Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

What isn’t SEO?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

SEO is dead… Well so say a considerable chunk of those in the know, but the truth in this statement depends upon what you consider to be SEO. If you mean manipulating search engines through cheap tricks that get even the worst sites onto the front page of the results, then yes, you are correct, ‘SEO’ is dead (or at least dying).

photo of Google's logo

Image Credit: Carlos Luna/Flickr

SEO is a way to make your website accessible to search engines, allowing them to understand the content contained on a page so it can be ranked accordingly. I’m sure we can all agree that good quality, highly relevant content deserves to be most visible; as such, SEO should never really have been about gaming the system.

All about the game, and how you play it

But it was, and why not? Quick, dirty tactics that produce the same results are financially more viable than investing time and money into producing great content. If you could get to the top this way, why wouldn’t you, especially when everyone else was doing it?

Herein lay the problem, everyone was doing it! The internet was becoming a dumping ground of thin, low quality content, making it much harder to find what you were looking for.

Google has been addressing this issue for a number of years through updates to the algorithms used to discern a pages relevance to search terms. With the introduction of Penguin and Panda, some of the more common ‘optimisation’ tricks are starting to be expunged (thin, duplicate content and anchor link text that linked to keyword rich sites respectively).

This is the beginning of what could be described as the death of SEO, but perhaps it would be fairer to be call it a repositioning.

You won’t fool the children of the revolution

On the brink of a digital revolution where offline content is losing its attraction at a rate of knots, the lines between SEO and PR are becoming increasingly blurred. Building relationships with bloggers and editors while creating fantastic, shareable content is the main objective of each of these disciplines, and is far from being dead.

SEO still continues to have a hugely important technical aspect to help search engines index content correctly. Regardless of how strong your content is, a site riddled with broken or spammy links, awkward navigation and poorly optimised page titles will still struggle to perform.  However, these skills are becoming less exclusive due to the very nature of producing digital content… it’s only a matter of time before SEO and PR become interchangeable job titles.

Adopt an Intern hits 500 milestone

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

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Adopt an Intern (AAI), which specialises in the creation and facilitation of paid internships for Scotland’s graduates, today announces the placement of its 500th graduate.  AAI was established by the Centre for Scottish Public Policy in 2010 and receives core funding from the Scottish Government.

The 500th intern, David Scott, will undertake an initial 3-month placement with Edinburgh-based Hot Tin Roof.  The landmark will be recognised by a visit to the specialist technology PR agency today by Angela Constance, Scottish Government Minister for Youth Employment.

AAI has worked with a wide range of organisations across Scotland and internationally, since its formation, to design graduate-level placements, the majority of which have led to full-time employment.  AAI helps to define the particular need of the business and then handles the recruitment and shortlisting processes necessary to find the right candidate, thereby simplifying it for the host organisation to find someone who will make a genuine contribution to their business.  Unusually, due to its core funding from Scottish Government, AAI offers a free service and even funds the interns in specific cases, saving small enterprises from across the public, private and social economy sectors both time and money.

Joy Lewis, Chief Executive of AAI, said:

“We have all worked exceptionally hard to reach this 500 milestone including the organisations throughout Scotland that have developed these placements with us over the last 3 years or so.  I know that they have greatly benefited from the terrific talent produced by our higher education institutions, to which huge credit is also due.

“Reaching 500 is an important milestone, but what really matters is the individual inspiration we give to our graduates as they take their first steps on a career path, the success we can add to organisations throughout the country and the positivity this creates for the Scottish economy as a whole.  For our part we will not relent in our efforts to make these differences.  I encourage SMEs throughout Scotland to get in touch with us in 2014 and discover what we can do for them”.

Angela Constance, Scottish Government Minister for Youth Employment, said:

“I am delighted that Adopt an Intern has been able to place a 500th graduate. The Scottish Government has invested almost £1 million over the last four years to support high quality, paid graduate placements and 500 represents a considerable return on our investment.  Meaningful high quality work experience, which equips young people with the skills and experience to enter the labour market, is one of a range of actions that can help reduce both unemployment and underemployment of graduates.

