New week, new graphics! Enjoy this sweet graphic for National Watermelon Day!
Only available for free from August 3rd, 2015 through August 10th, 2015.
Miss this free graphic? Search for it on Creative Outlet!
Meet Sara McNamara, MultiAd’s newest Account Manager for Recas! She’s been working with us since November 2011, where she began as an intern. Now, she enjoys her new position by getting to know new people and helping make a difference with clients. Sara loves to keep herself busy outside of work through crafting activities and volunteering. In fact, recently, she just returned from Vancouver! Learn more about Sara, her work and her travels in this week’s Spotlight!
Thank you very much! I have recently moved from Recas Project Manager to Account Manager. Essentially now I get to work directly with our clients instead of just doing projects for them. It has been great to finally put voices to names and not just see our clients as a media but as humans with various interests and passions.
In just the short amount of time I have been in this role, I have already met some incredible people around the country! It has been really benefited me to start as an intern and work my way up. I know Recas quite well at this point and now I get to help our clients work through their questions and navigate around the new site. As an intern, I was never really shown how our information gets used and now I see it truly makes a difference in business and in people’s lives. Every day I continue to learn new things and better ways to present this information, I never really know who I will help that day.
That is an excellent question, and honestly I can’t answer that yet. I am still learning what is the best way to manage my time. I have a lot of freedom in this position and my sole focus is always helping our clients out the best way I can. I respond to inbound requests and questions via email and phone calls. I also make outbound phone calls to check in with our clients to make sure they understand the product and the process of co-op. We pride ourselves in service and I want to make sure they know they can reach out to us with any of their needs. The transition to our new site has been a gradual process so I can help walk our clients through that as well. The next adventure of this new position I have been preparing for is leading monthly webinars. So to recap, my day is focused on helping all our clients as best I can in the time allotted. It has been a transition from my last position for sure, but one I gladly accept.
Right now, I think my favorite part about my job is knowing I make a difference in people’s lives. I graciously accept people’s thank yous. I try to be a patient, supportive voice for our clients. I understand they are rushed and that environment isn’t always supportive. It is also exciting to meet people all over the country. I am impressed with how open some people are about sharing their lives with me. It makes coming to work more enjoyable.
As far as fun stories, I am not sure I can pinpoint just one.
That would be my pleasure, I am a simple girl. I grew up in a small town with a population of 2,500 about an hour from Peoria and two hours from Chicago. This is a farming community so it was not uncommon to hear conversations about how the crops are doing, how the weather keeps changing, or how everyone some how knows everyone. Growing up in a place like that was wonderful, but I don’t go home as much as I used to.
Peoria has been my current address since I went to Bradley University for Communications. Growing up I remember thinking Peoria was a massive city, but now that I live here for several years, I see it really isn’t that big. It is certainly not Chicago, by any means. The small town feel is where I feel the most comfortable so I won’t be able to handle living in a city much bigger than Peoria.
Also, my co-workers can’t seem to keep tabs on me outside of work, where I am off to next or who I am hanging out with. Living in the same area I went to school has certainly help keep me busy. I have quite a few friends that are in the area still or come back and visit periodically. My volunteer work keeps me on the go as well. The church has helped my social life being in multiple small groups and helping in the nursery and apart of a charity organization. With the assistance of a few co-workers we have started a craft group and we meet once a month during our lunch hour. Needless to say I like doing different things but starting to wonder how much longer I can keep up this pace.
My mom has worked for the school district back home my whole life. My dad retired from CAT a few years back and works odd jobs helping out people and driving a bus for the school district. My parents are still living in the house I grew up in and I hope to inherit one day. They have two dogs, an eight year old dachshund/terrier mix and a two year old dalmatian/pointer mix. They keep my parents quite busy. Since I moved out of the house, my parent have picked up golfing as their exercise and social activity. To be honest, I don’t think I will ever understand the concept of that game.
My sister is four years older than me and one of the smartest people I know. She was the type of child that grew up watching TLC, Discovery, and the History Channel when it was still educational. She is currently getting her Doctorate in Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. New Zealand is where she is setting out to move as soon as she gets a job there. So the annual trip out to visit my sister will make Vancouver feel like a hop, skip and a jump compared to the trip to New Zealand.
