Like a Rocket in the Sky: Propel Your Business to New Heights Using MagCloud

Let’s face it, being successful takes work. Today’s world is dramatically different from the one fifteen years ago–it’s a noisy place full of fierce competition. The stakes are high and greatness is always on the line. If you’re anything like us, you know the challenge to be seen and heard is one of the most difficult. So how do you set yourself apart? In the spirit of entrepreneurship, we suggest trying some of these creative ideas to promote your brand—and ensure you remain in the know for your industry:

Establish yourself as THE expert: Your brand collateral is the most important opportunity to talk about your product or service. That’s why so many businesses (The Costco Connection, USAA Magazine) and owners have found that branded magazines are a unique way to pique audience interest with relevant content and information. It keeps you top of mind in a format that gets to your customers or target audience more frequently—be it annually, quarterly or monthly. How does it work? Well, by presenting your business in an editorial format you can:

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

Don’t be shy, tell your story: A custom magazine (e.g. This Workplace) or brochure (e.g. HP 360°) is the perfect way to chronicle the history of your company, a new product’s road to market, and much more. Consider the story you want to tell, and record or detail aspects that support your narrative. And don’t forget to employ social media either! Use Pinterest to crowd source ideas from fans and customers, leverage Instagram to showcase behind-the-scenes elements, and engage in conversation with your target audience on Twitter.

Showcase your amazing career: Showcase your career accomplishments and accolades in a magazine (e.g. Subject Matter, Trendi Creative) including media coverage, photos of your work, testimonials and anything else you’d be proud to display. Present it to prospective clients and include a link to it in your resume.

Keep pace with industry news and trends: Sometimes it seems as if the world—and the people in it—are changing faster than anyone can keep track. Start by putting your finger on the pulse of the industry. Draw insights and inspiration easily, and stay abreast of current and expected trends that are relevant to your business by reviewing what others are doing in and around you (e.g. Spinr Magazine, XXC Magazine).

Why Small Businesses Need to Adapt to Social Media’s Teenage Years

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Let’s be honest with ourselves, when you hear somebody say “I’ve never heard of Twitter,” or “I don’t tweet” you might double take – at least on the inside. The inner marketer in you can’t believe there’s someone out there who hasn’t heard of Twitter. Twitter has been around for …

That’s where you get sidetracked. You know Twitter’s old, but it can’t be that old. As it so happens, Twitter changed everything with its inception in 2006. And although it’s not even 10-years old in human years, being seven years old in fast moving social media years makes it an adolescent, roughly speaking.

Twitter, and Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. are no longer a new-borns. You’ve been talking about them the same way you talk about your 16-year-old nephew – you hold your palm to your knee and say, “I remember when you were this big.” Similarly, the same incentives that worked for your nephew when he was “yay tall” no longer work on the teenage version. It’s the same with social media.

It’s time we really examined why – not how – today’s users are communicating across social networks, and why we as marketers cannot afford to limit our business efforts to just strategic silos. As Twitter and Facebook grow-up, the SMBs who approach their customers on common ground will enjoy the most success.

Here’s how SMBs can use Teenage Twitter and Teenage Facebook to enhance their brand:

Twitter

TWITTER AS A YOUNGSTER: The “mentions” landscape was fractured, directionless and often low-value. SMBs participated because the consumers were there, but they didn’t know why they were there or what they necessarily wanted to talk about.

TWITTER NOW: Twitter, as an adolescent, is a self-sustaining marketplace. Consumers engage the businesses they love because the nature of communication on social media is “out of the norm.” The veil of Internet anonymity mixed with the wonton desire for greater personal gain creates an environment through which consumers are entitled. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for small businesses.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: The communication marketplace on Twitter is fluid and has a very short shelf life. The number of users on Twitter is far larger than you may imagine. Not all your customers engage on Twitter, but many listen. The best SMBs understand this and play with it. Here’s how you can present a better image to all: Follow your customers on Twitter. Read their posts (yes this takes time, but there’s a direct relationship between time invested and trust gained). Engage with them on their interests. Because it’s your customer, they need to know that your business is using Twitter to make them feel special. Do this for a few customers, and more will recognize the “special” value they can gain by meeting you there. Take Oreo for instance, they regularly meet consumers on the consumer level. This tweet provided only slim brand association, yet was still highly engaged upon due to the brand sponsoring its community’s interests. For some of the best small business engagement, follow @UnMarketing, @RamonRay and Anita Campbell of @SmallBizTrends and see how they conduct conversations.

Facebook

FACEBOOK AS A YOUNGSTER: The introduction of ads and privacy concerns initially put Facebook users and business at odds. Facebook took some time to fine tune its platform: traditional display ads made way for sponsored stories, sponsored accounts and higher values on visual content (more on that soon), Facebook has certainly been an up-and-down in its youth. Brands and businesses were in an arms race to gain more likes, without having a real-world understanding for what a “like” meant.

FACEBOOK AS A TEENAGER: Everybody uses Facebook (Moms, Kids, Teenagers, even cats and dogs). Your content may only be delivered to a certain percentage of your already-gained audience. BUT, your beacon of branding still exists as a landing page, and now it’s mobile. And as any parent will tell you, a mobile phone is a teenagers third hand.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Teenage Facebook tells us exactly what it wants. It wants fresh, visual content that looks great on that $600 smartphone. The emphasis is less about using it to post posts, and more about creating an environment where your consumers’ interests are sponsored and hosted on your Facebook page. Tactically speaking, this means SMBs should be focused on creating and posting more pictures, graphics, videos, videos of cats…For a good cue, go to MagCloud publisher BRINK Mag’s Facebook page. There’s tight integration with photo sharing, leading to more relevant and inspiring content. The key with strong visuals is allowing for a breadth of creativity, especially for SMBs. Create something memorable, and your consumers will be more inclined to participate, associate and share. For a great example of memorable visuals, visit the How to Market Your Horse Business Facebook page.

Have some ideas of your own? Agree/Disagree with how to treat Twitter and Facebook as they grow up? Let us know in the comments!

Ringing in the Holidays with a Meet-up and Twitter Chat

Hope you’re all enjoying December so far and that you’ve got those final MagCloud orders in for the holidays!

For your viewing pleasure, below are a few shots from our recent holiday meet-up at the Press Club in San Francisco. Be sure to follow MagCloud on Instagram to see the latest and greatest from our team. We look forward to seeing you at our next meet-up in the new year!

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MagCloud’s Chief MagClouder Andrew Bolwell and
Marketing Mixologist Patty Tulloch at the MagCloud Meetup.
 

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All the awesome MagCloud publications at our meetup!
 

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Hooray for new MagCloud fans and friends!
 

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Delicious food and wine from the Press Club
at the MagCloud Holiday Meet-up.
 

We also had a memorable Twitter Chat last week with Kyle Menard, editor of BRINK Magazine. There were quite a few inspirational tweets that we wanted to share with you. Below is a brief excerpt from the Twitter Chat – feel free to read our entire Twitter Chat via Storify.

  1. MagCloud
    Q1 – To start things off – @BRINKmag, how did you get started in publishing? #MagCloud
  2. BRINKmag
    Started with a vision & to create a guide for young professionals RT @magcloud how did you get started in publishing? #MagCloud
  3. MagCloud
    Q3 – Do you see a difference in behavior/interest between your print and digital readers? #MagCloud
  4. BRINKmag
    @MagCloud It’s a challenge, but readers want that hard copy AND the instant download of the latest issue. MC lets us provide that #MagCloud
  5. BRINKmag
    @MagCloud Definitely. Big digital numbers when an issue debuts, but it tapers off. Hard copy somewhat sustains through the year #MagCloud
  6. MagCloud
    That’s great to hear, @BRINKmag. Digital offers instant gratification while print gives longevity – makes it easy to go back to. #MagCloud
  7. MagCloud
    Q5 from @TONE_DOPE: “When will @MagCloud begin offering subscriptions & an oversized 10×13 print copy option? #MagCloud
  8. MagCloud
    @TONE_DOPE We’re looking at subscription models and new product types. We do offer 11×14 today. #MagCloud
  9. MagCloud
    Okay, @BRINKmag. Jumping back to you with question from our community, how do you see #mag publishing evolving in the future? #MagCloud
  10. BRINKmag
    @magcloud There will always be a place for print, but with trends, it seems essential that a publication have an app #MagCloud
  11. MagCloud
    Last question from our team, @BRINKMag – what advice do you have for magazine publishers starting out? #MagCloud
  12. BRINKmag
    @magcloud It comes down to being on top of your game (in whatever you do), being a leader in what you believe in & staying current #MagCloud
  13. BRINKmag
    Lay the groundwork, be prepared (cont) RT @magcloud – what advice do you have for magazine publishers starting out? #MagCloud
  14. BRINKmag
    Also, (turning the tables) what advice do you have for publishers? RT @MagCloud Do you have any questions for Andrew? #MagCloud
  15. MagCloud
    Answering your 2nd Q: Listen to your customers, focus on innovation, embrace change, and don’t be afraid to take risks. #MagCloud
  16. BRINKmag
    BOOM —> RT @MagCloud “Listen to your customers, focus on innovation, embrace change, and don’t be afraid to take risks.” #MagCloud
  17. BRINKmag
    Definitely going to be quoting some of that for the next few weeks @MagCloud! Great stuff. #MagCloud

