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Blogging

A quick Guide to Typography

By | Blogging, Graphic Design, Typography | No Comments

A Quick Guide to Typography

Typography is arguably the most important part of any design because it carries the overall message. It is also important for the digital marketer to understand and communicate the typography goals of the client, and because many clients have no formal training in typography, it could be difficult for them to explain what they are looking for. This is a brief guide to the world of typography, which tries to bridge the gap between client and marketer. Read More

How The Facebook Pixel Can Improve Your Paid Campaign

By | Blogging, Social Media | No Comments

If you ask yourself, what are the important factors in determining the success of a paid campaign? You might begin to list things like attractive copy, high quality imaging, or adequate budget, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But after these are worked on and established, and after the advertisement has run its course, there is one thing you will need above all others, and that’s data. Read More

4 Essential Tools for Every Creative

By | Blogging, Graphic Design, Learning | No Comments

If you work in the creative industry, chances are you know that Adobe Creative Suite is the industry standard when it comes to design. However, whether you are a graphic designer or a marketer, every creative needs an arsenal of tools to streamline your workflow.

These four essential tools are simple, yet effective and have proven to be useful in graphic design – but there are many uses beyond just that. From my own experience – these tools have saved me time, money and have increased my productivity. BUT! The best part about these tools? The convenience factor.  It doesn’t matter if you are a design beginner or a seasoned art director – these tools will help maximize efficiency and more importantly, make your life easier. Read More

Optimizing Tweets for Impressions & Engagement

By | Blogging, SEO, Social Media, Strategy | No Comments

In my opinion, Twitter is still one of the best platforms marketers can utilize for the purposes of building brand awareness. With smart content choices, clever and concise copy, and visually appealing images or videos, earning organic impressions and engagement while growing your follower base is entirely possible without the need for substantial investment in paid ad campaigns.

There are several tricks and tools one can take advantage of in order to optimize their Twitter content for maximum reach potential. These tools come in handy when developing a content strategy for Twitter, helping you decide what and when to post. And for the social media marketers out there reading this, these online tools also prove useful when trying to justify or defend certain content choices to your client, particularly with regards to (#)hashtag usage, post timing, and (@)Mention choices. Read More

Snapchat Lenses: An Advertising Goldmine

By | Blogging, Marketing, News, Strategy

Snapchat is becoming extremely popular among celebrities, tech-savvy moms, and teens who need another social media account to keep them occupied. But, Snapchat has been on another level lately, as they are sending their app to an alternate dimension in the world of marketing.

Recently Snapchat lenses have exploded, and face swaps and rainbow tongues are becoming viral content across other social platforms. Snapchat lenses are really revamping the boring selfie we’re all sick of. Yes—we get it, you’re a good looking model on Instagram…*sigh*.  But, Snapchat lenses turn your selfies into face-altered characters, creatures, and comedic videos. Boring model meets creepy Easter Bunny—I like it.

How do these lenses work?

Snapchat lenses are animations that overlay your selfies to create fun, creepy, or wacky effects. If you’ve always wanted to know what you’d look like as E.T., the alien Snapchat lens will fulfill your freakish fantasy.

To use the lenses, you have to:

  • Open up the Snapchat app;
  • Touch the screen, holding your finger on your face;
  • Swipe to select different lenses; and
  • Take a picture or record a video with the lens of your choice.

Now these are the steps to use the free lenses, but you can also purchase different lenses if you’re looking to change your selfies up even more! Lenses cost $0.99, but there are free ones added daily—so be sure to check the app regularly for new lens options.

Face Swap

Face swap is a relatively new feature on Snapchat that allows you to swap faces with your best friend, your lover, your family member, or even that painting at the museum. Face swap videos have been going viral lately, so get on board and see what funny swaps you can come up with!

Marketing Potential

Millions of people are already using these Snapchat lenses, and the big brands are noticing. In the media, Snapchat set-up a Super Bowl sponsored lens for the big event this year. The results are in, and the lens received over 100 million views! But, apparently, these lenses are pricy. Sponsored holiday lenses are said to be $750, 000, which is an expensive advertisement. But, the possibilities for brands are limitless. Big brands can create their own custom lens, which will be used to augment their customer’s selfies around the globe.

So have fun with Snapchat lenses today, and take advantage of the lenses that are available now, because they’ll disappear in no time. Snapchat is truly changing the face of marketing and advertising.

