It’s hard to take photographs that look good and tell a story, especially if you don’t have the experience. Owen Harvey, professional photographer listed on the freelance website, Bidvine, shares a few tips below.

Having original and professional looking photos are important for a compelling first impression no matter what sector your blog focuses on. But is it especially difficult if you are a beauty or fashion blogger?

When professional photographers work with models, they usually focus on giving guidance on what they want the models to do, but then let the model interpret that into their own style.

If you are a blogger, it’s important to experiment and let your own style shine through the photoshoot. Don’t be scared of taking a photo from a bad angle; you’ll get to decide which shots to keep anyway. It’s going to be a journey. It will have a beginning and an end, with stop off’s on the way… just keep your mind on the end shot you want. Try different approaches, allow yourself to try new things and stray from your path a bit.

A lot of great things have come out of accidents.

How does one find his/her best angles for a photo shoot?

Photographers can instinctively recognise the best angles for their subjects from studying their art form and practising it, a lot. The knowledge that comes from studying different photographers, painters and cinematographers, which then photographers practice, gives them the ability to see the shot before it happens. If you are also an aspiring photographer, that’s the best way you can learn photographing people other than yourself—by studying great artists across a range of visual disciplines.

Before the shoot, spend 5-10 minutes talking with your model and study their features. Over time you will get a feel for what works and what doesn’t for models with different types of features. If you only have a few moments, do what you can to study the model from afar while they are doing something else. Move around and see what angle you think will work best.

If you like to model OOTD shots or if you’re both the photographer and the subject, spend some time learning what feels natural to you. If you are uncomfortable, it will come through in the image!

Practice pushing poses to extremes. Be different! It is what will make you stand out. Obviously keep it classy though :) Get into a habit of picturing what you look like from the point of the camera.

 

Why would you say it’s important to hire a professional photographer for bloggers? What can they do that an amateur photographer cannot?

Knowing what you want, is different to knowing how you go about getting it. This is where a professional photographer comes in. A professional photographer will know how to get the shots you want, quicker and better. Also because of the quality and range of kit they bring, you will find the shots are to a higher quality as well. If you only have a few moments to get the shot, a pro will stand a much better chance of getting the shots you want.

Would you say that hiring a professional photographer is more important at the beginning stages of a blog as an initial investment or once the blog has gathered some following?

I would recommend getting a professional in at the beginning. Your blog will stand a much better chance of getting a bigger audience quicker, if you have great images.

Be sure to check all of the different photographers’ work, and choose the one whose work lines up with your vision the most.

 

Sometimes when bloggers are starting out, their outfit photos can appear a bit stale because they are afraid to experiment. What are good ways to mix up outfit photos?

There are many ways to liven up your photos. Shoot low, shoot high, shoot close, shoot far away. They will all have a different and interesting impact on your photos. You can also take some pictures when you’re in motion or try dynamic poses.

Research a wide range of photos beforehand and see what jumps out, and then try to figure out why it stands out, and then try to incorporate that into your images.

Switching up the location and involving prompts can also help make your photos unique.

Finally, if a blogger doesn’t have a budget yet to hire a professional photographer, is there an affordable camera that you would recommend for someone just starting out?

What is the saying? “The best camera is the one you have with you”. I have seen amazing photos shot with all sorts of cameras. Smartphones, micro four thirds, crop, full frame, mirrored and mirrorless.

There is no perfect camera, and it will be a journey to see which camera best suits you.  The best thing to do is to get your hands on as many different cameras as you can to see how they feel in your hands. If you have any friends or family who have cameras, they are a great place to start.

Personally I love mirrorless, as I can see my final exposure even before I have taken it, which makes for much quicker shooting. But that is just my opinion.

You will want something that you are comfortable with and that can become an extension of you. I have come to learn, it is the glass that is important. That is what will give you that nice shallow Depth of Field.

I can certainly recommend the 50mm F1.8. It is a fantastic lens quality wise, and it is also one of the cheapest. I know a lot of photographers are also fond of the 35mm F2.8. Again, it’s about playing with them and seeing which one suites you.

This post is brought to you by Bidvine in partnership with photographer Owen Harvey.

The hard work starts when your fingers hit the keys and you begin crafting a winning intro, moving on to a masterpiece of a middle and then finishing off with the best ending ever.

But it’s not just about the words going up on your website, you also need to think about how you are going to get people to see them.

I keep seeing posts on social media that are badly written, are too long, or have nothing to do with the actual content.

But why does this matter?

Well the short piece of copy that you post on social media is just as important as the writing on your blog. It acts as a sales pitch to intrigue the reader, encouraging them to click through to read more.

Before adding a bit of waffle to your post because you think it sounds good, think about how it will work for your audience and what they are interested in. Click bait can work if it’s done well, but if you are just writing something for the sake of click bait, people will see through this, get miffed and go elsewhere.

