Mo Farah – Drug Testing – SMS Messaging and Newsjacking

You cannot have failed to notice all the ‘fuss’ about Mo Farah and drugs testing at the moment, it’s the sort of news that the press just love…


Image by Ronnie Macdonald via Flickr


Such news items are however also a great time to do a spot of ‘Newsjacking’ where with a bit of creative thought, you can ride the wave a little and promote a relevant business or product.

So, when I listened to the news and found out, to my surprise that all athletes had to register where they would be an hour an hour a day for the next three months, AND BE SURE TO BE THERE, just in case an unannounced dope test was scheduled for then, I thought, WOW, this is just where one of the clients of SOM could really, really help out.

The client in question is FastSMS, the service they provide being SMS messaging. You will no doubt have received text messages from your Doctor, the dentist, your garage, etc reminding you of a future appointment (and if has not happened it soon will, as long as you have a mobile phone that is).

SMS Messaging in Action

Thus, when I heard that these poor athletes have to remember to be somewhere (up to three months in advance) I thought, is not this a great application for SMS Text messaging?

All you would need to do is to have a mobile phone number associated with an Athletes entry into the ‘Where I will be’ Dope Testing system and a little bit of ‘programming magic’ that sends them a text the day before saying where they ‘have to be’ tomorrow, with another 2 hrs before.

JOB DONE, I reckon, no excuses and less hassle for all.

I have had a word with FastSMS and they are looking into this right now, and will soon have a post up on their blog, they are even considering offering this service to the dope testing people at UKAD.

This is a good example of ‘NewsJacking’, in a positive manner and should be born in mind by just about any business there is….

Mo Farah put his hopes of competing at London 2012 at risk by allegedly missing two drugs tests in the buildup to the Games and was warned by his coach Alberto Salazar that “they will hang you if you miss another”.

Under World-Anti Doping rules, a third missed test within the space of 12 months is the equivalent of a failed drugs test – and so would have left Farah, who went on to take 5,000m and 10,000m gold in London, facing a minimum of a two-year ban.

According to the Daily Mail, which has seen an email exchange between the UK Anti-Doping Agency and Farah’s representatives, Farah missed one test in 2010 and another in early 2011 shortly after he had joined Salazar’s training group in Oregon..

See the full article

The Power of The Press Release – Part 3

Yesterday I went to see Richard Taylor of Marlborough World to discuss his online marketing and of course we chatted about the latest Press Release that we had ‘masterminded’ for him.

Three Stories + for the price of One

He was over the moon with the way it had gone, as not only had he got three stories in the local press (with more set to come from his forthcoming apprenticeship placement scheme), but he also saw a dramatic rise on Web Traffic to his site, something that is sure to help his business in the long run.

Lots of Potential Corporate Work

Better still he has now got a meeting with the Edgbaston Cricket ground that could lead to lots of corporate work, and all just from the one Press Release.

So, if proof were needed, here it is, Press Releases, done in the RIGHT way do work.

So three Cheers for PR2Go whose expertise in this area proved worth it’s weight in gold (plus an odd cheer of two for SOM for suggesting it in the first place!)

The Power of The Press Release – Part 2

Last week I talked about how important it was not to just rely on Search Engine Marketing in order to raise the profile of a website and that Press Releases are one good example of these ‘other means’.

So when one of my customers ‘Marlborough World‘ moved premises, I thought that a Press Release was just the thing and contacted the Press Release agency I use, PR2Go.  They produced a punchy release and sent it out to the local press.

Within hours the phone started ringing and the very next day the photographers were there, a rather good piece appearing both in the paper and on their website –

We will have to wait and see just how much extra business this release will bring in, but whatever, it can do no harm and you never know where things will lead too do you?

The Power of the Press Release – Part 1

I’ve always been a believer in the fact that you cannot as a business just rely on Search Engine Marketing to bring in the customers qne have always made it a point to tell my customers that they should be doing other forms of promotion.

I see the act of raising the visibility of a site in the same way as a  General looks at his army. It is never the infantry alone that wins the day, as they need support from the artilery and the cavalry too. It is the same with a business (and it’s website) you need more than just good copy and links to really make it sing.

That is where a good press release can come in really handy, but as I have found it is not always easy to find a story that is good enough to catch the eye of a journalist.

The three main ingredients to a successful  Press Release are of course:-

  • The Story itself (best if there is a ‘people’ angle)
  • The Way that it is written
  • The Manner in which it is distributed

Of all of these it is the first one that has caused me issues in the past, but as for the other two, well there I have the answer.

Horses for Courses and all that

I have always been a believer in the fact that no one can be an expert in everything, even in such a ‘narrow’ line as marketing. After all there is so much to know and to learn. With that in mind SOM have always used experts to help them deliver the goods to our customers, using experts in website design Joomla, EMail marketing etc, whenever the need arose.

With that in mind we found and ‘paired up’ with a Press Release agency called PR2Go. They offer just what we need in that once given a story, they can create a Press Release that will catch the eye of the reading journalist, whilst of course having the means to select and target the right media in the first place.

This relationship has already born fruit in that the release they sent out for the Leather Goods manufacturer Marlborough World created an immediate response from several areas, and looks like resulting in a good number of stories, all of which can only help our customer.

So the moral of the story is don’t forget good old PR and if you can’t afford to use a full blown agency, do have a chat with PR2Go (you can find their blog here:

More on this story later.