Archive for July, 2009
July 31st, 2009
Hi all, here are my five top sites and tools of the week.
1. Wizehive is a project management tool similar to Basecamp. The wealth of features Wizehive has is incredible. At the moment it is in Beta and full functionality will remain free until the end of 2009.
2. twitcam as the name suggests is an application that lets you stream your webcam to twitter.
- No sign up required
- 100% Free (ad supported)
- No software required
- Handles up to 100,000+ viewers
- Share your broadcast on other social networks.
4. Stickam is a live social networking website that features user-submitted pictures, audio, video and most importantly, live web cam streams and live video chat (up to 12 people at a time). It is 100% free.Â Great tool!
5. twitroduce is a nice idea that lets you connect via twitter and make personal recommendations.
That’s all folks! more of the same next week.
July 31st, 2009
The age old argument that begins â€˜the trouble with press releases’ has come to the fore again this week. The main cause has been a journalism.co.uk article that offered a crowdsourced guide to writing the perfect press release for journalists. This also sparked off a number of conversations on Twitter.
The journalism.co.uk article made complete sense, and I agree with the advice offered in it, or at least 95% of it, but the most depressing thing is that we as an industry (the PR industry) are still making the same old mistakes. To be honest most of the advice could have come from a training session I was given on press release writing in my first month at a PR agency many moons ago. I’m not trying to belittle the advice that was given, it’s just depressing that the same old issues keep coming up.
Looking beyond the usual press release clashes between journalists and PRs, I think there are wider issues that need to be considered. Firstly, in my experience it’s usually the client that demands less than newsworthy releases, and yes PRs should be firmer in their consultancy, but as anyone who has been on agency side will know, that’s not always possible. Secondly, and again in my experience, when talking to a journalist about a story I have, on a number of occasions, been asked â€˜is there a release on this?’ which is slightly frustrating when we’re trying to take a more personalised approach. That’s not to say all journalists do this, but again we all know there are some.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is nothing more I would like than to kill off the traditional release, and I think many PRs that I have spoken to would agree. They can be dull marketing documents that serve very little purpose and the good ones are vastly outweighed by the bad ones.
So what do we do? We need to convey the information in a relevant, accessible and useful way, but without the fluff and spin. Well this is a question we at Liberate Media have been tussling with since day one, and as many of you will know we’ve launched an alternative in the form of a social media news release platform called â€˜Pressitt‘. This was originally developed as we couldn’t find a distribution service that suited our requirements, but as it evolved we felt it should be shared and we plan to work with the industry to build a service that is flexible and relevant in a social media environment, as well as a more traditional news environment.
Please don’t think this post is meant as a promotion for Pressitt, it’s not supposed to be. We don’t charge for Pressitt releases, as we believe social tools should be free. But my point is, yes, PRs, journalists and clients are cheesed off with press releases, some are trying to change that by good practise in communicating stories and obeying advice as set out in the journalism.co.uk article. Others are doing something about it by developing new methods of news distribution. However, it seems too many are still doing nothing. Wake up time is long overdue.
July 17th, 2009
Hi all, here are my picks for this week’s edition of top tools and sites of the week.
1. Follow Me Social Media WordPress Plugin The Follow Me widget allows you to display links to all your social media profiles in one, easy-to-access button or window, it’s easily deployable in your wordpress blog sidebar.
2. Survs. Survs is a collaborative tool that allows you to build, deploy and analyse online surveys. It is collaborative in the sense that you can cooperate with your teammates through the journey of building, deploying and analysing your surveys. You can even share your survey results, templates and themes online.
3. Geo Follow. A nice looking Twitter tool to search the directory by:
City, State, Zip, Country, Tag, Name, Twitter Username and Keyword
4. Guzzle.it is an online personalised news page which provides a nice way to easily track information from a bunch of news sources on a single webpage. You can add any topic and build a page very quicky – Recommended.
5. Follow Formation is a simple tool for Twitter users who want to follow the top people in their areas of interest. Choose from top 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 people and then hit follow.