“I hope to see many more internships taken in the future and wish Hot Tin Roof and David the best of luck with their new working relationship.”

Sarah Lee, Managing Director of Hot Tin Roof, said:

“Internships are an incredibly important and valuable route in to employment.  There is a lot of competition for PR jobs and real work experience is key for graduates looking to build a career in the industry.

“We have been offering young people work experience for a number of years and it has been a very powerful way of finding the brightest and the best with whom we can work to build their skills and jumpstart their career, as well as bringing new energy into our office.”

Neo to host Global Day of Code Retreat in Edinburgh

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

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International software innovation company Neo will again host software developers from across Scotland on 14 December for Global Day of Code Retreat. The annual event will take place at Neo’s European base at TechCube in Edinburgh, and in up to 200 other cities around the world.

A day-long, intensive practise event focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design, Code Retreat will give developers the opportunity to work on code away from the pressures of ‘getting things done’, thus allowing the freedom to invoke their creative side, practise their skills and develop new ideas.

Much like a musician who needs time to practise playing an instrument, programmers need to refine their skills without the constraints of time, budget or business brief in order to develop. Scotland’s tech and software development industry is vibrant, but to continue to lead in this field, skills must be refined and developed and new ground broken.

The Code Retreat format has proved to be a highly effective means of skill improvement. Practising the basic principles of modular and object-oriented design, developers can improve their ability to write code that minimises the cost of change over time.

Global Day of Code Retreat is an annual event taking place in Australia, New Zealand, the US, China, Singapore, South Africa, Poland, Germany, Sweden and Scotland among many others.

Paul Wilson, Managing Director at Neo explains: “Since the idea was conceived in 2009, Code Retreats have become a global phenomenon. Last year around 2000 programmers took part in 150 separate Code Retreats.

“As a global organisation, Neo organises Global Day of Code Retreat events in many of its offices. After extremely positive feedback from last year’s event, we look forward to another enjoyable and successful day.”

Neo is a global product innovation company working with clients including Time Magazine, American Express and Paypal, and whose board contains some of the biggest names in software and product development, including Evan Henshaw-Plath (lead developer at Twitter) and Joi Ito (Director of MIT Media Lab).

For more information contact: Jen Richards :: 0131 225 7880

My PR Internship: “The Hot Tin Roof Experience” #05

Friday, October 25th, 2013

This is the last in the series of posts from our intern Ayah who spent last week with us engrossed in the world of PR. Her previous post can be read here: Day one, two, three and four.

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Day Five (18/10/13) my final day…

This morning I reviewed and edited my press release. The feedback I have received has been very encouraging, however, I understand my press release is a little bit too detailed. On a lighter note, I have stuck to the correct structure and understood the client effectively. When writing a press release, you are given the challenge to cover all aspects in as few words as possible – a little tricky, but certainly very interesting to write up.

I also looked at Hot Tin Roof’s social networks and was shown some apps they use to track responses – Hoot Suite and Social Bro. I would recommend everyone to sign up for those website as they are really nifty and valuable applications. I love them so much, in fact, I am even going to start using them when I get home! Joe showed me a lot of tricks that I will definitely be using after my placement.

I am, sadly, finishing this blog. I have had a great time writing it but the time has come for an end. I have loved every minute of this placement and would encourage everyone interested in Public Relations or Journalism to undertake an internship relevant to the field. The last thing you would want to do is leave University as a journalist only to find you hate deadlines or worse, writing! Also, if you’re stuck on finding work experience, why don’t you try volunteering, or even starting your own blog? Employers will be impressed to see you can handle such a commitment and may even start to picture you working in their firm.

