July Webinar Series Dates Released Focusing On Online Presence

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Cropped Image Of Businessman Using Laptop At Desk In Office

July’s free webinars from Excalibur Press kicks off with a session this Thursday (July 2) with founder Tina Calder telling attendees just what she does in order to organise, promote and deliver her webinars each week.

Running A Webinar? Here’s What I Do Each Week is the latest session publicity management, content creation and copywriting company Excalibur Press has been running for the last three months to support businesses and individuals to transform their business and take advantage of online opportunities quickly.

A total of seven sessions will be held throughout July including topics such as blogging, podcasts, and maximising use of LinkedIn.

Tina will use over two decades of experience in media, publicity, publishing and content creation to deliver unique “action orientated” sessions.

She said: “At the beginning of the Covid crisis like many businesses I was in shock at the speed at which my business was changing. Clients were no longer able to commit to budgets and large projects were put on hold.

“I could have very easily just settled in, bunkered down and weathered the storm waiting for things to come back again but I decided that was 100% the wrong thing to do.

“I realised quickly that if I could use my experience to help people learn new skills and cope with the crisis a little better then I could create a wonderful community of learners and welcome them into the Excalibur Press family through our online brand The Content Club.

“These webinars offer me a great way to connect with the business community and find out exactly what services they need and want during this time.”

The July 2 session – Running A Webinar? Here’s What I Do Each Week, begins at 3pm and will see Tina outlining what she does each week for her series of successful webinars.

“This week I’ll run through what I do behind the scenes, what systems and processes I use and explain how to streamline creating your webinar” said Tina.

The following Wednesday (July 8) Tina will present Do You Want To Start Podcasting? Here’s How!, equipping attendees with everything they need to know to get started, including the required tools, to set up their first podcast.

On Thursday July 9 attendees of the weekly sessions will be able to hear Tina delivering Setting Up Your First Webinar? Here’s How!

“This session has been tailored to show how webinars can help businesses and individuals supercharge their marketing and sales efforts, as well as establishing them as real influencers and market leaders,” Tina explained.

The July series continues with Turning Your Face To Face Training Into An Online Course (July 15), Creating A Thought Leadership Strategy (July 16), Blogging for Business (July 22), and Supercharge Your LinkedIn With Great Content (July 30).

“We’ve set aside an hour and a half for each webinar which will help you start thinking about what you need to do to begin reaching towards online success,” Tina said.

Throughout each session Tina aims to simplify the process, as well as an opportunity for questions and answers to give attendees real and practical tips and advice.

For more information on all the events go to excaliburpress.co.uk/events

To register for Running A Webinar? Here’s What I Do Each Week go to https://bit.ly/3fvaFhk

How To Keep Your Workforce Safe From Coronavirus

The global Coronavirus pandemic was unprecedented. It has had a significant impact on our working and social lives and has been responsible for a high number of deaths throughout the UK. 

As necessary but restrictive lockdown measures are eased to help secure the UK’s economy, workforces across the country return to a “new normal”. 

For many organisations, additional safety measures need to be implemented and maintained to reduce risk and to help control the spread of the virus. 

Michelle Tyson, CEO of Tyson Wilson Recruitment & Tyson Wilson Temps has been preparing both her candidates and clients for creating safe environments for people returning to their offices and places of work.

She said: “There are a wide range of safety measures available to help protect your employees, customers, and the wider community. 

“Some measures are more useful or applicable in certain sectors, with a range of government guidance available online. 

“However, at Tyson Wilson we have identified five measures that are more generally applicable and can help you to ensure you have taken reasonable steps to keep your workforce safe from COVID-19.

“Not only that, we currently have a policy and procedure in place to train all our candidates being placed in temporary and permanent positions on things such as hand washing, sanitising work spaces, wearing PPE to prepare them for entering workplaces where they will have to adhere to strict rules and regulations.”

1. Carry out a Coronavirus-specific Risk Assessment

Risk Assessments are common documents across all sectors and industries that typically list the hazards present in the workplace, or hazards that are created by carrying out a range of tasks and duties. The assessments indicate the level of risk from each hazard, as well as listing specific control measures that must be implemented to mitigate risk. 

“Carrying out a Coronavirus Risk Assessment helps ensure you take a methodical approach to assessing risk and identifying reasonable control measures that can be implemented to reduce risk” said Michelle, adding: “The assessment should be detailed enough to cover all activities that are undertaken by your organisation, as well as identifying all persons who could be at risk. Once complete, the document can be sent to all employees and displayed in a prominent location at your premises to ensure it is well communicated and understood.”

2. Maintain remote-working practices, where possible

Michelle explained: “While the government is taking steps to reduce restrictive lockdown measures, key advice to employers remains the same – where your employees can work from home, they should be working from home. 

“Many organisations adapted quickly to remote working practices, including the use of video conferencing software, setting up group chats, and carrying out daily or weekly team briefings. Unless your employees do work that is of a nature that cannot be carried out from home, such as production operatives and construction workers, then remote working practices should be implemented and maintained.”

3. Implement workplace social distancing measures

For employees who cannot work from home, it is vital that social distancing measures are implemented in the workplace. 

Michelle said: “As of June 23rd 2020, the guidance is two metre social distancing. To help enforce this, employers can introduce a range of measures including: reduced numbers in the workplace at any one time, spreading out the workforce by changing the layout of offices and work spaces, minimising the maximum number of people permitted to be in one room, staggering tea and lunch breaks, allowing employees to eat at their desks or stations to reduce cross-contamination in communal areas, restricting visitors to the workplace, erecting perspex screens and dividers, marking out social distancing lines on floors, and putting up posters as a reminder to socially distance.”

