Monday, January 26, 2009

PR on a budget

Here are my 8 tips for getting PR on a budget
  1. Get some good, interesting pictures
    Journalists love good, interesting photos always help you getting in the publication. Always supply hi-res, colour, pictures. But don't email then unless specifically asked, they'll jam up their email and you annoy the journalist.

  2. Write a brief company history
    The journalist needs to know who you are and why you should have space in their publication. They need to look good to their editors, make sure you play to that by giving them something interesting

  3. Read your relevant press
    Sounds obvious, but a little research into the right journalist will pay off

  4. Contact the journalist
    Again obvious but make contact. Don't email, phone just before lunch is best. Most journalist don't do early mornings and after lunch is getting close to deadline you'll just annoy them.

  5. Arrange a personal meeting
    If at all possible go and see the journalist. Take them for lunch, it'll give you a good chance to tell them all about your company. Plus they'll get to know you personally. When you meet them make sure you have things ready for them to take away a CD with your great hi-red pictures on, your company history, your latest press releases. Make it easy for them.

  6. Follow it up
    After your meeting, write a personal note to thank them for their time. Don't just wade in with a release, see next point.

  7. Only contact with relevant stories
    Journalists have their own interests, you'll know this you did your research (see point 3). So don't start sending them everything you produce, make sure you only send them relevant stories they are likely to want to run. And ensure your release has an image to go along with it, if requested. One way to get a picture over with out blocking up email is to send over a low-res version with the offer of the print quality one should they want it.

  8. Always say thank you

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Designer's Repulic closes it doors

Just checked my email and I truly gutted that Designer's Republic has closed. Growing up in Sheffield it was difficult to miss their influence. From nightclub flyers, I still have my full set of flyers from the opening of Republic nightclub. To the covers of Pulp records, Designers Republic was the place to work for a creative, just wish I'd been good enough.

Goodbye Designers Republic

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Giving a great presentation via the web

In today's world thinking about the environment and your carbon footprint is very important. That's why it's a great idea to use web presentations when you really don't have to make the journey to see your customers. If you get it right, giving presentations via the Internet can be far more fulfilling than you may think.

Here are my tips to ensure you give good presentation

Presenting via the web has it's own issues. Most notably that you're not there in person. Here are a few tips to help you out if you do that same as we do.

Your PowerPoint presentation
  • Keep it simple and to the point
  • Avoid bullet pointed lists that you're going to read out to them. Save yourself and them the time and just send them the document so they can read it themselves.
  • Be passionate

Your desktop

  • Make sure your desktop is as clear as possible. If for any reason you have to click on it you don’t want customers to see other customer’s files or clutter on the screen.
  • Ensure you have your company wallpaper on your screen. It's easy to do and look so much more professional than a picture of your favourite car or your wedding day, or your cat (however cute)

Your Customer

  • Your customer may have a different screen resolution to you. Make sure they can see what you can before you start your presentation. You don’t want a customer to miss something at the edge of your screen. You can do this by moving your mouse from corner to corner of your screen and asking if they can see it moving.

I'm sure there are loads more tips, but getting these few basics right can make a huge difference.

Over on Presentation Zen you'll find loads and loads of information about putting together presentations which work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 great little idea

Just found this site which creates an Obamicon of any picture you like. Above is my little effort.

A nice little viral idea which is spreading quickly and rightly so. Thanks to Dave Gorman's Blog which is where I found it

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goodnight Tony Hart

Like a lot of people my age I grew up watching too much TV. One of my favourite shows was Take Hart, presented by the best art teacher you could ever want Tony Hart.

Tony Hart had a gentle way of showing you things you never thought could be possible. We would take old bits and pieces and show you that you too could create anything you wanted. To a kid living on a council estate in Sheffield this was near to revolution.

Tony Hart probably more than anything I've ever seen on TV inspired me, and thinking about it now still does. It's a really sad day to hear that he has died.

In a very short space of time the country has lost two truly great inspirational people Tony Hart and Oliver Postgate. I think its time that something was done to celebrate these two truly amazing people who inspired generations to think that anything was possible.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Compare the Meerkat

The guys at Compare the Market are very brave and clever. If you've ever been on their site to look for financial services or the whole host of things they offer, you'll know that they are very good at giving you a great service that saves you cash and time.

But I guess for them and you probably its pretty dull stuff, I mean just how excited can you get about it, not very is my guess.

Which is shy their Compare the Meerkat campaign is go good. My first glimpse of the campaign was the spoof email I got from Aleksandr the annoyed Meerkat running his site which is losing visitors to The great thing is that its done with total conviction, no giveaway that its really from compare the market. The team there have given their customers the benefit of having a sense of humour and not had to explain the joke to them. When you click through the email you get a fully functioning website, which delivers a way to actually compare Meerkats, to tricks or gimmicks shoved in the way.
Here's the TV ad too, which completes the whole set.

