A cheeky Victorian getaway

The fam at the 12 Apostles web A cheeky Victorian getaway

The last week has involved no tweets, few Facebook updates, absolutely no work emails and most importantly no stress.

I have been on holidays you see. Holidays that involved a road trip to Victoria, to visit old friends;  surf uncrowded waves; drink beer in the sun; and most importantly spend time together as a family.

Some of the highlights:

  • Seeing people we get to see far too rarely. Thank you for putting us up Nicole on the Mornington Peninsula. Colleen and Ken thank you for lunch it was lovely to see you again and for you to spend some time with Sylvie
  • Seeing the country from the driver’s seat. As you will see from the map, we did quite a bit of travel in the car. I love driving and thankfully my little girl doesn’t mind it too much also
  • Surfing uncrowded waves. Whilst there was practically no swell, meaning most days I couldn’t surf at all, the waves I got were bliss. Surfing a break with one or two others is a real treat and much more conducive to conversations with strangers
  • Being paparazzi style fodder for a group of Chinese tourists. Whilst at the 12 Apostles, Sylvie’s blonde hair and blue eyes set off a hive of photographic activity as first one then up to 15 cameras were shooting at us in unision. Whilst at first being a little stunned at the attention we soon both grew accustomed to it. See the point below
  • Spending time together as a family. Without a doubt the time to simply dedicate to quality time with my little girl and Elizabeth was bliss. Sylvie is growing so quickly. She is crawling like an expert now and is pulling herself up on anything and everything. Her personality and sense of fun is really starting to appear. Seeing bits of your own personality coming out in your child is both magical and a bit scary…
  • Time away from work. The last six months has been pretty hectic at work. The chance to look at things with some perspective means I am returning after only a week away with fresh ideas and thoughts on new approaches

Enjoy the photos!

6491125849 743143cce0 o A cheeky Victorian getaway12 Apostles

6491105671 8a65c02eef z A cheeky Victorian getawaySplit Point Lighthouse

6465182229 1c6cf8aa11 A cheeky Victorian getawayDromana Beach Huts

6465160491 75b22865a6 z A cheeky Victorian getawayRosebud Jetty

See all our photos from the trip on Flickr.


Map of our trip here.

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Oprah coming to Australia – the facts and milestones

Oprah’s announcement last week that she is bringing 300 of her audience to Australia is in my opinion the best marketing Tourism Australia has done since Paul Hogan’s throw another shrimp on the barbie ads of the mid 80s.

The announcement by Oprah generated global media attention last week and will no doubt generate a lot more when the lady herself arrives in Australia.

The Fairfax press over the weekend wrote an insightful article outlining the events leading up to the announcement and some of the numbers involved. I have summarised the facts below:


  • April 2010- discussions to bring Oprah and her audience to Australia started with Oprah’s production company Harpo
  • Around 14 August 2010 – the deal was put through to Oprah herself
  • 17 August 2010 - Oprah confirmed the deal and advised she would like to announce on her first show of her final series
  • 9 September 2010 – the filming of the show where Oprah announced the trip occurred
  • 13 September 2010 – the show was broadcast and widely reported in world media
  • 7 December 2010 - Oprah and her audience arrive in Sydney  and will be split up into three groups; the groups each visiting either NSW, Victoria or Queensland
  • 14 December 2010 – everybody will reconvene back in Sydney  for filming of the first show in front of an estimated audience of 6,000 on the Opera House steps
  • Mid-January 2011 - The Australia episodes will go to air

The numbers:

