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Bin the Backlinks Question

9 March 2023

Stop doing this, it doesn’t help you.

The question I get asked the most when we get a Newspager coverage in the media is: “Could you ask the publication to put a backlink to our business website?”

No, I most certainly won’t because, just like your mum, I care about you and have your best interests at heart.

I get why you ask and it comes from a good place – you want your business to rank high on Google. It’s one of the big benefits of being featured in the media. You have it on good authority as well, that lad in your tech team who lives off of Red Bull and wears Metallica t-shirts told you that backlinks are the Holy Grail of search engine optimisation – nothing else matters.

He’s not wrong. Metallica is a great band.

Whether a publication gives you a backlink or not is a question of editorial styles. In plain English that means some will, some won’t. Most often they won’t. A normal news article will quote several people and littering the article with links isn’t visually appealing.

Just read any article from the publication, if there’s a link to the firm of someone they’ve quoted, then they use backlinks. Simples.Now you know.

To a journalist, being asked if you can have a backlink is like a parent hearing “are we there yet?” from the back seat for the fourth time, seven minutes into an eight hour drive. 

It grinds a journalist’s gears and is a guaranteed way to get you put on the naughty step. So don’t do it.

You still get plenty of Google juice from being quoted and name checked in a publication, even without a backlink. News sites have high domain authority and anyone googling you or your business will come across those articles, making you appear like the credible expert you are.

Being featured in the media helps your business to “own” the first pages of any google search. When you’ve been quoted in the media regularly, it’s your business website followed by those publications that you’ve featured in that pop up first. That’s web dominance right there and it’s easy to obtain.

Yes, backlinks are the best, no doubt about it, they do all the things Metallica t-shirt SEO boy wonder told you. But please, take any backlinks you get as a bonus. 

So stop worrying and stop asking for backlinks. Instead, sign up to Newspage and get your business featured in the media today.

Jay Vaananen, CEO, Newspage


Four easy PR tips for small businesses

1 March 2023

Here’s a picture of a retro-feeling bog I took on the weekend in some random Bristol shopping centre.

Now that I’ve got your attention with this photographic masterpiece, 4 PR tips for you all — following some recent conversations I’ve had with users of Newspage UK.

Don’t just tell a story, add a story

A lot of you are unaware that there is a stories function to Newspage and have never used it at all. Like ever. If you add a story (and you can add unlimited stories even if you’re a free user), it will be looked at by an experienced journalist. If we believe it’s strong enough, it will then be sent onto all relevant media for free. So check out the Stories function in the left hand nav of your Newspage. It’s arguably more powerful than the News Alerts, as if you create a good story, you’ll often be the only business featured in it.

Boost your credibility

PR can ‘sometimes’ get the phone ringing and result in new business on the same day but it is not about instant leads per se. It is about credibility and findability. If you’re regularly quoted in the mainstream media, people will trust you, especially if you work within financial services. When they search for your name and company on Google, chances are that that hit on the BBC or in the Daily Mail or Evening Standard will be right up there on page one — which will make them more likely to use you rather than your competitor, who isn’t all over the media like a rash.

Don’t wait for traffic, drive traffic

PR raises awareness of your brand, drives traffic to your site and has massive SEO benefits, especially when you pick up backlinks from major news outlets, as Newspage does day in day out — backlinks that SEOs can only dream of. But the key is to generate media coverage regularly, not sporadically. That’s when the real value shows through and you start picking up new business from articles you’d forgotten you appeared in but someone found online. PR is a long-term play, not a short-term tactic.

Ignore the trade media at your peril

“I only want to be in the national media, not the trades.” Give me strength. All national journalists read the trades as a source of stories, and will see you in those articles. Also, a lot of trade journalists go on to work at national newspapers, and you’ll go with them if you are one of their trusted commentators. And lastly, getting trade coverage is still great for findability online and backlinks. Ignore it at your peril.

Right, on that note I’m off to a bog in Bath to take some photos. 

In the meanwhile, you can upload your stories to your Newspage, if you’re out of ideas, then sign into your Newspage and click the “News Chat” button on the left of the page and you can book a 20-minute chat with a national news journalist who will come up with at least three ideas for stories about your business the media would love to publish.

Dominic Hiatt, Founder, Newspage


UK’s biggest PR agency is a one-man-whisky-addled-band

29 August 2022

Newspage celebrates its second birthday this week.

