Saturday, September 30, 2006

Reg Vardy Sheffield

Deleted this entry til I've all the facts straight and talked to Reg Vardy Head Office. I'll post again when things are clearer.

Really not happy at all!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Another Bloody good idea

I'm sure I've said before, but if not I'll say it again. The best ideas are really simple but they need to engage.

Another Bloody Water, is the best example I seen in quite a while. To me water's water and I can't be the only one. This Australian company have the same point of view.

They're hitting the niche that's ironic as well as the one that doesn't care which water they drink. Now they can make a great anti-statement.

At last! - The Atomium Saved!

the cool hunter - KIDS SPHERE HOTEL - Cocoons for sleeping

I used to work in travel, well coach tours really (is that travel?). Anyway, we did tours to Brussels and one of the best pictures was the Atomium. Problem was it looked great, but was in the middle of nowhere and it was rusting.

I just popped on to Boing Boing and found that great link. The Atomium has been saved and is now a really cool retro-science type hotel. What an improvement, can they pop to Sheffield and help us out please? We've getting mowed over with drab urbanite ghettos!

Long tail on YouTube

I know that YouTube is now becoming old hat. Yes, it nothing new anymore, but it's now becoming the long tail of clips I used to search for in vain.

I just found a jem I'd forgotten about from a UK comedy series Big Train. Big Train never had a big following but produced some of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV. I wish it would be repeated (hint to any one who has influence).

One of the best things on it is the Staring Competition, which is a masterly piece of simplicity, the animation hardly moves and the focus is so strong. It's a perfection of understatement and that's what makes it so great. Enough waffle here's the clip.

These clips I've been adding recently don't really fit with the site and I'm sorry. But apart from being pearls of comedy, they demonstrate a few of the best marketing practices available.

  1. Simplicity
  2. Engagement
  3. Passive Interaction
  4. Word of mouth
  5. Long Tail
  6. Perfect targeting

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My lovely horse video

This is totally unrelated to anything I've posted before, but I love Father Ted and found a wikipedia entry on it while randomly surfing. My lovely Horse is a brilliant song, and once I found it I had to post it.


Really, Really, Really Bad Powerpoint!

Presentation Zen: Your moment of Zen
I'm a convert to the Presentation Zen way of putting together presentations. In my office we have a strict no bullets rule, I use only high quality graphics so that audiences listen to me rather than read a screen. Plus, I don't spend time looking at the same screen and reading parrot fashion what they can see for themselves.

Presentations now have a lot more life. I'm still learning, but it's a lot more fun.

Take a look at Presentation Zen and see how it will improve your presentations.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Daily Show Moment of Zen - American Madness!

In the UK for those with only PMT* the only way to see the Daily Show with John Stewart is on Digital Freeview on the More 4 Channel.

For me the Daily Show started off as a curiosity to see if a sense of humour existed in the states. It's now become compulsive viewing not least because of the odd UK comedy star appearance Dave Gorman in particular.

Anyway, apart from the ridiculous utterances of President Bush one of the highlights is the Moment of Zen at the end of each show. Tonight's was particularly cutting.

I can't find a clip but this is a very rough transcription:

TV terror Pundit:
"24 is one of the most popular TV programmes in the US today, and for me
the struggles of Jack Bower against the forces of terrorism is the biggest
endorsement of the {Bush administrations} war on terror I can think of."

I'm no TV exec or political pundit, but how the hell can this woman look herself in the mirror!

*Poor Man's Telly

Google develop machine translation tools

The Daily Californian reports today on the announcement by Google that they are taking their Machine Translation service to a higher level.

I have a vested interest in Google and in Machine Translation. On my site we offer free translation tools as a service to the public who want to get the gist of a foreign text. The service is free from our site because it drives traffic and is a perfect leader service to our professional translation service.

