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The History of Typography – Animated Short by Ben Barrett-Forrest

I thought this 5 minute video on the history of typography by Ben Barrett-Forrest may help you as you wade through the thousands of fonts available. As you design your logo and marketing message, the fonts/typefaces you choose will say a lot about your company before they read any further. Choose with care and by running it by your potential target audience.

Before I go any further, Comic Sans has NO place in business correspondence, marketing materials and the rest. Just stop.

Fonts not only affects your branding, but your communication with others. Let’s start at the top:

BRANDING/LOGOS and TAGLINES:

Assuming you have a great designer and not a “$99 Logo special” designer, let them do their job and create the lettering for your company name and tag line that reflect your mission statement and appeal to your target audience and future clients.

This needs to be legible at many sizes and resolutions. If you do any type of banner advertising, keep it clean. If it is very small – can you actually read it or do you need to lose the tagline for small ads and stay with your memorable logo?

WEBSITES: INCLUDES BLOGS AND SHOPPING CARTS:

RESPONSIVE sites – that means many devices can still display your site so it is clear, easy to navigate and not frustrating. But did your fonts go along for the resizing ride? Can they be rendered clearly? Before you commit to a font run a test page on ALL devices and ALL browsers to see how they render. Do this from DIFFERENT computers as some people may not have some fonts installed. This is the time to decide on HOSTED fonts for your site, STANDARD or GOOGLE hosted fonts.  See a previous post on Webfont Smackdowns

CORRESPONDENCE: EMAIL SIGNATURES

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Resist the temptation to create a chaotic signature in your emails that is filled with colored and multi-sized fonts. Pull your act together and settle down. Also, only include no more than three links in your signature. Create a catch all connect page on your site or use your about.me profile. Too many links in an email can toss your thoughtful communication into the spam folder.

As for the body of the email, go with the basics. Arial is there for a reason – it’s EASY to read on all devices.

Flight or Fight School: Planning for a Crisis by Susan Finch

A crisis communications plan is critical for all businesses. When you are in crisis is too late. Join me as we hear from Marketing Communications Expert, Linda Zimmer . Linda is person to follow, know and learn from. 
She can be found EVERYWHERE that is digital and is called upon from companies and institutions around the world for guidance, planning and education. 

Highlights include:
13:03 – What is a REAL crisis? It’s in REAL time and needs to be dealt with NOW
13:48 – Small businesses need a plan more than ever because one crisis can take out your company.
14:15 – Remembering how the big change in Google search semantics has affected many small businesses who relied on keyword stuffing, SEO the “old way”
14:45 Google can change their algorithms overnight – if that’s what you count on, then that has be part of your plan.
20:15 – Social media is about
23:54 – Know what your company represents
24:11 – Without a known message and tone, your response can become fragmented causing more damage to your company than the crisis itself
30:29 – seeking legal council with your plan
37:39 – GEM: Know the difference between being right and being effective.
40:00 – GEM: Ask the question, “What can derail our success?” – those are your hotspots
44:28 – Caution against only relying on online media to get your crisis situation plan deployed. You need to include more traditional forms of communication because perhaps it’s your site and the internet that have gone down and your phone lines are exploding with frustrated customers.
51:00 – Who is creating your corporate message and maintaining it online? Was it the intern? The person who no longer works there? You need to have access to ALL accounts

GRAB EVERY PROFILE/VANITY URL with your name, your company name or brand name or someone else will. This will give a consistent message and the public will know it’s coming from you and will not be confused.

This is not an event to be missed. Linda, who is a collaborative, liquid being said it would be great to get a couple of additional experts in the discussion in the filmstrip. If you think yourself an expert on this topic and would want to join in, please let me know.

You can get to know Linda Zimmer better here:
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lzimmer
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lgzimmer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/znetlady/
MarcomInteractive: http://www.marcominteractive.com/

Susan Finch – Marketing, PR & Web Pro for DECADES!
With a background in public relations and advertising since 1986, Susan is a “gentle guide for clients trying new venues online.” She engages those skills as she helps create an online presence that will appeal to existing and future clients and/or investors. All these factors are considered before she constructs a suggested plan for clients. It goes way beyond an online presence. SLMA (Sales Lead Management Association)Director.

