Cruise1st: Hawaii To Sydney Adventure Cruise

Sail from Hawaii to Sydney exploring idyllic Tahiti & French Polynesian islands and New Zealand along the way with a 19-night Cruise1st fly, stay and cruise deal.

Departing September 19, 2016, the package includes a flight to Honolulu and one night of pre-cruise accommodation before boarding Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas for an 18-night cruise.

The cruise stops in Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora in Tahiti, French Polynesia; and Wellington and Picton in New Zealand.

Departures from Sydney are from $3599* per person twin share and include $100 of on board credit per cabin as well as onboard gratuities.

cruise
Radiance of the Seas offers a cruising experience like no other, with panoramic vistas, sleek surrounds and a range of dining and entertainment options.

There is a nine-storey central atrium; floor to ceiling windows; casual and formal dining options including a Brazilian steakhouse, Italian restaurant and sushi; three pools; fitness centre; rock climbing wall; mini golf; basketball court; jogging track; video game arcade; Royal Babies and Tots nursery; theatre; casino; clubs; lounges; duty free shopping and a teen lounge area and disco.

For more information call 1300 596 345 or visit www.cruise1st.com.au.

*Subject to availability. Restrictions may apply. Prices are per person, twin share based on an inside stateroom. Prices and specified hotels subject to change at any time.

bleeding-pen

The Death of Journalism – As We Used To Know It

bleeding-penWhen I was studying journalism at university, we were taught to write all news stories with impartiality and objectivity. At the time, impartiality was viewed as the cornerstone of high quality, credible journalism.

Our job was to deliver comprehensive coverage of news and current affairs without colouring the story with our own personal prejudices or biases. It was important; we were told, to report a wide range of options and perspectives fairly and accurately, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.

Today, the value of an impartial or objective approach in contemporary journalism is increasingly being questioned.

New York University academic Jay Rosen is critical of impartial journalism, describing it as the “view from nowhere”.  Rosen said: “If in doing the serious work of journalism–digging, reporting, verification, mastering a beat–you develop a view, expressing that view does not diminish your authority. It may even add to it.” 1

Transparency, it seems, is the new ‘black’. Silicon Valley CEO and academic at Berkley Journalism School Alan Mutter argues impartiality should be replaced with “a realistic and credible standard of transparency that requires journalists to forthrightly declare their personal predilections, financial entanglements and political allegiances so the public can evaluate the quality of the information it is getting”. 2

Others question if impartiality is even achievable. In his paper, Delivering Trust: Impartiality and Objectivity in the Digital Age, Cardiff University’s Professor of Journalism, Richard Sambook asks: “Does a neutral voice hold the same value today as it did a century ago? Is the emphasis on impartiality in news actually an impediment to a free market in ideas? And with technological convergence is?”

So is the decreasing relevance of impartiality in journalism purely an academic debate? Taking a look at recent newspapers headlines, it seems that the proof is in the pudding. We are continually bombarded with newspaper headlines that are proudly free of objectivity. One recent example is The Courier Mail’s coverage of the Gerard Baden-Murder trial in Queensland. The newspaper published a series of headlines objecting to Baden Clay’s successful appeal for his murder charge to be downgraded. One headline proclaimed: The Law is An Ass.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 4.40.28 pm

The Daily News in the United States has also taken a strong stance against the pro-gun lobby. Following a number of mass shooting in California, it has printed controversial and now infamous headlines such as Blood on Your Hands; Same Gun, Different Slay; Shame on U.S. and God Isn’t Fixing This.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 4.43.57 pm

Given the declining circulation of newspapers3 and the need to produce eye-catching and ultimately saleable headlines on a regular basis, it seems likely that impartiality in journalism will take a back seat for a while.

Navigating this new era of journalism will be tricky. Writing high-quality articles that deliver transparency over impartiality will require finesse; they will need to be built on a strong foundation of solid journalism. Facts will still need to be sourced, attributed and double-checked for accuracy. News articles featuring strong viewpoints may be the future of journalism – whether good or bad – but let’s avoid the trap of creating click-bait style headlines that are controversial for controversy’s sake.