The issue for us is that while it's free on our site it costs us to keep it running. Google's entry into machine translation will help this because their entry into these markets always leads to a drop in service charges across the board and an increase in development as the service providers move up a notch to keep up.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Robbie Rotten on Wikipedia

The proof that Wikipedia is the ultimate Long Tail website is the in the fact that it has an entry dedicated to Robbie Rotten and the kids TV programme Lazy Town.

For those without children under at least 6. Lazy Town is one of the strangest, compulsive children's shows on TV at the moment. My two year old can only just speak, but he can sing the tune to Lazy Town!

Now that's perfect marketing!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bad translation makes you look really dumb!

Jerusalem? Never heard of it - Yahoo! News

Yet another in the long line of bad translations, not proofread which just make organisations look really stupid. In this case Jerusalem they translated "Jerusalem. There is no city like it!" to "Jerusalem. There is no such city!".

My geography is lousy but I know Jerusalem exists!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How normal people can avoid spam filters

Some people have mentioned that emails they send to customers get caught up in Spam Filters. These aren't people trying to spam these are people trying to get on with thier jobs which involves sending email to customers. The customers don’t check thier spam boxes for legitimate email and then get upset because they feel the email hasn’t been sent. So I thought I’d put together a few tips to see if I can help.

  1. Be careful about what you put in your subject line. This is the most important line of any email.
  2. In general avoid words like offer, discount, sale, deal, free. Spam filters tend to mark these as spam straight away. If you need to use these, do it sparingly.
  3. Make sure subject lines are as descriptive as possible. Subject lines like “Project hg5689020” are likely to get caught in Spam. Also they don’t look good to customers, who may just delete it anyway.
  4. Use the name of the person you’re emailing in the subject line.
  5. Ask your contact to add you to their address book.
  6. Follow-up with a phone call and ask them to check their Spam box.
  7. Avoid large files on the first email you send.
  8. Always have spell checking on, spammers tend to creatively spell their content and some spam filters pick this up. Also it looks more professional.
  9. If you have a really important email, run it through the Lyris spam checker. It gives a good idea if your email will be picked up by spam filters and what’s causing the problem.
  10. Let me know if you have any more of your own.

Write how you speak!

Over on Tom Peters Blog, he posts about people speaking and writing in a way they can't understand themselves.

This is one of the first things I did when I started my current job last year. The staff seemed to take on another body when they had to write a letter of email. They suddenly use words they'd never used before and didn't understand. Even worse the customers didn't understand either.

The letters and emails looked like a dictionary had been emptied on the screen.

The best advice I've ever had was from Courtney Ferguson a great DM copy writer (I wish she had a blog). Her advice was write how you speak, be personal, engage, do something unexpected. Her copy is joy to read and the best bit is it sells too. You don't notice it though. That's the best bit.

I pass this on to anyone who'll listen. Please do the same.

Microsoft play catch-up again

BBC NEWS Technology Microsoft to launch YouTube rival

Microsoft are lagging behind again and announcing copy-cat products due to be launched in several months. This time they're pitching against YouTube.

Microsoft need to stop this, fix the mess they've already created and then maybe come up with new innovative ideas.

No one trusts them, the reason YouTube has taken off is exactly because it's not run by Microsoft. All they're doing is bringing YouTube to light for the people who haven't heard of it. YouTube must be delighted that Microsoft have given them loads of free adverting.

Essential reading for building your website.

Content Publishing, Controlling Costs, Scaling Profits & Link Bait: Being Small & Competing With Big Fish

This is an invaluable post on how to develop a site and keep users interested, build links, authority and a great online brand.

Read it now! Bookmark it! Send it to your friends!

Blogging is spreading to the non-web generation

Last night my Mother in Law suddenly said to me "What's blogging?". Now this is not her usual type of question, normally it's how are you, you look tired or do you want a coffee. So I was a bit taken a back to say the least.

She'd heard about it on Radio 4 I think, the discussion was about the bloggers in the Iraq war and how they'd got news out during the conflict via blogs. At first she didn't see how she could get involved until I mentioned that it would be ideal to help her with her political ideas. At this she seemed to spark to life and asked me to show her a few blogs the next time she visited. Maybe she'll feel enthused enough to start her own. I hope so, because it's people like her who can do something great with blogs and not just the normal "Cat Blog".

