Writing Blogs for Readers, not Google

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If you’re marketing using a blog, or if your blog is a large part of your business, then chances are you’ve heard of keywords.

Keywords do what they say on the tin – they’re the essence of what you’re writing about, and they’re also what Google uses to decide how and where to rank your content.

Now, the old way of thinking was very much “the more keywords the better” … but this doesn’t make for very good reading for humans, and Google has started to realise this. It’s already made changes to its algorithm to prioritise blogs that write for their users, and not for search engines.

Here are 5 tips for keeping your blog content keyword-rich, without ruining the reading experience and landing yourself a hefty penalty:

Continue reading

5 Quick Ways to Get More Traffic to your Website

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If you have a website for your work (or even for pleasure) chances are you’ve gone into your stats and sat there and thought: ‘why aren’t more people coming to my website?’

Well, there’s a long and a short answer to this.

The short answer is because you’re not showing up on Google for people to click through and come to your website.

The long answer is why you’re not showing up on Google, and that has something to do with your domain ranking (which is the numerical value that tells you how relevant and awesome Google thinks your website is), your search relevancy, and whether your site is SEO optimised.

Now, I know. You see the word ‘SEO’ and your eyes glaze over. All the fun has been sucked from the world.

But it doesn’t have to be hard. Let’s look at 5 super quick, super easy tips that will help you get more traffic to your website without having to delve too deeply into the scary world of SEO.

1. Get other (bigger) websites to link to you

If a big website links to your little one, Google sees this and goes “oh wow, there must be some great content on there.” This is especially easy if you have a blog on your website, or somewhere you put creative content.

Have a look at websites that accept guest posts, and see if they will include a link to you in the author bio. That way, you can piggyback off other websites’ successes!

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2. Make sure your website is doing what it says on the tin

Google likes this to be simple. If you say your website is a website about your acting and then spent 89% of your time posting reviews of your local coffee shops, Google is going to get confused. And that will hurt your traffic numbers.

So check your meta-description, check your website name and make sure what your posting on your website fits with what you said you’d post.

Think of it like a book. If you pick up a book called Fairy Tales from Germany you expect the stories to be fairy tales from Germany. Not recipes for seventeen different types of casserole.

3. Shout about your website

Tell people about it! This works in person, as well as on social media. Make sure you have your website link in all your bios, and if you publish an awesome new post, make sure this goes on your Facebook, your Instagram, your Twitter. And don’t stop sharing it either. Schedule it back into your feeds in a month’s time so people that missed it the first time around can read it then.

4. Get clever with your keywords

Now, bear with me, I know this sounds marketing-y. And that’s because it is. Keywords are your book synopsis, they’re what your website (or your post) is about. So let’s say you have a page on your website to buy tickets to your latest shows. Write some content in there for Google so that it knows that this page is all about buying tickets. Use the phrase buy tickets as often as possible without forcing it down your reader’s throats. Then Google will know what’s going on with that page and move it up the rankings.

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5. Make sure your website is easy to use

If people click on your website and it takes 50 minutes to load up, chances are they won’t click again. And Google has the memory of an elephant. So make sure your images are small and aren’t holding you back (this is a great tool for making them smaller) and do a little walkthrough of your website from the point of view of your audience. Do you have something for them to click on at the end of every page that’ll keep them on your website? If the answer is no, try and make a little journey for them.

Think of it as a treasure map, with you leaving little bits of treasure all over your site.


penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Keeping Your Social Media Alive During Edinburgh Fringe

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We know you’re busy – August is nuts for anyone performing. If you’re not touting your show on the Royal Mile, performing or having a well earnt post-performance beer, the last thing on your mind is probably tweeting, updating your Facebook or even (heaven forbid) posting a blog.

Who has time for any of that?

Well…

You do.

Why it’s important to stay active

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Edinburgh Fringe creates a lot of its own buzz – people are excited to be there, they’re excited to see new shows and they’re wandering around looking for something new. Even those not at the Fringe will be following what’s going on, whether that’s through something like the BBC or through the Instagram and Facebook posts of their mates who are there.

So this is no time for a social media blackout!

You don’t want to be the person that misses a great reviewer because they’ve tweeted something about having a free slot and you’ve missed it, do you?

No.

So listen up.

