La La Land: Fantasy vs. Reality

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Music, Theatre

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

 

I don’t live in LA, nor have I ever been, but in the same way I’m sure that no movie about American High School has actually accurately depicted an American High School I am positive that La La Land does not accurately depict what life is like for an out of work actress and struggling jazz musician living in Hollywood.  Feel free to stop me if I’m wrong (those of you who are struggling actors in LA will know better) but Emma Stone seemed to swan in and out of mansion parties as if this is the normal way to network.  The production parties I’ve been to have mainly consisted of a theatre foyer with a dodgy catered buffet and box wine but who am I to judge?  Maybe life is that different across the pond.  Now, I’m not stupid.  I know that embellishment is added for the sake of entertainment.  I’m not here to pick holes…

 

Despite the mixed bag of reviews I received before finally getting round to seeing it myself and the poor singing and dancing that is bettered every year on Strictly Come Dancing aside, I think La La Land raises some important truths worth pondering over which tend to play out in our careers and businesses, wherever we may be in the creative industry.

 

I was mentoring a young actor, a year into her drama degree, who moaned that she was sick of her retail job and was looking for something, anything, even remotely associated with theatre, her chosen specialised field.  Isn’t this what Mia (Emma Stone) does?  What Seb (Ryan Gosling) tries?  What we all do?  Many of us start off in the arts working in bars or restaurants, front of house or box office.  So long as it is part of a theatre or gallery or festival or music venue we feel in the thick of the action and it’s ok for now.  And I commend these people!  The passionate dreamers!  Our dreams get a little more jaded as we age but we start off fighting!

 

The audition process illustrated in La La Land unfortunately can be faithful to real life, which is a shame.  When they are run by bored minds who no longer really care about the work they are involved in they leave hopeful actors worn out and weary, hope dying with every rejection, like Mia.  She tells us she has been ‘trying to make it’ for 6 years and basically can’t be bothered with it anymore; dejection and fear has settle in.

 

The general consensus across the creative industries is that no one gets into the arts for the money so the moment you stop really loving what you’re doing is the moment you should stop or at least change course.  Sometimes it’s the rebuffs, sometimes the lifestyle.  I used to work in stage management and found my decision pretty much came down to this: Do I want to have a social life or do I want my work to be my entire life.  The love wasn’t there any more, so I left.  But what can I say: lady theatre dragged me back, just down a slightly different path.

 

Obviously, everything works out in the end, in the film at least.  Mia becomes a Hollywood Star due to the unprecedented success of her one woman show and Seb uses the money he made in his modernised Jazz band to fund his dream jazz bar business.  Obviously not entirely realistic but very Hollywood (and with a dream ballet sequence, the likes of which haven’t really been seen since Oklahoma!, who is complaining)!

 

So what should you take away from this movie?  What is the moral?  Sorry to sound pessimistic but dreams don’t always come true, at least not in the way you think.  I think the moral is that your life has to adapt with your craft, sometimes we must compromise and other times we must evolve.

 

The speech that struck me was that of Keith (John Legend) who tells it Seb Straight:

 

“How are you gonna be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist?  You hold onto the past, but jazz is about the future.”

 

He has remembered something integral: art is a business.  To stay on top we need to roll with the punches.  He takes traditional jazz and gives it that contemporary, commercial twist for a new audience who, with any luck, will look into the origins of where this music came whilst continuing to carry it into the future with them, introducing a new audience and a new, evolutionary art form.

 

Seb makes his money in this band uses it to fund his dream bar.  Clearly, during his time spent with The Messengers Seb has learnt a few lessons, which are reflected in the bar set up.  The layout of his club takes us back to a 1940s feel of what jazz bars would have felt like, something which is fashionable at the moment, especially if you’re looking for that new hipster hotspot.  It serves fancy drinks in  fancy crystal, also super trendy, as opposed to the fried chicken sticks he originally longed for (now presumably reserved for the end of the night).  Then the jazz is the cherry on top.  He has nailed a business which gives him an outlet to perform the music he wants, whilst turning over (we hope) a profit.

 

You might be thinking this is a corporate way to analyse this movie, I prefer realistic.  So, look at Seb’s success, cut past the romance, the song and dance, the bright colours and remember to keep business and at the heart of your operation.  Drive your desire constructively to developing your values alongside the current climate with the aim of breaking even or making money so that you can reinvest it and do more work that matters to you and your viewers!  Adapt your mind set and progress with the times.

 

Your enthusiasm will always show in what you produce.  When things get tough, always remember your audience can see more than you think.  After all as Mia says:

 

“People love what other people are passionate about.”

 

What did you take from La La Land?  Any business strategies you think I’ve missed?  Or opinions your yearning to share?

Please follow and like us:

APP OF THE MONTH: HoursTracker

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month

 

Name HoursTracker
Product Description The perfect app for freelancers! Track the work you do for the multitudes of companies you work for down to the minute by checking in and out and tracking your wages!
Availability Available on the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Store.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cribasoft.HoursTrackerFree.Android&hl=en_GB

https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/hours-tracker-hours-and-pay/id336456412

Key Features ·         If you spend your day flitting between companies and to do lists this app is perfect for clocking your hours for each individual job by hour, day, week and month.

·         Pay is added up for every minute you work!  HoursTracker also calculates an estimated net pay and any overtime.

·         Enter a job location to list in the order of jobs from closest to furthest

·         Tags help you to organise what jobs are active, billable and have been paid

·         Note how many hours your expected to do each day and when.  HoursTracker lets you know when to clock out and gives you a 15 minute warning so you can wrap up

·         Quick and easy to learn, as soon as you register your first job it’s all pretty self-explanatory

·         Shortcuts make navigation of the app super quick and easy.

Prices and Plans It starts completely free which only allows you to enter a limited number of jobs.  To upgrade from the personal to pro version is a one off payment of £4.99 and that pretty much opens all of the app’s capabilities.  Trust me when I say it is well worth it.
Biggest Pro It has a beautiful simplicity which basically allows all freelancers who work for multiple companies to live a much simpler, more organised life!
Biggest Con It would be nice to be able to figure out different amounts of tax through this app but you can’t have everything and even without this it’s still pretty great

 

All in all, a brilliant app which does exactly what it says on the tin!

Please follow and like us:

Studio Open Days: Coburg House Art Studios

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art, Networking, Promotion

Artists need space.

 

Whether we find ourselves requiring more so set up a studio, the need for a professional business address, a little extra storage to free up some space in the house or just the need for a bit of company, we often seek out studio, office or rehearsal space to work in.

 

And I don’t know about you but despite the fact I ‘work from home’ most of the time I actually find it immensely difficult to work at home. Whether I move to a coffee shop, a coworking space, a mate’s house or even a train (which I am currently on) I tend to get a lot more done! I think this is down to the naturally collaborative nature of creative work.

 

There are loads of these spaces all over the country for every different field of work and every price bracket. Usually located alongside the artistic suburbs of towns and cities not only do they make excellent workspaces but they can also make for great communities!

 

One of my favourites of these is Coburg House Art Studio situated in Leith, Edinburgh and home to over 80 designers, artists and makers.

 

It has been running for over 20 years and across that time has built up quite the reputation as an exciting, unique creative hub.  To get a studio space at this former granary there is a wait list and (I’m told) it costs a pretty penny, but for good reasons! Very good reasons indeed.

 

First and foremost, much of the ground floor of the Coburg House Art Studio forms a shop and gallery where studio users can display and sell their work. It is open every Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm.  A really nice touch with this shop is the counter which consists mainly of a display of artistic business cards, presumably from every designer, so that if you should find something you like you can find that artists card and contact them directly or take them as a keepsake from your visit.

 

Another great idea is that twice a year they run weekend open days. One during the spring/summer and one just in time for Christmas. Not only can you learn more about how their artists work, you can talk to them about, well, anything you have ever wanted to know! It’s like a living museum where you can learn about any craft you could imagine.

 

Coburg offer their artists in residence the opportunity to display their work in exhibitions both independently and collaboratively.  They have quite a unique range of arts and crafts including: painting, print work, ceramics, glass, jewellery and illustration so I can only imagine the diverse and imaginative installs hosted.

 

A few of the artists in residence offer courses which you can take in the studios to and in case that wasn’t enough they also have a combined social media following of around 6500.  It is a hugely positive and inspiring environment which is clearly adored by its artists in residence!

 

So how can your Arts Business take inspiration from the Coburg House Art Studios? How can you get the public involved and improve awareness and income for the artists and you company?

  • Think about having open days for the public where they have the opportunity to get a special behind the scenes look at how you run your arts business.  Do you run a theatre company? Think about running an open rehearsal or script read throughs.  Do you have a dance school? Try having an open workshop.  What about a museum? Have an access the curators or scientists day or run specialist educational tours.  Think outside the box to develop unique community events.
  • Run specialist workshops encourage the local community to learn new skills or try something new.  You could offer these for free to raise awareness or charge a ticket fee as a way of bringing in additional income
  • Think about introducing a shop or gallery.  This works great in galleries and studios as it gives artists an immediate connection to sell their work and the commission you earn can be used to put money back into your venue and make it even better for clients.  Think outside the box here, the RSC runs
  • If you have the space available, you may consider launching a coffee shop or bar.  Make your work place a cool place to hang out!

 

Coburg House Art Studios have created a community beyond their community and become creative hub for the people of Edinburgh as well as the artists.

How could you do the same?  Let us know in the comments below!

Please follow and like us:

10 Must Have Skills to Smash Your Admin: Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Business Skills

Welcome back!

Time for those last 5 skills to needed to smash your admin!

6.       Spend Time Filing

You’ve heard of the expression ‘a stitch in time saves nine’?  This expression may be clichéd but it’s so true!

A little bit of time now spent on developing a sensible and straightforward method for your filing the easier you will be able to lay your hands on exactly what you need in the future!

Remember, nowadays this doesn’t just apply to that enormous grey monster of a filing cabinet lovingly rescued from a skip and now stuffed in the corner of your office.  This also applies to your computer filing system!

So, clear that cluttered desktop! Create that series of files in a logical way so that not only you can find everything you want but be prepared for when your arts business expands to include new staff members.  You don’t want to have to spend the first few weeks explaining the ins and outs of your computer filing which only you and your crazy brain understand!

 

7.       An Understanding of Social Media

I know I have a habit of repeating this, but social media is taking over the world!  It is becoming increasingly more integral to the running of businesses everywhere!  It is therefore important that everyone in your company knows how to use it.

The good news here is that over half of being good at Social Media Marketing relies on having excellent administration ability including the facility to schedule. 

Remember without your admin team (be it an actual team or be it just you) all the things we achieve in the exciting world of the creative industries wouldn’t be possible.  You could even post about them on Social Media!  They might be filtering through what appears to be the mundane but it makes the magic happen!

 

8.       Time Saving with Customer Service

I find often that email can be one of the biggest time drainers.  On occasion I have sat down in the morning to view my email accounts and quite often, before I know it, it’s midday and feel like I have achieved nothing because all I have done is sit and reply to messages!  So here is my advice:

If you have to email provide the customer with everything they could possibly need and then some extra stuff just in case.  So much time is wasted on toing and froing in emails.  If your business has been around for a while then chances are you have already equated a list of F.A.Qs (Frequently Asked Questions).  This is like the administrators’ bible: the copy and paste email dream.  It makes responses easy to find and, if properly produced, looks as though it is a completely personalised response! Save hours of your time from a cheeky bit of admin at the beginning creating an FAQ database.

If you still find a lot of email back and forth just pick up the phone and ring!  It is generally more effective than the constant and relentless email mountain!  It also means you’re less likely to misinterpret information.  Always remember emails are devoid of emotion.  That means that people inflict whatever feeling they want on them which can lead to a whole host of problems that simply wouldn’t have happened if you picked up the phone.

 

9.       Graphic Design

People in Arts Organisations often spend an obscene amount of money on outsourcing their graphic design.  Often enough there are employees in the office who are not only more than capable of designing your print and online content but also know the ethos of the business far better than any external designer will. 

This will also help to keep all your content consistent with your company brand.  Bare minimum if you are an outsourcer make sure that you keep a branding document so that the designer can get it spot on first time without having to ask too many questions.

If you are looking for administration work, having some photoshop skills under your belt will help you to stand out from the crowd.  If you find photoshop tricky then there are loads of cheaper alternatives out there nowadays! Give Canva a try or stay old school with Microsoft Publisher, just make sure you know the basics.

 

10.       Organisation, organisation, organisation

This links into all of the skills I have mentioned but basically, without some top notch organisational ability the whole of you admin system is almost certainly doomed to fail!  So get on top of it by getting organised.

 

 

And there you have it!  Now, away you go off into the world of administration and smash it!

Please follow and like us:

APP OF THE MONTH: Doodle

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month, Business Skills

 

Name Doodle
Product Description An online voting app designed to make scheduling meetings and events super easy as well as create online surveys and questionnaires.
Availability Only Available through your browser at https://doodle.com/ on the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Store.
Key Features ·         Schedule events and meetings, big or small across any calendar and platform quickly and easily

·         Ask questions by creating polls to send to your team and get them to vote for the most popular option

·         Sync most calendar apps with Doodle in order to avoid double bookings

·         Create and share your own Doodle URL to try and avoid that emailing to and fro

·         Send out multiple times to enable users to vote on their preferred one

·         New Doodle Dashboard keeps all your doodles in one place and makes them really easy to access

·         Auto-arrange reminders to go out prior to the meeting

·         With premium you can customise Doodle to be in keeping with your own company branding and receive advanced security

Prices and Plans It starts completely free to develop a basic poll! But they also have different business options for Doodle ranging from €3.50 per month for one business user to €12.50 per month for five.  Are you an even bigger business? Get in touch with Doodle to receive a quote!
Biggest Pro It’s basically like next level organisation without all the faff! That endless email back and forth and the accidental reply alls are more or less completely eliminated.
Biggest Con It is kind of limited, but to be honest, it’s the simplicity that makes it so brilliant.

Whether or not you use it for big corporate meet and greets or to find a weekend for that school reunion it really is the perfect little bit of software!

 

Please follow and like us:

Last night Some Am-Dram Saved My Life

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Mental Health, Theatre

I know that this blog is primarily about how to apply business skills to your Arts Business, but I will from time to time bring mental health to the forefront of discussion because I think it should be openly discussed and it’s an important conversation.

The Arts Industry is rife with people who struggle with their mental health and (although I will admit that I have no scientific research behind this) I would argue that there are more individuals battling with invisible illnesses like anxiety and depression in this industry than in any other.

Sometimes working in the arts feels like a constant uphill climb.  We are encouraged to go out there and live our dreams, but we are never told how hard it is going to be.  The hours are long and the pay is often low.  Environments can be stressful, and experiences can bend you to complete breaking point.

 

Now please don’t get me wrong:

 

I love the arts!

 

And however much there are times I want to pack it all in and runaway forever Lady Theatre keeps dragging me back!  There is nothing like the creative industry.  The rush, the excitement and the passion!

 

A few years ago (without going into too much detail) both my personal and professional life began to crumble and I started to fall apart.  I went on long term sick leave with the diagnosis of depression and anxiety and vowed never to work in the arts industry again.

After a year of struggling I couldn’t even bring myself to open my laptop and the idea of searching for a new career made me feel physically sick but I knew I needed to do something, if only to appease my friends and family to show them that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

A neighbour had told me about a charity panto that would be taking place in February called: ‘Goldilocks and the Three Martians’.  

“They always need volunteers to help with props and set” I was told.  She passed on my details and found out the rehearsal times for me.

So one Friday, when I was having a good day, I decided to push myself to attend a rehearsal.  I was instantly introduced to the Head of Props who immediately gave me a copy of the script, talked me through all the things which needed making and invited me for a meal to meet the rest of the crew.

I went, I chatted. I was instantly enveloped into a family of different personalities who had one key thing in common: they LOVE theatre.

Now, a year later, I am the official stage manager of this year’s panto: ‘Sinbad goes Down Under’ and I have been involved in crewing, building and propping the entire amateur dramatics programme in the Solihull Area. 

More importantly, I have learnt how to manage my depression and I have remembered why I fell in love with the arts industry.

I used to be quite the cynic about amateur dramatics.  Basically, I was a bit of a snob.  I felt like there was a strong divide between “professional theatre” and “amateur theatre”.  To a point it is instilled in you at arts school that you are somehow better than that, above it.

But there is something beautiful about amateur dramatics though.  It is pure and innocent.  There is none of the economic politics.  Everyone is there because they love what there doing, whether that is onstage or off.  They have become an immediate community of likeminded friends. 

 

And they have reignited my desire for this industry and helped me find my way in this beautiful life. 

 

If ever you’re feeling lost in what is often an overwhelming world, I implore you to seek out the hobbyists in your industry!  They may not be the most professional, the most innovative or have the highest production values but none of that matters!  They are the most positive and passionate groups and they just might relight your fire.

Please follow and like us:

10 Must Have Skills to Smash Your Admin: Part 1

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Business Skills

We all know the worst part of running any company in the creative industries is the boring paperwork.  Sometimes we get completely swamped with the ‘business’ side of activities that it leaves little or even no room for the fun parts!

 

It is therefore important to know the key skills necessary to smash out your admin tasks or (if you’re lucky enough) to hire the perfect administrative assistant to smash out your admin quickly and efficiently!

 

  1. Great Communication Skills

This seems pretty obvious, I know, but nowadays you need to be literate in all kinds of methods of communications: face to face, email to messenger, text to WhatsApp, phone to facetime… nowadays there are hundreds of different ways to approach customers, clients and colleagues.

Not only do you need to know how to use all of these platforms, but you also have to be able to deduce the appropriate manner for each different medium.  For example, Messenger, Text and Whatsapp generally have a more relaxed and casual tonality whereas email is generally more like a letter form.  These tend to be longer and full of more professional sounding vocab.

Great Communicators also tend to be great readers of people.  In a very short amount of time they can deduce how to speak to someone in an appropriate manner whether this is matey and approachable or professional.  There is often a fine line in the creative industries so be sure and, if in doubt, air on the side of professionality.

 

  1. Time Management

A good administrator is an excellent timekeeper.  I often find it useful to keep timetables which are designed so that I can use my time in the most efficient manner.

A great administrator also has the inherent ability to gauge the weight of certain tasks and prioritise them appropriately in order to get the most pressing tasks completed first.

An unbelievable administrator makes you think that they have all the time in the world even when they are the busiest ever.  That calmness can be infectious especially when there are lots of deadlines to meet.

 

  1. Microsoft Office (and their Apple Equivalents)

Every job you ever work in, whatever industry, wherever it is, will almost certainly require you using Microsoft Office (or the similar mac programmes like Pages, Numbers or Google Docs).

It never ceases to blow my mind how many job apps request this as a must have requirement in job application because I am of the opinion that if you don’t know the basics of Word, Excel and PowerPoint then where the hell have you been?! It’s been around since 1995! Have you been living in a box!

To give some clarity: that’s nearly a quarter of a century.  If you haven’t tried to learn how to copy and paste by now there is no hope for you!  It’s like living in France for 25 years without learning how to say ‘Bonjour’.

No more excuses!  If you don’t know how, ask Google and if you need visual guidance YouTube it!

 

  1. Problem Solving Abilities

I love problem solving!  Whether it’s that buzz of on the spot quick fix results or the longer term negotiating, searching for an answer until you find one that is just right, there is a real rush that runs alongside finding the perfect solution to a problem.

How can you be a great problem solver?  You need to be able to spot the problems, find solutions, pick the best one and most importantly apply your strategy then evaluate it to assess if it has worked.

Sometimes you have to perform all of these almost instinctively in a matter of seconds. I once, in a moment of genius and madness, played the part of the Magic Mirror in a pantomime of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ when we had a technical problem. I was the Deputy Stage Manager but safe to say I was an awesome Understudy.  Although in moments (especially like that) it is partially instinctive, it is definitely something that can be learnt and gets easier the more you do it.

 

  1. A ‘To Do’ List

Learn to love a list!

Lists have some real benefits in the admin world:

  • You don’t forget things – carry a notebook round, jot it down in your phone, whack it on a post it, whenever and wherever it pops into your head!  Then compile it into a list later! And never forget anything again.
  • Think of the happiness – every time you cross something off a list you get a tiny kick of dopamine.  That little burst of excitement drives you on to check off the next thing, so however big or small write it down so you can cross it off.
  • Reward yourself – whether this is something as minor as the satisfactory sound made by Swipes or the way that Trello turns green or the physical action of checking something off a handwritten list or ripping a page out your list book it is unbelievably satisfying.  And our brain finds them encouraging pushing us onto achieve even more!
Please follow and like us:

APP OF THE MONTH: Ravelry

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Networking, Social Media
Name Ravelry
Product Description So, technically not an app but a great online community designed especially for crafters!
Availability Only Available through your browser at https://www.ravelry.com/
Key Features ·         A way for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to find like-minded folk!

·         Stay up to date with the latest yarns, tools and projects

·         Free and paid for patterns available to download.  You can use outright or as inspiration.

·         User based content from similar hobbyists

·         Meet and stay in touch with people from all over the world

·         Find different themed groups to suit any crafters needs

·         Upload your projects in an online notebook to share what you’re working on and make your patterns available online.

·         Create an advertising account with specific craft products or services and know you’re directly reaching your target audience!

Prices and Plans FREE!

Think of it like Facebook but for material makers!

Biggest Pro The instant community you find at the mere click of a button!  If you’re a designer or maker, or even a specialist product developer for the craft sector then you’re bound to find friends through Ravelry.
Biggest Con They don’t have any apps currently available for direct access from your phone or tablet but it’s easy enough to log in from your browser.  They also have a page that gives you a list of recommended apps here. https://www.ravelry.com/about/apps

 

Do you love Ravelry? Tell us all about your Ravelry experiences in the comments!

Please follow and like us:

The Escape Room Evolved: ‘Stab in the Dark’

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Entertainment, Theatre

It is always important to keep up with the latest trends in any industry and in recent years the entertainments world had been taken over by Escape Rooms.

If you don’t know what an escape room is basically where have you been?  There are hundreds, if not thousands of these up and down the country.

The trend began in the Japan and the concept is simple: get “locked” in a room must solve a series of puzzles to escape.

These come in all shapes and sizes, at a variety of prices and in any possible theme imaginable!  Great for team building activities or just fun nights out with a group of mates they are generally popular little money spinners!

 

So, what happens when you take these to the next level?

Enter Show Up Productions.

 

From 1st October 2019 Show Up Productions will be launching the previews of their ‘Immersive Crime Scene Experience: Stab in the Dark’

Young Essex based entrepreneur Rachel Dingle has taken the concept of the escape room and turned it on its head:

 

It’s 1995. There has been a murder in a prestigious fashion store. You have been called in by the local police to help the investigation.

Spend an hour in the crime scene looking for clues and collecting evidence.

Take your findings to the police station where you can submit evidence for forensic analysis, speak to witnesses, and eliminate possible suspects.

Can you solve the case?!

 

This isn’t about speed.  It is experimenting with the concept that guests are specialist detectives brought into investigate and solve a murder with live, talented, multirole-playing actors to assist you on your journey.

This is a completely immersive, interactive event but, more to the point, by playing on the ever growing and continually popular Escape Room market Rachel has developed a completely unique theatrical experience.

If you’re in the Southend-on-Sea area go and check it out!  This is one not to be missed! Get your tickets HERE.

 

But could your company jump onboard the Escape Room train?

There are loads of ways you could play with the general concept of the Escape Room that would encourage a new audience to get involved with your arts organisation so put those thinking caps on.

