Reading Time: 3 minutes“Women of Silicon Roundabout” takes place on Thursday, 28th January 2016. Women are still hugely under-represented in the technology industry. This conference will bring together some of the most successful women working in tech, so they can discuss how to balance the representation of their gender in this industry.
Digital Content Summit
The Digital Content Summit takes place on Tuesday, 26th January 2016. The opportunity in this sector is huge as consumer appetite for digital entertainment and content approaches $220 billion this year. This conference will prove tremendously insightful for anyone who wants to capitalise on the promise of digital content; whether publishers, social media marketers, content and digital agencies or brand content managers.
In line with this topical event, the Cronycle Editors have spent some time putting together collections of recommended reading for each of the topics, along with a point of view which may be discussed at the event. We’ll be following the event live on twitter – contributing with the hashtag #dcs2016 – so let us know your thoughts via @cronycle
Check out the articles the speakers tweet live via this real-time updating collection.
[cronycle collection=”pd9009b62″ name=”DCS Speakers 16″ style=”inline-slideshow” width=”100%” height=”550px” instance=”1453742092947″]
IoTs impact on digital content distribution
IoT greatest impact for digital content distribution will be on the advertising and retail industry. The types of delivery most discussed are digital signage, ‘beacons’ and mobile push notifications. These all rely on understanding where a specific person is, and understand that person may like to receive a particular form of communication.
These types of content distribution will be reaction based. ‘Did you know you are 2 miles away from a McDonalds?’ ‘There’s 20% off on that dress you were looking at online in store now’ or media similar to retargeting adverts online, however in the physical world.
When it comes to long-form content IoT may have a large and measurable impact on intelligent content production. IoT will contribute towards journalism more driven by data, as complicated infographics about current trends can be instantly distributed online.
Further reading – a collection of articles which mention ‘IoT’ AND media or digital content or content distribution or publishing.
[cronycle collection=”p1ac0d8b4″ name=”IoT and Media” style=”inline-slideshow” width=”100%” height=”550px” instance=”1453751639320″]
Is data the magic pill for understanding customers?
Gathering data from your customers becoming the holy grail for marketers. The premise is simple: you assign a simple measurable goal to a piece of content, and test accordingly to see if it hits that goal. Data can show you if one piece of content is more successful than another. It can make you understand what language resonates with your customers.
However, this is limited – data will only give you so much.
- Data can show you how to refine a specific marketing message, but predicting the next Ice Bucket Challenge or figuring out whether a social network like ‘Peach’ will take off is another matter. Data will not provide the solution here – but the insight and experience from your team will give you more insight.
- Targets for content will be short term and reliant on fairly simple consumer behaviour. A piece of content may cause a customer to sign up to a mailing list, but will that content help you convert that person into a sale? Ensure you have the right data points in place, and don’t judge content on simple metrics.
- The customer rarely knows the solution to their problem. A customer in 1850 asked for a ‘faster horse’ and not for a car.
Further reading – a collection of articles from trusted sources which mention ‘data’ and ‘customers’:
[cronycle collection=”pdbd34ecb” name=”Understanding Customers” style=”inline-slideshow” width=”100%” height=”550px” instance=”1453752113155″]
History of Iron Deficiency and Anaemia
Lucky Fish is an excellent answer to a historically problem with iron deficiency. Anaemia has plagued humans since pre-historic times; small holes in the skull of ancient skeletons show the disease was common. It’s a fantastic development that we can easily solve this problem in such an original and sustainable manner.
Here’s some reading about ‘Iron Deficiency’ or ‘Anaemia’:
[cronycle collection=”p1028e03d” name=”Iron Deficiency” style=”inline-slideshow” width=”100%” height=”550px” instance=”1453808030211″]
Cronycle has a cool new feature for Apple users! You can now download the Content Clipper from the Safari extensions store.
The content clipper makes it easy to add articles you read from all over the web directly to boards, so you can make sure that article is part of your project, and discuss its relevance with your team.
You can also check to see if a website has a feed which you can add directly to your Cronycle, so you never miss out if they post a relevant article for you again.
For more information please see this post.
If you looked at my search history, you’d probably be very, very afraid. In the course of an average week, I visit hundreds of websites to do research for the content we create here at Ceros. In the past week alone, I’ve opened over 1500 individual webpages—not counting all of the stuff I’ve viewed in incognito mode.