July 16th, 2009
A warm welcome back to guest blogger and academic Lorraine Warren, who is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton
It looks like students are going to be facing a difficult time in the job market as the financial downturn continues to take its toll on graduate job vacancies and training programmes. Although the majority of my students graduating this year have fared quite well, those coming through behind them are growing anxious about their chances in an increasingly competitive market.
Some of them feel very challenged by the new business environment; this is hardly unexpected given that they have not seen economic conditions like this during their lifetime.Â Since the early 1990s, by and large, they have only experienced economic growth.Â Some of them are starting to realise that the old strategies for getting good employment may not be enough.
In the past, it has never really been the case that being awarded a good degree would inevitably lead to a good job.Â For a long time, employers have looked for other attributes and activities that convince them that their prospective employee is a rounded person, not narrowly focussed on academic activity alone â€“ that they are capable of working in teams, collaborating and participating in social networks.Â Students have long recognised this and flag up their sporting achievements or society leaderships in job applications.Â So what more can be done?
Students know that many employers examine the online presence of job applicants, checking them out using Google and trawling social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.Â They can see this as a negative process where an embarrassing photo from years ago might be held against them.Â And in some cases that is so!Â This can put students off participating in social media, which is unfortunate, because it could be the very thing they need to set them apart from the crowd.
Instead of shying away from online presence, students should, as a bare minimum, have a well-managed online identity that says a lot about their professional potential.Â A well-designed blog or Facebook site that is rigorously maintained is a good start.Â But thereâ€™s more to it than that. The real power of social media can be seen when it is used not just to join or maintain existing networks, but instead when it is used to create new value.
Students need to be proactive, using social networking sites to rapidly build new networks with high quality connections in organisations or industries they might want to enter.Â They need to use sites such as Twitter to take advantage of breaking news and current issues to create energy and develop activities in real time: build up a project, set up a charity venture, connect with others on-line who have similar interests, as things are actually happening.
In doing so, they can build up a buzz about themselves, and generate a community of interest in who they are and what they are doing.Â In showing that they are agile and ahead of the curve, they might create a compelling case for someone to create an opening for them, or make that all-important phone call or connection.
July 10th, 2009
I’m a bit late to the party, but two articles struck me in last week’s PR Week. The first was the piece titled â€˜journalists should beware PR option‘ about the increasing numbers of senior journalists joining the PR industry and the second was â€˜PR ponders place in marketing mix‘ after ad agencies won a whole host of awards with PR-led campaigns at Cannes Lions ad festival (to be fair I’m not sure that’s a great measure as Cannes Lions is an Ad festival, but still). Why did they strike me? Well, to my mind, both of these articles are relevant to the same â€˜future of PR’ discussion.
Let’s begin with the latter. â€˜PR ponders place in marketing mix’ Well about bloody time in my opinion! As anyone who knows anything about Liberate Media, and the reasons that Wendy and I set it up, will know we believe strongly that PR must evolve. Evolve out of traditional PR and develop an understanding of how to communicate online. Evolve out of a blinkered view that no one else can do what we do and instead learn everything we can about a broad spectrum of marketing techniques, and evolve to realise that actually if we can do those things we are in a strong position to take more responsibility in the marketing mix.
Before I continue I wish to make something clear: I’m not here to say PR people are better suited to take the lead in marketing or social media than any other discipline, or any of that pathetic argument that has been raging for so long most people have either lost the will to continue, or never cared in the first place. I was, and am, the latter by the way. If you want to â€˜take the lead’ you fill your boots, we’ll just get on with it. No, I’m talking about what PRs should be good at; developing communications strategies, identifying audiences, telling a story and getting the job done.
If PRs can understand the other elements of the marketing mix, pull together the skills or partner with likeminded agencies within these areas to get the job done, why shouldn’t this situation be a positive? Yes Ad agencies have the backing and the power, yes clients will probably look to them first, but we have to prove our worth.
