Four easy ways to improve your blog
Reading Time: 5 minutes

blog posts

Great blogs are founded on great ideas and research. Professional copywriters take 1-2 hours per 500 words just to research their articles. That’s a lot of time for a professional – so it will take even more time for a part-time business blogger.

Often corporate blogs are not written by professional copywriters. Imagine the time you could save if you could minimise researching and writing best-in-class content.

Here are four easy methods to improve your blog, and save time in the long term:

1. Monitor the web for relevant content

filtered-content

Make sure you have a method for keeping up to date on the topics you educate your audience on.

[quoter color=”sand”]Make sure you have a method for keeping up to date on the topics you educate your audience on. [/quoter]

There are many different ways to do this. The most inefficient is monitoring social networks and scanning an online newspaper. You’ll rarely be reading up on topics that matter; instead you’ll be cajoled into clicking on a clickbait article! The second most inefficient way is to set up Google Alerts on email. Daily alerts can get overwhelming, and often there is a lot of rubbish in them. You’ll again find yourself spending time on information which has no relevance.

The best way is to set up bespoke feeds and filters yourself, so all the information that is pushed your way has a very high chance of being relevant for you. The upfront time investment doing this will be repaid within a week.

 

2. Ask your team for help

01-Teams

When writing a post, ensure you ask your team for feedback every step of the way.

Firstly, make sure they agree with the goal you measure your post by. Do they believe that getting more traffic to your website is more important than encouraging current customers to try a new feature? Do they think that writing a post for a specific target market is a good idea? In order to write a post, you must know the reason why you are doing it.

Secondly, ask for their help surfacing relevant information. Which writers do they admire the most? Have they come across any research that has some great statistics you could pinch?

Thirdly, ask them to annotate the articles you are going to reference. Do they think the conclusion you come to will be the best one? Is a study on which you rely your argument completely false? This is absolutely critical – too often bad blog posts are written purely because the research wasn’t good enough. Why waste time writing a blog post when you don’t have the foundations in place? It takes just as much time to write a badly researched blog post as an informed one.

[quoter color=”jeans”]It takes just as much time to write an ill-informed blog post as an informed one [/quoter]

Most people ask for feedback right at the end. However, by this point the work has been done! You are essentially asking colleagues to proofread your work, which is not a good use of their expertise and time.

We’ll admit; getting your colleagues to take time out of their day to give you feedback is incredibly hard, even more so when the only tool you have is email or IM. Establish a culture where everyone asks each other for help, and make sure there is a process where you can give feedback on research efficiently.

 

3. Fit blogging into your every day

Teamwork

Planning every post you write in advance will exponentially improve the standard of your blog. Write a plan for when you have to publish a blog post, exactly what that blog post should say, where you will distribute the content afterwards and the goal you will measure the content by.

Your content calendar should fit around different events that you are attending, topics you know will be key for your customers at different times of year, or pre-empt the launch of a new feature.

That way, when you are going about your every day work, whenever you read something which is useful for an upcoming post, you will store it away somewhere. You’ll be surprised how much research you actually do for individual blog posts whilst you’re naturally browsing the web.

[quoter color=”sand”]You’ll be surprised how much research you actually do for individual blog posts whilst you’re naturally browsing the web [/quoter]

Once you establish this kind of rigour, creating well informed articles which come out on time will become infinitely easier.

This is something you can start today! Choose a topic you want to write about in 3 weeks time and save research as you come across it. You won’t find yourself scrabbling around search engines 2 hours before you’re due to publish and the process will be much more relaxed.

4. Make sure your posts remain relevant for as long as possible

Be influenced by your network

 

Great content needs to deliver value for a long period of time. Each time you produce a blog post (that takes over 2 hours to write), you need to know that it will be relevant for your audience in 4 months time.

A content calendar can solve this problem too – if you know a subject was relevant 4 months ago, then chances are it will be relevant in 4 months time too. Planning in advance will keep your readers engaged for longer.

And by the way; Cronycle can help to improve your blogging in these ways:

  • Collections; pull in articles from websites and twitter accounts which you have specifically selected, and only pushes articles that have keywords you’ve chosen
  • Boards are an enriched collaboration space to get feedback from your team. Notifications mean you can keep each other up to date as you work on researching a blog post
  • The Content Clipper is a browser extension which fits research into your every day. Easily add articles to boards as you read them on the web and annotate them as you go
  • The WordPress plugin allows you to embed collections into your site. A post will always be kept up to date with the most relevant content, so your readers will always be satisfied

Sign up for Cronycle here

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Cronycle Manual – The News Feed
Reading Time: 4 minutes

how to use feeds in cronycle

The News Feed

How to create feeds

To create a new feed you will need to click on the feeds tab at the left-hand menu. At the top left of the feeds menu click on ‘create a new feed’. Name your feed. You will have the option to include all your RSS feeds and Twitter – we recommend you initially pick this option.

creating a new feed

Later in this section we will explain how you can use different sources for feeds.  Once you’ve named your feed click on save. Congratulations! You have created your first feed.

