I’m one of Hiscox’s Small Business Stars! Check me!

ShinykatieThe other week, I featured on Hiscox’s Small Business Stars blog for my work as agency founder and entrepreneur of my digital media agency, Miramus.

I was chosen to appear on the blog to talk about my experience of the industry and the importance of having contacts in the blogging world.

Here’s the part where my natural modesty leads me to conclude that I magically stay abreast of the industry via some form of osmosis as yet unknown to science:

“Sometimes I think I’ve fallen behind with stuff, but then I go out and talk to normal humans and get my perspective back. I read the C_ncentrate newsletter every week and then I’ll do a quick scan through of Smartbrief every few weeks to see what’s going on. I also just absorb information from friends in the industry and Twitter, as well as reading other industry sites.”

Read my full interview here on the Hiscox blog.

The question that’s keeping you all awake at night: What am I up to at the moment?

Five Minute Power Nap ArtSince www.miramus.com is going through a personality crisis at the moment (it will be back with a spangly new responsive theme at some point), here’s a quick work-based update:

1. We’re still working with the wonderful people over at Unilever. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with the Personal Care and Foods team. I’ve also been doing a project with Dove which I probably won’t ever get to talk about, but I’ve enjoyed immensely.

2. We set up www.thestresshacker.com for Sue Smith. I’ve really enjoyed working with her on getting her mailing list up and running. In fact, the work I’ve done for Unilever has also been about mailing lists. Mailing Lists are clearly the new blogs (in my world anyway).

3. We published a magazine this year! For a client who shall (for the time being) remain nameless. We are the souls of discretion at Miramus, you know.

4. I wrote a book this year! Only a short one, but it was great. Another one I can’t actually talk about (it’s like being a spy only with digital content and eye strain).

5. I edited a book this year! Coming soon the Stresshacker store – watch this space!

6. Alex Milway’s latest book came out: Pigsticks & Harold and the Tuptown Thief. It’s a whodunnit for 5-year-olds. www.alexmilway.com

7. Dork Adore is still growing strong! We have an amazing new mailout (see, Mailing Lists again) and loads of great competitions in the pipeline. Come visit!

8. I’m writing another book! This one’s for me.

9. And I’m concocting new plans for a project. Sign up for my mailing list if you are interested (I admit it, I am obsessed with mailing lists) It’s over on the right. You probably won’t be interested if you haven’t given birth in the past 5 years. But you’re still welcome to sign up!

10. I joined the PTA. Against all advice, reason and common sense and with new contracts in the pipeline, I agreed to spend my evening editing a constitution and reading about quorums (quora?)

That sort of became about me rather than my company towards the end there…

Anyway, if you want to get hold of me, I’m here, on Twitter, on Dork Adore and on email.


The five things every new parent should know and other hilarious columns

Every new parent needs this adviceI’ve written some columns recently that are dear to my heart – after all, who doesn’t enjoy trying to mention vaginas as much as possible in one article?

The first one – Five Thing Every Parent With a New Baby Should Know – goes into unnecessarily graphic detail about the birthing process before sharing my five essential parenting tools for anyone with a newborn. This includes Dunstan’s Baby Language, which is so amazing that I’m still perplexed as to why it’s not more widely known. It’s also got Dr Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block technique.

Incidentally, for anyone with a toddler, Dr Karp’s toddler technique is equally awesome – although my friend reports that her toddler has now learned the magic formula and is starting to game the system. Another reminder that we’re basically dealing with tiny sociopaths here.

I also did one about My Favourite Time Saving Tips for New Mothers, which will really blow your mind with quite how far I’ve fallen since bringing humans into this world. Just reading it makes me want to take a shower. Luckily I had one last night.

Parentdish archive classics

Back in the dawn of man 2.0 when I was helping AOL to set up its blogging division, I spent some time as launch editor of Parentdish UK . As luck would have it, I was actually pregnant at the time, so *almost* knew what I was talking about. One thing I did know about was being pregnant. Here are a couple of pieces I wrote back then

10 Weird Pregnancy Symptoms They Don’t Warn You About

Even More Weird Pregnancy Symptoms

I had a LOT of these symptoms – some of which I’d actually forgotten about and am re-living all over again as I read this articles. Brr.

The newest addition… is already quite old

I was pregnant with my second baby when I wrote that last post, travelling up to Birmingham to spend a very fun day teaching business owners while also sporting an extremely neat bump.

Inevitably the neat bump eventually becomes a totally unwieldy stomach porch, and before you know this arrives:

Arrietty Ellen Milway

But, that all happened quite a while ago. After a while she looked like this:

Hetty Bassett's

And now?

Well, now she’s this little bundle of trouble.

Cecily Hetty Cold Towels

Cecily is cold, hence the face.

Hello Birmingham!

Social Media Training BirminghamI’m off to run a social media masterclass (fancy!) in Birmingham tomorrow. You can still get tickets for this first event, and there will be another one in August. More info over on the Social Media Studio “About the Day” page.

If you’re looking for social and digital media training for brands up in the West Midlands, this could very well be the answer to your prayers! (Although you might want to look into getting some more exciting prayers).

I’ll be running the classes on Identifying and Engaging your Audience and Engaging with journalists and bloggers online.

Social Media Training, Birmingham

  • The importance of social media strategy
    Creative and expert planning, identifying objectives, setting goals, time saving tools, building strategy
  • How to raise your profile
    Higher engagement levels, improved interaction, more influence
  • How to identify your audience
    Selecting media and tools
  • How to engage with online journalists and bloggers
    The social media press release, targeting the right audience, distribution, maximising coverage
  • How to produce great web content
    How to write for the web, building loyalty, visual and interactive content
  • How to manage your online reputation
    Online monitoring, dealing with negative PR, crisis management
  • How to measure social media success
    Insights, analytics, evaluation, ROI

Come and say hello!

Social Media Studio – Social Media Training in the Midlands


Training and speaking. Any excuse

Katie Lee Training

Blah Blah Blah

I’ve been doing lots of training recently, which is something I really enjoy. Lucky, really, since I’m about to do a whole load more (huzzah!)

I’m currently raining in-house training sessions on using Social and Digital Media to market companies and brands online.

I tend to focus on putting together great strategies; I’m really passionate about companies producing sustainable marketing online and I’m glad to see so much stuff around “Interactive Brand Ecosystems” thanks to the likes of Forrester.

I’ve also helped some local businesses recently, talking to them about the basics of social media, how businesses can use blogging and media activity to become “thought leaders” (another of my favourite topics and – again – very popular right now what with all the “Key Person of Influence” stuff doing the rounds).

Next month, I’ll be heading up to Birmingham to spread the gospel according to Shinykatie to business owners in the West Midlands.

You can find out more about the Katie Lee web media consulting, speaking and training wonderland over on the Miramus Media site (or just scroll down to read more stuff about knitting and crochet).

Pinterest: more popular with “women” than normal people

mood boardAsk me if I’d like to give my opinion for something and I will free-associate on that theme for the entire afternoon.

So, it’s perhaps lucky that I didn’t get my thoughts over to Hannah in time to get featured in her piece about the popularity of Pinterest for the Guardian. She kindly created an extended cut for her blog, however, adding in some of the other stragglers.

Hannah asked me why I thought Pinterest appealed so much to women. As we all know, I am always more than happy to speak on behalf of my entire sex despite the fact that I am a massive geek who thinks films with swords in are cool.

Here’s what I said:

I think this gender thing is a little bit disingenuous. There would be NO articles about why a social bookmarking site was mainly populated by males…
However, there’s no doubt that the design of the site is geared to be female-friendly, unlike more masculine-looking social curation sites like Digg or Metafilter. The “about” page is also very female-focused (although I’m sure there are plenty of men who quite fancy sharing all the “beautiful things” they find on the web while they “plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes”).
But I would argue that most of the social curation and social bookmarking sites started out as sites created by men for men. I doubt it was a conscious decision for many, of course. But, since so many of them were created to serve particular communities, it often worked out that way.
If the population really is more female than male, it is because Pinterest has been picked up by the craft, design and cookery communities online and because it was in closed Beta for long enough to get a very focused set of communities.
But it won’t be long before there are just as many virtual pinboards filled with cars, technology and whatever other stereotypical things men are supposed to be interested in.
And if that doesn’t happen, so what? It doesn’t make Pinterest freakish if it attracts the other 50%.

Pinterest – why the new social network is gaining so much interest. (Hannah Waldram’s blog)

Pinterest piqued in UK for ‘creative, pretty and completist’ social network (Hannah’s article on the Guardian website)

And here’s my cue to give you a link to my Pinterest boards, which look fairly moth-eaten and aren’t anything like as excellent as my Wists account. Why couldn’t Wists have been Pinterest? That would have saved me a whole heap of effort.

Also: Dork Adore’s Pinterest

Image: JM2C

Blogging for your business: Mediatrust workshop

Blogging for your business UK

This slide makes sense in the talk... honest

There’s nothing I love better than a spot of training.

Recently, I’ve worked with Redwood and Marks & Spencer, providing both training and consultancy for some exciting new digital media projects they’re working on.

I’ve also enjoyed giving training and workshop sessions for Mediatrust and Internet Week Europe (where I did a session rather grandly titled “We need to stop talking about Kevin. Why your digital media strategy needs more thought and less chatter“).

I’m back at Mediatrust again this year, giving an updated version of the “Building Blogs” session I’ve done previously.

I really enjoy working with a group to find the best strategies for their online activity – and working with charities is always fun because they so often have a clear niche in which to explore “thought leadership” and community building.

If you’re interested in how a media strategy can define and improve your social and digital media presence, please do come along! You don’t have to be a charity to attend.

Things I’ll be covering:

Why blog?
How and where to blog
Creating a proper media strategy (thinking like an editor)
How to build community and use social media
Finding your voice
Thought leadership and the secrets of good content

If any of that sounds interesting, you’re very welcome to join me! I like having people to talk to at these things – makes the day go faster.

From the Mediatrust blurb:

Could a blog position you as the expert in your field? You want to make sure if you’re writing a blog, it’s building a following and meeting your organisation’s aims. Refresh your approach, share best practice and make your online conversations more engaging.

Whether you’re blogging to raise profile, be an expert or make change happen; learn to write great blogs, network and connect with other bloggers, and most importantly you’ll learn to make conversation.

Centre House
Wood Lane, Shepherds Bush
W12 7SB

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Building Blogs with Katie Lee – tickets.

Good Hooking gets a squashed new home

Err, well, since I have singularly failed to update poor old Good Hooking for quite some time, I thought I should just consolidate my personal blogging empire into ONE unkempt blog, rather than scattering them all about the internet like pizza menus.

As those of you who follow my Good Hooking exploits will know (hi Will! Still not entirely sure what you doing on there, but you knock yourself out), I have been promising to update with a full inventory of all the self-crafted items I have lovingly produced over the past… however long it is, but I have yet to make good on that promise.

Well, today I plan to change all that!

Here, for your viewing pleasure, I can exclusively reveal my a/w 2010-2012 collection.

Sirdar Red Bamboo jumper

I love this jumper. It looks a bit wobbly now from washing (some of the bamboo shrivelled and went wirey even though it’s machine washable. The cheek!) but it has to be the best thing I’ve ever made. I love the yarn, I love the pattern and I love the colour. In fact it looks like I bought it from a shop. But as we all know, if I’d bought it from a shop it would have cost a LOT less money. And that’s what counts. Or something.

I learned about three new cast off techniques for this one. The neckline kept coming out too tight, so I had to keep re-doing it (leaving it a little bit wibbly after the 20th attempt). I now try to only ever cast off using a crochet hook. What sane human would do it any other way, I ask you?

Also, I actually used the right yarn with the right pattern, which I think is only the second time I’ve done that. It’s a thrilling experience, I don’t mind telling you.

Pullover with round or v neck pattern on Ravelry.

Last year’s winter hat

Crochet Hat

I was going to finish this off with some neat neck ties. And then I didn’t. And then winter finished.

Toe up socks!

Very fun, very quick. I learned many things.

1. I like knitting using the magic loop method so much I want to lick it.
2. I do not like knitting two socks at once using two sets of cables or one set of cables for that matter. What faffery!
3. I love Judy and her magic cast on.
4. The Lifestyle toe up socks pattern will give you a lot of confidence in just winging it a bit with patterns.
5. The short row heel is very clever, but takes practice. I pulled the heel a bit tighter after taking this photo.
6. The quest for the perfect cast-off may never be over, but by golly people have turned it into a science. I love the innovation, and I loved trying out different ones. I can’t actually remember which one I used in the end though, dangnabbit. Weebleknits has an assortment of stretchy bind offs she’s helpfully herded into one blog post.

Too-small cardie

I took too long to make this one. I used lovely Rooster Almerino I got from RKM Wools in a huge sale they were having (I started sweating when I walked in and saw all the lovely yarn on sale). But by the time I’d finished Cecily had outgrown it. Ungrateful child.

I then spent two evenings unpicking it all and getting the wool tangled up.

Ribbed baby jacket pattern on Ravelry.

Three Christmas hats

Crochet HatsI made Cecily a lovely warm hat (using the frogged yarn from the Too-Small Cardie) and then I rushed to make two more for her two cousins who are staying with us. I finished the last one at about midnight on Christmas Eve.

I made up the pattern based on a hat my mother made me when I was a toddler. I remember loving the hat, which probably explains why I still own it all these years later.

Yarn Stash!

I gave all my teeth-jangling acrylics to Deadly Knitshade – so she could go and create pigeon pullovers and scarves for telephone boxes – and upgraded to real wools, bamboos and cottons. I am now one of those smug crafters whose whole lives are tinted with a “retro” filter. Plus, my yarn stash is now one of the most valuable things in my house.

I will be the person stuffing wool into bags while the house burns down.

Most of it was bought in a state of feverish excitement from two massive yarn sales from RKM Wools and House of Linens round the corner from me (which I only just discovered – a bloody wool shop round the corner from where I live ALL THESE YEARS!)

And breathe

There are a few bits and pieces still missing. Where, for example, is the masterpiece that is the blue and pink Alpaca motif cardie? And where, pray tell, is the not-quite-enough-buttons chunky knit cardigan?

Patience my friends, patience.

Dork Adore redesigned! Lovely eyeball candy

Check this out! We redesigned Dork Adore.