Web: https://susanfinch.com
Google+: http://plus.google.com/+susanfinch
Twitter: http://twitter.com/susanfinchweb
Shout-out: http://binkypatrol.org

If I had a nickel…Webmaster Transitions: Pleading Ignorance Doesn’t Fly by Stephan Hovnanian

f I had a nickel…Webmaster Transitions: Pleading Ignorance Doesn’t Fly
It used to be that you would have “the guy” and he would hold the keys. Uh, BAD IDEA. It’s YOUR presence, YOUR domain, YOUR email, YOUR BRAND.If you decide to part ways for whatever reason with “the guy” there are a lot of aspects of your web presence that you will want to get a copy of. 

We have been on both sides of this discussion, as providers helping our clients move to new providers, and as the new provider for a client who has dumped, been dumped or simply parted ways with a web services provider. Years of hard lessons are now coming to you, free of charge so you are prepared to make that switch when the time comes.

========OUR FEATURED EXPERT========
Meet MaAnna Stephenson:
MaAnna is a geek who can still speak in plain English and helps solopreneurs, small businesses, and non-geeks create sites that gets noticed by search engines and readers. Whole-site setup, consultation and training including WordPress, SEO, content, conversion, security, performance, MailChimp, and memberships.

MaAnna’s links:
Web: http://www.blogaid.net
Google+: http://plus.google.com/11681655725768…
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BlogAid.net
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlogAid
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/maannastep…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlogAid

========Your Series Hosts========
Susan Finch – Marketing, PR & Web Pro for DECADES!
With a background in public relations and advertising since 1986, Susan is a “gentle guide for clients trying new venues online.” She engages those skills as she helps create an online presence that will appeal to existing and future clients and/or investors. All these factors are considered before she constructs a suggested plan for clients. It goes way beyond an online presence.

Web: https://susanfinch.com
Google+: http://plus.google.com/+susanfinch
Twitter: http://twitter.com/susanfinchweb
Shout-out: http://binkypatrol.org 

Stephan Hovnanian – Web strategy, Google+ for Business
Stephan Hovnanian is a web strategist and email marketer for Shovi Websites, author of the Google+ Pro Tips series of ebooks on Amazon, and host of a weekly webcast called Google+ Business Spotlight. Stephan distills the content and advice out there on the Web into useful and applicable ideas to help your business make the most of its online presence.

Web: http://www.websighthangouts.com
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+StephanHovna…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stephanhov
Shout-out: http://gplusspotlight.com

The Mia Connect Power Chat – Design, Graphics & Shiny Images! by Mia Voss

 We definitely got on our learn on with guest panelists Aaron Wood, Jeff Sieh, Ryan J. Rhoades & Susan Finch on this episode of The Mia Connect Power Chat. Topics covered: graphic design, video, marketing, branding, shiny objects & how we can all work together:

Check out the Guest Panel List of Fabulous:

+Jeff Sieh – +His Design  – If you’ve ever seen any of those cool trailer bumpers on #TheManlyShow , then you’ve seen his work! A little more about Jeff: Creative brain for hire • Visual storyteller • Social media consultant • Speaker • Humorist   #Indeed

Susan Finch  – #SusanFinchSolutions   – _Marketing, PR & Web Pro for DECADES! LOVE my clients_  She’s also a “gentle guide for clients trying new venues online” – LOVE this!

Ryan J. Rhoades – CEO & lead graphic artist at Reformation Designs. Ryan and his wife Laura bust out some great work! “We do everything from business cards and posters to abstract art, book covers, infographics and video.”

Aaron Wood  – He designs things. And draws things. He made a pillow with the word “Bacon” on it. And he knits. And he’s currently working on the logo for the +Food & Booze Show!

Optimizing Your YouTube Channel and How To Use It More Effectively

This is a recap of an HOA I participated in with +Mark Vang, +Sean Grace with commentary by +Jose Jimenez. We had a detailed discussion as to how to optimize and better utilize your YouTube Channel. Some of the thoughts here I added because they were NOT covered. Jose’s commentary is at the end.

Remember that YouTube matters because it is indexed heavily and people enjoy, seek out and rely on videos for how to, getting to know a company/brand and to be entertained. With those underlying goals in mind, you need to leverage as many channels as you can to appear in the results and continue to build your brand and message.

