There are few organizations in the world that can claim more expertise when it comes to storytelling than Pixar. The Disney-owned animation studio is known for its ability to consistently create world-class movies with gripping narrative alongside stunning visuals. Now, Pixar is helping others learn the secrets of great storytelling – for free, in partnership with online education provider Khan Academy.
The two have teamed up to create “Pixar In A Box,” and in this third instalment of the series, lessons are sourced from Pixar directors and story artists including Inside Out and Up director Pete Docter, Brave director Mark Andrews, Inside Out story artist Domee Shi, and Ratatouille animator Sanjay Patel.
Buffer is a smarter way to post your content to social media. It's like the Swiss Army Knife of social media tools and can really help with streamlining your social media syndication efforts.
Buffer lets you connect all of your social media profiles into one central hub. From there you can schedule content to all of your social media assets with just a few clicks. What sets Buffer apart is its post analytics, which helps you dish out content to your audience at just the right time.
Using Buffer to streamline your social media publishing saves time and eliminates any headaches from juggling multiple social media profiles. This gives you more time to focus on creating quality content, and less time scheduling it.
Almighty.Press is a content-discovery tool that goes well beyond measuring basic engagement metrics such as likes, tweets and share counts. The intuitive platform connects you with a real-time filterable news feed of trending content from around the globe.
The virality of the content is measured using its Almighty Force algorithm . This allows brands to track trending content before it becomes saturated. The end result is viral content topics that arrive ahead of your competitors'.
Using Almighty.Press to identify, track, and publish trending topics before they are saturated will give your content the edge to conquer engagement algorithms employed by many social networks.
SumoMe offers an array of solutions to help grow your audience and improve the reach of your content. Most notably, SumoMe provides a list-building tool with an exit intent feature which tracks a user's mouse movement to identify when that user intends to leave your website. This can be used to trigger a pop-up message with related posts, an email opt-in form or a custom special offer.
Brands can improve conversion rates on any page with full-screen calls to action that slide down from the top of the view port after the page content has loaded, encourage email opt-ins and promote the brands' most recent blog post or product.
Additionally, SumoMe provides responsive share-button solutions that complement your website. Handy analytics and A/B testing for your share-button placements are baked into the app. These features work to maximize your on-page social engagement.
Using SumoMe tools can help increase the frequency with which your content gets shared across social media platforms. Having more shares and more email opt-ins is always a good thing.
Ninja Outreach makes finding influencers easy. Simply enter a keyword to discover thousands of business leads, social media influencers and niche bloggers. Ninja Outreach provides data and contact details for over 25 million contacts.
Ninja Outreach also provides a platform to find, contact and manage influencers. With this data, brands can select a pool of influencers and create outreach email templates directly from their dashboards. This makes it easy to find leaders in any niche. From there it is easy to track email opens, clicks and replies.
Using Ninja Outreach to find influencers will save you a significant amount of time and establish connections with people who can significantly increase your content's reach.
Email is an effective way to build customer relationships. SendGrid 's platform allows for integration with almost any website, giving you the power to reach all your subscribers. SendGrid makes it easy to create email funnels that can be A/B tested right down to the last detail, allowing you insights into what is working and what isn't.
Use SendGrid in conjunction with SumoMe to create winning email capture forms that are complemented by well-timed emails for maximum engagement with your audience.
Taking time to set up and test your email campaigns can yield fantastic results for almost any content marketing effort. Once set up, SendGrid will streamline your email outreach , allowing you time to focus on other aspects of your business.
Pushwoosh is a handy service for sending notifications to desktop computers, mobile devices and applications.
Any content marketer worth his/her salt will know the pain of ever-increasing punitive action from Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. In today’s fast-moving climate, it's wise to not have all your eggs in a single basket.
Finding new and reliable ways to reach your audience is one of the most important parts of a content marketer's role. Pushwoosh provides an intuitive desktop and in-app notification system that reaches 100 percent of your subscribers by notifying them directly via their phone or web browser.
Need to address only Spanish-speaking users who made a purchase last year? Customers who recently spent more than $1,000? Easy as breathing! Use tags and filters along with other segmentation features to tailor a personal push message that will find its user in the right place, at the right time.
