Why Vinyls are cooler than CD’S?

Blue turntable with a vinyl playing

If you are over 30 then you will remember life before CD’S, Mini discs, MP3’s and ipods, here are some reasons why vinyls are cooler than CD’s.

Since I was born, I had an ear and a passion for listening to and playing music. I would sit in front of the stereo for hours and fall asleep listening to my parents Beatles singles and albums on vinyl and tapes.

In the mid 80s, I was given a Sony Walkman to listen to tapes whilst on car journeys. In the mid eighties to early 90s, out came CD’s (compact discs) that were new, shiny, and exciting, and at the time appeared to have convinced the listeners to ditch their trusty old LP’s for the newer, smaller formatted disc.

In 1992, when the Minidisk first came on sale in the UK, I invested in a Sony Mini Disc Player for my university work before caving in to the Apple mania and receiving my first ipod as a Christmas present from my parents in 2007.

The Beatles white Vinyl album cover

They have stunning cover sleeves

Vinyls are almost three times the size of CD’s and the covers behind each vinyl sleeve paints a picture of the story behind the album, giving the buyer a more intimate experience. The design of the cover and the inserts into artworks looks so much more exciting than CD covers. Fans tend to remember the name of an album they purchased and relate it to the cover art. For example, many fans remember the Beatles “White Album” by its white front cover or the red or blue albums by their covers.

The vinyl experience is more social and interactive

Something feels different about taking that vinyl album out of the cupboard, and unwrapping it from its cover after a couple of  minutes staring at the artistic visuals on the cover and finally placing it into a record player, waiting for that magical sound to play and watching it spin round and round. Whether you have a turntable, or a record player, there’s something nostalgic about listening to music from the 50s and 60s on vinyl.

There nothing quiet like the sound of the needle dropping and the crackle of the vinyl and then flipping it over to hear the other side. It makes the listening experience more personal and makes you feel as though you are constantly physically and emotionally involved. It’s social, more interactive, and fun, and a far cry from the passive experience of listening to CDs or digitally enhanced music.

Vinyls are better quality

How many times have you heard people say that they have broken their plastic CD’s in comparison to the number of people who have broken their records. Yes, records get scratched and some might argue that this ruins the sound, however, others may argue that that fuzzing scratching sound is all part of the vinyl experience. Plastic CD’s feel cheap and manufactured and vinyls have been built to last and sound more real.

You only have to look at the price differences between vinyl and CD to notice that CD’s are cheaper due to the fact that they are cheaper to make. You can purchase vinyl records from Amazon from £15 and CD’s from as little as £5.

Motorhead limited edition vinyl

Limited vinyl editions

Limited vinyl editions don’t just come in black, they can come in a variety of colours.

Watch out for those limited vinyl editions as these come in different colours and can become collectors items as they only print off a few hundred for each colour.

If you aren’t sure whether vinyl is for you, most vinyl records have a digital download code so you can enjoy the best of both sounds!

Whether I think that vinyls sound better than digital? The jury’s still out on that one. Let me know what you think?

What is your favourite musical platform and why? Vinyl? Tapes? CD’s? , MP3’s?, iTunes? Comment below, send an email admin@digitalclassic.co.uk or tweet me @DigitalClassic.

7 ways musicians can market their music online

FenderStrat

How many musicians out there are wondering how they can market their music online? Maybe you are just starting out or you have been playing and recording for years and don’t know where to showcase your tunes?

If you are one of those people, here  are 7 ways musicians can show off their tunes:

YouTube

This is probably the most obvious place because it’s the second largest online social media channel and its also free to post your videos. Despite this, an article on Amp Music Marketing claims that YouTube is also the most under used promotional tool for musicians.

My brother in-law, Phil Oberheinrich is a musician and he started his YouTube channel, Bean Dog Studios a few months ago.

He says he likes to film and edit his own videos and put them on YouTube because it’s free and it’s a great way to try and capture an audience.

I also plan to start my own YouTube channels for my blog and to record some music videos.

YouTube also has an advertising platform where you can make money from your videos. In doing so, you will become a “YouTube Partner,”which means that you allow Google to place ads on your content in exchange for payment each time one of those ads is clicked.

Justin Bieber is an example of a musician, discovered by YouTube

The Canadian may or may not be everyones favourite musician, but he has made millions from being recognised on YouTube.

When searching for videos of a different singer, Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive of So So Def Recordings, clicked on one of Bieber’s 2007 videos by accident.

Braun was so impressed that he tracked down the theatre Bieber was performing in, located Bieber’s school. At the tender age of 13, Bieber went to Atlanta, Georgia, with Braun to record demo tapes.Bieber began singing for American singer-songwriter, Usher one week later and was soon signed to RBMG.

Bieber then released his debut EP, My World, in late 2009 which went platinum in the U.S and he then became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut record chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

Bieber has released his first full-length studio album, My World 2.0, in 2010. It debuted at or near number one in several countries and went triple platinum in the U.S.

Music Xray

Music X-ray

This is where musicians and industry professionals go to get their music heard. You can sign up free to connect to sound cloud.

SoundCloud tracks will become available in your Music X-ray account and will be analysed and matched to industry opportunities. Music X-ray will send you emails with opportunity alerts per track and updates when new matches are detected.

BBC Uploader can help you market your music online

Head over to BBC music where musicians can submit their tunes. Every week, the BBC broadcasts tracks by unsigned artists throughout the UK. If you think that you or your bands deserves to be heard, upload your music and tune into your radio local BBC show.

Music Gorilla

Music Gorilla provides the perfect platform for musicians. You can submit your band, music for movies, TV shows, films or you can upload as a solo artist. You can also look for opportunities under the submission button.

How does Music Gorilla work!

You can sign up and upload your music and create your profile page. Your music will then be heard by Industry Professionals from Music Supervisors to Internet Radio hosts to Major Label A&R. For those of you who are based in the US, it’s well worth attending the Major Label Showcases because you can meet Professionals and music labels and receive written feedback on your performances.

Music Gorilla offers two types of membership; basic and pro.  If you’re only going to submit to 3 or less opportunities per month or just want to hang out for awhile and check out the opportunities, than Basic Membership is for you. If you want to submit an album, you will need to pay monthly or annually.

Google Play

Are you a musician who dreams about earning money from your music? I suspect the answer to my question is yes.

Who doesn’t want to earn money from something they enjoy? Google Play is a fantastic platform for allowing you to achieve the unachievable. There are two ways to earn on Google Play.

The first is that you can sell your music by choosing a suitable retail price and you will earn your revenue share of (up to 70%) based on the price you charge. The second way to earn money is if Google Play includes your music in a pricing promotion, it won’t cost you anything and you will always earn at least the revenue share on your suggested price.

You can also opt-in to the Google Play Music subscription service. The more people who listen to your music, the more your earnings will increase.

There are no fees for uploading tracks, creating albums, making changes to existing albums, editing your artist page. Google Play keeps a 30% commission on any sales made. However, music has a one-time $25 USD setup fee for each brand new store page you create.

 

Market your music online with Ramen music

This music website allows musicians to upload any genre, for consideration for their bi-monthly audio magazine. They do charge a small fee of $39 a year for a subscription from their listeners, but this is a small price to pay and you can easily earn this back because if your music makes it into an issue of Ramen Music, you will get paid.

submithub-2

Submit Hub

This online music platform makes it easy for musicians to market their music because it allows you to filter your musical tastes based on your preferences.

Which means that your audience will be a person who listens to your style rather than someone listening to your rock music who prefers pop music.

More importantly, they offer a limited free submission; however, if you need a larger amount of blogs you will need to pay.

I’ve not yet submitted any music to these websites, so I plan to share an updated blog post once I have submitted some music.

If you are a musician or a band who would like to market their music online, send me an email admin@digitalclassic.co.uk or contact me through my social media channels. Alternatively, if there are any websites I have missed please feel free to comment below this post.

Five reasons why every blogger needs a content plan

content-marketing-template

Every blogger needs a content plan? What’s written without thought, is read without interest and as a new blogger, it’s not something I want to think about.

Blogging is becoming more and more popular and with more of us creating content it’s vital that we produce original content that is of interest to our target audience. There wouldn’t be much point in blogging at all if you are writing just for the sake of it and you have no or little interest in what you are writing about. Blogging takes time and effort, and every blogger wants their content to be viewed, shared and liked. This way, both the reader and writer can enjoy the benefits of great unique content.

Like all bloggers, I want to write good quality unique content and from what I’m hearing from my tutor and fellow bloggers on the Blogging and Content online course with Shaw Academy, to produce high quality original content you need to research and plan your resources.

