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NetworkTen Interview: Aurora Stories

Victoria Metaxas Header Image

1. Hello, who are you?
Hi, my name is Victoria Metaxas and I am a photographer and lifestyle/travel blogger here in London. I’m half English, half Greek and grew up in Dubai. I came to London for university, where I studied Economics. After initially pursuing a career in digital media, I spent six months in Milan last year to complete a diploma in Fashion Photography. I’m now back in London permanently, but who knows where the future will take me!

2. Tell us a little about your blog
My blog is a lifestyle site where I document my experiences in London and abroad through my photography. I use my photo skills to capture the atmosphere of a place, restaurant, event and so on, and write about what I experienced. Initially, I started my blog back in 2013 as a place where I could share the day to day pictures I took. Over time updating my blog developed into a real passion, and ultimately my full-time focus. From posting once or twice a month, I’m now posting up to 3-4 times a week, as well as working as a photographer for a number of bloggers and brands.

3. How long have you been writing your blog?
I’ve had my blog for two years, but this summer I decided to make it my full-time focus and give it a new name, rebranding it to “Aurora Stories”. The name Aurora derives from the goddess of light, so my blog is place where I can share the stories I create and capture of the light and beauty in the world that surrounds us.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?
One of my most popular posts was my travel guide to Mykonos. Travel blogging is one of my favourite things to do as I love seeking out unknown spots and sharing it with others. I guess people love mini guides to places they might visit, and can jot down a few of my tips for while they’re there – I know I do it myself for the travel blogs I follow!

5. Which social network is the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?
Instagram for sure. It’s a fantastic platform for visual influencers and creatives, giving people the opportunity to have a small sneak-peak into your blog and life. It helps me a lot in sharing small snippets from my upcoming blogposts, enticing people to go and read the full post.

6. What makes a good PR approach?
Staying true to the brand that you represent. It’s great when you get a clear understanding of the roots and ethos of a brand through the creative projects it is part of. For example, brand events that take you on real experience are brilliant ways to allow people to create an accurate perception of the product/service and see how it fits into the context of their personal lifestyle.

7. What makes a bad PR approach?
I would say a bad PR approach would be being reactive rather than proactive and following the trends. It’s important to think outside the box and look into how you can get a brand into people’s minds without stating the obvious. For instance, celebrity endorsements can sometimes be so forced that the brand loses its credibility – I much prefer to see products being associated with real, everyday people who I can relate to.

8. Do you have any exciting plans for your blog?
I’m hoping to take my blog forward with more projects with lifestyle brands, restaurants and hotels next year, both here in London and around the world. You never know what is around the corner, so I love being kept on my toes and always ready for new experiences! I’m also looking forward to some exciting fashion projects coming up in 2016 with the fashion bloggers I work with.

9. What is the first site you check when you go online?
I would say Bloglovin’ – it is like my personally curated magazine. I love seeing what people have been up to, the latest shoots and amazing collaborations and projects. Everyday there is something new to discover and read about, so you never get bored.

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today?
14:10 today I was Guildford shooting a blogger project for the new Mazda roadster, with menswear fashion blogger, Martell Campbell. We had a blast shooting with a car, which I’d never done before! Martell and I shoot often, so it was so nice to have a change of scenery and add a little something different to our usual photo session.

Thank you, Victoria!

NetworkTen: Bruce Millar

Bruce Millar Header Image

1. Hello, who are you?
Bruce Millar, the main writer on The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. I also contribute to and help edit The Sunday Times’s two other restaurant supplements, covering the best 130 places around the country where you can eat for £20 and “around the world in 80 meals” — the best ethnic restaurants in Britain.

2. Tell us a little about your publication and your role within it…
We publish in association with Harden’s Guides, using their tried and tested methodology for collating marks and reviews sent in by thousands of genuine diners who have spent their own money on eating out. So we believe that although enjoyment of a meal is subjective, our ranking is as objective as it is possible to get. My role is to visit restaurants selected from the 100 and interview the chefs. I am not writing a review but describing what is special about each restaurant, and why our voters have chosen it.

3. Recently The Times editor John Witherow shared his expectations for 2016 and predicted “the resurgence of print”. Have you seen evidence of this already?
It certainly appears that the long and steady decline in newspaper print circulations as at last levelling off. Online has all sorts of advantages in terms of speed, convenience and accessibility, but I think people may be realising that it is not considered, edited or mediated in the way that good serious newspapers are (precisely our mantra for producing Social Media content for ourselves and our clients;  consider, edit and mediate and nothing less – Krista Booker, Director, Fourteen Ten). Much of the content of social media is like being shouted at in a bar.

