Discover Which Of Your Products Attract Customers

This idea (quoted below from Society6) is smarter than it appears on the surface. I would not suggest Facebook as the only (or best) option to place the survey. I would not pay for boosting the post or using Facebook services to create the poll either. You can do it yourself, without spending anything but some of your time.

    • Create this as an image file with a few of your art creations displayed. (Come up with a few unique, different from each other creations).
    • Write up the information about this being a survey to measure the saleability of your artwork. Keep the explanation simple, short and readable.
    • Play with the image sizes for your artwork. Not too small and yet not so big people will be happily making copies rather than spending something to buy your original images or product.
    • Combine the explanation text and your images into one web graphic which you can post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, the sidebar of your website, anywhere…

You get to promote your work, your site and get information from the survey itself. Promotion without feeling like you’re selling anything is brilliant and works much better than straight sales promotion people are trained to ignore due to overkill.

What other ways can you create a promotion like this? Contests and giveaways, but those require more organizing and a prize to be sent. Simple is better.

2. Run a very simple survey on Facebook

A quick and easy way to survey is to setup a 4-design block of artwork and ask people to rank them in order of favorite to least favorite. Repeat as many times as necessary and narrow down to the most purchasable artwork. While a quick test of likes & comments is a good indicator of interest, you may discover differences between something people love and something people would actually hang in their homes. You want to lead with compelling work that is also likely to be purchased.

 

Write About the Same Stuff in a New Way

Writing about the day to day things and creating reports about things going on in your niche are not written about enough. You can read the full list on the original post. But, consider tackling the topics you write about over and over in a new way.

Write about how you write and research the topic and give sources for more information (the places you find your information). Write about something you did, outside of the Internet: an event you attended,  someone you met, something you left the building for.

From Copyblogger:

6. Behind the scenes

11. Field reports

How Many Manifestos Have you Written?

The CopyBlogger prompt for September is to write a manifesto. I feel I’ve done that, more than a few times over. Writing a manifesto can be draining. As great as they are, you might limit them to not more than one epic manifesto a week.

This month — why not try a manifesto?

I define this as an impassioned rant about what matters the most to you, and why.

A great place to start is:

What makes you genuinely angry?

What do you wish people would quit doing? What do you wish people would start doing? What frustrates you? What scares you?

What breaks your heart?

Marketing Headlines

I don’t like the trend to write sensationalist headlines. They over promise, over dramatize and disappoint. Headlines all about marketing are too common and just add to information overload. People can only read so much in a day. Too often these marketing based headlines lead readers in but don’t deliver any real information, nothing fresh, relevant or important. Fluff!

Headlines like those do not build you as an authority on your topic. Traffic to your site may pick up but, especially if you are running a business, trust in your business will go down. You don’t deliver as promised.

100 Great Tips for Whitening your Teeth your Dentist Doesn’t Want you to Know…. 

Sure there are 100 tips but most of them are things you already know and a lot of them are things the author has not tried themselves, so chances are they don’t work. As for the element of things being secret – that’s just hype.

How many of these headlines will people read before they go blind to them? How much mistrust will you build trying to get people to come to your site?

Propaganda and sensationalism are fragile shells to walk on. Once the shell breaks it is very hard to rebuild trust with customers, readers or the public in general. 

This post was inspired from Copyblogger’s Content Excellence Challenge suggesting people write headlines as marketing propaganda. I don’t think they thought the idea through.

Values

I’ve given myself this Copyblogger Challenge. The warm up for the year of challenges is to write about your values. I’m not in the mood to tackle something less than concrete right now. I feel frustrated, over burdened, and stuck in place. It’s my values which are in part to blame.

Values don’t always make you feel good. They can be too much to live up to. But, the ideals still matter so we just keep on trying. Once in awhile things catch up, in a good way. Then you can take a breath, feel you have done well by yourself, and … what? Self satisfaction is about it. If you go looking for, or expect gratitude from others, you’re likely to be disappointed. People may be grateful but tend not to express it, or not express it in the way you wanted.

Values have to be a thing you do for yourself, because that’s how you want to live.

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Loyalty
  • Courtesy
  • Exploring
  • Creating
  • Ingenuity

The list could get longer, but that’s enough today.

Courtesy can be the hardest value to stick with. It sounds simple. Being polite to others. Thinking of others. Putting others first, in moderation. There’s the tricky part, moderation, and deciding where that line is. Where does courtesy and putting others first cross the lines between selfishness and self-sacrifice? It’s a personal choice, more likely based on feelings than facts.

Start the challenge (it began in January so this is a late start in November) yourself.

From the Copyblogger Content Excellence Challenge:

The exercise is to write out a list of 5–10 values that matter to you. Keep this list somewhere handy, and look it over from time to time.

You might write about:

  • What the value means to you
  • A quick memory or story
  • Frustrations with the value
  • Mixed feelings about the value

This writing is just for you, so write about what’s real, not what you think you should write.

Seven Days for Seven Answers no More

Seven Days Seven Answers – Daily cues to spark your writing creativity. 

A little sad when something clever and creative disappears online. I had Seven Days Seven Answers in my bookmarks as a site for writing inspiration. But, going through and checking each link, manually, I have found it long closed up. The link still active enough, on Blogger, to pass automated link checks. Anyway, I’m preserving the ideas from the site here. Sure, Blogger will keep it all up until Google decides to stop hosting Blogger. But, I like giving it an extra archive. 
I found an abandoned Twitter account for the site too. 

What is it?Seven Days Seven Answers is a daily opportunity for creativity. Each day of the week is assigned a category. A question, scenario, or some sort of prompt will be posted asking for you to respond. Every post will have a winning response which receives an award. The goal is to reach the Winners Circle by collecting a win on each of the seven days (or a combination of days and wildcards) and becoming an Ultimate Winner.
Where do I write?You can either respond in the comments of the post or in a post on your own blog (provide a link in the comments for that cue).
How do I know if I’m responding correctly?Cues are deliberately vague and open to interpretation. That’s the point! Whatever springs to your mind as an “answer”, that’s the correct response.
How often can I answer?Answer every day. Don’t answer every day (though you risk making me cry). I don’t even mind if you answer multiple times on an entry. 
How long do I have to write? When are winners announced?You can write on old prompts forever if you like. Winners will be announced in approximately one week.
How are winners chosen?Winners can be chosen by any number of methods.I’ll pick the entry I like bestI’ll let someone else pick the entry they like bestPollRandom selectionEeny meeny miney moOr whatever other method sounds good at the time
How do wildcards work? Some days, instead of posting a prompt in the regular category, a wildcard will be posted instead. The winning response on that day will receive a special wildcard award which counts towards the “seven awards” on any day the participant is missing. 
What do Daily Winners receive?Daily winners receive their name (and a link to an appropriate website) on the daily winners page. They also receive the right to post the shiny winners button on their website if they want. In addition, winners receive the unwavering respect and serious street cred among their peers. From time to time, there may be small prizes given to a randomly-chosen daily winner. 
What about the Ultimate Winners and the Winners Circle?Winners who have collected wins for all 7 days will also receive their name (and a link) on the Winners Circle page. They may also receive a tangible prize but we’ll deal with that when we get there.Cues and Days
 In the News: (Day 1)This category features news-related prompts.Sample cues:Given a headline, write the story that goes with it.Explain an out-of-context quote.Write a follow-up story to a recent event.Checklist (Day 2)A list of words will be accompanied by a scenario in which to use them. 
Now What? (Day 3)Write what comes next.Sample cues:What happens next in a story or scene?Finish a phrase.Tell what happens in a situation.Letters (Day 4)Given either a first line or a set-up, write a letter appropriate to the situation.
Storytime (Day 5)When a new story begins, a starting paragraph will be provided. Everyone will write paragraph #2. A winner will be chosen and the next week everyone will write paragraph #3. And so on, building on the previous winners, until we reach a conclusion. That particular cue category lasted for about a month before I decided to replace it.
So I Have This Friend… (Day 5)Give your best advice to this friend.
A Thousand Words (Day 6)On this day, a photo will be provided. Sample cues:Explain what happened before (or after) this photo was taken.Write a caption.Take Two (Day 7)Given a second chance, how would this be different? Rewrite the ending to a book, movie, scene, fable, quote, etc. 
WildcardThis category can be absolutely anything. Absolutely. Anything.

