An Interactive & Customised Google Maps Example (Darling Harbour, Sydney, NSW)

I’ve long been a fan of using Google Maps to create customised storyboards. It’s a simple process to create your own layers, but if you’re new to this Google has recently released a step-by-step interactive tutorial – you’ll see it when you log into your Google Maps account.

I’ve created a simple interactive map below centered around Darling Harbour in Sydney. Click on the placemarks to view examples of various media I’ve used: text, images and video. I’ve also embedded the entire customised  map bundle within this blog, but it’s also viewable on Google Maps over here (in satellite view this time).

 



Effective Internet Marketing Comms: Lessons from MasterChef

masterchef-australia

Cooking is not difficult if you’re able to follow simple process instructions. To do well in the MasterChef kitchen however would require more than just being able to follow a recipe. Surviving this show demands a deep understanding of the base food elements: their unique characteristics, how they work within various contexts, as well as in combination with one another.

Great cooks don’t need recipes, they configure the ingredient building blocks in their minds, start, and refine the dish according to taste as they go. Effective online communications and marketing works in a similar way: professional creativity, rolling up the sleeves up and doing the most with the content you have, against your objectives and allocation of resources.

You do however need to know what your online content building blocks are – text, images, video, and audio. You also need to know the principals of online syndication and social media sharing, and how to copy and paste very simple snippets of code. Various analytics will help you ‘taste’ and refine the effectiveness of your output as you go.

Here’s a list of your core online content building blocks (your ingredients):

1. At Least One Publishing Point to the World Wide Web
A website is the main publishing platform for most organisations as long as content can be added to it with few financial or technical burdens. A modern content management system (CMS) attached to your website is a must if want to publish through it with regularity.

If you don’t have access to a website you can also publish your comms online via a plethora of mostly free multimedia content aggregators, a few of which you’d already be familiar with: YouTube (video), Flickr (images), Slideshare (slide presentations) and iTunes (audio podcasts); or you could publish through a social networking platform such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter; and you can also post multimedia content through a blog.

2. Knowing How to Copy & Paste
Seriously, if you know how to copy & paste within a Word doc then you’re up to the task of taking a snippet of code from one spot on the web and dropping it in somewhere else. For instance, you might want a video hosted on YouTube to play through your own website, which is possible. If you copy the code supplied beneath most YouTube videos (click on the ‘share’ and ‘embed’ buttons) and then paste that code into a page of your own website via your CMS, the video will appear. You don’t need to know the mechanics of how this happens, just that it does – a bit like the ‘magic’ that takes place inside a microwave oven (technical and who cares?)

Get comfortable with the idea that your online content can be combined and moved around the web by simply copying and pasting bits of code soup. Often times your multimedia content will be served in formatted ‘containers’ called widgets which keeps things neat and lets the user control basic play settings. Some platforms, Google Maps for example, even allows you to pull your disparate multimedia content from around the web and serve it up as seamless layers – this is known as a mash-up. See a Google Maps mash-up example here.

3. Knowing How to Share (…is a Beautiful Thing)
Social ‘share’ buttons are appearing on many social media platforms – they are cleaner and simpler than copying and pasting code, but come with fewer customisation options. These buttons will either embed your online content automatically onto another social media platform, or will link back to where it’s being hosted.

You can even place your own social media share buttons on your own web pages using the ‘copy and past’ technique described above. For example:

4. Knowing How to Syndicate
Most of the big social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare or your own blog allow you to push and pull content, updates and posts to and from one another, either automatically or on an ad hoc basis.  As examples, your Foursquare updates can be pushed through to Twitter; your Twitter posts through to LinkedIn and your blog; you blog posts to LinkedIn and Facebook, or your Facebook wall posts through to Twitter or LinkedIn.

Now, you don’t want to have all of your content being automatically syndicated across all points at once – that could get messy. But you do want your content to reach as wide a possible (target) audience. You’ll have to work out your own content syndication config according to what you’re publishing and to whom.

 

Good cooking draws from creativity, proportion, balance and practice – tossing every ingredient at your disposal into a bowl will not work. And yeah, you can follow a recipe and get a result that won’t offend; but to produce a dish that will impress a judge requires a bit of unscripted magic.