Here are five fantastic reasons why every blogger needs a content plan:

The more proactive you are, the more clients you are likely to attract

I find that the best articles are the ones that are planned. Don’t get me wrong some unplanned article are really good and writing when unplanned can work well, however, the best content is the content that contains visuals and videos that are accurate and engaging. How many athletes go into a competition without preparation? This is the same with writing.

Having a content plans increase productivity

Content planners enhance your productivity. The more you plan things out, the more you will get done and this is essential, especially if like me you are a freelancer. We all want to get things done quickly and effectively. Don’t forget to plan breaks! Many people fail to do this and will find themselves becoming sluggish and sleepy towards the end of the day. Yes, we all need to work, however, the best way to work is to pace yourself by using a detailed content planner, and taking regular breaks will increase productivity.

Go out and get some fresh air or for a short walk, I have started doing this myself and find more refreshed afterwards. There’s no point in spending 12 hours at the computer and by lunchtime finding yourself drifting off to sleep and making mistakes you wouldn’t usually make or being too tired to complete your tasks. Once you have gone to the trouble of filling in a content planner, make sure that you stick to the plan and stay consistent. Consistency is essential for bloggers. If you try it and it doesn’t work for you, change it.

 

Content schedule

Content plans will help you publish blog posts regularly and on time

As a newbie blogger and a freelance writer, I can’t afford to miss my blogging deadlines because it will look unprofessional. It’s important that you publish your blog posts regularly and on time. I post my content on Monday afternoons and use Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + to market it.

Readers want consistency, for example, if you tell a customer that you are going to deliver something by Monday evening, I like to make sure they have it by Monday morning in case something goes wrong or the internet goes down. Planning this in a content plan or diary helps me achieve this.

 Gives you time to revise and update

If you are trying to rush your blog post out there, the chances are that you probably haven’t bothered to edit your content. If you can’t be bothered to spend time on your content, why would others bother to read it? Having a content plan, allows you to schedule time for research, sourcing or taking photos or video, editing them and editing your content.

I usually ask someone to proof read my blog posts before they go live. I want to give my readers the impression that I am someone who cares about what I post and being a newbie to blogging, I want my audience to trust want I read, subscribe to my site and like, share and comment on my blog posts.

Blue stress ball

Decreases stress

Creating a content plan decreases stress and we all know that stress is bad for your physical and mental health. Planning your time efficiently, doesn’t only help you get things done quicker, it also makes you feel quite happy and not stressed out. I personally use a daily list and I’m currently working on a content planner that suits my needs. I find that being more organised helps me keep track of what has been done and what still needs to be completed. Without my list, I find everything gets chaotic and I can’t control things.

There are plenty of free content plans online. You can find examples of free content plans on a number of websites like Hubspot, Moz or the Content Marketing Institute. If you can’t find a content plan to suit your needs, the websites above give advice on how you can make your own content calendar.

Are there any bloggers who would like to share their tips on how they plan their content? Do you use a content calendar or planner that you would recommend? Join in the discussion on my social media channels or feel free to comment.

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog hit the subscribe button.

Five reasons why mobile phone lithium batteries fail

Mobile Phone with Lithium Battery

Mobile phone giants Samsung have recalled all its 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones less than a fortnight after Lithium batteries were said to be the reason for the new flagship phones catching fire.

The recall comes just one week ahead of an expected presentation of a new iPhone model from its main rival Apple.

Who uses disposable lithium batteries?
Lithium Ion batteries are used in all modern devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras and other electronic devices that have no memory effect. Laptops often get a bit confused when partly charging them and sometimes show you the wrong estimates for how long your device’s battery will last. For example, your device might show a 70% charge, however, this is not always the case as the charge sometimes doesn’t last that long.Most electronic manufacturers recommend you run the battery down to zero and perform a full discharge on your phone, tablet or laptop at least once a month to help maintain the device’s battery time estimate.

Cases where mobile phone lithium batteries have caught fire

The BBC posted an article on their website that over the past few days, several users have reported their mobile phones catching fire or exploding while charging, and Samsung said it had confirmed 35 such cases.

A YouTube user uploaded a video under the name Ariel Gonzalez on 29 August of a Galaxy Note 7 with burnt rubber casing and damaged screen.”
“He said Samsung’s new flagship mobile phone “caught fire” after he unplugged the official Samsung charger, less than a fortnight after purchasing it.”

Earlier this year, the Telegraph printed a story about a cancer patient who died of smoke inhalation after his iPhone burst into flames as he slept.
“Marek Kruger, 53, who was bed-bound, relied on the phone which he kept by his bedside and often under his pillow.

At Mr Kruger’s inquest Iryna, his widow told the court that her former husband used to put the phone and wallet just under the pillow because he wanted to have his mobile phone next to him because he felt unsafe when he was left alone and his careers had not been around and she was at work.

Here are five reasons why mobile phone lithium batteries fail:

1: Heat
One of the main reasons why lithium batteries fail is due to them overheating when on charge. Lots of people are guilty of leaving their laptop or mobile phone constantly plugged into the mains when in use and forgetting to switch them off. I’ve also been guilty of this. Leaving your battery on charge, heats up the battery and when it gets too hot the battery life decreases or in extreme cases, the battery can catch fire.
You can increase the lithium battery’s life by limiting its exposure to heat and leaving your devices in places that are at room temperature or by removing the battery. Never leave your laptop, phone or digital device in hot places on sunny days such as on the car seat or dashboard or near a window.

2: The cold
Temperature is a battery killer! It’s not just heat that can zap out your lithium battery or make it explode. Have you ever had a mobile phone and taken it outside in freezing temperatures, the battery is showing 30% and suddenly your phone dies? The reason for this is because smartphones aren’t built for freezing temperatures and tech giants Apple suggests 32° Fahrenheit as the lowest operating ambient temperature. Other phones are rated for much lower temperatures, and some can go as low as -4° Fahrenheit while in operation.

Many people, especially from the US and Canada have reported that when their lithium-ion batteries are exposed to cold temperatures, their phone’s performance suffers. When cold, a phone battery can drain faster than normal, or the phone says it has lots of power remaining and then suddenly go dead.
Just like you wouldn’t go outside without a coat in freezing temperatures, Make sure that you keep your phone wrapped up. Buy a case or cover for your mobile or electronic device and keep it in your coat pocket or in a bag.

This might sound obvious, however, you should never put a spare battery in the fridge or freezer or expose any digital device that has a lithium battery to cold temperatures if you’re in a country with cold temperatures.

3: Storing partial 50% charged Lithium Batteries
When you are storing equipment that uses lithium batteries, it’s a good idea to make sure that they are stored with a partial 50% charge. Partial discharges and charges actually tend to prolong battery life – 50 % discharges can happen between 1,200 and 1,500 times (so 600-750 full cycles) before capacity drops to 70 per cent of its original span, compared to 300 to 500 for 0-100% .Running your phone down 50% and charging it up again and running it back down to 50% again is better than a full discharge because it reduces the strain on the battery.

4: Lithium batteries wear down much quicker when they aren’t fully charged
Lithium batteries wear down when they are kept at zero charge for a long time. If you run the battery right down to zero you should recharge it as soon as possible. Don’t go running to the charger when your mobile phone’s power dies. If you let the battery run down completely and leave your device on the table for a few days, the battery may die completely and may become incapable of holding a charge.

5: Never drop a device that uses a lithium battery in water
Yes, we are all guilty of dropping our phone in the bath, washing up bowl or in the sea or the swimming pool or even on a wet floor. There are few of us who haven’t dropped a lithium battery device onto anything wet.

If the battery gets wet, you should dry it as soon as possible, you should never leave a wet battery for days. If batteries are dropped in salt water, salt conducts electricity more than fresh water does which will cause the battery to discharge and corrode the battery housing.

Have you ever experienced a lithium battery on a Samsung Note 7 catching fire or exploding? Or any mobile phone or device operated with a lithium battery? Maybe you know someone who has? Email admin@digitalclassic.co.uk or join in the discussions on my social media channels.

Why Social Media benefits University Students

Social media icons

 

In the next few weeks, thousands of students will be starting or returning to university and with social media being a huge factor in our daily lives,here are some great reasons on why social media benefits university students:

Free social engagement with tutors and fellow students
Social media is a fantastic way to communicate for university students because its free.Most universities have their own social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter pages so that students and tutors can interact outside lecture times. This is a fast and popular way to communicate. Students can also make the most of this free social engagement with tutor and fellow students by making new friends on social media and by setting up study groups and meet-ups via the groups Facebook pages.

Sharing information such as study tips and resources is also a reason how university students can enjoy the benefits of signing up and using social media channels.

Besides Facebook,other social media platforms like Twitter,LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are also great, especially for photographers as you can share images through Instagram and Pinterest and through Twitter you can share images and links to articles with tutors and fellow students.

