DIY Gift Ideas

From cookbooks, to calendars, to a poster of your favorite Instagram photos, use MagCloud to get a jump-start on your holiday gift giving by creating your own masterpiece.

cookbook_templateCookbooks

Recipe collections are a popular MagCloud publication type, serving the purpose of business promotionscommunity fundraisers, and wedding favors. With options for ordering print copies and downloading onto mobile devices like the iPad, MagCloud cookbooks are easy to keep close at hand in the kitchen. To help you get started on your own cookbook, check out our prior blog posts with templates and instructions for Adobe InDesigniWork Pages, and Microsoft Word.

Calendars

calendar_templateCalendars are a great way to relive the special moments of the past year, memorialize a one-of-a-kind summer vacation, highlight business accomplishments, serve as a collectible fundraising idea, or show-off your dog Kai’s greatest moments. Whatever your inspiration is, we’ve made it easy to get started. Select from one of our pre-designed templates or read our recent calendar blog post to design one yourself. And with a 28-page Standard format calendar costing only $5.60, it’s an affordable gift idea as well.

Posters

poster_templatesGive your child’s artwork, favorite New Year’s resolutions, new product offerings or your best-of wedding photos the rock star treatment with our Poster format. MagCloud’s full-color Posters are printed to order so there are no minimum order requirements – you can order copies of your poster as you need them, and come back to order more when you run out.  And if you want to make your poster gift extra special, read our blog post and watch our video for tips on framing MagCloud posters.

Share your DIY printed gift ideas in our comments section below.

#MagCloudPets Instagram Contest

MagCloudPets blog image ONLY

Love your pets? We do too! Which is why we’re dedicating August to your pets. Starting today through the end of the month, we invite you to Instagram pictures of your pets using the #MagCloudPets hashtag (and tag @HPMagCloud too!). We’ll be selecting Instagrams of your pets to be featured in our first-ever MagCloud Pets Calendar! Participants who submit pet photos will automatically be entered to win a copy of the MagCloud Pets Calendar.

To enter, just be sure to:

– Follow MagCloud on Instagram (@HPMagCloud).

– Take an Instagram of your pet(s).

– Include the hashtag #MagCloudPets to participate, and tag @HPMagCloud too!

Questions? Post in the comments below.

Feeling inspired? Learn how to create your own personalized calendar here!

 The contest is open from August 1-31, 2013. Entries must be submitted by 11:59pm on Sunday, August 31. The randomly selected winners will be announced early September, be sure to check our social channels for updates. The prize will be a complimentary copy of the 8×8 saddle stitch MagCloud Pets 2014 calendar. All entrants agree to be contacted by Hewlett Packard for prize fulfillment. By using the #MagCloudPets hashtag with your pet’s photo, you are officially releasing rights to the image and allowing MagCloud to use it for the MagCloud Pets calendar and any marketing activities related to this contest. The contest is open to MagCloud blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans that reside in the United States and are at least 18 years of age at time of entry. No purchase necessary to enter or win.

Tour de France: Ride along with Niche Publications

Yesterday marked the finale for the 100th Tour de France. Chris Froome raced by throngs of cheering fans along the Champs-Elysees to finish first. The race has gained a lot of attention and fans in its 100 year tenure, and every year it continues to gain more advocates. While the Tour drives dialogue and content on cycling in the media during the 23-day span, but what about the rest of the year?

With the advent of self-publishing services, niche publications have continued to grow as people discover publications that focus on their specialized interests. Self-publishing with MagCloud has made it easier for creators to kick it up a few gears and distribute in-depth content easily, and for readers to read it on any device, at any time. Specialized publications allow readers to access their favorite topics without having to filter through other content while also connecting with a community of like-minded enthusiasts.

Are you spinning for more cycling publications? Take a look at these magazines published with MagCloud.

