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Yours *TrulyJuly*

I do everything content.

Category Archives: Content Marketing

 

WaterMark

WaterMark

 

When you post a picture on the internet, anything between these 2 cases can be expected:

 

1)  The image goes viral.

2)  The image gets stolen.

 

Both these scenarios give reason to mark your image with a logo:

 

1)  People, who are interested in your creative work, know how to contact you.

2)  People would have to manipulate your image to remove the watermark, which is evidence.

 

Of course there’s an app for that:

There are lots of free little programs that let you design and place a watermark on your image.

 

For further security, ensure your details are encrypted in the meta data.

 

#GoodPractices

#ContentMarketingTip

 

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Social media should be called commercial media.

 

But, there might be a light on the horizon: New social network WT:Social.

 

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales launched a Facebook and Twitter rival to combat the downfall of news.

“The business model of social media companies, of pure advertising, is problematic,” Mr Wales said. “It turns out the huge winner is low-quality content.”

 

Instead WT:Social will rely solely on donations and promises never to sell personal data or run advertisements.

 

WT:Social originates from the WikiTribune platform that was first launched in 2017 as a news wiki where volunteers could write and curate articles.

Similarly, the new social network is news focussed and is aimed at tackling fake news and “clickbait nonsense” by simply allowing users to edit misleading headlines.

“Almost everything on the platform is editable,” Jimmy Wales said. “That alone gives a huge incentive for good behaviour because if you say something obnoxious, someone will just delete it.”

 

Ready to give WT:Social a try?

Click my WT:Social invitation link to get onto the waiting list. 🙂

 

#WTsocial

 

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Plagiarism – to use someone else’s work without crediting the source – is sad enough.

To pass off someone’s elses work as one’s own is Intellectual Property infringement.

Such as in this example where Witbank News has not only blatantly stolen the design, but also has the audacity to copyright it as their image!

The owner of the graphic Know Your Lemons has commented on this IP Theft accordingly, but so far with no result:

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I’m a big fan of the Kiffness and always stoked when I hear his songs on the radio.

However, I was shocked to learn that no royalty payments have been made to the Kiffness by the SABC.

 

 

So all these times I got excited about the Kiffness’ exposure on 5FM, he did not receive a penny for that success.

All the while I have to listen to those moronic radio ads by SABC about paying your license fees.

Since the SABC is a public body, funded by public money, it should act ethically correct and lead by example:

If any fees need to be paid, how about those long overdue R248 million owed by the SABC to music rights organisations like the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro), the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) , the Association of Independent Record Companies (Airco), the Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa) and more. 

This seriously undermines the livelihoods of South African artists

The Kiffness has been campaigning about this and made it into national news, but the response from the SABC appears to be vague and unhelpful. 

Maybe the Kiffness needs to write them a song in order to be heard.

In the meantime, us listeners can also make a choice, as I find myself skipping to the private or community radio channels:

No pay for South African artists, no play of SABC radio stations.

#NoPayNoPlay 

 

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Always busy promoting that Rats Make Great Pets, I research many a things rat related, switching between English and German.

 

Looking for an adequate translation of ‘pet rat’ into German I come across some interesting Google suggestions:

Google Translate gets it wrong: 'pet rat' is not 'Hausratte'.

Google Translate gets it wrong: ‘pet rat’ is not ‘Hausratte’.

 

An example how bad translation can make a wrong word commonplace.

 

The noun ‘pet’ is a lovely short word of endearment in English.

In German, it is: ‘Haustier’. A long awkward and rather impersonal term meaning literally ‘house animal’.

 

Yet, I see a lot of ‘Haustier Ratte’ around the internet:

Google wrongly corrects my spelling due to wrong translations on the internet.

Google wrongly corrects my spelling due to wrong translations on the internet.

 

This is just one of many examples how the internet lowers the standard of language use.

 

First of all, it’d be ‘Haustierratte’.

German likes to join the words together that belong together for quicker understanding. However, it also creates long words, very long words.

Like ‘Haustierratte’ would be one of those long awkward words.

 

The ‘Tier’ in ‘Haustier’ becomes redundant as we specified the animal as a rat, so the shortened version ‘Hausratte’ springs to mind.

However, ‘Hausratte’ is already taken as the overall classification of the Rattus rattus and is therefore wrong as a translation for ‘pet rat’.

 

Luckily, German has a word for ‘domesticated rat’: Farbratte

 

Wikipedia automatically redirects Haustierratte to Farbratte.

 

Farbratte literally means colour rat.

As opposed to wild rats, which are all agouti, a brownish greyish coat all over.

The colours of domesticated rats vary wildly in shades, markings, and body and coat type.

 

Funny enough, Farbratte would be translated into English as Fancy rat.

So we’re back at the beginning: There is no real translation for ‘pet rat’ into German…

 

Maybe then ‘Haustierratte’ is fitting, for me it represents something like this:

Haustierratte: This is what I picture a house pet rat to look like: All prim and proper, tending to her home.

Haustierratte: This is what I picture a house pet rat to look like: All prim and proper, tending to her home.

 

#RatsMakeGreatPets

#TranslationFail

#LocalisationRatherThanTranslation

 

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Look out for the the orange square with white radio waves to find RSS feeds.

Look out for the the orange square with white radio waves to find RSS feeds.

 

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or previously Rich Site Summary.

RSS is a format to monitor or deliver regularly changing information on the web.

It is is a standardised XML file that can be used for the distribution of content from an online publisher to internet users.

The feed, channel or web-feed can be displayed in an RSS reader.

 

How to retrieve your RSS feed url

 

1.  Add ‘/feed’ at the end of your blog url

This works for every WordPress blog. It’s easy enough to quickly try with your blog url.

For example, Yours TrulyJuly‘s feed url on WordPress looks like this: https://trulyjuly.wordpress.com/feed/

 

2.  Click on ‘Subscribe’ on your own blog

Blogger is not so straight forward. However, you can find the various feed urls Blogspot offers by subscribing to your own blog: Most blogging platforms offer a subscription widget / plugin / gadget. Ensure it is installed and visible to everyone on your blog. Clicking on the ‘Subscribe’ button shows your own blog’s feed url.

For example, Yours TrulyJuly‘s feed url on Blogger looks like this: https://trulyjuly.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

 

3.  View the source code and search for ‘RSS’

Right-click ‘View page source‘ and search the code for ‘RSS’ by opening the search field with Control + F or clicking on Menu -> Find. You should see something like ‘”RSShref=’ or ‘”Feedhref=’ and the following link should be your blog’s feed url.

Interestingly, this way Yours TrulyJuly‘s feed url on Blogger shows as: https://trulyjuly.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

 

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LinkedIn is a great networking platform for professionals.

 

But they too need to make money.

 

Which I’m painfully reminded of when checking out who visited my profile:

Between blurred, hidden and Private Mode, I get to see none of the people who visited my profile on LinkedIn in the free version.

Between blurred, hidden and Private Mode, I get to see none of the people who visited my profile on LinkedIn in the free version.

 

Sometimes the restrictions of the free version in order to push the user to buy the premium version are getting ridiculous.

 

Luckily, with over 15,000 followers on LinkedIn, I’m not bothered and can just laugh about it.

 

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Part of every Content Marketing strategy should be how you spread – or seed – your content.

 

I’m advocating Marketing on a 0 Budget, especially for Start-Ups, SMMEs, NGOs, NPOs, charities and fellow bloggers.

 

As a blogger, besides the typical social media efforts, your closest community: the blogging community can be a great way to gain reach.

 

Part of creating Value Added Content (VAC) is relevance.

 

If you want to cover a certain niche, ensure your posts appear on blogs that are relevant to your audience.

 

Good Practice Tip: Reblog your content

 

Duplicating content can be a tricky matter, as it might get penalised.

 

However, reblogging your content is an approved way to share your content on another platform without losing traffic to that platform.

 

Of course you need to be on the same blogging app, otherwise you can look into RSS feeds.

 

I for example favour WordPress, which has an easy reblogging feature:

It’s easy to reblog in WordPress: I can simply share the blog post from my Reader to my other WordPress blog.

It’s easy to reblog in WordPress: I can simply share the blog post from my Reader to my other WordPress blog.

 

If you follow another WordPress blog, their posts appear in your Reader.

Logged in as your WordPress site, go to your Reader. You can search for the blog or particular content.

Viewing the post you want to reblog in your Reader, click on share.

In the drop-down menu choose ‘Share on’ the WordPress site you want to post the reblogged article to.

A new post window will open with a snippet of the content and a link to the original blog post.

You can edit this to your liking, either using teaser content or the full article.

On your original WordPress blog you’ll be notified that your article got reblogged.

 

If you want to publish content on another online platform, reblogging is a neat solution to ensure the content links back and credits the additional traffic to its original source.

 

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How to pronounce... Huawei is the first search suggestion on Google.

How to pronounce… Huawei is the first search suggestion on Google.

 

When I type ‘How to pronounce’ into Google, the first suggestion Google offers me is ‘huawei’.

 

If Huawei pops up as the first prediction in Google search suggestions, that means the majority of people are searching this and wondering:

 

How to pronounce Huawei?

 

It appears Huawei must have gotten tired of being the most unpronounceable gadget company name and created an official How to pronounce Huawei video.

 

So there.

 

Wah-Way it is.

 

 

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Creative Nestlings & Creator presented Conversations On Creativity: Monetizing Your Platform, in partnership with MINI + URBAN X.

 

How many times do you go to a finance related event and meet an all female panel?

Together they shared their lessons learned about money.

 

From left to right:

Host Dinika Govender, Shakirah Dramat, Owethu Makhathini, Bongeka Masango, Jade de Waal

The all female discussion panel - at Conversations On Creativity: Monetizing Your Platform.

The all female discussion panel – at Conversations On Creativity: Monetizing Your Platform.

 

What platforms can you monetise?

–  Two-sided communications: audiences and brands

–  Social Media means Personal Brand creation.

–  YouTube or Vimeo offer video channel monetisation.

–  Something you love can turn into profit.

–  Always being challenged by the people around you makes you strive further.

 

How to set a rate

–  Money is still a taboo. Open up and talk about it.

–  What is the capacity of the people within the business? Fee can be based on that.

–  What is the real cost of what you do? Including everything. Also take into account overheads and upfront money.

–  The client pays for years of experience, not for the time it takes.

–  Don’t budge on your rate! The cheapest clients can have the most expensive taste.

–  Extracting value does not have to be in money, maybe covering travel costs or similar deals can be made.

–  You can ask for a better rate and you must ask and don’t stop asking.

–  In order to mitigate risk: Ask for 50% upfront.

–  How to justify your rate: Because it supports a whole network of professionals.

–  Have (or pretend to have) an agent who negotiates your rate on behalf of you.

–  Have (or pretend to have) an invoice department who collects your money on your behalf.

 

Prepare for pitching your business

–  What does your client need? What solution can you offer?

–  Explain your / your followers’ value.

–  Have your basics covered. Be very familiar with your admin. Get your certificates, be registered at correct departments and on important platforms.

–  Do your homework and research.

–  Offer Added-On Values.

 

After the main conversation the questions were opened up to the audience:

 

 

A very interactive event, where everyone could learn from real experiences being shared.

 

 

Media 24 offered a deep-dive into mobile advertising with their first 24.com Mobile Study presentation.

 

The context of the study was that significant mobile growth was noted in the consumption of 24.com, but advertising revenue is still most prominent on desktop.

 

This shows that the user is ahead of the game with mobile browsing whereas the advertising industry is lagging behind.

To eliminate all doubts of investing in mobile advertising, 24.com shared insightful results, such as:

 

In 24.com’s study of mobile advertising campaigns, after significant exposure they ran a survey in place of the ad, establishing an average brand uplift of almost 8%.

View this post on Instagram

24.com #Mobile #Study #Report

A post shared by TrulyJuly (@creativecommunications) on

 

Best performing media for mobile advertising: Eye-catching moving imagery like Animated GIF or video.

View this post on Instagram

24.com #Mobile #Study #Report

A post shared by TrulyJuly (@creativecommunications) on

 

Brand uplift can be further increased when implementing audience targeting in the mobile advertising campaign.

View this post on Instagram

24.com #Mobile #Study #Report

A post shared by TrulyJuly (@creativecommunications) on

 

And quite significantly: In mobile advertising there is no relationship between brand lift and CTR!

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Research and Analytics at 24.com, summarises the key takeouts from the 24.com Mobile Study.

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Research and Analytics at 24.com, summarises the key takeouts from the 24.com Mobile Study.

 

 

Last year I was surprised the Safer Internet Day (SID) passed by me,

this year I already know the reason:

 

South Africa’s Film and Publication Board is doing nothing to promote Safer Internet Day, such an important awareness campaign.

Same story as last year: the Safer Internet Day (SID) initiative is still “Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities.”

Same story as last year: the Safer Internet Day (SID) initiative is still “Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities.”

 

So it’s up to us to do something for Safer Internet Day 2019:

Pledge your support for a Safer Internet in SA or Report a Cybercrime.

 

 

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I thought I’m being clever switching my phone to German.

But now all my apps are by default in German.

So I get to see all the bad German translations.

 

What a translation mess! This calendar is meant to display the weekdays, but it's all nonsense in German.

What a translation mess! This calendar is meant to display the weekdays, but it’s all nonsense in German.

 

Translation Fail from English to German:

 

This is what you get when using automised translation instead of human localisation:

‘Sun’ as in ‘Sunday’ gets translated as ‘Sonne’ meaning ‘the sun’.

‘Wed’ as in ‘Wednesday’ gets translated as ‘Heiraten’ meaning ‘to wed’.

‘Thurs’ gets translated as ‘Du’ meaning ‘you’, no idea how they came up with that one.

The rest they didn’t even bother.

 

Also: Where in the world does the week start with Sunday?

 

As a human it’s easy to see the mistakes. Shocking how apps don’t care about other languages and create such nonsense.

 

#LocalisationFail

 

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With my new phone I thought I’m being clever and use it in German:

 

Living in an English speaking country, I gather it adds a bit of security and protection if not everyone around me can understand what my phone is communicating.

 

However, what I didn’t consider is that my phone is now doing everything in German: Every app I download is by default set to German, and there’s no option anywhere along the line to choose my language preference.

 

A usability fail from designers who don’t understand bi- or multi-lingual customers.

 

Now that I've set my phone to German all apps are by default in German and I get to see the many crappy translation fails...

Now that I’ve set my phone to German all apps are by default in German and I get to see the many crappy translation fails…

 

And of course the translations are catastrophic, as ‘Tools’ can mean many things, but the chosen translation in German ‘Werkzeuge’ does not:

‘Werkzeuge’ is only what you find in your toolbox, not some extra apps on your phone.

‘Instrumentarium’ or ‘Hilfsmittel’ would’ve been more correct, but I guess it’s too late now for proper language use…

 

Especially in the tech space, any use of another language besides English is mostly a joke.

 

#LocalisationFail

 

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Thanks to the GDPR every website is now asking for your permission on this and that and what?

 

No idea what it says, but I 'Akkoord en Sluiten' then.

No idea what it says, but I ‘Akkoord en Sluiten’ then.

 

Wanting to access an English webpage in a different country, I am forced to first agree (That’s what I can gather with my little dutch ‘akkoord’ means) before this pop-up window closes (I guess that’s what ‘sluiten’ means) and lets me continue to the site.

 

The practice of forcing you to agree to something because otherwise you can’t access the content, is frowned upon and some argue illegal as per GDPR.

 

After all, I could simply access your website while you don’t collect my data, that should be the consumer’s right.

 

But how valid can my agreement really be taken if I made it in a language I don’t understand?

 

For all I know I could’ve signed my life away there thinking it was about cookies.

 

And yet the data collected makes this a perfectly law compliant practice. – After all they’ve fulfilled their legal requirement to get my Cookie Consent.

 

#LocalisationFail

 

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When your content goes viral and people start sharing your post on Facebook, you might want to take note of it.

Spare yourself the hassle of having to scroll through timelines at a later stage in an attempt to find a particular post.

 

Save the permalink of the shared post for your records

 

1.  Find your post on the timeline it has been shared to.

 

Click on the three dot more options menu icon.

In the drop-down menu click on ‘Show in tab’.

Right-hand drop-down menu: Click on 'Show in tab'.

Right-hand drop-down menu: Click on ‘Show in tab’.

 

2.  The post now sits in a tab in the window. Your browser window must be wide enough for the tab to show.

 

Click on the gear options menu.

In the drop-down menu click on ‘See full post’.

Right-hand options menu: Click on 'See full post'.

Right-hand options menu: Click on ‘See full post’.

 

3.  Voilà! Your shared post is shown in the full window, with its permalink.

 

Click in the browser window address bar.

Select and copy the permalink.

The post's permalink shows in the address bar.

The post’s permalink shows in the address bar.

 

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The official Microsoft Help Page in German seriously presents me with English screenshots to accompany the guiding process on my German computer:

Localisation Fail – Microsoft Help uses English Screengrabs in German copy

Localisation Fail – Microsoft Help uses English Screengrabs in German copy

 

As you can see German technical words such as ‘Systemsteuerung’ are very different from the English ‘Control Panel’.

This is not a direct translation and thus can turn out to be difficult to find, even when you’re familiar in both languages.

 

But besides possible problems this can cause, it’s simply a slap in the face of lazy customer service.

 

Especially with anything that requires help, the way to fix it should be straight forward and, well, helpful.

If visual instructions are included, these need to be translated for the local market, too.

 

That’s why localisation is so essential: The entire process needs to be recreated in the local language and settings to provide the context needed to fully understand the translation.

 

This is a big fat #LocalisationFail for Microsoft.

 

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The ‘404 Not Found’ error is one of the most recognisable errors encountered on the internet. – So we’ve all been there.

 

It occurs when the web page you’re looking for can’t be found.

 

This can happen for two reasons:

–  You inserted a wrong URL.

–  The website has been removed.

 

Depending on how user friendly the designer of the online presence was, the HTTP 404 error leaves you usually with nothing much helpful.

 

What a wasted opportunity!

 

Turn your 404 error into a customer bonding experience

 

A great example for an Error 404 well done: "Looks like you got lost. No worries, our rocket will take you back home."

A great example for an Error 404 well done: “Looks like you got lost. No worries, our rocket will take you back home.”

 

A little effort put into the design of the default 404 error message goes a long way:

Instead of a frustrating dead end, your customer will remember with a smile how you helped them out of a fickle situation.

 

Learn more Content Marketing tips by following Content Coach on Facebook.

 

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I’m a big fan of LinkedIn.

 

It has served me well to organise my networking contacts and get recruited for jobs.

 

Honing LinkedIn has now rewarded me with 15,000 Followers. Wow!

 

I made it past 15,000 Followers on LinkedIn.

I made it past 15,000 Followers on LinkedIn.

 

Thank you to all my connections on LinkedIn for staying in touch! 🙂

 

Read how to promote your business on LinkedIn.

Learn how to market your business on LinkedIn.

 

Join my network on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trulyjuly.

 

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AfricaCom is happening for the 21st time in Cape Town.

AfricaCom is happening for the 21st time in Cape Town.

 

AfricaCom is the world’s largest African Telecoms, Media & Technology Industries event running for the 21st time this year.

 

I was lucky to nearly attend half of the AfricaCom events, lucky, because AfricaCom offers invaluable networking opportunties.

Just check out my LinkedIn profile: many of my connections I established at AfricaCom.

 

Also this year’s AfricaCom event is packed with networking and learning opportunities:

Headliners: AfricaCom will present a series of top talks from some of the world’s leading experts in their field. The content is free to all registered visitors and should not be missed. The programme kicks off at 09H00 on Tuesday and will be held in Auditorium 2 in CTICC 1.

Hear from the likes of: Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO MTN; Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission; Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, Republic of Ghana; Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Special Advisor, Smart Africa, Former Minister, Ministry of Information Technology and Communication, Government of Rwanda; Herman Singh, Group Chief Digital Officer, MTN; Mohamed Dabbour, CEO, Africa, ‎Millicom; Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, MTN; Siyabonga Mahlangu, Group Executive: Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Telkom; Nicholas Naidu, Managing Executive: Technology Strategy, Architecture & Innovation, Vodacom and Francis Mumbi, Innovation Lead, Stanbic Bank.

Premium Conference tracks: There are a number of in-depth and highly pertinent keynote presentations, panel discussions and meet & greet sessions this year. Make sure you have your delegate or VIP pass to gain entry into these critical conversations, shaping Africa’s digital future.

Technology Arena: Housed here is the AHUB (with an exceptional line-up of panellists and discussions); Africa Video Forum, an array of cutting edge exhibitors; the AfricaCom 2020 – the centre of conversation and informative presentations and of course; the AfricaCom 2020 bar – happy hour from 16H00.

The Connectivity Hall: ­Located as normal in CTICC 1, is where you’ll discover the companies who are the backbone of Africa’s connected communications – the nuts and bolts that make it all happen.

AFest: AfricaCom’s official launch party, will take place at Shimmy Beach on Tuesday 13th November. With a great line-up of entertainment, this is the place for fun as well as important networking.

AfricaCom Awards: The awards will take place on Wednesday 14th November 2018. Notification of winners will be distributed post the event so as not to spoil the news. The after party, however, is free to attend to all registered parties.

 

AfricaCom is an excellent event to gain insights and information, but importantly, it is also a key networking opportunity to make new contacts, conclude business and plan for the future.

 

I can’t wait to meet all my AfricaCom buddies again! If you’d like to connect with me at AfricaCom, register for a FREE visitor pass.

AfricaCom is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 13th to 15th November 2018. Just pop by, visitor registrations can also be done at the event.

 

Hope to see you there! 🙂

 

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My blog's stats give a great overview of my posting activity.

My blog’s stats give a great overview of my posting activity.

 

A year on from my article about #ABlogPostADay, I’m taking a break. 

 

So, life’s a beatch and I’m still trying out coping mechanisms.

 

While writing a blog post a day has helped me get through the worst, I am now ready to let go of this routine, turning the must-write into a fun-write, I hope.

 

Writing every day for the last 2 years has turned writing into such a strong habit, I feel awkward not doing it.

 

But as it is with most things: When you turn it from hobby to profession there’s the danger it loses some of the free spirited fun element.

 

Can taking a break make a difference?

 

How do you go about your Writing Routine?

 

#KeepReading #KeepWriting #KeepReading #KeepWriting #KeepReading #KeepWriting

 

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By default Facebook sends you an email for every little notification.

 

This can quickly fill up your email account.

 

You cannot completely stop this, but at least reduce the amount by choosing to receive ‘only notifications about your account, security and privacy’.

 

How to change your Facebook email notification settings

 

Go to Facebook Settings -> Notifications:

To view and amend your Facebook settings go to: https://www.facebook.com/settings

To view and amend your Facebook settings go to: https://www.facebook.com/settings

 

In Notifications click on Email or right-click open the link in a new tab to get to the Email Settings editing page:

To change the amount of email notification you receive from Facebook select ‘Email’ in 'Notifications settings'.

To change the amount of email notification you receive from Facebook select ‘Email’ in ‘Notifications settings’.

 

In your Email settings chose to receive ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’:

For the least amount of email notifications from Facebook select ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’ beneath ‘WHAT YOU’LL RECEIVE’.

For the least amount of email notifications from Facebook select ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’ beneath ‘WHAT YOU’LL RECEIVE’.

 

At last, a bit less of the FOMO inducing dark patterns manipulation.

 

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Facebook is filling up my Gmail with notification emails.

 

I was clever enough to filter all Facebook emails into one folder. But I had not expected to get this many notifications!

 

Ooops! I had not noticed that I nearly accumulated 50,000 Facebook emails.

Oops! I hadn’t noticed I nearly accumulated 50,000 Facebook emails.

 

Every little excuse there could be, Facebook uses by default to spam you with their notification emails.

 

If you, like me, are wanting to turn off this clogging up of email accounts, you have to change the default settings in Facebook.

 

At last, a bit less of the FOMO inducing dark patterns manipulation.

 

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Using CapeNature’s hashtag #AccessWeek earns me 4th place in Google search results.

 

The power of the #hashtag: Google displays the #AccessWeek hashtag around the internet in its search results.

The power of the #hashtag: Google displays the #AccessWeek hashtag around the internet in its search results.

 

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English words and their many meanings…

 

Google Translate gets it wrong: 'Abandoned Plot' does not mean 'Verlassene Handlung'.

Google Translate gets it wrong: ‘Abandoned Plot’ does not mean ‘Verlassene Handlung’.

 

Trying to find a precise translation of ‘abandoned plot’ produced a funny result, as ‘plot’ can of course also refer to the storyline of a book or movie.

 

‘Verlassene Handlung’ sounds like having given up on the underlying thread of meaning.

 

Kind of what goes through my mind when I look at the abandoned plot next door…

 

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Wow! 1337 likes on Yours *TrulyJuly*: www.trulyjuly.wordpress.com!

Wow! 1337 likes on Yours *TrulyJuly*: http://www.trulyjuly.wordpress.com!

 

It’s lovely how WordPress keeps you motivated by tracking and celebrating achievements.

 

But when WordPress congratulated me on a milestone for 1337 likes, I had to raise my eyebrows:

 

1337? What an odd number!

 

Not however, if you turn it upside down like you would on a calculator. Then it spells ‘leet’.

 

‘leet’ as in ‘elite’. This is hacker ‘5p34k’ and means someone is very good at a game, or generally at anything. Reaching ‘leet’ level means you’re no longer a noob, as in newbie.

 

You might’ve come across leetspeak when you tried to be clever about creating a safe password.

 

Check out the Leet Alphabet or try out a Universal Leet Converter or the L33t Translator.

 

Thanks for your feedback and likes on my blog Yours TrulyJuly!

I’m really 7h4nkful for that! 🙂

 

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When it looks too good to be true… it probably is!

 

A Google image search gives more information about any picture.

A Google image search gives more information about any picture.

 

A profile picture that looks too professional – like it was done for a PR story – can be an indication for a fake identity.

 

If there’s anything about the photo or the account that doesn’t add up, it’s good practice to check the profile for its validity.

 

One easy step is to google that image.

 

Google will even do the guess for you and assign the correct person to that photo.

 

Once you’ve confirmed it is a fake account, you need to quickly report it.

 

Always report fake profiles.

Always report fake profiles.

 

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Collect your token! Enter the code below & swap them for freebies & discounts.

Collect your token! Enter the code below & swap them for freebies & discounts.

 

What a great idea: Every time I buy my favourite product I can collect tokens and exchange them for gimmicks.

However: A token of 14 (!) characters, all written in upper case to make reading even harder, is what I call non-userfriendly.

Surely the security level required for such a simple voucher scheme can do with half of the characters.

And surely it’s possible to print it in a more readable way, maybe all lower case since our phones automatically switch to lower case, too.

But making the voucher code so complicated that half of the consumers won’t even bother is also a great money saving strategy.  😮

 

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Facebook uses dark patterns to pressurise into paying for reach. Nothing social about these social media...

Facebook uses dark patterns to pressurise into paying for reach. Nothing social about these social media…

 

I’m not a fan of Facebook’s money making methods, but here’s an example how ineffective it is anyway:

 

Facebook prompts me to spend R150 to reach up to 470 people.

 

On a post that’s already performing well, apparently better than 85% of the other posts.

 

Does that exclude then the previous post which reached 2637 people organically?

 

Why should I spend money on a post that’s already performing well?

 

And for a reach that’s only a fifth of what I normally get, for free?

 

It’s dark patterns at its best, once again brought to you by FOMO inducing Facebook practices.

 

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The Daily News are not ready for GDPR.

The Daily News are not ready for GDPR.

 

Did somebody not do their homework?

Some major US sites did not manage to be GDPR compliant in time and still block their site to EU users.

It’s weird, because it’s not like the solution wasn’t freely available, for example: WordPress offers it free, and ahead of time.

 

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My blog is growing exponentially. Thank you!

Halfway through the year I reached the same views as all of last year.

 

Blog stats of Yours *TrulyJuly* - halfway year mark

Blog stats of Yours *TrulyJuly* – halfway year mark

 

And that even though I’m doing everything wrong: My topics are rather random, but so is life.

The only consistency I manage to stick to is to write #ABlogPostADay.

And to keep a high level of quality according to Content Marketing good practices for creating VAC = Value Added Content.

 

I think it shows that anything we really focus on is bound to become a success. That should give any writer hope.

In addition it shows that there are lovely people out there who indeed take the time to read my writing. That gives me hope.

 

Thank you for finding this blog, for reading my posts and for liking and commenting!

And if you’re a fellow blogger: Keep up the good work! It’s worth it!

 

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Ensure you have a Style Guide.

Ein Style Guide ist eine gute Sache.

 

Viele Unternehmen haben zumindest einen Brand Guide. Genauso wichtig ist der Style Guide.

 

Definition:

Ein Style Guide determiniert die Sprache und das Layout, mit denen die Repräsentierung eines Image in allen Medien gewährleistet ist.

 

Für Brand Recognition ist es wichtig, immer die gleiche Präsentation der Unternehmenswerte zu verwenden, von offizieller Korrespondenz z. B. Briefe, PDFs zu Marketing Maßnahmen z. B. Poster, TV Spots bis hin zur Online Präsenz z. B. Social Media, Mobiseiten.

 

Aber mit so vielen gut geschriebenen Style Guides frei zugänglich im Internet erhältlich, warum dann selbst einen kreieren?

 

 

Weshalb einen personifizierten Style Guide:

 

Anrede

Sie oder Du? Du klein oder groß? Vorname oder Familienname? Formell oder informell? Spitzname oder Titel? Individuell oder kollektiv? Abstrakt oder persönlich?

 

Rechtschreibung

Neue Rechtschreibung, alte Rechtschreibung? Oder irgendwie was dazwischen? Wer ist die Zielgruppe? Wer soll die Audience sein?

 

Grammatik

Dass wir fehlerfrei schreiben sollten, ist klar. Aber Grammatikregeln sind nicht immer so klar. Der Style Guide kann genau klamachen, wie Fehler vermieden werden können und welche Grammatik in welchen Fällen anzuwenden ist.

 

Format

Fett, kursiv, groß, klein, in Anführungsanzeichen, in Apostrophen, in Gänsefüßchen? Wie sollen wichtige Worte hervorgehoben werden?

 

Typography

Welcher Schriftzug die Firma repräsentieren soll ist entscheidend. Höchstens 2 verschiedene sollten eingesetzt werden für Lesefluß. Selbst der White Space zwischen den Spalten sollte definiert werden.

 

Themen

Ein Style Guide ist eine gute Möglichkeit die Themen zu bestätigen, die bevorzugt werden und umgekehrt: Welche Themen absolut Tabu sind.

 

Abkürzungen

Abkürzungen ja oder nein? Auf der einen Seite sieht’s faul aus, auf der anderen Seite spart’s Platz.

 

Großschreibung

Wie sollen Produktnamen, Markennamen, Slogans, Überschriften in der Body Copy referenziert werden? Groß geschrieben stechen sie heraus. aber kleinschreibung sieht hipper aus.

 

Zeichensetzung

Sogar auf das korrekte Beenden der Sätze muss hingewiesen werden. Eigentlich ist es recht simple: Sobald es ein vollständiger Satz ist, gehört da ein Punkt hin.
Aber Interpunktion ist so viel mehr: Komma, Semikolon, Doppelpunkt, Leerzeichen, Bindestrich oder Trennstrich oder Gedankenstrich,  Schrägstrich, AnführungszeichenKlammern (, ), [, ], <, >, {, }, )  … Soll ich weitermachen?

 

Datum und Uhrzeit

Die Möglichkeiten sind unendlich. Aber wenn man’s anders macht, gucken alle erstaunt.

 

Troublesome Words

Manche Begriffe haben keine klare Anweisung der Rechtschreibung, zum Beispiel: eBook versus e-book versus ebook versus Ebook. Welche Version ist die Norm?

 

Vokabular

Worte! Es gibt so viele davon. Im Style Guide kann das alles festgelegt werden:

–  An welchem Thema sich das Vokabular halt,

–  ob man simple oder fachbezogen schreiben sollte,

–  ob emotional oder konzeptuell,

–  einbezogen oder exklusiv,

–  positiv oder faktisch,

 

Links

Ob innerhalb der Webseite oder in einen neuen Tab verlinken, dass die Links gesäubert werden: Der Style Guide sollte den Layout Plan für die Online Präsenz enthalten.

