Prohibition blog

December 2010

Viewing posts from December , 2010

The winner of the alternative Christmas track competition is Zebedee Budworth

If you have been following us closely you will remember that we have been running an online/social media competition for our client Audio-Technica – well we now have the winner. Here it is in all it’s glory – the winner is Zebedee Budworth with Astropets. We received more than 1,500 votes on the final shortlist and this won with 650 votes. Here is his official description of his entry:

Hello I’m Zebedee and I’m a musician based in London!
I wrote this song on the banjo then added all the instruments and vocals in my little bedroom utilising a book as a kick drum and keys as sleigh bells and stuff. All the sounds are ‘real’ things, apart from the glock which i just used a midi because it’s hard to get hold of one of them. My mate Ben recorded the banjo part i wrote ’cause he’s better. Hope you enjoy it as much as i did writing it! The music video is by Todd – Thank you!

I would like to congratulate Zebedee and thank all of you who voted.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Chris

To our clients PRs are the fourth emergency service!

There’s a longstanding perception that Christmas starts early for PRs, what with all that wining and dining of journos, and schmoozing of clients, eh…..but actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s true that media relations activity can slow down, but what happens if an unavoidable issue occurs over the festive period, which affects a business’s reputation both here in Yorkshire or across the UK? Perhaps, a senior executive is caught with his or her proverbial ‘pants round their ankles’ or a factory’s premises burns down on Boxing Day?

With the increasing influence of social media it doesn’t take long for a mini crisis to become a major catastrophe thanks to the real time nature of the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Consequently, businesses need to protect themselves from the affects of circumstances out of their control 365 days a year and across all types of media.

If the forecast of more inclement weather over the holiday period is accurate, transport networks will be thrown into chaos. In fact, we’ve already had a taster of what’s to come with reports of delays on the Eurostar and rail networks. Therefore, I’m sure all transport providers are bracing themselves in preparation for more – as there’s nothing worse than a stranded traveller looking for someone to blame.

People will undoubtedly take the brunt of their frustration out on transport operators – deserved or not – and unfortunately a disgruntled (and probably cold) traveller armed with a mobile phone and access to social media apps is a very dangerous prospect!

So, what do you do if the worst happens? First of all don’t panic and crucially make sure you are prepared. Any organisation should have a crisis management plan in place, which outlines key spokespeople, key messages and an agreed course of action.

Don’t see social media as an online menace, embrace it. Communication is a two way process – as long as you have a presence on most social media applications, you can quickly relay messages ‘out to the field’ and be seen as proactive. Choosing to ignore a situation will not do your reputation any good.

99.9% of times the festive period will pass without an issue for most businesses, so make sure you’re prepared and enjoy the break – you’ve earned it!

Twitter usage in UK courtrooms is a mistake

In this country cameras and any other form of recording equipment are banned from our courtrooms to stop the media interfering with live trials, but this week the British Chief Justice actually ruled that there is to be no ban on using the social network Twitter in the courtroom.

Twitter finally became a courtroom tool last week when a court judge allowed mediamen to tweet from a bail hearing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. However, two days after this ground breaking moment another judge barred it, so it’s clearly still a contentious issue.

I have to admit I am slightly worried what a micro-blogging service like Twitter could do to a live trial and I think they need to treat this area with real caution. I have been a big advocate of Twitter since it started way back in 2006 when there were only a handful of us using it in the UK but even I think a move like this needs to managed very carefully.Chris Norton Twitter

I am not a huge fan of the US system that allows cameras into a courtroom as I think it trivialises the cases and create a bit of a media circus around something which is usually extremely serious and often distressing.

One good point to make here is it is only journalists that are allowed to tweet from the courtrooms and this is a positive thing as they have to abide by a professional code of conduct. At least that means that a normal member of the public can’t start sharing their opinions about the case live on social media.

To write a tweet you often need to paraphrase a sentence or paragraph, and in doing that sometimes you can miss key elements of a story. This is usually fine with trivial matters but with court case I fear this could cause problems and lead to some form of misinterpretation. I also wonder if people, namely witnesses or worse still criminals themselves, will be able to follow a trial by logging onto the relevant twitter stream.

There is no doubt Twitter is brilliant for feeding us all with the latest tit bits of information but I think courtrooms are no place for this social network. What do you think – is it a good or bad thing?

You can follow me on Twitter here.

Using a Digital PR Agency for Business Blogging Services

Only a few years ago blogs were used as online diaries and rarely utilised for their huge search engine and online PR benefits. In the past few years that has all changed as blogs are much more widely used as a way of bringing a human voice to a business or brand.

Today the online marketplace is full of conversations, and a business or corporate blog is a very personalised piece of communication to help you reach out to your customers.

At Prohibition PR we have been blogging for several years and have been helping clients to do it for a long time too. Our managing director Chris Norton’s blog is listed in the top 100 PR blogs in the world and he has been writing about their benefits for longer than he can remember.

In truth, if you want to reach out and converse with your customers, employees and stakeholders in a very personal way, you should certainly consider adding a blog to your website.

Corporate Blogging

Corporate blogging can help you and your business to:

  1. Bring A Human Face On Your Business
  2. Position you or your business as a thought leader
  3. Boost Your Business And Profits
  4. Communicate directly to your potential customers
  5. Increase Your Visibility And Search Engine Rankings
  6. Increase Your Brand’s Reach And Influence
  7. Reach Out To Potential Customers And Stakeholders
  8. Communicate quickly and effectively even in a crisis
  9. Enhance Your Business Reputation

It is true that blogging can achieve all of these things but to do so it must be executed properly, for it to deliver the maximum return on investment in both time and money.

 

Blog Mimicking

If you already have a website but would like a professional looking blog installing on your domain, contact us and we will give you a quick quote tMitrefinch Blogo mimic the design of your website within a blogging platform. Here are a few examples of blog mimics we have done before:

  1. MitreFinch
  2. Leeds Manufacturing
  3. Appeal PR
  4. Rescue Accident Assistance 

Blog Article Writing

If you know you should be writing regularly on your blog but you don’t have the time, you can hire us for our specialist blogging skills and we will help you with your content strategy. Our team of dedicated copywriters will help you get the maximum benefits for the least amount of finance. This is about being clever not about being extravagant.

 

At Prohibition PR we have many years of experience teaching marketing teams, entrepreneurs and businesses how to start a blog. We have extensive experience in publishing and promoting business blogs and we are often interviewed about our thoughts on the subject.

If you are interested in having a blog created for your website, feel free to contact us and we will talk you the process.

Audio-Technica announces it’s alternative Christmas track shortlist

Audio-Technica YouTube ChannelI posted a while back on my personal blog about a social media campaign we have been running for the global music manufacturer Audio-Technica.

About four months ago we ran a strategic social media audit and workshop for them and created an online strategy which included launching the alternative Christmas track competition, which has been a lot of fun to run and organise albeit very busy.

In the last few months we have received a huge number of musical entries from all across the world varying in quality and genre. The original aim of the campaign was to seek out fun and vibrant alternatives to Christmas carols and songs and help people to get creative. We launched it using the brand’s Facebook and Twitter channels and a social media news release. Entrants each had to submit their video entries via YouTube but for doing so they received a free pair of headphones for their user generated content.

If you want to see all of the entries you can see them here on this playlist.

The music competition wasn’t restricted to any particular type of music so bands, DJs or music producers from any genre had the opportunity to show off their talent. The entries have been judged by Grammy & Brit award-winning record producer Steve Levine.

My personal favourite is the third one down James Bullen’s entry which samples Jingle Bells nicely.

You can vote for your favourite video by clicking on the online poll we have created below. The winner will be announced on Thursday 23rd December.

The lucky winner receives £500 worth of Audio-Technica equipment and the five runners-up will scoop prizes of £100 worth of equipment each.

Measuring online PR – The top Five Twitter Sentiment Tools

This post was inspired by a post from an online friend of mine Andy Merchant. Andy put together a list of three free Twitter apps that he thought were useful. I tested them out on the term “Tweasier” as a test and I got a mixed bag of results. However, what do we really expect from a free tool right?

I have listed my favourite Twitter sentiment tools here. Some are free and some are not but if you are looking to use a tool to measure Twitter sentiment sometimes it might be better if you decided to pay for it as you will get more accurate data. However, if you are just going to use it as a quick indication some of the free twitter sentiment tools will be fine.

I should caveat this post by saying as a digital PR specialist I find sentiment analysis of any kind a tad dubious and it shouldn’t be entirely trusted as these tools often can’t understand sarcasm or humour. So although you might be saying something like “This blog post is sh*t hot” it would put that down as a negative comment. So I always tell my clients to bear that in mind. I would say it is an indication rather than something to live or die by.

Here are my top five (6) sentiment tools:

      • Sysomos – this is a professional social media monitoring tool which I use from time to time. It is pretty expensive but it has a Twitter sentiment section which can be useful. To be honest this tool is more for the professional social media specialist as it covers everything from blogs right through to Forums.

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      • Twendz Pro is a clever twitter sentiment tool that looks very sophisticated and allows you to really drill down into conversations and gives the user a feel for a users influence. Unfortunately, again this is a paid for service but the application does look rather impressive.