What you should be doing

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If anything,  you need to be more active than usual. Remember, social media is a key tool in your arsenal for promotion. And that means:

  • Tweeting stuff about your show (back stage pictures, images of the queue, boomerang videos of the cast/yourself making silly faces – LITERALLY ANYTHING that’s not “hey, come see my show, promise it’s awesome.” – People will see how much fun it is from all the other content you’re posting, you don’t have to labour the point.
  • Retweeting literally anything that mentions you/your show/your venue. You want people to know who you are, where you’re performing and when. So if someone gives you a shoutout with a tweet – give them a shoutout right back! Retweeting shows your follower list (and a wider pool of people) just how awesome you are, straight from the audience’s mouth
  • Replying to people who are at/coming to the Fringe. Set up some searches on Twitter (here’s one I made earlier, with the location for Pleasance Courtyard) and here’s how where set up an advanced search and get down to replying to people. “Hey, if you’re hanging around [VENUE] come and see [SHOW]! We’re on at 8pm!” is a very basic example of the stuff you can send back.
  • Asking one of your mates to take a few shots during your show and live-tweet it (if you’re allowing phones/images, otherwise it’ll encourage other people to succumb to the blue screen of death)
  • Chasing reviews. Now if you’ve already had a tonne of reviewers in, then bully for you – but if you haven’t you need to chase. them. down. Tweet them, FB message them, email them, send a darn pidgeon if you have to – but be active in trying to get your reviews coming in. Not only will it help this year, but it’ll stand you in good stead next year when people see your awesome review and think “oh no, I missed [your awesome show], I’ll have to make sure I catch them next year.”

Getting a little help 

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Now we’re not saying every second of your spare time needs to be spent on Twitter or Facebook. Here are some things you can do:

1. Set up some rules on IFTTT – such as “whenever someone mentions you in a Tweet, send them a thank you as a reply”

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2. Schedule some Tweets/Facebook posts using Buffer so that you’re never silent (more on how to do this here)

3. Schedule a blog post to drop in the middle of the Fringe, and then go in and add some news images just before it posts. You might want to write something like “Having an awesome time” or “best night ever so far at the Fringe,” or even “Funniest moments of my Fringe so far” – you’re scheduling it, so you’re going to need to get *cough* creative *cough* with the content, but reason images will add authenticity. You can change this where it says ‘Publish Immediately’ on WordPress, click the arrow and select ‘Schedule’.

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All of these things will help you be active on Twitter, Facebook or your blog during what’s going to be a very, very busy month!

 


Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

We had a UK top 10 trending hashtag!!!

Here at Penguin in the Room we LOVE bringing the social to your events. We were delighted to live tweet the Burdett Awards 2018 for our client Burdett Trust for Nursing.

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The awards were held on 24th May at the gorgeous Waldorf Hitlon Hotel in London with the super awesome Call the Midwife actress Helen George hosting. The awards were acknowledging and celebrating nurses and nurse led initiatives across the world.

The Burdett Awards had 250 guests at the event and our challenge was to extend the guest-list via social media! We created the hashtag #burdettawards for the event.

The hashtag was including on promotional material on the night and we live-tweeted through out the night and engaged with others who were interacting via our hashtag.

And the results?!

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Congrats to our Twitter obsessed Social Media Manager Lucy for such awesome work!

 

 

What The New Data Protection Laws Mean For Small Businesses, Individuals and Freelancers

This May, new Data Protection laws will be coming into place, specifically, the Data Protection Act will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation.

What’s the difference? The GDPR will have new rules around the storage and handling of personal information and there will be stricter punishments in place for those who fail to comply.

Why the new law? The short answer is because hackers are more easily able to access data from small to medium businesses than they are to hack huge, well-protected corporate networks.

Changes in Consent

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At the moment it’s sufficient to ask someone to tick or even to untick a box in order to consent to the storage of their data.

Under the new laws, consent means active agreement. This means you cannot pre-tick a ‘subscribe me’ button.

Not only this, but companies need to be able to show a clear audit trail of consent, including screen grabs or saved consent forms.

Individuals also have the right to withdraw consent at any time, and it has to be effective and efficient. When someone withdraws consent all of their personal data must be immediately and permanently erased. It is not enough to remove them from the mailing list.

If you are subject to a data breach, you also have to inform the relevant authorities immediately and you must notify all individuals affected within 72 hours of the initial breach.

What does this mean for people that use e-mail marketing (and am I one of those people?)

If you have a newsletter that people subscribe to, or if you send e-mails to a database of people on whatever basis, this concerns you.

And it doesn’t just concern all the new data you might collect. It concerns all the data you currently have.

Any kind of personal data you keep has to follow these rules and you and you alone are responsible for being able to prove that someone has consented to have their data kept on file by you.

This means you can no longer capture e-mails through a competition and then add them into your mailing list, or you cannot auto-subscribe (for example) people that have bought a ticket to your show to your newsletter.

Does the GDPR apply to my personal blog?

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The GDPR applies to all enterprises. So if you run a business from home, or if your blog/website is engaged in “economic activity” i.e. you use it to make money – this applies to you.

It does not apply to people processing personal data in the course of a purely personal or household activity. I.e. if you have your plumber’s email address on file, that’s fine. If you’re sending your plumber an email telling him that you have a new kind of product available for sale, that’s not fine.

So what do I do now?

For every e-mail address in your system, you need to go back and seek explicit permission from the person to continue to send them whatever communication you are sending them.

If you cannot provide evidence of consent, you cannot send them emails and you must delete their data permanently.

This means you will need to launch a re-permission campaign and bring your entire database up to GDPR standards.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

Fines. These are tiered based on the level of non-compliance and the severity of the violation, and they are capped at 4% of an annual turnover of €20million.

Ouch.

Check out our next post on how to run a GDPR compliant re-consent campaign.

Disclaimer: None of the above constitutes legal advice. If you are in doubt, we recommend you seek professional legal guidance.

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

How To Write A Killer Guest Post Pitch

If you read our previous blog, you’ll know that guest posting is the quickest and easiest way to drive new traffic through to your blog/website.

New traffic = more subscribers = more fans = more money.

(At least that’s what most marketing manuals will tell you.)

But what they don’t tell you is how to write a great pitch for a guest post.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’ve written something that spells out the meaning of life. If you can’t sell it, no one will read here.

So here’s our step by step guide to getting your guest post secured:

1. Subscribe to their blog

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Think about it. If you had someone telling you how awesome your blog was, and then you realise they don’t even subscribe, you’ll be pretty peeved.

So once you’ve selected your list of targets, go through and subscribe to them all. You want them to know you’re serious – and invested – in the success of their blog. That’s going to sound a whole lot more convincing coming from someone that actually follows it.

2. Make it personal

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Nine times out of ten, someone will have their name somewhere on their website. Use it. Addressing the email personally will mean it’s much more likely to get opened, if not read. “Hey, Tanya” is so much better than “Hey there” or (even worse) “To Whom It May Concern.”

Never start a pitch email with that, because whoever is reading it will automatically decide it probably doesn’t concern them.

3. Show them how good you are

Include some links in your pitch that are the best possible examples of your tone and writing style. You want to wow them with the quality content you’re creating, so send them your 2 or 3 best pieces of work.

If you’re lucky enough to have featured elsewhere already or have been interviewed, include one of these as a third link underneath your own work.

4. Don’t go into too much detail

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They will want two things. One of these things is a title, and the other is a reason why their readers are going to open that blog in the first place. This does not mean you have to send them the blog in its entirety.

What you should do is include a little 2-3 sentence outline so they know where the blog post is heading, like this:

How To Blog: A post focusing on the common pitfalls most bloggers make and how to avoid them. Your readers will walk away knowing how to write killer blog posts that bring in more traffic and convert that into paying customers.

I mean, sounds like a blog you want to read, right?

Right. That’s exactly what they want.

5. Track the emails you send

Gmail has some great extensions that you can download that track whether or not your email has been opened. Streak is awesome because it tells you when your email was viewed and when it was opened. It also keeps tabs on how often someone visits the conversation so you can see exactly what’s happening once you’ve sent your pitch into cyberspace.

6. Set up a chase system

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Now that you’ve sent your emails, you don’t just want to sit there and wait.

No.

Like a flower, you need to tend to your precious pitches by watering them every now and then. Or, at the very least, following up with an email a week later.

