Tag Archive: advertising


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The last few months we’ve been conducting a series of test cases to once and for all prove out the overall effectiveness of public relations within the scope of an overall business communications success story. By the end of this series of reports, business owners and the communicators that help power their stories, will have several templates of PR success on a small scale, to apply to the larger scale projects some undertake. What our parent company, Pamil Visions PR has undertaken, any communications professionals can surely emulate. More importantly than this though, businesses for so long suspicious of marketing and PR strategies, will soon have a far better understanding of correct channel management.

What Is PR? Not Just Press Releases, Oh Please!

Once, PR was often at the head of marketing and advertising as the three dominant means of conveying message, and converting business. In the digital realm, marketing and ads naturally preceded a viable PR initiative. At least this is how Web 2.0 and ensuing digital business panned out. Now, agencies from the most powerful of all, Edelman and APCO, to an array of boutique PR firms and even so-called publicists finally play integral roles. My first two reports on this were featured on Social Media Today, as the next will be. I thought it appropriate though, that the first mention of a client of our firm should be here on Everything PR News. Part three of a series of reports to prove out for business how best to deploy the triad of marketing, PR, and advertising will show how story, and the right “mix”, even with some negative aspects, can still lead to very positive bookings ROI for hospitality players.

The long and short of today’s report focused on a Crete event, a hotel there, and an all too familiar “unwired” element that can crash any communications campaign. My previous articles referencing PR’s place in the promotion of all things digital dealt with generalities in the media outreach end of things, and to a degree social media might, etc. Part one focused on a hotel group in Scandinavia, and an individual effort to “heighten” that group’s visibility (Nordic Choice Hotels) unsupported by their PR and marketing team. While part two brought a major hospitality marketing firm into the picture (WIHP).

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Promotional Marketing by Suzanne Scholl

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Managing Social Media Chatter, Complaints, Conflicts and Crises image tips to avoid social media crisisWhat do Dominos, DKNY, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, the  Red Cross, KitchenAid, Applebee’s and Paula Dean all have in common?

They’ve all had painful social media mishaps. Some of these brands  were able to minimize the negative impact by handling their situations quickly  and wisely; others will go down in history as “socially awkward.”

With social media, you don’t have to be a big brand to have a big blow-up. A  little forethought and adherence to four basic guidelines will prepare you to  handle the occasional faux pas that may come your way.

Create A Social Media Plan

A social media plan outlines a your promotion and engagement  protocol, the platforms you’ll be using and even your daily routines. It should  also include instructions for dealing with potentially damaging situations. As  you’re developing that part of the plan, it’s wise to anticipate a wide array of  possible issues, no matter how off the wall they might seem, and determine how  you’ll handle each:

  • Identify the types of communications and the response each requires. A  customer complaint about your price should be handled much differently than a  rumor about product contamination – something that could turn into a full-blown  brand reputation crisis
  • Assign people within your organization to handle the situation based on the  type of communication. It’s easier to maintain a consistent and effective  approach if you categorize situations based on their potential “hazard” and have  the same people respond to the same types of situations
  • Develop an internal communications plan that puts everyone on the same page  regarding the company’s position and messaging around things like product  performance complaints, missed shipments, quality, etc. You don’t want one  representative flying solo and promising something the company can’t (or won’t)  deliver on
  • As part of your regular engagement strategy, encourage venting, sharing and  conflict discussion by your followers. Many companies are afraid of the  occasional negative comment, but giving your followers a way to share their  concerns gives you the opportunity to resolve issues and even have your  advocates help you out. It also presents you as confident, collaborative and  focused on giving customers what they’re looking for

Monitor

Many times, customer service issues are tweeted or posted  with the expectation that someone is watching on the other end ready to respond.  Because your community is undoubtedly talking, you have to be listening so you  can get ahead of the situation before it snowballs. Make sure you have an  effective process in place that:

  • Allows easy monitoring of all platforms on a single dashboard
  • Sends alerts triggered by keywords or hashtags signaling potential issues  for your company
  • Identifies spikes in engagement – this can be an early warning sign that  chatter’s picking up

Respond

How you respond to a situation can arguably be more  important than the challenge itself. A well-prepared, well-crafted response can  actually result in kudos for you and increase your followers – as in the case of  Burger King and DKNY. A panicked response can create bad press that’ll live on  long after memory of the crisis dies. So what should you do?

  • Acknowledge and clarify the specifics of the situation immediately
  • Respond authentically, not automatically
  • Be honest and transparent; admit if there was a mishap and what will be done  to rectify the situation
  • Encourage interaction with you, not community at large
  • Respond first on the platform where the communication started/took place. If  the flare-up happened on Facebook, respond there first – it won’t help to jump  platforms if the conversation and chaos are happening within another audience.  After that initial response, go ahead and expand to other outlets if you believe  the situation will “spread,” develop a dedicated microsite to house your  official responses and messages if the situation warrants, and direct anyone  interested to that site
  • Encourage company employees to use their own social media accounts to  share  information about an incident; make sure their messages are calm and  straightforward, not incendiary, and accurately reflect your company’s  position
  • Don’t delete community comments. Address them fairly and follow up off-line  with any individual trouble spots
  • Know when to take it offline – reach out personally. Sometimes people just  like to pick fights and nothing you say will dilute their ire. In many cases, a  phone call and sincere effort to rectify the situation keeps the situation from  becoming out-of-control

Review

Take a breath. The sun will still rise tomorrow and hopefully you’ve handled  the situation as well as possible. But now what? It’s important to do a  post-mortem to understand what worked, what didn’t and what needs to be changed  for future events. A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • What happened, why and was it preventable?
  • What was the resolution and what measures are now in place to keep this from  happening again?
  • What was the extent of the spread?
  • Did internal communication flow effectively?
  • Did the plan work as anticipated? If not, why not?
  • What long-term ramifications will need to be dealt with?

You can’t entirely avoid social media conflict and the potential it has to  cause problems for your brand. But by having a plan, being alert to what’s being  said, and tackling each issue quickly and appropriately, you’ll find that social  media engagement is a manageable process that will provide many more positives  than negatives.

Managing Social Media Chatter, Complaints, Conflicts and Crises image b94d13c5 ce6f 4499 b81e da8b468762e4

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Profile: Tami Wessley

Tami Wessley is VP of Client Services for Weidert Group, a full-service marketing agency based in Appleton, Wisconsin. Tami has spent nearly 20 years in both corporate marketing and agency environments focusing on strategic marketing and planning. As part of the Weidert team, Tami loves sharing the benefits of integrated traditional and inbound marketing strategies with clients. The best places to interact with Tami are Twitter and LinkedIn.

Follow Tami Wessley: Tami Wessley on the Web

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– And finally, do you want to learn a powerful new strategy that makes it easy to blast unstoppable, targeted web traffic to your website without having to lift a finger?

Then, read on!

LEARN MORE:

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Third Party Click Verification included free with every mailing.
Easy to use interface sends your email ad in two easy steps.
HTML or Text Ads can be sent with our service.
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NEW Feature! Specify exactly what day you would like your email ad sent.
NEW Advanced Targeting! Choose from hundreds of categories.
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10 DOLLAR SOLO ADS

 
Send Out Your Email Ad Safely In 3 Easy Steps

LIMITED TIME OFFER: Order our Weekly Service and receive up to 500 extra prospects per solo ad, so sign up now!

Step 1: Choose Your Ad’s Targeting Choose the type of people you would like your email ad sent to from our extensive list of demographic targeting categories. Click Here For A Complete List
Step 2: Enter Your Email Ad Into The Form Type the subject line and body of the email ad you would like your prospects to receive. Make sure to include your website address.
Step 3: Choose The Date You Would Like Your Ad Sent & Click Submit Choose the day you would like your email ad sent and click the submit button. We take care of the rest and we will contact you with a tracking page to monitor your email ad’s performance.

The 10DollarSoloAds Service is a sophisticated double opt-in solo email ad system that sends your email ad to thousands of fresh opt-in leads instantly. Just enter your email ad and click the send button and your email ad is on its way to thousands of fresh prospects.

