Archive for September, 2013

What’s occurring with the weather these days?  One minute it’s cold and wet, the next blisteringly hot.  Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce… SWINTER – a freak seasonal hybrid that’s throwing up a whole host of challenges – sartorial, culinary and even domestic.

I’m no Michael Fish/John Kettley/Ian McKaskill (no? #showingmyageagain) but something strange is afoot meteorologically speaking. Autumn is no more – it’s been bullied out of town by this brazen, insensitive upstart.

As you would expect a Google search on climate change spews up a plethora of sites – educational, political and charitable.  The effects of climate change are profound (as far reaching as ‘far reaching’ can ever be) and impactful and not to be trivialised in a ‘poor me, I don’t know what to wear/eat’ kind of way.

That said, I’m afraid that’s exactly how I’m rolling with this one.  The weather has always been a hot topic of conversation for us Brits.  Historically I’m not really sure why.  I guess it must be something to do with British restraint and needing safe fodder for polite chit-chat.  It certainly didn’t used to be the unpredictable atmospheric carnival it seems to have morphed into of late.

So, presumably, as a nation we’re talking about it even more now.  If the RumbleChat office is anything to go by, that is definitely the case. Every day starts with a dissection of our local climate and the impact it has on our daily meanderings.  We are human barometers who obsess about the weather with a farmer-like intensity.

What to wear?  Just yesterday I set off for an early doors meeting in the Big Smoke, sporting a thermal socks/ankle boot combo and clutching an umbrella. Leaving my meeting late morning, I was greeted by the sun, with his hat on, mockingly beating down on my winter-clad self. By the time I got back to the office I was very sweaty, a tad grumpy and in dire need of an outfit change.  It brings a whole new angle to the trans-seasonal wardrobe conundrum.

I am also finding it is playing havoc with my appetite, or more specifically, what I fancy to eat at any given time.  A hearty stew is just the ticket when you’re cold and bedraggled, whereas a super-food salad is much more befitting for a balmy Mediterranean eve.

Don’t even get me started on the ‘is it too early to put the heating on?’ debate.  As I work from home a lot, I threw caution to the wind a fortnight ago and took the thermostatic plunge…only to return home the next day to an uncomfortably furnace-like house and the kids running around topless in the pleasantly warm garden.  I just can’t seem to get it right on any front.

And my phone’s no use.  I constantly refer to it for weather hints and tips but Apple are clearly using someone even less in-the-know than I to inform their weather app. Check it in the morning and it says one thing, then two hours later (once you’ve set about starting your day) it’s completely contradicting itself… presumably after looking out of the window and realising how wrong its initial finger in the air prediction really was. Utter shambles springs to mind.

So, what about you RumbleChatters?  Are you struggling like me or can you give me some tips on climate management for beginners?

Blog

noun

  • a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.

verb (blogs, blogging, blogged)

  • add new material to or regularly update a blog:it’s about a week since I last blogged
    • ·   [with object] write about (an event, situation, topic, etc.) in a blog:he blogged the Democratic and Republican national conventions as an independent

 

To Blog or not to blog?  That is the question.  You think you should, but you’re not entirely sure why, or how to go about doing it successfully.  Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Lots of our clients start off this way… and end up with fabulous, engaging blogs that deliver competitive advantage to their brands.

So for those of you who want to, but need a bit of guidance, here’s my quick and tasty recipe for a perfect blog (peppered with the obligatory food puns):

Key Ingredients:

Content is King. It goes without saying that great content is imperative. In fact, I’d go as far as to say. Good content is well researched, well written and pertinent to the target audience.  If you have something original at your fingertips then you’re at a distinct advantage, but if not, don’t fret.  Just make sure that your take on what may well be a tried and tested topic exudes brand personality and adopts a perspective that resonates with your target audience.

The Perfect Title. The title should seduce your reader but also aid your SEO and therefore, your audience’s ability to find you.  So whilst tongue-in-cheek, witty and hilarious titles are good in one sense (the reader seduction angle), unless you’re very clever, they might be counter-productive on the SEO front. If you can achieve both, that’s brilliant (and you can probably stop reading now as you’re clearly a blogger extraordinaire)

The Ronseal approach to an Introduction. I.e. It does exactly what it says on the tin. The internet reader is notoriously fickle, with an attention span only slightly longer than that of the proverbial goldfish.  Your clear, yet simultaneously compelling title therefore needs to be followed by a concise, revelatory introductory paragraph.

Make the Format Accessible. Meander-y, verbose streams of consciousness may have earned Virginia Woolf literary adulation, but it doesn’t cut the mustard  for the modern day blog. Language should be simple, easy-to-read and to the point.

Size isn’t Everything.  Or length I should say.  Between 500 and 800 words is perfect – long enough to concisely present your content, but not too waffle-y and snooze-inducing.

Invest in Aesthetic Appeal. It’s not shallow.  Looking nice is important…in blogging terms at least.  It’s an integral part of the user experience and another factor in the ‘you-versus-all- the- other -bloggers –out- there’ contest. Make your headers bold and enlarged, your key points stylistically pertinent and stay on-topic and on-brand. Add images to break up your text and illustrate your point.  You can even throw in a video or two to really spice things up.

Let Your Brand Personality Shine Through. Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this.  Whilst your blog can (and should) be on a wide range of relevant topics that interest your target audience, remember your aim is to increase engagement with your brand.  You want to create a brand voice that people want to listen to and want to hear more from.

Little and Often. Once you’ve started blogging, you need to make sure you keep at it.  From an SEO perspective, the need for regular updates is obvious. From an engagement perspective it’s just as crucial to keep on keeping on. Once you’ve attracted people to your blog, you want to keep them coming back.  Regular updates are the best way of doing this.  I always find it disappointing when I check out a new website and their latest blog was months (or even years) ago.

Preparation time

With a bit of practice you should be able to knock up a simple, commentary-lead blog in an hour whilst a research-based blog might take you a morning.  Given the resultant increase in engagement levels you can surely spare the time?  If not, why not outsource it to professionals.  Our blog-writing service is extremely competitive, costing from just £25/blog.

Here’s one I prepared earlier…

Well, I didn’t actually prepare them myself, and there’s more than one, but I’m sure you get my drift.  Here are a few of my favourites to get your creative juices flowing:

http://www.theskintfoodie.com

http://www.cocoandme.com

http://eatlikeagirl.com

http://www.goop.com (controversial I know but I have to confess I do quite like it)