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Ever been in a room too quiet? It’s unnerving. The body gets acclimatized to background noise, so when there’s too little of it, or too much of it, you feel uneasy. White noise is something that helps us relax. Think of it as just a low-decibel Shhhh sound. A lot of the sounds we heard in the womb was white noise, so much so that it even today has a profoundly relaxing effect on us. Some people like leaving the fan on or the AC running, because those low level frequencies help us lull off to sleep.
Snooz is a white-noise generating machine that is simple, effective, and deliciously elegant! Designed by the guys at MNML Design, the Snooz is as comforting to look at as the white noise it creates. Snooz is different from other white noise machines in the sense that unlike its competition, it doesn’t play a looped piece of audio fuzz. Snooz actually has a fan built inside it that generates white noise (without the distracting breeze). You can even increase the level of white noise by simply rotating the plush outer fabric cover. A capacitive panel on the top allows you to power the Snooz and even work its functions. Since Snooz works best when kept away from the bed (in order to fill the room with white noise), the Snooz app comes in handy, allowing you to modify the volume, set automatic standby, etc. All this awesomeness comes bundled into a tiny ball so small, you’ll want to carry it even when you travel. Just switch it on, and off you go to lala-land!
SO go ahead, hack your way into a better and faster sleep! Snorlax approves.
[ Buy It Here ]
If you really look at architecture, it’s nothing but vertical walls between a floor plane and a ceiling plane. If those walls were collapsible, your entire house wouldn’t be more than a meter in thickness. The ShelterPack is a disaster relief home that fits a bedroom (with 4 beds), bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, and a dining space (with furniture) into a slab just about 80 centimeters in height. The entire apartment can be set up in just a few hours by elevating the ceiling, and putting the walls in place.
The ShelterPack is ideal for places struck by disaster. When compressed, each pack is small enough to be carried in a semi-automatic truck. In bulk! Imagine giving comfortable homes to a 100 refugees/victims with just two such trucks!
Designer: Hakan Gürs (Designnobis)
Be forewarned – checking out Opera Software’s new office might make going to work a little harder today! The headquarters are located in Wroclaw, Poland known as “the city of one hundred bridges” and it was this theme that dictated the direction of the interior design which includes constructions in the shape of arch, grates as well as familiar colors.
The arrangement of the kitchenette is an abstract, but recognizable reference to the architectural icons of the city, such as the construction of Market Hall, Central Railway Station hall or Szczytnicki’s Park. Alternatively, meeting rooms are directly associated with computers and all things IT: there is an integrated circuit, fans and decor, which are made out of nearly one thousand old foppy disks and over two hundred keyboards!
Editor’s Note: This is the third step in last week’s post by Adam Lapp. Here’s Adam…
If you’re entrenched in Conversion Rate Optimization, A/B testing, or have read articles before from MarketingExperiments or MECLABS, you’re probably been inundated with the concepts of friction, anxiety, and value proposition.
But how do you take those concepts and build an effective test plan so you can start increasing your bottom line?
To help you with that, our team of amazing designers (shout out to Lauren, Charlie, Leah, James, and Chelsea) designed this infographic for you. Hope you find it useful.
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If you have any questions, please email me at Adam.Lapp@Meclabs.com. I would love to hear from you.
Those of us working in content strategy know that it is a rich and complicated discipline. We understand, of course, that there are different types of content strategists. But we need to remember that outside of our content strategy bubble, the discipline is still pretty new to colleagues and clients. As the discipline matures and more companies are looking to hire for content strategy, how can companies educate themselves on how to use our specific skills?
I’ve recently been on the job market. And so I’ve spent a lot of time wading through content strategy job listings and meeting with hiring managers. My experience suggests that people beginning to actively hire content specialists frequently have little understanding of what their companies need beyond a title. I would even estimate that about half of my interviews over the past few months have consisted of talking through and refining job descriptions with those sitting across the table from me.
Hiring managers at agencies, brands, and startups would do well to hire based on the type of work they want to focus on—not on a price tag or a title. Like experience design (which content strategy is sometimes folded into), content strategy has subspecialties. Some strategists veer more toward the UX side: user research, content maps, content modeling. Others specialize in PR and native advertising (social media, influencer outreach, and content discovery); still others focus more on content management systems and governance.