4. Martin Ivens, Editor of The Sunday Times, said: “Our readers already enjoy a great package… The Dish adds extra spice to the mix, satisfying the thousands of them who have a love for all things food.” We have enjoyed the launch of this supplement, is it here to stay and are there any plans to develop it?
Interest in all aspects of food and cooking keeps on growing, and the Sunday Times is sure to go with it. I’m not privy to the commercial decision-making, but I can only see The Dish developing further, in whatever form that may take.

5. What makes a good PR approach?
Interesting, restrained copy with a decent amount of factual detail that shows some insight into the product it is promoting, as well as some insight into my requirements as a journalist, is always appealing. Soft-sell is always preferable to hard-sell.

6. What makes a bad PR approach?
Breathless and cliche-filled copy full of hyperbole is always underwhelming. If it’s sprinkled with spelling mistakes, I assume it was written by a know-nothing school-leaver on work experience — and that the executive responsible was too busy lunching a client to do the work. (thank you for raising this Bruce, these are practices Fourteen Ten work very hard to avoid, in fact we tend to take our Interns with us on said lunches – David Farrer, Director, Fourteen Ten)

7. What was your restaurant moment of 2015?
Too many to count. But if you insist… well, finally eating at L’Enclume after reading about it for so many years was wonderful — 18 courses at lunchtime, and I didn’t feel stuffed. I had eaten at Sat Bains in Nottingham before, but he came top on our list this year, and it was great to catch up with him and eat his brilliant cooking again. And I had never tasted with such intensity as I did at Araki — it was a revelation to eat sushi prepared in front of my eyes by one of Japan’s greatest masters, now working in London. And it is amazing how expense powers your concentration… A fortnight in the summer in Tokyo and on the Izu peninsular a bit further south included at least half a dozen great restaurant experiences — including a place where you catch your own fish in a big tank before the chef slices it up for you. The standard is extraordinarily high because all Japanese are serious foodies, so a bad restaurant will soon go out of business.

8. We understand you have a keen interest in Japanese food, which is your favourite Japanese restaurant in London and why?
I really enjoyed Koya in Frith Street, now closed but replaced by Koya Bar. And Namban in Brixton is a great addition — opened by an American fan of Japanese food.

9. We’ve seen trends for dishes such as Yakitori, Okonomiyaki and more recently Ramen in London. Are there any new Japanese foods you expect, or would like, to take their turn in the limelight?
What I really like in Japan are the highly specialised restaurants. There are legendary places that only serve one dish, but it is perfect. I went to one tiny yakitoria that sold nothing but bits of chicken barbecued on sticks, but there were half a dozen chefs working flat out and probably 50 different items on the menu. That would be great in London…

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today (or yesterday)?
Eating lunch in the canteen: rice and beans that I cooked at home, for reasons of both taste and economy.

Thank you, Bruce!

NetworkTen: Crummbs

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Our NetworkTen Q&A sessions help us to develop relationships with and listen to our media.

Here is what Crummbs have to say about their blog, exciting plans for the future, what makes a good (or bad!) PR approach and what they were doing at 14.10 today.

1. Hello, who are you?
Hi Guys! It’s Stacey from Crummbs here!

2. Tell us a little about your blog
Crummbs came about 3 years ago, just when supper clubs & pop-ups were really starting to gain momentum. Remember when Flat Iron was above a pub in Shoreditch? Or Forza Win were unknown in Cambridge Heath? My friend Chris & I were always running about town, trying out the latest places and were often asked by our friends for recommendations. And that’s how Crummbs was born! Now we aim to let you in on the very best that London has to offer. And it offers SO much! We are totally in love with this city and hopefully that shows through the site. We now have a lovely bunch of writers to help us out and make sure we’re covering everything!

3. How long have you been writing your blog?
3 years now – and the time has totally flown! We started out doing really short tweet length reviews – things have really moved on since then! I cringe a little at some of our very first blog posts. It’s really satisfying to see how it’s grown.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?
Ooo, that’s tricky! Competitions or soft launch offers are always super popular. We’ve got an amazing prize on the site now actually – you can win a private chef to come to your home and cook a meal for 4 people!

5. Which social network is the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?
My favourite is Instagram – I find it such a happy place for foodie news. It’s obviously so visual & easy to engage, everyone has time for a double tap! It’s the one that’s grown the quickest for us as well.

