How to Create Your Own Branded Images & Memes (Video)

Do you want to create your own branded images or memes, but are afraid to try to learn a new program like Canva? Or you do not want to invest (let alone try to master) in programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. Well this is the tutorial for you!!

All you need to create simple branded images and memes is: Microsoft Word, your logo, a unique image (or legally downloaded stock image) and the snipping tool (or a similar screen capture tool).

 

Hope you found this helpful! Please comment and share.

Written by Amanda Goff
Amanda@SilverKeysMedia.com
Let Us Help You Unlock Your Story

Watch Your Language | 5 Steps to Improve Writing for Your Biz

Language…what do you mean watch your language? No, I don’t mean f-bombs, I mean are you really using language that matches who you authentically are when you are writing in your social profiles, marketing content and correspondence with clients / customers (so I guess this could mean f-bombs)?

So all those times you were in English class and wondered how you were ever going to use it in real life…well here is a prime life application. In technical English or Literary terms it is called your “Voice” and it should be reflective of how you speak naturally and your personality.

I am not talking casual emails or social media posts (but we will get to how that writing is important), I am talking about key elements as a business professional that can make it or break it.

Why do I ask this? Writing in a way where you are not truly being yourself does come through…and is usually comes across a bit plastic or fake. Also it is kind of boring because it usually is really polished and sounds like what everyone else is saying.

When you do let yourself have the freedom to be who you really are and fully embrace this in all of what you do, it is so powerful!!! You will start to fully tell your story, connect with people on a different level and (gasp) might actually enjoy the process.

So how do you figure out if you are being authentic in your writing? Follow the steps below to get the ball rolling and on your way:

  1. Go to your “About” page, a recent blog post or the Description/About on one of your social media platforms. Now copy and paste that into a document.
  2. Read it over. Does it sound like you? Is this how you normally talk? Does it have some of your personality in it?
    (If so…awesome, you are on the right track to writing in writing as you. If not…read on)
  3. Now rewrite this a bit as if you are speaking to someone that you know (a long-time client, an associate, etc…). Loosen up a bit so that this language is more uniquely you. It has your spunk and pizzazz.
  4. Put it away for a bit. Go get some coffee or move onto another project for about an hour. Stepping away from writing projects helps you get out of your head a bit.
  5. Pull that writing sample out and re-read it. Does it sound like you? What makes it unique? How can you weave what you changed into other writing?

This is a process and takes time to let go and give yourself the freedom to be you. It also sometimes helps to have another set of eyes to see what you are not. Silver Keys Media has launched our Brand Story process and an intricate part of this is finding your voice in your brand. Please contact me to learn more about this if you are interested in working with someone to unlock your story and help you become a better writer for your business.

 

Written by Amanda Goff
Amanda@SilverKeysMedia.com
Let Us Help You Unlock Your Story

What I Learned In Theater Class | Part 2

Be Authentically You

In theater class this has more to do with the character you are playing…be the character in the best possible way. As an actor you work to hone the finer points of a character to a point that you can step into the “skin” of that character each time you portray it. It happens when you can authentically be that character.

This is something that can also be used in our day to day lives…to authentically play your “character” in everything you do. Regardless of roles you have in life (mother, daughter, biz professional…) you should be living these out as you.

What causes people to not be authentically themselves? Well there are way to many reasons to fully discuss in this post, but usually it boils down to a fear that being themselves will cause pain or cost something.

It may be difficult, but by blowing past these limiters to become who you truly are will release you to such an amazing life.

What does this look like in real life? Well a good example is my friend and business coach Zee. She has been building her practice in my community for a few years with quite a bit of success, but could not shake that she was missing something. Her tagline was that she “empowered entrepreneurs” to be successful in life and business. Well after some digging in and tough love she was brought to a place where she felt she could finally step out authentically as who she knew she was. Now her tagline has shifted to working with entrepreneurs and business professionals to “unf*ck themselves”. This is not a message for the faint at heart, but that is okay because she only wants to work with those who want to get dirty and make changes.

