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.”

MagCloud’s Favorite Instagram Users and Hashtags

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If you’re not already following @HPMagCloud on Instagram, you should be! We love to engage with our publishers and see MagCloud publications and products out in the wild–how you use them, where you enjoy them and cool pictures of your work coming together… So when you decide to show off your MagCloud product, be sure to tag us (@hpmagcloud) or use the #magcloud hashtag.

In the meantime, we have a few favorite Instagram users we’re following, and some suggested hashtags for when you share the MagCloud love on Instagram.

Favorites to follow:

Us, of course – @hpmagcloud

Andrew Shinn – @shinnphoto

BRINK Magazine – @brinkmag

Cory Ann Ellis/AC Ellis – @coryannellis

CycleEXIF – @cycleexif

James Worrell – @worrellphoto

Jennifer Koskinen/Merritt Photo – @merrittphoto

Julian Bialowas (16 Hours Mag) – @julianbialowas

Rob Shore/I Carry the Bag – @shorespeak

Sian Richardson Tax Attorney (16 Hours Mag) – @sian_richardson

Standard Magazine – @standard_mag

Toobydoo – @toobydoo

We Like We Love – @welikewelove

#tags to remember:

#MagCloud

#MagCloudinthewild

#MagCloudLove

#printisnotdead

#graphicdesign

MagCloud’s Favorite SMB Pinterest Boards

Pinterest

In addition to being a great tool to market your publication, Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration for your business. From infographics to marketing tips, the following are some of our favorite SMB focused Pinterest boards to follow:

Do you follow any SMB focused boards on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

How to Use MagCloud for Your Tutoring Business

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at various ways teachers and professors can use MagCloud to help their students get ahead in the classroom. Outside of school, MagCloud’s print on demand and digital publishing tools can also be a great resource for professional tutors, for everything from personalized study aids for their pupils, to marketing their business with promotional brochures and flyers.

Tutoring Aids

Whether you are tutoring a student in a subject one-on-one, or offering test preparation to a larger group, MagCloud can be a great resource for printing up workbooks and study guides that are tailored to the needs of your students. With no minimum order quantity required, MagCloud lets you print as few as one copy, making it easy for you to create personalized study aids tailored to your students’ needs both in and out of your tutoring sessions. For example, if you are helping a student prepare for the SAT, you could use MagCloud to provide your pupil with a printed workbook of practice questions that he or she can complete as homework, a digital reference guide of common mathematical formulas that can be viewed in PDF format, and a pocket review book with common vocabulary words and definitions, all tailored to the areas of the test where they need the most help. You can create these documents using any program that can export a PDF file, and easily update them for new students by uploading a new version of the PDF to the MagCloud website.

To get started, check out the step-by-step instructions offered in the MagCloud PDF Guides, and browse through our product specs on the new product pages.

Marketing Tools

In addition to publishing print and digital publications for your students, you can also use MagCloud as a marketing tool for your tutoring business. Our Pamphlet product is perfect for making brochures that include testimonials from past students, the range of services you offer, and your contact information. Similarly, our single-sheet Flyer product is great for creating price lists or highlighting your services in a more compact format. MagCloud’s print on demand capabilities mean you can order copies of your brochure or price list as you need them, in smaller quantities that traditional printing requires. You can even direct mail copies of your brochure to an address list of potential clients using MagCloud’s Ship to Group feature, or offer all of your marketing materials in a digital format through your MagCloud storefront for potential clients to view as a PDF. If at any point you want to add a testimonial or update your pricing, you can do so simply by uploading a new PDF to the MagCloud website.

If you need help getting started with a brochure or price sheet for your tutoring business, or are looking for some inspiration, check out our past blog posts about brochures and flyers for additional tips and templates.

Are you a tutor who has used MagCloud as a resource for your business? Let us know 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.