 

  1. http://pressthink.org/2010/11/the-view-from-nowhere-questions-and-answers/
  2. http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2010/12/objective-journalism-is-over-lets-move.html.
  3. http://mumbrella.com.au/paywalls-circulation-print-fairfax-smh-275807

Building Your Brand’s Infinite Publicity Loop

Ben Ready is Managing Director of RG Communications. He has been a journalist and communications professional for nearly 20 years.

Ben Ready is Managing Director of RG Communications. He has been a journalist and communications professional for nearly 20 years.

In the late noughties people and businesses began to grasp the power of content and its ability to drive brand awareness, customer engagement and sales.

The proliferation of mobile technology combined with the power of search engines and the reach of social media meant marketers had to fundamentally re-think everything they knew about engaging with their customers. The changes presented both challenges and opportunities for brands prepared to throw time and resources towards content.

Many of those who embraced content are now enjoying the benefits as their digital footprint grows, along with their audience and influence. These brands have discovered the benefits of the infinite publicity loop.

What is the infinite publicity loop?

For many smaller organisations, growing their brand reach (in a cost effective manner) is the greatest marketing challenge they have. Compared to paid media, using content to build reach is one of the most affordable and effective strategies available.

The infinite publicity loop is the holy grail of content marketing. It is when your content (even a single piece of content) delivers you an ongoing stream of value long after you have made the investment. Regardless of how you define ‘value’ it is the time aspect of the loop that is important.

The loop is all about creating content that delivers engagement, enquiry and sales well into the future. It is now feasible for a piece of content that you invest in today, to still be delivering value in five years with almosy immeasurable ROI.

The loop starts with great content which you distribute across multiple channels.If it is good enough, this content is consumed and shared by your audience, this consuming and sharing enhances its search value, which attracts new users who consume and share, improving its value for search.. and so on and so on, in an infinite loop of growing reach.

 

A New Publicity Model[1]
It all starts with valuable content

Creating great content that engages your audience and encourages social sharing is the starting point. Once you have done this it is important to work your distribution channels.

  • Earned media – make sure you have a solid PR campaign that is distributing content consistently to a broad range of media. Make sure you are sharing this content across your own social media platforms to maximise its reach and search-ability.
  • Owned media – publish your stories on your own platforms. If you don’t have a social and search friendly platform, get one (like WordPress). Make sure your content is SEO-friendly and is underpinned with high levels of sharing.
  • Influencer media – engage with your industry’s influencers and make sure they are using and sharing your content.

The loop only prospers when you feed it so regularly producing content and distributing it across your channels is fundamental to getting the loop spinning.

A little encouragement goes a long way

Sometimes the loop may need a little encouragement before it becomes self sustaining. There are a couple of ways you can give your content a little kick start.

  • Manufacture reach – SEO relies heavily on content usage so manufacturing a bit of usage to get the ball rolling is a good idea. One of the best ways to do this is ensure in your staff are sharing your content across their own social networks. Hit your family and friends up as well.
  • Pay for reach – if your content is gaining some traction it can be worth giving it a ‘boost’ with some paid promotion across Google AdWords or on social media.

The goal should be to have the content to develop an entirely organic process of reach as quickly as possible.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your publicity loop.

Ben

Don’t Commit These Social Media Fails

Despite many claims there are only a few real social media ninjas out there. While many businesses and individuals are doing it pretty well, there’s always room for improvement. However, there are some basic errors that too may accounts still make. Don’t get caught out making these obvious errors in your social media management.

Poor profile
We’ve all visited a page or profile and not been really sure if it’s the place we’re looking for or relevant at all to our needs. Make it obvious what you’re about and if you’re a business provide relevant contact information and a summary of exactly what you do or the products you are offering. If you don’t it could be costing you dollars.
Make sure you fill out your profile information in full and provide information people want about you. Don’t leave them in the dark and create a bad first impression. They will go elsewhere quick smart.