You can link your sites' RSS feed directly to Pushwoosh , and they will automatically send out notifications to your subscribers when you publish new content. Pushwoosh can also be connected to Almighty.Press, giving you the ability to find fresh, relevant content and syndicate it with your audience.
What's even better about all of these tools? They can be used in combination to increase your brand engagement.
You can identify content with viral potential using Almighty.Press, then automatically queue the content for social media syndication using Buffer. Once users visit your site, you can use SumoMe to increase the chances of a social share or email opt-in.
In addition, use SendGrid and Pushwoosh to keep your audience updated with the latest content. Ninja Outreach can find you those ever-important influencers to help get your content in front of the people that matter most to your business.
Use just some of these tools and your content-marketing efforts are almost certain to produce better results than they did last time out. Better yet, why not use them all in one turbocharged work flow?
Video is the new king! It’s something we at Crown Media Studio have been saying for some time – and the reality is that your content marketing will need to embrace video wholeheartedly if you’re going to keep pace with the competition in 2017 .
It’s estimated that over half of all internet video traffic will be content delivery traffic by 2019 . Video is the new channel of choice, with consumers and business buyers preferring the immediacy, the visual impact and simplicity of watching video content. They want real personalities, delivering helpful, practical advice – advice that helps them solve their issues and attain their life goals. And, increasingly, the millennial generation can sniff out ‘old-school marketing’ in an instant – and will avoid it like the plague, as a result – making the need for a new marketing approach even more imperative as your client base becomes younger and more digital-savvy .
Video as the dominant and fastest channel
Video is fast becoming the dominant viewing platform for the 21st century . And that’s not just down to video being used as a pure content medium. Video is a channel where you easily document the life of your business, share what’s happening in your niche sectors and get your own professional opinions on topical business issues out there in the real world.
75% of executives watch at least one work-related video every week , according to research by Hubspot. So there’s a huge potential audience out there for your videos. Business owners and decision-makers want information fast, with advice that helps them understand and resolve their financial, business and strategic issues.
If you can develop yourself as video-based thought leader in your chosen niches, it will have a huge impact on the brand profile of the firm as a whole.
So if you’ve never considered video as a channel for your content marketing, 2017 is definitely the time to reassess the benefits of visual marketing, and to take some proactive steps to get you and your firm in the spotlight… it’s time for lights, cameras and ACTION!
Combining video and social media for maximum impact
As internet speeds and mobile usage has soared, so has consumption of video content on social media. Facebook , for example, has an average of 8 billion video views every day . That’s a staggering number of views and this increase in video views is mirrored across the other main social sites, such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat etc.
Using social networks effectively is a brilliant way to expand the reach of your video content and connect with a far wider audience through retweets, reshares and organic search. Studies have shown that using video content on Facebook will double your organic reach , making video not just a brand exercise, but a very real way to increase your online presence and potential leads .
YouTube is another channel to work into your video strategy. You may think of it as just a video-sharing site, but in fact. it’s the second most popular search engine in the world, after Google. It’s the go-to destination when you need a visual explanation to a pressing problem.
People love the ‘explainer video’ that gives them the step-by-step guide they need for everything from learning the guitar to fitting their new baby’s car seat – and that’s just as relevant to B2B advice and content too. When business owners go looking for an expert, they’re likely to search your YouTube channel just as closely as your blog, your LinkedIn profile or your website services pages.
Vlogging and getting more personal
Vlogging (recording a video blog and sharing it with your followers) has become an incredibly popular way to share your opinions, ideas and advice with your chosen audience. It’s a highly effective way to present a more personal, more human face to clients and prospects – and as we’ve said before, getting real with your clients is a game-changer when it comes to building valued working relationships.
Rather than writing a thought leadership blog, or writing yet another PDF guide to small business accounting, why not sit down and record a piece to camera? It does require a certain amount of presentation skill (not to mention some confidence in your chosen topic), but it’s a fast, efficient way to capture your thoughts and get a conversation going.