Ways to Use YouTube:

  • “How To” ideos to position your or your company as the expert.
  • Introductions to key officers, your company
  • Testimonials from clients or strategic partners
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Event recaps or broadcasts
  • Interviews with customers, strategic partners, key team members.
  • Book intros

Many times people toss up a video with a few lines of description. This is a missed opportunity if they end it there. When you create a YouTube video through YouTube, you are able to add a detailed description or recap about the video, mention your brand, your key services, add links to get more information. You can also fill it with key words. The initial tags/keywords suggested by YouTube are based on your description. You may also add more.

But is your channel ready? Have you seen it lately? Here is mine. Do you have a channel for your company or brand? If you are active on YouTube personally with silly videos of pies flying, people crashing and kitties, you may want to add a new channel specifically for business that is branded with your logo/message.

We also suggest you invest in a professionally recorded or a high quality video recorded by you introducing your channel and a description for that video telling people what they will learn and find on your channel.

How about that banner graphic? It should match your other banners across the other venues such as Google My Business, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook COMPANY PAGE, LinkedIn Company page. Drive home your brand.

Time for playlists. As we have covered in various social media venues, the 70/30 rule, or 80/20 rule applies here too. The bulk of what you share on YouTube or playlists you create should link to others, some may be purely for entertainment, some may promote your members, strategic partners, even your competitors to show groundbreaking information that can benefit all. BECOME THE SOURCE of information on your topic of expertise.

You can breakdown your own playlists by various subtopics such as:
Sports – Baseball, Sports – Football, Knitting, Crocheting – you get the idea. This allows you to add a playlist description – also helpful for SEO and your subscribers. Think of playlists as Instagram story buttons – group topics. You can add the same video to multiple playlists, too. You can upload the same video to another playlist if you have a different title and description. Sometimes one video covers two major topics and you want to target each of those audiences separately.

Your playlists can be embedded on your website playing a continuous loop. You can promote your playlists to others inviting them to embed your content on their site – this is great for membership organizations, strategic partners.

What about podcasts? Time to get more use out of your content. If you download the video from Youtube and pull out the audio only using your favorite tool. I use a variety of tools for this. You can then upload to your podcast channel on iTunes. I can also help you create a podcast site whether on Libsyn, Soundcloud, Podbean and others. You can also do this in reverse. I have a monthly radio show. It broadcasts as audio only. Sometimes I’ll record the show in a video venue to give me video of my guest. If they are audio only, I’ll get their headshot, company logo, etc. The audio file is posted to the radio site and I produce the video inserting in screenshots, images and sometimes video clips to enhance the audio and then I post it to YouTube. This takes more production, but depending on your guest and topic, it can be worth every extra minute.

Another idea for optimizing your YouTube channel – PSAs (public service announcements). How about creating a playlist of PSAs for your favorite charities or causes? Not only does it give people a better picture of your company and your ethics, interests and view of the world, it benefits the charities. Send them a note when you do this. They may also publicize YOUR channel. Everyone wins.

Here is a list of great examples of YouTube channels that will make you smarter, as gathered by Mashable. Visit these to see how it is successfully done. Try not to be intimidated, only inspired!

Lately I seem to be able to focus on one social media venue sprucing up a week. Any more than that and I’m not earning money and my head will explode. This week is YouTube – it will carry into next week. Look for updates to my channel including new intro videos, more playlists and reposting of some hangouts that I’ve participated in.

Social Media for Business – the Basic Four Explained.

With so many social media venues and methods, it can be daunting to first – understand what each one does and the main purpose, and second – how it can help your business. Some of the key elements are time-saving methods for business networking. They help establish you as an expert in your field and rewards your sweat and clicking with better search engines results — provided you are posting valuable content.

I'm dating myself here, but remember the days of having to go to the local photo reproduction house – not Costso – the really good ones to have transparencies made of your portfolio and then buy the holders and folders to package it professionally?  What about elaborately printed press kits; in addition to the unique papers, presentation folders, attention-getting trinkets, the postage had to be factored into the budget.

Social media has leveled the playing field for all talent, regardless of budget, provided you are willing to spend the time, write well, and have a good message.  These efforts are rewarded in true search engine results.  Let's focus on the top four social media sites that will cover the bulk of your needs to get the word out about your product or service: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They each have a unique place for your online followers, potential customers and existing customers. 

Read moreSocial Media for Business – the Basic Four Explained.