2 August 2013

Great marketing ideas - Prince George and Hello Flo!

I've been a terrible blogger recently. We had a brief spell of gloriously nice weather in Scotland and I couldn't bring myself to pick up my laptop, let along sit and think about writing! My thoughts were more along the lines of 'How's my tan coming along', and 'ANOTHER BBQ?!' 

Don't panic - we've now resumed normality and Scotland is once again bathed in a blanket of cloud and drizzle. A such I've gave myself a kick up the bahookey and shall be getting back into writing once again. 

The idea behind this post is just to give you a look at a couple of great marketing ideas I've seen out and about recently. 

George's Royal Baby line

To celebrate the birth of little Prince George - George 'at Asda' cleverly produced a range of baby clothing. Some people are taking it too serious and claiming it's tacky, and hey - it is a little, but I also think it's a great example of 'going with the flow' and being reactive to major events. (like Oreo's 'you can still enjoy them in the dark' advert when the lights went out at the SuperBowl)

Hello Flo - The Camp Gyno video

For the life of me I can't remember how I discovered this video, but it's been created by American brand 'Hello Flo' which is a service delivering 'feminine products' to young girls. It's fantastically cringey at points and I think it's a memorable and light hearted way to get young girls talking about a sometimes embarrassing subject. 

Have you seen any great marketing ideas lately? Comment below! Thanks for reading! Melissa.

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18 June 2013

Just graduated? Here's my story and some tips to help you find a job.

It's coming round to that time of year again when thousands of graduates will be flashing their student card for the last time, packing up their student flat and getting all set to start their 'grown up job'. When I graduated two years ago I thought this would be as easy as sitting down at a computer, firing off a couple of CV's and waiting for the acceptance letters to pour in...because I got a 1st so that means everyone will want to hire me? Sorry, but I learned through experience that that's definitely not the case!

Here's how it went for me...

A couple of days before my actual graduation ceremony I started an unpaid 3 month internship at the Scottish Youth Theatre working on their new website. Obviously  the downside was that it was unpaid, but it was great experience and there wasn't anything else on the horizon (having had a couple of rejection letters from other full-time jobs) so I grabbed at the chance to work at such a well known organisation. 

After that finished in September, I spent a couple of weeks searching and applying for jobs - pretty much anything in Scotland with 'design' or 'marketing' in the title. I didn't have enough experience (most were looking for about 2-4 years) so this meant that I either received rejection letters or no reply at all. This meant I had to do the inevitable and sign onto Job seekers - Excuse my language, but I have to say this was pretty shit. I'm not going to go on about this (because I could write a book) and maybe not all advisors / centres are the same but they really didn't have a clue about helping someone look for a job actually relevant to their degree, that they've spent 4 years studying for - and were pretty keen on making you apply for any job you could feasibly do.

I landed my next job through no help from the Job Centre, my Papa actually spotted an advert in the local paper for the 'South Lanarkshire council Graduate programme' advertising various roles and that's how I ended up on a 9 month Graduate placement as 'Marketing and Media' graduate at Routes to Work South. Once again, not a full time position (but thankfully paid this time) which again was fantastic experience and without it I could no way be in my current role at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games working on social media within the Digital Team. 

What I'm pretty much saying is, don't be disheartened if you can't get a brilliantly paid, full time job right away...you might need to do a few shorter (possibly unpaid) roles to get the experience and build your skills to help you land a better job in the future.  

Some tips...

Get your CV up to scratch
Probably the most obvious but to most potential employers you're a piece of paper, so you need to do your best to present yourself, your skills & experience on 2 sides of an A4! Also work on your covering letter skills and make sure you actually tailor it to each role you apply for. Good advice here.

Populate your Linkedin profile 
Any potential employer is undoubtedly going to look you up online - so make sure they like what they see! Keep your Linkedin profile up to date with all your relevant information, actually fill in all the available fields and build a network by connecting with students/friends/lecturers...

