MagCloud: More than just magazine

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I first heard about Magcloud in a hotel lobby in Atlanta during a photography conference. A young photographer created a serial portfolio of sorts using the Magcloud magazine, and when he placed the publication on the table in front of me my first thought was “That is a real magazine.” I was instantly hooked, flew home and built my own Magcloud series. For those of you who don’t know, or those who didn’t grow up thinking about photography, the magazine holds a special place in the heart of most image-makers. As young photographers we dreamt of seeing our images on the pages of the big magazines. A cover was beyond comprehension.

Over the years I’ve made many different Magcloud magazines. I’ve created issues to sell, others to promote and others for fun, but Magcloud is far more than magazine. The platform offers a diverse range of publication from the flyer and pamphlet size piece to a wire-bound, 11×14 tabloid style publication and even a poster if I find the need. They also make two of my all time favorite trim sizes. The digest, a 5.25×8.25 in portrait or landscape, as well as an 8×8 square. As a storyteller, retired journalist and residual photographer these two pieces, combined with magazine, keep me very, very happy.

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Digest is the perfect size for a mailer or promotional piece, but also plenty nice enough for a small run, art publication or something to sell as a compliment to a larger book or magazine. The one you see here details my website and the range of work you would find if you visited the site. I buy stacks of these then hand them out to people I find inspiring or those I want to collaborate with.

The 8×8 square is a perfect, modern format. I don’t know about you, but the vast majority of images I make with my mobile phone are in the square format. Plus, I’m still a diehard Hasselblad user, so all my portrait work is square format, which lends itself perfectly to the 8×8.

Both of these formats offer saddle stich or perfect bind, discounts for volume and both domestic and international shipping. And remember, with print-on-demand you only need to order one at a time, so experiment, test, tinker and see what format fits you best.

-Dan Milnor

MTMbook

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.

March Madness Bracket Poster

bracket_imageMarch Madness is in full swing with tip-off just hours away for this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

So whether you are a tourney stats master, like to pick based on your favorite mascots or simply want to show support for your alma mater, show-off your picks with a cool Bracket Poster.

To get started you can either order a print copy of our blank 18″ x 12″ Bracket Poster and  fill it out with your lucky picks when it arrives.  Or if you already feel confident in your picks download a Microsoft Word template and create your custom poster bracket. Once you’ve finished filling in your picks in the tempate, be sure to follow our software-specific instructions to export your MagCloud-ready PDF:

Click here to download instructions for Microsoft Word for Mac  |   Click here to download instructions for Microsoft Word for PC

Once you’ve exported your PDF, upload your completed bracket to MagCloud and order a copy of your custom poster, picks and all.

MagCloud Posters are just $2.00 for a full color front and back professionally printed poster that will look great in your office cube, dorm room or on the fridge, so you can track your team’s road to the Final Four.

Share who you are pulling for in this year’s tournament or other ideas you have for MagCloud posters in the comment’s section below.

Creating Conversions: How to Maximize Instagram for SMBs & Publishers

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So you’ve survived the holiday season, but now your smartphone is filled with a veritable art gallery of filtered Instagram photos. Those Amaro- or Kelvin-tinted shots don’t need to sit there collecting dust in your phone, however, and this is especially true for small businesses and publishers. The question is: How can those Instagram pictures lead to more paying customers for your small business or publication?

Instagram’s core idea is less about cool filters and more about creating strong visual narratives. We hear all the time about how visual content draws the most eyeballs on social media pages. For you the business owner, this key insight can change the way you tell your brand’s story.

For instance, let’s say your publication holds a launch party. You can use Instagram to highlight portions of the party that make your brand stand out amongst your competitors. You can use Instagram to create a visual narrative that will draw new eyeballs, and thus new potential customers. This process is called conversion. Check out our Instagram profile to see an example.

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Here are five tips to create business conversions on Instagram:

  1. Create clear branding on your Instagram Profile Page. When Facebook bought Instagram recently, social media users started noticing small but important changes in how the platform behaved. One of those changes was Profile Pages. Profile Pages are no different than a Facebook page. They house all the photos you’ve uploaded to Instagram, and allow you to browse your feed. To maximize this for your brand, make sure you have a link driving back to your business’ home page, write a short and catchy bio and display your logo prominently.
  2. Upload your Instagram photos to as many other social platforms as possible. This sounds counter-intuitive, but keep in mind Instagram’s core idea. Instagram tells visual stories. In order to tell that story to as many people as possible, post your Instagram shots to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc. Spread the #love.
  3. Use hashtags. For those of you unfamiliar with a hashtag (#), it’s no different than your average pound key. But, when used in a caption of an Instagram photo as a theme, your photo has the potential to be introduced to a much wide audience. This is because whenever the hashtag is used, it’s picked up by Instagram’s search tool. For instance, if your publication centers on classic cars, and you’ve just uploaded an Instagram shot of your favorite ’67 Chevy, don’t forget to put #musclecar or #Chevy in the caption of your photo to introduce it to more potential readers.
  4. Use location tagging. But do it wisely. Many folks are afraid to tag a location to their photos, but it’s a great feature aimed at growing your exposure. When you tag locations, your image is grouped with all the others taken at that location, which again adds to the potential for your image to be seen by a wide audience.
  5. Be a consumer. Most brands and publishers use Instagram as a one-way street. They upload the pictures, with the appropriate hashtags, and then leave it alone. Make sure you add new followers with similar interests to your business or publication. Follow your readers. Like photos that relate to your own. This is called building a community, and doing so will reap large rewards in future conversions.

We here at MagCloud have talked about Instagram and seo services a few times in the past for businesses and consumers. Highlighting ways to use your Instagram photos to create business collateral whether that be a client calendar, trade-show or event poster or portfolio or photo collectible.  There are lots of ways to extend your Instagram conversations from the phone through other marketing and sales channels.

Do you guys use Instagram for your business? How do you use it differently from your own private Instagram account? What other tips do you have? Make sure to share in the comments!

Put Your Resolutions Right Where You Can See Them–on the Wall.

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Well, it’s that time of year again–when we all take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months and set goals for the future. The beginning of 2013 is less than a week away, so it’s time to set your New Year’s Resolutions and figure out how you will stick to them this year.

Some of us write them down and start off resolute, yet a good portion of us will likely forget about them or give up by March. This year, to keep us on track, the MagCloud team decided to decorate our offices with empowering words and goals printed on our awesome Poster product.

If you’re not familiar with HP MagCloud’s Poster product, you should definitely check it out. Available in 12″ x 18″ and 18″ x 12″ trim size options, our posters are printed on 80# premium cover stock, and come standard with UV Coating for increased durability. At just $2 a piece (plus shipping) they make for very affordable gifts, or leave plenty of room to mark-up and sell. We’ve seen folks use them to show off their love for cars, create unique calendars, or even as an alternative to guest books.

But let’s not to get distracted from our resolutions already.  To get you started creating your own resolution posters we’ve created some templates and design inspirations below.

Please note that our Poster product offers you the ability to print on both sides (we like to put a little message on the back for gifts/clients) but if you choose to upload a file with only one “facing page” the MagCloud uploader will warn you that you should have two “pages.” Don’t worry about this–we will add a blank side to the back for you.

COLOR-BLOCK POSTERS

Adobe InDesign (CS4 or higher):

Apple iWork Pages (’09 or newer):

Microsoft Word:

Adobe InDesign (CS4 or higher):

Apple iWork Pages (’09 or newer):

Microsoft Word:

Special Italicized Font used: EXMOUTH

MagCloud Project: Framed Poster

Last month, we introduced a handful of new product types, including a new Poster format. Posters are available in 18″ x 12″ landscape and 12″ x 18″ portrait sizes, and use the same high quality print output as all of MagCloud’s products, for only $2 per printed Poster. In addition to being a great way to advertise an event or new product for your business, these new Posters are also a great opportunity to get large format prints of your photos at an affordable price. With that in mind, today I am going to show you how easy it is to make framed art for your home using MagCloud’s new Poster format, and a photo taken with the popular photo app Instagram.