  • Tourism Australia is spending $1.5 million on the extravaganza (an absolute bargain)
  • Tourism NSW is contributing ‘between $1 million and $2 million. Tourism Victoria is investing about $500,000, and Tourism Queensland about $400,000
  • Qantas is flying the 450 crew and audience free of charge
  • The Oprah Winfrey show is watched by about 9 million people daily in the US – mostly women over 55
  • The Oprah show is screened in 145 countries
  • A 30 second advertising spot on the US network screening Oprah comes in at around $100,000 (though this number is expected to be much higher for the final series)
  • Advertising equivalency is no suitable measure for measuring PR effectiveness, but if people are willing to pay $100,000 to reach Oprah’s audience during an ad break for 30 seconds, you can only imagine the value of the two episodes, each made up of 43 minutes of Australian focussed content
  • Like there was for the announcement, I expect global media coverage to of the event to extend the reach well beyond the Oprah audience itself

Included in the article I mention above was this paragraph:

According to Janice Peck, author of The Age of Oprah, advance notice that a book is to get the Oprah seal of approval is enough to persuade most publishers in the United States to increase their print run by 500,000 copies.

Congratulations Tourism Australia, PR success doesn’t come much greater.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Want to work in a PR agency? Here are some tips

This week I had the honour of presenting to PR students at the University of Newcastle (my old university) on the topic of working in a PR agency. Above is the presentation I gave. It was intended to be light-hearted and was pitched assuming minimal knowledge of the agency environment. The simple reason for this is that when I was at uni I had no idea about what a PR agency did or how it all worked.

I often get asked what skills you should have to get a job in PR and how you go about getting a job at an agency. My advice typically covers the following points:

  • Do work experience - every junior hire we make is via work experience, I know of almost no exceptions to this. If you want to get a job in a PR agency the best route is to identify the agencies you would like to work for and approach them about work experience opportunities.
  • Know the media – understand the media. Watch all the television news regularly and not just the news you like. Understand the difference between ABC, Ten and SBS. Read the papers and not just the one you like best. Know the difference between the tabloids and broadsheets, understand the difference between the SMH and The Australian. Listen to the radio, think about the stories they cover. Read online voraciously. Google News is a good start. It provides a good overview of the Australian landscape but also gives an insight into international media too.
  • Read and comment on blogs – read PR, marketing, social media and other personal interest blogs. Understand how writing for a blog differs from a traditional media outlet. Make sure you comment and engage. The beauty of blogs is that it is about  a two way conversation. Take part and enjoy the benefits. This post by the PR Warrior Trevor Young provides a good overview of some blogs to get started with. The fact I am listed in hist post is not the only reason I suggest following his advice either. icon smile Want to work in a PR agency? Here are some tips
  • Understand how Facebook can be used to build a community – Facebook is a brilliant platform for sharing photos and staying up to date with your friends, but it can also be a platform for building a community around a particular topic, brand or passion point. Join and analyse some of the Facebook pages of your favourite brands. In fact why not try it for yourself? Set up a page for your football club, your university club or other organisation.
  • Have a digital footprint – I always perform a Google search when I receive a new CV. What will I see if I search for your name? Having a blog is one of the most obvious ways to grow your personal brand. Your traffic will not be high to start with, but it is not about traffic rather is more about having your thoughts and opinions there when someone searches. If having a blog is too daunting Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are easier places to start. For extra points you may want to start building an understanding of basic SEO and HTML. Check out my advice on growing your personal brand online.
  • Get a university degree - having a university degree is one of the things I look at. A comms degree is the obvious choice, but really I am not all that fussed what degree you have. The reason I mention a degree is because it shows you understand how to research, know how to form and present an opinion and perhaps most importantly can stick at something and get it finished without having someone looking over your shoulder. Having said that I have also worked with some amazing people that don’t have a degree.
  • Get involved and help a local charity - if you are a PR student odds are you already know a lot more about PR than the average punter. Why not volunteer some of your time to a local charity to assist them with their PR and social media planning. The experience you gain will likely be invaluable and will make a difference for a needy charity.
  • The marketing mix is converging, so understand the whole marketing mix – gone are the days of clearly defined roles between marketing functions. Media, advertising, digital and PR agencies are all increasingly offering similar services as the roles blur. The more you know about all these disciplines the better.
  • Finally, be creative in getting people’s attention - PR agencies receive a lot of CVs each and every day, so think about how you can stand out from the rest of the pack. Rebecca Griffith from the University of Wollongong got my attention by posting a job request on the Mumbrella job boards and this effort by an advertising hopeful in America is brilliant.

