Snow Brings The Blog Traffic

11 12 2009

Adding snow to this blog has made Christmas come early.

The seasonal feature has increased traffic to the blog by more than 5% for the same period for the previous week.  The ‘snow’ feature is a WordPress plugin that allows you to make things a little more seasonal with a single click.

OK, it’s an entirely spurious claim and the blog traffic to this site fluctuates up and down by more than 5% most weeks.  However there is a slightly more serious point.  What really does drive blog traffic is dynamic content or put simply stuff that changes.  Usually that means new posts or new images but who is to say that adding a little frosting won’t make the site a little more appealing at this time of year.   Blogging about snow at this time of year also attracts the attention of the hordes of people Googling to see if we are going to have a white Christmas.  No harm in adding a little white hat SEO to the snow.

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Strategic Social Media. Manchester

2 12 2009

I am currently at the Strategic Social Media Conference in Manchester. I gave the opening presentation and have been tweeting for most of the day using the hashtag #stratsm but I’ve been missing a trick.  I have an iPod touch with me and I could have been live blogging using the WordPress app on the touch.

Well I am now.  Robin Wilson of my alma mater McCann Manchester is now on stage talking about evaluation. I know Robin a bit but I’ve never seen him speak before.  He’s good and generous with his knowledge.

Evaluation is a major topic in social media marketing.  There are a myriad of free tools like HowSociable, Icerocket and Board Tracker; all using key word searches.  The really powerful tools however are paid for – Radian 6 and Andiamo are just two of the many Robin mentioned.

It’s been a good conference. Martin Thomas co-author of Crowdsurfing was a highlight for me but the live feedback for all of the sessions has been good;  Alex Aitken, Mark Hanson, Sarah Hartley, Ann Longley, Simon Collister, Sarah Lundy, Craig Elder and of course Robin have all provided great insight. 

Don’t Panic Events ran the UK’s first ever social media coverage in 2005 so no surprise that they know how to get it right.  By the way Robin is still speaking but my battery is running low.





Google Says No Need to Tag Along

23 09 2009

It seems that meta tags are no longer worth the paper they are printed on.  Google does not actually use the tags that we add to our posts for search.  

At a recent event (the video is included below)  Matt Cutts who works as a software engineer specialising in search engine optimisation (SEO) at the Search Quality Group in Google, gave this somewhat startling information in response to a question.  He said that Google “disregards keyword meta tags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present”.  The reason being that they had been abused so extensively is the past.  Essentially this means that Google regards tagging as ‘black hat’ (or unethical SEO) irrespective of how responsibly the tagging is done. 

Google does however use the meta description (essentially the short summary tag) in some cases to offer a description of the page in the search results but they still don’t use this in the ranking.  So as far as Google is concerned the content is what matters (and the headline or the H1 tag as it is known in SEO circles).  So for the very first time I am going to add a blog post without meta tags…and hold my breath.

Google’s Matt Cutts





Apple Approves Spotify for iPhone?

25 08 2009

Rumours are circulating that Apple is about to announce that the Spotify app for the iPhone is approved and will be available for download within days.  If true, this will fundamentally change the way that we listen to and pay for music.

Spotify has already had a huge impact on music listening.  It is now poised to revolutionise the financial model with its ‘fremium’ offer of an ad-funded free service and a premium subscription offer (which will be required if you want to listen on the iPhone).   In its native Sweden it appears it has already overtaken Apple’s iTunes store.  The head of Universal Music in Sweden, Per Sundin has said that  “in 5 months from the launch Spotify became our largest digital source of income and so passed by iTunes.”

Spotify mobile is a key development because it reaches an important demographic group that listens to music mainly on the move.  The eighteen plus generation who live at home or in shared accommodation want their music on a portable player – be it an iPhone, dedicated MP3 player or another smart device.  With an Android version of Spotify waiting in the wings rejecting the iPhone app could harm iPhone sales.

There is no official word yet and almost a month has passed since the app was submitted, but if the rumours are premature then could this be another salvo in Spotify’s sophisticated social media PR campaign?  By posting videos on Youtube showing the interface, blogging about the mobile versions for iPhone and Android, the Spotify supremos Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon have ensured the buzz is constant. 

 





Holiday Post

21 08 2009

In May 1995 I was asked by Tony Murray, the then editor of the marketing title Adline to write an article on the subject of e-mail for the magazine.  When I was researching for the book “Public Relations and the Social Web’ (companion to this blog) I discovered the article on an old disk.  It was reprinted in full in the book and shows how much has changed in a decade and a half.  Here is an extract. 

“So is E-mail a waste of time?  Emphatically no.  At the moment it is a bit like having one of the first fax machines.  The quality is a bit dodgy and no one else seems to have one.  In ten years time if you don’t have E-mail your business won’t be taken seriously.  For the PR industry in particular E-mail will change the way we work.  You will send a press release for approval and get it back maybe minutes later.  It can then be sent directly into the computers of all of your target publications, in seconds.  You will even be able to attach a high quality photograph in a format ready for the paper or magazine to drop straight onto a page.  All this without leaving your desk.  Better still you could do it all from a gite in the south of France because unlike a fax or phone your E-mail address number is portable, it goes with you.”

The reason that I wanted to refer to the article is that I am currently in a gite (well an old moulin to be accurate) in the south of France.  I can e-mail from my blackberry and as this demonstrates I can post to a blog. This is in a part of Gascony that just a few years ago had no mobile coverage.  I think when I wrote article I envisaged being able to spend endless weeks of summer in the sun, instead the holidays are the same length but work sneaks in.  That’s progress …I suppose.





Desmond Libel Case Bites The Dust

23 07 2009

Richard Desmond proprietor of Express Newspapers lost his libel case against author and journalist Tom Bower today.  The result was not the most fascinating aspect of the trial, it was hardly an open and shut case.  What was more interesting was the outpouring of opinion on-line within minutes of the outcome.

The jury at the London’s high court returned a majority verdict rejecting Desmond’s claim against the allegation, made by Bower in his book about publisher and tycoon Conrad Black, that Desmond had been “ground into the dust” by Black when forced into apologising  for articles in the Sunday Express in 2002.  Desmond believed the allegation damaged his business reputation.  However this is a reputation that is far from unsullied, in fact the Guardian’s Janine Gibson opined “It may not be possible to defame him…..” 

One of the first to comment was journalist George Dearsley who tweeted “People like Desmond have helped to kill responsible journalism and made many journalists’ lives a total misery”. “How do you libel a porn baron exactly?” added Leeds based PR about town Debbie Hastie.  The comments came thick and fast sharing dsatisfaction, joy and amusement at the result.

The comments may not have the grace and consideration of a national newspaper leader but they are quicker and a welcome adjuct to free speech …and they do a pretty good job of telling it like it is.





North West Media and Marketing

10 07 2009

‘How Do’ serves the media industry in the North West of England, offering news, opinion and resources for those working in all aspects of media in the region.  This week they asked me to be the guest editor for their weekly news round up the How Do Weekly Wrap.  Click here if you’d like a look.








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