Hopefully I'll be highlighing her blog soon.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Email is Still the Key to a Successful Link Building Campaign

SEOmoz Blog Email is Still the Key to a Successful Link Building Campaign

Great article on link building. Building these relationships takes a lot of time and effort. To give a case study, one which I'd built up changed their entire site for us and started to bring in more referrals than Google! The only approach I'd made once the initial links were on was to ask if they had any ideas how we could help each other.

Two months later the unique users rose from 20,000 per day to over 70,000!

These new referrals helped us take a whole new direction with the site and hopefully implement a new business model as well.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

How to enter the Chinese Market

Sometime I forget I work in the translation business on this website. To to redress the balance here's a great article on John Yunkers Blog.

Everyone want to get into China. The opportunities are massive, but you need to be very careful about how you take your brand forward or things could turn out very badly.

» The Good, The Bad and The 难 看 Global By Design: The Web Globalization Resource

The lesson to take a way from all this is that translation is a skill like any other and putting your brand in amateur hands is not advisable.

Is this the worlds worst spammer?

Is this the worst ever spam?

I can think of a few reasons for this terrible attempt at spamming:

The guy is just really bad at this and should get back his real job.

He's a trainee and it's his first day.

It's a very very clever attempt to fool me into thinking that there is no way this could be spam, who would be so stupid.

Maybe it's a viral email from a Marketing Company trying to be cutting edge.

I'm no spammer but I'd guess one simple rule could be not to use anarchy in the email address you use.

Whatever the reason it's just really bad.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

When you can't give away beer!

I'm not sure about you but, if someone offered me a free beer just for the time it would take for them to tell me about a new job I'm interested I think I'd pop in.

Even just for the free beer and then I'd just nod at the person talking, thank them for the beer and disappear.

Well not in Huddersfield. This is exactly what we did, we flyered commuters for two days trying to recruit Industry Managers, we gave free apples, we had a stilt walker we offered free beer!

Take a look at the details on the website.

What did we do wrong, or was it just Huddersfield?

Maybe it all looks to good to be true? Would you like the benefits we offer?
  • FREE Parking
  • FREE Lunches (Monday to Thursday)
  • FREE Fruit
  • FREE t-shirts and winter jacket
  • FREE Laptop and Broadband access at home
  • FREE MP3 player
  • FREE 20 minute massages
  • Out of town location
  • Plus one 'Duvet Day' each year
  • Plus your birthday off each year

I just don't know what more we could have done to entice the great people of Huddersfield, maybe nothing?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Looking to hire

I'm trying to employ a PR executive in my day job at Applied Language.

I looking for a really enthusastic person who can come in and help take the PR forward, I don't have the time or the training to do it justice.

Here's the job spec. If you want more details then jump over to the website.

Position: Marketing & PR Executive
Office: Huddersfield

This role will cover the development of Applied Language’s PR.

This will include:
Liaison with both Trade and news press representatives.
  • Writing Press Releases
  • Co-ordinating events
  • Handling on-line PR activity, including posting on forums and other social media.
  • Writing and proofreading copy for the website and printed publications
  • Research for articles and information for the website
  • Working with the international offices to co-ordinate Marketing and PR activity

Essential Requirements

  • Degree in marketing and PR
  • Experience of putting together press releases
  • Strong English language skills
  • Good IT Skills
  • Knowledge of internet and marketing techniques

Additional information
The successful candidate will need to be highly motivated and able to react and change direction quickly. They need to be outgoing and be able to build relationships with key people in the media and within the company.

This is the ideal role for a new graduate who wants to make a mark in the new media with a fast growing business.

If this suits you then drop me an email.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Law of economics - Pah!

I'm not very good at maths but clever statistical theories impress me. The long tail in particular makes great sense but it turns out that even monkeys can create a long tail (excuse the pun).

It's all nature in the end!