Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Why we love Pinterest…

March 21, 2012

We’ve recently discovered Pinterest. I use the collective ‘we’ here, as the whole office seems to have started pinning with excitable interest all the time. We know Pinterest has been about for a while, but it would seem we have all hopped on this bandwagon at the same time.

Just in case you haven’t heard of the latest social network to ride the mainstream wave, let me tell you a little bit about it. To put it simply, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest lets you share the things you find on the web in one place and share it for others to see. As the site itself suggests “People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favourite recipes”. Ben and his team go on to say, “Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people…browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests”.

So there you have it. Pinterest seems simple enough. It seems to make sense. But why do we love it? After all, this isn’t the first website we found useful and simple. But this is definitely one of the first to capture users in the way that it has.

Let’s see if I can explain it for you. At the moment the site is gaining users on an invite only basis. If you don’t know someone using the site you can request an account from the team.  Hoop number two comes in the form of a Facebook of Twitter account: you need one. You don’t have to link them to your Pinterest account…but you now seem to need one to get started (A sign the site is getting far more mainstream perhaps?). 

However, from then on, the site acts very differently to other social networks. It doesn’t suggest friends you might know. It doesn’t suggest people you might like. What it wants to know is what you like! What things do you like doing? What stuff you want or use? What bits and bobs do you like looking out for, or simply which books do you read? It’s all about the content you find interesting.

From there Pinterest builds you a profile. It starts following peoples’ pinboards for you and all of a sudden your home screen bursts into life with content you like. The first time I logged on I was greeted by a dramatic landscape of the sun setting over mountains, an image of Mark Cavendish in full flow and a pair of Kurt Geiger boots. As I had expressed an interest in photography, sport and mens apparel (amongst other things) it wasn’t a bad start.

So it’s “different” I hear you say. It’s “intuitive”. But that can’t be it surely? Well no. To put it bluntly, it’s easy, quick, and simple and that appealed to a different part of us. This is a visual platform. We like to think of ourselves as creative and for that reason we love Pinterest. We love hearing what people have got to say, so we all spend time reading blogs, magazines and papers. But that can sometimes be a little time consuming. Not having enough time is definitely why most of us here love Twitter. We can dip in and out of our streams and see what the wider world is saying in just a couple of minutes. But what we really like is a story. Having a picture painted. Setting the scene and provoking thoughts in more than 140 characters but in less time than a blog post.

Pinterest therefore offers to plug the void in our random and creative minds. I can pin work thoughts to a shared “PR Stunts” board I have access to. But at the same time, I can pin pictures of my next pair of ski boots or a barrel wave image I see that made me crave sand between my toes. After all, a picture paints a thousand words doesn’t it? All three of these images take no more time to glance at, but all of them could send me off thinking about them for the next 10 minutes with nothing more than an image for a starting point.

Finally, just to prove one of my first points about this platform being simple: I taught my mum how to use Pinterest at the weekend. It took me about 10 minutes and she loved it. It is the first social networking platform that she has shown any interest in, or even a vague understanding of.

So if you haven’t discovered Pinterest yet, why not give it a go? If you can’t be bothered to wait for your invitation request to be answered, then ping one us an email and we will happily share an invitation with you.

We’re hiring!

November 3, 2011

Alright everyone, it’s time to dust off those CVs.

Skywrite is looking for both account managers and senior account executives to assist across our portfolio of corporate and consumer accounts.

Work would include everything from technology and telecoms accounts to pure play consumer. This is a great opportunity to work across a broad spectrum of different clients – including some of the biggest brands out there!

Email emma.hazan@skywritepr.com for more information!

18-24 year olds send on average 110 texts a day

September 21, 2011

What? Doth mine eyes deceive me? Surely this story can’t be right?

Firstly – how do they have that many friends that they need to contact every day, and secondly, what do they have to chat about at such length?

I fall into this category, being 24, and I can safely say, hand on heart, I send nowhere NEAR that amount of texts. Nor have I ever. I appreciate that this is on average, but worryingly, that means there are some in this age group who send way more than the average.

These findings lend themselves nicely to the amount of chatter we hear about people being addicted to their mobile phones – with research from Ofcom finding that ‘60% [of teens] admitting to being ‘highly’ addicted to their phones.’ This survey takes it one step further, by revealing that ‘the study also shows that smartphones have begun to intrude on our most private moments, with 47% of teenagers admitting to using their device in the toilet. Only 22% of adults confessed to the same habit.’ Eww.

It’s true that smartphones are totally ubiquitous these days – they do everything for you: let you stay in touch with friends/family, read news on the move, watch TV, listen to the radio, and basically stay on top of your social life by acting as a calendar. They even have games to keep you entertained on a long journey – who needs Travel Connect4 now?

