Employability & Enterprise Week – Third blog post

The third and final talk I attended for E & E week, ‘A Career As A Writer’ was given by poet Geoff Hattersley, current writer in residence at Leeds Trinity University.

Geoff has worked a huge variety of jobs over the course of his career.  From working in a food warehouse at 20 years old, to starting his own press publishing magazines and pamphlets, Geoff has led a fascinating life building up a great deal of knowledge on the what it’s like to work in the writing industry. His first poems were published in 1984.

Geoff’s tips for any aspiring writers and poets out there are:
-Think of Literature as a vocation, i.e. something you feel compelled to do – a calling
-Draw on all of your experiences (good and bad) and use them in your writing
-Writing doesn’t pay well so most likely you will need to find a second job
-Write for yourself and write because you enjoy it – one of the most important things is that you must enjoy what you do
-Write constantly. Good or bad writing, it’s all going to help you to improve and develop your writing style
-Build contacts
-Don’t restrict yourself to just one form of writing. As a professional writer you must be able to diversify –  you can write poems, novels, reviews, articles – Try them out, you might discover you love them

Many thanks to Geoff for his refreshingly honest and useful talk about having a career as a writer. It’s certainly not an easy career path to follow but if it’s your passion and something you love the benefits you reap from it make it worth the tough times you have to go through to get your work out there!

If you’d like to know more about Geoff’s works, check out the links here and here.

Employability & Enterprise Week – Second blog post

On the 19th of November, I went to my second talk of E & E week. The main part of the talk, ‘Journalism: Why work for someone else when you can start your own company’ was given by Simon Wilkes, Managing Editor for SJ Wilkes Media Ltd.

SJ Wilkes Media was set up by Simon himself, after he came to realise that there was a gap in the market for businesses offering services of helping companies promote themselves via Social Media. Wanting to take advantage of this, and after having acquired the knowledge of how to do this over the course of his career, Simon set up his own company.

Simon gave us a brief background on his career, and how he got to where he is today. Originally, Simon studied a journalism degree at Uni, specialising in print journalism. He then decided that he wanted to be a sports journalist and after working a variety of jobs including becoming Telextext Sport Deputy Editor, Simon found himself working as Production Editor for Skysports.com. In 2014 he turned down a Sky Sports job offer based in London to set up his own company.

The main tips that Simon wanted to emphasise in terms of setting up your own company were:
-Be versatile and able to do things other than what you specialise in
  -Work placements are vital
-
Find a USP (Unique Selling Point) – Look for something that doesn’t exist
-Look for gaps in the current market, ‘keep up with the times’
-Many companies (surprisingly even large corporations) want to employ heads of social media because they’re not sure how it works

Thanks Simon for the excellent tips! You can check out his website here and also find him on LinkedIn here.

(On a side note – some interesting questions were raised in the talk – the one causing the most debate being ‘Will print ever die out?’ Personally, I feel it may die down, of course due to the increase in online resources however I don’t feel it will ever fully die out. It’s been such an important part of the media for so long, and is still a great way of putting information and advertisements out there that I think it’s always going to be present in the coming future. What are your opinions on this? Let me know!)

Employability & Enterprise Week – Blog Post 1

From, the 17th – 21st of November a series of talks were given at my University, Leeds Trinity, all relating to employability and enterprise. I attended three of these talks, all of which I have found hugely beneficial to me in terms of deciding what I would like to do in that daunting post-grad world which is coming ever closer, and also helping me to gain important skills and knowledge about becoming ‘employable’  – something much more complex than it may seem!

A Career in TV- BBC and Celebrity Big Brother’ was the first talk I attended, given by former Leeds Trinity student, Sean O’Brien who graduated in 2012. (Find him on Twitter here- @gottagothatsme).

The talk began with Sean giving us a background on his previous employment. Currently Sean is working as a task researcher, coming up with ideas for games to use on hit TV show, Big Brother. Since graduating Sean has worked many various jobs in the media sector including working on BBC’s ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid,’ working at Zodak Media (who made Channel 4’s ‘Inbetweeners’ and ‘Secret Millionaire‘).

