Public Relations (PR) helps start-ups grow. But how much? I speak with many entrepreneurs and start-up businesses who say they are unsure what PR can do for them. It sounds wishy-washy. Social media is the fast track to success, right? Wrong.
I have written a case study showing the effects of successful PR. The company is Summly. Summly was an application launched in 2011, sold to Yahoo! 19 months later for £18 million. Summly has been downloaded over 500,000 times and this case study looks at the PR efforts which helped make that happen.
Download it, share it, and let me know your thoughts!
How to use Fakers to find out how many fake Twitter followers someone has
1. Sign in for free with your Twitter account
Click ‘Connect to Twitter’ to sign up for free
2. Click to authorise Fakers to login with your Twitter details
‘Authorise app’ to login to Fakers using your Twitter account. No Tweets shall be sent from your profile.
3. Wait as Fakers scans your own Twitter account to see how many fake followers you have
Watch a pretty blue spiral spin as Fakers calculates how many fake profiles you have following your Twitter account
4. Either sulk or celebrate your score
If you have a good score, share it to show off and boost credibility with your followers
5. Try someone else’s Twitter profile
Take a look at some other Twitter profiles – maybe people you follow or tend to recommend. Are they who they say they are?
Future of social media influence scores
Future social media influence scores such as Klout may take fake followers into account. There’s no reason why Fakers cannot share their APIs with third-party applications and make their fake-scanning technology available for all.
What does this mean?
Being found to have fake Twitter followers tinges your reputation. For example, Tim Ferriss above has 11% fake followers – that’s over 44,000 profiles.
Yet before rushing to judge, this does not mean he, or anyone else with a similar score, added these themselves. To look legitimate fake Twitter profiles follow real people. They also use computer bots to re-tweet real Twitter users. If a fake Twitter profile is trying to look like they’re interested in outsourcing, book publishing and lifestyle design, it’s only normal that they’d follow someone like Tim Ferriss who is an author on all those subjects.
Should I, or should I not buy fake Twitter followers?
Large Twitter followings do give instant credibility to onlookers, but not influence. You’ll be Tweeting to a wall. Best Twitter practice is to find real and relevant Twitter users and build your following slowly over time (read my eBook, Tom’s Twitter Blueprint).
I’ve bought thousands of fake followers, what should I do?
If you’ve already bought thousands of fake followers and want to reduce your risk of being caught out and receiving negative publicity, there are a number of options you can do:
1. Confess – Write a blog post outlining exactly what you did and why – you were experimenting with digital marketing to see what would happen. Describe the results (if they’re positive i.e. drove organic growth, then you were smart and it’s a win for you. If they’re negative and nothing happened, then say you’ve stopped and are sharing the insight to others – a win for you.) Now, if anyone does raise the fact, you can point them to your blog post and show them that it’s old news.
2. Reduce the proportion – Win real Twitter followers quickly by advertising on Twitter, engaging in popular #hashtag conversations and conducting large quantities of legitimate Twitter action.
The Guardian Witness is a big step in citizen journalism. Free publicity awaits.
The Guardian Witness is a new platform from The Guardian (monthly online visitors: 77,931,138) opening journalism to the world. News, photographs, videos and comments are submitted by the public, or ‘contributors’ to a dozen ‘assignments’.
Assignments are given on the home page, inviting contributors to respond to the brief. For example:
Guardian Witness invites London Marathon runners to talk about who they’re supporting
Contributions include photographs, one liners and videos:
You can see here that Adam in the video above is running for Children with Cancer UK – a cause for which he has gained free publicity and raised its awareness by creating this 30 second video and submitting it to Guardian Witness.
Whilst you cannot simply publish anything i.e. it’s not a PR free-for-all, and it does seem submissions are reviewed before they go live, Guardian Witness is an opportunity to get some press coverage.
Some PR associates of mine, for instance, submitted photos of The Shard in London to the assignment Views Of Tall Buildings (they manage the reputation of The Shard and try to increase footfall to the area).
Indirect contributions may also be beneficial to your business. You do not have to say the name of your company to raise awareness of it. For instance, say you’re a pharmacist commenting on national health service reforms, and you put forth the argument that pharmacists have a greater role to play – this could still drive awareness to your business without saying the company name.
Guardian Witness is an opportunity for startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, sole traders and joe the plumber to be smart and get some free press coverage. It may even be possible to media hack it and submit an assignment idea that gets chosen for you to answer yourself.
And it’s more than likely that popular assignments with good contributors will make it into the main Guardian site and paper.
No it’s not me, it’s Pepe Ronnie – the man who took this photo of me. Pepe is a photographer on a mission. He wants to save the world one photo at a time. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – they all have “disgusting” photos, Pepe says, and he’s changing that.
The idea of getting a professional photo done is normally not something most people think about. Unless it’s for a wedding, (British) people think it’s slightly vain – and expensive.
“What the fuck is this?” Pepe asks, looking at the LinkedIn picture of someone at the #londonstartups event. He proceeds to tell the poor man that it’s crap, and that he better change it if he wants to be taken seriously.
“Your social media profile is the face that the entire world sees,” Pepe says to me. “It’s got to be good.”
His attendance at #londonstartups has become a feature that the entire group now looks forward to – Pepe is known to rip business cards up in front of people’s eyes. Hilariously ruthless and relentless, Pepe will make you change your photo one way or another: resistance is futile.
