Blogosphere: The Unmoderated Sector

Over the past 10-years, the UK blogosphere has pretty much grown exponentially and it’s not looking likely to stop anytime soon.

At a time where increasing emphasis is being placed upon PRs and digital marketers to deliver on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and report on Return on Investment (RoI), the need for truly 'right fit' influencers has never been more critical.

The influencer community has, to date, remained largely unmoderated.  PRs have been confined to evaluating influencers based upon social following and / or relying upon the influencer to provide accurate metrics on their blog / vlog / social media performance.

There are of course independent measures that can be employed with the assistance of Moz and Alexa, but these are very crude and modelled around estimates.

If you’ve spent any time working with influencers, it’s likely you’ve heard the term Domain Authority (DA) bandied about.  DA is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank on search engines; the higher the DA, the better the perceived value of that website/blog in terms of SEO.  Unfortunately there are flaws in its reliability, particularly when determining the suitability of an influencer.  Typically, a vast proportion of influencers will achieve a ranking score between 20 and 40; what’s perhaps little known or understood, is that if someone started a blog five years ago and didn’t add any content, they could achieve a DA higher or equal to someone who started a blog two years ago and added content every day. Why? Because the algorithm set by Moz to score DA places favour on those with a higher domain age i.e. the length of time a website / blog has been in existence.

Alexa on the other hand, provides web traffic estimations.  Despite offering the most extensive panel of websites from which to draw its assessment of web traffic, it is still only an estimate and therefore cannot be relied upon for accurate evaluation purposes.

There is, however, some good news; we have helped Ace Media develop a new tool that assesses influencers with more accuracy - Pitch Pack.

In the same way ABC and NRS provide the ‘stamp of trust’ to traditional media outlets, Pitch Pack provides an industry trust mark to the influencer community and aims to bring about a level of transparency by displaying web stats and social influence, direct from source.

Pitch Pack Example

Why is this so important?

For the first time, PRs and digital marketers are presented with a completely unbiased, verified set of statistics across all channels, including their own blog site, utilising one of the most widely accepted, robust and in-depth analytics tools to ensure greater transparency and clarity.

For the influencer community, it provides a fair, impartial environment in which they can be exposed to opportunities on a completely level playing field! Since data updates are automated, influencers needn't spend precious time updating data.

What precisely is Pitch Pack?

In essence, it’s a media kit for influencers that presents the information a PR / digital marketer needs to know in a single dynamic web page!

Stats are verified across all channels and since the data comes direct from source, there's no room for inaccuracy - we're talking bonafide metric data!  The universal theme makes it really easy to navigate.  Since it's accessible through a unique web-link, it is simple to collate a list to provide to other members of your team and/or client, and it updates without any additional effort involved; quite unlike the tedious task of downloading, opening and deciphering hundreds of PDFs, or worse still, analytics screenshots!

How it helps

Utilising tools such as Pitch Pack in tandem with the three ‘Rs’ (highlighted below), it is now possible to align your brand or company with truly 'right fit' candidates.

Relevance – niche, style and content
Resonance – sentiment and allegiance
Reach – readers and engagement

Pitch Pack is the first in a line of intuitive features from Ace Media's collaboration suite and represents an evolution in the work dynamic between PRs / digital marketers and influencers, not merely in the recruitment process but the means by which a campaign is managed from start to finish, facilitating the way PRs and digital marketers report on results!

Lil' Spin is affiliated with Ace Media helping develop intuitive tools for the PR sector 

The Changing Face of PR: Why PR has never been more important for business

Public Relations: the professional maintenance of a favourable public image

Media Relations: the relationship developed with journalists / publications

PR and Media Relations have long been intertwined; one leaning on the other to impact the masses with meaningful messages that resonate with the public.  However, as the media landscape has altered, so too has the role of PR.
As the lines between advertising and editorial content in traditional media blur, so does editorial integrity suffer.  PR can therefore no longer afford to be confined to media relations alone; the traditional, coverage-generating, ‘production line’.  Instead, PR is at its best when focussing on the exciting and demanding space between an organisation and its public: Listening. Responding. Engaging. Debating. Agreeing. Disagreeing.

