367 Addison Avenue: Go Beyond Printing to the Heart of Your Business

Small businesses are finding more and more ways to use online resources to help their business grow and be successful. For example, HP MagCloud has helped thousands of businesses and independent publishers engage with their audiences, but did you know that HP has other small business resources available to help owners grow far beyond their communication and publishing needs?

A great resource is www.367AddisonAvenue.com. This HP small business blog features tips and tricks on basic business technology, how-to’s to grow your business, advice from leading experts on trends and upcoming small business technology, and stories about small businesses across the U.S. that are practicing technology innovation.

To all the small business owners and independent publishers out there who are trying to get your businesses off the ground, we encourage you to visit this blog to learn more on topics including:

You can also join the conversation or be the one to start it at HP’s Small Biz Nation community.


Member Communication Made Easy (Well, Easier…)

Whether you have a non-profit, church group, student association, small business, or sports team, getting your message out to your members, supporters, and investors can be a large task. Staying on schedule and under budget can be tough, and creating a print newsletter that looks good is only a fraction of the challenge. Then you have to worry about mailing lists, postage and distribution… and you have to do this annually? Quarterly? Monthly?! Yikes. My head hurts just thinking about it…

Well, now you can worry less, because you have MagCloud–and we’re working to make it easier for you. With Ship to Group functionality we can take on the heavy-lifting of drop-shipping to your mailing list and you won’t have to deal with pesky paper-cuts or trips to the post office. Digital distribution gives you the option to share a PDF with your users who prefer to stay up-to-date with their iPad or other digital device. And you can get it all done without having to leave your desk or get out of your PJs (no judgement here).

So since it’s the start of a new year, what better way to turn over a new leaf with your organization, than to turn a glossy page? Your publication can look professional and still be affordable if you publish through MagCloud and we’re going to help you get started right now.

To make the process easier, we created a classic newsletter template designed for printing as a 4-page MagCloud publication (which comes to just 60¢/copy if you order 20 or more copies). It’s easy to edit and available in three software formats. Check out the original and a variation of the template on the left, and then get started creating your own in Adobe InDesign (CS3 or newer), Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. *Please note, you may have to “right-click” or “ctrl+click” to start the download.

Starting with a template is a great trick for speeding up the design process (don’t tell anyone I told you, but a lot of professional designers do it themselves) and many well-designed templates have style sheets built in that make it easy to change fonts and styles with just a few clicks of the mouse. So with a few simple typeface changes, tweaks to color, and some new imagery, you can easily transform this basic template into a newsletter that fits your organization’s image. We used Neutra typefaces and swapped in orange for our example, but how you customize it is up to you.

Want to try a different design?
Depending on your software of choice, you can also find great resources built into some applications or as free downloads in their online resources.

Apple Pages has built-in templates that can be great starting points, just be sure to check your margins and settings because these layouts may need a bit of adjusting so that they are properly centered on the page after printing/trimming. For more detailed help with this task check out the “Add guides to pages and adjust layout for trim” section of last year’s blog post.

Microsoft also has free templates available for Word and Publisher online at office.microsoft.com.

If you’re willing to splurge and buy a template, from an online source like stocklayouts.com, be aware that most of these templates are not designed to MagCloud specs and will need to be adjusted to 8.5″ x 11″ pages in order to output a properly-sized, MagCloud-ready PDF. So before you spend the money, be sure you select a file format for software you are comfortable with, and that you are prepared to make the necessary changes to set the file up to match our PDF specifications.

More Resources
Still needing more inspiration? Check out some of our past blog posts for newsletter content and design tips, or great sample publications. And as always you can find all of MagCloud’s design Tips and Tricks and all of our free templates in our Design Resources section of the blog.

Have you found other great templates or resources to use when creating your MagCloud publications? Then please share them below in the comments section.

New Catalog Template

Looking for ways to showcase your growing line of products or services?  We have added a new catalog template to our free template collection.

This multi-page template is for Adobe InDesign users and is perfect for product or service brochures.  We’ve created a sample publication using this template to show you how easy it is to make a great looking catalog that is MagCloud-ready.

If you are new to using Adobe InDesign to create MagCloud-ready publications make sure to download our Adobe InDesign Getting Started Guide for tips on settings for trim, bleeds, image resolution and more.

Let us know what you think of the new template in our comments section below.

Attract an Audience to Your Event with Great Content

Whether you are planning a large conference, an intimate meeting for VIP customers, a quarterly gathering for club members, or an annual fundraising event, content plays a pivotal role in attracting and pleasing attendees.

Compelling speakers are the most important factor in attracting attendees to your event.  Finding speakers who are relevant, experienced and have a unique story to tell will not only drive attendees to your event, but keep them talking about it well after the event is over. You should even consider soliciting potential attendee feedback in the process of selecting keynote speakers, panelists and meeting topics.  A great example of this is the South by Southwest Panel Picker, which allows their community to vote on proposals for various speakers and panel topics, thus engaging their audience in the actual content programming of the event.

Networking is more than a handshake. Besides great speakers the other reason people attend events is to network.  As an event organizer you can help your attendees get the most out of the event by making networking easier before, during and after your event.  Use the existing social networks to get attendees talking prior to an event—event Facebook Pages or Groups, Twitter Hashtags, LinkedIn Groups etc.  Consider hosting Birds-of-a-Feather sessions or lunches where attendees can gather to informally discuss topics of mutual interest.

Attention grabbing materials.  Print and digital materials you use to promote your event—brochures, flyers, newsletters; and inform attendees while at your event—programs, daily papers, agendas etc. are an important factor in audience engagement. Events like music festivals, sporting events and business conferences are complemented well by programs that can serve as both a guide to attendees as well as used for marketing material down the road. An event program is a great way to showcase the talent you’ve organized, share the purpose of your event, promote your sponsors and acknowledge those who deserve thanks.

Here are a few of our MagCloud favorites (from MagCloud publishers as well as others) to provide some inspiration:

    • Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs published the program for their August 2011 event in San Francisco. This program does a great job of posting the packed schedule along with speaker bios and ads for local businesses (It’s clear they put a priority on great design – a top MagCloud tip!)
    • 2010 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – it’s not just about a one-week event in October. This program delves into the history of the annual Balloon Fiesta and gives details on each balloon flying at the event – it’s sort of like the “speaker bios” of the balloon festival world.
    • 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open program has a clear focus on great photography especially the shots of the individual holes (pages 50-66) not to mention beautiful integrations with their sponsors. The ads are woven into the program and don’t feel forced or out of place.
    • SXSW 2012 Event Marketing brochure is chock full of impressive stats, engaging content and gorgeous design.
    • TED Fellows 2011 Booklet gives shout outs and thank yous up front along with a brief description of the program and of course a look at each TED Fellow and the work they are up to.
    • Guide to Davos dives into the topics at hand for the 2011 Davos Conference and gives the reader a feel for the tone and sheer importance of the event. Layout is unique and could work well for an event that requires articles in their program to communicate its story.

And if you are ready to get started on materials for your next event and need a little help check out our collection of free event program and brochure templates:

Have you taken a unique approach to selecting speakers, creating networking opportunities or created killer event materials? If so please feel free to share those ideas in the comments section and tell us what kind of feedback you received from event attendees and partners.

 

Get With the Program

Planning for an event can sometimes be, well, eventful. There are always changing schedules to deal with, speakers canceling at the last minute, and 11th hour edits to the program. Making it to press in time (sometimes weeks before the event) with all of these adjustments can be nearly impossible. So, why not lighten your load and use MagCloud?

With fast print turn-around times (as fast as 3-business days for some orders) and great digital options, you could have your next event’s program done quickly, printed beautifully and even offer a digital option to attendees who would rather have their program on their mobile device.

Whether you are planning an internal training day for 10, a corporate meeting for 100 or a conference for 1,000+, MagCloud makes it easy to publish a program with just a few clicks of the mouse and have prints delivered straight to the event location. How easy is that?!

Need shipping that fits your budget? Use the MagCloud pricing calculator to figure out what level of shipping option works best for you.

To help you get started, we have 3 basic templates for Adobe InDesign (CS3 and later) Microsoft Word, and Apple iWork Pages. You can also find templates for sale online from many sites, but be cautious that many of them will require some tweaking to output for print through MagCloud. Please see our How to Guides for details on MagCloud-ready settings.

Ready to design on your own? Get inspired by other publishers’ event and sports programs and agendas on MagCloud:

  

 

It’s that time of year again…

Every year around this time, we see a bevy of calendars popping up on MagCloud. But surprisingly, they are not all what you would think… Sure, there are plenty of family calendars published, undoubtedly intended for distribution to cousins, aunts and grandma, but we think the more interesting use-case are the those being put together by professionals to promote their businesses. And what better way to stay top of mind with your clients, than to be pinned to their wall, where they will see you everyday?

Whether you’re an event planner wanting to showcase your aesthetic, a photographer promoting your work, a non-profit raising awareness or a small business trying to keep your team top of mind with your audience–calendars are a great way to keep your name in front of your client all year long.

Assembling a calendar can be time consuming, so this week we did the heavy lifting for you. Below you will find calendar templates for 3 of the most-frequently used software programs on MagCloud:

Adobe InDesign (CS3 and newer) (zipped version is HERE)

Apple’s iWork Pages

Microsoft Word

You can use these as a starting point for creating your own professional or personal calendar. We won’t spend a ton of time going into the technicalities of how to use these templates because we’ve covered that for Word and Pages last year.

BONUS: if you are using InDesign, there are 3 styles of calendar hidden within the master pages that you can easily apply by changing the master pages for each spread.

Get inspired by some of the great 2011 and 2012 calendars already on MagCloud:

        

Have you created or found a great calendar on MagCloud? Share the link below in the comments section!

A Few Inspirations For Your Portfolio

As mentioned in our blog series, MagCloud is here to help publish your portfolio and provide options to create a big impression with a small format. So what’s the next step? We thought we’d offer a few examples to inspire you to start or update your existing portfolio. Portfolios are critical for designers, photographers and other small business owners who want to get exposure for their work and land new clients.

Whether you’re a musician, watercolor painter or even a blacksmith, you can capture a moment of creativity by browsing through more than 300 portfolios already on MagCloud. Draw additional inspiration from portfolios of other notable interior designers, graphic designers, and architects. Below are a few more examples of what your fellow publishers have been working on.

This collection of artist’s portfolios is a great example of using our digest format. For those conscious about budgets and the size of your portfolio, digest size provide an efficient way to share your best work in both print and digital formats.

As a small business, Sweet Pea Floral Creations showcases some of their favorite floral arrangements and highlights from client events and weddings.

Just graduated? Compile your best work for a great supplement to your resume, just like this advertising creative portfolio that Lauren Richer created.

Interior and architectural photographer David Duncan Livingston created various portfolios of his clean, welcoming photographs of homes, hospitality and products.

Below is a run-down of additional photography print portfolios that have caught our eyes.

  • The Art of Enzo Mondejar features an avant-garde take on portraiture by the gifted photographer, Enzo Mondejar. The images are creatively captivating and we hope they offer some inspiration for your print portfolio.
  • Nevertheless is the creative output of Peter Olschinsky, Verena Weiss and Gerhard Weib. This gorgeous layout design can teach us all more about how to present our images in the best light and perspective.
  • Finally, the Lolli POP Project is the work of photographer Massimo Gammacurta and is a great example of letting color explode onto a printed page and take off. Featured in Wired Magazine in December 2010, this project is both eye-catching and salivating.

What other portfolios have you seen that help inspire you to create your own? Share them with us in the comments below.