Some key things to consider when vlogging include:
Gavin Bell is a Facebook Ad expert who works with some of our clients. He’s recently started a vlog series which is a great example of where to start, and the progress you can make as you get more comfortable with video. Take a look at Gavin’s first vlog for some inspiration.
We also have a list of video equipment which will help you get started.
Work video into your content strategy
As with all content marketing, your results and return-on-investment from video content will be far greater when you work it into a proper long-term content plan.
Incorporate video into your annual content plan alongside written blogs, regular social media posts and ongoing updates to your web content. Mix it up with rough-and-ready vlogs, live Facebook videos of events you run and high-production value video content to introduce you and the team on your website.
With this broad content palette,
you’ll keep engagement high, SEO looking good and will give your video
content the reach it needs to have a real and meaningful impact over
For most of us, selling a used car generally involves placing an advert on a popular website or in the classifieds section of a local newspaper. But when it came to selling his old SUV, Eugene Romanovsky decided to take things to a whole new level by creating the most spectacular advertisement for his 1996 Suzuki Vitara.
Employing his skills as a visual effects artist, the Israel-based Latvian made an epic 2-minute video showcasing everything that his trusty car can (and cannot) do. From driving underwater to visiting outer space and even cruising alongside dinosaurs and featuring in Mad Mad: Fury Road, it’s really not surprising to learn that his video has been viewed over 2 million times since he recently uploaded it to YouTube. See for yourself below. Don’t forget the popcorn!
If you want to know how to make ads so engaging people forget they're watching an ad at all, take a page out of Dollar Beard Club's marketing book .
In 15 months, this bearded troupe of well-groomed entrepreneurs has racked up 130M video views. Who knew the "beard care" industry could be so engaging?
Despite the fact their videos (you've seen them) are a blend between short comedy skits and an ode to the love of beards (reminiscent of Old Spice commercials, known for their wacky, off-tempo humor and pop culture references), they certainly get the job done. The company has done an astounding job at getting people to pay attention oh so simple: beard care.
Dollar Beard Club is a membership style company (starting at $1 a month) that provides products to their loyal members that facilitate proper beard care. These include the Fundamentals, Essentials, Accessories, and Necessities for keeping a well groomed and healthy maintenance, growth, and style.
To capitalize on November's prized "Beard Month"--where men everywhere decide to either grow mustaches for Movember, or a full forest beard for No Shave November (to benefit charity)--Dollar Beard Club has recruited an arsenal of social media influencers to start what will no doubt be a storm of engagement.
The stars of the video entitled "The Truth About Beards" include:
Be sure to take note of the storytelling in the video. If you are looking to build your brand online using video, Dollar Beard Club is a perfect case study to take a look at.
Animation Libation Studios and Animation Magazine will once again present The World Animation Celebration in 2017. Hosted by Sony Pictures Animation, the international animated short film festival will take place September 30 and October 1 at the studio, located in Culver City, California.
The two-day event will showcase the best in traditional, CG, digital, stop-motion, experimental and VR animation from fllmmakers and students around the world, which will be reviewed by a panel of world-class professional judges. In addition to the film program, attendees will be able to take in industry panels, guest speakers and artist demos, meet with recruiters and school representatives, and participate in portfolio reviews.
Film submission and early bird registration information will be announced soon.
Animation Magazine , now celebrating its 30th anniversary year, is the oldest publication promoting the business, art and technology of animation worldwide throught its print and digital magazine, website, daily newsletter, job board and events.
Animation Libation Studio is a global animation studio and gateway between higher education and the industry that makes it possible for newly emerging artists to work together with seasoned industry professionals from around the world to create original content for film, television, and the web.
A world leading animation and family entertainment production company, Sony Pictures Animation is following its record-breaking Hotel Transylvania monster comedies and mouth- watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs worldwide hits with the fully animated reboot Smurfs: The Lost Village in April 2017; The Emoji Movie , a surprising and comic take at the secret world inside our phones, in August 2017; the inspirational feature The Star in November 2017; Hotel Transylvania 3 in July 2018; and an animated Spider-Man feature from the minds of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord in December 2018. The studio’s recent home entertainment releases Open Season: Scared Silly and Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania are currently available on DVD and digital. Sony Pictures Animation is a division of the Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group.
