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!

Make Summer Last All Year – Turn Your Photos into a Calendar

In the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about ways to turn your photos into something special with MagCloud. Whether that’s creating a photo book with Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture, or creating a Summer Memory Magazine, MagCloud makes it easy to enjoy your photos in beautiful print and digital formats. So why not enjoy Summer all year-round by creating a calendar with your photographs?

To help you get started, we’ve created 6 templates for you to use with Adobe InDesign and Apple Pages. Simply add your own photos, special dates and details, upload your PDF to MagCloud and you’re set! You can sell your calendar online in the MagCloud Storefront or use our Direct Mail feature to send a copy to all of your friends with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Let’s get started!

Select the Format/Size of Calendar

Our templates are available in 3 sizes:

  • Small Square (8″ x8″) calendars (ideal for square photos like those from Instagram) with Saddle  Stitch Binding (28 pages – $5.60/each + Shipping)
  • Standard (10.75″ x 8.25″) calendars with Saddle Stitch Binding (28 pages – $5.60/each + Shipping)
  • Large Square (12″ x 12″) calendars with Wire-O Binding (28 pages – $12.08/each + Shipping)

*Remember that prices drop 25% off when you order 20 copies or more. So if you’re looking to order gifts for friends and family, or a great way to promote your business–a MagCloud-published calendar may be the perfect solution.

Select Your Software

InDesign CS5 & Newer

InDesign CS4

Pages

Script (handwriting) Typeface used in templates: Jenna Sue

Calendars for Business

You may also remember that last year we talked about using a MagCloud-printed calendar to promote your business. In exchange for you summer vacation photos, you can easily add images of your products, team members, or local scenery. Add your logo to the back cover along with a bit about your business and contact information and voila–you’ll keep your brand top-of-mind and in front of your customers all-year-round.

Since last year’s calendar template was so popular we also decided to revamp it for 2013. Enjoy!

That sounds too complicated for me.

Don’t want to use either of the above applications? MagCloud Partner Poyomi has an easy-to-use web-based platform that helps you create 14″ x 11″ calendars that are printed by MagCloud. With their service you can easily upload photos from your computer or connect to your accounts on photo-sharing services like Flickr, Smugmug, Picasa and Facebook.

*Please note that using the Poyomi tool and templates to create a calendar or photo book will affect the pricing. For Poyomi pricing, visit poyomi.com/pricing

To get started with the Poyomi calendar tool click here.

Eternalize Summer Memories With Your Own Magazine

Though Summer’s heat lingers on, Labor day is just around the corner marking the unofficial end of Summer.  Whether your family took a big trip or just used the lazy afternoons to hang out together, you are sure to have plenty of memories – and pictures – you want to save.

For many, vacation photographs wind up unorganized and spread amongst their hard drives, cell phones, Instagram and Facebook–doomed to be lost in the shuffle. With that in mind, why not take an afternoon and organize your family’s vacation experience, photographs, and mementos into a summer memory magazine?

With MagCloud’s beautiful print quality and direct mail options, you can even order copies to be sent directly to grandparents, cousins and friends to enjoy.

Getting Started: Where will you create your PDF?

First, you’ll want to select a platform to design/assemble your MagCloud-ready PDF­. You can use web-based Poyomi, or software like Adobe InDesign, Quark, Apple iWork Pages, or Microsoft Word.

As you get started, you can choose to start with a pre-designed template from the software (if available), or with a plain MagCloud template available here. You may even remember a post from awhile back, when we used Apple Pages’ built-in Templates to create magazines.

Organize Your Images and Treasures

Next, gather together your vacation photographs and organize them into a single folder. Then select the images that most effectively represent your vacation experience.

Collect any small items that you may have picked up along the way (i.e., a drink coaster with a resort’s logo, maps, airline ticket stubs, brochures from attractions, etc.). Such items can be scanned and added throughout your magazine and provide a more personal touch to the project. For example, you can use your ticket stubs from the theme park to give a different look to your family’s latest roller coaster adventure.