Tutors can also benefit from using social media channels and getting to know their students better. For example, the social media profiles of your students might look for certain things such as a student who is doing a degree in Journalism will most likely be following the same Facebook pages and will help tutors tailor their lectures to their students. Which means, the students benefit from the lectures better and will find them much more interesting.

Access to articles they wouldn’t necessarily read
Sharing articles which are relevant to your chosen study area with other students and tutors is a great idea. You are likely to be introduced to a world of information and websites that you have never heard of before, as well as book and reading recommendations which will help you complete your assignments and gain the knowledge that you require to gain higher grades.

University students can stay in touch with family and friends for free
By using social media, students can keep in contact with friends and family, all they need is a phone, laptop or tablet and free Wifi which can be accessed at the university, or local shops and cafe’s. Students can also share pictures, videos, and updates of their experiences of university life by posting to social media channels and it won’t cost them a penny.

Using video conferencing with Google Hangouts
Opening a Google account allows students to use Google hangouts, which is becoming popular, especially with businesses. Using Google Hangouts will allow university students to attend lectures and collaborate through video if they are unable to make a lecture or they need to contact other students or tutors for work purposes of private meetings outside of normal university hours such as nights, weekends, or semester breaks.

Did you know that LinkedIn, the B2B professional network, now achieves over 60 million views in the UK every month? Avocado Social

Plan for your future by using LinkedIn
Are you on LinkedIn? If the answer is no then you should sign up today. LinkedIn is used for business and is a great resource to meet new potential employers or sign up and join groups within your chosen career field. You never know you may find a work placement or your first job through using this social media tool.

These are just a few ways in which university students can benefit from using social media channels. If you are a current university student returning or if you are off to Uni, for the first time this year or you are a tutor, please let me know how you benefit from using social media and which tools do you currently use or plan to use?

5 ways on how to optimise Display Advertising campaigns for Christmas?

Rockfeller NY

It’s scary to think that its less than 124 sleeps until Christmas and less just under four months away from starting the festive season. If you haven’t already started looking at your clients display campaigns for Christmas, now is the time to start planning.

Under four months may seem like a lifetime away, but if you don’t start looking at your campaigns until the last minute, you will almost certainly find your competitors stealing all your potential business. Have you heard of the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?”

For most retailer’s Christmas is the busiest time of year, with a news article published in the Guardian revealing that “Sales on Christmas Day 2015, were up 21% from the previous year, 2014, making it the most lucrative ever for online shopping, according to data from a web services group PCA Predict.”

The article also revealed that retailing giants John Lewis, were also big winners when it comes to online advertising the retailing giants reported a 10.7% increase in revenues on 25 December 2015 compared with the previous year, with the spree happening between 2pm and 4pm, as people sat down for Christmas lunch looking for an early Boxing day bargain.

Here are 5 ways on how to optimise a display advertising campaign for Christmas:

Remarketing

Why not use Dynamic Remarketing through the Google Display network? If you have previously attracted customers with certain keywords earlier in the year or last Christmas that worked, target them again with the products your customers have been viewing. Keywords that include terms such as “iPhone”,“iPad” or “bikes” are items that always sell well during the festive season.

Optimising for mobile


Optimising your Display ad campaign for mobile

An article on eCommerce news said that  for the first time ever smartphones and tablets accounted for over half of online sales in the United Kingdom. During the period November 2015 to January this year, 51 percent of UK online retail sales took place using smartphones and tablets. This is a significant increase on the 45 percent share recorded in the third quarter of last year.With this in mind, it would be unthinkable to ignore optimising your display ad campaign for mobile by concentrating on desktop only.

Think about suitable placements?

Stop and think about where you would like to place your ads before repeating what has worked on previous campaigns.

If you are using using strong ad placements remove them and make sure you’re using managed placements so you can choose the sites that you are targeting and design your ads so that they compliment the look and feel of the site that you wish to target. There’s no point in placing your display ads on a site that is irrelevant to your customers or placing an ad on a website that looks out of place and doesn’t fit their theme. Always do your homework before optimising a display ad campaign.

 

mobile ad testing

Split test your display advertising ads

Have you considered splitting your display advertising ads in the same way as text ads? Try out different (CTAs), new offers, promotions, images and colour schemes.  Make sure that your ad rotation settings are set correctly so that you can collect equal data for A and B split testing.

Test the Display advertising campaign optimiser tool

If you are looking to put a quick display advertising campaign together, why not check out the Display Campaign Optimer tool from Google. You will need at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days and you will still need to optimise them manually by doing regular target and placement reviews.

