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How To Get Started On Blogging

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blogging

You want to start blogging? That’s great! But how do you start blogging? There is so much information on the web, it is so confusing. But luckily, we were once new to blogging too and know how to simplify this seemingly confusing process and eliminate useless information.

You don’t need to be an IT graduate to start blogging. Anybody can start a blog if they want to because there is very little technical ability needed to launch a blog site. Here are the steps you need to follow to start a blog.

Choose a blogging platform

A platform is where you want to build your blog. Many bloggers use WordPress because it is easy to use and because it is massive. It is one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world and has countless plugins, add-ons and offers many ways to start your blog. There is also a great support forum if you get stuck or get confused. According to data, there are 82 million blogs on WordPress. Great alternatives include Blogger and Tumblr.

Free or Self-Hosted

Now that you know where to build your blog, you have to think if you want a free blog or a paid one. Platforms like WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr have free blogs. This is perfect for those who are not really serious about blogging or those that just want to try their hand on it. However, free blogs have downsides. Firstly, you don’t own the blog. Secondly, there are limits to what you can do with it. For example, you can’t really monetize it. You also won’t be able to upload all the videos or images you want. Lastly, you won’t be able to get your own domain name. For free blogs domain names usually look like yourblog.blogspot.com or yourblog.wordpress.com.

The solution to this is to get self-hosting. It is not really that expensive, usually costing around $5-10 per month, depending on your platform. You will be able to name your blog so it looks like yourawesomewebsite.com (co, .co.uk, .org, .net etc – you get to choose), have unlimited bandwidth to all images and videos and have access to all free themes.

Domain and Hosting

Assuming that you choose to host your own blog, you need to think about your domain name and hosting provider. Domain name is basically the name of your blog like Google.com or Facebook.com. Hosting is the company that puts your blog on the internet so that everybody can access it. You can think of it as a hard drive where you save your blog. There are companies that do the domain name selling and hosting like iPage. Using this example, they can host your website for as little as $2.5 per month and domain cost will be somewhere around $10-15 per year. Whatever company you choose, most of them will usually have a “one click” install for your WordPress blog.

Design Your Blog

This is the fun part. you can make your blog look like you want it to. If you are using WordPress, you can choose from a variety of free themes. Just go to Appearance > Themes to install a theme. You can also buy premium themes for around $40 at websites like ThemeForest.net. Whatever theme you choose, it is best to find something that is easy to customize and professional-looking. If you get tired of looking at your old blog, simply choose a new theme without losing content or images.

A blog’s design should reflect your blog’s theme. This is what blogging is all about. It can be confusing if you have a cooking blog with a sporty design. Make your blog easy to navigate so that people will like to stick around.

Blogging is a great way to communicate and spread information. It is a great way to express yourself or practice your writing skills. Best of all, a blog can help you make money. You need just a bit of patience to make a blog. However, the learning curve is not so steep; anybody can do it.

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Lifestyle

Things You Should Never Say During A Presentation

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Many people have cold feet when they are asked to present something in front of a live audience. A sales presentation is a make or break situation for the companies. An excellent presentation can bring in a lot of new prospects for the company. Similarly, a bad presentation can also sour the relationship with an eager prospect. Public speaking is intimidating, but you can avoid the common mistakes and make a mark as a public speaker. You should be calm, confident and organized during the presentation. Here are some points you should remember during a presentation

“Hello! Can everyone hear me?”

You can feel very nervous before your presentation, but do not begin with this question. It is your responsibility to check the audio, but try to arrive early to check everything. When you are speaking at a large conference hall, the chances are high that someone has already checked the audio-visual facilities. Take a deep breath and smile at the audience. Begin with full confidence.

“I’ve got a lot of information to cover, so let me get started.”

This statement can make your audience lose all interest in your presentation. People believe that longer presentations are boring. Starting with this statement assumes that it’s going to be a long boring lecture instead of a captivating presentation. If your presentation happens to be long, do the work to shorten it in advanced, and come prepared to give a more condensed presentation without losing the overall message. 

“I’ll keep it short”

This is a promise no one keeps. You should not use this statement before the presentation. Your audience comes to hear something promising and get inspired. It does not matter if your speech is long or short. When you say “I’ll keep it short”, you’re also underselling your ability to maintain your audience’s attention. 

“I did not have much time to prepare”

You should not begin your speech with an excuse. People in the audience look forward that the presentation will be a well-prepared one. They invest their time and money to be prepared for your presentation. It’s only fair that you should be prepared to present. 

Fillers

Never use the words like “Umm”, “you know” or “like” in your presentation. Your audience will assume that you are not confident about what you are saying. The fillers in your speech can distract them from the main point of the presentation. If you need to think about something, you can take a short pause in between.

“In Future, we plan to…”

Never reveal anything about the products that is still under production. Make public announcements of your new products and offers. Your audience expects detailed information of your new and ready products. If you have something exciting on the way, wait for it to actually be ready to start talking about it. 

“Avoid reading through the pages”

Do not just read aloud the pages or slides. This can turn the session dull for your audience. Try to present your points in an interesting way. You can begin with a small story or show some examples.

“I’ll get back to that later”

The audience is always eager to interact with you. They can ask many questions after your presentation. Do not avoid their questions. It leaves a bad impression on your audience. Try to answer their questions politely.

“I guess that’s it”

You should not end your presentation with this statement. Prepare your speech in such a way that it becomes obvious it is the end. Your transition to your next point should come naturally.

Make your speech fit in the given time-slot. Do not come underprepared and prolong your speech. You should not completely depend on the prepared write-ups or slides. Try to conclude it with some interesting information. Keep some time to interact with the audience, but do not get stuck with irrelevant points or questions.

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Business

Interview With The Tangent Agency CEO, Marc Becker

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Tangent Agency

Going by the motto “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you,” The Tangent Agency has worked on many large projects, including Despicable Me, X-Men, Deadpool, Fifty Shades of Grey, and many more. Leading Tangent Agency is their CEO, Marc Becker. He comes with 7 years of experience as an Executive in the Global Brand Marketing team at Universal Pictures. Working closely with filmmakers, stakeholders, and brands, he helped develop campaigns for films across NBCU/Comcast platforms. Marc joined Tangent after using them as a trusted vendor while at Universal and now oversees business operations working for a creative powerhouse. The Tangent Agency brings big ideas to life by creating innovative content for their partners.

Marc granted us an interview to give us some insight on business and offered advice for those looking to advance their careers. He tells us about their new leadership team and how AR and VR is having a moment.

 

What is your day like as a CEO?

When you’re running a company, you have to a wear a ton of hats. I always joke that I should change my business cards to read “Janitor to CEO” because that’s really what I have to be. On a typical day we’ll have a team check-in to talk about priorities followed by picking what music or movie we should put on in the background. My music is usually vetoed so our CSO, Daniel, has been on DJ duty for the last couple months. From there, I’m usually joining calls with partners ensuring we’re clear on all their objectives and deliverables. In addition to the account management side of things I’ll work with the team on brainstorms for ideation and reviewing material before it’s sent out to the partners. Another big part of my day is usually working on business development whether it’s chatting with partners/collaborators or potential clients who could use our services. I’m also a big proponent of mentorship and sharing my experiences whenever possible, so I NEVER turn down an informational interview – I tend to do them pretty often. It sounds very business school-y, but now that we’ve hired a couple more members of the team, I’m looking forward to working more ON the business instead of IN the business, which will enable us to scale a little faster.

What makes Tangent Agency different from other agencies?

At Universal, I used to hire nearly every agency under the sun. At Tangent, we are both a creative partner and thought partner, and all our strategy is insight-driven. We work with some of the biggest brands and on the biggest franchises, consistently delivering the quality and the marketing product you’d expect from a major creative agency, but also offer some unique capabilities like Strategic Sales Materials, Franchise Development, and Mythology. Our partners turn to our design team to develop a visual identity for their properties bringing their brands to life. Just as importantly, Tangent leads the way in deciphering data and creating a compelling story to pitch the property, often from scratch. Franchise development, while a critical storytelling and brand development device, is still a largely untapped part of entertainment marketing, and Tangent’s team is some of the best in this field. By breaking down the complex nuances of your favorite films and television shows, the process of mythology provides an avenue and a lens into the backstories of the characters and plot points to help our clients develop endlessly engaging story universes. The Tangent creative team has been both on the agency side and the client side and are truly some of the best in the business. I continue to be inspired by them on a daily basis.

What are some of the best projects you’ve worked on?

We’re proud of all our projects and they each present their own unique challenges and opportunities.  We like to say we’ve worked on everything from My Little Pony to Straight Outta Compton.  I find it exciting to work on independent films and Academy fare projects as well as the big global blockbuster franchises like the X-Men or Jurassic World.  Our resident super-geek and CSO, Daniel Barber, loves all things sci-fi and superheroes so I’m sure he’d say Deadpool 2, Logan, and Speilberg’s Ready Player One are a few he’d cite. On a personal level, it’s been special to be working on some of the Universal properties such as Despicable Me and Fast & Furious.  We’re under NDA so I can’t say exactly what we’re doing on the projects, but I spent so many years at Universal working internally with the brilliant filmmakers and collaborating with my old team and everyone around NBCU to help manage those brands, it’s fun to continue to work on them in this new capacity.

Who are some influencers that you admire?

I’ve always been a fan of the humble way of life Warren Buffet continues to maintain. Bill Gates has not only built an incredible empire and wealth, but continues to baffle me with his work through the foundation and his charitable contributions. Zuckerberg seems to be following in the footsteps of Gates, and I admire his commitment to making the world a better place. Sheryl Sandberg has become a voice of a generation of women and I appreciate the work she’s done to help break the glass ceiling. I know I’m leaving a bunch of people off, but I think you can gather the overall trend – successful people that seek to make a difference in the world.

What advice has helped you the most throughout your career?

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have mentors champion me throughout my career and sprinkle many insightful gems of advice throughout the years. One piece of advice that has always stuck with me is from my old boss, mentor and friend David O’Connor, who runs Brand Marketing at Universal. He always used to say “don’t be afraid to ask questions.” Too many people let their egos get in the way of being inquisitive for fear that they will be perceived as unintelligent or ignorant. It’s important to be strategic about asking questions and know when it’s appropriate and when questions should be taken off-line, but I’ve found it incredibly valuable to “be real” and honest with the people around me in both my personal and professional life. If I don’t know something, I ask and I remember, and then I have the knowledge going forward. If there’s something that isn’t my strength, for example graphic design, I can leave the work to the experts and allow people around me to shine.

What are some business tips you can give to startups?

Don’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Know what you’re good at and be the best at it. Or don’t be the best at it, just make sure you know what your value proposition is. In regards to people looking to launch a startup, I can’t tell you how many times entrepreneurs, friends, peers, etc. come to me with a business idea they “can’t tell me about.” Odds are, the idea isn’t an original idea and someone else has thought of it – it’s all about execution. You absolutely want to do your homework and discovery, but too many people suffer from analysis paralysis and never pull the trigger. The only way to make things happen is to actually execute. If something isn’t working, don’t let ego get in the way of being flexible, and don’t be afraid to make a pivot.

Another tip is to always consider the end user. These fans are real people who are passionate about whatever brand/product you’re selling. In today’s world with social media being what it is, everyone can vocalize their opinion and has a pulpit by which to express it. Whether you’re marketing a multi-billion dollar blockbuster franchise or selling from a lemonade stand, it’s important to consider your customers.

What are some recent company milestones for The Tangent Agency?

We rebranded and restructured the company 18 months ago with a new leadership team: Ben Taylor (CCO), Daniel Barber (CSO), Mat Guillen (Art Director), and myself as CEO. We just completed our first year with the refreshed company and have seen incredible results and continued growth. Another recent milestone is we’ve expanded our Experiential, AV, and Digital capabilities.

What will make this year better than last year?

We’ve carved out a great niche for ourselves as one of the industry’s best kept secrets, working a lot behind the scenes. This year, we’re excited about becoming a bigger player in the experiential world and working on more consumer facing materials. It’s only January and we’re already having productive conversations with some of the leading content creators and key players in new technologies such as VR and AR. TV and Interactive Gaming are both having big moments, and we are excited about the opportunities for Tangent to collaborate in both areas. We’re looking forward to expanding our relationships with existing partners and working with new ones.  

 

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Business

How You Know A Co-Working Space Is For You

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co-working space

Working at home is one of the best reasons to become a freelancer. However, there are people who work better when they need to get up and get dressed or when they are surrounded by co-workers. A group of people doing different jobs but working together in the same space is called co-working. Here are some ways to determine whether it’s time to look for a co-working space.  

You’re Not Getting Work Done

Working from home is great but only if you get work done. This is perhaps the obvious sign that you need to find a co-working space. If you’re snacking every 15 minutes or you spend lots of time on social media instead of getting work done, you seriously need to consider a co-working space.

You Want Human Interaction

Humans are naturally social beings. Even if you hate some of your old co-workers, there is something about being about other people that can help you work hard throughout the day. You might not like some of your co-workers but sometimes it’s nice to have somebody to complain to or chat with every day. If you find that you’re missing water cooler chats or if chat messaging is not enough, perhaps it’s time to look for a co-working space.

Your House Is Distracting

Your house has a bed, a TV, a fridge full of food and maybe your kids. All of these can be distracting especially if your kids need attention or if there’s noisy construction nearby or when a telemarketer calls. Distractions also keep you from focusing on work and getting it done in a timely manner.

You Need To Meet Clients

Yes you house is cozy and warm, but is it really an ideal place to meet clients? What if your home is a studio apartment? Is there enough space for all of them to discuss matters comfortably? Co-working spaces have common areas like conference room where meetings can take place in a more professional atmosphere.

You Need Space

There are just some types of work where you need a big space. You might need lots of light, big windows or a big table or space for bulky equipment. Not all co-working spaces are big, but there might be something that can accommodate your need for bigger space.

You Need To Get Out Of Your PJs

If you haven’t changed out of your pajamas for a couple of days, perhaps you need to look for a co-working space. Changing into something more professional could help you focus and become more productive.

You Need A Central Location

Your house could be out in the suburbs or somewhere not accessible to public transportation which can create logistics problem not only if you’re meeting clients in their offices but for supplies deliveries too. A central location – which some co-working places have – is not only convenient to clients but for other matters too.

You Need To Grow Your Business

A home business is fine if you only have 1 or 2 employees. But what happens when you need to scale up and need more space? A co-working space can give you the flexibility to scale up or down depending on your needs. Depending on the co-working space, it can be for a small 1-man team or a 10-person team with access to a conference room.

Networking

When you’re in a co-working space, you are surrounded with other goal-oriented people. This is a good opportunity to network with them, learn their business or share thoughts. Having access to people in different industries can open new doors of opportunities.

You Need Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is important but it can be hard to achieve for some people when you work from home. Chores, children and distractions make it hard to focus on work so it creates an imbalance by making it hard for you to work. When you’re in a co-working space, you can forget about your house for a while to focus work. However, you still have the freedom to attend to your child’s PTA, go to the gym or pick up your dry cleaning.

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