We’re part of a world that continuously pushes us to become better at what we do. But to do that we need to upskill ourselves. For many of us, taking time at the office to learn something new sounds like a scenario you would only encounter if you worked in Silicon Valley. But that’s simply not true.
The word ‘algorithm’ can send shivers down your spine if you’re not mathematically inclined. I think of millions of numbers in really tiny font that I can’t understand, and it’s stressful.
So you’re tired of hearing the same old thing on the radio and you want to hear some tantalizing new tracks? These four blogs are at the top of their game slinging you beats that might just lead you to your favourite new band.
1. Noonday Tune
First up, a well-established communal local(ish) blog that serves up a treat from one of its 14 contributors every day at noon. It’s a great way to discover new music and, because it’s only one track a day, it’s all about discerning listening. Each song feels like a beautifully wrapped treat – the ideal way to approach something new.
Noonday Tune also offers playlists of their previous daily offerings via 8tracks which are solid companions at work. Our tip: follow Noonday Tune on Facebook so that your midday treat shows up in your newsfeed.
Fancy something broader? No problem. Check out Pitchfork: a Chicago-based site devoted to daily music criticism and commentary, music news, and artist interviews.
Since it started in 1995, the site’s focus has been on independent music and is now considered a barometer of public opinion. Our tip: use the extensive staff lists to broaden your musical knowledge. It’s the musical equivalent of poring through the annuls of the Bodleian library. True story.
Looking for something more newsy? I’ve got just the thing. Stereogum is a highly acclaimed daily music news and commentary site that covers the full gamut of the music industry.
Established in 2002, the site has released six of its own albums comprised of commissioned covers of iconic albums. They’ve got music heavyweights to pay tribute to the likes of The Strokes’ Is This It?, Bjork’s Post, REM’s Automatic for the People and Radiohead’s OK Computer. Our tip: head over to the Music page to stream tunes right from their regular playlists: Latest Songs, The ‘Gum Mix, and Most Popular.
4. Consequence of Sound
More into a live jam? Not to worry, I’ve got you covered. Consequence of Sound features news, album and concert reviews, and editorials with a bias towards live gigs, concerts and festivals.
In February 2012, the website launched a long form writing section, Aux.Out which is a refreshingly in-depth look at music and artists in a new industry of punchy news nuggets. Our tip: keep up with the moving and shaking in the US festival scene with the site’s Festival News and Rumours radar.
Randy Milanovic of KAYAK has just released a new e-book, “Findability: Why Search Engine Optimisation is Dying”.
The blurb reads:
Are you ready for a new world of search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing? You had better be, because Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular Internet marketing tools are changing fast… the companies that adapt are going to find more opportunities, while their competitors are going to be left behind. Following these rules will help propel you in front of those who don’t get it… yet.
The title may send many an SEO expert into a tizz but it seems that rather than minimising the importance of keywords, Milanovic is highlighting the importance of using content to develop community loyalty where search algorithms can change on a whim. With good content marketing, your investment is never lost. Here are Randy’s 21 top tips:
Ever wanted to have your own shop selling stuff you love or be a radio presenter recognised and adored for your sense of humour? If you’re active on social media, you’re already taking on roles like these.
Social media is space we all curate – whether it’s our personal brand (of life being amazing all the time) or a business’s brand (of the business’s values, products, lifestyle). Visual platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr can be compared to custom magazines and you could say that Twitter is like having your own transcribed podcast beaming out to followers who are tuned in. So what are you doing with your curated spaces? Getting people to participate is one of the best ways to build loyalty. Here are five simple ways to get followers to engage.
Polls are a great way to get feedback from your community while not asking them to make much of an effort. There are plenty of apps out there to facilitate them – just be aware of your settings: pranksters can have (hilarious but) devastating effects when you allow the public to add suggestions.
For as long as society has used pronouns, people have loved free stuff. Facebook recently slackened the rules for running competitions which has made life a lot easier. By using an entry mechanism where ‘liking’ your page is a condition, you can build follower numbers quickly. After that, it’s up to you to keep them around.
Generally, we’re a pretty lazy society and there’s no better example of this than our internet habits. We would much rather watch a short clip than read a paragraph of text. Film is a multi-sensory experience and, while it’s expensive in relation to writing text, the impression it gives is incomparable and you can get a lot of mileage out of it. A short, captivating clip to introduce your brand and a number of key points can be used in presentations, on your website, and shared on all of your social media platforms.
Your curated space doesn’t have to be made up exclusively of original content. While a certain amount is crucial, your brand’s online presence can also be a hub for relevant and useful content. You can be the go-to place for all things [insert your field here].
Because they communicate immediately and powerfully, images are some of the most shareable content on the internet, especially when overlayed with text. There are plenty of easy-to-use, free tools out there such as PicMonkey which make creating this kind of content a cinch.
So we’ve all finally got our heads around the fact that the working year has begun, and the trauma of early mornings and no afternoon naps has been faced. Let’s get our grown-up pants on, stay on top of our game and check out the trends forecast for social media in 2014.
Stop following me!
Like we used to hang out in our parents’ cars and play CD’s during their lame dinner parties, teens are fleeing social media platforms where their parents (gah just leave me alone!) are encroaching and are carving out their own social spaces online. The fleeting nature of Snapchat seems most appealing – Fast Company reports that “with more than 360 million photos shared – and deleted within seconds – this company is proving that a younger generation is in fact cozying up to the idea of private moments.”