Some content strategists even overlap with digital strategists (considering the audience, conversion, and the larger digital ecosystem), but then also do some of the more tactical, executional work to bring these digital ecosystems to life. Others may specialize in search and organic growth. Increasingly, former journalists have started to position themselves as content strategists, using their expertise with long-form and mid-length content to cash in on the boom in native advertising work and branded content creation.
And let’s not forget how industry and categories figure into the equation. For example, if you are an ecommerce brand hiring a content strategist for a website relaunch, you may want a content strategist with past experience in ecommerce working on your site, given your specific conversion challenges. Similarly, for highly regulated spaces like financial services, healthcare, or alcohol, a content strategist with past experience navigating these categories makes sense.
If you don’t practice content strategy, talk to someone who does
For any company trying to make their first content-strategy hire, the most logical place to start is talking with a real live content strategist. I don’t mean that you should reach out to a content strategist on the pretense that this is a position for them and then use an interview to pick their brain (and waste their time). For starters, that’s not very nice; furthermore, you don’t want anyone spreading the word that your company doesn’t know what it’s doing and may not be the best place to work.
No, I mean that you should formally engage a content strategist as a consultant. Have them talk to your team, take a look at your business, help write up an accurate job description, and even start recruiting through their network for the specific position you seek to fill. Chances are they know a lot of good people in their community who would be a perfect fit for the role.
Too often, I’ve seen job descriptions written by someone who is obviously not a content strategist and interviews conducted by people who don’t really understand the discipline. This is likely because, depending on the organization and the kind of content strategy work you do, your role could easily sit in Strategy, Creative, UX, Product, Communications, or PR. And if you’re a content strategist more focused on measurement and SEO, a case could even be made for Analytics. While I understand why this occurs, it ultimately means that the candidates won’t be as strong as they could be.
For companies that already have a content strategist or two on staff, it makes sense to engage them as well, even if they’re in a different location or less senior than the role for which you are currently hiring. I guarantee that the kind of feedback they give you will be invaluable.
Don’t look for “unicorns”
Banish the word “unicorn” from your vocabulary—along with, for that matter, “rock star,” “ninja,” and any other ridiculous buzzword of the moment. I’ve worked in the content sphere long enough to know my own strengths and weaknesses. For example, while I’ve certainly worked on content strategy projects that required information architecture, metadata, and taxonomy expertise, I know that my sweet spot lies more in editorial strategy. I’ve learned to position myself accordingly.
Unfortunately, today’s job market sometimes views such candor as a weakness. Ours is a culture that rewards confidence. Indeed, a survey of over 400,000 hiring professionals revealed that confidence is one of the top three traits that employers say they are looking for in new hires. This is particularly true in the tech space, where much has recently been made of the confidence gap and how it negatively impacts women. As a result, during the hiring process, people can feel pressured to claim that they can “do it all” just to nail down the job. And when a hiring manager doesn’t fully understand what they are hiring for, compulsory confidence can be especially problematic.
The thing is, as a hiring manager, you should be skeptical of anyone who claims to do it all. Someone with over five years of experience who says they can do both structural content strategy and editorial content strategy equally well is likely inflating the truth. And while there may be a tiny constellation of people out there who really can do everything, it probably won’t be for the $60 per hour you are offering. Be realistic when you hire. Remember, you aren’t hiring for sales or new business; you’re hiring to get a job done. Don’t fall for the slickest kid in the room—you may find yourself with a mess on your hands.
Ask to see deliverables
As you decide to move forward in the process with a candidate you’ve vetted, rather than giving them a test or a lengthy spec-work presentation, a great way to see if they’re up to the task is to request a package of some of their past deliverables. Here are some deliverables to look for based on the type of content strategist you are hiring for:
- Website relaunch: content audit, comparative audit, content matrix, editorial guidelines
- CMS redesign: taxonomy and metadata recommendations, content models, site maps, workflow recommendations
- Content strategist for an online magazine: editorial calendars, voice and tone outputs, content briefs
- Content strategist with social-media focus: social editorial calendars, examples of social content, measurement reports
- Content strategist with SEO and analytics expertise: SEO recommendations, analytics audit
Where do we go from here?
Knowing that you “need” content strategy at your company is one thing; hiring the right kind of content strategist to suit your needs and goals is another. Stop wasting your and your prospective hires’ time. Ask an expert for help, stay realistic about your hires, and request the appropriate deliverables. Making an informed decision about whom you bring on board will set you and your team up for success.