Nov 292016
 
You can buy this piece of Search History on ebay.
Kind of a precursor to search (if you wanted to find a result to a simple math problem).

Decades before Google search Granddad had one of these beasts on his desk (Image: Wikipedia)

My Grandpa mastered Search Engine Optimization 75 years ago!

Gotta hand it to my Grandpa. He got Google search, before the invention of the calculator, decades ahead of the internet. My grandfather loved technology, he was an early adopter, before anyone had even coined that phrase.

Granddad – or Vati-Vati as he liked to be called, was an avid inventor and had founded his own company after in Germany after World War II.

He also had a brilliant mind for business and used SEO long before the world-wide web was born. Here’s what he would do:

How SEO worked in the 50s

In the 1950s the preferred “search engine” was a big, fat book with yellow pages in it, where businesses advertised their phone numbers to get new clients.

Every time someone would call his shop, to ask if they offered a specific service, this man’s answer was always yes, even if they didn’t. After he hung up he’d figure out how to solve the customer’s problem and once he’d gotten the solution, he would create a new listing 

Nov 162016
 
#MrMindChanger and the Blogger Union

What is the big deal with video, anyway?

If you have yet to make your first video for your blog, then get this. It is estimated that three years from now, 82% of all online traffic will be driven by video. You have some time to get ready, so start now! During our October meet-up with the South Florida Bloggers, we learned the basics to making the perfect video.

south florida bloggers girls at how to shoot the perfect video.

And Pascal Depuhl—chief mind changer at Photography by Depuhl, a Miami-based visual content creation company—led the conversation. His school of thought was simple:

Create mind-changing video!

mr mindchanger pascal depuhl at how to shoot the perfect video.

#MrMindChanger

Because the perfect video will make you do something different. And bloggers have this as an end goal in mind as well. We want our readers and viewers to wear the cozy sweater we just layered on, and test out our favorite beauty products. Some of us want them to eat at the restaurants we frequent and order the lobster mac and cheese just like us.

So then now what? We took away some great pointers from Pascal last month and want to share them with you now. Let us take you to the beginning. It all starts with an attention grabber. Like a good blog post, your title has just a few seconds to draw in your audience. The same thing is true about the first glimpse to your video. Have you given your viewers something to care about? Pascal says that if that is not there, then you’re going to lose them pretty soon.

south florida bloggers workshop on how to shoot the perfect video by #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl

 

Here are some other “Video Don’ts” from Pascal:

  • south florida bloggers girl at how to shoot the perfect video.Don’t explain everything. We don’t need a play-by-play like in football. Just explode into the action.
  • No need for a long intro. Viewers might think they are watching the same video if you always start with the same introduction. Once you have their interest, then queue in cameo of self.
  • Make your videos concise. Put the edit together, cut it in half, and then cut that in half. A two and a half minute length video is a good place to start.
  • Have a hero. It can be a thing, a place, a product, or a service—not always a person.
  • K.I.S.S. – it doesn’t have to be long or drawn out. Keep it simple. And make it worth watching. Show us what you’re eating. Show us what you’re wearing. Show us where to get it, or who made it.

south florida bloggers girl 2 at how to shoot the perfect video.

Then we move on to the body of your video, which is what keeps viewers peeping through the end. A video is multi-sensory. You have auditory and visual senses turned on. Pascal shared that more than half of the content comes across on audio. So pay attention to sound. It is just as important as anything else you are providing in your content. And this will make the body of your video a bit heartier.

Let us not forget the end. It has to have a call to action (CTA). Where do you want to end up? People need to know what to do next. And once you have it all together, where do you want them to go? Here is your selling point. But please, make your CTA’s subtle. Leave the infomercials for late night TV.

 

In case you missed it, click the link here with the slides of the presentation from Pascal.

south florida bloggers learn how to shoot the perfect video from #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl


Join us this upcoming weekend to learn from veteran fashion blogger, Daniela Ramirez, on how to monetize your blog.

Oct 312016
 
DASH Taste of Design 2016

Ever wonder how you can help DASH?

I don’t know if you know this, but DASH’s annual “Taste of Design”  gala is just around the corner (you did save that November 12th date, right?)tod

This fundraiser is put on by countless volunteers from the PTSA and the money that’s raised benefits your students at DASH. So now that you’re chomping at the bit to volunteer yourself, here are 4 ways you can help your kid’s school:

    1. Buy tickets

      tod-yellow

      I know, right? One of the best ways you can help is to be at the gala (and no this is not some lame high school looking event). It’s a party in the middle of the Design District, with food from world-class restaurants, great entertainment and a silent auction you would not believe. Help DASH and buy your “Taste of Design” ticket now.

    2. Volunteer

      You got the save the date mailer a few days ago, right? Did you stop to consider the volunteer who designed it, the one who had it printed, the volunteer who mailed it and the one who’s handing out the envelopes that the post office couldn’t deliver? And that’s just one postcard…

        1. …securing the space (btw the Gala is held in the Moore building, which is an amazing space),
        2. …negotiating with the entertainment,
        3. …coordinating all the restaurants that are donating food,
        4. …planning the decorations (you won’t believe the ones we’ve got from the Grand Florida Opera this year),
        5. …overseeing the live auction
        6. …keeping track of all the communications going out to parents and patrons
        7. …collecting, cataloging and running an amazing silent auction


      Sign up to volunteer
      to make “Taste of Design” a great event.

    3. Silent Auction Item

      We already have some pretty cool items for the silent auction like…

        1. unreleased Bulova Watches,
        2. a catered dinner for 4 at your home,
        3. a VIP tour of the Miami Herald printing presses and newsroom and lunch with  theMiami Herald’s president,
        4. hotel stays
        5. dinners
        6. trips, …

      …but we still need more, so why don’t you help us get some more items that we can auction off at the Gala? We’ve made it easy – you can download a cover letter from your PTSA that you can give to the person donating to the Taste of Design silent auction and a form that’ll go with each silent auction item.

    4. Donate

      OK, so we know not everyone can make it to the Gala, because of out of town trips, previous commitments. Don’t worry you can donate to “Taste of Design” right here of course we’d prefer to see you there, but there’s always next year.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s gala!

[This post was first published on the DASH PTSA website on October 30th, 2016.]

Oct 262016
 
Cloud based business has to rely on automation

A low tech look at cloud based business

Salesforce Ecosystem I want to share how I use automation in my day-to-day workflow, so let me grab my trusted Moleskin notebook and sketch out what we’ll be looking at. “Wait–what?” you ask “I thought we’re talking high tech and the cloud; and you’re gonna pull out a pen?” Yup and it’ll all make sense in a moment.

I go everywhere with my Moleskin notebook. It’s full of notes, sketches, location info, phone numbers–the list goes on and on. So I figured, it’d be a great place to start, when talking about cloud based business. In the end the cloud needs to help us in our business, it’s a tool that let’s us connect with our clients, retrieve information and share documents easier than before. If it’s not making our life easier, you’d be foolish to use it.,

SalesForce – the center of my cloud universe

SalesForceSalesForce is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It’s used by some of the largest companies in the world and is one of the leading online services, when it comes to keeping track of your contacts, calendars and opportunities.

However, like everything in the cloud, it really shines, when you automate it. Sure you could type a potential clients contact info into SalesForce, but where’s the fun in that? Here are three channels I use to capture new leads into my client database:

      1. The contact form on my website.

        I’ve written about this before, but basically as a prospective client fills out the contact form on my website, they are actually entering their data into my CRM, which then sends them an automated personalized email response, notifies me via email, that I have a new lead. All this info is accessible via the web interface or an app on my phone (Read more about it on this Strictly Business article: Quick Tip – Automate).

      2. The subscription button on my blog

        Subscriber information is captured here via a MailChimp plugin on my WordPress blog, that send all the data straight to SalesForce. That plugin also takes care of sending email updates to my subscribers when I write a new blog post and maintains my mailing list. All day, every day. Don’t have to think about it.

      3. Business cards

        There you go again with that low tech, old school stuff.” I can hear you think – but wait, this ones actually the most magical of them all. I love business cards. I hand them out everywhere I go, but I collect them as well. Here’s how they end up in my SalesForce:

Evernote – my digital brain

EvernoteEvernote plays a huge role of my cloud, it is basically a digital storage place for everything you can think of. If you can digitize it, Evernote can store it. Take for example the photograph of my moleskin notebook page – if you click on it, it will actually take you to a shared Evernote. The true strength of this is that the page is searchable, yup even my handwriting. So I can type “TASKS” into Evernote’s search function, it will return the image of that scan with the search phrase highlighted.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.30.13 PM

Back to business cards–Evernote has a little app called ‘Scanable’ and it’s truly magic. Scanable turns your phone’s camera into a scanner, which is one way to get info into Scanable.

Here’s what I do when someone hands me a business card:

Step 1: Take a picture of the business card in Scanable.

Step 2: Scanable, reads the card and fills in all the data that is on the card. Then it goes to LinkedIn – finds the LinkedIn profile and fills out any data that’s not on the card, but on LinkedIn (how cool is that?)

Step 3: Scanable gives you the option to save the card in your iOS contacts or Evernote (actually it does a lot more than that – check out Business cards call for an awesome Habi-matic).

This whole process takes about 15 seconds and although it’s not perfect, I get about 9 out of 10 cards to read perfectly, sometimes a rescan takes care of an issue, but sometimes the card is just too artsy.

OK, now the info is in my contacts, but not in SalesForce. There’s a little web app called IFTTT (If This Then That), that takes care of this: anytime a new contact is added to my iOS contacts, it pushes that info over into SalesForce. It also sends me a text to let me know a new contact is added to SalesForce. IFTTT doesn’t care if the contact came from my contact form, a blog subscription or a business card ingested into Evernote via Scanable. I get an SMS from all. And getting those makes my day, because someone wants to work with me.

More than just an address book

That takes care of my contacts or the address book. SalesForce does a lot more than just being a fancy rolodex, it correlates all the data that’s pertinent to that client – past jobs, emails send to them, upcoming opportunities, ect. So let’s say that the new client, who’s info just got added to SalesForce is going to hire me for a job. So the lead, gets converted into an account, with the person added as a contact and an opportunity is created in SalesForce, that contains a lot of info of this job, but as you know a photo production is made up of many 100’s of tasks that need to be managed. Since I use a single user license of SalesForce, I have to find another cloud based service to keep track of my tasks, especially when I’m sharing them with a team.

Asana – keeps tracks of all the tasks on my To-Do list

AsanaEnter Asana, the perfect way for teams to communicate or you to keep multiple projects’ tasks organized. When I create an opportunity in SalesForce, Zapier (another automation app) creates a new project in Asana. The Asana project (again via Zapier) creates a tag in Evernote, which will be on every piece of data relevant to that job – receipts, client briefs, production books, scanned business cards, notes from your last phone call or that spread sheet of the shots the client just emailed you. In fact Evernote lets you create templates that you can use to stream line the way you do business, you’ll need to customize them for your shop, but once you have one – you can use the same one over and over, it can even be a list with boxes you can check off when they’re done.

So once I’ve made one of those check box lists in Evernote, using the job tag, Task Clone reads the list and creates tasks automatically in Asana, that I can assign to teams, add due dates to, write a list of sub tasks, ect. Each one of these tasks get imported into SalesForce via Zapier, which completes the circle.

Cloud based business

There is so much more to talk about when it comes to automating your business, from the simple app Expensify that can create expense reports for you from photos of your receipts to the complex web delivery of images via PhotoShelter, which allows me to let clients see their final images, but not download them until they’ve paid.

As small businesses, we can save a lot of time, effort and money, if we automate some of the mundane tasks–especially those that we repeat with every client or every project.

 

Oct 252016
 

This year has been a pretty cool year for the …catching the light blog! We had over 75,000 views and it’s been exciting to see the growth.

What do YOU want to read about?

I’d love to get your input about what you would like to read on my blog. Take a one question survey and let me know which of the three topics would interest you the most (or add your own). I look forward to you having a say about my editorial calendar:


Thanks for taking the time to help me. I very much appreciate it!


Sep 142016
 
Disaster proof your data

Safeguard your data.

Digital files are fragile. Import failures, mistakes in naming files and hardware crashes are just some of the problems we encounter everyday. Whether its images, video or audio – or any digital asset for that matter – it’s important to safeguard these groups of 1s and 0s that make up the visual content we create.

You have to safeguard your data from the beginning – not just once you’ve finished the job and are creating a backup (you should do that, but today we’re gonna look at how data is kept safe while on the job, before you get back to the ranch.