On top of that there's even a FaceBook group for compare the Meerkat which already had 17,000 members. All this results in a fantastically executed campaign which has great viral qualities and makes what could have been a very conservative campaign work very, very well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

At home with Eric Clapton

Stop worrying and enjoy life

Just found this over on Dave Gorman's Blog. Bus ads for Atheism. About time all us non believers had a voice!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Truly the worst ad ever made

I've just seen what is truly the worst TV ad ever made. It's for a piece of software from Microsoft for singing with your laptop. Now not only is that a really crap product, yes another one from Microsoft, but the song the little girl sings will make you want to throw-up in seconds. The direction is awful, the script terrible, the acting appalling generally there aren't enough words to describe strongly enough just how bad this ad is.

I'm almost ashamed to post it here but without doing that you'll not understand just how excruciatingly bad this ad is.

Now before you watch it you have been warned - have a bucket ready. Click play at your own peril (this is not a "joke" video, this is Microsoft video).

To see a great ad take a look at this recent Virgin ad, now that's how to make TV

Thursday, January 15, 2009

News at 10 spin the figures

Just watched News at 10 and they announced with a fantastic set of graphics that there were over 7,000 job losses announced this week alone. Which is terrible news and was rightly reported as a main item. And they did use a very striking graphic to ram the figures home.

Thing was that once the figure had been taken off the screen they then announced that 15000 jobs would be created by the major supermarkets.

Now call me cynical but isn't that a net gain of 8,000 jobs? Why on earth didn't the graphic come back on and then move the other way?

Clearly we're not ready for good news stories yet.

Twitter is really changing the world

Twitter and social media in general are changing the world - no really!

A guy using the ferry in New York posted some of the first pictures of the plane crash from his iPhone on Twitter within minutes of the incident.

This just would not have been possible even in the last two years. The news flashed around the world literally in seconds.

If anyone doubts the power that the Internet and social media have given the world now then they really are crazy. The world has changed, soon there will be two sets of people those on the inside and those outside.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Grattan announces job cuts in the UK

It's a sad day today as Grattan the giant of the British mail order companies announces job cuts.

Especially sad for me because I used to work in the Bradford office on the customer retention team. Grattan is an amazing place for anyone in marketing to hotbed their skills. You learn so much at such a quick pace a, because you have to and b, because there is an enormous wealth of skill and knowledge in the teams over there.

Thinking back there are people working at Grattan who had been there 30 years when I left around 4 years ago.

And maybe that is there downfall as well as their strength. Grattan and the associated brands, Freemans, Look Again etc where jut too big a ship to turn around.

It's odd when you think about it because mail order is the way that business is now going. Every company with a website takes orders online and delivers direct to your door just like Grattan has for over 100 odd years.

The problem is that their model for mail order, or the "Club Book" as it was know on my street when I was little, is based on people not being able to get credit. So one person in the area would be the agent for the Club Book and customers would pay that person in small weekly installments. The agent in return gets a commission.

All was well for Grattan until the advent of the credit card, then suddenly there's no need to get credit form the agent anymore.

This did so much damage to the traditional mail order companies like Grattan because their entire business model was built on having this credit system which they handled.

Even more of an irony now is that due to the credit crunch, the Grattan model should in theory be perfect again as people can't get the credit they could in the recent boom.

Unfortunately it would seem its too late for Grattan and that's a big shame.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Twittersphere here we come

Hey I'm getting advanced now. I've decided that just using Twitter via Twitter is so last week, so I've jut downloaded TweetDeck which seems to be the platform of choice at the moment. I'll let you know how I get on.

Bringing all your sites together

Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake, I don't know. I'm only just realising that you can tie all your sites together.

Since I posted on being able to have my blog content appear in FaceBook and Linkedin I've now just found that I can also syndicate it to Flickr as well. So needless to say I did it.

Here's a link to the Flickr Account, let me know what you think to the pictures.

Great Twitter Tool

As A new user of Twitter, I was a bit lost on how to see how effective it was. Just found this great tool, after following a Twitter post.

Twitter Friends allows you to see all your twitter stats at a glance and even compare it to other twits (not sure that's the right term)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Lomo LCA has arrived!

I'm very excited!

Yesterday my Lomo LCA arrived. With trepidation I opened the package to discover it. I got it off ebay so didn't get the whole lomo packaging, box and books etc which is a shame. However there's a recession on and buying it second hand meant I saved a few hundred quid.

Also as it's not new it means that its not one of the newly made LCAs from China. This is one of the old Russian ones. It even says Made in the USSR on the shutter cover.

I'm off out today to take my first two rolls of film, I'll post on how I get along.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Spreading your blog content around the web

If you are like me, and I'm sure you are or you wouldn't be reading this, you'll be on various Social Media websites my main ones are Twitter, FaceBook and Linkedin.

Did you know that you can easily syndicate your blog content to FaceBook and Linkedin? I didn't until recently.

To add it on FaceBook just nip to the notes application and point it at your blog. On Lined in add the Blog application and it'll automatically add your blog and all your connections blogs as well.

Then hey presto! All your blog entries will be automatically added to your profile as you post them increasing the scope of your readership instantly.