  1. XXC Magazine has been publishing on MagCloud since 2009. The mountain biking magazine features race coverage, dynamic pictures and key interviews. Since MagCloud doesn’t have minimum print runs, XXC is able to publish content on their schedule and provide readers with print copies on demand.
  2. Ryan Hosler published his book, “Bay Area Bike Rides,” in 1990. Since then, Hosler has created some great biking content with MagCloud. One of his touring magazines, Mount Hamilton by Bike, provides a road history, memorable trails and other great content for tourists looking to cycle in the San Jose area.  He has also published calendars of photos from his rides and a collection of short stories for children.
  3. Last June, Photo Synthesis came out with a special edition of their magazine about the Metropolis, IL Superman Bicycle ride. The edition highlights some participants and activities associated with the ride through pictures.

The Tour de France is a great opportunity to watch a community celebrate a shared passion. Whatever your niche may be, hit the road to success by tapping into your target market and providing high-quality material. Great content will increase your brand recognition and grow your business, while allowing you to share what you love with others who love it too!

Now that you’re geared up to share your unique content, here are some suggestions to get you started on publishing for your niche:

The Power of Brand Storytelling and 24 Other Lessons to Grow Your Business

Bizapalooza StageMagCloud is excited to be part of the first virtual small business “rock festival”, Bizapalooza!  It’s a free 3-day on-line conference July 16-18 where business experts share their strategies, secrets and power tools that will take your small business as high as you want to rock it.

On Tuesday July 16 at 5 p.m. EST, I’ll be representing the MagCloud team and discussing the power of tapping into your brand story.  MagCloud publications are all about telling great stories through words and images in print and digital, so it’s a subject near and dear to our hearts. We’ll dive into how small and medium businesses can take a lesson from leading media companies to build brand awareness and create deeper customer engagements . I’ll also share how to cost-effectively develop a multi-channel content strategy that takes your brand story across print, digital and social channels to drive more sales and leads.

To register for Bizapaloooza or find out more about the conference click here: http://bit.ly/18BpHgn.

Follow us at on Twitter (@MagCloud) and join the conversation during the webinar using hashtag #MagCloudSMB. Join us!

Until then, check out some of these teaser lessons from the rest of the presenters:

  • Jon Ferrara– CEO of Nimble – Transform your shallow social media connections into thriving business opportunities.
  • David Fishof – Founder of Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp- Don’t let your fears get in the way of your success.
  • Donna Cravotta – CEO of Social Sage PR– A great media list is worth thousands of dollars (she’s going to give you one)
  • Brenda Horton – Co-Creator of ActionPlanr – Take the time to focus, plan and eliminate overwhelm.
  • Susan Payton –  President, Egg Marketing –  Press releases have SEO super powers.
  • Steve Wilkinghoff – Author of Found Money – First decide your financial outcome, then design a business that delivers.
  • Adam Byrnes – International Director of Freelancer.com – Freelancers will grow your business.
  • Jim Kukral – Speaker and Award Winning blogger – You can make more money and leverage your brand by self-publishing.
  • Tim O’Connor – CEO of Marcademy.com – If your online marketing expert or agency doesn’t follow these rules — ditch them.
  • Chaitra Vedullapalli – CMO of Meylah – 63% of small businesses aren’t online!
  • Sabrina Parsons –  CEO of Palo Alto Software – Your financials tell a story –that you write.
  • Erik Koto – CEO of QuestionPro – Run a survey, do nothing, make more money.  Really, there’s a study that proves it.
  • Deborah Kagan – Sensual Lifestyle Specialist – Mo Mojo = Mo Money = Mo Fun. Mo Life.  You get the picture.
  • Melinda Emerson – Smallbizlady – Talk to people on Twitter, do it every day grow your followers and influence.
  • Share Ross – Bassist for Vixen and Founder of Video Rock Star University – Stop being scared of video – and start attracting more clients and customers.
  • Shawn Pfunder – Godaddy – There’s no good reason for a bad web site.
  • Mariano Andres Garcia – Design matters even though content is king.
  • Bridget Weston Pollack – Marketing Director, SCORE – You can get million dollar consulting and experience — for FREE – why aren’t you?
  • Anita Campbell – Small Business Trends – Blogging is easier than you think.
  • Tina Forsyth – There is more to automating your systems and process than using technology.
  • Matthew Goldfarb – Corporate Renegade –  Stand for something – get more clients and customers who will pay you more for who you are.
  • Aseem Badshah – Founder & CEO of Socedo – Social media can actually make you money.
  • Anum Hussain – Hubspot – Inbound marketing is the science of turning web site visitors into prospects and prospects into customers.  Hubspots power marketer, Anum Hussain takes you through the basics and gets you headed on the pathway to profitable customers.

Lots of great speakers on tap so I hope you’ll join the conversation.

For the full agenda and to register visit the Bizapaloooza website.

If you do attend we would love to hear about your experience and favorite sessions in the comments section below.

MagCloud iPad App 4.0 Giveaway Week 3– Winner Announcement

For last week’s $40 iTunes gift card giveaway, we asked if you could have dinner with any business leader, who would it be and why? We loved everyone’s answers! From tech leaders to music moguls to photographers, it looks like everyone was inspired by business leaders across a range of industries.

Here were some great answers from Twitter and the comment section of our blog post:

@blakekaplanIf I could have dinner with any biz leader, it would be H. Schultz of Starbucks because he’s got such good biz sense

@sugarpopx143If I could have dinner w/ a business leader, it would be Bill Gates because I want to ask him the future of computing

Matthew Haynes…Blake Mycoskie because I want to learn about his methods for creating a market product while being a humanitarian at the same time. I want to discuss that balance.

DristerrrJay Z because he’d have a lot of insight on how to move to the top while not allowing money and the fame to distract you from making good decisions.

The winner of the $40 iTunes gift card, however, goes to photographer Jana Long, who said:

If I could sit down and have dinner with anyone in the world, I would love to chat with Amanda K Photography. I know there are super famous photographers that I could choose from, but she is the one photographer who truly inspired me from the beginning, and still does today. I would love to just pick her brain on all things wedding/portrait photography, including balancing ‘life’. :-)

Congratulations, Jana! And thank you to everyone who participated!

Stay tuned for more promotions coming in the near future!

5 Ways to Boost Your Small Business this Summer

Business growth red graphic relaunched with a trampolineIt’s National Small Business week! While summer can be seen as a time to unwind, take vacation and spend more time with family, it’s also prime time for businesses to re-focus and refresh their company’s strategy and/or marketing plan. Here are 5 ways you can give your small business a little boost this summer.

Refresh your marketing collateral

Need marketing collateral but don’t have budget to hire a designer? With the wealth of free templates for flyers and brochures today, small business owners can create marketing material without having to enlist the help of agencies and freelancers.

Get creative with your summer sales

As many businesses hold sales throughout the summer, stand out by trying new things with your sales promotions. Get creative and think of how you can take giveaways and discounts to the next level (without breaking the bank). Instead of holding a typical giveaway or discount, you can surprise potential customers on social media with freebies or discounts. You never know, they may turn into loyal customers and big brand advocates!

Monitor trends

When was the last time you monitored current trends? With a smaller bandwidth, small businesses often focus more on day-to-day operations during the year, that typically makes following trends and issues that impact overall business strategies a second priority. Take advantage of longer summer days to catch up on current events and industry trends that may impact your business. It may transform or inform your business goals and strategy.

Network, network, network

With a high number of conferences, webinars, speaking and network events, summer is prime time to take advantage of networking opportunities. Meet with potential business partners and people who can provide new information to help you improve your business. Keep your company at the forefront of peoples’ minds by giving them engaging company brochures or eye-catching one-pagers.

Plan ahead, re-evaluate, set forth

Take advantage of summer business lulls to work on long-term business planning including re-evaluating your company’s strategy, goals and objectives. Are they still in-line with current trends and customer needs? Identify what’s working and what’s not to re-focus your business strategy so that you can gain an edge in your industry. After you have an idea of what your small business needs to stay ahead, set forth! Summer is the best time to make sure your company is on track to meet its goals for the rest of the year.

What else can SMB’s do to boost business this summer? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below!