Set up Indeed.co.uk email alerts
One of the most useful tools I found when searching for a job was automatic email alerts from Indeed.co.uk. You can input job keywords & locations to receive an email listing new relevant job vacancies, every morning if you like! Go to: Register > My indeed > alerts. (They also have an app now)

Check out Creative Scotland Opportunities
If you're in the creative industry then check out the Opportunities section of Creative Scotland which lists loads of types of opportunities from jobs to workshops. I found my internship at the Scottish Youth Theatre there!

Check out TalentScotland graduate placements
Their graduate placements are from 3-12 months and give you a chance to work with an established business or social enterprise - great experience! See what's currently on offer.

Get some experience
If you need to build up your portfolio, or real-life experience then check out sites like Gumtree where people will advertise jobs they need doing. This could be anything from designing a logo to building a fence. It might not be well paid, or it might be voluntary but if you've got nothing else to do it will help to make you more attractive to an employer! 

Get some business cards
You never know who you might bump into on the street so you should get some Business / contact cards made up. They don't need to be anything majorly fancy - just your relevant contact details and links to your Linkedin, blog, website...

Start a blog 
A good idea to keep your creative juices flowing while you're looking for a job is to start a blog or other type of place online where you can collate your thoughts/showcase your talents. It doesn't matter what industry you're in. If you're in finance you could write a blog about your views on current financial matters. If you're a designer then create Pinterest boards showing off your style. If you're musically inclined get a MySpace page up! (I hear that's cool again?) 

Get Networking
Meet some like-minded people though:
Networking groups - Glasgow Young Professionals, JCI - Junior Commerce International 
Networking events - New Media Breakfast ,  Communications Breakfast ,  Be Good Be Social

Stay positive! 
Everyone loves a good Brie, but trying not to be too cheesy  - the saying 'whats fir ye wont go buy ye' really does come into play here and just because you've been turned down 100 times, had no replies or can't see any suitable jobs RIGHT NOW doesn't mean ones not going to pop up next time you hit F5. 

What was your graduate experience like (or currently like)? Comment below!

Thanks for reading! Melissa.

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30 May 2013

It's the blue tick of destiny, child!...Facebook rolls out verified pages.

Shut the front door. Hold the phone. Stop the press....(running out of phrases now)

It's just been announced that Facebook will be rolling out 'verified' pages and profiles so that people can differentiate between the 'real' accounts of celebs, famous cats, organisations and businesses and the millions of other imposter pages which are run by evil, coffee drinking, binary reading scammers whose soul purpose in life is to befriend you, entice you share their posts and take over the world (obviously). 

A post on Facebook's website says: "Verified pages have a small, blue check mark beside their name on timelines, in search results, and elsewhere on Facebook." - SO pretty much exactly like Twitter then...and Pinterest? Fabulous. 

So where can I get my shiny new blue tick I hear you ask? Well, they're not for everyone. They will be gifted to certain pages with high amounts of 'fans' that are deemed worthy - and if my past experience with other social networks is anything to go by spending a fair bob or two on advertising may just help to speed the process up a bit. 

The idea of having verified pages produces this reaction in me - "meh". I have nothing against them but don't think they are that big of a deal either. They might be useful if you are trying to find out information on current affairs, news stories or even just contact/background information on companies for example - but even still you probably shouldn't use Facebook as a reliable source of information, that's what Wikipedia is for, right? I also doubt if being 'verified' will do anything to help pages increase their organic reach (which has been a bit of an issue of late), but it will be interesting to see if people are more inclined to engage with pages if they know for sure they are authentic..because it's obviously the real Justin Beiber who you're commenting with, not his marketing intern!

What do you think about the new verified accounts? Comment with your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading! Melissa.

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17 May 2013

Google Plus - New layout and features unveiled at #io13

When I clicked onto Google Plus earlier on today my first reaction was 'OH, That's different!' The 'news feed' as you would call it has had a major makeover and now looks like Facebook and Pinterest's shiny new love child. 

The first thing you notice is definitely the appearance of the 'news feed' area [Sorry Zuck,  but I'm probably just going to call it this from now on] but this new roll-out apparently has "41 new features for Google Plus, the most important being related to design, messaging, and photo sharing."

New Google plus layout

Now, at this point I need to say that although I've had a Google plus account for the past couple of years,  it's not something I'm particularly enamored with. I think one of the reasons behind this is the fact that none of my friends really have it, or if they do they seldom use it. A current report from Google suggests they have 190 million active users, and around 390 million who have partly upgraded to it's services....but I'm certainly not pals with any of them! I can appreciate that it has some really cool features like hangouts and events but it's kind of like being at the best party in the world....all by yourself - not much fun! Another couple of things annoy me. For one the 'cover image' at the top is wayyyyy to big, and I don't think I'll ever quite get used to categorising people into circles ..it all feels a bit kumbaya. Sometimes you just know people because you know them, and it feels a bit proper to call them an 'acquaintance'.

Apart from those couple of bug-bears I've been persisting with Google Plus and posting on it occasionaly over the past two years. I mostly use it to link to my blog posts as Blogger gives you the option to post these automatically and I read somewhere that the Google search engine gets particularly excited by these links and will list these higher in search listings. 

New Google Plus photo feature layout

I'm not going to list all of the new Google Plus features as I probably won't give it justice. So, I'll just talk about a couple of things that have caught my eye. 

  • As mentioned before I think the new multi-column layout is a big improvement and a lot more interesting to look at, even if it is a bit of a Facebook rip off. 
  • I also quite like the little 'mini profile' that hovers up when you roll over someones profile name. 
  • GIF's/animations can play straight from within the news feed. Awesome.
  • The new photo page is also pretty cool. It seems to pull photos into albums automatically depending on where they came from, or what they are about. 

However, I don't like:
  • The grey background and pure white colour scheme is just a bit too minimalistic and is a bit of a snooze-fest.
  • I STILL can't find the 'edit profile' button easily, am I missing something?!

Do you use Google Plus? What are your thoughts on the new layout and features?

Thanks for reading! Melissa.

Coincidentally, you can add me to your circles here > Melissa on Google 

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13 May 2013

Improve productivity & well-being in the digital work place!

Woman using mouse at computer desk

Working in the creative/digital industry in this day and age probably means that you spend quite a lot of your time sitting at a computer, tapping away on a phone or swiping on a tablet - at work and during your free time. Almost gone are the days when you'd get out and about for a meeting at work, or go out for a meal at the weekend without instragramming your macaroni cheese. Nowadays emails, calls, video chats, social networking and instant messaging have taken over. Most people probably find that once they've finished work and have plonked themselves down on the train home they head straight to their personal Facebook/Twitter/MyCatster to check out the latest happenings - I'm definitely guilty of this!

While we were at risk of getting 'square eyes' from watching too much TV when we were younger I wonder if we're now as risk of getting '1136-by-640px eyes'...or stylus shaped thumbs - eek!

In the office I tend to find it hard sitting in the one place for hours on end, unless I really am 'in the zone' when I don't notice time going by. This harks back to uni days when I could sit on Photoshop for hours working on a project and look up about 4 hours later and think 'Jeesh, is that the time?!'  

Thinking about the points above, I've been chastising myself recently for spending too much time online and have found myself making rash resolutions to delete my Facebook profile, chuck my laptop out the window and go live in a organic tree village........only to want to want to pronounce my new-found philosophy to the world via a tweet (dangit!)

Whilst I might not be changing my name to Sun-Beam Daisy-Love any time soon I've started trying to do a few things to save my retinas and general sanity which you 'digital folks' can do as well to help break up your working day, improve your general 'office health' and even increase your productivity. Some of them might be obvious but a few are definitely useful...

Stay healthy 9 till 5...

Sit up straight - It's the age old piece of advice but it really will make a difference to your back if you sit with your back against the back of your chair with your feet on the ground....not to mention stopping you having a posture akin to Golum in later life. 

H2OH! - Drink plenty of water throughout the day but if you have a big bottle only fill it up partly as this will give you an excuse to get up, stretch your legs and re-fill. 

Twinkle toes - Rock your feet back and forth (toe to heel), move up and down as if you're walking to keep your circulation going. 

Step away from the screen - Sometimes it might be hard but try to take lunch break and get out and about. Even if you eat your lunch at your desk then try to take a 10 minute walk around, or just go for a mosey around your office. 

Snack time - As well as having a proper breakfast try and have some healthy snacks throughout the day - things like fruit, yoghurt, nuts. 

Take a break - Try and take time away from screens. On the train home try reading a book or just listening to some music for a while. Turn off your phone an hour or so before bed so you're not lying reading tweets right before getting some shut eye. 

Row of dark grey computers in a line

Improve productivity...

Get it out the way - If there's something on your mind that you want to do online, like buy THAT pair of shoes, or get tickets to the gig that have just went on sale then you're best to do it in the morning before starting your actual work. This way it gets it off your mind and will allow you to focus your attention on your work. 

Make lists - I have to say, I love a good list. I normally have a big 'weekly' to do list, and then each morning I split that into things I 'want to do today'. Doing this allows you to have a clear view of what you need to achieve each day and will help you prioritise tasks. It's a good idea to create a list for the week ahead on a Friday before 5pm - meaning you can come in on Monday morning and know what you have to do right away instead of trying to clear away the weekend cobwebs and trying to remember where you left off...

Reward yourself - Another good thing about making lists (above) is that you can reward yourself when you complete a task. This can be anything from getting can of juice to listening to a song...all these wee things will make you feel a sense of achievement and a feeling of "Right!, what's next?"

Keep all your ideas - Sometimes ideas for work or other projects can hit you at the most random times - just nodding off, getting your lunch, walking the dog...It's a good idea to have somewhere to keep these ideas which is more substantial than a piece of paper so I usually send myself quick emails with a couple of lines of text. You can also use the 'notes' or 'memo' feature on your phone to jot down thoughts quickly. 

Do you have any other tips for improving productivity or working tips in general - comment below!

Thanks for reading, Melissa x

Melissa on Twitter

3 May 2013

15 things you should be doing to drive traffic to your blog!

I'm fairly new to the world of blogging, but even during my short stint writing blog posts for my creative blog: The Creative Frontier and my beauty blog: Beauty and the Bargain, I've discovered a few tricks of the trade that can help boost your page views dramatically. 

I'm certainly no expert and I'll admit I still haven't quite yet cracked how to get more followers via the 'Google friend connect' feature. If you've got any tips on this please feel free to 'share the wealth' and comment below! But as for now I'm happy just writing away to build my experience and hoping that it'll come in useful the next time I'm applying for a job!

Anyway, if you're writing a blog and want to help more people read it then here are some methods that I've been using recently...

1 Get social!
As well as linking to your blog on your Facebook and Twitter bios you should post links to all of your new blog posts on your personal channels. If you want to go one step further you could set up a 'fan page' for your blog on Facebook, and similarly a dedicated Twitter account. Depending on what you're writing about use popular hashtags to help get your content noticed, for example, beauty bloggers commonly use #bbloggers when linking to their posts. 

2 Contact influencers
Following on from the point above, you should try and get your blog posts noticed by 'influencers'. By this I mean that getting RT's, replies, shares or comments from influential people who are in some way connected to the theme or content of your blog. For example, if you're a beauty blogger and you write a review of a Revlon lipstick....@mention Revlon on twitter telling them about it and hopefully you'll get a RT to thousands of other fans who like Revlon. (good PR for them and exposure for you) 

3 Use Linkedin
If like me you're writing a blog to help boost your writing skills to improve your job prospects then it makes sense to encourage your Linkedin connections to view your blog. You can mention it within your actual personal profile and also post updates, much like a Facebook 'status'. Just recently you can @mention 'companies and connections', which would be useful if you had written a blog post about a certain company, person or if you just wanted to notify someone in particular about the post. 

4 Use Google+ features
As blogger.com is a Google platform it 'likes' it if you use Google features and other platforms, and I've certainly seen a rise in my page views since I've started using these techniques:
  • Automatically share your posts on your Google+ page (make sure they are set to share with the public)
  • @mention people or companies directly within blog posts
  • Enable 'Google+' comments on your blog posts
  • Search for and add other bloggers into your 'Circles' 
  • Join or even create relevant Google+ communities
  • Use the 'Google friend connect' feature to follow other bloggers and encourage others to follow you

5 Keep search engines 'in-the-know' 
Every time you post on your blog submit the link to http://pingomatic.com/ which is a free service that tells search engines that your site has been updated. 

6 Submit links to Reddit
One of the sites that drives the most traffic to my blog is http://en.reddit.com/. Create an account and sumbit a link to every new blog post you write, tagging in under the right group to make sure it gets noticed. Most of mine go under Graphic Design, Social Media or Marketing. 

7 Get Bloglovin followers 
This site is a tool for publishing your blog posts and following other blogs. It seems to be most popular with beauty and fashion blogs but it could still be worthwhile to create some more inbound links to your blog which will increase it's credibility to search engines. Once you've made an account you can add a badge to your blog sidebar to encourage people to follow you on Bloglovin. You can also link your profile with your personal Facebook page so it automatically posts your latests blogs. 

8 Use good photos and ALT tags
Be sure to include at least one image in all of your blog posts as not only will it help it look more interesting it will pull through as a preview when you link to the post and encourage potential readers to click through. Also, remember to include descriptive ALT tags for images for accessibility and to increase the chance of the image being found through a search engine. 

9 Choose the right 'labels' 
Remember to use labels to categorise your blog posts. They can be shown at the bottom of your posts and users can click through if they see a word, or label they are interested in . You can also use them in your sidebar as a menu by showing how many posts you have per label. 

10 Run a competition
From what I've seen a sure fire way to promote your blog is by running a competition on it through a service such as http://www.rafflecopter.com/. You can encourage people to enter through a number of methods such as following you on Twitter, sharing your blog link, liking you on Facebook etc...I think I might try it out soon on my beauty blog, but I'm not sure what I'd give away here on The Creative Frontier hmm!

11 Become (or invite) a guest blogger
A great way to drive traffic to your blog is to write a 'guest blog' on another persons blog where you can include a link back to your own blog. You could also check out your local publications, newspapers and websites to see if you could write an article for them which could also include a link to your blog (I did this recently with lanark.co.uk)

12 Pay to advertise on other blogs
If you've got some dough to spend you could pay to advertise on other popular blogs through the form of a button or graphic. I'm not sure if there is an official process for this as from what I've seen some bloggers simply post asking 'who wants to advertise on my blog' and presumably people get in touch and pay £x per month to have a graphic or link in their sidebar.

13 Comment on other blogs and leave your link
Blogging is all about building a network so it's essential to check out other blogs within your industry - not only will you be able to see what other people are doing you'll be able to pick up some useful tips! When leaving comments on other peoples blog posts be sure to make them meaningful, not just 'hey check out my blog [link]' - by all means leave a link to your blog but try to read the blog post properly and comment sincerely. 

14 Be relevant!
Blog posts are going to get picked up and noticed if you talk about something relevant. This might be to do with current affairs, new inventions/technology, new products (especially relevant in the beauty industry) or recent events. Of course the problem is that everyone might have this view and your post about the "new Facebook layout" might get lost within a barrage of other similar ones - that's why you've got to do something to put your own twist on it and get your own opinion across. 

15 Give your post a good title
Although you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, many of us are probably guilty of judging a blog post by it's title! Try to include important keywords from your blog post in it's title as these will catch peoples eye when they see any links to the post. Human beings are naturally curious so it also helps to make post titles intriguing  to make people feel as if they are missing out if they don't read it. Some examples of title formats could be...

  • How to...
  • 4 ways to...
  • The top 10...
  • The best way...
  • The worst things about...
  • What you shouldn't be doing...

Thanks for reading, as I said I've just started blogging so am by no means an expert but I hope you found some of the tips useful! 

Please feel free to comment below...you can even leave your link ;)

21 April 2013

My latest venture is ....Croodle: A social networking site for creative graduates based in Scotland!


I thought I'd tell you a little bit about my latest venture 'Croodle'. In essence it's going to be a social networking site for creative industry graduates based in Scotland - to be used by graduates as well as employers. 

Graduates will be able to create a profile with details about themselves and upload some images of their work. They'll then be able to chat in industry specific forums about portfolio/CV tips/their industries and anything else that takes their fancy....They'll also be able to join and search job 'groups' where admin will post links to the latest jobs (and employers will also be able to post opportunities directly here)

As I said before employers will be able to create a profile and post any opportunities or jobs they have in 'groups' relating to their industry (paid/unpaid/voluntary etc). They'll also be able to join in forum conversations and contact any graduates directly who catch their eye. 

Another main aspect of 'Croodle' is the blog where every week/month (still need to clarify dates!) we'll have a guest blogger which could be an employer giving graduates tips on how to improve their portfolio, or a successful graduate telling us how they landed their dream job. (get in touch if you fancy writing a blog for us). Bloggers can include as many links as they want to their work, online portfolios etc so it's a great way to get noticed! 

The idea for 'Croodle' came about in the middle of last year when I was thinking about the time just after I had graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a 1st in Applied Graphics Technology...and the trouble I had trying to find a job (which was actually relevant to my course) and how this experience could have been improved. I think one of the main reasons for the my struggle (and I'm sure the struggle of many others) was that there was no place online where graduates could be directly connected to industry employers. I think this is especially true for graduates living in Scotland, as I remember scouring job sites with 1,000+ creative jobs only to be hit with '0 results match your search' when putting in Scotland as the desired location - although I'm sure this isn't the case. It wasn't the problem of not 'looking in the right place', but one of the 'place' not existing!  Croodle aims to be a place where graduates can form a community to share their knowledge, experiences and opportunities and also a place where employers can connect directly to the people looking to work with them. 

I'm hoping to launch Croodle in May/June this year and although there may be a few teething problems I hope people will bear with me! :)

If you'd like to hear more about Croodle, would like to write a guest blog (as a graduate or employer) or would like to chat then email hello@croodle.co.uk

Follow Croodle on Twitter @Croodle_tweets

Join Croodle on Facebook

Check out the Croodle website and join our mailing list!

5 April 2013

Recent design work and MOO business cards

I thought I'd give you an update on some of my latest freelance design work. The last project I worked on was 'Pete's Photo Adventure' - which required a logo design, CMS website and business cards produced. 

Pete is a photographer based in Lanark and I think some of his shots are great (maybe I'm biased!) ...no, they really are. You can check some of them out on his website: http://www.petesphotoadventure.co.uk/

The logo was designed to convey elements of photography in a simple and easily recognisable format. The bold and capitalised text was used to convey a sense of adventure and is reminiscent of photography magazine features. The logo also works well as a silhouette and watermark which is perfect for using over photographs as copyright. 

Petes photo adventure website

Petes photo adventure website

Petes photo adventure website

 The website is built on the Wordpress CMS platform so Pete can upload his own photos, write blog posts about his 'photo adventure' and make other small amendments. The colour scheme is subtle but classic and I think the grey/black gradient background really make the logo pop, and the colours in the photographs stand out. Pete is also very active on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr so there is social media integration throughout the site with live feeds and the ability for users to 'share' individual photos. 

The front of Pete's business cards are bold and simple - conveying all the relevant information. However, using the magic of Moo.com the back of the business cards come to life with some of Pete's best photography - allowing potential clients 

I'm available to take on design work just now - anything from flyers to social media support. Get in touch > melissa@247-design.co.uk

My website > 247-design.co.uk

My Facebook page > 247 Digital Design

Thanks for reading!x

29 March 2013

Video editing for Oliver!

I thought I'd do a quick post to show you a little video I pulled together to promote Lanark Amateur Musical Society's latest production of Oliver! 

At our last rehearsal I filmed some shots of practice and got some members of the cast to talk to the camera about the show, the part they are playing and to try and encourage people to come and see the production!

My trial of Premiere Pro ran out so I had to find another free video editor to use. After scouring around I found the AVS Video Editor which was reasonably easy to use.

If you're in the Carluke area and would like to come and see the show you can call 07771726438 for tickets.

9th - 13th of April
Carluke Lifetyles
Adults £11, Concessions £8
7.30pm (3pm Saturday) 

11 March 2013

Font-tastic: Some great font downloads!

Sometimes the difference between a good design and a great design is the font used to display text...Just imagine the Nike logo in Comic-Sans or Papyrus and you get the picture.

I was in 2nd year at University (cringe!) when I discovered that you could download fonts from the internet and worked out how to install them onto my laptop (wee bit about that later in case you've not tried it yet) The website I use the most now to download fonts for design projects is DaFont.com which I find to have a really varied selection of fonts which are categorised well so that when you don't know exactly what you're looking for you can usually gain some inspiration by searching around. I also discovered the Lost Type Co which provides quality + unique fonts and allows you to 'name your price' and donate anything you like to the creator and have downloaded some fantastic fonts from them recently. 

I've compiled a list of some of the best (mostly) free fonts from these two sites that you can use to jazz up any of your design work. Let me know about any fonts you love to use!

Lost Type Co - Mission Script (works well against block colours)

DaFont- Boris Black Bloxx (good for headline text - not too formal)

LostTypeCo - Cubano (also good for headline text)

DaFont- Hand of Sean (good handwriting text which is still legible) 

DaFont- A love of thunder (great bold + grungey font)

DaFont- Antipasto (slick and sophisticated) 

Lost Type Co - Carton (a great feature font)

Installing fonts

1. Download the font by clicking 'Download', 'Save' - this will vary per site. This will download a zipped folder to your set location.

2. Right click or Open the folder and select 'Extract all files'

3. You'll see a list of files but you want the one that is 'yourfontname.ttf' 

4. Right click and copy this file.

5. Go to start > control panel > fonts

6. Right click and select 'paste' and say yes to any permission pop ups.

7. That should be your font installed, you can check by going into a publishing programme such as Microsoft word and scrolling down the font drop down menu until you see your font.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to leave a comment :) (or even 'follow' this blog!)

5 March 2013

Using Facebook for business: Top 10 tips

Original article written for Lanark.co.uk

Facebook has taken the world by storm over the past few years and currently has a staggering one billion active members and over 40 million pages – four million of these are estimated to belong to businesses.
That’s a heck of a lot of potential customers and is one of the reasons that everyone from McDonalds to your local Butcher has probably set up a page for their business - or is thinking about it.

There are many reasons to set up a Facebook page for your business, but you shouldn't just do it because everyone else is and you think you should too.

All business owners will have objectives they want to achieve to influence the success of their business: Restaurateurs want to encourage people to dine with them; online companies want to drive traffic to their website and stores want to get people talking about their brand – having an online presence such as a Facebook page can help you achieve these goals.

Having a website is essential too, but in this day and age it’s not enough to just stick up a web page and hope that people stumble across it online – nowadays people want to be engaged and interact with you and your brand.

If you’re in the position that you’d like to set up a page for your business, but you don’t know your tagging from your poking then don’t fret – there is some great advice online about setting up your page online, and if you read on you’ll find some top tips for getting you started.

Facebook for Business: Top Tips!

1. Information is key
Head here  https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ and pick what type of business you are.
When you set up your page make sure you fill in all the information fields with the relevant data, like your phone number, address and website - This will make it easy for your customers to find you and also allow people to ‘check-in’ if you have a physical location they can visit.
Once you get to 30 ‘likes’ you’ll be able to customise the URL of your page to something like http://www.facebook.com/mybusinessname instead of the numbers and letters gobble-de-gook.

2. Looking good
Once you’ve got the basic information sorted you need to make your page look good. You need a square image for your profile picture – your logo would work well here. You can also have a ‘cover image’ at the top – nice, visual, high quality images work best here. Check out this guide for the sizes of these images.

3. Facebook Features
Explore and make use of Facebook's features. Create events for special occasions, limited deals, offers, events in your business and invite people to them. Make use of milestones to populate your timeline with important and interesting dates from your businesses history. Also try out ‘pinning’ and ‘highlighting’ images on your timeline.

4. Advertising
If you’ve got some budget you can try out creating an advert on Facebook to promote your page, or specific posts from your timeline. You have a lot of options for targeting certain people and setting a desired budget so definitely think about it if you want to grow the size of your page fairly quickly.

5. Lay by the law
If you’ve got a personal Facebook page you’ve no doubt seen (and probably entered) one of these ‘Share to win’ and ‘like and comment’ to win competitions...these are actually illegal and although many pages do them, Facebook is starting to clamp down and if you’re caught your page can be shut down. Check out the Rules – Part E (you’ve been warned!)