I still have a lot of extended family in the area, and it was great to grow up with family so close together. I was spoiled that’s for sure.
Regarding your question about pets, sadly, I don’t have any pets of my own currently for a few reasons, I don’t make enough money to take care of them long term, my life is not stable enough to own pets, plus it’s not allowed in my lease. It is not uncommon to leave for work in the morning and not come back to my apartment until 10:00 at night. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to own pets, but I am enjoying my freedom too much right now.
Oh, another great question. I have declared 2015 the year of “ME” I have been investing more time, energy, and money into myself then I ever have before. It is exciting that I am going through so many changes right now and sure glad I am single amidst all of it.
Health goals: I hope to achieve a healthy weight by completely changing my lifestyle to a healthy way to live, think, and act for the rest of my life and not over extending myself passed my limits. I have joined Curves and started seeing a counselor and I am happy to report I have almost hit the halfway mark! I have not only changed what I eat, but how I think and how active I am. Living a healthy lifestyle mind, body, and soul is the way I hope to continue to live until I die.
Professional: To be able to be comfortable and confident in this new role and face any challenge that presents itself in this industry.
This is definitely an exciting time in my life.
Ah yes, normally my parents and I go up there in April, which is their rainy season. By going in July everything was completely different, it barely rained the whole time we were up there, and it got to about 87 degrees which is really hot for them. Similarly to the West Coast States right now, they are experiencing a drought. It is abnormally dry up there and we heard reports everyday about all the fires in the area. They are in a water ban so the yards were all brown because they were not allowed to use sprinklers since water supplies are at such low levels. Besides that issue, it was a great trip. Vancouver is a great city; after four visits, we still find new things to do. I must first say the food is unbelievable there! There are sushi and coffee shops on every block; I promise I am not kidding. In the winter it rains a lot, therefore, people will not want to walk far to get their coffee to help them get through the dreary day and not sure if you knew this but it is easier to become a Canadian citizen then a US citizen so they have a major Asian population in the BC area.
Back to your question, I suppose I had three main highlights.
Vancouver recently just opened The Dark Table, which is a dinning experience in a completely pitch black room. All servers are either blind or visually impaired, which was a neat thing to know about. To set the scene, order before you go in. Walk in with hands on the shoulder of the person that will be sitting next to. Next, be physically placed and shown with our hands where everything was. Last, grab food from the waiter, but never be told what it is. I will say it is hard to have a normal conversation because we all ended up narrating what we were doing or tasting. My sister’s best friend joined us, and she was very entertaining. It was great fun, I didn’t make too much of a mess, and I was still using utensils by the end.
Next highlight has to be the new attraction at Canada Place, cruise ship port, called “Fly Over Canada.” The experience didn’t last long enough, in my opinion; it only lasted about 10 minutes. We were on a ride that would sway back and forth in front of this massive screen. We flew from east to west so flew over places like Niagara Falls, fireworks in Toronto, running with horses in the Prairies, up in the Rockies, and then ended in Vancouver. It was incredible!! It was a great practice for what we did last this trip.
We took a harbour tour before going to Fly Over Canada and we saw a wind tower on the top of a mountain. So that wind tower is on the top of Grouse Mountain which is north of the city of North Vancouver. Grouse Mountain has three main levels. To get from the bottom to the main level there are two ways, take a tram, SkyRide, or hike up the trail called, “The Grind” that consists of over 2,800 steps. My sister did it in a little over an hour. My parents and I took the tram up and walked around exploring the food, shops, a nature theater, two grizzly bears, bee hives and a lumber jack show. After lunch, we took a ski lift ride up to the top and from there an elevator up the wind tower. This is the only wind tower the public can go up in and see from the top in North America. The views from up there were just incredible!!
I know that was a lot to talk about, but it was all new for me and very exciting!!!
I have the approach I want to go to olympic cities. So I have been to London and Vancouver. Next on my list are Sydney and Rome.
