Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The blog is dead long live the blog

After 347 posts and the best part of 2 years blogging I am moving over to Word Press.

The new blog can be found at and I will be blogging there shortly.

Thanks to everyone that read this blog and especially anyone that left a comment, created a link or anything else who gave their support.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tis the season to send a press release

I am not sure I fully agree with Buzzwords saying it is a time to forget about PR during the festive season while you recharge the batteries.

I certainly think you should take breaks. However, as the volume of releases decreases some journalists struggle to find the volume and quality of story they need, papers need to be filled all year round.

This summer one accountancy magazine put the word out that if you sent a release on anything approaching an accountancy subject they would publish as they were so short of stories going into the August bank holiday. They asked twice.

So yes have a break but take advantage of an opportunity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crain's Manchester is in business

Crain's Manchester has made an impressive debut.

It offers varied business content in an easy on the eye format. The tabloid size make it perfect for a read while commuting in or indeed out.

There is a website with all the offline version's copy as far as I could tell. You cannot leave comments and there are few links out. Missing an opportunity if not resolved perhaps to conect to the business community. How Do resolved that issue for the better.

The editing team seems strong and one story on where Web 2.0 enterprises meet was well researched, there were a couple of venues I did not know anything about. They had done their research.

Criticisms? Nothing of real note although a feature on online marketing issues would be welcomed.

With the loss of a few Manchester and North West business magazines over the last year Crain's seems the anecdote to the loss of editorial opportunities for B2B PRs, which always are harder to come by than B2C PRs.

The Manchester Evening News has responded by adding a new business journalist, which is making the sector more competitive and of course helpful to B2B PRs.

If the magazine adds more pages as it gains advertising and builds on this start we could have something that will become part of the business scene, something we will forget the time when we did not have it.

BBC Radio 1: how to look stupid and arrogant

The BBC in its minute wisdom has decided to ban certain parts of The Pogues Fairytale of New York because they contain the words "slut" and "faggot."

This is a certain recipe to make people listen more closely to the "offensive" words and to increase sales.

But the point is that the words are used in the context of a fight or argument between two drunks hoping that their luck will turn around. They are hardly going to lift dialogue from Lady Windermere's Fan are they?

As Lenny Bruce used to point out a word is a word and is only offensive if there is intent.

BBC Radio 1 has said that "they had made their decision" and would not be going back. I think they will. They are creating a PR backlash.

Over 95% of the 7,000 votes on the BBC website have said they are wrong. Tom Robinson, a high profile gay rights campaigner is a bit surprised by the censorship and certainly does not think much of it.

Still BBC Radio knows best, at least Radio 2 does, they are still playing the song and have not censored anything.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It only takes a few rotten PRs to spoil the barrel

It is not a new story. Unfortunately it is a common one. You go to pitch and you discover the prospect has been burnt by an unscrupulous agency before.

Even the best ideas and pitches can fall on this fact. Budgets that have been exhausted with little result and any imagination or adventure or even the fact of establishing trust cannot be planted.

This must rebound on some PR agencies that are less than scrupulous. Yes, sometimes clients make it hard for the agency to work. Yet, there are simply too many cases of unsatisfied customers owing to little effort being applied on the part of the offending agency.

I can say that this can rebound greatly if the hurt party is well connected, and not all agencies realise how well connected someone can be.

PR and marketing are professions that still struggle to establish their credentials. Less than a professional effort undermines everyone.

I think you get good and bad in every profession, so it might be that I have nothing to really complain about. Even lawyers can be straight forward. I think?

The campaign to stop stock photogrpahy

It is the festive season; a time to give, and unfortunately receive that calendar or brochure with unblemished models.

Are companies afraid of images of their own staff, the staff their clients who are receiving the promotional stuff are going to meet?

It all looks so plastic.

I would rather see the people I know than think that a marketing manager has used so little imagination as to go to an online stock library.

Have a bit of fun this festive season, hire a professional photographer and take some more engaging images.

If you still cannot be bothered have the McDonald's view of office life here.

Weblog is 10 years old - at least in the dictionary

The word weblog is 10 years old today although the spell checker on Blogger doesn't recognise the word!

For all the amazing facts about how many blogs are being created every day please have a look at the BBC article.

Friday, December 14, 2007

How little we take in and how little we really have to say

I was at a networking meeting recently and as a festive treat the members had to impersonate other members.

This was meant as a fun exercise but one thing struck me how little information and understanding we all really pick up. You can know somebody and their organisation for weeks, months and even years and not really have an in-depth understanding. The person I had to take off I must admit that I knew not as much as I really should have about his enterprise despite a 10 minute presentation on what he did, which I did listen to.

This strikes me that of course we miss opportunities because having to take in so much information we often pigeon hole people or fill in the gaps in our knowledge with what think they do or offer.

It also occurred to me, as it has done before, that in an article or even press release how much is taken in by the reader. Probably not that much. It seems that there are two or three essential messages and the rest is often filler.

For example, if I represent a lawyer that is a specialist in employment law the ideal result is if the perception of the reader is that this practice handles the cases that are of concern to them or colleagues and associates and that they are likable, trustworthy and are the best in their field or pretty much up there and jockeying for that title. The fine details and everything else can be sold later.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Steve McLaren wins prestiguous award

Steve McClaren, has picked up the Plain English Campaign's Foot in Mouth award in its annual ceremony.

Steve came up with this about Wayne Rooney: "He is inexperienced, but he's experienced in terms of what he has been through."

I feel this is unfair on Steve considering Virgin Trains response to Web User magazine about problems booking online:

"Moving forwards, we as Virgin Trains are looking to take ownership of the flow in question to apply our pricing structure, thus resulting in this journey search appearing in the new category-matrix format. The pricing of this particular flow is an issue going back to 1996 and it is not something that we can change until 2008 at the earliest. I hope this makes the situation clear."

Previous winners include Naomi Campbell: "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta." Isn't this just stupidity rather than bad English?

Rhodri Morgan in 2005 was well deserving: ""The only thing which isn't up for grabs is no change and I think it's fair to say, it's all to play for, except for no change."

More examples at the Plain English website.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ricky Hatton does not need media training

Ricky Hatton has been brilliant in front of the media for quite a while.

However, this has to be my favourite in the run up to the big fight as he talked about his opponent's trainer comments about him:

Roger Mayweather's speech had made the "winter shorter."

"I can't believe the odds aren't longer. I'm a little fat, beer drinking Englishman who's fought no-one and been over-protected and fought a load of has-beens."

"And yet the betting has been so close. Personally, I think you've got nothing to worry about Floyd. I think you will be alright."

Come on Hitman.