How do you do this? Well start by writing down what lights you on fire, what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what makes you get up each morning…then reflect on these things. These are the things that you need to embrace each day until they what you are reflecting in each and every part of your life. Here are a few other ways that can help you start to live a life that is authentically you:

Morning Reflections
By taking time each morning to reflect on what makes you authentically you, this will keep this top of mind through out the day. Daily practices like this is like weight lifting for the brain. Start out slow, build on it and you will be amazed what you can do.

Create a Weekly Hit List
At the start of each week (maybe during Monday’s morning reflection) choose one thing you want to tackle to live more authentically. By breaking it up the changes you want to make into smaller chunks, you will be more successful in accomplishing your goals.

Practice Living Authentically
What the heck does this mean? Well it means to start using your authentic style in small ways to get used to them. Write your emails, blogs and correspondence with a flare that is more you. Or…when you are meeting someone for the first time, step into that “character” before the meeting and try it on for size. It may take some courage to step out of what is safe, but you will feel such freedom when you do.

Do One Thing That Scares You A Month
This is a way to push your boundaries in a good way. Now you don’t have to go jumping out of an airplane or anything. But it could be taking an improv or art class. Maybe it is showing up to an evening networking event where you do not know a soul. By doing things that scare the hell out of you, you are making a mental shift to be okay with pushing outside the norms.

What I Learned In Theater Class | Part 1

As an actor you study life in order to authentically portray it on stage or in front of the camera. You use sociology, a bit of psychology and observation in order to develop a character that can tell a story…with and without words.

You Can Say So Much Without Uttering A Word

You don’t have to hang around me long to know that I am a bit dramatic..in a good way. I enjoy stepping on stage or in front of the camera as a form of creative expression. I also enjoy using theatrics and what I have learned in theater class as I have continued to develop this craft in other areas of my life.

As an actor you study life in order to authentically portray it on stage or in front of the camera. You use sociology, a bit of psychology and observation in order to develop a character that can tell a story…with and without words.

We are no different in real life! We tell stories without uttering a word and it is important to be aware of this. When we speak, we should also be dialed into what our bodies are saying.

I teach a workshop specifically on this topic and here are some of the main areas we cover.

Body Stance
Point of Energy
Eye Focus
Hand Positioning and Gestures

Although these are just a few elements of how we use body language, they are key to beginning to understand how you can polish and manage the messages you are saying.

5 Steps to Create a Custom MailChimp Automated Email

Automated email campaigns are a feature that is available regardless of what plan you have. This is an amazing tool that can help you with a variety of marketing and administration tasks.

You can check out the preset “Automation Emails” or you can create your own.

The steps below are for custom automated emails…great for a series of emails that you can send out to a specific list or will trigger as you add names.

For example if you have a 5 day training series, you can create a custom email series to drip out to clients.

Step One
Sign in and select “Create Campaign”.

Step Two
Select “Create an Email”.

Step Three
At this step you can select one of the preset emails for a variety of marketing or admin purposes…but to really dial it in, click on “Custom”.

Step Four
Name your campaign and click on “BeginStep Five
Now you can begin to create your custom email series. You can edit your trigger (aka…when it will send the emails and how between time lapses), edit the workflow and design each email that you add as part of the series (I would suggest creating a template for the email series first and then you can easily use that for each added email).

Mail Chimp_Custom Email_Step 5

Click HERE to download a one sheet

Well there you have it. Hope this was helpful and allows you to create some options to streamline your marketing and save you some time.

Please contact us if you have any questions or leave a comment with some feedback!

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Claim Your Business | Top 5 Local Listings You Should Grab

As a small business, free marketing is always a welcomed resource. Claiming the local listings for your business is one of these free marketing tools out there…but the #key here is to make certain you are optimizing this opportunity and spending time on the listings that will give you the most value for your time and efforts.