Using sources to create feeds

With Cronycle you can create customisable feeds with either all your sources, Only RSS sources or only Twitter sources. Your choice will dictate what content appears on your newly created feed.

RSS feeds are good for monitoring content from specific websites and website sections. Twitter only feeds are good for for monitoring what stories are being shared by the people you are following on Twitter.

We recommend that you create an article with all your sources, you can edit what specific sources you would like to include in your feed settings.

Editing sources in feeds

When you create a feed you can choose to edit individual sources in your settings. To edit them click on the cog icon at the top-right of your feed, a drop-down menu will appear.

empty filter

In the right-hand side and you can tick and untick boxes to include and exclude sources to your feed. By clicking the arrow button next to a source group you will be presented with a drop-down list of individual sources. Tick boxes to include or exclude individual sources.

editing the sources

How to filter feeds

Now that you have come to grips with how to edit sources in your feeds let’s see how you can filter feeds with our search filters.

When you click on create new feed you will be give the option to filter your feed with ‘Set Filters’. The filters are a way of searching your feed like a search engine.

create new feed filter

In Cronycle you will be given two filtering options. The first is your basic filter. The basic filter lets you search your feed through keywords. Cronycle will search your sources for articles that contain the keywords you included in your search query, or search for article that have keywords excluded from them.

basic filter for search
In this example I will be looking for articles that either have algorithms or fake news included in it’s body, title or headers and excludes Facebook as keyword.

The second filter is the advanced filter. The advanced filter carries out a semantic search. With this filter you can search your feed with complex queries. You can combine different keywords, group them, exclude them and search exact terms.

advanced filter for complex search

In this example I will be looking for articles that include both fake news and algorithms and include either twitter, LinkedIn, Google or internet and excludes Facebook.

Sharing articles to boards

In Cronycle you can share articles you find in your feeds directly to boards. When you’ve found the article you would like to save to your board, simply click on the the pin icon on the top right on the article summary and pin to your board, or if you have expanded the article click the ellipsis (…) on the the top-right of the article and then click add-to-board.

clip an article to a board

Sharing articles to social

You can share articles you find on your feed directly to you social media feeds or to your Buffer account. To share on social click on the social network you would like to share in and pop-up window will appear that will allow you to post to your desired social network or post to your buffer account where you can schedule the article to be shared.

share an article to social media

Share you feed externally

You can share your newsfeed as an external URL with your colleagues, clients or audience. To be able to share your feed externally click on the cog icon at the top-right of the feed. The drop-down settings menu will appear and on the left-hand side of the menu, you will be able to change your feed visibility from private to public. You will know be give the option to share your feed on social or copy and paste your feed URL outside of Cronycle.

feed when share externally

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Create Boards and Collaborate with our Content Clipper
Reading Time: 4 minutes

With Cronycle you can grab content straight off your Chrome Browser. Go to the Cronycle Chrome Plugin page and click add to Chrome, then press add extension. (Please note, Safari extension is coming soon)

content clipper chrome store

Sign up for Cronycle here

The Chrome plugin will appear on the top right of your toolbar. You’ll need to sign in to your Cronycle account. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up for free with the Content Clipper.

content clipper chrome browser

Getting Started with the Content Clipper

Start using the content clipper to grab content straight from your browser to your Cronycle board. Our boards are a place where you add the most relevant articles from the web, annotate on the clipped content, get feedback from your team and then action expertise plus the content to be relevant intelligence for your business.

What is a board

A board is an enriched collaboration space online to work on specific projects with your team. Cronycle users can save individuals articles to a board.

Boards can be organised by topic; shared with other members; and collaborated through article annotation.

In order to create a board, click on the Cronycle extension, press select board. Name your board based on the topic your articles will be organised in. Then click Create new board. Create as many new boards as you like.

Clip Content

You have now created a topic board. Starting clipping relevant content to your chosen board.

Let’s say you have a conference coming up in six months, and your speech will be on climate change and big data. You come across a useful article, you can clip the article to your board by clicking the clipper extension, select your climate change board and click Save to Cronycle.

boards on content clipper

Alternatively, right click your mouse and save to your Cronycle board.

saving content to clipper

Add sources for collections via Content Clipper

We also know that you may stumble across a website which consistently supplies excellent and relevant content. As a result, you would like this feed to be part of your Cronycle.

UI of content clipper

Again, the Content Clipper by Cronycle can search to see if that website is capable of being understood by Cronycle. If it does have the right technology, then you click on the feed that you’d like to add, and save to Cronycle.

Using your boards

You’re done browsing and would like to see your board. Log-in to your Cronycle account. Click on the sidebar hashtag. This is where your boards are located. Choose what board you would like to see by clicking the  Arrows-Down-4-icon  button and scroll down to the right topic board.

content saved on cronycle boards

Collaborate on Content

You have a board of articles you would like to share with your team. Choose Public Visibility, then add a team.

description and team on boards

If you don’t have a team, click create a new team. Choose who you would like to add to your team using @ usernames. Once you’re finished click Start a team.

invite a team to Cronycle

Collaborate on content with your team through the Cronycle board. You can annotate articles, share comments with your team and add notes to the board.

annotated content on boards

There you have it!! That’s how you use the Cronycle Content clipper to create boards, create teams and collaborate.

Sign up for Cronycle here

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Content Collaboration for Professionals
Reading Time: 1 minute

content collaboration research

Today, people read a multitude of different articles, blogs and news pieces. This disarray of information can disrupt content collaboration between teams. It is hard for people who work with information as a key part of their business to make intelligent decisions.

Productivity is a huge concern for organizations and the abundance of content available can thwart their efforts in sourcing and actioning quality content.

Content Collaboration

85% of businesses rely on email to collaborate on content. Email is not a great platform for content collaboration. Articles are generally sent on email as disparate pieces of information, with little to no context as to why it is being sent. Equally, searching for the right content in your inbox is wasteful and generally fruitless when it comes to working on a project.

[quoter color=”aqua”] Productivity is a huge concern for organizations and the abundance of content available can thwart their efforts in sourcing and actioning quality content. [/quoter]

Great research is an essential part of great content, but it entails a lot of reading, some of which will be irrelevant. It can drain time and resource.

Deciding on the quality and relevance of content can be a logistical nightmare. Content collaboration can streamline this process.

With Cronycle; you can collaborate on content with your team by sharing ideas, article collections and article boards. Boost productivity through content collaboration, so you only curate content that truly matters.

Sign up for Cronycle here

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One lesson in graduate recruitment
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Cronycle Graduate Recruitment

Graduate recruitment is broken. Fifty per cent of graduates said they were not ready for employment according to a recent whitepaper by MyKindaFuture, while four out of five employers said that graduates were not yet ready to be employed. Beyond this, for every graduate vacancy, top employers spend around £2,000 on marketing alone*. What this amounts to is a real discrepancy between the amount of time and money spent on hiring entry-level positions and the pay-off that employers get from doing so.

Cronycle Recruitment Statistics

It’s a problem that goes both ways. Graduates are confused by employer requirements in their vacancy postings, with a recent study by TalentPool, a recruitment start-up, finding that 83 per cent of employers require graduate candidates to demonstrate work experience, with nearly one in six requiring a year’s experience for an entry-level role.

In light of this, Cronycle a start-up co-founded by Nicolas Granatino, decided to take a new approach to graduate recruitment. In their process of hiring a content intern, they sought to treat candidates with absolute respect, hoping that the process would find the best person for the role while simultaneously increasing the prospects of talent retention as time progressed.

A twist on tradition

Alice Thwaite, head of commercial at Cronycle, says that she was heavily influenced by Netflix’s model of ‘hiring and inspiring’. In particular, she looked to the practice of paying above market rates for crucial hires and ensuring that the internship would be an apprenticeship, as opposed to getting the intern to take on lots of jobs that the company didn’t have time to do nor saw as valuable. These factors were emphasised in the advertisement, which she posted on a couple of job boards like Internwise, Indeed.co.uk and Escape the City. For reference, you can see it here.

In order to try and get the most passionate and qualified candidate, Thwaite made a point of acknowledging that each graduate was someone who had invested significant monetary investment in their education, and therefore should be treated as such. That candidates should learn something about content and marketing was also a priority for every step of the recruitment process, so they could bring these skills to applying for future jobs if they weren’t successful.

[quoter color=’honey’]That candidates should learn something about content and marketing was also a priority for every step of the recruitment process, so they could bring these skills to applying for future jobs if they weren’t successful.[/quoter]

The process was as follows:

  • An evening’s task of writing three short articles under the headings ‘How to Curate Content’, ‘The Future of Growth Hacking’ and one other on a subject of their choice. This was beneficial to graduates that had not heard of growth hacking, as many hadn’t, giving them the opportunity to research the subject. Applicants were told to use Cronycle software and post their work on a WordPress site.

This had two useful consequences:

  1. The graduates showed themselves to be digitally savvy self-starters and interested writers from the off, the sort of qualities that cannot be gauged from simply reading a CV. As such, it meant that Cronycle did not have to read through CVs and make biased and potentially ill-informed choices based on them.
  2. From 220 applicants, 200 self-eliminated themselves simply because they didn’t complete the task, which meant Cronycle quickly had a pool of 20 excellent applicants to choose from.
  • A 15-minute phone conversation to ensure the candidates were both interested in the role and in marketing.
  • A two-hour meet-up where Cronycle presented to eight to ten graduates on the future of information and marketing, giving them a better grasp of the world they were applying to enter. This was also crucial for showing how the candidates worked in a group and interacted with very senior members of the team.

[quoter color=”sand”]From 220 applicants, 200 self-eliminated themselves simply because they didn’t complete the task, which meant Cronycle quickly had a pool of 20 excellent applicants to choose from.[/quoter]

After this process, it was clear that the final group of candidates were extremely competent. Consequently it was a tough decision to award the role to a single graduate, but Cronycle are keeping in touch with everyone who made it through to the final round, in the knowledge that, as they grow, we will certainly have more commercial and marketing positions to fill.

