Links of the Week: Workplace Hacks You Didn’t Know You Needed

Company Culture. Positive Workplace. Healthy Snacks. These are just a few of our favorite things here at Soda Pop PR. We’ve done a lot of growing in 2017 and many different things have contributed to our growth (like the ones outlined above), but what really moved the needle for us was finding the balance of what our team needs to maintain creative momentum in the office. We swear by these five workplace habits that we adapted to improve the way we work and engage with each other. Give them a try! You’ll be thanking us later.

 

Devil Wears Prada photo.JPG(Image via Let’s Go to the Movies)

 

Work on Your Attitude. The way you express yourself or share your thoughts can affect those around you. How do your words and actions impact others in the workplace? Take this self-awareness quiz to find out!

Improve Your Wellness Routine. We’re a team that lives, breathes and dreams of healthy snacks – so we are really digging these employee wellness ideas you can incorporate into the workplace!

Make Time for Fun. We love this. Check out this ten-point plan for making your job a more creative, productive and fun place to be.

Practice Leadership Skills. Think you’re ready for the leap into a managerial role? It’s going to take more than a few big wins. We suggest practicing these steps before considering a leadership position.

Stay Productive. Our team is trying this simple, yet effective email rule.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Monica Wang

You’ve seen Monica Wang’s work before. Her bright, light filled photos have appeared on The Every Girl, Rue Magazine, Glitter Guide and even the Soda Pop PR blog. As an interior and lifestyle photographer popping up on all our favorite Insta feeds, Monica is one of our go-to ladies for photo magic and style inspiration. This week, we asked her to give us a little insight into balance, creativity and why it’s all about the lighting.

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1. You’re an amazing photographer but it’s actually your side hustle. What’s the biggest struggle in balancing photography with your finance career?

I would have to say that my biggest struggle is to maintain a normal personal life with two jobs and it isn’t balancing between a photography and a finance job. I am a workaholic! I can work hours on end and I love the feeling of achieving something and feeling proud of the work I have put together. So after juggling all my work responsibilities the thing that I spend the least amount of time on is with family and friends. I have to remind myself that I can’t complain because I have been given so many amazing opportunities.  However, now I only say yes to the gigs that I really want to do vs saying yes to everything.  Work/life balance is the real struggle for me.

2. Do you have a favorite, or particularly memorable, photo shoot?

My recent favorite shoot was with my dear friend, Anne Sage of City Sage (a previous 5 Questions with SPPR guest). She is a styling genius and I always love working with her so it doesn’t matter what we are shooting together. When you find the right creative partner, that is when you are able to produce the type of work that you are most proud of.  Work doesn’t feel like “work” and it is quite a milestone to find that within your career!  I always have to take a step back to reflect and be thankful that I am able to do what I do and call it my job.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?

I am constantly influenced by what is around me in LA. There are always new shops and restaurants popping up all the time so I try to keep my radar out for all the good ones I want to check out.

The IG accounts that I follow religiously are @garypeppergirl, @lucywilliams02, and @haleboyd for fashion and lifestyle related things.  I try not to look at other photo work so much because when you do that, your work starts to look like theirs instead of your own. I try to do my own thing as much as possible.

4. What would be your dream photo shoot?

My dream photo shoot would be traveling to Anguilla, Morocco or some other magical destination to photograph beautiful homes or hotels for Architectural Digest or Elle Decor. That would truly be a dream!

5. What is your number one tip for amateurs who want to take better pictures?

Find good lighting. It doesn’t even matter if you are shooting with your iPhone or a super high-end DSLR, as long as you have good natural lighting you can always take a good photo! My favorite kind is soft window light in the early morning.

Going Viral: The “Canbassador”

When Union Wine Company shared plans to hire a “canbassador” to drive their wine tasting truck across the United States for pop-up events and music festivals serving the brand’s famous Underwood wine in a can, we recognized all the ingredients for a viral moment. We immediately drafted a pitch with a shareable subject line, crafted a strategic list of writers and editors on the forefront of topical news and assembled assets to fulfill any image or interview requests.