 

If you have ever tired to sell something online then you have probably experienced the frustration of getting people to your website. Look no further, 10DollarSoloAds.com specializes in the type of highly responsive targeted solo email advertising that will get people to your website. Solo Email Advertising has consistently been one of the highest performing methods of online advertising. Send your email ad to thousands of targeted prospects safely and easily with 10DollarSoloAds.com When an order is placed at 10DollarSoloAds, we immediately begin the process of sending your email ad. Each email ad is reviewed by our technicians for errors before they are sent to your targeted prospects. When your email ad begins sending we send you a confirmation email with full tracking information from a third party tracking service. This allows you to track the exact amount of clicks from each ad, the IP addresses of each person who has clicked on your ad, and the timestamp of when they visited your website.

Third Party Click Verification included free with every mailing.
Easy to use interface sends your email ad in two easy steps.
HTML or Text Ads can be sent with our service.
FREE 24 hour email support from                                  a member of expert support department.
NEW Feature! Specify exactly what day you would like your email ad sent.
NEW Advanced Targeting! Choose from hundreds of categories.
15188_10200527694091135_1910906606_n

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Step 1: Choose Your Ad’s Targeting Choose the type of people you would like your email ad sent to from our extensive list of demographic targeting categories. Click Here For A Complete List
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The 10DollarSoloAds Service is a sophisticated double opt-in solo email ad system that sends your email ad to thousands of fresh opt-in leads instantly. Just enter your email ad and click the send button and your email ad is on its way to thousands of fresh prospects.

 

If you have ever tired to sell something online then you have probably experienced the frustration of getting people to your website. Look no further, 10DollarSoloAds.com specializes in the type of highly responsive targeted solo email advertising that will get people to your website.

Solo Email Advertising has consistently been one of the highest performing methods of online advertising. Send your email ad to thousands of targeted prospects safely and easily with 10DollarSoloAds.com

When an order is placed at 10DollarSoloAds, we immediately begin the process of sending your email ad. Each email ad is reviewed by our technicians for errors before they are sent to your targeted prospects. When your email ad begins sending we send you a confirmation email with full tracking information from a third party tracking service. This allows you to track the exact amount of clicks from each ad, the IP addresses of each person who has clicked on your ad, and the timestamp of when they visited your website.

Third Party Click Verification included free with every mailing.
Easy to use interface sends your email ad in two easy steps.
HTML or Text Ads can be sent with our service.
FREE 24 hour email support from                                  a member of expert support department.
NEW Feature! Specify exactly what day you would like your email ad sent.
NEW Advanced Targeting! Choose from hundreds of categories.

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Many organizations tackle the issue of customer service by just telling  their employees to smile.

Be polite. Never lose your cool. But isn’t that a little like closing the  barn door after the horses have gotten out?

Good customer service should be about a good customer  experience with your product. This begins with the relationship  your company cultivates with a customer.

Customer Service Is More Than Just Being Nice image customer service team skills1

This relationship will be tested by the entire process of the buyer seller  relationship.

1. The images and promises of the marketing campaign

People begin to form opinions of your company and products from the messages  they receive before they even purchase your product. Often, they receive these  images before they have even thought of buying. Will your images match the  experience?

2. The ease of ordering/purchasing the product

Once someone has decided to purchase your products or services, how easy do  you make it for them to do so. Is there someone to answer the phones or will  they get a voice mail message? Actually, many companies lose sales in this way.  Some people, who want to act now, will simply hang up and go on to the next  company that will answer their call.

Also, many leads are not followed up A message is left but no one gets back.  When the buyer does reach you, are your systems in place to make the purchasing  process as simple as possible? Buyers want to feel that they’ve made the right  decision in choosing your product. By creating an easy process for ordering, you  help them feel confident in their decision.

3. How well does the product live up to the expectations of the  marketing?

Your customer now has your product in his possession. Will it live up to any  hype used in the marketing  campaign? Or will there be a letdown when the actual product does not match the  expectations? Marketing is a powerful force. It will create expectations that  must be fulfilled by the product. When it doesn’t, it can create customer  satisfaction problems. Make sure your product matches expectations.

4. How well will the product live up to the expectations of the  customer?

In addition to the marketing message, a customer usually forms his own  expectations based on past experiences with similar products, observations and  conversations with others. Will this add to the experience or create a letdown?  Product must match expectations or exceed them. Anything less will create a  potential customer service problem.

