Last week a package arrived from Australia and it contained a personalised Australian Shooting Team T-Shirt from my mate Neil Gibbins and a handwritten note confirming I am now an Honorary Aussie.
Neil and I became good friends last year at the world’s biggest and most prestigious shooting competition the Imperial. The competition is held at the spiritual home of shooting Bisley, where he competed and managed the Australian shooting team at the 146th Imperial.
There is a really interesting story behind how Neil and I met. This podcast which I recorded with Neil at Bisley tells that story perfectly and is one of the highlights of my career as it proves the power and reach of social media. You can listen to the podcast here.
In early December I boarded an EasyJet flight to Malaga for a 4 day content assignment for one of my new clients Richvale Resorts.
The Costa del Sol, like many of Spain’s Coastal and Island resorts have gained a reputation for sun, sea sand and Sangria but they really have much more to offer and that was the main thrust of my brief.
Richvale Resorts was already using Social Media in a limited way so I spent a small amount of time optimising all thier social channels, cloud infrastructure and training staff in the art of content creation / publication.
The rest of the trip was spent capturing high quality content in and around the resort and some of the cultural places of interest. For me the highlight was a day and night time visit to Màlaga.
Christmas is a very special time in my house and we do tend to do it big.
All the work I do for my clients leading up to Christmas does really get me in the festive spirit.
However, I must confess that there is one element of Christmas that I don’t like. And that is sending Christmas cards. I just find it an enormous time suck and I just get quite resentful at having to spend hours and hours writing out Christmas cards.
So several years ago I decided to stop sending Christmas cards all together and do something far more meaningful and that is to make a donation to a local charity.
This year I have decided to support one of my clients who are fundraising for the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices by making the donation through their JustGiving page.
At Christmas time I always take time to reflect on the lives of those who are no longer with us. My beloved father in law passed away in a local hospice who did angels work to make his final days comfortable, pain free with his loved ones by his side.
To be in a position to support the Woking and Sam Beare Hospices even in such a small way is a real privilege.
The image below was taken earlier this month. It shows the cool people (and their families) at Optichrome taking part in the Santa Fun Run at Brooklands to raise money for the Woking and Sam Beare Hospices. For the full image set check out the Optichrome blog.
Christmas is the busiest time of year for me (along with the Summer) and I get to do some really exciting things on behalf of my clients. It would take way to much time to highlight everything I have been up to but here are just a few:
This year I have attended two Christmas events with the Surrey Wildlife Trust. The weather was really kind and as both events were outdoors on Nature Reserves just added to the enjoyment. Check out the Surrey Wildlife Trust facebook page for some of my content.
Camberley Town Centre Christmas 2015 launch was a lot of fun. I provided social media support to the cool people at Collectively Camberley so they could get on with the serious business of running a mega town centre take over event which saw tens of thousands of visitors. It involved capturing the dozens of street acts, activities, Christmas Farmers Market and the main event which was the Christmas lights switch on and entertainment. As I walked around the town centre (dozens of times) throughout the day I captured edited and published hundreds of photos, several videos and podcasts to the Collectively Camberley’s social media channels.
Some of my clients go big on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). No more so than Optichrome in Woking who took part in the Santa Fun Run for the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices. I was there to capture Optichrome staff and their families take part in the event. So far this year Optichrome have raised over £3600 for the Hospices. I was also privileged to be invited to join this close knit team at their staff Christmas party which was so much fun.
During the lead up to Christmas I have done several photo sets for various clients. Most notably; I always enjoy working with the double cool Nicky at Wines at West End. We always have a laugh and I really enjoy shooting all the amazing wine they have there, even though I am teetotal. Check out their facebook page at www.facebook.com/WinesAtWestEnd Then there was the photo set I did for Inside Chobham. I never get bored of shooting this awesome Interior design shop as it is such a movable feast. I can shoot it one month and when I go back the following month it is completely different. The owner Fay is mega creative and I always look forward to seeing what she has come up with next.
I just want to thank all my clients for the confidence they have in me to work with them.
It would be very difficult for me to describe Blab the new social network in only a few words. A good friend of mine described it like Periscope on Steroids (Thanks Dan) but I would describe it as a much more simple version of Google Hangouts on Air. This is a good article that more or less explains it.
I have been playing around with the platform for a couple of months now and as a podcaster I am very excited about its potential.
Blab is perfect for some of my clients and recently I have been busy helping some of them exploit the new platform.
Below is one that I took part in with with my client Primal Roost in Bagshot. It was very raw as it was only a pilot but the plan is to have a monthly live web show called #PrimalLive using Blab. It will be really exciting to see the show develop and grow.
The review was published on the Surrey Residents Network just in time for Christmas. Last year I wrote a similar blog about the first generation Chromecast and I was informed by the manager of the Camberley Store that they sold out within a day of the review being published and based on feedback he received it was down to that blog post.
So the moral to this blog is don’t underestimate the power of hyperlocal. SEO is important but an organic following can be even more powerful when properly targeted. Besides, a well written blog will significantly boost your SEO so a double whammy.
I was invited to #WinterPimms on Barossa Common again this year and as always it was a terrific event. In fact I would go as far to say that #WinterPimms is the best business networking event on the planet. It is certainly the most fun.
#RangerRadio was born at the 2014 event which has been a huge success. Thank you to Projectfive.
We made a couple of videos at the event which you can watch here:
I have some very cool clients who send me on some very interesting assignments. One of which is a holiday property company (Richvale Resorts) who have resorts on the Costa del Sol and Tenerife.
Recently they decided to harness the power of social media and engaged my services to help them get set up, train their staff in the use of the various social platforms and create a load of high quality content to populate their social media channels.
The first phase involved an incredibly busy 4 day trip to Malaga. It was a lot of fun being given full creative freedom and was hugely rewarding to see all the staff ( including the Gran Jefe ) embrace social media with such enthusiasm.
The next phase of the project will involve a trip to their other resort in Tenerife in January. I am really looking forward to getting creative over there.
To follow the progress of this really cool company, check out their instagram account out @RichvaleResorts.
Some might consider my working day today not work at all and I guess in some respects I would agree.
I have literally spent the whole day podcasting and listening to podcasts on Blab. I consider it a training day because I have learnt so much about other podcasters and how they are doing things.
It’s been a huge amount of fun and feel incredibly blessed to be able to do this stuff professionally.
Blab is a fantastic podcast platform and it is already redefining the whole podcast concept by making it more immersive and interactive. Keep an eye on blab, it is going to be massive.
I have met some incredible people from around the world today without leaving the comfort of my own home. It has been an inspiring and mind blowing experience. I am very proud to belong to the podcasting community.
The podcast I recorded today can be listened to here or on the Surrey Residents Network podcast channel on iTunes.