22/05/13 - PR Account Director Jobs Available
Currently we have a number of jobs available in PR, social media and SEO for experienced senior account managers and account directors. As Punch is an integrated agency, we expect you to understand how each of the disciplines underpin each other, however, we appreciate that most people tend to have a speciality. For example, my expertise leans towards search services, although after three years at Punch my experience has given me in-depth knowledge of all three areas.
We think you have to be a special kind of person to work here because it isn’t your average agency… and did I mention we have a new office in the Leicestershire countryside? To help you decide if you’ve got what it takes, I thought I would give you a flavour of my role… a day in the life of an account director at Punch (yesterday, in fact).
I started the day running a tool to collect the search engine rankings for keywords related to five of a client’s products and also set up new projects in the tool so I could compare the positions in different local Google search engines. Later I extracted and analysed the data and passed it to a colleague to include in reports.
Next was a meeting with a fellow AD to discuss a story we’re planning to pitch to the media next week. We agreed tactics, timings and media targets to discuss with the client tomorrow. For the same client, I taught one of our new account executives how to create a bespoke email to a blogger based on his research findings.
After a personal development review meeting for another one of Punch’s AEs with the operations director, a quick management meeting and a catch up on client emails, I turned to social media. I audited the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages of a brand in a similar sector to my client in order to understand the tactics and themes used. A colleague collected the data on last week’s campaign posts for the same weekly social media measurement report, organised it into tables and graphs, and then created an insight and actions list – I proofread the full report and sent it to the client with the next social media content calendar for approval.
I went on to proof the rankings report I mentioned at the start of my day and a strategy document, both of which went on to the client, and then I proofed a press release and gave the author some feedback on areas to tweak. I also found time to write a press release and approve social community management responses, as well as check in with various teams about auditing several Arabic webpages and a keyword research project. Somewhere in the middle of all that I took a new business enquiry call, for which I’ll create a proposal for over the next two days, and I definitely had a beef and horserasdish sandwich. #sundaydinnerleftovers
Busy? Yes. Never dull? Yes. Rewarding? Absolutely! If you think you’ve got what it takes to join the Punch team, please do get in touch… I look forward to meeting you.
22/05/13 - Punch staff leave the office and get thrashed (on the pitch)
Read what happened when the Punch boys agreed to a friendly football match with a local team. (Warning: it’s not pretty…)
Substandard Liege vs. A load of fast young people
The anticipation was over and the deliverables were in. The Punch offices were turned into a makeshift changing room and the Punch team assembled, ready for business.
We arrived in style (of sorts) with a procession of cars led by Alex N (don't worry, the hood was up). The fortress, a stone’s throw from Punch HQ, resembled a beach with more sand than the local builder’s merchant. With the tricky pitch conditions (and the fact that another team was already playing), the Punch boys decided to warm up in the car park. A star player was soon spotted, with Alex H adeptly picking out the windscreen of Bryn’s car. Don't worry peeps, the Renault has seen much worse than that.
Onto the game and two minutes in we had our first casualty, with Rob gasping for breath. The diminutive left winger was showing signs of fatigue, but Punch had made a decent start to the game. It was far from convincing, but that was to be expected given the general lack of preparation and the lamentable fitness levels of the team. The defensive pairing of Alex H and Alex N was solid, the midfield trio of Alcock, Guildford and Smith worked well as a unit, while the lone striker Sox proved to be a handful for the opposing defence.
Unfortunately, it was a load of fast young people who drew first blood; the left winger cut inside and fell over!! Ha ha!! Not really - he smashed one into the bottom right hand corner. Bryn was beaten all ends up, picking the ball out of the net in hope. Hoping that it couldn't get much worse.
Punch lived up to their name and immediately hit back. A sweeping move up the field resulted in Sox drilling a shot from 15 yards out to the right hand side of the goal but the opposing keeper pulled off a great save to turn it around the post.
It was now end to end stuff. The fast young people roared down the pitch and one wonder save later, Bryn was left dazed and confused. (If you've worked with him, you'll understand that this is the norm.)
Substandard Liege 0 - a load of fast young people 1
After 15 minutes of exercise, the Punch boys made a change with Rob replacing Bryn in goal. The half started well, with a fresh impetus from the streamlined (bald) midfield man.
Then came the moment that changed the match.
It was like watching the footballing equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters as Punch strutted their way down the pitch, the ball ending up on the right boot of Alex S. He crafted a superb cross into the path of Sox, who found himself with space six yards out. The big man turned on a sixpence to rifle the ball over the bar, over the fence and into the bushes. It seems this guy must really love search, as he lost the match ball.
The moment was lost and the spirit evaporated from the Punch boys, but there was a strong sense that we were a team, together, fighting one for all. Alex H, brought some authority to proceedings by crunching what can only be described as 'that skinny kid'. We had a new found togetherness, we were in this; we were a team!
Then the killer goal was struck. An expertly crafted free kick, 2-0 down and the lads went for broke. Another 2 goals were conceded and the referee brought the game to a close.
The enquiry into what went wrong has already began and rumours are circulating that there will be a best practice deck for Tyler to complete, focusing on ‘Great English strikers - past and present’. It's too early to say, but with a wafer thin squad, reinforcements are required for next week…step forward people.
The result didn't reflect the performance, so well done chaps, onwards and upwards!
Substandard Liege 0 - a load of fast young lads 4
In the spirit of Punch, next week’s report will be by Alex Smith!
21/05/13 - Your Weekly Search And Social Round-Up
With another week comes another opportunity to read the latest search and social news updates from the past seven days. If you’ve missed out on last week’s developments within the industry, our Punch blog has it covered with a round-up of the top stories. Alternatively, you can sign up today to receive our weekly Search Engine Intelligence and Social Media Intelligence reports every Friday at http://bit.ly/SMI-Report and http://bit.ly/SEI-Report.
Starting with social media, Google announced a number of significant updates to its Google+ platform at its I/O event last week. The main focus was on the newly designed ‘stream’ which displays content across multiple columns, depending on the width of the user’s monitor. The platform has also brought out a related hashtags feature which will analyse the content of posts and automatically assign appropriate hashtags, in an attempt to achieve greater post visibility. Finally, useful updates have been made to the photo editing tools and a new Google Hangouts app has been launched.
In other social news, Facebook will be rolling out a star rating system to improve Graph Search results for queries around entertainment media. Users will be able to rate content such as TV shows, movies and books via their Timelines.
On the search engine front, Yahoo is partnering with Twitter to bring tweets into its news search results pages. The aim is to give users a more personalised experience as tweets will appear alongside stories from Yahoo and other sources. Users will also be given the opportunity to follow the sports, news and entertainment organisations that are tweeting content, via the Twitter handles displayed to the right of stories on the news page.
Additionally Bing has updated its Snapshot search feature to make it faster to find people by displaying quick summaries of information about public figures or any person with a publicly available Linkedin profile. The results will be situated below the Bing search bar.
For more information about the top stories from last week, have a read of our Search Engine and Social Media intelligence reports, or sign up to receive our weekly updates directly.
Social Media Intelligence - http://bit.ly/punchSMI17-05-2013
Search Engine Intelligence - http://bit.ly/punchSEI17-05-2013
20/05/13 - Is the traditional PR pitch obsolete?
Over the last 20 years the way PRs pitch to journalists has changed dramatically. Gone are the days of taking journalists out for long lunches to forge relationships relevant to your clients, and securing coverage through a ‘who you know’ basis. Relationships with journalists are now multi-layered requiring communication through multiple channels. PRs should utilise e-mail, phone, face-to-face meetings and social media to ensure their pitches are appealing to a wide range of contacts and styles.
As the popularity of e-mail has grown in the workplace, journalists are being bombarded on a daily basis with hundreds of press releases and media alerts, therefore making sure your pitch stands out from the crowd is key. To do this PRs should utilise other communication to gain cut through with media pitches.
Here are some tips on how you can ensure your media pitch meets journalists’ requirements in today’s fast-paced media landscape:
- Research: Just like a traditional press list, research the journalists you are going to be targeting. Go beyond the media database and look on social profiles such as Google+ and Linkedin to find out how they like to be targeted.
- Adapt your pitch accordingly: How you pitch a story to a journalist on e-mail is far different to how you approach them on the phone. Also, some journalists now only take pitches via Twitter, meaning you will only have 140 characters to sell your story to them.
- Think multi-channel: Journalists no longer write solely for print or online, their roles have grown and therefore stories will need to appeal to readers across a number of different mediums. Take this into consideration when preparing a pitch; for example, can you offer video content to strengthen the online offering, or is there an exclusive angle you can provide for social channels?
- Don’t forget the bloggers: With some now as influential as journalists, bloggers are a great way to outreach to target audiences. Do your research about the blogs you are looking to target; perhaps there is a quirky angle you can offer them? Don’t forget, that some bloggers have full time jobs outside of their blog, and therefore an e-mail pitch may be the only option to outreach to them.
The traditional telephone pitch is definitely not dead, engaging in a conversation with a journalist is critical to understanding how a story can be tailored for each outlet and gaining a rapport with them. However, it is important for PR consultants to adapt to journalists’ needs, whether this is an e-mail, social media or telephone pitch.
17/05/13 - Future-Proofing Against Google’s Summer Panda and Penguin Updates
As discussed in a recent Punch blog post about the upcoming SEO updates to Google, Matt Cutts has announced a number of projects that the search engine is expected to roll out by the end of the summer. Most notable among these were Panda and Penguin algorithm changes.
The latest edition of Panda will focus on websites that sit in the grey area of the algorithm's evaluation. It will consider new and current quality signals within the algorithm's guidelines, softening the impact on sites that may have been part of the update's ‘collateral damage’.
To prepare for this update, it is strongly recommended that you revisit your on-site SEO, especially if you consider your site to be one of those hit unfairly as a result of previous Panda updates. Cutts stated that the change will focus on website quality. Therefore, over-optimisation of keywords or stale, unoriginal content could prevent Google from softening previous blows Panda dealt against your website. With this in mind, check your landing pages against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to encourage a positive evaluation by Google.
The update to Penguin is expected to roll out very soon and will have a deeper impact than previous versions of the algorithm. This will focus on over-optimisation and spam tactics within link building.
If you feel your site is at risk from penalisation from the next Penguin update, it would be advisable to proactively analyse your website's backlink profile before the update hits. When investigating your site's link profile, be aware of over-optimisation of anchor texts and the quality of websites linking to yours.
A well-optimised and natural backlink profile should contain a range of exact, broad, brand and URL anchor texts. Additionally, getting links removed from very low quality, irrelevant websites is also important to ensure that your site will not be penalised. During the process, approach websites for removal of links. If your efforts are unsuccessful, whole domains can be discounted with the Google disavow tool, but this should only be done once other actions have been attempted first!
Following the above advice should help future-proof your site against the upcoming Google algorithm updates.
16/05/13 - Google+ Enjoys A Spring Clean With A Fresh New Look
Stepping out with a redesigned multi-column layout this morning, Google+ has recognised that users are increasingly moving between devices to access the social network and the new layout should make that transition even easier as the new, cleaner interface is much more akin to the mobile apps. With the addition of full-width images and new animations, automatic hashtags, and ranking conversations, Google+ is further cementing its place among the social network giants.
Also unveiled today were useful tools for optimising, highlighting, enhancing and backing up photos:
- Auto Backup does what it says on the tin, with all G+ account holders enjoying free 15GB of storage. Once activated, the network will automatically save images as they are captured on a mobile device.
- Auto Enhance offers the opportunity to enhance photos without the need for additional software.
- Auto Highlight aims to help find favourite images faster by “de-emphasizing duplicates” and low quality snaps.
- Auto Awesome will automatically create a new image from photos you select – this could be a panorama, film strip or even stitching together faces. (I can’t wait to have some fun with this feature…)
Google Hangouts wasn’t left out of the makeover either; with a brand new stand-alone version (available on Android, iOS and desktop) Google claims that messaging will now be “richer and more responsive” and promises to remove “annoying notifications” once they have been viewed on one of your devices. Pushing the new app as a free video calling service, Google is happy to announce that users can keep in touch on any device and “fuhgeddaboudit (the technology, that is)”.
The new look is set to roll out to all users over the coming week.
15/05/13 - Punch Welcomes Matt Sibson (also the man behind the Derek fan site!)
Matt Sibson joined the Punch team this month as an account manager, bringing with him a wealth of writing, marketing and social media experience. We’ve heard he’s a celebrity interviewer in his spare time, so we’ve decided to put him in the spotlight for a change.
What did you do before you joined Punch?
Well, after gaining a first class honours degree in geology, I put it to great use by starting my working life at a regional newspaper. Ok, at age 21 I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I thought a newspaper would at least help me explore a number of disciplines. From business development and promotions to marketing design and feature writing, I worked my way through the industry and gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience. From this I learned that I loved to write and to use social media, not just for personal use, but for campaign building as well. My job only gave me limited opportunity to do these things so I began blogging in my spare time, writing about the things that interested me, while using Twitter and Facebook to promote myself.
What do you blog about?
I first stepped into the blogosphere by writing about the history of Leicestershire. The site, thiswasleicestershire.co.uk, was well received and I enjoyed it, but after running out of what I consider to be interesting content, I turned my attention to another passion – comedy – specifically, Ricky Gervais comedy. The success of what is now a collection of comedy blogs is way beyond what I could ever have hoped for.
Success? Tell us more.
I started blogging about Derek, a comedy-drama on Channel 4 which started in February this year. From the humble beginnings of episode reviews and previews, I worked hard and in less than five weeks I managed to interview the entire cast, including comedy legends Karl Pilkington and Ricky Gervais. I even teamed up with Ricky to run exclusive competitions. The blog, tadpolehitler.com (as bizarre as that sounds) has had nearly a quarter of a million page views in three months and the associated Twitter account has more than 13,000 followers. Facebook was launched much later but I’m already close to 900 likes in only a few weeks.
From tadpolehitler.com sprouted frogfuehrer.com, where I blog about general comedy. Recent interviews include Warwick Davis, Keith Chegwin, Les Dennis and Shaun Williamson, who all starred in the Life’s Too Short BBC special at Easter.
My latest project is equalitystreet.info, a blog dedicated to the music of David Brent from The Office. Ricky Gervais wrote and performed a Brent song for Comic Relief and more video content is coming soon to his new YouTube channel in the coming weeks. I’ve once again teamed up with Ricky for a competition, and my blog stats and Twitter followers are already in the thousands.
It was all about timing with my blogs. I launched them at the right time and then worked hard to create unrivalled content about my chosen subjects.
So what brought you to Punch?
It took nine years since leaving university to find out what it is I wanted to do with my professional life and it wasn’t an education programme or professional experience that showed the way, but my personal blogging and social media exploits. I guess everything leads to something, and my path has led me to Punch. Like I’ve said, I have a passion for writing and for social media, and because I own websites I have a vested interest in SEO too. I enjoy building campaigns and my mind is switched on with the new digital world we live in. Punch offered me the chance to merge my passions and my skills, which is the key to a successful career in my opinion.
Thanks, Matt! We’re a bit star-struck just listening to your adventures. Welcome to the team.
14/05/13 - Upcoming SEO updates to Google
The SEO world sat up and listened yesterday as Matt Cutts took to Google Webmasters YouTube channel to talk about the current SEO trends Google is working on and how they might affect businesses when rolled out.
Cutts mainly focussed on the impending next generation Penguin update. Although this is the fourth update to Google’s onsite algorithm, the overhaul is so extensive that it is known internally at Google headquarters as Penguin 2.0. The update will force a stronger hand on offsite black hat practices and web spam targeting and is expected to roll out in the coming weeks, taking effect by the end of summer. Although the geographic location of the rollout has not been specified, typically Google rolls out updates initially to a US audience, before becoming globally available.
From Penguin to Panda, Cutts also touched upon the impact of the recent onsite updates, felt particularly by borderline websites that are in the ‘grey area’ when it comes to quality. Cutts said that Google is working to refine and soften the blow felt by Panda updates to these sites in order to move them into a place where they are less likely to be affected.
