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Hats off – and then some – to the UN for their new “Women should/need…” adverts based on results from Google Autocomplete. A simple trick that’s really effective – but what happens when you run the same trick on certain professions?

Google Autocomplete on Journalism

Google Autocomplete on journalists

Google Autocomplete on Social Media

Google Autocomplete on social media

Google Autocomplete on PR people

Google Autocomplete on PR people

Google Autocomplete on Advertisers

Google Autocomplete on advertisers

Google Autocomplete on Marketeers

Google Autocomplete on marketers

Of course, then you get the results for Scottish People and politicians

Google Autocomplete on Scottish people

Google Autocomplete on politicians

The thing is, this is a great and easy campaign for people to do – it’s an easy win for charities of all kinds, especially ones that want to play with public perceptions.

Rangers Football Club is having a terrible time of it. It used to have a really easy time in the mainstream Scottish media but of late has been more and more under fire between a tax case and scrutiny of the new owner, Craig Whyte. And there’s crisis social media and PR lessons here for any businesses.

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Interesting little comment from the founders of the smash hit Angry Birds game that shows one possible way PR will be evolving for the smarter, more connected social media and PR operators…. (more…)

I’ve moaned often enough that the Scottish press doesn’t seem to do enough to try and grasp digital opportunities so it would be churlish not to mention the new Scotsman iPad app that’s been released today. But does it beat buying the paper or getting it via the likes of PressReader (where you can get all the papers you want – from across the globe for £19 a month)? Let’s have a look…

Scotsman iPad App review

What is it?

It’s The Scotsman newspaper in an iPad friendly format (the old iPhone app wasn’t that great as I said in this Scotsman iPhone app review). You get a bunch of stories from the paper/website and the digital edition claims it will update during the day. You also get the option to view the traditional paper format. It’s £7.99 a month – which is a good deal – and the first month is free. You may even get the Evening News for free (more of that in a minute).

Is this a good thing?

Hell yes. More and more news is being consumed this way – on tablets and phones, so it most certainly is. This is the future. And even though The Scotsman isn’t what it was – it went through a period of being hellbent on losing the traditional audience – and the website it (slowly) rebuilding its way to former glories that Stewart Kirkpatrick made of it – this is a good thing. It’s still an influential paper, especially on the East Coast.

Is it a good app? A good read?

Umm… let’s split this up…

The Good

The fact The Scotsman has done this is good. We need more Scottish press embracing possibilities.

What’s utterly brilliant is the setting for ‘Read the paper from the back’ (it’s buried in the settings options) – that’s great for those who start with the sports section and whoever came up with it should get a gold star. Great consideration of audience.

It’s very stable and quite quick. There’s some nice options with each story to share via email, Facebook or Twitter and it takes your settings from what is already on your machine – no need to input your details again. There’s also a nice ‘related stories’ link at the end of each.

It’s genuinely free for a month. It doesn’t ask for your card or PayPal details up front, hoping you’ll forget to cancel (like so many sites do)

You can get Jobs, Announcements and so on – it takes you to The Scotsman site so this is always the fresh material that it should be.

You can archive stories and editions.

The Not-so-good

(in no particular order)

The video could do with better mics. Quite a bit of background hiss.

There’s no back button on any of the pages so you always have to click the Home button to leave a section.

The first few attempts at downloading the edition of the day are horrifically slow – three minutes on a 50MB wifi connection (for comparison, PressReader pulled today’s edition down in 26 seconds – the whole thing) – and I can’t tell if the Scotsman pulls down the whole edition or streams pages at a time as there’s a 2-3 second lag when you flick through pages.

The stories at the top – seven stories in the ‘cycle’ but only two are from today. Five are from yesterday.

While there’s options to share, it doesn’t tell me if any my friends have read/liked/tweeted the stories. Similarly, there’s no ‘what are my friends reading’ option which could have boosted engagement.

When you go to Jobs, Announcements and so on, the UI changes and you are suddenly in the territory of The Scotsman website. This is bad. The UI experience should be consistent so that if someone is accessing these pages from the app that they still have all the options at the bottom (in fairness, they do have it at the top but it’s just a button saying ‘done’ which takes you back to the app.)

WTF is the ‘Remember the Children’ thing all about? Make a virtual star in the night sky to remember a baby or child no longer with us? I mean really, what the fuck? Crass, insensitive. Just what was the thinking behind this one? Cheap and manipulative in my opinion – and seems to be something a bunch of papers are doing. Nice idea but to me, just… no. And yes, I think the same about the poppy field for soldiers and the daffodils for cancer victims. At least those are a bit more relevant than stars in the night sky.

The Questions

What times of the day does this update? Will it inform me by email? How will I know? Do I need to just click and hope?

What about the Evening News stream at the bottom – is that the full paper? Just the highlights? Will the Evening News be getting an app? What about the Scotland on Sunday? A standalone app or will it appear on Sunday in this one?

Why isn’t there a one-touch button for sending comments (to appear on the website) or Letters to the Editor? Is there an option to read web comments?

What time does it update in the morning? Does it come out the same time as the streets edition or is it 9am?

Over time, will it remember what I have read or shared and put those sort of stories first?

Conclusions – is it worth buying?

This is a very decent app and deserves to make The Scotsman money. It’s probably the best Scottish newspaper app out there at the moment and hopefully sparks others into getting out there. £7.99 for a monthly subscription isn’t bad – if it includes the Evening News and S0S then it’s even better.