By the way the one caveat is that no matter where your blog is syndicated the content still had to be worth reading.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Blimey its Benny Hill

I was just watching BBC4, and saw one of the first colour series ever recorded by the BBC. In this particular twee episode the poshest lady I've ever heard presents a 20 minute show on Fashion. While not a hottest subject, it was great background viewing.

About half way through a little section on moustaches caught my eye. As the posh lady talked, Benny Hill and two other men from the the Benny Hill show are shown spotting bizarre face furniture. Totally priceless, Benny Hill can't help that little look from under his eyebrows.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Four Twitter Tips

I joined Twitter just before Christmas. It's very odd at first but soon becomes pretty addictive.

Since I began to use it my Blog visits have gone up a huge amount which pleases me no end. It's tough to get hold of an idea what the etiquette is yet. But here are my thoughts:

  1. Referencing your own blog entries is fine as long as you don't over do it. The whole point is to spread the love not blow just blow your own trumpet.
  2. Saying nothing in particular some of the time is fine. There's only 140 characters so saying nothing on Twitter is fine too. Is this why the name is so close to witter? Sorry I realise that I'm wittering on myself now.
  3. Following celebrities is fine, then encourage it. Just be warned that they can be just as boring as the rest of us when they only have a few words.
  4. Butting in on someone else's Tweets is a bit rude, but can be very tempting. If you are going to do this make sure you give a good answer.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Learn from Geece

Sorry lots of video clips on the blog at the minute, but hey that's how it is.

Here's a great video from Satchi and Satchi about team work. Very nice.

David Ogilvy speaks from the past about the future

I just found this video of a film David Ogilvy sent to a conference years ago. The film is very old which adds a huge amount of gravitas to the message. What Ogilvy, the pioneer of Direct Marketing says is still true today, even more so with the dawn of the Internet.

If your marketing is meant to sell products then forget clever creative, flowery copy, cryptic text. Sell the product or service, ask for the response - making it easy to do so. Measuring marketing spend has never been easier than with the Internet, even more so than it is with Direct Mail. Testing is quicker and easier and the results can be in almost instantly.

Take the time to watch David Ogilvy as he talks to you from the past and see how you can apply this to how you are marketing today.

Best Practices for Content Optimisation

Apart for the American spelling I love SEOMoz. Rand has just posted a great article on Best Practices for Content Optimization. His spelling not mine.

It is very detailed and quite techie but the overriding theme is that there is no short cut to getting good ranking. Unique content and a usable site are the only way to get there.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Now that's a great TV Ad

Tongue in cheek, cocky, right on the money, well done, perfect branding, funny, memorable, leaves you with a smile. Need to fly over the Atlantic, lets fly with Virgin - Brilliant!

That's how you use TV, Norwich Union (soon to be Aviva) please take note

Saturday, January 03, 2009

How to waste money and piss people off in 1 minute

How stupid are the people at Norwich Union? Let's set the scene: There's a global recession, particularly in the finacial sector. People are losing thier jobs left, right and centre. What should a financial institution do in this scenario?

I know lets pay a ridiculous amount of cash to Hollywood stars, models, aged "Rock Stars" (Alice Copper and Ringo Starr) to tell everyone that where changing the name of our company from Norwich Union to Aviva! That'll be a great idea, we all saved!

Sorry wrong time wrong planet! (sorry for all the exclamation marks)

Wouldn't a better idea to be to use all that money to improve their service, improve conditions and job security for their staff. Reduce the cost of their insurance for the hard pressed population. Hey I think that would be much more effective.

Lets run that scenario: Letter drops through door "Oh Marjorie, you'll never guess what Norwich Union have suddenly drop the cost of our premium by £5 a month and we get exactly the same cover. Aren't they amazing, they also say that if we tell all our friends and they join then they'll give us even more and all our friends will get reduced premiums too!"

Of course it will never happen because the head of Norwich Union (soon to be Aviva) wouldn't get the chance to meet Film stars, Models and Ringo bloody Starr!

Here's the ad, what it and chunder. Nice production values mind

Friday, January 02, 2009

Twitter changing the world

At last the old firms are engaging in face to face marketing using Twitter. Giving direct answers is a big deal for the big companies who love to hide behind carefully crafted press releases, well now they are actively engaging and reaping the rewards

The Financial Times reports how they're doing it

I'm using twitter now myself and 140 words is tough but its getting easier plus its very quick on responses.

Looking for little glimmers

Just found this amazing picture on the Guardian website by Sarah Moon. The chances of getting this picture are ridiculously small but that the beauty of photography. To catch the moment perfectly because it can't ever be repeated.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Seth Godin inspires me

Just getting ready to go back to work. No one knows what 2009 will through at them but one thing is for sure if you sit back and let stuff happen to you you can't complain if its not what you want.

Why not take hold of the opportunity the uncertainty is bringing to everyone else and make 2009 a great start. Seth's post has just inspired me to do just that I hope it does the same for you too.

Happy New Year