13 February 2014

Visual content: An anecdotal experience

I have been a frequent sharer on LinkedIn, passing on some of the many interesting articles, etc. I see on my news feed. I have been pretty chuffed to see that my posts average about 50 page views each, with the odd like and even more odd comment. Mindful of the research showing that tweets and Facebook updates with images get a better response, I occasionally shared infographics or memes and, sure enough, the view rate was significantly higher. Then I came across this meme yesterday:

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Funny? Tick. Pop culture reference? Tick. Relevance to work? Tick. I shared the photo, and within minutes my iPad was pinging me constantly with messages that people had either liked or commented on the post. I was mildly impressed with the 58 likes and 7 comments I received (I know this isn’t earth shattering, but it’s a great result for my account), but this afternoon when I logged onto my account I saw that the post had nearly 2,500 views – more than 20 times my previous best.

Why such a difference? My educated guess is that this meme in particular struck a chord with people who have ever encountered unrealistic expectations with a client/boss/stakeholder (which is just about anyone who has ever worked or studied!) At any rate, I think I’ll be posting more memes in the future!

6 February 2014

The content marketing revolution – and pigs

animal-farm-pigs

Here’s an excerpt from an excellent article I came across written by James Carson and published on Econsultancy:

“Content marketing costs less than advertising, and more people engage with it.

“It sounds like a revolution but actually there are some rather unkind hidden truths in all of this.

“Much like the pigs at the end of Animal Farm, with the evil predecessor gone, what’s replaced it looks… very similar indeed.

George Orwell, Animal Farm:

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Advertising is a waste of money and has been for more than ten years…

Read the full article

6 January 2014

The importance of a video content strategy

An interesting post from Shelley Bowen published on the Content Marketing Institute’s website today:

Video today is like desktop publishing was 15 years ago — everyone thinks they can do it,” a colleague said recently. And the fact is, anyone can create a video. A video worth watching? That’s a whole ‘nother story.

I recently wrote a one-minute video content script for a brand introduction video. It included voiceover, visual text, and descriptions of imagery for context.

I admit, I had more fun than I’ve had creating content in a long time. The voice, the rhythm, even the messages came fairly easily to me — the biggest challenge was to control the voice (I have a tendency to go overboard before drawing it all back to reality) and keep it down to one minute. And they loved it. Which always makes me super happy.

Yes, this kind of project can just as easily be a ROYAL pain in the you-know-what, with a lot of back-and-forth. Or result in something that’s not worth sharing. You know what made it work?

Content strategy!

So maybe that was obvious to you. But it isn’t always to companies that need content written or edited…

Read the full post

2 January 2014

Social inclusion videos

New Year’s resolution: Update the blog more often (gee, that’s original). To start the year off on that note, here are some videos that I produced for Macquarie University back in 2012 which I have been meaning to post:

31 December 2013

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 680 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

22 October 2013

New rules every business owner must know

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From an article Ray wrote recently for Smarter Business Ideas:

We all know that death and taxes are certainties in life, but when you’re in business there’s another certainty – constantly changing regulations. And that trend is likely to continue regardless of who wins the next election.

Michael Derin, managing director of Sydney-based accountancy firm Azure Group, says businesses “don’t know whether they’re Arthur or Martha” as they try to keep up with changes to key areas such as tax rules, HR guidelines, privacy and workplace safety.

“Businesses today need to engage more actively with their accountants and specialist lawyers and business advisers – but, of course, all of that comes at a cost,” Derin observes.

The constant flow of regulatory changes makes it harder for businesses to plan and budget, too. “For years we said that when you wanted to budget for a new staff member, you just add 22 per cent for on-costs. You simply can’t do that now, it’s a movable feast,” says Lawrence Potter, a director of Incite Management Group business consultants.

There have been changes across a lot of areas, so it’s no surprise that many business owners may be unaware of some of the rule changes that affect them.

As Sydney-based workplace safety consultant Gaye Cameron points out, “The biggest problem, particularly for small businesses, is ‘not knowing the knowing’. They may have no idea that they are in breach of new rules.”

So to help keep you in the loop, here’s a heads-up on recently enacted legislation (including some that haven’t come into effect yet) and what you need to look out for.

Read the rest of the article

2 April 2013

Transforming images of academia

Like the plumber whose house is full of leaky taps, my blog has been sorely neglected over the past few months. In an attempt to bring things up to date, here’s a project I finished last year for Macquarie University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 June 2012

The hidden perils of self-promotion online

One of the most amusing (and at the same time sad) Twitter accounts I follow is@humblebrag. It retweets posts from Twitter users which are meant to be self-deprecating, but which actually scream “Aren’t I wonderful?” 