Buying followers
Avoid the temptation to buy followers. While it may sound tempting to buy a thousand new fans for ten bucks the reality is that they are largely fake accounts and won’t engage with your content.
Authentic engaging content is the holy grail and this will bring real fans who want to follow you for a reason. It’s the old tale of the hare and the tortoise as far as building a real following is concerned.

Not monitoring conversations
There’s no point building up a broad following if you’re not going to listen and take notice of what people are saying about you. You can gain valuable insight and feedback about your business from what people are saying about you – warts and all.
If you’re not paying attention you will miss out. If you’re attentive and prepared to interact you will be seen as authentic, caring and open for business.
There are many free and paid tools out there that can help you monitor and track conversations and sentiment. Meltwater, Hootsuite and Sprout Social are some of the better ones. Otherwise, just look and listen each and every day.

Call to action (CTA)
If you are wanting a visitor to do something; buy, refer, ask something, then you need to entice them to do just that and provide the way to do it.
Make sure you provide the link and let the person know what they’re being lead to – ‘Click here to to take control of your financial future now.’
Having no CTA just leaves them hanging and ultimately frustrated and unfulfilled. You’ve done the hard work in getting them there; don’t forget to close the deal.

Poor scheduling
You want to make sure that your audience is seeing your content. You need to understand them and their online habits amongst other key demographic information. Give your posts the best possible chance of being seen. Don’t post when your audience is less likely to be there.
It can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, but you can build up an understanding of the best times to post. Monitor your engagement and reach by day of the week and time and start looking for any patterns. Most good social media tools will feature a scheduling function to help schedule pre-prepared content to post at times you desire.

tablets

Simple Rules For Public Relations Success

tabletsPublic relations people have a role that is often misunderstood. Because many of us come from media backgrounds, it is sometimes expected that we will use our network of “mates” to secure good coverage of stories that would otherwise be rejected.

No doubt, practitioners themselves have been the most guilty of promoting this myth. But the truth is that contacts are the least important aspect of successful media relations.

Journalists, like the rest of us, operate in a competitive environment and have to look out for Number One.

This makes it realistic for any organisation to secure coverage if it understands some simple truths.

Below, we have outlined some of these.

  1. News sells, puff doesn’t. A good story will almost always get coverage but a blowing your own trumpet without hard news won’t.
  2. Most organisations have news. It just needs to be found and packaged properly, in a way that highlights its news value to relevant publications.
  3. Relationships with key journalists are valuable but not essential. All journalists need good stories that are appropriate to their round, with the relevant facts, interviews and images easily available. If you have those, a prior relationship isn’t necessary. Of course, a relationship between the journalist and the client will mean it is more likely they will call you for a comment, or think twice before overplaying a negative story.
  4. Stunts don’t work (unless they are awesome). To stage a successful media stunt you generally need a lot of money, a good visual, a justifiable reason for the stunt, and good timing. They are hard work and are only appropriate for a small number of situations.
  5. Most publications cannot be manipulated. Metro newspapers in particular have rules and standards and they rarely bend them. They won’t run a confected story, show you the story ahead of publication, or pull a story unless it’s demonstrably false.

 

Design Is The Missing Innovation Ingredient

 

In response to Australia’s National Innovation & Science Agenda, the Australian Design Alliance [AdA], made up of fourteen peak national organisations, has identified a key area in Australia’s Innovation Eco-System that is missing.

Innovation and design are natural bedfellows, but this important connection has not been made in the Turnbull government’s newly released draft Innovation agenda, according to the [AdA].

This is a major omission.

Leading European economies embrace design as a sophisticated problem solving tool that is understood to provide an essential competitive advantage.

Whilst the [AdA] has praised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for his leadership and the whole of Government exemplary approach of his team, it believes that there is an opportunity to build Australia’s economic capacity which may otherwise remain unfulfilled.

[AdA] Executive Director Jo Kellock said:

“[AdA] is keen to work with the Government to demonstrate what enormous advances are possible. Learning from our counterparts in Europe and Asia would mean improving on their ‘Design-Led Innovation’ platform. We believe that opening opportunities for the application of design to challenging problems will achieve substantial economic outcomes for Australia.”

