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Something Inventive 3: Peak Kitten Video

Ben and Al are joined by special guest Nicholas van der Walle from Astute Graphics. Behind his dry humour lies a business mastermind who helps us tackle topics such as click bate headlines, getting external investment, how Brexit might effect marketing and Piccolos!

Episode sponsored by Be Sociable
Easy-to-follow social media tips and strategy to get noticed by the right people for the right reasons.

Keeping people interested and engaged

In a digital age when there is masses of content generated on a daily basis, it is essential that you focus your attention on what interests and engages your target audience.

  • What do they want to read?
  • What information do they want to consume?
  • What interests them and how do you connect with them?

The rise of Facebook and other social media platforms combined with the appetite for content has resulted in sites such as Friends Reunited losing their appeal and relevance.

When Friends Reunited was reunited (sorry) with its founder Steve Pankhurst, he realised that he had over 10 million people signed up but the data was old and people were using the website simply as a message board – people weren’t interested in using the site for it’s original purpose which is a clear sign of a lack of interest.

Evolving your activities to continually appeal and then maintain the interest of your audience is integral – keeping up with the changing requirements is a challenge but a challenge you must accept and address.

You need to keep abreast of changing habits by consuming similar information to your target audience whilst also talking to them to find out exactly what they want and how they want to consume content.

Keep people interested by sharing insights into your business, provide them with tips and information that they are able to go away and use. Participate in online discussions, this interaction will help you to understand what people find interesting and how they react to it.

No, thank you

As children we’re told to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. As an Adult I encourage this behaviour in my children so they will be seen as polite, helpful and well-rounded. There’s a perception that when this is not said one is considered rude.

This works well in verbal communications – it’s quick and there really is no extra effort involved. But in email or other text messaging politeness can drive me to distraction.

I’m not thinking of when I thank a client for trusting me with coaching their marketing team or praising individuals at the the end of a website project (I must do this more often) but the little niceties within day-to-day communication.

Examples such as: receiving an email reply from a client after I’ve just sent them a file or some requested information and thus pinging up another notification, or yes, another email to peruse and process. Or, using what little cognitive energy I have left to decide whether or not to reply to their ‘Thank you’ message with a equally amiable ‘My pleasure’ and in doing so, cause my client to be distracted by my notification.

Don’t get me started on how much email pre-amble I should use – When does it stop!

Thankfully Basecamp, a project management tool we rely on at Rather Inventive, introduced two ideas in their new software that have helped to reduce my stress levels, thus affording me more time to focus on the important communication, where it matters.

  1. Applause – Rather than thanking a person by typing a reply (thus treating the whole team to yet another message) you can click on a little ‘Applause’ link which sends a nod to the person that you’ve noticed their work. It’s a ‘like’ button for work stuff, and used sparingly it has impact.
  2. Campfire – A simple real-time text message between you, your team and your client that you can dip in and out of, doesn’t notify you of every message and stays out of the way when you need to focus.


So dear client or friend, if you think I’m being too curt or even possibly downright rude, know that I am actually saving you time by not creating another email for you to process.

Image credit: Basecamp 3

Something Inventive 2: Recreational GIFs

Ben and Al discuss the benefits of mobile/responsive web design and getting clients involved early in website development. They eventually get round to answering questions on; why keywords don’t show in Analytics, which image formats to use online and setting up monthly reports in Google Analytics.

My appologies for some of the annoying echo and cracking at the end of the audio.

Episode sponsored by Ticked Off
Your internet marketing checklist, free 30 day trial, no credit card needed – Sign up today at

Things I learned while Periscoping

I thought it would be fun to share some lessons learnt while covering We Cycle UK’s WACC2016 (Women & Cycling Conference 2016). I was charged with capturing the day using Periscope, a live streaming mobile video app, by filming some of the speakers and delegates. I must admit video is not my day job but it was fun to do and I’ve learnt a lot.

Get up close and personal

When framing the shot before broadcasting Periscope only shows the top half of the video with the bottom obscured by the keyboard and broadcast button. I always felt I had framed the shot well at first but when broadcasting and seeing the full video it the interviewee looked too far away. Getting closer will also help the built-in mic pick-up their voice more clearly.