To sum everything up, no day in the PR world is the same. There will always be a dozen tasks waiting for you, but if you work at it, there will also always be rewards waiting for you at the end of the day. Whether you make a client happy, write an amazing press release or receive an invite to a company event, there will always be a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Just don’t forget to enjoy your experience and take deep breaths!

 

Have you experienced an amazing internship you want to share? Leave a comment down below.

My PR Internship: “The Hot Tin Roof Experience” #04

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The penultimate day from Ayah‘s time with us saw her drafting her first Press Release. In case you missed them, here’s days one, two and three.

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Day Four (17/10/13)

Today I continued to write this blog. I think it is really interesting to reflect on my past days. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience and writing this blog is a way to immortalise it. It is a way to look back and say, ‘this is what I have done’.

I started (and finished) my first draft of the appointment press release on a new client – a brilliant company who focus on biomedical informatics solutions to manage chronic diseases, or to put in layman’s terms, they invest in research that ultimately save peoples lives. I loved writing the press release. I was able to see how people in PR work by doing the same job that they do on a daily basis. I found it really interesting researching about the company and was able to get a quote from Jen through a short interview. It was fun writing the press release. I just hope the journalists reading it will like it as much as I have.

I then, after collecting clippings of articles, created a PDF document of all the collated media coverage of one of HTR’s clients. It was a little challenging trying to save 13 documents into one file but, with the help of Joe, I was able to do it.

Overall this day was very enjoyable and I had a brilliant time!

My PR Internship: “The Hot Tin Roof Experience” #03

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Here’s  the third post from Ayah, marking the mid-point in her internship with us last week. If you missed them, you can read days one and two after the jump.result

Day Three (16/10/13)

Today I finished the rest of the business cards. The updated address book was then exported on a v-card and saved on dropbox, which was imported onto several other computers in the office.

I also finished making all the calls to the publications, bar the last two. I made a lot of progress today and even secured a few lists!

I decided to eat my lunch at my desk so that I could finish off a few tasks. This led to me gaining advice on how to generate content on social media by my fellow colleague, Joe. #Result! (He also taught me how to insert a hashtag on a Mac (alt 3!)).

After lunch, I started to write this blog. I decided a day-by-day approach would appeal more than a general summary, and hopefully it would give fellow aspiring journalists an insight into the PR world – not every stereotype is true. I didn’t make coffee during my internship, not everyone in PR is a girl and PR is not just about hosting events.

This day has been incredibly useful – my colleagues showed me the type of jobs they did on a daily basis and explained to me the importance of it.

My PR Internship: “The Hot Tin Roof experience” #02

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

We welcomed young Ayah into our offices last week. She kept a blog of her time with us, part one of which can be read here.

Here is her account of day 2 at Hot Tin Roof.

Brainstorming

 

Today I started brainstorming ideas for the blog, hesitating between writing about my experience in Hot Tin Roof, the do’s and don’t of PR as a career or the importance of Public Relations to the media and society. Hopefully I chose the right one!

As Sarah meets a lot of people, and by extension receives a lot of business cards, I was given the job of logging in all the details into the address book. It was really interesting finding out the type of people Sarah, as a PR, has met, which judging from the business cards is an awful lot!

I then went on to obtaining numbers from publications and calling them up to see whether they had a forward features list available. Most of the publications were either unavailable by phone or had no list of that sort. The ones that were unavailable were contacted via email.

In between calling publications, I began to think the sort of questions I would ask when writing my own appointment press releases. Questions that sprang to mind all had one commonality: W. Who, What, Where, Why, When? The questions I learnt in English when I was 8 years old finally had a use. By asking questions starting with ‘w’ in journalism, your readers are able to understand and more importantly, your readers are able to value your writing.

At first, I was a little wary about calling up the publications. What if they asked me a question and I didn’t know how to respond? What if this? What if that? I then realised after my first couple of calls that I was just worrying about nothing.