I think the greatest power would be invisibility. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this but I enjoy people watching and trying to read them. It would be like I was a fly on the wall with out the threat of getting swatted at. Since I enjoy experiencing new places but don’t like being away from home for too long at a time. I would want the perks of being able to move quickly from place to place. I could see more places and visit family and friends more.
There are a lot influential people in my life, but the one I will have to say is my mom. To see how she has grown up and continues to make a difference in peoples lives when I know she had a hard upbringing is pretty powerful stuff. Also, she is always there supporting me when I cry and cheering me on when I am excited. I dread the day I lose her.
I have always said pizza because as long as it is a little different you can make it a breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Although, I know now pizza is one of the most unhealthy foods you can eat. Lucky for me, I do love all foods pretty much now, but pizza is just so versatile. I would have to stick to my answer being pizza as long as I could change up the crust, sauce, and toppings from time to time.
When advertising on a budget, seeing successful multi-million dollar advertising campaigns can be a bit discouraging. Not all businesses can afford television commercials, radio or billboard ads. Smaller businesses often rely on free advertising methods, like social media, to project their promotional messages. Even if you’re advertising on a small budget, or even no budget at all, that doesn’t mean that your advertising effectiveness has to be small too!
Don’t neglect the power of word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth is spread by brand ambassadors after they’ve had a good experience, or brand detractors if they’ve had a bad one. Positive WOM advertising can occur by simply going above and beyond for consumers, giving them a reason to talk or encouraging them to tell a friend about the business. Offering “refer a friend” deals can help with this. The more friends that are referred, the more word spreads about the company.
WOM is especially important because there is more trust in this type of advertising. Which are you the most likely to put your faith in, a television commercial about a great new restaurant in town, or a family member recommending you this great new restaurant in town? Word of mouth is more trustworthy than other traditional ads, but that doesn’t always refer to face-to-face chit-chat with friends or family. Whether it’s on social media, forums or comments on a website, a lot of word-of-mouth occurs online. In fact, this WOM marketing has been claimed to be the most important form of marketing and advertising. Utilize the convenience of social media to generate buzz. Understand what exactly your customers like about you, find something unique about the business that you can talk about and keep the customer engaged online. Your ambassadors will do the rest.
Getting involved with the people that reside within the business’s community is a great opportunity to get exposure. Fun runs, golf tournaments, or any other well-publicized community event is perfect for a business to get involved and get the company name out there. You can additionally volunteer your services or products for particular events. Not only does volunteering give you a positive image, but it also gives you necessary exposure.
If you choose to sponsor and event, you can bring free samples, informational brochures and business cards that can generate brand recognition and raise awareness about the business. For some sponsorships, your company name and/or logo will be put on display or on advertisements for the event itself. There are plenty of opportunities to spread the word. Talking about and sharing events that your company participates in on social media can show others that you’re more than just a business, you’re a part of their community.
Creating an advertisement is one thing, but campaigns? You might be thinking that advertising campaigns equals big spending, but that’s not the case. If you already read Creative Outlet‘s previous article on outstanding hashtag campaigns, you know that campaigning doesn’t have to mean shoveling out a ton of money. Figuring out the perfect hashtag, tagline or big idea for a social media campaign can lead to great success for a business who doesn’t have much budget for advertising. Once you’ve chosen a big idea to campaign, be sure to incorporate it in all of your social media posts. Repetition in a campaign is important. The best part about social media campaigns is that it’s easy to use even if you don’t have much time for it. Outlets like Facebook allow you to schedule posts ahead of time so that you can be on time even when you’re busy. Try using Hootsuite if you operate several social media outlets. Hootsuite lets you schedule and post on all social platforms simultaneously, and is an excellent tool for campaigning.
Keeping the consumer engaged and informed through WOM and social media marketing can be a great benefit to any business, big or small. So, having a short advertising budget doesn’t mean that the effectiveness of your advertising efforts come up short as well. With social media, making a big splash in the giant social media sphere is possible for anyone, you just need to show that you’re worth talking about. Great communication is key to not just gain new customers, but brand loyal ambassadors that can help you generate positive buzz for your business.
World Wide Web day is August 1st! Whether you use a smartphone, laptop, desktop or tablet to access your Internet, get ready for your data and Internet-related advertisements with this free graphic!
FREE DOWNLOAD: (
300dpi RGB jpg) ( 300dpi CMYK jp g)
Only available for free from July 27th, 2015 through August 3rd, 2015.
Miss this free graphic? Search for it on Creative Outlet!
September is just around the corner, and so is back-to-school shopping. Backpacks, pens, pencils and other various supplies are sought out in preparation for the first day of classes, which is an excellent opportunity for advertisers and marketers. Back-to-school selling and advertising for big businesses like Target reach amounts as high as $150 million in ad spending, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend just as much to have a successful back-to-school season. Whether or not you’re in the school supply business, there are still plenty things to do during this big shopping period.
Being healthy and aware of the foods that are put in our bodies is becoming a big concern for consumers, and they concern for their kid’s health as well. Grocery stores can blog or post recipes for healthy back-to-school lunches, even using newspapers to advertise healthy snack options that can be found in their shop. They can also set up displays for easy to pack meals and recipe cards in-store, ensuring that kids and adults alike can eat nutritious sack lunches. College students can also be targeted by advertising deals on pre-packaged items or bundles that are both healthy and affordable for them. Even advertise foods and recipes that don’t require cooking and are appropriate for dorm living. Show consumers that you don’t have to spend big bucks to enjoy a healthy meal!
School supplies aren’t the only thing that students are spending their money on in preparation for classes, they’re also looking to re-vamp their wardrobes. Last year, students were predicted to spend an average of $231.30 on clothes and $124.46 on shoes, compared to an average of $101.18 on school supplies. Advertise rewards for “Super Student” sales by encouraging them to bring in report cards with good grades for discounts on clothing items. Hair stylists and barber shops can do the same by advertising for back-to-school haircuts. Stylists can also create YouTube videos or blogs on quick and easy hairstyles to do on the first day of school.
Between student loans, book fees and school supplies college students are often on a bit of a budget. Any store can target college students by advertising a 15% off discounts when presenting their school ID. Book stores can advertise back-to-school book deals or rentals, and even discounts on purchases over a certain amount. Shops that sell cleaning products can advertise bundle deals on cleaning supplies to keep their dorm rooms clean. Advertising college student rewards programs that run beyond the back-to-school selling period can also be helpful for college students no matter what business you run.
Students aren’t the only ones who back-to-school shop. Target educators by advertising teachers-only discount cards for school supplies during the back-to-school season. Book stores can advertise top-selling books for each school subject. For shops that don’t sell school supplies, try advertising deals and specials just for teachers during the first month of school.
Don’t forget about the hard-working parents this season! Since their schedules are likely to change with their children back at school, it’s high-time that they get to treat themselves. Salons can give discounts during school hours that parents can take advantage of while the kids are away. Restaurants can advertise more mid-day specials and meal options. Gyms can jump in and advertise free fitness classes during the day for parents as well. Additionally, dog kennels, walkers and groomers can promote deals for parents that depended on the kids to care for their pets while at work.
No matter what the business is, everyone can hop on the back-to-school selling craze. Special deals for students, parents and teachers can be beneficial for everyone during this huge buying season. Just don’t forget these important targets for this shopping season!
With millions of websites available in the internet, it’s crucial for many businesses to get noticed in the World Wide Web. So, many utilize SEO, or search engine optimization, to help their website come up first on a Google search. However, did you know that using images on your websites and blogs can help with SEO? Here are a few useful tips to help utilize your images for better SEO.
Not only do fast-loading websites ensure that a user spends more time on it, but loading time is also taken into consideration when determining website ranking. Google, like many internet users, value websites that are quick to load . To help with this, make sure that all images that are used are saved on the smallest file size possible, without sacrificing the quality, of course. Do note that simply letting the browser resize the image, or resizing the image once it’s uploaded is not the same thing, the file size will still remain the same.
Almost everything goes into consideration when it comes to SEO rankings. Yes, even your file names! Before you upload a photo to a website or blog, make sure that the file name itself is related to what the content is about. Google isn’t likely to understand what “Image01234.png” is, so pick certain keywords that correspond to the page that it’s being uploaded to.
If the file name is important to SEO, it should come to no surprise that image captions play a role as well. Write captions for images using keywords that correspond with the keywords in the image file name and article or page text. Additionally, captions are important for persuading readers to keep on reading since images are one of the first things that the reader’s eyes will drift to. So, choose your words wisely!
Alt-text is the alternative html text used for an image that tells the browser what the image is. It’s often the text that you see when the image cannot load. So, it’s important that web browsers can recognize the image using keywords in the alt-text. To do this, you need to change the image’s tag in the text editor.
For example, the tag will look something like this:
<img src="barking-dog.jpg" />
Depending on what you’ve named your image will determine what’s after “img src”. To add the alt-text tag, type “alt=” into the tag, followed by similar keywords.
Here’s what the end result would look like:
<img src="barking-dog.jpg" alt="Barking Dog" />
Search engines assess the text that surrounds an image to figure out what’s important about that page. So, any image that’s used should not only have the right title and file name, but it needs to be related to the text. Keywords in the surrounding text should match the keywords used in the caption, alt-text and file name. To put it simply, the picture needs to be relevant to the page. Don’t use pictures of cats if your page is talking about dogs.
One major takeaway from this is that keywords are incredibly important to SEO. Search engines take into consideration how relevant your page and images are for online searches through your keywords. However, although you may want to use one word to use for your page or blog, it’s very difficult for there to be SEO success for a page that only uses one unspecific word as a keyword. Try using specific, short phrases that can make the page more relevant in an online search. For example, if you’re writing a blog about owning dogs, don’t choose “dog” as your keyword. Instead, try using something like “dog training tips,” or more specific phrases that correspond to the topic the page is about. Keeping these elements in mind can ensure that imagery aids in your search engine relevance!
Today is Moon Day! The Moon silently orbits Earth from 238,900 miles away, illuminating us with light reflected from our Sun. Although the Moon seems bright most nights, it actually only reflects about 3-12% of the sunlight that hits it! Celebrate Earth’s only natural satellite with this free graphic!
FREE DOWNLOAD: (
300dpi RGB jpg) ( 300dpi CMYK jp g)
Only available for free from July 20th, 2015 through July 27th, 2015.
Miss this free graphic? Search for it on Creative Outlet!
Hierarchy is one of the most important elements that create a successful and cohesive design. It shows readers what’s important and also makes it easier for the eye to navigate. Here are a few quick tips and reminders for maintaining hierarchy in designs.
First things first, headlines should be bigger, bolder and eye-catching. More stylized fonts are appropriate for a headline. Unless you’re using a visual, you want the viewer’s eye to be drawn to the headline first. Placement should be above subheads and the body copy. The subhead and body copy should be at least 5-10 points smaller than the headline, depending on the font type. Most importantly, the font face for the subhead and body copy should be easy to read. Don’t vary the font size and type throughout the design, keep it organized so that the eye knows where to go.
Quick tip: Stick to a maximum of three font sizes and/or font types. Any more and the design will look inconsistent and can be hard to read and comprehend.
The use of color can also create a hierarchy in a design by creating distinction between the important and less important stuff. Color can also help evoke certain emotions because they hold certain meanings. Try matching the headline color with visuals to show what’s important in the text. Just like the font size and style, try not to go overboard with bright colors because you don’t want to distract the reader. Additionally, pick colors that contrast with the background so that it’s easy to read.
The second you drop in an image, it becomes a core part of the design. Whether it’s simply a visual for an article or the backdrop to an entire design, placement and size is important, especially if you want the design to work across multiple platforms. Be sure that the placement of the image or multiple images are appropriate to were you want the reader’s eyes to wander. Other than the headline, images are going to be the first thing that the reader looks at.
Quick tip: If you’re using multiple images, try varying them in size and arrangement using a grid. It helps create a visual narrative.
