Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Marcus Leach, Editor of Fresh Business Thinking, on how the team plan ahead, his views on which social media works best and what he'd suggest if he was on The Apprentice.
Could you introduce yourself and give us an overview of Fresh Business Thinking?
My name is Marcus Leach. I’m head of editorial at Fresh Business Thinking. We’re an online news and business advice agency for small to medium sized enterprises. I run the editorial department which covers the website. It offers daily news relevant to small businesses. We have a business advice section aimed at entrepreneurs, start-ups or early stage businesses. This provides affordable knowledge to businesses to move them forwards. We also have video production offerings, including in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, business guides and showcasing highlights of entrepreneurs and businesses we cover.
Our field is niche and what stands out with us is our business advice section which is in-depth and comprises of over 10000 articles.
How do you plan? Any deadlines?
Each month certain things come out, for instance the unemployment figure, inflation, any announcements from the banks. To a degree, we have a structure where we say this is something that is coming up so we need to contact PR agencies and companies looking for reaction and trying to see what’s ahead. Like all news agencies we can react to what’s happening, often with things we don’t know about, but as much as possible we try to be proactive so we are planning ahead, so that we get the best coverage of the news that’s breaking. We usually plan our news a week in advance, aside from major events that can have an impact, like for example the Olympics.
What about Social Media?
We have a strong social media presence. Social media started off social but now there’s a business side to it as well. It’s a great way for us to interact with our readership. It’s a great way to get our content out there. Combined we have over 24000 followers through social media and the knock on effect is that more people pick that up and it goes out even further afield. For us it’s become an integral part of what we do now. Every story, every feature, every video, everything goes through Twitter. We have a Linkedin group. We have a Facebook page. We use the three of them to help promote us.
Any of these stand out?
Twitter and Linkedin. In my view Facebook is more a social thing. If you are on there, you are there for social reasons and not necessarily for business, and you don’t want to go on your news feeds and see that it’s a list of business stories. If you are following us on Twitter, it’s because you want access to that content. It’s an “opt-in”. Facebook I feel should be kept separate. Twitter is the main one for us.
What’s your experience been with PRs?
We’ve always had good relations with PRs. We have a couple of PR companies we work closely with and the main one is Seven Hills. I’ve always found them to be useful resources. From our point of view if you look at the content we have we’re not in a position to write specialist articles ourselves all the time. With news features we try to do it as much as possible but when it comes to specialised topics in our business advice section we can’t get that content ourselves without the help of PRs. They’re another integral part of our business helping us to have a constant stream of content.
How should PRs approach you?
By email or through social media. We have someone that monitors our social media. Email is best because I don’t have time to be on the phones all day with every PR wanting to pitch something to me. If it’s interesting and something that catches the eye then it’s something I’ll follow up.
Any bad experiences there?
There have been times where they’ve said they’d get an article signed off and we are working to deadlines and it hasn’t come through. Nothing too disastrous or unsavoury.
Has there been a shift in the balance of power between journalists and PRs?
There has been, but they both go hand in hand and the two need each other. PRs have become more prominent over the last few years.
How do you think BOE has performed with predicting inflation?
I don’t know in terms of predicting. No matter what is done there is always going to be criticism. There are always going to be those for and against. Sometimes we can hear about the criticism rather than the actual support and the benefits of what they are trying to do.
Do you think QE helps?
I think in the short term it does but considering the problems we have at the moment I think we need to take a look at the longer term picture. As a stop gap its great but beyond that you need to put down roots and plans which will enable growth over a continued period rather than giving a 2-3 month boost before the next problem comes along.
If you were on The Apprentice, what would be your start up?
Given the way the world’s going I’d have to go for some kind of app on my phone. I’d go for an app to do with cooking. You put in the meat or the fish and it comes back with a recipe.
Marcus was talking to Gorkana’s media executive Thura Maung