 

Metadata

Barrierefreies Browsen ist ein Muss und Metadata kann ein einfacher Weg sein, den Standard zu erfüllen. Der Style Guide stellt sicher, dass Metadata korrekt ausgefüllt wird.

 

SEO

Der Style Guide listet alle für SEO wichtigen Keywords.

 

Beispiele

Ein weiterer Weg vom Style Guide Gebrauch zu machen ist Beispiele zu sammeln und zu erklären. Beschreiben und Regeln erstellen kann nur so viel. Authentische Beispiele anführen wie zu schreiben und wie nicht, machen den editorialen Stil klar.

 

 

Ein Style Guide spart Zeit:

In dem Moment, in dem mehrere Leute an einem Dokument zu Schaffen haben, muss einfach ein Style Guide her, um effektiv zusammen zu arbeiten: Alle wissen bereits, worauf sie achten müssen, das Proofreading geht schneller, es gibt keine Wiederholung der editoriellen Anweisungen und sollte doch etwas unklar sein, wird es eben hinzufügt.

 

Wie jede große Persönlichkeit sollte eine Marke einen distinktiven Tone & Voice anschlagen um gehört zu werden.

Ein guter Anfang eine Tonality aufzubauen ist, zu erkennen wie man sich von anderen Stimmen unterscheidet.

Diese Style Guides geben ein gutes Beispiel:

Zum Vergleich: Economist Style Guide

Gute Inhaltsliste: Wikipedia:Manual of Style.

 

Ensure you have a Style Guide.

Ensure you have a Style Guide.

 

Many companies at least have a brand guide. But just as important is a style guide.

 

Definition:

A style guide sets out the language and format used to represent a company’s image throughout the media.

 

For brand recognition it’s crucial to consistently use the same presentation of company values from official correspondence e.g. letters, PDFs to marketing means e.g. billboards, TV ads to online presence e.g. social media, mobisites.

 

Of course, with so many well written style guides freely accessible around the internet, why go through the trouble and create your own?

 

 

Why you need a customised Style Guide:

 

Salutation

First name or surname? Formal or informal? Nickname or title? Individually or collective? Abstract or personal?

 

Grammar

That we should write without any errors is clear. But grammar rules are not always that clear. The style guide can give particular reference to staying clear off common mistakes and clear up for specific cases what grammar is preferred.

 

Spelling

British English or American English? Who is your target group? Who do you want your audience to be?

 

Format

Fat, cursive, in capitals, in quotation marks, in apostrophes? How do you want to stress important wording?

 

Typography

Choosing the font to represent your brand is crucial. Stick to one or two typefaces for readability. Even the white space between lines and paragraphs needs to be defined.

 

Topics

A style guide is a great place to confirm topics to focus on, and in reverse: To make absolutely clear what topics are taboo.

 

Abbreviations

To use or not to use abbreviations? One the one hand it can look lazy. On the other hand it saves space.

 

Capitalisation

How to refer to product names, brand names, slogans in copy? With a capital letter they stick out. But it can look hipper to write only in small letters.

 

Punctuation

Even making sure sentences are correctly ended with a full stop is often needed. But punctuation is so much more: Brackets and parentheses, Ellipses, Commas, Colons, Semicolons, Hyphens, Dashes, Slashes… Shall I go on?

 

Dates and Times

The possibilities are endless. Yet, if you get it wrong, your audience will be puzzled.

 

Troublesome Words

Some words don’t have clear rules for spelling, for example: eBook versus e-book versus ebook versus Ebook. Which version should be consistently used?

 

Vocabulary

Words! So many to choose from. The style guide is the place to determine:

–  should your vocabulary draw on a certain theme

–  simple words or rather specific terminology

–  emotional or conceptual

–  inclusive or exclusive

–  positive or matter of fact

–  if politically correct and gender neutral terms are preferred.

 

Links

Linking within the site or in a new tab, cleaning up the link properly. The style guide should also contain layout rules for the online presence.

 

Metadata

Accessibility is a must and metadata can be an easy way to comply. The style guide ensures metadata is correctly filled in.

 

SEO

The style guide gives the opportunity to list all keywords essential for good SEO.

 

Examples

Another great way to make use of a style guide is to collect and present specific examples. Describing and setting out rules can only do so much. Listing concrete examples of how to write and how not to write makes the editorial style clear.

 

 

A Style Guide saves time:

In the Moment that more than one person works on a document, a Style Guide is needed: Everyone knows what to watch out for, the proofreading goes quicker, there are no repetitions of editorial instructions. And should indeed something not be clear, it simply gets added.

 

Just like any great personality your brand should have a distinct tone and voice in order to be heard.

 

A good way to start establishing your tonality is by differentiating from others.

As a great example of a style guide to compare your brand to: Economist Style Guide

And a good list of elements a style guide should contain: Wikipedia:Manual of Style.

 

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Facebook asks me to review my data settings a good 3 weeks late.

Facebook asks me to review my data settings a good 3 weeks late.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is applicable from  25th May 2018, but Facebook only asks me to review their data settings on 17th June 2018.

Interesting, especially as WordPress managed to not only inform its users ahead of time, but even offers GDPR compliant functionality automatically.

And it gets even more interesting, as it’s only possible to continue using Facebook when accepting the updated terms.

Note the trigger for checking updates, which is however empty of numbers:

Without accepting the updated terms I can no longer use Facebook.

Without accepting the new terms I can no longer use Facebook.

Well, let’s just sum this up as Facebook being fashionably late. 😮

 

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I’m a big fan of WordPress and this is why:

 

You might’ve received a lot of emails lately asking you to acknowledge the updated Privacy Policy according to the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

WordPress is no exception. They too had to update their Privacy Features and have communicated this ahead of time, from May 14th.

 

But they go a step further and help you stay compliant with GDPR too:

Akismet is a spam fighting WordPress plugin that protects millions of WordPress sites from comment and contact form spam.

 

As you can see from my screengrab above, Akismet is doing a great job: It has protected my blog from 12,894 spam comments.

Now it offers to display a privacy notice on my contact form.

 

I appreciate getting this support within the WordPress family.

Like with WordPress’s engagement for accessibility, it shows that they go the extra mile.

 

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Don't get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.

Don’t get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.

 

1) Synch all contacts on all devices

How many email accounts to you use? One for work, and a private one? And what about your phone, how many contacts are saved in there?

In order to have one up-to-date address book, all these contacts need to be synched and updated across all accounts and all devices.

 

2) Consolidate all contacts in one contact management system

A contact management system can be as simple as a well formatted Excel spreadsheet or as complicated as a full blown CRM software.

Either way, all address books across the entire organisation need to be consolidated in one place.

Whatever system you choose for this, it must fulfil at least one criteria: It must be possible to export all contacts as a .csv file in case you ever want to transfer your contacts to a different system.

If you use different platforms to interact with potential customers, make sure you regularly download and backup your connections data.

 

3) Collect all contact details

It’s easy to skip the formalities with well known contacts. Apparently this is rather the norm than the exception.

But when it comes to asking for your contact because you’ve been put back to reception and you don’t know their surname, or when it comes to sending out the mailer and you don’t know their correct title, you quickly realise how important it is to keep track of the full name, title, position, department, etc.

 

4) Update all contacts constantly

Your address book has no value if the contact details are outdated.

Make a point to always update your addresses as soon as there is a change.

Even better: Use a software that prompts your contacts to keep their contact details current.

 

5) Categorise your contacts

If you ever want to do anything with your contacts, such as sending out a mailer or driving a sales campaign, you need to label your connections.

This is not for you to remember who they are, but for the system to be able to sort all your contacts into different groups.

So think carefully how best to categorise your connections:

Start with high level tags, for example: family / friends / alumni / colleagues / customers / suppliers / authorities.

Depending on the purpose of your contact management system, you can then subdivide, for example customers can be tagged as clients / prospects / leads.

 

6) Reference your contacts

Just as important to tag for outgoing actions it is to keep reference of how you came by your connections.

Customer protection protocol requires that you can at any given time explain to any given person how you obtained their contact details.

So when you import connections to your contact management system, ensure you label these contacts according to their source.

That can be the platform, e.g. LinkedIn or the relationship owner, e.g. Sales or the place you first met, e.g. networking event.

 

7) Give context to your contacts

This is where you can implement ways to remember how you know your connections.

You can start with simple note-taking to keep a log about this contact. This is especially useful if you need to follow up with this connection.

Record the last contact date, personal information and funny moments, so you can hit if off like good old friends when you meet again.

 

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Success hardly comes from social media, but it certainly gets reflected on social media.

 

Here a great example:

Stardom needs no tweets.

Stardom needs no tweets.

Zodwa Wabantu‘s twitter account has over 10K followers besides the fact that she hasn’t tweeted anything!

It appears this twitter account isn’t even in use.

 

Zodwa’s more active twitter account – more active by 69 tweets – has over 25K followers.

 

If you wish you had such social media success, take this for a tip:

Do well in real life and the followers will follow!

 

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Google Translate gets it wrong and turns a small ball into a meat ball: 'Baellchen' does not always refer to 'frikkadelle'!

Google Translate gets it wrong and turns a small ball into a meat ball: ‘Baellchen’ does not always refer to ‘frikkadelle’!

The word I was looking for is ‘balletjie’, because when our puppies sleep, they curl up into a cutie balletjie.

‘Balletjie’ is the diminutive of ‘ball’ in Afrikaans.

I don’t speak Afrikaans, and ‘balletjie’ sounds very different from how it’s spelled – more like ‘ballikie’. But it’s such an awesome word that I try different hacks to get to the correct spelling.

One way of course could be to learn the Afrikaans grammar. Another could be to quickly look up the translation.

English doesn’t really have proper diminutives. You can say ‘little ball’ for a translation, but that doesn’t yield the results I’m looking for.

So I tried the German diminutive of ball: ‘Bällchen’.

And to my utter surprise Google translates this with ‘frikkadelle’!

‘Frikkadelle’ is of course a meat ball. For Google to turn a small ball into a meatball, not on! 😮

 

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In a drive to get more subscriptions, many brands lure in new subscribers with the prospect of winning something.

I always felt that was pretty unfair to existing subscribers – after all their loyalty should get rewarded just as much.

The least already signed up customers should be allowed to do, is enter that competition too.

Here a great example of going one step further and proactively recognising and rewarding existing subscribers:

I'm already signed up, but can still enter this competition. - To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.

I’m already signed up, but can still enter the competition. – To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.

There are good reasons for marketing automation software to manage your customer engagement.

It works even better when you add a human touch to it: Like you would recognise returning customers, they should feel welcomed by your brand, too.

 

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The problem with computers is that somehow us humans ended up having to learn how to command a machine.

If a PC is really supposed to help us, it’d be programmed to speak human to us.

 

Luckily thanks to customer centricity and it’s broader acceptance in all aspects of business, human to machine interfaces are improving.

Here a great example how to avoid technical jargon with the typical error 404 code and reassure your users with a customised message that it wasn’t their fault:

Something didn't work. Instead of technical jargon, the user is being reassured: "It’s not you. It’s us. Give it another try, please."

Something didn’t work. Instead of technical jargon, the user is being reassured: “It’s not you. It’s us. Give it another try, please.”

 

Wait what? But that’s already past! Why didn’t I hear about it?

After the event and still "Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities."

After the event and still “Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities.”

Well, maybe because the Safer Internet Day (SID) initiative is still “Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities” from the South Africa Safer Internet Day Committee – Film and Publication Board.

And there’s no reference whatsoever to the Safer Internet Day 2018 on the Film and Publication Board website: http://www.fpb.org.za/press-statements

 

The only reference I could find googling was this PR info, published on 6 Feb late afternoon: Google partners with FPB to inform kids on Safer Internet Day.

There are a few more mentions, but only from tech publications.

 

This might give an idea why there’s such a digital divide in South Africa: The content it would take to create awareness – if it exists, it’s still not being spread to reach its audience.

Perhaps a bit of VAC could help?

 

The good news is, there’s always another one: The next Internet Safety Day will take place on Tuesday, 5 February 2019.

 

In the meantime, you can still pledge your support of Internet Safety in SA: http://internetsafety.org.za

 

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It’s a simple thing to remember:

The day after the event everything advertising the event is outdated.

 

Yet, we somehow always only ever seem to plan up to the event.

 

But the day(s) after the event are just as crucial:

 

As the reviews are pouring in, photos being uploaded, colleagues telling their stories at work, most people who missed the event and hear about it afterwards would probably like to make sure they catch the next opportunity of such an event.

 

However, very often I find event pages leading up to an event stay frozen on their “Register now!” hype:

The day after the event visitors to the event page are still invited to register for the event.

The day after the event visitors to the event page are still invited to register for the event.

The registration of course no longer works as you have to frustratingly find out when clicking the button.

"The event has completed and registration is now closed." Ok, so what next? Registration is not possible, Log-in is not applicable for first time visitors.

“The event has completed and registration is now closed.” Ok, so what next? Registration is not possible, Log-in is not applicable for first time visitors.

 

A missed chance of connecting with the people who would make a repeat of the event possible.

 

A tip to make the best out of your event is to think one step further:

 

After the event is Before the event.

 

If you treat the day after the event like the first day of the lead-up to a new event, you run little risk of leaving your event promotion material outdated.

 

Even if you don’t intend to repeat the event, this mindset makes you consider what comes next and can help you cater for those who have missed it or attendees who are checking back for more information.

 

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Check out this long url linking to this photo! It contains much more info than just the photo url, so make sure you clean it up first before you share it.

Check out this long url linking to this photo! It contains much more info than just the photo url, so make sure you clean it up first before you share it.

 

A url is not just a url in times of digital tracking.

 

After clicking on a link, chances are the url contains lots of cryptic tracking code.

 

An example in Facebook:

 

If I want to share a photo, the photo url can be a long tail containing more information than just the link to the picture. This could even be sensitive information, but is definitely unnecessary, and thus rather annoying:

https://web.facebook.com/pg/RatsMakeGreatPets/photos/a.508095925914082.1073741831.489807454409596/1663840230339640/?type=3&theater&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&notif_id=1517478207624645

 

Look at this long url! It tells me the Facebook page, the photo album ID, the FB page ID, the actual photo ID, some stuff in between, the viewing mode, some notification info and some more cryptic code.

 

On top of it, Facebook shows my browsing device, in this case ‘web’. However, some apps don’t recognise ‘web’ and what if I want to share this link with someone who is not using a desktop computer to browse Facebook, but their mobile phone.

 

In addition, Facebook adds the identification for a Facebook page ‘pg’, which is basically superfluous code that just stretches the url even longer.

 

Instead, this link gets you to the photo just as well: https://www.facebook.com/RatsMakeGreatPets/photos/1663840230339640

 

Once you click on it, Facebook might extend this link to their long url, but at least the url you use to share is neat, short, to the point, and does not run the risk to reveal more than you had intended.

 

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WordPress has an integrated spellchecker. It also automatically tells me when there's nothing to check: No writing errors were found.

WordPress has an integrated spellchecker. It also automatically tells me when there’s nothing to check: “No writing errors were found.” – Phew! 😉

 

Because we all make mistakes, why take a chance when it’s so easy to double check:

 

Write your copy in a text editor with a spellchecker. At least it’ll help you get rid of those really silly errors.

 

When it comes to using copy in an image editing program, copy and paste the text into a word editor to confirm your grammar is correct.

 

Even better: Use an integrated spellchecker in the software. Most programs offer to activate a spellchecker or to install a widget or plugin.

 

Don’t fall for the temptation to switch off the spellchecker.

Maybe you’re using professional terminology and get a lot of words highlighted as wrong. Rather add these to your spellchecker’s dictionary and customise it to your needs.

 

And because we all still make mistakes, always proofread your copy.

 

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Always remember that the new year is next year.

 

I know that sounds odd, but it happens too easily that we keep on writing the old year when we mean the new year. Maybe it’s some kind of force of habit.

 

Especially during the switch-over in December and January, various examples pop up.

This sounds like a great resolution for the new year - which is 2018.

This sounds like a great resolution for the new year – which is 2018.

 

It’s easy to miss when proofreading copy for the new year, because, as we still are in the old year, the old year looks right to us.

 

So always double check the year!

 

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“A LinkedIn connection means you’ll never lose touch”. Exactly the reason why I keep on connecting with my contacts on LinkedIn.

 

The connections you make are valuable. But keeping in touch with them poses a problem: Their contact details can change.

Maintaining a good relationship with potential customers is key to business success, but what if the contact details are outdated?

Or worse: What if your contact details update? You only need to change jobs and the rapport you built over time disappears in the moment your work email is discontinued.

One way to maintain your business relationships is through LinkedIn.

The advantage: You remain connected no matter what happens to the contact details.

 

3 simple steps to import your contacts to LinkedIn

 

1) Export your address book to a .csv, .txt or .vcf. file.

 

2) Go to www.linkedin.com/mynetwork/import-contacts and click on ‘Upload a file’. Browse to and select your contacts database.

 

3) Select the contacts you want to stay in touch with and press ‘Add connections’.

 

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#Good #Practice: This is a friendly way to start a customer relationship.

#Good #Practice: A friendly way to start a customer relationship.

 

When organising an event it can be tricky to gauge what your audience expects.

 

I like to give super detailed event descriptions so anyone who’s interested knows what will happen.

 

However, I still don’t know what exactly the attendees want to get out of the event.

For example if I organise an event “Content Marketing for Bloggers” there can still be questions ranging from text to imagery, website to podcasts, from LinkedIn to accessibility.

 

So why not run a pre-event survey?

It works great as a reminder for the event and gives you the chance to address everyone’s questions in detail.

 

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So no-one can sign you up for a subscription without your knowledge, a double opt-in is required.

 

That means the email or phone you signed up with needs to be confirmed.

 

This can however go easily wrong, so why not list the steps how to check for that confirmation email in a well designed thank-you screen such as this:

This thank-you screen provides a checklist and prompts to look for the confirmation email.

This thank-you screen provides a checklist and prompts to look for the confirmation email.

 

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My projection for profile views looks rather gloomy on LinkedIn:

Who knows how these forecast algorithms work, but this one seems to be quite a downer. ;)

Who knows how these forecast algorithms work, but this one seems to be quite a downer. 😉

 

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Even though I’m not actively looking, it’s good to know my LinkedIn profile still delivers results.

Even though I’m not actively looking, it’s good to know my LinkedIn profile still delivers results.

 

When I moved to London I had to very quickly catch up to the fast paced environment of this mega city.

Things worked differently in London: Where in Germany the illusion you’d work your entire life for one company and they’d look after you was still high flying, in London we were simply thrown into the future of the job market: Freelancing, contracting, project based work.

I came to London to study full time, but this city was so expensive, I also had to work – full time.

 

Luckily I already had work experience, as I had served an apprenticeship before starting to study. So I upgraded quickly from waitressing to admin temping to translating to copywriting.

 

Then I made a discovery that would boost my career: Recruitment agencies!

All you had to do was send them your CV, and they look for a job for you.

 

And they did another great thing: They all used LinkedIn.

Forget about the laborious task of emailing updated CVs around. All I needed was the link to my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trulyjuly

 

Now recruitment agencies would get in touch with me based on the keyword search results on LinkedIn. Not requesting my CV, but inviting me to an interview for a job that matched my LinkedIn profile.

Eventually companies followed suit, with some moving their entire recruitment process to LinkedIn.

And since LinkedIn started actively suggesting ‘Jobs You May Be Interested In’, all I got to do is check the job matches.

 

LinkedIn is a powerful online networking tool, and the one social media professionals sign up to with one purpose in mind: business.

Ensure you make the best out of your LinkedIn presence, here’s how:

How To Promote Your Business On LinkedIn

How To Market Your Business On LinkedIn

 

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This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on 'Explain, Please'.

This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on ‘Explain, Please’.

 

Humour is a real tricky thing. Not everyone finds the same things funny. Some don’t find it funny at all!

 

There’s a fine line between satire, irony and insult, and in nowadays time of post-truth it’s difficult to know if your audience indeed gets it. They might just start a shitstorm on you…

 

But humour is also an incredible means to bond: Laugh together and the ice is broken. Share the same humour and become friends.

 

So if you’re after strengthening the relationship with your existing customers, a little humour might help.

 

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Being prompted to check out 'New Groups' for nothing: Why am I alerted to 'Suggested Groups' when then there aren't any?

Being prompted to check out ‘New Groups’ for nothing: Why am I alerted to ‘Suggested Groups’ when then there aren’t any?

Lately I’m being prompted all sorts of things on Facebook: To link Instagram, to link groups, to create a new post, to keep up the likes… It keeps me busy.

Especially as half of these alerts are outdated or simply fake:

Facebook keeps on alerting me about the same thing, for example I’m constantly alerted about my inbox, as if it sits on a timer set to bug me at regular intervals. I’ve actioned on that message long time ago, but I’m still being bugged about it.

But the worst is to be alerted about something that turns out to be nothing:

Facebook offers me to check ‘Suggested Groups’. Yet, when I do it tells me: “We don’t have any suggestions at the moment.” The red ’20+’ alert is however still hovering next to my ‘New Groups’, urging me to click on it.

Dark patterns at work. 😮

 

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Most social media limit the space you can use to communicate your message.

Twitter is one of the extremest, giving you only 140 characters per tweet.

Similarly your profile copy for your Twitter bio is also restricted, here Twitter is a bit more generous with 160 characters.

So use what little space you have wisely, as every character counts!

For example: Why repeat your username if your social media handle already clearly identifies you. Rather use the space to promote your current hashtag campaign.

Like in this well executed Twitter marketing:

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile and current hashtag campaign.

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile AND current hashtag campaign.

 

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A classic blunder: The German article 'die' reads like the English verb 'die'.

A classic blunder: The German article ‘die’ reads like the English verb ‘die’.

 

“Die” is the female version of the article “the” in German.

So all it actually says is: “The SundanceFamily”.

But reading “Die SundanceFamily” in an English context of course makes you think someone is out there to kill them.

Why an English name has to be used to promote a product in Germany is a mystery and why they, when they are so anglophone, not realise that “Die” could be read as, well, “Die” is even more puzzling.

It shows that localisation rather than translation is important, and of course, proofreading helps too.

 

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How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.

How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.

 

By law and to be ethically sound every promotional email should contain an easy one-click unsubscribe button.

 

However, you don’t want to give up on your subscribers so easily.

 

The usual ‘sad to see you go’ might be polite, but only confirms their action.

 

Instead, prevent your customers from unsubscribing by first offering them a real alternative: To pause their subscription.

 

This might not mean much to your subscribers, but for you it’s a second chance: It gives you the time to work on your newsletter and improve it. So when their subscription is back on, they hopefully like what they see and stay subscribed.

 

This will lower churn and improve your customer retention, showing how creating Value Added Content can have real impact on business success.

 

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Whether you’re a brand, company or person, in order to be recognised your voice needs to be consistent. That’s why I recommend to develop a Copy Strategy.

 

If you do so, you have a much greater chance of letting your unique voice shine through.

 

There you go! Terms don't have to be boring.

There you go! Terms don’t have to be boring.

 

Like in this example, where they could have referred you to the usual terms and conditions, but decided to rather let you agree to the fascinating terms of service.

 

If this is ironic, sarcastic or even true, at least there is some personality coming through, making this a more personal and less officious experience.

 

Because searching ‘rat’ is too unlikely according to Facebook, I'm being presented search results for 'ray'.

Because searching ‘rat’ is too unlikely according to Facebook, I’m being presented search results for ‘ray’.

 

When Facebook autocorrects your search from ‘rat’ to ‘ray’ it can feel very lonely, having pet rats.

Of course, this is just one of their predictable algorithmically calculated assumptions – and it’s working badly at that because I have ‘rats‘, ‘pet rats‘ and ‘wild rats‘ as my interests.
But it shows how the majority of Facebook users tick: They misspell ‘Ray’ with ‘rat’.

Pity they never get to find out that rats make great pets. 😮

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

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When I open up Facebook I have gazillions of notifications, and it’s pretty clear that these are in Facebook’s – and not in my – interest:

 

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events. While this information comes to no surprise, it's the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events.
While this information comes to no surprise, it’s the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

 

Today I was informed that a couple of my contacts “are interested in going to an event in Cape Town tomorrow”. What a surprise.

Clicking on this ‘notification’ I land on the events page of a club night. Really not something I’m interested in.

Facebook will regard my click as a success, whereas I find this incredibly annoying. Facebook is not my AI diary. In fact, it offers me such predictable content – like the update to being married leads to ads about babies – that I’m simply frustrated.

 

But now I’m not just bombarded with consumerism, I’m also pressured to be hip and cool and constantly know what everyone else is doing and on top of it best participate in it.

Facebook fuels FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Just another reason to switch off and appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)!

 

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In today’s information overload it’s difficult to get people to do something without giving them a reason why.

 

Here’s a great example how to present an attractive hook and bulletpoint the very convincing reasons why right away:

 

A great hook together with a reason why list make a convincing case.

A great hook with a list of reasons why make a convincing case.

 

The “I’m in” button leads to a donation page. Making a contribution allows access to exclusive content.

 

This email was the last chance, so this campaign has now ended.

 

It’ll be interesting to see how successful this sponsorship drive was.

 

According to my theory of Quality over Quantity Common Sense Media deserve to fare well.

 

Can you spot the spelling mistake?

Can you spot the spelling mistake?

 

Here we have an advertisement for a copywriting course, which is referred to as ‘copyright course’. An easy to make writing mistake with this homophone.

 

Of course the quotes could suggest someone else said this and the blunder was copied over from them, except that this someone else isn’t named, making the quotes pretty pointless. The missing punctuation also doesn’t help.

 

I’d go as far as saying for SEO purposes it could very well make sense to include a spelling error probably many people make when typing their search into Google.

 

However, I cringe at such rookie mistake and wonder if they are following good practices such as proofreading their copy. 😮

 

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While waiting for the page to load, Flickr reassures you:

While waiting for the page to load, Flickr reassures you: “This is the web page you are looking for.”

In South Africa internet is a joke and most fancy designed websites take ages to load.

Waiting for a web page to load is not only irritating, it’s also confusing if you don’t know what’s going on: Should you reload? Should you start over? How long do you have to wait?

Good Practice is to inform your users where they are and what to expect, so there are no unwanted surprises.

Flickr is doing an excellent job keeping you reassured you are doing the right thing, and they go a step further and make it entertaining.

From “Firing up the engines” to “Questioning the Magic Donkey” to “Herding pandas”, you’ll get all sorts of fun announcements while the page is loading, making it just a little more bearable having to wait. 🙂

Furthermore, Flickr keeps you entertained while waiting for their page to load:

Flickr keeps you entertained while their page is loading: “Questioning the Magic Donkey”. – Certainly something to do when waiting. 😉

 

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LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

 

LinkedIn offers a very attractive target group, with a high income and twice the average buying power.

In addition, LinkedIn users are open for business: “A full 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions. With 76 percent preferring to use recommendations from their professional networks, the site is essentially ‘built for social selling’.” – Hootsuite

So make sure your company gets found on LinkedIn.

On top of it go the extra mile to proactively get your business out there:

 

Publish VAC = Value Added Content

Share your content expertise by creating relevant posts. Be careful about actually publishing on LinkedIn Pulse, always keep your content on your own platform and link to it.

 

Cross-Pollinate: Connect with other social media

LinkedIn is well integrated with other social media. Simply ensure all the boxes are ticked to cross-publish your content to / from other social networks.

 

Engage with Groups

You can only join 50 groups, so choose wisely. Participate actively in LinkedIn Groups by posting relevant content and commenting. Create a company branded group for exposure of your business.

 

Use your professional headline as a status update

LinkedIn calls the text under your name on your profile your professional headline. It is by default displayed with your LinkedIn Profile Card. In addition, every time you update your headline, your entire network gets notified. So utilise this space to announce company updates or offer special deals, give-aways and links to more info.

 

Cold Message

Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find prospects. Keep in mind it’s about making meaningful connections so set a strict filter to get good results. Remember the search terms, so you can find these potential customers again in future. Draft the invitation message carefully: Be clear what the mutual benefit is of connecting.

 

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LinkedIn - Connect to Opportunity

LinkedIn – Connect to Opportunity

 

LinkedIn is the de facto tool for professional networking.

So basically think of LinkedIn as a networking do:

 

Make an Impression

Just like you’d dress to impress at a networking event, ensure your web presence looks neat: Optimise your branding for the LinkedIn image sizes. Adapt your corporate copy for the LinkedIn professional business tone.

 

Introduce Yourself

Complete Your Personal Profile.

This is your online resume, so make sure there are no gaps. The more you complete it, the better the chances for your profile to pop up in search results.

 

Present Your Business

Fill in Your Company Page.

Viewers of your LinkedIn profile can click on the companies you work/ed for. Filling out your company profile ensures they can find the information they’re looking for. They can also follow your company page to receive updates.

 

Pitch Your Products

Create a Showcase Page.

Feature a special product or service and put it in the spotlight. You can post updates and get followers just like on your company page. You can also monitor your showcase page’s analytics and learn which product or what content proves more successful.

 

Connect

Just like you would exchange business cards at a networking event, connect with potential prospects on LinkedIn. Send them an invitation which is relevant, so they accept. Start by connecting to people in your existing network such as your school alumni or work colleagues.

 

Follow Up

LinkedIn recently improved the messaging experience to have professional conversations without having to change to another page. Now it’s even easier to break the ice. Just make sure you write your message compelling enough, so it actually gets read.

 

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Good Practice Tip: To avoid being regarded as spam, ensure you include a Memory Jogger in your digital newsletter.

Good Practice Tip: To avoid being regarded as spam, ensure you include a Memory Jogger in your digital newsletter.

 

Every day we get bombarded with emails.

Nowadays it’s so easy to sign up to promotional emails: When we want that clever recipe or free ebook we probably end up with some sort of subscription.

How to tell which newsletter is worth cluttering your inbox?

 

Avoid churn by reassuring your subscribers.

Good Practice Tip: Add a memory jogger

Ensure you offer a link which answers the question: Why am I receiving this email?

If you leave this question unanswered you could lose potential prospects.

Or worse: Newsletter emails can land in the spam folder. So it’s important your subscribers identify you as not junk mail.

 

Google translates 'Eier abschrecken' in a funny way. ;)

Google translates ‘Eier abschrecken’ in a funny way. 😉

 

Lol, it’s funny when automated translation doesn’t get an idiom.

 

Eier abschrecken is the process of rapidly cooling down boiled eggs with cold water so they are easier to peel (which apparently is a myth anyway).

 

There is actually a close translation in English:
To shock the eggs, which means to plunge into ice water in order to halt the cooking.

 

So always remember to deter your eggs after you boiled them. 🙂

Deter? Don’t deter me! Not me, man. Deter, what does that even mean, deter? Why would you deter me? What has this world come to, when you get deterred at any given chance. And for what? Is it even worth it? All the deterring? That’s just, who’d want to deter all the time. Just, take a break. And, just not me. Yeah? Just don’t deter me.

Deter? Don’t deter me! :-S

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Build your own website!

Build your own website!

 

You’ve decided that you need a website, but what kind of online solution is best for you?

A straight forward way to determine what web presence works best for you is your budget. Essentially you can get everything, from 0 budget to crazy budget.

As I’m a fan of Marketing on a 0 Budget, here an overview of free platforms.

 

Free websites

 

Free basic sites – no authentic but customised url:

Webs, good examples: http://creativecommunications.webs.com /  http://ranzanitext.webs.com

Wix, good examples: www.wix.leaps.co.zawww.kidz.no

Weebly, good examples: http://deliciouskitchen.weebly.com /  www.aniwell.org.za

 

Open source solution – own coding possible:

WordPress, good examples: https://trulyjuly.wordpress.com /  http://fortune.com

Joomla, good examples: https://gsas.harvard.eduwww.linux.com

Drupal, good examples: www.olympic.org/rio-2016www.louvre.fr

 

Social media platforms – easy but limited:

Some would argue that with all the various social media presences available, who needs a website?

The answer is simple: Whatever activity you do out there on the internet you want to lead your potential prospects ‘home’, to a consistent site where all the necessary information is in one place.

Remember that you don’t own your social media presence. If you are deemed to have breached rules, it can be deleted without any warning. A website however, you own and are in charge of.

Still, you might want to try easy no budget solutions first, such as these:

Google Sites, good examples: https://sites.google.com/site/thephotowebwww.petitsgateaux.gr

Tumblr, good examples: https://ratshaming.tumblr.com /  http://webcomicname.com

Blogger, good examples: https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com /  http://accrispin.blogspot.com

 

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“His debugging skills are exceptional.”

