Letter from Grand Central Rail

Letter from Grand Central Rail

Podcasting is back in vogue, using LinkedIn effectively, Tortoise slow journalism project, Netflix Fyre documentary, unreasonable briefs, a new AI marketing book and dates for PRFest.

This week I’m writing to you on my iPhone on a Grand Central Rail train between London and York. I use Notes on my iPhone or iPad to create the first draft of almost everything. It’s a lean form of content creation that I recommend you give a shot.

Almost six million people listen to a podcast each week in the UK according to Ofcom. Spotify took aim at the market this week acquiring podcast creation tool Anchor and podcast media company Gimlet Media. It’s aiming for podcasts to become a fifth of its output as a hedge against artist royalties.

Each podcast platform or service has its own analytics and aggregating data is a tedious spreadsheet driven task. Podcasts have traditionally been hard to monetise through advertising because the audience is fragmented and analytics are poor. That’s great for listeners for not so good for creators or publishers. It’s an issue I explored in a blog post this week.

🧰 Tool: how well are you using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has hit 600+ million members. It's published a guide to community management on the platform. If you haven’t checked out your Social Selling Index you really should. It’s an analytics tool that measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding relevant people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. It’s a useful coaching tool.

📰 Slow journalism: a new model for news

I really like the Tortoise Media model of creating physical events called ThinkIns to engage readers in the development of stories. It’s a slow and open form of journalism based on listening to its readers and the communities that it reports on. It’s London-centric for now but is a scalable model that could be applied to any location and space once Tortoise is out of beta.

🍾 The Fyre that keeps on burning

Fyre was a luxury music festival scheduled to take place in the Bahamas in 2017. The event was promoted on Instagram by celebs that failed to disclose that they were being paid. You can find out what happened next thanks to a new documentary on Netflix that has itself has become mired in controversy after members of the production team failed to disclose their involvement in the festival.

🐍 Viral campaigns, Madonna and the next Facebook

What’s the daftest brief that you’ve ever received? That was the question I posed recently to my network last week. It turned out to be a cathartic conversation that included abusive relationships, low budgets, demands for viral videos, celebs and gongs. Here’s a list of all the responses for PRMoment.

🤖 New book: Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

Katie King's book Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing is an excellent primer about the march of machines in marketing and PR. AI enables us to work more efficiently and smarter. The book includes contributors and case studies from thinkers and doers including the AI panel that I chair on behalf of the CIPR.

🗓 Diary date: PRFest, 13 and 14 June, Edinburgh

Crisis simulation, negative SEO, managing teams and diversity are all among the topics announced at Laura Sutherland’s PRFest in June. It’s a two-day PR festival where senior practitioners from across the UK come to learn, share and collaborate. Early bird tickets are available for £99 per day.


If you’d like to receive my weekly letter by email please sign up here.

Your audience with the public

Your audience with the public

Podcasts are booming but how do you measure success?

Podcasts are booming but how do you measure success?