My favourite part of the talk however was when Sean gave us a (very honest and frank) insight into the best and worst things about working in TV.

The best things about working in TV:
-You can do literally anything. Pitch your idea and people will invest.
-Your hard work is seen by millions. Your many hours of work are seen and appreciated – as opposed to working in an office for example, where you may pour hours into something and only one person may look at it.
-TV craves youth. The 16 – 25 age bracket is the most commercially important, especially for advertisers. In the words of Sean himself, ‘Young people know young people better than anyone else.’
-You get to work with celebrities…

The worst things about working in TV:
– …You have to work with celebrities (who may also come with diva-like tendencies!)
-Working in TV ruins watching TV
-The endless, long hours
-You have to face a lot of rejection

Things no-one tells you:
  -TV is very informal – Don’t wear a suit!
-Befriend people. Contacts are key
-Timing is key
-Experience is more often than not considered more important than your degree
-Learn how to use cameras

All in all Sean gave an honest, frank and no holds barred talk giving us a real insight into what it’s like working in the Television industry. All in all, be flexible and have multiple skills, don’t give up even when you’re rejected and gain EXPERIENCE! This is one of the most valuable assets you can have on your CV which will place you above the masses.

Thanks Sean for an excellent talk!

MFC5012 First PDP lecture of the second year

PDP – Short for Professional development and placement.

This module aims to prepare me for the working world, and gain important knowledge, skills and experience in the professional workplace.

My first lecture was the introductory lecture – In January I will be going on a 6 week professional placement and so the information given in my lectures is important in terms of; finding a suitable placement, preparing myself for that placement and picking up key skills along the way to help aid me in successfully finding a career once I finish my degree course at University.

Best blogging platform for your business?

     I have been asked to recommend a blogging platform for the small retail and catering business, “Crème de La Catering”. The company wants to use the blog to share recipes and tips on running good events, and feature their suppliers of locally and ethically produced products. I have put much thought into which blogging platform to recommend to suit the needs of the company. In this blog post I will be discussing two possible options which I feel would be ideal for the company to use to set up their blog. The first option I will be discussing is ‘WordPress’, the second option, ‘Blogger’. I will weigh the pros and cons of each site and give my own overall opinion on the two.

The first blogging platform I am going to discuss is ‘Wordpress’. WordPress is an excellent site to use to set up a blog. You have the option of either setting up your blog free of charge on ‘wordpress.com’, or paying a fee on ‘wordpress.org’ in order to purchase your own custom domain name. For the purpose of my recommendation, I will be referring to the free option, ‘wordpress.com’ throughout this post.

WordPress, described as a ‘free, open platform software’[1] is a very popular and widely used blogging site. According to web analytics site, ‘alexa.com’, WordPress is globally ranked as the 17th most visited site in the world.[2] This in itself shows how hugely popular it is, and from making the choice to blog on WordPress, you will instantly be at more of an advantage, simply in that it generates such a large amount of online traffic already. This is always something to taking into consideration when setting up an online blogging platform for a business, it is hugely important to reach as many people in as wide a range as possible, to maximise your chances of generating more business.

One huge plus of WordPress as a blogging platform is its ease of use. As online entrepreneur and blogger, Matt Wolfe states, ‘[…] anyone can have a website online within minutes without knowing anything about design or HTML code.’[3] All the user needs to do is register with the site, decide an appropriate blog address, and then the site is created for you. In terms of publishing and editing posts, WordPress is relatively straightforward, once you know how to navigate around it. One negative side to WordPress is that, to a beginner, it may seem quite complex to use. However, the website does have a section with relevant help pages, and step by step guides on how to use its features. One notable feature of WordPress is how the creator of the blog can make it accessible to mobile platforms. The Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, revealed that, of those surveyed, ‘71% reported using their mobile device to access social media.’[4] With this in mind, it is clearly important that the creator of a business based blog makes their blog accessible on a mobile device. WordPress offers this option, which is one of its great features.

Mobile Devices
71% of people use their mobile device to access social media.

