13 September 2014

Meeting your readers

An Afghan man reads outside his market shop wh...
An Afghan man reads outside his market shop while waiting for customers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Setting up a business is pretty easy in the UK. But, knowing your customers can be difficult unless you get out and meet them. 

In the early 2000's, I set up a small retail business selling delicatessen quality foods which I had imported from Italy and Greece, as well as from local producers. I set up a website (at great expense and which would now cost me a fraction of what it did then) and started to set up a stall in local food markets. 

My online customers were quite different from the customers at the markets. Online customers were looking for gifts including hampers. They were mainly men. My offline customers were mainly well-to-do females who were buying for their families or gifts for friends. I was soon able to spot customers at the markets just by the way they dressed, by their age and their gender. 

Getting out of my office and meeting people face to face is still the best way to know my customers or readers. 

For instance, last week I was in Sweden for three days visiting a manufacturer's factory along with 12 of installers they were aiming to have join their partner scheme. The installers were were from all over the Midlands, North and North West of the UK. None of them had even heard of the magazine I edit, which is aimed at them.

At first, I found their lack of awareness unsettling. But, all of them said they would like to be added to the mailing list and email newsletter list. twelve new readers is good. But, thanks to social media, the 12 new installers are likely to share my articles with their contacts. 

More importantly, last week I listened to my readers and realised how diverse they are with their solutions using the manufacturer's equipment which sparked a dozen ideas for new articles.  It is too easy to get stuck behind my desk. But, getting out and meeting my readers is priceless. 

31 July 2014

Digital Production Planner - Job vacancy

Digital Production Planner

Out_and_About_Live

Warners Group Publications Plc is a rapidly growing multi-million pound Publisher and Publishing Services Company offering real opportunities to individuals with the right attitude, skills and ambition.

We're looking for a digitally savvy individual with experience of digital production and online advertising methods to join our growing digital team. You will work closely with our commercial and development teams to ensure the effective delivery of client’s advertising campaigns across web, e-shots and digital app platforms. Previous experience in a digital production role would be advantageous.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Production management of all digital commercial activity for the Outdoor Leisure portfolio
  • Responsible for the production process for all commercial digital activity, briefing both design and development teams (internal and external).
  • Inventory management of the For Sale sections on Out and About Live.
  • Client liaison and point of contact for all digital campaigns.
  • Responsible for the effective delivery and accuracy of all digital commercial activity:
  • Proactive input and recommendations on campaign creative and placement.
  • Monitoring of all digital campaigns, ensuring each meets agreed client objectives.
  • Successfully and accurately delivering all campaigns on time.
  • Planning and scheduling all booked campaigns and proposed activity.
  • Responsible for maximising the effectiveness of commercial digital campaigns:
  • Proactively monitor all live campaigns and make appropriate adjustments and recommendations for changes to maximise effectiveness.
  • Analyse and present all digital campaign performance data to sales teams and clients.

Key Skills and Competencies:

  • Excellent problem solving and decision-making skills.
  • Excellent written, verbal and inter-personal communication skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Experience of using CMS, Ad serving and CRM systems.
  • Strong analytics skills with an excellent understanding of Google Analytics and Excel.
  • An understanding of Photoshop.
  • Ability to build excellent relationships with clients and internal departments to achieve end goals.
  • A good understanding of digital formats for text, images and video.
  • An understanding of digital platforms and XML structures would be advantageous.
Working for a family-run business has many benefits and will provide you with an attractive salary, a company pension & life assurance scheme, 35 hour week, 26 days holiday a year, ongoing training & development, free car parking and a real career path.

If you would like to be considered for the above rewarding and challenging career opportunity at a time in Warners that has never been so exciting, please send in your CV with a cover letter (stating your current salary) to: -
Sharna Tomlinson, Human Resources Manager, Warners Group Publications Plc, West Street, Bourne. Lincs, PE10 9PH or e-mail jobs@warnersgroup.co.uk

Closing date for applications is Friday 29th August 2014.

Warners Group Publications are an equal opportunities employer. If you would like to find out more about our organisation, please visit our website www.warnersgroup.co.uk

Charge Your iPhone Faster

UNU Ultrapack
The time spent worrying about whether your iPhone or iPad is charged up seems to be at an end, perhaps. As previously posted, the constant worry about how much charge your smartphone or tablet PC has left it before it dies is a daily dilemma for many digital nomads.

However, one solution looks like it could change all that by being capable of charging your device in 15 minutes to provide an 'all day' charge. In addition, it only takes 15 minutes to charge up itself.

UNU Ultrapak

The UNU Ultrapak products come in two sizes, namely the 'Tour' and 'Go' versions which provide a solution for people who need to have a lot of recharge power or a more portable amount of power, respectively.

They are not yet shipping but will do late this August, which is just in time for when business really kicks off again in September after the summer holidays.