If you want something to stand out, size is important, but let’s not forget what goes around it. Cluttered areas may draw the eye, but they may make it confusing or more difficult to read. Keeping a lot of negative space around a title, company name or logo can create the hierarchy without the clutter. Using a lot of negative space can even act as an alternative to size. A bolded text box around the title can be helpful and give the most important elements it’s own space.
A Z-Pattern is applicable to many types of ads and website designs. The point of the Z-Pattern is so that the eye moves from one corner of the design to the next, creating a Z formation. The most important elements of the design must be placed in the path of the Z, with the most important element being placed at the start, which would be the top left corner. There, you can put the headline, company name or whatever you believe is the most important. The bottom right corner is the “exit,” or where the reader is prompted to take action. Here, you can place icons for social media outlets, a phone number or another call to action.
Without hierarchy, a design is jumbled, cluttered and often difficult to read and understand. The important part of designing, especially when it comes to creating ads, is to grab the viewer’s attention and hold it. Creating hierarchy helps keeps the reader engaged and leads them around the design easily. Keeping these elements in mind when designing can help your design receive the right attention.
Marketing outlets like blogs or social media require a little more than just a great headline and copy. We live in a time where nearly everyone has a smartphone and have the ability to play photographer and share what they’ve captured. We are part of a visual culture, and some would much rather swipe through photographs than read a whole article. Imagery is found to be an important element in getting more engagement online. Great images on blogs or Facebook posts can increase traffic and allow a for you and your followers to communicate visually, or simply just draw the eye to a post. Here are a few reasons imagery is an excellent addition to your content marketing.
Other than having an awesome headline, images attached to posts or articles are actually what attracts readers. In fact, posts that include images are 94% more likely to be viewed than posts without images because our eyes are simply drawn to them first. Additionally, Facebook posts that include photos have a 37% engagement rate, the highest user engagement than any other type of Facebook post. Yes, even video! Increase engagement and readership with social media posts and blogs by including high-quality imagery and graphics.
We are also attracted to imagery because humans connect more emotionally with photographs. Pictures allow viewers to make quicker decisions about whether or not they wish to buy something because images are easier to process than text. For example, posting a photo on Facebook of a customer using a new product, or showing the product in context to where it’s normally used will probably lead to more views and purchases than a simple photo or description of the product.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an important element for online business traffic. Imagery can help your rankings on the Google results page, and that’s why many businesses rely on social media and content marketing for SEO. Images can emphasize topics on blogs by relating to a specific keyword or words within the article. Linking specific keywords related to the blog title onto an image link or caption can turn that picture into your secret SEO weapon. Climb the ranks of Google results by using imagery that reflects your blog message.
As previously mentioned, images lead to more engagement than any other content on the web. Because images are so attractive to consumers, they are easier to spot and easier to share. So, what makes an image shareable? Original content. Try using images that include motivational quotes relevant to your brand, how-to’s, fun facts, tips or any other content that the consumer can use. These images are easy to process and quick to respond to. If you’re creating these yourself, use easy to read fonts and attractive colors, perhaps your company colors or fonts. For whatever you choose to do, one important thing to remember is to be consistent with posting original image content. Consistency leads to more engagement.
Showcase company events that you host or put an employee in the spotlight to let people get to know your brand on a more personal level. Share pictures of the business headquarters or any fun happenings that occur in the break room. Images of employees will make the company seem more trustworthy and the viewer more comfortable with doing business with you. If you sell goods, show off products with product glamour shots or images of customers using the product in context. Be artistic and let your company creativity shine with the photos you use. Be sure to be consistent with incorporating the brand logo or colors into the images you share.
Images are important when it comes to grabbing someone’s attention in marketing. So be sure to remember that image quality is crucial and that readers need a little extra something with text or blog posts. Keep these tips in mind so that you and your business can adapt to our visual culture. Adapt to the visual culture so your business can get noticed.
National French Fry Day is today! Here’s a fresh batch of french fries to use for your ads. Hurry because this graphic download is only available for the week!
FREE DOWNLOAD: (
300dpi RGB jpg) ( 300dpi CMYK jp g)
Only available for free from July 13th, 2015 through July 20th, 2015.
Miss this free graphic? Search for it on Creative Outlet!