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The Online Rule

Soon this blog will be no more. Don’t worry I’ve not given up, I’m just focusing my attention elsewhere.

For a long time I’ve wanted to revamp this site, move it away from and make more of a go of it however events have conspired to make updating this blog on a regular basis rather difficult. As a result it made no sense to me to pay for hosting, a domain name etc. when I could do everything I wanted and needed to do right here for nothing.

Last week, after a conversation with a good friend of mine who also has an interest in #digisport, we decided to bite the bullet and set something up together. is the result.

The Online Rule will focus on the same topics I’ve covered here but there’ll be more content more often. It might even be of a higher standard too. After all they do say two heads are better than one.

The site is live now and content is being added as I type, so make sure you check it out. Oh, and if you want to contribute don’t be shy. We’re on the hunt for people who can write, have an interest in comms and/or sport and can lighten the load a bit.


The first post is up on the University of Sunderland MA Public Relations blog and it’s been written by yours truly!


In public relations, probably more than any other profession, it’s important to have a handle on what the internet says about you. After all how can you be expected to look after the reputation of a client if you can’t even look after your own? While Googling yourself used to be the past time of the internet savvy narcissist nowadays it’s expected that you’re not only aware of what pops up when you search for your own name, but that whatever does appear is positive too!

Apparently 78 per cent of recruiters search your name online before deciding whether to hire you or not and why wouldn’t they? An impressive CV and crease-free suit may create the right initial impression but your tweets say more about the real you and that’s what potential a employer really wants to know. Even existing workers would do well to remain more guarded about…

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100 Things to Watch in 2012

New York ad agency JWT have announced their 100 Things to Watch in 2012. You can access the slide show here.

Best get my leotard out ready for the Batuka classes!

Five things I’ve learned during semester one of MA PR

This week marks the start of my second semester, so I thought I’d officially close the book on the first few months of my course by mentioning five things I’ve learned so far:

  • PRs and journalists don’t actually hate each other

Really, they don’t! Not any more anyway. They may say they do but from everything I’ve seen and heard there’s a grudging acceptance from either side that they need one another. Most newsrooms are understaffed and overworked while journalists remain desk-bound. PRs help bring the stories to the journalists and in return journalists are helping practitioners justify their retainers to clients.

  • Bigger is better

    Photo by Thomas Hawk

Involved in a campaign and struggling to think of a stunt and will grab your audience by the lapels? Then make something huge! Seriously, big stuff works wonders if you want to generate interest. Even better if you can make it the worlds biggest. It doesn’t really matter what it is – a chocolate bar, a shoe, a naan bread – if you can say that it’s a record breaker then you’re onto a winner.

  • Don’t use AVE

If you’re reading this and you’re involved in PR then you probably know what that nifty little acronym above means. For those who aren’t then I’ll briefly explain. Advertising value equivalent (or AVE) is a method of evaluation where practitioners measure column inches and figure out how much cheaper their service is in comparison with placing an advert of equivalent size in the same publication. Simple, but a little too much so.

Despite what I’ve said above size isn’t everything. AVE doesn’t account for the content of the article – positive, negative or neutral. It’s also becoming increasingly redundant as online media takes hold. Think about it, the phrase “Good news! We managed two-thirds of a 23 inch Packard Bell monitor out of our last release!” doesn’t really sound impressive? This pokey blog takes up more than that!

  • The importance of presentation skills

If you’re not capable of standing up in front of a group of people and talking in detail about your proposed campaign then public relations probably isn’t for you. And if you’re one of these people who can do such a thing without any nerves whatsoever then I hate you.

  • No one really knows what PR is (but I can tell you what it isn’t)!

Okay, that’s not strictly true. There does seem to be some agreement over the more basic areas of public relations but definitions tend to differ quite widely from practitioner to practitioner. Is it purely about reputation? Is it a management function? Is it press agentry? Ask seven different people and the chances are you’ll get seven different answers. Abigail Johnson’s written a great blog outlining the diverse number of the definitions that there are for PR. However, one thing I do now know is that public relations is not a profession!