Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

A conference on conferences about conferences

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Re: the title. If it’s not done, it probably will be soon.

I wrote a post over five years ago suggesting people put on their own conferences. As conferences and events get bigger, they end up putting off an awful lot of people who would have been the ones that went to the first ones. Once annual conferences hit four figures both in numbers and ticket prices, a new market for a conference in the same area opens up. Put on the right conference and it can be a new source of additional revenue or just something an audience was looking for.

Seriously, the cost of a single ticket to some conferences in Ireland is the seed money for putting on your own one. €1000 can go a long way in setting up a day long conference. €3000 would pretty much cover everything bar lunch for those going (tell em bring their own).

I then wrote this back in 2012 giving some advice on putting conferences together. The same holds true today.

Some other tips I’d like to add, please:

Be critical
Look at your potential lineup. Look at your ticket prices. If you only had €150 to spend at one conference this year, which one would it be? Would you go to your own? Would you really? That speaker has been at those other five conferences in the past two years, re-cycling that presentation again and again. They’re well known but would you pay some of your ticket to see that same talk for the sixth time? The venue is ok, it’s cheap but if you sat in that location for the whole day, would you dislike it? How are the acoustics? Is it a pain to actually get to or get parking at or get a taxi to? Is the food ok? Many people ignore the food in planning but a happy belly makes a happy conference goer. Is it to warm or too cold? Nothing worse for me than cold feet at a conference.

Tweets sell tickets.
Tweets about ticket sales drove more sales for the Measurement Conference as well as the Web Awards and Social Media Awards than any other source. However, I don’t use my mailing lists properly, so keep that in mind. Mailing lists can work extremely well for some demographics. Plan your tweets, plan them weeks ahead.

Speakers

And now a huge chunk on speakers. You need good speakers to get a crowd but also wow the crowd so they’ll come back next year and tell their friends. Ways of sourcing speakers that work for me.

Speakers: Ask for recommendations.
The best way of finding speakers for a conference is to ask people you already know who they think is good. Ask in private as people sometimes find they publicly have to big up a buddy of theirs so in private people are more honest. If you’ve run previous conferences, ask your speakers who they know that would be good.

Speakers: Other conferences
I know Jack Murray in Media Contact goes to conferences to find new blood for his events. This is a good way of sourcing people. See them talk, know they can handle a crowd and then you can go up to them afterwards and ask them to come to yours. However, you don’t have to be at a conference to find good speakers. Look at various conferences (I look at UK mostly) and see their speaker list and their topics. Google their names and see if there is feedback online about their previous talks. There may even be video.

Speakers: LinkedIn
I use LinkedIn advanced search. Put in a job title of the type of speaker you want, choose current position, filter by second network connections, choose the country and there you go.

LinkedInJobTitleSearch

Speakers: Slide Share, Blogs
Good writing and presentation deck fu does mean good communications, now it might not mean verbal but the message and delivery is in their head, gets turned into slides or words. You want to see if untested speakers in particular are good at being on stage and keeping a crowd from getting distracted.

Run smaller events
The Measurement Monthly events I do (which aren’t really very monthly) are smaller events where someone can try out their presentation skills without feeling too intimidated or overwhelmed. Three speakers, 15 minutes max. (Holler if you want to talk at one, T&Cs apply)

Speakers: Go direct to companies
Companies are generally happy to send someone to represent them at a conference. It can be good for marketing and PR. A good business is well connected to speaking at conferences can make it even more connected. It should go without saying but don’t let it go without saying: No over-the-top pitches, giving good information is the best pitch of all. You could go and ask via the Comms team but I’ve found it better to ask someone you know in there and let them do the hunting. Comms people are paid to worry about impressions so might be slow or conservative in getting you a speaker.

Look the fuck after your speakers
They’re your temporary employees, they’re there to help you get bums on seats. They make presentations, travel and stress about their talk. Don’t ask them for their slides a week in advance, they’re finishing them about 20 minutes before their talk. That’s what I do. Your tech person or them can use a memory key and plug it in or for some speakers, use their own laptop. If they’re doing this gig for free then look after them with a good hotel and a good speakers meal the night before. Don’t sell tickets to people to attend the meal and turn it into feed the animals thing. Let them unwind and banter with each other. Bring some sponsors alright if you want.

Look the fuck after your sponsors
Keep them updated with progress and ticket sales. Send them analytics afterwards about the social media reach of the event. Get them to be there and meet and greet people. Having them at the check-in desk is good for them to meet lots of people and introduce themselves.

Fluffy Links – Monday January 27th 2014

Monday, January 27th, 2014

“We are depriving ourselves of every opportunity for disconnection.”. Get yourself some downtime and start deep thinking. Some tips.

Twinned with the above really. Some handy tips for getting better sleep. With more faces stuck in screens, a much busier work and home life, our sleep is being affected.

This from Google blew me away. The evolution of music over a long long time. Interactive. Pretty. This is how you present data. Paying attention media types?

