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Candice Link

150 150 Candice Link

Monday is not the enemy… repeat.

Mondays aren’t that bad, are they?

#MondayMotivation doesn’t trend for laughs alone – it seems we all need a bit of assistance to get going on a Monday and I’ve never craved a coffee like I do on a Monday morning, bizarre!

Why do we get Monday blues? I am not 100% sure, there may be something scientific in it. From my side I guess it has more to do with the beautiful sleep-ins for two mornings in a row (although with kids does 7am really count as a sleep in?) or maybe the siestas, or the ability to have a glass of wine at lunch time, chill out and spend time with the people we choose to see and the ability to get as much as you want done or as little without any external pressure, spending time in your home, great nights out, choice of spending all day in your Pj’s (brushing teeth or hair optional) – yes please!

Some people say it’s because you hate your job, that’s why Mondays suck. As a freelancer, I can honestly say once I’m over the initial shock of my alarm clock, getting out of bed and ready for my day ahead isn’t as hard as it used to be. FREEDOM is a big part of the attraction in my work, freedom to work my own hours, from lots of different locations (internet permitting of course), so I love my job. Maybe I just need to change my alarm sound…

Some people say it’s because our freedom is over – yes it’s true two days of doing what you like when you like is bliss, and I probably agree with this more than any other theory I’ve heard but as you grow older how true is that idea anyway? Kids, school activities, children’s birthday parties (!!), appointments you couldn’t make during the working week all need to be done, then there is the responsibility to see family and let’s not forget food shopping – oh horror!

All I know is that most people spend an average of 30 odd minutes moaning on Monday, about the fact that it is indeed Monday instead of seeing the beauty of being alive, fit, healthy and ready to do great things. 30 minutes – what a waste.

After seeing a great quote this morning I thought you know what? Crack on, get your blog done, create some beautiful social media info to share, smile, face it and make it count it’s my day – and yes, the 7 cups of coffee I have consumed do go a long way. The quote that made me smile and inspired me for today:

“Dear Monday, Thank you for having the word “mon” in you. That’s French for “mine” incase you weren’t aware Monday, but it makes me think of you more as “my day”, and frankly that sounds like a promising start to the week.”

Dear Monday My day

Dear Monday My day

Some other fun, honest, hysterical quotes on Monday to get you chuckling and motivated are below.

Come on friends, let’s make it count and get over the fact it’s Monday and if you just CANT get on with Mondays, remember it’s only 4 sleeps until the weekend 😉

monday punchdear mondayMonday crocsWTF mondaymonday jokeseveryone hates memonda horrormonday punchdear mondayreturn mondaysokay monday let's do thisits-monday-dont-forget-to-be-awesome-quote-1It's monday but it's okMonday sleepy image



150 150 Candice Link

Ideas for good content creation & the different content formats:

Content is king for Digital MarketingContent is king image

I’ve spoken about it before, content is King (or Queen) in the online marketing game. When you speak about the importance of content in terms of digital marketing I can see people get nervous – does that mean I have to start a blog? Do I need to employ more people? Do I need a copywriter? Where do I start? How do I get it out there? How much time will it take? – CALM, no you do not have to do any of the above, you probably have tonnes of valuable content at your fingertips that you’ve not really thought of using before. Content does not just mean text, interesting articles or argumentative debates or blogs etc. There are so many different types.

The different types of content you can use online

Types of content by Hubspot

Various content types for online marketing

As listed beautifully by the almighty @Hubspot. This includes practical things that small businesses can do and probably already have, without external marketing support such as:

  • How-to’s
  • Case Studies
  • Email Newsletters
  • Illustrations
  • Reviews
  • FAQs
  • Q&A Session
  • Guide
  • Interview
  • Videos
  • Quotes
  • Quizzes
  • Photo Collage
  • Press releases
  • Photos
  • Company News & more..

When talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your website, having all of the above using your keywords and phrases will assist in your website being found naturally on Google or your social media being useful and interactive. So before you employ a copywriter to start chugging out beautiful blogs on your behalf, look at what documents, information, photos etc that you already use within your business, what your sales team are emailing to your customers and modify it for online (e.g. add your logo on the bottom) for good content to keep your pages fresh and exciting.

Yours in Digital Marketing,

Candy

150 150 Candice Link

The power of social media for good, see what’s happening now #SmilesforEdgar

We all love social media – come on, can you imagine life without your Facebook updates or twitter feed? I could not. In a business world – we are all realising that its powerful absolutely, but in the ‘real world’ I am often blown away by the good social media can do for individuals and the speed that it happens! (I know there’s a seedy dark side too, but come on let’s use our powers for good!).

Recently I was at a kids birthday party and I was touched by this amazing story of my friend Candice’s local car guard in Franschhoek. She told me of his kind heart, how he helps the elderly and even buys chocolates and milk tart cakes for autistic children on their birthday. What happened next was even more amazing and testament to a) people b) the power of social media. Candice told Edgar’s story on FaceBook last night and guess what – WE are righting a wrong.

#SmilesforEdgar

#SmilesforEdgar

Edgar is such a help in our community & this campaign will assist to get him back on his feet.

Her story: This has been set up on behalf of a concerned Franschhoek Community to assist in getting Edgar, a car guard at our local store his teeth and money back. He was robbed, hit in the face with a rock, and lost 8 teeth as well as money he was about to send to his Malawi for his children’s education.

He is one of the nicest, happiest people that I have ever met and he has now lost his smile. So this is a drive to get him some new teeth and money to send back to his children in Malawi. He has no bank account and his passport was taken so he will have to apply for that, he apparently cannot do that without travelling to Joburg, something that seems ridiculous and expensive [am looking into that but if someone knows please let me know]. So at the moment, he can not go home either.
Beside your donation, we are looking to find out how we are able to get him a new passport. This money will be used to get him back up on his feet.
So the goal is:
1. Get him his smile back! Some teeth would be good 😉 – and your support is bound to help.
2. Get him his money back to send to his children in Malawi.
3. Get him his passport so he can travel to see them again.
YOU GUYS HAVE ALREADY PLEDGED MONEY AND ARE JUST SO AWESOME, IT IS SUCH A PRIVILEGE to be living in a place where the people care so much. You have restored my faith in humanity and confirmed what an everyday hero Edgar really is. Funds will be collected via this site and transferred when we get to the target. Happy to share any info that will make people more comfortable to contribute!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/smiles-for-edgar

As Candice said, nobody should ever lose their smile! The best news is that a large company has stepped in to help too, it seems that a local dentist will be helping to do the actual work: http://www.deneckergroup.com  – AMAZING.

Recently there was the story of the Traffic light teacher, and again what an amazing response #trafficlightteacher

Come on people, let’s keep this going. Please share and spread the story or any other local stories that are close to your heart. The power of social media, let’s use it for good!

#payitforward #smilesforedgar

NEWS UPDATE: 6TH MARCH 2015

Happy and grateful Edgar #SmilesforEdgar

Today we transferred the money donated via the online campaign to Edger’s personal account in Malawi. He was beyond happy! The cash donations are still being held by me [at his request], in case he has to pay any medical bills [which we are hoping is not going to be the case]. Thank you to the community for pulling together and to some wonderful people that have never even been to South Africa, or met Edger but saw his story online that were so generous. I will post a video from him shortly because he wanted to say thank you to you all. We will hopefully see new teeth when his mouth is healed enough to go to the next appointment – around 3 months time.

Happy and grateful Edgar #SmilesforEdgar

Happy and grateful Edgar #SmilesforEdgar

168 112 Candice Link

Why content is King in the online marketing game

Content is King (or Queen if we’re being politically correct!)

Content is King

Content is King

You’ve heard it a million times I’m sure, you’ve been lectured by your consultants, your own team or you are guilty of saying it yourself, but when it comes to being visible and engaging through online marketing, content is vital, fact.

What does it mean?

It means showing information that’s of value to your customers, showing them what they want, what they are interested in, answering their questions before they’ve been asked, being helpful – not just beautifully written articles and amazing imagery.

Why is this important in online marketing?

Being found online is imperative for your company, however the old days of lecturing them on why your business is the best is long gone. Feature, Function, Benefits are suited to brochures but don’t work well online. Showing content to potential customers or existing customers that is truly engaging and relevant to them will ensure loyalty, show them know what you’re talking about, it gives you the edge and builds trust online.

The top search engines prioritise good quality, regularly updated content on your website as well as through your social media platforms. It all helps in your overall search engine optimisation to get your site seen.

Sounds so simple, why aren’t we all doing this already?

It does sound easy, and makes sense as I’m sure you’ll agree. However, taking the time and resources to dedicate to this area of the business means it’s often forgotten about. Let’s be honest it’s a bit of a drag, and it’s something that has to be done regularly too. So without a dedicated staff member or marketing consultancy it often starts off as a great idea and then ‘more important’ jobs come along and it’s pushed to the back.

Where to get inspiration for writing good content

In-house:

Try get your marketing team (if you have one)  involved in various department meetings to see what’s happening across the business. Getting the marketing department to know the key players in your company and allowing them access to personnel will aid in a lot of content ideas. Let them listen in to customer calls or read the customer feedback forms. If you don’t have a marketing team it’s something you can do yourself or contract our to a specialist company (like us – cheeky!).

Online:

Google loves content, there are some amazing tools they give out for free to show you what’s trending in your industry and other tools to see who is searching on what key words or phrases relevant to your company, find them and use them

Competitors:

Take a look at what your competitors are doing, anything interesting or different? Agree with them or disagree? Get online and write about it.

Where do you put all this content?

Your website, email, blogs, social media sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Got fantastic pictures your customers would love? Why not try Instagram or Pinterest. Join groups online, submit your info as a press release – whatever you have there is an appropriate channel online to get it out there, let your customers see it, be where THEY are.

Stop procrastinating, get going

Sit down, make a plan, consult with someone – for every minute you aren’t writing / planning / doing – your competitors are. It’s a long-term commitment but worth the time and effort. Think of your customer and deliver.

Cheers,

Candy.

150 75 Candice Link

30 minutes a day – what can you do in that time?

30 minutes of ‘me time’ a day 

I’ve made a commitment or ‘new years resolution’ this year to dedicate a bit more time to me. Yes, ‘me time’ as a mother, sister, business woman, wife and friend almost seems excessive and impossible but then when you realise how short that really is in a 24 hour period, I think maybe I should stop being so hard on myself and we should all embrace this idea.

What to do with 30 minutes

So after making this little pledge I had to think long and hard as to what I could do with that time – read, relax, walk, learn a new language… where do you begin?

After reviewing my lifestyle, the fact I run around after 2 active kiddies and live in a beautiful and hot country – I figured maybe I should start with fitness. I’m not talking 2 hours in the gym every day, not dropping ‘x’ amount of kilos in a set time, or running a race – just to do 30 minutes. Simple.

The benefits of 30 minutes of exercise   

Gym tshirt

My head says go to the gym..

I get to wake up later (true!).  I roll out of bed, put on my gym clothes and don’t even brush my teeth, it’s fab the extra 10 minutes I get to sleep in. Sorry parents at the school drop off but that’s all I’m capable of giving early doors so don’t stand too close okay? The fact that I am a freelancer helps me with the routine I need to achieve this. After drop off I am already dressed for gym so why not head that way…

Breaking my sessions down to 3 ten minute sessions helps. Bite size chunks!

Because I keep it so simple I’ve got friends joining in too. Fun & motivational all round #ThisGirlCan

Feel good factor, it’s true I feel much better inside & out. So I figure that’s my 30 minutes well spent.

And also everyone knows it’s illegal to train on the weekend so I’ve got this Monday – Friday thing down.

What else can you do in 30 minutes?

I’ve read some brilliant articles, quite funny ones too and some totally crazy but here’s my best:

Take a 30 minute break and work on something that’s meaningful to you.  Engage yourself in a meaningful personal project, or pull the trigger on starting something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, but haven’t yet had the resolve to do.

“try not to think about penguins”

“pretend you are a robot”

And finally “If you have nothing at all do write a list of possible things you could do in 30 minutes…in 30 minutes”

Let’s see how long this lasts hey? I hope you’ll reflect on your day and spoil yourself with 30 minutes of doing something that will make you happy, fulfilled, laugh or just plain enjoy.

