2020 Round Up

Well, what a year that was. None of us could have ever expected the events of this year and what it would mean for our businesses. But here we are, approaching the beginning of 2021. And what will hopefully be a year of positives for us all. 

Everyone has worked incredibly hard this year to overcome the obstacles thrown at us either by the pandemic or the looming Brexit deadline (remember that?) 

We thought what better way to see what’s been… Let’s just say, an ‘interesting’ year with a few highlights. 

The Northern Affinity grew.

There has never been such a need for a support system and community, and that’s something The Northern Affinity is proud to be for our partners. Despite the odds, we welcomed a number of new partners on board. To those of you who have found us in 2020, welcome. We’re chuffed to bits that you’re here. 

We’ve now filled all our available spaces; something we weren’t sure we’d get to say back in March. And yet here we are. 

As we look ahead to 2021, we’re working on ways in which The Northern Affinity can continue to grow; offering the support and circle of trusted colleagues to others in the north. Keep your eyes peeled for this and sign up to our mailing list if you haven’t already. 

If 2020’s proved anything to us, it’s that we need to stick together through troubled times. Pandemic or no pandemic. 

We expanded our online presence. 

Being at home for a large chunk of the year has given a lot of business owners the opportunity to turn attention inwards. Time to put some real time and effort into their marketing and business development. 

We made sure to get busy at The Northern Affinity, too. We took our online presence to the next level by starting our YouTube channel and The Northern Affinity Podcast. A big thank you to all the partners who have taken part in a live video, hosted a webinar and been interviewed on the podcast. Thanks to you, we now have an impressive library of media for everyone to enjoy and learn from. 

We were also able to introduce Workplace as our central hub for all our partners to chat and share their successes, ask for advice and generally, have a bit of a laugh. 

We’re looking forward to continuing these projects in 2021, as well as constant improvements to our brand. Definitely a perk of the rest of working slowing down. Have you been able to spend some uninterrupted time on your business this year? 

We had a laugh along the way. 

Through so many obstacles and hardships, our partners have been able to remain positive. Especially as a large proportion of our partners are self employed, at times this has been a pretty mean feat. 

But through it all, we’ve had plenty of laughs, good spirits and we’ve all learnt valuable lessons throughout the year. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that.  

What is there left to say other than thank you. Thanks for sticking with us this year. We’ve loved having you along for the ride and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for The Northern Affinity. 
If you’d like to get to know us better in the new year, why not come along to our first ‘Getting to know The Northern Affinity’ session on Friday 8th January? We’d love to see you there.

How have podcasts shot to success?

The earliest podcast dates back to sometime in the early 2000’s but it wasn’t until the 2010’s that the medium really started to gain momentum. Currently, the number of podcasts available is fast approaching 1,000,000. Despite a world that’s dominated by so much visual content, listeners have continued to grow year on year. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s probably a podcast for that.  

So, the question is: how did this new form of radio become one of the most successful forms of media on a global scale? After all, the average marketing video has roughly 60 seconds of audience attention before someone will switch off. So how does these episodes (usually lasting around an average 40 minutes) still listened to for 90% of their duration? Let’s take a look. 

The ability to multitask.

Unlike TV, film and online video content, consuming podcasts doesn’t require you to be stationary for any length of time. You can be going about your business all while catching up on the latest episode of your favourite show. Some creators film their episodes and upload them to YouTube but the primary way of consuming the medium is still simply listening. 

The most common instances people choose to listen to podcasts are while driving, working out, and doing household chores; likely because they can improve what can be a mundane task. 

There really is something for everyone. 

Variety truly is the spice of life. This year, the top five categories have been society & culture, business, comedy, health, news & politics. Every one of these categories has numerous sub sections and sub categories to suit every need and niche you could possibly wish for. 

We all love listening to discussions about the things we’re passionate about. Often, we want to learn as much as we can about a topic and podcasts often allow us to become experts in our own right. Alternatively, comedy podcasts serve as pure and simple entertainment; a way of escaping day the day. There’s even podcasts to help with you guided meditation and getting you off to sleep at night. 

Building communities.

The more popular these podcasts have become, their audiences have grown both in size and diversity. Much like beloved TV shows and films, devoted fans find one another and form communities. Such is the popularity of podcasts, many of them have gone on to write accompanying books, release additional merchandise and even produce live shows to international acclaim. 

For example, particularly popular podcasts are now seeing the demand to take the shows on the road. Some have played large, prestigious venues around the world. Their dedicated fans flock to the theatres to hear additional material and get to know their online community. 

There are a number of popular business podcasts available for those wanting to work on personal development, hear stories from other like minded people or have a laugh at some of the failures we all make along the way. 
A number of our partners already host successful podcasts, sharing their expertise and unique point of view. If you’ve always wanted to start a podcast but not quite known where the best place to start is, The Northern Affinity is now offering podcasting as part of our services. You can find more information here.

The Northern Affinity Open Partners Meeting – Friday 29th May 2020

Our May meeting was one of the biggest turn outs we’ve had since the start of The Northern Affinity. It was brilliant to see faces old and new, ready to connect, share and learn. 

We began with the usual updates from Michael. We’re pleased to say our website has now been updated with a full list of our available services; you can view them here. Secondly, The Northern HQ has (as of yesterday) reopened its doors and we’re welcoming a reduced number of users back safely and comfortably. Following the news of slightly larger groups being able to meet, we’re going to look into putting together a series of local, outdoor events so we can still connect whilst maintaining social distancing measures. 

La Vue Photographique

Our first guest speaker was Angela Higham from La Vue Photographique. Angela walked us through the benefits of using commercial photography in business. First things first, you never get a second chance at a first impression. The average time it takes to form a first impression is roughly 0.05 seconds so you want to know you’ve got it right. Put your best foot forward with professional photography to give your customers a real sense of you and what you’re about. 

Your professional photographs will help you tell your brand story across your platforms; your website, social media and in any PR pieces. It’s a cost effective solution knowing you can re-purpose your images in a number of locations. An added benefit is that these images will help your web developer optimise the images for your website, rather than the hassle of resizing stock images. 


Socialsendr is an app designed to help those who are short of time to keep their social media profiles standing out. We were treated to a live demonstration from Michelle; showing us how we can all get started and get the most out Socialsendr.

The app is suitable for all desktops so you don’t need to worry about Apple vs. Windows. Users can personalise their experience to suit the needs of their business. You might want to add your own unique hashtags and URLs to fall in line with your wider branding. 

With LinkedIn content on the horizon in addition to Twitter and Facebook, the future is certainly an exciting time for Socialsendr. 

HR Dept, Leeds

Finally, Sarah Bradley took a break from talk of Furlough to deliver an interactive introduction to DISC profiling. DISC profiling is a technique commonly used in HR. A method of matching people and figuring out their preferable working styles, DISC profiling can help build team dynamics, increase self awareness, understand our working motivators and also develop a platform to reduce frustrations in the workplace. 

Having identified our own profiles, we had the opportunity to discuss how we might support people different from ourselves. There were many eye opening conversations and we all definitely took something away from it; how we can modify our behaviour when with people that fall into different categories and possibly why we react to certain things at work we maybe hadn’t realised before!

Thank you to everyone who joined us this month with particular thanks to Angela, Michelle and Sarah for sharing your expertise with us. Our next meeting will be taking place on Friday 26th June 2020. If you’d like any details from this meeting; information about desks at The Northern HQ, details of any of the guest speakers or about the next meeting, please get in touch with Michael. Let’s see how different things are by the end of June!

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