North Carolina Football Club Announces Preferred Location in Downtown Raleigh

North Carolina Football Club Announces Preferred Location in Downtown Raleigh

Aerial Photo of Proposed Mixed-Use Community 

Are we one step closer to bringing Major League Soccer to the Triangle?! This week, the North Carolina Football Club (NCFC) moved their pitch forward by purposing a brand new mixed-use stadium & community to Downtown Raleigh.

The official press release from North Carolina FC stated: "North Carolina Football Club is asking the State of North Carolina to enter into a dialogue to facilitate a public-private partnership to build a mixed-use community featuring an entertainment, sports and athletics venue that would be home to a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. In partnership with Kane Realty, this community will include conference space; office, hospitality and retail space; housing and public parking. The project’s footprint is approximately 13 acres in the area currently known as the State Government Complex, located within the boundaries of Peace St., Salisbury St., Lane St. and the CSX Rail easement."

We had to to see it for ourselves, so we flew the drone over the future home of the North Carolina FC in Downtown Raleigh. Check out aerial photo and rendering below. Let's get Major League Soccer to the Triangle!

NCFC Stadium Raleigh NC
Rendering by Gensler Sports

Rendering by Gensler Sports

Unscripted Hotel Durham Opens Its Doors

Unscripted Hotel Durham Opens Its Doors

Austin Lawrence Partners Pave the Way

Our friends Jane & Greg Hill and the team at Austin Lawrence Partners have done it again! The skyline of Durham is changing and the old Jack Tar Motor Lodge has been completely restored and reopened as the Unscripted Hotel. We're excited to see how Unscripted brings the people of Durham together and provides a new and exciting experience for residents in the community and guests alike. Congrats to our friends at ALP!!

Check out some highlights from the ribbon cutting today!

Scott Fly Rods G Series Review

Scott Fly Rods G Series Review

On The Water Review with Soul

We had the pleasure of shooting this piece with Telluride Outside for the release of the new Scott Fly Rods G Series. It's been 12 years since the G2 was introduced and quickly became one of the best dry fly rods in the industry. With the introduction of this new rod, the G Series once again raises the bar for the finest trout stick in the industry.

The goal of the video was to create a cinematic approach to a product release, but also capture demonstrations on the water -- it needed to be both informative AND emotional. We timed the video release perfectly for the world’s largest sportfishing trade show, 2017 ICAST in Orlando, FL.

scott fly rods

Painting With a Purpose: Annie King

Painting With a Purpose: Annie King

The Process & Purpose

Our friend Annie King has combined her passion for painting with helping others.  In her painting process she has helped kids struggling with neglect, trauma and abuse.  She uses her platform as an artist to help and to heal and we couldn't be more proud to call her a friend.  We loved getting to be a small part of her process by creating her website!

Check out her work here!

HEAT: Raleigh

HEAT: Raleigh

Things Are Heating Up Around Here!

We loved having the opportunity to collaborate with CoastRightImages to create this awesome video for our friends at Heat Studios! They've developed a unique system that will meet you where you are and get you where you want to be with your fitness goals.

These guys are the real deal. Get off the couch and check 'em out!

Southern Mill's New Look

Southern Mill's New Look

We've given our friends in Athens at Southern Mill a brand new look!  Our team enjoyed creating this logo design because it achieves the “industrial age” look and feel very successfully with a modern twist.  We can't wait to see what the future holds!

To stay updated on the historic redevelopment click here!

Rock 'n Ride Raleigh

Rock 'n Ride Raleigh

Ride for a Good Cause

We're proud supporters of the Rock 'n Ride Raleigh event on Saturday, June 17th! Rock 'n Ride Raleigh is a unique 12-hour bike-a-thon (starting at 8am) using a one-mile loop around the PNC Arena, with event proceeds benefiting Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities and its mission to help children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities right here in Wake County.

Rock 'n Ride Raleigh isn't just for bikers, it's for spectators, too! While riders make their laps around the Arena, friends and family are invited to bring tailgate chairs and tents to spend the day enjoying the live entertainment, food trucks and beer garden - while of course cheering on our bikers and teams! Children on three-wheeled bikes are also invited to participate in the Kids Fun Ride, taking place throughout the day. 