Order and Details

Although you have complete creative control over how you assemble your summer memory magazine, the easiest way is to assemble things is in chronological order so those enjoying your magazine can experience your vacation from start to finish. Throughout the publication you can include  quotes from your family members, or funny anecdotes – like when the duck bit the zoo keeper during his presentation.

Be sure to take the time to caption your photographs, indicating the “who, what, when, and where” of each picture. This will be helpful for others viewing your memory magazine and for you in later years when small details slip from memory.

Write a short paragraph for each of your summer highlights. Ask your children for input and have them answer questions about their favorite parts of the summer. You’ll be amazed by what they come up with and it’s always fun to look back and remember what was happening in pop culture at the time.

Some details you may want to include:

  • Favorite Summer Memory
  • Places and people you visited
  • Friends made
  • Activities and Games played
  • Movies watched
  • Books read
  • Song that was on repeat in the car
  • The silliest moment of the summer

Design Can be Daunting

When it comes to assembling your summer memory magazine, don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of design skills or experience. You can look at magazines for inspiration, simply use photos and captions for a basic layout, or even re-purpose templates that have nothing to do with this purpose. You can find inspiration anywhere, you just have to look past the content and look at the design. For example, the magazine pictured above used our Microsoft Publisher Brochure Template as a starting point for the layout. The design was a perfect way to include ample text to tell the story that went along with the photos. A few tweaks to colors and typefaces and we were able to completely transform the look of the original design..

As an additional example below, we used the layout from an Apple Pages design template for a school yearbook. With a few changes (and by deleting the extra clip art that made the layout look  “education-centric” we were able to create a casual scrapbook-style. Adding a scanned scrap of paper with Sara’s favorite memory from the water park gave the page a personalized feel.

Microsoft Word also has some great “Newsletter Templates” that are built-in to the software (Mac) or available online. Below are some samples that could be easily tweaked and used as the interior pages of your memory magazine.

No matter what software or platform you choose to create your magazine in, there are lots of sources for inspiration. So start designing and have some fun with it!

Have you created a photo magazine or book with MagCloud to commemorate and event, trip or season in your life? Tell us about it, or share your publication in the comments below!

Turn Your Summer Pics into a Photo Book with Apple Aperture

Looking for something to do with all those great photos you’ve taken this summer of trips, pool parties, nature hikes and more?  Why not create a photo book keepsake to share with friends and family so you can relive the great memories for years to come.

Apple Aperture is a great tool for keeping photos organized, polishing them up and even creating MagCloud-ready photo books.  We’ve added new Software-Specific Instruction Packets for Aperture to our Getting Started page for all of our product sizes. These downloadable folders contain MagCloud-specific templates and instructions for Aperture 3.0 and newer.

Below are a few tips to get you started.

Organize Your Photos

The first step is selecting the photos you want to use for your book.  Aperture makes it easy to weed through the large volume of photos you’ve taken this past summer with the Smart Album feature.  Create a new smart album using ratings (i.e. all your fave photos who you gave 3 or more stars too), and/or keywords (i.e. summer, Hawaii trip, beach) to select your favorite photos for inclusion in your book.

Tip for Instagram Users:

While Instagram doesn’t allow you to send directly to Aperture the smart folks over at ApertureExpert.com have outlined a simple way to use Flickr as a go between to bring your Instagram photos directly Aperture.  One thing to note for MagCloud-ready publications is that the photos Instagram sends to Flickr are low resolution and may not print well so we recommend after you’ve created your Instagram album in Aperture to transfer the pictures from your mobile device to your Mac via iCloud or cable sync, and replace one by one the Flickr pictures with your higher resolution images from your Camera Roll.

Oh and if the whole Instagram importing and resolution workarounds seem like too much check out the Aperture Instagram Presets created by photographer Casey Mac and create your own Instagram like photos directly in Aperture.

Create Your Book with a MagCloud Photo Book Theme

Once you’ve organized your photos it’s time to select what size book you want to create.  We’ve created Aperture themes and instructions for each MagCloud product from Digest to Tabloid; simply download the files from our Getting Started page.