Ever published a post and only afterwards thought of a real cool intro snippet? Or posted a headline you thought was a fun pun on words until you realised you didn’t mean that kind of fun?

Luckily, in the digital world, all you got to do is update your site and nobody will even know you made that faux pas, right?

Wrong!

Your site was probably cached and even though you updated the original version the cached version remains the same.

It might eventually get updated, but if it’s urgent to erase the previous version, you need to debug:

How to debug your web page url

When you share a link on social media, it reads the meta tags and combines them into a nice post mainly consisting of title, description, image.

To force update this content you need to manually ask the social media site to fetch the new information and replace the old version.

Simply enter the link and hit the button:

Facebook Debugger: http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug

Google Data Testing Tool: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

Twitter Cards Validator: https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

LinkedIn Post Inspector: https://www.linkedin.com/post-inspector/inspect

Social Debug gives you a nice overview of how your posts will fare across the main social media sites.

Iframely gives you more insight into the code of the meta tags.

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Making your website accessible and inclusive for everyone should be a standard requirement.

Making your website accessible and inclusive for everyone should be a standard requirement.

 

Just in case: If you do need to know why, please read: Benefits of providing information on the internet for blind people.

 

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

 

We all know what wealth of information the internet is offering: From price comparisons and product reviews, to virtual maps and how-to instructions, to online research and e-learning – the possibilities are endless.

All that is needed is access.

And that does not just mean the access to internet, but also an accessible internet.

Both of which South Africa is currently lacking. While there is an effort to close the digital gap, awareness about web accessibility is low.

And it’s so easy!

With ready-made themes, freely available tutorials and simple to use meta data editors, all we got to do is comply with the W3C Web Accessibility guidelines which were launched back in 1997.

While this is currently only based on good will in South Africa, many countries around the world have adopted legislation to ensure the internet is inclusive. In fact, there are numerous cases where companies have been successfully sued because their website was not accessible.

In 2000, an Australian blind man won a court case against the Sydney Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (SOCOG). This was the first successful case under Disability Discrimination Act 1992 because SOCOG had failed to make their official website, Sydney Olympic Games, adequately accessible to blind users.

In 2008 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into effect. Article 9 commits signatories to provide for full accessibility to roads, buildings, and information, which includes website design.

Just recently, on 2 December 2016, the European Parliament published the first EU-wide rules to make public sector websites and apps more accessible. This is expected to be followed by a European Accessibility Act.

Time for South Africa to follow suit? 😮

 

 

So, what you’re up to these days. I hear Content Marketing is hot.

Ah that’s so passé. I’ve discovered a whole new industry I’m specialising on.

Oh wow, what’s that?

Extreme Niche Marketing.

???

Yes, it’s where you cater for a fan base of 1.

!!!

 

You heard it here first!  😉

 

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Okay, nice speech and wrap-up at the end.

Now, ask the question.

Remember to give them time to answer, they’re teenagers after all. They might say something silly.

Wait until one says ‘airtime’. Then present the voucher for free airtime. You know, like we were reading their minds.

It’ll look great for the media. Like we truly understand their needs.

 

And now, as a surprise to end off, simply answer this question: What is the biggest hurdle that stops you from using your cell phone?

Electricity.

Yes! Wait, what?

A plug, you know, where you can recharge your phone.

Err…

Presents the voucher for free airtime anyway.

 

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Note how the ‘Save image as…’ function is not available on Flickr.

Note how the ‘Save image as…’ function is not available on Flickr when downloading images is disabled.

 

It’s a dilemma every creative is facing:

Sharing your content and getting exposure OR protecting your art work from piracy.

 

Here’s how to get the best of both:

Not all platforms are treating your content with the security measures it deserves to be protected from plagiarism or copyright infringement. A simple ‘copy and paste’ or ‘right click and save as’ can mean your content going viral without any attribution linking back to you.

 

Make sure you stay in control of your content by publishing it on

online portfolio sites you can trust:

 

Flickr

Flickr allows you to set your images as not downloadable to others. While this doesn’t stop anyone from saving a screengrab, it’s at least sending a clear message that these images are your intellectual property.

In addition Flickr offers you to embed your images from their platform, meaning all their security efforts stay intact with your picture.

 

Your own website

Using any third party platform means you are subjected to their rules and could get your account deleted without much you can do about it. Having a home for your content establishes you as the first point of contact for your content. There are many free services for creating an online portfolio website to choose from.

 

Behance

Behance lets you acknowledge the people involved in the art work properly, so there’s no excuse not to give credit where credit is due. Behance makes citing all these individuals really easy.

 

Dribble

Dribble uses small screenshots to let you promote your work. This is a low resolution intended only for quick snapshots showcasing work in progress.

 

DeviantArt

DeviantArt is the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts, and promotes a strong Community Etiquette Policy and Copyright Policy.

 

Listening to the internet: A blind user listens to the screen reader to navigate his laptop.

Listening to the internet: A blind user listens to the screen reader to navigate his laptop.

 

Why make a website for blind people?

An accessible website can function like an interactive audio guide, providing people who lost their sight with the information they need, making your website more inclusive.

It might sound odd at first to design a website for blind people, so here’s a list of benefits:

 

1) Digital is more accessible than print

A digital text can be read out by a screen reader. A printed text most likely requires a person to recite.

A relatively small number of blind people can read Braille: Fewer than 10 percent of blind Americans read Braille.

In addition, Braille texts are not easy to come by: Only one percent of published books are available in braille.

According to the AFP just “five percent of printed materials and books are available in a readable form for the blind or visually impaired in industrialized nations, and just one percent in developing countries.”

Once you’re plugged in to the internet however, a wealth of information becomes available.

 

2) There is more digital content than printed content

Digital content is growing at a rate close to crazy: Back in 2010 Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.

We are in the Information Age because of the Digital Revolution. There’s so much information available on the internet, we call it information overload.

User generated content has evoked a data explosion – most of it will never make it and was never intended for print.

Already back in 2011 Amazon sold more ebooks than physical books: 105 books for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 hardcover and paperback books.

 

3) Digital is up to date

Even if it’s possible to get alternative forms of content – e.g. Braille or audio – the time it took to produce and deliver means that the information is outdated by default.

The internet offers immediate, real-time updates. Anything can be downloaded in one click. You can subscribe to feeds and stay constantly informed. For anything you could think of – there’s probably an app for that.

 

4) Technology can empower

Anyone willing to try and test online tools and apps, can quickly discover how helpful technology can be.

And if it’s not: Simply providing feedback can be valuable in perfecting it.

Or even better: Get involved in improving it for everyone, for example by joining DAISY.

 

Want to learn WordPress? There are great online resources, all for free!

Want to learn WordPress? There are great free online resources!

 

WordPress is easy to learn

While WordPress is very intuitive and you can get quite far by trial and error, it is helpful to take a step back and invest the time to learn WordPress properly.

There’s plenty of resources, manuals and learning materials out there, here a recommendation:

 

Free online WordPress tutorials

WordPress’ own guides: https://learn.wordpress.com and https://codex.wordpress.org

WordPress manual: http://easywpguide.com/wordpress-manual

WordPress video tutorials: http://videos.wpbeginner.com

 

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WordPress is doing a great job at offering resources to make their blogs and websites accessible.

WordPress is doing a great job at providing resources to make their blogs and websites accessible.

 

Why WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the web, at more than 60 million websites. WordPress is an open source project and is free to use. Its content management system is user-friendly and with thousands of plugins  and widgets and themes capable to do anything.

 

Make WordPress Accessible

In addition, WordPress offers great resources for accessibility:

Search WordPress themes with the tag ‘accessibility’: Click ‘Accessibility Ready’ under ‘Features’.

Install the WordPress plugin for accessibility which helps with a variety of common accessibility problems in WordPress themes.

You can also get actively involved and contribute to the WordPress Accessibility Handbook.

 

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How do blind people see the internet? - Not like this: A blind man is tapping with his white cane at a screen showing a website...

How do blind people see the internet?

 

Making your website accessible is not just about adding the right metadata or choosing an accessibility theme.

It’s really about putting yourself in the shoes of your users and learning about their way of interacting with your website.

Blind people use screen readers to navigate the internet. Here some tips how to design your site to be more inclusive:

 

How to optimise your website for blind users


1) Think linear

When looking at a website, it is possible to grasp many aspects of it at once and directly click on the desired information.

When a blind person gets a website read out, the screen reader always starts at the top and reads out down to the bottom.

While to a seeing person the header image looks like it stays the same, to a blind person it gets read out every single time they go to another page of the site.

To design a good accessible website, we therefore need to think linear, from top to bottom. Follow the flow of the website from the top down to understand how it feels like for blind users.

 

2) Expectation management

We live in a visual world. Websites contain visual cues, sometimes even symbols without any description. These are invisible to a blind person. Make up for this lack of instruction by adding an explanation in the copy what to expect when taking a certain action.

E.g. “Click to download an application form in PDF format.”

This also applies to the content itself: In our fast paced environment no-one has time or the attention span for long-winded copy. Use ‘front-loaded’ content, where the conclusion comes first, followed by the what, how, where, when and why. This way you allow for scanning, skimming and skipping, but still provide more detailed information for the ones interested.

Similarly any media on your website, such as video, audio, sliders or carousels should not simply start by default. Any actions or changes should only occur through clear user interaction.

 

3) Organise your content

The better structured your article is presented, the easier it is to understand. Make use of standard formatting, such as headlines, paragraphs, bullet points, bold, underlined, italic, etc. Most screen readers interpret these correctly and read them out with different emphasis accordingly.

E.g. creating lists with the <li> tag means the screen reader announces how many items on the list to expect before reading them out.

 

4) Be mindful with the use of images

Any image on your website is invisible to a blind user – this includes buttons, symbols, logos, tables, charts, infographics, emoticons, photos.

Unless you fill in the <alt> tag:

The <alt> tag stands for ‘alternative text’, which is provided instead of an image. The tag should be a concise description of the image and its context.

If the image does not have a real function besides being a pretty placeholder, keep the <alt> information at a minimum.

 

5) Use adequate code to help with shortcuts

Blind users navigate the internet with their keyboard. They use shortcuts to skip content or only read out certain information.

We need to ensure we’re using the right html tags for the correct result.

E.g. using the <h> tag for headlines helps blind users skip content and only read out a list of headlines for quicker navigation.

E.g. Give your site a descriptive page title with the <title> tag, as this is the first thing the screen reader announces.

E.g. using <i> for italics looks the same as using <em> for emphasis, but sounds different, as some screen readers accentuate them differently.

 

6) No repetition of content

You might intend it as a friendly gesture and for better orientation include your website menu on the top and then repeat it at the bottom again.

For a blind user this can be confusing, as hearing the same content being read out again might prompt them to think they’re back where they started.

 

7) Home Page: Make it a Welcome Page

Our ever changing world demands real-time updates, which we literally feed to our home page via an RSS feed.

A blind person who visits your website for the first time might think they somehow landed up on the wrong site if they encounter news content that veers too far off form what your website is about.

Ideally you’d have a short introduction to your website with hyperlinks to the most important menu items.

 

8) One long infinite scrolling page

Rather than linking out to many different micro sites, stick to one long consecutive page with all the relevant information in one place.

List anchor links at the top, so it’s possible to skip ahead and get to the desired information quicker.

Rather than providing links to the next page, offer infinite scrolling, where the user can continue reading without having to click on any links.

Keep the amount of clicks it takes to get a specific information at a minimum: Adhere to the three-click rule.

 

9) Announce the bottom of the page and offer further navigation

The screen reader does not know it has reached the bottom of a website. It simply stops reading out. It is up to the blind user to figure out the reason.

Therefore add the information to the bottom of every page that this is the bottom of the page and offer to click on links to go back / go back to the top / go to the home page.

E.g. “Bottom of page. Click to go back to the top. Or return to home page.”

 

10) Announce and explain all links in the copy

Correctly coded links are announced as links by the screen reader. That still doesn’t help a blind user much, if they are not guided about the purpose of the link: Always outline what the content is and where it links to.

E.g. “Click to read more about us.” works better as explanatory text than “Click here”.

This is especially important if the link takes the user outside of the current page.

E.g. “Click for more information on screen readers on the Wikipedia website.”

 

 

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Testing a screen reader: How does it pronounce abbreviations, such as “St” in “St Dunstan’s”?

 

A screen reader is a computer program that reads out what is on the screen.

Some do this more cleverly, by interpreting the formatting of text, e.g. underlined / bold / italics, and reading hidden code, e.g. the <alt>  tag, which provides a text description for images.

In order to make a website accessible for blind users, it’s important to optimise it for screen readers.

Watch this video to get an idea how screen readers work: Introduction to the Screen Reader.

Read up on how screen readers interpret symbols: Why Don’t Screen Readers Always Read What’s on the Screen?

Learn more about navigating a website with shortcuts: Basic screen reader commands for accessibility testing.

 

Warning! Deadlines are much closer than they appear. ;)

Warning! Deadlines are much closer than they appear. 😉

 

1) Keep deadlines real

Have a concrete goal. Ideally break down your goal into something tangible. Something that can be measured and is a clearly defined outcome. Be clear what it is you want to achieve.

This is especially important when it comes to professional relationships and managing expectations:

“Many times, clients don’t always know what information you might need or what variables in the project could change the scope entirely. So it’s up to you to ferret out those details. Ask directed questions to get to the specifics, and don’t move on until you are confident that you know what you’re getting into.” – SitePoint

 

2) Keep deadlines realistic

An overambitious deadline can trigger resentment or giving up before even trying. Don’t provide an excuse for failure by setting ill-informed deadlines. Make sure the people working on the task have a say on the deadline.

Find your sweet spot – Reduce your time by 15 to 20%:

“You’re going to see how your efficiency is going to increase, and you’ll be able to do it without breaking a sweat. And then keep reducing, little by little. By 5 minutes, by 10 minutes, by 15, by another 5 to 10%. Keep reducing it until you find your sweet spot without going extreme.  You can use this process over and over again, on any and all tasks. Until you find that deadline that is short enough to give you that good amount of pressure that keeps you motivated, but long enough not to waste your time. That’s your sweet spot.” – High Performance Lifestyle

 

3) Make your deadline achievable

There are things you don’t have control over which can make it impossible to set a fixed deadline. Sometimes we just have to learn patience…

Include a buffer for any eventualities. Because, you know, life:

“Assume you’ll have last-minute issues. In managing people, I’ve noticed there are a lot of people who think, “That draft is due at close of business Wednesday, so I’ll write it Wednesday morning, which will give me plenty of time.” And it would have – except that they were out sick Wednesday, or had to field a client crisis, or otherwise couldn’t work on it that day and missed the deadline as a result. Don’t wait until a deadline is looming; work on things well ahead of deadlines, and you’ll more reliably stick to schedules (and often have the bonus of finishing up early).” – Intuit

 

4) Keep deadlines current

“Many of us procrastinate simply because we don’t see the task as urgent. The trick is making the task part of our ‘present’. In addition, a deadline can appear more present if it’s scheduled for the same day of the week as the day it’s assigned.” – Fast Company

 

5) Break down a big deadline into smaller deadlines

“The most motivating deadline is the one that is due tomorrow. Unless your five-year project can be broken down into things you need to finish today, it won’t help you beat procrastination.” – PickTheBrain

“In order to avoid a last-minute scramble, try a method called ‘scheduling in reverse’. The key idea here is to start with where you want to end up and move backwards:

Begin by analyzing the work so you know how much time each step or activity will require, and schedule each step or phase in reverse order so you know the latest feasible starting date you can safely use to meet your deadline. Use your experience and judgment to divide the task into short, manageable steps, each with its own deadline. Next, start on the beginning deadline date and allow time for each step, calculating backward. This calculation also gives you the target starting and ending dates for each step of the project.” – Baker Communications

 

6) Make the deadline count

“An important way to achieve deadlines is to have someone hold you accountable. This can be your boss at work, your partner, or a trusted friend. Choose someone that will ask you about your goals and check in with you. Getting others involved can drastically help you stay focused so that you have both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to get your goal achieved.” – Mike Delgado

Have regular status updates, so you always know where you are on the timeline and everyone’s in the loop. It’s easy to keep track of tasks with the help of online tools.

