Overcoming Doubt of Becoming a Creative Leader

Overcoming Doubt of Becoming a Creative Leader

Overcoming Doubt and Becoming a Creative LeaderPiera Gelardi, Refinery29 co-founder and Executive Creative Director spoke at the D&AD Festival in London this week and offered some advice for adapting to uncomfortable situations, overcoming creative block, and identifying the conditions that lead to great ideas.

“We all have moments when our idea of who we are and our sense of self gets challenged,” mused Piera Gelardi. “I had a moment like that when our company started to grow and develop. I felt really comfortable in my role as a creative person, heading up creative projects and expressing myself through creativity, but I started to feel really uncomfortable and almost like an alien in other parts of my role. The executive and creative director parts of my identity were really split – and the executive part just felt so foreign.”

The women’s media brand Refinery29 began in 2005 and focused on style with a guide to the best independent boutiques in New York.  In 2013 it was named the fastest growing media company in the US, and now encompasses everything from business and politics to fitness, has 500 million users across various platforms, and has teams in New York, Berlin, and London.

Gelardi said: “I was having to do lots of things that I didn’t necessarily have any background or training in. I had to start managing these big teams and thinking out business strategies and doing a lot of negotiations and I felt so uncomfortable in these new roles that I started to think maybe our company was scaling and I wasn’t the right person for the job any more. That was a really painful moment, because here I was – I had built this company from the ground up and all of a sudden, I didn’t feel at home.”

She went on to offer a few bits of wisdom that she’s gleaned over the years:

Use your strengths as a weapon:

In her case, that meant using her creativity and listening skills to develop her own unique style of negotiating.

Create the right conditions for creativity

Identify the conditions that lead you to great ideas, whether that’s going for a run or making a Pinterest board.

Collaboration

Once in a brainstorming session, don’t discuss the things that limit you like budgets or targets – focus on the creativity and how to bring about the results you want.

The importance of listening

As a Leader you don’t want your team to be afraid to bring up an idea or opinion.

Find other outlets for your creativity

It’s important not to expect to find complete fulfilment in your work.  Find other ways to channel your creativity outside of work, especially if you feel constrained in your day job.

Google announces the roll-out of its new “fact-checking” feature to combat fake news

Search Engine Optimization not simply Google optimisationA new label will come up if you search for a news story and a result is returned from a credible fact-checking organization.

For a story with this label, an excerpt will come up showing the claim, who has made it, and a fact check of the claim itself.

Last year, the tech giant launched a trial enabling publishers to use the fact check tag on news stories; thus identifying articles published by news agencies and other fact-checking organizations.

The feature is now being launched globally to combat misinformation and fake news, but will not be available for every search result.

Interestingly, the feature won’t increase the search ranking of fact-checking organizations and articles using the new label will not be ranked differently in the search results.

According to Google, only publishers who are “algorithmically determined to be an authoritative source of information will qualify for inclusion”, but gave no further details on how that determination will be made.

A Google blog was written by Product Manager Justin Kosslyn and Research Scientist Cong Yu saying:  “There may be search result pages where different publishers checked the same claim and reached different conclusions.”

“These fact checks are not Google’s and are presented so people can make more informed judgements.”

It was pointed out that “differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim” and that readers “have clear information on which sources agree”.

Looking forward, they added:  “As we make fact checks more visible in Search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions.”

Great Images need Great Content

Great Images need Great ContentYour online presence is a hugely important marketing tool. You will need some awesome images to invite and inspire your audience, but what about the content? Words matter too. The right words all in the right order! Most Importantly, completely original words not content that has been cribbed from another website or online resource (unless used with permission and credited to the author).

Google Plagiarism Checker

Plagiarism – taking someone else’s words and using them as your own – is likely to see your site blacklisted. If you are looking for a high ranking then you need to make sure that your content is original. There are online plagiarism checkers such as Small Seo Tools and Plagiarism Checker App available on Google Play.

Professional Content Writing

Content writing for websites and blog sites has become big business. We found 1,245 vacancies online for content writers in one online search today alone! There are plenty of businesses out there offering to write original and expert copy for you. Prices can vary enormously as can quality. Ask for a quote up front, and also make sure that you read a few different samples of their work.

Freelance writers are likely to give you a more personal service as you are dealing directly with the writer, however, depending on how busy they are you may struggle to get a quick turn around. Dedicated content writing companies may well employ a large number of ‘expert’ freelance writers which on the plus side means that they may have a writer who will suit your type of business better.

