Hashtag haters

There’s no denying the power of the hashtag. Every brand wants to see theirs trending on Twitter and its a BIG tick in the achievements box if a PR person can make this happen. They’re also, undoubtedly, a great way of following a news story without having to perform multiple searches.
But… has the media claimed the hashtag for its own and what will become of it?
The hashtag was, in my opinion, at its best when it was used to suggest irony or sarcasm in a tweet (like the enduringly popular #firstworldproblems series). Now, though:
  • TV producers have jumped on the bandwagon and promote their own hashtags continuously (Britain’s Got Talent creates new ones for almost all of its acts!)
  • They’re all over billboards…
Source: blog.jabbrag.com

Source: blog.jabbrag.com

  • And media hashtags like #Kisstory and #JeremyKyle compete on a daily basis:
@JustinWilkes: #Kisstory fights to trend on twitter against Jeremy Kyle every day! I see this as a good old fashioned battle between good and evil :o)
So, what does the future hold for the beloved hashtag and which camp are you in – “long live the hashtag” or “hashtag haters”?

Top 5 PR mistakes that’ll get you shamed on Twitter

Twitter is, undoubtedly, the social network of choice if you want to rant, vent or stand up for yourself in a very public way.
Yesterday we saw Katherine Jenkins take to Twitter to slam Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir’s critique of her London Marathon run (according to Moir she looked too good – go figure). As a result, Katherine Jenkins got lots of public support, lots of column inches and (hopefully) a bit more sponsorship; Jan Moir got shamed.
Source: Guardian.co.uk

Source: Guardian.co.uk

I’ve seen numerous examples of Twitter being used in this way and I don’t imagine it’s going to stop anytime soon.
Journalists naming and shaming – or simply venting about – PRs who just don’t get it is also very common and is definitely something to avoid if you want a long-lasting careerThe golden rule is: make it as easy as possible for a journalist to write about your product / client / brand. Doing anything other than that could not only mean your story doesn’t get picked up, you could get publicly called out on your indolence.
The top five mistakes that’ll get you shamed by a journalist on Twitter are:
1. Send a press release to “Sir” / “Madam” / incorrect name entirely

Establish connections with relevant journalists rather than sending your press release to anyone you think may have written about something in the general area that you’re targeting. Journalists have to do their research (and they have to do lots of it) so they appreciate it when you do yours.

2. Invite a ‘mummy blogger’ (for example) to an event that takes place in the evening, away from home, and doesn’t consider childcare

If you’re targeting a particular sector, take a moment to think about the most convenient time and place for them rather than trying to blow them away with a 5* London hotel and free all-night bar. Don’t expect them to rearrange their life around your event – make it as easy as possible for them to attend. 

3. Send a press release to a whole load of journalists without using that handy BCC function

Tailor your press releases when you can and don’t make journalists feel like they’re just one target on a huge list that includes all of their competitors. It won’t get you any brownie points and sharing someone’s email address with the world certainly won’t win you any friends.

4. Cram your press release full of jargon that the journalist’s readers will never understand – or write twice as much as you need to

This will result in journalists having to spend time editing it down into something that their readers will be able to digest and understand. Refer to the golden rule: make their job that bit easier whenever you can.

5. Invite a journalist to speak to a client / come to an event / write about your product without being able to provide the elements they’ll need

Respond quickly when journalists ask questions and make sure you can give them access to the person or product you’re asking them to write about – otherwise, what’s the point? Make it difficult for them and you’ll not only lose the story, you may lose your contact entirely.


Top 3 2013 April Fool’s Day PR and marketing stunts

Top 3 2013 April Fool's Day PR and marketing stunts

Last year one of this blog’s most popular posts was about PR and marketing stunts designed specifically for April Fool’s Day 2012.

Yet again, this year delivered some great examples of how to make the most of this annual opportunity. In reverse order, my top three for 2013 are:

3: A clever bit of April 1st social media marketing from women’s fashion brand Warehouse. It was a seemingly innocent ‘spot the difference’ competition on their Facebook page – only there were no differences at all. Simple but effective.

2: Pop group The Saturdays changing their name to The Fridays. I spotted this one via a story on Metro.co.uk that one of my friends shared on Facebook – it definitely had shareability! A quick Google search revealed absolutely loads of coverage for this brilliant April Fool’s story.

1: Google launching ‘treasure mode’ on its maps. The internet giant posted a spoof video on YouTube explaining how the hidden treasure could be discovered on the maps. Slick, sophisticated and very well thought through.

April Fool’s Day stunts are a great way of showing the world that your company has a sense of humour and they can get you some seriously good PR coverage. Just make sure you don’t kid too many people for too long and make your fans feel like fools. They may never forgive you!