Google continues its fight against spam and black hat SEO tactics, taking a stronger stance on advertorials and spammy queries which violate quality guidelines. Cutts explained that whilst paying for content would not be penalised, it would be evident that the source of such coverage was not organic and this would therefore not impact PageRank. Tackling requests from outside of Google, queries lending themselves to spam, such as pay-day loans, will have a higher level of importance with more focuss placed by Google’s search spam team. This, Cutts explained, is something that Google is looking to implement in the coming weeks.
In addition, Cutts touched upon Google’s intentions to offer a better service for hacked sites, prioritise authorities within specific sectors and communities in its searches and deter link spammers as it continues to work towards more sophisticated link analysis.
Apprehensive about what these changes will mean? We look deeper into how the impending updates may affect businesses in our upcoming blog post. For more information about SEO services, take a look at our SEO agency page.
14/05/13 - Search And Social News Galore – Your Weekly Update
If, like us, you love keeping up to date with all things search and social, you can find the latest industry news every week here on the Punch blog. Or, if you prefer, you can read these stories in our Search Engine Intelligence and Social Media Intelligence reports every Friday – sign up to receive these over at http://bit.ly/SMI-Report and http://bit.ly/SEI-Report.
On the social front, LinkedIn has announced that profiles will now support multimedia portfolios including videos, photos and presentations to showcase professional stories. LinkedIn has also launched a new mobile app – CheckIn. Designed mainly for recruiters, students and recent graduates, the app makes it easier to collect and manage candidate information at events.
YouTube has introduced a paid subscription charge for a select number of its channels to help support quality content. Available on mobile and desktop, prices start from $0.99 (£0.64) and enable users to access full length programmes. Facebook is reportedly integrating video ads within newsfeeds starting from this July. Ads will automatically begin playing when users log in, although Facebook has said each ad will be limited to 15 seconds.
In search-related news, Bing has offered webmasters some advice on enhancing their keyword research techniques. In a recent blog post, the search engine has revealed a new “query v. session” approach, where users link two similar queries to get a broader picture of what searchers are trying to accomplish. The post concludes with Bing asking its users if they would like to see a tool created to manage this.
Also hot off the press, Yahoo is planning to up its game and close the gap with competitors by unveiling new tools for internet search. And, the SEO community has been questioning the possibility of a Google algorithm update following tell-tale signs such as changes in organic search rankings. Google denies any official updates, but also added it could be explained due to the fact it makes over 500 changes, both big and small, a year. The search giant has also quietly dropped its “More results near…” feature within local search to improve user experience with “the goal of more seamless exploration of places.”
09/05/13 - How Facebook Graph Search Affects Local Search Rankings
Facebook Graph Search is a new type of search which is unlike those offered by Google or Bing. Rather than searching for a web page, Facebook Graph Search searches for an entity - a real-world person, place or business and its online representation. Rather than counting links from other web pages, the new social media search ranks online material primarily on the basis of Facebook 'Likes', engagement and similar type of interaction.
This adds a new dimension to Facebook’s searches. As well as factoring in the searcher's location and browsing history, as Google now does, results are also ranked according to 'Likes' and other associations with online friends. Facebook Graph Search puts the search into a personalised social context, as well as a geographical one. In theory, it allows users to seek friends' recommendations without actually having to ask them. Which films have most of my school friends enjoyed recently? Which local electrician is the most popular within my local area? The extent to which the results are weighted by friends' input can be varied by the user, but even a general search will factor it in.
In effect, of course, the results are influenced by factors other than the quality and real-world popularity of the entity in question. Are the user's relevant contacts all active on Facebook? -too the same degree? Do they all 'Like' with the same enthusiasm? Does that electrician have a web presence?
Facebook's hope is that once users realise how powerful this type of search can potentially be, they will be keener to offer up this information to the internet for the benefit of their friends. Businesses should be the first to embrace this new reality. A professional presence on Facebook with clear, up-to-date location information is vital to ensure you show up in any local searches.
SEO for Facebook Graph Search is very much about engagement. Regularly share content relevant to the nature of your business, particularly images and videos. Share in a way that encourages 'Likes' 'Comments' and 'Shares'. Invite users to tag photos, for example. Post quizzes or competitions. Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm uses the volume of responses to determine when your material shows up in other users' news feeds. If you make it your priority to encourage the right, relevant people to positively connect with your brand, the benefits of Facebook Graph Search results will follow.