CALLING ALL COLLABORATORS: HEM News Agency launches new media packs today

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH

In this exclusive report, Ilford-based news blog and website HEM News Agency has announced it will launch its first ever media packs today to help promote the blog to public relations professionals and companies looking to reach out to new audiences.

Media packs, also known as ‘media kits’, are promotional documents traditionally used in the printed and online media industries to attract advertisers to work with the publications. In an increasingly online world where many bloggers have become influencers, guiding their readers’ tastes in everything from fashion to parenting, brands are waking up to the potential of working with bloggers to advertise and promote. 

 

In fact the past five years has seen an explosion in both brand-blogging partnerships and bloggers producing their own media packs to bring in advertising revenue. Both of these factors have gone hand-in-hand with the emergence of blogging as an activity that can bring in money. Many well-established blogging personalities have sung the praises of the media pack, providing handy advice, tips and even ready-made templates to guide their peers in what was once something solely associated with the ‘mainstream media’.

A media pack is essentially a blog’s CV (resumé) which will often display short bios of the site and its blogger, as well as statistics such as reader demographics, pageviews and traffic figures drawn in via systems such as Google Analytics. They are made available to brands or their PR representatives who are looking for blogs targeted at particular audiences, for example dog owners might be sought out by a company that markets canine toys and chews.

HEM News Agency has had several successful tie-ins producing reviews and promotional features for a variety of companies across the globe. In 2018 alone, the blog has teamed up with the New Yorker online invitation firm Paperless Post, London-based cycling safety equipment startup CYCL, and just this month, an email management service, Campaign Monitor. The blog’s owner/editor/writer, Vijay Shah, had recently decided to develop promotional tools to distribute to current and future partners to help present a professional, business side to the blog. While the blog is mainly focused on disseminating news without commercial consideration, it also produces feature posts, which provide good opportunities for interested brands.

The media packs released today were designed in-house with online designing software and are branded with the blog’s name and livery. There are two versions, a short one-page document which summarises the blog and its achievements, and a longer multi-page version which explores the blog deeper from a commercial angle. The packs will be made available in PDF format as downloads via a dedicated page on HEM News Agency’s site.

The new packs can be downloaded from the Media Pack tab in the menu just above the header of the blog.

IMAGE CREDIT:

“A4 papers” – Tech&All, Vijay Shah and HEM News Agency, Smartmockups (28 October 2018) https://smartmockups.com/mockup/print_tech_4

 

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HEM NEWS AGENCY: 5th anniversary + blog makeover

 

London – VIJAY SHAH

Hey everyone,

As you may have noticed, the blog is looking a little different nowadays. Today is the fifth anniversary of its founding (back in April 2012) and I decided that to mark the occasion, I would give the blog a makeover. We got rid of the old theme we were using (Mystere) and brought in a more modern looking one from WordPress, named ‘Plane’. The blog has also been officially renamed. It is now to be known as ‘HEM News Agency’, to better reflect the content and premise of the blog. The old name “The Half-Eaten Mind Blog” is still acceptable however, and we are keeping it as an unofficial pseudonym (not sure if this would be the right word for it).

Nowadays, an increasingly number of websites are going for the flat design trend, shafting the gradients and gimmicks of old and going for a cleaner and simpler look, with block colours and basic typefaces. The Half-Eaten Mind has joined the fray, and I have spent around 2-3 hours creating new headers and branding with the help of graphic design website Canva. I have spent a good chunk of this morning putting the new branding in place (we had massive trouble with the blog header however, wrong size meant it had to be redone, don’t ever take WordPress’s recommended header measurements as gospel, let me warn you!). The branding also applies to our social media accounts and any related sites like Gravatar. The colours I have used (dark green, sky blue, and slate blue, were chosen as they firstly fit well together, and also they relate to the history of what used to be known as the HEM Blog, in terms of the blog’s previous design. As a mark of respect to how we used to do things, I carried over the famous HEM street sign, which was our semi-official logo for a couple of years. Something new, something old, as people who organise baby showers would say.

 

 

We are also introducing new flags at the beginning of our articles. The 7+ year old flags made by FamFamFam (leeched on via StatCounter) will now be replaced by a new set of flags designed by Turkish graphic artist Muharrem Senyil and originally featured on designer’s hangout Dribbble. These flat design-inspired elements suit the new look of HEM News Agency very well, in my opinion.

It has been a great five years at the helm of HEM. I have learnt a lot and made many friends. This blog was originally set up partly to help me enter the journalism profession. While I did not ultimately realise that dream as of yet (stiff competition for jobs!), the blog indirectly helped me score a second job which I have now been working in for two years, as a writer, creative consultant and social media manager for a small consultancy focussed on finance and education between Africa and Europe.

I’m not going to sing like a canary and say it was all plain sailing. There were times when I felt like giving up the blog, as I have now have less time to write on weekends than when I first started. But then I would be giving up my dreams and talents needlessly, and I would disappoint a lot of friends, fans and supporters. I did feel the blog needed a makeover, as it was looking a bit outdated and stale, and hopefully this spring clean and makeover will help breathe new life into this baby of mine.

Don’t worry though, we will still be releasing the same news stories, features and personal blogposts that made HEM what it is. That is not going to change.

I hope you all like the new look and name and please feel free to comment or give your feedback if you prefer.

Let’s look forward to another five years of great news, features and writing, and many more memorable experiences and lessons along the way.

Vijay Shah,

Blogger and editor – HEM News Agency.

NEW BLOG GRAPHICS: In collaboration with Canva

From time to time, I like to make little tweaks and improvements to the Half-Eaten Mind. As regular readers are aware, I have some fairly passable graphic design skills which I put to good use in giving a smart, fun and appropriate visual appeal to the blog.

While reading a blogpost by new blogging friend Olga, I chanced across a reference to a website called Canva. This website is a simple-to-use graphic factory online that enables you to produce your own contemporary images for your website. Canva offers its own text templates, backgrounds, cliparts and patterns, many of which are free, which are as high-quality as those used by website designers. You can churn out anything from infographics to Facebook headers and posters for publicity which can be printed in real life.

I decided to take on the awesomeness of Canva and make some new graphics for pages on the blog. With the help of the site’s ready-made templates, resizing, image upload facility and placement rule marking, the graphics I did were practically professional standard, considering this was the very first time I used Canva. I used different, but contemporary styles for each image, combined with creative commons imagery and my own supplied images. You can also obtain images from Canva, but it’s a one-dollar fee per image used. You can download the completed graphic as a JPG or PDF file, but be careful to choose the option for downloading one of the pages (choosing page one) otherwise you will have a fat ZIP file to contend with. With the images below, you probably can see my ‘design personality’ show through, but also I have incorporated elements and colours derived or inspired from the HEM’s branding or previous graphic projects I have undertaken on here.

HEM Canva Publicity

 

DIRECTORIES & AWARDS

Images added in from Pixabay, OpenClipart and my own images and cropped with Fotor. All graphics done with Canva.

The inspiration comes with thanks from Olga NM at Just Olga. See her experience of Canva (and other web-based thingummies) at this link: Are you bad with images? Try Canva. And other bits and bobs.