Is it a good idea to stay friends with old clients and colleagues?

Yesterday was officially my last day working for Coast Digital. After spending just under a year with the online marketing agency and learning far more than I ever could have imagined about SEO, PPC, analytics, online usability testing, website design and build, I’m now looking forward to returning to work on some offline marketing projects – while retaining a healthy dose of online, too.

It’s always a difficult decision to leave an agency – particularly a small one. Not only do you leave behind the colleagues that you’ve spent days on end with, but it also means saying goodbye to the clients that you’ve worked alongside and who you will have, inevitably, learnt an awful lot from along the way.

I had the pleasure of catching up with some colleagues and friends from my first agency, Berkeley PR, last week and I’m so glad that I took the time to visit them. While many things have remained the same there, it was an absolute delight to hear about the new projects that are now occupying their days, their latest success stories and exciting changes in their personal lives too.

Now that we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and a whole host of other networking tools at our disposal, keeping in touch with old colleagues has never been so easy. I don’t think that anyone should leave an agency on bad terms if it’s at all avoidable. After all, those colleagues and clients will have contributed an immeasuable amount to your professional achievements and development. Whether you choose to stay connected to your managers, your trainees, your suppliers or your clients, each one of those connections has played a huge role in the kind of employee that you are now and may determine the direction that your career takes in the future.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine


PR Week – Best of the Tech Blogs

I’d like to say a big thank you to PR Week for featuring my post on the role of women in technology, PR and business in its Best of the Tech Blogs column last week. Considering this blog has only been up and running for a few weeks, I couldn’t believe my luck when an old PR colleague (@Paul_Stallard) spotted my name and directed me to the coverage. You can view the online version here.

I must also say a second quick thank you to another former Berkeley PR colleague, Phil Szomszor, who mentioned this blog over at the red rocket: Welcome to new technology, media and online PR bloggers. Phil’s been blogging about technology, PR and social media for a number of years and his posts are always worth a read.

I’ve wanted to start my own blog for quite some time and, now that I have, I wish I’d done it sooner. The response from old colleagues, friends, online connections and now even PR Week has been brilliant and has confirmed that I really want to put more time and effort into developing this into a site that people will want to visit time and time again.

If you have any recommendations or suggestions, I’d be very happy to hear them.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

The role of women in technology, PR and business

My Twitter feed pointed me to a fascinating, but somewhat disturbing, article on the New York Times website this morning addressing why there are still so few women in Silicon Valley. I’ve copied a brief excerpt below:

WOMEN now outnumber men at elite colleges, law schools, medical schools and in the overall work force. Yet a stark imbalance of the sexes persists in the high-tech world, where change typically happens at breakneck speed.

We see new developments being announced by the technology industry every day. There are often so many small breakthroughs being made that PR agencies have to fight to win their clients column inches – and many of these battles are fought and won by female PR professionals who not only fully understand the key messages and USPs, but also the technology behind it all.

Since I began my career at a PR agency focussed on raising the profile of technology and B2B companies, I’m still shocked when I hear of any kind of sexism that remains in the tech industry. I’ve worked with some incredibly smart and talented women – and men, of course – and I simply can’t imagine anyone being able to sideline them because of their gender.

Ada Lovelace Day, supported by a vast number of people I’m connected to, is an international day of blogging which recognises the achievements of women in technology and science. Events like this one are doing much to redress the balance where sexism does still rear its ugly head.

Sexism will always be a tricky subject and going by statistics alone can be misleading. It is inevitable that some careers and industries will simply appeal to more men than women, and vice versa. Let’s hope that we continue to see far fewer articles about sexism in any industry in the years to come though.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

The general election 2010 and how it will be covered online

So, Gordon Brown is on his way to visit the Queen this morning to ask permission to call a general election. As expected, the topic has dominated many of today’s early Twitter conversations and already has its own hashtag (#ge2010), courtesy of BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.

It seems that it’s going to be very difficult to avoid hearing and reading about this particular general election thanks to social media. As one Twitter contact of mine (PR professional and blogger, @JonClements) puts it,

@BeccaJW: Imagine there’ll be much nonsense to share in the coming weeks.

The political online development projects have already begun, with a WebUser article from this morning pointing us to “Slap a politician online“. A colleague of mine at Coast Digital, head of creative Jamil Shehadeh, has also provided an interesting take on how the design of the top parties’ websites might influence voters.

While this election might not be won or lost online, it’s certainly going to have a big part to play when it comes to public perception and “buzz”.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

April Fool’s Day: a marketer’s dream or nightmare?

As is the case with every April Fool’s Day, I hadn’t realised the significance of today’s date until I found myself questioning a host of radio news reports during my drive to the office.

Personally, I love this annual morning of hoaxes. When I was working in PR, the team had the pleasure of scanning the national newspapers each morning and it was a great opportunity for spotting the more gullible amongst us. It became something that I very much looked forward to.

That said, the day can throw a spanner in the works for marketers and PR professionals alike. If you have a big announcement to make for a client that could interest the national press, do you hang on to it for an extra day to ensure that it doesn’t get sidelined by faux news stories or – god forbid – mistaken for one? Or, is it better to issue it as planned and hope that editors are looking to balance out the high jinks with some hard-hitting business stories?

On the flip side, April Fool’s Day can be a saving grace for those looking to discreetly air some dirty laundry. There’s a higher chance that a negative news piece will be overlooked as attention is grabbed by some great editorial and advertorial stunts.

It reminds me of an episode of The West Wing called “Take Out the Trash Day”. The idea is that you group all of the bad news stories together and give them to the press on one day, safe in the knowledge that the journalists only have a set number of column inches to fill.

The same principal applies with April Fool’s Day and big national events, in my opinion. While it means that your great story might get lost, it also means that your less flattering story might not get noticed.

Love it or hate it, April Fool’s wind ups are here to stay. This year, I’ve seen more of them than ever thanks to Facebook and Twitter.

I’d be interested to hear further thoughts on the topic from other marketers and PR professionals. Just leave me a comment below.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine