Collision Course II – February 18th 2009

While the first Collision Course hasn’t even happened yet, there are enough people being turned away (sorry people!) to warrant a second one. Unless we all end up doing some kind of Battle Royale thing, there’ll be a second and a third and so on. We might as well make this a regular thing. Some of the wrinkles might get ironed out by the next one too. It would also be good to see new faces at the second one. So if you’re a blogger, a PR person or someone in Digital Marketing then sign up in the comments for the next Collision Course.

If a PR or Marketing company wants to volunteer a space for 30 people or less on the evening of February 18th, let me know too.
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Marketing is the quick shag, PR is the long-term relationship

In doing a video interview with Niall I uttered something like the title of this blog post. He has promised to edit the video to make me look like a tool. Minutes in the editing suite so… I don’t know is that statement correct.

From what I can see people look at marketing in terms of campaigns, short sharp jousts with the world and then they’re over and done with. Cigarette time. Look at all those “micro” and “mini” sites that are out there from marketing campaigns and they’re just gathering web dust now. Such a waste really. It’s all lust with these interactions.

Then we have the idea of PR being about building relationships between companies and individuals or people with authority and/or influence. Building those kind of relationships takes more work and time but if we keep with the analogy, don’t a lot of long-term relationships become rather boring? Even when the lust turns to love? Will a mistress pop up from time to time? Will there be a divorce?

Surely though with the web and the always-on, always some kind of connection to people vibe, the fun and energy of the marketing jousts can be worked into something longer term and into relationship territory. I’m looking at the brilliant marketing concepts from Burker King of late and again and again they bring something fun out and people are anticipating them. Yet, where is the central hub for fans of Burger King campaigns? They could actually gain super fans if they so wanted by creating that hub. What powers Apple fans and the anticipation of a new product could actually be applied to BK’s odd marketing and bring it under the wing of PR.

"Lingua" by Jim Sanborn
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The Definitive list of “influencers” in Irish Blogging

It’s all of them!

Well it is.

White Bread, 1964,  oil on canvas by James Rosenquist
Photo owned by cliff1066 (cc)

There are a few ways of measuring “influencers” in Irish Blogging.

You could measure using traffic.

Though right now unless people open up their stats (My personal blog over on has public stats, see bottom of the page) you can’t get accurate stats. Niall has opened up his too. Sites like Alexa might help. Paul created a list of 179 Irish blogs and their traffic estimates using Alexa so this might give you a snapshot.

Google Trends for websites can help out there too or even Google Adplanner.

You could measure using Technorati.

Ye wha? Technorati is a bit of a blog search engine and a blog ranking thingymajig. I’m not sure that it knows what it is anymore but it does rank blogs by the numbers of links that they have and gives you a rank compared to others. If a lot of websites link to you then this is a measure of value, a rough one but a measure. Google started off with the idea that links were quite important and still basically believe that.

You can use Technorati to compare the rank of one blog to another, the lower the rank, the more “powerful” the blog. Justin Mason created a handy resource a while back for Irish Blogs that allows you to see a list of the best ranked Irish Blogs. It’s here.

But in a democratic world…

Influence online is about getting your voice heard, not how loud the voice is. The truth will out, all comments trickle down, out and up eventually.

At the recent IIA Social Media Working Group feedback forum on their Blogging Whitepaper I believe someone suggested (I tuned in via Twitter) that you check out those blogs talking about you and if a response is needed (I guess if someone is complaining about your service) then create a response plan based on their Technorati influence. Picking the most influential ones to respond to and cutting off the rest. That’s oldschool thinking there.

Every single blog has the potential to be the next big player, the influencer of an influencer. If a blog has a single reader or subscriber or can be found on Google then they should get a response. Besides which, if someone takes the time to write about your product, it should be worth responding to no matter what. Naturally they are exceptions. Fools exist, giving them air wastes more air.

Someone suggested you wouldn’t have the time or resources to respond to all bloggers. Make some. Blogging is democratic and bloggers respect and enjoy opinions from other bloggers with all sizes of audiences. If you respond to the top 20 bloggers based on traffic or Technorati rank and no more, what about that blogger in the same niche you ignored? Are they subscribed to by an “influencer”? Then you’re hosed if they are, it’ll trickle up.

Anyway, surely if the world is talking about your product you’re either doing something really really good or really really bad?

Ketchup bottle, NYC, December 2008
Photo owned by mattkrause1969 (cc)

Obviously we don’t like the word “influencer”

But if it’s not responding to bloggers but working with bloggers, what should you be doing? Well, what area are you doing Online PR or Online Marketing in? Find Irish blogs that match that. You’ll find them by searching for keywords on

Of course there’s a whole other blog post about the best way to work with bloggers and you’ll read it here soon but read this PDF as homework first. It’s from Shift Communications and is about the best one pager on how to work with and approach bloggers.

“We could not have bought the results achieved with traditional media” – 31 Days of the Dragon

Found this via Kerry. HP did a clever campaign giving away 31 pieces of kit and the reaction was fantastic. Here are their slides talking about the campaign:

Some blurbs from the slides:

  • “We could not have bought the results achieved with traditional media”
  • “We really know them at a personal level – we consider each other friends, not just cards in a rolodex”
  • “We spent over a year demonstrating that we were willing to do the right things for, with and by them and therefore earned their trust”
  • “They helped design the rules and manage and organise each other – this was more of a partnership than a program”
  • “By allowing the bloggers to design their own contest and then giving them a unit to give away, we removed a lot of the legal and internal approvals required for such a campaign”

Food for thought folks!

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.

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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)

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,, 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?


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 that has been viewed almost half a million times (449,285), it’s 379 pages long! Where’s the Online PR here? 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)