Kellock goes on to say that:

“The process of design has important roles to play in collaboration, particularly in biomimicry and the application of advanced materials and process engineering, in skills development and knowledge transfer and in ICT at the interface between man and machine.”

[AdA] has recently been reviewing its own strategy and has a 12 month design policy initiative kicking off next week to develop a considered response to today’s announcement.


 

The [AdA] is a self-funded not for profit advocacy and facilitation organisation, with a combined membership amongst the alliance organisations close to 150,000 with a broader reach to over 500,000 design professionals.

Australian winemakers open for business in China with Alibaba and Australia Post

Australia Post is helping home-grown businesses capitalise on the lucrative Chinese eCommerce market through its new partnership with the largest online wholesale website in China, 1688.com.

1688.com is a business-to-business (B2B) online marketplace, operating wholly in Chinese. It was established in 2010 by the Alibaba Group, operator of the largest online and mobile marketplaces in the world, to help foreign businesses sell their goods in China at wholesale prices.

Today’s official launch of Australia Post’s 1688.com “Australian pavilion” (auspost.1688.com) will provide a powerful online platform for Australian businesses to sell into China in bulk, reaching more than 100 million registered users and enticing Chinese importers to buy Australian products at more affordable, wholesale prices.

Australia Post will initially help sell wine through 1688.com because of the strong demand for Australian wine exports into China but, given the growing interest in high quality Australian products more generally, this will expand to include other categories in 2016.

Australia Post’s Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour says that as we enter a landmark era in China-Australia free trade, there has never been a better time for Australian businesses to access China’s flourishing eCommerce sector, which is set to become the world’s top import market for online goods by 2018.

“Australia Post is committed to supporting local businesses by breaking down barriers to selling overseas and delivering eCommerce solutions that make it easier to do business across the country and overseas,” Mr Fahour said.

“International expansion can be a daunting prospect for many Australian companies but Alibaba’s B2B platform, 1688.com, offers the perfect solution for small and medium businesses to drive more sales in China.”

“Our world-first partnership with 1688.com is a one-stop eCommerce, logistics and delivery solution that streamlines labelling, packaging, pallet consolidation, sea and air transport, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution.”

“Alongside our new storefront on Alibaba’s 1688.com, we already have an existing storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall Global business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace (auspost.tmall.hk). This means customers who want to sell their products into China can partner with us to sell directly to consumers in China via Tmall, as well as wholesale to Chinese businesses via 1688.com.”

“When you combine these two marketplaces and Australia Post’s role as AliPay’s exclusive agent in Australia, we now offer a complete eCommerce solution that can be tailored to any local business wanting to get into the Chinese market.”

Michael Mang, Head of International Marketing and Business Development for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, of Alibaba.com and 1688.com says, “Our ongoing partnership with Australia Post is a crucial part of our cross-border trade strategy. We are delighted that our agreement enables Australian exporters a direct sales channel to Chinese retailers with even greater wholesale opportunities.”

Flame TreeAustralia Post is today launching the online store in collaboration with the Margaret River Wine Association – the first wine region to sell via the Australian pavilion, showcasing wines from five premium wineries in Western Australia – EVOI Wines, Flametree Wines, Happs Wines, Laurance Wines and Rosily Vineyard.

Nick Power, CEO of Margaret River Wine Association said, “Our producers told us they needed a faster speed-to-market solution for Chinese exports, and Australia Post listened. The 1688.com Australian pavilion is the culmination of many years of work to solve a major obstacle for the Australian wine industry, offering a simple avenue to sell and ship to China in bulk.”

“We’re thrilled to be the first Australian wine region to showcase our premium wines on 1688.com. Ten different bottle varieties across the Margaret River region’s five participating wineries are now on sale to millions of Chinese people through this online store,” said Nick.

“Putting local competition aside, we hope our partnership with Australia Post and 1688.com will pave the way for other Australian wine regions to get on-board and take advantage of this huge opportunity to enter one of the world’s largest consumer markets.”