We can't wait to see you at Rock 'n Ride Raleigh! For more details, visit online or the Facebook Event.

Food Trucks:

7:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Dusty Donuts
Smoothie King Morrisville

10:30am - 2:00 p.m.
Gonza on Wheels
Wicked Kitchen
JAM Soft Serve Ice Cream
Dusty Donuts
Smoothie King Morrisville

2:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Dusty Donuts
Smoothie King Morrisville
Wingskis

6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Baton Rouge Cuisin

Live Entertainment:

8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
DJ Tim Brown

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Old Play

2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Jump Mountain

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
LowBrow

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Instruments of Justice

Google's AMP Helps Boost Clickthrough Rates Up 200%

Google's AMP Helps Boost Clickthrough Rates Up 200%

Accelerated Mobile Pages Matter

Google is pushing for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to be a bigger deal. Recent results prove why. Adweek reported this week that "Faster mobile ads are boosting clickthrough rates up to 200%." If Google is putting priority on AMP-enabled pages, why wouldn't you give your website a little extra love?!

So what exactly is AMP?

AMP is a way to build web pages for static content that render faster. In non-nerd terms, AMP dramatically improves the performance of your mobile sites on the web. Less overloaded, user-unfriendly experiences and more lightning fast content for your customer. Some studies say that 40% of users drop off your website after just three seconds due to ads, pop-ups and sluggish experiences, so your website's first impression is extremely important.

AMP is great and all, but how can I implement it? If you have a Squarespace or Wordpress website or blog, here's a very basic way to implement AMP today so you can start to track immediate results:

AMP for Squarespace

Squarespace is setup to enable AMP automatically, but only blog pages for now. Hey, that's better than nothing. Here's a quick and easy function you should turn on: 

1) Goto Settings, then click on Blogging:

amp for squarespace

2) Scroll down and click on Accelerated Mobile Pages, click AMP enabled.

squarespace amp

3) Write a new blog entry and then index it through Google Search Console. And that's it. 

You'll be able to track your AMP pages through Google Search Console to make sure there are no issues.

Google Search Console

AMP for Wordpress

We found this AMP for WP plugin to be the most user-friendly. No configuration needed -- Just install, activate and you're done.

Amazon Go To Open Cashier-Free Grocery Stores

Amazon Go To Open Cashier-Free Grocery Stores

No Lines. No Checkout. No Problem.

Amazon announced a new way to shop for groceries today without cashiers, lines, even pulling out your credit card. Welcome to the future of shopping? Welcome to Amazon Go

Scan your app as you enter an Amazon Go store, then computers, sensors and cameras track the items you take out. Your Amazon account is charged afterwards and you're on your merry way. It's that easy. Combine your in-store grocery activity with your online browsing and Amazon has the potential to serve you literally everything. The store is currently being tested by Amazon employees only in Seattle, with a public release for early 2017.

GoPro Karma Grip

GoPro Karma Grip

Actions Shots Without Shake

GoPro announced a new way to capture footage today. The Karma stabilizer grip is now available for purchase and offers users amazing video stabilization. We look forward to using the Karma Grip in our video marketing to create a unique perspective and close up view that puts the viewer directly in the moment.

Hold it, wear it, love it. 

Built-In GoPros During the Big Ten Championship

Built-In GoPros During the Big Ten Championship

Referees Will Wear Hats With Built-in GoPros

The future of how we want to watch sports is slowly/hopefully becoming a reality. With mainstream sports media always looking for ways to capture new audiences and keep their current viewers engaged, FOX Sports Lab and GoPro recently partnered to give a unique POV angle inside the hash marks.

Last weekend's Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Big Ten game was the first test to help bring fans closer to the action. They mounted GoPros Heros inside referees hats, creating a unique Xbox-like experience that football nerds, like myself, thoroughly enjoyed -- I want to see the running back rip up the middle, but not be physically present to take the hit (I'm weak). Not only did they integrate the footage into on the air replays, but they embedded the POV angles on social media channels and on FOXSports.com to attract all types of sports fans on all types of mediums.

Check out footage from the test run during the Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Big Ten game. It's incredible:

Integrating GoPros into sports is genius. Not really sure why this hasn't completely taken off yet. This isn't the first major sports league GoPro has partnered with. They teamed up with the NHL in 2015, but only offered the footage in post-game replays -- Not live and in-your-face like this.