Thanks,

Candy.

P.s. if you are bored and want a challenge for what you can do in 30 minutes, check these out:

http://www.urban75.org/useless/bored.html

http://www.unlimitedchoice.org/blog/coaching/30-things-you-can-achieve-in-30-minutes/

http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/04/19/30-life-enhancing-things-in-30-minutes/

http://www.communicatrix.com/lacasting-articles/act-smart-10-things-you-can-do-in-30-minutes/

676 507 Candice Link

Beautiful places to eat, drink and be merry with kids in Cape Town

Happy 2015 Digital Candy Fans!

Happy 2015 to everyone, I hope your festive period was filled with fun, laughter, many memories and that you are invigorated for your start to this New Year!

The KarooMelton Wold

Mine was hectic to say the least, from a sneaky week away in the Karoo to an understated, historical place called Melton Wold http://www.meltonwold.co.za (described to me as ‘good for the soul’ and couldn’t be closer to the truth). Special time with friends and kids it was magical. Karoo meat is now on my shopping list! Then back in time for Christmas.

Our best friends arrived from Wales, and their favourite activities are eating and drinking at beautiful places, with 4 kids ranging in age from 18 months to 5 years old – it was going to be tricky to keep everyone happy and find the best places for eating and drinking with kids in Cape Town but I can truly say we’ve done & seen & eaten & drank – a lot and are mostly thrilled with the beautiful places we’ve visited. And why not when the food & wine capital of South Africa is less than 5 minutes from our front door?

List of places to eat, drink, be merry and enjoy with kids in Cape Town:

So here’s my list based on our experience this festive season, with our taste buds (and 4 kids did I already mention that?) in tow, we were off:

Pearl Valley Golf Estate – http://pearlvalley.co.za

Service is never amazing here, but it’s great value for money in the most beautiful surrounds. The pool area is amazing and as this is our home (lucky I know), we love it!

Kids at La Motte

Kids at La Motte

La Motte – http://www.la-motte.com

Make sure you get a weekend breakfast here, it’s exquisite. Beautiful food, views, gardens for kids with streams (yes take a spare set of clothes), and friendly service. An absolutely family friendly venue which is stunning for adults on dinners too & wine tasting!

Cafe Arez @ Ashanti – http://ashantiestate.co.za

Tapas at Ashanti

Tapas at Ashanti

Okay so we had a terrible service day, but it happens. The views and most delicious and varied tapas, more than made up for it. The kids loved the big gardens, games available and all the nibbles. The manager went out of his way to apologise and fix things and we were given a beautiful bottle of Gabrielskloff Savingnon Blanc. Stunning wedding venue too, maybe next time..

Postcard Cafe views

Postcard Cafe views

The Postcard Cafe – http://www.postcardcafe.co.za

WOW! Aptly named due to the postcard like views no doubt, this place is truly spectacular. As we were on our way to a Moms only spa day, we had a sneaky stop off after a tip off. Heavenly and by now I’ve recommended a good handful of people who all come back saying the same. The coffee and scones were superb and service with a smile (I’d smile too if I worked there!).

Lanzerac Spa Garra rufa fish

Lanzerac Spa Garra rufa fish

Lanzerac Spa Vineyard – http://www.lanzerac.co.za

What a treat,(no kids). We got a lovely Christmas deal and enjoyed a morning of giggling (fish treatment) pampering & lunch followed by a brief wine tasting. Friendly staff, beautiful venue and my best friend, a beautician with 15 years experience working with Decleor and Clarins and said ‘best massage ever’. Kudos!

Tokara Deli Cat Essen – http://www.tokara.co.za/delicatessen/

Digital Candy kids at Tokara for breakfast

Digital Candy kids at Tokara for breakfast

This is the place to breakfast with little ones; boxes of toys for them to play with, a beautiful playground, sandpit and yummy food. What more could the whole family want? Definite yes.