5. When something goes wrong, how is it fixed?

Do you acknowledge that problems can happen? Have you decided how to satisfy  customers? Have you looked at the financial ramifications of your solutions?  Better yet, look at the product itself. If you find many customers with similar  products, perhaps it is most appropriate to address weaknesses in the product  itself.

6. What are the procedures?

Even with the best of products, problems can occur. It’s best to address  these issues beforehand. Decide what processes will be used to satisfy your  customers. Think about replacement and its cost, discounts, etc. If you are  going to replace a product, how quickly can you get it to someone? As a  replacement, it must take precedence over new orders.

Jo Ann Kirby, President of KRG Communications Group, has 20 years experience  in sales, cusotmer service, telephone sales, management with an extensive  background in training and development. Her background also includes extensive  B2B telesales management experience. Jo Ann has been published in The  Toastmaster, NAPPS Network and Commerce magazines. Jo Ann says:

Customers will tell more people when they’ve had a bad experience then when  they’ve had a good experience. Solving customer problems not only affects that  specific customer but many other people as well.

-Jo Ann Kirby, President of KRG Communications Group http://www.krgcommunications.com

7. Can your organization be easily reached or is the process frustration to  most?

Everyone has frustrating stories to tell about voice prompts that go nowhere.  They don’t cover your problem and they continually loop back into the system  without a way to speak to a live operator. Make it easy for people to speak with  someone. Test your systems thoroughly. Automation can be a great help and a cost  saver for organizations but it must be used judiciously.

8. Can the customer service rep actually help?

Customer services reps must be empowered to solve problems. They must be able  to do more than empathize and smile. Nothing is more frustration than a nice  customer service rep that is unable to resolve your problem. Give your staff the  appropriate information and training. Let them have responsibility and  accountability for their actions. Employees tend to rise to the level that is  expected of them.

Good customer service requires an ongoing examination of methods.

Making these suggestions part of your daily customer experience management  routine will start the thought process necessary to truly deliver world class  service.

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Author: Flavio  Martins     Flavio Martins on the Web Flavio Martins on  Facebook Flavio Martins on Twitter Flavio Martins  on LinkedIn Flavio  Martins RSS Feed

Flavio Martins is the VP of Customer Support at DigiCert,  Inc., and leader of an award winning global customer service team. As  a customer service blogger, and customer service fanatic, he’s on a mission to  show that excellent service can be consistent, simple, and easy. Blog: Win the  Customer! View full profile

 

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Increasing your brand’s visibility on Facebook won’t get you a $136.38 ROI per fan, but it will solidify customer relationships on the most important social network in the world.

Tactics to stay on your fans’ radar — begin with targeting their news feeds & making your updates count

This is part 4 of a 4-part series on using Facebook strategically. Updated a few hours after publication to include news from Facebook about its upgrade to Pages today. Also see: • Part 1: Demystifying how Facebook’s news feeds work • Part 2: 15 ways to increase your Facebook stature • Part 3: Cheat sheet: Key principles of social media marketing on Facebook

JD LasicaYour brand or business has a Facebook Page. That’s nice. Are you getting much traction, and is it worth your investment of time and effort?

I get the sense that many brands understand that Facebook needs to be an important part of their business strategy. But they’re fumbling the execution. What steps should your business take to increase your reach and visibility on Facebook and to turn supporters into paying customers?

And how will Facebook’s upgrade of Pages, announced today, affect managing your brand’s Page?

First, a dose of cold reality: Your brand isn’t reaching as many people as you think through its Facebook Page. Most people who “like” your Page never go back to it. Jeff Widman of BrandGlue found that 88 percent of Facebook members never return to a Page once they’ve clicked the Like button.

Your opportunity lies in engaging with fans through their News Feed. (Let’s call them fans until someone comes up with a better term.) But here’s a second harsh truth: Only 1 out of every 500 updates makes it into your fans’ critical Top News feed, which is how 95 percent of Facebook members get their updates (excluding mobile users), according to Facebook itself. (The percentage of Page updates visible in a user’s Top News feed may be even smaller today.)

Bottom line? Many of those status updates exquisitely crafted by your Facebook team will never be seen by the vast majority of your fans.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Several major brands — Starbucks (nearly 20 million Likes), Skittles (15 million Likes),  Adidas (7 million Likes), Best Buy (2.5 million Likes), Target (3.8 million Likes), Buffalo Wild Wings (3.9 million Likes) and others — have learned how to use Facebook intelligently, as a conversation-rich public square rather than as just another marketing/promotional channel. With the time users spend on Facebook now far exceeding the time they spend on Google, and with traffic driven by Facebook often matching or surpassing Google referrals, it’s time to turn your Facebook presence into a larger conversation strategy for your brand.

Here are 15 tips for your business to stay on your customers’ radar by increasing your visibility and reach on Facebook.

Connect Facebook to your website

1When Facebook unveiled a slew of social plug-ins last year, it benefited not only Facebook but businesses, too, by lowering the barrier for people to react to products and services. When someone clicks the Facebook Like button on your site, an average of 40 of their friends see it. Genius! (See Mashable’s use of it at right.) Other plug-ins include Comments, Recommends, Like Box and Registration — see which ones make sense for pages on your website. Twisted Oak winery, for example, lets people Like and post Facebook status updates about specific wine bottlings. As the Spaniards say: ¡Perfecto!

Find your rhythm

2You’ll want to post regularly: Try to get into the habit of posting every day — and certainly not just when you have a marketing announcement. One or two strong Facebook updates per day is better than a half dozen scattershot updates that fly by and don’t have the staying power to attract people’s feedback. You may find that you have a more active community that responds to frequent postings. Every brand is different, so  find the rhythm and pace that work for you. Use  Facebook Insights to see which updates resonate with your fans.

Use the 80-20 rule

3It’s not all about you. Brands starting out on Facebook almost uniformly focus on pitching themselves. What they eventually discover is that Facebook is about conversations. You want to stoke conversations and Include links to stories that are interesting, remarkable, sexy, funny or newsworthy — whether they’re on your site, blog or an outside website. Use visuals if possible — our eyes are naturally drawn to imagery. As a rough rule of thumb, post four status updates on items about outside news items or discoveries for every post promoting a product. And when you do mention a product or service, try to do so in a helpful  way.

Interact, be brief, be topical — and be human

Word-count

 

 

 

 

 

 

4Businesses obsess about creating perfectly tailored content. But the best content is short and snappy. Buffalo Wild Wings studied their most successful updates last year and found that, overwhelmingly, their most popular postings were 10 words or fewer (see chart above). Wow! While your updates are important, conversation is key. Facebook rewards genuine interaction. Strong interaction with your fans helps brands show up in fans’ news feeds. Use a wide range of conversational techniques: Educate, inform, entertain, be engaging. Comment on current events. Occasionally be provocative and invite passionate debate. Use the comments to say “thank you,” and, in general, don’t delete negative comments. Have a light touch, have fun in a smart, positive way and be funny if you’ve got it in you. Leave the copywriting and marketing-speak in the office. Let down your guard and be real. Or, as Buffalo Chicken Wings says, “Post like a friend, not a brand.”

Use the right media

Ikea-photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5As we covered in part 2, Facebook rewards certain kind of status updates — video, photo albums, Facebook Places check-ins — over others, like plain-text postings. So whenever you can, think visual. Retail stores like Ikea (image above) can easily add a homespun charm to their Facebook presence (“Posing on his Stockholm chair with his Barnslig curtains!… lol”). Use an under-$200 Flip HD camcorder, Kodak zi8, video-capable iPhone, Android device or the like to capture  live events, then upload it to Facebook or YouTube and share some details in your status update. Mix in different kinds of updates: interviews, contests, multimedia, events, photo albums.

