It's so easy to game Linkedin right now

There are certain Linkedin types that want you to do it 'their way'. It's really annoying because their way may well not be the right way. At least for you. That's all that matters.

They get incredibly caught up about it being a professional network (it is true) and that only 'professional' matters can be shared on the network.

As time goes on, it is obvious that the usage of the network has changed. It's a natural and positive change unless you want to be annoyed about it.

Much like a certain section of football fans like their sport to be played "the proper way", you have to buy into what their way is and that it is indeed, 'proper'.

Passing the ball all nice and tight, slick as you can be and all across the deck. Beautiful they say. Not so much when they don't get the right result. 

The opposite of this view is to be super organised, only pass the ball long and high into the opposition's box. Cause a bit of havoc and get the result. This also works, it just happens to be in most fans opinions 'ugly'. Yet, the objective is still the same. 

Cringey football analogies aside, Linkedin has a similar kind of problem. What these professional purists want is for you to get less attention than them.

A number of comments you will are a version of  "This is a professional network, not Facebook" When someone shares a photo of their new dog. 

A bit of insight into the real people that you may do business with seems a good thing to me.

Talking about what you do outside of the cubicle may lead to divisive responses - exactly what you should want. Unless you just want to fade into the background?

Don't be fooled by the folks who want to tell you that your conduct isn't to their taste.

They want you to fail at Linkedin and just get 5 likes on your photo of your favourite office mug. Nothing more than that. Playing 'their way' may just be working for them, though it is unlikely.

If I was one of those nay-sayers, I'd be thinking "Hold on a second- there is an opportunity here".

That's exactly what you have with Linkedin. A funky overactive algorithm that is sending your posts out in a few days to 100,000s of people - with no paid promotion.

No paid promotion. This is so important because free reach like that is harder and harder to come by.

There are formulas of posts that seem to keep showing up. They are easily spotted and transposable to your own account.

Find a formula that works for you and as fast as you can. This opportunity will disappear and it will be sooner than we all wanted.

 

 

You can be the sunshine or the storm

We talk a whole lot here about the emotion it takes to create content that people want to share. That is after we've discussed what emotions matter in the first place.

You'd think that intending to put a bunch of emotion into something about drainage or something like laser cutting is wrong. After all, it's a boring industry with serious people in it and they won't appreciate it.

A story that seems to be make perfect sense. And yet, laser cutters are humans too. 

Serious, boring industries (for want of a better phrase) are waiting for someone to come and shake it up.

You can be the sunshine or the storm. You'll get attention, oh believe me the attention is out there for you to get. It's just down to what you prefer.

Being the sunshine might win you more 'friends'. Being the storm might just win you more enemies.

Another story that seems to make perfect sense.

 

How to build a better content calendar without lame national days

Oh look. It's National Hug Day. Let's talk about hugging and how great hugging is. How about describing your team as being "warm, just like a hug".

Utter. Cringe.

Marketers and creative types that want to come up with ideas don't always have something up their sleeves. The perception is they should.

So, what do they turn to? National Awareness Days - and we don't mean for diseases or causes that need help.

We mean National Toothache Day, Pizza Day and another cheesy culprit - Bed day.

Some of them have merit and more traction than others of course, and we've purposefully gone for the most seemingly inane example.

When you couple the lameness of the day with the added lameness with having to get a post done today - you see some pretty rubbish results. 

Coming up with ideas everyday and executing on them is incredibly tough. It might be one of the toughest things to do that on the service looks as simple as breathing. It is definitely not. 

How can you help yourself to come up with ideas all the time that can be turned into quality content? 

It's not something that can be answered simply, and I'd recommend more than one source - here are the one's I've learned over 100s of campaigns, thousands of blogs and helping paying clients get results.

One thing - I've learned these from people that are smarter and more experienced for me in the most part.

1) Don't believe in writers block - You don't get speaking block

This was from an old Seth Godin email. It's a little piece of genius. It translates to just write what you want to talk about. 

"That's simple for a personal blog, but what about for a company that talks about laser cutting?"

This seems true on the service as an objection. Yet, it is absolutely an excuse. It holds you back from coming up with ideas, no matter what industry you are in. 

Laser cutting doesn't have to be boring. If you were to show a kid a piece of metal being cut by a laser, you are bound to get a big wide smile. It's like magic.

Instead of trying to think of something quirky to say about your products. Perhaps you have something to say about your industry?

seth godin has helped companies make millions from marketing, so he's allowed to wear yellow glasses.

seth godin has helped companies make millions from marketing, so he's allowed to wear yellow glasses.

 

2) Come up with ten ideas everyday about anything you like

The incredible idea machine James Altucher believes we have an "idea muscle" and if we don't use it - your muscle becomes weak. He does a brain workout everyday where he comes up with ten ideas. 

These aren't all in-depth pitches of articles he can make to Entrepreneur magazine, or start-ups that he can fund. Some are just ways of improving a household item or coming up with ten ideas to write about.

A highly recommended idea that you should take up. It just takes the consistency of doing it every day.

 
james ideas include "ten ways to make money from sitting on a window ledge" 

james ideas include "ten ways to make money from sitting on a window ledge" 

 

3) Evaluate how far you can truly plan into the future with content

It's a false economy to plan out 12 months of content if truly - you are not able to come up with all the ideas and know how they flow onward. And ideally they should flow together.

If you can do this, I commend you. You are far ahead of many content marketers.

Don't feel under pressure to come up with 12 months of content. It can be hard enough coming up with one. 

Note: If you are content professional then you have less excuse for this

4) If you've got 126 headline ideas, it's far easier to come up with a content calendar

This is where you need a bag of tricks. If you want to plan for the future and not left hoping that inspiration takes you, you need a bagful of ideas to carry around with you. 

Not every headline idea you come up with will be one that you want to publish. What it will do is give you more enough to work from and to create some headline magic.

Conclusion

You can use these 4 points to get you to the point where you will have more ideas to create content for your calendar and get your voice out there consistently.

There are way more that could be mentioned but time and time again, these are the ones that TrainingMontage relies on.

Ideas drive everything when it comes to content.

 

 

 

 

 

Our 7 favourite training montages throughout cinema history

There’s been much debate down at TM HQ since our inception.  The year that was, the year that will be and of course, all things festive.  But the one thing we seem to discuss on an almost daily basis, especially given our name, is what is the best cinematic training montage ever produced?

Having a good training montage can pretty much define a movie.  Although, the scarcity of them in recent times, makes us wonder if they’re a thing of the past.

So, with a little help from various movie experts, buffs, industry professionals and many other unregulated sources, we’ve complied our very own list of the 7 best training montages to have hit the big screen. 

We want you to vote for the best one from the options below, or alternatively give us your suggestions by adding a comment at the bottom.  No pain!

Rocky I (1976)

Arguably the original training montage which set the precedent.  Stallone’s debut as ‘The Italian Stallion’ gave us the training montage, before anyone else did.  It begins with a run along an abandoned rail track, weaves through some ring-centred workouts, before concluding with that now epic run up the steps to the top of the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum.  The training montage was born.

Taxi Driver (1978)

Robert De Niro highlights the fact that you don’t need a gym to train, in this Scorcese classic.  Disillusioned with the state of his home city of New York whilst working as a cab driver, De Niro’s character, Travis Bickle, vows to take action.  Before he can do anything though, he needs to ensure he’s in optimal physical condition.  Bickle visits the gun range to practice his shooting.  He performs a work out regime of clapping push-ups, pull ups and arm curls on a daily basis. All whilst still finding enough time to view a pornographic film at the cinema.  As you do.

Rocky III (1982)

Rocky and Apollo -  boxing friends since either could so much as throw a left hook.  They spar, dance shirtless in front of a mirror and sprint along a beach in super slow-mo.  Like this wasn’t enough they perform the majority of their training exhibiting brightly coloured vests, ‘short shorts’ and calf-high white socks.  Throw in Carl Weathers sporting a moustache Ron Jeremy would be proud of and a climax which results in a big, sweat dripping man hug amongst the crashing waves.  Pure training montage gold. 

Karate Kid I (1984)

This one enters for the pure genius of Mr Miyagi alone.  Ok, so it doesn’t feature any iconic catchphrases or moments of excruciating pain, but what is does show is how the basics of a martial art can be learnt through everyday house work.  Painting a garden fence, sanding a wooden deck and waxing cars are just some of things that prepare Daniel-san for his quest ahead.

Rocky IV (1985)

You can’t include 3 Rocky training montages in your list!  Errrrrrr , yes we can.  And we will.  Especially when it’s one that’s this good.  The daddy.   The King.  The pinnacle.  THE training montage of ALL training montages.   It’s got everything.  Arctic –like scenery.  Wood chopping.  Suspicious looking Soviets wearing ushankas.  White leotards.  Classic Adidas 3-stripe apparel and a sound track that you can never tire of hearing. Need we say anymore?

Bloodsport (1988)

A fresh-faced Jean-Claude Van Damme commences the art of kumite under the tutelage of his Sensei, in this stellar training montage.  The training sees him carry out the majority of his tasks hindered by a blindfold, including one peculiar scene where he serves tea whilst fending off blows at random.  All set to a sound track featuring some characteristic, cheesy 80’s synths just for good measure.

Team America (2005)

Satire at its best.  When Gary Johnson is tasked with saving the world, there’s only one way to get him ready - a training montage.  What ensues is 60 seconds of visual hilarity, complete with 80’s style synth-rock and lyrics which will leave your sides splitting.  Literally.

No one is complaining so my content is alright

A business trend is amongst us that needs to be avoided at all costs.

Writing content for the sake of it.  

Content writers may think they are immune - the truth is that readers can see right through it.

You may well think "hang about, it can't be that bad. No one has told me that they think my content is boring, so it must be alright".

Here's the thing. The desire for people to complain about free content is pretty small really. 

Let's look into it:

  1. Being bored by a blog isn't a crime to most

  2. They aren't offended 

  3. They tend to just move and forget about it

This silence is experienced by all looking for content for problems they need to solve. Or jobs they want to apply for. How about following someone on Twitter for them to turn into a snooze-fest?

Of course, you can relate to that feeling of wasting time and it just being "one of them things".

Truth

Don't trust your audience to tell you when you aren't hitting the mark. 

One sure fire way of losing out on readership is when you tick that box that says "post a blog today". You'll write out some words rather than thinking about what you want to say today. Now, if you have something interesting to say that comes from a place of passion every single day - then you must go for it and commit it to your blog.

You want more views on your content - but if its not going to make any impact, then it is time to rethink your strategy.

This may well sound like I'm suggesting you create content that people love or hate. 

Sort of.

People will suggest you will need haters to get fans. Seems true but you don't need to go out of your way to cause hate. 

What I mean is create emotion. That's because it makes people take action.

That may be to share your content, complete a form or to give you a call.

Empowering writers

Speaking as a content writer who started writing blogs of rewritten news about property, plumbing or tiles - I know what it's like to have your creativity clipped. 

It makes you a content coward

You are worrying about internal feedback, rather than working on your headlines and getting your messages across.

So if you want a writer to make an impact and talk with their voice, you need to empower them with your trust.

Then they start worry about being brave and taking risks.

With that, you'll be on the way to make an impact.

So why TrainingMontage then?

We grew up on Rocky, Commando, Karate Kid and Top Gun. You knew that if the chips were down and someone needed to step up - it was going to take a training montage to make it happen.

They focused in on what needed to be done, they donned their best work out gear and then before you knew it - they were prepared to take it on.

A training montage became a cliche of the era and has been lampooned many times by people who are much funnier than us. Most notably Team America and their epic song montage.

We are capable of laughing at ourselves though. Honestly. Here is the thing - training montages are a positive for cinema-goers. There is a passage of time, a lot of effort and the-almost-gonna-not-make-it-but-they-do moments. 

The symbolism being, that to get where you are right now to create a compelling story, beat your PB at weight training, or to defeat the moustache-wearing villain - it takes time, effort and some suffering.

TrainingMontage was picked as our brand because of the incredible song 'Training Montage' that features in Rocky 4. In fact, if you've watched the movie, you'll notice that it has two montages. The second being set to 'Hearts On Fire'. 

Now, we could have gone for 'Hearts On Fire' but then a prestigious diamond company got there first. Quite romantic really.

Behind the scenes here, we are hard at work researching, creating strategies, producing content and promoting it. What you get to see is the results. We wouldn't have it any other way.

One day we'll have our own Training Montage showing you exactly what happens behinds the scenes to show you what we produce daily. Will we wear orange t-shirts and sweat bands? That one has been left undecided.

Here's another thing. Quite honestly, trying to come up with a name took forever. There were some awful suggestions from all of us that didn't make the cut. Including Broadwall and well, George. 

In fact, the first name we were really attached to was George. It meant something to us and it had an old-fashioned vibe to it. It could have worked.

Then we remembered George, Asda's very own fashion brand.  Subsequently, we thought "The George Agency" could work - nope.  It appeared that there was one already, in Barcelona. We weren't jealous at all. Of the name or the location.

We went back to the drawing board to find something that we could get behind. Nothing connected. Like nothing at all. It was getting so desperate, that we were nearly going to name ourselves "Online Content Agency" as a temporary measure, just to get by before we could think of something.

Then, we brought back to our roots in just a simple sentence. "How about Training Montage?" 

Whoa. It seemed right. We were all into it. 

Then the negativity set in:

"What if... people don't like it?"

"Will it make sense?"

"Will our customers think we are a training company?"

These were all possibilities. Then again, people could love it and they will get it. Belief is a good quality to have at the beginning of a business.

This is the path we set out and we are walking along it. One piece of content at a time.

The truth is, selecting the brand was something we could have spent a good month alone trying to come up with. We know the services and what we need to offer, the name seemed trivial. Very trivial in fact.

When you come up with a product or service, how long should you be spending on it?

Honestly - we don't know the answer. Maybe there is a consultant somewhere that can give better advice.

Ah. This article written by a consultant here from Entrepreneur.com tells you what mistakes to avoid when naming your company. It's fascinating. It seems like TrainingMontage doesn't fall into any of them. 

Our insight from naming our own company was that we knew things we wanted to avoid:

  • Generic title - Getmoreleads - contentagency
  • Madeup word - Kindangerangle.com (if that's real...)
  • A contracted word - Contentamatic 
  • A '2.0 fad' word - tumblr 
  • Anything to do with marketing/ads - Digital, Online

We stayed away from that and we've come up with a statement that represents the people that have made TrainingMontage come to life.

It's living and breathing right now. We'll have so many proud moments to share - more than the problems that will come along from business.