The Social Summer of Sport

This summer has been a fascinating one for sport and social media. While The FIFA World Cup became the most talked-about event in Facebook’s history, Wimbledon partnered with Grabyo to bring real-time clips of its live TV coverage to Facebook and Twitter globally – reaching a potential social mobile audience of billions.

Here’s an awesome clip of the ‘tweener’ by Nick Kyrgios, which became the first real-time video clip to go viral around the world, clocking up nearly half a million views…

Grabyo’s project was covered extensively in U.K. and U.S. media, with articles in the U.S. including The Daily Telegraph, Lost Remote, The Drum, The Next Web, Sports Business Daily and Variety.

How to build a successful PR campaign for a startup in 2014

One fairly safe bet for the coming 12 months is that we’ll see thousands more startups being launched—many with significant backing behind them.

Following the many successful tech IPOs of last year and the stories of new billionaires, not only is there plenty of money finding its way back into the startup ecosystem, but the allure of entrepreneurship is glowing brighter than ever.  So here are a few tips for those planning launch campaigns for startups in the year ahead.

1. Consider all available channels, platforms, and touch points. 
Don’t think in terms of traditional media vs. social media. Weigh all the relevant channels for reaching your target audiences, whether specific media, online communities, forums, or offline events. Develop a profile of your target user, and consider all the potential ways to reach that person. It will probably be a combination of many methods that will inform your target users and motivate them to take action.

2. People want to be involved, so let them be. 
The surging growth of crowd funding not only is testament to the growing appeal of investing in enterprising ideas, but also is indicative of people’s desire to be engaged and involved in bringing new products or services to market. They want to share their views on products and contribute to their success. Crowd funding is just one of many ways that startups can build a community of supporters before a launch.

3. Create great, digital-friendly content. 
Though journalists often still value formal written announcements with facts, dates, and media-friendly quotes, there are many other ways of disseminating a message through digital channels—whether it’s with photos, video or infographics.  For startups that are aligned with topical trends or defining new ones, serving as a source of insight through high-quality and informative content will help attract potential users.

4. Take a fully integrated approach. 
As well as working your media relations skills, managing social media channels, and engaging in great content creation and content marketing, make sure you consider paid media campaigns. Though you may want to avoid traditional media purchases and display ads, social media now presents an array of more subtle techniques for propagating the message and can be highly effective when used in conjunction with traditional PR tactics.

5. Use analytics to track progress and tweak strategy. 
Delivering a successful launch campaign can make all the difference, so you should keep reviewing progress and tweak your approach if necessary. When you’re using analytics, it shouldn’t be too difficult to spot which tactics are working and which need adjusting. It may also be worth realigning your budget so you can put a greater emphasis on the most effective channels and ensure maximum impact from the campaign.

(this blog was published in PR Daily)

Maximise the impact of your broadcast interview #prtips

So you’ve got yourself an interview on Bloomberg TV, you’ve prepared your messaging, memorised a few key phrases and made sure your not wearing a patterned shirt.  You’re a little nervous but excited to be going on live television and satisfied you’ve done everything to make the most of the opportunity.  Right?

Wrong!  Many people fail to maximise their opportunity on TV by not providing additional data points and insights to the news editor.  It’s easy to feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to be on the show and leave it at that, but broadcast news teams are normally very open to placing insights alongside the interviewee that illustrate the credibility of the spokesperson or company.  Indeed, they’re keen to show their viewers that they have access to the opinions that matter.

Here’s an example… an interview I recently secured on CNBC for Mark Tluszcz of Mangrove Capital Partners – one of the top technology dealmakers in Europe – on its flagship morning news show.  As we headed towards the studio in a taxi, I fired off an email to the editor with some background stats and insights on Mark and the firm.  And I watched the interview from the green room, waiting to see how it would pan out.

Firstly, they kicked off the interview with its ‘Street Cred’ insert – which featured some background on Mark as well as referencing how he has featured in the Forbes Midas List three years running.  They also featured a stat on the size of the venture capital industry to wake investors up to its maturity in Europe….

CNBC's Street Cred slider
CNBC’s Street Cred shot

Further into the interview, they pulled up the ‘Company Profile’ – with his key successes and his area of focus.  They stated that the firm was the first investor in Skype (which tends to get people’s attention), his interest in consumer internet ideas and his expertise on technology in Russia…

CNBC’s Company Profile shot

Then it was the icing on the cake – they pulled up a ‘Company Performance’ shot explaining why Mangrove is one of the top 20 venture capital firms globally and flagging that it turned its investment in Wix from $10m into $170m….