“As someone that bought books from Malcolm Gladwell before and as someone that binge buys, we know you are going to buy this so we went ahead and shipped it already.” This almost seems like pre-cog or something. Amazon making educated guesses about what and where to ship before people buy.

Want to get rid of the location data embedded in your phone photos? Unsure do they have them? If you don’t know, then they do.

So how’s Jelly doing after week 1? My phone software is too old to run it. Boo. I won’t upgrade to ios7!

BBC trials doing video news headlines in Instagram.

Facebook is tweaking with your head! More text updates from friends = more of their friends will do updates. So they made that happen and it resulted in 9M more updates a day. Possibly helping the time on site and engagement metrics.

Somewhere. Show off your work.

Ad that doesn’t take the brand too seriously

I have no idea

Fluffy Links – Friday 24th of January 2014

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Saw a sign for this yesterday. Cork Literary and Science Society. Some great talks. First time hearing about them. Look at the talks! I know I’m getting old but what great talks!

And on the same area. Kinda. Old Photos of Cork blog. Super stuff.

Michael D speech on Ethical Memory. Wonderful stuff.

Beautiful examples of use of punctuation in classic novels. *Steals some ideas*

A list of misquotations. Many I have used had the wrong attribution it seems.

Where “Screw the Pooch” came from.

The story of the Cord Taco. Simple idea that came from a request from someone else. From zero to selling in the Apple Store in a year. From the writing though you can tell this guy has his strategy and managed this very well. The product is great, the execution is where the greatness is.

New book from Dave Hieatt. Crowd funded. Go on.

“Startup culture” demotivational posters.

Always keep a diamond in your mind

Cork is … Dublin is

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

According to Google Autocomplete:

GoogleCorkIs

GoogleDublinIs

I just call the numbers.

Just fDIY

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Of late I’ve seen a few people complain about lack of coverage of X or Y by “the media”. Complaints on Twitter. So that means those complaining have access to the Internet, have an email address and can type.

They may have or have not heard of WordPress, Blogspot or Tumblr. All web services that allow you to create your own content. I KNOW RIGHT?

  • Someone done a ones to watch list in 2014 and left out some progressive startups? fDIY so.
  • Your city left out of great places to start a business? fDIY so.
  • Why didn’t the paper call out some some stupid racist prick? fDIY so.
  • You can do a better recipe than that food blogger? fDIY so.
  • That cool band isn’t getting any attention? fDIY so.

This is 2014, we have easy access to services that allow us to create content on any connected device. We have social media accounts where we can share the content that we can easily create. There is a crucial need for media, yes, but they’re being hammered left, right and centre by internal factors and market factors.

Yeah you could be an unknown blog with sfa visitors but Google will find your content. Even if you only ever write one blog post, you will be found. And maybe that’s all you need to do, just a single blog post. Your ideas of lack of coverage on your bugbear might not be unique so that means people are probably Googling about it so you’ll get traffic from interested parties.

And maybe if you fucking Do It Yourself, the media that forgot/ignored what you now highlight might decide this is worth some attention now. Whether they give you attribution or not, your topic is getting coverage. Job done.

Fluffy Links – Monday January 20th 2014

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Dylan Collins writes his kid tech predictions for 2014.

Working from home? You really need structure. This post more than most has helped me a lot with changing my consume it all routine at home. Not there yet but on the way.

Everpix shuts down but shares their data to others can learn. And some people made lovely reports on the data. Maybe EI require this for companies they’d invest in? Hah.

Via Walter: A conference on side projects. Why didn’t I think of that? Great idea.

via Swiss Miss. Famous movie quotes in chart form.

Toast is trendy in San Fran so it will infect all the hipster joints worldwide. I remember the tea and toast crowd at Electric Picnic. As the article says, toast is a form of comfort and gives some the feeling of home. Irish bread brands should hone in on that. However, this article is about how a café is saving a girl’s life. Worth the read.

Realex are doing an event on February 6th. 6pm to 8pm. Free. Covering how to grow your online presence and generate traffic to your site.

Handy Chrome plugin to get access to the likes of BBC iPlayer.

UK Police totally infiltrated by criminal gangs.

Glen has a nice post on cases for the iPhone that mod the device for aiding with surveillance, survival.

Drive Away – Thomas Newman

A natural high from building/making/writing

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Without quoting the whole thing:

I wonder how many of you will read this piece in one sitting – it’s only 844 words long.

You’re fucking swimming in everyone else’s moments, likes, and tweets and during these moments of consumption you are coming to believe that their brief interestingness to others makes it somehow relevant to you and worth your time.

The high from making something, even if it’s a blog post is such a reward. Nice 2014 call to arms around creativity.

You’ve always been the product

Monday, January 13th, 2014

So many, many, many articles with the frayed line “If you’re not paying for it, you are the product” when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Google and any free services out there.