Will I be buying it? Probably not. I may subscribe for a month just to give it some cash, but that’s it (unless you get the full Evening News/SoS). Why? I use PressReader on my iPad and here’s why I’ll be sticking with that…

What’s so good about PressReader

£19 a month gets me all-I-can-eat press from more than 2000 newspapers from more than 100 countries. Every day I turn on the app and I get downloaded at 7am the print editions of The Scotsman, The Courier, The Press & Journal, The Herald, The Guardian, and The Indepdendent. Every evening I get The Evening Times, Evening Telegraph and the Evening Express. Now on top of that, for no extra cost I can get the Daily Mail, Daily Express (English editions), access to the likes of The Engineer, Marketing Week, Sunday Herald and many other weekly publications. I can also get plenty of other regional UK titles if I’m doing a PR search for local press – or foreign press.

Basically, it’s a steal and even at £7.99 The Scotsman app can’t compete with it. I can forego the likes of the odd video interview and save my £7.99 – but in fairness that may change. If there’s enough new fresh content that is non-paper and appeals to me, I’ll be there, waving my credit card.

And what they put up today is an optimistic start.

We often hear that politicians, celebrities and sporting figures like footballers are the ambassadors for our countries. And they may well be, but do you know what? They aren’t the main ambassadors.

So who is? (more…)

If you’ve read more than 140 characters on social media, you’ll know that many people like myself, Chris Brogan and others advocate a blog as being a main part of your social media strategy. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and other sites, what’s on your site (like your blog) is yours and all yours alone with the benefits – SEO and otherwise – that it brings. Another great thing about a blog is that you can write as much as you want – useful in a crisis and you want to get your words across. After all, there’s no guarantee that the local press will pick up your release or use a lot of it.

Which brings us to BrewDog, a young brewing and pub company from Scotland (disclaimer: I’ve done work for them in the past but not at the moment). There’s been grumblings of late from some customers about problems with deliveries from their mail order. (more…)

Been a bit of buzz – mostly people calling me a Scottish humbug (my daughter read the blog and said “you will now be known as Papa Scrooge”) over my post on Why Social Media Staff Should be Working Christmas Day – so to help people out so that they can spend more time with their toys or loved ones (or both), here’s 18 tips to minimise having to be online during Christmas Day:

20 tips for firms doing Social Media on Christmas Day

 

  1. You do have Google Alerts set up for all relevant brand names and topics, yes?
  2. Let people know you’ll be available online
  3. Your site does work on the most popular mobiles and tablets, yes?
  4. Have your FAQ updated and revised with most common/popular questions from this time of year at the top
  5. In everything you put online, think like a consumer. What will they be asking?
  6. Is your online store up and running OK? Do you have emergency contact phone numbers for any technical or PR issues that arise?
  7. Schedule tweets across the day with links to the most commonly asked questions regarding your brands
  8. Are there any relevant online links you can link to? Again, feel free to schedule them
  9. If scheduling Facebook posts via Hootsuite or other tool, remember that it will impact on your Edgerank
  10. Think about the times people will go online – for example, 3pm in the UK is a bad time as most are having dinner – and when your customers are like to be online
  11. Is there anything you have – app for example – that you can encourage people to go to to download with their new tablets/phones/etc? Bonus points if it’s a free download (for example, a client of mine – Whyte & Mackay have a SatNav voice from a Scotsman that they make available as a free download for TomTom users)
  12. Schedule some tweets wishing a Merry Xmas to the people who have been key helps or influencers to you over the year
  13. Have a reply policy in place covering the most expected comments from consumers
  14. Let people know in your biogs for Twitter and your latest Facebook updates – that you might not reply as promptly as normal but that you will reply (give them an ETA if you want.)
  15. Check a few times throughout the day when you get a quiet moment. Having a properly set-up smartphone can be a gift for this as you can check things in the car (as long as you aren’t driving)
  16. Remember, the odds are that if people are mentioning you for help or to moan about an issue, they just want you to resolve it quickly so they can get back to the fun stuff
  17. Try not to post if you’ve had too much of the Christmas spirit (or any other kind of spirit) – a drunken tweet could cause the issues you are trying to avoid
  18. As it’s Christmas, why not wish your competitors a Merry Xmas? After all, the British and Germans could do it during war. Also, the odds are they’ve taken Xmas off, so why not monitor their timelines/mentions and help people out if you can. It may get you customers in the long run…
  19. Remember, many people will be watching TV with their laptop/mobile as their second screen for tweeting. Feel free to join in the chat if you have time
  20. Have fun. Yes, it’s work but you can enjoy work you know

With a bit of planning and scheduling, there’s no reason to be chained to the keyboard all day long, but you should check in to make sure your customers are happy. After all, it’s the season of giving and it’s your place to give customer satisfaction and happiness.

Social media, we are told, is 24/7 – and surely that extends to 365 days of the year. After all, it’s not Christmas for everyone and in a global setting Christmas (for those who celebrate it) comes at different hours .

There’s two main reasons for why any consumer label or brand worth its salt will have people monitoring social media channels though: happy customers and new customers.

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Interesting piece in The Drum about Red Ant moving all of Varsity Bars digital and social media content to the Facebook page and has closed down its website as it pursues a younger audience.

I’ll say one thing for them: it’s a ballsy move. (more…)

Anyone who’s picked up an iPhone 4s will know that the voice recognition software Siri is part of the phone. Now if you get it in the UK, it comes with a man’s voice, in other countries you get the male or female voice.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why Apple has limited the voices for now – you can bet extra voices will come, just like they have for Sat Navs and Tom Toms (like this Scottish Sat Nav voice by Whyte & Mackay Master Blender Richard Paterson), and some will be charged for.

But in the meantime that means there’s going to be a lot of angry men with their iPhone 4s… (more…)