22 May 2015

Travelling to South Korea

One of the great benefits of my job is the travelling around Europe and the UK to see companies in the sector I work (air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pumps). 

My next journey is to South Korea to visit the factory, research and development centre and installations of manufacturing giant, LG. The week long trip has five or six guests, including me as the only member of the press, going out to spend time with LG. The itinerary is packed with visits and meetings, as well as some time to ourselves to see some of Seoul. 

My plan is to blog daily about the LG trip showing aspects of the company and the country which are not otherwise seen by readers. I did a similar thing a few years ago when I spent six weeks in  India working on a contract for 3 Mobile. It was great fun, insightful and, ultimately, what started my journey to become a journalist and editor. 

Watch this space... 

21 May 2015

Four Reasons Why Editor's Should Forget About Processes for a While

Much of an editor's job is dealing with processes to make sure their publication gets out on time. 

It is important to be a master of those processes. They might include working with a designer to create pages which support the article. Or, working with a freelancer to transcribe recorded interviews, or uploading content to a website which can be included in an e-newsletter. 

Without being on top of all this work, you have no publications. But, it is easy to become a slave to those processes. You can spend weeks in the office to make sure your magazine or website is up to date and ready. 

But, it does prevent you from getting out and seeing the world about which you write, edit or gather articles. 

Top Reason for Getting Away from the Process

1. Context - Getting out of the office and into the field enables you to see how what you write about fits into the world. It can give you a sense of scale, popularity or potential on your specialist subject. 

2. Opinions - Meeting people is the best way to find out what they really think about something. Speaking with experts in your field can reveal interesting angles on a topic which are difficult to find out if you get stuck in the office. Also, people's opinions can often be stronger and better expressed when they are in a familiar place, so you get better insights. And, you can hear more opinions when you are out of the office. 

3. People - How else can you get to know people well without seeing them face to face. Despite all the conference calling/FaceTime-type technology, it is never as good as 'being there'. Swap cards, hook up on LinkedIn and keep in touch. It is a simple formula for making good contacts. 

4. Making the effort pays off - Editors get asked to many events, not all of which they can make. You have to be selective with which events you attend, otherwise you really would never get anything done. However, often making the effort to go to an event which looks worthwile and fits into your plans can bring rewards. Many competitors do not want to or cannot afford the time or money to get to the event. By making the effort, to travel a bit further or longer can give you acess to exclusive stories and gain you the respect of the people running it. They often then make you the first editor they contact for the next story because they appreciated the effort you made in the past.

An example

Today, I went to an event at Dumfries House (photo above) in Scotland. There were around forty people from all types of companies in the field I write about. I met ten new people, learnt some interesting facts, saw the scale of the operation at the house and made at least four good contacts. I was one of two members of the press invited. The other journalist was writing for a specific local title to Scotland. In other words,I had  a semi-exclusive story which I know will interest my readers. 

I also made some great contacts. 

You can do none of this sitting in the office getting bogged down in the process. Get out regularly and make a big difference to your publication. 

02 January 2015

A Life Saving Drone?

Many people probably got a drone for a Christmas present in 2014. 

Most of them are likely to have been toys. Fun but, ultimately, trivial.

But, 'drone based' business or services appear to be popping up regularly. Most businesses using drones focus on photography. Amazon is looking at delivering parcels.

What about other ideas?

Take this one which is a drone containing a defibrillator which could help save lives of people who have had a heart attack.

23 December 2014

Sponsored video: Do you ever ask how your digital device works?

Intel 2 in 1

Asking questions is part of any editors job. Who, what, where and how are the tools of the trade for any journalist or editor who needs to understand how anything works.

For instance, I visited a company today which specialises in making data centre cooling equipment. It is big business. It is an industry which few people see. But, most people who use the internet rely on without knowing it.

Without data centre cooling, you would have no Facebook (one of their customers, in fact) or Google. These companies have data centres, massive data centres, which host the information you share. If they are not kept cool, their websites and apps would not work.

But, did you ever ask yourself how Facebook or Google handles all that information? Probably not. Why would you? If it works, what is the point in knowing how it works?

Writing on the fly

Another aspect of being an editor is that, often, you can find yourself having to submit copy to include in the next issue on the fly.

Take today, after the meeting in the morning with the manufacturer, I was the passenger in my colleague's car. Rather than waiting to get back to the office to submit my 'Editor's introduction', which had to be in the next day, I took out my tablet PC and started to type.

When I finished the copy, I emailed the document from my tablet PC to my editorial coordinator in the office. Yet, I gave no thought to how the tablet PC worked. It just did what I told it to do.

Intel asks 'How?'

That is why Intel's latest campaign is interesting. They were trying to find out if passers-by on the street knew anything about their digital devices. Intel asked: 'What Makes Your Favourite Computing Devices Work?'

Few people could explain.

Intel showed these people a '2 in 1' tablet PC and laptop device. Next, they showed them what made the device work. People seemed quite surprised.

Watch the video below to see what some of them said.

Although this video is a sponsored, these are all my own thoughts!

22 December 2014

SEO: Setting expectations on results

SEO (search engine optimisation) is sometimes thought of as dark art. In fact, it is simple at its core. Search engines are looking relevant, high quality information or content which helps people find answers to their questions or curiosity.

A good SEO consultant has to set their client's expectations carefully because getting good results (i.e. more relevant visitors who buy products from your website) is hard work and can take a long time.

It is important to understand and to communicate what needs to happen for you to get results from your website from search engine optimisation. SEO is always changing as technology moves.

Rand Fisk, from MOZ, explains how SEO consultants should set the expectations of their clients succinctly in his weekly video: