Video: The Future of Digital Publishing

Video - The Future Of Digital Publishing

When speaking at last year’s Ubud Writers Festival in Bali, I was interviewed by Shalini Gidoomal from Smart Monkey TV, an African video channel that broadcasts from the crossroads between culture and technology.

In this newly-released clip, I talk about the future of digital publishing from the perspective of an independent publisher, and how the changing nature of distribution  platforms has already led to a fundamental change in the way in which many writers think about narrative.  Naturally, the talk also revolves around The Nest’s digital publishing arm, Branches, and there’s reference to our award-winning app, Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the changing nature of publishing and narrative, I heartily recommend the excellent blogs, The Literary Platform and Digireado.

Ten things learned from Remix Sydney, and why giant inflatable swans are a thing.

remix-sydney

Last week, Carriageworks played home to the Remix Sydney summit – the inaugural visit down under for the London-based Culture Label event that will also soon be touching down in New York, UAE and Hong Kong.  Investigating the fusion between culture, technology and entrepreneurship, I heard it described as a “TEDx for the arts” – whilst not a wholly accurate representation, it nonetheless gives you an indication of the ambition and the strategy.

There are certainly a number of elements that need to be re-calibrated for the future, but that said, there was still a great deal to takeaway.  This list of dot points isn’t at all comprehensive – rather this simply a few of cited endeavours that I felt were worth bookmarking.

Continue reading…

Starting your own design business? Here’s ten ways to avoid total disaster

perfectmomenttostart

The Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) recently asked me to speak at their event titled “Out On Your Own”, featuring a stand-up collection of diverse minds, woven together by virtue of the fact that they had started their own business in one form or another.  From brand new start-ups via current, solid state agencies to industry veterans (and borderline legends), the attendant crowd of future business owners certainly got their dollars worth of advice and expertise. 

In trying to assemble my own thoughts  into something that could be broadly termed coherent, I followed the tried and tested path of preparing a list of wisdom-nuggets; some obvious, perhaps some less so.  Many were learned from starting up The Nest four years ago, some from being part of the startup crew of Sydney indie media organisation FBi, and a couple from my stint as Executive Producer of the first Creative Sydney festival (now known as Vivid Ideas).

If you’re considering stepping out from behind the PAYG-wall and starting your own design business, hopefully a few of these notes will help you on the path.  I just wish someone had forced me to ask the same questions a long time ago – I might have saved myself a great deal of pain, a truckload of money and probably saved a couple of friendships along the way.

Continue reading…

Talk: Out On Your Own

AGDA Out On Your Own

I’ve been invited to talk at an upcoming event for AGDA – Australian Graphic Design Association – the peak national organization representing the Australian graphic design industry.

For an evening session titled “Out On Your Own“, I’ve been asked to cast my mind back and revisit about all of the things that professional guides, handbooks and manuals don’t tell you when setting up your own business. Certainly, if I were to do it all again (and, who knows, maybe one day I will), there are many rookie mistakes I would be careful to avoid and pitfalls that I would – presumably, with the dexterity of a gazelle – elegantly dance around.  If you want me to be much less prosaic, you’ll need to come along. Info below, and a write-up to follow sometime thereafter.

Continue reading…

Talk: The Cult Of The Now

The Cult Of The Now

On April 10th 2014, I’ll be giving a free talk at deFrost* in Surry Hills, Sydney, titled “The Cult Of The Now“.  The talk pulls together many disparate strands that have either informed daily discussions at The Nest, or drawn from questions raised by clients about the impact of their own efforts, as well as global trends around notions of information relevancy and overload.  I’ll be looking at ways in which we can help ourselves and help our audiences at the same time, by rethinking the importance of now and rewiring our entire approach to digital marketing.

10th April 2014, 6pm for 6:30pm start
Frost* Design, Lv.1/15 Foster Street Surry Hills, Sydney
Free, RSVP at Eventbrite

Continue reading…

The decline in Facebook reach is worse than you think

Pristina by Marco Fieber/Ostblog.org

Earlier this year, in a post titled ‘What do Facebook’s news feed changes mean for the future of Pages?’ I noted a clear shift in the way the social media network promotes content from Pages into the average user’s news feed. That is, it seemed that the free organic reach of the past would soon be on its way out, and only through paying for Promoted Posts would we see the same kind of reach in the future.

Unfortunately, it seems that the potential disaster scenario wasn’t a long time coming, and what was once a hypothesis is now an unfortunate truth. Under the banner ‘Brands’ Organic Facebook Reach Has Crashed’, Advertising Age this month carries a report from Social@Ogilvy, interrogating over 100 popular brand pages. They found that the average organic reach of posts had halved in the four-month period from October to February, dropping from 12.05% to 6.15%.

Continue reading…

A Beginners Guide To Mobile Optimisation

Mobile Phone user looking at Google Maps

Last month, I presented a webinar on the subject of mobile optimisation for 30+ arts organisations via Creative New Zealand.  In this post, I’ve shared some of the key points and findings from the webinar, designed to be a primer for those starting out on the path of ‘mobilsing’ their web site.

During 2014 many arts organisations will have their ‘mobile moment’ – when visits to their website from mobiles and tablets will, for the first time, out-strip visits from a desktop.

For many forward-thinking organisations with a considered mobile strategy, this has already happened – for others, it’s clear that a mobile optimised website is now absolutely critical, given that potentially half of your audience (or more) will be accessing your site on a mobile device in the year ahead.

Continue reading…

On ‘growth hacking’ – and what it means for the future of marketing

hacks-by-katie-spence

Growth hacking’ is a term synonymous with startups, predominantly within the tech world.  In its most basic translation, ‘growth hacking’ refers to way in which entrepreneurial marketers find ways to hack a product or service to ensure that it has the best possible chance of growth.

For mature organisations, growth is often either slow and steady, or has flatlined.  For start-ups, that kind of velocity is out of the question – growth has to be lightning fast.  If you don’t grow quickly and grab attention, there’s likely to be someone next door who will overtake you with a similar idea.

Startups are in a unique position where the physical product is either in its infancy (sometimes just at blueprint stage), or – more likely – they have no physical product at all. Growth hacking as a concept was championed by companies such as Hotmail, Twitter and LinkedIn and – companies that could continually alter their product in order to make it grow faster.  Growth is built into the DNA of the service itself – it is a feature, not an afterthought.

Continue reading…

Virtual Audiences – trends in digital engagement with the arts

TheNest-dayii-hi-res-24

Later this month, I’ll be chairing a discussion on Virtual Audiences – trends in digital engagement with the arts, the latest in the monthly series of talks hosted by SAMAG (Sydney Arts Management Advisory Group).

The panel session will look at ways in which digital channels are being used as a platform for audience engagement and experience, and will discuss how such channels are currently understood and utilised within arts organisations.

Joining me on the panel will be Alex Cameron-Fraser, Public Relations Manager, Australian Chamber Orchestra; Michael Parry, Director Public Engagement, Powerhouse Museum and Gabby Shaw, Digital Media Manager, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia.

Continue reading…

What do Facebook’s news feed changes mean for the future of Pages?

Facebook and after?

Last month Facebook once again changed the way it ranked content in the News Feed, leading to – in some cases – a spectacular drop off rate in the number of people reading Page content.  In one study, drop off was seen as high as 85%, averaging 45% across 700 Pages.

(For an introduction to Facebook’s ranking process, read “Spring Clean Your Facebook Home – Getting to grips with News Feed & Edgerank”)

Facebook readily admits that the changes will have a detrimental affect on Pages, noting in a recent post that “because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, Pages will likely see changes in distribution. For many Pages, this includes a decline in organic reach. We expect this trend to continue as the competition for each story remains strong and we focus on quality.”

Last week, they added more fuel to the fire: “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types”.

Veratisium’s viral video titled the ‘Problem With Facebook’ has amassed nearly 750,000 views in the last week, wherein curator Derek Muller is clearly irked by the fact that he has a following 118,000 fans, but on average only 9,000 sees his Facebook posts.  He does also note that there are 4.75 billion updates of one type or another posted on the network per day, or as Facebook puts more succinctly, at any time “when someone visits News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible stories we can show”.  Clearly, something has got to give.

Continue reading…