UNU has produced a video explaining the Ultrapack products here:

 They can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com now, however. Here is the link to the Tour version and the Go version.

21 July 2014

Job Vacancy - Editorial Designer Bourne

Logo of Adobe Photoshop.
Logo of Adobe Photoshop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Due to expansion we need to fill the following position:

EDITORIAL DESIGNER

We need an experienced and enthusiastic designer to join our expanding team working on a number of market leading magazines. You will need to work closely within the publishing team, looking at ways to take each title forward, improving the feel and style of your titles while appealing to each specific demographic. Previous experience designing for magazines would be an advantage.
You will need to demonstrate
  • An in-depth knowledge of InDesign and Photoshop
  • An excellent eye for accuracy
  • Pro-active design development capabilities
  • Very strong organisational skills
  • Effective time management abilities
  • Communication and teamworking experience
Working for a family-run business has many benefits and will provide you with an attractive salary, company pension, life assurance, a 35-hour week, free car parking and a real career path.
Warners Group Publications Plc is a rapidly growing multi-million pound Publisher and Publishing Services Company offering real opportunities to individuals with the right attitude, skills and ambition.

If you would like to be considered for the above rewarding and challenging career opportunity at
 a time in Warners that has never been so exciting, please send in your CV with a cover letter (stating your current salary) to:

Sharna Tomlinson, HR Manager, Warners Group Publications Plc, West Street, Bourne. Lincs, PE10 9PH or jobs@warnersgroup.co.uk

Closing date for applications is Monday 18th August.

13 July 2014

How to publish to multiple platforms more easily

multimedia.jpg

Trade publishing is a fun business to be in, and it is challenging too. The challenge is not only the constant need to publish news items, features, videos, interviews and social media updates, but the requirement to publish content into digital and print media.

Keeping track of it what you want to publish, onto which platform and when is a major part of an editor's job. Being organised is essential if you are to meet print deadlines and keep websites up to date.

In our editorial office, we receive twenty to thirty press releases per day via email, if not more. Added to that, I receive between five and ten calls a day, at least, from PR agents calling me to pitch articles.

Sifting (or curating) the content to choose the most interesting, relevant and informative pieces to use is the next daily task to carry out, which we do through a 'daily news conference' each morning.

Storing & organising content

How_to_Browse_Network_Folders_using_Folder_Dialog_Box_Control_...
The content we are going to use is written into the 'flat plan' for each print issue and saved into a folder on the network for each issue. In addition, there is original content we write in-house which is saved onto the network too.

The content is then 'marked up' and sent to the designers who prepare the page with appropriate designs and the images to make up the magazine.

Format frustration

Publishing the same content creates its own challenge by way of each platform requiring a different format. i.e. The designers get content from us in Word format (.doc or .docx) to use in print through Adobe InDesign. To publish on the website, we run Word documents through 'MarkdownPad' to strip out all the unnecessary code, mark them up in Markdown format, which we then convert to HTML. This is then pasted into the content management system.

Time saving content creation

draft in
Draft - a great tool for writers
 With all of this conversion into different formats for print and digital mediums, it can become very time consuming. We have to minimise duplication of work, which is why we use a great tool called 'Draft'.

Draft is an online tool (there are free and paid-for versions) to help you create content once and export into different formats.

For example, I write an article in Markdown format on Draft. When I finish the post, I export it into text/Markdown format or HTML for using on our website. Or, I export it in Word format to send to the designers.

Furthermore, I can write a post in Draft and publish it directly into Blogger, Wordpress or Twitter. Working with a tool like Draft saves an enormous amount of time.

Being mobile

Make_Dropbox_more_useful

But, storing content on a network server presents a problem.

The folders are only accessible when logged onto the network. If I am out on the road, I have to send files to my colleague to save to the network.

We could, of course, use Dropbox which would make it very easy to share content with the 'team' which publishes each issue. The designers and editors can access it whether in the office, at home or on the road.

Content creation apps

The only challenge with Draft is that it works well on a laptop, even when offline. But, it is less good when used on a iPad (which I use most of the time when out and about).

There are other apps which are pretty for creating content on an iPad.

writing kit.JPG
 'Writing Kit' is a good app which is native to the iPad (i.e. not reliant on a web browser so you can work offline) in which you can create content in Markdown and export it to Dropbox or email the content as a text file to be converted.

quip.JPG

'Quip' is a very good app for writing articles on an iPad. It syncs nicely so you can share documents with colleagues in the office to edit them together. But, it only allows you to export it to Word format, which is a bit frustrating. It is easy to share links to documents with colleagues, however.

Being an efficient editor

Junior_Journalist
 Creating good content is difficult enough. The last thing I want to do is to waste time struggling to convert it into different formats. That way of working takes you away from researching articles, interviewing people and taking photos.

Being an efficient editor as well as a good journalist helps you provide useful, interesting or entertaining content to your readers. And, it takes pressure off your shoulders, which makes it more enjoyable.