Friday, February 26, 2010

Creating a blog

This is a massive topic that cannot be covered in one single post. I've got some sub categories (like blog design, writing and blogging) on blogging, so you may want to read up on those later. But right now, you're probably wondering why you should even start a blog.

There are many reasons:
  1. It links with your LinkedIn profile and makes you look better
  2. You can use it to showcase your knowledge
  3. You can use it to track the information you discover along the way
  4. It will force you to follow other important people in your field and interact with them
Those are just a few, once you start more reasons will wander out of the woodwork. It's not easy to write, some people have a lot of difficulty with it. LC has a network of copywriters there for you to utilise and get help from, this is just another facet of the support structure. Most of it will involve reading other peoples work of your topics, but remember blogging also allows you to present your own spin on any subject matter you feel.

This will always look good to potential employers when they can see that you're an original thinker.

There are many free hosting sites that you can present your blog on. I used the blogger network because it's very simple and the dashboard application allows me to navigate into google analytics without any fuss. I can also track other blogs from the dashboard, so in essence it gives me all I want without any problems. But if you want more customisation you may want to go with WordPress.

How you want to present the blog is completely up to you, but look at some of the other popular blogs out there and notice what works and what doesn't. You're not going to be monetising your blog any time soon so try not to fill it with clutter and make it difficult to navigate.

Widgets are a part of any blog and you're going to have to play around with them. This will help give you a feel for the environment and design. They can also be useful for generating visitors. I use a widget from BlogCatalog that keeps track of any incoming visitors that have been referred here but Google Analytics also tells me this, so in essence it's only there to show my visitors that I'm being visited regularly.

You've definitely got to think strategically with your blog, but the whole exercise of creating your own blog is to explore and experiment. This will give you invaluable experience that will carry over outside of LC.

You don't have to blog only about your LC stuff. Remember it's your blog, so try to work in a topic that you're passionate about and let that passion shine through. I've got a few different topics that you can see in my category tags and I also have multiple blogs (mainly because the tone and subject matter are too varied to be in one). What topic you choose is up to you, but keep in mind that certain topics will get more interest, like dating or relationship advice over tricking out your laptop with the latest designs. So keep note of the audience you will be attracting with your subject matter.

Keeping your blog interesting and coming up with new subject matter can be difficult. How you solve this is up to you, but reading other blogs always works as inspiration and when you follow them, most of the time they'll follow you back and you'll get breadcrumb visits from those blogs. Don't worry about building a big audience right now, that will come over time as you make connections over the net with other people in your field.

These connections will most likely also have a LinkedIn profile and your steady connections will grow from that. By now, you'll see how it's all integrated and how each facet lends to the other. As your time investment grows in your blogs and social media profiles, so will your reputation and credibility.

Commenting is also an important part of blogging. A blog looks lonely without them and you'll discover there are many automated bots that will worm their way into your site with atrocious spam masquerading as valid engagement. One of the best parts of working at LC is you can send everyone an update on your twitter feed when you've posted a new blog and more than likely some of the staff members will leave comments. They'll probably also be following your blog and then what do you know, you've got a popular blog with interactive readers!

Next step: Tweeting and

Adventures in Advertising
Pensive Video Gamer
Short Stories and other Curiosities

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

LinkedIn: What's all the fuss about?

We've all played with social networks like Myspace or Facebook, LinkedIn is exactly that a social network, except instead of social connections, it focuses on business connections. The site reads like an online resume and chronicles your activity in discussions and who you're connected with. The site isn't very user friendly, and that works in your favour.

You'll have to set up an account and put in all your educational details and previous work histories. Once you've done this, connect with a few LC key personnel like:
From those connections you can add all the other Intern staff in common and you'll already have a decent list of 20+ connections. Once you've worked with a few of them you can also request a recommendation from them. Recommendations work like references, except anyone looking at them can also check out the credibility of the source with one simple click.

