13 cracking things I read in September


Another month from 2016 has been chalked off, which means it’s time for another roundup of some of the best articles that I read over the last few weeks.

Apologies for the slight delay in getting this roundup out – I was in the recording studio with my band WAVE all of last week so was very much out of the blogging loop.

September seemed chock-full of excellent articles – I’ve decided not to include any here about either Instagram’s Zoom feature, Snapchat’s name change to Snap Inc or Twitter’s launch of Moments to everyone and their expansion of the 140  character limit, as you can tonnes of articles about all of those topics with a quick search online. Instead, I’ve tried to pick up on a few things you might have missed.

Before we get going, a quick guinea pig update – both Lizzie and Angus are fine and enjoying the fact that we are no longer using the room their cage is in to store cupboard doors, as it means they can be let out to run around…one of  their favourite activities.

Right then, as always, please do click through and check out the full articles I’ve highlighted below, as they’re all great. Here’s 13 (and possibly a few extras squeezed in) of my favourites from last month.

1. A pile of stuff to help you understand how video can work in comms and pr (by Dan Slee, Comms2Point0)

Regular readers of these roundups will recognise the name Comms2Point0, as they frequently appear in my monthly lists – you should definitely sign up for the excellent weekly email if you haven’t already. Anyway, C2P0 are big fans of video, so this digestible post about video – complete with a few slides too – is a really handy thing to have in your back pocket and/or bookmarks bar. It’s packed full of useful stats and some fab ideas.

Key quote:

Oh, those far-off days when video on the internet was YouTube. However, now each social media platform would like you to upload or even record video within that application. You’ll be rewarded by having your video presented more
attractively and to more people.

Read the full article

2. How Snapchat Is Challenging Professional Photography (by Olivier Laurent, TIME)

Now, I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking I’ve forgotten that I said I wasn’t going to include articles about Snapchat’s name change. Well, I haven’t; instead, this fascinating piece from TIME’s photography section looks at the influence Snapchat is having on professional photography – namely the issue of vertical images and vertical video, something that, not very long ago at all, was a big no-no.

Key quote:

That means photo-editing stories three times: for the print edition, for digital desktop edition and for the mobile version. “Those are all completely unique experiences, with some images being more effective in one medium versus  another,” they said. “And on mobile, there’s no question that a vertical image makes the most of the format.” During the Rio Olympic Games, for example, a team of digital photo editors used staff photography and wire agencies to produce slideshows of vertical images designed specifically for the newspaper’s mobile.

Read the full article

While I’m talking Snapchat, I will also throw in this piece from Social Media Examiner detailing 7 creative Snapchat tips to improve your stories – as someone who tried to go all-in on Snapchat last month, I can vouch for the usefulness of this article!

3. Influencer marketing: You’re doing it all wrong (by Maggie Malek, Marketing Land)

Influencer marketing has become a bit of buzz phrase of late. It can undoubtedly be a brilliant tool when done well but, on the flip side, it also runs a huge risk of completely missing the mark – which is potentially a very expensive flop. So, if you’re thinking of an influencer campaign and you’re currently sorting users by the follower count, hold fire and check out this article before you take another step!

Key quote:

Influencer marketing done right is about delivering real value, with authentic stories and content that attract and retain consumers. It’s not all about having a giant social footprint.

Read the full article

One extra plug for something on influencer marketing – did you know that Barbie is now a legit social media influencer? This piece from the Daily Dot is a real eye-opener.

4. Hashtag United & the YouTube generation: Football’s future? (by Alex Bysouth, BBC Sport)

No, I’ve not gone mad and pulled out an article from 1 April. BBC Sport really did run an article about a football team called Hashtag United and it is a brilliant read. United are not a team packed full of professional players – in fact, their players are not ‘proper’ footballers at all. But that hasn’t stopped them amassing a huge social media following and even playing at Wembley. As a social media professional and a long-time fan of the beautiful game, I found
this piece fascinating…I wonder if this is what the future of the game could be?

Key quote:

However, this side is far removed from the cold changing rooms, unpredictable playing surfaces and fixture postponements associated with the grassroots game played by thousands on weekend mornings. Hashtag don’t play in a conventional
league, but have already appeared at Wembley, almost signed Adebayo ‘The Beast’ Akinfenwa and earned the chance to feature on the new Football Manager game.

Read the full article

5. Pickle Jar Favourites: Student Blogging At Its Finest (by Rosie Wowk, Pickle Jar Blog)

Everyone loves a good roundup – heck, you’re reading one right now – so this collection of awesome student blogs from Pickle Jar was always going to be a hit. I’d have even included it without them bigging up the Student Blogs here at Warwick, but the fact that the Pickle Jar crew like them as much as we do is an added bonus. Some really good, inspirational examples here.

Key quote:

I particularly like how the posts are categorised in the drop downs so you can quickly find topics of interest – with each section also including a really helpful overview of the topic with links to other related content. Surfing through each section shows quite how much valuable content there is and I can lose hours to the authentic stories. They make me want to be a student again.

Read the full article

6. The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach (by Kendall Walters, Hootsuite blog)

As you’ll see a little bit further down this post, I was spoiled for choice when it came to interesting posts about Facebook this month, but the one I’ve chosen as my main pick really does stand out. This Hootsuite guide to Facebook’s algorithm in incredibly in depth and incredibly useful – save it and read it often! It covers all about what Facebook’s algorithm is, how is works and, crucially, goes through each of the recent changes Facebook has made and explains what they might mean for brands and publishers.

Key quote:

The thing about Facebook’s algorithm is that it’s constantly in flux. Big changes are announced on the company’s News Feed FYI blog, but smaller changes happen as often two to three times every week, according to an article in TIME. In 2015, Facebook published 12 posts on the News Feed FYI blog. By the end of August 2016, there had already been eight new updates posted.