The evolution of the digital age has also been a major contributing factor to this changing face of PR. With worldwide, 24/7 access, available through a multitude of digital devices, the ability to consume information has never been so easy.  We’re no longer limited to daily newspapers to read the latest news; we’re bombarded by snippets of news from multiple sources, from the minute we awake to the minute we lay our head down to sleep.  In fact, only last June, Ofcom reported online media consumption had, for the first time, overtaken that of traditional print consumption.  The growth of social media and consumer journalism (blogging, vlogging) have been huge propellants to this ever-changing landscape, and PR has never been more important in this digital media age!

*2014 Survey of 4000 Consumers in UK and US

What does this mean for business?

PR is now at the epicentre of a brand’s marketing ecosystem; it’s the discipline that most closely aligns with creating and maintaining dialogue and conversation with the public.

As we touched on in our post Creating Conversation - the role of PR has become more than pitching news, it’s about generating communication that influences brand perception and awareness. To do this effectively, PR needs to be authentic, distinctive and engaging. 

We're entering an age of savvy consumers and 'truth-telling' is key.  PR is, without doubt, in the best position to strengthen the bonds between consumer and brand.  

How? Through the very pillars of PR: by creating compelling and creative content and making stories contagious, through the utilisation of the PR mix: social media, traditional media (print, radio, TV), digital media and bloggers.

If you would like to find out more about how your business can successfully integrate the PR mix into its marketing strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lil’ Spin:

t. +44 (0) 330 223 1409

PR: Creating Conversation

Businesses have long been guilty of relying on the somewhat antiquated product PR model to attract consumers.  It’s time to step-up the game! 

PR is more than simply pitching product news; it’s about generating communication that influences brand perception and awareness.

To be a successful business, it’s necessary to review your PR stance; you can no longer place all the emphasis on product to attain consumer loyalty, it’s about creating an emotional connection with your consumer.

We live in an age dominated by sophisticated consumers that seek more than mere product.  To succeed in this marketplace, the need exists for a business to act as a conduit through which ideas flow.  It’s about creating conversation.

While products still remain at the heart of the ‘conversation’, they do not and most certainly should not, form the basis of the PR effort.

It’s about leveraging the power of integrated media to conduct the conversation.  Such communication initiatives should not be seen as a side effect of the PR effort, but should be assumed the very point of them.

Public Relations provides the means to encourage dialogue, form opinion, and spur change.  Used well it should also act to defy the oft’ faceless company doing random deeds just to ‘look good’.  It’s all about forming genuine emotional connections, on a human level, to create a more authentic brand with a high level of consumer loyalty and commitment.

By becoming a conduit for communication about bigger messages, businesses can heighten the aspirations of their consumers.  When a business acts in its customers’ emotional interests, it builds a far stronger and more resilient business.

The key is honesty.  The conversation must relate specifically to your company and come from within.  A manufactured cause won’t work.  If you’re able to identify ideas and issues that are true to the business and its founders, they’ll be real to your consumers too; you’ll find common ground and the interactions that follow will become powerful tools to secure your brand’s market position and longevity.

Brands such as Dove successfully tapped into a core section of their market, with a message not about deodorant or soap, but a drive on positive body image, the 'Self Esteem Project'.  It’s something their target market could associate with and discuss.   It was the conversation starter; the conduit. The campaign has since driven much interaction between consumer and brand, and thus generated an alliance that is far stronger than a product alone could ever achieve.

PR done well can’t be measured purely on the number of press clippings, but are best represented by the opportunities provided to converse with your consumer.

It can be all too easy to become reliant on new products to aid the PR initiative but it’s becoming increasingly necessary to develop this, and ensure that the product is the secondary focus.

Facebook: Hello New Year, Goodbye Organic Reach!

