Wilfing – great public relations idea

Good creative public relations story from , this week in creating the term 

Based on a  poll, the story says

“Internet users in the UK spend an average of two days a month surfing the web without any real purpose, or “wilfing” (What Was I Looking For).

Statistics were well used – more than two thirds of the UK’s 33.7 million internet users admit to wilfing while almost a quarter spend 30% or more of their internet time surfing aimlessly – the equivalent of spending an entire working day every fortnight.

Wilfing has become a meme, as the phenomenon has immediate recogniton among the online population.  Indeed, when I Googled Wilfing, 759,000 entries appeared.  A few of these related to people named Wifling, but a large proportion seemed to have picked up the story.  Many in various languages though, so I can’t be sure.

Cleverly a paid for ad for “the price comparison site” appears when searching for Wilfing too showing nice linkage of media relations and marketing activities.  

Another nice touch was including the topic in the discussion forum on its site.  However, it generated little comment back, which indicates organisations should stimulate and enter the wider debate rather than expecting it to occur on their websites.

  (head of broadband) cheerfully reports in the discussion forum that the story was issued last weekend.  So isn’t it odd that the actual press release isn’t on the site.  I really don’t understand why public relations practitioners don’t realise the importance of their own sites for reporting or following up with more information on a news story.

Good initiative – shame they didn’t follow through more on their own site.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

6 thoughts on “Wilfing – great public relations idea”

  1. Could they have generated more debate on the discussion forum by making it more like a blog by building relationships with respected financial/investment bloggers and thereafter swapping links and mutual news bits and pieces and perhaps build on the meme they’ve created through other credible sources like YouGov? Like the supercalafragulistic idea.

  2. I agree with you heather, I fail to understand the same thing, A website is the one of the most important part of a companies communication to its audience. To keep it updated and have all the information readily available should be key part of a companies objective.

  3. Jill – personally I think a blog is better than a discussion forum as it is a way of adding personality and reflecting on a topic for readers without necessarily expecting them to participate.

    They obviously haven’t made the website fully part of their communications strategy in an exciting way. As Rajiv says, they need to keep it updated not only for media, but for any visitor. I had to hunt for the discussion on Wilfing when as such a big story, it should have had a link on the home page to much more information.

    It isn’t enough to come up with an idea and get one lot of great coverage – they should aim to own Wilfing and ensure it continues to build some momentum with their name attached to it.

    I shall monitor and see if it does have legs or will be a one off.

  4. ‘wilfing’ is another fine example of the need to expand our vocabulary as we expand our use of new activities, particularly with new media. It will also be added to our own archive of new words at http://www.greencomms.com.

    Any other new additions are always welcome – and PR people should be prime neologists!

  5. Mr Green – you are quite correct of course. Classic case of a meme potentially – which moneysupermarket.com could ensure was one of their icons, not least, in connecting it to their role in helping people avoid time wilfing. But will they…

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