Installing the Aperture Book Theme

  1. Open a new Finder window and select “Go to Folder…” from the Go menu
  2. In the text field that appears, type: ~/Library/Application Support/Aperture/Book Themes
  3. Click Go
  4. Drag the “8 x 8 Square or Pamphlet” folder from the unzipped folder into this new Book Themes window

Creating a MagCloud-Ready Book

Now the fun part…creating your book!

Select Your Theme

  1. Open Aperture (if not already opened)
  2. Click the New icon in the upper left corner, then select Book from the drop-down menu
  3. Enter a Book Name for your book
  4. Select “Custom” from the Book Type drop-down menu
  5. Select the MagCloud theme you loaded (i.e. “8 x 8 Square or Pamphlet”)
  6. Click Choose Theme to create your book
Build Your Book

Aperture makes it easy to layout your book simply by organizing your photos in the book editor by date, rating, label, file name etc. and then selecting “Autoflow Unplaced Images”.  Of course your can reorder and move images from one page to the next at any time.

You can also customize your book by changing layout (i.e. 2 Up to 4 Up), adding text, selecting background colors etc.

Tips for Creating An Awesome MagCloud Book
  • Perfect bound publications can be anywhere from 8 to 384 pages long, but the total page count needs to be a multiple of 2.
  • Saddle stitch bound publications can be anywhere from 8 to 100 pages long, but the total page count needs to be a multiple of 4.
  • You can add and delete pages using the + and – buttons under the page display.
  • When adding text, don’t go beyond the theme margins (the edge of the image in the 1-up layout). The margins are set to the edge of the safe zone, and any text placed outside this area is in danger of being trimmed off in the print version.
  • If you have a lot of large photos in your publication, or if it is a lot of pages, it’s possible that your final PDF will be over MagCloud’s 300MB upload limit. If this happens, there are a few things you can do to reduce the file size after you export the PDF from Aperture. See the instructions you downloaded with your Aperture theme for how to reduce image size with Apple Preview or Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Export Your Book as a PDF

Once you’ve got your book looking exactly how you want it, its time to export it as a MagCloud-ready PDF file.

  1. After you have finished designing your book, click Print Book in the upper right-hand corner
  2. Select your “Color Profile” from the drop-down menu. In this case I’ve selected sRGB as my color profile to embed.
  3. Click the “PDF” button and select “Save as PDF…” from the drop-down menu
  4. Enter a name for your PDF and select where you want it to be saved on your computer
  5. Click Save

The PDF of your book is now ready to be uploaded to magcloud.com.

What types of MagCloud publications will you use Aperture to create?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Delicious Ideas for Your Wedding Catering Business

No matter how professional a staff you may have hired or how special the foods you prepare may be, your catering business will always need appealing promotional pieces to attract new customers. In most cases your menu or brochure is a customer’s first opportunity to meet you. MagCloud makes it easy to publish a variety of publications for your catering business, and with low-minimum print runs (in most cases as few as 1), digital distribution options and direct mailing features, it doesn’t matter if you’ve catered 2 events or 200, you’ll wow your clients with beautiful publications that leave their mouths watering.

So why not try some of these delicious ideas to promote your business:

Flyers to Promote Your Brand

Our double-sided, single sheet Flyer product is ideal for brief messages or content that changes often such as sales promotions, or seasonal offerings. It’s available in four size options: 8 x 8”, 5.5 x 8.5”, 8.5 x 5.5″ or 8.5 x 11” so you can be sure to pick something that really makes your brand shine.

Glossy Brochures to Highlight Your Services, Team & Experience

A brochure will help you showcase your catering business and help the customer get a detailed account of your company. Our 4-page Pamphlet product is the perfect way to quickly capture your audience’s attention and whether you use a standard 8.5 x 11″, a unique square 8 x 8″ size or a pocket-sized 5.5 x 8.5″ you can rest assured that it will be affordable and beautifully-printed. With an easy one-click option to opt-in for digital distribution, you can also offer your brochure as a free digital-download for potential clients to peruse on their PC or mobile device.