Valuing the person over the process

This new approach garnered some excellent feedback. Tom Perridge, co-founder of The Recruitment Collective, a start-up that teaches companies how to hire effectively, stated that it was “another fantastic example of where a smaller organisation has shown true innovation in their recruitment process”. Perridge also cites a start-up establishing another alternative to the traditional model by asking graduates to define their own position based on loosely-prescribed job boundaries, before pitching their talents to the employer. He believes that graduate recruitment is heading towards candidate empowerment, with future roles consequently more suited to the candidate’s skills. Start-ups are innovative, concludes Perridge, “not only to hire the best talent, but to also offer a positive experience to unsuccessful candidates”.

While there were many affirmative comments, the response wasn’t entirely positive. One graduate sent Cronycle an email to say: “I was rather put off with the application process for this internship, as I felt it required a large amount of work, and investment of time and money.” Equally, Tom Davenport, co-founder of TalentPool, praised Cronycle’s approach as “an innovative strategy” but added that it “required an investment in time and effort from the recruiter. It is also very unusual to set such a high barrier in application.” He believes, though, that “it allowed Cronycle to narrow down to the applicants who were serious about the role”.

One key criterion for success, however, was that everyone who completed the process felt they attained value from all stages. One of the unsuccessful candidates, Shiran Juttla, an applicant , said: “Much like an iOS/Android update, Cronycle’s revitalising approach to recruitment is distinct. Focusing on you, with an understanding of the pivotal stage you are at in your life, they abandon the torturous HR procedures and treat you as if you’re already hired and it is your first day. You’re given the chance to showcase your abilities in more ways than a PDF can display and what you get out of the process is so much more than an email confirming the receipt of your application.

Another applicant, Peter Wilkes, said: “The application process stood out from other grad schemes I applied for, primarily for its informality and focus on giving something back to applicants. The lack of a formal interview was refreshing, yet discombobulating – rather like a piece of interactive theatre. I found that the presentation evening was a great opportunity to showcase myself and get a feel for what Cronycle was like, and the best thing was that no one knew quite how to behave. However, the personal feel of the process was counterbalanced a little by the fact that only one spot was available, making applying somewhat of a gamble.”

Gus Navarro, the successful candidate, stated: “I enjoyed the tasks given to us, I believe it allowed me to demonstrate my skills. What was asked of the application was honest and transparent.” He added: “I also liked that they encouraged us to interact with the other applicants through the Cronycle platform.

It does remain to be seen, of course, whether this approach will mean that Gus will want to stay at the company for longer, or even if he’ll be the right fit. However, based on the feedback from both experts in the industry and testimonials from applicants, we feel that this is a key example we wanted to share with marketers and start-ups of how hiring a graduate can be crucial for the success of their business.

[quoter =”jeans”]We feel that this is a key example we wanted to share with marketers and start-ups of how hiring a graduate can be crucial for the success of their business.[/quoter]

*Stats from AGR members

Sign up for Cronycle here

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Who Won’t Stop Banging on about Black Friday?
Reading Time: 2 minutes

black friday

It’s Black Friday, that time of the year where thousands of eager shoppers battle it out for the best deal. In the UK, this is a recent phenomenon.

Cronycle took the twitter feeds of 5 prominent UK newspapers; The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, Daily Mail and The Telegraph and searched how many articles they posted about Black Friday.

shopping newsfeed

We take the twitter feeds of these Newspapers and filter them by the keyword ’Black Friday’. We were then able to see that the articles which contain the word ’Black Friday’ are posted 7 times a day – and @Independent walks away victorious with the most ‘Black Friday’ mentions.

Black Friday data and sources

This is compared to the fact that these twitter handles post a total of 621 articles a day and @guardian is usually the noisiest source. That’s a lot of reading if you want to look at it all!

[quoter color=”cobalt”]Maybe is time to welcome the North American import into the British psyche.[/quoter]

These UK newspapers used the word ‘Black Friday’ in 1.44% of their articles – maybe is time to welcome the North American import into the British psyche.

Sign up for Cronycle here

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Who won’t stop banging on about Emojis?
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Emoji is the Oxford Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’ – but which technology news sites won’t stop talking about it?

We took the twitter feeds of 5 prominent technology sites; TechCrunch, The Next Web, The Verge, Wired and VentureBeat and searched how many articles they posted contained the word ‘emoji’.

We take the twitter feeds of tech blogs and filter them by the keyword 'emoji'

We take the twitter feeds of tech blogs and filter them by the keyword ’emoji’

We were then able to see that articles which contain the word ’emoji’ are posted 3 times a day – and @WIRED appears to be the most vocal about it.

Emoji Analytics

This is compared to the fact that these twitter handles post a total of 170 articles a day and @TechCrunch is usually the noisiest source. That’s a lot of reading if you want to look at it all!

TechSite Twitter Feed Analytics

Given that these blogs only use the word ’emoji’ in 1.7% of their posts – is Oxford Dictionary right that it should be the word of the year?!

