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Tagged ‘PR‘

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!