Friday, September 16, 2011

The Power of Fans: Why I love Melissa Shoes

Melissa Shoes do a really great job of creating raving fans. Check out this stop-motion animation that was created using 350 thousand post-it notes in São Paulo, Brazil. This art piece was created by 25 artists who worked for five months to create this animation for the launch of the Melissa 'Power of Love' spring/summer 2012 collection. Keep watching and you will soon realise that the art piece is actually made up of 30,000 love messages spontaneously written by Melissa fans.

Be sure to check out the Melissa Shoes Facebook Australia page that was created in August just for Australian fans. Melissa Shoes Australia has been pretty late to get into social media so it will be interesting to see what there plans are for the coming year (they still don't have a twitter page).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Semi Permanent Conference Melbourne 2011

I'm really excited as Semi-Permanent Conference is coming to Melbourne again on 23rd and 24th September 2011.

The main reason I'm going? To get inspired by all the awesome speakers and the opportunity to connect with like-minded creatives who are attending the conference. Oh, and the event pack which includes the Semi-Permanent book (that all attendees receive) is always really awesome. I remember one year getting a designer qee toy by Parskid made specially for the conference.

Semi-Permanent is a design conference that started in Sydney and has been going for nine years. The speakers come from different disciplines in the design world including film, street art, photography, fashion, animation, illustration, webdesign and more.

This year the speakers include paper engineer Benja Harney, photographer Platon, digital media expert Scott Dadich, artist Kelly Thompson, creative director Kurppa Hosk and advertising agency Droga5.

There really isn't any other conference that I know of in Australia that is quite like it. It is for all creatives- whether you're working at an agency in the industry, a painter, film maker, fashion designer or graphic designer you will take something away from the event that will inspire.

I've been to the Sydney event several times and excited to attend the Melbourne one for the first time. Are you coming along too? Let me know in the comments below as I'm going on my own and would love to meet fellow creatives.

For more details and to purchase tickets: Semi-Permanent Melbourne

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

57 Ways to Create an Awesome Blog Right Now

How to create and grow a blog is a popular topic. It can be pretty scary putting yourself out there creating your own blog. So how do you make your content interesting and different from other design blogs? Where do you begin if you're totally new to all this? Where do you go to connect with like-minded people? Here are some ideas.

❤ 1. Create your ideal customer avatar. Grace Dobush from Crafty Superstar has a great worksheet to help you with this here. This will help you really define your audience and make it easier to write blog posts. (I found this via Etsy- Thank You!)

❤ 2. Learn how to write great headlines. Copyblogger is where I go to learn how to be a better writer (definitely a work in progress!).

❤ 3. Be yourself and find your authentic writing self.

❤ 4. Align yourself with online design influencers. Learn from them and become friends with them. Comment on their blogs, tweet with them. Just make sure that whatever you have to say would interest them and is adding to the conversation. Here is a great list of online creatives to check out by swissmiss.

❤ 5. Create a blogging calendar and stick to it. Google 'How to create a blogging calendar' and find a free template that suits you. Aim to blog 3-5 times a week.

❤ 6. Create compelling content. Don't worry so much about being professional. Speak human. Write something worth talking about. It's that simple! Read this post: 'On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas' by Jon Morrow.

❤ 7. Tell a story. Tell a good story. Narrative is so important. This will help connect you with others. Many people are afraid to be themselves. Speak for them and they will follow you.

❤ 8. Find 'your people'. The 'right kind of people'. People either like you or they don't. Learn How to Build Your Twitter Tribe.

❤ 9. Just get out there and start connecting! Don't let fear get in the way.

❤ 10. Do 2-3 Guest Blog spots a week on some bigger blogs. This will help expand your audience.

❤ 11. Repeat your tweets several times a day. Don't go overboard though - every few hours is ok. Use a program like SocialOomph to automate your tweets for times when you're asleep.

❤ 12. Find your special niche and make sure you are seen as the expert in that world. The Raw Food Witch and The Goddess Guidebook do this really well.

❤ 13. Find 1000 True Fans. That's all you need.

❤ 14. Start with the 'Why'. Watch this Ted Conference video by Simon Sinek on How great leaders inspire action. This talk will really help you pinpoint your beliefs.

❤ 15. Start a weekly interview series for your blog. This will help grow your blog quicker. People always like to be interviewed and will spread the news to their friends.

❤ 16. Learn a little bit about Search Engine Optimisation. Blog Post Engineering by Dave Doolin really helped me.

❤ 17. Listen to Blogcast FM which is free and offers some great tips by people already succeeding online. April Bowles Olin from Blacksburgbelle offered a lot of great tips in her interview: Taking a One Month Old Blog from 20 to 800 Page Views in a Day.

❤ 18. The communities and forums of places such as Etsy and NEET Magazine are great ways to meet new people.

❤ 19. Meet people from the online world in your hometown. I like to go to social media events in Melbourne such as Social Melbourne Club talks and design conferences such as Semi-Permanent Conference (which is coming up on 23-24 September 2011) to connect with like-minded people.