What optimisation techniques do you use on Display Campaigns for your clients? Have you started thinking about or working on your clients Christmas campaigns yet? It would be great to hear from anyone.

How beneficial is Thrive’s Feel Stress Free Mobile App?

Feel Stress free bubble

After a fellow blogger sent me an email inviting me to try out an app, I decided to check it out and see how beneficial Thrive’s Feel Stress Free Mobile App can be.

The new Feel Stress Free app released this year, is the second mindfulness app I have tried as I was recommended Headspace by a therapist.
In a world where people are working 24/7 and with many of us constantly stuck to a computer screen, tablet or mobile phone, its important to have some time away from your emails and social media. This is why mindfulness apps that offer meditation and yoga are a great idea as they offer an escape from the stresses of modern daily life.

I suffer from a mood disorder which is why I jumped at the chance to try out this new app, when I was offered a free trial from a fellow blogger.

The app advises you to use it in a quiet and peaceful environment with headphones and no distractions . When you first log in, you will find an animated picture of a desert island, featuring a palm tree, a deck chair, a beach ball and a rocking rowing boat along with a floating robot assistant who helps advise you where to go when you log in.

stressfree

You are advised to wear headphones to give a more personal feel to the background music, where you can listen to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, with seagulls flying overhead and pleasant calming instrumentals that creates a therapeutic atmosphere.
The app features four different interactive relaxation activities which include; meditation, breathing, deep muscle relaxation and self-hypnosis. All these techniques are designed to help you to feel stress free. Take a browse around the island before you start an activity as this will give you an idea about how the app works. Some of the exercises may not be for you, as they aren’t for everyone. Self –hypnosis takes practice and the app even tells you this before you start.

One of the benefits of seeing how beneficial Thrive’s Feel Stress Free mobile app can be is that you fit it into your busy schedule by downloading it onto your tablet or mobile phone whenever you feel like you need to escape from the madness. You can even choose how long you do a technique for, for example, the app gives you the choice of 3 minutes, 7, 10, up to 15 minutes if you feel you need to get more out of the experience.

My favourite exercise was the deep breathing , especially alongside the calming music and waves because I find this helps me in stressful situations and I had a therapist who used to teach me deep breathing exercises.

The app features an island called the Zen garden which caught my eye because it allows you to build your own calm garden where you can build sand castles and add your own water features and for those of you who are artistic you can rake patterns into the sand.There’s also a message in a bottle feature which allows you to send encouraging messages to others using the app.

I tried out the mood metre, which allows you to enter how you are feeling on a scale and recommends an activity routine in the app based on the results. We can never tell how accurate, these things are, however, I found this useful and I’m yet to try an app that has this feature built in.

Moodscale
So how beneficial is Thrive’s Feel Stress Free Mobile App?

The techniques are suitable for everyone both young and old and it doesn’t require too much physical activity which is also great for those with disabilities. Overall, it’s a nice app to try, especially when you are having a stressful day or are feeling a bit low. It won’t work if you have anything more than mild depression as it advises you to go to your GP but it works well for some short-term relief.

Be Stress Free is available to download for iOS and Android. You can download the app for free.It works on a subscription basis,which can be purchased for one month, three months or a year. For one month it will set you back £4.99, for 3 months it will cost £3.33 each month and for a year it’s £1.99 each month.

Penzance welcomed the “Man Engine”

The Man Engine

Penzance went back in time as the town welcomed the”Man Engine”and the Soap Box Derby with approximately 22,000 locals and visitors celebrating the occasion.

This “Man Engine” was made up with materials used back in the mining days along with bits of new technology to make it stand and walk like a real robot.

Over the past few weeks, the “Man Engine” (which is the UK’s largest ever mechanical puppet) has been visiting towns in Cornwall to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape being added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

I attended the event in Penzance,on August 5th, late on Friday afternoon and was surprised to see the amount of cars parked alongside the roads, even on the back streets.

Walking through Causewayhead to get to Market Jew Street where the “Man Engine” was stationed, I noticed a buzzing atmosphere packed with locals and visitors of all ages. I have never seen the town as busy as this before, not even during the annual Golowen, Mazey Day Festival celebrations.

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I arrived in town around 4pm, but felt a bit under-dressed for the occasion as in true Cornish Heritage style, locals and visitors were dressed up as maids, miners and pirates enjoying browsing at the stalls, music, street food and dancing which went on throughout the whole town. I wish I had made the effort to dress up.

