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Social Media Portal interview with Hugh Anderson from Forth Metrics and Inkybee

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 17 August 2012

Social Media Portal interview with Hugh Anderson from Forth Metrics and Inkybee


Social Media Portal (SMP) profiled interview with Forth Metrics creators of Inkybee



Inkybee logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name - what do you do there at Inkybee and at Forth Metrics?

Hugh Anderson (HA): Hugh Anderson, Joint Managing Director & Co-Founder of Forth Metrics Limited. Joint responsibility for everything in the creation of our new product, Inkybee.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Inkybee and Forth Metrics (for those that don’t know), what is it and what does the organisation do?

HA: Forth Metrics is an innovative, young technology company. We have a vision to create Enterprise-class solutions for internet marketing delivered via a simple, software-as-a-service web interface. Inkybee is the first product. It is in public beta having been in development for over 12 months. It aims to help people do blogger outreach effectively by finding relevant blogs, managing the process and measuring outreach campaign outputs.

SMP: Can you tell us a little about the ebook, 'A Best Practice Guide for Effective Blogger Outreach'?


HA: The ebook is a 39 page comprehensive end-to-end guide to the process of blogger outreach. It covers all aspects of outreach in detail from preparation to engagement to the ongoing relationship. It includes tips and takeaways in every chapter and has a comprehensive list of tools and resources.

SMP: Which company is it published through and why did you decide to publish an ebook?


HA: We published it ourselves. We wanted to create a comprehensive resource on the subject for anyone globally, so an ebook seemed like the perfect solution.

SMP: There are quite a few ebooks on blogging, why do you decide to write this one?

HA: Every day we hear horror stories from bloggers in relation to the PR approaches they get. It is clear that blogger outreach requires some very different skills and techniques to traditional media and that the PR industry is at risk of developing a bad reputation from treating bloggers poorly. As blogger outreach is becoming an increasingly important part of PR, SEO and content marketing in general, we thought it would be win-win for the industry (PR professionals and bloggers) to educate everyone in doing blogger outreach better.

SMP: Who has contributed to it?

HA:
We wrote it in-house with contributions from local copywriters and quotes from experts from around the world including Gini Dietrich, Sally Falkow, Chris Abraham, Danny Brown and more.

SMP: Where can it be read or downloaded?


HA: It can be downloaded for free here http://www.inkybee.com/blogger-outreach-a-best-practice-guide/

SMP: It’s free, so how are you making money from its publication?

HA: We’re not! As I say above, we want to educate the industry and be the industry’s friend. We hope people will recognise our expertise so that when Inkybee launches in full, we might make some money then!

SMP: Who are your target audience and why (and why would this ebook be important to them)?

Photograph of Hugh Anderson Director at Forth MetricsHA: Anyone doing (or thinking of doing) blogger outreach or any form of online PR. Principally this is PR professionals, but it is also SEO agencies, digital agencies, marketers and anyone looking to extend their presence on the Web.

SMP: What are the main things that audiences can take away from the ebook?

HA:
That blogger outreach requires skills that are different to traditional PR, but that with a little investment of time and patience the rewards are worth it.

For anyone needing to demonstrate the value of blogger outreach to their boss or client, we also published another ebook that highlights the value of blogger outreach - '8 Reasons Why Blogger Relations are Essential to Your PR Strategy', also downloadable at http://www.inkybee.com.

SMP: How are you initially attracting users to your site and download of the ebook, and how do you do it in the future?


HA: We practise what we preach. The audience has been attracted by an extensive content and influencer marketing campaign with some high profile figures in the industry getting involved  - some wrote blog posts about it (e.g. Danny Brown) and all tweeted about it.

We blogged about it ourselves, included it in our email newsletter, had a high profile Twitter campaign and shared it across a number of groups on LinkedIn. We will continue to use this approach, plus we have now also got Facebook and LinkedIn ads running for it.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far (and in publishing the ebook)?

HA: Developing a new software tool is hard work and requires immense patience. The tool is top of our own agenda but can be bottom of everyone else’s, so it can be difficult to get people engaged. Writing the ebook also required immense patience but there were no low points.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far (and in publishing the ebook)?

