Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ladies of Letterpress Conference: Social Media

If you have been following my blog, facebook, or twitter accounts - you are well aware that I attended the first Ladies of Letterpress conference two weekends ago in Asheville, NC. 

The organization is relatively new - it was started a couple of years ago by printers Jessica C. White and Kseniya Thomas and now has over 1100 members. The conference took place at the Renaissance Hotel in Asheville for panel discussions & a trade/printer's fair, and also at Asheville Bookworks, a community printshop. Experts demonstrated various techniques related to printmaking. 

Ever the nerd, I took lots of notes on the discussions and demonstrations that were particularly relevant to me. I took a few photos, but ended up more frequently opting for pen & paper to scribble comments instead of reaching for my camera. 

I'm still trying to wrap my head around social media and I found the "Tweeting in Lead" panel very helpful. I've typed out my notes for anyone who's interested.

Social Media & Letterpress
Nole from Oh So Beautiful Paper graciously shared lots of tip about blogs. She addressed the importance of keeping your own blog with your own work, but also submitting to editorial blogs (like hers, or others).

Blogging for yourself:
- Let your client & potential clients get to know you better: post recent work that displays what kind of work you do. Also post about things that let them know who you are: design influence, color palettes, food, music - but keep it related to your personality & brand. She pointed out that a blog is basically a virtual interview. 
-  SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Nole recommends choosing a few key words that describe your brand, or words that people would type in a search engine to find you. These words should be sprinkled throughout your posts and also image names should include there words. Also, for better SEO results, your blog should be apart of your website (ex:
- Blog on a regular schedule: clients may assume you have switched gears with something else if you haven't blogged for three months or so. Also, its generally better to have consistency in the frequency of your posts. 
- Build blogging into your work schedule. If you keep a blog, it should be given its own time slot, just like responding to emails. 

Getting featured on editorial blogs:
- PR = free editorial media, Marketing = paid media. With PR, it is a case of quality over quantity. A well done editorial blog post may be more beneficial than a paid small advertisement on a blog. 
- Read the submission guidelines & submit a complete package.
- Nole does NOT recommend sending a generic introductory email that says "Hi here's a link to my website" - blog editors don't have time to poke around your site.
- Make sure your work is in the aesthetic of the blog you are submitting to. Find appropriate blogs to match your style.
- Know your goal for submitting. Is it to get more clients? Enhance your SEO? More brand visibility? 
- Submit to one blog at a time. Quality over quantity. That said, its ok to give the recipient a deadline for which to respond to you. If you don't hear back, follow up once and then it is fine to move on to the next blog. 
- Use their real names (ex. Hi Nole, not Hi Oh So Beautiful Paper). It shows you know the blog and have done a bit of research.
- Never send press releases to blogs. A press release says "Here is some news about me" not "Here is something worth blogging about."

Allison Chapman from Igloo Press gave some social media insight from a printer's perspective. A few points & suggestions that I found helpful:

- Consider having 2 twitter accounts, one for yourself and personal comments, and one for your business and studio updates.
- The number of twitter followers is not important. What matters is how engaged your followers are. Are they making purchases? Coupon codes are helpful for this purpose. 
- Use Facebook & Twitter to explain what letterpress is by showing recent projects and works in progress. Give a sense of what your studio feels like - make it a destination.
- Split your facebook posts & tweets between informational, fun, and sales pitches. 

Happy tweeting! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Julia Child: My Life in France

I finished reading Julia Child's My Life in France last week and wow, what an inspiration. I picked it up a few weeks ago, at the same time I was beginning to edit the text for my website. I was a little self conscious about my tone - I'm pretty happy go lucky, and tend to overuse the word "lovely." I wanted to be myself but not be over the top. As I was reading Julia, it dawned on me that she had her own unique, happy voice and I doubt it ever crossed her mind how she came across to others - she was strong in who she was. 

In addition, Julia has inspired me in so many ways. Her curiosity to research and experiment - when she wanted to teach Americans how to bake French bread, she didn't just throw together a recipe. She tried every possible flour, yeast, water combination. When she still wasn't yielding the results she wanted, she went to a Parisian baker who gave her some pointers. Months later she figured it out, due to her dedication to her craft. 

Another moment that stood out: after her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking was such a success, she dove in to write Volume II and also was just getting the TV program going. She and Paul were super crazed and debated putting off plans to visit friends in Provence. They looked at each other and said nothing is more important than friends; work can wait. As I am busy building my own career, I take this piece of advice to heart. 

To me, the book is about a woman filled with love - love for cooking, for learning, for teaching, for working hard, for her husband & friends, and love for her life. Thank you Julia! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Greetings from Asheville, NC

Down south in the Tennessee & North Carolina Blue Ridge mountains for the weekend. My parents have moved from the charming, historic Savannah up to vibrant and exciting Chattanooga. I've always felt at home in the mountains, and the view during my flight to Chattanooga was just breathtaking. Mom and I took a little road trip up to Knoxville to visit YeeHaw Industries Letterpress Studio (pictures to come) and had a great lunch at the Tomato Head. We are in Asheville for the weekend for the first Ladies of Letterpress Conference. I'm so excited to learn and to meet other ladies in the industry. Mom and I are sitting in my favorite bookstore/coffeeshop, Malaprops, catching up emails, but are about to poke around Asheville before the letterpress festivities start.  I likely will be tweeting during the conference so feel free to follow my tweets. Happy weekend!