PRs can’t sit there and say Ad agencies can’t do PR and expect everything to continue as before. We know for a fact Ad agencies are skilling up in terms of digital, we know they can move quickly in any sector if there is a profit, (ask search and digital agencies) but why can’t PR agencies develop their knowledge to keep pace?
Some PR agencies already have, but most haven’t and as I’m sure they are realising if they haven’t already started to expand their knowledge and skills, they had better soon get on with it otherwise they will very quickly disappear.
So that leads me to the second point. â€˜journalists should beware PR option’. Now we all know journalists becoming PRs is not a new phenomenon, it makes sense and many great PRs have been journalists. In fact we have two on the team at Liberate. The reasons they make great PRs are also the reason that we now need to get more skills into agencies, because they see and understand things that traditionally trained PRs don’t see easily. We need search, web development, content development and broader communications skills, etc. PR agencies need to be the sponge of the comms industry and suck up this knowledge as quickly as we possibly can.
At Liberate we’ve followed this approach from day one and it has worked brilliantly. Not because we did it when we had to, not because of a recession, not because it seems to be the trend, but because it’s the only way PR can survive, it’s as simple as that. That may sound big headed, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s the simple truth, and it was as clear three years ago as it is today.<-->
July 10th, 2009
Here is this weeks top tools and sites round up.
1. Screen Jelly. Screenjelly records your screen activity with your voice so you can spread it as a video via Twitter or email. Use it to quickly share cool apps or software tips, report a bug, or just show stuff you like.
2. Kampyle is a feedback form for Websites is a powerful on-demand solution to collect, analyze and manage your website visitors’ feedback.
3. Chirbit is a free online tool for audio sharing, users to record, upload, listen to and share sound bites easily. You can also use iPhone Voice Memos to post to chirbit.
4. Folowen It is a social profile search engine that aggregates the social media profiles of a person from 20 different social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc and presents the results on one single page
5. View like us Lets you quickly test website in different resolutions. You simply need to enter website URL into provided field and click on the â€œSubmitâ€ button. Once the page loads, you can click different resolution tabs to view how the site looks.
July 7th, 2009
(Full disclosure Liberate Media Is co owner of Pressitt, Social Media News Release and creation site).
This post is not an attempt to profile Pressitt or to gain more sign-ups, but simply to draw your attention to the great work that the Government is doing in using digital platforms and emerging technologies.
My attention was first drawn to the Government’s use of new technologies when it relaunched the 10.gov.uk site a while back. The site is heavily laden with social features that it refers to as “around the web” including links to the relevant Facebook page, YouTube page, Flickr page and latest Tweets.
Pressitt Social Media News Release and creation service has been utilised by the Government and especially the DIUS (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) which has recently merged with the BERR (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) to become the BIS (department for business innovation and skills).
Here are just some of the fantastic examples of the Government’s use of Pressitt so far.
You can read more about the Government’s involvement with SMNR over at helpful technology, a blog written byÂ Steph Gray, digital engagement at the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
It’s great to the see the Government use digital platforms and it also seems they are being well informed on trends with in new media. Other Governments have been quick to act on new technologies as the success of President Obama’s digital campaign proves and the New Zealand Government’s use of a wiki to get advice from the public.
other resources:Ross rounds up UK Government & Social Media initiatives
July 3rd, 2009
Hi all, here is the first five fabulous web tools of the week in July. Where has the first half of the year gone?
1. Talon is a very easy to use screen capture tool. You can add the bookmarklet to your toolbar, and when you are on a page that you need a screen grab from, just click the bookmarklet and your page is saved to either your clipboard, desktop or online.
2.Twitter Follower Another easy to use tool that helps you follow people on Twitter by keyword. Add your account details and keyword and then Twitter Follower will find and follow users that have the keyword in their description.
4. CoTweet is currently in private beta so I haven’t actually tried it, but by looking at the list of clients they have using the software it looks quite impressive. In a nutshell CoTweet is a platform that helps companies reach and engage customers using Twitter.
More of the same next week.