[quoter color=”jeans”]Get personalised stats on your sources by joining Cronycle today.[/quoter]

Stats correct as of 19 November 2015

Sign up for Cronycle here

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Import Your Sources and Create Newsfeeds from WordPress Plugin
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to Cronycle – Your Content Discovery and Collaboration Platform.

You have your WordPress site up and running and you’ve downloaded your Cronycle WordPress Plugin.

[button label=”First Thing. Get a Cronycle account!” url=”javascript:void(0);” class=”initSignup”]

You now need to create an account. Please do so from the above link. Once you’ve created your account you will be taken to a sign-up landing page.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 12.26.38

Check out the introductory video (also seen here), and minimise the helpdesk page.

To integrate your Cronycle account to your WordPress, you will need to grab a token from your profile page in the Cronycle Platform. Click on the profile icon on the bottom left of the page. Scroll down and you will find the token generator.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 15.10.05

Go back to the Cronycle plugin on WordPress and redeem your token. Go to settings in the WordPress dashboard and click on Cronycle collections and enter your token number to activate your Cronycle on Wordpress.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.30.00

Add Sources

In order to get relevant content from Cronycle you should add some sources. To start, go to the sources icon (looks like a bulls-eye target) in the left-hand menu.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 12.32.07

Sources can either be Twitter accounts or RSS feeds.

Add your Twitter Account

Click on Get sources from your Twitter – Type your twitter login details and authorize Cronycle to import your account. If you don’t see your sources right away then hit refresh – they will come up soon!

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 12.43.27

Import your OPML File

What is an OPML file?

An OPML file is simply a long list of feeds. These are called RSS files – which you don’t necessarily need to understand. If you’d like you can check out our guide to ‘What is RSS’ here.

How do I find my OPML file?

Feedly

Well, if you use Feedly then you can click on this link to download you OPML file. Then, once you have signed up for Cronycle then head to the sources page and click on Import OPML link which will show you how to upload your folder to Cronycle.

When you refresh the page, you will have all your sources neatly arranged into folders.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 14.11.36

Inoreader

To download your OPML file from Inoreader go to:

Preferences > Import/Export.

Under ‘Export’ click on the link “Click this link to export your data”. Finally, click on the link “Download OPML subscriptions file only”.

Then go to the sources page of Cronycle and Import your OPML file.

Create a Collection

Voila! All you twitter sources and OPML files have been imported into Cronycle.

Now you would like to create a newsfeed. Click on + icon on the sidebar. Start a newsfeed. Name your newsfeed. For the purpose of this guide, I will name mine Guide To.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 14.08.28

Congratulations you’ve started your first collection.

Find Relevant Content

Now you would like to find relevant content in your newly created newsfeed. Click on the newsfeed sidebar. The click on the whirlwind icon. Add keywords to our simple filter or advanced filter in order to narrow your search.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 14.05.38

I’ve narrowed my search to how to and guides using the advanced filter. This is what my newsfeed looks like now. Cronycle will continually add relevant content from your sources.

Embed Your Newsfeed

You will now have a highly curated newsfeed. Your next step is to show your audience what your newsfeed looks like. You can do that by embedding your Cronycle newsfeed into your WordPress website. Click the Cronycle logo icon at the toolbar. Choose which newsfeed you would like to embed and choose your display style and click insert.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 16.12.25

A code will be automatically inserted into your WordPress page. Click save draft and hit publish or preview to see the result. Your embedded newsfeed should look something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 16.21.39

And there you have it! This is how you use Cronycle with your WordPress plugin.

Sign up for Cronycle here

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Two Key Challenges and Opportunities for PR Agencies
Reading Time: 4 minutes

PR Collaboration

Like many of her peers in advertising, marketing and branding; the public relations profession is seeing a huge amount of disruption and transformation. These present a number of strategic challenges, but if they are successfully overcome, there is an exciting future for PR agencies.

Using Cronycle, I easily sourced what my network is writing about and sharing on Twitter, and it was apparent two main themes are causing PR firms to re-evaluate their strategy and invest in new technologies:

  1. Standing out from the crowd

Marketing Yourself

Since 2008, there has been a notable increase in PR agencies; in the Holmes Report published earlier this year, it shows that independent agencies grew by 8.7% in 2014! It’s great news for the industry, but it does mean there are a lot more agencies trying to win accounts, which means an increased amount of competition.

PR Stats Independent PR firms stats

This is backed up by anecdotal evidence – in a Hubspot article Len Stein from Visibility Public Relations was quoted as saying: “As the numbers of small agencies swell due to ‘restructurings,’ glass ceilings and client defections, it becomes of paramount importance to find a way to stand out amidst the babel.”

In the same Hubspot article, the heads of small agencies urged their contemporaries to heed their own counsel when it comes to marketing themselves and their services. A great soundbite from Jean-Luc Vanhulst at Write2Market: “The only way to be proactive with your own PR is to treat yourself as a client and demand to be treated as a client as well.”

The main reason why agencies don’t invest in marketing is because of perceived lack of time. It takes time to manage your social media accounts, and even more time to devise and action a marketing strategy that involves content.

Neil Patel found on average we spend 1.3 hours a week searching for content to share and an hour reading irrelevant content. If you can find a way to minimise that time, you’ll become more productive, and it will become much easier to market yourself and stand out from the competition.

 

Reinventing the bid process for new clients

On top of the marketing and branding challenge, the bidding system for new business and clients is stale and uninspiring.

One agency insider told us:

[quoter color=”petrol”]Prospective clients don’t test for agency expertise on a specific subject. Instead brands tend to focus around a solution to a specific project. But when the project brief is amended or market conditions change, the winning agency may not be best for the job! We’re really good at [reacting appropriately to market changes] because we only pitch for business where we have an expert consultant. But we have no way of demonstrating and communicating just how good we can be. [/quoter]

All in all, in a world where PR and marketing is expected to be responsive to news stories, there is no real way of showing to a client how you work, before you actually start working with them. Instead, you are being assessed on a pitch.

Agencies try to get around this by producing blogs, or being active on social networks. But it seems these approaches aren’t personalised enough for the clients they are looking to target. Agencies are searching for new platforms to show off their skill set.

 

  1. A transformed workload

Not only are PR firms increasing in number and becoming competitive with each other, but they are also competing against marketing agencies at large as more and more generic agencies produce branded content for their clients.

In an excellent post for PR daily, Lisa Arledge Powell from Media Source talks about the ways agencies can become a brand journalists; finding tactics for uncovering, curating and distributing relevant content for their clients.

Brand journalism, brand publishing, content marketing and content strategy is an area which all agencies are trying to profit. Communications agencies, magazine and newspaper publishers, as well as larger marketing and brand agencies are all creating and promoting content marketing departments. The battleground is swarming with voices pitching for business.

[quoter color=”aqua”]PR expertise is rooted in understanding the editorial motivations of journalists and matching that with the commercial objectives of clients… [/quoter]

Given that PR expertise is rooted in understanding the editorial motivations of journalists and matching that with the commercial objectives of clients, it is a natural move for PR agencies to become content marketers.

So the challenge for PR agencies comes down to how you streamline your processes to create the most informative content for your client’s audience.

With the right tools, these ‘challenges for PR’ actually signify a huge opportunity for the industry to grow even more and become an even more important part of the commercial ecosystem. The question is how you go about it, and which technology you choose to help you become a market leader.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Tweet us on @cronycle to tell us what you think, or if you would like more information about our platform.

Sign up for Cronycle here

photo credit: calisto_620__group_conference_call via photopin (license)

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The Importance of Content Collaboration
Reading Time: 2 minutes

a small team collaborating on a project

When it comes to developing complex business ideas, there is a huge productivity problem.

Teams double up on work, with many members reading whole articles when only a paragraph matters. Each individual spends time ploughing through irrelevant content, or, even worse, they miss important studies which makes their business plan much stronger.

When you’ve found the best content, it’s even harder to action it. There is so much time wasted when employees can’t get the best content in front of the right people. It is often so confusing which channel should be used so that the right person sees the right information so they can action the right intelligence.

[quoter color=”honey”]Would it not be helpful to have an enriched digital content collaboration space online which is designed for creating business intelligence? [/quoter]

The problem is widespread through many industries:

  • According to an Economist Intelligence Unit study: 75% of global business executives say the primary purpose of seeking business content is researching a business idea.
  • And according to a 2014 Quartz survey – 75% of executives spend at least 30 minutes a day on news consumption with 36% of executives spending over an hour.
  • 91% of executives would share content if it is valuable – with 80% of executives sharing valuable content via email.

 

Content Collaboration

Email is not a great platform for content collaboration. Articles are generally sent on email as disparate pieces of information, with little context as to why it is being sent. Equally, searching for the right content in your inbox is unproductive and generally fruitless when it comes to working on a specific business project.

[quoter color=”jeans”]Email is not a great platform for content collaboration [/quoter]

Slack recognised this problem and vastly improved productivity in the workplace by minimising internal emails. However, a messaging product works best when sharing uncomplicated and simple ideas.

Similarly, dropping files in a folder like Dropbox leaves little room for developing ideas further, and creating intelligence with your teams.

What happens when the idea is complicated; there is no obvious right or wrong answer; and yet the ramifications of making the wrong decision are substantial?

Would it not be helpful to have an enriched digital content collaboration platform which is designed for creating business intelligence?

Contact us if you’d like to share your thoughts on this subject – we’d love to show you how we are solving this problem, and to hear what you would be looking for in a product like this.

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Workplace Technologies of the Future
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Business Meeting

We were interested to read about Gartners predictions for Digital Workplace Technologies.

The article looked at three general trends.

  1. Exploiting Information
  2. Tapping the physical / virtual connection
  3. Embracing Personal Digital Preferences

All the points centred on automation – like how can a machine automate a person’s desires or how can a machine understand what a business wants even before they know they want it.

However, we are quite far away from a point where artificial intelligence of this degree can replicate human expertise and knowledge. Algorithms which exist for news effectively try and guess what you may be interested in – which led many facebook users last year to know a lot about the Ice Bucket Challenge, but next to nothing about the Ferguson riots. There needs to be a step between artificial intelligence and the way we analyse information today.

And that is to empower better human decision making.

Many books have been authored on this subject recently which have come to the same conclusion like “Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots” by John. Markoff and “The Master Algorithm” by Pedro Domingos. You can read an excellent summary of them via this article by The Economist.

The digital tools we have today are not replicating the way we made complicated decisions pre-internet. They are not fulfilling the task adequately.

[quoter color=”sand”](We need to) empower better human decision making [/quoter]

We used to be able to quickly and efficiently find the high quality information from a limited number of resources, and then discuss them in a meeting room with all the decision makers present.

Now we have to filter through the noise of the internet, and rely on internet messaging and email tools to communicate about fairly complex ideas, when they are only designed for communicating simple ideas effectively. There is no enriched space to create knowledge online.

Gartner is correct, there is the need to exploit information, embrace personalisation online and also look at the way our digital and physical lives can interact. But automation isn’t necessarily just the answer. We should also look at the ways that we have traditionally got things done, and try to replicate these decision making processes online.

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The Future of Reading
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Girl Reading

We were lucky enough to be mentioned on Future Foundations YouTube blog on ‘The Future of Reading’.

It has prompted us to think about what the future of reading will be.

Reading is simply a mechanism for processing information. @SeymourFuture believes that the future of reading will be driven by gadgets that enable us to read faster. But does ‘reading more’ necessarily mean you ‘acquire more knowledge’?

[quoter color=”aqua”]In order for reading to be valuable, you must be able to derive some actionable intelligence from the information [/quoter]

In order for reading to be valuable, you must be able to derive some actionable intelligence from the information – that is where information turns into knowledge and becomes incredibly powerful.

Why read more when you can read less, but make sure it’s always relevant content? That was one of the first questions the Cronycle founders raised when building the product. The idea developed to include collaboration, firstly because you can rely on your colleagues to notify you of articles which you should read, or are relevant for your business strategy and plan.

Secondarily, collaboration is important so your team can draw connections between different articles to find the groups opinion. You have to have the ability to add to the content by using comments to develop your ideas.

In business, it’s not the reading that matters, but what you can do with it. That’s why Cronycle is interested in ‘the future of knowledge‘ and not just the future of reading.

You can see Future Foundations video here:

https://youtu.be/FgRg-aO1z18

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What can technology do to protect freedom of speech?
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Freedom of Speech

The internet brought with it a remarkable democracy when it comes to publishing information.

Today most discover information through social media – a platform where no one has responsibility to make sure you see a balanced point of view.

The world is being radicalised – wars are breaking out worldwide which are exacerbated because individuals have one-sided information channels. Right wing parties are gaining more and more support in Europe. The UK was unable to predict their election outcome due to predominantly left wing social media sites. ISIS is recruiting by exploiting unmonitored parts of the internet. Perhaps these are all coincidences, but perhaps they also relate to the ease of which you can slip into your own echo-chamber and be constantly surrounded by people who share your own point of view.

It’s easy to bring political examples to illustrate this point. However, when it comes to your professional lives, are you too reliant on particular brands to tell you about the future of marketing? Do you only read articles by particular journalists who may have particular relationships with brands? Given the way we consume information today it is almost impossible to tell.

We believe that technology can do a lot to protect freedom of speech and this comes from having complete control over the information you see.

Most intelligent individuals don’t realise the echo-chambers they are stuck in, and if they do, they find it extremely difficult to fight their way out of them.

The new fight to save free speech

The state and society used to limit what we could read – the state was responsible for what could and could not be published, and is also the entity which controls how young people are educated.

[quoter color=”flamingo”] Our access to information is not limited by the state but by those literal points at which we access information. [/quoter]

However, today we live in a world where our access to information is not limited by the state. Instead we are limited by those points at which we access information. There is so much information available to us that we allow our choices over what we do and do not read to be dictated by robotic algorithms which are ruled by large technology companies.

At Cronycle, we believe that there is another way to increase freedom of speech, and it is by giving individuals complete control over what they read. It is by giving them transparency over what sources they get their news from, analytics to see how much you read by a particular individual or party and most important of all, collaboration software to create knowledge in teams.

Interested? You should be.

Sign up for Cronycle here

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Cronycle is a Shoreditch tech start-up and we are looking for a content intern
Reading Time: 2 minutes

typewriter

Do you have…?

An inherent curiosity…

in knowledge – you should be interested in literally everything from the beauty economy to growth hacking, to media buying to enterprise risk to business strategy to Alzheimer’s to M&A… the list goes on

in discovering how things work – when you get your hands on an interesting platform you have the ability to stretch and push the platform to make it perform in incredibly creative ways

And are you naturally…

personable – chatty, friendly and good with language

assertive – happy to speak up when they have a good idea, and to raise concerns in the right environment

 

You’ll learn about marketing, editorial, customer experience and sales. We aim to give the following skills to our interns –

  • Principles of content marketing
  • E-mail marketing
  • Building a user community
  • Customer Service
  • B2B content production
  • Content management systems (CMS)
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Editorial curation and publishing skills
  • Mining marketing analytics

Imagine being one of the first to curate the Instagram blog, or being responsible for managing the front page of Sky News. Cronycle is a brand new B2B platform and we are looking for people who are excited about curating our newsfeed and inspiring our users to push their Cronycle more.

