In my 20+ years of working in the business of marketing, branding, and advertising, the search for a single source for Web, print, mobile, and digital document collateral that is fun to read has gone largely unanswered.

Microsoft attempted to answer this need in their suite of Office applications (Word and PowerPoint), but like all things Office, simplicity is often lacking and the controls for making documents is a challenge for the desktop publisher. Additionally, the pleasure in reading such content can feel dry and bland.

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Adobe has been closing-in on helping humanity answer the call of fun and educational, and Bing Design has been taking the tools we have at hand to give our clients more options in this pursuit.

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In an ideal world, clients would like to produce a single document that can be exported in a variety of ways to reduce the need for having multiple source files. Why would that be a problem? Well most large businesses have many employees, and each document is typically shared between a brand manager or staff member. If you work at a company that has multiple locations, you may have several offices with a similar file in each location, shared between staff. So when a change is made, not all versions may reflect the edits, often leading to confusion in messaging or branding.

The industry standard page layout program for print with most businesses is Adobe InDesign. With InDesign, we can build layouts with photos, graphics, text, and colors to get attention, hold interest, and share your product or service with the world!

But how do you do that from one file? In the past, that one file was sent to a printer, and thousands, if not tens of thousands of pages were printed out, collated, and bound, then packaged and shipped around the globe. This was expensive, time-consuming, and revisions were very costly.

Today, the digital age has made the production of online collateral a necessity, and the speed of communication is now down to days if not just a few hours.

While the speed of collateral is now available, the pleasure of reading such content has dropped significantly. PDFs and Web pages can be boring and bland to look at. To help with this consumer sentiment, many publishers have been trying to find a way to pique user interest, and one of the more popular ways is to mix content with interactivity, using 3D realism and even sound to make your experience more enjoyable!

InDesign has the ability to produce files that can be printed at high-resolution on a printer’s press either by traditional off-set printing or using newer digital color techniques. The same application allows the user to export a PDF, images, and even Flash or Flash SWF files.

These new tools do a great job making content more fun to read, and more memorable. It also provides the user a way to search, zoom, and link to other content such as videos, additional PDFs for viewing/downloading, and reading more online.

One drawback on the Flash SWF option of such interactive collateral, is that Apple’s iOS does not support viewing Flash content. To get around that, Bing is also using tools that can export both Flash and HTML5 content that is viewable on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.

As shown below, one of our clients features an eBook that we designed and produced for them initially using the InDesign steps above. The current version uses a new tool we have developed to produce both the interactive Flash page-flip eBook AND an HTML5 mobile-friendly version of the eBook. Below, the eBook link allows users to read, turn pages, search, zoom, and link to websites, videos, PDFs, and infographics all online from a desktop browser (using Flash), or a mobile device (using HTML5).

The user does not have to pick which option to use, as the page will recognize their device and do that for them! So yes, you can have a single document that provides print, PDF, and now eBooks for desktop or mobile devices!

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Teradata Corporation’s Omni-Channel eBook on http://www.teradata.com/omnichannel/

 

 

 

Social Media Marketing SuccessI recently had the privilege to be a part of a Digital Media Advisory Board at Clark State Community College. This committee was led by Scott Dawson, Faculty Coordinator of Graphic Design and New Media, to propose a new degree program that focuses on web design, social media, and graphic design, which was approved and is one of the new standout programs at the college.

The board meets regularly to give critical input that continues to shape the New Media curriculum for students. Our last meeting was designed to discuss essential social media management skills for developing campaigns for clients. With the diverse group of new media professionals, ideas were bounced around on what is needed for creating a successful social media campaign.

You need to properly manage your social media marketing campaign in order to see the best results. This needs to compliment your overall marketing strategy and is a great way to drive traffic to a website.

Here are four good tips to help you build a successful social media campaign…

1. Creating

When you are able to provide your social media followers with great content, they will be more likely to continue to follow your accounts and share.

Whether you have a team of thought leaders or a social media champion, there is a need to develop/generate ideas and publish quality content. Every time you update one of your accounts, make sure your followers are receiving something of value. Whether you are talking about corporate culture/history, revealing industry insights, recognizing employees/partners/clients, or asking questions/taking suggestions, you can find your niche in creating content.

Developing content is very important, but so is sharing content that may not be your own. By leveraging user-generated content, you will remove the possibility of spamming your followers with your own links and articles.

You may not be sure what to consider as “quality” content, but a solid education in your industry and a culture of experimentation will help you find what works for your audience.

2. Interacting

Social media is about an online conversation, you can begin the conversation by sharing, but you can also use social media to interact with your audience in many different ways.

If you are just starting out with social media, the first thing you should do is listen. Monitor and find like-minded individuals and track your brand’s affinity. Be sure to define the relationship you want to have with your audience – this will determine how to tell your story.

As content comes down the pipeline, you can begin distributing and promoting – but social media is more than just a broadcast channel. As your community begins to grow, you can proactively engage and interact with your followers and those that become your brand advocates and ambassadors. You will gain the trust of your followers and position yourself as an industry expert.

3. Timing

You’re only as good as your last few updates.

One of the biggest factors to any campaign and conversation I have with anyone on social media, is time management. Your day is already packed with projects and billable hours. Creating and sticking to a schedule is important to maintaining a social media campaign, and keeping you focused and organized while you manage client tasks.

You can spend hours sifting through posts and media without being part of the conversation, and it is easy to get sidetracked. With a schedule in place, you know exactly what needs to be done day in and day out to meet your social media marketing goals.

Using a third party tool, like Hootsuite, to schedule your posts is one of the best ways to stick to your schedule. This way you can create all of your social media content at once and spread it out over time. Of course, there will be times when some breaking news/trend comes up and you want to be a part of that trend. Which goes back to my first point to keep your ears open, so you don’t miss being a part of an important conversation.

One reason you have to schedule updates, is that no matter what you post to your accounts, social networks are real time and your post will continually drop down your audience’s stream. So it is best practice to space out your posts across the course of the day. Once you have had a good schedule in place, be sure to check how much traffic and interaction has come from your posts. This will help you determine if you are getting the most eyes on your content at a certain time of day, leading you into the last important factor to success: adaptability.

4. Adapting

The ability to react and adapt quickly to change is an important factor for succeeding in today’s social media environment.

Practice social media monitoring, create positive user engagement, and ultimately establish meaningful relationships with your audience, so that they will return to your site. There are new platforms being developed that may soon launch into the next Instagram or Pinterest.

If you can embrace these tips, you are poised to realize better success than those who do not. Creating, Interacting, Timing, and Adapting will help you properly manage your social media.

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