Stuff and ThingsTop 50 UK PR Blogs 2013

Crowdfunding – What is it and is it worth it?

CrowdfundingOver the last few years crowdfunding has become more popular with tech companies for helping them to launch their products. Anyone with an idea for a project can set up a page on sites such as Kickstarter, outlining their vision and how much money they need to make it a reality.

Projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo have raised millions from individual backers, who pledge money to support projects in return for rewards, including the promise of receiving the finished product. For example, Pebble Smartwatch was launched on Kickstarter in April 2012 with an initial fundraising target of just $100,000. Backers pledging a minimum of $115 were promised the Smartwatch when it became available – in effect pre-ordering for the watch that did not yet exist for a discount.

Within six days, the project had met its $100,000 goal and within the first month it had become the most funded project in the history of Kickstarter, raising over $4.7m. By mid-May, funding closed with $10m pledged by almost 70,000 investors, making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects to date.

Tech start-ups and small businesses thinking of using crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter as a basis for getting a certain idea or project off the ground need to be aware of the challenges that will face them. Crowdfunding successes like Pebble do get a lot of press. But so far the majority of crowdfunded ideas have never really taken off. According to Kickstarter stats only 44 percent of projects meet their funding goal. Of roughly 60,000 unsuccessful projects, nearly 40,000 failed to reach even 20 percent of their goal.

So how can PR help? It can certainly help businesses gain traction with their crowdfunding campaign through raising awareness that can hopefully lead to increased backing. How well a project is promoted is often a key to the success of it. Ongoing PR is an opportunity to maximise the investment potential of a project You’d be surprised at how many crowdfunding projects I’ve seen that, after a good start, seemed to assume their work was done and offered little follow-up during their campaign. If you’re asking for investment, you have to show a desire to make your project work and PR can certainly help show this.

In the end, like everything else in business, it’s a balancing act. Crowdfunding is not a scheme to help businesses get rich quicker, but for a smart tech entrepreneur it can be a great way to get innovative technology to market while minimising their business risk.

(Image: Rocio Lara via Flickr Creative Commons)

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The Budget’s best tech PR story – Can Britannia rule the Big Data wave?

Big DataOne of the most interesting announcements from last week’s budget was the foundation of the Alan Turing Institute.  

Many of our clients have a Big Data story, whether it is security clients that can talk about how Big Data analysis can bolster security or analytics clients that can talk about sales and marketing activities.  We also work with Elsevier, the scientific publisher which means we also focus on worldwide game changers at the top end of Big Data initiatives such as drug development.    

So what impact will the foundation of the Turing Institute have in terms of media discussion and technology PR activities?  For a start, it is likely to turn a hot topic into a burning issue and will hopefully shine a light on cutting edge big data projects in the UK.   

The negative is that, if they are not on-board already, every technology vendor will jump on this particular buzzword bandwagon.  Therefore it is important to think carefully about how to get heard above the noise.  Rather than putting out stories, it is better to get involved in the discussion, make predictions for the future and showcase innovative use cases (real or imaginary). 

Our top tips for doing this effectively are:

  1. Be timely – the media (particularly social) is often compared to a cocktail party.  Nobody is interested in opinion on a topic that has already been discussed at length.  Pay close attention to breaking news and react as quickly as possible (we try to be first to respond with a comment on behalf of clients)
  2. Know your company’s area of expertise and spend time crafting a personal vision – It is not necessary to initiate a discussion, that can be left to the Turing Institute or industry analysts.   However, it is important  to contribute an interesting perspective to ensure what you say is amplified
  3. Cover all bases –hot topics are debated on social media, traditional media and within the analyst community – becoming an opinion leader means engaging with all of these channels.  Bring topical debate to owned communication channels through blogs and social media to ensure that customers and prospects find your content more compelling

Big Data has always been a competitive topic, and will probably become more so.  The good news is that the media expands to fit the level of interest so there will be more blogs, more forums, more media stories and more analyst reports devoted to the topic. So find something interesting to say and get involved.    

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

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Coverage Cup round up w/c 17 March 2014

Coverage cupHere is the round up of the Coverage Cup nominations from last week to put a spring in your step!

Let us know on Twitter or the comments section below which you think deserved to be crowned the winner. 

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Top 6 mobile apps for a tech PR

iPhone appsAs I have recently upgraded my iPhone (and it is my turn to write something for the Spark blog!), I thought I’d take a look at what are some of the essential mobile apps when working in tech PR.  The below is in no real order and for simplicity I’ve kept it to iOS apps – so apologies in advance Android users if a couple of the apps I mention aren’t cross platform.

Twitter - yes a really obvious one, but in this day and age being on Twitter is important.  Whether it is tweeting personally, on behalf of clients or keeping an eye out for the latest news and views in the media, having a Twitter app should be a must.  There are a whole host of apps available whether it is the official one or a third party one such as Tweetbot (which is my personal favourite).

 

Evernote – if like me your handwriting is deteriorating at a rate of knots, Evernote is a great app for jotting down notes and actions.  Furthermore you can tag notes meaning you can find them quickly – gone are the days of trying unsuccessfully to find notes from an old note book.  Best of all your notes are stored and synced in the cloud meaning you can access them on your mobile, tablet or desktop wherever you are.

Google Maps – always a useful one if you are trying to find a client’s or new business prospect’s office in deepest darkest Berkshire.

Yahoo News Digest - a relative new entry, but if watching Sky News 24/7 isn’t for you the Yahoo News Digest app is the ideal news source.  The app aggregates news from a number of outlets and then twice a day presents the 7-10 top stories in an easy to digest format on your phone.

Wunderlist – when it comes to working on the agency side, being able to juggle tasks and deadlines is a must.  Therefore, to-do list apps such as Wunderlist can make your life as a PR much easier.  Again being a cross-platform app means that you can add/delete and access tasks on the go.

Feedly as I have blogged before, RSS is still a very useful PR tool and I’ve found Feedly to be my app of choice.  It is easy to set up feeds for all your key websites either as one big list or by category, which you can then access via the mobile or desktop app.  If you are willing to spend a bit of cash and pay for Feedly’s premium service you can search for keywords within your feeds, which can certainly help when it comes to coverage tracking.

Anyway these are my top 6 choices, but do let me know if there are any you think I should add.

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Coverage Cup round up w/c 10 March 2014

Coverage cupLast week saw the competition heat up as well as the weather! Below is a selection of the best of the Coverage Cup nominations:

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