Top Ten Friday: Curation Tools

Curating, collecting and organizing content on the web can consume a lot of time, especially when you’re not always sure where to find the best content. Using a curation tool can help save you hours of time by pulling in content from across the web and social networks, so you can browse through the best available content based on the topic of your choosing. Here are some of our favorite tools to help you find the best content out there.

10. Bundlr

Bookmark your favorite content and also discover new content. Create topic pages with different types of content, such as photos, videos, and tweets. Then share your topic pages on your networks.

9. Themeefy

Themeefy allows you to curate to your own magazine with your favorite content. You can add web links directly from the page or insert content from Twitter and Facebook. Create a theme with your photos to make it your own.

8. Newsle

Newsle allows you to receive updates for when your friends, colleagues or anyone you choose is mentioned in the news, an article or press release. Not your ordinary content curation tool, but it can be useful to see when someone you know is being recognized for their work.

7. Storify

Storify allows you to tell a story through content curation using text, images and videos that pull from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and more. Search for stories related to events, news stories, specific topics, etc., then proceed to drag and drop to your page. You can also add your own comments and even embed the story into a blog post.

6. IFTTT

Create recipes that push articles to a saved location for you to read later. Set an RSS feed from any site and push the content to your Evernote. Connect your Feedly account to push content to your Evernote or your email. There are more than 60 channels to choose from, which gives you a plethora of ways to find and store content you want to read.

5. Evernote

Evernote is one of the most popular tools for any business pro. It helps keep you organized at your desk or on the go in the cloud. But, you can also set up the “Evernote Web Clipper,” which allows you to save text, links and images to your account while surfing the web.

4. Feedly

Unofficially known as the replacement for Google Reader, Feedly is a way for users to subscribe to their favorite blogs or websites via the RSS feed, and organize content into a simple layout for an easy read.

3. Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the most popular tools on the web. Its versatility has been key to its popularity. Aside from just being fun, Pinterest can also be used as a great bookmarking and content curation tool. Adding the “Pin It” bookmarklet to your browser allows you to Pin any article or page to a specified board for you to revisit at your convenience.

2. Scoopit

Choose topics and then set keywords or websites you’d like Scoopit to pull content from. You decide which articles you want to “scoop” to your topic page and then dismiss the rest. Add the bookmarklet to your browser and add content while you browse the web. Scoopit also gives you the opportunity to share your content to any of your social media channels.

1. Flipboard

Originally just a mobile app, Flipboard now also has a web version available. It allows you to create “magazines” related to topics of your choosing. With a sleek interface and magazine-style structure, Flipboard has exploded in popularity this year. Like other tools, you select categories and keywords to search for content and then curate them into your magazine, which users can subscribe to or you can share on your social networks.

What are your favorite tools for curating content?

Check out our last TTF post to get a fun feel of what it’s like to work at z2. Stay tuned for upcoming TTF posts in the future!

August 30, 2013 · Posted by in TTF  

There are a lot of things that make z2 stand out from the crowd–some of which you may not have known about… until now! Here’s a list of things that make us slightly unique.

10. You work in socks or slippers all day

Shoes? Who needs shoes? It’s much more comfortable to walk around in your socks or slippers. More relaxing, too.

9. You have vintage items laying around

Macintosh Plus

Whether it’s a 1980s Mac, a VCR or floppy disks, you’ll get quite a feel of nostalgia walking around our office.

8. You rarely hear the same song twice

With more than 18 days of music on our in-house radio station, hearing the same song twice in a month is rare. Unless it’s “Make The Logo Bigger!”

7. You’re the first to sign the “Hall of Fame” plaque

wall

Everyone who walks through our doors must sign the wall. Each year, a new one is put up. It’s a nice representation of how far we’ve come and all the people who’ve been there for the journey.

6. You work with fish

fish tank

We have three fish tanks throughout the building. It’s rare if you don’t pass them at least a few times per day.

5. You see guitars everywhere

guitars

We have a lot of guitars as well as people who like to strum the stress away. Our very own Cory Zimmermann even has his own band!

4. You’ve done yoga in the commons

Once a week, z2 hosts a yoga class for its employees. We also have a hula-hoop class every Thursday. While we work hard, we also like to have fun and let loose once in awhile.