Sources:

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/135912-snapchat-lenses-how-do-they-work-and-do-they-cost-anything

The Blog Doctor: A Semicolonoscopy

By | Blogging

Aside from maybe nuclear physics, punctuation must be the physically smallest and most polarizing topic around. For what’s essentially a series of funny-shaped dots, punctuation can really get the blood boiling—amongst prescriptivist grammarians and LOL-loving texters alike. Read More

Finding Love in an Ad-Free Place: Ad-Blockers & Your Brand

By | Blogging, culture, Marketing, News, SEO, Social Media, Web Development

Ever since the internet was young and innocent, advertisements have cropped up as a way for brands and marketers to get access to the huge amount of people logging on every day. The pop-up has served as the bane of many an internet user’s existence, popping up in more and more frustrating situations and in greater quantities. Nonetheless, users have revolted and used ad-blocking softwares to dispel the efficacy of “traditional” internet marketing — namely, the pop-up window.

The era of the pop-up advertisement is all but dead,

and it has everything to do with ad-blockers.

What is ad-blocking?

photocred: bookstores.nyu.edu

photocred: bookstores.nyu.edu

Simply put, ad-blocking is the process of eliminating any and all advertisements on a webpage — especially those that show up as third-party plug-ins (think “pop ups” or banner ads). This results in pages loading faster, because ad-blockers essentially refuse to load advertisements on a given webpage.

Why are people attracted to it?

It appeals to common sense that users would want the fastest, most distraction-free browsing experience. Using ad-blockers reduces the “white noise” of traditional advertisements encroaching upon the content users want to access. If users are this adamant about not wanting to see advertisements, it speaks to a collective lag on the part of brands to provide compelling and engaging content to get people to listen and engage with their online ads.

When done well, advertisements don’t have to be “white noise.”

What can brands do to counteract the rise of ad-blockers?

The rise of ad-blockers for traditional users, with Apple recently releasing ad-blocking as part of their overall software package, has petitioned companies to market in more profound ways; Companies are now tasked with creating compelling, engaging, and user-centric content. Users are playing a greater role in advertising, rejecting ads that don’t reach them in a way that asks them to participate and be involved in a brand’s “process.” Therefore, companies need to re-focus their marketing strategies on co-creation, user involvement, and overall engagement.

Besides creating more compelling content, what else can be done?

Creating great content is one thing, but there also needs to be a well thought out and executed distribution

photo cred: tech.co

photo cred: tech.co

strategy for your brand’s content. If you simply create it, it is not a guarantee that consumers will flock to your brand. Developing a robust digital strategy is imperative for any company’s success in an ad-blocking online culture. This means utilizing mediums, strategies (SEO), and resources to reach people where they reside online.

Ad-blockers are making traditional forms of advertisement more difficult, but it hasn’t rendered the entire practice of advertising online as dead. Companies are now being asked to be more creative, to create content which exceeds expectations, and taking residence in places that users wouldn’t normally find them — but are using anyways. There are places to advertise, if your company is doing the right job in seeking them out.

Avoiding Screen Fatigue with F.lux

By | Blogging, Learning, Life, Other, Resources, Social Media, Time Management

It’s a tale as old as time, one where you’ve been plugging away at your computer for hours without looking away. All of a sudden you turn to look out the window, and it’s as though your whole life is flashing before your eyes. You’ve successfully entered the mid-afternoon computer screen fatigue panic! Your eyes may feel like the surface of the sun, but you must persevere.

Luckily, screen fatigue doesn’t have to be the rest of your life; F.lux is here to change this daily struggle.

F.lux is a completely (yes, completely) free application which you can access online that will alter thephoto cred: www.justgetflux.com“temperature” of your screen depending on the time of day. Particularly when you work in an office environment with lots of natural light, F.lux alters your computer screen’s warmth to accommodate outside changes as the day progresses. This is especially important after the sun goes down, where your screen will adopt a yellow-orange hue that might throw you off at first. Don’t worry though, as this is supposed to help facilitate pre-sleep. This is especially helpful if you’re a fan of watching Netflix, working, or canvassing eBay for collectible action figures right before bed.

Screen fatigue (and eye strain) from staring at your screen is only going to become more and more of a

photo cred: www.improveeyesighthq.com

photo cred: www.improveeyesighthq.com

problem as the work we do becomes more and more computer-centric. While we have discussed taking breaks away from your screen in previous blogs, it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of your day will be spent in front of your screen’s warm glow. Simple changes, like the one F.lux is providing, are monumental in their day-to-day effect on user’s lives. While it is important to ensure that you aren’t (literally and proverbially) glued to your screen, F.lux is a useful way to successfully complete your work and avoid the piercing pain of the 2 o’ clock screen assault.