People are busy, so you don’t want to harass them, but a simple chase email 7 days later is more than acceptable.

If your chase email doesn’t get a reply, you can cut that time in half and email again 3 or 4 days later.

So here’s what your chase schedule should look like:

  • 7 days – send initial chase email if no open
  • Send another chase 4 days after first chase
  • Send a final chase 7 days after previous chase
  • Send new email 14 days after last email

7. Follow up

You don’t want to nag them. After all, you’re asking for a favour, essentially, even if you’re creating awesome content for them.

So you need to keep your follow up emails short, sweet and to the point.

Make it easy for them to come back to you with a one word answer, a simple yay or nay reaction. Because we all have way too many emails and never enough time:

Hey Tanya,

Appreciate you must be super busy, just wanted to see if you had a quick yes/no based on my previous email?

I can get started on it straight away and wouldn’t need anything from your side at this point – other than the OK!

Thanks so much, hopefully catch up soon.

8. Follow through

You’ve promised them the world – or at least a great blog post – so make sure you follow up and keep your word. Deliver on time, deliver with photos and deliver to whatever specifications they ask for (Google Doc, HTML or otherwise.)

Don’t fall at the last hurdle!

Have you got any tips you think we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Why You Need To Be Guest Posting

So you’ve got a blog. Or perhaps even a whole website. And you’re using it to build your brand, build your audience and try and get your fans engaged.

But who’s reading your blog? Who’s looking at your website?

If you get a lot of repeat visitors, but not a lot of organic, new traffic, chances are you need to cast your net out a bit wider.

So now the big money question: How do I get new people to come and visit my blog?

The answer is what is always is: good quality content.

But if your blog is already full of lots of great, valuable content and it’s still not attracting the amount of new traffic you want, then you need to start thinking outside of the box.

Or, thinking inside another very exact box: Guest Posting.

What is Guest Posting?

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Guest posting is when you give someone else some of your content to host on their blog. That’s right. You write a killer post that’s going to get tonnes of engagement and then you give it to someone else.

Why would you do this?

Because they then send your awesome blog out to all of their hard-earned subscribers and BAM. You’ve suddenly got a whole new pool of readers for your content.

Add into this that they’ll backlink to your website (which literally just means they will link back to you) meaning you’ll have a new funnel of traffic coming straight through to your blog.

This is especially good if their website has a higher domain authority to yours. A domain authority is basically a measure of how awesome Google thinks your site it. It’s based on how old your website is, how popular it is and how big it is. You can use a tool like Moz to figure out what you DA is, and what the DA of your targets are. A rule of thumb is this: always seek out websites with a higher DA than yours for guest posts.

How Do I Start Guest Posting?

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Chances are, you already write some content. So you already know how to write witty, engaging blogs that people like to read. Which is great, because this is half the battle.

Now you need to start this process:

1. Seek out potential guest post opportunities

Think about what your fans might search for, or wider interests your fans might have. After all, you’re trying to appeal to a wider audience.  Let’s say, for example, that you talk a lot about marketing, but you’re also a keen traveler. So you could look up traveling blogs as well as marketing blogs, and start making a list of some of the biggest ones.

2. Make a thorough list

You’re going to want to do a few guest posts, ideally, so it’s good to keep a list. My list looks something like this:

Site Name Domain Authority Amount of Traffic Summary Blog Post Idea Blog Post Pitch
Best Blog Ever 31 125k They blog about blogging How To Write Great Blogs Hey (Name),

Etc.

You can use a tool called Moz to find out what the Domain Authority of a website is. You can also use a website called SimilarWeb to figure out how much traffic it gets.

Then you want to write yourself a little summary. This is basically a quick summation of what the website is about and what kinda things it talks about. It serves as a self-reminder, so when they reply you can check back at your notes and remind yourself this is the cat blog, not the dog blog (so no terrier jokes anyway they are terrier-ible! 🤣).

3. Come up with a great idea

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Arguably, the hardest part. Have a quick scan of their blog and see what kinds of posts they’ve covered already, because it’s no use you writing something that’s a carbon copy of something they already have. I don’t mean you need to trawl through every post, just check the titles. See what kinds of topics they talk about and have a think about what you can contribute. The key is that whatever you write has to bring value to their readers.