I’ll share a piece of advice I received – if you want to make it in PR or journalism, get experience in a call centre. Employers value staff who knows how to make a proper call, and in PR, you’ll have to make a lot of calls!

The skills I’ve learnt in Hot Tin Roof so far are calculating a time sheet, screening calls, managing data systems and filing, and right clicking on a Mac (ctrl click, by the way!).

I have also learnt quite a lot of PR lingo too! ‘HTR’ stands for Hot Tin Roof, a ‘launch’ is the public marketing announcement of a product and ‘forward features’ also known as ‘editorial calendars’ are predetermined story topics by media outlets.

After calling quite a few publications and noting their details on a spreadsheet, it was 4’oclock again. I think I have learned an awful lot today and I am really enjoying my placement!

My PR internship: “The Hot Tin Roof experience”

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Last week Hot Tin Roof’s offices were graced by a young intern who will no doubt go on to be prime minister. Impressed is a understatement when it comes to describing our young padawan’s work ethic and thirst for knowledge. We could talk about the week we had at length, but it makes more sense to hear the thoughts of the young girl herself,  Miss Ayah-Sofia.

Hot Tin Roof PR

 

Having grown up in the technological era, it would make sense I would want to work in technology- specifically technological journalism, however, it was only recently that I decided to hunt down a work placement in Public Relations. Just as I started to lose hope on finding a placement, a Public Relations company called Hot Tin Roof, one of my top choices, asked me to come in for an informational interview.

 The one piece of advice I’d give to anyone going in for an informational interview is to plan your questions wisely – luckily I already prepared a set of questions I wanted to ask!

After securing my placement and sorting the paperwork, all that was left was to undertake it.

Day One (14/10/13)

20 minutes early.

After all, William Shakespeare did say, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”!

After greeting everyone, I shadowed Sarah Lee, MD. I thoroughly enjoyed shadowing Sarah – she was really professional and was happy to answer any questions I had!

She then gave me my first assignment – calculating her time sheet. As Hot Tin Roof is an agency, they get paid based on the number of hours they work on a particular company. Personally, I found that a fair way to judge a company’s merits, which in HTR, was stellar.

Halfway through counting the hours, I was ushered into a meeting. 

During the meeting, I was given extra duties to fulfil whilst Sarah and Jen, a colleague at HTR, discussed what they would be doing the next couple of weeks.

We also analysed an appointment press release, which gave me a great insight into what I would have to be doing later on in the week. I began thinking PR-related questions about the press release such as “what message am I trying to send?” or “what clients am I mentioning and why?”

After the meeting I finished the time sheet which, with the help of Jen, was inputted into an excel sheet. The actual process of ‘inputting’, however, was done after a quick research and a much needed lunch hour!

After researching and comparing several past HTR press releases I went on to cut and scan an article on Scotland on Sunday featuring one of our clients. This went on to ‘the board’ before being placed into HTR’s bulky portfolio.

Before I knew it, it was 4’oclock! I had a really good time today and learnt so much – I can’t wait for the rest of the week!

We’ll be posting Ayah’s blog daily over the week.

One father of the internet, 250 teenagers and 40 women on a roof. Just another day in the life of Hot Tin Roof.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Vint Cerf at ScotSoft2013

ScotSoft 2013

Last month, we landed the job of handling the PR for one of the biggest events in Scotland’s tech calendar, ScotlandIS ScotSoft.

With the Father of the Internet and four of Silicon Valley’s most powerful female entrepreneurs on the line-up, this was going to be big!

The Hot Tin Roof phones rang off the hook with requests for interviews in the run up to the event.  And with only two interview slots to offer, this is probably the first and last time I will ever have to say ‘sorry, no can do’ to BBC Newsnight.

The Next Web and Computer Weekly got those coveted interview slots, but we also managed to find time for the BBC to film an interview with Vint which was broadcast on Drive Time and Reporting Scotland that evening.

Scotland On Sunday and Business Quarter scooped interviews with Heidi Roizen, and the Times Educational Supplement Scotland covered the schools debate.