6. What makes a good PR approach?
Over the years I’ve built some amazing relationships with PRs – it’s the ones that take the time to understand your site and send you relevant content. It’s always nice to meet up so you can put a name to a face too!
Some of them are genuinely so nice, I’d happily go for a bottle of wine with them, regardless of if we were talking shop! They look after us and that makes we want to look after them.

7. What makes a bad PR approach?
Obviously we get inundated with emails, as you can imagine! So it can be a little annoying if I’m sent a press release about a gnome (I’m not kidding, I’ve actually had this, more than once. Haha)

8. Do you have any exciting plans for your blog?
We’ve just launched an exciting new section called “Around the World”. This is where we share all of our top tips to Sleep, Eat, Drink & Do, outside of London. So far we’ve got NYC & Amsterdam up, but will shortly be adding Paris, Barcelona & Goa!

9. What is the first site you check when you go online?
Instagram – I think I’m actually a bit addicted. And then straight onto emails. Literally – while I’m still in bed, before my eyes are fully opened.

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today?
I was eating the most delicious hazelnut cake from Balthazar! It’s just round the corner from the office – dangerous!

Thank you Stacey from Crummbs, we hope we get to go for that bottle of wine!

NetworkTen: Tea Time In Wonderland

Tea Time In Wonderland

Our NetworkTen Q&A sessions help us to develop relationships with and listen to our media.

Here is what Tea Time In Wonderland have to say about their blog, exciting plans for the future, what makes a good (or bad!) PR approach and what they were doing at 14.10 today.

1. Hello, who are you?
 Bonjour, bonjour, very well thank you. I have coffee and triple chocolate cookies – I’m ready for everything! Hope the day is going well your side too!

2. Tell us a little about your blog

Friends used to come to London and ask me – Are they any boutique hotel in Camden? Which trendy restaurant do you recommend? Where can I go for an out-of-this-world cocktail? And so the blog was born – a happy place where you can find the extra in the ordinary, a little inspiration to make the day better. I’m often asked – what do you write about? Being French, food is central to my life. You might want to avoid my blog if you are on a diet! But mostly, beautiful things – little adventures around the world, street art in London… I like to surprise people.

3. How long have you been writing your blog?

5 years – I started when my son was born. It remained a hobby for a long time then served as portfolio, leading to new opportunities. I now freelance – a mix of travel writing, blogging, doing translations. Strangely, it means more working hours… but I love that every day is different. I might be going to a travel show in the morning, do a restaurant review for lunch, meet clients in the afternoon, before covering a cocktail event in the evening, start typing a post on my train back. The rhythm is rather fast paced, I get to meet incredible people. It makes you feel very alive.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?

My “20 ideas to enjoy the week-end in London”, which I post every Thursday is very popular. The one that got the most hits though was about a 23 Carat Gold body treatment at the Dophin Square spa… followed by Romantic ideas for London…

5. Which social network is the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?

Twitter – isn’t it fascinating how a picture, a tweet can go viral in no time? But I am hooked on Instagram, what a source of inspiration!

6. What makes a good PR approach?

Developping a relationship with the bloggers. If I feel generic/part of a huge mailing list, there is little chance I will feel very involved in the campaign. But sound passionate, make me part of the family and I’m in.

7. What makes a bad PR approach?

Getting my name very wrong and trying to push a product definitely not in the spirit of my blog. Do have a look at the site first. Morph suits or e-cigarettes for a cheerful foodie/travel blog? Not likely to work… It’s simple logic.

8. Do you have any exciting plans for your blog?

I’m considering e-publishing. I have revised three travel books for Hachette – US National Parks, Vienna, and putting the final touches on the London one. But being paper based, space is limited. So many places I would have liked to mention! So why not make one of my own with my favourite walks in London like Tower Bridge-Bermondsey-Maltby st and Druid St market?

9. What is the first site you check when you go online?

I’m always on the lookour for the latest trends so I go through Time Out-The Londonist-London on the Inside-Evening Standard Going out-A Little Bird-The Guardian every single day, in a row, in that order. Followed by my friend’s Farrukh’s Twitter feed – @implausibleblog – he takes amazing pictures/videos and is as much a cakeaholic as I am…

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today?

Editing pictures of a 4 days escape to Northumberland with Visit Britain for a future post. Such a gorgeous region – we walked along Hadrian’s wall, watched the stars, listened to a storyteller by a chimney fire, visited Alnwick Castle (where a Downton Abbey episode and part of Harry Potter was filmed) as well as Bamburgh castle with its incredible view on the sea. I can’t wait to go back and spend a few days walking through the countryside there!

