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Knowledge is Power – December 24th 2008

No we’re not closed for Christmas. Did you not get our e-card that told you you’ve got a goat with your name on it in Africa? Shucks, sorry.

Emily Tully, previously of TodayFM fame is now running her own PR company and has uploaded her recent presentation on PR for startups that she gave at the Digital Hub.

Broadstuff reports on the recent Facebook Group gaming that’s been doing on. It’s not just groups, I know of a famous brand where their fan page wasn’t actually theirs and none of the half a million fans realised it.

Eolai sells more paintings rapidly thanks to Twitter.

Pat Phelan sticks it to the Social Media sharks. It’s unfortunate that this new business area is full of amazingly talented and genuine people but the snakeoil salesmen have jumped on board too. It took years for the SEO business to get tainted by all these people but it seems to have taken months for social media ninja coach strategists to come along.

Techcrunch does a breakdown on the Facebook and mySpace ad platforms and which are better.

Nice report on video gaming trends.

More links during the “time off”.

Random image of something not linked to this post but added for colour:
Welcome To ...
Photo owned by u07ch (cc)

Want press coverage? Now is a good time

Everyone is winding down now for Christmas with some PR agencies not back until the New Year but news still happens and newspapers and radio stations still need content. Some do shut their doors but the mains ones need to maintain a presence. Now is as good a time as any to crowbar your company or product into the media.

What might make it easier again to get some attention is something that fits well with the current zeitgeists. Recession, Christmas, banks, job losses. Something anti-gloom too might work well. Or a riot:

Protesting Clowns
Photo owned by pinguino (cc)

Collision Course 1 – Edelman HQ, Jan 21st, 6.17pm

Update: 12 Jan 2009 – Event is now full

The event I previously offered to organise, that of Irish bloggers meeting PR and Marketing folk will happen on Jan 21st in Dublin thanks to Edelman who are offering up space to host it. Yeah it’s 6.17pm as 6.15pm is just a tad too uniform but come along at 6.15pm if you feel more comfortable with that. Spaces are limited to 30 and those who already stuck their name down get first refusal.

Let
Photo owned by lepiaf.geo (cc)

The format will be a PR rep will give a five minute talk about what PR is about and maybe give some Irish context and then we’ll have an Irish blogger share their experiences of what blogging in Ireland is about and then we’ll open the floor so anyone can pick the brains of this combined group.

The idea of this meetup (and perhaps it will become a regular thing) is for those who interact so much online can share their experiences with those people employed to try and connect with these digital natives and give them what they want. A lot of the bad experiences around PR and Marketing are to do with miscommunications between the various groups. Lets try and sort that.

Edelman’s address is:

5th Floor
Huguenot House
37 St Stephens’ Green
Dublin 2 – Ireland

The Rear
Photo owned by Alana Elliott (cc)

Knowledge is Power – December 22nd 2008

This opinion piece in the Sunday Business Post is truely awful. Running an Online Marketing Campaign by learning lessons from how criminals do spam attacks? No no no.

So a rate card for Facebook leaked out and then another. 300k for a sponsored group? Youch.

Brilliant. Alex Tew builds a game that ties into the shoe-throwing George Bush press conference. It’s done within hours of the event and sold for 5k within days of it. It’s called Sock and Awe. The shoe throwing is still news about a week later. If a little flash game can be built within hours of an event, why is is taking your webdev team a year to do your new website or 6 months to build a new tool for you? Today you’re 6 months late if that tool takes 6 months to build.

And speaking of being timely.

Forrester tells you how to choose a social network if you want to market in Europe.

Social media predictions for 2009.

Broadstuff shows the Cost Per Click model ain’t that good these days.

O2’s Irish Facebook and Bebo Apps that make consumers some cash

Yesterday I got an invite to install the O2 Ireland “Pass it on” Facebook Application (which also works in Bebo).

O2 App on Facebook

The idea is that if you send invites to your friends you’ll get money. 50 cents of credit that is. On Facebook it says you can send 4 invites a week but in the Terms and Conditions on their site it says 2 invites per week. If one of these friends applies for a free SIM card then you get €1. If a friend gets 20 quid in credit then you get a fiver in credit but the murky T&Cs say they must use the app themselves?

c) Level 3: €5.00 will be rewarded to you the first time that a friend that you invited who ordered a SIM through the member get member service purchases credit worth €20 or more. This friend MUST enter their new O2 mobile number into the application for this reward to be applied.

So either you can earn 2 X (€0.5 + €1 +€5) = €13 a week or else 4 X (€0.5 + €1 +€5) = €26 a week. The maximum you can earn is €300 in 6 months. Which is 46 friends.

Without evening checking I would think that takeup on Bebo is going to be a lot better than on Facebook. Looking at the age demographic and employment demographic for Facebook, they are going to have more people on contract than on credit phones and they won’t be able to move people as easily to a credit phone either. Bebo of course is different. And the numbers for Facebook and this app: Users:122 monthly active users

o2 Ireland Bebo App

When you look at the same application on Bebo: 1832 users. You can see who they are too. Reading the comments there does seem to be a few issues with the Bebo App platform though. The O2 Application has been on Bebo since March but the numbers are still very impressive. If each install resulted in 4 invites and say 2 sims being sent out per App install then that’s 3,664 potential new customers, €3,664 in credit (not real money) being given back for invites and €3,664 in credit when the SIMs were delivered. Given the average spend for those with credit phones, it doesn’t sound like a bad investment, once the cost of building the app wasn’t too much. Judging by the interaction on the Bebo Profile of the app you’d have to pay for a part-time resource too. 83 comments on the profile, many from O2 themselves.

A nice move though by O2 but I’d have considered it wiser for a different type of campaign on Facebook compared to Bebo.

Would you do anything differently with this? How would you target those you want to sign up for contracts? Offer them premium services?

Merry Christmas – Our gift to you for 2009

The feedback about the Online PR post has been extensive in the past 24 hours, thank you for that. It’s been put to me that I need to put my money where my mouth is or some other cliché and so I will. It’s not enough for bloggers (I’m one of them!) to bleat on their blogs about what they want from PR people and Marketing people and how they want to be approached, if they want to be approached. Opt in remember!

Papas noel gaiteros
Photo owned by DrZito (cc)

So I’m offering to run an event in mid-January where bloggers that are interested (I’ll provide booze and cake to bribe them!) can come along and meet up with PR and Marketing people who can mingle with them and get their feedback on campaigns or thoughts they had on how to engage with the online community which includes bloggers, social networkers and all the rest. I would like to see more PR and Marketing people communicating with Irish bloggers who are interested in these communications and having these companies listen to what the online people think and to try and work with these onliners to get them what they want.

Want to come along? Leave a comment below, be you a blogger or a PR/Marketing type.

Lane
Photo owned by tomeppy (cc)

Online PR in Ireland – Are Irish PR companies too busy ringing about their press releases to notice?

(BTW: This is an Online PR course we’re looking to provide)

Definition of PR from the PR Institute of Ireland:

Public relations – The dissemination of purposefully planned and executed messages to selected media and publics to enable an organisation (or person) establish and build relationships founded on trust, and to enhance and safeguard its reputation.

E-Consultancy in the UK released a great report this week on Online PR and the attitudes from agencies and their clients about it.

The favoured definition of Online PR from that report is:

The most popular definition was “maximising favourable mentions of your company, brands, products or websites on third party sites”, indicating that current Online PR objectives are more outreach and engagement-based than identifying, listening to and understanding stakeholders.

Some of the other definitions offered were:

  • Maximising favourable mentions of your company, brands, products or websites on third-party sites.
  • Using new technology to effectively identify and create a dialogue with stakeholders.
  • Extending reach and awareness of your brand.

And over in Eire…

If you look up the definition of Online PR on the website of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland you won’t actually find one. It’s not in their glossary which I guess is endemic of what is not happening in Ireland in terms of Online PR. Neville Hobson has been over a few times now to bash their heads together, good for him, people like Neville are needed but I wonder is he seen as some kind off curiosity instead of the saviour to their industry?

This is an industry that needs saving according to the figures from PRII and Drury’s Paddy Hughes. 20% decline in business in 2009? 2008 seeing 0% growth? Ouch and ouch. As the Online PR industry in the UK and around the world is thriving too?

turkey, before
Photo owned by nayrb7 (cc)

Most Irish PR firms are just not getting Online PR here. Too many are into “harvesting” email addresses off blogs and then sending the usual old shite they send to journalists. If a journalist isn’t going to read your useless unengaging press release, the blogger you’re spamming will have less interest again. As will a Beboer, a Facebooker or a LinkedIner. Bloggers are not being paid to file copy and fill up space so they might just be pickier than a journalist and their audiences certainly differ.

A recent digital marketing firm (not PR now mind) spammed a load of Irish bloggers about some ill-fitting product and when I took this up with them they said the client dictated it. Now with even less balls, it’s online relations!

