get more involved with social media and all things digital. Hopefully people will add their two-penneth along the way.

Ta for reading.