Even the back streets were packed full of activities, with the “Mine Cart” Soapbox Derby, which also took place down on Market Jew Street earlier in the day. There was something for everyone both young and old as activities were put on for the children with a Heritage Hub and a creation station.

I arrived on Market Jew Street looking for the perfect place to take some photos without having to barge through the crowds and having to take pictures of peoples heads. There wasn’t much chance of this because everyone was surging forwards and scrambling for a spot to stand towards the covered up “Man Engine “ which was situated down the bottom of Market Jew Street facing upwards.

I was a bit disappointed because even though I managed to take a few pictures, I perched myself behind a black wheelie bin on the edge of a pavement at the top of Market Jew Street. I was thinking this would be a less crowded place to stand. How wrong was I when a few uncooperative holiday makers decided to put their child on top of the bin, blocking both mine and everyone stood behind’s view.

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At 5pm, the 10 Metre plus largest mechanical puppet ever made in Britain, the “miner” was uncovered. The man puppet is a major feature of Cornish engineering and is the same height as a double decker bus when in its “crawling’ mode. The Man Engine transformed to almost three times its height when it stood up, it reminded me of my younger days when I used to watch transformers on television.
The “Man Engine” was accompanied by animated theatrical shows with music, theatre, and storytelling and was created by a team of more than a dozen miners’ and Bal-maidens who animated the giant throughout his travels.

Once the “Man Engine” was unveiled, the activities didn’t stop there as the first ever event, The Grand Man Engine Ball was hosted at the Jubilee Pool. The town’s iconic swimming pool has recently undergone a £3 million makeover.

This was an event not to be missed as locals and visitors rolled back the years and enjoyed a glimpse of the mining days alongside new technology. This celebration is a day of history, where Penzance was restored to its former busy glory and with an estimated 22,000 visitors, I doubt we will ever see the town as busy as this again, at least, not in my lifetime.

As for the man-puppet? It’s rumoured that it could be going on a tour to Mexico and South Australia. I will keep you posted on this!

10 Free SEO tools every online marketer needs

Analytics

This blog post features 10 free SEO tools every online marketer needs to be able to do their daily job efficiently and effectively.

There are so many free SEO tools out there, which make it difficult to choose the best SEO tools online marketers should use as several these do the same job.

Here are the best free SEO tools which I find useful for looking at my blog metrics:

The Google Keywords planner
The Google keywords planner, formerly the Adwords Keyword Tool, is one of the first free SEO tools that I have ever used. I was introduced to this great content tool when I started working as a Content Executive at a digital agency back in 2012. I was working on a “Windows 8 guide” for a well-known retailer. When planning my guide I was searching for popular keywords in the computing category.

Trends

Google Trends
This is another must have free SEO tool that I am used to using on a daily basis. When writing a blog post, or any content. I use Google Trends because it tells me what everyone is searching for and which topics are the most popular.

Hubspot
I have signed up to this website and I receive free daily SEO advice on how I can optimise my blog. For those of you who have never heard of or have never been to Hubspot. This tool helps online marketers create content, optimise it for search engines and share it on social media. It also helps you to create landing pages, calls to action, personalised email and a personalised website.

SEM rush
This SEO tool was mentioned in my SEO session on the advanced digital marketing course which I’m taking with Shaw Academy. I have only just used the free SEO tool and I have found it to be very informative because it gives me my blog metrics such as organic search, paid search,backlinks,display and organic keywords.

SpyFu
SpyFu is another free SEO tool that was introduced by the tutor,on my digital marketing course. This is ideal for getting competitor research without spending any money. You can even find your competitors keywords and ranking history. If you haven’t heard of this tool, it doesn’t cost anything to try it and see if it would be a useful daily tool for you.

GTmetrix
GTmetrix is one of the most important things in SEO because it examines the page speed and diagnoses opportunities for improving your website or blog. The speed of the page affects the user-experience and you are more likely to have a high bounce rate if your page speed is too slow. A Web page should ideally take one second to load to give the users the feeling that they can navigate freely. If your page speed takes over one second to load, people are more likely to get fed up with waiting and click off your website and leave your site, often going straight to your competitors if there is a specific topic that they are looking for. I’ve used this free SEO tool since 2012 and have personally found GT Metrix reliable and it gives me very good advice when looking to improve the SEO on my blog.

waybackmachine

Wayback
When I started my first role in digital marketing, as a Linking Strategist, my mentor, told me to use the Wayback Machine for seeking out client cases of missing traffic and looking for the age of the blog or website. For this reason, I recommend trying this free tool. It can also help you look back and check how a site has changed over the years.