Going back to the texting element though, I do wonder if we’ll soon be seeing more and more injuries caused as a result of too much texting. Research that dates back as far as 2006 shows that millions suffer from RSI’ – so surely it’s not too much of a leap to expect that figure to now be in the billions? The NHS has a page set up dedicated to causes/symptoms of RSI that’s due for update in February 2012. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to imagine that one of the causes to be added on to that list will be ‘texting’.

The Low Down: Internships

September 5, 2011

Holly started interning here at Skywrite PR six months ago and as of this month will become a fully fledged employee. Therefore, she thought now was as good a time as any to look back at her internship and highlight her top tips for others about to embark on an all important internship:

Read all about it

Working in PR, you can never read enough. It really pays to have a strong understanding of all current affairs, and by that I mean worldwide news headlines, celebrity (and industry) gossip, social media trends and the latest industry news. A really thorough knowledge of current topical issues will help you in all areas of your internship, including pitching to journalists, brainstorming and drafting copy.

Short term pain = long term gain

Keep looking ahead. You may not be given the exciting or important jobs that you had hoped for straight away, but the important thing to consider is how these (sometimes menial) tasks will help you to achieve that highflying career you’ve always dreamed of.

Just remember, the agency’s MD will have at one point made the tea/coffee, stuffed 500 press packs and clipped endless pieces of coverage at the start of their career too.

We all have to start somewhere!

Eager Beaver

One way to help ensure you are given increasing amounts of responsibility during your internship is to show you’re eager to learn and get stuck in. From my experience, eagerly undertaking the menial tasks and executing them with great attention to detail will build trust between you and your team. In turn, this will make your mentors more likely to task you with the more exciting PR jobs and mean you will gain a larger variety of experience.

Time don’t wait for no one

Whether your internship is for 2 weeks or 5 months, it will fly by. So make sure you grasp the opportunity from day one and try not to rest on your laurels at any point – it could mean the difference between being offered at full time job or going back to unemploymentville!

Any other questions?

Be inquisitive, feel free to ask the team about their background, tips and career highlights – you’ll learn a lot about what a career in PR actually entails. You’ll find most seasoned PR professionals are very willing to help out the next PR generation in any way they can.

Lastly, enjoy – not only will you learn loads of invaluable tools and information, you’ll meet some awesome people and have a blast!

Fun times at the Financial Times

August 26, 2011

It’s not every day you’re offered the chance to experience life at one of the most recognisable and widely respected newspapers in the world, so I jumped at the chance of taking part in a short term job-swap with one of the FT’s communications team. So with no expectations and a sack full of questions I headed down to Southwark Bridge and into the bustling FT HQ.

Editorial conferences form the backbone of the Press Office’s proactive media outreach, listening out for all-important scoops, followed by the frenzied scribbling of notes and subsequent pitching to broadcast outlets. While these conferences are part of the daily routine for the many journalists, editors and wider comms team present, they were a rare and fascinating window into a world that many PRs never get to experience.

Even to the most seasoned PR professionals, editorial conferences can be mysterious and frustratingly elusive factories of censorship, where our carefully crafted stories are processed, dissected and manufactured into something new. Sometimes they are consigned to the waste heap and (thankfully) other times they are mass produced. It was a privilege and a thoroughly edifying experience to be a part of them during my short time at the FT.

Of course, getting an insight into the inner workings of the paper and a taste of the tactics used to promote the FT brand was hugely interesting, but it also served as the perfect chance to get a flavour of in-house public relations. Working with a single ‘client’, for example, is an intriguing concept to the uninitiated agency-based PR.

At Skywrite we each work with multiple organisations – in industries as diverse as B2B telecoms, gaming and lifestyle – who each have several products, services or solutions launching at varying times of the year. I quickly learnt that in-house life, at the FT at least, is no less varied. One day I was staffing briefings on the FT’s digital strategy, the next I was pitching a scoop on RBS cutting 2,000 jobs, and the day after I was promoting FT Weekend content on the wines of France to lifestyle bloggers.

The major difference was the role of proactive and reactive outreach on a daily basis. The FT and its Press Office have done an amazing job at building very close relationships with broadcast outlets, positioning their expert journalists as go-to authorities on a range on topics. This requires a lot of proactive work in the background, but when a big scoop breaks the phone does not stop ringing. It’s easy to see how quickly a typical day can be flipped on its head as the team efficiently organises the resulting myriad of enquiries and interview requests.

In contrast, almost 100% of our daily work at Skywrite is based entirely on proactivity. Either brainstorming ideas, developing campaigns or plans designed to generate media interest, creating content that fits into the news agenda, or simply pitching news and product reviews. We’re on the phone just as much as our in-house counterparts – the only difference is who does the dialling.

To find out how the other half of the job-swap went, read the FT’s Esther Kissiedu on her time at Skywrite, available here.