4. Implement a robust cleaning regime and hygiene practices

“Thorough cleaning regimes that were introduced at the start of the pandemic need to be maintained” said Michelle.

“This can include frequent disinfection of surfaces, equipment, door handles, and other touch points, regular emptying of bins, and removing shared cutlery and cups from use, etc. 

“In addition, adequate hand hygiene must be maintained, and employees should have access to a suitable supply of hand washing materials, barrier and emollient creams, and hand sanitiser. A wide range of hands-free dispensers have become available on the market from local suppliers.” 

5. Supply and proper fitting of appropriate PPE

Michelle advised: “Where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, or work activities require employees to be in areas that have higher levels of traffic (or if employees feel more secure with PPE available), you should provide suitable PPE such as face masks or covering, or full face shields. 

“This is particularly common for employees in the hospitality sector, in supermarkets, and on public transport. If supplying PPE to employees, ensure they know the correct methods to don and doff the equipment to ensure it provides adequate protection.” 

More information for employers can be found on the NI Direct website and the HSE website. The HSE website provides guidance for the UK and the rules in Northern Ireland may differ slightly. 

However, in general, the advice with regards to health and safety measures in the workplace is robust. 

For more information log onto tysonwilsonrecruitment.co.uk

Questions You Need To Ask When Creating Or Auditing A Website For Your SME

In many cases your website is your shop window, the place people will go to find out more about you and your product or service before making the decision to buy.

Getting it right is imperative to ensure your potential customer moves through your customer journey to convert into a solid sale.

Damien Maddalena is the founder of Elucidate Studios. Based in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, Elucidate aim to design, develop, and deploy meaningful brand and digital experiences through exploration, experimentation, and collaboration. 

Building websites since the early days of the internet, Damien has more years’ experience than he cares to remember.

Damien delivered a talk at a Lunchtime Learning session facilitated by the Cathedral Quarter BID (Business Improvement District) full of tips for small business owners.

Here are Damien’s key questions you need to answer for anyone thinking of building or changing their business website: 

“Your website should be at the centre of your digital universe” said Damien, adding: “All your online activity should direct users to your website for more information – from social media, to email marketing. All your offline marketing activity should also point to your website – from letterheads to print adverts. Your website acts as a centralised online hub for your business.”

A website creates a destination for those who want to know more about your business, acts as an archive for content, news, and stories about your business, and is a simple means of contact for your customers and potential customers to find you and get in touch. As such a key communication tool, it’s important that your website is high quality and effective. 

Key Questions For SME Website Development

  • What is your business strategy and how will a website help you meet your business objectives?
  • What does your current online presence look like and what needs to change?
  • Who is your online audience, and how do you find them? How do they find you?
  • How do you perform online compared to your competitors?

Damien explained: “Websites are not vanity projects. It is a functional tool for your business. Consider your wants versus your needs when designing and developing your website. What is going to add value to your business? Sliding banners and additional features like moving components might look good, and maybe your competitor has them, but what value are they going to add to your website?”

What else should you ask yourself?

  • What does the website need to do? 
  • What is the scope of your website development project? The scope will impact on your design and functionality needs, and ultimately on your budget. 
  • Have you considered mobile responsiveness, search engine optimisation, hosting and security?

“Your website design should represent and reflect your brand” said Damien.

“Core features include a home page, an about page, product or services pages, a news or blog section, a contact page, and a cookie policy/privacy notice. Additional features can include an online booking system, customer portal or login area, and an ecommerce online store.

“Spend sufficient time scoping and planning your website from the start. Adding in functionality down the line can be costly and make the design and development process much more difficult. This is known as “reactive creep.”

But it’s not just about the structure of your website that businesses need to consider when developing their website, said Damien. He identified the following questions as integral to the website build.

  • Do you have a plan for the content of your website? If you are not comfortable or confident writing this yourself, you can hire a copywriter to write it for you. 
  • Do you have high resolution logos, artwork and images for your website? Or do you need to hire a graphic designer to create these for you?
  • What are your expectations for the website? Have you seen samples of things that you like that you could show to your web developer?

Damien added: “Some website developers will have graphic design and copywriting skills in-house, but many won’t. It’s up to you to make sure all the content and imagery is how you want it to be. Not having the content ready can delay the creation and launch of the website, so make sure you have thought about this in advance.”

Practical questions

  • What on-going support do you need from a website developer? Most websites will require plugin or security updates at a minimum, some will also require a budget for on-going tweaks and improvements over time.  
  • How do you choose which website developer to go with? Ask to see a portfolio of their work or speak with some of the clients they have worked with in the past. 
  • Are you happy to use a WordPress or similar website developer who designs using templates, or do you want a website that is fully bespoke? What does your budget allow?