Double-Check the Originality

You can ask the content writer to provide you with a report regarding the originality of the copy – which means that they will put it through some plagiarism software. You can also check this yourself – it is better to be doubly sure about this as it really is so important that you don’t use wording already ranked by the major search engines

Magpie Image can offer you an original content writing along with research. We have a team of writers with over 30 years combined experience within publishing and marketing. Contact us for a friendly and professional no obligation quote.

Get Some Top Notch Training

Can’t update your website?

WordPress editing course GoucesterYou probably already have a company website – but you may be unable to update it yourself which means that you have the potential for a hefty bill every-time you add a new product or service and need the services of a web developer to add these things to your existing site.

This is why small businesses are turning to WordPress to provide them with a website that they truly can ‘own’. With a minimal outlay on staff training this is well worth your investment as good training will allow you to update and maintain your site easily without incurring any extra charges. You can even give your site a regular makeover by changing the ‘theme’ once you or your staff have become confident WordPress users.

Get Some Top Notch Training

Good hands on training is key to this, along with good back up should you need it. At Magpie Image we have years of experience to share with you and our inexpensive WordPress courses will set you up confidently in a day and with further training available at a later stage you can be secure in the knowledge that you have a friendly professional WordPress user in your back pocket should you encounter any issues.

Courses are £220.00 inc VAT and can be tailored to suit your exact needs – you can even use your own site build to train on! But it doesn’t stop there, we can teach you WordPress editing skills, give you tips on writing good copy (or write it for you) and we also run courses in SEO digital marketing to help you get a digital handhold as quickly as possible.

No Time Like the Present!

What are you waiting for?! Contact Magpie Image today for advice on rebuilding your website in WordPress or learn how to build yourself a fully responsive smart new site with top search engine ranking and find out how to keep it updated and properly maintained from the people who have been using WordPress successfully for years…

For more information on our courses please click here >

Video Marketing for the Small Business

Video Marketing for the Small BusinessAlready identified as the major marketing tool of the future, short videos are fast becoming the must have item in order to acquire new customers and generate massive interest in your product and company.

Don’t make the mistake that a lot of older marketing managers though, this is not a TV commercial requiring a fortune to be spent on recording equipment lighting and editing software, your smart-phone is really all the equipment that you need to make a short clip for posting.

Do I really Need To?

According to Cisco By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.  So, yes you should aim to have something for consumers to easily digest in video format – with the hope that this will be shared and re shared quickly across the net.

Target Audience

You need to think about  your target audience, making sure that what you produce is right for them. You could try the clip out on the correct demographic in house before you publish. Check out the Vine App on Twitter – only 6 seconds but great for a quick expose of a key product or service.  Putting together something that simply gets your brand out there is a huge opportunity to acquire more customers and with the potential views you will struggle to find anything with similar impact. According to Statistic Brain You Tube has 900,000 000 unique visits every month! According to a recent post by Mashable, Snapchat users are watching 10 billion videos a day

Promoting Your Clip

Maximise your use of social media and make sure that your clip is perfect to view on a smart phone mobile friendly as according to Wired people spend ‘insane amounts of time’ watching video on their phones.

So, make yourself an engaging marketing video today!

 

Setting Up Your Own WordPress Site

Setting Up Your Own WordPress websiteSetting Up Your Own WordPress Site

Setting up a free WordPress blog website couldn’t be easier – or could it?

Sure there are plenty of online WordPress tutorials and advice regarding how to set up and start using your website. However, if you are after a professional looking site with superb functionality you should seriously look at getting some hands on tuition from people who use WordPress on a daily basis – and have been doing so for some time.

Control Your Online Presence

WordPress can be very user friendly and it is generally straightforward but has thousands of Plug In options and can be very powerful. This can be quite daunting for the inexperienced user. Individual or small group learning can be invaluable if you are looking to bring your website in-house. You will need to be confident in your own skills, or those of your staff so setting about WordPress training the right way will not only save you time and money but will give you complete control of your online presence.

Choose a Trainer Who Will Give You Back-up

There are plenty of online courses available, but choosing a trainer who will also be able to give you back up should you need it is a better choice. Take a look around some of the trainers own WordPress installations to get an idea of their skill level.

Smart Thinking

An experienced web developer will also be able to take your existing website and teach you how to transfer it into a WordPress theme – saving you a lot work (and money…! ) So if you are a small business with limited resources, investing in a little WordPress staff training could provide you with quite a dividend. A smart web presence, and smart staff able to keep it up to date and looking good.