This is just my advice. What other tips should we be giving to students and others looking to start a career in PR?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Social media and Election 2010: a missed opportunity

juliavotes 420x0 1 Social media and Election 2010: a missed opportunity

Photo: Andrew Meares (SMH.com.au)

As I have mentioned already we at Edelman have been conducting research through the 2010 Election campaign on Twitter use by Australian politicians and the election. As I prepare to spend the night watching the results of the election I wrote the post below for our Edelman Election blog. I thought I would repost it here also. Would love your thoughts on the election campaigning so far in the comment box if you feel so inclined.

Reposted from here:

As I write this post Australia votes. On the whole I think social media has been a massively under utilised platform for connecting with and influencing the voting decisions of Australians.

There have been examples of social media use:

  • The Liberals offered a Facebook app, and managed a Facebook community, but with only around 14,000 members this is a massive missed opportunity when you consider there is in excess of 8 million Australians on Facebook of voting age.
  • The Labor Party created a YouTube video, which has generated around half a million views, which is considerable, but with no clear call to action at the end, this too has to be considered a missed opportunity.

There were other examples, but not many. Social media was seen simply as something to dabble with on the periphery of the campaign. It was not integrated, or used nearly as effectively as it could have been. Imagine the communities that could have been generated in Facebook if the advertisements on television and in print media directed people to join a page. This simple exercise could have created environments where information could have been provided, social actions could have been encouraged and political movements created. Instead the ads simply ran at great expense to the political parties without a clear call to action to engage online.

This post by Trevor at Park Young is a good overview of the opportunity missed. Also worth checking out is the excellent The Social Election blog the team at Amnesia Razorfish created.

The final standings in our Twitter influence rankings are outlined below. There were no great changes throughout the campaign, but we do like to think we played some small part in getting Julia Gillard to engage.

[table id=2 /]

Yesterday we presented our research as part of a PRIA panel. Check out the presentation below:

Twitter and the Australian Election 2010

View more presentations from Matthew Gain.

What do you think about the election? Do you have comments on our research? Do you think social media could have influenced your vote?

If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

As I mentioned in my previous post, myself and the team at Edelman have been monitoring the use of Twitter by Australian politicians and their staffers at – Election.TweetLevel.com.au. On the whole it has been rather uneventful. The majority of the politicians are simply ignoring the platform and social media more broadly for that matter.

But all of this took a turn this week, when Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, started engaging. The initial impetus was the offer of a charity donation in exchange for a @reply by Karalee Evans and another staffer at digital agency Amnesia Razorfish. Check out the full story here.

Following this initial engagement, JG has been replying regularly to Tweets she is receiving, including a message to yours truly.

In response to this message:

MG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Julia Gillard sent this response:

JG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Obviously, social media will not be the only thing that wins or loses this election, but it will have an impact. So Julia engaging in my mind is a very good thing. Jim Macnamara commenting on this in a SBS News story tonight summed it up best:

No one thing will cause people to vote, not newspapers, not TV debates, not social media, but does social media have a role? Yes.

I couldn’t agree more with Jim. Social media does have a role to play. If most politicians continue to ignore it they are missing a trick. Follow this link to view the SBS story, which in addition to Jim, includes an interview with myself and Karalee Evans.

What do you think? Do you care if our politicians are engaging on Twitter? Do you think their time would be better spent on Facebook? Or should simply stick to traditional media?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Want to know who is the most influential Australian politician on Twitter?

TweetLevel image1 Want to know who is the most influential Australian politician on Twitter?Election 2010 offers politicians the opportunity to embrace an ever-maturing portfolio of social media platforms to engage with Australian voters, but sadly most are simply using social media platforms to push out their messages in a one way direction.