Within 48 hours, we secured 327 million media impressions. Notable coverage included Good Morning America, Time, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Thrillist, Food & Wine, Brit + Co, Mashable, HelloGiggles, Travel + Leisure and more than 50 other digital and broadcast outlets, leading to 1,200 applications for the job. While the position was only open for one week, the viral canbassador coverage created a lasting increase in brand awareness. Union Wine Co. saw a 3,000% increase to their website, 73.4% of which were first time visitors, as well as over 600 new Instagram followers.

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Work Routine

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Flowers are in full bloom, the sun is setting later, and the spring season makes us want to get organized. We think these tips will help you rebalance your work routine to make heading into the office almost as relaxing as heading off to happy hour…

Day 1, Sunday: Lunch Planning: We always have the best intentions on weekends to plan out our meals so we can brown bag it all week! In reality, we end up cobbling together random leftovers Monday morning and by Wednesday we’re buying lunch. Break this cycle by heading to the grocery store or local farmer’s market and stocking up on foods dedicated to lunch. Find space in your fridge to carve out a “lunch” section and prep as much as you can the night before so mornings are a cinch. Here’s over a month’s worth of ideas from one of our go-to food blogs, the Kitchn.

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Day 2, Monday: Mailbox & Inbox Clean Out: There are always a handful of emails sitting at the bottom of your inbox flagged “for next week” but today is the day to take action. Whether you file them away, reply to them, or forward on to someone else, take the time today to get your inbox (digital or physical) cleaned out for a fresh start. Today’s also a great day to look at your daily emails and unsubscribe to those you usually delete anyways. This will shave a few minutes off your email reading and deleting every morning!

Day 3, Tuesday: Make your List: Now that your inbox is clean, time to organize your to-do list. However you make your list, make sure it’s easily seen from your computer and is written in an order that makes sense – whether by priority, client, or due date. Try to strike a balance between too broad and too definitive. Once you’ve got your list, you’ll be able to schedule free time more easily and you might even be able to find chunks of time to unplug and focus on tasks that take your full attention. Need inspiration? Get yourself a to-do list you’ll want to write on – may we suggest this fun notepad from Rifle Paper Company?

Day 4, Wednesday: Up your Outdoor Game: Get up and head outside for a quick walk around the block or just to sit in the sun for a few minutes. Clearing out your head for even 10 minutes will help keep you focused back at your desk. For a bonus, since you’ve been brown-bagging it, grab yourself an iced green tea while you’re out. In L.A.? Check out Griffith Park for miles of hikes right in the city – we love the Western Canyon hike.

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Day 5, Thursday: Healthy Happy Hour: We all love happy hour, but this week find an hour in your schedule for health. Take a spin class during your lunch break, find a hike you can stop by easily on your way home, or watch a video for some at-home meditation or yoga. It might not seem as fun as a mojito, but scheduling time to stay healthy will keep you happier at work (and play!) To get you started, check out DoYogaWithMe.com for a free online video (we love Fiji’s classes!), or learn about at-home meditation.

Day 6, Friday: Team Bonding: Happy team = happy workplace. You’ve worked hard all week and Friday’s are the perfect time to bond with your coworkers. We’re big fans of donuts and creative photoshoots breaks here at Soda Pop but here are a few other bonding ideas courtesy of Fast Company.

Citrus

Day 7, Saturday: Turn it Off: You made it to the weekend, and now it’s time to find a way to detox. Unplug from your email and phone for as long as you can and just be present, whether it’s with a friend, your family, or in nature. Spend today relaxing and recharging before prepping for your week ahead tomorrow.

Feel free to repeat any and all of these weekly to help keep you happy and healthy at work and home.

Here’s to a sunny spring ahead,

Team SPPR

10 Food Inspired DIY Halloween Costumes

Here at Soda Pop PR we take food seriously. (Trick or treat? Don’t mess around; we will always take the treat.) So it should come as no surprise that we’re drawn to costumes that express our culinary love. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best DIY Halloween costumes for food lovers. Hope some of these ideas will inspire all you last minute costume planners!

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(Studio DIY)

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(Ecouterre)

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(The Kitchn)

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(Sarah Hearts)

DIY Pizza Halloween Costume_thumb[2]

(U Create Crafts)

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(Studio DIY)

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(Mayuk Radzis)

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(Baby Gizmo)

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(Epicurious)

dog

(Top Ten DIY)

 

Photography Tips & Tricks to Know Before Your Next Instagram Post

Smart phones have made photographers in all of us. To help you create compelling images that will get you more love on Instagram, we’re sharing some insider secrets from our resident photographer, Carley (@seathroughmyeyes).