Check out Damien’s full Lunchtime Learning which goes into a lot of detail on the questions you should be asking yourself, as well as your website developer, as an SME that is planning on commissioning a new website on the Cathedral Quarter website: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/whats-on/lunchtime-learning-websites-for-smesTo see more Lunchtime Learning sessions go to: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/lunchtime-learning

3 Year Old With Learning Disability Learns To Walk & In Just 6 Months Takes On Jumping Challenge For Mencap

Three-year-old Lucius Corry, who has Down’s syndrome, a hearing impairment and ventricular septal defect, is taking on his biggest challenge yet to raise vital funds for Mencap Northern Ireland to thank the charity for supporting him to take his first steps. . Distributed pro bono by Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk For further information, contact Seán Conlon, Mencap on: sean.conlon@mencap.org.uk

Three-year-old Lucius Corry, who has Down’s syndrome, a hearing impairment and ventricular septal defect, is taking on his biggest challenge yet to raise vital funds for Mencap Northern Ireland to thank the charity for supporting him to take his first steps. 

Lucius will be taking on a 50-jump challenge as part of Mencap in Northern Ireland’s “Move It For Mencap” fundraising campaign, which will raise money to help the charity deliver its life-changing services to people with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.

Proud mum, Joanne Corry, gave birth to Lucius at 38 weeks by C-Section after developing gestational diabetes. Lucius was immediately taken away for blood tests and was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. Further scans showed that Lucius has a hearing impairment as well as a ventricular septal defect, which will require him to have surgery at some stage.

At two-years-old Lucius started attending the Mencap Children’s Centre, which is run in partnership with the Belfast Trust, where he was supported to take his first steps last December. 

Although the coronavirus pandemic has meant that the Children’s Centre has not been able to deliver face-to-face support, Mencap quickly adapted its services to offer virtual support to families. Mencap wanted to make sure children with a learning disability continue in their development and that families can get the vital support they need during lockdown.

Lucius and Joanne are grateful for the ongoing virtual support they have received and continue to see Lucius develop despite lockdown. Lucius had been trying for weeks to jump and was really struggling, but during lockdown Lucius achieved his first jump. 

Now he loves jumping and the family have set Lucius a new challenge to do 50 jumps to fundraise for Mencap to thank the charity for its support.

Joanne Corry, mum to Lucius, says: “Lucius has thrived at Mencap’s Children’s Centre. He learned to walk in December, which was a major achievement for him. He couldn’t have done it without the support from Mencap. The staff at Mencap have been brilliant to us and are always there for support. We have got to meet so many other families who were in a similar situation and could relate to what we were going through, which really helped. The workshops and training courses were a great help to me and my family. 

“Even though this is a difficult time for everyone, we were delighted when Lucius hit another milestone a few weeks ago by learning to jump! He had been trying for weeks but his feet never left the ground, but he was so determined to do it. Then suddenly his feet lifted, and he was so excited. He loves jumping now. We decided we would like to help to raise as much as we can for Mencap so they can go on supporting other families like ours and to also say thank you to Mencap for everything that they have done for us so far.”

Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap Northern Ireland, says: “I just want to say a huge thank you to Lucius and Joanne for fundraising for Mencap. It means to so much to us that our families so value our services that they are willing to fundraise on top of everything else they do. Our extraordinary teams are working extremely hard in challenging circumstances to help many children and adults with a learning disability and their families in need of support during this difficult time. Lucius’s jumping is a very special ‘Move it for Mencap’ challenge. It is really wonderful that Lucius and Joanne are helping us to transform the lives of other children with a learning disability and their families to help them build independent and fulfilling lives.”

The coronavirus crisis is affecting people nationwide, but it is society’s most vulnerable people, including people with a learning disability and their families and carers, who are most likely to be hit hardest. Mencap continues to provide the highest quality care and support to thousands of children and adults with a learning disability and their families and carers, while ensuring that the 42,000 people with a learning disability in Northern Ireland are supported through the charity’s helpline, online support services and programmes, and lobbying and influencing work. 

“Move It For Mencap” is asking you to move in whichever way suits you to raise money for Mencap in Northern Ireland and help support local people with a learning disability. Set yourself a challenge, be it walking, running, or even dancing, set up a fundraising link and get started. Find out more about getting started and other ways you can get involved too at:

https://northernireland.mencap.org.uk/support-us/fundraising-northern-ireland

Support Lucius’s “Move It For Mencap” fundraising challenge at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joanne-corry1.

#MoveIt4Mencap

Belfast City Blues Festival Unveils 11 Acts For Saturday ‘Live From The Bunker’ Line-Up

There may be no blues echoing around the pubs and venues for this year’s Belfast City Blues Festival owing to the Covid-19 crisis, but your fix of superb music will be delivered thanks to the virtual festival live from the Blues Bunker.

Saturday, June 27 sees 11 acts lined up to deliver from the Blues Bunker an entire eight hours of tunes.

From 2pm through to after 10.30pm the virtual fest sees local, national and international acts play for fans who need their music fix in these strange times.

Headliners are the Canadian Blues sensation The Johnny Max Band – an act guaranteed to get your toes tapping whether you are tuning in from your backyard or your bedroom.

The vast array of talent on display is a tribute to the pulling power of the Belfast City Blues Festival, as well as in the different climate of the pandemic.

“The wellbeing of our friends, fans, musicians and Blues family, alongside the amazing staff, volunteers, sponsors and festival team who support us every year out number one priority,” said festival director Seamus O’Neill.

“As we consider what we can do later in the year we’re pleased to host this special online show from the Blues Bunker.”

And, what a show it is. As well as The Johnny Max Band there will be The Lee Hedley Blues Band (live from Kelly’s Cellars), and Mirenda Rosenberg, who will be streaming all the way from the US.

Opening proceedings will be Sam Davidson’s Taste live from The American Bar, with sets following throughout the day.

Included are the Red Hot Roosters (live from Kelly’s Cellars), DD and The Delta Boys, Robin Bibi, Tony Villiers, Light, Christy Crow Black Chicken, and Dom Martin.

Seamus said that while they are considering a scaled back later in the year the June 27th show will again demonstrate the commitment to the best of musical talent.

“From an idea 11 years ago the Belfast City Blues Festival grew to such an extent that by 2019 22,500 visitors flocked to venues,” he said. “The success of the festival is testimony to what we can achieve when we come together.

“Thank you to everyone who has been part of the festival to date and I promise that in 2021 we will be back, bigger and better than ever.”

With the likes of Mirenda Rosenberg delivering her African American roots take on the blues, The Johnny Max Band’s ‘Roadhouse Soul, the exciting talent of Robin Bibi as well as the local stars the Belfast City Blues Bunker will be your essential online musical destination on Saturday

The Belfast City Blues Festival 2020 is un-funded and operating without sponsors, your support has been vital to our survival, thank you for your donations.

For more information, to register for tickets or make a donation go to https://bit.ly/2Bc8G2Z

Full Lineup

BELFAST CITY BLUES FESTIVAL

‘Live From The Bunker ‘

2pm – 2.55pm – Sam Davidson’s Taste

3.05.pm – 3.35pm – Mirenda Rosenberg (USA)

3.45pm- 4.15pm – DD & The Delta Boys

4.25pm – 5pm – Dom Martin

5.10pm – 5.40pm – Christy O’Hanlon from Crow Black Chicken

5.50pm- 6.40pm – The Red Hot Roosters

6.50 – 7.20pm – Tony Villiers

7.30pm – 8pm – Light

8.10pm- 8.40pm – Robin Bibi (London)

8.50pm – 9.40pm – Lee Hedley Band

9.50pm – 10.20pm – The Johnny Max Band (Toronto)

Social Media Star Adam B Gives Young YouTubers A Gift To Remember

Derry YouTuber Adam B visits some lucky kids in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Adam B For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

Last weekend Derry YouTube star Adam Beales gave out over £20k worth of gifts to people he believed needed help.

But three young people really stood out to him because they aspire to having YouTube success just like the 20-year-old who is better known as Adam B online.

Adam had asked for nominations for children and young people who needed a lift, and distributed tech gifts, and even a car, to many deserving families, including those who want to follow in his footsteps.

For 12-year-old Shayne O’Carolan Adam’s visit came after being nominated for his hospital fundraising efforts, following on from spending the first four year of his life in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Birmingham.

Derry YouTuber Adam B visits 12-year-old YouTuber Shayne O’Carolan who received a camera and a laptop in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Shayne O’Carolan For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

But it wasn’t just his inspirational story that captured Adam’s heart, the fact the youngster had his own YouTube channel made Adam want to help him even more.

Mum Shauna explained how much Adam’s visit and gifts meant to him.

“Shayne’s whole life is based around YouTube,’ she said. “He has his own YouTube channel and spends hours every day making videos.”

Shayne’s video making will be a lot easier now thanks to the camera and Macbook for editing that were presented to him by Adam, during a visit to his house.

“I wasn’t expecting any presents,’ Shauna explained. “The visit was phenomenal enough. We couldn’t get Shayne to go to bed that night because he said that he didn’t want the day to end. Since then he has been talking about Adam nonstop. We can’t believe the effect that Adam has had on him.”

Adam’s gift-giving initiative is the latest that the YouTube star has undertaken, having previously donated more than £1k to those in need. This time it saw him delivering the gifts in a special ice cream van.

“I set up an email account asking people to send emails in, nominating people who they thought deserved a gift,” he explained. “I received thousands!

“My whole family and myself sat reading through all the emails over a series of nights. Some people got lots of nominations who, most obviously, deserved a gift. Others I chose because they stuck out to me personally.”

One of those that struck a chord was that of nine-year-old Lucas Noah Broderick. When he started uploading videos to his YouTube channel, negative messages upset and hurt him.

Derry YouTuber Adam B visits young 9 year old YouTuber Lucas Noah who received a camera, tripod and drone in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Lucas Noah For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

But now Lucas Noah is having the last laugh.

Adam turned up at Lucas Noah’s house and gave the young man words of encouragement – telling him to go on uploading videos and ignore the trolls’ messages.

To help him on his way, Adam presented Lucas Noah with a brand new camera, a drone and a tripod to make better videos.

“I wasn’t expecting the gifts”, said mum Caroline. “Adam’s visit was more than enough, but this just made Lucas Noah’s day. I’m so glad that I responded to Adam’s Facebook post. He doesn’t know the impact he has had on our wee boy’s life.

Lucas Noah was inspired by Adam to create his own YouTube channel in February this year, he has about 1.5k followers and the videos are mainly of him and his dad having fun – although usually his dad getting the brunt end of anything. 

“Lucas Noah wants to make videos because of Adam. When I applied, I told Adam that Lucas Noah was getting very negative messages in response to his videos. People were posting messages such as ‘go and kill yourself’ and then they would follow up with other negative messages.

“Adam’s team asked if Lucas Noah needed any presents. I said no. 

“When he saw AB he was in total shock but couldn’t stop smiling. 

“Lucas Noah was absolutely over the moon. Adan had a few quiet words with Lucas Noah about his videos. Told him not to let anyone stop him from making them. Then he gave him a brand new camera, a drone and a tripod to make better videos. I wasn’t expecting this. The visit by Adam was more than enough, but this just made Lucas Noah’s day.”

For Adam, inspiration to give the gifts came from another YouTube star, David Dobrik.

“I’m a massive fan and anyone who watches David would know that he likes to surprise people,” he explained “And I think during this climate, with bad news after bad news, people locally need someone like David. So, I too am going to do my best to try to make people smile.”

As well as having 2.7m YouTube subscribers Adam has more than 500,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok with his witty pranks and sketches, but he is committed to continuing charity work and supporting others. In addition to his cash and gift giveaways he recently bought his parents a four-bedroom dream home.

However, choosing those that were to receive the gifts for this video has involved his entire family, from picking the successful nominees through to joining Adam on the ice cream van.

“It’s amazing to be in the position where I can make people smile, take their mind off things, or potentially make a difference in their lives,” he said. “The stories really touched me. The same stories that also touched my mum whilst we were reading through the emails. It is the most I’ve ever seen my mum cry in one week.”

Among other recipients was 14-year-old superfan Lucie McElwee who received a Macbook, iPad and iPhone. The 14-year-old also had a box of chocolates as a bonus.

Derry YouTuber Adam B visits 14-year-old superfan Lucie McElwee who received a Macbook, iPad and iPhone in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Adam B For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

Lucie’s mum Sue McElwee said: “I saw the post on Facebook and sent an email. Lucie is such a superfan and knows Adam B very well. She has been a fan from the very start. I knew that if she didn’t get the surprise she would be crushed and so I kept it all very hush hush.

“On the day, Adam came quite late and so I had to find an excuse to keep her in the house. 

“It was about half four or five before Adam arrived. Her dad said to her that someone was coming up the road and when she saw the ice cream van she had to take a double take. She had no shoes on and when the ice cream truck pulled up outside, she ran out panicking with no shoes on, screaming ‘I can’t believe it’.”

For Adam the real thank yous go to each and every fan like Lucie who has helped him get to where he is today.

He said: “I want to thank everyone who has supported me, watched the videos, shared, liked, commented and subscribed. You have given back to the local community. And for that, I just want to say thank you.”

His final message is one for everyone: “You don’t have to spend money to be kind. This video was a special one because I was able to give back,” he said. “But you don’t need to go to those lengths to be a nice person. Be the reason why someone smiles today. You won’t regret it.”

Check out Adam’s videos on his YouTube channel Adam B.

Derry YouTube Star Adam B’s £20k Handout To Community From An IceCream Van

Derry YouTube sensation Adam Beales has handed out more than £20k worth of gifts to children and their families following an online appeal for nominations of those deserving a treat in these difficult times.

Known as Adam B to his 2.7m YouTube followers, the 20-year-old fulfilled a lifetime dream of being an ice cream man, but instead of serving up sweet treats he was delivering life changing gifts, including a car to a family that lost a loved one in April.

Derry YouTuber Adam B visits some lucky kids in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Adam B For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

From laptops through to phones, tablets, cameras, toys and drones Adam delivered the presents after choosing from a list he and his family looked through, all to be revealed when he releases the video at 6pm on Wednesday, June 24.

“I set up an email account asking people to send emails in, nominating people who they thought deserved a gift,” he explained. “I received thousands!

“My whole family and myself sat reading through all the emails over a series of nights. Some people got lots of nominations who, most obviously, deserved a gift. Others I chose because they stuck out to me personally.”

Of those chosen they range from people who have recently recovered from a serious illness, raised funds for charities, young people starting their own business, to those who have been bereaved.

One massive surprise was for Bronagh Burke. She lost her husband and father to three-year-old twins Thomas in April. Adam surprised the twins with a mountain of toys, and left Bronagh speechless when he handed her the keys to a brand-new car.

Derry YouTuber Adam B visits Bronagh Burke and her twins Adam & Aoife where he gifted the family lots of toys and a car in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Adam B For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

“To lose a father is the most heart wrenching thing to read about,” he said. “The incredible young twins tried to help Bronagh by running out to the street to call for an ambulance and remaining calm as Bronagh performed CPR.

“Adam and Aoife will be marking their fourth birthdays on June 28th and Bronagh wanted to make the day special even without their dad.

I was in the fortunate position to gift Adam and Aoife with lots of toys from our local Smyths Toy Superstore – and able to gift Bronagh a new car.”

Adam delivered the car, not knowing that the family car had to be returned just two weeks previously.

“I was so overwhelmed, completely blown away and then he arrived with the car,” said Bronagh. “It was just amazing.”

The choice of making the delivery via an ice cream van was something Adam had long cherished.

Derry YouTuber Adam B visits some lucky kids in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Adam B For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

“I always wanted to be an ice cream man when I was younger,” he explained. 

“I used to look at them in the street and think to myself, ‘Someday I want to be an ice cream man and eat all the ice cream in the world’.

“I may not be eating ice cream in this video, but I’ll be in the truck, going around locally, playing the classic ice cream tune and giving people MacBooks, iPhones and cash.”

Among the recipients is a remarkable young man, Shayne O’Carolan, who spent the first four years of his life in hospital.

The 12-year-old has a number of special needs, but that hasn’t stopped him from fundraising, including raising £2k to provide two parents’ beds in the children’s wards at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Shayne is a fan of Adam’s YouTube channel, and makes his own videos too. The family thought Adam was just visiting to give some support and meet Shayne.

“Shayne was speechless when he saw Adam,” explained mum Shauna. “He was so excited and then AB said to him, ‘I hear you’re a very big YouTuber. I’ve got you a camera, but you will need to edit your videos’. He then handed him a Macbook as well.”

Since then Shayne’s YouTube views have risen and his mother said the family can’t believe the positive effect his visit has had.

For Adam inspiration to do this video came from another YouTube star, David Dobrik.

“I’m a massive fan and anyone who watches David would know that he likes to surprise people,” he explained, adding: “And I think during this climate, with bad news after bad news, people locally need someone like David. So, I too am going to do my best to try to make people smile.”

For a number of years Adam has been garnering more and more YouTube subscribers, as well as more than 500,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok with his witty pranks and sketches, but he is committed to continuing charity work and supporting others. Before this recent video has randomly handed out £1k to people who contacted him on Twitter and bought his parents a four-bedroom dream home.

However, choosing those that were to receive the gifts for this video has involved his entire family, from picking the successful nominees through to joining Adam on the ice cream van.
“It’s amazing to be in the position where I can make people smile, take their mind off things, or potentially make a difference in their lives,” he said. “The stories really touched me. The same stories that also touched my mum whilst we were reading through the emails. It is the most I’ve ever seen my mum cry in one week.”

Included in the recipients of Adam’s gifts is nine-year-old Lucas Noah, who had been receiving nasty online comments about his own YouTube channel. Adam delivered a new camera and drone to help him improve his videos.

And, 18-year-old singer Clionagh Stewart, whose laptop was no longer working. Adam popped up with a new Macbook to help her get back to recording songs.

With his ice cream deliveries he also gave one of his long-time fans, Lucie McElwee, a Macbook, iPad and iPhone. The 14-year-old also had a box of chocolates as a bonus.

Derry YouTuber Adam B drops off hampers to staff at Altnagelvin Hospital in the big 20k giveaway where Adam travelled around Derry in an ice cream truck giving gifts to people he believed deserved them. Photo (c) Adam B For more info contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

In addition to the many gifts Adam has dropped off hampers to staff at Altnagelvin Hospital to thank what he describes as “our local superheroes”.

But the YouTube star wanted to thank those that have helped him be able to support others.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me, watched the videos, shared, liked, commented, and subscribed. You have given back to the local community. And for that, I just want to say thank you.”

His final message is one for everyone: “You don’t have to spend money to be kind. This video was a special one because I was able to give back,” he said. “But you don’t need to go to those lengths to be a nice person. Be the reason why someone smiles today. You won’t regret it.”Check out Adam’s videos on his YouTube channel Adam B.

How To Maximise Your LinkedIn Profile For Business

In recent years, the popularity of LinkedIn has grown exponentially. What once started as a digital CV website has now grown into one of the most popular professional networking platforms in the world.

With over 562 million users from over 200 countries and growing at a rate of two new users per second, the social network for businesses represents a significant opportunity for small businesses to make connections, engage in conversations, and grow their business through increased conversions.

Niamh Taylor is an award-winning Digital Marketing Consultant, and founder of digital marketing agency, Digital Twenty Four. Having developed and delivered a range of digital transformation programmes for a wide range of businesses, including local councils, Niamh is highly experienced and well-versed in the use of LinkedIn for business growth.

Niamh delivered her training at a Lunchtime Learning session facilitated by the Cathedral Quarter BID (Business Improvement District).

Here are Niamh’s key takeaways:

1. Custom Privacy and Functionality Settings

When it comes to using their LinkedIn profile Niamh said a lot of people just work off the settings that are automatically assigned by the platform.

She added: “There are small adjustments and tweaks that you can make to improve your LinkedIn experience. Most of these can be found in the settings of your LinkedIn page, so go in there and see what you can change to make your LinkedIn experience more relevant and beneficial to you.”

Niamh’s key points around privacy and functionality were:

  • LinkedIn assigns a unique identification number to each user profile. However, you can edit this to include your name in your profile URL, which is important for search engine optimisation. 
  • You can edit which sections of your profile are visible to the public (all LinkedIn users), or just to your own connections. Turn off sections that are not relevant to you, for example languages if you only speak one, and recommendations if you have not received any from fellow LinkedIn users. 
  • Within your account settings you can choose to turn off the automatic play of videos in your newsfeed. This is purely a personal preference but can improve your experience of using LinkedIn if you find automatic play to be annoying or distracting. 
  • Settings also allow you to disable features such as posting/notifying users when you make changes to your profile. If you are reviewing and editing your profile, you may want to disable this feature, so all your contacts are not notified about each individual change you make. 

2. Optimising Your Profile

In order to optimise your profile Niamh pointed out some straightforward steps you can take to make sure your profile is as complete and professional looking as possible. 

“Some of these steps may seem like a minor detail, but they can make all the difference when someone is debating reaching out and doing business with you” said Niamh.

Her key points around optimising your profile are:

  • You may not need or want to do this, but you can update your name to include more than just your name. For example, you can include a very short description of what you specialise in, or any accreditations you have with industry bodies. For example, Niamh’s name on LinkedIn includes Digital Marketing Consultant, FCIM (Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing). 
  • Update your headline to something that is useful for others to know about you or your business. 
  • Make sure all relevant sections of your profile are completed and consider turning off or hiding sections that are not relevant. 
  • Use a professional head shot or image for your profile photo. Profiles with a good quality picture, as opposed to a logo or something that is difficult to make out, get more engagement. If you have lots of employees on LinkedIn, consider getting head shots for all the team or using the same background for the photos. This will increase brand awareness and present a professional image for the business.
  • Update the education section to include any training courses that you complete. 
  • Reach out to your connections to ask for recommendations on the platform. 
  • When building your network and sending out connection requests, include a personal message where you can. 
  • Feature any professional bodies that you are a member of and add in some interests in the relevant section – including interests is a quick way for others to get to know more about you.

Niamh added: “LinkedIn carried out research to identify the key attributes employers look for on the platform. To really make your profile stand out, refer to these or find ways to illustrate that you have these skills – adaptability, positivity, resilience, proactivity and confidence.”

3. Contagious Content

Whether you are sharing a post, writing an article, or engaging in a conversation on LinkedIn, Niamh said users should aim to provide advice on a common problem, be amusing, inspirational or provide interesting information. 

“The aim with LinkedIn is to engage and be engaging. Good quality imagery is a must, as well as catchy titles to draw attention” she added.

Niamh also pointed out that generally, the best times to post content are between 7am and 9am, 12pm and 2pm or after 4pm, all on weekdays. The platform gets less traffic at the weekend. 

An important note to the audience from Niamh was that company pages have not taken off yet on LinkedIn, with the platform announcing regular changes to try and increase the use and visibility on these pages. Where you do have a company page, encourage all employees to share any content you put on it to increase engagement. 

Check out Niamh’s full Lunchtime Learning on the Cathedral Quarter website: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/whats-on/lunchtime-learning-linkedin-for-business/

To see more Lunchtime Learning sessions go to: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/lunchtime-learning 

Belfast City Blues Festival Announces 2020 Festival To Move Online “Live From The Bunker”

Earlier this year the Belfast City Blues Festival 2020 was cancelled as a live event due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

However, organisers have worked hard over the last month to find a way of bringing the music to the fans.

Festival director Seamus O’Neill said: “I haven’t let our music fans down yet with the festival and I’m not about to start.”

This year although fans won’t be able to attend the live gigs they will still get their dose of music as a special online show on Saturday, June 27 from 2pm-10pm.

Seamus O’Neill said that the decision in April  to postpone the 11th outing for the best of local, national and international musical talent had not been taken lightly.

“The wellbeing of our friends, fans, musicians and Blues family, alongside the amazing staff, volunteers, sponsors and festival team who support us every year was always our number one priority,” he said.

“As we consider what we can do later in the year or next year we’re pleased to host this special online show live from the Blues Bunker.”

Artists confirmed so far are Lee Hedley, Sam Davidson’s Taste, Mirenda Rosenberg, who will stream from the US, The Johnny Max Band, streaming from Canada, The Red Hot Roosters, Dom Martin, Tony Villars and more to be announced.

Lee Hedley said it was important that the Belfast City Blues Festival annual celebration is acknowledged.

“Each year the festival has grown and become such a vibrant part of the city’s musical calendar,” he said. “I’m delighted that we all can play, albeit online, for fans and hopefully raise some money to make sure the festival comes back bigger and better than ever.”

Seamus said that while they are considering a scaled back festival later in the year the June 27 show will again demonstrate the commitment to the best of musical talent.

“From an idea 11 years ago the Belfast City Blues Festival grew to such an extent that by 2019 22,500 visitors flocked to venues,” he said. “The success of the festival is testimony to what we can achieve when we come together.

“Thank you to everyone who has been part of the festival to date and I promise that in 2021 we will be back, bigger and better than ever.”

The online show Live From The Bunker kicks off at 2pm on June 27 and will run for eight hours until 10pm.

For more information and to book your ticket go to https://bit.ly/3hqJ3eY

As Lockdown Lifts Are You Utilising LinkedIn To Find New Customers?

Across the country businesses are being given the green light to re-open following a lengthy period of closure.

Whilst there may be a range of practical considerations they need to be thinking about it’s vital business owners aren’t forgetting the importance of creating engaging and relevant content on social media.

That’s the message from content specialist and publicist Tina Calder of Excalibur Press who will be presenting her free webinar Supercharge Your LinkedIn With Great Content tomorrow (Wednesday June 17) at 3pm.

She said: “For many businesses, especially those who are targeting business people or are working in a b2b setting, they should not underestimate the power of showing your customers that you’re back, you’re stronger than ever and able to give them content that they can and will engage with.

“When a crisis happens in a business more often than not things such as social media, digital marketing and communications tend to be pushed to the side in favour of what is considered an immediate need. 

“The problem with that is by the time you do put focus into these things it’s often too late.

“Creating strong, engaging, organic content now can help to support your brand to return to the market and back up your marketing and sales strategy for your comeback.”

Tina’s 90-minute webinar Supercharge Your LinkedIn With Great Content will help attendees unlock some of the secrets of the popular b2b social platform and is packed full of top tips, tricks, tools and techniques to help you go it alone and do it yourself.

Tina added: “This webinar will go over some of the basics of optimising your profile, however, what we will focus on more is the content, what should you share, how do you share, where do you find it and how can you use it to maximise your opportunities, get sales leads and raise the profile of yourself, your brand and/or your business.”

Supercharge Your LinkedIn With Great Content is part of a series of free webinars each week by Tina and Excalibur Press helping businesses look at a variety of elements of their digital transformation during the Covid-19 crisis.

