Free 46-page Internet Marketing Strategy briefing whitepaper from @E-Consultancy! Download here now!


First things first : E-Consultancy has produced a most excellent 46-page Internet Marketing Strategy briefing dcoument – free to download by clicking on the link (as I’ve said before, E-Consultancy briefing papers are always high value – easily justifies the annual subscription many times over).

I’m blogging about this because E-Consultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein asked me to (along with 30,000 others)  - see below for his original e-mail. As you can see, this is part of an E-Consultancy experiment into content marketing and SEO – and a very clever one too.  We all get something from it for taking part.

So – if you wouldn’t mind – feel free to click on the link above and download the document.  And if you are so inclined, do as I have done and blog/link to the briefing paper with the anchor text: “internet marketing strategy”.

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We’ve just published a 46-page Internet Marketing Strategy briefing which is free to download. It analyses five key current trends: customer centricity, channel diversification, data, social media and content strategy.

It’s a bit unusual for us to make something like this free. It’s an experiment in ‘content marketing’ – a hot topic in digital marketing and something we examine in the briefing itself.

Of course we’re interested to see how many visits and downloads we get, the tweets and social mentions, but we’re most interested in getting links to this page (ideally with the link anchor text Internet Marketing Strategy) to see how this impacts our natural search rankings for the phrase ‘internet marketing strategy’.

Currently we’re nowhere near the first page of Google, or other search engines, for this competitive search phrase. But could we be with a bit of ‘content marketing’? And what value might that drive to us?

We plan to publish a mini case study with the results of this experiment which hopefully you’ll find interesting and which might help put more concrete value to the effectiveness (or otherwise) of ‘content marketing’.

You can help with our experiment…

Of course we encourage you to download and read the briefing itself (we think it’s very good) but, ideally, you would send a link to this page (not the file itself – little SEO value there…) to relevant contacts or, even better, you’d link to the page from your blog, via social media etc.

In an ideal world you’d even use the anchor text Internet Marketing Strategy to the link to the page.

I’m sending this email to around 30,000 of Econsultancy’s members globally so, if you do your collective bit, then we should stand a good chance of building some great, and relevant, links…?

Will we shoot up the rankings as a result? Or get punished for the suspiciously quick build-up of links with the same anchor text? Who knows… watch this space.

Obviously we’re not incentivising you to do this in any way because that would be “paid links”. ;)

All the best and thanks for any help.

Ashley

Ashley Friedlein
CEO
Econsultancy

Recycled Friday: Is £2.5 billion really spent on press releases in the UK?


I was inspired by the following comment from @adcontrarian in his latest blog post:

Because I am a lazy bastard and the thought of writing five posts a week is a constant source of terror, I have decided to introduce a new policy around here. From now on, on Fridays,  I’m going to recycle old posts that I like and that are still relevant. Today is our first Recycled Friday.

What a great idea. Having nearly 600 posts over 7 years gives me a good back catalogue to plunder.

Without further ado, here is a post I wrote five years ago – has much changed? You be the judge.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

New survey conducted by Benchmark Research on behalf of Glide Technologies has thrown up some interesting, if not entirely unsurprising, results about the PR industry in the UK today.

The full report is here:

Glide PR survey

However, the one item that caught my eye was the calculation that  £2.5bn is spent on press releases in the UK. This based on the survey finding that 39pc of PR professionals time is spent on creating, distributing, and following up on press releases – and the estimated total size of the UK PR industry at £6.5bn. Couple that with only 32% of releases received by the media being of genuine interest, then I calculate that means £1.7bn is being wasted on irrelevant press releases.

Although I’d take this calculation with a pinch of salt, it would be fair to say that an awful lot of money is still being spent (and wasted) on the humble press release.

The survey also highlighted a clear discrepancy between journalists desire to be contacted by email and PRs who still overwhelmingly use the phone.

I know the reasons for both sides views. Journalists have been jaundiced by too many wasteful phone calls along the lines of “did you get my press release”, or are you attending exhibition X (see Phil Muncaster of IT Week vent his spleen re: the pre-InfoSec deluge of calls asking him whether he was going – Muncaster InfoSec rant )

On the other side, PRs often feel that they will get more “attention” by actually talking to the journalist. Though of course that still means you need a good enough story to give them.

My take on the survey as a whole is that is shows the same old values still apply to PR in terms of media relations – journalists will give the time of day to a trusted source – but even that doesn’t guarantee they will use a story. Perhaps some of that wasted £1.7bn could be spent on training PR professionals to get better at becoming trusted information sources.

