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).


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.


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.


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!


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








This week my news feed has been full of stories about Facebook’s rumoured dislike button finally becoming an option. Speaking at the company’s latest Town Hall Q and A session, held at Facebook HQ in California, Mark Zuckerberg announced they were looking at allowing users to express their feelings about a post that isn’t necessarily positive, using another option rather than simply “liking” it.

“Not every moment is a good moment. If you share something that’s sad, like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away, it may not be comfortable to like that post… I do think it’s important to give people more options than liking it.” Zuckerberg said.

However back in December last year, Zuckerberg also said that they were conscious a dislike button may provoke voting mechanisms and possibly lead to trolling. So we are not 100% clear if the button will simply be a thumbs down or some kind of icon that symbolises empathy and concern. There is a risk that a dislike button could completely change the positivity within Facebook and obscure its purpose.

Let’s face it. if you had the option to dislike those really annoying facebook statuses, would you?


I also think a dislike button could encourage negative sentiment when it comes to brand pages and fan groups. As soon as a customer dislikes something, the conversation will be opened up to why so? and what can we do about it?. This means community managers will need to pay more attention and be ready to react if a number of dislikes are apparent on one post.

I reached out to a couple of social media experts to get their opinion.

Donna Moritz from Socially Sorted says;

“The more I think about it a “dislike button” is just asking for trouble: “I prefer the idea of an “empathy button” or a simple “hug” or “heart” to express compassion when a story or post is sad. But I think that if a dislike button it widely available on every post, it wouldn’t take long for it to be used in a negative way. I wonder if it would eventually end up just like YouTube’s like/dislike feature, with the negativity leaking into the comments. I guess we won’t know until they experiment.. and if all else fails use an emoticon!”

Madalyn Sklar, Social Media Power Influencer in Houston, says;

“I think we need more options to express ourselves aside from the singular “like” button. However a “dislike” button could cause rampant negativity throughout the Facebook platform. I think that will be a major turnoff for lots of people once it’s in place. It will be interesting to see the outcome from Facebook’s decision.”

It’s apparent that we all agree, something new is needed to enable us to express our opinions on Facebook but at the same time it comes with a risk. Users of the most popular social media site could start to feel uneasy and not only dislike the idea but start DISLIKING Facebook and its ways altogether.

It will be interesting to see what happens next and what other changes are install for Facebook this year.


A big thanks to Donna Moritz and Madalyn Sklar for your valuable contributions to this post.

When I first arrived in Sydney, I was desperately trying to seek PR and Social Media freelance gigs to keep me busy until I found a stable and secure job role. You would think it would be pretty straight forward within in our connected online world but I found it a lot harder than expected.  Nina Hendy is someone I have followed whist being in Australia (or you could say stalked ;-) ) as she provides fantastic advice on how to network, approach journalists and create the content people want to read.

I received an email about Nina’s new project The Freelance Collective and instantly wanted to know more. The guest post below explains why and how this community for ambitious freelances in Australia all started.

Freelancing Made Easy

Spruiking yourself as a freelancer can be difficult, not to mention expensive. Aside from that, it’s not something that comes easy to most of us.
I’ve been freelancing for more than a decade, and have a bit of experience in the delicate art of self-promotion. And it hasn’t been an easy road, let me tell you.
I started out with a decent LinkedIn profile, learning that the summary section is best used to sell your skills, while upgrading my subscription to a LinkedIn Premium account (which costs more than $700 a year) gave me the ability to see who was looking at my profile. It bought in a little work, which was great.

Upgrading my ordinary website to something more professional was the next step. While it is possible to build a site for free, it wasn’t my core strength as a journalist and wordsmith, so I made the decision to outsource this task to a website developer. It ended up costing a lot more than I thought it would, but I was thrilled with the results. It’s pretty different to what others in my field are doing, and I decided to update my red typewriter logo while I was at it.

My name and number was listed on a few sites like mUmbrella and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance under their freelance listing section, but it only gave me the chance to list a bit of a brief blurb on what I do and my name and number, which made it pretty tough for a potential client to decide whether I was the right fit for them.

While my organic search results in Google for my name were great, I was finding it impossible to get found if someone was searching for a freelance journalist or wordsmith. So, I made some enquiries into hiring an SEO expert to help with this, who quoted close to $1000 for the work. And given I didn’t want to take a paid advert as a journalist because I didn’t think it was a good look to have to take an ad as a journalist, the SEO expert wasn’t able to give me any guarantees that they would be able to get the results I was going for.

It presented an interesting case for an entirely new approach to marketing as a freelancer, and prompted a series of video conferences with others in my network and website developers to see if the idea in my head could actually solve a massive problem for others just like me.
Why not build a place for freelancers to actually create their own profile page; tell their story in a compelling way, provide links to their social media feeds, website, and samples of their work?

A New Idea

The Freelance Collective was born, giving creative freelancers across 23 industry sectors the chance to join, and sit back and let the clients find them when they’re in the market for someone with their skills. Freelance PRs, bloggers, copywriters, photographers, website developers, journalists, editors, marketing folks and those in related fields are jumping on board, excited about the possibility of telling their story in their own words and letting the clients find them.

The other beautiful thing about The Freelance Collective is that it gives quality freelancers real visibility in a cluttered and confusing freelance market. What a freelancer ‘does’ and the service they offer can be pretty broad, after all.

Aside from that, somewhere along the line, freelancers have become a faceless economy. I believe this has come about because a client will hire a content marketing agency to create a series of blogs, for example, who will then outsource the actual writing work to a freelancer. Usually, that freelancer completes the work and sends it in to the content marketing agency, not speaking to the client at all. The problem with this is that the client forking out for an expert to write for them has absolutely no idea who actually did the work, and whether the freelance is an expert in writing about startups for example, or someone based in India who has absolutely no clue about the Australian startup scene, except for what they’ve read online.

But profile holders on The Freelance Collective are vetted to ensure they’re good quality. They also have to be based in Australia and be available for work.
We wanted to level the playing field, too, so freelancers aren’t required to add in how much they charge or where they’re based, because the best freelancer for a client based in Sydney could well be living in the back of Ballarat.

It costs $9/month to sign up to The Freelance Collective and we’ve got weekly freelance tips and advice, and a private Facebook page for profile holders to bounce around ideas, find collaborations and feel like they’re part of the freelancing community.














Nina Hendy is the founder of The Freelance Collective – Australia’s home for creative freelance talent.

Follow Nina on Twitter @NinaHendy