Yet people pay for the Irish Times newspaper (Print edition) and the Irish Times sells data about you to advertisers:

The Irish Times has a higher percentage of ABC1 readers than any other Irish daily newspaper.
66% of Irish Times readers read no other paid-for Irish daily newspaper.
62% of regular visitors to irishtimes.com are ABC1.

You buy the Irish Times? You are the product.

Maybe you pay for your TV licence but you are still the product when you listen to RTÉ Radio. Rate card with demographic breakdowns.

If there’s advertising then people are the products too. What about music festivals? You pay a chunk of money for a weekend pass and the festival organisers charge brands to have stands at the event because hungry, thirsty and fun seeking people will be at the festival. And they are of age ranges 21-27 mostly and 45% female and 55% male etc.

So maybe you are the product if it’s free OR of value but has advertising.

Well… If you buy an iPhone, are you also “the product”? There’s no advertising on your phone but there is commerce around you and your phone. Apple use the fact that hundreds of millions of people use iOS devices to do deals with media companies and to encourage developers to make apps that they can sell to the iPhone users. And Apple gets a 30% cut of those transactions. They do deals with telecoms carriers to sell the phone on their networks using data showing how much an iPhone user spends on average over a contract.

If you have money or even just attention that can be extracted by another party, you’re the product. We have always been the product. If you’re reading this, are you the product?

Fluffy Links – Monday January 13th 2014

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The Cool Tools book, based on blog posts was projected to sell an ok amount. Cos you know, why have it in book form when you can get it online? Then it sold out. Then there was another print run. Then…

Do one thing (the same thing) each day for 100 days. Someone uses a chair for a task, a different task each day. Someone else makes a poster each day. Some highly creative things in this.

Best way to get customers to open your email? Tell them you’re shutting down. Shut em shut em down.

Rick’s Reads for 2013. A lot of books.

Arena gave a glowing review of Nuala Ni Chonchuir’s Dublin and Other Stories. Here’s another. Book only available on Amazon it seems.

Of course our paper is willing to take your ad money and misquote one of our own journalists in the ad.

A Soft Murmur. Create your own ambient sounds. Can sometimes help those that have issues relaxing/sleeping. Or stop looking at a screen before bed!

via BoingBoing. Kronos Quartet on Sesame Street.

John Kelly played this on Friday on Lyric FM. Cantus Arcticus. Beautiful.

Some content links and thoughts for 2014

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Content is coming back again, thankfully. When social media came out first we fiddled with the mechanics of it. Then as always, there was a huge advantage to being early adopters of it but now as it settles down and reaches saturation, the idea of good content (even in a status update) is coming back into play. The same thing happened with Google Ads. So easy when it first began but as more used it you had to be creative, cunning and change-receptive.

I wrote last year about the GIF economy and writing for timelines. Hopefully we’ll see more leaning on the idea of genuine content this year.

The New York Times rightly pats themselves on the back for their work in interactive storytelling in 2013.

Some fantastic tips from Upworthy on getting your content noticed. Write 25 headlines for a single article and see what ones work is but one of many tips.

And on that, Reddit data shows that timing and headlines mean so much to getting pushed up on Reddit with many links being previously added but getting to attention.

Frank Luntz rules on effective language:

1. Simplicity: Use Small Words
2. Brevity: Use Short Sentences
3. Credibility is As Important As Philosophy
4. Consistency Matters
5. Novelty: Offer Something New
6. Sound and Texture Matter
7. Speak Aspirationally
8. Visualize
9. Ask a Question
10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance

SEO still works and here is a fantastic infograph on some of the factors Google takes seriously when looking at your content. A lot of cross-over but here too are some SEO guidelines.

And of course, paying for traffic makes financial sense if done right. Handy guide to Google Adwords.

And as a counter to the SEO idea, Johnston press talks about using social to push their content more these days. They talk about going back to the older days when you didn’t write headlines for SEO.

This guide, on how to use Twitter well, also by the New York Times will come in really handy for you too.

Karl’s stats from Broadsheet show that Facebook and Twitter are a big pusher for their content so that might be an inkling as to where your traffic sources come from.

BUT, lots has changed with Facebook of late and it’s harder and harder for your fanbase to actually see your content due to Facebook Edgerank so be very very aware of the possible dwindling returns with Facebook. It also makes me wonder whether Edgerank is the new SEO and you will need experts to basically manipulate your Edgerank in order for you to be seen inside in Facebook without paying each time. And in a way this is full-circle in Internet Marketing. Paid advertising and SEO, paid updates or organic updates…

We also have this idea of tiny information. Apps like Circa and Potluck give you a small amount of news in short articles instead of bombarding you with content all day.

Via Paul Watson, Love this idea with the Yahoo sports app that allows you to create your own GIF from their footage. Yes!

So a question too, when does Conversion Optimisation techniques come to Facebook? It’s not all funny pics of otters looking like some English bloke.