Other findings below:

81% of Journalists on a desert island opt for laptop over a phone

Email remains the most popular delivery format for journalists. Fax, post, newswire, PDA and SMS all decline. RSS and IM emerge.

76% of journalists more likely to use press communication with photos etc.

89% of journalists will visit an organisation’s website most of the time when writing about them

Journalist Complaints

Poor use of email (e.g. sending large attachments) accounts for the two greatest online deterrents to journalists

Only 32% of releases received by the media are of genuine interest

73% of journalists think an organisation is ‘not media friendly’ if its online press information is poor. 60% think they’re ‘lazy’, 50% that they’re ‘incompetent’.

Research conducted by Benchmark Research.

Exclusive! Daily Mail actively using “prying” technology to influence reader behaviour


Visitors to the Daily Mail website are having personal information about themselves captured for the purpose of influencing their behaviour to purchase goods and services, we can exclusively reveal. The Mail also admits that it will use information gathered on individuals to “deal with” comments made on the site.
Extensive research carried out by a crack escherman web team can reveal that the Daily Mail deploys an array of sophisticated web analytics and tracking technologies including Omniture, Sophus3, Google Analytics and ComScore.
According to Andrew Smith at escherman: “It took us all of 15 seconds to identify the full scale of the Daily Mail’s arsenal of monitoring technology. Some of these tools can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and clearly demonstrates how seriously the Daily Mail is prepared to invest in prying into the online behaviour of its readers.”
The sales literature for Sophus3, for example, makes no attempt to obscure its true purpose:
“Sophus3 has the capability to identify visitors who come from online campaigns, how they behave on your website and whether they turn into a lead or buy after that. With our analysis tools we can determine the effect of online advertising on consumer interest.”
In addition, the Daily Mail’s so called Privacy Policy brazenly asserts that it will use visitor information to: “Deal with, and respond to you about, a comment you have submitted for or on our message boards, blogs and other such user generated content facilities.”
Concludes Smith: “The amount of information that the Mail is gathering about its online readers is immense – everything from the kind of browser they are using down to their IP address. There can be no doubt that they are openly using this information to try and personalise their readers experience – or worse – co-erce them into buying third party products and services. We can only hope that their own journalists will apply the same rigorous approach as they’ve used with other organisations to write a follow up story to expose their own colleagues questionable behaviour and flagrant disregard for privacy.”

A (secure) Xmas message from ArmstrongAdams


Here’s a Christmas message from Tim Kipps at ArmstrongAdams, an escherman client:

“We’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas.We don’t send cards because it’s not good for the environment. Instead we’ve donated the Christmas card budget to Concern Worldwide to buy chickens. We named the first two ‘Lunch’ and ‘Dinner’.

Also, because it’s been economic doom and gloom this year, we thought it would be fun to make a little Christmas video to cheer people up. It’s a bit ‘edgy’, so if you’re easily offended please don’t watch it.

Click here for the video. You’ll need sound and Flash 9 or higher.

If you enjoy it, please forward the link to others who will too. If not, please email us a slap on the wrist.

Happy Christmas!”

Tim (and all at ArmstrongAdams)

What is a Twiphorism? (Pronounced Twi-for-izm) #twiphorism #twphm


Twiphorism is a new word I’ve coined – it’s formed by merging Twitter with Aphorism.

Wikipedia describes an aphorism as “an original thought, spoken or written in a laconic and easily memorable form.”

So a Twiphorism is “an original thought written in a laconic and easily memorable form. And capable of being expresed via Twitter in 140 characters or less”.

As it happens, a number of the aphoristic examples given by Wikipedia could be Twiphorisms eg

Mediocrity is forgiven more easily than talent.Emil Krotky

What are your favourite Twiphorisms? Your own or somebody else’s? If you can squeeze it into 129 characters, include the following hash tag:  #twiphorism (or #twphm if pushed for space).

The Flackenhack Awards are back for 2008! Adopt-a-hack?


After the roaring success of last year’s inaugural Flackenhack Awards, the world’s leading alternative event for the UK’s technology PR and media community is back = this time on Weds, October 29th, 2008 at The Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PQ.

Promising to be “bigger and messier than last year”, the organisers say they’ve come up with a genius plan to get as many technology journalists to attend without them having to put their hands in their wallets ie members of the tech PR industry can buy a hack’s ticket for them on eBay.

Make your way to the Flackenhack 2008 Awards blog for more detail about the event. You can even help decide which hacks should have their tickets auctioned.

And adding to the social media frenzy around the event, there is also a Facebook group.

Tickets are now on sale here.

Go on. You know you want to. Last year’s event was a lot of fun and a refreshing change – here’s to making the 2008 event event better. (There you go TWL, will that do?)