Keywordtool.io
This spectacular free SEO tool will quickly help throw out lots of great relevant keywords based on the autocomplete feature on YouTube, App store search, Google and Bing.

Keywordtool.io will present you with a dictionary of keyword ideas containing your specific search terms, especially long-tail keywords that won’t show up in the Google AdWords keyword tool due to having very low volumes. I usually use Keywordtool.io when I need long tail keywords.

Google Analytics
Most of you who are reading this blog post will have used or be using Google Analytics on a daily basis.
This free SEO tool is the tool that I use the most because it helps me to understand visitors to my blog and it helps me to understand how my audience interacts with my site.

Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a free website crawler which is designed to get data on every URL on your website or blog. Guess what? It’s also free to just download so make sure you and check it out, if you aren’t already using it. This free SEO tool also features a resources section to help all newbies analyse their data.

Here are the free SEO features you can enjoy with Screaming Frog:

• Find Broken Links, Errors and Redirects
• Analyse Page Titles and Meta Data
• Review Meta Robots and Directives
• Discover Duplicate Pages
• Generate XML Sitemaps

The best way to find out which free SEO tools suits you best is to try each one of the above and look at specialist blogs such as Moz.com and SearchEngineLand for further advice.

Preparing for that first ever Skype interview

Business woman full body standing isolated on white background with copy space.

I ‘m currently preparing for that all important first ever Skype interview for a freelance role that I applied for about a month ago.

I’m slightly nervous about this because I’ve had lots of face to face interviews over the years and a few telephone interviews, but I have never had a Skype interview before, so I decided to write this blog post on how I’m going to prepare for it.

Here are some tips on how you can prepare for a Skype interview:

Dress to impress
Just because the person on the other end can only see the top half of you, doesn’t mean you can laze around in your favourite pair of tracksuit bottoms or your pyjamas. I plan to dress up, go for a smart casual look, and do my makeup as I would usually do when I go to in-house interviews. I find that if you look good, you will feel more confident when talking to the interviewer. It could be embarrassing if you have to stand up to set up or move your computer so your interviewer can see you on camera, and you are still in your favourite PJ’s, shorts or ripped jeans.

Set up the computer and clear away clutter
There’s nothing more distracting than background clutter when talking to someone. You don’t want your interviewer to get distracted by background mess. If the room that you are planning to have your Skype interview in is a mess, make sure that you tidy up. If there are lots of candidates being interviewed it could come down to something as minimal as being untidy. This might give the impression that you work in a chaotic space and that you aren’t a tidy and organised person when it comes down to doing the job you have applied for.


Make sure you are sitting in silence

Find a quiet room with no interruptions. If you have children in the house make, sure that someone is keeping an eye on them and if you live in a shared house, ask your housemates or family to make sure that you are not interrupted between the times of the call. There’s nothing worse than having to shout at the kids in the background or shouting at the interviewer , over the television, radio or a barking dog because you can’t hear them. This could be suicidal in terms of taking your application further. Switch off the television and music and make sure that your mobile is turned off or on silent.I will be keeping my mobile phone nearby and on silent just in case I get cut off.

Make sure you are prepared for getting cut off. With technology anything can happen, the electric could go off at either end or your laptop battery could go dead in the middle of that important Skype call. By keeping your mobile phone near the computer you can always call, the interviewer back by phone if anything should go wrong and they can call you back if they lose connection.

dead battery


Charge the laptop battery

Have you ever been in the middle of an important call or document and suddenly your computer cuts out and the battery goes dead? I have and it’s annoying, so I’m going to make sure that this doesn’t happen and that my laptop is charged up and ready to roll.

skype


Make sure that your Skype works

Check that your Skype account is working properly. Ask a friend or family member to Skype you before the big day. This will iron out any issues that you may have on the day. The last thing you need is to get a phone call or an email from the interviewer telling you that your Skype ID is wrong or isn’t working. This will just get you into a fluster and might annoy a busy potential employer, especially if they are short on time.


Prepare as normal and research the companies’ website and social media outlets

After setting up your machine, it’s easy to forget to do your homework .If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. DON’T FORGET to read or re-read the job description. Make sure that you understand the job role and what is required. If you are unsure, ask and ALWAYS prepare questions to ask at the end of each interview. I usually aim for around five questions.

If you need any further advice on preparing for interviews visit Prospects.