It might seem like I’m an ADD nutjob, but actually, this kind of behaviour is typical for a writer, be it a fiction novelist or a brand content marketer. To be a great storyteller, you also have to be a great researcher.
However, in a business setting, it can be difficult to balance storytelling with research, or know what the right plan of attack might be for any given project. Over the years, I’ve come up with a research-driven storytelling approach that has served me well. Here are a few tips you can use when doing research for your own content marketing program.
[quoter color=”honey”]Here are a few tips you can use when doing research for your own content marketing program [/quoter]
Start By Defining Your Storytelling Approach
By nature, stories are a menagerie of narrative animals with unique qualities that depend on their structure, tone, purpose, and audience. Before you can begin research, you first have to identify exactly what type of animal your story is. Why? Because your storytelling approach has everything to do with the way you’ll incorporate research into your process.
For example, if you want to tell a fact-based story based on historical or quantitative data, you’ll likely want to do a lot more research earlier on in your writing process. If your narrative is more conceptual with supporting examples, you may end up writing your first draft before you begin the research process. If your narrative is somewhere in between, you may develop a framework, fill in that framework with stats and examples, and then flesh out your framework into a full draft.
Find the Right Mix of Research Sources
When possible, you should utilise a healthy mix of research sources so your content doesn’t get stale or repetitive. I’ve got it easy in the content marketing space, because we marketers love fielding and taking surveys. But in other industries, it may be more challenging to get new stats or case studies on a regular basis.
If you’re in an industry that doesn’t produce much research, you’ve got three options:
- Field your own surveys with clients, industry members, or employees
- Incorporate stats from complementary fields that support your narrative
- Use examples of content that back up your ideas in a non-quantitative way
It also helps to set up alerts on research topics or keywords you’re interested in. I use Buzzsumo, which not only tracks keyword mentions, but also estimates how often those sources have been shared across social channels.
[quoter color=”flamingo”]It also helps to set up alerts on research topics or keywords you’re interested in [/quoter]
Keep Your Research & Sources Organised
There’s nothing worse than diving into research for an article or whitepaper and then getting completely overwhelmed by keeping track of your sources. Luckily, modern storytellers have a variety of platforms they can use stay organized and save research for future use.
Here are a few tools I’d recommend:
- Pinterest: This one is obvious, but it really does work. I use it for professional and personal research on everything from writing to costuming to cooking. I also have a board with all of my past articles pinned to it so I can easily go back and search for content I’ve already produced that might have stats I want to reuse.
- Cronycle: Our team uses Cronycle to curate research sources for articles and interactive content pieces. It’s also a great tool for tracking new content from specific publishers and competitors.
Remember that Your Story Is More Than Just Research
Research is an integral part of developing a compelling story for your brand. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, no matter how compelling your stats or examples may be, they’re not the story itself. As the author, it’s up to you to choose the ideas, themes, narrative, and characters you want to convey to your audience. These are the vehicle for your research—not the other way around. It’s also up to you to frame your story in a compelling, original way that will resonate with viewers. Simply regurgitating facts and examples won’t keep anyone engaged for long.
The Bottom Line
The vast majority of brand stories require research to bring them to life. To achieve the best results for your content, start by nailing down your storytelling approach, which will help you decide on an effective research methodology. Then you can hone in on research sources and organizing those sources for future use. Lastly, once your research is done, it’s up to you to craft a story, using research to flesh out your narrative without letting it upstage the story itself.
About the Author
Ashley Taylor Anderson is Director of Content at Ceros, an interactive content marketing software startup. She’s a writer and marketer who’s spent her career knee-deep in the B2B technology space. In previous professional lives, she worked as a science textbook editor, interactive media producer, and pastry chef. When she’s not in front of a computer typing, you can usually find her nose-deep in a book, strolling a museum, or cursing at her sewing machine.
Check out Ceros on these networks
Happy New Year!
In 2016, instead of packing in chocolate, try an achievable new year’s resolution with Cronycle:
- Save a day a week by automating your research with collections.
- Become a better listener and learn from the people around you in teams.
- Organise your research projects effectively on boards.
Make 2016 the year you become smarter. Only read articles relevant for your work and use your team to dissect those articles.
At Cronycle, we enjoy working as a team to try and uncover future trends in marketing, technology and communication. So we love this time of year – there is no better time to find out what consultancies, bloggers and the trade press believe will be top trends for the coming 12 months and how to prepare for them.