Route 44 Market – http://www.root44.co.za

Busy, child friendly, stunning food and crafts, and a great kids play area inside and out. The indoor one is run by guys ‘coaches’, and they were superb, busy and played with all the kids ensuring nobody felt left out at any time. Most impressed: https://www.facebook.com/CoachKyleEvents

The Bakery @ Jordan Wine Estate – http://www.jordanwines.com

Fantastic cheese and meat platters, beautiful views – and don’t be alarmed the FOREVER long drive up the dirt road is worth it. Reknown for the chameleons in their area (we didn’t see any but it was raining), the estate has 2 restaurants and wine tasting. A definite ‘to do’ and absolutely take the kids!

Giraffe house fun

Giraffe House fun!

Giraffe House – http://www.giraffehouse.co.za  

Educating kids on the tallest, slowest, most dangerous (you get the point) animals, this place is a great day out for the kids. A bucket of animal food on arrival is always a winner with the kids (and animals)   and the talks are fun and educational for the kids and the adults

Shimmys with the kids

Shimmys with kids

Shimmy Beach Club – http://www.shimmybeachclub.com        

Despite its reputation as a nightclub / party capital in Cape Town, this place is super child friendly during the day with Au Pairs in the indoor play area, life guards on duty at the huge and very warm (bath like actually) pool. The menu caters for all ages and I highly recommend the sushi.

Tree Tops, Camps Bay

Tree Tops, Camps Bay

Uncle Barrys pizza oven @ Tree Tops – http://treetopscampsbay.co.za

Luckily we have our Uncle and Aunt who live in Camps Bay, their bed & breakfast Tree Tops is beautiful and many friends have stayed. The location is perfect as it’s a 2 minute walk to the beach and the views are amazing. However, Uncle Barrys new pizza oven is for family and friends only (sorry guys).

Simonsig – http://www.simonsig.co.za

Such a fun afternoon had at Simonsig sampling their amazing wines. Not the warmest of welcomes at first however we soon had the team running after us and left with a rather lot of yummy bottles to keep sampling at home.

Jan Kan @ Picardie

Jan Kan @ Picardie

Jan Kan at Picardi – http://www.picardie.co.za

Rustic, authentic and a lot of fun. Jan Kan is a horse riding venue for kids with a discarded farmers garden vibe (in the best way possible, old tractors for kids to climb on and more). Friendly service, cheap horse rides, lots of pets around and great coffee. Oh and you have to try the roosterkoek!

Leopards Leap – www.leopardsleap.co.za/

A definite family lunch venue, this is the ‘sister’ restaurant to La Motte. Beautiful large gardens, running streams, playgrounds and a huge statue of a leaping leopard, what more could a child want? The food is a self service buffet which puts a lot of people off, but it’s stunning. Lovely combinations, weigh and pay with great waiter service. Go!

LeBonheur Crocodile Farm – http://www.lebonheurcrocfarm.co.za

La Bonheur Croc Farm

La Bonheur Crocodile Farm

My son insists when he gets older, this is the place he will work. A friendly family venue, short crocodile farm tours with experienced and very funny guides. The playground is stunning, there are birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and sandpits. The food is great and if you have time to picnic you can fish at the dam and truly relax. A stunning family venue, run by a lovely bunch of people.

ROCA Restaurant on Dieu Donne Wine Farm – http://rocarestaurant.co.za

Mixed views on ROCA I’m afraid. I’ve had a few lovely meals but my besties had the worst experience from late food, body odour and ‘everything okay’ 9 times … The food is good, the wine selection amazing, we even found a garden around the back and families all enjoying the view (it is a great location for seeing the whole valley). I don’t know, maybe it was just a bad night and we need to go back and try again?

Marianne Wine Estate – http://mariannewines.com

Biltong and wine pairing – what more can I say? Spectaular. Not cheap but worth it. And the staff are the friendliest. I wouldn’t put this as a child friendly venue however, get a sitter and enjoy it.

Delaire Graff Estate – http://www.delaire.co.za

After the explanation about how elite this venue was, we had to take a look (kids with sitter!). Beautiful, classy and at R500 for their cheapest bottle of champagne we sipped, smiled, enjoyed – and left for lunch elsewhere! Go and see, it’s pure class.