Once the blog has been created, the user can then go ahead and customise their blog according to how they would like it. WordPress is great in that it has a wide range of themes, though not all of them are free, there are still many excellent choices. In terms of tailoring your blog to suit your business, WordPress offers many professional looking themes, free of charge. The majority of WordPress themes are designed so that the creator of the blog can have an ‘about’ page. This is going to be vital for any business setting up a blogging platform, as often the about page is one of the first pages a visitor of the site will go to. It gives the creator of the site the opportunity to inform visitors about their business, and give their relevant contact details.

In terms of the posts that the catering company want to produce, it is going to be essential for them to be able to categorise their content. WordPress offers this as a feature, allowing users to add their own categories to use for their posts. The user can create their chosen categories, and then when editing each post, can simply select from a drop down box which category they want that post to be published into. This is an important feature for the catering business to have, as it makes their content more readily available to the viewers – if the viewer can quickly and easily find what they are looking for in a certain category, they are more likely to stay on the blog, and continue to browse it’s content. For example, if the viewer is looking for the recipes that are available on the site, then they could simply click on the category ‘recipes’, and they are then able to browse whatever posts have been posted into that category.

For an online business blog to thrive online, it is very important that their content is visible. One way of doing this is by ‘tagging’ posts with various keywords which both relate to and also describe the content of the post. This then makes it easy for the public to find your content, as they may type in a certain keyword (or keywords), for example, ‘local produce’ and then in their search results they would find a list of posts which have been tagged with those words.  Wordpress offers this as a feature, allowing for the publisher of the posts to quickly and easily create a list of tag words relating to their post. When composing the post, there is a box located right next to it, which is dedicated to adding tags for the post.

Tagging
WordPress allows you to tag your post with keywords related to your content

The second blogging platform I am going to be discussing is ‘Blogger.’ Blogger is another free blog creating tool which allows users to create their own blogging platforms. Blogger, also known as ‘Google Blogger’ is hosted and owned by Google. Therefore, if you already have a Google account, you can easily integrate your account with your blog. You don’t need to sign up or register as the site will automatically use join your Google account with your blog.

According to ‘alexa.com’, Blogger is ranked globally as the 49th most visited site.[5] The rankings for Blogger are not as promising as those for WordPress (ranked as the 17th most visited site) and so this does need to be taken into account. As a business, it is important to reach out to as many potential customers as possible, and so by taking note of what blogging platform appears to be more popular, you are ensuring that you are staying on top of what is ‘current’ and where the potential customers are going to be.

One major plus of Blogger is how easy it is to use. This makes it ideal for any beginners who have limited experience with blogging platforms. All of the features of the platform are laid out very simply for the user to see and access. Everything is kept on one page which makes it all the more simple and accessible for the creator. However, one major downside to Blogger is that the user has to have a prior knowledge of HTML scripts in order to be able to access and create certain features within your posts. To the beginner, HTML scripts can be quite complicated, and even if you have a prior knowledge of them, it is still a lengthy process to go through to create certain aspects of your posts. For a business, time is an important and valuable thing and so to have to spend extra amounts of time when creating blog posts can be a hindrance. In comparison, the features of WordPress have been designed so that the user does not have to have any knowledge of HTML script. The features are that much easier to use that blog posts can be created on the go, via mobile within minutes.

Blogger allows for the user to add all of their social media links, i.e. Twitter, Facebook and so on, on to their homepage. This is an important feature to have for a business as it ensure that your customers can easily contact you, or keep up to date with the content that you put out. The links can be arranged so that they are clear and obvious on the homepage, which ensures that all of your social media links are brought directly to their attention.

Social Media Logos
It is important for any businesses who has an online blog, to link their social media

Similarly to WordPress, on Blogger, you can add ‘labels.’ These follow the same concept as tags do in that you add labels to each post which correspond with the content within the post. This, again, helps to ensure that you as a business, and your content are searchable, as this feature increases the chances of customers finding your content. One drawback of Blogger however is that it does not have the option of putting posts into categories. As mentioned previously, this is an important feature to have for a blog which is promoting and advertising a business. ‘Crème de la catering’ wishes to use their blog in order to share recipes, tips, and feature their local suppliers. With this in mind it is vital for them that they categorise their posts, as they may end up being so varied from one another.

