Here it is. The place where I get to comment on a subject I care about intensely – content. Words, in other words.
Are you avoiding the news? According to research by the Reuters Institute, 60 per cent of people say they always, often or sometimes avoid news during the present Covid-19 emergency.
Well, this is a news-free zone. As we endure the second month of lockdown, I share with you the best distractions from the rolling doom-and-gloom. What do you mean we can come out now..? I haven’t finished Better Call Saul.
What I’m watching
The Banff Mountain Film Festival will release new additions to their collection of short films each week. For adventure at home, I like to stream to my TV and turn up the volume (falling snow is better).
The Frenchy, my favourite BMFF film, screened last year, was a profile of Jaques Houot who is still competing in mountain biking and skiing in Colorado at the age of 82. And that’s the least interesting thing about him, watch the 17-min film to find out more.
What I’m listening to
Joe Rogan has signed a deal with Spotify for $100m. If you’re thinking ‘Who’s He?’ you need to get over to his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience before it disappears behind a paywall. His interview with Elon Musk, where they both smoked marijuana, saw the share price of Tesla drop and is one of many bizarre, yet insightful conversations he’s had with business leaders and celebrities.
I’m definitely not the intended audience, so how did I end up here? David Goggins – Episodes 1080 and 1212 – ex-Navy Seal and ultra-athlete. Yes, I could lend you his autobiography, Can’t Hurt Me, but I recommend you get the audio version. It’s a much better experience listening to the chat between Goggins and the narrator Adam Skolnick, giving you a glimpse onto his extraordinary life and badass attitude.(more…)
COVID-19 brought the film and TV industry to a halt, more or less overnight on 17 March 2020. The next day, I jumped on a call with the two owners of Power Gems, and we came up with a way to harness the six years spent working together to build a global brand. The Manchester-based business designs and manufactures a specialist lighting product for film and TV production, with the majority of sales overseas.
I created a one-month campaign to strengthen their online marketing efforts (since all trade shows have been cancelled) to maintain normality, minimise risk and give their position a boost for when we come out the other side.
With no news because both facilities in Manchester and Hollywood closed and staff were furloughed, I came up with creative ways to capture attention on the website and LinkedIn. Aiming for 2-3 updates a week, I crafted good news stories such as the new hires made before lockdown, interviewed one of their customers for a thought leadership piece, and developed a knack for a good photo story (see below).
At the end of the month, I turned the news stories into a newsletter, seen by Power Gems owners to be ‘a really good read and the photos are perfect. The bar has been set pretty high for our next output. ’ The click-thru rate has been impressive, whether it’s the focus on the personal – Jeremy holding a fish – or because we got a better response from those who are still working, is hard to say.
Many home workers may have extra free time. Looking to make the most of this opportunity, I created and built a survey of customers and contacts worldwide, and disseminated the insight through email, LinkedIn and the website.
The main aim throughout has been to keep Power Gems in front of mind. We seem to be winning with new orders and sales leads, during a time when running a straightforward campaign wasn’t going to do it.
What next? I plan to read Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence by Philip Kotler
About twenty years ago, I got my first experience of working on a business magazine. Amid deadlines for a Masters in Journalism and early morning shifts at a press cutting agency, I filed my first piece for The CA magazine.
Back then, the magazine was produced in-house, by a dedicated team of writers and designers, in the Stockbridge office of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. The magazine then went out to a competitive tender and the River Group has become the latest content agency to develop the print and digital offering, taking over from Think Publishing in January 2020.
I’ve researched and written special reports into legal services and accountancy in Scotland; told the story of how new technology and skills will shape the accountancy profession; and looked at the future of banking and artificial intelligence.
I still get a thrill when I see a piece I’ve written for The CA; it takes me back to the days when I agonised over 250 words, never imagining the gusto I’d have for a 4,000-word feature as the result of 15 interviews.
For the December 2019 issue, I wrote about how technology is changing our relationship with money, whether as consumers or in business, for the cover feature on the Future of FinTech.
You can read the 3-page feature here