 

7) Reward yourself for making the deadline

Remember to reward yourself when accomplishing a deadline. If you don’t, who will?

“Operant Conditioning:
– Use specific rewards for specific achievements (e.g., after finishing the first half of a chapter, reward yourself with ice cream; after finishing reading the chapter, reward yourself with a CD).
– Remember the Premack principle: David Premack demonstrated an extremely important principle of behaviorism. Activities that people enjoy are effective reinforcers for engaging in activities that people do not enjoy doing. In other words, rewards do not have to be material. To use the principle to reinforce a task, you should write an extensive list of activities you enjoy doing. This list can be generated, according to Premack, by simply observing what you spend a lot of free time doing. The principle maintains that you should engage in a specific enjoyable activity only after you have completed a less enjoyable task.” – University of California, Santa Cruz

 

8) Take your deadline seriously

Or rather: Take yourself seriously. Can you trust yourself to put in the effort and meet your deadline? Can you uphold accountability even if it’s just yourself you’re accountable to?

It is easy to find excuses, but in the end you’re only fooling yourself.

At the same time, don’t beat yourself up when you’ve missed a deadline. It’s not a train smash – as Douglas Adams put it: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” 🙂

 

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If you see this: '#' and remember 'number sign', then this article is for you. :)

If you see this: ‘#’ and remember ‘number sign’, then this article is for you. 🙂

A hashtag is a way to categorise your content on social media.

Just like in a supermarket where you have all sweets in one place, if you hashtag your content with #sweets, you can also find everything relating in one place, e.g.: https://twitter.com/hashtag/sweets.

And just like in the supermarket, the lure of #sweets can be abused:
Even the Oxford dictionary warns in their definition of hashtag:
“Spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them.”

As social media are all about interaction, hashtags are a way to enter the conversation online: By tagging your content with a certain keyword, motto or phrase you give others interested in this topic the chance to read your opinion and respond to it.

Most social media platforms support hashtags, so they’re worthwhile exploring for Content Marketing purposes.

But make sure you follow Best Practices for hashtags to avoid a hashtag PR disaster such as #Susanalbumparty. 😉

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A red tag with 'Access All Areas' written on it: What is reserved to VIPs in the entertainment industry bears the question in the media industry: Is your website optimised for accessibility?

Access All Areas: Is your website optimised for accessibility?

 

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.” – Wikipedia

 

How many of your customers need accessible websites?

“One billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, and disability prevalence is higher for developing countries. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.” – The World Bank

According to WHO, there are 285 million people worldwide who, due to some disability (i.e. they are suffering with low vision), cannot read all content on a website. 39 million of those people are blind and cannot access any of the content via sight.

Additionally, there are 360 million people suffering from hearing loss worldwide.” – SitePoint

“According to the Office for National Statistics, in May 2015, 27% of disabled adults had never used the internet, compared to 11% of non-disabled adults.” – The Guardian

 

Being web accessibility compliant is easy

There are numerous guides with best practices and tips:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has not only a whole section on accessibility, but also run an entire Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

They have a list of requirements for providing text to act as an alternative for images. They also provide tutorials how to best make images accessible.

Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) has a useful article on designing for screen reader compatibility.

web-accessibility provides a guide for people with hearing impairment.

W3C also published an overview on how people with disabilities use the web.

 

Checking if your website is accessible is even easier

Nothing can replace the feedback of an actual human being, but for a quick check where your website might be not accessible, there’s a list of easy to use, web-based accessibility evaluation tools.

 

Blog name and social media handle go hand in hand - Find me: @TrulyJuly :)

Blog name and social media handle go hand in hand – Find me: @TrulyJuly 🙂

 

Your social media handle is your virtual nickname. You can make it up of your own name, or you can modify it to represent your internet identity, like your username.

Your social media handle becomes important when you want to be found on the internet, e.g. as a business, brand or product name.

 

Purpose

Identity: To be recognised immediately as the official brand in order to achieve consistency with image and online presence.

Security: Owning the official social media presence prevents fraudulent imposters.

SEO: Search results improve with a consistent social media presence.

Findability: With a consistent social media handle the audience can guess and find the brand on other channels and platforms.

Reach: Keeping the social media handle consistent makes it easy for others to mention / link to / tag the brand, which increases reach.

 

Best Practices


It is advisable to agree on one consistent social media handle
, as per Pamorama ‘Find and Reserve Your Social Media Name’:

“A consistent social media identity across the Web is crucial for brands. Whether you’re trying to develop your company’s personality or your own, having many different names creates confusion and dilutes the impact of all of your social media marketing activities.”


It is advisable to secure your social media handle across all social media
, as per Bicycle Theory ‘What’s Your Handle? Protecting Your Brand’s Name Online’:

“The key advantage to this tactic is that it enables people to find your brand easier.

Securing your name first also protects your brand by making it harder for others to use it.”


It is advisable to reserve that social media handle before anyone else does
, as per Social Marketing Writing ‘6 Tips to Choosing the Perfect Twitter Name’:

“Try and get in there early and try your best to find the best Twitter name you can. If you’re thinking about a new Twitter name for you or your company – stop thinking about it and start acting. Each day 460,000 people sign up for a new account. This means about 319 people sign up for an account every minute. So your favourite name could be gone any second now – find and reserve your favourite Twitter name as soon as you can.”


It is advisable to have a short social media handle, especially on Twitter
, as per For Dummies ‘How to Choose a Good Twitter Username’:

“Use a short Twitter username. Tweets are only 140 characters, so when people are replying to you, if you have a longer name, you leave them less room for message content. Twitter limits your username to just 15 characters for this very reason.”


It is advisable to not use strange symbols, especially on mobile social networks, in your social media handle
, as per ITeachBlogging ‘What’s in a Twitter Name? Everything that You Can Fit into It’:

“Avoid numbers, strange characters or underscore. These items are more difficult for all us smart phone users out there and they are just awkward.”


It is advisable to consider upper and lower case combinations in your social media handle
, as per The Legal Hokey-Pokey ‘Make your Social Media personal!’:

“When you consider a Twitter handle, remember the handle is case sensitive.  So use case to your advantage!  If your handle was @robertespinozaesq, it might be more easily read if you wrote @RobertEspinozaEsq.”

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'Like & Win' is a popular Facebook competition to attract followers. If you want to run one, read the resources below to ensure you do it right.

‘Like & Win’ is a popular Facebook competition to attract followers. If you want to run one, read the resources below to ensure you do it right.

Everyone’s on Facebook and everyone knows running a competition attracts attention.

However, there are legal implications that many Facebook users are not aware of.

This can potentially cost you your carefully crafted Facebook page, as Facebook can – without any warning – shut you down, if you’re in breach of their Terms & Conditions.

So I researched how to run a Facebook competition. As I see many prize draws on Facebook are in breach, I urge you to read these resources to make sure you do it right:

 

-Overview-

I. South African Law

  1. South African Consumer Protection Act – most relevant sections from the original
  2. Consumer Protection Guide for Lawyers – a summary of the rules by the Law Society of South Africa
  3. Consumer Protection Act June 2010 – a summary on promotional competitions by BDO

II. Facebook Law

  1. Facebook Pages Terms – restrictions of competitions on their platform
  2. New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know – insider tip by Social Media Examiner
  3. How to Run a Competition on Your Facebook Business Page – a handy overview by Hallam Internet
  4. How to run a (legal) Facebook competition – a sample for release of liability by Blaze Digital

 

-Detail-

I. South African Law

 

1. South African Consumer Protection Act:

Promotional competitions, Section 36.

(3) The promoter of a promotional competition—

  • must not require any consideration to be paid by or on behalf of any participant in the promotional competition, other than the reasonable costs of posting or otherwise transmitting an entry form or device;
  • must not award a prize in a competition to—
  • a winner of the competition if it is unlawful to supply those goods or services to that prize winner, but this subparagraph does not preclude awarding a prize to a person merely because that person’s right to possess or use the prize is or may be restricted or regulated by, or is otherwise subject to, any public regulation; or
  • any person who is—

(aa) a director, member, partner, employee or agent of, or consultant to the promoter or any other person who directly or indirectly controls or is controlled by, the promoter; or

(bb) a supplier of goods or services in connection with that competition;

and

  • must—
  • prepare competition rules before the beginning of the competition;
  • make the competition rules available to the Commission and to any participant, on request and without cost; and
  • retain a copy of the competition rules for the prescribed period after the end of the competition.

(5) An offer to participate in a promotional competition must clearly state—

  • the benefit or competition to which the offer relates;
  • the steps required by a person to accept the offer or to participate in the competition;
  • the basis on which the results of the competition will be determined;
  • the closing date for the competition;
  • the medium through or by which the results of the competition will be made known; and
  • any person from whom, any place where, and any date and time on or at which—
  • a person may obtain a copy of the competition rules; and
  • a successful participant may receive any prize.

(6) The requirements of subsection (5) may be satisfied either—

  • directly on any medium through which a person participates in a promotional competition;
  • on a document accompanying any medium contemplated in paragraph (a); or
  • in any advertisement that—
  • is published during the time and throughout the area in which the promotional competition is conducted; and
  • draws attention to and is clearly associated with the promotional competition.

(7) The right to participate in a promotional competition is fully vested in a person immediately upon—

  • complying with any conditions that are required to earn that right; and
  • acquiring possession or control of the medium, if any, through which a person may participate in that promotional competition.

(8) The right to any benefit or right conferred on a person as a result of that person’s participation in a promotional competition is fully vested immediately upon the determination of the results of the competition.

(9) A right contemplated in subsection (7) or (8) must not be—

  • made subject to any further condition; or
  • contingent upon a person—
  • paying any consideration to the promoter for the prize; or
  • satisfying any further requirements other than those stipulated in terms of subsection (5).

(11) The Minister may prescribe—

  • a monetary threshold for the purpose of excluding competitions with low value prizes from the definition of ‘‘promotional competition’’;
  • minimum standards and forms for keeping records associated with promotional competitions; and
  • audit and reporting requirements in respect of promotional competitions

 

2. Consumer Protection Guide for Lawyers

Page 59: Any document disclosing a promotional offer must clearly state the following:

  • The nature of the prize, reward, gift, free good or service, price reduction or
  • concession, enhancement if quantity or quality of goods or services;
  • The goods or services to which the offer relates;
  • What the prospective consumer must do in order to accept the promotional offer;
  • The details of the person from whom or the place where the consumer may receive
  • the benefit advertised in the promotional offer.

Page 63: An offer to participate in a promotional competition must be in writing and must state:

  • Benefit of the competition
  • Steps to take in order to participate in the competition
  • Basis upon which the results of the competition will be determined
  • The maximum number of potential participants and the odds of winning the competition
  • How participants will be informed of the results
  • How, when and where the successful participant may collect the prize

 

3. Consumer Protection Act June 2010

Page 9: Promotional competitions

Promotional competition means any competition, game, scheme, arrangement, system, plan or device for distributing prizes by lot or chance if the competition is conducted in the ordinary course of business for the purpose of promoting a producer, distributor, supplier or the sale of any goods or services.

The promoter of a promotional competition must not require any consideration to be paid by a participant other than reasonable costs of posting or otherwise transmitting an entry form or device. The promoter must also not award a prize if it is unlawful to supply those goods or services to that prize winner but does not preclude awarding a prize to a person because that person’s right to possess or use the prize might be regulated or restricted. Rules for the competition must be prepared before the competition commences and those rules must be available on request without cost. Any person who is a director, member, partner, employee, agent or consultant of the promoter or a supplier of the goods or services in connection with that competition may not participate in the competition.

 

II. Facebook Law

 

1. Facebook restrictions of competitions on their platform

E. Promotions

  1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
    a. The official rules;
    b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
    c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
  2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
    a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).
  1. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

For more info read what Facebook Page administrators need to know and Facebook Promotion Guidelines.

 

2. New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know

Note that you can “encourage” people to share your post or contest, but you can’t require it for entry.

 

3. How to Run a Competition on Your Facebook Business Page

According to Facebook’s own post, the updates rules mean that:

You can:

Ask people to LIKE a post to enter

Ask people to COMMENT on a post to enter

Ask people to PRIVATE MESSAGE the page to enter

Ask people to POST on YOUR page to enter

You cannot:

Ask people to SHARE to enter

Ask people to INVITE to enter

Ask people to TAG themselves in content they are not depicted in to enter

These are the basic rules to abide by – but as is to be expected from Facebook there are some more terms and conditions you need to know about.

 

4. How to run a (legal) Facebook competition

Facebook requires a complete release of liability by each entrant. – Sample copy:

By entering and participating, entrant agrees to hold harmless, defend and indemnify Facebook from and against any and all claims, demands, liability, damages or causes of action (however named or described), losses, costs or expenses, with respect to or arising out of or related to (i) entrant’s participation in the Sweepstake, or (ii) entrant’s participation in any Prize related activities, acceptance of a Prize and/or use or misuse of a Prize (including, without limitation, any property loss, damage, personal injury or death caused to any person(s).

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

 

Written on 24/02/2015.

Validated on 05/11/2015.

Please double check for latest updates, as Social Media are constantly changing.

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Creative Communications Photo - Redesigned Customer Journey

The redesigned customer journey results in an improved customer mood. – Presentation by Robert Bloom, Partner/Founder DT Group and DT Academy

 

The Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) is running a series of interesting events around Service Design.

At the CCDI business breakfast on Service Design Gillian Benjamin and Robert Bloom gave a comprehensive overview:

Service design is the premeditated design of customer experiences from beginning to end. It focuses on the interaction with customers, and will allow you to see ways of improving service and related customer experiences.

Service Design introduces new vocabulary such as Touchpoint and Customer Journey. With such it is quite a game changer in focussing further on customer satisfaction.

 

How can Service Design benefit your business or organisation?

Start seeing the Touchpoints, think of the memories you want to evoke:

  1. Really understand the customer: What really counts, major preoccupations, worries and aspirations.
  2. Understand customer pains, and make them easy.
  3. Understand the emotional bond between the brand and customer.
  4. Align the company actions to build emotional bonds
  5. Form a holistic, human centered view of the customer experience.

 

Prototyping helps you to fail early, it’s about learning from your mistakes. Where failure is generally regarded as negative, prototyping ensures you fail forward.

But how do you prototype a service?

  1. Understand your customer: Create persona profiles of your most active customers.
  2. Put yourself into the customer’s shoes: Think of a great service experience. What made it great?
    • A smile: the human touch
    • Turning an order into a present: expectations met and exceeded
    • Clear information delivery: empowerment through transparency
    • Super fast transactions: speedy turnaround
    • Quick production line: no more waiting
    • Turning a complaint into a reward: appeasing disgruntled customers
    • Have a clear point of contact: one-stop-shop with all the answers
  3. Model the situation in order to work out where you could change it, then test with real people how they interact in this space, change it and test again.
  4. Make things tangible and visible:
    • Services are perceived not to be physically tangible but there are lots of ‘touching’ elements to it.
    • Put up a big board, use post-its, visualise the processes, take photos, watch.
    • Storyboard up your customer interaction, then play it through with the different personas, the different engagements that can happen.
  5. Do role playing with staff, so they understand the customer’s point of view.
  6. Find out what the people like about the process and strengthen on that.

 

So, what are the principles of service design?

  1. Iteration: This is a constantly changing environment and you need to constantly adapt to it.
    • Analyse the status quo, does it work? If it doesn’t, iterate to the next best solution: Develop, implement, redevelop, reimplement.
    • ‘Upcycle’: Never stay with the status quo, keep on iterating, never stop in the development, think in cycles.
  2. Crowdsource: By canvassing a large crowd of people for ideas, skills, or participation, the quality of content and idea generation will be superior.
  3. Cocreate: Lower your risk bycocreating and getting real results.
    • Cocreate solutions by involving your staff:

– Empower your staff to solve problems themselves, to make decisions. Otherwise they will not know what to do, this way you get their buy-in and strengthen loyalty and morale.
– Have people working as a team, not in competition to each other.
– Share values and believes, get staff to identify with your goals by being transparent and informative about them.

    • Cocreate with the customer:

– Do your home work: Research your customer preferences.
– Get customer feedback early. Allow easy feedback channels.
– Launch a beta version with an exclusive customer base. Involve them by gathering their comments, learn their opinions, take on their recommendations, ask them for solutions.

