The Shift in Social Media to Curated Content and How You’re Going to Make Money From It by Tony Ford

I’m sure you’ve all heard so much about Pinterest that you’re exhausted by it. Well, either that or you’re using it like an addict and can barely stay away long enough to read this blog. It’s okay, I understand. The drive for novelty is strong; it’s what made us explorers and travelers as a species. But Pinterest is just one of hundreds of similar sites, and just one example of a shift in social media to curated content, which is a shift that many of us in online marketing have been expecting for the last couple of years. I talked about it a bit in my seminar Neolithic 2.0 at the 2011 winter CHA show.

Why were we expecting curated content? Because there is simply too much “stuff” online for any of us to sort through. I could spend the rest of my life just watching funny cat videos online and never see them all, or explain such a pursuit to my friends, for that matter. There are more free movies, free books, free songs and free games online right now than anyone could ever experience, even if we spend every waking hour just focused on one category. Don’t get me started on the things for sale.

If you combine the ease of communication with our trusted friends via a social media platform and the mountain of content out there for review, you will quickly get curated content. Your network points you to the good stuff. You share that content with your friends. Pinterest and sites like it just provide the mechanism and the math to do this on a large scale.

The mechanism and math are the keys to the marketing use of these sites, because every equation can be analyzed. Just like search engine optimization, you can “Pinterest optimize” and use Pinterest to gain interest in your products. In fact, it is harder on Pinterest precisely because it is so large, but the hundreds of other sites out there are a little smaller and a little easier. For example, ArtFire sellers made an effort to engage more actively with a site called this year and we found it quickly became a top 10 referral site for ArtFire and converted to actual sales at 90% higher than our top converting source of traffic (Google organic traffic).

So how do you effectively use these sites to market?

Here are the basics:

1) Maximize your business or personal branding on your profile. Use your business name as your profile name. Mention your website, your products, be a real personality and a brand. Use that space to describe your business. People will click on it to see who you are.

2) Don’t just spam with your product or service. Create a content brand. Think like a magazine publisher. Ask yourself “What kinds of things would my customers be interested in?” Publish, share, post, like and interact around that content brand. The people who like that content will like your product and buy it. Most of your content can be shared from other sources. But original content will have more impact if it resonates with your audience.

3) Interact, give back, and like, share and promote others. This is still a social media tool. The number one rule of social media is BE SOCIAL. Tag other users with @username in the pins you put up to connect with them.

4) Analyze what gets re-pinned, what is popular and what kinds of images are consistently at the top. For example clean, uncluttered product photos, macro shots, and cute animals seem to do well.

5) Pin a lot, but steadily, not in “bursts.” You’re shooting for establishing yourself as a trusted source of great content (who happens to sell some great products). For smaller sites that are less established a “burst” of content can work well to weight the algorithm for popularity in your favor. It takes less to climb up in their results for a small site.

The above are the basics. If you want to learn advanced techniques, and my top tricks and tips for maximizing curated content site marketing, as well as which emerging sites have the best combination of sales conversion plus early adopter advantage, join me at the CHA summer show for my seminar “Emerging Social Media Channels”, Tues., July 17th at 2PM – 3PM.

Ideas to Increase Class Attendance—A “Different Kind” of CHA Seminar! by Joe Rotella

Savvy marketers realize that classes are a key component (or perhaps, should be) for most craft and hobby professionals and organizations. Classes give people the opportunity to get to know you or your business, learn how to use products—old and new—and help build a relationship between you and the people you serve.

Whether you host classes at a brick and mortar location or online, boosting class attendance can help drive sales. I’ve been fortunate to see this happen with some crafting classes I’ve taught through Create & Craft. Students learn something new, socialize with others, have fun, and most end up saying, “I’ll have what he’s having!” and purchase products to use at home. Sometimes they feel they even need the product rather than want it and when that happens, sales soar!

The key to using classes to promote sales is to drive attendance. Fill classes and then deliver an exceptional experience, and you’re on the path to success.

Join me at the Summer Conference & Trade Show for Business Seminar S111, where we’ll explore 10 Ways to Increase In-Store or Online Class Attendance (Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 4-6PM, Room 24).

Explore is the key word. From 4-5PM, I’ll share my ideas to get more people through your doors—physical or virtual. Then, from 5-6PM, I’ll host an open forum where we can learn from everyone’s experience. That’s what makes this seminar different. It will be a mix of what I’ve learned and the chance to learn from your peers.

You’ll leave this seminar with ideas and templates you can use to help make your classes a success.

Mark your calendar and take time to step out of your business so you can focus on your business. Take advantage of all the Summer Conference has to offer—from seminars to workshops to classes to networking to the trade show floor. Come up and say, “Hi!” I would love to meet you!

Questions Every Retailer Should be Asking by Kizer & Bender

Are you prepared to hit the show floor at CHA Winter 2012? Much of your time will be spent on the show floor interacting with exhibitors. It’s a time for networking and relationship-building, but it’s also prime time to mine information to help you spin the doors on your store once you return home. CHA’s Retail Experts, Kizer & Bender, prepared the following checklist of questions to ask at each booth visit:

  • What’s the best way to sell this product line? Alone or cross-merchandised with your, or another vendor’s, product?
  • Who else is selling this merchandise? What are they doing to move it that’s important for me to know as well?
  • Where should I display this product in my store?

 Many vendors have a host of extras to help you display and sell their products, sometimes they are readily available and sometimes you have to ask. Bring this list of questions with you to each booth you visit:

  • Do you have presentation and display tips for his product or product line?
  • Are there racks available to better show and inventory the product in my store?
  • Do you have signing or other point-of-purchase materials available such as QR codes, project sheets or brochures?
  • Do you have videos I can use for associate training and for in-store play?
  • Do you offer merchandise planograms?
  • Do you offer made-up samples for model boards and other in-store displays?
  • Do you have people who can help with store sets and departmental relays?
  • Do you have people who can train my staff on how to best use your product?
  • Can you recommended designers I can bring in to help during special events?
  • Can you recommend an in-store event or other idea I can use to promote your product and build foot traffic in my store?
  • Do you have items I can have to use as giveaways and as door prizes during my special events?
  • Are there co-op dollars available to help pay for bag stuffers and other advertising medias used in promoting your product line?
  • Are there co-op dollars available to pay for part of my Yellow Pages ad if I list your product line in the ad copy or feature your logo?
  • Do you have articles or photographs I can use to promote your line in my e-mail blasts, newsletter and on my website?
  • Do you have information, photographs and retailer-friendly links I can use to promote your line on my social medias?

Meet Joe Rotella—CHA’s Web Optimization Expert & Crafter!

Think about it. How often do you use the Web? Maybe it’s to get the latest news, order products, get project ideas or keep up with friends on Facebook. According to comScore Media Metrix, the average American spent 32 hours per month on the Internet in 2010. And persons ages 45-54 set the high bar averaging more than 39 hours online each month.

Do you think your customers and prospects are spending that much time on the web? Maybe less? Maybe more? Are you engaging with them over the Web? Does it help maintain and grow your business? Are you getting the most from your Web presence?

Over the course of the next 12 months, I want to help you leverage the Web to boost your business. I’m Joe Rotella, the Chief Technical Officer of Delphia Consulting and CHA’s Web Optimization Expert for 2012. I lead Delphia’s Web Design, Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing practice areas. We help clients – big and small – get the most from the Web.

I’m also crazy about crafting. My passion for teaching combined with my love of paper helped my hobby become a business when I started Create & Craft. My work has appeared in Scrap & Stamp Arts and Just Steampunk! magazines. I’ve filmed a segment of Crafting at the Spotted Canary with Joy Macdonell (Episode #213 airs on PBS Fall 2011) and won Archiver’s One-of-a-Kind Wall Art contest (Ohio, August 2011). I’m also on the Viva Las Vegastamps! design team.

So, I get it. And your target audience does, too. A huge number of craft and hobby enthusiasts turn to the Web every day to learn new things, get ideas, find stores, find classes, shop and be part of a community. Retailers are out there, too, looking for ways to market and promote their own businesses and to find unique products to offer to their customers.

If you haven’t made plans yet to attend CHA’s Winter Conference & Trade Show, I hope you’ll consider going. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn, see products, meet with suppliers, get ideas, make friends and have fun. I’ll be there walking the show floor, taking classes and speaking and would love to meet you. Here are the two Business Seminars I’m presenting:

I’ll also be blogging here, offering live webinars and posting videos on CHA’s YouTube channel.

I would love to know what topics you want to hear about. Drop me an email at I look forward to working with you over the next year!