Expanded Flyer Options

Our Flyer product family is growing.  We have expanded the size options for Flyer to now include 8 x 8”, 5.5 x 8.5”, 8.5 x 5.5″ in addition to the existing 8.5 x 11” size.

The new sizes provide more creative flexibility for things like menus, promotional handouts, resumes and more.

Flyer publications consist of a single sheet with front and back color printing.  We’ve also added the option for UV coating on all Flyer products. Ultra Violet (UV) coating adds a protective layer to the printed page giving it an eye-catching sheen and also making it more resilient to normal wear and tear.

Flyer products range from $.32 a sheet for 5.5 x 8.5”, 8.5 x 5.5 size publications to $.40 a sheet for 8 x 8″ and 8.5 x 11″ publications.  Flyers have a minimum print order of 8 copies in multiples of 4 (i.e. 8, 12 or 16 copies), which will be bundled into one shipment.  UV coating adds an additional $.06 to each sheet.  So an 8 pack of 8 x 8 Flyers with UV coating is just $4.16.

Learn more about Flyer on the MagCloud website.

Be Square and Standout

We are excited to introduce a new form factor that will help your publications standout from the crowd. At 8” x 8”, Square product is compact, portable, eye-catching; and available in sleek saddle stitch or professional perfect binding.

Ideal for portfolios, look books, small catalogs, handbooks and more, Square publications can be anywhere from 4 to 384 pages. The new Square product will be available for the same $.20 per page ($.15 per page for orders of 20 copies or more).

MagCloud Square Design Specifications:

  • PDF Size with Bleed:         8.25 x 8.25″
  • Trim Size (Final Size):       8 x 8″
  • Bleed Settings:                   0” inside edge, 0.25″ outside edge; 0.125″ top and bottom
  • Half-Fold Binding:             4 Pages
  • Saddle-Stitch Binding:      8 – 100 Pages
  • Perfect Binding:                  20 – 384 Pages

Start publishing with Square today and let us know how you envision using this new product in the comments below.

Ways to Use MagCloud in Planning a Wedding

We recently highlighted ways wedding photographers can use MagCloud to promote and showcase their work. Today we are focusing on how MagCloud can be used for planning the wedding itself, as a resource for both professional event coordinators and those taking a DIY approach. From lookbooks and portfolios to show prospective clients, to destination information booklets and save-the-date materials for guests, all the way through to printed programs for the big day, MagCloud’s print on demand and digital services can be a great resource no matter what size of an event you’re planning.

Portfolios

We’ve discussed before how MagCloud is a great resource for publishing portfolios since it allows both an affordable print version and convenient digital version with a single PDF upload. As a professional event planner, showing potential clients your previous work will not only help you land the job but may also act as a source of inspiration. Since MagCloud offers prints for as little as $0.16 per page with no minimum order quantity, you can print off as few or as many full color, professional-quality portfolios as you need to share with these potential clients, at a price that won’t break the bank if you need to replace a copy. You can also make the same portfolio available in the MagCloud storefront for viewing as a PDF as a way to share your work digitally, with built-in promotion tools for your social media channels and website.

Vendor Lookbooks

Just as a portfolio can help inspire your clients for their event, having vendor lookbooks to show previous work specific to a particular photographer, venue, hair or makeup artist can also help simplify these decisions for your clients. With MagCloud you can have print copies for clients to browse through as you meet with them or as a PDF on other digital devices. You can also make these publications available through the MagCloud website, to link to from your website and promote through your social media channels as a means of marketing your business. Since these books promote not only your services but those of the venues and photographers being highlighted, this also offers an opportunity for cross-promotion, as noted in our post for wedding photographers. While you use these lookbooks to promote the work you’ve done with a particular vendor, you could also offer these pieces to the vendor as a means of promoting both their work and yours to potential clients. Using the MagCloud storefront, these vendors can order copies for themselves as they need them without having to go through you to get them.

Save-the-Dates

Pinterest is brimming with creative ideas for non-traditional save-the-dates that offer more information about the bride and groom, and better fit their personalities. MagCloud’s Digest Landscape product is a great format for creating compact save-the-date photobooks, with photos of the couple, the story of how they met and got engaged, and when and where the wedding will be held. If the couple has done an engagement photo shoot, this is a great way to show off the resulting photos in a high quality printed piece that guests will enjoy flipping through and reading. With MagCloud’s Ship to Group feature, you can even drop-ship copies of a publication to a list of addresses, so both the printing and distribution of the save-the-dates can be taken care of at once.

Guest Information Booklets

It’s likely that many of the guests at the wedding you are planning will be from out-of-town, and in most cases, they will be in town for a day or two leading up to or following the wedding. Therefore, it’s a nice idea to provide them with some information about the area, including options for lodging, places to eat, and things to do. This is particularly helpful for destination weddings, where everyone will likely be from outside the area and you may opt to arrange for additional activities for these guests to do. MagCloud is a great option for printing up reference booklets of guest information like this, to either send to guests ahead of time using the Ship to Group feature, or to make available via a link from the wedding website so guests can download a digital version for viewing on their iPad or other digital device. If this information is known in advance, this booklet could even act as the save-the-date and offer guests plenty of advance notice for planning their trip and booking lodging.

Programs

Whether it’s to provide information about the bridal party, list readings or songs to be performed, or simply to remind guests about directions to the reception location, most wedding ceremonies include a paper program that gets passed out to guests at the door. These programs provide helpful information for guests, and also offer a keepsake of the event. MagCloud’s smaller Digest product is a perfect format for programs of all lengths, particularly at the 4-page Pamphlet size. Our 4-page products are now printed on a heavier paper stock, so they offer a more formal feel that makes them a great fit for wedding programs. With no minimum order quantity, you can order programs in a quantity that fits the size of your event, whether it’s an intimate gathering with just a few guests or a larger affair numbering in the hundreds.

If you’re looking to create a wedding program for yourself, check out this basic template for Microsoft Publisher to help you get started.

Have you used MagCloud to publish content for a wedding or other event? Tell us how in the comments below.

Using MagCloud as a Sales Tool for Your Real Estate Business

In addition to using MagCloud to market their real estate business, a number of real estate agents have been using MagCloud as a sales tool. MagCloud’s print on demand capabilities allow real estate agents to order informational flyers for their open houses in smaller quantities, only as they need them, reducing waste and storage costs. Agents have taken advantage of MagCloud’s Ship to Group feature to easily mail copies of their listing catalog to an address list of potential buyers with a single order. The added benefit of MagCloud’s digital distribution means real estate agents can get these flyers and catalogs in front of potential buyers across all formats, whether it’s in print, as a downloadable PDF, or on the iPad. And if the price of a listing should change or photos need to be switched out, it’s as simple as uploading a new PDF file to immediately update both print and digital collateral.

Beyond the traditional flyers and catalogs used as sales tools in the real estate industry, MagCloud’s combination of professional print quality and no minimum order volume offers real estate agents the opportunity to experiment with to market their listings without breaking their budget. For example, if you are trying to sell a condo with a breathtaking view you could give buyers the opportunity to see what the view looks like at different points during the day by creating a time-lapse photo flipbook using the MagCloud Digest Landscape product. By taking photos at regular intervals from the same spot over the course of the day, then placing one photo per page in a MagCloud publication, potential buyers attending an open house will be able to look at individual pages in the printed book to see how the view looks at different times during the day, or can flip through the booklet all at once to watch the view change over time. Highlighting a key feature like this can be a great sales tool, and using MagCloud will allow the piece to be professional and affordable even if you just a need a couple of copies.

Alternatively, let’s say you have a listing for a single-family home in a neighborhood that has a lot to offer in terms of amenities. You could expand on the usual informational flyer and create a more in-depth, full color brochure with MagCloud that shows off not only the property, but shops, parks, restaurants, and schools in the surrounding area. Highlighting the key features outside the home that might appeal to your ideal buyer could be the difference that makes your listing stand out over the alternatives. Presenting this information as a high quality printed piece will have the added benefit of offering a more professional look without the expense of a traditional print run.

If you have multiple target buyers for a single property you could even take it a step further and create different versions of the brochure to highlight the amenities that appeal to your different audiences. For example, one version of the brochure might give more emphasis to the great schools and parks in the area, while the other might highlight the local restaurants, public transportation and nearby fitness centers. With MagCloud, printing 25 copies each of two different brochures will cost the same amount as printing 50 copies of the same brochure, so with no added cost you can align the messaging on your sales materials to a particular buyer’s interests and help them more readily see themselves in the property, which could translate into a sale for you.

