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Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

Farewell to self-employment, hello again to the stellamedia blog…

Yes, you read right. Do not adjust your screens folks. After over 11 rollercoaster years of being a sole trader [journalist > copywriter > blogger > PR > social media consultant. Phew!] I’m thrilled to announce I have been appointed in a full time permanent job, which begins next month.

My new role is Social Media and Content Manager of Patient.co.uk – already one of the most trusted online medical information and support websites in the UK. Exciting changes and developments are ahead for this brand in 2012 and beyond.

My base remains here in wonderful Sheffield and over the next few weeks I’ll be revamping and removing the ‘business’ aspect to this site – turning it back into its original incarnation as a lifestyle blog, created just for fun & hopefully to inspire, inform and entertain.

I anticipate I’ll be sharing my thoughts/ideas/photos focused on my interests, including food, culture, Sheffield life, plus now and then I’ll talk about branding, social media, the art of storytelling in communications et al.

So this isn’t really a goodbye post…just a THANK YOU to everyone, whether you’re a current or former client, collaborator, like-minded business, fellow media or creative type, for supporting me and my business in so many ways.

In future, I’ll still be tweeting under @stellamedia. Plus, I’ll continue to provide social media content for the Sheffield Culture, under my freelance role for Sheffield City Council.

So don’t forget to keep me posted on any cultural/creative/sport etc info that’s Sheffield-related to me by emailing: culture@welcometosheffield.co.uk, tweeting news to @sheffculture [or sharing with the Twitter community via #sheffculture] or posting relevant info on the ‘Sheffield City of Culture’ Facebook page.

Farewell for now dear readers…and see you on the other side! ;0

Social media and events taking centre stage for new Culture Forum

Silversmith Owen Waterhouse with candlestick, at Culture Strategy Launch Event. Photo supplied by Sheffield City Council

Sheffield City Council’s recently-launched culture strategy is to be supported by three special cultural events and a dedicated social media online presence, over the next 12 months.

Funded by the Council, these exclusive events and digital channels are designed to enable individuals and organisations within the grassroots cultural community of Sheffield to stay connected with each other, under the banner of a Culture Forum for the city.

Two Sheffield-based businesses have been appointed on a freelance basis by the Council to support the Culture Forum. Ben Duong, founder of The North marketing agency, is co-ordinating the three events, under the banner of The North Culture Club. While Stella Eleftheriades, director of copywriting and social media specialists, stellamedia, is taking charge of the social media and blogging accounts.

Amy Carter, Head of Arts, Museums and Cultural Promotion at Sheffield City Council says: ‘The three events will be themed around the main objectives of the cultural strategy with the first being ‘Economic Impact’ on 12th May, and will be held in conjunction with the Site Gallery. We will be showcasing a diverse range of Sheffield based creative individuals/businesses that have done some amazing work outside of the city, not just in the UK, but also internationally. For example, Human Studios currently have an exhibition of their work in a gallery in Tokyo; Nick Deakin created an illustration character for a Coca-Cola advertisement; and Forced Entertainment, a theatre performance group, will be going on a European tour from April.’

The other two events are set to take place on 8th September 2011 and 19th January 2012 and will be themed around ‘Excellence’ and ‘Participation’. During the events, follow live tweets on (hashtag) #sheffieldculture.

To join the Culture Forum on Facebook search for ‘Sheffield City of Culture’, to follow on Twitter use @sheffculture and blog posts and further information will be featured on: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/culture.

Listings and notifications of events, workshops and exhibitions can be sent to culture@welcometosheffield.co.uk

Sheffield City Council’s culture strategy is a direct follow-on from Sheffield’s 2010 UK City of Culture bid and is a call to action for the people of the city to get involved and participate in cultural activity.

A blog about blogging? Shine a light!

Today is Twitter’s 5th birthday. How time flies and never more so than in the increasingly digital world of 24-hour, rolling status updates, constant link-sharing and network-building we live in.

Take blogs. I can remember a not too distant past when bloggers were regarded as quite a strange, far-removed species of geeks, who were never happier than when they were pale-faced and glued to their keyboards. Most bloggers then tended to be writers, tech-heads or both rolled into one.

Quite a few people predicted at the time, that the popularity and, up to then, increasing numbers of blogs would be on the wane – indeed that blogging was slowly dying off.

I must admit I haven’t looked into the facts and figures to back up whether this prediction has turned out to be right, but from where I’m sitting blogging is very much alive and well – with everyone who’s online either posting merrily away or seriously considering launching themselves (or their business) into the blogorati.

Why is this? In a nutshell, professional blogging as an idea has broken through the ‘geek’ barrier and gone mainstream. More and more companies are starting to recognise that if they provide blog posts with valuable and/or engaging content, what they’re effectively doing is breathing new life into their business, brand, and website SEO (Google loves blogs!) without shoving any hard-sell marketing message down the throats of their audience.

For me, my blog lies somewhere between the polar opposites of the entirely professional and the bearing-my-soul personal platforms. Not only do I think this space is a great place to not only share some of my ideas/musings, provide updates on my work and other snippets I hope you, dear readers, find interesting, but I also see it as the perfect vehicle to showcase fantastic events, organisations and businesses I come across in my professional and personal comings and goings.

So with this in mind, ladies and gents, drum roll please as I proudly present….

the stellamedia spotlight – a brand new regular section of my blog, which I’m already thinking of as my own bespoke and inspirational ‘feel good’ newspaper. If you want to be featured or know someone who might, just drop me a line at stellamedia@googlemail.com.

Watch this space for the first business ‘star’ I’ll be highlighting soon….

Happy Blogging!

Move over, Santa Claus – Sponduly.com’s coming to town!

Imagine getting the investment you really need to get your project off the ground? You’re there. Right, now imagine that investor turning round to you and saying they didn’t need you to pay their money back. Yes, you heard right.

Now you might be thinking I’ve had one too many cheeky Christmas Sherries, but not I’m talking the stuff of fairy tales or elves. Instead, I’m spreading the word about Sponduly.com – a very real entity which epitomises the goodwill and generosity we often limit to sharing just around this time of year.

Based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, founder and managing director of Sponduly.com, Jon Covey, explains more: ‘The idea for Sponduly started forming in my head about August this year, after I read a message from someone on LinkedIn, who was asking if anyone wanted to work with him for free, as a non-executive director. Reading that, I realised there were many people who’d work for free simply to help others and I also knew lots of people who needed that help. Sponduly.com is a community platform, which brings these two groups of people together.’

After months of hard work, developing the site and promoting Sponduly.com, primarily by word of mouth and social media activity, Jon’s brainchild continues to grow and currently has 12 live projects, who are seeking funding and any other support which could be offered, by one of the 89 members, who’ve signed up to the free media hub.

Jon’s idea could be considered to be particularly timely, considering the government recent policy strategy surrounding the idea of a ‘Big Society’, because Sponduly.com exists to support charities and community-based projects, as well as small, start-up businesses or enterprising individuals.

Jon is looking forward to more people to sign up to the media hub for free, as well as further projects coming onboard the good ship Sponduly.com.

So if you’re looking to spread some Christmas cheer all year round, don’t wait for Santa to pop down your chimney. Simply check out: http://www.sponduly.com/

Join Sponduly on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Sponduly

Follow Sponduly on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spondulycom/160036084018631

Merry Christmas one & all!

Sheffield mobile application goes live

From left: Marc Turley, East Midlands Trains; Cllr Paul Scriven, Sheffield City Council; Brendan Moffett, Creativesheffield; John Pickering, Irwin Mitchell; Darren Pearce, Meadowhall; Tim Pryor, Lloyds TSB.

Launching today, Sheffield is set to become one of the first UK cities to have a mobile application designed for city promotion. Available for download from today, it’s compatible with both iPhone and Android systems.

This news comes hot on the heels of the launch of Sheffield’s new brand strategy and visual identity, which aims to take a more coherent and coordinated approach to marketing the city to three key audiences of Talent, Trade and Tourism.

Brendan Moffett, Director of Strategic Marketing at Creativesheffield who commissioned the application, says: “The launch of this application comes following consistent requests from the city’s business community to be armed with more materials, both printed and digital, in order to sell the city externally to clients, customers, colleagues, potential investors, visitors and acquaintances.

“Wherever you are in the world, Toronto, Tokyo or Tinsley, we want you to be able to show the people you meet how brilliant Sheffield is – simply at the touch of a button.”

The application currently has four key features: Business, an ideal way to communicate to potential investors and external organisations what makes Sheffield an attractive place to do business; Culture, a great snapshot of Sheffield’s vibrant arts, sports and entertainment scene; Photos, providing a look at modern Sheffield; and a link to join Sheffield’s LinkedIN group, allowing people and businesses to make important contacts within the city.

Councillor Paul Scriven, Leader of Sheffield City Council, comments: “It is fantastic to see Sheffield at the cutting edge of using new media to sell the city. I’m always talking Sheffield up when I meet people from around the UK and the rest of the world. So it’s great news that I can finally do Sheffield justice when explaining about our wonderful city by using the features included on the app.”

This work has received private sector support from Irwin Mitchell, Lloyds TSB, Meadowhall and East Midlands Trains.