F.lux is another example of applications making minor adjustments to our everyday lives, with life-changing results. 

Why Are Snapchat Geofilters so Addictive?

By | Blogging, Learning, Life, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy

Chances are if you’ve been on Snapchat in the past year, that you might have noticed the opportunity to scroll (left or right) on your ‘snap’ and add filters — images which lay atop of the image you’ve just taken, often designating where you are, events in your area, or general advertisements.

What are geofilters?

Snapchat geofilters were originally released in July 2014, and since then they have gained a significant amount of popularity. Snapchat actually crowdsources the submissions for prospective geofilters, allowing users the opportunity to ‘rep’ their neck of the woods. This approach emphasizes the ability to design, contribute, and witness your work in action (should it receive approval). 

Why use geofilters?

First and foremost, geofilters are a great marketing strategy for companies. Millennials are flocking to

photo cred: therelacape.com

photo cred: therelacape.com

Snapchat in droves, and they represent an attractive demographic for marketers and companies alike. Simply put, it pays to be where the young people are most active. In addition to this, there are multiple locations which provide geofilters — with more being added every day. Miami, Oakville, and even Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood have their own unique geofilters. Geofilters are popular because they are unique to specific locations, that they are “exclusive” to certain areas makes them attractive to users. 

Why are geofilters so popular?

snapchat-mcdonalds-geo-filters-top

From a big-picture perspective, geofilters allows users to identify with their current location. Users have the opportunity to share with their family and friends where they are, what they are doing, and what is going on in the world. Consider it one large social experiment in the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), where people share what they are doing so that everyone they know can acknowledge it and share back what they are doing. Companies are even able to create time-sensitive geofilters to market events, holidays, or social events. 

The next time you’re on Snapchat, no matter where you are in the world, swipe right or left to find out if your location has a geofilter. Soon enough you might be embarking on your own personal scavenger hunt to discover as many unique filters as possible. Happy hunting! 

Writing, Uninterrupted: the Rise of Distraction-Free Writing

By | Blogging, culture, Job Advice, Learning, Organization, Resources, Time Management

Here’s an idea; hop onto your preferred search engine right now, and run a search for “distraction free writing applications.” Almost immediately, you will be greeted by a vast selection of applications which can help “mute” your desktop. The idea of cancelling out all of the potential distractions on your screen is a growing trend in the world of online writing — based on the idea that writing in its purest form is based on a complete lack of distractions.

photo cred: lifehacker.com

photo cred: lifehacker.com

What has taken so long for these applications to really take hold, though? The answer could be that distraction-free writing tools give you the opportunity to cancel out the influx of other applications available on your computer. It’s not just writing applications available to the average internet user, but countless other apps to help your organize your life, schedule your time, and do anything and everything in between. Given the sheer number of options, applications that “tune out” these potential distractions are in-demand — instead of adding to the mess of business, distraction-free writing tools are replacing the variety of options with only one option: to write, and then to write some more.

While there is no lack of options to do some distraction-free writing, there are certainly some that stand out from the crowd. Consider some of these apps before you undertake your next manuscript, screenplay, or blog:

Draft 

photo cred: ghost.org

photo cred: ghost.org

Draft offers an aesthetically pleasing interface where you can cut out distractions. The added twist is the Hemingway mode, which doesn’t allow for editing on the fly. It forces you to type without using the backspace button, only allowing for editing after the mode has been disabled. Hemingway mode is meant to facilitate the flow of writing, without the at-times debilitating process of going back and tweaking everything you’ve already said.

Hemingway Editor 

hemingway editor

photo cred: brit.co

Hemingway Editor began as an easy way to evaluate whether or not your writing was “plain language” enough — allowing for an instantaneous knowledge translation exercise. The application itself also offers a useful interface for writing, which combined with the evaluative aspect of seeing how relatable your writing is, provides for a unique and productive experience for writers of all kinds. We all want to be understood, after all.

Calmly Writer 

Calmly Writer is another attractive application that allows for distraction-free writing. The twist for this app is the fact that it provides a laser-focused approach to the writing process, highlighting the specific paragraph you are currently writing. It focuses on exactly what you are writing in that moment, and allows for better concentration.

This is just a taste of what’s going on in the world of distraction-free writing, so don’t be afraid of experimenting and trying out new applications as they are released. Every writer’s process is different, so it is important to use exactly the right medium to express yourself.