 

For more information on Service Design:

Cape Craft and Design InstituteService Design training

Design Thinkers GroupService Design downloads

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Don't turn your office into a hidden object game: Efficient filing keeps your desktop free from clutter. Don’t turn your office into a hidden object game: Efficient filing keeps your desktop free from clutter.

 

Why filing is a good idea

The purpose of a filing system is to manage data. This includes storing, retrieving and updating data.
It might look like a tedious task, but there are many advantages to effective records management, which save you time in the long run.

 

How to create a good filing system


1) Decide what needs to be filed and what can be thrown away

Some documents have to be kept for a certain amount of time for legal purposes. Ensure you don’t dispose of anything you might need at a later stage.


2) Find  a way to convert into easy to store formats

Find out what documents can be stored in a digital format. Nowadays it’s easy to convert important documents into digital files, for example by scanning bills and save them as PDFs.


3) Store your documents in a safe place

If you dispose of the hard copy, ensure you have a secure back-up of your digital data. Hard drives can break, cloud solutions can be hacked, research what works best for you.


4) Decide on a Filing Method

There are different ways to file, decide which one is the most suitable for you:

– by subject / category
– in alphabetical order
– by numbers / in numerical order
– by places / in geographical order
– by dates/ in chronological order


5) Group your files

Think in projects, events or other high level criteria to break large folders into smaller ones. Don’t exceed too many sublevels, but don’t keep too many files in one group either.


6) Create a directory

Get an overview by zooming out to bird eye’s view: How is your current filing system set up? How should it be set up?

Just like we make a Table of Contents for a presentation, an Organogram for our company, a Sitemap for our website, it’s a good idea to visualise the structure of your filing system.

Play around with it, move folders, think up the most unlikely scenario and see if your system still works.


7) Define categories

Identify guiding principles and write them down, so any other person using your filing system knows where to save their documents.


8) Add metadata

Browsing is dead, long live the search!

Even if you file your documents accurately, there can be situations when you can’t remember where you put it. Or you need everything relating to a subject you haven’t thought of before and didn’t file accordingly.

Or you generally might find it much easier and quicker to simply search.

For this you need to attach keywords to your files, add such info and more as metadata whenever possible.


9) Establish and follow a Naming Convention

To find your content easier, give it meaningful names. Establish what information should be in the file name and add descriptive words. To achieve consistency in your filing system, establish a naming convention.


10) Avoid duplicates

Putting an efficient filing system in place should be foolproof not to have duplicates, if it wasn’t for one random factor: human error.

To ensure you have no duplicates wasting valuable storage space, do a search and sort the result by size. Files with the same size are likely to be duplicates.

Alternatively you can install a program that removes duplicates for you.


11) Version Control

Sometimes you might want to keep duplicates for a track record of progress. You can then indicate the versions by naming the files accordingly, e.g. _v1 / _v2 or date-in-reverse-order.

Version control is especially important if more than one person works on a document. For this consider online tools such as document sharing or content management systems which offer a standard version control system.


12) Archive it

Separate ongoing work from completed work by archiving everything you don’t need to access frequently. You can combine this with keeping your back-up up to date.

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Having fun at the Design Policy Conference, as part of World Design Capital.

 

Policy making is generally associated with bureaucracy, red tape and politics.

So when I was invited to the Design Policy Conference as part of the World Design Capital initiative, I was curious:

How do people from an industry that strives to push creativity to its max, turning ideas into innovation deal with policy making?

 

Here’s what I took away from the Design Policy Conference:

 

  • Design is in everything

Everything around us is designed. Often this only becomes apparent when we encounter design fails.

In the end, a well designed product means it was well thought through, taking into account every possible user and their specific needs.

Unfortunately in nowadays times of cheap Chinese products and rushed to launch apps, this gets all too often forgotten. Especially in industries that don’t think of themselves as creative, but stick to traditional conservatism.

What I learned: Get a designer’s input, it can offer a new perspective and solution.

 

  • Design centers around us humans

Ulrich Meyer-Höllings: “Designers and those that think like designers could be the perfect CEOs in businesses as designers have all of the skills required to survive and prosper in this turbulent environment. Industries that are struggling to survive like banks and media are now trying to learn new processes from designers such as understanding people and their behaviour. Designers can redefine the business landscape and inject a more people-centred view.”

What I learned: We are human by birth, but we are people by design. (Dale Dutton)

 

  • Design needs policing

Whereas there’s a lot of criticism towards ‘Design by Committee’, which apparently results in a camel for a horse, there needs to be a direction in order to achieve results.

However, you can have the bestest policies, it still takes people to implement it. That’s why a solid Design Strategy is required to provide that plan to put things into action.

As Carlos Scheliga pointed out: Design Policies need to be a society decision, you need to have the engagement of the citizen. It needs to be a state policy, not a government policy. Shift the mindset: Design can improve all public services. The city is the natural environment of the human being. It’s our nature to be together.

He added: “People are mobilising, organising, conducting or exerting pressure for transformations. Depending on how this popular participation interacts with city administrations, it could represent a great opportunity to build the desired city. It is clear, therefore, that design policies can catalyse the improvement of urban space and should involve the participation of citizens.“

 

  • Design can’t collaborate too much

Once the goal is clear, it seems with design you can’t have enough input. As with techniques to stimulate creativity such as brainstorming: No idea is a bad idea. Any idea can spark off something great.

But how can the public truly be involved in the decision making process? As with all good ideas, solutions don’t have to be complicated: One good example are the WDC stickers, which rate whatever people think is design.

What I learned:
One of the key reasons policy making takes so long is because the parties involved don’t trust each other. Collaboration needs trust. Trust can be achieved through relationship, which can be formed through interaction, which can be sparked through experiences, which can happen at events such as the Design Policy Conference, for example: the War Horse performance.

 

  • Design is cool enough to make mistakes

Whereas people in the public services space fear failure, in design errors are forced out early to guarantee a fool-proof product through the process of prototyping. Other industries could implement similar techniques to gather real results quicker and find a sustainable solution faster.

What I learned: Policy making and business decisions could be improved by incorporating design thinking. (Richard Perez)

 

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So, what do you prefer to be called? Handicapped? Disabled? Or physically challenged? – “Joe” would be fine. – The most appropriate label is usually the one people’s parents have given them.

So, what do you prefer to be called? Handicapped? Disabled? Or physically challenged? – “Joe” would be fine. – The most appropriate label is usually the one people’s parents have given them.

 

Yes, saying ‘disabled people’ is fine.

But better still would be to actually address the person, and not their disability.

However, if you need to refer to disabled people in general, here some great resources for learning how to do so with respect:

 

Wikipedia’s Disability Etiquette

The Disability Cultural Center’s Guide to Disability Language and Empowerment

Gov UK’s Inclusive language: words to use and avoid when writing about disability

Resources for Disabled Students’ Unhandicap Your Language

 

 God: “But I’m omnipresent.” Angel: “Apparently it’s not enough anymore – nowadays you’ve got to have website as well.”

Like seriously: Do you?

With home page visitors declining and from what is left, a third coming from social media, plus websites being still unavailable to the majority in the world and inaccessible to many:

Do you really need a website?

To facilitate the decision process, here is a brief list of questions that help you define if and what website you need – Ask yourself:

  • Do I have something to say?

If you struggle with the answer, perform a Content Audit to learn about your content expertise and content gaps.

  • Do I know how to say it?

An online brochure is not a brochure that was put online.
There are best practices for web writing and online content.

  • Can I reduce business processes?

If you get asked the same questions again and again and again, you might want to compile an FAQ page.

If you are tired of emailing the same information over and over and over again, you might want to make it available online and have order form, downloadable PDFs, map / directions and such on your website.

If there is a standard procedure of filling in an application form, you can put it online and save yourself a lot of time by letting your customer do all the typing.

  • Are my customers online?

If you want to be customer-centric you need to reach out to them in the way they prefer. The standard response to most questions nowadays is: Google it! Only if you have a website, can you get found.

  • Can I maintain it?

Like with most things: It’s not just about having one. It then needs to be looked after. Information can get outdated, teams / services / products change, news need to be updated.

Do you have internal resources who are keen to test their techie knowledge? Can you set aside a budget? Don’t worry, there are even free options for having a website. If you have the money, but not the time, you can go with a fully outsourced website maintenance package for a no-hassle option. You need to be dedicated to your website in some way.

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then congratulations: You are in need of a website! 🙂

Coming Up Next: Guidelines for choosing an online presence.

Follow my blog and learn more about Content Marketing.

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Simply comparing tags used with tags viewed can give great insight about what content you create and what content is consumed.

Simply comparing tags used with tags viewed can give great insight about what content you create and what content is consumed.

To plan better for future success it’s a good idea to establish the status quo. In the digital space the first step to get an overview of what we know is to conduct a Content Audit.

A Content Audit can typically focus on your website or social media.

But you can also run it business-wide or even just for yourself to get an idea where your content expertise lies.

How organised are you?

How long does it take to open your CV? This should be pretty straight forward.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a test. There’s no good or bad, but maybe there’s a better.

Now how about: How long does it take you to find the picture with the funny hat? Or how about the video with that cute dog?

The way you go about finding your content tells you how organised you are.

If it took you too long to find what you’re looking for, follow these tips: how to set up an efficient filing system and establish a naming convention.

What is your content expertise?

Your content expertise consists of the topics you have expert knowledge on. If you can transfer this information in an easy to understand way, i.e. explain it in a KISS – keep it short and simple – manner, bravo, this is your content expertise!

Especially in businesses where content assets are scattered amongst various C: drives, it can be interesting to compare what you think you know with what you actually know. You might find hidden talents and new ways of profiting on your content.

Moreover, a Content Audit will help you identify your content gaps. It is important for staying relevant to your audience to know what their needs are and where you fail to address them.

What is a content audit?

A content audit is basically a content inventory. It’s essential if you’re for example relaunching your website or preparing for a new content management system.

If you want to undertake a full content inventory, I recommend these guides:

Harvard Web Publishing’s step-by-step guide to creating a content inventory and sample spreadsheet

Marketing Land – How To Conduct A Content Audit

Moz – How To Do a Content Audit – Step-by-Step

Single Grain – The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

However, a content inventory alone is only showing you what’s there, and not what’s missing.

How to conduct a content audit

A content audit can serve different purposes. Check this great matrix giving advise what type of content audit to conduct according to your situation.

If you are interested in how you stand on certain topics or want to do a quick spot check on your content offer, you can do a keyword content audit.


1) Establish relevant keywords

The results of your content audit are only as good as the purpose you give it. Be clear what it is you want to learn about your content before conducting a content audit.

a) Establish the keywords relevant to your business

This can be a lovely brainstorm exercise that helps define your identity of your enterprise / product / brand / blog, and even yourself. Be bold and include goals in your keywords to see if your content includes the bigger picture.

b) Establish the keywords relevant to your audience

If you want to be found on the internet, you need to know what your audience is looking for. They might use different keywords or different spelling.

Read these 5 tips to start building a good keyword list.

Hopefully your keywords mostly match those of your target group, as it shows you speak your customer’s language.

This awesome worksheet helps to find the right keywords for your business.


2) Search for these keywords and collect the matching content

This can be a simple desktop search. Here it’s important not to narrow down the search results by using keywords that are too general.

You’re basically in your customer’s shoes now and get to experience firsthand how organised your content is: There is a risk you’re not catching all content if it doesn’t correspond to your keywords because of missing naming convention or meta data.


3) Create a spreadsheet and list how many and what content items you found per keyword

Here’s a handy list of content inventory templates. Pick the one that works best for you and customise it to your specific needs.


4) Compare your findings and establish where you have sufficient content and where you have a content gap

This method clearly shows you where you need to spend time to fill content gaps and where your main content focus lies.

Learn about your content preferences, you might have a lot of content that is not relevant to your business, but is popular with your audience. Maybe there’s a way to cross-pollinate.

Also analyse your content types. Maybe you spent a lot of time creating an explainer video, but the infographic reached many more people.


5) Declutter and get rid of content that is no longer useful

Too much content can be overwhelming for the consumer and costly for you.

Accept that not all of your content has the desired results.

Part of a successful content audit is also to delete / archive outdated or underperforming content.

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Dear Facebook, more 'invite all' buttons please.

Dear Facebook, more ‘invite all’ buttons please.

Why does Facebook offer lists to sort all your friends in?

But when it comes to inviting friends to an event you have to select them one by one?

This is where those lists could come in real handy. Why isn’t it possible to just select a friends list and tick all of them in one go? Where is the ‘invite all members’ button for this?

Facebook has nothing really to say about this topic:

However, it is possible to invite your entire group to an event:

So the functionality is there, maybe Facebook is just withholding it for paid for services only…

Anyhow, this site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/INVITE-ALL-FRIENDS-SCRIPT-2011/101029569982725?v=info offers a quick hack that works.

So no more click, click, click, click, click, cl… almost click, click again, click, scroll, and repeat. 😉

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You’ve had a eureka moment for a great product and want to secure the name on social media. Hold your horses when it comes to Facebook:

As a user you can set a username right away, but you’ve got to verify your profile via SMS, not simply email. Also pages can only be created with a valid account.

To set Facebook name needs verified account

To set Facebook name needs verified account

Check or change your current Facebook username / page name: https://www.facebook.com/username. Remember, you may only change it once.

Facebook encourages you to customise your Facebook web address, but throws in some hurdles: You first need to get 25 fans.

Facebook page needs 25 fans to set name

Facebook page needs 25 fans to set name

Unless of course you pay. As a business account you get to set your Facebook url straight away.

However, it seems after some time you’re allowed to choose your page username regardless of likes anyway. Patience pays off.

Once you got the FB url of your dreams, the restrictions are not over: You’re only allowed to change your page name when you have less than 200 fans.

Think carefully what title you give your Facebook page. Once it gains popularity you won’t be able to change it so easily: You need to provide proper documentation and there’s no skipping it either.

Documentation needed to change Facebook page title with over 200 likes

Documentation needed to change Facebook page title with over 200 likes

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The team of the #bitswap event – from left to right:
Spinsista Mitzi, Julia Ranzani, David Robert Lewis, Stanley Edwards

 

As a protest against the lack of accessibility and affordability of the internet in South Africa, file sharing took to the streets in form of a #bitswap event.

ZA-FREE took the net to the streets at Open Streets Cape Town, which aims to engage everyone in re-designing and re-working the use of public streets.

The bitswap event was one of the interventions of 100 in 1 day, a civil action day where people take ownership of their city and create a better place to live.

While the rest of the world’s economy is thriving on uploading and downloading content from the cloud, South Africa is so behind with its broadband infrastructure that accessing the cloud is not affordable for a large group of people.

The ZA-FREE initiative encourages a DIY approach to file-sharing:

“We are promoting radical alternatives to costly Internet services. South Africans can home-bake the Internet, we can do it for ourselves, in our own backyard. No more expensive downloads, we urge users to embrace free file sharing and swapping of bits and bytes via wifi hotspots, mesh networks, bluetooth and USB.” states David Robert Lewis from Ubuntuponics.

At the bitswap event computer facilities and an open wifi network were set up right on the street to invite passers-by to swap content.

Security measures were implemented to prevent illegal file sharing:

“There’s enough free content out there, plus the focus is on local content. We have so much talent in South Africa. Budding creatives and entrepreneurs are in need of spreading their content to create awareness and thus give some of it away for free.” explains Julia Ranzani from Creative Communications.

A free content library was set up on the day in collaboration with Ogle and Spinsista Mitzi.

Ogle is operating educational and entertainment content kiosks in an effort to close the last mile gap of content delivery: http://oglemedia.co.za/our-solution

Spinsista Mitzi is a well-established Capetonian DJ who generously donated some funky tunes in form of podcasts: https://soundcloud.com/spinsista

Interest about content swapping and internet accessibility was high and the team spent most of the day providing information. The photos show how much fun it was: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.523796234377372

For more information and to be part of the next bitswap event join ZA-FREE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/58254549200

The bitswap event was kindly sponsored by Gandalf’s who offered access to their facilities and Dial a Nerd who donated the computer equipment for the day.

 

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Does Facebook maybe prefer Android over Apple?

Does Facebook maybe prefer Android over Apple?

Facebook pulls the classic copy and paste repetition mistake. That’s why you proofread your copy, always!

