brand marketing

How to Influence Public Perception: A Blueprint

The perception of your company and industry as a whole is the primary driver of purchase behavior for consumers. Learn how to shape those perceptions and grow your business.

Crush That Writer’s Block

As we now have a couple of weeks of the new year under our belt, we wanted to take a look back at one of our most popular blogs posts from 2017.  Sarah talks about how to deal with Writer's Block; perfect to start your year off strong!

At some point, it happens to all of us. You sit down to write, but the words just aren’t there. It happens because writers aren’t machines - even machines need an oil change and tune up once in a while. When you have a million items on your to-do list, creative time can easily fall by the wayside. It’s one of the most important aspects of a social media manager’s job.  Anyone with a deadline for journalistic or other forms of writing has likely experienced writer’s block.

Here are some handy tips and tricks to help you stay focused and keep creating awesome content daily.

1.     Write at different times. If you usually write in the afternoon, try writing in the morning or evening. The change in time may be enough to create a fresh outlook. For me, evenings are great for getting some uninterrupted work done. Tasks from the day are behind me and I can focus on jotting down content ideas, catching up on some reading or to research new trends. For the early-bird, the hours before starting your work day might be most productive. Break your habit and experiment to see what works best for you.

2.     Change of scenery. Moving around in your office can get you out of a stale mindset and allow you to gain a fresh perspective in new surroundings. Try changing up locations twice a day. When the weather cooperates, try bringing your computer or notebook outdoors. Fresh air has a way of changing your mood and outlook, which is good news for your next project!

3.     Try something different. Sometimes it’s possible to be too familiar with a topic. Agency life can mean working in the same industry, with the same clients for years. After awhile, it becomes easy to get stuck in a rut. Try looking at your topic from a different perspective and research new ideas or trends to keep it fresh and interesting to read AND write.

4.     Take a break. Short breaks are a great way to stay motivated. As research has shown, we’re actually more productive when we break up our work routine throughout the day. Barring an immediate deadline, there is usually some time to step away from your assignment and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.

5.     Crank up the tunes. Sometimes office chatter can be too much to bear. Music can provide some much-needed relief to those little conversations and “quick” meetings that can easily break your focus and concentration. If you find you have difficulty listening to music as you write, try queuing up a playlist that doesn’t have lyrics.

6.     Do the dishes. Your brain needs to relax before coming up with creative insight. Staring at your computer screen might end up being counterproductive. Try stimulating those creative muscles with routine tasks. Tidy your work space. Fold the laundry. Wash the dishes. Above all, relax.

7.     Talk it out. In order to beat your writer's block, try seeking inspiration from others around you. Bounce your ideas off friends and colleagues, or ask someone to brainstorm with you. Just having someone to talk to can often lead to creating ideas you never thought possible, helping ending your writer's block-induced creative drought.

There’s no doubt about it - writing is hard work. Don’t become a tortured genius. Experiment. Find out what works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be. Just have with it fun!

Our Top Music Licensing Sites for Video Projects of All Sizes

In an ideal world, we would all work with a musician to create a custom track that perfectly embodies the feel of each video, builds at the right moments and falls off when needed. But most projects don’t have time or budget for that. With this in mind, we have compiled our three favorite places to get stock music tracks based on the quality of the tracks and the price point. 

We know that different projects have different budgets. A 15-second social media video that will be seen for a week at best and then forgotten for eternity has a different budget than a YouTube ad that will be playing for 1,000,000 people over the course of 3 months. Because of this we selected a premium price point, a low price point and a subscription based price point that we have been particularly fond of recently. 

Keep in mind that you generally do get what you pay for. If you pay more, you are going to get a better track. But we have found that these two particular affordable options have many diamonds in the rough buried in their library. What we generally try to avoid is the stereotypical corporate whistle-clap type of tracks and while these two options have those in abundance, they also have gold.

Our Favorite High Quality Tracks: Marmoset & The Music Bed

Starting at $200/track/project, these are the priciest of the options but these have the absolute best quality tracks out there, short of working with a musician directly. The types of tracks in their library are the types that you would be happy to listen to on the radio. They are that good.

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They also have phenomenal search functionality with a visual representation of when the tracks climax which is very unique and helpful. When we are making a video, we regularly sift through hundreds of songs to find the right vibe and both of these services make it much more efficient.