Women on the Roof

Scotland's female entrepreneurs on the roof of Informatic Ventures

The day itself started with 40 women on the roof of Informatic Ventures to celebrate the role of women in technology.  The Scotsman sent a photographer and we were there to chaperone the businesswomen and hold the photographers’ ladders.

After the photoshoot, we quickly grabbed a taxi to take us to the main event.  Arriving at the Sheraton Grand we rushed in to catch Vint Cerf’s school debate.

A question and answer session with 250 Scottish high school students, this was a true meeting of minds between a man in his 70s and a room full of teenagers who have never known a world without Internet.

Meanwhile back in the office it was a hive of activity as we pitched the Young Engineer of the Year press release to news desks, arranged more interviews, wired pictures to every paper in the country and jumped from one deadline to another.

And of course, after the conference was over, it was on to the awards ceremony at The National Museum of Scotland.  Vint was there again to award the Young Engineer of the Year Awards, guests appeared in all their finery and the evening went on into the wee small hours.

It was a long day, one that I am proud to have been part of, and above all it was a great team effort to make Scotsoft 2013 such a massive success.

My favourite moment?  Being retweeted by @GoogleGlass when we let slip Vint had left his own Google Glasses back in his apartment. 

What an Apple keynote can teach you about social media

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Coming up with a killer campaign name, hashtag or brand name can take take some serious brain churning. It’s often difficult to know where to begin. What will stick in your audience’s mind? What kind of content will appeal to them best? Well, the skills required to make an impression are not necessarily exclusive. All you need do is look at well constructed product launches – which in the tech industry happens all the time!

Social media and Apple go hand in hand

 

Apple knows how to do product announcements; when the Cupertino tech giant talks about its products, the world listens. We’ve all seen the keynotes they ooze style and make the geek in each of us giddy. What you probably didn’t realise when watching was that you were actually viewing a masterclass in branding, one that you can easily apply to your own business. So, with the next Apple keynote due in a couple of weeks, let’s take a look at what an Apple keynote can teach us about branding for social media.

Style

If you’re like me, when you think of an Apple keynote you still picture Steve Jobs standing before you. The black turtle neck and blue jean combo were as iconic as the C major chord heard when powering up the machines he designed. It was a major part of Steve’s identity, ensuring you knew who he was before he even said a word.

Lesson:

Make sure your social has a unique identity. Your corporate or personal branding should always feature on your profiles and stay on message at all times.

Words for impact

“One more thing”: three little words that have become synonymous with Apple’s keynotes. Jobs had a way with words – everything he told you was considered and deliberate.

Lesson:

Knowing the right words to engage and excite your community is truly important when defining your brand. It’s not always easy to know what to say immediately, but getting it wrong is worse than holding fire until the right words come to you. Always take a moment to consider what you’re saying.

Build Anticipation

Apple builds a fanfare around its product launches, one that begins months before the event itself. It’s debatable if the leaked pictures, the “misplaced iPhones” and rumoured tech specs come from Apple themselves, but one things the tech giant does well is let enough information come to light to leave fans itching for more.

Lesson:

If you have an event, launch or campaign ahead of you, tease your fans with snippets of content in the run up to the reveal. This could be pictures of the event coming together, preview videos, Q+A’s, anything! Keep your community involved with your projects by providing enough information whilst still leaving an air of anticipation until the full announcement.

The Experience

It’s hard to say that watching an Apple keynote is not an experience. The music at the beginning of the event, the dimming of the lights, the iconic white background ads.  Apple do a sublime job of making presentation a complete sensual experience with a barrage of different media.

Lesson:

Your Social should be an experience, and the best experiences engage us in many ways. Mix up your types of post, be it text, video, pictures or audio. People respond differently to different stimuli and tire of experiencing one exclusively. Keep everyone involved by sparking their interest with different types of content.

 


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