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May Targeting List 2015

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Holidays
5 Cinco de Mayo
10 Mother’s Day
25 Memorial Day

Day Events
1 May Day
1 New Home Owners Day
1 Tuba Day
1 Mother Goose Day
2 Baby Day
2 Brothers and Sisters Day
3 World Press Freedom Day
3 Paranormal Day
4 Firefighter’s Day
4 Bird Day
4 National Candied Orange Peel Day
4 Renewal Day
5 World Asthma Day
5 National Hoagie Day
5 Oyster Day
5 National Teacher Appreciation Day
6 Beverage Day
6 National Tourist Appreciation Day
6 National Nurses Day
6 No Diet Day
School Nurses Day
6 No Homework Day
7 National Tourism Day
8 Iris Day
8 No Socks Day
8 World Red Cross Day
9 Lost Sock Memorial Day
9 National Train Day
9 Moscato Day
10 Clean up Your Room Day
10 Mother Ocean Day
11 Eat What You Want Day
11 Twilight Zone Day
12 Nutty Fudge Day
12 Fatigue Syndrome Day
12 International Nurses Day
12 Limerick Day
13 Frog Jumping Day
13 Leprechaun Day
13 National Receptionist Day
14 Golf Day
15 Endangered Species Day
15 National Chocolate Chip Day
15 Pizza Party Day
15 Bike to Work Day
16 Love a Tree Day
16 World Whiskey Day
16 Learn to Swim Day
17 World Baking Day
18 International Museum Day
18 No Dirty Dishes Day
18 Visit Your Relatives Day
19 Accounting Day
20 Be a Millionaire Day
20 Pick Strawberries Day
21 National Waiters and Waitresses Day
22 Buy a Musical Instrument Day
23 Turtle Day
23 International Jazz Day
23 Lucky Penny Day
24 Brother’s Day
24 National Escargot Day
25 National Missing Children’s Day
25 Tap Dance Day
25 Indianapolis 500
26 Blueberry Cheesecake Day
27 Sun Screen Day
27 Senior Health and Fitness Day
28 Hamburger Day
29 Learn About Composting Day
29 Biscuit Day
30 Water a Flower Day
30 Neighbor Day
31 National Macaroon Day
31 Save Your Hearing Day
31 World No Tobacco Day

Weekly Celebrations
May 3-9 Nurse’s Week
May 10-16 Wildflower Week
May 18-24 National Bike Week
May 17-23 National Police Week
May 24-30 Emergency Medical Services Week

Month
National Barbecue Month
National Blood Pressure Month
National Photograph Month
National Salad Month
National Hamburger Month
Older Americans Month
National Bike Month

5 Ways to Give Your Advertising Strategy a Spring Cleaning

CleaningSupplies 2Methods, messages and designs in advertisements can become quickly outdated and less effective because people get used to the same tactics. Make sure that your advertising strategy is re-evaluated and refreshed at least annually. Don’t let your efforts remain the same for too long, or you will trail behind. If you feel that something isn’t working with your advertising efforts, perhaps it’s time that it gets a spring cleaning.

1. Scope out the competition.

One important way that you can keep yourself up-to-date on any current advertising or marketing trends is to peek at what your biggest competitors are up to. Obviously you shouldn’t be stealing ideas but take note of the methods that they use to send their messages. Check their advertisements, blogs, attend any of their seminars, or peek at their social media pages. Are they doing something different that works better?

2. Question your advertising executions.

Take a good look at your existing ads and how they’re being executed, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are the ads being promoted in the right places?
  • Are they targeting the correct people?
  • Is the message being promoted often enough, or too often?
  • Is the design or message up to date?

Since change can happen quickly in the world of advertising, it’s important to consider these questions during a long-term advertising campaign. If you feel that certain ads aren’t effectively being executed, make the appropriate changes.

3. Cut the ads that just aren’t working.

If you feel unsure after considering the above questions, check the stats on your existing ads. Are they reaching enough people? Are they getting any attention? Is the overall message effective? If not, it’s time to cut them out of your existing campaign so that you can focus on the more effective ones. Eliminating these “broken legs” can strengthen your advertising plan or campaign. Cutting ineffective ads also saves you money, so don’t let these advertisements eat up any more of your budget.

4. Go for a makeover.

If you feel that the big idea for your campaign no longer fits the brand, consider a new approach altogether. This could happen because of a change in buying trends, new products, or other various internal and external factors. Make sure that any drastic changes are backed up with thorough research.

One of the easiest and most fun ways to spring clean? Give your social media accounts a makeover! Add bright new profile photos and clear out any information or images that are no longer relevant. This new perspective can help inspire, and it’s an excellent way to kick off your spring cleaning.

5. See if your budget needs an upgrade.

After your changes are considered, peek at your budget and plan accordingly. Even if you aren’t making significant changes, make sure that you aren’t overspending on your advertising budget, and you aren’t skimping out as well. Advertising is an incredibly important strategy for any business, big or small.

6. See how you can incorporate co-op advertising to stretch your ad dollars further. 

MultiAd has a great tool called Recas, which helps the media industry, manufacturers, retailers and more find co-op ad dollars. Get more sales by expanding your advertising. Let Recas help you do it. Visit their new website by clicking here.

5 Tips to Get More Retweets

Twitter is an important component to any business’s social media tool belt. It can be used to promote, give snippets of information about a company, or even help with customer service inquiries. When promoting your business through Twitter, it can often be difficult for posts to get the attention they deserve. Ultimately, you are striving for more favorites and retweets. Follow these tips to help keep your message from being buried in a sea of tweets.

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1. Get noticed with hashtags.

Hashtags help boost your tweets to get them noticed. However, you must be careful not to overuse hashtags, or #CreateTooLongOfAHashtag. Too many tags makes your post look more like spam and having more than two words in a hashtag can be confusing for readers. Pick simple keywords that highlight the theme of your tweet and limit them to one per post if possible.

2. Timing is everything.

The amount of people you reach with your tweets can depend on what time you send them out. If you are a business to consumer company, you are more likely to be retweeted on Sunday, between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. This could be because users are less likely to be working and are winding down at the end of the day on social media.  The time that you decide to tweet could also depend on the target audience you are trying to reach out to. Consider your audience and what time might work best for you.

3. Give tweets a call to action.

One of the best ways to get a retweet? Just ask! Research shows that tweets that include “please retweet” are 4x more likely to be retweeted. Even if you abbreviate “retweet” with “RT,” you are still 3x more likely to get retweeted. But be sure to say “please,” not only does it show that you have impeccable manners, but it works like an advertisement by motivating targets with a call-to-action.

4. Include links in your tweets.

Embedded links that direct users to useful content like “how-to’s” enables you to include more content to an otherwise brief message. Studies have found that about 52% of retweets include links. The link can be to the business website, blog, or even to relevant news sources that is related to your industry. Are you worried that your links are too long? Twitter has a link shortener called t.co that shrinks website links down to 22 characters automatically so that you can include more content in your tweets.

5. Use bright and colorful imagery.

Images included in tweets are previewed on your Twitter feed, which are more intriguing to read and more attention-grabbing. In fact, tweets with images are 18% more likely to be retweeted than tweets that don’t have images. Choose pictures with rich, bright colors, or choose interesting images like infographics to help generate interest.

Creative Ways to Improve Your Design Portfolio

Like your resume, your portfolio is constantly being changed, added to and revised. Your portfolio is the best way to establish your own personal brand as a designer, whether you’re freelance or you work for a company. It’s important that your portfolio stays up-to-date but also remains consistent with your image.

Portfolio image

Create a unique presentation.

Portfolios can take on many different forms. Some look like books or magazines. Others look like pop-up books or unfold like a map. Some portfolios are even printed on postcards or kept in boxes. What’s unique about many of these is that they’re interactive and engage the reader. Thinking out of the box by picking an unusual medium for your portfolio can be the game-changer that gets you hired.

Keep a physical and online copy.

Online copies are important for employers who are looking at you as a possible hire; they’re also much easier to manage and keep up to date. It’s best to have an online portfolio for those who can’t view your physical copy in person. Personalized copies, on the other hand, look more personalized, are easier to access and helps you stand out among other designers. Plus, you have better control of its appearance. You could even make it a pop-up book if you wanted! You should create an online and physical portfolio to work hand-in-hand. The online portfolio is great for grabbing the attention of employers before an interview and they can include a broader range of works. Plus, they’re usually easier to access and update. Physical copies make a more lasting impression, are ideal for interviews and can be tailored for the job you are applying for.

Don’t forget the call-to-action. 

You can spend days making sure your online portfolio looks perfect. But don’t forget why employers are looking at it in the first place– they are considering you as a potential hire. Therefore, it’s important that you leave an obvious call-to-action. Make it easy to locate your contact page because you want it to be easy for employers to get in touch with you. Try putting a big “Contact me” button on your portfolio, or even a link to your contact information on every page. Don’t be afraid to be a little assertive.

Consider quality vs. quantity. 

You may feel inclined to include every design or side project you’ve worked on in your career. However, doing this can clutter your portfolio. Including too many projects might make it difficult for employers to remember what they’ve seen. Only choose works that you’re the most proud of and the ones that have received the most positive feedback from clients. Pick ones that would make great talking points during interviews. Most importantly, include projects that would be relevant to the design jobs you are applying for. For example, if you’re going for a typography job, select the works that focus on typography.

Be crystal clear.

That doesn’t just mean the designs themselves. Always include clear descriptions of the designs you have done, who they were completed for and when. Explain how you came up with the design or why you created the design. It helps employers understand what you do, and better remember the design later. If you include any collaborations in your portfolio, it’s also very important that you credit other designers that helped you create it.

Provide mock-ups.

Product mock-ups show your design in context. Do you have an awesome t-shirt design that you’ve made? Show it on a t-shirt. Have you created a mind-blowing book cover? Show that design on a book cover! Presenting your designs the way they were meant to be presented ensures that your work is quality and that you can follow through with your designs.

Include a blog.

Blogging is a great way to keep your online content fresh with updates. You can post about current projects you’re working on, the progress you’re making with them and advice or thoughts about the design industry. It’s both personal and showcases what you know, and adds a complement to your design portfolio.

Stay up-to-date.

Your portfolio is never truly finished, but continuously changing as you are, so don’t slack when it comes to your portfolio. Especially your online portfolio because it’s accessible at any time. Having a lot of content but neglecting to update it in over a year or two can look a little lazy. Be sure to swap in new and creative projects you’ve worked on, or take some of the older ones out. A couple great rules remember are to make changes at least every six months and only include designs that are less than three years old.

Remember to sell yourself.

Make sure that your portfolio conveys a message and your own personal brand identity. Add your own zing to your portfolio because it is supposed to represent your own unique personality as a designer. Doing this helps build trust between you and whoever is perusing your work, and most importantly, helps you stand out among other designers.

1-Minute Workshop: Selective Focus

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Using Selective Focus in Adobe Photoshop

Step 1

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use the Gaussian Blur filter in Photoshop to create an interesting composition that focuses on one part of a photo. Start by selecting an interesting photo. For this example, a photo of an old antique scale is used. Open the photo in Photoshop.

Selective Focus 1

Step 2

Take a closer look at your photo and choose a location you want to emphasize or draw attention to, such as the lettering and broken glass in this photo.

Select the Circular Marquee tool in the tool palette and create a circular selection over the photo. Then go to Select > Modify > Feather. Make the feather radius a large pixel size. For this example, 100 pixels is used. Click OK.

Selective Focus 2

Step 3

Without clicking off the selection, go to Select > Inverse (in the top menu). This will inverse the selection so that everything outside of your original selection is now selected. The next step is to apply a soft blur to this new selection. Without clicking off the selection, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter an amount like 14. Click OK to apply the blur. The resulting effect should emulate a short depth of field with the center of the photo in sharp focus and blurring as it goes out further toward the edges.

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Step 4

To further enhance the photo, duplicate the layer and set the Layer Mode of the duplicate layer to Soft Light. This will create a richer look with more contrast, definition of color, bold shadows and highlights.

Selective Focus 4

 

Are QR Codes Worth Using in Your Advertisements?

If you don’t know what a QR code is, you’ve probably seen it. Over the last few years, these easy-to-scan codes have become popular in print advertising. QR codes (short for quick-response codes) are images that consist of black and white blocks, similar to a barcode, which store information for website links. These codes can be scanned through an app on your smartphone using your phone’s camera and directs you to whatever website or advertising message it’s programmed for.

Even though a QR code offers many advertising benefits, like increasing website traffic and catering to local targets at a low cost, its success rate is questionable. A study done in 2013 says that 21% of smartphone users have scanned a QR code before, but only 19% of those have frequently scanned them. However, there are many QR code success stories that give excellent examples of how much potential they can have. Take a peek at some of the advantages and disadvantages to incorporating QR codes into your advertisements.

QR Code Pros

  • They provide an easy link between print to mobile content: QR codes link to websites, Facebook pages and mobile apps. Some advertisers use them for booking reservations in restaurants, giving directions to store locations, or linking to coupons and giveaways. Since we’re in the digital age, having this bridge between different media is important and can be highly useful. It adds an interactive feature to an otherwise two-dimensional advertisement, and better benefits to the viewer because it often provides more information on the company in the advertisement.
  • They can be printed on almost anything: Chances are you’ve probably seen this code on posters, boxes, windows and even t-shirts. QR codes can be poster-sized or small enough to fit onto a business card. This can be useful if you’re printing an ad that’s too small to fit all of the information you want or if you want the code to get noticed in a big way by presenting it as a very large focal point.

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    Creative Outlet’s QR code

  • They are easy and cost-effective: QR codes are incredibly easy to utilize. By simply entering a website address in a QR code generator, you’ll have your own unique code for free in seconds. Using QR codes helps minimize the amount of space you need for an ad, which can be really useful if you’re looking to advertise in a newspaper or magazine.

QR Code Cons

  • The effectiveness is questionable: Believe it or not, QR codes have been around for about 10 years but they’ve failed to gain a lot of traction. From July 2011 to May 2013, the number of smartphone users increased, while the number of QR codes scanned has remained the same.
  • Some users find it inconvenient: Although it takes a few seconds to pull out your smartphone and scan a QR code, it’s enough to discourage viewers to bother with the code at all. Users must first download a QR code scanning app to their mobile device in order to scan the code in the first place. Since Apple and Android cellphones still don’t include a pre-downloaded QR code app on their devices, it further discourages people to take interest in a QR code.
  • Some consumers don’t trust it: Since these codes are so easy to generate, almost anyone can make one. This makes it difficult to trust QR codes because you don’t know what you’re scanning until you scan it.  It takes one bad QR code experience to taint the usage of QR codes altogether.

Getting creative with QR codes can create added value to viewers, but creating an advertisement that enables your target to want to scan your code can be tricky. Trust between your brand and the consumers you are targeting should be established before they will consider taking a few moments to scan a QR code. Weigh out some of these pros and cons to see if incorporating QR codes is the best route for your advertisements.