Over the coming months, Australia Post will work directly with other premium wine regions to broaden the range offered on the site.

Australian businesses looking for help to grow their business in China, can contact 1688@auspost.com.au

To visit the 1688.com Australian shopfront (in Chinese) go to auspost.1688.com.

alibaba

Australia Ranks Fifth Top Selling Market in Alibaba Group’s 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

Chinese rush to purchase Australian infant formula, adult milk powder and collagen products

Brisbane, Australia, December 1, 2015 – Chinese online e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has announced it generated more than US$14.3 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV 1.) worth of goods from this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, an annual shopping event hosted by Alibaba Group also known as Single’s Day. With globalisation being one of the key main themes of the 24-hour shopping festival, Australia was ranked the fifth top selling country to China.

Throughout this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, infant formula, adult milk powder and collagen products from Australia have been the top three popular products that are well sought after by Chinese shoppers. Australian businesses have been selling its local products directly to Chinese consumers through Alibaba Group’s cross-border B2C platform, Tmall Global. Tmall Global is an overseas platform and an extension of Alibaba’s B2C Tmall business in China that allows international merchants and retailers to sell products to Chinese consumers without having a physical presence in China.

shopping

Ken Ma, head of Australia, New Zealand and Japan regions for Tmall Global says the growing Chinese middle class has high demand for superior-quality products and services which Australian companies are able to provide.

“Chinese consumers are willing to spend money on imported goods in response to their concerns over product safety, while Australian products are known to be high in quality. Through Tmall Global, Chinese consumers are able to access a wide range of Australian goods which are not easily accessible to them in China unless they travel to the country,” says Ken.

“The demand of these products on Tmall Globall is a testament to the reliability of Australian brands and shows how easily Australian suppliers can connect to Chinese consumers and grow their businesseses.”

Chemist Warehouse was the first merchant on Tmall Global to reach RMB10 million in sales only 46 minutes after the sales launched after midnight on November 11.

Strong demand for infant formula in China saw Australian companies record high sales, with A2 having sold more than 43,000 cans of infant formula by 12pm noon during the sales day.

Adult milk powder was Australia’s second best selling product at the Global Shopping Festival, with Devondale selling 120,000 bags of full cream instant milk powder in the first 20 minutes. Collagen products was the third best selling product category from Australia.

Globally, the top five categories from this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival were women’s apparel, men’s apparel, maternity and baby care, large appliances and sports and outdoor equipment respectively.

Key highlights of 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival:
-Sales from Single’s Day 2015 were up 60 per cent on the 2014 event (2).
-Mobile transactions accounted for approximately US$9.8 billion or 68.7 per cent of total sales from the event  – an increase of 158 per cent compared to 2014.
-The total number of mobile buyers on Alibaba’s Tmall.com and Taobao Marketplace was 95 million.
-Alibaba’s Alipay processed a total of 710 million payment transactions and processed 85,900 transactions per second at peak.
-Alibaba’s AliCloud processed a total of 140,000 transactions per second at peak
-More than 16,000 international brands with completed transactions.
-33 per cent of total buyers purchased from international brands or merchants.
-Alibaba’s logistics partner and affiliate, Cainiao Logistics, received 467 million delivery orders during the 24-hour shopping period, more than 15 times the daily average of 30 million orders and representing a 68 per cent year-over-year increase form 278 million orders in 2014.
-Cainiao Logistics also generated more than 120 million e-waybills, a system created by Cainiao Logistics that shares shipping information among delivery firms, customers and merchants.

For more information and content about the event, please visit here:

1) Gross merchandise volume (“GMV”) is the total amount settled through Alipay on Alibaba’s China and international retail marketplaces. All 2015 11.11 GMV and other figures are subject to final auditing following conclusion of the event.
2) Alibaba Group’s operating results disclosed in this press release are denominated in RMB; year-over-year comparisons and growth rates are calculated on the basis of RMB amounts and are not affected by foreign exchange rate fluctuations.