Facebook algorithms have been playing havoc with the proverbial ‘organic’ reach (unpaid) of brand page posts for quite some time.  Until now, a typical Facebook page might enjoy an organic reach of up to 16% of their total fan base, with reports suggesting this to be as low as 2% in some cases.  This organic reach is ultimately governed by the quality of posts, according to preordained algorithms at play; like counts, story bumping, etc.
Last year, Facebook announced another substantial change which is being implemented this month (January 2015), one which will see the demise of organic reach almost in its entirety. This latest change will influence the kind of content fans and followers will see from the brands they follow.  It is set to have wide reaching impact, especially amongst smaller businesses which have traditionally relied upon organic posts to drive their business.  Even Dan Levy, Facebook’s Small Business Vice President, is quoted as having ‘a lot of empathy’ for business owners negatively affected by this change.
What’s behind the change? 
In their November 2014 statement, Facebook said they had surveyed thousands of people to find out what they want to see in their News Feeds. Facebook learned that people want to see more stories from friends and pages they care about, and less promotional content.
What qualifies as a post that is ‘too promotional’?
According to Facebook, it’s one of the following three things:
1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
The new algorithm will determine the posts seen by users based upon trending topics, as well as the time and rate when people like or comment on posts:
Trending Topics – Facebook currently displays a list of topics and hashtags that have recently spiked in popularity on Facebook aka 'trending'. This list is personalised based on a number of factors, including Pages you've liked, your location and what's trending across Facebook.  
Timing – Rather than simply relying on the ‘like count’ of a post, Facebook now considers when people ‘liked’ and commented to determine whether to show the post at the top of the news feed.
How will this affect Facebook Advertisers?
This change will not increase the number of ads people see in their news feeds. The idea is to increase the relevance and quality of the overall stories – including page posts – people see in their news feeds.
Businesses with Facebook advertising campaigns in place that enable them to expand reach won’t be greatly affected.  However, companies that rely heavily on organic posts to increase their reach may wish to reconsider their advertising strategy, as Return on Investment (ROI) of this approach may become insufficient to justify the time required to succeed in Facebook marketing.  This represents a serious issue, especially if Facebook is one of your main sources of online sales.  
Surviving the Change
According to Facebook, you should stick to posting strong content that’s relevant to your audience - not try to ‘game’ the news feed algorithm.  
  • Posts that generate lots of likes and/or comments
  • Experiment and evaluate the types of posts your users prefer e.g. photos, videos, or status updates
  • Posts that reference a trending topic 
  • Link posts
  • Videos uploaded to Facebook that receive a large number of views or extended viewing duration
  • Posts that tag other pages within the text
  • Posts that are liked or commented on by one’s friends
  • Posts from pages that one interacts with often
  • Post types that one interacts with often
  • Posts from pages with complete profile information
  • Posts from pages where the fan base overlaps with the fan base of other known high-quality pages
  • Images and videos that have not previously appeared in the Open Graph
  • Links that have not been posted before

  • Clickbait – Content which drives attention and draws visitors to a particular web page. A couple of ways Facebook determines clickbait include: If a user clicks through to a link and then comes straight back to Facebook.  If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like or comment on the story when they return to Facebook
  • Frequently circulated content and repeated posts
  • Like-baiting - Posts explicitly asking users to take an action on the post like commenting, sharing, or liking. These posts tend to get greater engagement but Facebook users don’t associate these posts with quality.
  • Posts that include spammy links
  • Text-only status updates from pages
  • Posts that are frequently hidden or reported (a sign of low quality)
  • Posts that contain the words ‘like’, ‘comment’, or ‘share’
  • Posts with unusual engagement patterns (a like-baiting signal)
  • Posts that receive negative feedback categorises as ‘meme content’
  • Posts that are classified as memes by Facebook’s visual analysis of overlayed text on image
  • Passive fans of a particular Facebook page may see that page’s posts bundled together in the News Feed, such that the user would need to click a link to see more from the page.
  • Overly promotional content from pages - pushing people to buy an app or service, pushing people to enter a contest or sweepstakes, posts that reuse the same text from ads

The Alternatives
Here are some suggestions of alternative marketing tools you can utilise to stay engaged with your Facebook audience.
Email Marketing – Email Marketing remains one of the most successful forms of organic marketing for businesses. Ideally you have been action-gating (campaigns requiring users to share specific information) to collect email addresses from people who have entered your promotions. If you haven’t tried action-gating to build an email list, don’t waste time!
Host promotions, giveaways and other campaigns on your website – Unlike Facebook where you’re effectively borrowing space on their site, your website is your own, an asset unique to your brand.  The good news is that it’s pretty simple to host the kinds of campaign that you may have been hosting on Facebook, through your website or blog by using software that lets you embed the campaigns. 
Explore other social networks - If your business has been reliant on Facebook and you've been dragging your feet about establishing a presence elsewhere, 2015 is the year to expand your horizons.  Social media platforms such as Pinterest & Instagram have experienced rapid growth in popularity, not forgetting Twitter of course. Do your research, and discover where your customers are spending their time.  Make sure you have a strategy for each network and you aren’t just spreading the same message around. Your audience will be more likely to follow you in different places, which means you have a better chance of catching their attention, if you provide value everywhere.
Keep on top of traditional PR methods – Media Releases, Blogger Outreach, InBlog Posts, etc. 
Advertise - If you've advertising budgets available and consider Facebook a vital part of your marketing strategy, it would be well worth considering assigning a portion of this to advertising through Facebook.  
How do you feel about these latest algorithm changes? Do you think Facebook has made the right choice?  

An Integrated Approach to PR

The communications landscape has never before seen the level of diversity that exists today.  What began as an ‘experiment’ back in 1981 (see below), has led to a revolution in how we attain and consume news.  With worldwide, 24/7 access, available through a multitude of digital devices, the ability to consume information has never been so easy.  But with this, comes an increased pressure on modern PRs to deliver an integrated approach.

As the internet becomes the ‘go to’ for sourcing information, products and suppliers – and none more so than within the family marketplace, where mothers are still amongst the main consumers of digital media - so too, does PR become as much about populating the web with compelling content, as it does about generating traditional press coverage; managing reputation and image through all available platforms. 

Lil’ Spin works across media platforms, encompassing traditional, digital and social media, to ensure messages are delivered to those that need to hear it, and here’s why:

Online image

Gone are the days where one could afford to be complacent with their online presence.  Now, every credible company needs to be on-top of their website and adopting social media or else risk looking out of touch and, worse still, lose custom.  Where once the realms of the internet sat strictly in the hands of HTML coders, now PR  plays a fundamental role: developing strong SEO-led copy for web-pages and engaging content for social media.

Social value

If you’ve ever had any doubts about social media, it’s time to reconsider.  According to research, 40% of social media users have purchased an item online or in-store after interacting on a social network i.e. Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.  At least 50% of those purchases have been made within a week of that interaction.  Indeed, it’s reported that a majority of social media users now prefer to connect with brands through Facebook, and over half of Twitter users recommend companies or products via Tweets.


Traditional media outlets still have a big advantage over their digital media rivals - the value of the tangible, printed hard-copy still outranks that of digital media, even if only in perception alone.  Whilst the readership figures of traditional media might be half that of a digital counterpart, their readers are invested into that media, especially if they’ve paid to receive copies; generating a more loyal readership, thus adding credibility to their editorial content.


Digital exposure can work on multiple levels, not only increasing awareness and exposure for the brand but also with aiding search-engine visibility and organic results.  Digital stories also have longevity and can remain on servers for far longer than a print copy might stay on a desk or coffee table - it should be remembered that this will be the case with both positive and negative stories. 