To sum up, there are many different features which are important for a blogging platform to have, especially if it is going to be used to business purposes. The whole point of creating a blog is to reach out to as many viewers as possible, and connect with them. It is therefore important that the blogging platform is chosen very carefully so as to accommodate the purpose of the blog. Although I do like the simplicity of Blogger, and how it is connected automatically to your already existing Google account, I feel like there are too many drawbacks which would limit the user. As ‘Crème de La Catering’ wish to create a professional blog, it is important that they use as many features as possible which will help them to create their professional content. I feel that WordPress accommodates this far more. It gives the creator much more control over their content, allowing them to choose from a wide range of themes, add categories, tag their posts, allow their content to be viewable on mobile devices and so on. I think that WordPress would be the most appropriate and effective blogging platform to use.

Bibliography

Adobe, Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey results. 2013. [e-book] CA, USA: Adobe Systems Incorporated. Available through: Adobe.com http://success.adobe.com/assets/en/downloads/whitepaper/35508_mobile_consumer_survey_results_UE_final-2.pdf [Accessed: 15 Dec 2013].

Alexa.com. Alexa – The Web Information Company. [online], 2013. Available at: http://alexa.com [Accessed: 14 Dec 2013].

Becker, E 2011, ‘What you need to Know about WordPress’, Fairfield County Business Journal, 47, 31, p. 10, Regional Business News, EBSCOhost. [viewed 14 December 2013].

Wolfe, Matt, WordPress Revealed, (United States: Wolfe Empire Publishing, 2012)


[1] Becker, E 2011, ‘What you need to Know about WordPress’, Fairfield County Business Journal, 47, 31, p. 10, Regional Business News, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 December 2013.

[2] Alexa.com. WordPress.com Site Info. [online], 2013 Available at: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/wordpress.com [Accessed: 14 Dec 2013].

[3] Wolfe, Matt, WordPress Revealed, (United States: Wolfe Empire Publishing, 2012), p.19

[4] Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey results. 2013. [e-book] USA: Adobe Systems Incorporated. P.6 Available through: Adobe.com http://success.adobe.com/assets/en/downloads/whitepaper/35508_mobile_consumer_survey_results_UE_final-2.pdf [Accessed: 15 Dec 2013]

[5] Alexa.com. 2013. Blogger.com Site Info. [online] Available at: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/blogger.com [Accessed: 14 Dec 2013].

Intended Research Approach For MFC4322 Assignment

I have chosen to write a blog post recommendation for a small retail and catering business.

To do this I will look at the way in which similar small businesses use online tools and platforms to promote their business. From this I will then make my own judgements as to what seems to be the most effective methods for those particular businesses and then I will choose which methods to recommend in my blog post. I will also look into the kinds of things that small retail and catering companies want to promote, and try to find out why they may want to use online platforms to enhance their business. From this research I will then try and tailor my advice to suit what those businesses need, so that the advice is as helpful and useful as possible.

The Big Tartan Trend

 

Personally I love this trend, (possibly due to my being part Scottish) and have happily decided to jump on the tartan bandwagon, immersing myself in the checkered print for Winter.

If you like the trend too, but don’t fancy stepping out of the house looking like you’ve just walked off the set of Braveheart, you can easily incorporate the pattern into your wardrobe in a much more subtle way. Here’s a few ideas:

~Scarves
You will find tartan scarves in shops almost everywhere. However, they can range anywhere from £10-£30+ so I would recommend you checking out eBay to try and grab a bargain!
~Skirts
~Blazers
~Shoes
(Yes, you can even get tartan shoes! If you don’t believe me, try ASOS)
Image 1 of Mango Tartan Heeled Shoes
~Coats

~Tops

If you’re still stuck for inspiration, try a quick Google of tartan, and fill your world with this great pattern.