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The first step is to create a PDF file that you can upload to the MagCloud website. You’ll want to export your square Instagram photo from your phone’s Camera Roll/Gallery and put it on your computer for editing. Using the photo that Instagram saves to your iPhone or Android device will be of higher quality than using the photo that gets posted to your Instagram account. Once you have your photo on your computer, you have a few options for creating your PDF. I’ve listed some steps specific to this project below, but check out the Getting Started page on the MagCloud website for more general instructions in other software programs.

Create Your PDF in Adobe Photoshop:

  1. Open your original image
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and set size to 3675 pixels by 3675 pixels at 300 pixels/inch resolution. Select “Bicubic Smoother (best for enlargement)” from the Resample Image drop down menu and click OK.
  3. Go to Image > Canvas size and set width to 18.25 inches, leaving height at 12.25 inches, and click OK.
  4. Go to File > Save As and select “Photoshop PDF” from the Format drop down menu. Make sure the box to embed color profile is checked and click Save. In the PDF Export window, select “Press Quality” from the Adobe PDF Preset dropdown menu, and uncheck the box for “Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities.”
  5. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual*

Create Your PDF in Adobe Lightroom:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to the Print module and select “Single Image/Contact Sheet” as the Layout Style.
  3. Click the Page Setup button and choose “Manage Custom Sizes” from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Create a new custom page that is 18.25 inches wide and 12.25 inches tall, with a User-Defined Non-Printable Area that equals 0.00 inches on all sides. Click OK twice to return to Lightroom.
  4. Make sure all the boxes under Image Settings are unchecked. Under Layout, set all of your Margins to 0.00 inches and set the cell size: Height = 12.25 inches | Width = 18.25 inches. Under Print Job, select “Printer” next to Print to and make sure the Print resolution is 300 ppi.
  5. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  6. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

Create Your PDF in Apple Aperture:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to File > Print Image and select Custom from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Enter 18.25 inches x 12.25 inches as the Paper Size, with a Landscape Orientation, and select Maximum to Fit from the Image Size dropdown menu. Make sure the box next to Crop Image to Fill is NOT checked so the whole image appears on the page.
  3. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  4. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

*After uploading, you will be told that your PDF is not long enough. Select “Proceed with this PDF” to have an extra page added automatically.

After you’ve uploaded your PDF to MagCloud, simply order a print copy and select your desired shipping method. When your print arrives, trim off the 3” white edges on either side so that you have a 12” x 12” copy of your photo, which can then be placed into the frame of your choice. The square VIRSERUM frame from IKEA is a great option – it’s available in both white and dark brown to match a variety of décor, and includes a mat with an 11 ½ inch square opening for only $19.99. Using the VIRSERUM frame, you can get your photos off your phone and turn them into a framed piece of custom art to display in your home for less than $25.

Product Spotlight: Tabloid, Large Square, Standard Landscape, and Posters

Introducing a batch of additional products on the MagCloud website. Our 11″ x 14″ and 14″ x 11″ Small Tabloid size, 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid size, 12″ x 12″ Square size and 10.75″ x 8.25″ landscape-oriented Standard size all use our Wire-O Binding type. This binding method consists of a double-loop wire binding and pages that are all printed on our thicker 80# cover stock. Not only does the heavier paper stock offer a more substantial feel to these publications, but the wire binding allows them to lay flat and makes it so the pages of the publication can be rotated 360 degrees around the binding and is more durable.

Our Poster format is available in 12″ x 18″ and 18″ x 12″ sizes, and printed on the same 80# cover stock used for Flyers and Pamphlets. MagCloud Posters can be printed on both sides with the same high quality, full color digital printing used with all MagCloud products, and are made more durable with a UV coating on both sides at no extra cost. The best part is that all of this costs just $2.00 per printed Poster, or $1.50 per piece if you order 20 or more.

For inspiration, here are a few ideas for how these products can be used:

Calendars

The Wire-O Binding on the 12″ x 12″ Square and 11″ x 14″ Tabloid make these products great for calendars. Just rotate your content 90 degrees prior to uploading your PDF so that the binding will be on the top edge of your calendar. If you want to use fewer pages in your publication, the larger page size of the 17″ x 11″ Tabloid allows enough space for all the content for a single month to fit on a single page, making a tall and narrow calendar. A 12 month calendar with one page per month, plus two extra pages for the front and back covers will cost you just $7.04.

Catalogs

The larger format of all of these products offer an even greater opportunity to show off your products and services in a catalog format. Furthermore, both the unique shape of the 12″ x 12″ Square and the oversize dimensions of our 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid will let your catalog stand out from the competition. In all cases, the thicker paper these products are printed on has a more substantial and expensive feel to help you leave a lasting impression on potential customers.

Portfolios

The landscape orientation of the 10.75″ x 8.35″ Standard, 14″ x 11″ Small Tabloid and 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid offer a great canvas for displaying architectural renderings, fashion designs and large format photography as part of a portfolio. And with the same high quality digital printing you expect from MagCloud, you know you’ll be able to put your best foot forward when displaying your work.

Training Manuals

The ability for the pages of the Tabloid publications to rotate completely around the binding and lay flat makes them great for training manuals. As the trainee moves through their training, the wire binding will allow them to flip to the section they want to view and keep it displayed as the top page in the publication. This eliminates the need to hold open a book with one hand and also alleviates any concerns of losing one’s place.

Proof Books

We’ve discussed a number of ways wedding photographers can use MagCloud for their business, and our larger formats open up even more opportunities. What better way to encourage your clients to order larger format prints then to display their proofs in a large format book? Also, if you offer the option for professionally designed and hardbound photobooks to your clients, these larger formats offer an affordable way to show off how the book might look in print before investing in the expensive final copy.

Cookbooks

Similar to training manuals, the lay flat feature of the Tabloid products is also a benefit for cookbooks. It allows the cook to open the book to the recipe they want to make, so they won’t need to be flipping pages to find their place when they are in the midst of a recipe. The heavier paper stock is also a benefit for the durability of cookbooks, as the thicker pages aren’t as likely to rip if they should get stuck together over the years.

Brand Identity Guidelines

We’ve seen a number of brand identity guides published through MagCloud, detailing the appropriate colors, fonts and imagery that should be used for a particular brand. These guides are generally kept close by as a quick reference for designers, and as such can benefit greatly from the lay flat capabilities of these products. In addition, the larger page sizes of the Tabloid products offers twice as much space on a single page as our Standard products, allowing for more examples and detailed information within a given page of the publication. For example, instead of having fonts spread over multiple pages, they can be consolidated into a single page, making it easier for a designer to see all their options at once rather than having to flip through pages.

Media Kits

Show off the best of your business to the media in a large format they won’t soon forget. The professional feel of the heavier paper, combined with the high quality of MagCloud’s digital printing will make you look like a multimillion dollar company, without requiring a multimillion dollar budget.

Event Posters

Even with options like email newsletters, online ads, and direct mail, sometimes posters are the best way to get the word out about an event to a local audience. Whether you are advertising a concert, fundraising event, theater production or sports league sign ups, you can be sure to make a good impression with MagCloud’s full-color posters, printed in quantities of as few or as many as you need. And since no minimum order is required, you can order copies of your poster as you need them, and come back to order more when you run out.

Large Format Photography Prints

Similarly, the lack of a minimum order makes it possible to order just a single printed Poster if you’d like. This offers a great opportunity for professional and amateur photographers alike to order large prints of their photos for framing.

In-House Advertising Posters

In addition to advertising events out in the community, our Poster format can also be used in-house to highlight products and features in a high quality printed format. You can order a single copy if you only have one location, or if you have multiple locations, use our Ship to Group feature to ship one poster to each of your physical storefronts for a consistent display at an affordable cost.

Art Prints

Combining the Poster format with the MagCloud storefront offers a great opportunity for graphic designers and artists to sell their work. Content producers can add a markup beyond the $2 print cost, and for every print they sell, MagCloud will print and ship a copy to the customer directly and pay back the markup to the publisher at the start of each month.

We’re sure that there are many more ideas for how to use these products beyond what we’ve highlighted here, whether it’s using the Poster product to display the seating chart for your wedding or creating motivational posters for your classroom. If you have an idea that wasn’t mentioned, let us know in the comments below!