Referees will strap into their GoPro hats again this weekend for The Big Ten Championship Game on FOX at 8:17pm on Saturday, Dec 3rd. Check it out. It's a game-changer. 

[We love us some GoPros. We use them a lot in our video marketing because they help create a unique perspective and close up view that puts the viewer directly in the moment. READ MORE]

Top 5 Free Marketing Tools to Get the Job Done

Top 5 Free Marketing Tools to Get the Job Done

Free Marketing Tools You Should Be Using

We walked away from this year's Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC with a brain full of ideas and a Moleskin full of new tools, strategies and solutions to supercharge our marketing efforts. The Oak City's "Definitive Digital Gathering" offered multiple opportunities to learn from current thought leaders and visionaries from Facebook, Moz, The Onion, Salesforce & more, and even more opportunities to interact with like-minded digital marketers.

Here are the Top 5 free marketing tools for small businesses that were brought up multiple times by multiple speakers at the conference. If you're already using these marketing tools, then you're ahead of the game. If not, be sure to start implementing them in your daily routine:
 

1. Snip.ly

This freemium tool (Up to 1000 monthly clicks) lets you create a custom call-to-action and branded message to any link you share, helping drive conversions through other people's content on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Of course, original content on your website is your best bet in driving conversions, but if you share another company's blog post or page, be sure to snip it first with Sniply.

 
Sniply call-to-action
 
 

2. PageSpeed Insights

Google's free web performance tool has been around for a while, so if you're using it, perfect. If not, start scanning your website(s) now. Google's new algorithmic signal is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed. That's why they've been pushing for Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) to play a bigger part in how you search and navigate the web. Bottom line is, site speed is important. Pages with higher rankings have quicker load times. 

Scan each page of your website (At least the important ones: Homepage, Shop, etc.) with PageSpeed Insights and it'll generate suggestions on what you can do to make that page faster. Most of the render-blocking suggestions you won't be able to correct without a Web Developer, but you can dramatically speed up that page by optimizing the images. PageSpeed Insights even allows you to download a .zip file with optimized images, JavaScript, and CSS resources for that page. An easy fix for speedier results.

Update: Google changes all the time. After we wrote this blog, they released something new. As of Nov 30th, PageSpeed Insights will be moving the User Experience test for mobile pages into a Mobile Friendly Tester, try it out here. Another move from Google that prioritizes mobile-first.

 
PageSpeed Tools Insights
 
 

3. ClickToTweet

ClickToTweet offers an extremely easy (and free) way for readers and website visitors to promote your content on Twitter. Instead of embedding custom code, ClickToTweet lets you write a message and then generates a custom link that you can share in your blog. Here's an example of how it works ::

Check out Chair 8 Media's latest video storytelling from Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer. Man, I wish I could go back to camp! (Click to Tweet!)

The dashboard allows you to manage all your links, view stats, create folders and organize by campaigns, view analytics, see where people are clicking on your links from around the world, and suggest users every time someone tweets your custom ClickToTweet link. It's easy, clean and powerful. If you found this blog post helpful, CLICK HERE to share it! ;)

 
clicktotweet
 
 

4. Answer The Public

This is a must-use free tool for any marketing team in today's content-first world. Whether you're generating content for a blog, working on improving your SEO, or writing a PR piece, Answer The Public helps build visualizations of data around a keyword or phrase to help you answer your customer better. If you're looking for content creation topics, this is a great tool to help steer you in the right direction. 

After you've typed in a keyword or phrase, the first data graphic you see will be a set of eight question modifiers prefixed to the beginning of your keyword or phrase -- Who, What, Where, When, Why, Are, Which & How -- followed by the Google search suggestion. For example, we plugged in "social media" and our results included the following topics:

  • Who regulates social media?
  • What social media uses hashtags?
  • Where is social media headed in the future?
  • When does social media become antisocial?
  • Why is social media important for small businesses?
  • Are social media photos public domain?
  • Which social media site should I use in 2016?
  • How is social media reshaping the news?