If someone asked you who the UK’s biggest PR agency was, you’d probably think of some soulless corporate giant, likely owned by the yanks, and then punch them in the face.

But the real answer is actually fascinating. Well, kind of. OK, probably not at all but you’re here now, so there.

It’s not some fancy City-based PR outfit run by besuited spivs who couldn’t cut it in journalism. Au contraire, Blackadder.

It’s actually a middle-aged beardy with a drink problem and countless demons, who works predominantly in bed, in his pants. Somewhere in Bath.

Dominic Hiatt, who used to be a journalist, and who used to work in normal PR, had an epiphany during the first lockdown in April 2020. He thought:

F**k it. All my life I’ve been trying to up my day rate, so now I’m going to give it all away for free. Seems like the sensible thing to do.

“Completely irrational”, “commercial suicide”, “up your meds, fruitcake” and “tosser” were just some of the lines thrown at him by his bewildered colleagues.

Blaggers and Hooray Henrys (and Henriettas)

But on the plane of pataphysics where Hiatt spends most of his time, it ticked all the boxes and felt like the right thing to do.

That and the fact he wanted to give the conventional PR world the bird, as it’s full blaggers and Hooray Henrys (and Henriettas).

And so, dear reader, the idea for Newspage, the UK’s first free PR platform, was born.

Newspage reached the grand old age of two a week or so back and Hiatt, with a bit of help from some tech geeza he has never met in Prague and a disillusioned banker in Finland, has managed, quite incredulously, to land himself several thousand clients, the vast majority of whom pay him sweet FA.

But he doesn’t care.

All that matters is Newspage, the UK’s biggest PR agency with thousands of clients, is run by one bloke, in his pants, in Bath (OK, technically they’re not clients, they’re users, but you can overlook that bit).

And by the dog, Socrates, what magic he works.

Each day, Hiatt’s ‘Newspagers’ rip their way through the media like that scene from The Return of The King when those dead dudes hop off the boat and have at it with the orcs and stuff.

And they love it. So much so that one, Lewis Shaw, has described Newspage as the “Ford Escort Cabriolet of PR“. If you’re under 40, Google it.

Il faut imaginer Sisyphus heureux

With each piece of media coverage that he secures for someone who would never be able to afford a PR agency, Hiatt’s day is made.

He’s generated well over 100,000 pieces of media coverage for Newspagers to date, and with each piece, the demons in Hiatt’s head subside for a few magical moments.

Like a whisky-addled Sisyphus on all manner of prescription meds, he is happy.

But more importantly, so are his users.


Free PR for Not On Amazon members

25 May 2022

When free PR platform, Newspage, met Not On Amazon, the home of decentralised e-commerce, it was love at first sight.

It had to be, as neither of the two middle-aged farts running them could work out the audio settings on Zoom. Sight was all they had. And even that was fading.

After a minute or so of awkward silence, one of them struck the right button on the video gubbins and a revolution began.

Admittedly, it wasn’t quite the revolution Lenin had in mind when he stood atop the armoured train car at the Finland Station, but then times change.

And Lenin’s a blancmange now anyway, so f**k him.

Since that day, countless Not On Amazon members have appeared in the papers, online and on radio and stuff, including Not On Amazon founder Jamie Rackham himself.

In fact, one of the best pieces of media coverage Newspage founder, Dominic Hiatt, has ever secured during his 20 odd years as a spin doctor, was this article in the Financial Times on the impact of Black Friday on the human soul (screen grab attached as you’ll need to remortgage to subscribe to the FT).

Jamie in FT

Since then, Hiatt and Rackham have met dozens of times to discuss their plans to democratise the media and decentralise e-commerce. Well twice, actually, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Internet ‘phenomenon’, Not On Amazon, has been a lifeline for tens of thousands of small independent artists and makers since it launched in late 2020, helping them to sell their products for sweet FA on Facebook.

Newspage helps members of the group get free publicity for their creations and businesses, as what they do is amazing and, well, it feels right. We monitor the group for stories and, if we see one, do our best to get it into the media.

Crap in a wrap

Before Crimbo, for example, Not On Amazon member, Gaynor Lockwood Edwards of Quirky Cactus, attempted to make pigs in blankets Christmas tree decorations. She’d clearly had a bottle of vodka before she made one batch and they ended up looking more like ‘crap in a wrap’.

