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So, did .yo fall for it?

April 10th, 2014 at 15:20 by Martyn Hudson

April Fool header

For hundreds of years, April 1st has been a day for japes and tomfoolery, and this year Plusnet decided to join in. Riffing off of the new top level domains currently being released by ICANN and our love of all things Yorkshire, we went with a simple announcement about our plan for a new website, Plusnet.yo

 

Twitter Announcement

A few people fell for it (probably the ones who hadn’t had their morning coffee yet!), but we were rumbled soon enough. The first person to see through our joke was ‘Reserved’ in the comments of our announcement blog post and a prize is on the way to this observant chap for his swift ability to rumble our faux press release.

Reply

A number of you engaged with us on Twitter and said you loved our efforts – your feedback has been taken on board but you will have to wait and see if this ever becomes of our marketing plan! Adrian Braddy of The Dalesman Magazine and Wave FM’s Nick Piercey also picked up on the story too, although they haven’t yet signed up for t’broadband or t’phone unfortunately (from what we know!)

Twitter reply

Our favourite April Fool gags this year come from Google and Twitter. Google built an interactive Pokémon game into Google Maps, which is good fun! We wonder how many hours it took to put this together? Obviously beyond the capacity of many companies!

Twitter also went for something based around recent developments in the online / tech niche. They claimed to be bringing the Twitter Helmet into production soon, to compete with Google Glass and Oculus Rift. We think this would actually be pretty cool – hopefully it’s something they revisit in the future! Read the announcement here.

Did you fall for our April Fool? What did you think to Plusnet.yo? And what was the best April Fool you came across on the Internet that day? Let us know your thoughts below!

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We’re very proud to announce that Plusnet has stepped in for the second year running to give support to the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, allowing the band to continue its great work in the community and help grow talent in the area.

The band, based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire has been a bastion of the local community since founded in 1917 and achieved global fame in 1995 when it was the inspiration for the hit British movie, Brassed Off, which starred Ewan McGregor.

Last year the band’s fate echoed scenes from the film as funding cuts left them in danger of being unable to carry out its vital work in the community. As so many of you have long associated us with the brass band from our advertising we were inundated with requests to help and so offered a donation to support Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s schools music programme.

This week – one year on – we visited Birkwood Primary to see the progress being made. It was really exciting to see how life has changed dramatically for these children. As the profile of music within the school has been raised, pupils are now reaching the standard necessary to take music exams – a first in the school’s history.

Birkwood School band

Pictured: Pupils and staff from Birkwood primary school with Grimethorpe Colliery Band member, Martyn Beecham and John Ingman of Barnsley Music Services.

This is our second donation to the music programme. The funds will be used to ensure the continuation of the band’s youth education scheme which will ensure 15 pupils between the ages of 8 and 11 at the Birkwood Primary School will have the opportunity to take specialist music lessons.

Showcasing just how valuable the programme has been to pupils at the school, class teacher and school music co-ordinator at Birkwood Primary School Esther Sutton Smith said,

“Children at Birkwood Primary are now aspiring to be musicians and getting ready to take their first music exams which is incredibly exciting for us! Beyond the obvious musical advantages we are actually seeing an increase in children’s self esteem, especially for those who are not as strong in other area. It’s wonderful to see them take such pride in their achievements. We’re also noticing a real sense of engagement with the community as local people flock to watch the children perform, for which we are very grateful.

Tegan, aged 10, a pupil at Birkwood Primary School commented,

“I play tenor horn, and things that I learn in my music lessons help me concentrate during lots of my other lessons.” Whilst nine year old Joshua added, “My brass teacher inspires me to concentrate.”

Headteacher of Birkwood Primary School, Julie Allen expressed her appreciation to Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the generosity of Plusnet to enable these wonderful opportunities to take place.  She is very proud of Esther’s dynamic leadership and of course the children’s efforts and dedication.

Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet commented,

“Last year you called on us to help Grimethorpe Colliery Band continue its work with the community. The plight of such a traditionally Yorkshire institution made it an easy decision, and we are continuing to support them for a second year. It has been a real privilege to see how Birkwood Primary School and the children are flourishing under the band’s teaching. We are proud to continue to fund next year’s programme.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band Manager, Nigel Dixon added,

“It’s encouraging to know there are companies like Plusnet out there, ready to step up and show support for their local communities. With this further injection of funding we hope to do Grimethorpe proud as the crop of talent at Birkwood Primary School develops through the music programme.”

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Plusnet to launch .Yo Domain to fly Yorkshire Flag

April 1st, 2014 at 09:00 by Martyn Hudson

Plusnet

Phone and broadband provider Plusnet has announced that it has been given the go-ahead to launch its website on a new specially created .yo domain later this year aimed at businesses in the Yorkshire area.

With similar domains being offered in Europe already, and with the Tour de France heading to the county later this year, Plusnet has lobbied for the Yorkshire top-level domain to be given the green-light by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) aimed at promoting Yorkshire and Yorkshire business as a whole.

Customers accessing the website whilst in Yorkshire will see it transformed with the pages altered into the local dialect, aimed at improving customer experience and simplify any issues with understanding the products and services on offer to them as part of their broadband deals. It will also provide tourists to Yorkshire with an insight into the dialect.