Great tits cope well with warming


Someone at the BBC had fun with that headline. It is – of course – referring to the fact that researchers found that great tits are laying eggs earlier in the spring than they used to, keeping step with the earlier emergence of caterpillars. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Weird themes inside the gold mine


I like puns. They deserve more of an airing in the world of PR and marketing. In which case, as Copyblogger says, let’s hear it for the lowly pun.

More good pun resources here and here.

PS The title of this post? Jim Morrison’s blog when he migrates to WordPress.

PR is “deader than the journalistic trade”: Mike Magee


Mike Magee, founder of The Inquirer, co-founder of The Register and one time editor of PC Business World, has penned a rather amusing departing shot from Incisive Media. In a self described “final act of ennui”, he gives us the definitive Guide to Modern 21st Century Journalism.

He has seven rules for the budding tech hack (reproduced in full below). As Peter Kirwan says, it’s a sensible rant against Google-driven hackery.

Rule 1 did get me thinking though:

Totally ignore PRs. The PR profession is deader than the journalistic trade. What place is there for an agency PR person when all the vendors throw up press releases instantly copied by serried ranks of “data gatherers” so cutting out the middle bunnies?

Amidst the satire, there is a serious point about the role of a PR agency today. Clearly there is a role to be played, but it almost certainly doesn’t resemble the PR stereotype of yesteryear. Sadly for Mike, it will involve knowledge of SEO, analytics, etc – but should still include the basics of good content skills and media relationship talent. And personally speaking, I don’t see why booze needs to be cut out of the equation.

Finally, as Intel and AMD’s PR departments break open the champagne, Mike says he will be “at his wit’s end at the end of the month at what to do”. I think the Coach and Horses beckons – for old time’s sake.

Those rules in full:

Rule 1 Totally ignore PRs. The PR profession is deader than the journalistic trade. What place is there for an agency PR person when all the vendors throw up press releases instantly copied by serried ranks of “data gatherers” so cutting out the middle bunnies?

Rule 2 A Modern Journalist never leaves the office, never has a drink, unless it’s a non-alcoholic Pimms, never double checks a story, never takes a chance, and has a pathological fear of a telephone unless the Health and Safety Inspectors clean the mouthpiece and earpiece every morning before the tidy world begins.

Rule 3 Google is the robotic news editor which rules the roost towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century. A Modern Journalist can do nothing except spur Adsense sales by endlessly re-writing stories that appear on Google News, which may never have actually been broken by anyone but first processed by the more important class of “data gatherers” who get early access to the er, press release.

Rule 4 The Modern Journalist never “breaks a story”. That would court the ire of the serried ranks of news management spinners and would breach Rule 2 to boot. Plus, even if a story fell into her or his hands, it would have to be “gathered” and then “processed” through the serried ranks of lawyers who act as an expensive filter to ensure that no boat is rocked.

Rule 5 The Modern Journalist must have gone to “journalist school”, where she or he will be taught all the tricks of the trade, such as sitting in serried ranks, never going out, never using the phone, re-cyling the endlessly re-cycled, and shamelessly cohorting with legions of other “professionals” such as people that went to “PR school” and those that drink non-alcoholic Pimms. They must be taking other stuff to get them high, surely? An old-fashioned hack would never do that. We think.

Rule 6 Show your adherence to 21st Modern Journalism standards by mouthing marketing slogans in your copy at every turn. If you have a news editor, and she or he wants you to “break stories”, complain through levels of the organisation that you’re being pressured and abused because she or he is complaining that you’re just recycling either press releases or re-cycled chunks from Google News.

Rule 7 Make sure you ignore this so 20th century saying: “You cannot hope To bribe or twist, thank God! the British journalist. But seeing what The man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to. – Humbert Wolfe, Over the Fire” Accept bribes gracefully.

Explaining the financial crisis: words versus video


The debate over video versus text continues to rage – both in journalism and PR. Some argue that TV news can’t provide the depth of analysis of a lengthy editorial. And should PR be exploiting new web video technologies more fully?

To me, it is a bit of a red herring. The real issue is the amount of time you have to convey the necessary information and how well you use each respective medium – the so-called ‘attention economy.”

Here is a case in point.

I read Charles Goodhart’s lengthy article (sub required for full feature) in Prospect magazine last week which went into the background of the current financial crisis. I then watched the following Bird and Fortune sketch on YouTube.

I came away feeling that Bird and Fortune pretty much captured the key points of Goodhart’s piece and delivered it in a more impactful way. On this occasion, video 1, text 0. But the video versus text argument remains, generally, a waste of energy.

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