To help you get started using MagCloud as a marketing and sales tool for your NSW real estate business, check out these resources that offer real estate-based templates that can be used to create MagCloud-ready PDFs:

MagCloud Real Estate Catalog Template: Catalog template created using the MagCloud specs for use with Microsoft Publisher. You can download the template here.

Microsoft Office Templates: The Microsoft Office website has a number of real estate templates that can be used with Word and Publisher, like this real estate flyer template for Microsoft Publisher. This template will allow you to create an 8.5 x 11″ PDF, perfect for printing with MagCloud’s Flyer product type.

LayoutReady: LayoutReady has templates for Microsoft Word and Publisher, and offer a variety of options for real estate publications. Their 2-page letter-sized newsletter templates can be used with the MagCloud Flyer product type, and their 8.5″ x 11″ flyer templates can as well. Their 17″ x 11″ brochure templates will require some editing to convert them to 4 page 8.5 x 11″ PDFs, but after doing so they can be printed as 4-page MagCloud Standard publications.

StockLayouts: StockLayouts has templates for Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, iWork Pages, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher. Like LayoutReady, their 8.5 x 11″ flyer templates can be used with the MagCloud Flyer product type, while their 17″ x 11″ brochure templates and 11″ x 8.5″ newsletter templates will require some editing to convert them to 4 page 8.5 x11″ and 5.5 x8.5″ PDFs, respectively, but after doing so they can be printed as 4-page MagCloud Standard and Digest publications.

Inkd: Inkd has templates for a wide variety of design software, and has a section of templates specific to the real estate industry. Their 8.5 x 11″ datasheet and flyer templates work great with the MagCloud Flyer product.

Are you a real estate agent that has used MagCloud as a sales tool for your business? Let us know how you’ve been using it in the comments section below.

Extending Your Brand With a Magazine

Your brand collateral is the most important opportunity to talk about your product or service. But getting your target audience to read your brochure, or catalog cover-to-cover isn’t always easy.

That’s why so many businesses have found that branded magazines are a unique way to pique audiences interest with relevant content and information, while reinforcing their brand message. It keeps them top of mind in a format that gets to their customers or target audience more frequently—be it annually, quarterly or monthly. What’s better—it’s in a form-factor that is both familiar and comfortable for the reader.

Many businesses have found that they can better engage with potential customers and increase brand loyalty by publishing a magazine of their own. According to a study conducted by the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA Advantage Study, 2007) on branded magazines (or as they call them, “customer magazines,”) – customers spend 25 minutes on average with such a publication, compared with a TV ad (30 seconds) and an internet ad (0.5 seconds). That’s 25 minutes immersed with a brand.  And while in-house magazines were once considered glorified advertorials, today the use of subtle branding and genuine editorial content helps many successful businesses tactfully promote themselves. *Want to read more about the study? You can download the executive summary as a PDF here.

How does it work? Well, by presenting your business in a more editorial format you can:

  • develop prospective customers and foster increased loyalty
  • establish your organization or company as current on issues and trends
  • position yourself as an expert in your field
  • be a resource for information that is relevant to your audience
  • reinforce your style and voice
  • give depth and relevance to your brand in an environment you can control

Finding Inspiration

Take for example a few major brands that publish their own magazines: British fashion label Asos’ self-titled magazine includes advertising for products that appeal to their demographic, such as cosmetics, high-end watches and perfumes. They also balance the promotion of their own products by pairing them with complimentary pieces and accessories that work with their customer’s style.

Coscto has it’s very own The Costco Connection, which combines information about what’s new at Costco with a mix of lifestyle and small business articles.

USAA’s USAA Magazine focuses on advice for becoming financially secure, with articles that appeal to it’s wide audience–young and old.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation’s LIVESTRONG Quarterly—delivers compelling profiles and medically stoked articles in a publication that hopes to bolster the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s efforts to ‘make cancer a global priority.’

Each of these do a great job of combining editorial content with promotional content for their products, services, mission or cause. One great thing you will notice about all of them too? They each reinforce their brand through styling and voice, but without seeming like pushy sales collateral.

Getting Started

So how do you even get started creating a brand magazine? Well there are a number of things to consider, the first of which is the actual branding. Much like traditional collateral, a brand magazine should be in line with your  brand’s style and voice, but it where it differs is that a branded magazine needs to be subtle and controlled in how and when you promote your brand. A branded magazine should be designed with the customer’s tastes, interests, style and wants at the forefront; and weave in brand, product or service messaging where it actually enhances editorial and design.