Safeguard #1: download your cards wisely

Once the card comes out of the camera, the only copy of your file is on that chip. It does not live anywhere else and can get messed up easily. Sometimes cards fail, readers malfunction or people unwillingly overwrite an older file, because the filenames are the same. Take you’re time, double-check and don’t erase the card until you have the data imported and backed up at least once. I’ve imported files that got messed up somewhere, there are programs and services that recover or restore files, but it’s easier not to have to deal with it. Some cameras today allow you to write data onto two cards simultaneously. Do that. Here’s a great post from my friend Jeff Cable on memory cards.

Safeguard #2: backup your files

This is not the final backup in the studio, it’s just to make sure all the files make it back there unharmed. If you’re looking for more info on backups and the like check out this post on redundancy:

Redundancy: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Taking Risk

I import my files directly with Capture One software for my images and Chronosync for my videos. Capture One allows me to import the files onto the SSD drives in the computer and writes another copy to an external drive (my favorites are ioSafe drives) at the same time. This way I have 3 copies of my digital visual data:

  1. Internal SSD drives
  2. External ioSafe drive
  3. CF cards

Safeguard #3: separate your copies

Safeguard your data with disaster proof hard drivesThree copies of your files are all fine and dandy, but if they are all in the same place and the same disaster occurs in that place, it doesn’t matter that you had 3 copies. That’s why one of my copies lives on a waterproof seriously, you can submerse the hard drive in 30 feet of water for 3 days, crushproof (up to 5,000 pounds) and drop proof up to 20 feet – that’s a 2 story drop. The drives include data recovery should the worst thing happen…

That drive usually stays where I’m staying – and not shooting – so that if something happens on the shoot, I still have all the data I captured yesterday in a safe place. That drive will not fly (or drive) home with me, when I am traveling further than a hundred miles. It gets FedEx’d back to the office.

Safeguard #4: Backup your data when you’re back

The first thing I do, after coming home from a shoot is to copy all data to my studio backup system using Chronosync. (You can read more about how I store data here on the redundancy article from before.) Chronosync will read a file, write it to my RAID, read the copy it just wrote on the RAID and compare it with the first copy it read. That way I eliminate any kind of transcription errors.

Safeguard #5: Use your backup work flow

The best laid plans… only work when you actually use them. Having an external hard drive with you on location doesn’t do you any good, unless you take the time to copy the files to it. It’s not hard to figure out a safeguard or two (or 3) that help you keep your files intact, but you have to implement them.

A great place to start learning about what all goes into a good digital asset management (DAM) solution is Peter Krough’s “The DAM book“. Even if you don’t implement all his suggestions, reading the book will force you to think through your workflow which is a great safeguard to start with.

Peter starts at the beginning: How to name your files. Not only does having a system on how to uniquely name each file safeguard an accidental overwriting of an image, but it can also get you work…

Your filename must include this one word – if you want to work

Aug 282016
 
CreativeMornings/Miami Soul

Miami’s soul

Robert looks more like a hit man, than a pastor and he’ll be the first person to tell you. He’s also one of the very first people I met working on fashion photo shoots in Miami, as I started coming down to South Florida in the mid 90’s to escape the winters in Chicago and New York  (for obvious reasons).

If you’re looking for the soul of Miami, look no further than Robert and his wife Elizabeth, who have dedicated their lives to serving the people of Miami. You won’t find someone with a bigger heart for the people of Miami, than these two.

The church Robert pastors is called Calvary Chapel Miami Beach, a non denominational church just north of 71st Street on North Beach, a block west of 0 Cinema with a few hundred perishoners. It is one of the most diverse places I know in Miami in regards to pretty much every metric you want to look at from old to young, from fashion models to the homeless and every color under the rainbow the only thing you’ll find in common is the love that these people have for the inhabitants of the City of Miami (…)

(This week I get to take over CreativeMornings/Miami’s tumblr blog. I’ll share some of my favorite places and people, who make Miami an awesome place to live. Check it out. Read the rest of this post on tumblr)

The Blogger Union has partnered with CreativeMornings/Miami for a collaborative storytelling marathon. Tune in to read the story of our city told by local creatives, bloggers and entrepreneurs. Each week, a different member of CreativeMornings will take over to post what inspires them about South Florida. Do yo want to take over the CreativeMornings/Miami blog and share your take on our community? Email Paola at info@thebloggerunion and we’ll get working on it!