Writing

Nerd Alert: Writing For Web

September 3, 2016

I recently decided to take a short course in writing for web via Open2Study, the free sister program of Open Universities. Seems pretty weird considering that I’ve been paid to write content for web contexts for almost a decade… but it was free, I haven’t actually studied writing/comms in a formal setting, and I am an ultimate nerd. (And yep, I passed.)

I  stumbled upon the course from a careers blog, and it definitely had immediate takeaways that I could apply to my current job in digital advertising. A lot of what I know about writing for online environments has been largely through experimenting, accidentally learning things on the go and seeing how other writers play with words (both good and bad). While I don’t think there was anything revolutionary in the course, it was a great way to turn my random hunches about web writing into a neat little list of best practices.

In terms of takeaways specific to music:

  • The end user and channel is pretty important, which is why a press release doesn’t need to be the same as a band bio. And should rarely be the same as social media content.
  • Context of use is often overlooked. Some of our festival clients have horrendous sites that make it hard for mobile users to purchase a ticket (i.e. try filling out 40 fields with an iPhone keyboard) even though most of their traffic is via mobile devices. Or I often see other advertisers push iTunes links to my Android device.
  • Copy needs to be relevant to the audience that is getting it. Half the time I get advertising for bands that I don’t follow with extremely basic copy (e.g. “NAME-OF-BAND-I’VE-NEVER-HEARD-OF’s new album out now on iTunes.”). This doesn’t sell the product to me because I have no idea what you’re about and there’s no story to entice me.
  • Consistency across channels is pretty important. I think many music brands (e.g. festivals, bands, labels) are great at being consistent across one channel (e.g. just Facebook, just Instagram, just their blog) but not so much between channels (i.e. is the tone of voice the same between their EDM, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Triple J Unearthed profile?). Big brands have style guides and a developed TOV, but most music brands don’t because the content is much more organic and/or channels may be split up between band members.

There was also a heap of content more focused around blogs and websites too, so here’s the course in case any of you want to ride nerdy with me.

What Job Am I Best Suited To?

June 30, 2016

I don’t know why, but I enjoy taking quizzes. Maybe it’s because I was once a teenage girl with a Dolly Magazine subscription. Or perhaps it’s grown from years of doing psychological tests as part of my Psych degree. Or maybe I just have weird hobbies. (Not poorly designed Buzzfeed tests that aren’t set up for response bias, bullshit or OTT Twilight-fandom-ness, mind you.)

Either way, I recently took a TIME Magazine quiz on finding the best job for your personality. Yes, TIME Magazine is slowly turning into Buzzfeed. Never mind, moving along.

The quiz used questions from an American university professor designed to measure six personality traits (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional) and match those to personality types that are known to suit certain jobs. I also chucked in my preferred/realistic income bracket, age, gender and university education. My ideal job? According to the folks at TIME:

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Yes, a broadcast news analyst. I scored extremely low on ‘Realistic’ (e.g. moving things, manual labour, getting up and doing shit) and ‘Conventional’, moderate to increasingly high on ‘Investigative’, ‘Enterprising’, ‘Social’ and ‘Artistic’ respectively.

Interestingly my other top matches were: industrial/organizational psychologist, and poet/lyricist/creative writer. Interesting to me because I studied psychology at uni, and was into creative writing in a huge way when I was younger.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.37.46 pmScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.37.17 pmSo how does my current job’s supposed personality requirements compare to my self-reported scores in these areas?

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Apparently much too investigative, artistic and social, but not enterprising or conventional enough… Let’s just say that I really do love looking at campaign and audience data to find consumer patterns, A/B testing with weird copy I write and sending GIFs to my clients, but not good at hustling and getting new contracts… which is why I work at an agency so I don’t have to do that. 😎😎😎

Segue – did you also take the TIME Magazine quiz, but got Advertising and Promotions Manager as your top employment pick? Bolster Digital (them people who pay me) is actually on the hunt for some new staff in Sydney and Melbourne. Job listings here. We don’t have high turnover. We just have lots of clients and work.

50 Months Later

April 13, 2016

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Huzzah! I made it a goal in March 2012 to blog at least once a month… And here we are, 50 months and 260 blog posts later. I set myself this goal because I’ve always subscribed to the SHOW, DON’T TELL school of thought. I can’t put down blogging as a skill, or list my experience with WordPress, or claim to be a ‘digital native’ without some proof.

I have been blogging at least once a month about things that interest me around the music industry, updates with my career, happenings with my band, nerd-outs over technology, examples of my freelance photography work and other ramblings for over fifty months now. A big cheers to the random 100 people who actually check back here each month. Good to know that people other than my parents think I do interesting things to earn my keep.

New role as Label Manager @ Shock

July 21, 2014

Announcement time! I started my new job as Label Manager at Shock Records a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t be more stoked.

While I’ve never had the exact job role as label manager, I feel like this position will be perfect for my experience and skills (both within the music industry, and outside). It’ll give me a chance to blend my love and passion for finding new music (Paper-Deer) with my skills in writing (pretty much every job I’ve held over the past few years, but I guess mostly Beat Magazine/Furst Media & Paper-Deer), marketing & promotions (Get Glossy, Paper-Deer, Valleyarm), client management (Get Glossy) and the nitty gritty of getting releases out (Valleyarm). As Label Manager, I’ll be working closely with Label Director Mick Tarbuk, and National Publicity & Promotions Manager Georgina Thompson.

P.S. As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ll unfortunately stop actively pushing Miasto Creative as a result of this. I do love photography though, so I’ll definitely do a few weekend photoshoots here and there for fun, but mostly for fashion. (Which I think translates to mostly Two Halves shoots – damnit, I love those two girls.)

P.P.S. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m listening to, check my Twitter feed or Spotify (but please excuse any guilty pleasures that may come up, ahem, like, Milkshake by Kelis). Below is my surf rock/indie/grunge ‘lite’ playlist if you’re too lazy to click about.

Want my old job?!

July 3, 2014

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have a new job (huzzah) so my current contractor position is up for grabs.

If you’re a gun at copywriting, can tell the difference between a ‘twit’ and a ‘tweet’, and know your way around MailChimp… this might be for you. Main responsibilities are updating the various blogs, managing the social media channels and delivering monthly EDMs. Brownie points for photography skills/gear, graphic design know-how, video editing experience and events management.

Position description and application information here. Good luck!

P.S. If you want the inside goss, let me tell you this: the team are lovely, the office is gorgeous and in the city, and the job itself is actually really interesting.

Hey world! Meet MIASTO.

June 7, 2014

Here’s something entirely exciting but completely scary to reveal…

I’VE STARTED A NEW BUSINESS.

It’s called MIASTO, and it’s my baby. I’ve been working on MIASTO for 7 months now, with a mentor and a collection of incredibly supportive friends in the industry. I’ve worked harder on this than anything else in my life (except maybe Paper-Deer but this is only the beginning).

Here’s the 411. It’s a one-stop shop for musicians to get their band biography and press shots sorted in the most pain-free way. It’s affordable and the turnaround will be super quick.

I’ve noticed that so many bands (especially new bands) struggle with these two things. Getting their social media profiles set up right is so important. The web is usually the first point of contact with other bands, venue bookers, promoters, music journos and the wider public. Poorly written band blurbs and dodgy press shots say a lot about a band, and not in a good way.

MIASTO is a chance for me to use my photography, writing and marketing skills, and bundle them into an affordable package for bands. Artists pick a package to suit their budget and needs. We find a date and a couple simple locations. I ask them about their story, we take some pics, and I then I get to work. A few days later, I’ll send through a whole package of assets that they can use for their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, press kits, whatever.