Use @ tagging strategically

tagging-Facebook-Page

 

 

 

 

6 One of the most underutilized tools in Facebook is its tagging feature. When posting an update about a person, aligned brand or cause, be sure to type @ in your update field followed by their name. Facebook will automagically drop down a selection for you to choose from (see above). When you post it to your Wall, it will also post to the Wall of anyone you’ve tagged (maximum six tags per post). Think about when the person or business might welcome this. Just be careful: There’s a fine line between spam and content that you think is valuable. And use common sense: Never use a tag to slam a competitor. Also see “Some tips for new Facebook Page administrators” below for tips on how to tag — Starting today, brands can Like another Page as a Page and tag that way as well.

Target by location or language

7 Many brands aren’t aware that Facebook allows you to target your updates by location or by language. You can update fans about an event taking place in their city, let followers know about state-by-state product rollouts or speaking tours, or send important updates to people about a disaster in a confined area. You may have followers who speak languages other than English — they’d be thrilled with an update in their native language, assuming you have Page administrators with that skill set. Send an update in Spanish without alienating your English-speaking fans. Facebook Pages also allow you to target private updates to fans. These show up in a user’s messages folders, under “Updates,” although not everyone welcomes these missives. See more tips on how to target Facebook wall posts to specific fann.

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Every artist needs to keep visual records of their work—and whether you plan on selling your art right away or keeping it for years, you should always have up-to-date images ready to share.

In this tutorial I’ll explain exactly how to take great photos of your artwork, and cover a few VERY basic steps in Photoshop that will get your images ready for print or uploading onto the internet.

(And by the way, if you don’t have an online portfolio yet, check out foliotwist or Hands Free Artist Websites. I co-founded both of those website services, and they’re a big help for getting your art online.)

For those of you looking to make traditional 35mm slides out of your digital photos, I’ve included a link at the end of the article for that.

All right, lets get started. . .

After the paint is completely dry, take your painting outside on a sunny day. The natural outdoor light is much, MUCH better than anything indoors.

Find a wall, or any place really, where you can prop up your painting so that it stands almost perfectly upright.

Tilt-Camera

I’d suggest using a tripod with your digital camera to make sure that you’re taking perfectly steady shots.

No tripod? Don’t sweat it, a box works just as well.

When you take the photo, remember to tilt the camera slightly down to match the angle that the artwork is leaning – this will help minimize distortion of the original image.

Shadow-if-BrightIf it’s extremely bright, find somewhere that gives little shade, otherwise put the painting in direct sunlight.

Later on I’ve included a photograph which was taken on a really bright summer day in Idaho. I had to tone the sun’s intensity down just a bit so I placed my painting in a shadow.

Normally this won’t be the case, however.

Fisheye-Distortion

Many people have trouble with their artwork looking like it swelled up. That’s an issue with the camera lens, but it’s easily fixable.

No-Fisheye-Distortion

The solution is to use the “zoom” on your camera, and then back farther away from your art.  This will create a more natural amount of depth to the photo and keep those edges from bulging outward.

Be sure to fill the viewfinder of the camera as much as possible and then check to see that all the edges of your work are parallel with the edges of the viewfinder.  You’ll want to especially avoid these types of photographs:

Distorted-HorizontalDistorted-Vertical

Both of those distortions come from the camera not being dead center to the artwork.

Take several pictures because it won’t always be as easy to tell on the viewfinder whether or not there’s any distortion.  Once your images are up on your computer, you’ll be able to see for sure which photo is best.

When you’ve uploaded the photos to your computer, bring them up in Photoshop or whichever photo-editing software you use.  Although the next few steps will be based in Photoshop, you’ll be able to find something similar in any photo-editing program.

Here’s a picture of one of the paintings in my series of firefighting paintings from the local fire station. As you can see it’s photographed and in Photoshop to crop and correct.

Start

The first step here is to correct the contrast.  Although it’s a fairly good photo already, it’s a little dull compared to the real painting.

Contrast

In Photoshop, select “Image,” then “Adjustments,” then click on “Auto Contrast.”

After-Contrast

That did the trick.  Since it was such a sunny day the colors turned out great without needing any extra work.

Now it’s time to crop the artwork.

Crop-Tool

Select the “crop” tool from your tool bar and position it at one corner of the painting.

Cropping

Click and drag the tool to create a box of dotted lines.  Unclick at the opposite corner from where you started.

If you lined up the edges in the viewfinder while you took the photo, then you shouldn’t have any problems at this point.