Time it right

Allow for a few seconds delay before speaking after you start broadcasting and when you finish leave a few seconds silence so that your words don’t get cut off. I constantly mis-timed this with the resulting video having the name of the person I was speaking to trimmed off, not ideal.

Front first

Periscope defaults to using the front facing camera (on my iPhone at least). So if you are going to record yourself while looking at the screen start the broadcast focused on something interesting for a five seconds or so before switching to the rear facing camera to start talking. It’s worth practicing this to get the timing right.

Tripod or not?

I used a tripod for almost all of my Periscope interviews. This worked really well to record my monologues or when I didn’t need to move the camera but given the conversation style of my interviews and occasionally filming 2 or more people moving between people speaking was slower than it would have been handheld. If I did the interviews again I would most likely hold the iPhone in my hand for almost all the footage.

Light them up

Bring a small LED light to brighten faces when interviewing. I was in a very dark space backstage for some of the interviews and didn’t leave enough time to organise better lighting. I thought I could use the iPhones flashlight but when you start a broadcast the LED get’s turned off. Eek.

Buy a battery pack

Using the camera with wifi or 4G radios going all day will burn through your battery. I used a large power pack from Anker with was permanently plugged into the iPhone but even having even a small power brick can help you relax into each interview without worrying that you phone will turn off.

Save to Camera Roll

If you have the space on your phone I recommend turning on the ‘Auto-Save to Camera Roll’ option in settings as Periscope videos currently only last 24 hours online before they are deleted.


If you have any other tips and ideas on Periscope please let me know on Twitter @BenKinnaird

Masthead photo credit: Anna-Therese McGivern

Something Inventive 1: Little Red Spiders

In our very first episode Ben and Al discuss; the format of their new podcast, finding images to legally use on your blog, what makes a good FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page, adding password protection to WordPress and finally 301 redirects to remove missing pages from your website – We do get into some technical detail in places but nothing too geeky.

Episode sponsored by Ticked Off
Your internet marketing checklist, free 30 day trial, no credit card needed – Sign up today at

Recipe books interview

I catch-up with Becca Wild from Photopia to find out why she and partner Simon decided to create a rather unique recipe book, and in my opinion an epic project, while continuing running their photography business and expecting a child.

Find Becca on Twitter @PhotopiaUK or visit

Accessibility and Email Campaigns

Following my interview with Bik Lee from the RNC I came across this helpful article on accessibility in email from Campaign Monitor in my reading queue.

Blindness and other degrees of vision impairment are more common than many would think. 285 million people worldwide are considered to be visually impaired

Worth reading for those who have a hand in the design of their email campaigns. Many of the points they mention also apply to website development and copywriting.


Visual impairment on the web interview

Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer for the RNC (Royal National College for the Blind), explains the importance of making the web accessible for all and why using too many #hashtags in social media is far from helpful.

Find Bik on Twitter @bik_lee, follow @RNC_official or visit

Tips to build a loyal Webinar following

A client is just starting a webinar series and asked me for a few ideas to make sure they were on the right track.

While I had some ideas I wanted to get input from good friends Astute Graphics who have run numerous online and physical events in the pursuit of educating their customers.

Here’s Nick from Astute’s top tips

Invest in time to build up a loyal attendee base.

It’s not going to happen overnight; the first webinar may only have 10 or less attendees, but then in a year a regular group of 50 attendees or more should be within range. Depending on your goals for hosting webinars, this should be worthwhile as these attendees are likely to be your most loyal customers or advocates.

What’s in it for the attendees?

Even free webinars need to offer good content to ensure that potential attendees are attracted to the current and future events. Any sales message should be kept to an absolute minimum – people won’t make time to attend only to be advertised to. Remember that planning and preparing to present great material is not an overnight task and that each webinar could take up to a week to hone. To check that you’re aligned with your attendees’ expectations, simply ask them directly in the webinar using a polling mechanism of personal follow-up.

Build an active emailing list to inform previous registrants of future events.

Typically for free events, only 30-50% of registrants actually attend for a regular session – don’t dismiss those who couldn’t make it as life happens to everybody. Pulling those missing sheep into the flock in future events is key to building up a solid group.


Check out their recent webinars on AG’s eye-poppingly colourful website.

Image credit: Astute Graphics

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