Product Spotlight: Flyer for Business

One of the new product types we recently announced is the Flyer. The Flyer product is a single sheet of paper printed on both sides in full color with a full bleed, available in quantities of 10 copies or more. You can create a Flyer by uploading a one or two-page 8.5” x 11” PDF to MagCloud. Keep in mind that all Flyers must be two pages long, to encompass both the front and back sides of the printed sheet, so if you do upload a 1 page PDF we will automatically add a second blank page to the end of the PDF for you. Like our Standard product, the cost for a printed Flyer is 20 cents per MagCloud page, or $0.40 for each double-sided piece. As always, orders of 20 copies or more receive a bulk discount of 25%, dropping the price to just $0.30 per Flyer.

We feel like this shorter page limit opens up a number of new options for our publishers, and have listed a few ideas below for how you might be able to use the Flyer product for your business:

< Inserts
Update previously printed collateral to be more timely and customized by adding a single sheet insert. Adding a single sheet insert to a previously printed piece like this can provide more relevant information targeted to a specific recipient, or offer an update to existing collateral. For example, if you’re passing out a catalog, you might include an insert about your upcoming product line or summer sale. Similarly, if you are sending previous donors a copy of your non-profit’s annual prospectus, you might include a more personal thank you letter as an insert.

Conference and Tradeshow Handouts >
Whether they are included in the conference materials or handed out at a tradeshow booth, providing printed handouts to attendees to highlight the features of your product or service will help potential customers remember who you are when they get home.

< Datasheets
The Flyer product is a great option for creating single sheets of technical specs on your product or service. The high quality of the digital printing provides a more professional appearance than desktop printing, while the single letter-sized sheet is a format that can easily be included in a packet with other materials, or left behind at a sales meeting.

Real Estate Sales Sheets >
If you’re an Australian real estate agent, why not use the Flyer product to create sales sheets for your newly listed homes. The full color printing will allow you to include photos along with background information about the listing, that can be offered up as a way to entice potential buyers. Since MagCloud allows for shorter print runs, you can order fewer copies initially and print more on demand as they are needed, saving on storage and paper waste.

< Headshots and Resumes
Get your job interview or audition off on the right foot with a professionally printed resume or double-sided headshot.

Newsletters >
Use the Flyer product type to communicate with your clients or members by creating a single-sheet newsletter. With MagCloud’s digital options, you can offer your audience the same newsletter in both print and digital with a single PDF upload.

< Menus
A single 8.5″ x 11″ sheet is the great size for menus, and MagCloud’s print-on-demand model provides a cost-effective and easy way to order additional copies or make updates to the menu as needed. If you’re a caterer, you can take advantage of MagCloud’s shorter print runs to create Flyer-sized menus tailored to each event you cater, whether it’s an intimate dinner party or a large buffet.

Price Sheets >
Are you a photographer offering senior portrait packages? How about a sporting goods store offering bikes, kayaks, and skis for rent? Or a spa owner with a list of services you need to publicize? Whether you are a makeup artist, landscaper, tutor, or dog walker, let your potential customers know the rates for your services with a professionally printed price sheet that can incorporate full-color images of your prior work and personal branding.

< Flyers for Sales and Events
Use the Flyer product for what it was named after: flyers! Print and pass out single sheet flyers for your next retail sale, store opening, or company event. Whether you are hosting a signing in your book store, a concert in your coffee shop, or a spring sale in your clothing boutique, make sure your potential attendees and customers not only know about it but remember it with a printed flyer.

Looking for more inspiration, or wondering where to get started with your Flyer design? Templates that fit the 8.5″ x 11″ Flyer product type can be found around the internet, and even on your own computer. The Microsoft Office Suite, as well as Apple’s iWorks Pages come preloaded with a number of letter-sized templates that can be used for creating Flyer publications. In addition, sites like Inkd and Stock Layouts offer a range of different letter-sized templates in their Datasheet and Flyer sections that you can download for a price and edit to fit your needs before uploading to the MagCloud site for printing and distribution.

Have you already created something for your business with the new Flyer product? Let us know in the comments below!