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Coverage Cup round up w/c 17 August 2015

Coverage cupA busy week at Spark saw some great coverage in a range of top-tier publications. The Bell Integration team achieved fantastic results by piggybacking Gartner’s Hype Cycle Research Report. Andy Soanes, CTO of Bell Integration, was quoted within Computer Weekly, CBR and Cloud Computing Intelligence amongst others. The Compuware and HCL teams secured thought-leadership feature coverage in FSTech on the subject of core-banking systems. Meanwhile, Ampersand earned a great piece of coverage within TechWeek Europe on how IoT can save humanity. Ampersand achieved further success with coverage in PostandParcel for a case study with Pelipod, the developer of a smart parcel delivery box. 

The full list of Coverage Cup nominations for the week can be found below:

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Top tips for writing a winning press release

typingWriting is the bread and butter of PR. A normal week’s writing can range from drafting a quick quote, penning a 5,000 word whitepaper, jotting an opinion article, or of course, scribing a press release. The press release is certainly one of the most frequent writing tasks and is a much-maligned tool in the PR’s arsenal. However, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

Every so often, the subject of the press release being ‘dead’ rears its head. Yet, clients still want them, and more importantly, so do journalists! So, PR agencies keep writing them, in their thousands. It’s high time, then, to recap some top tips for writing a press release – because they’re not going anywhere any time soon!

  • Mind your language – as Alex recently blogged, PR ‘speak’ can be littered with phrases that turn journalists off and actually add nothing to your content. Steer clear of any marketing jargon, stick to facts, and under no circumstances should you use the word ‘leverage’.
  • Don’t oversell – in a similar vein to the previous point, avoid telling people your product/service etc. is ‘unique’ or ‘innovative’ (Dominic also has some thoughts on this), because words such as these are so frequently overused that they reduce the power of your release.
  • Know your limits – some press releases are not going to get press attention, and that’s fine, but know your limits and know what you want to achieve with the release. A strong customer story is a coverage winner, a minor product update is a useful ‘FYI’ for prospects, customers, and some media, and will help boost SEO – rather than guarantee you coverage.
  • A picture says a thousand words – this tip applies to lots of other written content like case studies and by-lined articles, but sending images with a press release can save journalists a lot of time trying to find one to match, and can bring a story to life. Just make sure they are of a high resolution, or they will be useless.
  • We are delighted – that might be so, but so is every other company out there! Press release quotes that start with ‘we are delighted’ are a well-known menace in the world of PR and journalism. Try to think of another way to express your ‘delight’, and explain why your announcement is good for your customers, not just why it makes you happy.

The important thing to remember when writing a press release is to keep the journalist in mind. Think about what information the journalist needs in order to write a story, and ensure you are giving that information in a clear, concise way – no-one is going to read a 1,000 word press release, however beautifully crafted it is!

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Coverage Cup round up w/c 10 August 2015

Coverage cupA great week of coverage from the Spark team, underpinned by some interesting research from Trustmarque looking at technology usage in the NHS. Due to the team’s pitching efforts, there as some fantastic coverage of the research in the likes of  City A.M., Business Reporter, Computer Weekly and Digital Health. Elsewhere, the Bell Integration team successfully pitched comment to CBR from the company’s CTO Andy Soames offering some words of caution for companies like Netflix, who are moving entirely to the public cloud. Meanwhile, the iPass team achieved some great coverage in the enterprise IT and telecoms press off the back of the company’s partnership with Devicescape. Finally, Cloud Computing Intelligence ran a recent interview with Elastichosts CEO Richard Davies, who discussed how companies can use the cloud for disaster recovery.

The full list of Coverage Cup nominations for the week is below:

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Coverage Cup round up

Coverage cupA bumper crop of coverage from the last two weeks across a range of clients. First of all ElasticHosts debuted its new cloud hosting service Springs.io, achieving coverage in the likes of  Silicon Angle, Computer Weekly and V3. Research from Fruition Partners on the dangers of shadow IT and the problems of losing control for CIOs and resulted in coverage in Computer Business Review, Computing and Business Cloud News amongst others. Finally, a successful news hijack saw Dynatrace’s Michael Allen commenting on the Ofcom Communications Report in ITProPortal and Business Reporter on how businesses cannot afford to miss the opportunity from mobile marketing.

A full list of the Coverage Cup nominations is below.  Which is your winner?

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My Wearable and Me

watch-847864_640I decided to buy an Apple Watch about a month ago and have had various people ask me what it is like and whether it is worth buying.

It is worth mentioning at this point that I am a bit of an early adopter, so I didn’t have a killer feature in mind, I just wanted the watch for no particular reason than that it seemed like a cool gadget to have :) Anyway here are my experiences thus far:

Device as a Watch

Any review of the Watch I guess needs to cover off any features as a watch and then also as a wearable gadget. As a watch, it is certainly cool with lots of different faces to choose from, from the simple to the chronograph and my personal favourite the Mickey Mouse one. The different types of faces can all be customised and can display the time for other countries, the current temperature, double as a stopwatch and provide information on the moon and the wider solar system. So it’s a standard watch and more.

I went for the basic Watch with a plastic strap then supplemented it with cheaper Hong Kong alternatives. These would have set me back over £600 through Apple and personally I don’t think it would have been worth it.

I also don’t see the logic in buying the Watch Edition. Assuming I had that sort of money to spend, I would buy a Rolex, not a gadget with electronics that will most likely degrade over time and will have been superceded by a significantly better model.

To sum up as a watch it is a decent one, and I like the fact I can interchange the faces in a way you can’t as easily do with a standard watch. But I wouldn’t want to pay more than the £400 or so that I did.

Device as a Wearable Gadget

When the Watch really comes into its own is as a wearable gadget and the features to be had here. It is worth noting that pretty much all the features do need the iPhone so you can’t have one without the other. In fact if the iPhone has run out of battery or is out of range the Watch really only acts purely as a watch, though it does still seem to track activity.

On to what it can do. You can both answer calls, make calls and answer texts on your Watch which feels James Bondesque J. You can also view photos on the Watch, though as the screen is small this is really only helpful as a preview. If like me you are always misplacing your phone, it has a nifty feature that allows you to ‘ping’ your iPhone to hear where it is. It also acts as a remote for your music, takes your heart rate (useful for health purposes and the hypochondriac in us all) and even gives you up to date stock information (for those inclined). Other features are dependent on the apps you have, as with the iPhone; for instance I have the BBC app and helpfully the Watch buzzes with breaking news.

As a fitness gadget it is brilliant – I can track my calories, hours standing and Apple minutes earnt (something that is no easy feat versus others). I can also see basic information like how many steps I have done, and distance covered just as my Nike Fuelband used to do for me. It also encourages you, as with all fitness bands, to do more, physically ‘nudging’ you to stand up more, etc.

My favourite feature of the watch though has to be the integration with maps. I was one of the first people to complain when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own version but I have to say it comes into its own on the Watch. No longer do I have to keep looking at my phone to see where to go next, the Watch gives me short instructions such as turn left in 100 yards and even nudges me to turn when I get to it. This makes it so much more intuitive to follow directions and get somewhere without constantly looking down. As someone that loves walking across London, this is a huge plus for me.

To recap the Watch is a decent one and its features as a wearable gadget do take it into a league of its own –  I am very happy with my purchase and won’t be parting with my wearable anytime soon :)

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