4. Write a killer pitch

This deserves a lot more of a detailed look, which is why we’re going to cover it in the next post. Needless to say, after you’ve put all the effort into selecting your targets, figuring out their domain authority and done the research on their blogging styles, you don’t want your pitch to let you down.

Check back next time for our post on How To Write A Killer Guest Post Pitch.

5. Hit send… and get ready to write

You need to be able to turn your content around quickly. So it’s no good pitching a piece of work you know it’s going to take you months and months to pull together. Keep it within your realms of expertise, something you could knock together in a day – or less – and make sure they know that they have very little (or even better, nothing) to do at their end.

5 Social Media Tools That Will Save Your Life

Social media is a black hole for time.

You can spend hours pouring over the same 10 videos and you barely even notice the clock ticking.

When it comes to running your own social media, however, time is a huge factor. Because the more time you spend on social media, the less time you’re spending actually doing what you do (unless you’re a social media maven. You do you.)

Given that most creatives are time poor, so we’ve pulled together a list of 10 social media tools that will save you time and effort. Meaning you don’t have to spend your life flicking between apps. Yippee!

The best bit is… they’re all free!

Buffer

Buffer is an awesome scheduling tool that allows you to post Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts at a later date.

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With the free version you can link up to 3 accounts and schedule up to 10 pieces of content.

There’s also a handy content inbox where you can follow your favourite blogs (*cough*) and schedule to share their content online with a simple click. You can also link your own blog and re-share old content as well as broadcasting new content.

Audiense

Audiense figures out when the best time for you to Tweet is. What’s even cooler is that it then links up to Buffer, and gives you a handy schedule.

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This means you know all of your planned tweets are getting sent at exactly the best time for people to like, comments and share them.

Not only this, but it lets you search for people to follow (to grow your community) and also tells you who isn’t following you back (meanies.)

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Hootsuite

Hootsuite is great if you’ve got loads of different accounts and you want to keep them all in one handy place.

It offers the same service as Buffer but also includes a handy reply function – meaning you can keep track of all your conversations, all in one place!

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Hootsuite also allows you to target subsets for channels like your Facebook page.

Social Mention

Ever wondered what people say about you online? Googling is so 2014 – you need Social Mention. It’s a eal-time platform that searches across the whole of the social interweb and organising it into a handy list for you. Influence is measured by Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.

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Not only this, it gives you a score for positive vs negative sentiment and your overall influence.

Pretty great if you’re trying to manage your brand or someone else’s.

Iconosquare

You know that 31 people liked the picture of your breakfast. But do you know how many more likes you when you use Mayfair, instead of Nashville?

Iconosquare delves deeper than your ex into your instagram and analyses your posts, measuring the type of post vs the level of engagement.

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If you’re monetising Instagram or even just using it to help build brand/personal awareness, this is one for you.

Now you’re fully armed – fly, my social media mavens, fly! (And let us know if you think we’ve missed anything.)

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email: info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Coping with Snap Maps: A Guide to the New Update

A new day, a new app update. Most of them don’t attract quite as much attention as Snapchat’s recent upgrade though.

Snap map allows people to see your location. It’s a bit like “find my friends” except slightly creepier as strangers can pinpoint your location to the metre. IMG_3778

It’s been all over the news in relation to concerns that Snapchat aren’t doing enough to protect under 18’s – their biggest user. Picked up by national and local press, parents are being warned to educate themselves on the privacy issues it might cause for their children.

Age aside however, it’s an update that potentially spells trouble for individuals who use Snapchat as one of their content channels, too. Why? Because you’ve spent however many weeks or months asking strangers on the internet to follow you on snapchat and now they can actually follow you on snapchat.

How to find the Snap Map

I thought I had been immune to this update. I couldn’t see any icon saying “map” and thought – phew! Dodged that one!

Not so.

Turns out you access the snap map by opening your camera and then pinching the camera screen, like you’re trying to zoom out.

Snapchat describes it helpfully as “like this 👌

BAM. Welcome to Snap Map.

Enabling Ghost Mode

This is actually pretty simple the first time you log into snap map. You tap ‘Only Me’ and your figure will come up like a little ghost. Nice.

If you panicked when you opened it for the first time, you can tap the little cog button and go into your settings to manually slide ghost mode on. Stealthy.

