Here it is. The place where I get to comment on a subject I care about intensely – content. Words, in other words.
I have a magpie mind; I collect information. But, I fail to accumulate knowledge. Fleetingly, I’ll be a world authority on a subject because I’ve spoken to experts and interviewed thought leaders. All that research benefits my clients, but it doesn’t stick in my head. The last thing I learnt gets pushed out to make room for new words.
Recently, I was writing about retrofitting to replace fluorescent tube lighting with LEDs. The client referred to the phasing out of fluorescent lighting in the UK. One key reason to swap to LED is you won’t be able to buy the tubes from 2023, ‘just as halogen bulbs are banned for sale from September 2021’.
I stare at the screen.
The penny drops.
My home has an excess of fittings that take halogen bulbs – forty-two at the last count. Not bad for what’s essentially two rooms.
With a sense of urgency, I park the technical datasheet and the product page for the latest addition to the client’s new LED product range, and I jump on the internet.
Too late. You can’t get a halogen bulb for love or money. Not one that fits the exacting technical specifications of these fixtures – did I mention, not two bulbs are the same.
The lesson? More often than not, what I write about for a client applies to my life, but I’m so uber-focused I fail to notice. When I had to arrange a mortgage for the home-with-a-thousand-lights, I was surprised at the new criteria, despite writing for months about changes in the market. Ditto, disposing of a fridge freezer proved challenging, even though I had interviewed the owner of a business set up to take advantage of new environmental regulations and should not have been surprised.
All of which is to say, if I gave my own stuff the same focus I give to clients, I would consistently update my website rather than leave it for a year. But what would you prefer, a writer erratically here or consistently working somewhere on your website?
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