You may also want to link a blog or two to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile page will automatically get a feed from the last 3 posts and anyone interested in what you do will head straight to these blogs.

So far, I've told you how to set up LinkedIn, but not why it's important. You've probably heard the saying: "It's not what you know, it's who you know." This is so true in business. Potential employers are much more likely to hire someone they know or has been vouched for by a trusted source. LinkedIn provides for that, it'll open doors.

Many of the staff that have set up effective LinkedIn accounts have been offered employment by companies outside of LC. Whether you take them up on the offer is up to you, but a good LinkedIn profile will give you these opportunities and advantages that people without LinkedIn don't have.

Furthermore, LinkedIn comes up in search engines. So the more exposure you get online, the better. Make sure you select a good name for your profile, something that fits along the job your doing. Look at the profile page address for Toby or Melanie. These small things count and show proof towards your expertise in the field.

You'll also want to keep track of best answers and topic discussions in LinkedIn. Remember the more accolades you get on your profile, the better it looks. LinkedIn has credibility because any person viewing your profile can see who's said what and in what position they are in. They can validate information for themselves.

Next step: Creating a blog

Adventures in Advertising
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome new person to LC


Welcome to Lead Creation and your internship. I've been where you are now, starting out and for me, it was daunting as hell! Let me paint you a picture, on my first day in the first few minutes of me starting the internship Toby sat me down to have a chat. He'll do this with everyone and mine didn't go so well.

Basically, I was told that male copywriters had a very bad track record at LC. They would up and leave halfway through their internships, which ended up being a colossal waste of time for both parties! Toby then followed it up by telling me he had a bad feeling that I was probably going to leave and that he was going to minimise his investment in me!

What bloody investment? I thought. I'm working for free here!

But 3 months down the track, I can honestly say he was totally right. There is a huge investment in training and effort that goes into every intern. It may not feel like it, it's understandable, but this will change. After 3 months of working for LC, I've got a freaking awesome LinkedIn profile which is integrated with this very blog and have already gotten offers for paid copywriting work from it.

I'd never have gotten that by myself because I'd never even heard about LinkedIn, let alone thought Twitter could actually be useful.

The first thing you should do is have a good think about the investment you're going to have to put into this internship. It's more than just time you'll be giving up, it will also be some misconceptions.

You'll already have read a few training manuals and other assorted documents, now we get into the good stuff. This is a bread crumb document that I've designed for all new interns. It's a step by step document that will give you a good guide of what to do when you first begin. At the end of each, I'll link in the next step. Not all will be on my blog as I cover specific topics, some like SEO will be on Vahes blog.

The first thing you should do is follow the blog by clicking on the side panel. Not just for mine, but everyone of the LC staff that you're directed to. Each blog will have helpful advice and tips so it's in your best interest to do so. I always try to mix in some other entertaining tidbits into my blog to make it a little more readable and exciting. Also, information changes, so being up to date with the latest developments in SEO is a good thing.

Eventually you're going to have to start your own blog. The tags on blog design and blogging hold some great tips for beginners. But more on that later.

Right now you're going to have to create a LinkedIn account, a twitter account and also a blog account (might as well get it out of the way). I suggest using because it integrates with Google apps really nice and allows you to track data very easily.

Play around with them, but don't worry about making it perfect just yet, well cover that in later steps. Right now there are a few blogs that you should subscribe to in Google reader. What the hell is Google reader anyway?

Onto the next step: LinkedIn: What's all the fuss about?!

Adventures in Advertising
Pensive Video Gamer
Short Stories and other Curiosities

Monday, February 8, 2010

Backup your vital files...NOW!

For those two people who follow this blog religiously (my mommy and myself), you may have noticed the lack of updates. This isn't just because working 7 days per week means any free time is spent trying to stay sane, it's also because my Judas Dell has decided to pack it in and die on me. Just when I needed him most.

Actually, that's not quite accurate because my laptop is an extension of my body (I'll be writing a long essays as to why this is so for uni). It's the appendage that allows me to tap into and manipulate my virtual identity. It's a part of me, so when it died, I felt like an amputee. Furthermore, there isn't really a time when I don't need him. At every moment, I need a laptop as much as the moment before. More so because of the invested time in building my virtual identity and creative works on it accumulates.

Unfortunately, it had been a while since a proper backup of my files was completed, so most of my time was spent trying to recover data on the weekend. Though it was a success, I know I've dodged a massive bullet because if I'd lost all the work on my book, it would have probably given up my few remaining slivers of sanity trying to restore those works!

Now days, most of my work is online and stored on servers across the world, instead of being located on my hard-drive. This means that all the work for blogs and blogging is safe. Even the countless draft notes and half-baked ideas are all still waiting for me to complete them, and wait they will!

I'm currently on my trusty old COMPAQ Presario Pentium laptop. A blast from the past, yet it still works utterly perfectly and without fail. I honestly love this laptop, even though it's slow, it does the job reliably.

So the lesson here is to backup not only your files, but also your laptop. Have an old one handy and ready to rock out at a moments notice. You can buy them second hand cheap and the investment is worth it. I paid $1700 for my Compaq back in 1999 and after 11 years, to still be functioning is a massive win for me.

Also portable hard-drives are also made of win. I owe a big thank-you to Gavin for buying me one for my birthday.

Adventures in Advertising
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wasting time with time wasters

A long time ago, in a version of Thomas far far away, there existed an internet forum that he moderated/administered. This was quiet a bit of work because not only did he have to monitor and dispose of spammers, tend to the many personality conflicts and arguments, but he also had to develop interesting articles for people to read.

These articles took a long time to create. Each one based on hours of research as the audience was very well read and any mistakes or inaccuracies would be pounced upon in an instant.

Yet all this work netted Thomas one thing: Frustration.

Why? because he was interacting with people uninterested in the message, uninterested in the content and solely focused on flame wars and aggravating an already aggravated forum administer due to personality conflicts. Not all the audience was like this, but a few select band of individuals got great pleasure from it. On stage during live performance; they're known as hecklers.

So eventually he did the only thing he could do, he left.

The work was hard with long hours, it was unpaid and most importantly, unappreciated. So after a long rumination process that had been building up for months, Thomas did the only thing that would benefit him. He left and never looked back at forums ever again.

All that work had to be left behind, as well as the online friends that had supported him and rallied to his cause. All the stress and conflicts were also left in the past.

It was four years of work wasted.

But he did learn a two priceless points out of the whole endeavour.

1. Never argue with idiots
This world is filled with them, they come at you from all angles. Never engage them, or if you accidentally do, stop as soon as you realise you're dealing with one. There is an old saying: You can lead a horse to water, but you can never make him drink, and it applies to the morons on the internet. You can't make them think or even see your way of thinking because they are too wrapped up in their own sense of over-bloated self important opinions.
Don't waste time or energy on time wasters. You'll only have yourself to blame!

2. Don't ever take it personally
I've written more words than I care to admit. Writing comes easily to me. Yet with the most carefully constructed pieces of personal reflection, I get people who disagree and volley in personal attacks merely because they have no other way of engaging the material. You can't ever let this get to you. Never return the insults, simply delete the comments outright or ignore them and have a laugh. Once you've invested so much into your words that any criticism hurts you personally, it's time to take a step back from the writing.

Over time, I've learnt to engage with people on different levels and subtly redirect conversations when they get out of hand. But my days of hanging around internet forums are forever over and I am honestly happy about that because there are much better places on the internet to interact with people.

I'm not saying that forums don't have their advantages, but they are fast becoming more and more selective with their users as most users turn towards Social Networks, which offer a greater level of control over your experience.

Adventures in Advertising
Pensive Video Gamer
Short Stories and other Curiosities