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How To Boost Your Online Presence #1: Blue Zoo Studio


It’s that time in January, the time to start the things that will define 2015. I’m not talking about joining the gym or drinking less vodka, I mean the challenges we creatives set ourselves. Start that short film. Learn Maya. Apply paint to that blank canvas. Well, my ambition for 2015 is one I’m sure most Skwigly readers share – be better at promoting my work online.

Anyone creating work in 2015 needs to use the web to promote it. Fact. You may not choose to show every stage, hiding the development in a place no one will ever see. But at some point a version should be unveiled, and the web needs to be central to that.

The internet being the wonderfully rich and exciting place it is means that it’s not enough to simply upload your work. Who’s gonna find it amongst the infinite distractions? You need to direct eyes to your content, and that generally means building an online presence.

So if, like me, you have work you want to share, and a bunch of old methods that just don’t cut it, then you need to get some advice from the experts. So, on behalf of Skwigly, and for the benefit of creatives everywhere, I asked 5 industry pioneers to offer just the advice we need… “What are the best ways you’ve found to boost your online presence?“

The five experts offering advice are:

  • Animation Company, Blue Zoo – BAFTA winning creators of TV series and commercials.
  • Animation Director, Patrick Clair – Emmy winner for True Detective Titles Sequence.
  • Illustrator, Andrew Rae – Founding member of Peepshow Collective and creator of Moon Head.
  • Digital Journalist, Rob Munday – Film reviewer and curator at Short Of The Week.
  • Film Festival Consultant, Christopher Holland – Writer of ‘Film Festival Secrets’ and curator at Atlanta FF.

Each day this week Skwigly will bring you words of wisdom from these fine folk on how they’ve used the internet to build their online profile, and ultimately drew the worlds attention to their work.

Our first insight, comes from BAFTA-winning indie outfit, Blue Zoo; one of the UK’s most successful animation production companies.

Started fourteen years ago, by three friends from Bournemouth Uni, the company is still headed up by its original founders and they recently cemented their position in the business world by reaching The Sunday Times “Ones To Watch” list of rising companies.

On top of all this, Blue Zoo somehow find the time to improve the landscape for the wider UK animation industry. In 2014 they were instrumental in making the British market more appealing to investors through their campaign to implement tax breaks for local animation companies.

The team regularly appear at animation conferences around the world, giving talks on financing animation and championing the UK industry, and in 2014, founding member Oli Hyatt was awarded an MBE for services to the British Animation Industry.

In short, Blue Zoo are a case study of what can be built through creativity, passion and hard graft.

But, as we’ll learn from this week’s instalment, a key factor to building a profile is getting active and sharing it. With this much activity, Blue Zoo have plenty to share. Let’s hear from founding member Tom Box about how they go about that…

Tom Box, Blue Zoo:

The internet is incredibly noisy, and to get noticed you need to stand out and give people a good reason to follow you, so here are some of my tips for companies:

Don’t under post

To build a good online following you need to make sure you are outputting a steady stream of content, so people have a reason to follow you, if you only post one thing a month then you will struggle.

Don’t over post

One way to stand out is to be very noisy yourself – but this can backfire easily. It takes a lot of time to filter the good stuff or risk over-posting to the point of clogging up people’s feeds with rubbish. At least find unique stuff and don’t post yesterdays news; the internet moves fast and if you post a trailer or short that went viral last week you’ll look a bit slow and behind the times, which won’t reflect well. I find a maximum of 2 posts a day on each channel is a good balance.

Keep it new & engaging

As an animation studio, the best thing we’ve found to do is create original content, both our own and collaborating with others, while posting behind-the-scenes/making-of blogs alongside it. This has the benefit of pushing our work into new areas, not just keep making the same looking work clients request. This means your company feed isn’t just a sleep inducing churn of corporate press releases! But this does require investment & time but the benefits are huge. For example we collaborated with DBLG to animate 3D printed animation “Bears on Stairs” which clocked up half a million views in a few days. So keep playing creatively & share it!

Keep it relevant & in the right place

Make sure you chose the right place to post your work, you want to make sure your work has the best chance of getting discovered & shared by peers. So picking Behance over WordPress for visual blog posts, or Vimeo over Youtube for videos can greatly help your exposure due to the way the websites help curate and share good work. Also don’t automate too much –  for example using Instagram to post to Twitter usually ends up with a description being cut short, which looks lazy. So it’s best to customise each post to each channel/platform, it only takes a few minutes and looks a lot more professional!

Get organised

I find the best way of ensuring all of the above happens is to create a colour coded Social Media Calendar spreadsheet. You can then share this with colleagues, so when anyone has a new project, event or work-in-progress they want to talk about online, anyone can drop it in the spreadsheet and get an instant glimpse of how much and what kind of content the company is sharing. Here’s an image of our social media calendar from December to get an idea of what ours looks like:

Blue Zoo Social Media Schedule



You can view the other “How To Boost Your Online Presence” articles here:

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