Most used WordPress Plugins

Top Plugins for WordPress

Most used WordPress Plugins, Top Plugin for WordPressBelow is a list of the current most popular WordPress plugins (to date). If you are building your own WordPress website then these are all worth installing and seeing if the benefits suit your site and your needs…

Advanced Custom Fields

Customise WordPress with powerful, professional and intuitive fields
By: elliotcondon.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

TinyMCE Advanced

Enables the advanced features of TinyMCE, the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.
By: Andrew Ozz.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
By: Arne Brachhold.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Duplicate Post

Clone posts and pages.
By: Lopo.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

WordPress Importer

Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, tags and more from a WordPress export file.
By: WordPress.org.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a powerful, extendable eCommerce plugin that helps you sell anything. Beautifully.
By: Automattic, Mike Jolley, jameskoster, Claudio Sanches, royho, and WooThemes.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

NextGEN Gallery

The most popular WordPress gallery plugin and one of the most popular plugins of all time with over 14 million downloads.
By: photocrati and imagely.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Contact Form 7

Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.
By: Takayuki Miyoshi.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Jetpack by WordPress.com

Increase your traffic, view your stats, speed up your site, and protect yourself from hackers with Jetpack.
By: Automattic, Adam Heckler, Andrew Duthie, Alex Kirk, allendav, alternatekev, and others.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Really Simple CAPTCHA

Really Simple CAPTCHA is a CAPTCHA module intended to be called from other plugins. It is originally created for my Contact Form 7 plugin.
By: Takayuki Miyoshi.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Wordfence Security

The Wordfence WordPress security plugin provides free enterprise-class WordPress security, protecting your website from hacks and malware.
By: Wordfence.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Yoast SEO

Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.
By: Joost de Valk.
1 week ago 1+ million active installs
Read More >

All in One SEO Pack

he most downloaded plugin for WordPress (almost 30 million downloads). Use All in One SEO Pack to automatically optimize your site for Search Engines
By: Michael Torbert, Steve Mortiboy, Dougal Campbell, Peter Baylies, and others.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Regenerate Thumbnails

Allows you to regenerate your thumbnails after changing the thumbnail sizes.
By: Alex Mills (Viper007Bond).
1+ million active installs
Read More >

W3 Total Cache

Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.
By: Frederick Townes.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

WP Super Cache

A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files.
By: Donncha O Caoimh, Automattic, and Brandon Kraft.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Google Analytics by Yoast

Track your WordPress site easily with the latest tracking codes and lots added data for search result pages and error pages.
By: Joost de Valk.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

WP-PageNavi

Adds a more advanced paging navigation interface.
By: Lester Chan and scribu.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Hello Dolly

This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong.
By: Matt Mullenweg.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Akismet

Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not.
By: Matt Mullenweg, Ryan Boren, Andy Skelton, Michael Adams (mdawaffe), and others.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Page Builder by SiteOrigin

Build responsive page layouts using the widgets you know and love using this simple drag and drop page builder.
By: Greg Priday and braam-genis.
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

Disable Comments

Allows administrators to globally disable comments on their site. Comments can be disabled according to post type. Multisite friendly.
By: Samir Shah.
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

WP Multibyte Patch

Multibyte functionality enhancement for the WordPress Japanese package.
By: Seisuke Kuraishi (tenpura).
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

The visual editor widget for WordPress.
By: Marco Chiesi and Francesco Canovi.
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Displays Google Analytics reports in your WordPress Dashboard. Inserts the latest Google Analytics tracking code in your pages.
By: Alin Marcu.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security)

Protect your WordPress site by hiding vital areas of your site, protecting access to important files, preventing brute-force login attempts, detecting
By: iThemes, Chris Jean, Aaron D. Campbell, gerroald, and Matt Danner.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

Clef Two-Factor Authentication

Modern two-factor that people love to use: strong authentication without passwords or tokens; single sign on/off; magical user experience.
By: Dave Ross, Jesse Pollak, Andrew Russell, and Laurence.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration

Backup and restoration made easy. Complete backups; manual or scheduled (backup to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email + others).
By: Backup with UpdraftPlus, David Anderson, and DNutbourne.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

Duplicator

Duplicate, clone, backup, move and transfer an entire site from one location to another.
By: corylamleorg and Bob Riley.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

Meta Slider

Easy to use WordPress slider plugin. Create SEO optimised responsive slideshows with Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider and Responsive Slides.
By: Matcha Labs.
600,000+ active installs
Read More >

Free WordPress Themes

Free WordPress Themes

The best WordPress pluginsSince its inception in 2003, nearly a quarter of all websites worldwide are now built using a WordPress theme so we have put a list of some of the most popular free ones together for you all of which can be found at WordPress.org.

