Communication, Relationship and the Modes of Writing

The importance of problem-solving in creating rapport and relationship - and, in branding terms, trust and loyalty - should not be underestimated. Whatever people may choose to search for, they are looking to solve a problem - even if it is simply their own boredom.

So knowing a little about how relationships build through communication, and how this translates into the way we produce written content for the web, can be an excellent place to start when launching a blog or content-overhaul project.

Putting Colour into QR Codes

QR codes. Even if you don't know what they are, you'll have seen one. They're those weird square barcodes you find on product packaging. Well, mainly on product packaging. But they're all over the place. Plenty of Twitter users have them set as their profile picture.

Here's one that decodes as a link to this blog:

It's not very fancy, is it? You'd have a hard time making it into a compelling brand identity, let's put it that way. So what can we do to overcome this horrible black-and-white world, while still cashing in on the QR trend?

Social Media: Where to Start?

So you want to start a social media campaign, but you don't know where to start?

In my experience, tweeting alone is not going to work. You might make some friends, but you will find it difficult to really drive any traffic to your website - which is probably what you would ultimately like to achieve.

Instead, focus on creating engaging content - blog posts, opinion pieces, how-to articles and original reports on research and analysis from across your industry.

You don't need to have a blog in order to do this - you could make updates to your brand's Facebook profile if you want to keep things purely social - but a blog, particularly one hosted on your own website, can help to boost your site's search visibility too.

Online Marketing on a Budget

I hope this post doesn't sound too self-serving - I genuinely believe it's all true, and not just an advertisement for the service I can provide myself.

We're in turbulent times and that means that there's pretty soon going to be opportunities for growth, but very little spare cash around to capitalise on them.

This leaves you - as the title of this post suggests - online marketing on a budget. Potentially a very tight budget indeed.

Search Algebra and Light-Speed Conversion

OK, you all seemed to like my blog post for ContentPlus about good grammar, so this time I'm tackling everybody's favourite subject - algebra.

The problem with algebra is, it's kinda hard to understand. So let's simplify it. Forget about differentiating your site traffic to discover your growth rate - let's go back to basics with a few thought experiments.

In order to keep it simple, the figures I'll use below are all made up. It doesn't really matter - it's the principles that are important here.

I Want To Ride My Buy Cycle

Today I'm introducing an old concept in a new way. Every industry, every market sector (with perhaps the exception of a handful of essential goods) is subject to the vagaries of the weather. Seasonal effects take hold everywhere you see, which is why most financial updates from major firms will account for those effects.

As an extreme example, consider Christmas decoration manufacturers. It is easy to imagine they might see a rise in custom in October, a spike in November-December and a return to relatively low trade levels throughout the rest of the year.

However, across e-commerce as a whole, 'The Buy Cycle' is similarly dominated by the festive period and other major holiday seasons of the year.

The Chuck Norris Play Palace

The story I am about to tell you is true.

Last night I dreamed that Chuck Norris opened a new soft-play palace in my town.

From the entrance, most of it looked pretty tame - arcade machines, amusements, that kind of thing - but at its centre was a three-storey-high ball pool. Every single ball in it (I believe there were 10,000, but it was probably more) was dark blue. I guess that's a Chuck Norris thing.

Rebecca Black's Friday - The Meaning Behind The Words

It's easy to criticise what we don't understand. Particularly when, as is the case with the lyrics to Rebecca Black's 'Friday', there doesn't seem to be much hidden depth.

So, in the spirit of fairness, I've done my best to interpret the song below and reveal the metaphorical messages behind what is, on the surface, just a good tune.

Twitter on the Brain

I'm no Twitter addict - really, I can shut down TweetDeck when I need to, for half an hour at a time. But I work from home, and it's an easy way to keep in touch with people.

So it came as something of a surprise when I had my first Twitter dream this week. Not only that, but it was a waking dream - a night terror, some might say.

Project Emporia

I heartily recommend you open Project Emporia while reading this post (the link will open in a new window if you click it...)

What is Project Emporia?

Microsoft's Project Emporia is almost exactly a year old at the time of writing (June 2011) but over the spring bank holiday weekend it suddenly popped up in the world's press as a 'new' competitor to Google.

That's absurd because (a) it's not new, as I just mentioned and (b) it's not a search engine in the conventional sense. What it is, is a way of filtering the links your Twitter peer group share, so that you can pick out the themes that are most relevant to your interests.

It's much more powerful than just that, though - so powerful, in fact, that I stared open-mouthed at its genius, simplicity and beauty for (genuinely) about 10 minutes the first time I logged on.