As a small business, free marketing is always a welcomed resource. Claiming the local listings for your business is one of these free marketing tools out there…but the #key here is to make certain you are optimizing this opportunity and spending time on the listings that will give you the most value for your time and efforts.

What is a local listing?

Think of this as tapping into the “yellow pages”

Of course there are paid marketing packages that each of these will offer and there are also services you can sign up for that will set these up for you and manage them (Yext). If you have the marketing budget and want to try these things out, my suggestion is that you try them out one at a time and make certain you have some time dedicated to testing/tracking these services so you know what the return is on those hard earned dollars.

Yelp

Great for services based businesses. If you are not familiar with Yelp already this is a community platform that allows consumers to leave feedback, rate their experience and reviews. Simple set up…create an account, provide correct information about your business and upload logo/images.

Yahoo Small Biz

This is one of the top sites that pulls up when consumers are searching for local services and business. This listing is a must so you can have control over the information that potential clients are seeing about your biz. Simple set up…create an account, provide correct information about your business and upload logo/images.

YP

This is how Yellow Pages came into the digital age. This is similar to the Yahoo listing, another way to take control over the information that is provided to the digital community. Simple set up…create an account, provide correct information about your business and upload logo/images.

Google+

In order to fully use the free tools that Google+ have available, you will need to create a Google+ profile for your business and then also set up the Business Page that is then tied to your Google+ page (of course this is also tied to your YouTube and personal profile. You will need to verify your address by having Google send you a postcard to the physical address associated with your business. This postcard will have a verification code that will unlock you ability to fully optimize your listing.

Bing

This is tied to Microsoft, so you will need to set up an specific login with Microsoft to then login to this platform. Bing is a leader in digital marketing and is used as a primary browser landing page for many. In addition to their free listing there are opportunities to advertise, which if you have some extra cash flow and time to test is a good place to put some marketing dollars. You will need to verify your location via phone number through either a call or text code.

Why Should I Care About Branding?

Basically if you have a product or service you will want to have something that the community will identify with in order to create trust, recognition and ultimately a client, customer, supporter or donor.

What is branding anyway? According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

branding

noun  brand·ing \ˈbran-diŋ\
Definition:  the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand
First Known Use: 1913

Basically if you have a product or service you will want to have something that the community will identify with in order to create trust, recognition and ultimately a client, customer, supporter or donor.

If you are not sure what your brand is or if you have a brand that is helping you move forward successfully, then you will want to take time to identify what that is. How do you want the community to identify with your company or organization?

While there is not a single fix-all solution to formulating a brand, here are a few things to consider as you examine your current branding or begin to move towards a new one all together:

  • What is your Unique Selling or Service Proposition)? [USP click here to learn more]
  • What problem does your product or services solve?
  • What is your tagline
  • What colors represent best what you do? [yes a bit ethereal, but color does matter! Look for a post soon on this]
  • What are your core values, vision and mission for your company?

NEED HELP? Feel free to reach out by emailing silverkeysmedia @ yahoo.com or fill out the form below if you have questions or if you want to schedule a strategy session to get your story on track.

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What Story Are You Telling?

Regardless of your industry, your business or organization has a story. What story are you currently telling? Is this the story I want to tell? Why is this important?

Story Book

Regardless of your industry, your business or organization has a story. This story is made up of the personal impression you have made (or those who work for/with you), copy on your website, your printed materials, your logo, your tag line and your overall digital presence.

It can even run as deep as what you do publicly outside of work. The big set of questions are: What story are you currently telling? Is this the story I want to tell? Why is this important?