Your Monster in Your Haunted House

happy-halloweenCreate your own haunted house.

Plan the layout, the type of rooms, the design and colours. Write about the street appeal and what people see, hear, smell and sense from out on the street.

Then, create the monster living in the house, the surprise in the centre of the maze of rooms and storytelling. What happened to create this monster and what will happen in the future? Do things get better or worse for your monster in your haunted house?

Art from: ASCII Artist.com

Your Monster in Your Haunted House

Create your own haunted house.
Plan the layout, the type of rooms, the design and colours. Write about the street appeal and what people see, hear, smell and sense from out on the street.
Then, create the monster living in the house, the surprise in the centre of the maze of rooms and storytelling. What happened to create this monster and what will happen in the future? Do things get better or worse for your monster in your haunted house?

Poetic Descriptions Save Space

I’ve noticed a lack of descriptions in print published fiction lately. Maybe they are already trying to write the screen/ script version of their story and expect descriptions of places and people will be covered by the set designers, costume designers and so on. The lack of descriptions is disappointing. Yet, it fits with the disposable, temporary and fast fry sort of culture we have these days.

I can remember reading descriptions I sank into, as a fiction reader. Descriptions which bloomed into an entire story, not just the background or setting for the events taking place. Characters who really had character rather than fast paced, smart-mouthed dialogue.

So, when I read this post about flash fiction I did not expect to see poetic descriptions encouraged. But, I was very glad to read it and pass along the advice.

A good, poetic description is not wordy. It’s wordful – think mindfulness for words.

Poetic Descriptions Save Space

Poetic skill is a great tool to have in your arsenal. With it, you can capture memorable moments in a few words, while simultaneously conveying deeper levels of meaning. The English language is filled with nuances and subtleties that even the best poet can’t get a handle on. Take a chance and write some poetry in your pieces.

Source: Flash Novels: The Future of Fantasy Fiction?

Write a great description. Pick something ordinary or fantastical and see if you can find the words, while avoiding long sentence length.

WordPress Calendar Plugins

I wanted a holiday calendar. I did not find anything which really did what I wanted. (Just a simple way to keep track of holidays and all those odd international and national days for odd, but interesting and sometimes relevant, things). But, today I found a new list of reviews. Quite sure I have already looked at most of them, but there might be something new.

Chronosly looks good but it has a lot of features I don’t need and that could make it complicated to work with when I just want something simple.

I’d recommend The Events Calendar (Pro, or not) for most people who want a way to list or track events. The developers were quick to write back when I had a question when I tried the plugin earlier. It has good features and I might try it again. Last time it wasn’t quite right for me but I know it hasn’t been left to stagnate in the mean time.

Premium Calendar Plugins

  • Events Calendar Pro
  • Community Events
  • Facebook Events
  • Event Calendar WD
  • EventOn WordPress Event Calendar
  • Business Calendar – WordPress Internal Calendar
  • WordPress Pro Event Calendar
  • Sugar Event Calendar
  • StacheThemes Event Calendar

Free Calendar Plugins

  • Google Calendar Events
  • The Events Calendar
  • Chronosly Events Calendar
  • All-in-One Event Calendar
  • My Calendar

List via  wpmayor.com – Best Calendar Plugins for WordPress (2016).