You can see that everything outside the crop has been dimmed. You’ll want to zoom in to make sure that you’re cropping EVERYTHING out but the painting.

However, I usually crop just a TINY bit into the painting, which takes care of any slight distortions in the photo.

Finished

And there’s the finished digital image.  Save yours as a TIFF or PSD so that you don’t lose any file quality later on. Save it again as a JPG if you’re planning on uploading it to the internet.

Once you’ve got a digital portfolio, you might think about turning those files into 35mm slides you can carry around. If so, I’d recommend visiting iprintfromhome.com.

 

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There are many public relations professionals who joined Google+ and share articles and interesting findings on this network. Communities are great places to keep in touch with PR peeps who share the same passion and interests, to exchange ideas, get tips and feel the pulse of the industry.

Below are ten Google+ Communities you should consider joining. They are listed based on the number of members, and  cover a wide range of PR, communications and marketing aspects so that all the PR people on Google+ can find something that meets their interests.

  1. Marketing+ – A Community of Marketers. Mobile Local Social Search PR – has over 1700 members. This community invites its members to “assemble some brilliant minds in marketing and connect… so, we can help marketing NOT suck.” Many interesting articles here!
  2. Public Relations – A place for PR pros to talk about workflow, tools, tips, etc., – it is a community with over 1300 members sharing interesting and useful content in various categories.
  3. Social media – this is a community with over 1300 members. The official presentation mentions that beginners and seasoned pros are all invited to learn from each other.
  4. Online Marketing – A great community to talk about Online Marketing –  with over 1000 members, open for anyone who deals with SEO, PPC, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing, Display, analytics and any other areas of performance marketing. They also run monthly events for professionals working in the space.
  5. Social media – Discover How To Use Social Media For Your Business! – has almost 900 members and is a social media community devoted to helping businesses and marketers use social media more effectively.
  6. Online Marketing – Where SEO SEM Online Marketing and webmasters meet – is a community with over 600 members discussing SEO, SEM, online Marketing best practices and so forth.
  7. Search Marketing – The latest news, tips, articles, and discussions in Search Marketing – has over 500 members and it is a Google+ community that was created to bring you the latest in Paid Search, SEO and Social Media and as a platform for open discussions and idea sharing.
  8. PR and Public Relations – A Google+ group for PR professionals both in house and agency. This community has almost 300 members, but only few share content. However, the articles and recommendations you’ll find here will make you join the community dedicated to PR professionals from around the world.
  9. PR & Communications Professionals – Increase networking and facilitate discussions on industry trends. This community has over 260 members, but it is a community very relevant to PR pros so I simply had to feature it on this list. There are many categories with relevant and interesting topics, designed for industry professionals interested in the latest news and discussions about public relations, marketing, branding, social media and more.
  10. Inbound Marketing – all-in-one marketing resources is a community with over 260 members sharing articles and discussing SEO, social media, marketing, PR, etc.

Yes, I know, there is also Internet Marketing – A Network of Internet Marketing Professionals community, with over 1300 members, but I find the content on the other communities to be more interesting, and since it is a list of 10, this community gets a mention here.

Another important thing: yes, you will find some people and articles in more than one community. In the end, you can check these communities and see which one(s) are of more interest to you and then join them.

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About Violeta-Loredana Pascal

Violeta-Loredana Pascal has over 10 years of experience in PR, marketing and communication, and has been running her own PR agency, PRwave INTERNATIONAL for 7 years. She is passionate about reading, blogging and traveling – see Travel – Moments in Time. Follow her on Twitter – @violetaloredana (Romanian and English) and @TravelMoments (English only

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In some ways, “Local” holds the same allure and mystery of “Mobile” for the digital ad ecosystem. How can they be unlocked through automated, advertising strategies?

For both, aggregation of demand through display ad networks has been the automated answer – i.e. solutions like Google’s AdWords/AdSense. That’s great for indirect sales, or smaller websites without a sales team, but for larger websites, facilitating automated direct local ad sales at a national scale still seems a ways off.

Witness Business Insider’s move to the private exchange or marketplace model to close the gap between its direct and indirect sales of display advertising. And for this article, national, if not global, website networks Gawker Media and Thrillist Media Group declined to comment, which is perhaps indicative of a dearth of solutions for local, automated, direct ad sales.

To be clear, from a sell-side perspective, the reason for enabling automated “direct” would be the ability to access the premium that local advertisers would be willing to pay. Meanwhile, buy siders might want to get a first crack (via direct) at local audiences according to their campaigns’ geographic needs.

Ever hopeful, AdExchanger reached out to a group of executives in the online ad ecosystem to get their thoughts on the following:

What’s the key to unlocking a direct local ad channel for large, national, online-only publishers?

Click below or scroll for more:

Ben Kneen, Sr. Manager, Product Management, PayPal Media Network, PayPal

“There’s obviously a ton of money out there in local, but I think the first hurdle is that publishers are going to have to get comfortable with a pay-for-performance model. That’s how that market works today, and in my opinion, it’s the easiest path to draw dollars into a market clearly skeptical of display.

In addition to that, though, I’d like to see publishers have a spine when it comes to products – let people buy what they want and make price the consideration, not whether the targeting is available. That’s the lesson from the failed promise of private exchanges – publishers didn’t put any effort into productizing their private market offering, and no surprises, advertisers didn’t see any value.

Personally, I think programmatic premium is a much more immediate option to service large deals for existing clients and not so much the local markets precisely because they don’t need to make the leap from CPM to CPC and because those direct clients already largely know what they want to buy. I think folks should start there with their programmatic direct strategy and move to local as a phase two offering.”

John Ramey, Founder & CEO, isocket

“I’m a pessimist on this… at least for the next 5 years. The mechanics, cost of sale and service, relatively low dollar value of the buyer, and so on all roll up into a model that is just too hard today. To unlock it you’d need boots on the ground in locales (perhaps a job for the unemployed print/radio guys) using technology that allowed for super efficient self-service buying and campaign management (including build a banner, etc) with better attribution for offline results. Because local buyers just aren’t thinking too much about digital until someone walks in and says “I saw your banner ad” or they can see the attribution funnel down to their POS credit card purchase – right or wrong, that’s how the local SMBs will gauge success.”

Jay Wright, Sr. Manager, Display Revenue Operations, Cars.com

“At Cars.com, we do quite a bit of revenue locally, but I feel we have some built in advantages that would be tough to replicate if you operated in a different industry or vertical.

First, we have an endemic niche.  For us, that’s local car dealers.  They have established budgets and marketing goals and they are stationary targets for your sales team.  Perhaps the endemic customer base isn’t a requirement, but it sure makes it a lot easier to focus your sales and marketing efforts.

Second, we have a large in-market sales force.  For small business owners, there’s no substitute for personalized attention.  Even if you had something that is automated, you’d still need some minimum level of personal communication.  Remember, you are not just competing against Google AdWords.  You are competing for a share of their very limited marketing budget against companies like local TV, radio, print, and outdoor.  All of which appear in person to ask for their business.

Third, we have very little competition between local and national over the same inventory, which is partly by design and party good fortune.  How will your local customer feel about buying ‘leftover’ and “remnant” that isn’t sold Nationally?  Or in reverse, will National still have appetite for a placement that is already sold out in the top 10 DMAs?  It’s seductive to think that you can accept both sales at once, but in my experience, there is always some level of cannibalization.  This obviously isn’t an issue if you have so much inventory that you will never run out anyway.  But for many web properties there is a finite audience, so selling locally opens the door to evaluating Price/Quantity tradeoffs.  Thoughtfully evaluating your areas of overlapping demand is critical to success.”

Jim Spanfeller, Founder and CEO, Spanfeller Media Group

“Like most everything in the digital space, local is currently a victim of complexity and a lack of transparency.  How do I get it, what am I getting, when will I get it and so forth.  The flip side to complexity (at least in this construct) is control and feedback once you have mastered the nuance. But that mastery and the often opaque nature of online buying are huge friction points to scale. So somewhat long way around to saying that like the rest of the online ad ecosystem, transparency and ease of use will herald huge gains in local digital spend. And it is only a matter of when vs. if that these two things will happen. Here’s to hoping that when is sooner rather than later…”

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