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The Smoking Gun PR Almanac 2013


That was the year that was. Here at Manchester’s most ingenious public relations agency we’re counting blessings after the team’s most successful 12 months yet, and the media world is gauging the impact of truly monumental events and shifts in trends.
Over the course of 2013 we’ve rebranded- placing a focus on ingeniousness- garnered fantastic new clients, and worked on several great campaigns. Crufts Factor and Kumho Tyres Cash For Causes being two of the most memorable, with huge public responses and decorations in the CIPR PRide Awards for both.
HEXBUGS, the tech toy brand that uses micro-robotics to create creatures that mimic the movement of real life insects, benefited from our input and made sizeable inroads into Britain’s consumer conscious. Bed manufacturer Silentnight joined with sleep expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan to help the country rest easier after dark via the pioneering Sleep Clinic.
This is before we mention Ovenpride’s press office- under Smoking Gun management since summer, and Red Bull’s Harbour Reach wakeboarding event, attended by thousands earlier this year. Meanwhile, closer to our North West base, Manchester United’s Soccer Schools kept us in shape, along with promising young footballers from across the world.
Elsewhere, our team expanded exponentially, with no less than five new members of staff joining the fold including one of Britain’s first social media apprentices. And our blog continued to increase in traffic, aided by a revision and re-design of our agency website. From the weekly media wrap- The Blagger’s Blog- to articles providing social media insight, press news and more, we’ve offered a resource to those after free public relations information. Testament to this are posts like The 5 funniest people on Vine right now‘, ‘Please sir, can I have some more porridge? Britons fall back in love with the oat based power breakfast to help them achieve success in life’  and  ‘The Smoking Gun meme guidebook‘, our most read from the previous 50 weeks, collectively garnering no less than 9571 views.
Beyond Quay Street, our Manchester HQ, there has been plenty to contemplate. Chart toppers One Direction lay claim to being one of the most tweeted topics of 2013. Unsurprisingly, Andy Murray’s long-overdue Wimbledon crown, which led to him winning Sports Personality of the Year, came out as the most talked about topic on Facebook in the UK. The Harlem Shake, Carrie in a coffee shop, Robin Thicke’s provocative Blurred Lines, Myley Cyrus’ equally suggestive wrecking ball ride and a talking fox were amongst YouTube’s top hitters, as this clip proves.

2013 also saw huge changes to best practice and functionality. Video content has been revolutionised, twice, by Vine and Instagram Video. Google’s revised algorithm re-emphasised the importance of good writing as a means to boost your results ranking, putting an end to the old SEO mantra of simply dropping keywords onto a web page or collecting links at the same pace as Jordan bags husbands. And changes to the way official media ABC readership figures are compiled now means numbers for on and offline readers are combined, giving marketers and industry observers a more relevant and accurate understanding of potential exposure. Which is good news for Daily Mail, with Mail Online breaking the 10million daily visitors mark this month.
But what of the future? Our staff aren’t just up to date on the latest industry developments- they’re also PR soothsayers, ready to pre-empt new ideas and concepts. For 2014 then, content marketing will cement its position as the most important arm of a brand’s digital presence. Terms like native advertising will be much more widely understood, as websites such as The People look to this model for their sole revenue source.
Email with social sharing should become the norm in a bid to boost click throughs, and, perhaps predictably, social media budgets are bound to grow, with experts predicting a 50% increase in investment over the next five years alone. Change most definitely is afoot, although if there’s one constant we can guarantee it’s that we’ll be on hand to guide you through this shifting landscape. Rest assured then,  we’ll see you in the New Year. Oh, and in the meantime have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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