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.

Five Steps to Create a Solid USP

 

What is a USP?

A USP is a single sentence or phrase that captures your Unique Selling Proposition. It takes a bit of work to get to this piece of your marketing plan, but it VITAL to understanding the problem your business/organization is solving and what sets you apart from others in your community. A USP gives you a clear identity, lets you target your market and will help you with putting together a solid story. Successful USPs can be used as a company tagline and should be incorporated into all of your marketing activities.

Stand out in a crowd
What makes your company or organization unique

 

Step 1: Find Your Target?

You need to know who you are targeting. In this first step you need to be a specific and intentional in your wording.. For example, if you are a business coach with an expertise in fundraising, you may identify your target client as non-profits or community based organizations.

Step 2: What is Your Problem?

This is so IMPORTANT! Take some time and think from your prospective clients’ perspective. What problem or challenge do they face that your business can solve?

Step 3: Identify the Benefits

What are 3-5 of the biggest benefits a client gets from choosing to work with your company?What sets you apart from your competition? These benefits should explain why your services would be valuable to your prospective clients and what would compel them to choose you.

Step 4: Define Your Promise

A HUGE part of a USP is what you will promise to your clients, what are you going to do to solve their problems. This are active words.

Step 5: Put it all together

Now take all of the information you have written down and put it all together into one paragraph. There should be some recurring ideas and thoughts, so you’ll want to start merging statements and rewriting in a way that flows and makes sense.You want your final USP to be as specific and simple as possible.

Here are a few links to some great USP examples:

https://fizzle.co/sparkline/10-examples-of-killer-unique-selling-propositions-on-the-web

http://sales.about.com/od/leadgeneration/tp/Unique-Selling-Proposition-Examples.htm

http://imimpact.com/unique-selling-proposition-examples/

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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.

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Why Are Reviews on Social Media Important?

There are many ways that you can attract clients and more business, however what impression are you leaving with your digital thumbprint? Through your website, social media, local listings and digital content (more in future posts on these specifically) you can have quite a bit of control over the story you are telling. A key element you can leverage are the reviews on your social media.

There are many ways that you can attract clients and more business, however what impression are you leaving with your digital thumbprint? Through your website, social media, local listings and digital content (more in future posts on these specifically) you can have quite a bit of control over the story you are telling. A key element you can leverage are the reviews on your social media. Why not ask clients to share their experience. It is proven that prospects typically base their decision to use a business or give to an organization based on what others say in reviews. Think about how you make these types of decisions.

Below are a few step-by-step instructions for the top three social platforms.Take control of your branding and story, this can help you attract more clients and build a solid community of followers. In a later post we will explore reviews on your local listings.

Facebook Reviews
We will start with Facebook, one of simplest platforms to request reviews for. To get a link to send.

Don’t have a branded (or Vanity URL as they call it) click HERE for a how-to.

Facebook Reviews.JPG

Google Reviews
Google is an important one to keep tabs on. Why, well it’s Google and this is something that will pop up when someone searches your business. So kind of important!  Here are the official steps that Google provides to help you create a link for reviews:

google-id

LinkedIn
There is not a way to create or send a specific link that directly takes someone to recommend you on LinkedIn, but you can send them a link to your profile. Written recommendations are at found at the bottom of your profile. To encourage recommendations, send someone to your profile (use the public or serial ID URL) and ask them to scroll (or hit Ctrl+End) to go to the bottom to see your recommendations.

If you have not already, you should brand your LinkedIn URL so that your community can easily find you. Click HERE for a link on how to do that. If you have customized it, the link to your public profile is www.LinkedIn.com/in/YOURBRAND.

linked-in-branded-url

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Lights, Camera, Action…My Life on a Film Set

Stepping on a film set is amazing. I have had the opportunity to do it for a professional film company here in Portland as a paid extra on “Portlandia” and I have had the opportunity to do so for the last 5 years with Marble Mountain Films working on the short film “Unmarked” and the current film project “Dead Lake“.

My Life on a Film Set

It is not glamorous as one may think. I have hiked miles to locations, nearly frozen my feet off, baked in the 100 degrees weather, mucked around in dirty water and hauled tons of gear. But I have loved every bit of it. There is a thrill of working with actors and directing them to tell a story. To orchestrate visual, emotional and audio to impact an audience.

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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.

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29 Days Of Blogging | Day 5: Top Fifteen Songs I Love

I love music…music of all kinds. I listen to country, classic rock, hip-hop, dubstep…the list can go on. Since I was little I have created emotional ties to certain songs. When I hear them they can transport me back to that time and place. If my life could have a sound track here are ten songs that would be part of that collection. They all have their own hook into the story of my life:

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer  – The Beatles
Brown Eyed Girl  – Van Morrison
Defying Gravity – From “Wicked” (yep here comes the musical numbers)
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band – The Beatles (actually this whole album)
Foxy Lady – Jimmy Hendrix (this one holds two memories)
Suddenly Seymour – From “Little Shop of Horrors”
The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough –  Cyndi Lauper (“Goonies Never Say Die!”)
Smells Like Teen Spirit  – Nirvana (ode to the brooding 90’s teen years)
Jesus Freak  –  DC Talk
Come What May – From “Moulin Rouge”
Monster  –  Skillet (helped out on a couple tours with them…amazing band!)
You Can’t Stop the Beat – From “Hairspray”
Thief  –  Third Day
Elements – Lindsay Stirling (I love everything she does…the video is worth a watch)
Hello  –  Adele (yes it is over played…but she is soooooo amazing!)

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My Favorite Quotes

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  –  Maya Angelou

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  –  Helen Keller

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”  –  William Shakespeare

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Eight Things About Me

At first I thought it might be difficult to come up with 8 interesting thing…but this was a rather fun exercise to examine the life of Amanda Goff to dig up some fun and funky facts.

  1. I started my “career” as a performer at the tender age of 4 at my first dance recital. I was done for after that and bitten by “bug”.
  2. I love to people watch. It is one of the best ways to study as an actor and also learn about the stories people tell with out even knowing it.
  3. I cannot parallel park to save my life. Well I can, but avoid it at all costs.
  4. I went to Jr High & High School with the Disney TV actor Jason Earles. We acted together in several productions.
  5. I have been working for the last 5 years on local independent film projects right here in Clark County with Marble Mountain Films….. I have loved every moment of it!. Thank you to my hubby and son for supporting me in this crazy en-devour.
  6. I have visited Costa Rica twice on mission trips. It was amazing and I think I could live there someday. It was not just the beauty of the country, but the wonderful people who live there.
  7. I could eat sushi or Thai food everyday if given the chance. Love the freshness and variety.
  8. I have worked several crazy jobs (call it life study). I have been a nursing assistant, preschool teacher, nanny, legal assistant, concert promotions manager and education assistant for a whole body donation organization.

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