As a creative agency, in order to remain relevant and produce the highest quality web/interactive work for our clients, it is important we stay up-to-date on what’s going on within the industry. Whether it be the latest technologies that are emerging, the intriguing marketing research being conducted, or the buzz about what the key players are up to, no matter what your job description is, you should be well versed in all facets of interactive media: from planning and designing to developing and testing to advertising and promoting. Here are the resources we use at BrinkMedia.
The importance of knowing what’s going on in the interactive and technology sector is vital for staying ahead of the game and identifying opportunities.
Tech Crunch (www.techcrunch.com)
This is the most popular and comprehensive blog on technology news. Articles include introductions of the latest start-ups and web applications, buzz about major industry players (both companies and individuals), and sometimes special exclusives that only the most powerful tech blog can obtain.
There is only one place you need to go to remain up-to-date on everything social media, and that is Mashable. Social media is the fastest growing segment of interactive marketing and arguably the most influential. A creative agency that is not well versed in social media is an agency that is falling behind.
The Next Web (www.thenextweb.com)
What’s going on in the world of web, from more of a business perspective. This blog is stratified into both technical categories and geography, giving you a broader view of what’s going on.
Yes, there is actually a use for this social media tool. Tweets are honest glimpses into what people are talking about. Using the right tools (check this article out) you can aggregate the topics that have the world tweeting and leverage that information for further research.
Design and Development Trends
Sometimes creativity is the number one asset we can offer our clients. Arthur Koestler defined creativity as “[the] result of the intersection of two quite different frames of reference.” By examining design trends and investigating the work of other talented designers and visionaries, we can increase our personal arsenal of reference frames and likewise increase our capacity to be creative.
Smashing Magazine (www.smashingmagazine.com)
Smashing is a more comprehensive design and development e-zine, but we particularly like it as a resource for showcasing creativity.
Inspired Magazine (www.inspiredm.com)
The design inspirations in this blog reach beyond interactive to include film, television, and video games as well. Sometimes different media can provide the inspiration you need to try something truly groundbreaking.
Unmatched Style (www.unmatchedstyle.com)
A great resource for web design inspiration from around the world. This vast database of talent let’s the work speak for its self.
A List Apart (www.alistapart.com)
It is important to look at development trends as well. Understanding topics such as HTML5 and mobile development is pertinent to staying ahead of the game. A List Apart is a well respected e-zine focusing on the latest trends in standards-based HTML, CSS, and primarily front-end related topics such as usability and accessibility.
The primary thing that separates a web development expert from a amateur is a deep understanding of the marketing and business behind the services provided. There is a lot of beneficial marketing research being conducted regarding how users interact with the web in their day to day lives. We use this information for everything from client recommendations, to altering the way we develop, to setting up what skillsets we will be learning and hiring for over time. We subscribe to a simple axiom: know your customer.
Much of their great content is offered through a paid premium service, but there are many informative free articles as well that summarize the latest research collected. Subscribe to the eMarketer feed or follow their Twitter account to receive all of their free content as it’s published.
Hubspot Inbound Marketing Blog (blog.hubspot.com)
There has been a lot of talk about the concept of inbound marketing lately. Hubspot basically wrote the book on it. If you can look past their frequent product plugs, you can gain a lot of interesting insight from an industry leader via their blog.
These are just a few of the resources we use on a day-to-day basis. We utilize Twitter and Google Reader to follow many different blogs at once and aggregate the information that is available. We want to hear from you, what web resources do you use?