One element of this webinar is Tina’s 79 types of content you can share on the platform.

To give you a taste of these, here are just 9:

1.  How to

‘How to’ content offers your audience massive value and often performs well because you’re helping the audience to solve a problem that they (might) have. 

At the same time, publishing this type of content benefits you because you’re giving them an example of your expertise in your field. You can create a how-to video or set out the instructions step by step in text. 

Either way, they’ll thank you for it by consuming more of your content in the future.

2.  Case studies

Case studies are a big opportunity to demonstrate the value of your product or service, often by telling a real-life story of how your business has helped a customer or client of yours with a business problem.

In essence, case studies are a sales tool. The person reading the case study should be able to picture themselves using your product or service by the end they finish reading it.

The more interesting the angle or more challenging the client’s problem, the better for your case study and you’ll relate how your business was able to solve the problem for them. You should be portraying yourself as a supportive element and, ideally, you should back up the key points of your case study with data to convey the value of your product or service.

3.  Behind the scenes

Maybe you’ve heard it a million times before now, but it’s really true: people buy from other people. They like to know who they’re buying from and the behind-the-scenes content gives you a chance to really connect with your audience and humanise your brand.

Behind-the-scenes content is transparent, not excessively polished and, like a case study, is about the process. Your audience gets to see what’s going on behind the brand and the content helps them to understand your business better. It builds trust in your business and your expertise starts to shine through naturally.

4.  Opinion

An opinion piece gets people talking and can even become news in itself, but be careful not to become notorious. If your opinion pieces leave a nasty taste in your audience’s mouths regularly, they could harm your brand reputation. 

Ideally, the pieces should be balanced and base themselves on an objective analysis of the facts and evidence, not necessarily be providing the evidence itself. Note that just because a piece should be balanced, that doesn’t mean it can’t be hard-hitting if it’s appropriate to be so.

The purpose of an opinion piece is to help the reader form their own opinion and should enlighten them or empower them. All throughout, the piece should be entertaining enough for them to read right until the end and make them want to read more pieces by you. Be careful not to impose your own views heavily on them. You’ll lose your audience otherwise.

5.  Interviews

Unique content is crucial in content marketing and interviews are a terrific way to create this. They’re also an easy way to generate content. The person you’re interviewing will create lots of valuable material you can use for your content. You can then create a text article, video or podcast of the interview. Experiment with different media to find the one that suits you.

Interviews give you the chance to reach out to influencers in the industry, who can offer some excellent insight. 

Don’t worry about being on a ‘lower’ level than they are: the interview will give the influencer free publicity, so many will be happy to do it and if people see you interviewing several major influencers, they’ll start to perceive you as having slightly higher authority. They start to associate your business with the major influencers and you’ll become an influencer in your own right.

6.  Throwbacks

Everyone loves a blast from the past, which makes ‘throwback’ content a powerful content marketing tool. It’s nostalgic and allows you to create an emotional connection with their audience. It’s also a lot of fun and you can really engage your audience.

One way you can create throwback content is to dig into your business’s archives and share a video, picture or social post from your early days in the business. It could be from when you were just starting out and still trying to figure everything out as a business owner. You can compare yourself to now and discuss how far the business has come since then.

7.  “Meet the team” posts

Introducing your audience to your team is a part of your brand storytelling. It’s a powerful way to show your audience the people behind the brand, who are just as important as the company itself, and adds a personal touch to your content. Choose videos or text posts with an image, but either way, let people see your team.

Publishing “Meet the Team” content will also build trust with your audience. This is because you’re no longer “faceless”. When your audience sees names and faces, you become a “real” company to them all of a sudden. In an age where people are concerned about online scams, your “Meet the team” content will build your credibility.

8.  FAQs

The chances are you’ll hear some of the same questions a lot in your industry, which gifts you with a great opportunity to create truly valuable content for your audience in the form of FAQs. Make a note of the questions you hear most often — or even just all of the questions you hear — and create a separate LinkedIn post for each one and answer the question.

You can teach your audience and help them to learn about your industry. You can teach them about your products and services and how to use them successfully. You can discuss how you’ve helped other businesses. Answering people’s questions with your content will build trust and increase your credibility with your audience.

9.  Long form articles

Did you think that people want really short content on LinkedIn?

You’ll be surprised. The Content Marketing Institute has reported posts with 1 000 to 3 000 words get more shares, even though shorter content dominates LinkedIn. Posts can be text heavy and have simple elements such as bullet-pointed lists. You don’t have to pack them with images and charts etc.

The CMI suggested three main reasons for the higher numbers of shares that longer posts enjoy:

  • LinkedIn is a refuge from the pressure to add images and videos to prose.
  • People base their sharing activity on how important they perceive the author of the content to be. An impressive job title can capture as much attention as visual elements.
  • The structure as a network for professionals, which creates minimum expectations for entertaining content.

LinkedIn has evolved immensely in the last few years and is an essential tool for marketing your business. The platform offers lots of scope to create amazing content and, just like on other platforms, audiences will reward good content. They’re receptive to lots of different types, which means there are plenty of opportunities to produce excellent content and really build a positive brand image.

Register for Supercharge Your LinkedIn With Great Content at https://bit.ly/3huRS7z 

Tomorrow (Thursday June 18) Tina will also be delivering her popular Blogging For Business webinar at 3pm.

For details of forthcoming free webinars go to https://excaliburpress.co.uk/events