Tag Archives: audience

Want blogging tips? Don’t go to Google

26 Nov

Punch into Google ‘blogging tips’ and it throws back oodles of articles. So, where’s a budding blogger meant to start? By talking to one.

There’s some great ideas out there, courtesy of PR Daily and The Wall. But, the truth is that half of these articles won’t make sense without practical examples. And, that comes from experience.

So, with my blog now in its ‘terrible twos’, I’m putting thumb to iPhone to share my golden nuggets. Tongue twister alert:

Prime Time‘s top 10 tips for taking your blog to the next level

1) Are you talking to me?
Know your audience. Assume a level of knowledge and don’t patronise.

2) Develop a style and stick to it
The only reason you’d need to be corporate is if you were ghostwriting for your CEO. In all other circumstances, lighten up! It’s likely your blog will be read in people’s spare time, so cut them some slack and deliver informal, light-hearted and punchy content.

3) Write to be read
If you’re finding a post hard to write, then it’s probably going to be hard for your readers to digest. Before writing I identify an interesting news hook. But, if I can’t think of at least three things to add value to the conversation, I scrap it.

It’s also important to have an opinion. However niche your blog sets out to be, you will have competition. So, keep in mind why people should be reading yours instead of the blog next door.

4) Be on time
It doesn’t matter if it’s once a month or once a week, find a pattern and stick to it. There’s nothing worse than finding a blog and realising it’s not been updated for six months or shut up shop. What a waste of cyberspace!

5) Create a content calendar
To avoid hunting for stories every week, why not jot down key dates in advance? Whether it’s conferences and events or film launches and X Factor results, it’ll come in handy.

6) Tag!
Tag each post not only with key words you’ve included, but also those that link to the subject. It’ll help direct more people to your blog.

7) You don’t have to be in PR to promote your blog
Make the most of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You don’t have to do them all, but do the ones you can, well.

Why not set a reminder on your phone to promote each post you write, in a variety of ways, for the next 30 days to ensure it’s being read?

In addition to this, make sure you’re capitalising on #TBT and #FBF (for going through the archive and bringing early posts up to par) and #FF (for connecting with influencers) – they’re quick wins for getting noticed.

8) Maximising channels
Did you know you can publish direct from LinkedIn? It looks hot, so take advantage and stand out among your network.

Also consider using Twitter to feed into relevant conversations and plug your content e.g:

 

Looking forward to the @PaddingtonMovie? Then you’ll probably hate my blog on the Peruvian bear! Check it out > http://wp.me/p2sMct-2dE

This could help your content to snowball outside of your network – which is the key to success.

9) You may have the penmanship of Shakespeare, but that’s no excuse for shoddy images
Headers and images will be scanned before people start reading your blog in detail. Make sure they stand out and are engaging.

10) Have an ‘About You’ page
I’ve never been overly keen on blogs that use the first few posts as introductions. I’m going to say it like it is: it looks a little very amateur. Put your background on a separate page and use your first post to get straight to the point.

What do you think? Feeling inspired?

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Halloween 2014 is sponsored by…

21 Oct

20140430-231008.jpgIn a dark room in a chilling office, set among a black backdrop of skyscrapers gracing the city’s skyline, shone a single glimmer of light. John stayed silent as he moved the cursor around his overworked computer screen.

The window had been left open to curb the stench of late-night pizza. The draft surrounded John and he systematically shivered. Pressing print, he moved slowly to collect his paperwork – marking the end of a 12-hour working day. As John turned his chair a glass smashed on the floor.

‘That’s strange,’ thought John. ‘I’ve not used a glass today.’

A rush of adrenaline shot through his veins, followed by a sense of calm. He even had time to momentarily wonder if they were his last thoughts. It felt like a lifetime, but in reality the person, or thing, who’d smashed the glass had acted quickly. As he hit the thick wooden floors, he turned ever so slightly to see who had attacked him. But, the remained silent.

With no time to feel scared he didn’t even try. Instead he opted to give his body in to the pain and then… nothing.

Got your attention? Don’t worry, John’s Halloween pitch made it to the client. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many brands making the most of this American holiday as I have this this year. And poor PRs like John are risking their lives by working overtime to deliver standout campaigns.

Maybe it’s because it falls on a weekend, and entertainment and lifestyle companies want to use this as an opportunity to boost sales and strengthen its position for Christmas.

Whatever the reason, it’s working. I’ve seen some cracking campaigns and here’s my top five:

Waterstones’ blogger mystery
No, it’s not locking in more tourists and keeping them there overnight to turn them into social media sensations. Waterstones is launching an online murder mystery with five bloggers who will communicate clues for fans, via their blogs and Twitter (where was my invite guys?), to work out ‘whodunit’. Those who crack the case will find themselves £50 richer (vouchers, darling).

Nice use of social and great blogger engagement, coupled with subtle branding, means that Waterstones is getting down from the shelf and making itself the go-to destination for books. Tick!