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LIGHTING

Lighting is one of the most important elements in photography. Diffused natural light is ideal. You’ll get the best light one-hour after sunrise and one-hour before sunset. This is what photogs call the #magichour or #goldenhour. Avoid harsh yellow and fluorescent light at all costs.

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Apps are great for applying different filters that can adjust the exposure, contrast, and levels of brightness. My favorites are Picfx and Afterlight.

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COMPOSITION

Pay attention to the whole frame. While you’re focusing on your museum-worthy latte art, make sure there isn’t a barista #photobombing in the background. (Unless of course you want your photos to end up here.)  Also, having a good backdrop can make all the difference. Marble countertops are a food-photographers best friend. Don’t have any handy? Pull out your wooden cutting board. Or, my little secret… keep some white poster board close by. White is always a flattering background.

Another good tip is the age-old “rule of thirds” – i.e. never place your subject directly in the middle of the shot, but rather move it a third of the way over in the frame.

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I like using Squaregram to frame images with a white border, or you can try SquareadyV to frame videos with a white border.

ANGLES

A ¾ angle down at the subject is one of the most flattering angles. Another favorite is the birds-eye-view angle, which shoots straight down from above (great for food shots). While those two angles are great, don’t be afraid to play around with different perspectives!

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Waterlogue — A genius new app that transforms your photo into a watercolor painting. Download here.

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All in all, it comes down to defining your aesthetic. Find out what you like and don’t like. At Soda Pop, we get inspiration from:

If you aren’t following us yet… head over to Instagram and find us @sodapoppr.

Happy Photographing!

Carley

P.S. Also, check out a previous blog post on our 10 favorite photo-editing apps here.

The Secret Sauce: 5 Ways to Create Shareable Moments at Your Event

Tillamook Ice Cream - Real Posh Mom

Photo by Jennifer of Real Posh Mom who attended #Blog2Farm

PR events are one of our favorite parts of the job and when done right, can have a huge impact on creating awareness for a client. For different brands we have had the opportunity to create unique experiences for bloggers, media and consumers that not only garner impressions, but allow us to build meaningful relationships.

Many of the events we organize are planned for specific bloggers or brand advocates who have a strong and loyal fan base of their own. Creating shareable moments for these attendees is a surefire way to extend your brand’s reach to the seemingly endless online community. When 81% of U.S. online consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts (Market Force) events are just as much about those who aren’t attending as those who are.

Here are 5 tried and true ways to spark a sharing frenzy at your next event:

1. Create a visual moment
Whether shared through social media or featured in a blog post, photos and videos have the ability to tell your story from someone else’s unique perspective. For share worthy photos, try setting up a step and repeat banner, a photo booth with fun props, or creative vignettes featuring your product that will inspire guests to share your content in their own way. For video, cooking/product demos are always popular, or host a fun Q&A.

2. Secure influential event speakers 

People love to share quotes and facts, which are especially effective for increasing Twitter engagement. Influential speakers can be a great tool to provide educational, inspirational and even comedic talking points about your client. From someone such as your client’s CEO, a celebrity chef, or a top blogger, having a trusted spokesperson address the group is highly effective.

3. Provide exclusivity

Can you provide a behind the scenes look at how your product is made or a first look at a product that hasn’t been released to the public? If so, share! One of the most shared photos at our recent #Blog2Farm summit was a shot of all 27 Tillamook ice cream flavors, only available at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Also, everyone loves schwag. Allowing attendees to take something home that they can only get at your event will provide another element they can’t wait to share.

4. Don’t forget the hashtag

Create one hashtag for your event and confirm Twitter handles for all participating brands and speakers.  Have these handles and information prominently displayed to encourage attendees to join the conversation. The most discouraging thing is trying to hunt down someone’s Twitter or Instagram handle mid post. Make it easy for your guests.

5. Engage in real time
Make sure to designate an employee to manage your brand’s social media accounts live from the event. Like, comment and re-tweet with fans in real time. On the flip side, regularly update your brand’s social media channels during the event and post things that attendees would likely re-tweet, #regram, or share on Facebook.