Thank you to Coralie Grassin from Tea Time In Wonderland, we are particularly looking forward to reading about your favourite walks in London!

An Audience with Mo

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Fourteen Ten are proud to support An Audience With Mo, hosted by Steve Cram.

This sport-themed black-tie evening is raising funds for two exceptional charities; The Mo Farah Foundation and COCO, Steve Cram’s children’s charity. Both work predominantly overseas providing a support so vitally needed in remote and struggling regions of Africa.

Both Mo and Steve will be sharing stories and insights such as what did it really mean when Mo took Cram’s 28 year old 1500m UK record. They will be joined by a host of sporting legends, live musical entertainment and some few famous faces in the audience.

April 15th
The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London
Buy tickets here for the 3-course dinner and Champagne reception.

Recommended Site: From Britain With Love

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At Fourteen Ten we particularly enjoy collaborating with online media that demonstrates the same ethics and messages as our clients.

Once we find these pairings we do our very best to propose a solution that works at it’s very best for both client and site. How can we share markets? How can we drive Social Media? What can we give back to make the partnership beneficial for all parties? Can we perpetuate a long-term relationship? Our approach is all about building relationships, after all this is what social stands for.

One site we enjoy working with is From Britain With Love “the home of beautiful British living”. This site is an online shop, directory and magazine celebrating all things beautiful and British made. Visitors can browse the shop for British made gifts and essentials, search the directory for great British producers, and read the online magazine for ideas and inspiration. This pretty site also practises what it preaches with a beautiful design that is enjoyable to read and also easy to navigate. It also demonstrates order, organisation, attention to detail and desirability – all key factors that have to be taken in when considering brand association.

We love this limited-edition silk screen print by Ashley Amery that would make an ideal Mother’s Day gift, no matter what the age of the recipient’s “babies”. Order asap for delivery before Mother’s Day.

Follow FBWL
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest

YesKing Overproof

Fourteen Ten would like to share YesKing Overproof the brand new single and music video from YesKing.

Fourteen Ten have worked with YesKing producer Rhys Adams in the past and we are pleased to see YesKing signed to the excellent BBE Records.

The new YesKing album “Re-Record Not Fade Away…” is due to be released on March 11th 2013 and can be pre-ordered via iTunes.

NetworkTen: InFormed London

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To work efficiently and effectively we always listen to our media. NetworkTen helps us do this.

Here’s what events blog InFormed London have to say about their blog, PR approach, highlight so far, future plans and what they were doing at 14.10 today.

1. Hello, who are you?
Hey we are InFormed London and we like to talk about events.

2. Tell us a little about InFormed London
We post fresh events daily to keep people in the loop of what’s good around town. Everything is hand-picked with the aim to introduce you to a creative space where like-minded people within art, fashion and entertainment can get together.

3. How long have you been working on InFormed London?
We started the site in 2009 – so coming up to two years.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?
That’s a tough question – because there has been so many. Although, one that’s worth highlighting is the Social Media debate at the V&A. We were part of a panel of 8 other bloggers and the event was broadcasted live on Ustream.

5. What is your next post going to be?
Check the website tomorrow. The site is updated with fresh events daily.

6. Do you integrate your site with social media tools?
Yes we certainly do. We have a Facebook fanpage, Twitter profile, Foursquare and Youtube channel. Google+ coming soon.

7. Do you create individual content for your social media channels or replicate the same content using links?
We try to syndicate our content – so all our posts automatically get seeded on our social media channels. However, we also run exclusive competitions through the individual social media channels.

8. Is Facebook or Twitter the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?
Facebook generates the highest amount of traffic. However, Twitter allows us to engage with our users in real-time.

9. What makes a bad PR approach?
When it’s impersonal i.e. when there’s no personal greeting. A bad approach is also when the press release is not bespoke to our site or irrelevant to us.

10. What makes a good PR approach?
When the person shows that they have a thorough understanding of what our site is about. Furthermore, the PR person should try and be as concise and straight to the point as possible.

11. Do you have any exciting plans for InFormed London?
We are planning to organise more events. We are also looking in to ways of offering exclusive deals for our most loyal fans. So keep your eyes peeled.

12. Where do you see your blog in 3 years time?
InFormed New York, InFormed Hong Kong, InFormed Paris, InFormed Berlin etc…

13. What is the first site you check when you turn on your computer?
Soundcloud – to see if there’s any new music that we need to check out.

14. What were you doing at 14.10 today?
Eating a homemade tuna salad.

Thank you Sammy Attalah from InFormed London