5 Ways To Avoid Saying ‘Content’ When You Mean Literally Anything Else

Content has become a widespread term used by everyone who’s not really sure exactly what they’re going to be asked to make next. It’s pretty easy to find a lot of confidence in the vague umbrella of the term but, really, you can only make what you can make. Writing 50, 000 articles isn’t suddenly going to give you the skills to make video.

Step 1: Ask what?

If you’re about to say you’ve produced some content for an integrated digital marketing campaign, why not pause for a second to actually think about how deliberately empty all of those words are?

Instead of: I produce content as part of an integrated digital marketing campaign targeting millennials.

Let’s try: I wrote an article designed to better inform people about nightlife options around Brisbane City.

Much better.

Step 2: Ask who?

If reengaging with your why isn’t effective, why not flashback to that Facebook friend of yours who called out content as a horrible word last year? Remember how you messaged him defending it? Remember how you felt a second ago as you did that then started writing this sentence?

If you can’t rally yourself behind why, rally yourself behind the infallible power of peer pressure and the social hierarchy. It’s not that you think you’re better than him. It’s just that you think you’re better than most people.

Try to emulate that feeling in others.

Step 3: Ask how?

Sourcing evergreen UGC for cross-platform promotion to drive visitation is technically an English sentence but what does it involve? Mostly, you need users. But how do you get them to give you their IP for free? Don’t answer this question – it’s technically theft but everyone’s sort of into it.

The better you can explain how you do your job, the better you’ll be able to do it. Those who can do teach people how to also do it when they get a chance. Those who can’t do teach full-time.

Step 4: Try to pretend it’s not in your job title.

4, 100 jobs in Australia. For content.

Seriously.

Full disclosure: I’m a Digital Content Producer and I do really like it but I’m acutely aware how barely real the job is. But is anything, other than a listicle format, really real?

Step 5: Remember that before content there was contentment

When words fail, remember that photos you upload to your Instagram Story count as pieces of content too. But from now on we’re going to call them photos, yea? It’s content if it’s sideways, overexposed and somehow your subject’s in shadow at the same time. If you’ve deliberately made it any particular way, it’s something else.

Writing, photography, videography, film, music. A post. A tweet. A Story. Use real words. Don’t hide. Remember – everything is personal branding. If the way to describe your work is vague, then so are you.

I write, community manage, and recirculate photos and videos from Instagram microinfluencers for Visit Brisbane. Much more clear. Kind of.

A Guide to Solo Movie Dates

There truly is a catharsis to watching a movie like they’re designed to be seen. RED isn’t making 8K cameras because your Galaxy S8 really, can, like, handle it, dude. Kick back in the dark (feet off the seats, seriously, unless you want to be the only one to enjoy them exactly once) and hold your own hand in the scary bits for a change.

Get there early

There’s a whole thing (a circlejerk, if we’re honest) about how trailers take too much time so, really, you should arrive fifteen minutes after the blah blah blah. This is code for not wanting to talk to the people you’re going with. Luckily, you’re taking yourself and the inner dialogue, if you’re like me, never stops.

Treat yourself

Shout yourself popcorn and lollies, and make sure you don’t go to a cinema that doesn’t serve alcohol. That rustle of the lolly bag means literally nothing to literally everyone in the theatre with you. If anyone says anything, they have to lynch the first person that drinks their fucking enormous Coke all the way down to the bottom and makes that horrible noise. It happens. Get over it.

Know what you’re in for

I can’t, in good, aspiring filmmaker conscience, recommend that you see bad movies. Only masochists believe in so-bad-it’s-good and the whole point of a solo date is so you can love yourself. Use Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and a trusted review site (try Variety if you’re a conservative that still loves the deco of the Regent Theatre but totally understand why it had to be turned into a more commercially-sustainable venue, or the A.V. Club if you have a degree in, well, anything) to make sure you’re seeing what you think you’re seeing.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t surprise yourself. Do that if you want. But why go to the trouble of leaving the house if you’re not gonna do your best to make sure you have a good time?

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE

NO, REALLY, AT LEAST PUT IT ON SILENT AND KILL THE BRIGHTNESS

This is as much for you as it is for everyone else in the cinema. There’s a reason ushers don’t really use flashlights to show you to seats anymore. Turns out dark rooms are super good at amplifying little bits of light that are exactly as bright as your fucking iPhone screen, Karla.

You’ve got until the second production company credit at the start of the movie to put it away. That’s the deal. Nothing actually important in the history of humanity has ever happened on Twitter, if it needs to be responded to you won’t see it on Instagram, and the soft vibrate of a phone call is enough of a reason to leave if you have to.

If you think it might be a real thing, you have one second. One. That’s an impressionable ad‘s worth of time and that stupid new comment on that stupid Facebook page you manage for literally no reason doesn’t require more from you than that.

Enjoy

This bit’s easy, provided you’ve done the rest.

No, seriously, relax. It’s a solo date. You’re here for you and no one else. Feel free to disagree with the otherwise great reviews. This is your chance to notice how the colour grade in most scenes is almost invisible but there’s that one shot… Soak it up for an hour-and-a-half. For two hours. Three.

Try to remember what a holiday feels like.

Fall asleep if you have to (or want to)

Just fucking do it. It’s happened to everyone. It’s not disrespectful. You need sleep more than Spielberg needs to know you saw every frame of his movie and there is no better excuse to (as per step four) shut off from social for a bit.

A $20 nap can be totally worth it sometimes. Cinemas are always beautifully air-conditioned, you’ll be sitting alone so no one will care (unless you snore, but you won’t because you’re polite), and you can even read about the plot, themes, that one continuity error that sir_generic_username on Reddit noticed and plans to put on his Hollywood-headed CV if you need the social cred more than the sleep.

If you’re in Brisbane, try the brand new Elizabeth Picture Theatre where I saw Blade Runner 2049 (amazing) and will be seeing The Last Jedi (also amazing, already).

What to get your Mum for her birthday…

… when you’ll be away because you prioritise questionably.

Step one: Use your Dad to soften the blow. Ask him how mad/disappointed she’ll be if you’re out of town. Make sure you name drop a girl they like. As much as he’ll respond with his own unstated disappointment, it will help ease the pain. He will laugh, then be helpful.

Step two:  Set a time and date. In the long run, it’s less important that you commit to the time than it is the date. Your Mum will just appreciate the effort and the attention. She tried to keep you alive, despite your most sincere efforts, for your whole life. It’s only fair.

Step three: Sleep in. When your alarm goes off at 6.30 on a Sunday, smash snooze until well past sunrise. You’ll roll out of bed and tell her, by text message, that you’ll be late because you’re so wonderfully domestic. Washing, dishes, vacuuming are perfect excuses here. Everyone appreciates a good clean.

Step four: Buy a good present on the way. Being late is only an issue if they already don’t respect you. Even if this is the case, make sure you arrive with a good gift. This will help assuage the never-mentioned emotional pain of watching your child make grand plans that are easily deflatable.

Step five: Walk the dog. Present your mother with the gift – after the staff in the store have struggled to find it. This is the sign of a thoughtful present. Find a spare change of clothes in the house somewhere – a sibling’s room if you have to – and take the dog out for a run in the midday Sunday sun.

Step six: Watch helplessly as the dog struggles to socialise with another floof that looks just like her.

Step seven: Eat lunch without complaining. This is helpful when both parents are busy and stressed and have to – have to – fulfil generic white tastes. Fish and chips is fine, I guess, by the beach. Less fine at the dinner table, with your brother making a call to reclaim the fish for which he was overcharged.

Step eight: Watch helplessly as you struggle to socialise with your Mum’s longtime friends. This is a trying period and some relationships have already crumbled but she really is doing your best. For a long time, you thought they were standoffish people, almost hostile.

Step nine: Realise they’re not. Accept their relationship to your parents. Be kind and inquisitive but don’t take it personally when they don’t overshare. I want my life in writing. I guess they don’t.

Step ten: Tell her you love her as you leave. It’s true and only your ego has stopped you from doing it until now. If you can’t leave because you’re still at home, move out. This will solve 85% of your relationship issues with your parents. Bills get between people.

Step eleven: Answer her phone call a few hours later after you meet a friend to discuss his engagement parties. You didn’t go the first time but you have to go the second time. You still don’t understand why he’s having two parties, but he’s not paying for them. He was mad. Still is. Doesn’t make you feel bad for it though.

Step twelve: Tell your Mum you love when you hang up. She will be concerned for you, describe some of your choices as ‘dumb shit’ and mean it and you will struggle to disagree.

By now, the sun will have set and her birthday grown a day closer. You hope, next weekend, she will enjoy Veuve with a strawberry but you bought the rosé because it came in a fancier box so that may be too sweet. You hope she thinks of you.

Find Mum’s State campaign here to fully understand what an SEQ power family is. Read what I did for Father’s Day here.

How To Save High Quality Instagram UGC

Do you run UGC campaigns and find yourself using software that’s now two years obsolete because it still saves down in 640 x 640? (Sorry, Iconosquare)

Now you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

I’ve also found – anecdotally and without peer review because no one else in the office will try it but come on – that you’ll get better engagement. Whether this is because Instagram weights higher resolutions more strongly or because users are just more willing to engage with higher quality images is uncertain.

For a super recent case study, check out this Visit Brisbane post vs this Queensland post.

  1. Find a sweet image. This bit’s easy.
  2. Make sure you have permissions. Visit Brisbane uses a specially-created hashtag to assume permission but you might have to reach out to photographers and influencers and ask/pay.Step1.png
  3. Right click > view page source. On a Windows, CTRL + U is also a shortcut for this. Step2.png
  4. SCARY CODE. Step3.png
  5. Just kidding, it’s not that scary. Besides, we’re only after one line. Search (CTRL/CMD+F) for og:image and you’ll find a URL just to the right. Bingo. Highlight that.Step4.png
  6. Copy then paste that URL into the address bar. There’s no image here because you know how to do that. Hit enter. You’ll see the below image, because I understand the power of images in SEO. Step5.png
  7. Bam. The og:image. Step6.png
  8. Save down, stick in appropriate folders, follow your clearly arbitrary filing system that’s been there longer than you have. Personally, I think Downloads folders should be the biggest folders on any computer.
  9. (Be better organised than me)
  10. Go forth and kill it on social 🙏🏻

Just note that these .jpegs aren’t editable in Photoshop. You’ll have an issue parsing the data, so if you want to make edits maybe splash some cash. Pay it forward yo.

You can follow Visit Brisbane here, me here, and go and harass Adelaide here. Original photo credit to ethanrohloffaerial.

A Case Study in Reverse Advertising

Life With Zest.pngNot An Ad, a Schweppes reverse ad.

Read the brief document here. We did end up shooting in Roma Street Parklands, for which we should have had a permit, but the guy who fell asleep in the sun was a way bigger priority for the security guard. Sam Bowden filled in for Corey Kropp, who couldn’t make the shoot because he was looking for a new job.

Find the campaign spend report on Google Sheets here. (Long live the cloud)
NotAnAd.png

The most disappointing part of the whole campaign is that the bottle of lemonade featured so bravely in the thumbnail, after hours of shaking and tossing and upsetting, was still schweppervescent.

I Left My Phone in an Uber… I think

LOST:
1 x iPhone 7
1 x ability to meaningfully connect in the twenty-first century

I had enough battery to call the Uber and clamber in. The rest, as much of it as I can remember, is a shirking of responsibility that I decided to dredge from the bottom of six Break Waters and a Chardonnay whose label I cannot recall – deliberately.

I have scraped across the poorly laid wooden floor with a coathanger to double, triple check the dark space underneath the couch that I cannot see without the flashlight of a phone I cannot find. Uber Support must be incredibly helpful if you can pass the two-factor authentication with, you guessed it, a code sent via SMS.

Today, Dad and I got a long lunch – over coffee, not alcohol, for a change (for me, at least).  He asked if I’d passcode protected it. If I’d at least locked it with a thumbprint. I live, I told him, with the kind of youthful optimism that means I’m not afraid of losing my phone.

I don’t feel I should have been afraid. I have been in this situation before, I think. Filled with smoke and not substance for so long there are moments I know I am not experiencing for the first time. I just cannot remember what happened then, like I cannot piece together what is happening now, and I am unsure how to proceed.

Confidently, like always, I suppose. One foot in front of the other. Just without a soundtrack, without branded earphones to drape over my neck, without a camera to Story the world around me. Beautifully mundane. The train sliding away into the sunrise.

I can still do my job. I can still communicate. Just less effectively. Less quickly. I am less mobile. Less capable. The loss of a long limb into the internet. I am not afraid. I am just anxious. Filled now with grey smoke, not green.

If you happen to find a flat iPhone in the back of Ammar’s car, I would be grateful for its return. I know I have missed alarms and messages. Wake up calls I am reluctant to answer.