This could be a very long post if I covered everything, so I am only going to highlight some action items to address the three questions mentioned above. This will help you get started with the process of unlocking your story.

story

What story are you currently telling?
To find this out you will want to schedule a couple blocks of time to evaluate what you currently have online and in print. Basically in technical terms you will create a digital audit. Compile this however it makes sense (word doc, excel, cloud doc, etc…). Here a few things to look for:

  • Is the description of your biz or what you do consistent in language on your website, social platforms, print media and local listings?
  • Does your logo and images represent what your company does, what services or product you provide and seem interesting?
  • Do all elements look polished and professional?

Is this the story I want to tell?
Not that you have done some homework take a look at all that is out there. What story is it telling? What message is it communicating to potential clients?

If you can see through the eyes of your target audience, this will allow you to see if you are hitting your mark or if you have blind spots in how you are presenting you, your business/org and what you are offering. If need be find a few trusted people and ask them to give you honest feedback.

Why is this important?
The reason all this matters is because this is what potential clients, customers or donors are seeing. This is what is forming their instant impression of you and will either attract or repel. If your messaging is inconsistent, messy and does not have cohesion, that is what viewers will take away as a subconscious impression of how you do business.

NEED HELP? Feel free to reach out by emailing silverkeysmedia @ yahoo.com or fill out the form below if you have questions or if you want to schedule a strategy session to get your story on track.

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Comment” type=”textarea” required=”1″ /][/contact-form]

Product Video | Corporate Commercial

You can tell the story of your product, services and company with a simple video. Make sure to keep it short and sweet. Here is a great sample of using intentional words and striking images to create a visual message.

 

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Marketing Yourself While Being Realistic

As a small business owner you wear many hats. You do the work, manage the books, pull the trigger on your marketing….it can be a lot. One of the first things have my clients do is to tell me what they are doing for their marketing and then we talk about what makes them happy…and what is purely a chore.

Marketing your business is different for everyone and there is no magic formula. The key to figuring it all out is to look at what is realistic for you. What? Realistic…what does that mean? Well that means you need to access the time you have, what you enjoy doing and what you can leverage to others. This may mean you need to pay someone to pick up the tasks you do not like or do not have time for, but by taking the time to think it through you can make an educated decision.

Marketing Yourself

Here are a few tips that will help you along the way to make this assessment:

  • Social Media: Do you like social media, know how to use it and have at least 2 hrs a week to manage it? Keep in mind, you do not have to be on every social profile, choose what fits your business and ability to use.
  • Email Marketing: Do you have a way to capture customer contact information? Do you have content that you can send regularly (bi-monthly or monthly)? Do you have the ability to pay for a management system?
  • Digital Ads: Do you know how to do basic design? Do you understand Google Ads, Facebook Ads or any other ad platform? Do you have at least 45 minutes a day to check in and manage ads (this can be less on one and more on another)?
  • Blogging: Do you like to write? Do you have the unique content needed to maintain regular blogging? Do you have at least an hour a week to manage this?

Thank you for following  and reading Silver Keys Media’s Blog
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What Story Are You Telling Without Saying A Word?

You don’t have to hang around me long to know that I am a bit dramatic. I have been acting, dancing and performing since I was 4 years old. My mother put me in dance and acting to increase my confidence. Both of these crafts focus on how you present yourself and how to communicate with out words…to tell a story with out even saying anything.

These skills translate to everyday life. I think all too often we float through and are note aware of what we say with our body, our eyes and the energy we focus from ourselves. This blog post is an overview of a few key non-verbal elements (there are many more) to be in tuned to. I will be offering a workshop & webinar soon that I will to help give more application.

What are you saying with out speaking a word?

Body Energy
We all have energy that flows from our body, but it is how we channel this energy that tells the story. When you are in a situation at work, at home, under stress…what energy is flowing from you. It is a different way to look at things, but awareness of this can help you turn a situation around or elevate the mood of things.

Stance
How you simply stand gives a lot away about how you are feeling and the confidence you have.  A tight, closed down or twisted stance sends a message that you there is insecurity and that you are not as open. A wider stance communicates that you are rooted and thus signals confidence. The most strength lies in the “Power Pose” (think superman or wonder woman) to take charge of a situation (for yourself and to give those around you the cue that you are in charge).