Print and Digital Price Sheets

Once a client is interested in booking you, you’ll want to make it as easy for them as possible. Price sheets that double as order forms make for a tidy way to create a menu together. With MagCloud’s combo of high-quality print-on-demand and easy-to-use digital distribution options, you can make your price sheets available as print copies that you keep on hand as well as digital versions so potential clients can view them on any PC or mobile device.

Sample Menus

MagCloud’s new flyer sizes are perfect for reprinting menus from past events to give your customers an idea of how a beautifully planned menu comes together. You could even go so far as to create a proposed menu for their event and present it to them at their tasting.

Wine Lists

With distributor prices and product availability constantly changing, MagCloud makes it easy to have an up-to-date wine list and still look professional. Whenever you need to change a price or add a new wine to your list, simply upload a new PDF and order as few or as many copies as you need.

Special & Seasonal Menus

If you offer a variety of cuisines, or even if you want to break up your menus by season or meal-type, you can easily create a standard menu template that you can change up to create more specialized menus.

Full-Service Catalogs

Many catering businesses are full service, and can provide chairs, tables, china, glassware, silverware, tents and umbrellas, and even arrange centerpieces, place cards, and party favors. If your business offers a wide range of services like this, be sure to present them to your client in your brochure, and offer more in-depth information through a specialized catalog.

Partner Publications

Partnering with venue coordinators, event planners and other service professionals like wedding photographers is a great way to get your brand out there to more clients. Try collaborating with the other pros working with you on events and see if you can work out a way to help promote one another with unique pieces that highlight both of your services. For example a collaboration with a photographer could result in mouth-watering photos of your food and presentation that you can use to promote your business, and referrals for future events.

A One-Stop Shop for Your Business

With publisher pages that can be personalized, and the ability to group similar publications into tidy categories, MagCloud is a great platform to keep all of your business materials in one place and make them easily accessible in both print and digital formats. It’s easy to direct your customers to your personalized and branded page where they can find your menus, catalogs and wine lists all in one place, making them handy to select and download.

Have you used MagCloud to promote your catering or event business? Have another great idea that we missed? Share it below in the comments section!

MagCloud for the Wedding Photographer

Whether you are a professional wedding photographer with a studio space and a team of five, or you’re flying solo, it’s important to present your business in the most professional and appealing way possible to your clients. MagCloud is an easy and affordable way to publish lookbooks, promotional tools and affordable products that that you can sell as a part of your business’s offerings. With easy publisher settings you can offer any, or all of your publications in both print and digital formats.

A number of photographers have already discovered the value of MagCloud for their business. They are using the service to promote themselves at trade events with a brochure or glossy catalog, provide lookbooks to potential clients, print proof books for existing clients; and even as a sales tool intended to up-sell clients to an entire gallery of prints rather than just one or two.

Let’s explore some of the options available for your wedding photography business:

Portfolio and Catalog:

At just 20¢ a page for Standard size or 16¢ for Digest size, MagCloud offers full-color, full-bleed printing on HP’s beautiful Indigo presses–a true advantage for today’s professional photographers.

For example, if you want to create a full-color soft-bound book to highlight your photography and present your services, you could do so in a 28-page Standard-sized perfect-bound publication for just $6.60 a copy. Yep, you read that right, $6.60 a copy. And you don’t have to buy 100 to get that pricing, you could order them one at a time if you like, or drop-ship them to an address list of potential clients who have seen your work online and are interested in learning more.

**Want to create one of your own? If you use Microsoft Publisher, we’ve already got a great basic 4-page catalog template to get you started. Don’t use Publisher? Feel free to use the design as inspiration for your own services catalog.

Lookbook:

If you’d prefer to woo your customers before revealing all of your pricing, or would just prefer to have something less time-sensitive for showing off your work, we suggest creating a lookbook. Lookbooks are a great way to express your style, showcase your best work, and really tell your potential customers who you are.

Some publishers have started to use our ultra-portable Digest Landscape format to create a marketing piece that shows off their best work in a portable format that doesn’t break the bank.

What’s great about this idea is that the Digest Landscape’s compact 8.25″ x 5.25″ size makes it easy to keep on hand. Should you meet someone who is interested in hiring you, you can easily hand off the book to a potential client and not cringe at what it costs to replace. And with a max page count of 384, you could create a lookbook that includes hundreds of images, worthy of your coffee table. At just 16¢ a page for our Digest Landscape publications (plus $1 for perfect binding), you can create an impressive 60-page lookbook for just $10.60.

Album for family and friends:

Waiting for that big beautiful album can sometimes take weeks, or months, so while your bride is still excited about the wedding and singing your praises, why not surprise her with a mini photobook, or cool glossy magazine of photos from her big day? She’ll be thrilled to show off your work to her friends and family, and with our 3-day print turn around time, you could surprise the happy couple before they get home from their honeymoon.

You could also create a similar album as a product for your newlyweds to give as a thank you gift to extended family, bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Sales tool:

If you sell more than just digital packages, you know how hard it can be to sell prints–especially large prints (like the elusive 20″ x 30″ canvas) or collections of images, intended to be displayed as galleries. Most clients can’t envision what a gallery of their images could look like–”How would they arrange them? Where would it go?” That’s why some photographers have created booklets to help their clients place their orders. Diagrams and examples can help customers to envision a gallery in their home so they can select prints that work well together. If you went so far as to create this publication and save it as a template, you could drop a few of the customer’s images into the gallery diagrams creating a customized booklet to really seal the deal.

Proof Book:

It seems just about everyone has made the switch to online galleries for proofing, but there is something to be said about proofing photos in print, especially when you are planning to buy them in print.

So why not put together a proof book for your client to accompany that online gallery? This way your bride can have something in hand when she talks to her parents or grandparents about that 20”x 30” canvas. You could even go so far as to include your print pricing, packages or gallery inspiration guide into a custom publication to help encourage larger sales.

Showcase for Vendors:

If you’ve been in the business for awhile, you probably have already had a number of referrals come not just from happy brides, but also from vendors. You know that impressing a location rep means your images might get highlighted when they tour brides-to-be around their venue. Event planners love to show off your beautiful photos of their meticulously-planned soirées, so why not give them access to your photos in a way that not only highlights their work, but at the same time shows you off? We’ve seen photographers partner with venues and service professionals to create custom showcase publications for their specific businesses, but imagine how popular you’d be with everyone down to the makeup artist if you created a showcase book for each wedding and shared it them for their own promotional uses? Every time they show off that booklet, their client will see your brand.

Annual Retrospective for past clients:

If you do more than wedding photography, it makes sense to remind your clients of this. Then, as your wedding clients become growing families, they can make you their photographer for life – there to document their pregnancy, baby photos, family portraits and even high-school seniors.

Creating an annual retrospective photography magazine to highlight favorite sessions from the previous year is a great way to remind customers that you do other types of photography. Similar to a portfolio, this sort of publication can really highlight events, press-opportunities and sessions that occurred during the past year. Clients highlighted in the publication would surely love a copy to show off to their friends, and it keeps you top-of-mind for their next photo-worthy occasion.

Client Gifts:

A number of wedding photographers send gifts to their couples at their anniversary, or around the holidays, so why not create a calendar template that you can customize for each couple?

Swap in photos from their big day, add their anniversary to the calendar, and voilà! You’ll have a product that costs you $5.60 + shipping (a 28-page Standard publication) and reminds your bride how fabulous you are every day of the year.

Print or Digital? Why Choose?

There is a constant debate about print vs. digital, arguing why one is better than the other. Here at MagCloud, our motto is “Why choose?” What’s great about all of these ideas is that if you like, any one of them could also be enjoyed and shown off on the iPad or as a digital download to any PC or tablet device. With just a few clicks you can use one PDF for both print and digital purposes, just opt-in for digital distribution when you select your print pricing and finishing options.

More:

Along with all of these great ideas, you can also use MagCloud to print professionally bound Contracts, Employee Handbooks, Style Guides, Posing Guides, Workbooks, and Lighting How-to’s for workshops. Want more inspiration? Browse more wedding photography publications on the MagCloud website.

Have you used MagCloud as a promotional piece or product for your wedding photography business, or have you been inspired to create something from this post? Share your ideas in the comments section 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.