Tag Archives: professional

Want blogging tips? Don’t go to Google

26 Nov

Punch into Google ‘blogging tips’ and it throws back oodles of articles. So, where’s a budding blogger meant to start? By talking to one.

There’s some great ideas out there, courtesy of PR Daily and The Wall. But, the truth is that half of these articles won’t make sense without practical examples. And, that comes from experience.

So, with my blog now in its ‘terrible twos’, I’m putting thumb to iPhone to share my golden nuggets. Tongue twister alert:

Prime Time‘s top 10 tips for taking your blog to the next level

1) Are you talking to me?
Know your audience. Assume a level of knowledge and don’t patronise.

2) Develop a style and stick to it
The only reason you’d need to be corporate is if you were ghostwriting for your CEO. In all other circumstances, lighten up! It’s likely your blog will be read in people’s spare time, so cut them some slack and deliver informal, light-hearted and punchy content.

3) Write to be read
If you’re finding a post hard to write, then it’s probably going to be hard for your readers to digest. Before writing I identify an interesting news hook. But, if I can’t think of at least three things to add value to the conversation, I scrap it.

It’s also important to have an opinion. However niche your blog sets out to be, you will have competition. So, keep in mind why people should be reading yours instead of the blog next door.

4) Be on time
It doesn’t matter if it’s once a month or once a week, find a pattern and stick to it. There’s nothing worse than finding a blog and realising it’s not been updated for six months or shut up shop. What a waste of cyberspace!

5) Create a content calendar
To avoid hunting for stories every week, why not jot down key dates in advance? Whether it’s conferences and events or film launches and X Factor results, it’ll come in handy.

6) Tag!
Tag each post not only with key words you’ve included, but also those that link to the subject. It’ll help direct more people to your blog.

7) You don’t have to be in PR to promote your blog
Make the most of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You don’t have to do them all, but do the ones you can, well.

Why not set a reminder on your phone to promote each post you write, in a variety of ways, for the next 30 days to ensure it’s being read?

In addition to this, make sure you’re capitalising on #TBT and #FBF (for going through the archive and bringing early posts up to par) and #FF (for connecting with influencers) – they’re quick wins for getting noticed.

8) Maximising channels
Did you know you can publish direct from LinkedIn? It looks hot, so take advantage and stand out among your network.

Also consider using Twitter to feed into relevant conversations and plug your content e.g:

 

Looking forward to the @PaddingtonMovie? Then you’ll probably hate my blog on the Peruvian bear! Check it out > http://wp.me/p2sMct-2dE

This could help your content to snowball outside of your network – which is the key to success.

9) You may have the penmanship of Shakespeare, but that’s no excuse for shoddy images
Headers and images will be scanned before people start reading your blog in detail. Make sure they stand out and are engaging.

10) Have an ‘About You’ page
I’ve never been overly keen on blogs that use the first few posts as introductions. I’m going to say it like it is: it looks a little very amateur. Put your background on a separate page and use your first post to get straight to the point.

What do you think? Feeling inspired?

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How Decoded is on a mission to make everyone feel comfortable with coding

6 Sep

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I don’t tend to make a habit of being in Central London before 9am on a Saturday, but I chose to break my own rules as part of my quest on learning how to code.

International technology school Decoded has generated a bit of a buzz in recent months. From Brand Republic‘s Editor in Chief Danny Rogers giving it a thumbs up to founder Kathryn Parsons ‘selling it’ in Stylist, my colleague and I were eager to check it out. On a Saturday. Have I mentioned that already?

Wooed by the appeal of a continental breakfast, we made our way there. But, on the way, I made a mental note of what I wanted to get out of the day. After all, at more than £400 a pop (and that’s just the weekend rate), Decoded needs to deliver results.

So, how did it do?

1) I’ll be able to read code well enough to understand when, and where, there is a problem within the text
Going through the fundamental principles of HTML, CSS and Java Script, in theory I should be able to read and write in code. It helped that Decoded’s system underlined errors in red, but going forward this is a case of practice makes perfect. If I keep at it, and focus just as much on the coding – opposed to just the visuals – it won’t be long before I’m fluent.

2) I’ll be able to simplify the fundamentals in order to make recommendations or flag issues to clients
The demonstrators did a great job of breaking the complex content down for us. And, like the above, if I can truly understand the basics then I’ll be well-equipped to explain it to others. But, in the meantime, I can always rely on Decoded’s follow-up resources pack to ensure I become a savvy wordsmith.

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3) I’ll get to know what elements generate the best call to actions and how to input these into my projects
Because this is a starter course, we didn’t delve into techniques that manipulate websites to increase engagement, interaction or sales etc.

Instead, we spent the day working on an app that allowed customers to check-in from a single geographical location, in order to collect rewards. That in itself was definitely more than I bargained for – teaching me the ‘not so subtle’ differences between the front and back end of websites.

4) I’ll be able to code an aspect of the projects I work on without simply rewriting existing templates
Yes and no. Using the foundations of coding, technically I can create content from scratch. But, whether I could do this within my company’s house style is yet to be tested. We remained very much in the safe territory of Decoded’s web design editing system. And, after nine hours of intense learning, I was grateful for that.

Overall, I was highly impressed by the professionalism of the course. It was relaxed and informal, but very effective. It’s definitely empowered me to carry on pushing myself to learn new things. After all, I can’t have primary school pupils showing me up in a few years time now that coding is on the curriculum.

Having these skills now will help a budding brand storyteller like myself profit in the future.

And, I must admit, it felt darn good to be sat around a big table carving out a digital masterpiece on a MacBook Air.
Very New York.

Have you been ‘Decoded’? What did you make of it?

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Centrefold magazine uses Nokia for 10th anniversary issue

15 Mar

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Following the Oscars we know that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can take a good photo, but just weeks after that filmie was taken the Nokia Lumia 1020 is already proving its worth.

Let me explain. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of fashion magazine Centrefold, all photos within the special edition have been shot using a Nokia.

This partnership has taken the phone brand to the next level, demonstrating that a Nokia boasts top camera qualities including: precision, depth and class. And the PR the stunt is generating is brilliant too.

Protein, an inspirational media agency, is behind the stunt and it plans to exhibit the unique fashion shots in London next week – which will open up the Nokia brand to an even bigger audience.

But, to sustain campaign momentum, and position itself as the leading camera phone, Nokia could do one of three things:

You can’t go wrong with a comp
Run a social media competition offering the chance for a customer to have professional photos taken on their phone, and run them in an advertorial placed in a fashion magazine, with behind the scenes content. Social media tactics, combined with traditional print media, will ensure the brand generates plenty of ‘OTV’ (opportunities to view).

Don’t worry, be appy
Nokia has created some strong content through its partnership with Centrefold so it should make the most of it by making a photography app for customers to download. Packed with top tips and advice on capturing the best ‘still life’, ‘people’ and ‘landscape’ shots, it can also include basic editing software – beyond Instagram – to help fans enhance their images.

Get on the curriculum
There must be hundreds of photography courses running across the UK, so if you can’t beat them – join them! Encourage and equip lecturers to use Nokias in class to inspire students to think outside the box when it comes to imagery.

So, there you have it. A good idea which could be made great if it is extended.

What do you think? Would you have guessed these were phone shots?

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