Walking Dead staggers to PR success
To celebrate the launch of the fifth series of the Walking Dead, Now TV made former MIC star Millie Mackintosh into a zombie to support its online campaign. In addition to this, it created a buzz on social media by sending personalised popcorn holders with ‘bloodstained’ snacks inside which was sent to celebrities and journalists.

To give customers a chance to join in the fun, it’s also using Twitter to give wary special edition Walking Dead Now TV equipment, zombie makeup and the exclusive popcorn holder. The competition hashtag is hardly memorable – #TWDNOWTV – but in two days it’s generated over 150 re-tweets and is steadily seeing its follower count rise.

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Spooky Speaker app shouts out
To promote its Halloween costume range, superpower supermarket Sainsbury’s has launched a voice app to inspire children to ‘transform’ into their scary characters using its voice distortion functions. The voices – such as Frankenstein, Witches, Vampires and Skeletons – match the costume designs available in store and online.

It’s a good attempt, reminding parents and children that Sainsbury’s is their one-stop shop for Halloween goodies, but can the interactive app outdo Asda’s inflatable wings which are being supported with TV advertising? Time will tell.

Chupa Chups’ chomping campaign
It’s great that brands are starting to scratch beneath the surface to see the value of Instagram – and Chupa Chups is no exception. It’s using this social network to create an online game, encouraging users to free a trapped lolly before it gets a licking. Age is certainly no barrier here. With contemporary references to current culture, the youth brand has made this Halloween-themed relevant to all groups.

Do you dare trust the National Trust?
Not strictly Halloween themed, but the National Trust has extended its successful ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4‘ campaign by creating a direct mail around number 40: night walks. This glow in the dark pack targets existing members and encourages people to essentially see more than they bargain for by trudging down a natural trail at night.

This stunt might come with a parental advisory warning (i.e. kids – please don’t walk alone), but not only has the National Trust found a novel way to reach out to an engaged audience raising brand awareness, but it’s hit gold with timing this during half term. Expect to see families up and town the country on night walks next weekend.

With just over a week to go we’re bound to see more stunts slip out of the woodwork. But, whether they’re bold enough to make the top five is yet to be seen.

What do you think? Are brands going for ghoul this Halloween?

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Anya Hindmarch’s cereal partnership is far from soggy

13 Oct

If you didn’t fancy a bowl of Kellogg’s finest before reading this blog, you will now.

Thanks to fashion designer Anya Hindmarch – the woman behind the ‘I’m Not a Plastic Bag’ campaign – the latest trend is vintage-inspired accessories that pay homage to big brands. From Ariel washing powder clutches and Custard Cream purses to Rich Tea baguettes and Coco Pops totes, this collection has hit the shelves at a time when demand for nostalgic kitsch has almost hit the roof.

And one in particular has caught my eye – Frosties.

With a fresh landing page, a strong social media presence and bold e-comms, this partnership is unique because both brands benefit from the added value. Here’s how:

Anya Hindmarch
Having been inspired to develop the limited edition Fashion Flakes range as part of her Counter Culture collection – inspired by her passion for making the ordinary, extraordinary – the bags are exclusive to her stores in London and Paris, instantly making it a sought-after product.

But, so not to put the products on a pedestal, Anya’s cleverly employed the use of social media to create a buzz – making these luxury items seem attainable to the average cereal eater.

Fans are being encouraged to post images or films on Instagram, tagging @anyahindmarch with the hashtag #cerealshopper for the chance to win a £1,350 bag.

With each Instagram post featuring the collection – or the Frosties-themed milk float, which formed part of a PR photo-call where cereal was handed out during London Fashion a Week – reaching 57,000 followers and generating in the region of 1,000 likes, it’s by far the best platform for the designer to show off.

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Frosties
But, what does Kellogg’s get in return for loaning out its family favourite brand I hear you ask? Well, whether you’re a collector or just like your cereal boxes with a pinch of class, you can get your hands on a redesigned Frosties box for a respectable £3 (the same calibre high-end creation at the snippet of the price).

Of course, Tony the Tiger is holding one of Anya’s bags as an extra plug, but on the whole the metro (modern vs retro) interpretation looks good and gives Kellogg’s some new content for its comms channels – something a 100+ year old brand must be desperate for. It’s also been able to share the love with Waitrose where the chic cereal will be available for a short period.

So, as you can see, two totally different brands from different sectors and with different audiences (the proportion of women with Anya’s luxury handbags who eat Frosties is considerably small, or so I assume) can successfully work together.

It’s simply a case of sharing key assets – in this case it’s Tony – and making it relevant to each other’s customer base using the right comms channels. It’s like a formula and this one has been well executed:

 

Photo-call launch + global news hook + exclusive product + competition + social media = brand awareness + recognition + engagement = sales

Do you agree? What element of the partnership do you think tastes grrreat?

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