Professional

For a professional and versatile template we like Nictitate by kopatheme. It is completely responsive so viewing it on any screen size is not an issue. This means that you can feel confident in its longevity. It comes with a good layout manager and it functions across all of the main browsers

wordpress.org/themes/nictitate

Multi-Purpose

Another popular multi-purpose theme is Vantage which can boast approaching 1 million downloads. It too is fully responsive and comes pre loaded with a number of plug-ins and works well with the WordPress e-commerce system Woo Commerce.

wordpress.org/themes/vantage

Simple

For simplicity and elegance we like Hemingway by Anders Noren. More suited for use as a blogging site this clean looking easy to set up is straightforward and ideal for beginners to WordPress

wordpress.org/themes/hemingway

Gallery

For showcasing images we like Portfolio Gallery by Web Dorado. This again is responsive and straightforward to use and will shrink to fit any viewing screen. It is simple and elegant and SEO friendly

wordpress.org/themes/portfolio-gallery

Retina Ready

One of the most popular themes with over 100,000 active installations is Zerif Lite by Codeinwp. It is minimal and modern-looking with a clean flat appearance. Retina-ready and compatible with WooCommerce this is an up to date free version of the Zerif Pro theme which boasts that it is the most popular paid for theme in 2015 with more than half a million downloads

themeisle.com/themes/zerif-lite/

Social Networking

If you are looking to boost your viral traffic you might like to look at SociallyViral by MyThemeShop which is designed to improve social shares and traffic from social media websites. This also has great support

wordpress.org/themes/sociallyviral

This is a minute sampling as there are of course thousands of other free to download template themes. Don’t just opt for something that looks good. Make sure that you check out the reviews section especially regarding support – it will make your WordPress experience much better!

Search Engine Optimization not Simply Google Optimisation

Google Developers Mobile Friendly TestAs popular as ever Google was reported to have over 85% of the market share for search engines in the UK last year (Statista) so having a SEO tailored to Googles needs is a smart strategy. But what of the other 15% – who are they? How significant are they?

Well Microsoft operated and owned Bing is the second most used search engine with just under a 10% market share. But with the growing number of Windows phones, Firefox defaulting to Yahoo powered by Bing and Apples SIRI using Bing as a default search engine this is not one to ignore. Sources also indicate that Bing users tend to spend more than Google users and pay per click is cheaper on Bing. There are also suggestions that Bing enjoys a lower bounce rate.

So don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you are ranking well with Google that Bing will automatically follow suit. There are technical factors that make Bing different from Google too. They operate using different algorithms with Bing not perhaps having the same creative responses to Google should you miss spell a search item but it is widely acknowledged that with its infinite scroll feature Bing handles images better.

What about the rest?

Duck Duck Go with its emphasis on privacy and lack of user profile building is a reasonably popular open source created search engine with 13,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors (Ebizmba) . Ask! Is still out there along with AOL.

Global Markets

Khoj in India, Baidu in China, there are numerous Country specific, product or service specific search engines to consider too depending upon your particular market. An eye opening trip to www.searchenginesoftheworld.com is a good collection of smaller more focussed search engines across the Globe.

Getting Google right is undoubtedly the industry goal with regards to good SEO – but keep in mind the millions of potential customers who may prefer not to use Google for whatever reason!

How to create a Newsletter

How to create a Newsletter

Getting a Grip

website design newsletterHow often do you check your email in-box and immediately move items to the recycle bin without even opening them? Your time is precious and you don’t want to waste it reading things you don’t remember signing up for – so how do you go about producing something that someone else will want to read and not just drag and drop into the bin? Well, for starters you will need a subject line that piques your readers interest so go for a statement that gets their attention rather than simply announcing the arrival of ‘Our Newsletter 39’!

Keep it Short and Simple

Unless you are really confident that you have genuinely compelling material that will keep the reader engrossed, keep your newsletters short and regular. A monthly rather than weekly  burst of useful information from you will be easier to digest and less likely to irritate. Of course the  occasional extra issue to announce fire-sales, new products or burning issues is also a great way of keeping your brand and services alive in the minds of your customer and potential customer base.

Hello Good-Looking

Keep your layout simple and clear. Strong headings in a contrasting colour and an easy to read font style will invite the reader to dive in. Adding a bright eye catching image will further enhance the reader experience. Keep a file if newsletters that you have received and liked, and before you bin items from your in-box take another look at them and ask yourself why? – absorbing this information should help you determine what is likely to work for you. Try creating your newsletter quickly, this will help to keep it shorter, sweeter and to the point but do make sure that you take your time editing it!

Reaping the Rewards

If you get it right, the return will be well worth the effort – not only is it a superb way to keep in touch with your existing customers, if they like what you have produced it is likely to be forwarded to their colleagues and friends too making it a marvellously personal and direct way to reach potential customers.

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