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This also fits in so well with my life right now. I’m only doing freelance and contract work, and definitely have time to do more. Musicians are my favourite people on this planet and I love supporting the arts. I’m also sick of having to write price quotes. ;)

Consider this the softest of soft launches. My slogan for MIASTO is festina lente (Google it), and I have been and I’m going to continue working on the whole business as a whole and this site. Hell, I haven’t even designed a logo for MIASTO yet because I’m waiting to see how it plays out. I want design the perfect logo. I’ve also been testing the waters to see if social media services should be included, but so far the answer has been a resounding ‘no’ (too much effort for little money, too many people out there pretending to be ‘social media mavens’).

Check out MIASTO here, and holler if you want my services or have feedback of any kind!

 

Shiny new resume

May 16, 2014

Hey folks! Since I’ve changed up the look of my website, I’ve given my resume a bit of a refresh too. The resume page on this site is still here, but you can also download it as a handy PDF in case you work in the Dr. Martens HR department and want to hire me.

In terms of my job situation, still working as a contractor for Collabforge in the city. Most of what I do is related to marketing, editing and strategy but I’ll hopefully get a chance to get more time to do writing for them soon.

 

* Dream job = doing social media and brand cross promotion for Dr. Martens in Australia. Just so you know.

 

My life for the next few months

March 31, 2014

I’ve been contracted to Collabforge as a Content & Community Manager since October. It was a three-month contract to begin with, but was extended to continue my work on this federal government project… until it came to a temporary close today.

C&CM is a bit of a mouthful… I essentially spent my time writing and curating content for the site’s blog (some under my moniker, others without my name) related to the economy, public policy, innovation, collaboration, business and technology. Here’s some content to sink your teeth into:

Other tasks that fell under my role also included Google Analytics reporting, social media management, online community building, running events, creating EDMs, and some light photography and design work.

The project is on pause for the moment, and it’s a pity because I learnt some interesting/nerdy things. It was such a change from consumer brand marketing. I’ve been lucky enough that Collabforge will still be contracting me for a few days a week doing other writing and marketing, but in the mean time I’m up for some freelance fun times.

Hit me up here if you need a writer on your side! Girl’s gotta pay rent.

Moving Places

March 8, 2014

Literally.

I’ve been freelancing/contracting/not-sure-what-the-legal-term as a writer for Collabforge for the past few months, and the team is moving from Carlton to the Melbourne CBD! I’ll be working out of Hub Melbourne on Bourke Street, right near Southern Cross Station. I love being directly opposite of Carlton Gardens, but also really looking forward to working being in the city again.

Goodbye, money! Hellooo, yummy take-out lunches!

Productivity, post-it notes and fruit salad

March 2, 2014

As a freelancer with my fingers in a million yummy pies, I always have a million things to do. On top of that, I’m currently freelancing at a firm where I have a gazillion tasks. These are are all quite varied (and require different mental spaces) and need to be constantly re-prioritised. Queue in: productivity hacks.

I’ve been pulling lots of inspiration from Lifehacker’s ‘How I work‘ series. They ask professionals the same bunch of questions (e.g. “Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?” “What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?”) with some pretty surprising answers popping up.

In particular, I like Maria Sebregondi’s interview because I love Moleskine and agree that paper is sometimes best. Charles Duhigg’s answers also make for an interesting read. Some of his thoughts are downrighthostile (case in point: “There is a dude a few seats away from me who speaks very loudly. I listen to him. Not happily.”) but honest at the same time. It’s fascinating to see someone who deliberately removes all art and beauty from his workspace so that his work is the single most stimulating thing in his environment. Strange to me because I’m obsessed with tchotchkes and find them inspirational rather than distracting.

New productivity gadgets come and go for me, but—like Maria—I prefer plain paper for my goal making. I’ve been doing this for years at various workplaces because there’s something so satisfying about scratching out a task with a big, fat permanent market. I tend to call them ‘fruit salad’ because I list my ‘low hanging fruit’ (easy goals that I can achieve within an hour). And I only ever write the three tasks I’m working on for the next chunk of my time so stay I stay focused. It’s harder to avoid a task if there are only two other tasks you can procrastinate with! If you’re wondering how I get away with only ‘low hanging fruits), it’s because I split up bigger tasks into tinier ones so they are less frightening.

And then I draw some fruit because why the hell not.

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