Myself and the digital team at Edelman Australia have been working on some research in the lead up to the election that aims to measure the Twitter activity of Australia’s politicians and staffers and provide a rank on who is the most influential. Check it out at the dedicated site we have set up – election.tweetlevel.com.au


To track Twitter’s influence on the election, we have input all the politicians we could find into Edelman’s TweetLevel tool, which measures the influence of individuals on Twitter based on a number of factors including re-tweets, followers, frequency of tweets, references etc. We have included a detailed overview of how the tool calculates the scores on the site.

The results

Currently the top ten most influential political Tweets are:

[table id=1 /]

The findings at the moment show that the Greens are using the platform most effectively with a large section of Greens MPs and candidates using the tool effectively to communicate and engage with potential voters.

The top two positions on the table are controlled by former party leaders Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd. Malcolm is effectively using the platform to engage with his followers and tweets regularly. Kevin Rudd on the other hand has secured his position largely due to the huge following he has (close to 1 million followers), and updates his account sparingly and engages in virtually no two way dialogue via @replies.

Both PM contenders Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott feature highly on the influence score, but this is due in main part to the high number of followers and the high number of re-tweets they are generating. Disappointingly, both candidates are only using their Twitter channels to push content as opposed to using it to engage with Australian voters. Both engagement scores are woefully low.

Will the battle for votes be won by Twitter?  Not this time it seems, but Twitter’s influence on the conversation and its use as a political organising tool cannot be underestimated.

We will be updating the Election.TweetLevel.com.au site on a regular basis over the course of the election campaign, so check in regularly if you want to stay up to date.

Another site that is tracking politicians’ use of social media during the election is The Social Election, which has been set up by digital agency Amnesia social media guru Karalee Evans. It is well worth checking out as well.

Any feedback you have on the research we are undertaking would be very much appreciated. If you would like to discuss it with me don’t hesitate to get in contact with me via the contact form on this site or via Twitter – @matthewgainIf you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Chatroulette viral by Condomerie.com

Condomerie.com, an Amsterdam based specialty store (of course you say), has created a Chatroulette inspired video.

For those who are not aware, Chatroulette, is a video chat service that drops you into conversations with random strangers. Though be warned before you try it out for work, it is well lewd and crude.

Great video and clever way to get an important message about safe sex across. Well done Condomerie.

If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Microsoft Kin social media marketing – a case study

Rose Microsoft Kin 300x244 Microsoft Kin social media marketing   a case study

To build buzz for the launch of its new phone, Kin, Microsoft has been undertaking a fairly large scale new media campaign involving live events, a range of social platforms including, YouTube and  Facebook, and a tour of America that explores the concept of a ‘friend’ in today’s society.

The work, which I believe has been created by Exposure, is in my opinion refreshingly good and a welcome departure from previous Microsoft social media marketing attempts like the Windows 7 launch video party series (although ironically the views of these videos far outstrip the Kin ones).

The campaign launched in April and will include 15 webisodes starring Rosa, a likeable personality who is travelling across America to meet in person her friends on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

The webisodes in my opinion are good. They are professionally created and engaging. The integration of multiple social media platforms has also been done well and two way engagement is going on across all of the ones I have viewed. The campaign has now launched another phase involving a series of live music events with bands such as The Black Keys.

Below I have embedded a couple of examples of the webisodes and also given a quick overview of the campaign elements and why I think this campaign has been successful.

This is the trailer to the series:

An example webisode:

Campaign elements (all numbers roughly accurate at time of posting):

  • Facebook – more than 187,000 people have liked the page and there is lively discussion going on via the wall. There are customised tabs for competitions. Videos and live events are also being publicised via the wall.
  • YouTube – a branded channel has been set up that has 3,130 subscribers (this isn’t huge), but has generated close to 600,000 views.
  • Twitter – the account has 4,487 followers and is being used to promote gigs and events happening in American cities. It is also being used for conversation and questions are being actively responded to.
  • MySpace – A highly customised page showcasing the webisodes as the hero content
  • Live events – live music events are taking place all over America, but to find out the details you have to be following the channels mentioned above to get clues and information
  • Microsite – this is the online hub for the campaign. Links off to all the social platforms and also provides more detailed information about the product.