A web developer can be one of your most critical hires. After all, that's the person who will create the online face of your company and enable you to interact virtually with your customers.
So, it's especially important that you hire the right talent the first time out. Otherwise, you risk hurting your business, as well as wasting time and money seeking a replacement.
Here are five tips that can help in the selection process:
1. Hire for DNA first, then work experience.
When I hire web developers, their personal DNA is the most important consideration. While experience is important, the bigger predictor of success is someone's innate DNA and how it fits your company. Are drive, determination, persistence, curiosity, important to you culture? Or, are you more low-key and relaxed about time management and deadlines? Whatever characteristics make up your culture, you want to ensure that the web developer will fit in.
For example, a brilliant web developer who has worked at a large financial institution may not do well at a startup. Why? A startup typically requires traits like versatility, adaptability, risk-taking and a self-starter personality, but these may be less important at a large company.
So, make a list of your company's DNA requirements. Do you foster an environment of relentless drive? Do you want great team players? If you come up with five requirements, make sure the interviewee matches at least three. Hiring for DNA also can help you to start to define a company culture and ensure that your team will work well together.
Of course, it's easy for some people to fake it in an interview, so you may need to evaluate them in other ways to ensure they're a good fit.
2. Try out a new developer with a small project first.
Although you might think you've identified your ideal candidate, just to be sure you should give him or her a small, non-critical project. That can let you observe the person in action and provide additional information beyond the job interview.
You can see how efficient the candidate is in delivering products and how buggy the final product is. Did he or she go above and beyond to get the product delivered? How creative was the solution? How well did he or she work in a team and communicate problems and delays?
3. Pick a developer with aptitude, not a particular skill set.
In the tech space, skills become obsolete every two years, give or take. So, it's better to hire a web developer who can learn new technologies easily rather than someone who knows a specific technology now but may not adapt when a new one comes along.
The easiest way to detect whether someone will adapt well to change is to ask questions that will reveal whether a Web developer has a love for learning. For example:
4. Don't ask trivia questions about programming.
These are examples of trivia questions you want to avoid asking when interviewing web developers:
While such information may seem useful, trivia questions are often a terrible way to determine if someone is smart. They just single out people who can memorize things.
As a rule of thumb when I conduct technical interviews, I never ask questions that can be easily searched for and found online. Instead, I focus on open-ended questions and listen. What I look for is how much passion candidates show in their answers and how well they communicate and explain tech terms.
Some examples of open-ended questions:
5. Hire slow, fire fast.
Take your time when hiring, but if you realize the person isn't working out, let him or her go as fast as you can. An ineffective web developer can be disruptive to the entire team and potentially the entire project.
At Webgrrls.com, I made a significant hiring mistake a few years ago and let that person stay on for far too long. Although he was a talented lead developer, he'd sometimes disappear for days, missing important deadlines. Missing deadlines can be especially detrimental to startups where resources are tight and the ability to develop and improve products quickly and efficiently can make or break them.
The fire-fast rule may be difficult to follow in small companies where there's often a feeling of everyone being in it together and forming close friendships. But don't let that stop you.
Mohammed Ali is a website designer. He is also an amazingly confident kid! The 16-year-old recently rejected a £5 million offer for a website he designed in his bedroom! That's over Rs. 42 crores he said no to!
Ali, is responsible for having designed weneed1.com, a price comparison website, believes that it will
be worth a lot more in future.
A buyout that could have literally made him a millionaire was offered just before Christmas. The kid said, as reported by Metro ,
"We met the investors in London, they were a global data driven company, and they didn’t realise I created all the technology involved. The main reason we rejected the offer was because, if the technology and concept is worth millions already, just think how much it will be worth once people use it."
Of course, he realises the big risk he took by rejecting the offer but Ali wants his website to become a household name.
And it's not the first time the genius boy has won something big. His video game 'Project 2006' previously earned him a £30,000 reward!