Before you could say Jack Robinson, which nobody says these days because it’s probably politically incorrect, Hiatt had landed Gaynor’s crochet cock-up in Sheffield’s local newspaper, The Star.

Her ‘work of shart’, as he hilariously (in his head) describes it, was also mentioned on some national radio station or other by some big shot presenter with a broomstick up his @rse.

Anyway, since Jamie met Dom, there have been ABSOLUTELY LOADS of ‘hits’ (PR jargon for media coverage) for the wonderful Not On Amazon community of independent makers and artists.

Boo hiss, Etsy

You don’t get that kind of free PR support on Etsy now, do you? Just ridiculously high commissions and a platform with zero engagement and sense of community. Anyway, here’s 20 Not On Amazon members Newspage has secured coverage for since that initial awkward Zoom call.

Read the articles at your leisure or, more likely, scroll straight to the bottom and get this f*****g blog post over and done with. I mean, who even writes blog posts these days? They’re positively Dickensian.

Ps. If you want media coverage like this, create a Newspage and we’ll do our best to sort it.

Pps. Those links were a massive ballache.

Not On Amazon logo


Don’t blame the Merlot, BoJo, just go.

12 January 2022

Our bumbling, Latin-spouting PM was absolutely destroyed at PMQs today. And damn right, too. Despite starting with an apology, the inevitable drubbing came from all corners of the house. Heu! (that’s Latin for ‘Alas!’ if you didn’t go to Eton and Oxford), the dishevelled one didn’t even quote an ancient poet. It was that bad.

We asked the Newspage community for their views on today’s PMQs and whether BoJo needs to go. Within about 10 minutes we’d received 20 responses so we had to shut the alert early. The verdict was unanimous: get the hell out of Downing Street. Exit. Leave.

The views have all been sent to the mainstream media, most of whom will probably ignore them as people like you aren’t in the Westminster bubble and shouldn’t have your political views aired. You’re not worthy. Head off to the comments sections and have your say there, along with the rest of the rabble.

So bollocks to that, we’ve collated some of the best lines from the Newspage community for you to read below. Much more colour than the sanitised gibberish from professional commentators you’ll read in the media — political hacks, politicians, heads of industry (yawn) and other serial bullshitters.

Hell, we’ve even got poets here at Newspage, with Tom Bowers of Hypothesis Media pronouncing:

“Don’t blame the Merlot, BoJo, just go.”

And not just poets but post-modernists, too, like Graham Cox of the Self-Employed Mortgage Hub:

“We seem to be living in a post-truth world where honesty and accountability count for nothing.”

And real people who are genuinely nursing their wounds. Newspager Jeffrey Longley of Able Electrical drove home the gravity of the PM’s act with this heartfelt anecdote:

“I stuck to the rules last year and didn’t attend my younger brother’s funeral. Instead, I watched it on Zoom. I cannot put into print what I think of Boris.”

Laura Firth of MiniAperture Photography delivered much the same verdict:

“Even our Queen sat alone for her husband’s funeral in order to abide by government guidelines. Boris must go.”

Meanwhile, Wendy Harris of Making Conversations Count observed, quite rightly, that:

“If the Government was a company, Boris would have been out on his ear a long time ago.”

But while Sandra Wilson of Cottrell Moore agrees Boris needs to go, she asks who’s the alternative?

“There is sadly not a single decent politician that has worked in the real world with the experience to lead.”

Can’t argue with that. The vast majority of our politicians wouldn’t know their arses from their elbows if they were in the real world.

To wrap up, you can always rely on Newspager Kate Allen of Salcombe Finest to hit the nail on the head, and she duly delivered:

“The magnitude of the PM’s arrogance is as staggering as his inability to read the public mood.”

Boris: message from the people: get on your horse and get the hell out.

You can see all 20 responses from the Newspage community >> here <<.



12 August 2021

Giant chunks of the mainstream media continue to believe that the people best suited to talk about the economy aren’t those who live and breathe it, but those who have the luxury of being able to view it like a curious archaeological find from their Ivory Towers in the City of London.

And so they unceasingly quote economists and market commentators, most of whom are on whacking great six figure salaries and have no bloody clue whatsoever what things are REALLY like on the ground.

