A Pinterest Q&A With MagCloud Publishers

Pinterest LogoBy now, you’ve seen some of the investments the social media community has made in Pinterest. The visual inspiration engine resonates with communities in such a natural way it’s no wonder that the little network that could is on a meteoric growth trajectory. But as Pinterest usage and prevalence increases, marketers are beginning to ask themselves how best to leverage the platform to get its message out.

MagCloud publishers have been using Pinterest for some time, with good success thus far. We’ve reached out to some “Pinteresting” publications to understand more about Pinterest’s benefits: Cory Ann Ellis (Pinterest page here)– of AC Ellis Photography, SD Wedding Style and The Cake Lady Bakery – and Trey Hill – who uses both MagCloud and Pinterest for Square Root of Nine, a story telling agency.

Have some thoughts, tips or ideas of your own? Let us know in the comments! And as always, if you’d like to respond to us or the authors, the comments section is the place to be.

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MagCloud: Have your publications used Pinterest for promotion recently? What have you seen from the platform that made the promotion unique?

Cory Ann: “We actively use Pinterest to promote our print and web publications. Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform, and the viral exposure a company can receive through pinning is an important component of our marketing strategy.”

Trey Hill:  “As the owner of a storytelling agency, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what I do for myself and what I do to further our story. At some point, I just embraced that the line is blurry. I do use Pinterest regularly to bookmark images, stories and styles that I find appealing. I try to temper promoting my business, but do have a few boards that highlight my work.”

MagCloud: What do you think Pinterest might offer publishers that is unique to publishing (as opposed to the advantages for other small businesses)?

Cory Ann: “I think Pinterest offers publishers an opportunity to generate continued support and readership of past publications. When your publication is long off the shelf or not at the top of your promotional efforts, you have the ability through Pinterest to promote past issue sales, articles and advertisers. What a great way to stretch your reach and create a good use of past content rather than collecting dust in a lost folder on your hard drive.”

Trey Hill:  “I’m certainly no publishing expert, but I think whether you’re a publication, small business, non-profit or sports team, Pinterest offers you the ability to curate tangible expressions of your brand’s story. You can craft a character and associate yourself, powerfully, with ideas, imagery and products you admire. However, most brands I interact with on Twitter aren’t taking advantage of this aspect of Pinterest.”

MagCloud: What are some tips that may help other publishers to get started on Pinterest?

Cory Ann: “Try not to only pin promotional pieces for your own business, but also images, services and products that supplement your business or life. For small businesses, Pinterest offers an easy method to allow your customers and readers to get to know the owners and employees by creating personal style boards. A personal connection is so important to brand and business loyalty, and this is a great easy way to reach out to your customers and share in a subtle way, without taking up vital print space. Pin images directly from your site or blog. Be sure the link back on Pinterest leads to a specific post and not just your home page. Use simple clear descriptions and hashtags on the images you pin. Make it easy for viewers to find your pins when they search.”

Trey Hill:  “Don’t be scared to pin things that might not end up in a click back to your website. People respect organizations that are secure enough in their own identity that they are free to applaud the efforts of others. And, when you begin to point people to the things you admire, more often than not, the favor is returned.”

MagCloud:  Pinterest is a highly visual social media platform, how can you use that style to promote your publication? 

Cory Ann: “We are visual people and the use of good images and design can draw a viewer in and entice them to read a full article or publication. We like to post images of our publication that link back to our sale page on Pinterest. Also a board can be created for each article or issue to supplement the publication and drive traffic back for a full purchase or download. Behind the scenes and extra images that don’t make the article are great to draw the viewer in without compromising the distribution of the original content. Most publications are driven by advertisers. By pinning the ads, websites and products of your advertisers, you create an increased value to your ad sales.”

Trey Hill:  “First, let me start with a warning. Self-promotion in social media of any kind needs to be tempered. Heavily. Make sure you’re pinning 15-20 items that have nothing to do with you directly for everyone that points back to you. If you can make that ration even larger, do it. As Brian Regan so appropriately warned, ‘Beware the Me Monster.’ I am continually impressed with Warby Parker’s strategy for pinning. This past summer they launched a Blue Mirror sunglass lens & created a board that featured pins with that shade of blue. Of the 39 pins on the board, only one featured the glasses themselves. That was an interesting idea and could apply to publications as well. Does your current issue have a theme that you could pin from? What about doing boards inspired by the various stories? That kind of thinking gets people excited and generates repins and conversation, which in-turn builds loyalty to your brand and the larger story you’re trying to tell.”

Introducing the MagCloud Referral Program

Get rewarded when friends, family or colleagues sign up for a MagCloud account and become publishers.  Existing MagCloud users can earn $10 for every friend they refer that joins MagCloud and buys or sells $25 worth of their own published content through the website.

Participating is really easy:

  • Sign-in to your MagCloud account and share a link to a publication, seo company, a publisher profile, even a MagCloud web page via the MagCloud website, web viewer or iPad app.
  • Your friend signs up from that link and becomes a new MagCloud member.
  • They publish their first MagCloud publication.
  • Then your friend buys or sells at least $25 of their own published content.
  • You will receive a $10 cash credit for your referral.

You don’t need to sign up for our referral program all MagCloud members are automatically eligible.  Just start sharing links (while signed-in) from the MagCloud website or iPad app to participate.

For more information see our website or FAQs.

Q+A with Rachael Cavallo of Palu Ltd.

Rachael Cavallo refers to her job title as “magician.” She and her coworkers – her fellow “magicians” – run Seattle-based Palu Ltd., specializing in the design and manufacture of affordable home furnishings. It might take a bit of magic, she says, to combine fine craftsmanship, quality materials and contemporary style with the needs of an increasingly green world – yet Palu remains committed to environmental responsibility in all aspects of its business.

And when it comes to publishing catalog that help sell Palu products, Cavallo leaves the magic to MagCloud. “It’s been absolutely wonderful – and we especially appreciate the fast turnaround,” she says. “I can’t recommend MagCloud highly enough.”

  Tell us a little bit about Palu.

Rachael Cavallo We like to imagine things differently. From a broad range of chairs to cabinets, dining tables, mirrors and more, our line offers versatile furniture that is elegant, appropriate and approachable.

We recognize that the business of making furniture can have a heavy impact on our environment and our world. We are constantly working to minimize the impact we have and to promote positive change. We actively support sustainable and accountable forest management, fair labor practices, energy conservation, recycling, transparency and innovation in everything we do.

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

RC We used to do a catalog with each item having an individual page, and we assembled all of the pages into binders. It didn’t take long, though, for customers’ binders to become unorganized – especially when we’d add or discontinue items. If we weren’t there to update the customers’ binders personally, it just wasn’t working. Plus, our printer wasn’t doing a very good job. So we needed a new platform.

We found MagCloud and began creating individual booklets by room. So we have a bedroom booklet, a dining room booklet, a living room booklet, one for accessories – and the like. So now when we have revisions, we just alert customers to the revised booklets and they can order them directly from MagCloud.

  How has MagCloud improved your business?

RC I like that we can do very small print runs. We can easily put together a 12-page catalog every few months, print out a few and send those to anyone who’s interested in what we have to offer. We’ll do about 400 or 500 at a time. And if we need, say, three more, then we order just three more. Or 300 more. The quantity is never a problem.

The expense is so small compared with the benefit of always having something for customers to hold on to. That’s always been the challenge for us.

  What tips would you give to someone new to self-publishing?

RC Learn your publishing software. I think that’s the most important tip I can give. We use InDesign, and we had a local designer create 10 styles of a template that we use on a regular basis. InDesign is a wonderful tool. Learn to use it, and it will not fail you.

  If your catalog were an ice cream flavor, what would it be?

RC I’m going with Marionberry Swirl because vanilla is its classic base – you can’t go wrong with that. The marionberry comes from our part of the country – and our pieces definitely have a Seattle/Northwast flair. The marionberry shows that we’re classic, but with a special twist.

Q+A with Kyle Menard of BRINK Magazine

Kyle Menard has loved magazines since he could read. So much so that he once even dreamed of opening a newsstand selling magazines from around the world. “Like the kind you see in New York City,” he says.

Now an adult in the digital age, Menard has directed his passion for print into a magazine of his own. In 2009, he launched BRINK, an Orlando, Fla.-based bimonthly magazine that celebrates entrepreneurs – those already successful and those just starting – and the spirit that makes them all so special. BRINK was voted “Best Magazine in Orlando 2012” by TheDailyCity.com readers.

  How did BRINK come about?

Kyle Menard  I’m just a huge fan of magazines and wanted to create a magazine of my own. So I put all my ideas together and named the magazine BRINK – because it’s always exciting to be on the cusp of something new, whatever that might be.

BRINK celebrates entrepreneurs and shares their stories and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. We feature entrepreneurs in the realm of entertainment, fashion, human interest and pop culture – everyone from indie musicians and actors to designers and artists – people who’ve quit their day jobs to live their dreams. We hope these stories inspire future entrepreneurs to create their own paths to success.

  How has publishing a magazine changed for you in the past five years?

KM My name has definitely become more recognizable in Orlando. And through the years people have become more willing to work with me and participate in BRINK. They want to join in the conversation. There’s something about publishing a print magazine that gives you more credibility.

There’s been a lot of talk about the demise of publishing, but print is not going anywhere. Online is great – everyone loves immediate gratification. But people still want to hold something in their hands. They want the physical magazine that they can hold – they want to experience a deeper connection.

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

KM I did a web search for “publishing magazines” and found MagCloud. I began with a simple eight-page prototype. And after teaching myself Photoshop, going through some MagCloud tutorials and trial and error, I’ve never looked back.

  Why did you choose MagCloud?

KM We’re always evolving, and MagCloud is always evolving. The convenience factor is huge. If we need something printed right away, MagCloud can do that. If we need perfect bound instead of saddle stitched, MagCloud can do that. If we need 10 copies shipped to Spain, again, MagCloud makes all that possible. Plus, MagCloud is always encouraging us to do more with our magazine. They don’t just print your PDFs. They really care about your success.

Ask MagCloud: Can I Write on a MagCloud Publication with Pen or Pencil?

We receive a lot of great questions from our MagCloud community, but this particular one really sparked our curiosity—so we decided to investigate! A new MagClouder, Patricia, submitted the following question on our Facebook Page:

“I just discovered you guys and want to know if the paper you publish in would be suitable to write on with either pen or pencil. I’m interested in uploading a student planner, much like a ‘day minder’ so I want to make sure the paper is not coated in any way. Some such paper can make it hard to write with pencil or makes some ink smudge. Thanks for your help!!!”

MagCloud publications are printed on an uncoated satin paper stock that is both FSC-certified and acid-free (for more information on our paper, check out this FAQ ). To answer Patricia’s question, we decided to test it out first-hand. Check out the video to see what we found out.

Passing the smudge-proof test is especially great for those of you who use MagCloud to create personal planners, calendars, to-do lists and beyond!

Do you have a question for MagCloud? Check out magcloud.com/help, or ask us directly via Facebook or Twitter.  We’d love to hear from you.

Print and Digital: A Winning Combination

Print vs. digital has long been hotly debated. Recently, we’ve seen several experts weighing in on the topic, arguing that print and digital can coexist and will in fact strengthen a brand when used together. Of course, we’ve always known this at HP MagCloud (check out our Jan. 5 blog post), and we are thrilled when other people realize it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. The challenge is finding the right medium to use to tell your unique story, so that it’s heard and understood by your audience.

So what are people saying? Novelist Dave Eggers in the Guardian said, “It’s our admittedly unorthodox opinion that the two can co-exist, and in fact should co-exist. … But they need to do different things. To survive, the newspaper, and the physical book, needs to set itself apart from the web. Physical forms of the written word need to offer a clear and different experience. And if they do, we believe, they will survive.”

When should you choose digital? “For news, facts and information, let’s tell stories as they unfold: a tweet here, an update there, a database, a video clip, a timeline, a slideshow, a conversation, a list. Let’s master the tools of digital storytelling and learn to match our tools and techniques to the circumstances,” stated digital guru Steve Buttry on Poynter.org.

What about print? “Let’s respect the pure, traditional story – the narrative string of paragraphs – by reserving that form for real stories,” Buttry added.

We’re fortunate to live in a world where we have both options.

In telling your story, you’ll want to rise above the chatter. It’s a good idea to participate in the online conversation by using Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters and more to share what’s happening in the moment. You’re demonstrating your knowledge about your industry and connecting in a more immediate way with your audience.

Meanwhile, a print publication showcases your photographs and carefully crafted story to an audience who wants to linger over and slowly digest your content. No matter how great digital content is, readers can stash magazines in their purses, dog-ear the pages and tear out their favorite articles. Quoting The Economist (June 9 issue): “As long as there are coffee tables, people will want things to put on them.” The high quality of print makes you proud to display your work to clients, and likewise, your clients will be happy to share your magazine with people they bump into.

HP MagCloud provides both print and digital offerings because different stories beg to be told in different ways. Plus, you might reach new readers who prefer to read content on their iPad or smartphone. We realize there is much to consider, and one of the main deterrents of print is the expense and complexity. With HP MagCloud, it costs only 20 cents per page for Standard and Square products, there are no upfront costs and everything can be done via our website with a few clicks of the mouse. So a small business on a tight budget can afford to self-publish their content.

For a small business, blending print and digital elements into your marketing is a win-win. Does your business plan include both digital and print? If not, here’s your chance to consider both.

MagCloud Goes to the Head of the Class

MagCloud has been a friend of teachers, trainers and curriculum designers for some time.

Offering an easy way to bring lesson plans to life and engage students, MagCloud is being used as an educational tool both in and out of the classroom.

 

 

 

 

Curriculum Resource Planning and Teacher’s Aids

A number of educators and researchers are using MagCloud to share curriculum ideas and best practices. Whether using our Standard product to create a best practices magazine or simply a short curriculum synopsis with our Pamphlet product, MagCloud makes it easy for teachers to collaborate on current curriculum initiatives.

Example Publications:

Class Projects

Self-publishing provides students with a creative way to showcase their understanding of a topic, their personal perspectives and their own artistic work.  Publications like Bulldog Press and FIT have allowed high school and college students to express themselves and demonstrate their evolving skills.

Example Publications:

Workbooks, Study Guides, Training Materials and More

Teachers, instructors and trainers have used MagCloud to print field guides, camp workbooks, how-to guides, study-guides, training manuals, and educational workbooks to complement a variety of educational needs. In some cases these are printed ahead of time for use during a workshop or class, while other times they are simply made available online for attendees to purchase as supplementary or stand-alone training materials or as samples for other teachers.

Example Publications:

The Lorax Storytelling Tool

MagCloud has also developed a Storybook tool for creating custom books using templates, characters and backgrounds from the movie The Lorax. Used in conjunction with Scholastic’s custom Lorax curriculum, students can write a story that describes one creative new idea for how they, their family, or their community could live more sustainably.

Share in the comments section how you’ve used MagCloud for your teaching needs or read about some additional ideas from Jim Vanides, a member of the HP Office of Global Social Innovation.