4 must read business magazines

By March 30, 2015 Creativity
must read business magazines

These are 4 of my absolute favourite business magazines that I go to for solid advice on almost anything that makes my curiosity tick. A perfect Sunday morning for me, consists of a long breakfast with one of these magazines and at least two large home-made vegan lattes.


Fast Company – this is a magazine dedicated to the cutting edge of creativity and business. It’ about the daredevils, the outsiders and the creators. About innovation.

Passion for Business – this magazine is entirely dedicated to a female perspective, which is lacking since it’s still large unequally  between the sexes in the workplace. This magazine gives me insight on how it is to be a female in a leadership position, what challenges and opportunities there are  as well as highlighting people you may not see otherwise in “media”. This is a magazine I always read cover to cover. (only available in Swedish and in a paper edition)

Inc Magazine – advice, tools and insights on how to work better, perform better and portraits of industry and though leaders. Love that it’s available for iPad. Read about the latest in productivity tools, books, new software and how to create successful businesses in the digital “sphere”.

WSJ Magazine – maybe not solely a business magazine. However I love the glossy magazine that accompanies the Saturday issue of Wall Street Journal. The portraits, the articles. It’s always something new to discover and I love the portraits of the business owners they create, how they “encapsule” some of their life-journey in the article. From business innovators turned wine makers it’s not just about business, its about a way of life. I love to read about how other people choose to live outside the “ordinary, this is how you should live your life” box.

 

 

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How to market your App

By March 23, 2015 Digital Marketing Simplified
how-to-market-your-app

So you’ve just created your first mobile application and you are eager to get it out to the world. As I’ve worked with both marketing my own app and leading app development projects for big brand like Volvo Cars. I have a few creative ideas  to share, on how you can make your app known to the world.


 

Before you launch

Create a website – use the app name as the domain name if possible and create a creative space promoting your soon to be app. Offer the possibility for an email notification when the app is launched or find another way to capture interest.

Write about the process – either on a Facebook page or somewhere, let people follow you on your journey and share your purpose of creating this app with the world.

Set-up a flickr account – for sexy screen grabs and high res photos of your app. Flickr is a great source to store photos for journalist and bloggers, so they can utilise the possibility of downloading images or linking in images from Flickr straight to their websites or blogs in whatever format they desire. Rather then you having to offer multiple sizes of one image.

Create a press pack – with blurbs that journalist/bloggers can use, links to your photos on Flickr, and hand out as much information as possible which they can access effortlessly! Make it as easy as possible to write about your app.

Online PR – either use newswire or do research on which magazines, blogs etc that may have readers that will benefit from knowing about your app. A friendly email, to the right person can get you a long way. Also you can use Testflight or a similar service to hand out exklusive preview versions of your app to a selected few.

Photography – ensure you have great photos of your app, both lifestyle photos (i.e a phone in a certain setting with your app on it) and screengrabs within a device.

 

After you launch

Use ASO – optimize content, pictures, texts etc for the specific keywords you want to rank high for in App Store or Google Play. You can use Google Trends to ge some kind of indication of what people search on.

AdWords – create a campaign targeting the devices your app works on, for relevant keywords and with clever ad copy. Link directly to the specific source for download and track installs with AppFigures or similar app analytics software.

Newswire – create press releases and send out using newswire to selected niche magazines, websites and blogs.

Facebook – create an add for your app, targeting the right devices with beautiful imagery and nifty copy.

Display ads on nice websites – investigate the possibility to buy banner ads or even better get advertorials on niche websites and blogs for your app.

Twitter – use the app install ad alternative and target specific devices with beautiful imagery and compelling copy, to get the word out about your app. Track installs with a app analytics software.

Competitions – if you have created an app available for purchase, use Gleam to run a competition/giveaway. It’s a great way to create a buzz effect around your app in the channels you choose.

Pinterest – pin images of and from your app.

Create a video of you app – include on your website of how it work and the benefits of it.

Send out an email – or notification to anyone you have captured from your website. (MailChimp is great for that)

 


 

Resources:

AppFigures – app analytics software.

Gleam – competition software/widget.

MailChimp - email marketing for free (up to 2000 subscribers)

TestFlight – app distribution software to use outside AppStore.

ASO – great article on ASO with checklists for each app store.


 

Photo courtesy of: Death To The Stock Photo.

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How to create a successful powerpoint presentation

By March 16, 2015 Digital Marketing Simplified
how-to-effective-powerpoint-presentation

I’ve done my fair share of presentations through the years, I’ve shed blood, sweat and tears from my hours working in PowerPoint that it should warrant me access to heaven about now. I’ve also been on the receiving end of numerous PowerPoint presentations, and I know the feeling of “death by PowerPoint” from that angle as well.

I always try to keep my presentations as short, snappy and to the point as I possibly can. Since creating presentations take time, and my opinion is that they should be a tool to help you illustrate what you are trying to communicate rather then contain all the communication you wish to do with someone.

