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August 16, 2016 Holly Hunt

Unlike riding a bike most activities, when stopped for a while, will result in the diminishment of skill. If a ballerina stops dancing for a year, she’ll find it a little harder to pirouette the next time she attempts it, just as a gym junkie may find it difficult to run as fast after busting a hamstring. Though hardly spoken of, the same can be said about creativity.

If like me you’ve had many about of writers block, you’ll most often find that it occurs when you’ve not being doing it routinely. The brain reacts like a muscle would, hence why it seemed so much easier to write a thesis in high school. By routinely flexing your creativity you are more likely to produce better results.

The event ‘Exercising your creative fitness’ was hosted by Dominique Falla, a Brisbane based speaker, author and tactile typographer. Easily captivating the audience, Dominque started her presentation on the importance of exercising the creative muscle and how creative fitness is not only just useful for artists and stereotypically ‘artistic’ types, but people of all professions. Based on her book ‘How to boost your creative fitness in 20 minutes’, Dominique touched on some of the main themes of her novel.

Most common excuses used about creativity (Yes, excuses!)

I don’t have time to be creative

Oh pish posh! Dominque Falla happily put on her sassy hat for this one. Time is simply a matter of sorting priorities. For instance, despite having a very heavy schedule most people will take a moment to kick-start their day with a coffee or alternatively, hit up the gym. These activities are justified as they are seen as necessities i.e. ‘I can’t start my day without caffeine’ or ‘physical activity is good for me.’

Vastly underappreciated, flexing your creativity and exercising your brain is just as important, especially if your job requires an imaginative mind. By taking a small part of your day to be creative or even combining activities to save time i.e. reading a few chapters with your Latte, you can slowly improve your creative flow.

I’m just not all that creative

All children are creative; it is only when we grow older that we seem to ‘lose it.’ In reality we are simply just not exercising it as much anymore. Though it’s probably best not to start pretending to be a horse again, (though whatever floats your boat) utilising that sense of artistic freedom can be paramount to your creative success. It is only when we limit ourselves that we do not and cannot progress. To put it bluntly, using this reason is merely an excuse to avoid ‘brain strain’ something of which can start to gradually ease if time is taken each day to train the creative muscle.

My sister is the creative one

Creativity isn’t patented- just because you know of, or have someone close to you who is artistic doesn’t mean you can’t be too. Though it may be daunting to take up the Cello if your sibling is the next Yo-Yo Ma, there are a plethora of creative activities you can take up that are widely diverse- painting, writing, scrapbooking…writing a blog about airports of the world (Yes, that’s really a thing) the possibilities are endless. By avoiding certain activities, especially such a broad spectrum that is ‘creativity’, you are only limiting yourself. Your life is not an American sit-com- you don’t need to act and behave in a way that is the polar opposite to your sibling.

I feel selfish when I’m being creative

A good point Dominique raised was the double standard involved with the prospect of creative recreation as opposed to the readied acceptance of daily exercise. Putting it in perspective, is it truly selfish if what you are doing is not at the detriment of someone else? By regularly employing various brain exercises one can slowly cultivate their mind set and improve their creative flow, kind of like brain training. This will not only improve your life but the quality of your work as well which is something everyone can benefit from. Now how is that selfish?

To check out more of Dominique’s work see her website here: http://www.dominiquefalla.com/ and join the Women Digital mailing list HERE to stay tuned for upcoming events like this one!

 



June 9, 2016 Holly Hunt

Vanessa Wong, Native Manager @Society Social recently spoke to a room of enthralled Women in Digital Melbourne members to talk about the future of Social Media, life as a Native Manager and how aspiring bloggers and content creators can build a career! Alex Hobbs, WID PR Assistant sat down with her to gain a few more insights that we could share with our members around the world.

A. Describe a day in the life of a Native Manager: 

V. Working in a social media-led agency such as Society makes for very interesting days as there is always something new and interesting to learn!

I have to consume a lot of content for work so I always start the day listening to podcasts. My favourite podcasts are Mamamia Out Loud, New York Times’ Modern Love and PNR This Old Marketing. When I get to my desk, I do the usual email and to-do list scans but then I pop onto Facebook to watch my daily Tasty video and be up to date with everyone. I am really passionate about content so it doesn’t take much effort for me to read, watch, and listen.

On Mondays, my little Melbourne team of three do a quick team meeting to look at the week ahead, set priorities and assess where we might need support from each other. We are constantly working on a number of live projects ranging from large partnerships with publishers such as Mamamia, Buzzfeed and Broadsheet to hyper-targeted word-of-mouth campaigns with brand advocates.

My weeks are usually packed with meeting different suppliers, listening to webinars, attending conferences and of course, having long lunches & drinks!

There is never a dull day!

A. What are the main challenges in native content?

V. Being the newest kid on the Digital block, the biggest challenge is defining success metrics. Much like content marketing, native content’s older brother, it is easy to simply measure performance based on a cost-per-lead/acquisition, and then brush native content off as a lot of work for very little result.

However, the power of native is the ability to influence perceptions and articulate complicated key messages. Our campaigns are seeing average dwell times of over two minutes and how else can this be possible? This is at least two minutes where a consumer is fully engaged and immersed with your brand.

The channel sit on a much higher position within the sales funnel and once we get over this speed bump, clients are usually really quick to come around and really, the results speak for themselves!

A. Would you agree that content based advertising is increasing in demand? Do you believe this is due to higher engagement then a force fed approach?

V. Beyond higher engagement, content-based advertising demonstrates a brand’s commitment to understanding their target audience and I think this is one of the main building blocks of success.

Also, very simply, content works! Recently, Stockholm School of Economics proved the efficacy of content marketing scientifically and Sharethrough also have a great infographic on the neuroscience behind native ads.

A. How do you go about analyzing a target group to serve them the most relevant content? 

V. We work very closely with our content producers (whether they are bloggers or publishers) to identify topics which would resonate with their readers. They know their readers best and authenticity is key with all our campaigns.

A. Do you see native ads becoming the future in digital content? 

V. People don’t want interruptive and frankly, annoying ads anymore. Ads which are highly targeted and provides value is definitely the future.

A. Do you find clients are hesitant of using bloggers/influencers in their business solutions due to the very opinionated and two way channel this platform encourages? 

V. Social has always been a two-way channel, whether it’s with bloggers or with Facebook. These channels usually self-regulate quite quickly. For sensitive campaigns, the key is to have a solid crisis management plan and experienced community manager.

A. How often would you recommend a blog needs to be updated to keep audiences engaged but not offended?

V. It would depend on what you are prepared to commit to. Whether it is fortnightly, weekly or even daily, once you have a content calendar mapped out, it is essential to stick to it.

A. What would your top 3 tips be for beginner bloggers/ online content creators? 

V. Know your niche and establish yourself as an expert, build trust by being authentic, and keep it up!

A. Throughout your career have you ever officially or unofficially had a mentor? If so how was this experience for you both personally and professionally? 

V. I have been really lucky to have been mentored both unofficially and officially and I definitely wouldn’t have grown as much as I have over the past year if not for my mentor. She consistently pushes me outside my comfort zone, is always a great listening ear and strongly believes in me.

A, Do you believe groups such as Women In Digital assist in more developing more confident, current and cross platform digital solutions? 

V. Women In Digital definitely empowers women to learn more in a fast changing landscape!

 A. Thank you Vanessa! If you are interested in learning more about Society Social check out www.societysocial.com.au  

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