Consumer Journalism

Blogs now reign dominant in the realms of consumer journalism, and none more so than within the nursery sector, where there are currently in excess of 6k active parent bloggers.  Existing media outlets have already integrated consumers into news reporting. The Huffington Post is amongst the pioneers, regularly publishing bloggers’ posts since its inception back in 2005, whilst other media outlets allow consumers to comment and add to news reports.  This interactive form of consumer journalism is the modern day answer to traditional Word-Of-Mouth (WOM) and it can be one of the most effective methods of gaining traction for specific PR messages.   For further information about the value of blogs why not revisit our post: The Importance of Mummy Blogs: Mummy Blog Savvy

If you require assistance or advice with the best way to implement an integrated approach to your PR, why not get in touch with Lisa at Lil' Spin for a free consultation. t. 0845 257 1479 e.

Choosing the right PR Agency

There are many things to consider when embarking on the process of appointing a PR agency to handle your affairs: local or national, specialist or cross-market, large or small and so on.

To help you get a handle on things, here are a few points to consider…

To appoint, or not to appoint a PR agency?

A fresh pair eyes equals a new perspective

You and your colleagues may have been mulling over the wording of that press release, or how best to pitch to a journalist for a while, without being able to give the pitch the edge it needs. A PR agency will be able to look at your business with fresh eyes, a new perspective and a greater level of objectivity.  Any PR agency worth their salt, will be adept at delivering stories that are likely to generate interest and will spot those opportunities which you may have missed.  

PR’s have invaluable media connections

If you are looking to generate publicity quickly, you will need the expertise of an agency who has a network of connections in the media. Whilst building relationships with journalists is possible, it does take time. A PR agency will come with those relationships already in place; each agency to varying degrees.

Valuable writing skills

Public Relations professionals are good writers - it is a core part of their job requirement. Their talent in the art of writing, and subsequent way with words, can make anything (i.e. you, your business or your product) sound like the best thing the world has ever seen.  Whilst a talent for the written word may not be one of your strongest skill-sets, it is an imperative that any media release being pitched to the media is well written.


The exercise of PR is extremely time consuming and one that cannot be completed effectively if you’re not fully committed to the task.  Employing an agency will mean a set proportion of time is attributed to your account to achieve the goals you have set in place, meaning that your PR affairs are never neglected.

Cross-Market Agency Vs. Specialist Agency

Jack of all trades, master of none

A cross-market PR agency may be a master of integration and possess just enough knowledge of many market sectors to be able to bring their disciplines together in a practical manner.  However, a specialist PR agency is an expert in their field and often has extensive knowledge, ability and proven experience in that sector. 

Greater knowledge of the sector

Every industry has its niche, none more so than that of the family/kids market sector.  Specialist PR agencies will have the edge here. They should be familiar with industry movements, your competitors and be the first to know of great opportunities to help propel your business forward.

Communicating effectively with the audience 

Understanding the audience you’re targeting is equally important, especially with the social networks proving so prolific in the spreading of messages. 


A specialist PR will have built-up a strong and reliable source of sector specific contacts. They’ll know who the 'Movers & Shakers' are and how to pitch your brand/business/products effectively.  This list of contacts may prove invaluable when exposing opportunities for your business.


A specialist PR is likely to invest heavily in the very best PR resources specifically for their sector.

Local or National Agency?

This really depends upon what you’re hoping to achieve. A PR agency with a local focus will be able to deliver strong local PR opportunities.  If however, you’re looking for a campaign that delivers nationally, it goes without saying a PR agency with a national focus will be much more beneficial in helping achieve your goal.  Nationally focused agencies will be familiar with working alongside national media outlets as well as the regional titles and whilst their ‘local’ connections may not be quite as strong, with the correct contacts and pitch they shouldn’t struggle to deliver.

Small Vs. Large Agency?

Smaller working teams

Small teams can often benefit a business or brand in terms of, (a) chemistry with the client, (b) enthusiasm for the brand and products, and (c) level of priority – you’re much more likely to feel like you are a key priority with a small team.