In the month of December, from 1300 twitter accounts and RSS feeds, 44 articles a day were posted (on average) which contained the words ‘trend’’ or ‘prediction’ AND 2016. That’s a lot of ideas! As a result, we thought we’d help filter down which ones we thought were the best – hopefully you’ll agree, or send us your suggestions!
The Macro Piece – what will work be like in 2021?
Stephanie Kasriel wrote about four macro trends which will shape the way we work by 2021 in Fast Company. These are:
- Rise of second tier cities
- More nano-degrees and nano-jobs
- Job seekers get choosier
- Entrepreneurship expands
These all have a similar theme – technology is making it easier for us to work wherever and however we want. It’s also rapidly decreasing the time a particularly skill is valuable – so we have to continually upskill ourselves.
For businesses – adapting to these new methods of working will require foresight, both in terms of which technologies they adopt to cope with a mobile and churning workforce, and also how they compensate their employees.
Our favourite quote:
“…technological change is ensuring that ever greater specialization continues into the 21st century. Particularly in technical fields like software engineering, security, hardware design, and product management, the skills required are simply too numerous for any one person to master.”
Finding experts in your space is going to be harder and harder to do – and making sure they transfer their knowledge so it contributes towards the growth of your company is going to be critical for companies wanting to stay ahead.
Future Trends in a Post-Digital world
[quoter color=”honey”]The digital revolution is over. We are now fully ensconced in a tech-led world and 2016 signals a post-revolutionary transition.[/quoter]
Marketing Magazine put together an extremely thorough guide to a world which is ‘post-digital’. We love this guide because although the content is aimed at marketers, the insight is true for whichever department you work in, and whichever industry. It may be a piece that non-marketers have overlooked, and we recommend you spend some time reading it over the holiday.
Our favourite quote:
“Our challenge now is to navigate a future where the physical and digital collide with such ferocity as to turn established ways of living, working, playing and creating on their heads.”
We like this quotation because of the phrase ‘established ways’. It’s interesting how quickly we forget the way we used to work. In this context ‘established ways’ may only refer to the past 10 years whilst we’ve had the internet and email. We believe more and more people will use technology to try and revert to established working practices pre Y2K.
How do we communicate with colleagues as if they are in the same room even when we’re not? How do we filter out the noise of clickbait and advertising? And how do we do this all whilst taking advantage of all the information new technology gives us?
Technology has meant that we can work together in all locations and at all times – the challenge now is to give ourselves processes so we can be more productive than before.
5 collaboration trends for 2016
Our lead back-end developer, Adam, surfaced this article about collaboration trends. As flexibility for workers turns into a bigger issue for organisations, it is important to think about how you cope when your team is spread across different offices and geographies.
Rob Marvin of PC Mag believes cloud-based video conferencing and integrations will be key for organisations in 2016, where employees are no longer tied to a physical location, but still have to interact.
Our favourite quote:
“Collaboration applications and services are offering more intuitive, hassle-free, live-chat capabilities for direct messaging for groups and teams.”
We’re not predicting the end of email, but we do believe that more organisations will become more and more aware about just how unproductive internal email can be. Using collaborative software which is designed to help you work together over a specific task will be a huge time-saver and will give true competitive advantage to those who adopt it.
A final note on email marketing and the rise of the newsletter
The trend which was repeated the most throughout our networks was the ‘rise of email marketing (again)’. More and more organisations are curating better email marketing campaigns which are relevant for their audience. This is great advice for enterprises, individual consultants and SMEs. Start thinking about how you can improve your newsletters and make sure they are relevant for your clients and prospects.
If you’re curious how we curated this post using Cronycle:
- We each set individual collections with suitable filters to monitor predictions and trends which our favourite sources were producing
- We put together a group board and surfaced which articles individuals thought were the best. The team annotated paragraphs which they agreed or disagreed with
- The group board was annotated further by the content team and we drafted a post to send to our WordPress site
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Alternatively, right click your mouse and save to your Cronycle board.
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.
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 button and scroll down to the right topic board.
Collaborate on Content
You have a board of articles you would like to share with your team. Choose Public Visibility, then add a team.
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.
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.
There you have it!! That’s how you use the Cronycle Content clipper to create boards, create teams and collaborate.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
And there you have it! This is how you use Cronycle with your WordPress plugin.
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:
Standing out from the crowd
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.
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.
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.