Here at Newspage, that makes our blood boil. We reckon that if you want to give an accurate reflection of economic reality, you need to listen to the people who are in the trenches, not General %$£@*!^ Melchett eating his marmalade sandwiches and sipping Earl Grey in a chateau 30 miles from the front line.

People like Chris Ramsbottom of Coventry-based holistic therapy company, The Amethyst Centre, whose customers “are cancelling booked appointments or just not turning up because of the pingdemic” and who “cannot go on like this without some form of financial support.”

People like Rachel Hayward of Derby-based charity Annabel’s Angels, for whom “the past 18 months have been unbelievably stressful” due to a “90% decrease in income versus a 95% increase in demand for our help.”

Not that it’s all bad news. Far from it.

For certain Newspagers, like Andrew Deighton, founder of Derby-based AWD Development Solutions, things have definitely picked up: “The second quarter of the year was quite a bit better for me than the first. I’m a lot more confident about the future of my business than I have been for a long time.”

Andrew Deighton of AWD Development Solutions in Derby is more confident than he has been for some time.

Jessica Ross, founder of Bournemouth-based Jessica Ross Marketing, is also upbeat, saying “business just hasn’t slowed down at all”.

Much the same applies to Jenni Letheren, owner of Fareham-based JLL Accountancy & Admin: “Business definitely got better for us during the second quarter and also July.”

Andrew Elcock, Managing Director at Nottingham-based database specialist, Xynomix, is another small business owner who is pretty confident right now: “Business has increased for us, partly I think due to the resilience afforded to us by being a tech company. So we’re fairly confident for the year ahead.”

Down in the smoke, Sarah Steele, Business Development Director at London-based Medical Practice Management, is also “feeling confident about the next 12 months.”

Jessica Ross’s marketing business is thriving despite the economic uncertainty.

For others, it’s a mixed bag.

Anna Cargan, founder of the Barrow-in-Furness-based second-hand childrenswear business, Buildabundle, says July was her quietest month for a year, but “thankfully August has rebounded brilliantly and sales are back to lockdown levels this month, and we’re pretty confident in the strength and demand for online retail going forward.”

Likewise, although Jo Ferreday, director of Market Harborough-based events company, Sheer Edge, “had an extremely positive July”, she says she has had to “move a lot of events into September and we are still seeing large confirmed events doing an about-turn and postponing to 2022”.

We just wish the media would hurry up and do an about-turn and start quoting more real people rather than the usual macroeconomic boffins in the City or Canary Wharf, who pontificate for an hour and then bugger off to The Ivy for a bottle of Petrus.

If they don’t, we will.

The pingdemic is proving a nightmare for Chris Ramsbottom of The Amethyst Centre in Coventry.



13 June 2021

On Friday morning (11 June), the Office for National Statistics published the April GDP data – the latest snapshot of the UK economy. It showed the economy grew by 2.3%.

We issued comments on the economy to the national news media from a wide range of small business owners around the country. Not one was used, as these types of stories are often seen as above the pay grade of the ‘everyday’ business.

Instead, the national newspapers – as they too often do – quoted macro-economists, politicians and think tanks. People in the ivory towers of the City of London and Westminster bubble. Not the small business owners on the front line. People who are the economy.

People like Andrew Deighton of Derby-based AWD Development Solutions:

“The light at the end of the tunnel started to get a bit brighter for me in April and May. April saw things start to pick up and in May I invoiced more than for the final eight months of 2020 added together.”

People like Gillian Jones-Williams of Fareham-based Emerge Development Consultancy:

“For us, in April and May, it felt as if the world was waking up. We are a training company and have gone from losing huge amounts of money last year to feeling extremely positive about our future.”

People like Andrew Elcock of Nottingham-based Xynomix:

“April and May saw our bookings return to pre-Covid levels, as business confidence continues to increase. “During the same period last year, we saw our bookings plummet by 60%, so April 2021 has certainly shown reassuring signs of life in the wider economy.”

People like Larry Morgan of Bromsgrove-based Trojan Consultants:

“As an SME providing software to the public sector, the seismic impact of Covid-19 on Local Authority finances is becoming ever more apparent. Huge budget cuts announced by councils up and down the country are having a massive impact on our business, and doubtless many other suppliers to the public sector.”

Quality insights all, but not a column inch given.

The entire purpose of Newspage is to change this. To give a voice to the people who are the economy rather than those who simply talk about it. To ensure your views are heard.

Because currently, all too often in the national media, your views don’t count.