Brand magazines can help you achieve your desired positioning in the minds of your stakeholders and customers. Whether your brand is edgy, luxurious, down to earth, straight to the point, or fun and whimsical, you want that same feeling to come across through your magazine. For most businesses, when you established your branding, you probably came up with words to describe your mission, voice, style and audience.

Put it Down on Paper

Now is the time to grab a piece of paper and start defining the sort of message you want to give to your customer. How do you want to establish your brand? What sort of content will you include, and how should you style it to be in line with your voice, mission and style? Use words to describe your brand and you customer– are they fashion-forward, politically-minded, edgy, traditional, mostly men or women, older, youthful etc?

These are your design principles and the list should be short and sweet. In as few words as possible, make clear the vision for the publication and any keywords people should keep in mind while designing.

Keep this list. Pin it to your wall. It will make for a great litmus test as you move forward and start creating. Every once and awhile go back to the list and be sure you are appealing to your audience and staying true to your brand.

Deciding on Color

This seems like a no-brainer, but coming up with colors that are true to your brand, that you use consistently throughout your magazine, is tougher that it seems. You may find sites like COLOURlovers helpful for exploring colors that work well with your logo or brand colors. Create a palette and save it. Then as you publish new issues, the consistent use of color will also reinforce your brand.

Typography

Now it’s time to define the typefaces to use: sizes, line height, spacing before and after, colors, headline versus body font, etc. With editorial content there is some flexibility in this, but defining a consistent style sheet will maintain the integrity of your publication and brand throughout the publication. Use fancy fonts sparingly, so that they maintain their impact and legibility on the page.

Create a Mock-up Magazine

This will eventually be your style guide, but at first it is a way to flesh out all of the style choices that you will want to make so that you can stay true to your brand. This will also help you keep a visual consistency not only throughout each publication, but also from publication to publication over time. Save this file and use it to start creating your magazine, then keep that original as a starting point for each subsequent issue–it will save you a lot of time!

Now Get Your Brand Out There

Now, you’re ready to publish. If you’re looking for more advice for designing your file, or templates to get you started, remember you can always check out our other Tips & Tricks!

How do you get your brand out there? Have you come up with other unique ways to keep you brand top-of-mind with your customers? Does your organization or company have a branded magazine? Tell us about it below in the comments section!

When it Comes to Catalogs, Content is King

Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared tips and templates to help design your catalog for MagCloud. Today we discuss catalog content, and a few best practices to keep in mind when selecting your content.

First up, images. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and you want the images you select for your catalog to speak highly of your products and services. Therefore, make sure you select high quality images for your publication (we recommend 300 dpi for printed publications), and that each image highlights the product or service you’re hoping to sell. Mixing up stand-alone product images with lifestyle imagery is a great way to offer more visual interest for the reader, just be sure that the products remain the focus regardless of the image style you select.

And where are images more prominent than on your catalog cover.  Catalog covers are critical in quickly grabbing your customer’s attention and getting them to open your publication.  MultiChannel Merchant recently published a great article discussing the key strategies in designing an effective catalog cover, which include relevance, emotion, drama and differentiaton.

Next, let’s talk about text. If you look at a lot of mainstream catalogs, you’ll notice that text is used only for detailed descriptions of the products and services being featured, but also as brief call out quotes and titles. Using text features like this help attract the reader’s attention and interest, and can be a great way to encourage the reader to linger over your catalog longer. It’s also a great opportunity to call out more marketable features of the products and services you are hoping to sell.

Similarly, smaller paragraphs of text are great for providing descriptions of your products and services, just be sure you don’t overwhelm your reader with too much text. You will want to include enough text to get your point across, but not so much that your customer loses interest halfway though.

Finally, just as important as the text and image content is how it is arranged. Since catalogs are complex by nature, it’s important to keep your content organized and clean. Having a table of contents and creating sections in your catalog can be a great way to break up a large amount of content. Also, as we’ve discussed before, using white space to break up your content is a great way to keep the focus on the products and services you’re hoping to highlight.

If you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration, check out Slodive’s 25 Best Catalog Design Inspirations.

Have any other tips to share from your own catalog creation experience? Share them in the comments below!