Bubbles
We all have a bubble…some have the need for lots of space and others are very comfortable when someone gets into their bubble. I am a notorious hugger…which I am very aware of being very intentional. But just like the three little bears, there is a way to approach the “bubble” that is just right for a professional setting when you are networking or just meeting people. When you are a step to close while you are speaking this is a signal of control and dominance. When you are just a bit out of reach (to far away) you communicate that you are either insecure or uninterested. To find a distance that is just right will signals confidence and that you are sure of yourself, but takes into consideration the other person.

Thank you for following  and reading Silver Keys Media’s Blog
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Content is King: Create Your Own Meme

Part of this fun journey of blogging for 29 days is to provide some quick tips on how to create unique content to tell your story.

Original content is so important to have in your social media and digital marketing. Do you like those images with text…or better known as meme? You can easily create these with your own photos in a very simple way. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to creating fun, inspirational and informative content for your business.

Meme
Sample Seasonal Meme from Original Photography

First…Identify your Screen Capture Tool

PC = Snipping Tool

  • Locate Snipping Tool in Accessories (Start Menu Search) and Open
  • A communication window will appear
  • Click on arrow next to choose the type of snip you want. Rectangular Snip is best for memes
  • Once you have the item you would like to capture prepared, click “new”
  • Drag cursor over area you want to capture
  • Save as the image format you want

Mac = Command (⌘)-Shift-4

  • Press Command (⌘)-Shift-4. You’ll see that your cursor changes to a crosshair pointer
  • Move the crosshair pointer to where you want to start the screenshot
  • Drag to select an area. To adjust the area, hold Shift, Option, or the Space bar while you drag
  • When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. Or to cancel, press Escape (esc)
  •  Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop

Second…Create Meme in a Word Doc

  • Open Word Doc
  • Go to Insert tab and select Picture…this will allow you to import the image
  • With image selected go to Format and click Wrap Text and select In Front of Text
  • Click on Insert tab and select Text Box…this will give you the option of which text box you want to use
  • Double click on Text Box content and then type the quote you want on your image
  • Make certain that Text Box is still selected and click on Home tab. Highlight the text you just added and format using all the Font formatting tools
  • Make certain that Text Box is still selected and click Format tab. This is where you will select Shape Fill (none) and Shape Outline (none)
  • With box selected drag the Text Box to where you want it on the image.
  • Use screen capture tool to capture and save as either a png or jpg

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Check…Check…Double Check | Quality Control in Your Marketing

Recently I received a letter in the mail from my health care provider. Well after a moment of reading and then re-reading this I laughed out loud so obnoxiously that everyone in the house wondered what the heck I was reading. Really? “Insert disease/condition”….well someone did not get their caffeine in before they hit print and sent this on its merry way. And excuse me, I have a few pounds to lose, but I am not pre-diabetic. After my initial shock, I was delighted to get this and knew right away that it would be a great sample of how in any and all marketing you must check…check…double check your work. Sure we are human, however quality control is so very important and a mistake like this can be costly. How you say? Well my health care provider had to send a letter out after this as a follow-up with an apology and an updated message. So double the postage $$ was spent on this “Research Study Opportunity”.

Ooops Quality Control

So what can we learn from this?

1 – Be certain to check your work yourself and whenever possible have another set of eyes take a look. I am a notorious miss-speller (yes that is not spelled correctly on purpose), so I try to always have extra help in that area.

2 – Quality control is important! It can cost you cold hard cash and possibly some credibility…or the embarrassment when you have to go back to fix things.

3 – To put your best foot forward make certain you are clear-headed and give yourself some time to work on, edit, step away and then come back for a final go over before you send things out into world.

Thank you for following  and reading Silver Keys Media’s Blog
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