Read the full article

But that’s not it for useful articles about Facebook this month; this write-up on e-consultancy showing that brands are too dependent on Facebook’s organic reach deserves your attention, as does Tech Crunch’s analysis of how the Facebook news feed works.

7. How Barclays Cut Its Publishing Process From 6 Weeks to 3 Days (by Nicola Smith, Contently)

It’s always great to read case studies, particularly from big organisations. So, this look at how Barclays bank swapped their marketing team for a newsroom is a real treat – particularly when you realise that it has cut their publishing process from a month and half to less than a week – impressive stuff. It’s full of crazy ideas like teamwork, sharing, having meetings that actually work and…wait for it…trust.

Key quote:

In a highly regulated industry like finance, the creative process—including approval—can often lead to suffocating bottlenecks that ruin the effectiveness of content marketing. Barclays decided that the only way to fix the issues plaguing its content operation was to completely re-haul the way its digital team functioned. So the company changed from having a marketing team to having a newsroom.

Read the full article

8. These Are the Social Media Myths We Need to Stop Circulating…Now (by Dakota Shane Nunley, Medium)

A quick Google will result in plenty of ‘rules’ for how you should approach social media – stuff that says things like ‘you should post at this time of day’, ‘you don’t need a strategy’ and ‘Twitter (or any other social network for that matter) is dead’. The thing is, most of these are rubbish and they certainly aren’t statements that can be applied to anyone and everyone. That’s why I enjoyed Dakota Shane Nunley’s piece crushing these social media myths, and I’m pretty sure you all will too.

Key quote:

No. You don’t need to be on every platform. In fact, being on every platform and shifting focus whenever a guru tells you to will only distract you from creating meaningful relationships with your followers/customers/etc.

Read the full article

9. Aiming high with our Facebook content strategy (by Jon Ware, Charity Comms)

If you only go an read one of my picks from this month in full…shame on you! Sorry, that should have said…make it this one! This write up of how the Anthony Nolan trust approached revamping its Facebook strategy and the results they’ve had is full of of insight and great learning that you can apply to any sector. It’s a really generous piece of knowledge from a great cause and even includes some wisdom as to how they got internal buy-in for their new approach.

Key quote:

The numbers continue to increase as we implement the strategy, learning as we go (in July, we saw a 410% increase in average engagements; in June, a 340% increase). Weekly engagement on Facebook is consistently higher than other charity pages with the same number of followers, too – on a good week, it’s comparable to charities five or six times our size. And it’s led to concrete results for us as a charity, as well. 14,000 people have registered to donate with us through organic Facebook posts so far this year – a 55% increase from 2015.

Read the full article

10. 7 Tech Trends & How Universities Can Wire Into Them (by Jim Tudor, LinkedIn Pulse)

If you want a man full of great ideas and inspiration, call Jim Tudor. I saw the Future Index founder speak at a conference earlier this year and came away with pages and pages full of great stuff to go and look at, and this quick roundup of seven tech trends that Universities can tap into is a prime example of the useful content he offers. Go have a look!

Key quote:

But we can’t just rely on just the FAQs, the threads, webcasts and forums. Today’s students are warm to the kind of screenshot tutorials that Apple provide. Tomorrow’s students will expect it. When they tweet, or post, or snap, they’ll want something back. So our advice to universities is to create those personal statement guides, those engaging (but very short) videos, the 3 step GIFs, the application journey planner, and more.

Read the full article

11. Snap as You Pack (by Ryan Maguire, Princeton Social Media)

When the social media team at Princeton noticed that their annual, start-of-year hashtags were slowly but surely being used by more parents than students, they started to wonder how to reach their students. The answer, of course, was Snapchat, and this brilliant blog post tells the story of how they were agile enough to shift channels and create a simple but effective campaign to drive engagement with their new students as they were moving onto campus for the first time. Lovely stuff from an absolutely terrific social media resource.

Key quote:

Snap as You Pack helped us illustrate to new students that Princeton wants to hear from them; gave us authentic and creative user-generated content to share; and led to a real-world connection between students and our social media team, which we hope lasts throughout their time here.

Read the full article

12. Can I Use This Photo on Social Media? Understanding Image Copyright (by Christina Newberry, Hootsuite blog)

A second appearance from the excellent Hootsuite blog and a second incredibly useful article that you should definitely bookmark and use. Image copyright is serious business and you really don’t want to be caught out.

Key quote:

You’re not alone. Some pretty big players have made mistakes when it comes to sourcing images and respecting photo copyright laws. You should listen to that little voice in your head telling you to check the image copyright rules carefully, as there can be serious consequences for getting this wrong. Here’s what you need to know before you share someone else’s image online.

Read the full article

13. Inside Social Media at one of the Biggest Universities in America (and What You Can Learn) (by Brian Peters, Buffer)

To finish this month, not only a cracking article but a brilliant podcast episode too. The recently launched Science of Social Media podcast by Buffer (it’s great, go and subscribe now), managed to bag Nikki Sunstrum – Director of Social Media at the University of Michigan – as an interview guest and the result was a whole load of knowledge and inspiration. This article to accompany the podcast gives you plenty, but I’d definitely advocate listening to the full thing – it’s only half an hour so download it to your phone, take your headphones with you and go for a lunchtime stroll full of learning.

Key quote:

We don’t create accounts, we don’t create campaigns, we don’t publish content unless it has some sort of strategy or goal behind it. Who’s your target demographic? That can help you determine your platform. And then what does your design look like? Should it be a video, a GIF, a cool meme? Determine how you can make that custom to you.

Read the full article

That’s your lot for this month! Did I miss anything good? Let me know in the comments!

**Don’t forget, I’d love you to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and connect with me on LinkedIn too.


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