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  • Social Mention – Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc. It can break from time to time but hey this is a free application and it is by far the best of the free sentiment tools.

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  • Twitrrart. This is next best of the free ones for me and it is beautifully presented although when I ran a search for Tweasier it presented better data. This tool allows you to distinguish between negative, neutral and positive tweets surrounding a brand, product, person or topic.

  • Twitter Sentiment This is a bit basic looking but it did give me results hence the second place. It allows you to research the sentiment for a brand, product, or topic. It was actually a graduate school project from Stanford University.

  • Tweetfeel – this didn’t work at all for me. It looks OK and it is supposed to monitor positive and negative feelings in twitter conversations. I have included this app on the blog before.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, so if you have a Twitter sentiment tool you think should be added here, feel free to leave a comment and point us all in the right direction.

Also a special thanks to @Strider47 @IdoNotes for their contributions via Twitter.

Businesses using social media in the Yorkshire region – updated statistics

In November a good friend of mine Charlotte Britton, conducted a survey with businesses in Yorkshire to find out how companies in the region were utilising social media marketing.

One of the most interesting statistics I noticed was that 75% said social media had been responsible for creating positive PR
about the company and 40% saying social media had helped mitigate PR problems. Those are quite bold statements but here are some of the other interesting headline statistics:

  1. 82% of respondents said they used LinkedIn to promote their business with 67%
    saying there key individuals were using LinkedIn to promote their business. 47% of
    respondents said they updated their LinkedIn profile weekly.
  2. 82% of respondent said they used Twitter a part of their business (to find
    customers, new business etc) with 57% respondents saying they updated their
    Twitter account daily.
  3. 75% of respondents said they used a blog as part of their business strategy with 40%
    saying they updated their blog weekly.
  4. 50% of respondents are using YouTube as part of their business strategy with 30%
    saying they were unsure how often the company updates the account.
  5. An astounding 37% said they felt social media has been responsible for saving
    money in support or customer relations, with 25% saying that they felt it had
    certainly contributed towards it.
  6. 57% respondents said social media had been responsible for or contributing towards
    creating new business and sales.

Personally, I think these percentage numbers are quite high and I think that’s probably because the people that completed the survey were already advocates of of social channels, as the survey was pushed on twitter, blogs and Facebook. I should point out that some businesses were also contacted through email. However, when I speak to local business people I tend to find people are using Linked-in to promote themselves or their companies, so I think that statistic is probably pretty accurate. I also think many companies are trying to keep the costs down by doing things themselves but there is a lot to be said for doing things correctly. For instance if best practice is not being followed properly, or a channel or blog is missing a certain plug-in or widget, the company could be missing a trick to getting the maximum search benefits from their content creation. In other words their content won’t be working for them as much as it could be.

Overall, I find these results very positive. Social media now has a big role to play in our region but it’s not the be all and end all, it’s just one part of a marketing mix. Traditional media relations, advertising and eMarketing all still have significant roles to play.

You can download the full survey results from Charlotte’s presentation which is here on Slideshare..

This is also cross posted on Dead Prohibition.

Corrupt decision or just plain old sour grapes?

2018 World Cup

It seems that the fallout from England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup is set to rumble on. What’s more, the debate about whether we have genuine reason to feel aggrieved or whether we’re just wallowing in self pity will split football fans across the nation.

Media pundits are predictably spinning out their forthright views, amongst which are some interesting comments and support from unlikely sources. Blackpool’s colourful gaffer, Ian Holloway, suggesting (tongue-in-cheek of course!) that The FA would have been better dividing the estimated £15M they coughed up, into brown envelopes marked for Fifa’s attention!

And, with Manchester United’s dyed-in-the-wool Scots manager Sir Alex Ferguson, being quoted in today’s Sunday Express labelling the decision as ‘an insult to English football’, sympathy hasn’t been in short supply.

However, what always appeared to be an awkward alliance between Prince William, David Beckham and PM David Cameron, is now being questioned retrospectively by one of the trio themselves.

Not surprisingly, the felon is a certain Mr Cameron, using his political powers to act like a teenage boy reacting to being dumped with claims his ‘ex was a munter anyway’ – he’s said to be furious at being associated with the bid for what was a major embarrassment and is demanding an overhaul of The FA’s heirarchy. Maybe you should’ve stuck to polo or rugger Dave!

No doubt though, the conspiracists have every reason to brood – despite it appearing to be the best technical submission, England’s bidding power appears to have gone backwards with a paltry two votes received in Zurich – even its similarly unsuccessful bid for the 2006 competition managed three more than that total.

Whatever peoples’ opinions, the only thing we can be sure of is that we’ll never really know the truth. So, let’s wish the Russians luck and look forward to turning up at someone else’s party in eight years time!