Val De Vie Polo Estate

Val De Vie Polo Estate

Val de Vie Polo Club – http://www.valdevie.co.za

Great, child friendly restaurant with beautiful surrounds. The kids have a playground and a polo field so they can run free. The food is always to a high standard (service is luck of the draw on the day).

Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate – http://www.grandeprovence.co.za

Another super classy venue, we took the kids in the evening however it’s not really a great venue for them due to the fact the garden is covered in extremely valuable sculptures and my heart couldn’t take the kids swinging on them. With bottles of wine from R30 (true story, Angles tears, you should try it) to R3,000 – the venue is renown for it’s food. I believe we need to go back and do a romantic meal here!

Bar di bar

Bar di Bar

Bar di Bar – http://www.bardibar.co.za

The perfect venue for a few beers, bottle of wine or a sneaky bottle of bubbly. Sport is guaranteed to be on and the environment is so welcoming and chilled out it’s hard to leave without a smile on your face. There is a small sandpit for the little ones, a grass area for kicking a ball about and around the corner a huge playground. Love going here, a nice retro feel (they even have a duke box!). Get your beer on and bring the family. Oh, and the kids get chalk to draw on the table tops, nice touch!

Laborie

Laborie wine estate beautiful food & wine and child friendly

Laborie Wine Farm – http://www.laboriewines.co.za

Saving the best for last, our most enjoyable evening dining experience was here. On the same farm as Bar di Bar, Laborie in Paarl has a beautiful restaurant which overlooks a garden and the winery. The kids have a stunning wooden playground, swings and so much space which you see from the decking area where you eat. An amazing and diverse menu, we were blown away by the service, style and overall experience here. High chairs available – child friendly and adult friendly too = win.

Okay so there’s my opinion on our busy holiday eating out experiences (I left a few off too!). Now you see why the muffin top happened, oh dear! I can honestly say though, value for money, beautiful views and food, amazing wine and family fun is to be had in Franschhoek / Paarl. It’s a special place, get here already and see for yourself!

#CapeTown #Foodie #ChildFriendly #Wine

Love

Candy x

264 191 Candice Link

What does ‘Digital Marketing’ actually mean? Are you just trying to sound posh?

For many years I’ve worked within the Marketing side of our business doing ‘the usual’ – Exhibitions, Brochures, Logo design, Branding you name it I’ve been involved. As my role progressed and our business did, the online side of things became a priority. Let’s not talk years specifically (nobody wants to show their age now do they?) but as a company online marketing / presence started dominating my job and customers were asking if we were on FaceBook, Twitter etc… was your website interactive? Do you show on Google blah blah.

Anyway, long and rather boring story later I found I spent the large majority of my Marketing day finding interesting things to say online, cool articles, pictures, videos all related to our industry and posting them online. The latter part of this year I felt like maybe I should seek some professional help to do my job better and see if I was spending a disproportionate time on this side of things and so I went on a great course entitled ‘Digital Marketing’ through The BrandSchool basically – the course covered all the things I’d found I loved the most about my job and in al honesty was taking the most time during my day. Email Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay per Click (PPC – e.g. Google advertising) etc. and it turns out this side of marketing has a real job title ‘Digital Marketing’ – wow!

So after many years in marketing I can now say I’m a Digital Marketing Consultant (yes, I still think that sounds posh) and what it means is my job day to day is making sure the company I work for / contract to is represented online, professionally and in line with the rest of your business and actually a Digital Marketing Consultant has access to a rather lot of tools so market research for your company is old school (yes I actually just said that) and instead market reality is what we do (what are customers typing in for your company, how do customers search for you, what words, where are they, how old are they, what do they do, what do they want – all that stuff is available and anyone worth their salt knows how to find it and help you and your business succeed). I make sure there is a good ROI for the company and that their business interacts with their customers on a level that suits them. So it’s a pretty cool job if I do say so myself!

So when friends ask ‘What is Digital Marketing’ and I start explaining before their eyes glaze over and the usual ‘posh then?’ I would like to say it’s a fast paced, exciting part of any business, changes and challenges daily and I love it.

#digitalmarketing #socialmedia