Key tips

1. Keep the copy short and concise so that it captures the reader within a few seconds. After all, technology has reduced our attention span to 8 seconds, which is 1 second shorter than that of a goldfish.

2. Think about the words you use in this social copy. If you are posting from a brand page and want to keep a neutral opinion, phrases such as ‘better than’ or ‘x wins over x’ could mean you are siding with one part of the story over another.

3. Negative statements are good when used correctly, but remember to add something that relates to your content and make sure the argument is balanced out within the full article.

Making sense helps

4. If you are not sure, check the meaning of words before you use them. Chronic can be confused with acute and compose with comprise. Have a look at this great article from the Guardian for more examples.

5. A funny post can gain lots of attention, but If you are going to use humour in copy, run it by someone to get a second opinion  or even better, a LOL.

6. Make sure you read over the copy a couple of times before you click POST. This will minimise the risk of spelling mistakes or typos. Even better, if you have a sub editor or proof reader in your team, get them to have a look over it.

7. If you are using an image to sit alongside the copy. Make sure it’s relevant and doesn’t include anything that could be misleading or may upset your readers.

Images are often the first thing we spot before we even read the text so they are just as important. Remember ‘less is more’ at times.

Example taken from Woolworths Facebook page

 

If you have any examples of great posts! Please leave a comment below.

Collective Hub 101 Masterclass

I attended a Collective 101 ‘Pitch to the media’ masterclass to have a stickybeak at what takes place and to mingle with entrepreneurial peeps in Sydney.

These intimate events are run by the popular go-to guide Collective Hub and run for a couple of hours, usually on a week night. It’s the first time I’d been to one, so I was quite intrigued.

Where it takes place

Based in their office on Kippax street, the event kicked off at 6.30pm and we were greeted by friendly faces and a small selection of goodies. Luckily one of the gifts was a diary, because we are halfway through the year and I’m still not very organised. There were also some food treats from Eat Fit Food, and a couple of copies of the Collective mag.

The session leader

Chief Operating Officer Allan Fletcher was the main speaker for the night, taking us through the dos and don’ts of how to pitch to the media.

Allan has worked for some of the biggest publishing companies in the world (including the BBC, ACP Magazines and Bauer Media Group) in both the UK and Australia. So, if someone knows a good story when they see one, it’s probably him.

As I’ve worked in PR agencies and you could say, ‘heard it all before’, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But after a while I realised that some of the things mentioned, do slip by at times, especially when we are trying to do a million things a day and keep up with the next new thing.

The talk started with the basics of pitching a story idea, such as researching the publication and knowing who you are talking to.

Takeaway points

Important things to remember before pitching include:

  • Remember editors have huge appetites and need good content.
  • They are busy, so do the hard work for them. Make sure your email is well structured and you get straight to the point.
  • Think about your audience and who you are trying to reach.
  • Create a value exchange – what’s in it for the reader?
  • Build a relationship.
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Slide taken from Allan’s presentation on the day

Allan revealed some of the well-written and successful emails they’ve received at the magazine and then some of the poor, strange and somewhat cheeky emails that didn’t even get through to the ‘cut’ or ‘keep’ pile.

It’s amazing what some people think they can get away with!

Networking with the crew

Then, after the presentation, each member of the group had a chance to get up and pitch their business to the crowd. From doggy apps to cool charity initiatives, the level of confidence in the room was quite impressive.

I still find it hard to get up and speak in front of a room of people so I can’t imagine how it feels when you are a one-man band, trying to make people buy into your ideas. Pretty ballsy!

The friendly atmosphere helped though, and the group was around 20–25 which made it easier to speak up and network.

To quote Allan here, it’s worth remembering that;

“you only meet people doing amazing things if you step outside of your everyday”.

If you want to know more about these events or fancy popping along to one, head over to Eventbrite.

Follow the Collective hub on Instagram and look out for new dates.

Guest Post

Over a week ago, hundreds of men uploaded photos of themselves with the hashtag #itsokaytotalk on Facebook and Twitter. They were participating in a social media awareness initiative for mental health, encouraging men to break down the stigma of not being able to talk about the matter freely among friends.

According to the search on Facebook Australia, over 1000 pages/groups actively engaged with the hashtag (not including individuals who posted from personal accounts).There were 5434 posts on Instagram as of the 27th of August with the hashtag (excluding private accounts).

isitoktotalk

Awareness around this topic spread very quickly in a short space of time, attracting mainstream media to cover the conversation. Example below:

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Inspiring campaigns that have caught our attention

#itsokaytotalk isn’t the first campaign that has caught my attention, and, for the most part, awareness campaigns like this are perceived as inspiring.

We’ve seen a few over the last couple of years: The Bucket Challenge, the no-makeup selfie, not to mention the Australia’s annual #ruok day.

But are these campaigns effective? Or are they just an opportunity to post photos, laugh or attract likes?

To me, it depends on two things:
1. What they are trying to achieve
2. Is what they are trying to achieve meaningful

Social media activism often attracts cynics who argue that small changes on social media do not really suggest support for a cause. But if the purpose of a campaign is awareness, a selfie or a changed profile picture on mass media can be viewed and shared amongst millions of people internationally, ultimately achieving a campaign’s goal.

Social psychologist, Melanie Tannenbaum once noted the best way to convince people to care about something is to show them what other people actually do.

They don’t always go to plan

The No Make up selfie of 2014, an initiative pushed by Cancer Research UK, prospered when women saw their friends post an all natural selfie, with a donation link attached.

The initiative, started when Laura Lipmann, uploaded a photo of herself without make up, led many to follow suit. It was simple – affirmation and self-confidence to encourage cancer research, and by uploading a photo and showing support, friends and family of those individuals were inclined to also show support.

But despite the millions donated as a result of the campaign, the #nomakeupselfie received large criticism. Many were accused of missing the point when women were recognised as brave for just taking a selfie without makeup.

Perhaps the reason for this was that the content promoting the cause, was perceived as vain and a means of getting ‘likes’.

The Bucket Challenge also went viral in 2014, drawing over 60,000 supporters. The campaign involved pouring a bucket of cold ice over your head and summoning friends to take up the challenge.

As a result, more learnt about Amyotrophic Lateral Scleorisis, the progressive neurogenerative disease at the forefront of the campaign. But in this campaign, awareness was the goal and because the challenge was light-hearted and comical, individuals were willing to participate, and audiences were enthused to watch the attempts of family and friends.

Brad Hesse, former chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute in the US, said that campaigns are successful when they are tailored to the values and resources available to audiences.

In the case of #itsokaytotalk, the campaign focused on mental health, a strong value for many. Mental health, particularly for men, is rarely addressed. This initiative’s aim was to encourage discussion and awareness that would help reduce the suicide statistics in men. By using an internationally recognised symbol for ‘okay,’ men all over the world were able to begin breaking down the stigma, some even offering personal anecdotes to their selfie post.

Where does this leave us?

Awareness can get people talking about change and change behavior, but it is the way an awareness campaign is approached that is key. Social has an innate power in its ability to project opinions and ideas about society, understanding the audience, and know what you are trying to achieve will help drive your campaign.

After all, if you want to get people talking what better way than to start a hash-tag on the one form of media that reaches audiences across the globe.

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Zoe Samios is a journalism student and freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. Her experience has taken her overseas, exploring new cultures and the international media landscape. She loves writing about all things media and marketing, particularly in her current role as intern at Mumbrella. Follow Zoe on Twitter @zoesam93

Does your PR background help when it comes to content marketing?

This is a question I asked myself when I took a job within a content marketing agency, just over 5 months ago. I now feel like I know the answer and therefore decided  to share my thoughts.

Content marketing is the talk of the town, the cherry on the cake or some may say the future of Marketing. I read an article recently that was all about what we could expect from content marketing in 2016 and one of the main points covered the rise of thought leadership. I asked myself  the question – Well is this new? PR professionals have been ghost writing on behalf of clients for a very long time or media training authoritative figures looking to voice their opinion.

Although PR is usually poking out of the ‘traditional’ marketing bin, it also plays an invaluable role when it comes to content marketing. Why? well take this as an example: you have produced an Infographic that ticks all the boxes of the client brief. Great work! It’s now probably going to be uploaded to a page on a website hidden within the main website and nobody will find it, (apart from the google bots of course).

PR people remind content teams to focus on the public. What stories are the most interesting? How are current events shaping our industry, and where can we get involved to tie in with trends? By working collaboratively, PR brains can bring fresh insights, creative angles, and a greater perspective of the public into content marketing production. A PR’s goal is to share a story that is so compelling that members of the media eagerly want to publish the story on their front page. If content marketers crafted equally powerful stories for owned media channels, consumers would eat it up.The distribution vehicles may vary, but the results are the same – good stories that engage your targeted audiences.

Brands are now realising they can also be publishers themselves, so this means they produce news- worthy or thought provoking articles that gain attention. Who are the best people to make this work? Those with a PR brain tend to be able to come up with creative and unique ideas that are sure to gain attention, or know exactly how to work with influencers so that the content spreads further.

Iteratemarketingcom

From my own understanding, content marketers are obviously good at thinking about the end goal and taking people through a ‘marketing funnel’ and PR professionals are the ones who can see the ‘bigger picture’ and possibly reach ‘blue sky’ ideas without thinking about the dollar value.

As Jo Swan from Chocolate PR in the UK recently pointed out “Some marketeers, who are largely data and ad centred, believe that PR can take too much effort to generate ‘earned’ media, so better to just pay for exposure instead (Some content marketers prefer to create content, then pay for it to get featured via advertising, but here you lose what content marketing is supposed to be about and the credibility that could be gained through PR).

With figures showing that 66%* of UK marketeers see producing engaging content as their top challenge, PR and content marketing may have just established their relationship.

The website AWOL is a great example of a brand using their own online publication to speak to an audience. Qantas, decided they needed something that would provide thought-provoking and engaging content to appeal to Millennials.

Capture

Westpac have caught on and started doing the same. With the Cusp

The cusp

What I am trying to say here, is, if you work in PR or if you work in content marketing, don’t rub the two off against each other because in my opinion, they support each other and the collaboration should be embraced.

All examples are from Australia but please feel free to share your examples with me in the comments below.

 

 

 

Adel de Meyer is a solution-orientated problem solver, digital marketing evangelist and social media specialist. Adel works closely with entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to identify opportunities within social media and how to use tools like Hootsuite to bring it all together.

I was very excited when she agreed to answer my questions on all things Blab.

blab glass

When did you start using Blab and how long have you been on it?

45 Days today – 30 Sep 2015

How does it differ from a Google Hangout?

Blab is different to Google Hangouts in many ways. I guess for me the most important part, it is the ease of use you have with Blab. I’ve experienced countless technical issues with Google hangouts and I gave up on using it for business. Now Blab has come along and it is welcomed by all with open arms.

Other things I love about Blab:

  1. Community interaction – anyone can join in on a seat and the comments and questions section works wonderfully when it comes to keeping viewers engaged.
  2. Hardly any bugs, although still in Beta mode and the Blab team helps out with any issues, listening to the users and improving it based on feedback.I can’t say the same for Google Hangouts.
  3. Great schedule and subscribe features – also better notifications that go out to your following when you are live.
  4. Easy control options to boot or block users – you can also swap seats and recently made available, hand over control of your Blab to another host.
Is it important to use the correct keywords when starting a Blab?

I would recommend trying to always use a relevant hashtag for your show and for your brand. The ‘Tell a bird’ function sends the Blab info directly to Twitter for others to find and subscribe or join in. So think about your Title!

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Do you get a lot of people joining in for Blabs and beers? (love this idea)

Yes, #BlabsAndBeers is starting to grow in popularity as we have a lot of regulars now joining us every Friday afternoon at 4PM AEST. My social media fans enjoy the fact that they can see me in a very relaxed atmosphere outside of work too, so a lot of them jump in to say hello if they get a chance.

We are going to do some more marketing and targeting in Australia soon as we are thinking of creative ways we can involve either sponsors or special guests. We are working on a website too so watch this space.

On Twitter we are @blabsandbeers. Show hosts are:

  • Adel de Meyer (me)
  • James Sutherland
  • Andre le Porte

We are all entrepreneurs and are based in Brisbane Australia :-)

What has been your most favourite conversation so far during BlabsAndBeers?

Wow I think each episode has a favourite for the day. We have tons of laughs and learn so much from each others experiences and happenings around Australia. Stories from other countries are just hilarious too. I enjoy learning about the different beers people enjoy drinking as we always discuss this as a topic during the show.

What would be your number one tip for a marketer looking to try out Blab?

First, research. Go on the platform and join in on other Blabs. Test and see what it is all about, learn the Blab etiquette and then understand how it can fit into your clients business needs. This is a very social platform and you can get really creative with it – Figure out how you can involve the community and keep their attention for longer than 5 minutes. I am seeing some great Blabs already that cover training, education and entertainment over Blab. Even teaching sign language to viewers.

How do you feel about live streaming in general? Concerned about privacy?

I absolutely love live streaming! I fell in love the moment Meerkat came out although other live streaming apps were available long before, it just never caught attention as much as Meerkat and Periscope – NOW Blab is another big player in this field. I think live streaming will change a few things in terms of marketing, social media and connectivity over the next two years.

I personally feel if anyone is concerned about privacy they shouldn’t use social media or live streaming apps, because you will never be ‘private’ on the internet – it is called social media not me media :-)

What does the future hold for live streaming?

I think the future of live streaming has some challenges around data and connection speeds globally. Live streaming uses a lot of bandwidth and for a lot of countries internet speeds are slow and the cost of data is expensive. Even right here in Australia we have issues with terrible download speeds and data costing a fortune. So I think until global connectivity issues are improved the uptake of live streaming will be slower than other platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

With that said, I think we are going to see some great uses of live streaming by big brands, individuals and companies. Live streaming is a great way to instantly and personally connect with your clients, customers, fans and followers.

Can’t wait to see how this is going to shape the marketing industry!

Have you ever made an error on social media that you regret?

Uhm, no not at all! *rolling eyes and grin*

follow on blab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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