What I like about this campaign:

  • Microsoft is everywhere its audience is. It has recognised that people interact on different platforms for different reasons and that no single platform is the answer. Refreshingly as well, Microsoft is playing on its competitors’ platforms (Youtube in particular) and not trying to confine this to their own platforms. Nice.
  • The videos are highly produced and engaging. The video quality is good and the talent obviously well thought out. Rosa is excellent natural talent that I found incredibly likeable. The initial trailer was obviously well promoted (165k) views, but subsequent videos were much less so – typically around the 5K mark, which must be somewhat disappointing.
  • The product mentions are not in your face. The Kin phone is present in each video, but where it is used it is relevant, not obtrusive and natural. Congratulations on this Microsoft.
  • The campaign involves online and offline elements. The offline elements give people something to engage with and offer situations for the public to generate and share content around the brand.
  • Microsoft is engaging in a two way dialogue. Across the Twitter and Facebook pages it is clear Microsoft is responding to questions and engaging in the conversation.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft and its agencies continue to capitalise on the momentum they have generated thus far, but roughly a month in they appear to be off to a good start. I am not entirely sure about the phone, but I am only going on some reviews I have read and the form factor. I guess time will tell on that point.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this post why don’t you subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Full disclosure, I am a former employee of Microsoft and Microsoft is a client of both Weber Shandwick and my new employer Edelman. However Microsoft or its agencies have had no involvement in this post.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Tips for improving your LinkedIn SEO

4633798280 88a5f34bf6 o Tips for improving your LinkedIn SEOThis is the third in a series of posts I have published on improving the SEO around your personal brand. In this post I wanted to share some tips on improving the SEO of your LinkedIn Profile.

Before I start, I want to be clear that even if you follow these tips it is unlikely you will be screaming to the top of the Google search results. Having a blog that you update regularly is by far and away a more effective medium for improving your personal search rankings. However, if you are not that way inclined, or are already blogging, these things will not do you any harm and are worth trying out – even if it is just so you will have a completed LinkeIn profile.

Tips for improving the SEO of your LinkedIn Profile:

  1. Complete your LinkedIn profile. Before doing anything else, make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up to date. There is absolutely no point in improving your search engine rank if the end destination does not represent you accurately. I wouldn’t go too overboard trying to game the system, but search engines do scan the information in your profile, so make sure you are including the keywords you want associated with your name.
  2. Customise your URL. You can customise the URL associated with your profile to include your name, rather than the random sequence of numbers LinkedIn generates for you. URLs are incredibly important component of SEO, so this is a no brainer. (learn how to do this by watching the video below tip 7).
  3. Pay special attention to your job title and location. Your location and job title are the only personalised pieces of information provided on a generic search for your name on LinkedIn. There is not often a lot of flexibility in job roles, but perhaps think about how you can present your title in the most effective way to include desired keywords.

    4625783503 25a14f867f o Tips for improving your LinkedIn SEO

    Search result showing job title

  4. Include your entire job history. People may be looking for you by searching for previous companies you have worked for. If these are not included in your profile then you may not be found. This is particularly important for people with more common names.

    4625783527 1530567161 o Tips for improving your LinkedIn SEO

    The result when you search Matthew Gain Howorth (an old employer)

  5. Specialities. Make sure you fill out all the sections. A particularly good section for including keywords is the Specialities section. Google does index this section, so make good use of it.
  6. Join related groups. There is an enormous value in joining LinkedIn groups beyond SEO. From an SEO perspective they help by associating the name of the group with your search profile. Search for Groups that are aligned with your professional interests. The Group names will typically include relevant keywords for you.
  7. Customise your links. Rather than the generic, blog, company website or Twitter links that LinkedIn generates you can customise your personal URLs to generate more potential Google Juice. This is a little bit involved, so check out this handy video created by Mike Volpe of HubSpot.
  8. Answer questions. I have heard it suggested that you can improve your search rankings by responding to questions on LinkedIn, thus creating link backs to your profile. I would imagine Google is clever enough to ignore this, but perhaps I am wrong? Irrespective, answering questions does raise your profile generally and is a good idea, so I have included.