60% of your day will be spent acquiring good B2B marketing skills listed above, and 40% will be spent curating the editorial of the platform.

[quoter color=jeans] Cronycle is committed to offering quality internships [/quoter]

  • We pay a fair wage – a London wage for a graduate who has invested in their education – the equivalent of 22k a year.
  • A fixed term – you will not be an intern for longer than 4 months – we will not let the you feel uncertain about your future prospects
  • Realistic expectations – we want to give you responsibility without pressure. We expect this to be a learning environment and not an uncomfortable one.

To apply – sign up to Cronycle by emailing us and use the tool to research and write a 500 word article on each of the following topic areas:

  1. How to curate content
  2. The future of growth hacking
  3. One other topic of your choosing

Create a WordPress site and upload your work. We would like to see a curated collection as well as the article. Please show evidence that you have researched the topic using the Cronycle tool.

Please send the link to the site with short introductory email to Alice.

We look forward to seeing your ideas!

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Defining Relevant Content
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Relevant Places

There are two reasons why you may be interested in ‘relevant content’. The first is to make sure you are reading relevant content, and the second to make sure you are producing relevant content for your audience.

Ensuring the content you read is relevant

The defining characteristic of ‘relevance’ is relevance is personalised. This makes it very tricky to achieve.

[quoter color=rowan]What is relevant for you may not be relevant for me[/quoter]

We’ve spent hours and hours defining what is meant by ‘relevant content’ to make Cronycle a platform for relevant content. We want our users can find what they want and access information quickly.

Here are our findings:

Relevant content comes from relevant places

We spoke to a content marketer called Mary who works for an HR consultancy in South Africa. She knows managing your workforce in South Africa is completely different to other countries. She wants to listen to customers and newspapers which are local to her region. Traditionally, when she researches information she finds a lot of articles related to American and Australian culture – this is irrelevant and it takes her time to filter out the noise.

As a result, she only wants to read content which is written in her region. This is source is relevant for her.

Control over keywords

However, Mary is not interested in every article from her relevant sources. She wants to make sure she is kept up to date on specific topics which those sources write about. For example, she only wants to see articles which reference ‘hiring’ or ‘recruitment’.

She needs to filter her chosen sources to get relevant content.

As far as we at Cronycle are concerned; it is important that you as the reader are responsible for these filters. You can’t rely on publishers to pick and choose what is relevant for you. It is difficult to have a balanced point of view if you only listen to a particular source or person. This is the foundation of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. We want Cronycle to facilitate these ideologies.

Serendipity

You have to have the ability to ‘stumble upon’ relevant content in order to think out side of your own echo chamber. You don’t want to have a closed mind and not find new content streams.

However, by creating a serendipitous environment, you quickly can invite irrelevant content into your streams.

We believe serendipity can arise from working in teams – from having people recommend RSS streams and keywords to you.

We also believe serendipity can arise when you follow people on twitter – these people will share articles from publications which you may be unaware of.

Insight into what you are reading

Finally, you need to be mindful of the content you read on a daily basis. Perhaps you think you read articles from multiple streams, but actually only click on links from one source. We will provide the insight into what you are actually reading through analytics.

[quoter color=rowan]Is there anything we have missed for ensuring you are kept up to date with relevant content here? Message Alice with your views! [/quoter]

The next question about relevance comes through trying to make sure that the content you produce is relevant for your audiences – how do you guarantee success here?

Ensuring the content you produce is relevant

Blank Notepad

Relevance through expertise

On a recent Buffer twitter chat, marketeers discussed the best way to learn what their audience wants to read. Most answered that you should listen to your audience, and check post analytics to see which articles and content pieces do particularly well.

However, as is the case with everything, no one really knows what they want until they see it. The reason why your audience is interested in reading your content is because they think of you as an expert. You understand a particular topic better than them. They rely on you for your knowledge in your subject matter.

[quoter color=stone]If you just listen to what your audience wants to read you are not transferring your knowledge to them![/quoter]

So, the question becomes how you become more informed about your subject (see above) and about how you curate this information to make it more interesting for your audience.

We think this partly comes down to collaboration. The more people you have working on ideas and sharing information, the better that pool of knowledge will become. The more opinions and consultancy you’ll pool to make your content relevant and insightful.

In order to make content relevant you must pool your expertise with your team.

Relevance through personalisation

23Stats

Another way to make your content relevant is to compile the sources that your audience will read on a daily basis. Who do you want to reach out to? What publications to they already read? How is information presented? What information will they not already see?

We want our users to compile lists of different sources which their audience reads and use these collections to understand what their audience is thinking.

This is the way you can personalise content – through the knowledge that comes when you think the way they think, when you get inside of their echo chamber.

[quoter color=stone]Are there any other ways to create relevant content? Again, please email us and let us know your thoughts.[/quoter]

Sign up for Cronycle here

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