Overtransparency and the Dilemma of #Client Vs Integrity

This time last year, there was some fuss about The SarcMark, a new piece of punctuation designed to make the use of sarcasm explicit by putting a little marker at the end of each relevant sentence.*

Naturally, it was met with near universal derision and ridicule, mainly because it made explicit what anyone with a semblance of intelligence could deduct by themselves.

However, for a while I’ve been watching the way that #client disclosure hashtags are used on Twitter and for me, it kind of twigs some similar concerns.  Tweets like this by .net magazine Editor @DanOliver, and @Wadds‘ little show of hands here present one assortment of views on the matter.

I have something of a different take.

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January 19th, 2011


Does the tech scene need more humanity?

An interesting Tweetversation has been going on between a couple of leading UK tech journos Chris Davies (from SlashGear) and Mic Wright (freelancer for the likes of Wired & co.)

Check it out below (starting from the bottom)

The article they’re discussing is written by Philip Berne and a great example of the longer format of IT journalism that seems relatively rare in the sea of news that keeps the scene ticking over.

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October 20th, 2010


PR coverage- a new perspective

As you may have heard, last week my agency Wildfire PR released some social media research which saw some pretty excellent pickup all over the place.

As PRs, we’re all pretty used to the value of good coverage- traditionally,  it’s one of the great magical currencies of what we do and a satisfying achievement.  But it’s easy to start seeing it in pragmatic terms as a commodity listed in Excel, meeting targets and making clients happy.  It’s easy to lose sight of what coverage may mean to clients, not just in the marketing department but for everyone from the founders downwards.

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August 11th, 2010


Sustainable Social Media: A Manifesto

<< Crossposted from my post on the official Wildfire PR blog. Because I like it. >>

If one thing has become clear in the last few weeks, it’s that everyone loves the Old Spice guy.  He sprung out of nowhere, posted some clever YouTube videos and we all had a good time.

But social media was supposed to be about more than this.  It was supposed to make companies more transparent and usher in a new age of true public relations – it was supposed to save the world!

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August 6th, 2010


Is there a PR career sweet spot?

A PR career is a funny thing. The account exec role births you into a chaotic world of frenzied media relations and client report deadlines. But no sooner do you get a grip on these fundamentals than the skillset gives way bit by bit to a dynamic of planning, strategy and deeper client management.

In my experience, both requirements are deeply satisfying but in enormously different ways.  What I’m wondering is if there’s a sweetspot somewhere along the career ladder where you get the best of both worlds. After all, there are only traditionally so many positions available- AE, AM, AD/ AssD, MD.

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July 30th, 2010


Why I’ll always have time for timesheets

Graham Goodkind’s recent piece on why PR timesheets should be scrapped seems to over-simplify the issue.  Certainly, they’re an imperfect system as demonstrated by his stats showing how they are inevitably filled out with less than ideal accuracy.

But so’s democracy – as Churchill famously stated, it’s the “worst form of Government except for all others that have been tried” – and you don’t see us turning our back on that institutional bastion.

Instead, Graham focuses on the idea of selling ‘value’ as opposed to simple hours.

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April 14th, 2010


Maxicom – AxiCom = MaxTB at Wildfire

Hello anonymous blinking observers.

It’s time to announce that as of Monday the 15th of March, I’ll be leaving my role at the magnificent global PR powerhouse AxiCom to join the team of thrusting young things at Wildfire PR.

Raising the Temperature

You may be familiar with the agency online via such noted Wildfirers as DannyWhatmough and DebbyPenton ( or have met them in real life as Danny Whatmough and Debby Penton respectively…) Alternatively, I’d be surprised if you haven’t read the brilliant Wildfire blog or indeed Danny’s own.

For many of you this will mean business as usual except for one logical alteration: what once was @maxicom is now part of my wider web presence as @maxtb.

There will be no encores…

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March 12th, 2010


How to Stop PR Spam

The writing of this post was accelerated by today’s launch of An Inconvenient PR Truth, a marketing campaign from RealWire with its own clever take on the PR spam situation.  It’s easy on the eyes, cleverly tied in with RealWire’s colours and even comes with its own journalists’ Bill of Rights

But of course, it’s just a nice idea.  If the problem of PR spam could be solved by education alone then God knows there are enough training courses and articles out there for it to have disappeared a long time ago.

I think there may be a better solution out there…

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January 28th, 2010


Thoughts on Journalists’ Public Relations Relations

Whatever your business, reputation is important. But in media-related industries like journalism and PR, it’s absolutely vital.

Today’s fuss about Kevin Braddock‘s naming and shaming of PRs has been interesting in itself but I think it reflects another interesting aspect of the UKTJPR community; Some journalists are much better at their own PR than others.

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January 5th, 2010