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Quality over Quantity

It’s an ongoing dilemma – quantity vs quality – that applies to posting content. Just that it might turn from well-meant spread to ill-perceived spam.

 

The trend goes to favouring quality content over quantity:

 

Collecting a followship is good to build momentum, but to have real impact, only quality content works.

Instead of overpushing the content onto your followers in the hope they’ll get to see it this time around, the goal could be to provide such great content that people wouldn’t want to miss out on it and check back regularly.

 

A better practice to ensure many people get to see the content is to trigger what social media was designed for: sharing.

Likes are overrated, the true social media currency is engagement.

 

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You want to customise your social media networks with great imagery?

Spare yourself the Googling for the right formats: Here is a quick overview of the pixel dimensions for the most popular social media platforms.

Last validated on 20/02/2014.

Facebook

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile picture square 180×180 https://www.facebook.com/help/315809258465467
Cover photo landscape 851×315 https://www.facebook.com/help/125379114252045

Twitter

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile photo square 500×500 https://support.twitter.com/articles/20823-i-m-having-trouble-uploading-a-profile-photo
Header photo landscape 1252×626 https://support.twitter.com/articles/127871-editing-your-profile

LinkedIn

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile Photo square 500×500 http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1615
Banner Image landscape 646×220 http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/32617
Standard Logo landscape 100×60 http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/45902
Square Logo square 50×50 http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/44864

Google+

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile photo circle 250×250 https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1355890
Cover photo landscape 2120×1192 https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1057172

YouTube

Imagery Format Size More info
Channel Icon square 800×800 https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2976309
Channel Art landscape 2560×1440 https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2972003

Flickr

Imagery Format Size More info
Buddy icon square 300×300 http://www.flickr.com/iconbuilder (logged in)
Cover photo landscape 2048×492 http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/#150488231

Pinterest

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile picture square 165×165 https://help.pinterest.com/entries/21047367-Edit-your-profile-or-settings
Pinned photos portrait 100×200 https://help.pinterest.com/entries/22980352

tumblr

Imagery Format Size More info
Portrait photo square 128×128 http://www.tumblr.com/help
Uploaded Photos portrait 500×750 http://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/photo_troubleshooting

MySpace

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile Image square 140×140 https://www.askmyspace.com/t5/Articles/How-do-I-Edit-my-Profile/ba-p/987
Cover Image landscape 2048×940 https://www.askmyspace.com/t5/Articles/How-do-I-Add-a-Cover-Image-to-my-Profile/ba-p/32971

Foursquare

Imagery Format Size More info
Avatar Icon square 110×110 http://support.foursquare.com/entries/188268-How-can-I-upload-a-profile-photo-
Banner Image landscape 860×130 http://support.foursquare.com/entries/20326533-Creating-a-Page-on-Foursquare

Skillpages

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile photo square 110×110 http://support.skillpages.com/customer/portal/articles/1331615-why-should-i-upload-a-profile-photo-
Cover Image landscape 700×180 http://support.skillpages.com/customer/portal/articles/1331573-how-do-i-add-and-edit-my-cover-photo-

StumbleUpon

Imagery Format Size More info
Profile picture square 185×185 http://help.stumbleupon.com/customer/portal/articles/665202-account-settings#article5

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Scrambled Up Letters

It’s all scrambled up letters to you? Modern technology can help.

 

1) Turn on your automatic spellchecker in your internet browser

 

2) Write everything in a word processing software first. Then copy and paste. You might have to strip the formatting though.

 

3) Use your computer’s Speech Recognition to let it read out long texts for you. Windows even offers you a training, which makes it really easy to learn.

Go to: Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> Speech Recognition and then select ‘Train your computer to better understand you’. This video shows you it’s child’s play to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1vL2-5kThc

 

4) Promote the 3 sentence rule: http://three.sentenc.es

 

5) Ask people to send you an explainer video for complicated matters rather than lengthy emails.

 

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Facebook’s Send Message Rip-off

If you don’t know how to call it, ‘Other’ will do…

Did you know this? If you’re in no way connected to a person on Facebook and want to send them a message, you have to pay for it! Otherwise your message lands in the ‘Other’ folder. Ever checked your ‘Other’ folder?

I understand that Facebook needs to make money. To let advertisers pay for sending a Facebook message is reasonable. And this might avert spammers.

But I have found messages in my ‘Other’ folder that were important. Who is Facebook to decide what lands in my inbox and what doesn’t?

Messages from pages I’ve liked don’t make it into my inbox. I thought that’s why I liked them, so I can be kept in the loop.

On top of it, Facebook does not allow me to customise my filter preferences for my messages. I can only choose between ‘basic’ and ‘strict’. ‘Basic’ left me with over 100 messages (‘99+’ to be precise, can’t they simply display the actual number?) in my ‘Other’ folder that I had no idea I had received. (Sorry that I’m a human being and only checked my inbox for new messages, how silly of me…)

I use Facebook for business too and am welcoming messages from people I have not yet connected with. How else can they introduce themselves? It used to be possible to add a message to a friend request and provide context of why you want to connect. Now this is not allowed unless you pay?

There are enough options to flag messages as spam. Not that any messages in my ‘Other’ folder were spam. So what is the benefit for me?

I know what’s definitely not cool for me: That I have to keep checking that ‘Other’ folder too from now on…

VAC = Value Added Content

VAC = Value Added Content

 

Content Marketing is not making content for your Marketing, but structuring your Marketing around your valuable content. I like to refer to valuable content as VAC: Value Added Content.

Just like Value Added Services add value to the standard service offering,
Value Added Content adds value to the standard content offering.

 

A VAC = Value Added Content ideally fulfils the following 10 criteria:

1) Accessible: Available via the communication channels of the consumer’s choice, customer-focused, user-centric.

2) Relevant: Attractive to the audience.

3) Meaningful: Actually carrying a piece of information. What is the message? What is the CTA = Call To Action?

4) Easy to understand: KISS = Keep It Short and Simple: Can you explain it in one sentence? Can you explain it to your mom / your kids?

5) High quality: Factual, proofread, optimised. What is your Content Expertise?

6) Transparent: Clearly leading back to the originator, honest.

7) Different: A unique voice, authentic, on brand.

8) On Topic: No diversions, manipulations or alternate motives.

9) Frequent: Regular, planned updates.

10) Interactive: Inviting to a conversation.

 

Incorporating valuable content in your Marketing strategy most likely means a business review of some sort, starting from defining the voice through branding or learning about your audience to restructuring the way you organise your content.

In the age of information overload don’t underestimate the impact Content Marketing has on your business success. To keep a focus on value is always a good business practice.

 

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myspace logo-BracketSo, MySpace. What’s the story. We have been asking for a while.

MySpace was one of my earliest social media networks. Okay, it’s all about music. It’s still social media. I had my blog on there, you could describe your mood with a funny smiley. I connected loosely with people and was open to new connections if we shared a common interest in music. People posted interesting photos. It really had it all.

And then came Facebook. All of a sudden MySpace was forgotten. I also turned my back on Myspace, maybe I was just too busy checking out this Facebook.

I return relatively frequently to MySpace, as it contains my music library. At work I enjoy listening to music and on MySpace I collect all my favourite bands and musicians. So it gives me inspiration what to listen to. Like a quick visual overview of the music styles I like. And then I can listen to it right there and create my own playlists. Nice.

Until I log in and find myself on the ‘new’ MySpace. And, oh, catastrophe! None of my info is on there. Where has it gone? My first panicked thought.

When I finally realise: The old stuff is still there, just on what has now become the ‘old’ MySpace.

Now every time I want to get to my music, I have to choose. As my ‘new’ MySpace is linked to my Facebook, I have some stuff on there too now. So I really have to decide and think about what I posted where and for what purpose I want to be on MySpace now.

WTF.

Just merge the two and be done with it.

Incomplete Profile

Incomplete Profile

Today’s internet unavailability (TIA) made me think if there’s anything positive to get from not yet having completed a profile page and came up with 5 reasons:

1)      It could trigger curiosity if invited to ‘come back soon for exciting prelaunch activities’.

2)      It shows when busy there’s no time to play around with online stuff.

3)      It is inviting fans to be a part right from the beginning.

4)      All following updates to the profile appear in the status feed.

5)      It shows authenticity – we’re all just humans after all.

Having outlined this, I just realised internet is back on. So I better finish up filling in that profile – I don’t want to end up looking like a t**t. 😉

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Before you publish a page or post on WordPress, quickly go through this checklist.

Before you publish a page or post on WordPress, quickly go through this checklist.

 

1. Customise your WordPress

– Tick all under ‘Screen Options’ to see all your options.

 

2. Update your Author’s Profile

– Fill in your profile with a professional picture and effective biography.

 

3. Content Preparation

– Follow the Naming Convention

– Protect for online use

– Optimise for web / mobile / devices: images, video, copy

– Ensure accessibility

 

4. Avoid duplicates

– Search your title to check if someone else has already loaded this article.

– Check the media library to not upload the same or a similar content twice.

– Don’t clutter: Publish or delete drafts.

 

5. Add a new post

1) Headline: 5 to 10 words, under 50 characters (including spaces)

2) Body copy: KISS (Keep It Short & Simple)

– You can paste directly from Word and keep the formatting.

– Preview and format for readability.

– Insert additional images / videos into post: Place your cursor where you want the content to appear in the body copy and click on ‘Add Media’.

– Embed links into post: Highlight the text you want to turn into a link and click on ‘Insert/ edit link’ and copy and paste the url. Remember to tick ‘Open link in a new tab’.

– Schedule your post: Click ‘Edit’ on ‘Publish immediately’ and set date and time.

 

6. Feature image

– Add Alt tag: 1 sentence description what this image shows.

– SEO optimisation: Fill in ‘Title’, ‘Alternate Text’, ‘Caption’ and ‘Description’.

 

7. Category

– Help your readers find interesting content by posting yours in the relevant category.

 

8. Tags

– Copy and paste most relevant keywords and add as tags for search results.

 

9. Excerpt

– Without an excerpt your article won’t display an intro and entice readers to click on it.

– Sell your article: 1 sentence description of what this article is about.

 

10. Customise url

– Shorten slug to 1 to 3 words, try to keep it under 10 characters.

 

11. Check the looks

– Look professional and generate credibility: Check the spelling. Check punctuation. Remove double spaces. Add space between colon and next word. Create a quality piece of content.

 

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Content Marketing at its best: Brand recognition so strong, Coca Cola can get rid of its brand name altogether and replace it with their customer's name. Fantastic bottle design over the years from Coca Cola.

Content Marketing at its best: Branding so strong, Coca Cola can get rid of its brand name altogether and replace it with their customer’s name.

 

Defining a clear voice and look and feel for your brand is important for your customer relationship:

 

Recognition

From Brand Familiarity to Brand Loyalty to Brand Equity, the key to successful branding is that it is recognisable.

In nowadays times of information overload, it’s quite tricky to get the customer’s attention.

Once you get them interested in your content, it’d be great if they can remember the organisation or product behind it. Otherwise your efforts of putting yourself out there are in vain.

Using your brand assets consistently will reaffirm brand recognition in your customer:

“Brand recognition is a rapid process. According to Nielsen, consumers only buy from a small repertoire of brands, and the average customer spends 13 seconds purchasing those branded items in store. In other words, when your customer scans the shelves, they reach for what’s familiar and they do it fast. This is known as ‘instinct buying’.

An effective marketing strategy needs a recognisable and consistent brand to promote. Customers need to know that when they see this colour with that font and this tone, it’s your brand. Whether you’re sending out newsletters or designing a landing page, they have to follow the same guide. If they don’t, the effort you put into your marketing strategy will amount nothing.”

– The secret to brand recognition

 

Trust

Consumers want what they know. People buy from people they trust. The “know, like and trust” factor is an established sales method and has become even more important in today’s fluctuating times.

Offering a consistent customer experience builds trust:

“Customers Say “No Love for a Two-Faced Brand”

While it is clearly more difficult to maintain consistency in a world where consumers have unlimited access to your brand messages, it is still a vital part of building trust. According to Forrester researcher Tracy Stokes, consistency is especially important in an age where many transactions aren’t face-to-face.
She says: “For example, consumers tell us that both Microsoft and Amazon.com deliver a consistent experience every time they interact with those brands. This helps both brands secure high levels of brand trust, which in turn drives strong brand resonance.”

21st century buyers won’t tolerate wishy-washy sales tactics or organizations who don’t know who they are. By keeping both your online and in-person interaction consistent with your brand image, you prove to consumers that you are a brand they can rely on. When it comes time to buy, no one wants to chance an investment on a company that keeps changing.”

– 5 Ways to Develop a Consistent Brand Voice

 

Connection

Once your brand has been memorised by your target group, every marketing activity you do will reinforce this memory. Even a glimpse of your brand can function as a reminder, which is great for any inbound marketing campaigns. A series of memories builds a relationship, and positive memories can result in loyalty.

Using the same look and feel across all encounters with your consumer reinforces the association of memories with your brand:

“Branding is the process of forming memories, emotions and a relationship around your brand in the consumer’s brain. The goal is to build such a strong connection and such strong belief that the consumer take on your brand identity as their own. They use your brand to help define who they are as a person.

A great example of this is Harley Davidson. Harley has done such a phenomenal job building memories, emotions and a relationship with their audience that those audience members take on the “Harley rider” persona and get decked out in leather, bandannas and even permanently tattoo Harley’s logo on their bodies.”

– How to Build a Brand That Attracts Die-Hard Followers

 

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Thanks for nothing: Using non-descriptive names doesn't help when looking for specific content.

Thanks for nothing: Using non-descriptive names doesn’t help when looking for specific content.

If you want your content to work for you, it’s important you know what content you have.

While you might have a super brain and miraculously remember where you stored all your stuff, this is not a scalable solution.

As soon as you have more than one person managing your content, you need to set up an efficient filing system and define principles to maintain it, such as the Naming Convention.

How to set up a Naming Convention


1) Define what elements need to be in your file name

Determine identifiers that you commonly use in your filing system, e.g.

– client / department
– project / programme / event / product number
– dates
– places
– originator / source
– language
– format / type / platform
– size / dimensions
– version


2) Make room for meaningful descriptions

How would you summarise the document to your mom / how would you describe the image to your grandpa? Now sum it up in a tweet and you probably end up with a meaningful description.

A meaningful description should be:

– unique
– indicative
– scannable
– consistent

Squeeze as much of it as you can into the file name. But remember to KISS – keep it short and simple!

If you need more space, add this information as metadata to your file.


3) Follow a hierarchy of general to specific

Start your file name with the most general element, and add more specifics toward the end of your file name.


4) Create a code for long and frequently used elements

If an element takes up too many characters, you can use a code or abbreviation instead. Document these codes for others to know what to look for.


5) Avoid special symbols

Stick to plain alphanumeric characters, so your file is already optimised to work with any content management system.


6) Publish your Naming Convention as part of your business identity

A Naming Convention only works if everyone knows about it and follows it. The definition of your Naming Convention should be part of any brand bible or corporate identity guide.

Some good examples:

Alberta Government’s Naming Conventions for Electronic Documents.

Wikipedia policy for article titles

The University of Leicester’s Naming Convention

The University of Edinburgh’s Naming Convention Rules

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Content Marketing - Copy Strategy exercise to define values

Content Marketing exercise to define values: One part of outlining a copy strategy.

 

 

I’m oldschool and learned mass media the traditional way from good old Ogilvy. My trade back then was copywriting. The copy strategy has always been one of the most essential tools, and is still valid now.

 

What is a copy strategy?

A copy strategy is a creative brief for the making of an advertising campaign. It can also be applied to define your messaging.

 

Who needs a copy strategy?

The process of outlining the copy strategy is a real beneficial exercise, especially if:

– You are a writer and want to define your voice.
– You are a team and work on the same content.

 

When does a copy strategy help?

The copy strategy, together with tone of voice and writing style, form a quick-glance brand bible that is extremely helpful if:

– You need to write copy and don’t know where to begin.
– You are new and don’t know what’s going on.
– You feel insecure with your spelling / grammar / wording.
– You need a quick reminder: What’s this all about again?

 

Why define a copy strategy?

The copy strategy gives you focus in your content production:

– It summarises your brand essence and how to express it in words.
– It outlines the overall goal of your organisation’s efforts so your copy is written with purpose.
– It’s a guide for your writing and helps you stay on topic.

 

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