6.  Gift of the gab
You want to be as responsive as possible on your page, and use a friendly tone of voice. People like to talk to someone who seems human! Try to respond to all comments and private messages and remember to @mention someone by name when replying and it will notify them you’ve responded.

7. Plan it out
Your posts will reach more people if you’re consistent in your posting. It helps to create a weekly plan to think about what you could do throughout the week - to start off about four main posts a week is good and you should try not to post before 11am.  Everyone will be different though and there are no set rules, it will be through trial and error that you’ll learn what days and times are best for posting and getting interaction from people.

8. Mix it up
It also helps to have a range of types of content to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible. Text based posts are Facebook’s favourite and these achieve the highest reach (are shown on most people’s newsfeeds). Photos get the most engagement and are shared the most. Links can be informative and videos can also be popular if the content is appealing.

9. Have a goal in mind
Always keep in mind your goal; what do you want people to do – come in to your shop? Eat at your restaurant? Visit your website? Hire you for a service?  Use your goal to form your key messages and write CTA’s (call to actions) in your posts such as ‘visit us now for...’ ‘Come in to get 10% off....’ ‘Call us now for...’ ‘Check out our new....’

10. Branch out
Facebook isn’t the only social network that could work for your business – there are many out there that can work really well for certain industries. Clothing retailers and Foodies/Restaurants should definitely check out Pinterest and Instagram for some visual marketing.

Thanks for reading.
Do you have any tips for using Facebook for business? Comment below!

22 February 2013

The best social content....of all time!

The title of this blog post sounds like something that should be read out by the 'movie voice over guy' and followed by a fanfare of trumpets. In fact it's a round up of some of the best social content that's been published online since the dawn of (internet) time.

Now, by "best" I don't mean the best idea, most creative, most thought out or well executed  - I mean the content that people have went mad for and 'clicked,shared, RT'd and liked' in a frenzy until their hearts were content.

There's no hard and fast formula for creating content that will be 'shareable' although there are some tips that can help (keep an eye out for a future blog post on these!) You could spend months working on an idea, and it could be fantastic but it could easily be taken over by a video of a cat playing a piano. 

From the examples below it seems that to gain massive exposure on the web it helps to be famous, announce a major milestone and finally...who doesn't like garlic bread?! 

Here we go, a list of the most popular content from some of of today's major social networks (obviously this could change any day now)   

Most RT'd tweet ever with 814,411 RT's when Obama announced he had been re-elected as President. 

 View original tweet

Most shared post with around 2,000,000 shares is a prank from Nolan Daneils who claimed he would give £1mil of his lottery winnings to someone who shared this photo post. 

Most re-pinned pin of all time is a recipe for cheesy garlic bread with 103,000 re-pins. (mamma mia thatsa lotta garlic!)

View original Pin

Most watched video ever on YouTube with 512,883,948 views is a clip of Charlie, the blood thirsty tyrant!!

Linkedin There aren't any stats on the most popular Linkedin article of all time, but the most popular article of 2012 about being a good employee and has been shared over 25,000 times. 
View original article Foursquare The most checked-in places on Foursquare are airports and the most popular with 1,011,808 check-ins so far is the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  View original place Reddit The top link on Reddit ever (apart from a test) is 'Bus Knight' - a story about a rather eventful bus journey with 21,307 votes.
View original link Flickr Most popular picture on Flickr is a snap of Nohkalikai Falls, Cherrapunjee with 3,175,697 views. The photographer claims it's not his "best photography moment"
View original photo  Instagram There's no way to sort Instagram photos by likes but it's estimated that the most liked photo is from the top two 'followed' members: Selena Gomez wishing her beau Justin Bieber a Happy Birthday. 150,000 likes & counting!
View the original tweet (the Instagram photo is now removed) Itunes The most downloaded song ever is 'I gotta feeling' by the Black Eyes Peas with 6,000,000 downloads (figure from 2010)
View the song on Itunes Thanks for reading! Who know's what viral wonders we'll see next time we check our news feeds... Melissa x
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