Finding your friends on the Snap Map

You have to be mutual friends to see each other’s location. Snapchat says “by default, only friends you’ve added on Snapchat can contact you directly or view your Story.”

Of course if you’re using Snapchat as a way to grow your followers, chances are you’ll have a lot of friends, so the selection tool will be quite handy.

You can also tap on their chats and it’ll come up with their location (because WhatsApp’s ‘last seen’ wasn’t stalker-y enough for us.)

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Cool features of Snap Map

Once you get past the creeped-out stage though, Snap Map is pretty awesome! You can swipe around the map and double tap into hot spots (marked like a heat sensor, the ‘hottest’ regions are red and show the most activity) and then find out what people are posting to their Story in that location.

I mean, the first thing you’ll do is probably check out Snaps in your area (I literally pinpointed my road in London and watched a story about someone complaining about the loudness of their next door neighbour’s dishwasher) but you could also see what’s happening in – I don’t know – Sweden.

Pretty cool, huh?

 

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email: info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Penguin chats: Designer Jennifer Hamley

Here at Penguin in the Room we love supporting fellow female entrepreneurs and business women! We spoke to designer and business owner Jennifer Hamley about her design inspiration and being nominated for an award only three years into her business!

 

Jennifer Hamley

What do you think a handbag should be?

Great question, I think a handbag means something different to everyone. To a few it’s just a thing to tote stuff around in, but to most the bag you choose to carry everyday means much more.

I’ve had women describe how different handbags make them feel. It can be a status symbol, but more often than that, the handbag we choose for a given day or occasion puts us into the mindset of who we want to show up as.

I believe that a handbag should fill you with confidence. It’s something that you carry with you closely wherever you go so it needs to support your busy daily life, as well as make you smile with pride when you catch a glimpse of it.

Why did you redesign the handbag?

I took a close look at how women’s lives have changed in recent years and added features that support that.

The handbag world is full of great design, but with more of us working remotely; occasionally at home or in cafés, on the road or in a hot-desking environment, we need to carry our work and tech with us. I design handbags around the tech that we need, and offer organisation so that we can carry less whilst being more productive.

It is also important for the bag to be beautiful, because who wants to carry an ugly bag when we spend so much of our lives working!?

3 Jennifer Hamley Backback FINALIST winner design instagram share

Why is your new design for the Independent Handbag Designer Awards more than just a bag?

I can’t help feeling that the category was designed just for me! The nomination is for the ultimate cutting edge #GirlBoss bag (& sponsored by Nasty Gal, I’m a big fan!) I’m passionate about designs that do a lot for us, that carry what we need and keep us organised so that we can get on with our lives – and also about designs that let us express ourselves and help us feel confident and fabulous. I designed this bag to be worn different ways to suit what you are doing, to be soft and light weight so that it can carry a little or a lot. It’s a bag that is ready for anything! 

Jennifer Hamley Handbag Awards finalist convertible handbag workbag

What’s the best thing about being your own boss?

My favourite thing is meeting all the amazing supportive women (and some men!) that are doing similar things. I felt lonely at first and didn’t know where to turn, but when I found these support groups WOW! (and they are EVERYWHERE!), – they blow me away every day with their knowledge, generosity and friendship.

What’s been the biggest challenges of running your own business?

I often struggle with the amount of things that need doing to running a business. I honestly thought that a serious business woman did it all herself! I was wrong – real business women DELGATE! They surround themselves with people that are better at the little things so that she can focus on the big picture.

Having a business coach and, again, my support group help me to stay on track

What piece of advice has been invaluable in your career?

I was told once that ‘If it’s possible in the world, it’s possible for you’ and it has been my mantra ever since. That has helped me when I’ve not known what to do, or where to learn something. It really helps me to work things out, because if someone else did it, there is a way!

What’s next?

I’ll be jetting off to New York on the 14th June for the Independent Handbag Designer Awards where I am a finalist in the ‘Cutting Edge bag by Nasty Gal’ category that I mentioned before. The awards ceremony will bring 45 designers together for a night of cocktails, connection and couture! Until then I’ll be spreading the word about my design and liaising with my manufacturers to get it into production!   After that I’m away in Asia researching new materials for an upcoming vegan collection, then talking to retailers. It’s an exciting and busy year!

 

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

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