The Christmas maelstrom has finally subsided, all the presents have all been opened; I’ve eaten my body weight in mince pies and individually wrapped tiny chocolates, the Christmas tree novelty has officially waned and it’s now taking up more space than it’s worth in the living room. Now, in this brief but odd period between Christmas and New Year’s I find myself not only losing track of which day it is but reflecting more than usual on the months passed.
I’ve put my highlights of 2019 into neatly organised top 10, because I enjoy lists.
10) Coffee with Dan
I launched the 'Coffee with Dan' campaign in January in an effort to meet new people “offline”. Running a small business comes with it’s fair share of isolation, but since January I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with just over 40 people for a coffee and a chat (that’s almost one per week). I’m going to continue the initiative in 2020 because I found it an overwhelming positive experience. If you want to book in here’s the link. Click the image above to book in for next year!
9) Conferences & Awards
It’s been a good year for HE awards and conferences and I feel very privileged to continue to be involved even after leaving my role at the University of Glasgow. At the beginning of the year I had the opportunity to return as co-chair of CASE Social Media Conference with the very talented Cat Prill in Brighton (Cat will be co-chairing it once again in 2020, in Glasgow no less), followed by a spot as a judge for the HEIST 2019 awards in Manchester. Then wrapping it up with a guest speaker spot at easily one of my favourite annual content strategy conferences, ContentEd, where I spoke about making your social media content accessible.
8) RBS Accelerator & Business Coaching
I wouldn’t have been able to make the first step branching out from the full-time role that I loved at the University of Glasgow to launch 448 Studio without the support and mentorship from the RBS Business Accelerator Programme. As my time on the programme comes to an end in March 2020 a big shout out to John Willoughby for his valuable advice and mentorship.
As 448 Studio continues to grow and evolve, I’ve also taken steps this year to grow my skills to run a company while training my mind to look at the big picture. For that I owe a great deal of ongoing thanks to my business coach Harry Johal.
7) Social Media campaigns
Training, workshops, strategy and helping people upskill their social media understanding is at the core of 448 Studio; but sometimes social media campaigns come along that we get to help out with. This is not only a creative outlet but it also allows us to stay on the ball when it comes to social media advertising and content creation and formats – practice what you preach right!?
This year we had the privilege of working alongside the Scottish Government on behalf of Glasgow Caledonian University to promote their Artic Mapping report. We’ve also had a hand in helping promote various courses and programmes provided by Lancaster University and a T-Rex (TRIX) exhibition for the Hunterian Museum. We’re looking to grow this side of 448 Studio, taking on niche social media advertising initiatives and diligently working to remove the smoke and mirrors behind the process.
6) Social media Strategy
I love long term ongoing projects with cool people. So, working alongside Jemma Cole at Cardiff University & the team at Glasgow Caledonian University to help them develop their social media strategy was pretty great. So great in fact I even created a video about mine and Laura’s time in Cardiff. We’re looking to take on a few more projects like this in 2020 so if this is something you need get in touch.
After a bit of number crunching, I’ve worked out that over the course of the whole year Laura and I have trained over 430 people! Workshops are our bread and butter, and long may that continue. Helping people develop the skills to deliver effective and realistic social media content that reaches their own audience, meets their own goals and lives up to their own mission is why we do what we do. We’ve had the pleasure to deliver workshops this year for:
Lancaster University (including a European Union funded entrepreneurial programme called Work in Progress)
University of Glasgow
Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow Clyde College
Salford University – in collaboration with Neon Caffeine
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – as part of ‘Make it Happen’ month
SThree – part of their efforts to encourage a social media community within their staff
4) All about that content
This year we collaborated with a company called Mish Guru to develop monthly content inspiration calendars along with template ideas for Instagram stories. As we wrapped our final January calendar, we were looking at how to continue them on into 2020. I’m pleased to announce that beginning in February all content creation idea calendars sent out by Mish Guru will officially be provided by 448 Studio in a partnership capacity.
3) Academic support
We’ve been working alongside the brilliant Carla Banks and the team at Lancaster University to develop a bespoke programme of workshops and ongoing support for their academics on social media. It has now become so important for the academic community to use social media as a tool for collaboration, support and to showcase their research to a growing audience. We’ll be continuing this in 2020 alongside some ideas around providing insight into social media impact statistics for REF submissions.
448 Studio grew from one man and a dog to two people and a dog! Laura joined 448 Studio as part of an internship scheme through the University of Glasgow (big ups to Kirsty Kilgour & Santander for helping set it all up). After her three months were up, I knew I couldn’t run the company without her being a part of it. She’s been massively influential with workshops, strategy, social media campaigns, content planning and so many other areas (have you read any of her blogs?), not to mention making it into the top 15 for the Santander Intern of the Year award.
Looking forward to seeing how Laura continues to develop with 448 Studio in 2020!
1) Francis & Shona
Taking the number 1 spot, is of course our little boy Francis! Born on Shona’s 30th birthday (25 October) he’s completely turned our lives upside down / right-side up and though our beauty sleep has taken a bit of a hit it has been (and continues to be) absolutely worth it. I’m amazed every day watching how naturally and quickly Shona has turned into a mother. Her support for me galavanting all over the country this year has been immense, and I can’t thank her enough for being the glue that holds the Marrable family together.
That pretty much wraps it up. Thank you for supporting me this year, from recommending 448 Studio for jobs, bringing us in for work, sending us encouraging words of wisdom and advice, along with all-round positive vibes.
Happy New Year, see you in 2020!
PS. Samwise also went legitimately viral this year too.