Although these are much more pricey, don’t just skip past them right away. If you are a small company or have special project needs, the staff at both of these are extremely helpful and willing to be very flexible. Reach out to them to see if there is any way you can work with them. Audio is one of the most overlooked aspects of filmmaking and can also make the biggest difference in the quality of your film.

The Affordable Winner: Premium Beat

Rife with whistle-clap songs, PremiumBeat.com is extremely affordable. A little pricier than some place like AudioJungle but the quality is a big step up. We have found many good tracks in there that will work perfectly for quick social videos or even some lower budget video ads or ecommerce product videos.

The key here is to make sure you sift through *a lot* of songs. I generally stick with a fairly broad search and go through as many songs as I can in order to find the good ones buried in the library. If you start to get dismayed at the quality, just persevere and listen to another 50 songs. You will eventually find the good stuff.

Unlimited Subscription: Sound Stripe

This has been one of our favorite places to license music recently because they have a monthly subscription for unlimited licenses. This is absolutely fantastic when you are putting out a lot of social videos or producing a bunch of product videos that you want to all have the same track. The quality is on par with Premium Beat in our experience and if you are going to consistently need multiple tracks a month, it just makes sense. 

Another nice aspect about this service is that, if you just want to test out a track, you can download it without a watermark in the audio to send to clients. It is a minor thing but one that we appreciate.

All the others

Stock music sites are cropping up like weeds these days and whenever we see a new one, we will quickly search through their library to evaluate them. Most of them are either too expensive or the quality is just too low. We are always looking for places with that perfect balance. These are the ones that we have loved using recently, but it may change by next year so send us any that you love and keep an eye out for an updated post!

True Life: I am a Social Media Manager

It's that time of the year when everyone is on vacation, so we decided to give our blog writers a much deserved time off and repost one of our top performing blogs of the year. We hope you'll enjoy it, and have a great rest of the summer!

For whatever reason, it seems as if the most commonly asked question when meeting someone for the first time is, “What do you do?” I usually respond, “Well, I am a Social Media Manager (SMM).” This is usually followed by the person responding with, “Oh! You get paid to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day?” Sound the record scratch! While this is partly true, marketers and numerous brands/companies know that this is just scratching the surface. While social media is an ever-evolving industry, it is obviously so much more than just “posting to Facebook and Twitter.” In any given day, I wear many different hats.

In a typical day, I converse with clients and coworkers, create engaging and valuable content, analyze analytics of ad campaigns and content, research and plan future posts and campaigns, and monitor the different networks for engagement and mentions on behalf of my clients.

I recognize that the social media world is confusing for business owners to navigate when they have been focused on their trade for much of their career. Social media for businesses came quick and has turned into a whirlwind of an industry. The thing that some business owners may not understand is that being an SMM is a real, full time position that goes far beyond posting current specials and commenting when someone likes their status.

Creating and analyzing ad campaigns are two of the largest responsibilities for a SMM in more ways than one. Building campaigns properly to get traffic, engagement, and to hit goals, is crucial. My clients have entrusted me with their money and expect that I will use my industry knowledge to gain them results. Once the ad is created, I’m not on coast-mode. I optimize throughout the month to make sure it’s delivering, and if it is not, I tweak it.

I review this information and create content with the goal of resonating with the type of people that are responding to the different posts and ads. My clients provide me with photos and specials they have going on to align with their advertising goals. I also keep an eye on local events that may attract people to the area because my clients are in the hospitality industry.

When I’m not focusing on ads or creating content, I’m monitoring the different social profiles that I manage. I engage with the followers and answer any questions that get directed to the brands. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. It is exciting to see when my content has been a success and the positive feedback that my clients receive. It is also beneficial for me to see when content doesn’t generate any form of engagement. This lets me know I need to try something else in the future.

All in all, I am in a field that is constantly evolving and requires a lot of detail, research, and thought. I consider myself to be a part of the small percentage of people who are paid to do something they are truly passionate about. Like everything else, it is not always rainbows and lollipops. There is responsibility and even liability of speaking on behalf of a brand. I look forward to this challenge, amount of responsibility, and sense of purpose I am embarking on as a newly hired Social Media Manager at Thin Pig Media.

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