Personal approach 

Typically, larger PR agencies will leave the pitch process to founding/executive members of the team. Once they've won your account, it'll be handed over to a lesser experienced ‘Account Executive/Manager’.  In contrast, smaller PR agencies tend to provide a much more hands-on and personal approach to your PR affairs.

Lower overheads  

Smaller agencies are more likely to have lower overheads and this will impact the fees they charge to their clients.

If your business targets the family market (children/parents/families) and you are considering taking on the services of a PR agency, contact Lisa at Lil' Spin for a free consultation. t. 0845 257 1479 e.

Digit-All Change

Following the news that Junior Magazine (part of Immediate Media Co’s stable of parenting titles) has closed its print publication, opting for a purely digital presence only, I thought it apt to revisit the current trends in digital media usage.

We live in a world that is increasingly mobile in digital arenas (no pun intended!): we shop online, socialise online, game online, watch TV online, etc.  It’s inevitable that we are going to want to consume our media online too.

In my post ‘The PR Mix’, I wrote how mothers in particular are amongst the main consumers of digital media.  As a mother myself I can relate to this; much of my news and information is sourced online – it’s convenient, often free, up-to-the-minute, and you can search multiple topics easily.

According to a recent news report by The Guardian, a global analysis of ‘How Consumers Spend Their Media Time’, a study by GlobalWebIndex cited by Warc, finds that people around the world now spend more time with digital than traditional media.

The study, based on responses from more than 32,000 internet users in 31 countries found that 5.6 hours or 57% of daily media consumption, was dedicated to digital, including social media and mobile internet usage.

Interestingly, it would seem that mobile technology has also had a significant influence over digital media consumption.  A report, covering 14 countries, released by InMobi demonstrates that growth of mobile media is constantly reshaping media consumption habits:

- Globally mobile ranks first in media consumption with 1.8 hours a day, outpacing TV (1.5 hours), PCs (1.6 hours) and any other channel.

- 50% of the average global mobile web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online.

It seems that the film industry too has been quick to play their digital media card as The Daily Telegraph journalist Mick Brown pointed out in a recent interview with The Guardian, stating that he has witnessed a decline in the value that the film industry place upon ‘traditional’ media and are instead investing more of their PR campaign into digital and social media.

Many media outlets have now adopted a ‘best of both’ approach - broadcasting news both online and in print. Some have (controversially) begun to capitalise on this new digital media movement, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who has already introduced a Paywall system to The Times and is reported to be doing the same with The Sun later this year. 

Traditional Vs. Digital

With the rise of citizenship journalism, it is important to consider whether the digital media is a credible and trustworthy resource.  As I touched on in my earlier post ‘PR Misconceptions’, when you receive a piece of editorial about your brand/product, it generates a level of credibility with the reader.  The higher they rate the media, the higher the perceived credibility of the brand/product.  For example, if you read about a ‘flying pig’ online, you’d probably be far more cynical about the story than if you’d read it in, say, The Daily Telegraph national newspaper.  

Traditional media outlets still have a big advantage over their digital media rivals - the value of the tangible, printed hard-copy still outranks that of digital media, even if only in perception alone.  Whilst the readership figures of traditional media might be half that of a digital counterpart, their readers are invested into that media especially if they’ve paid to receive copies; generating a more loyal readership, thus adding credibility to their editorial content.

On the flip side, digital exposure can work on multiple levels, not only increasing awareness and exposure for the brand but also with aiding search-engine visibility and organic results.  Digital stories also have longevity and can remain on servers for far longer than a print copy might stay on a desk or coffee table.

What can we deduce from this?

I think it’s safe to say that it’s no mystery that digital media is the way of the future.   For all those sceptics and old-school PRs that believed it was a fad, here’s looking at you!  I have always believed it is the responsibility of any publicist worth their salt to communicate messages across multiple platforms; both digital and traditional.   This research, while compelling, doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch ‘traditional’ and go digital.  What it does mean is that it’s time to embrace the digital media age - where once it might have been a nice boost to the ego to see your name in ‘print’, it is no longer wise to dismiss the value of digital media coverage garnered.