Not only do these not have to break the bank but they could also be great money spinners and raise your profile:

  • KnowEscape currently have somewhat of a monopoly on the portable escape room.  Their travelling Escape Bus covers everything from personal parties to professional events across the UK.
  • Similarly, container entertainment has been growing over the last few years (meaning shows that are built into recycled lorry containers).  Darkfield do great things with containers, and although I know this isn’t strictly speaking an escape room, they are a fantastic example in simplistic theming and concept that can easily be toured.  They use surround soundscapes through headphones in the pitch black utilising your different senses to create horror genre environments.
  • Museums and Galleries are a great place to experiment with the Escape Room.  They have the existing space available to play with performative experiences and are generally only open during the day so contemplate evening openings in limited spaces to attract that 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working crowd in midweek!
  • Already running an escape room?  Have you thought about kid-friendly rooms, shorter in length and easier to solve.  You could run these in your existing rooms during half terms and holidays to boost those sales and increase your audience?  Doing this may even inspire the parents and guardians to come back and try these escape rooms for themselves!
  • Hit up the corporate market by expanding your escape room into full day experiences.  Companies love a team building daily excursion!  You could even incorporate some of the immersive aspects Show Up have thought about in order to expand!
  • Don’t have a venue? No problem, think about developing ‘escape cities’ or ‘parks’.  Online treasure hunts are growing and their biggest pro is that walking round a city is free! Remember though: this isn’t quite the same if you’re running tours or public treasure hunts as there is a certain amount of red tape that needs cutting and permission that needs gaining!

And this is only spin offs for escape rooms!  Every week brings a new fashion, so keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest trends and think about how you could use these in your organisation!

Please follow and like us:

What’s the Difference Between Categories and Tags?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Blogs, Websites

This is one of the first questions I asked myself when starting my blog through WordPress.  When you add a blog to your website you will probably notice the options to add both categories and tags to your posts, but what exactly does this mean and why do you need them?

 

Categories and Tags are basically administration techniques to ensure your posts are properly filed on your website.

There are 2 main reasons for doing this:

  1. It makes your posts easier to find when a reader is looking for a specific topic area which basically means that your users can interact with your website more straightforwardly.
  2. It can work towards improving your SEO.

 

But what exactly are they?

 

What is a Category?

A category is basically a wide-ranging subject heading for posts.  These display topics which help explain to your readers the subject of your blog post.  Think of it like a kind of index page: just click on the theme and it will take you to the relevant pages. Try to limit these to 2/3 per post.

You can also create subcategories within categories.  Don’t get carried away here!  Things like Artist Names and Play Titles keep as tags.  Always remember that the purpose of a category is to make your website navigable.  So, if you are running a blog for a Shakespearean Theatre Company you might have ‘Shakespeare Plays’ as a main category then ‘Histories’, ‘Tragedies’ and ‘Comedies’ as Subcategories.

 

What is a Tag?

Tags get into the nitty gritty.  You can use these to really get the detail in there.  Continuing with the example above your tags may specify things like play titles (‘Twelfth Night’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Hamlet’, etc.) or Actors (‘David Tennant’, ‘Jodie Whittaker’, ‘Christopher Eccleston’ etc.)

 

Things to Remember

  • You have to give your posts at least one category.  If you don’t then it will be filed under the ‘Uncategorized’ Category.  Don’t forget you can always rename this category to something like ‘Other’ or ‘Random’.
  • If you custom your blog posts URL then you can build your categories or tags into the web address for each post.  Here at The Arts Business we custom our blog post URL to include both the title of each post and the lead category whereas you could include the tags as well or instead.  This will help with your SEO.
  • Even though your tags are more specific you still want to limit them to a point.  Remember both tags and categories are primarily there to make you website easier to navigate for the user so you don’t want to end up with thousands of tags to traipse through.  Keep it in the hundreds.  Every few months you can go through and edit these to ensure they remain limited or simply have a range you stick to.

 

And there you have it!  Easy when you know how.

If you have any advice about Tags and Categories we would love you to share this in the comments below!

Please follow and like us: