Heading to a blog conference? Let’s talk business cards and media kits!

attending a conference

Tis the season for blog conferences and there are a few fun tips I’d love to share with you as you are planning ahead for the fun event! If you are a first time attendee I bet you’re already overwhelmed with excitement and anxiety! Trust me…blog conferences are the best places to meet new friend, network and meet with companies! You want to be prepared to make an impression with all of them and business cards and media kits can help you do just that!

Business cards at a blog conference are like baseball cards for girls! Ladies will be passing them out and trading them at every turn! Cute ones catch your eye, unique ones stand out! Some of the cutest and most creative cards I’ve ever seen were collected at a great conference and if the conference you are attending is catering to a creative crowd get ready to be blown away!

Now don’t freak out! It’s not a requirement to have an over the top business card! In fact for the past three years I’ve handed out my simple two sided card with no bells and whistles attached and felt pretty darn good about them. As long as you have the basics covered on a business card you are set!

 business card

 As long as you have the basics on your business card you are ready! Making sure you have all the important contact info clearly listed is key! Optional things you can also add to a business card are more  for personal preference. If your inbox is your arch enemy and you prefer to communicate over the phone then by all means add your phone number! If you are super smart phone savvy and want to add a QR code then go for it!

If the design of a business card is freaking you out don’t be afraid to hire a pro. Simple Business card design can be more affordable then you think. $20 or more will get you a great design that you can then upload to a site for printing. Ask around and see who does great design work. This is also a great service to trade for. If you sell ad space on your blog approach a designer and ask if they would be willing to trade design work for a month of ad space!

Check out the following designers who offer business card design work at a great price…

Creative Kristi Designs $15 or $20 for two sided cards

Sparkle and Crafts $15 or $20 for two sided cards till April 30th, mention this post for discount.

Bella Creative $25 card design

(If you design business cards and can offer your skills for a good rate, add your link to the comments section and list your price!)

I love www.vistaprint.com for business card printing! Easy to upload to, great quality and fast delivery! I do upgrade to a heavier paper and get a two sided print. And always order more then you think you’ll need!

Now you can totally stop here when it comes to business cards! Like I said, I passed out simple cards for years but if your personality or blog sites would lend it’s creative juices to every other department in your life, why not let it leak into your business cards as well! You will quickly learn that there are so many fun ways to spice up even a basic business card once you have them printed. It’s all how you present them!

If you are a seamstress why not run your card through your sewing machine and add a simple stitch effect! If you blog about kids crafts why not tie on a crayon and really stand out from the crowd. Customizing your cards is a fun way to show off your personality and make an impression. And don’t think you have to jazz up every card you pass out! If you know great companies will be there that you might have an interest in working with, why not create a handful of “special” cards just for them. This takes away the overwhelming task of creating 300 cards that drip with personality!

Check out how I spiced up my simple printed card with minimal effort and supplies…

DSC00148

DSC00149

Cute mini velum envelopes found at Micheal’s Craft store and washi tape from Target ($4 for a 4 roll pack!) takes a simple card and turns them into a cute package! These are the cards I created to pass out to business and companies. The velum Chevron envelopes mimic my Facebook page header and are in my signature color!

Don’t get stressed out about making super adorable cards. The truth of the matter is only 10% of attendees will be going all out!

media kit

Media kits?!? What the heck! This might be the first time you’ve ever heard of a Media Kit so let me hold your hand and walk you through it. Not everyone will need a media kit but eventually you might so here’s the 411 on what it is, when you’d need one and what to include in a media kit…

A Media Kit is gathered information that talks about your site, yourself, your accomplishments and your stats. It’s a fancy resume of sorts but of course all cute and full of info!

DSC00154

Here’s what mine looks like. I have 4 main points of interest.

“About BCD”: I talk about what my blog is all about. I touch on the topics I write about, companies I have worked with and what a first time visitor would find on Blue Cricket Design. I also include how long the site has been running.

“About Me”: This is where you gush about yourself! HA! No really. This is where you talk about all your accomplishment that have to do with your blog and your interests. If you are known for a specific skill then mention it here. If you have been involved in a huge campaign mention it.

“Press”: This is where you list all the fun you’ve been involved in. If you have been featured, published in print, appeared on tv, been on the radio or gotten other media attention, list it here.

“Stats”: List your current stats for monthly page views, facebook fans, pinterest and twitter followers etc. This gives a realistic view of what your reach is. This section of your media kit will need to be updated regularly.

And lastly be sure to have contact info listed. Mine is on the very bottom and I included my web address and email address.

***

So now that you know what a Media Kit is and what it includes the next question you might be asking is why would I need one? Lots of companies who work with bloggers are looking for this information! If you had all of it in one place then it shows that you are ready and mean business. A printed media kit at a blog conference is the perfect tool to hand a company you want to work with! You can also use this as a digital copy and email it to companies. Some companies will even ask for a media kit. Just be ready!

I attached my business card and was ready to rub elbows!

DSC00156

The last conference I attended I researched who was going to be there and found out a rep from a book publishing company was going to be in attendance. Because I did my homework I was prepared! I printed off my latest e-book “Kids in Training” and made a package that included my media kit, business card and book. It was presented nicely and ready to be handed off!

Take advantage of a conferences website. Check out the sponsors, which companies will be in attendance and who you might want to make time to visit with. Some per-conference homework will go a long, long way! Take the time and get prepared. You are spending a lot of time and money to attend these gathering so take advantage of all they have to offer and be prepared!

SNAP! is just around the corner! So sad I might not be able to come this year, I’ll either have a brand new baby or be ready to pop any minute! Be sure to get business cards ready and have enough fun for the both of us! What conferences are you attending this year?

22 Comments

Making a Facebook “Fan” page profile banner

Awhile back I created a new profile photo for my “Blue Cricket Design” fan page! I loved the idea of making the fan page feel more like a business page then a regular profile page and I think by creating a skyscraper photo it does just that! It’s also a fun way to display more then one photo and your logo!

If you remember I shared a “How to create photo collages in picnik” tutorial recently and if you follow those same instructions but chose the single photo, three row option, you will get a similar look like the one I created for my page.

I also rounded the edges and added a drop shadow frame. When you uploaded the new image to your facebook page you will want to be sure to adjust the thumbnail shadow to just highlight one of the images from your collage. It’s that easy! IF you create a new profile image let me know! I’d love to see it! Link your facebook page in the comments!

 

13 Comments

Blogging tip: Using Collages in tutorials!

I for one can appreciate an easy to read tutorial! I love a good clean minimal look that makes following directions simply and fast! Over the last few years of blogging I have learned a few ways to help make tutorials reader friendly! Today I’d like to talk about Collages and how to create them in Picnik, a FREE online site, to help declutter your posts and make them reader friendly!

You may notice that I use a lot of 4 grid collages in my posts! I bet you thought you needed to be skilled in Photoshop to create these grids but the reality is you DON’T!
By using grid collages you can put 4 images in the same space as 1 to make your posts shorter and more appealing to the eye!

 

Fist things first… log onto to Picnik and get to the main page and click the “Get started now” button!

 

1. Upload a photo from your computer. When the photo appears as a thumbnail click and drag it to the quadrant in the collage. Do this 4 times until you have filled the 4 quadrant collage. You can move a photo from one quadrant to another by clicking the photo and dragging it to a different quadrant. If you added a photo you no longer want to use just upload a new photo and crag it on top of the photo you want to replace.

2. Choose your back ground color. I always use white becasue I think that looks best.

3. Use the rounding tool if you’d like to round the edges of your photos.

4. Click the done button.

 

Adding a drop shadow frame

 

1. Click open the “Frame” tab.

2. Click the “Drop Shadow” button

3. Click the “Transarant Background” box.

4. You can make adjustments in that drop down menu and then click “apply.”

 

Adding text

1.  Now it’s time to number each photo so you can do a numbered description in the tutorial.To add text click the “Text” button!

2. Pick your font.

3. Add your text in this box.

4. Click and drag your text to the exact place you’d like it to appear.

4. This box is where you will change the color of the text, size and appearance.

 

Resizing your photo

1. Click the “Basic Edits” tab

2.  Click the “resize” tab and adjust the  numbers according to what size you’d like to make the image. For consistence I always make my collage for my tutorials the same size: 450 x 450.  Yours might vary based on the width of your blog.

3. Click the “Apply” button

4. Lastly click the “Save and Share” tab.

To save the new image

1. Rename the image.

2.Click “Save Photo” button

Now you have a new image you can insert into your post! Under your new collage you can now describe the step by step process to create your project!

This really makes following a tutorial easy and helps make your blog look nice! Hope it helps!

 

15 Comments

Halloween fun with Picnik

You guys have heard of Picnik right? It’s a FREE online photo editing site that makes editing photos super simple! You don’t need photoshop to make your photos look great! I use Picnik all the time to crop, add text, make collages, add drop shadows , frames and round the edges of photos. Yo’ll notice I make a lot of 4 photo square images when I make my tutorials, picniks my go to site to help me in my blogging!

And right now they have some pretty fun Halloween effects you can use to spookify your photos!

For this spooky photo of Cricket I added Vampire eyes, fangs and fooled around with her skin tone! When I showed it to her she loved it! What a fun way to play around with photos! How fun would it be to create a Halloween photo wall with spooky family photos! Happy editing my ghosts and goblins!

1 Comment

How to break into the blogging world!


I’m the first to admit I’m no expert when it comes to knowing everything about how to become a great blogger! I, once upon a time ( just under a year ago!), started blogging for “REALS” myself and started off like so many of you! I was excited to record and share my adventures and wondered if anyone else would even care!

Over time I’ve learned a few tricks and discovered that there definitely were some rules to follow and ways to grow my blog and reach the goals I set for myself!

I’ve been receiving a ton of emails lately asking for advice on how to break out in the blogging world! After answering a handful and seeing a huge interest in knowing more I came to conclusion that I needed to write a post about what I’ve learned!

So take it for what it’s worth! Here are a few tips and tricks that have brought me success when it came to growing my site and gaining an amazing readership…

  • Figure out what your blogs main focus is! Define your niche and hone in on it! What’s your angle? Are you an amazing cook? Do you love fashion? Are you refining your domestic skills? Are you passionate about green living, home schooling or raising exotic Birds? Narrow in on your specialty and dive head first into focusing on THAT! You will be more identifiable if you have a focus! You’ll see why a little more later!

  • It’s important to get the word out that you’re starting up this new adventure! Start where you already have an audience! Announce it on your family blog, on facebook, twitter or in an email to family and friends! Simply let others know that you’ve started a blog where they can see your thought on ( fill in the blank!) This is an important start! It’s best to get the support of those who know you best! They will be your most loyal and most proud of your new gig!

  • Now branching out and gaining new readers! The best way to get your new site out there is to register it on as many search registries as you can! It’s as easy as registering on sites under the category that best fits your topic! This is why having a specific topic is important! In my case I register under “Hobby” or “Craft” as my category! This way when people go to these popular search sites and want to find a new “Hobby Site” they can now find you listed! Here a just a few sites you can register your blogs on…

http://www.themomblogs.com/
http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/index.php
http://www.5minutesformom.com/our-readers-blogs/
http://www.mommyblogs.com/
http://www.liquida.com/
http://www.thesitsgirls.com/
http://www.mormonmommyblogs.com/
http://www.blogupp.com/

  • Link! Link!Link! Another great way to get seen is to link at other sites that share your same topic! Chances are that their readers will be interested in what you’re working on too! I link to other linking parties every day! It’s one of my daily tasks for promoting my site! I’ve gained tons of new readers because they came to my site via a link and took a longer look around to see what else I had done! They liked what they saw and have become loyal followers! Check out THIS LINK to see the many other sites that have linking parties going on throughout the week! And if you ever plan on hosting a linking party on your own site
    PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! use Mcklinky!!! It’s the most user friendly and makes it easy for your visitors to link up multiple posts! Trust me! The other linking features out there make it harder to link up and I tend to skip over those parties because it’s so much more work!

  • Create a button that others can grab and throw on their blogs! I know! I know! I’m the worst example of this trick! My buttons have been under constructions for months! Consider it free advertising! Create an attractive button that they can easily grab its html code and post it to their site! Check out THIS LINK to learn how to create a “Grab my button” code!

  • Make your blog attractive and welcoming to others! Think about the blogs you love to visit! Besides their content I bet you like visiting because it’s tidy, easy to navigate and orderly. Be sure to have commonly looked for features like a way to contact you! I hate not being able to find an email address! I’m also less likely to visit a blog if it’s cluttered with all sorts of distracting buttons and too much going on. This may just be my personal taste but if you look at all of the top ranking blogs you’ll notice a clean look that is less likely to take away from the real purpose of the blog which should be their great content! Here are a few ways to help tidy up a blog:
  1. Create internal post that can highlight info that may bog down your blogs main page. Thing like linking party buttons and a blog roll. Create Tabs that take you to that information rather then having them displayed in individual posts or in side columns.
  2. Avoid flashy and rotating banners or buttons or at least multiple ones. Too much movement can be distracting.
  3. Use consistent sizing when considering ad buttons and other tab sizes. If things look uniform and fit nicely together it will be more appealing.
  4. Try not to change your site too often. People like to know where they are when they come for a visit! It’s like moving the furniture around…People get used to sitting in the same place and then all of a sudden the favorite seat in the house has gone all switch-a-roo! If you find a layout and design you like stick with it for a while!

  • Rub shoulders with other great bloggers! A great way to do this is by featuring others, blog swapping and inviting other great sites to participate in some way on your own site! It give you a chance to hopefully draw from their readership and link creative communities!

  • Be approachable and nice! Kindness goes a long way! I have developed some wonderful new friendships and relationships with some of the biggest bloggers out there! A lot of their success has to do with the fact that they are kind, willing to help and encouraging! If you want to be big like they are some day BE NICE! It’s important to blog kindly, email kindly and be aware that people care what you think of them! Just because we don’t have face to face time with each other you will be responsible for the relationships you create with your readers! This is more important then you think!

  • Always be in control of your content.Never endorse a product, person or site that you don’t want to no matter what you might gain from it! If you host another blogger on your site and feel their guest spot isn’t representing the integrity of your blog remember that it’s YOUR BLOG! Edit, shorten, kindly ask for a revision but don’t forget that everything that appears on your site represents you!

  • Great content speaks for itself! The proof is in the pudding people! The best way to grow your site is to have great content! You can’t fool the masses! If you have great content the readers will come! Be true to yourself when you blog! Blog how you talk in real life! Be original! Give credit where credit is due and take good pictures!

Again… I’m no expert! These are just things that have helped me along the way! It’s not a fast road to instant success! I tried a few things that didn’t work but these tips have! It’s hard work people! It’s also incredibly rewarding! Opportunities will open and relationships will be made all because of your crazy idea to start blogging about something you love!

So go for it my friends! Good luck and happy blogging!


60 Comments

Adding a Signature to your blog post!

Have you guys noticed my fun new signature in all my post!!
It’s easy to add and you can customize one quick and easily!

Here’s the 411 on how to add your own Signature!

First jump on over to:
Online Personal Signature Maker!

Follow the easy step by step instructions! They will walk you through all your options! You can even scan your own handwriting in or search their endless options! I searched their options and had over 100 styles to chose from!

Style, size, color, and tilt are all up to you! Talk about Customized!

My one recommendation is to click the “Transparent” option when picking your background color! That way if you ever change the color of your blog background it will seamlessly translate and you don’t have to redo it!

Once you have created a fabulous signature get the html code! There will be a button to create it! Now we need to add it to our blog and place it in a spot that will AUTOMATICALLY have it in every post!

  • Go to your dash board
  • Click the “Settings” Button
  • Find the “Formatting “Button and click it!
  • Locate the “Post Template” and you’ll notice a box to it’s right.
  • Paste the html code for your signature in this box!
  • Save your settings!

And there you go!!! Your very own Customized Signature!

** It won’t appear in any of your old post. It will start to appear in each of your new posts!

Now wasn’t that easy!

89 Comments