Getting it/not getting it

So do the main PR companies get online? Not sure they fully do. Looking at some of the PRII Council Members and their companies let’s see what we get: (I got depressed after looking at these few and didn’t bother looking at the rest)

Drury
Blog? No
RSS feed for their news items? Yes.
Social Bookmarking options around their press releases? No
Search Engine Optimised releases? No
Additional content around the press releases? No
Date of last news item? May 18th, 2006

Saying that, Drury have been very proactive with me for HP one of their clients. Sending me review gear the odd time and inviting me to HP events. To

Gibney Communications
No to all.
Date of last news item? Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Murray Consultants
No no no.
Last news item. 31st October 2007

Bespoke Communications?
Well they have a Facebook Fan page which is pretty monumental for an Irish PR company. Well done on that.
No to the rest.
No news page.

However when it comes to pissing off bloggers, they’re very good at it. Below is a stupid email Bespoke Communications sent to me about a blog post on broadband prices in Ireland. Despite the fact I met their boss at a BT Ireland event and chatted to him I got a cold impersonal email suggesting I am somehow making BT look bad.

To whom it concerns,

On behalf of BT Ireland, we would be grateful if you would please refer to BT Ireland’s official website, www.btireland.ie, for all official pricing details. …

A number of recent reports on broadband prices in the Irish market have included incorrect price details for BT Ireland. Therefore, we would be grateful if you would reference the BT Ireland website for any future references to BT prices for broadband in Ireland.

Dictating anything to a blogger is not going to go down well. Suggesting to the blogger they are being communicated AT because of issues with incorrect prices is downright insulting. For once I was civil with such a reply. Most bloggers would not be and an email like this could have easily ruffled enough feathers for bloggers to blog more on the issues, not less.

Depressing. You can check out the other PR companies from the list and see how they measure up if you want.

There are a few shinier lights though.

Hope without Obama

Edelman get it. They would what with being an International powerhouse. They blog, kinda. Piaras Kelly is in their Irish office and is well known and respected in the Irish blogging community because he’s part of it.

Slattery Communications are getting it with both running Facebook events and creating their own Facebook Creativity Application. And a blog! They have staffers who blog too. Eoin Kennedy for example.

Thinkhouse PR (Disclaimer: we have an unfortunate history) are getting it too.

Are there more examples of Irish PR firms getting it?

Minimals

Should a PR company not have at a minimum the following if they are to get Online PR?

  • A blog.
  • An RSS feed for news items. Bloggers might just subscribe to technology press releases or social.
  • A Facebook presence either officially via a page or via PR staff inviting people to events created on Facebook. There are 400,000 Irish on Facebook, reaching out to these active people is crucial.
  • Staff on Twitter
  • Releases dedicated to the online communities that exist.
  • Events tailored to those online communities.

I’m sure the usual excuses will pop up. They pop up in all aspects of life. It’s like this though: The boat is sinking and you can either learn to swim or you can die.

One example: How have telcos reacted to online negativity?

Looking at telecoms for when it comes to Online PR in Ireland you can see how the companies and their PR agencies are missing out. Three Ireland have a complaint thread on Boards.ie that has been viewed almost half a million times (449,285), it’s 379 pages long! Where’s the Online PR here? Boards.ie would (I’m guessing) love to have someone from Three to come along and engage constructively about this.

O2 did nothing about the rantings over their Paddy Tax and then when they treated potential and existing customers like crap and there was an online backlash, they still did nothing.

In the UK, O2 have their own Twitter accounts and real people who respond to issues. But not in Ireland.

And how many Irish PR companies have been to Measurement Camp? Measure what? Yeah.

Death by Internet

2009 is going to be very interesting for those who have forseen the growth of online and are geared up to tackle it. If the whole industry is going to tank by 20% though, it might not be so rosy for others. Death by ignoring the Internet.

"The Nick Jonas FANCLUB!"
Photo owned by Ezy Brenizzle (cc)

The business case for asking for a business case

Please stop asking for the business case for blogs or Twitter or Facebook or all these digital tools. Is there a business case for people reading the Irish Times in the office? Or listening to Morning Ireland?

On Friday night I was in London. On Friday night a local furniture store in Cork burned down. My Cork friends in London and myself watched what happened via my mobile and Twitter. Feck the notion of “how can we use this for business” before we allow it through our web filters. Just allow it. These are some of the pics we saw from London.

Pictures via Sam Kidd who was on the scene.

This is the aftermath:
Cork Fire North Main Street

What exactly is your justification for blocking the outside world from hearing from your company and sharing with your company?