As I stated above by following these you are unlikely to dramatically shift your search engine rankings, but they won’t hurt. Well worth an hour or so of your time in my opinion.

Are there any suggestions that I have missed? Do you disagree with any of the above? I am no SEO expert, so would love to update this post with additional suggestions or improvements.

This post of a series of posts I am making on SEO tips to improve your personal search brands. Other posts you can view are:

If you enjoyed this post why don’t you subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Full disclosure, LinkedIn is a client of my future employer Edelman, but they have had no involvement with this post.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Forget #PRFail, what about #Journofail?

2484934370 2c3df90279 b Forget #PRFail, what about #Journofail?

Image by Greekadman - http://bit.ly/aqw05t

The title of this post was a bit of a link bait exercise, I don’t advocate the use of a #journofail hash tag, but I do think those of us in the PR industry need to end our fear of criticising journalists.

Tiffany Farrington, an Australian PR veteran and someone I respect a lot, recently published a post listing things that PRs dislike about journalists. The post contained a collection of anonymous irks PR people had sent in and was a good read. The post was not a rant, came on the back of a post which asked journalists what they disliked about PRs and was created with the desire of creating harmony amongst the community of PRs and journalists.

I loved the post and left a comment stating:

Thanks Tiff, refreshing to see the PRs’ side of this story told.

Whilst we may not work for the same side, our industries are undeniably intertwined. Over the years I have learnt lots about what to do and what not to do by paying attention to journalists in their articles, blog posts and presentations about how PRs should interact with them.

I hope journalists can benefit in a similar way from this post.

Frustratingly however, this was the only comment from someone in the PR industry on the post. Based on her high profile I assume Tiff’s blog is well visited, the blog was linked to from Mumbrella driving even more traffic, there were journalists that commented on it, so surely PRs were also reading it. Why then had none of my colleagues felt compelled to comment? My only assumption is that PR people are so concerned about the implications of criticising a journalist that it kept them silent.

The non willingness of my colleagues to speak up is not healthy in my mind. As I stated in my comment on Tiffany’s blog, whilst we have different drivers and objectives in our roles, the PR and journalism industries across many sectors (note I am not saying all) are undeniably intertwined. If those of us on the PR side are too scared to provide constructive criticism on how our industries can work better together then we rightly deserve to be treated in a subservient manner by journalists and continue to be frustrated by their actions.

I am not suggesting that en mass PRs should start airing their gripes with their journalist contacts, but when we experience mistakes, or poor practice (and this does happen), these should be addressed in a constructive manner. If we don’t, we risk a gap forming between our industries and a growing frustration on both sides.

In this spirit, my advice to journalists is to keep the mistakes us PR people make in perspective. PR agencies on the whole are filled with really smart, passionate and hard working people. PRs, like you, often work long hours in stressful environments with many demands. Sometimes this results in mistakes that frustrate you. Rather than launching into a tirade on Twitter, or elsewhere, when this happens, why not contact the person in question, or one of their colleagues you have a relationship with. Outline why their actions are causing you frustration and how they can avoid doing that again. I know you’re busy, we all are, but you might be surprised at how this small investment saves wasted time down the track and may even help you better achieve your objectives.

Of course I realise that in many cases what I am advocating above is the norm and there are countless examples of good relationships built on mutual respect between the PR and journalism industries. I am simply writing this post in the hope that we can increase these types of relationships and decrease the negatives ones.

I’d love to hear from PRs or journalists on reactions to this post.

If you enjoyed this post why don’t you subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Or alternatively follow me on Twitter.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .