Network, Share and Inspire

Are you on the lookout for conferences and events that provide a superb opportunity to network with publishers and designers, ignite your creativity, learn valuable information from thought leaders and stay on top of emerging trends in the industry? Below is a list of some of the best publishing and design conferences in the United States. In the comments section below, please share the events that you plan to attend this year.

Print and ePublishing Conference (May 23-25, 2011; Washington D.C.) – Join the world’s top InDesign experts and members of the Adobe InDesign team to gain more valuable insight on the topics of publishing. We’re excited to hear that they have a full day of post-conference tutorials as well!

HOW Design Live (June 22-27, 2011; Chicago, Illinois) – With more than 35 sessions and expert speakers, this conference provides a variety of design inspiration, information and instruction. There are also many networking opportunities at this event to connect with speakers and other design professionals.

CliQ 2011 (September 6-11, 2011; Las Vegas, Nevada) – Taking on a new name, CliQ is PMA International’s premiere event and known as the world’s largest annual international photo imaging trade show. (Update: PMA recently announced that CliQ will co-locate at the 2012 International CES in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association.)

Adobe Max (October 1-5, 2011; Los Angeles, California) – Adobe MAX is the place to go and see how technology and art converge. It’s a great venue for designers, developers and business decision-markets to exchange ideas and inspiration.

American Magazine Conference (October 4-5, 2011; New York City, New York) – Deemed as the official annual meeting of the consumer magazine industry, this popular three-day event is produced by MPA and the American Society of Magazine Editors. Join and learn more the industry’s thought leaders and innovators as well as the brightest and most interesting minds of our times.

Altitude Design Summit (January 18-21, 2012; Salt Lake City, Utah) – If you’re obsessed with great design and smart ideas, this is the place to be. The organizers have created a place where design and lifestyle bloggers and creative entrepreneurs can come together, share ideas and connect with marketers.

SXSW Interactive (March 9-13, 2012; Austin, Texas) – It was our first time attending this year and we loved it! Five days of compelling seminars in emerging technology, exciting networking events and programs featuring the best there is to find in digital works, video games and innovative ideas.

Put MagCloud to Work

You heard that right. MagCloud can help bring your professional projects to life in print and digital. Our service is a great way to showcase your work to customers, clients, colleagues, partners etc.

Besides magazines, we’ve seen a variety of creative ways that MagCloud customers have used our service for their most demanding business needs.  So whether you are creating a portfolio for client meetings, company brochure, customer newsletter or product catalog, MagCloud will take your publication from PDF to printed magazine and digital download with just a few clicks of the mouse. Planning an event? We’ve got you covered there too. Our event planners and marketing customers have utilized MagCloud to print event souvenir programs, meeting programs, handouts and brochures. You can even publish your workshop manuals with us too.

Whatever the purpose – fun, commemorative, professional or informational – there are no boundaries to the way people are using MagCloud. Let us bring your story to life. MagCloud can help promote your company, products and services in both professional quality print format or digitally for viewing on a PC or mobile device. Whether you are ordering 1 or 1000 copies, MagCloud will ship your business documents to customers and colleagues all over the world. Visit magcloud.com/work and learn about the many ways we can help you make your next gallery exhibit, client meeting, workshop, convention and fundraising event that much better.

What other ways do you use MagCloud? Share your past, current projects and future ideas in the comment section below.

MagCloud @ SXSW Recap

What is the quintessential event of the year for tech innovators and startups? In the digital age, it is – without a doubt – South by Southwest Interactive. Every March, the most inspiring minds in emerging technology gather in Austin, Texas to showcase the latest in digital innovation. SXSW Interactive was a critical turning point in the success of both Foursquare (in 2009) and Twitter (in 2007). SXSWi 2011 was no different and MagCloud was there to see it first-hand and share the latest from HP’s ePrint SXSW Go! Spots.  Now that we’re back and letting all that we learned sink in, we want to share the highlights of this 5-day frenzy of panels, parties and presentations with you.

–SXSW was the perfect platform for lots of great conversations around the new world of publishing (where readers are also publishers) and the impact of interactivity on storytelling and marketing.

–The Group Messaging Wars were at full strength but GroupMe came out on top (the free grilled cheese sandwiches certainly helped their cause).

–Tag your it…mobile tagging was quite the rage at SXSW.

–SXSW is not just about music and film anymore…this year saw SXSWi attendance grow at record levels and outpace it’s sister events.

–There was of course lots of great music all week long.  Check out Esquire’s list of bands to see at SXSW and one of MagCloud’s personal favorites was Bright Light Bright Light.

If you would like to see a glimpse of SXSW through the eyes of social media influencers  — including Mark Briggs, Brian Zisk, Steve Garfield, Michael Celiceo and Beverly W. Jackson checkout this edited video journal courtesy of Mashable.

And for all those that stopped by the HP booth and Mobile Park to visit with MagCloud it was great to meet you and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

Birds, Beer and Binding…An Update From SXSW

Greetings from South by Southwest in Austin Texas.  The MagCloud team has come to the heart of Texas for the week to spread the word of digital publishing and show off some of our amazing publishers’ magazines to the more than 40,000 expected attendees.

Bloggers, designers, cinematographers, musicians, technologists, marketers, educators and business owners have all converged on Austin to discuss and enjoy the latest in technology, music and film.

Sharing the HP booth with the ePrint team we’ve had the pleasure to meet attendees from all over the world.  Next week we’ll post a recap of the show but in the meantime we hope y’all enjoy some photos from the show floor.

Engage with Your Readers on Social Media

Entering the world of social media can feel overwhelming at times. The networks and technology are changing on an ongoing basis and there are many opinions about what works best to engage with your audience. There are two things you CAN be sure of, YOU know your readers better than anyone else and your readership is involved in social networking in some capacity. So, if you’re ready to jump into the online world of social media and engage with your readers, here are a few simple steps to get you on the right path.

Find the right places to engage. Take the time to do a little bit of upfront research about your readers’ online habits. Pinpoint the appropriate social networking sites that your readers are engaged in. There are some great tools available to you to help you do this – even some free or low cost options. Research will take some form of investment of your time and/or money (depending on how much information you want), but what you put into this is what you’ll get out. It’s worth taking that extra few hours or spending that bit of cash upfront to be an informed participant. Of course, if you have the ability to personally ask a sampling of your readers, the first-hand information you receive would be immensely helpful. Also consider surveying your readership through a free and simple Survey Monkey survey.

Once you learn more about your readers and where they interact online, decide what your voice will be when you interact with your readership. Be strategic:

– Keep the tone consistent with your brand voice and encourage engagement.
– Stay upbeat, positive and relevant. Ask yourself, would I want to interact with a brand using this voice on social media?
– Keep the sales language to a minimum. Again, think of how you would react to a brand trying to constantly sell you their products and services.

Start off slowly with one or two social media channels. Feel out the response from your readers on these online channels and adapt to their conversations as you become more familiar with the type of content they prefer. One thing to keep in mind is that it takes time (just like with researching) to build your social media audience. Unless you’re Charlie Sheen or Eminem, you’ll need to nurture your social media channels and watch it grow with patience.

As you continue to foster your online conversations, stay updated on trend data and the latest, greatest social media tools. For this you can’t go wrong with social media resources like Mashable, Brian Solis and Steve Rubel.

Now for a few trends to keep your eye on:

– Use share functionality (such as ShareThis and AddThis) to spread your message across multiple channels and reach new audiences. Whether it’s a blog post or your digital magazine, make sure it’s shareable.

– Know when your readers are online and engaging in conversations. Research has shown that the most popular time of day that people are participating on Facebook is at the top and bottom of the hour. Meetings have just ended, and people return to their desks to see what’s happening online. Day-parting your messages is key to catching your audience when they sign on. Once you know more, use tools such as Cotweet, Timely, Hootsuite or Su.pr to schedule your messages to go out on time.

– Find ways to integrate online conversations into an offline setting and vice versa. In the weeks leading up to an event you’ll be participating in, share the information with your online community. If you’re going to be speaking at an event, ask your readers for ideas on what to speak on and offer ticket discounts to your connections if possible. It’s also important to record your speech and share it online. Videos are a powerful medium.

What social media tips can you share?

Leveraging Current Events & Trends to Create Compelling Content

A great way to create a stronger connection with your readers and provide hyper-relevant content is to utilize what’s going on around the world and apply it back to them. With some creativity, you can tie nearly any current event back to your community. Below are a few ideas to consider:

Holidays – Pair your magazine and online content with holiday celebrations like the Year of the Rabbit, Mother’s Day or even seasons like spring and summer.
Events – From New York Fashion Week to the Oscars to the upcoming March Madness basketball tournament, use high-profile events to relate back to your readers’ lives.
Latest News – Connect with your readers using the latest news whether it’s a local program affecting your magazine’s community or a nationwide health initiative to improve school lunches.

If your publication also maintains a presence online with a website, blog or via social media channels, tying popular events and real-time trends is even more essential, but keeping your content super fresh and relevant can be easy with the help of a few online tools.

Google Trends, the Hot Searches section of the site offers a birds-eye view of the big topics that people are searching for right now.

ItsTrending serves as a zeitgeist for news, videos, technology, entertainment and anything that people share publicly on Facebook.

Use HashTags.org to find hashtags representing topics that are heavily being discussed in the Twitter community. Once you’ve identified the hot Twitter topics, your brand can participate in these conversations by incorporating the related hashtags into tweets that tie to your subject matter. For instance, incorporate the popular hashtag “#TheGRAMMYs” into a relevant tweet about films and movies to attract new readers who may be following that search term on Twitter.

Share your tips for creating compelling content in the comments section below. Hey, and while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter where we regularly incorporate hashtags and current happenings for you!