❤ 20. Try adding a Facebook comments plug-in to your site and see whether this increases traffic.

❤ 21. Start a Facebook Fan Page and add your newsletter sign-up box. Here's an easy tutorial that shows you how to use FBML to create a custom tab on a Facebook Fan Page.

❤ 22. Create an opt-in box on the top right hand corner of your blog. Offer something for free to encourage people to join your mailing list.

❤ 23. Have social media plug-ins on every blog post to make it easy for people to spread the word.

❤ 24. Teach yourself some blog design tricks by following some of the tutuorials over at Pugly Pixel. Lots of tips to make your blog cute here!

❤ 25. Add a Custom Signature to the bottom of each of your blog posts. A great way to personalise your blog.

❤ 26. Here's a great tutorial on how to remove the blogger navigation bar.

❤ 27. Join the Blog Lovin' community which is an easy way for people to follow their favourite blogs.

❤ 28. Pinterest is a new favourite of mine. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to collect and share the things that you love. Are you on there too? Let me know!

❤ 29. Create a Gravatar. A Gravatar is the image you see next to a person's profile name when they comment on someone's blog. Now you can have a photo too instead of a blank image.

❤ 30. Learn how to use Google Reader and subscribe to blogs that you want to follow on a regular basis. It's a great place to go for inspiration and to find out about the latest trends.

❤ 31. Comment on lots of blogs every day. At least 3-5 a day. Try and find 1 new blog a week to comment on. Leave thoughtful, relevant comments on small and big blogs.

❤ 32. Join a visual bookmarking site such as We Heart It so that you can store any images and videos that you like for future blog posts.

❤ 33. Share the content of others often. People in turn will do the same in return.

❤ 34. Do a mega group blog post where you invite 30-50 influential bloggers in your niche to contribute a sentence or two about a topic popular to your readers. Just make sure that you make it easy for the blogger to contribute and pick a juicy topic.

❤ 35. Use software such as Tweetadder to help create a large, targeted list of followers on twitter.

❤ 36. 23 Ways To Improve Your Website Google Page Rank and Alexa Ratings

❤ 37. How to write an 'About Me' page for your blog.

❤ 38. How to add a Favicon to your site. A favicon is an image that gets displayed in the address bar of every browser.

❤ 39. Use a web-based service such as Survey Monkey to find out more about your readers. Place the survey somewhere obvious on the front page of your blog.

❤ 40. Find yourself a mentor/ a creative business coach. Ming-Zhu Hii from The Public Studio has really helped me find direction.

❤ 41. Become friends with Google Analytics and track how people get to your blog, how they navigate through your site, and how long they stay on your site.

❤ 42. Create an inner circle of friends online. These are people you talk to regularly on twitter, you retweet their messages and have skype calls with them.

❤ 43. Add a Hello Bar to your website.

❤ 44. Reward participation. Offer giveaways, freebies, discounts and invitations to special events on your blog. Reply to all comments on your blog.

❤ 45. Join the 'Etsy Success' mailing list. I just joined and have been receiving lots of great tips.

❤ 46. Read marketing blogs such as Problogger, Copyblogger, Seth Godin, Marie Forleo and Viperchill and learn from them.

❤ 47. Teach yourself how to integrate searchable words into your content without sounding forced.

❤ 48. Who is your audience? What keeps them up at night? Work out what their biggest problems are and how can you help them.

❤ 49. Do what you do best. You don't have to be on everything and be seen everywhere. It's better to do one or two things really, really well than be mediocre at everything. Play to your strengths.

❤ 50. Find a cause to rally against. Convert browsers into buyers and customers into regulars. Inspire people to love you.

❤ 51. Remember that online media is a two way conversation. Old media, such as tv is passive where we sit and watch. New media invites and demands people to join the conversation and get involved.

❤ 52. Less is often more. Make sure every blog post tells a story simply and clearly.

❤ 53. Always end a blog post with a call to action.

❤ 54. Create a brand. Choose a name that is memorable and a profile avatar that stands out. My brand 'i like you' was chosen because it's friendly and conversational. My logo of a deer knitting is quirky and also let's people know that my blog is about the design world.

❤ 55. Always lead with the best stuff. In the first few sentences of a blog post, give the reader a solid overview of the entire post. Then expand upon that idea in the next few sentences.

❤ 56. How to make your content go viral.

❤ 57. Set up a 'Listening Dashboard'. Use Google Alerts and Social Mention to help you pay attention to your audience. You can also keep an eye on your competition with these tools.

I still have a lot to learn about how to create a cute blog but I'm getting there. If you enjoyed what you read, please tweet it, pass on the link to friends and comment below. I'd love to know what tips you have to share.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Altered Focus: Burma, Human Rights & Skateboarding

I came across this fantastic short film about how 4 British filmmakers explore human rights and the political landscape in Burma through skateboarding. Altered Focus is only 19 minutes long, is beautifully shot on DVCAM & Super 8mm and is now available to watch free online.

Take a peek and let me know what you think in the comments.

Altered Focus: Burma from Hot Knees Media on Vimeo.

Video found via Brainpickings