The second data graphic centers itself around preposition based keywords -- Without, For, Like, Near, To, Versus & With. Our "social media" query included the following topics:

  • Social media without censorship
  • Social media for beginners
  • Social media like reddit
  • Social media classes near me
  • Social media to promote your business
  • Social media versus privacy
  • Social media with e-commerce 

Answer The Public is a beautiful and useful way to get relative content ideas in seconds in the form of questions and prepositional phrases. Get your creative juices flowing. Go ahead, ask the Seeker!

 

5. Pure Chat

Chat is the new way to chat. Companies that offer a live chat software on their website provide their customers with a more effective and personal online experience. It's customer service in a snap.

Pure Chat is a freemium software (1 operator, 15 chats per month) that's clean, sleek and beautifully simple. It's an ideal free marketing tool for websites to capture more leads, give instant customer service answers, answer pre-sales questions from anywhere on their mobile app, and provide a better experience for your customer. 

 
 

Top 3 Takeaways from Internet Summit '16

Top 3 Takeaways from Internet Summit '16

Raleigh's Digital Marketing Conference 

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the Internet Summit in Raleigh. It’s no secret that Raleigh is growing by leaps and bounds, and the startup world is a great contributor to that. Co-working and collaborative spaces such as Loading Dock Raleigh and HQ Raleigh continue to foster the growth of such businesses while the overall city is becoming one of the most desirable places to live in the Southeast. All of that combined and more has made us lucky enough to be able to host such an inspiring event like the Internet Summit.

Before the tryptophan wears in this Thanksgiving, it’s time to talk about my Top 3 Takeaways from Internet Summit 2016.

1. Mobile First 

We all know that mobile use keeps growing. When your 95 year old grandma can text and surf the web it means 1 or 2 things: She’s either incredibly hip or that’s just a sign of the times. Mobile has finally hit the tipping point, as shown in the graph below. Time spent on mobile devices accounts for 51% of internet usage vs its counterpart the good ol’ fashioned desktop. This number will continue to grow, and as marketers it’s our job to build campaigns that hit just as hard on mobile as they do on desktop.

Websites, email marketing, and social media campaigns should all be designed thinking mobile first. What design will provide the user with the most enjoyable experience while browsing your site on mobile? Which email template is best suited for mobile that will drive opens and clicks? (Luckily, MailChimp has an incredibly useful feature that allows you to preview what your campaign looks like across all devices.)  Which images should I use that are optimized for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, that will best convey the message and yield the lowest cpc for our clients? These are all questions that we have to ask ourselves as part of the strategy when thinking Mobile First. Source 

 

2. Video

What do Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook have in common? Video! Instagram has extended the length of video posts by 45 seconds and taken note of the “stories” trend started by Snapchat. They've added their own version of video storytelling in Instagram Stories. Furthermore, Snapchat video advertising is becoming a wildly popular means of affordable advertising for brands with use of Geofilters. Why is this important? The amount of time people spent watching video on their mobile devices increased by 616% over the past 3 years. 

Facebook has made a considerable effort to make video viewing easy and fun in the newsfeed. There also seems to be priority in Facebook video ads versus traditional carousel or hero image ads. This is a key factor in determining what type of marketing campaign you want to run for your business. Telling your brand’s story through video content is just as important as any press release, web page, or article written about your company. If you haven’t at least thought about adding video storytelling to your company profile you’re already behind.  

Our latest video piece for YMCA Camp Sea Gull and YMCA Camp Seafarer had over 25K views and 400+ Shares in less than 24 hours because it pulled at the heartstrings of its target market.

3. Content

Content…Content……did I mention Content? This seems to be one of the most popular words in digital marketing. It definitely was at Internet Summit. As a business, you could be asking yourself, what IS content marketing? I think Arnie Kuenn summed it up best “Content Marketing is the art of providing relevant, useful content to your customers without selling or interrupting them. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your customers more informed before they buy."  The buyers, quite simply want to make an informed decision.

Build your content editorial calendar and create an email address titled content@[yourcompanyhere.com].  Encourage employees to email any content rich/relevant articles and thoughts to the address so you can publish them down the line.  Blogs, podcasts, interviews, webcasts/webinars, online quizzes, eNewsletters, infographics, contests, and videos are all examples of useful content. Are you selling a condo in Durham, North Carolina on your website? How can you provide content that’s not just about a condo, but about Durham and it’s local happenings? A page with offering the "Top 5 Things To Do in Durham"  will not only increase the duration someone stays on your site but it also provides useful information and keywords.  