MagCloud Holiday Meet-Up and Twitter Chat

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Hey Bay Area! Help us celebrate 2012 at the MagCloud holiday meet-up in San Francisco with our Chief MagClouder and his team. Hear about all the latest MagCloud products and services, and learn what’s in store for next year.

  • Who: Fans of MagCloud – from new to seasoned publishers and all our social media fans!  Not sure what MagCloud is? Stop by to find out!
  • What: Learn about what the MagCloud team is working on, ask questions, share feedback and win prizes!
  • When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11
  • Where: Press Club, 20 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco, CA 94103 (View Map)
  • Cost: FREE! Light appetizers and drinks will be served
  • RSVP: Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing in the comment section below!

If you can’t join us on Tuesday evening, you can still discuss all things publishing during our next Twitter Chat with one of our MagCloud publishers! The hour-long Twitter Chat kicks off at 10:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, December 11 on our MagCloud Twitter handle (@MagCloud) and will feature our Chief MagClouder Andrew Bolwell and BRINK Magazine editor Kyle Menard.

What are Twitter Chats? It’s simply a discussion conducted on Twitter, where you get to Tweet live with our Chief MagClouder and Kyle about, in this case, publishing as well as any other MagCloud questions you have on your mind.

How can you participate? Starting now, submit questions for Andrew and Kyle by either tweeting them to @MagCloud using the #MagCloud hashtag or ask them right here in the comments section of this blog post. We also encourage everyone to join our Twitter Chat from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. PST on December 11 where Andrew and Kyle will respond to your questions live.

As an added incentive, all fans who ask a question will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win a $25 Paypal MagCloud gift card perfect for you, your colleagues, friends, family, etc. to purchase your favorite publications on MagCloud.com during the holidays. The drawing is open to residents in the United States only. For the complete rules, see below.

Here’s a little more info about Kyle:KyleMenard

Kyle Menard sets his sights on achievable goals while keeping the big picture within his scope. After launching his own award winning magazine in 2009, BRINK, he continues to explore fresh and innovative channels to reach a bigger and broader audience while keeping the current audience engaged. He thrives on spreading the message of entrepreneurship, attainable goals and staying dedicated to a brand – the ultimate message of BRINK Magazine.

Don’t forget to follow our Twitter handle, @MagCloud, for the latest MagCloud news and updates, and ask those questions using #MagCloud or in the comments section here! Look forward to seeing you in-person or virtually next week!

The giveaway opens on Thursday, December 6, 2012. Entries must be submitted by 10:00 a.m. PST, Tuesday, December 11, 2012 and the winner will be announced via Twitter and our blog on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. The prize will be one (1) $25 MagCloud gift card and one (1) winner will be selected at random. All entrants agree to be contacted by Hewlett Packard for prize fulfillment. The drawings are open to MagCloud blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans that reside in the United States and are at least 18 years of age at time of entry. No purchase necessary to enter or win. There is no limit on the number of entries from any entrant, but each entry must be submitted separately as a Tweet using the hashtag #MagCloud on Twitter or as a blog comment on this blog post. Anyone found to be in violation of any of our rules or third party networks will be ineligible. Entries in this contest will not be carried over into subsequent giveaways or drawings.

Improved Discovery and Sharing

MagCloud just got a bit more social with our expanded sharing functionality.  You can now like, tweet, pin, and share your favorite print and digital publications from our website or within the web-based viewer. We’ve also given our storefront a pretty little facelift making it easier to discover, read and buy MagCloud publications.

New Sharing Features

Our enhanced features allow you to share a link from the publication details page or the publication itself with most popular social networks or via email.  You can also like, tweet, +1 or comment on a page or publication.

Share publications directly from our web-based viewer and the latest version of our iPad app.  While reading from with in the web viewer you can share a publication to your favorite social network, send via email, or  grab a link and/or embeddable widget to include on your website or blog.

On the iPad you can choose to share a page or the cover and send via Twitter, Facebook or email directly to friends and colleagues.

Improved Storefront

We’ve also made it easier to browse and discover the tens of thousands of publications available publicly in the MagCloud storefront.

The redesigned storefront makes it easy to find and read free and purchased  digital publications directly from the website.  You can browse both print and digital publications by popularity, recommendation, category or search.

Let us know what you think of the new sharing functionality and improved storefront in the comments section below.

“Ask the Chief MagClouder” Twitterview

Our first “Ask the Chief MagClouder” Twitterview will take a closer look at our new large format products! It kicks off from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. PST on Tuesday, July 17 on our MagCloud Twitter handle (@MagCloud) and our host will be Chief MagClouder Andrew Bolwell.

What are Twitterviews? It’s simply an interview conducted on Twitter, where you get to interview our Chief MagClouder about, in this case, the new large format products as well as any other MagCloud questions you have on your mind.

 

How can you participate? Starting now, submit questions for Andrew by either tweeting them to @MagCloud using the #MagCloud hashtag or ask them right here in the comments section of this blog post. We also encourage everyone to join our Twitterview from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. PST on July 17 where Andrew will respond to your questions live.

As an added incentive, all fans who ask a question will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win a $25 Paypal MagCloud gift card perfect for you, your colleagues, friends, family, etc. to purchase your favorite publications on MagCloud.com. The drawing is open to residents in the United States only. For the complete rules, see below.

Here’s a little more info about Andrew:

Andrew Bolwell loves to make things happen, and with over 20 years of high-tech experience, Andrew has spearheaded some of HP’s most groundbreaking business initiatives. Celebrating MagCloud’s fourth birthday, Andrew is excited to share new products and experiences that support the needs of MagCloud users. When he’s not steering the MagCloud juggernaut, crunching numbers and doing whatever it takes, Andrew can be found practicing his life philosophy that we’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.

Don’t forget to follow our Twitter handle, @MagCloud, for the latest MagCloud news and updates, and ask those questions using #MagCloud or in the comments section here! We hope to see you (virtually) on Tuesday, July 17!

The giveaway opens on Friday, July 13, 2012. Entries must be submitted by 10:30 a.m. PST, Tuesday, July 17, 2012 and the winner will be announced via Twitter and our blog on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. The prize will be one (1) $25 MagCloud gift card and one (1) winner will be selected at random. All entrants agree to be contacted by Hewlett Packard for prize fulfillment. The drawings are open to MagCloud blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans that reside in the United States and are at least 18 years of age at time of entry. No purchase necessary to enter or win. There is no limit on the number of entries from any entrant, but each entry must be submitted separately as a Tweet using the hashtag #MagCloud on Twitter or as a blog comment on this blog post. Anyone found to be in violation of any of our rules or third party networks will be ineligible. Entries in this contest will not be carried over into subsequent giveaways or drawings.

MagCloud’s on LinkedIn

As you may have noticed, we’re hard at work to make sure we’re meeting our community where you already live: Facebook and Twitter. But many of you are also working professionals with a presence on the world’s most popular business networking site, LinkedIn. So today, we’re excited to announce our latest online presence, Publisher’s Corner on LinkedIn. This LinkedIn Group was created to act as an additional resource for the MagCloud community. On the Discussions tab, you can share everything from your thoughts on the latest trends in digital- and print-publishing, to the design tips you find indispensable, to your distribution strategy. The Promotions tab can be used to share information about webinars, trainings and other promotions the community might find beneficial. There is even a place to list job openings and discuss opportunities you’ve heard about but want insight from other publishers and group members before pursuing.

We invite you to participate in any ongoing discussions or start one of your own. Connect with other members of the community and trade industry news. LinkedIn is an ideal venue for meeting others in your professional field, and we hope Publisher’s Corner will generate stimulating discussions to the benefit each of you. On that note, you will gain the most from this Group if other influencers throughout our industry join the conversation. Feel free to share the Group with your LinkedIn network and help us build a solid community of digital- and print-publishing professionals.

We hope you’ll visit soon and often. The MagCloud team looks forward to engaging in some great conversations with you.  See you there!