The posts range from thinly-veiled personal self-aggrandisement…
 
    “Stories are everywhere that I’m too thin. When will the media see women for their accomplishments instead of their weight and appearance?” 
    “If one more person asks to ‘take pictures of me’ I’m going to kill someone.” 
    “I gave my noodle store leftovers to a homeless lady and now I regret it so much” 
    “As if I didn’t feel uncomfortable enough, the ticket taker said ‘musclessss’ as I handed him my ticket” 

…to tweets painfully aimed at enhancing their corporate notoriety…

    “The president just called to say congrats. Caller ID was blocked, so at first I thought it was a telemarketer.” 
    “Way too much of my life is spent on airplanes.” 
    “Very humbled to be selected for TIME 100 this year! Had a nice evening at their gala, but their standards must be slipping now that they’re letting geeks like me in!” (This one was accompanied by a photo of a hipster-    ish man standing on the red carpet with his supermodel girlfriend) 
    “ARRRRRGH FML. Now I’ve got a justin bieber shoot i can’t do because i’m already shooting: what’s with these clashes? Grrr” 
    “Look, I know he invented the damn thing. But it freaks me out when I see Zuckerberg posts on my Facebook wall.” 
    “CNN interview went great! Once again, over-prepared but smarter for it I suppose.” 

There are plenty more where these came from – bring your sick bag! 

A little ego is fine, but the problem is, too many people think that ‘humble bragging’ is a good way to build a social media profile for their business. The existence of tongue in cheek satirists like @humblebrag shows that people don’t respond to that approach. It’s important to be authentic in your dealings with people, especially if you’re in small business. 

US marketing expert Jonathan Salem Baskin, who has just co-authored a book on the importance of truth in advertising and marketing (now there’s an oxymoron!), says that customers today are looking for truth from the companies they do business with. 

Read the full story at Smarter Business IdeasImage

28 May 2012

A three-hour tour of Internet marketing

Hands up – who’s excited by the expansion of commercial television into new digital TV stations? Hmmm, as I suspected, not many hands….

I’m still struggling to understand the business model behind digital TV: It seems to be cannibalising your own audience and that of your direct competitors by broadcasting long-forgotten or obscure TV shows.

However, there is one good thing about digital TV; It’s introduced a whole new generation to the shows their parents wasted their time on when they were young.

One of my favourite shows growing up was Gilligan’s Island, the tale of a fateful group of castaways whose three-hour boat tour around Honolulu turned into a shipwrecked adventure that lasted for what seemed decades but was, in fact, three seasons.

Although the plotlines were as shallow as the island’s lagoon, when I watch the old episodes again after all these years, I can see some parallels, strangely enough, to modern-day business. For example, here are five lessons from Gilligan’s Island that can be applied to Internet marketing.

1. Be distinct, and be consistent.

Gilligan’s Island is full of archetypes – the gruff but lovable captain, his bumbling but well-meaning first mate, the unreconstructed capitalist couple, the geek, the glamourous woman and the girl next door.

You might love them or you might hate them, but you know what to expect from each of the archetypal characters in every episode. Gilligan is not going to behave like an intellectual, and Thurston Howell III is not going to become a tree-hugger; they all act in a way every week that matches their distinct character.

Online, as well as in traditional marketing, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors, by presenting your own distinct proposition to customers. And you need to consistently deliver that proposition, whether it’s your focus on customer service, your playful humour, or even the style and colour of your logo.

2. Embrace technological change

Just as the Professor improved the lives of people on the island by developing coconut telephones, a bicycle-powered radio and a hot water system, you need to be prepared to continually seek out new ways of doing things. Today, that means making sure everything you do is mobile-optimised; think of how your customers want to interact with your business out of home and develop your online offering accordingly.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas

2 May 2012

John Fogerty and the power of revival

I managed to cross off an item on my bucket list over the Easter weekend by attending Bluesfest in Byron Bay. Great music, interesting crowds, and plenty of hemp shirts for sale.

One of the highlights was hearing John Fogerty performing Creedence Clearwater Revival classics in a tightly-packed two-hour set. It was like being transported back to Woodstock, or a Vietnam War protest rally.

You’d think that, playing songs that he first performed more than 40 years ago, Fogerty would be a bit jaded. But he looked incredibly fresh and vibrant as he hopped around the stage playing the riffs and belting out ‘Proud Mary,’ ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and scores of other classics. That fresh look was no doubt helped by the fact that at age 67, he still has a full head of hair (damn him!)

The main reason for that appearance is because, as he pointed out during his performance, he’s only recently begun playing those old songs again. Due to a combination of overexposure and anger over contracts and credits (Fogerty wrote nearly every hit CCR recorded and sang and played lead guitar as well) he refused to play old CCR songs in concert for more than 25 years, as he tried to make a career as a solo artist.

It was his wife who convinced him to pick up the old CCR tunes again a couple of years ago, and, as he told the Bluesfest crowd, he is now having the time of his life, re-embracing the songs he wrote and sang in his youth, and entertaining audiences who were too young to see him perform them when they were new.

There’s a lesson here that can be applied to nearly any business. Even if you’re truly passionate about something, it may be a good idea to lay it aside before it becomes a rut, and try something different for a while. You can then return to that earlier passion with fresh eyes and insights gained from years of experience.

Did you ever get fed up with a youthful pursuit you thought you really loved, or moved on because you thought it was time to grow out of it? I know plenty of people who started out as journalists, and after a few years moved into management because it was the sensible thing to =do. Many of them returned to writing 20 or 30 years later, bringing a varied life experience to the role and displaying a rich storytelling technique that they couldn’t have achieved 20 years earlier.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas 

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