If you can’t beat ‘em…
Google Plus had a rough start with a reputation for being unintuitive and obscure but an obligatory SEO tool for anyone wanting to please the great Google. Brafton predicts steady growth on the platform and hails its unique features: “Google+ offers a lot of functions that other networks don’t have, such as Communities, Hangouts and the ability to share specific content with targeted groups.”
Content is king
To kick off the year, Mashable asked nine successful entrepreneurs how they are planning on altering their social media marketing strategies in the next six months, based on their predictions for the new year. Here’s what Andrew Howlett from Rain had to say:
“To achieve a deeper connection with your customers, a company needs to engage on a deeper and more intelligent level. Short videos, infographics, quality imagery and polls are all ways to engage deeper. Companies need to look at the content they put out and ask themselves, ‘Is this shareable?’ […] Also, companies need to focus on the fans they have and not the fans they want. If your message is always trying to reach out, you’ll bore the fans that have chosen to connect with you.”
Why do I love running workshops? Apart from the snacks (obviously), I really enjoy helping people craft their voice online – whether it’s through helping them go back to the core and articulate their brand or teaching them the skills to use social media platforms effectively.
Never before have brands needed to be so personable. To stand out in the virtual cocktail party of social media, individuals and businesses need not only to be competent at using social platforms, but also something far more alluring: themselves. It’s easy to be safe, to hide behind generic advertising speak, but when brands go for it online and show some character, it’s magic.
We work with small and medium-sized businesses – people who started with a great idea and have thrown themselves in and grown it into a viable business. Often, it’s only when they come up for air to consider marketing elements like a website or social media that these businesses realise how important it is to be able to articulate clearly who they are, what makes them different, and how they’re going to communicate that personality. Clients often want to have a brand workshop before we build their website or run their social media for them.
Social media training
Our social media training caters to everyone, from wary individuals to corporate teams. What I’ve learned is that everyone gets a kick out of becoming comfortable with a new way of expressing themselves. Some of our clients are individuals wanting to develop their voice online in order to make their mark in an industry; some are businesses wanting to use their team (who better?) to represent their brand. -One thing is clear across the board: a strong voice online is valuable currency.
If you’d like to chat to us about booking an affordable workshop, just pop us a line – we’d be happy to see what we can do for you.
The trouble is, it can be a bit exhausting to keep coming up with ideas for blog posts – particularly when other aspects of your work get busier and more demanding.
Here are five ideas for blog posts that are easily adaptable and have proven to be topics that lead to a *click*.
1) Top lists
People love lists. Example: “Top five shirtless pictures of Ryan Gosling”. Aaaaand *click*. Luckily, this works for less, um, sexy topics too. Ten blogs to keep an eye on in 2014. Twenty great gift ideas for your in-laws. You get the idea.
2) How to … in X days/weeks
Giving people a roadmap to reach a goal they’d like to achieve in a certain period of time is always going to be a popular topic for a blog post. How to get real-live abs in three weeks. I would read that.
You may have noticed a little while ago that I published an interview I did with Liz on our blog. Why? Well, I had no idea what to write about. So I decided to make her do the work instead give you all a bit of insight into the mind of my awesome business partner. Doing interviews is a useful way to get new content for your site, and to introduce some voices people in your industry would be interested in hearing.
4) Any useful tools that you use?
People are always looking for tools that would help make their job easier. By using your own business as an example and telling people about the tools that you use, you’ll be helping people out and offering them the kind of useful info that will keep them coming back for more.
5) Made any mistakes?
So, remember that time we deleted an entire website the day before we were supposed to show it to a client? Ja. That happened. And we wrote a blog post about it because we like to keep you entertained and we’re nice like that. Not everyone gets things right the first time (and if they do, they’d be advised to keep quiet about it around the rest of us). Sharing what you’ve learnt from your mistakes can be helpful to others in your industry – even if it’s just to let them know that you’re all in the same boat, a lot of the time.
So, you’re familiar with the subject after our introduction to content marketing. Now we’re going to look at how the approach is affecting traditional advertising and how it’s being used to impressive effect in the property development industry.
Eprop, a local property website announced that, going into 2013, “content marketing will replace traditional advertising”. They go on to explain that “marketing’s new mantra of ‘brands must now acts as publishers’ has arrived in part because of social media and its potential to engage in meaningful conversations with their loyal fan base and potential clients alike.”
One example stands out above the rest: Chinese property development company, Soho, has become a desirable brand because of its chairman Pan Shiyi’s remarkable flair on his blog and social media. His online presence has translated into a community that has bought into Soho’s brand.
“If you become a public figure, you communicate on your blog, you make some comments on the market, and you make yourself famous, people will not be just buying your units. They are buying your brand,” says Margaret Ng, the director of research at E-Commercial China in an interview about the property magnate. This rapport it noteworthy enough for Forbes magazine to have dedicated series of articles to it.
While Soho exemplifies the huge potential of content marketing, Eprop emphasises how economical online marketing is compared to traditional advertising and the risk you run in ignoring your online presence. They reckon that:
“[Y]our SEO efforts will be affected if you ‘opt out’ of being a producer. Google is now weighing current content, social proof and author scores in their results ranking. Simply put, you need to create and share content, while being of interest to lots of people to even be a player going forward.”