If you are lucky enough to get a meeting with someone, then I’m of the opinion that I’m there to make a connection and hopefully sow the seeds for a professional relationship.


My top advice on how to create to the point presentations:

1. Start with the end in mind – what do you want to say, why and what is the goal? (your solution to the person challenge in the receiving end)

2. What is the shortest possible way you can create a story that takes you to the end goal/solution?

3. Collect all the information you need outside PowerPoint – copy, images etc.

4. Do an analog version, take a piece of paper and sketch a simple version of the contents before you disappear into the PowerPoint madness.

5. If you don’t have a branded already set up template for your company – try at least to use the same fonts, colours etc as your company profile to keep it consistent as well as make a professional impression. Within digital services and design, this is important. But also because if you craft a clever presentation, which explains something complex or a solution to a challenge, the presentation will get handed on within organisations or between companies. So this can actually be a really important piece of marketing material for your company if utilised to its full potential.

6. Always put your company info last, the focus should be straight from the start on how you solve the challenge for your possible client or fit what they are looking for in relation to something tangible.

7. Less is more, rather add text to the annotation notes, which are not visible when in presenting mode, rather then on a slide itself. It someone asks for them, you can always hand it to them later.

8. Remove any clutter. And limit your usage of images on a slide to one or possible two if you have to.

9. Use large photographs to lighten up the presentation.

10. Let the presentation rest between sessions. Your brain stops reading typeOs after you’ve read a text three times. So rather then sit an work with a presentation intensely, take a break. And print it out, it will help you spot errors.

11. Don’t use clashing colours, that will cause hypnotise your audience, nor contrast colours and backgrounds for text. And for gods sake, remove that automatic drop shadow. Again less is more.

12. If your presentation is very heavy on statistics, create infographics.


My template structure

This is my template that I always go back to, in terms of creating presentations. I adapt it to suit the specific scenarion I’m creating the presentation for.

1. The purpose – why we are here: describe why you are in the room with these people having this meeting, is it a brief, a reply to a pitch? to discuss new ideas?

2. The solution/answer – break it down (if you can, and add any statistics an insights to prove your point, if applicable).

3. How – what is required to get there?

4. Next steps – how to get there, with clear steps.

5. Timeline – how log will it take?

6. Investments – what budget are required?

7.  Credentials – add company information that will add weight to why are the right person/company to do the work/help the client.

8. Your contact details and your responsibility.


Books tip:

I recommend reading The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds – its my go to source for fine-tuning my presentations.


Photography by: Death to the StockPhoto

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How to make a clear and visual time plan

By March 9, 2015 Creativity
timeplan-img

Every project plan need a clear, visual time plan. This helps both you, the team and client to better understand the project and helps everyone feel more in control since it makes it visually clear on what needs to be done, when and by whom.

 


There are two types I primarily work with; overview and a detailed time plan. The overview is useful for creating roadmaps or in presentations, when you don’t need to go through every nitty gritty task in a project.

You can also take it to a third level, and make it even more detailed. But I usually don’t – because I think that is a total waste of my time which I can put to better use. Thats because usually there are changes, unforseen things happen, so that level of detailed planning have never been required throughout my 10 plus years long career. (Other people may have another experience though, so I never say never!).

With my detailed time plan you will be able to get a grip of what needs to be done by when, using this level of time plan, with actions – and quickly be able to update the time plan when and if needed without having to spend to much time making the updates.

I think a time plan should include your company branding and be visually appealing. Especially if you work at a design agency, I really think you should make the effort to deliver time plans that don’t look like something that make syour eyes bleed in excel with bright Microsoft standard colours.

 

Overview/over arching time plan

This is a very simplified, scaled down time plan outlining the process and/or phases. Either it consist of just the different phases in relation to a timeline or you can add purpose and deliveries/outcomes as well in each box.

Suitable for: a project proposal, quotation/agreement or a project presentation.

timeplan-overview

(click on the image to view a larger version)

 

Detailed time plan

This outlines each task and when they are due on a weekly basis/ per week.

Suitable for: project team and client

detailed-timeplan-example

(click on the image to view a larger version)

 

What to include:

  • Phases
  • A timeline with weeks/dates and months, with any public holidays, team etc, greyed out and taken in account for.
  • Team – who is responsible for what task
  • Tasks
  • Review points internal and with customer
  • Client deliveries, if any
  • Any revision time
  • Any team holidays
  • Progress points
  • Deadline for each phase
  • Final deadline

Resources

The software I usually use to create time plans is Excel, and then I save as PDF and distribute to both client and team. You can also use Adobe InDesign to make more professionally looking time plans. Just insert a table and create table styles which you assign to the cells to mark out the information.

Excel is quicker, and you can probably insert custom colours to reflect your company brand, there is a page in the book Excel Annoyances that gives you clear instructions on how to achieve this.

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