CNBC Company Performance
CNBC’s Company Performance shot

Suffice to say I delighted with that result as well as Mark’s performance on camera.   The early morning interview was a great way to start a busy day of media briefings .

If you don’t ask you don’t get!

PR Case Study: How to raise a VC’s profile around a portfolio IPO – Take a Peek! #startups #VC

Europe’s top performing early-stage venture capital firm Mangrove Capital Partners, famous for being the first investor in Skype, was looking to raise its profile around the NASDAQ listing of its portfolio company  Executing corporate communications around a listing can be a tricky business, especially given regulations on quiet periods, so it required a considered approach and some delicate media management skills.

Having learnt more about the firm and its approach to investing, we set about creating messaging and tailored story lines for a variety of business, venture capital and technology media.  As well as hosting a series of media interviews in advance of the listing, we also piggy-backed Twitter’s IPO – securing a live interview in Bloomberg TV’s flagship news show, on the morning of’s float.  We also issued a timely press release with a variety of media-friendly quotes to European and US media as trading in commenced.

Bloomberg TV
Live interview on Bloomberg TV

The result was a series of media placements – including Wall Street Journal Europe, New York Times, Bloomberg TV, VentureBeat, peHUB and Alt Assets – which demonstrated the firm’s expertise and met its strategic objectives of reaching the global investor community as well as technology entrepreneurs.

How @Grabyo became the hottest startup in #SocialTV

Real-time TV clip-sharing platform Grabyo approached me back in June this year.  It had created a slick product and was looking to launch in just nine days – when its first project with Sky went live.  The founder was looking to raise awareness among the broadcast, advertising and technology industries in order to support customer and partner acquisition, help attract talent and drive interest among the venture capital community.  While most PR agencies wouldn’t have taken him seriously, I was impressed by his technology and his ability to win a project with a major UK broadcaster so quickly… and so I leapt at the opportunity!  Working around the clock to develop a launch plan as well as prepare the company messaging and launch materials, I advised taking the ‘exclusive’ approach and pre-briefed TechCrunch – which went on to write a fantastic in-depth story as his project went live.


In the following four months, I was able to generate 41 media articles and blogs with a potential print, online and social reach of over 15m.  Coverage included in-depth stories in Broadcast Magazine, Campaign, Marketing Week, Media Week, The Drum, TechCrunch, The Next Web, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Evening Standard, all of which was posted online and on Twitter.  Ever since his first media coverage, his phones haven’t stopped ringing, he has declined funding offers from broadcasters as well as an invitation from one of the top VC’s in Europe, and has been invited to present to every major social network.  In less than six months, Grabyo has gone from fledgling startup to one of the hottest businesses in social TV – just a shame I haven’t been able to secure a stake in his business!

3 easy steps for securing a broadcast interview

Securing an interview on broadcast media is not only great for awareness building, but it helps position the company/spokesperson as an expert on key topics, issues and trends – and getting on the BBC or Bloomberg isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Back when I was working for Content Technologies, security news was regularly hitting headlines.  Remember the ILOVEYOU virus or the infamous Claire Swires who had to go into hiding after her graphic email was shared around the world?  It was rich pickings and I was in and out of broadcaster studios twice a week!  With technology now very much of mainstream interest, broadcasters are covering technology more and more – so here’s a few quick pointers…

1. Identify the major issues that are relevant to the business as well as areas of expertise – e.g if you provide business continuity services, then clearly you can comment on the business impact of major demonstrations or incidents (but be wary of ambulance chasing).

2. Track the news through the day and plan ahead where possible so you can be quick to respond.  Broadcasters tend to cover the top stories of the day or week so focus on major news and act swiftly, before it becomes yesterday’s news.

3. Put some thought into your pitch – consider how you can position your spokesperson as a trusted expert and why your company is best placed to comment (and don’t pitch them until you know your spokesperson is comfortable commenting as broadcasters don’t have a huge amount of time to waste).  Then send a succinct email, that will stand out from the rest, to the planning team.

Once you’ve secured a spot, the hard work begins – prepping your spokesperson to ensure a great interview.  It’s over pretty quickly so its important to have the key messages front of mind.

Here’s a piece I secured for venture capital investor Michael Jackson off the back of the Twitter IPO.  As well as providing plenty of prepping, the team at Bloomberg were well briefed which not only helped structure the interview but also ensured a powerful sequence of TV straps.  


Accelerating growth for startups and VCs through PR, social media and content marketing.


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