His website, that Ali co-created with his 60-year-old business partner, Chris Thorpe, will launch on January 28.
Artist Fin Lee was living the not-so-glamorous freelance life, when they got the gig of a lifetime.
In fact, if you watched the 2016 Grammys, you probably saw their work. They designed and illustrated the costumes Lady Gaga's backup dancers wore during her tribute to David Bowie.
After years of struggling to catch a big break, Lee (artist name: Lostboy ), who identifies as queer and uses they/them pronouns, finally got a foot in the door.
You'd think designing costumes for Lady Gaga would be a career-changing milestone. But that's not how things went for Lee.
Lee continued to get the occasional illustrator job, but still had to work as a barista to make ends meet. Occasionally, they'd be in the running for a big, exciting gig again, only to watch as someone else got the job instead. Lee noticed a troubling and frustrating pattern to who that "someone else" often was. Though not always the same person, these artists had a few traits in common — namely, they were male, and often white, straight, and cisgender too.
"I think the way our society is — we’re used to seeing a certain type of person in a certain type of field," Lee explains.
Employers or potential employers often aren't aware they might have subconscious biases influencing their hiring process, but the data doesn't lie. This is a problem.
According to a study recently published in the American Sociological Review , white men are more than three timesas likely to get called in for a job interview than a woman with the same qualifications. And that discrimination gets exponentially worse for transgender women.
So where do you go to find work when a potential employer's subconscious biases about who you are prevents them from seeing the good work you're capable of doing?
The turning point in Lee's career came when they became an early user of a new website called Women Who Draw .
Women Who Draw is a database of artists designed to give marginalized artists visibility and a deeper sense of community in a competitive field. The website specifies that it is "trans-inclusive and includes women, trans and gender non-conforming illustrators."
Lee was brought on as a beta tester by one of the site's creators, San Francisco illustrator Wendy MacNaughton . MacNaughton, together with fellow creator and artist Julia Rothman , hoped Lee, a queer Asian artist, could offer advice on how they wanted to see the site operate.
Lee happily obliged. "It's the first of it’s kind that I’ve seen where it’s so inclusive," Lee says.
“Women [on the site] can choose how they want to identify in terms of their race, orientation, location, religion," says MacNaughton. "There are many other ways people identify, but those four seemed very relevant in terms of visibility, and useful for art directors when they’re looking for specific people who might have specific experience, expertise, or perspective."
For employers who want to hire more diverse illustrators, Women Who Draw is an incredibly helpful resource.
Heather Vaughan, an artist and art director for a gaming company, explained over email that "[Women Who Draw] actually came at a really great time. She says she was "specifically looking to find female artists to work with ... since women in games are an even smaller group."
Today, Women Who Draw features over 700 artists, with portfolios that are an incredible representation of diversity, both artistically and demographically.Gracia Lam, who is Asian-Canadian and identifies as gay, says that Women Who Draw makes it so much easier for clients to choose illustrators who can help tell "fuller, more well rounded" stories.
Similarly, Annelise Capossela, a Brooklyn-based illustrator, says that Women Who Draw helps art directors who are looking to diversify their hiring pool and make the conscious choice to search for illustrators and artists who have "uniquely personal insight into certain topics or experiences."
Shortly after Women Who Draw's public launch in December 2016, Lee got their first big editorial job.
On Christmas Day, Lee got a call from Rodrigo Honeywell, the Art Director of the travel section at the New York Times, offering Lee an opportunity to illustrate the feature image for an upcoming article.
Honeywell found Lee through Women Who Draw's database.
Lee has also seen a major uptick in visits to their website since WWD's database launched — over 600 hits on the first day alone.
Lee has come a long way in the year since the 2016 Grammys. But it was Women Who Draw that really helped them open the door to a full-time career as an artist.
Thanks to all the exposure from Women Who Draw, Lee now has a full-time job with an illustration agency that represents artists. They no longer have to serve coffee.
While that's great news for them, equal opportunities for artists like Lee may diminish under a Trump administration. There couldn't be a better time for a site like this.
"For someone who's part of a marginalized community, I feel like I'm finally being seen," Lee says.