The New London Correspondent for Forbes

At the beginning of January, I took on a brand new position as the London Correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide. The role involves contributing a monthly selection of Q&As on the British capital, ranging from handy hints like best city bars to cultural insights like quirkiest local customs, as well as writing two blog posts on London-centric topics during the month. With my latest blog published today, here are the four I have completed so far.

- Feast On These Ways To Celebrate Pancake Day … (11th February)
- Taking a Fashion Tour of London … (8th February)
- The Most Promising West End Musicals of 2013 … (29th January)
- Where Are The Best Views of London? … (17th January)

I will be contributing content on London every month for the foreseeable future, so you can can keep track of all my Q&A contributions on my Forbes biography page and watch out for my twice-monthly posts on the blog homepage.

Writing for Lime&Tonic London

For the last month or so I’ve been writing articles for the up-and-coming London travel guide ‘Lime and Tonic’, with entries so far covering everything from the World’s Smallest Police Station to the World’s Greatest House Museum.

And there’s loads more to come. You can read all my mini-entries – past, present and future – by clicking right here.

Off Mt. Everest’s Beaten Track

I feel like throwing up. My head is spinning, my stomach churning, my joints throbbing. I suck in a lungful of icy air but there isn’t enough oxygen. Yet still I ignore that pounding thought: ‘turn back, turn back’. After two weeks of physical and mental exertion, with my final destination only an hour ahead, I know I can’t give up now. So I plant a walking pole deep into the dirt track and drag my heavy body onwards. Slowly, I begin to move my legs, bend my knees, pick up my feet, and I struggle on through the white wilderness, closer and closer to the finish line. I’m going to make it.

That’s when it all goes black. Continue reading

The Search for Ischia’s Wild Seaside Spa

A few days ago (on Saturday 4th February, to be precise) I had a brand new travel article published in the leading British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. It’s all about a rather chilly quest to find the secret seaside spring of Il Sorgeto, which is (in turn) on the Italian island of Ischia, and this is how it starts…

““Have you got the eels?” I ask, teeth chattering, as my girlfriend steps off the yacht and onto the deserted jetty. She nods. “And the mullet, too? And the calamari?” She holds the bulging bag of seafood aloft with one gloved hand, as she pulls her jacket tight with the other, and I grin a chapped-lip grin. Now all we need is a scooter rental shop. One that’s open in December…”

If you’d like to read on, you can either view the print version here or take a look at the online version instead. Enjoy!

Sleeping with Strangers in Busan

CouchSurfing provides the perfect antidote to a restless night… another one.

“I’m very sorry” he says, with a deep bow, as the door swings open. “This is all is left.” I look down at my bed for the night – five-feet long, two-feet wide and three-feet deep – and smile. “It’s perfect” I reply, as I unfold my blanket on the tiled floor. “Just knock if you need the toilet.” Continue reading

What’s behind trolling?

Do you know about ‘trolls’? They’re the rather annoying individuals who anonymously post insults, threats and provocations on online forums, Facebook pages and newspaper comments sections. The BBC has recently published an excellent magazine article on the growing phenomenon, looking at the psychology behind it.

“Online people feel anonymous and disinhibited,” says Professor Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University. “They lower their emotional guard and in the heat of the moment may troll either reactively or proactively.”

The article also points out that, thanks to a recent surge in trolling behaviour, there’s been increasing pressure on governments and private organisations to put restrictions on – or even entirely abolish – online anonymity. However, Jeff Jarvis, author of Public Parts, has a far less draconion suggestion. “The answer is for newspaper websites and online forums to employ sufficient moderators to prevent the comments spiralling into petty vendettas.”

Well, that’s one solution – but there are plenty of others too. Shamelessly relating back to an article I first wrote over two years ago, here are ten top ways to keep the trolls at bay. Well, nine top ones and a rubbish voice censor.

For more insight into the world of online marketing, and for all your web copywriting needs, please get in touch.

Web spelling errors cost retailers ‘millions’

It’s official: spelling matters. New research reveals that simple spelling and grammatical mistakes cost web firms ‘millions of pounds’ each year.

Online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe claims that misspellings can foster major concerns about the credibility of a website, and therefore put off a slew of potential consumers – and potential income.

“Even cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills,” says Mr Duncombe. “When you sell or communicate on the internet, 99% of the time it is done by the written word.” Continue reading

What Makes a Viral?

today21[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 4TH APRIL 2009 BY RED C MAGAZINE]

On 10th March 2009, the BBC’s Today current affairs radio programme ventured into the world of viral marketing by uploading a video to YouTube. The ‘viral’ – a video that rapidly gains popularity by being distributed and shared on the internet – was created as an experiment to see how widely the three-minute ad could spread in a short amount of time.

As of 31st March 2009, three weeks after being uploaded, Inside Today has been viewed nearly 55,000 times and has been emailed, instant messaged and blog linked across the planet. So far, so good. But the experiment has had its critics, with many questioning whether the Today promotional video can really be defined as viral. Continue reading

Propaganda: Marketing for the Masses

An iconic phrase from Nineteen Eighty-Four from Joe Reaney's Blog posting about Propaganda by Red C Marketing, Advertising Agency, Online Marketing Agency and Award-Winning Agency based in Manchester and London[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 17TH NOVEMBER 2009 BY RED C MAG]

Have you ever read Nineteen Eighty-Four? It’s about an everyman living under an oppressive totalitarian regime. The ‘proles’ are kept in a controlled state of poverty, living under almost constant surveillance and being ‘educated’ on a daily basis to believe in the inherent good of their government and the inherent evil of others. All in all, it’s a terrifying fiction. Well, if you can call it that. In fact, the regime in the novel closely resembles many real-life regimes of the twentieth century. And, much like the citizens of George Orwell’s dystopian world, the billions of human beings living under these govenments were mostly genuine and wholehearted believers. Their corrupt leaders successfully brainwashed them into thinking they were living the good life, even while terrible things (war, poverty, oppression) were happening all around them.

It’s a mightily impressive feat. So impressive, in fact, that you can’t help but wonder… how on earth did they do it? Continue reading

The Marketing Might of Music Streaming

spotify[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 24TH SEPTEMBER 2009 BY RED C MAGAZINE]

Do you like music? Okay, stupid question: I might as well ask if you like converting oxygen into carbon dioxide, or Christmas Dinner. Everyone loves a good tune – with the possible exception of Andrew Lloyd Webber – and there’s nothing better than getting it for nothing. Remember how the holy grail of free music lured an entire generation into the open paws of that creepy Napster cat? Until the Recording Industry Association tied the bugger up in a burlap sack and chucked it in the Mississippi, of course.

Now, after a miserable half-decade of having to fork over cash for music, the free tunes are back; and it’s all thanks to applications like Spotify, we7 and Grooveshark. Music streaming services like these have become incredibly popular in an impossibly short amount of time, and they’re already having a big impact on the way music is made, distributed and charted. But forget all that. The important bit for us to realise is this: with all new forms of music consumption come all new advertising opportunities… Continue reading