Content Marketing is the art of providing relevant, useful content to your customers without selling or interrupting them. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your customers more informed before they buy.
Arnie Kuenn

3rd Annual Sir Walter Miler

3rd Annual Sir Walter Miler

Incredible evening filming the 3rd annual Sir Walter Miler. Six women ran a mile under 4:30, nine men under 4:00, and a Paralympic World Record. ⚡️🏃🏼💨

We're constantly inspired by people who craft fresh ideas in their own unique areas & industries. Big ups to the Sir Walter Miler team for creating an amazing event that is uniquely Raleigh.

More coming soon...

Snapchat Geofilter

Snapchat Geofilter

Something is ALWAYS changing in the world of social media, and if you're not ahead of the game, you're already incredibly late to the program. In the digital marketing realm this is exciting. Why? It keeps creatives on the drawing board, figuring out how these new changes can be leveraged to help their clients increase profits. At Chair 8 Media, we're constantly in tune with the world's largest social media platforms and developers chatter so we can stay abreast on the NEXT big thing.

Snapchat. Heard of it? My guess is, if you're between 18-34, YES. If you're answer is NO, and you're a business owner, it's time to get in the know. On any given day, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States. With over 100 million users (that's bigger than Twitter), Snapchat is quickly becoming the next big player in social media and advertising. Remember how just a few years ago, the concern was, "How do I grow my business on Facebook?" We've quadrupled growth for clients by implementing extremely powerful campaigns. So, Facebook will always be relevant in advertising, but there's a big concern here: What about the millennials?

Chances are this question has come up in the conference room. We've seen many businesses come to us with the question of how to target this seemingly cryptic generation of techies. There's a myriad of ways to reach this demographic, BUT, if you're not utilizing Snapchat, you may as well forget it.

So, as a business owner, how do you get a slice of the pie? Chair 8 Media's design team creates Snapchat Geofilters for our clients with great success. Whether it's a concert,  event, or specific restaurant location, we'll create a virtual fence around that area so Snapchat users inside the radius will see your filter. Recently, we created a filter for Bar-B-Cutie SmokeHouse during the CMA's. This filter was used 802 times over the weekend and generated 56,336 views. Not only are geofilters an outstanding branding and awareness tool, they're a sure-fire way to reach new customers and keep your existing customers excited and loyal to the brand.

snapchat ads
Snapchat advertising

Loading Dock Raleigh Opens Its Doors

Loading Dock Raleigh Opens Its Doors

New Coworking Office Space in Raleigh

Tired of your local coffee shop "office" or meeting space? Loading Dock Raleigh recently opened its doors on E. Whitaker Mill Road offering a variety of coworking office space in Raleigh, NC for creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

We're pumped to be founding members and excited to surround ourselves with like-minded creatives where we can easily network, share ideas & resources, and be inspired by others doing good. Also, you can't beat the location in historic Five Points -- A stone's throw from Lynnwood Brewing Concern, right around the corner from Snoopy's, and minutes from downtown Raleigh.

Come by and say hello!

 
Loading Dock Raleigh
 

Content-Aware Crop Coming to Photoshop

Content-Aware Crop Coming to Photoshop

Photoshop CC Announces Content-Aware Crop

Have you ever cropped and straightened that perfect photo in Photoshop and were left with those pesky blank areas on the edge of your photo? Not anymore. 

Adobe Photoshop will release a new Content-Aware Crop feature that allows users to straighten and crop photos without cutting off important areas. This is just one of the cool new features coming soon to Photoshop CC. 

We're photo nerds so we we're pretty excited about this:

DJI Drones + Facebook Live

DJI Drones + Facebook Live

Stream Directly from a DJI Drone to Facebook Live

A live aerial view from the X Games, real-time flyby of a music festival, or a live presentation to investors showing updates to a new development project. Now that DJI and Facebook Live have teamed up, the future is nigh. 

DJI, the market leader in drones and aerial photography systems, updated their iOS app this week to allow its fleet of drones to stream directly to Facebook Live. 

We recently tested the feature in Downtown Raleigh. Pretty cool! We look forward to helping some of our event coordinator clients with this new, interactive technology.