John Pickering, National Managing Partner at Irwin Mitchell, adds: “This application will be particularly useful for organisations and individuals who are regularly asked about Sheffield’s USPs at meetings and conferences outside of the city. Being able to show people on my mobile phone will create a fantastic impression of the city and make my job a lot easier when explaining why Sheffield is a great place to live, work and do business.”

Councillor Scriven concludes: “I urge everyone to download this free tool and show it to their friends, family and business contacts so that we can all become ambassadors for this great city of ours.”

The application was designed by Iris Associates and is only the first step towards developing the city’s cross-platform communications into 2011.

Taking stock and snapping smiles

Photo credit: Richard Bolam Digital Media http://richardbolam.com/

Even though I’ve built my career on writing, thirteen years on from my first paid work as a journalist I remain fascinated by the process of getting the words which start somewhere in your head down onto paper (or, more often than not these days, laptop screen).

At the risk of sounding as though I have a mild, somewhat geeky super-power, I can usually hear the text spoken somewhere in my grey matter before the words work down to my fingers. So I put this question to the other wordsmiths out there (just because I’m interested to know): How do you work your magic? Do the fingers start moving before you know how you’re going to finish the sentence? All comments most welcome!

I’m taking stock of this text-based creative process because, as from next week, I’ve been knocking out these weekly blog posts for your enlightment and entertainment for five uninterrupted months.

In the grand expanse of the bloggarati world, this represents a mere click of a mouse. In my world though, steeped in the grand old tradition of print media, this small personal challenge has loomed pretty large. You could say, dear reader, it’s been a case of no pain, no gain.

I’m glad I’ve stuck with blogging – without a doubt it’s paid off and breathed new life into my professional world. And as someone who’s worked solo for a long time, it’s been a fantastic boost to receive supportive feedback from contacts old and new, so thank you – and please keep them coming!

A great blog needs an authentic voice. For some who are further immersed in the techy/online world than myself, this translates to simply posting a series of links they found interesting/useful. The voice for stellamedia speaks is still organically forming but from the outset I’ve treated my postings in the same way a newspaper columnist gets their day job done. The constant question has been: ‘What do I write about this week?’

So that’s why I got to pondering the process of what happens to me when I’m faced with a blank screen every week. There I sit, fingers poised over keyboard, waiting for my super-power to kick in. Sometimes this happens fast, sometimes the ‘voice’ comes through as faint whisper.

This week I had a screamer. ‘Why not tell everyone about your Facebook group about smiley faces?’ So I’m telling you about it. It’s called ‘The first time I ever saw your face’ and was sparked by the rather odd but harmless habit I started forming of taking photos of ‘faces’ everywhere I went. Suddenly I found myself capturing visages in buildings, trees, gadgets, food…and so the list went on.

I soon discovered I wasn’t the only snapper who did this. Once I created the group and started posting my (mostly) smiley snaps, others soon followed suit. Today I’m proud to say there’s 115 members from many corners of the globe. If you fancy joining, please feel free: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49347870969&ref=ts

Keep on smiling!

Why not wear your art on your sleeve?


There’s a distinct departure from my previous musings this week. Can you spot the change?

My voice might sound the same but for once the photo hasn’t stemmed from my own creative eye – unlike the rest of the images here on stellamedia speaks, which have been taken by my fair hands during various photographic adventures.

Instead, I’m thrilled to give the Sheffield City of Culture 2013 bid logo a good old twirl, to declare my support for my much-loved adopted home city’s campaign to win this crown. Go Sheffield!

Following on from last week – when I started waxing lyrical about the sharing aspect of the virtual world – I still can’t help marvelling at those small but life-affirming connections you can sometimes make with others online, which can so often delight and surprise.

I mean one minute you might be posting some obscure song from twenty years ago via YouTube. The next you’ve got ten people tripping over their ergonomically-designed keyboards to tap out their gushing witticisms in response.

Often these people are long-standing friends, who’ve never had the chance in real life to share this particular passion for a forgotten B-side with you. It’s easy to see how these missed cultural connections are made.

Even in the randomest of pub talks, to take such an unlikely detour into such dark, misty realms would mean stepping into small talk equivalent of a weed-shrewn dead end. And who wants to do that, while wolfing down a packet of pork scratchings?

YouTube’s only five years old but, as the Observer noted last Sunday, it’s hard to remember a time before we had this mind-boggling visual melting-pot at our fingertips.

Of course now the idea of something being ‘viral’ doesn’t necessarily have us fumbling around to grab quick-fix cold remedies.

In the global village, you’re never more than a few clicks away from whatever your art desires. Does this make us less or more cultural?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/apr/11/youtube-web-video-stars

Happy clicking!