Entrepreneurs and startups are his speciality. In a competitive market where bloggers and journalists often pluck portrait photos off Twitter, Facebook and Google Images, having a good photo pays.
Leaving the tube at Kennington, I give in to Pepe’s beckoning and walk up his stairs to the studio.
“Stop being constipated!” Pepe laughed as I struggled to “think of beautiful lesbians making love on top of [me]“.
This was Pepe’s brilliant technique to make me relax. Controlled and directive, Pepe was fantastic at getting the most out of my Hugo Boss (Asian Branch) looks. He spots your little quirks and encourages you to own them.
In fifteen minutes were were done.
“There’s no need for a three hour photo shoot. We only need one photo, and once we get it, that’s it.”
Check out some of Pepe’s work on Facebook and help him save the world one photo at a time. Pictures start at about £25 – yes, really, that’s it.
Behind the scenes of a new campaign I’ve been working on
Recently I’ve been working with the Industry Trust, increasing copyright awareness. You can read about the campaign here on The Drum, and watch behind-the-scenes of a photostunt we did with Gemma Atkinson.
Look out for the man with the flat cap! Video produced by Terry Church PR (my brother).
If you want your website on the top of Google results, stop thinking SEO and start thinking Content.
As I have explained in my Google workshops, the search engine giant has one incredible skill: The ability to learn from massive amounts of data.
It updates search algorithms up to 500 times a year and weeds out websites that try to game it. If you’ve ever read about SEO, or any sort of guide to get to the top of Google, you’ll probably be familiar with article marketing (now defunct), comment backlinking (now defunct), forum posting (about to be defunct) and link wheeling.
All these quick-win techniques either are, or will become dead soon. Why? Google has just opened its doors to receive vast amounts of data that will enable it to learn which of these websites are shit. How will it know? People are about to tell it.
For the first time, Google is allowing web-masters to tell it which links pointing to their websites are junk and should be ‘disavowed’. On the surface, its allowing web-masters to do this because lots of people have complained that competitors are creating junk links to purposefully reduce their rankings. This ‘disavow’ option is like a white flag web-masters can fly: Hey Google, ignore this link pointing at me, I don’t know who made it and it’s from a dodgy website!
Yet, think about what data Google is really receiving. Hundreds of thousands of people are telling Google which websites are dodgy, and what kind of links it should ignore. Google is being taught by the very people that tried to game it how to find false backlinks. The quick-win SEO strategies are dead.
So how the hell do you get to the top of Google then? The basic principles still apply: Get backlinks from credible sources such as news sites, blogs and social media. Figure out a way to create interest and get written about. This is called a ‘content-led approach’. Make something, write something, share something.
Forget the idea of creating a site, getting it to the top of Google and sitting back as the money rolls in. That never happened anyway. The web is the most competitive marketplace of all; you have to create interesting content (note – doesn’t have to be of the top quality to be successful), and distribute like mad through credible, human-edited channels.
Oddly, that sounds a lot like what PRs have been doing for the last decade.
Computer companies only ever asked one question: How do we get our products in front of consumers? Apple asked, how do we get consumers in front of our products? Apple opened up their own shops and changed the computing business forever (again).
The same thought switch can be made for many businesses, but isn’t. Professional services, which don’t have tangible products, ask how do we get our brand out there? Network, apply to pitches, advertise, use PR… But nine times out of ten you can follow Apple’s suit to invite people in.
For example, create an event to share your knowledge. Invite targeted (high value) individuals and give them something for nothing. Don’t sell them your service at this event; build a relationship. Just like in an Apple store where you can go in and use a laptop, let them come in and learn about you and what you do. Then, when the time is right, your name will pop up first in their mind.
The release of Tom’s Twitter Blueprint more than doubled my newsletter subscribers and in this blog post I’m going to explain how. It’s a free eBook, detailing a proven Twitter strategy to gain more real and relevant followers. I wrote it for three reasons: a) to figure out what Twitter strategies actually work, b) to provide great content to you (the reader) and c) as an experiment to incentivise people to sign up to my newsletter.
Having a newsletter is valuable because it makes the next ‘sell’ much easier. I’ve always said to startups that as they’re building their product, they should be collecting everyone’s email addresses (use LaunchRock). When they eventually launch, on day one they already have a thousand or so users that want to be involved.
For a blogger, having a newsletter makes it easier to bring people back to your content. However, it also pushes you to create better and better stuff, because you can see how many people unsubscribe!
To learn more about how I wrote Tom’s Twitter Blueprint, how I marketed it and how it’s helped with building my newsletter subscription list, keep reading.
Force feed idea creation by looking out the window, finding something and using it. - CIA DE FOTO
Force Feed Idea Creation
Ideas don’t just come out of no where, they’re created. Creation, as a process, is a mash-up of your immediate surroundings, people, and all your past experiences. But if you’re stuck in an office all day, or in your home, your immediate surroundings and people are stale – they aren’t conducive to new lines of thought.
So look out the window and find something or someone. No matter who or what they are, force yourself to generate an idea around that. Make the mum pushing the pram the centrepiece of your campaign, turn the old man with the guide dog into a new perspective, look at the group of kids and ask how they can work for you.
When you force feed idea creation, you challenge yourself to think creatively. Some of the best ideas are discovered this way, and it’s a technique Paul Arden uses. So don’t waste any more time, look out the window, find something and use it.