HA: Getting so much positive feedback from both beta testers and ebook readers is immensely encouraging. We must be doing something right! For one of the leading lights in blogger outreach, Gini Dietrich to say “Everyone who does blogger relations MUST download this eBook. Now.” was amazing.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities?

HA: The biggest challenge is doing everything we want to do as quickly as we want to do it. This is primarily a technical challenge to get the Inkybee engine up to the Formula One standard that we want it to be.

SMP: What are the next moves for Inkybee in terms of social media?


HA: We’re going to be following up the ebook with a series of blog posts and videos. Plus Inkybee is now on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Inkybee/210613225701262) and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/inkybee) so we want to expand it’s visibility in those areas.

SMP: What’s the next big step for social media / networks and what impact is this having upon blogs and bloggers?


HA: At some point the social media networks need to work out what their core strengths are and whether they are going to stick to them or whether they are going to expand into each other’s territories or into other services such as email, video sharing etc.

Bloggers will have to keep up to speed with the best ways to promote their content across these networks and make sure their content can be repackaged in different ways/formats from just a standard blog post.

SMP: What is the most challenging part of building on the brands presence in digital environments (including social media for this ebook)?

HA: Maximising digital presence requires a plan and an ongoing commitment to keep it alive and fresh. It is not a one-off action or a quick fix. It’s a long-term game that requires patience to see if through. If you have sufficient resource to dedicate to it that helps, but in a small business it  is hard to dedicate time to doing it on top of everything else.

SMP: What’s going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2012 and into 2013 – and how does blogging fit into this?

HA:
To digital natives, ‘social’ is just ‘normal’; it is not a different kind of media; it is the media that is their constant in how they lead their lives. To this end, ‘social’ will seek to become increasing relevant to their needs . I think the main ways in which technology will help to achieve this will be in the developments to improve the personalisation and the localisation of their services.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for social media throughout 2012 and into 2013?

HA  replies with:


  • At least one major social media platform (maybe Twitter?) changes it’s business model to become much more commercial in the face of demands to monetise its offering causing friction with its user base.
  • There will be consolidation as the big technology players spend some of their cash piles.
  • Performance analytics will become better, more definitive and more widely used.
  • Blogging will become more recognised and mainstream as an important part of online marketing, PR and SEO.
  • Bloggers will differentiate their offerings by using different forms of media, in particular video.

SMP: What are your top five tips for your audience in reaching out to bloggers?

HA replies with:


  • Do proper research to find relevant bloggers
  • Develop the relationship in advance of any demands
  • Personalise all communications
  • Measure the results of your outreach
  • Be open, honest and accessible at all times

SMP: What other ebooks are in the pipeline?

HA:
That’s Top Secret! We’ve got some ideas, but we’re also open to suggestions.

SMP: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

HA: We’re out to help David beat Goliath. The internet is a big opportunity for SME’s as it doesn’t require the big advertising bucks or resources that only big organisations can access. Inkybee is an example of a simple, user-friendly affordable solution that will help to level the playing field.

SMP: Best way to contact you and Inkybee?

HA replies with: Email hugh @ forthmetrics.com or @hughforth @ForthMetrics and http://www.inkybee.com/

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

HA: I can’t live without a big breakfast - a huge bowl of cereal, toast with honey and a banana sets me up for the day.

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?


HA: I helped my 6 year old daughter write a letter to the pen-pal friend she met on holiday.

SMP: How many hours do you work a week?

HA: Too many! As an entrepreneur I rarely stop thinking about everything that is going on in the business.

SMP: If you weren’t running Inkybee (and Forth Metrics) what would you be doing?


HA: Running or cycling around the planet to raise money for good causes.

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?


HA: The Algarve at the start of July.

SMP: Who is your favourite, blog and/or blogger and why?

HA: There are quite a few great PR/comms blogs so I’ll pick one from each side of the ocean. In North America it’s Danny Brown (http://dannybrown.me/). In the UK it’s Paul Sutton (http://futurecomms.co.uk/). Both are insightful and entertaining. Plus I can’t let Gini’s Spin Sucks go without a mention! (http://spinsucks.com/)

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

HA: Make a large, strong coffee!

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?


HA: The power to fly. I hate traffic jams and I want to get to where I’m going fast!


If you're interested in doing a Social Media Portal (SMP) interview, get in touch.








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