3. You know how to make coffee the “Cory way”

coffee

There’s only one way to beat that coffee machine… and that’s the Cory way. The process is too long to explain, but let’s just say if you’re not certified to make it, Starbucks is the next best bet.

2. You’ve used the photo studio, recording studio or the sound stage

We do a lot of filming and recording here and often use employees to test things out. Basically, it’s free acting classes for us.

1. You end each week with Cosmo Friday

Cosmo Friday

Cosmo Friday at the bar is one of our favorite activities. (You can even check in on Foursquare!) Every Friday, as we begin to shut down at the end of the day, we mingle and relax with a Blue Moon (Cory’s beer of choice) or two. It’s a great way to connect with teammates.

Those are just a few of the fun things that make us unique. We hope you enjoyed the trip through our office! What makes your office unlike any other?

Check out our last TTF post about the best workplace movies and check back every Friday for more TTF posts!

August 23, 2013 · Posted by in TTF  

If you work in an office setting, you probably have an appreciation for workplace movies and TV shows. You can understand and relate to the culture, problems faced, fun had, and relationships built within that type of work environment. We certainly can. With that, please enjoy the 10 best workplace movies and TV shows chosen by the z2ers.

10. Boiler Room

Boiler Room

Best sales movie since Glengarry Glen Ross?

9. The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada

Would you still want to work in the fashion industry after watching Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada?

8. The Newsroom

Newsroom

Although only in its second season, The Newsroom has gained an immense amount of popularity because of its realism and inside look behind the industry.

7. 30 Rock

30 Rock

If you enjoy workplace shenanigans, then 30 Rock is for you!

6. Parks and Rec

Parks and Rec

Ron Swanson is among the best TV show characters ever created, the entire cast is hilarious and the one-liners are never-ending. If you want to work in an office and avoid actual work, then working at the Parks and Recreation department, in Pawnee, IN, is where your future lies.

5. Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross

ABC: Always Be Closing!

4. Wall Street

Wall Street

Being a stockbroker on Wall Street is a cutthroat profession. Charlie Sheen shows viewers just how difficult that career path is and the price paid for success.

3. The Office

 The Office

The Office has been a favorite of many professionals because nearly everyone can relate to various moments throughout the series. From interoffice relationships and crazy shenanigans to Dwight Schrute, many offices have experienced their own version of craziness in one way or another.

2. Office Space

Office Space

TPS reports, paper jams, missing staplers and Lumbergh are just a few of the reasons why Office Space is one of the greatest workplace movies of all-time. Am I right?

1. Mad Men

Mad Men

In the 1960s, Madison Avenue was the place every advertising creative wanted to work–and that still may hold true today. Mad Men not only gives us an inside look on how ad agencies worked years ago, but also provides a great history lesson of advertising. With an epic storyline and cast of characters, Mad Men is one of the best workplace shows on television.

What are some of your favorite workplace movies and TV shows?

Check out our last TTF post for tips on how to make your blog posts shine a little brighter and stay tuned for upcoming TTF posts in the future!

August 16, 2013 · Posted by in TTF  

Just about anyone can write a blog post. But sometimes just words and an image are not enough to get your point across. Once in awhile you need to change it up–go one step further than just writing. But what should you add? Whether it’s for your personal blog or company blog, here are 10 ideas to help make your posts shine.

10. Infographics

Sites like Visual.ly allow you to create and customize infographics to share. They even allow you to work with other designers on the site to create types of data visualizations you may not be able to do yourself.

9. Word clouds

Wordle is one of the most popular sites for creating word clouds. You can design it in certain shapes and emphasize words being said about a certain subject to help readers understand what’s being mentioned most often about that subject.

8. Facebook posts

Recently, Facebook added the option for users to embed their Facebook posts onto their sites or blogs. At the moment, only a few large publications are able to do so, but the option will soon roll out to all users. Once embedded, readers will be able to interact with the post as if they’re on Facebook. It may also help increase followers or Likes for your account or Page.

7. Instagram videos and photos

Shortly after Instagram introduced video to their platform, it rolled out the option to embed both photos and videos to sites or blogs. The social media world is becoming increasingly visual and adding your Instagram videos or photos to blog posts can help spice things up a bit.

6. List.ly

List.ly allows you to curate and crowdsource lists. By writing a blog post and embedding an interactive List.ly list, you can have people adding topics to help build whatever list you’re trying to generate.

5. Slideshare

When giving presentations, many people put their content into a Slideshare. When people create how-to’s or tutorials, they may use Slideshare as well. If you haven’t already, you can write a blog post about such topics and embed your Slideshare presentations to give people the chance to see what you’ve made.

4. Pinterest Boards

Embedding Pinterest profiles, pins or boards is a great way to promote your own Pinterest content, in addition to helping make your blog post shine just a little more. If you’re writing about a subject you’re very passionate about, and also have a Pinterest board dedicated to that same subject, it could be a great idea to embed that board into your post.

3. Google Plus Hangouts

Whether you’re doing a Hangout On Air for a client, your own company or for personal reasons, sharing those Hangouts can prove quite valuable. Although Hangouts On Air are automatically uploaded to your YouTube page, they are not always easily found. If the Hangout has great content, writing a post about it may be worth doing. Embedding the Hangout for others to see will increase the reach that much more.

2. Vine videos

Like Instagram videos, you have the option to embed a Vine video into your blog post. The difference between the two is that Vine videos will continue to loop whereas Instagram videos need to be started with a click. Get creative and add a fun looping video that ties in perfectly with the post.

1. Storify

Storify is a great tool that allows users to curate posts from a variety of social networks to help tell a story based on a certain subject. You can pull tweets or posts revolving around a specific hashtag or news story and put it into chronological order to tell a story. It’s great for conferences, social media campaigns or major events. Embedding this into a blog post is very simple and powerful for the story you’re trying to write.

What types of things do you like to add to your blog posts that give them that extra pizzazz?

Check out all of our “Top Ten Friday” posts on our blog and stay tuned next Friday for more!

August 9, 2013 · Posted by in social media, TTF  

Most brands’ logos have changed, at least a little, over their history. Many times it’s for a rebranding effort and sometimes it’s because the logo is outdated. The reasons vary, but one thing is consistent between these 10 brands, simplicity wins. Here are 10 brands that have logos that have stood the test of time.

1. General Electric

Not only is GE one of the oldest brands around, it is also one of the most innovative and digitally savvy. While it continues to grow, the logo has remained the same for more than 100 years. GE may be the most timeless brand in the world.

GE Logo

2. Ford

From the Ford Model T through 2013, Ford’s logo has stood the test of time. The brand has been thought of as American as baseball or apple pie, and with such strong roots and brand equity, why change what isn’t broken?

Ford logo

3. BMW

BMW has shown why you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. They continue to innovate, yet keep things simple. The logo is among the most recognizable in the auto industry.

BMW logo

4. Macy’s

One of the most well known retailers in American history has kept its logo simple since the beginning. While Macy’s had used its name as the logo the entire time, the company was actually more known for the “star” within the logo—something that was reintroduced during the mid-2000s in the current logo.

Macy's logo

5. IBM

For a tech company, where change is constant, to keep the logo the same over a long period of time is impressive, which means the brand has strong value and presence. How many long-standing tech companies can say that?

IBM logo

6. Shell

What’s in a name? In this case, it’s the logo. Not all brands’ logo and name are so intertwined, but because Shell’s are, there likely won’t be much change in the logo going forward. This is why it’s remained the same since the early 1900s.

Shell logo

7. NFL

America’s most popular sport also has one of the most popular logos. There have been a few changes since the beginning, but much like the game, the logo hasn’t changed much.

NFL logo

8. Nike

The “swoosh” is among the most recognizable brand logos in the world. The only change has been the removal of the word Nike.

Nike logo

9. Little Debbie

The logo for Little Debbie, who is actually a real person and current employee, works because they used a member of the founder’s family to be the face of the brand. Much like Wendy’s, Little Debbie stuck to its roots. A real person as the face of your logo and brand can be more powerful than a simple shape or object.

Little Debbie logo

10. z2 Marketing

This year, Z2 is celebrating 10 years in business! Although much has changed for us, we remain true to our roots and prove that with our logo.

z2 Marketing logo

What other logos do you know of that have withstood the test of time without much change?

Check out our other “Top Ten Friday” posts and check again next Friday for more fun Top 10s!

August 2, 2013 · Posted by in branding, design  

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