Yorkshire Broadband

Those customers accessing the website outside of Yorkshire will still continue to see the traditional landing page.

eCommerce Manager Ben Fretwell said:

“This is a unique opportunity for Plusnet to position itself as a champion of all things Yorkshire, providing good honest broadband for our customers.

“We are extremely proud of our heritage and moving to the .Yo domain will allow us to promote us as a company that values the experience our customers have, getting them to be a part of our community and also join the Plusnet broadband experience.

“We believe that this will be a positive step for our customers based in Yorkshire but also for Yorkshire tourism as a whole in promoting our great county. The dialect and slang we use here is one aspect that sticks with people in their memories when they visit the county and we want to celebrate that.”

It is anticipated that the website will launch at http://www.plusnet.yo in July this year but as a flavour of what’s to come, you can view the homepage here.

 

Update: We’re pleased to inform you that this is, of course, an April Fool’s joke. Hands up if you fell for it? Let us know below what you thought about the spoof website and our April Fool!

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Extreme Job Hunting: Making yourself more visible for jobs

March 31st, 2014 at 17:30 by Martyn Hudson

Extreme Job Hunting

Tired of getting knocked back for jobs? With competition for jobs growing and more people getting higher grades and qualifications, applying for jobs can be a frustrating experience. But some people have been inspired to think outside the box, by thinking of innovative methods to get some publicity and the attention of headhunters/HR Managers. Welcome to extreme job hunting. Following on from our guide on how to stand out online, we decided to investigate just how far some people will go in their attempts to secure employment…

Exploring creativity

Extreme job hunting is typically when you do something above and beyond the norm to put yourself ahead of other candidates. In an offline world, creativity can be explored in various weird and wonderful ways. This could range from a video portfolio of your work or placing a CV inside a Piñata and sending it to prospective employers, both of which were tried by Dan Conway of “The Extreme Job Hunter”. Another example is Adam Pacitti, who gained publicity for spending his last remaining savings on a billboard to get attention of any companies passing by. It worked. So in a growing digital world, and where recruitment and employment is fast becoming more digital based, what can be done to get attention?

Adam Pacitti billboard

© Adam Pacitti

Use PPC for Directors Googling Themselves

Alec Brownstein used ‘vanity Googling’ – the method of searching your own name – as the springboard to get attention from some of New York’s top creative directors. He spent the grand total of $6 on PPC adverts on all of the Directors’ names so that when they did a search for themselves, up popped his advert.

Google Yourself

©Alec Brownstein

The QR Code Resume

Victor Petit used his skills to create the QR Code resume. Employers received a copy of a printed resume featuring his details on the back and a picture of his face on the front, only his mouth was replaced by a QR code. Employers, when using the QR code, would unlock the missing piece of the picture with Petit talking.

The Replica Personal Search Engine

People have wrote CVs in a style similar to that well known websites, for instance, Google’s well known colours and font to make themselves stand out. Meet Chris Liu, who took this one stage further by spoofing Google’s search results on his website, Liugle, but only with his personal profile pages and social media channels. This was created in a bid to look for a new path for him to take and also to separate himself from people with the same name.

Replica search engine

What can you do?

Be unique. Think innovatively. If it has been tried before, it either failed to get PR, wasn’t interesting or the timing was all wrong. More importantly, stay ahead of the game; research new social media channels, new trends online and what is creating a buzz.

Dan explained to us that you need to almost have an x-factor:

“You have to have an edge that makes you stand out. Using extreme job hunting tactics can give you that edge if done right.”

For Adam, hiring a billboard, advertising his own personal website was the last throw of the dice to get recruiters to visit his website, view his CV and hopefully provide him with an opportunity.

“I just figured it was something that hadn’t been done before. Apparently it had but nobody remembered the guy who did it in 2008 so it was fresh, exciting and innovative… sort of.”

Andrea Kilgour, Head of HR here at Plusnet also offered her views from an employer perspective:

“As a company, we look to nurture talent so when interviewing candidates who are starting out in the world of work, we really need to see their tenacity and potential from the outset.  Ideas like this really help candidates stand out because you’ve shown examples of your initiative before you’ve even walked through the door for that interview.”

Tom Bunkham, Marketing Manager at job board reed.co.uk, also advises:

“In the digital age, there are more ways than ever to set yourself apart in the job market. Whether it’s setting up a blog to demonstrate your writing ability, or creating an online portfolio of your design work, people continue to find innovative ways to showcase their skills when making job applications. Whilst not always vital, for certain industries it can make the difference in getting hired for that perfect role.”

Where to begin with extreme job hunting?

As with all campaigns, you need to set some goals and have something of interest and useful for people to visit. In this case, any online campaign should begin and end with your website, which will showcase your skills, provide visitors with information and build your profile on. This is something that both Dan and Adam are keen to reinforce.

“Whatever job or field you want to get into, start a website where you can showcase your relevant skills and experience,” said Dan.

“Use social media channels and a blog. Start a Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter account, blog [and so on] to demonstrate your skills and passion. Having as many courses as possible to drive people to your website is key.”

Have you gone to any extremes to get noticed by an employer? What do you think to the examples above? Why not leave them in the comments below.

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