Gorkana interviews Skywrite’s Laura Macdonald

August 19, 2011

Our very own Laura Macdonald (or Big Mac as we like to call her) has just been interviewed by Gorkana!

Read her thoughts on Skywrite’s interesting past and glorious future right here.

UKTJPR uncovered

August 11, 2011

Thursday 4th August saw the mighty UKTJPR roll into town and throw another amazing bash. But what is the UKTJPR I hear you cry? Well – we hear from our very own Amy Ronge, UK events director for the group, to find out…

Skywriters: What is the UKTJPR?

Amy: UKTJPR stands for UK Tech Journalists and PRs – it’s a basically a networking group that throws really good parties – for free. It’s a volunteer run group, with a team of about 8 people. We have a Facebook group where people can request to join, and we share most of our info on there, and through our Twitter feed. I’m the UK events director along with my friend and colleague, Laura Strong. We hold parties about 6 times a year, some big, some small – but always a lot of fun.

Skywriters: What does your role entail?

Amy: I am responsible for running all the events we have in the UK – from finding a sponsor, to picking the perfect venue and then hosting the night. There’s a lot of work involved, a lot of back and forth with sponsors and the venue, but it’s all worth it in the end when we can put on a fantastic event.

Skywriters: So what was last Thursday’s event all about then?

AR: In the spirit of summer, we decided to have a BBQ. We started planning a good couple of months ago, and found a great sponsor in NVIDIA. Finding a venue that was central and had a big enough roof terrace was tricky, but we found the perfect spot with the Big Chill House near Kings Cross. Last Thursday was mega – we had 250 people turn up, and the atmosphere was amazing. Drinks flowed all night, the BBQ was gobbled up, and as far as I can remember, dancing was involved at some point too…! All the buzz created around it was great – with queues out the door and lots of chatter on Twitter.

Skywriters: What’s next then?

Amy: Next up is an event in October….you’ll have to watch this space!

Mind the generation gap

June 20, 2011

I recently heard Hotwire advisory board member, Charles Davis of the CEBR (centre for economics and business research) speak on the topic of consumer austerity, and I was pleased to hear his message that it’s not all doom and gloom in the consumer market.  There is plenty of good news out there – it just gets buried underneath the bad.

Consumer austerity is a particularly relevant topic in the world of public relations; according to our research performed with the Holmes Report 32% of communications professionals have seen their budgets stay static this year, with 18% seeing a drop.  Alongside this, almost a quarter of respondents stated that the money conscious approach being adopted by both consumers and businesses has affected their campaigns,  forcing them to become more innovative in order to make them work harder and penetrate a less receptive and more careful market.      

As a PR agency we think we understand how recession is affecting today’s markets, but are we aware of how it will affect future generations of consumers?  According to an article by MediaCom, 71% of junior school children already understand the term ‘credit crunch.’  Moreover, many parents are using the recession as an opportunity to educate their children to be more financially aware.

This reaction to the economic crisis could lead to an interesting generation of financially savvy shoppers.  And though many PR professionals and marketers assume that money-saving behaviours will become obsolete on exiting the recession, with this educational approach our successors are likely to learn from our mistakes.  Perhaps we in turn will have to learn to adapt our campaigns to suit a more cautious and financially aware audience.

Show jumping rabbits?

May 10, 2011

Definitely one of the week’s stranger news stories, it has emerged that a small village in Germany is hosting an annual rabbit show jumping contest.

The village of Jena has decided to revive the Scandinavian sport of rabbit jumping, with the most athletic bunny on record reaching the epic height of 99.5cm…

Check out the full story here!

Playing into the hands of pirates?

February 23, 2011

Priracy is a growing threat for all digital content

We just noticed an interesting blog from Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who found that he needed to become a pirate in order to get hold of the latest Streets album. Despite struggling with iTunes, eMusic and Amazon US, Fred could not find the record:

“It was not even listed in iTunes or emusic. It was listed on Amazon US as an import that would be available on Feb 15th, but only in CD form. I’m not buying plastic just to rip the files and throw it out. Seeing as it was an import, I searched Amazon UK. And there I found the record in mp3 form for 4 pounds. It was going to be released on Feb 4th. I made a mental note to come back and get it when it was released. I got around to doing that today. I clicked on “buy with one click” and was greeted with this nonsense” (i.e. not being able to purchase music from outside the UK) “…so reluctantly, I went to a bit torrent search. I found plenty of torrents for the record and quickly had the record in mp3 form. That took less than a minute compared to the 20+ minutes I wasted trying pretty hard to buy the record legally.”

Given the global nature of the internet, and its rapidly increasing access speeds, does it any longer make sense for the same digital content to be released to different regions of the world at varying times?

Surely this plays into the hands of pirates, and – as in Fred’s case – makes it more likely for legitimate paying customers to turn to piracy to download the music they want to listen to?


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