Blog

Should You Rebrand?

08-should-you-rebrandLast week we talked about building a team and began to explore branding. In this edition of the Lights Camera Read newsletter we are going to look at the question “Should you rebrand?”

Rebranding is a subject currently being examined by our Art Gush Online Education site that teaches a daily step by step approach to promote yourself as a creative person and to thrive artistically.

First off, let’s answer the question “What is branding?” Some say it is a combination of marketing, strategy, design, identity and logo. But whatever it is, it’s a way you can take some control of how you are perceived.

Rebranding then is metamorphosing the way folks see your brand based on changes you or your organization may have undergone – a kind of update if you will.

How do you know you need to rebrand? One reason is because customers and fans are not engaging with you as much as they used to. Maybe your brand is dated and in need of modernization?

Once you’ve made the decision to rebrand you might want to take a look at your mission. Are you still fulfilling your mission? Do you need to engage your audience more in regards to your mission? What are the changes you need to make to you brand to achieve more engagement?

As mentioned in past installments, we at Lights Camera Read are considering doing a rebranding starting in January as a graduate school project. Our organization started in 2009 as a way for youth to learn to make videos and do writing inspired by favorite books. Hence Lights Camera Read. It was a program that was done in several branches of the New York Public Library.

But now we are focusing on online education and our audience has expanded and changed. Our diverse audience is now interested in becoming empowered with learning that provides them with benefits including promotional strategies and ways to evolve artistically.

As our audience has changed so has our mission. So if we do a rebranding starting in January we may change our name or possibly develop an additional entity.

As always we love to hear from our readers. Please contact us with any questions or feedback.

Find Your Image

07-find-your-imageWhen we say “find your image” we mean literally “finding your images” as in discovering stock graphics and photos for your website. It’s often best to create your own photographs and graphics if you can, but this is not always possible. Therefore stock graphics and photos become a viable alternative.

Of course another type of “image” is your brand – how people perceive you. That’s why it’s a good idea to figure out what your mission is so that you can in turn establish your brand. Your stock image choices should reflect your brand.

There are some very good stock image and graphics houses available. Many of them you have to pay for, but some of them are free. A simple series of online searches will uncover both stock images that are at no cost as well as those that require remuneration. So it is suggested that you do searches and make a list of choices.

Speaking of branding, because of the thesis that we have decided on for graduate school, we are likely going to be doing a “rebranding” of “Lights Camera Read” starting in a few months. We may even change the name during the rebranding process.

Wikipedia defines rebranding as being “…a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.”

But lest we get too far off the track of photo and graphic image acquisition, let’s discuss your next step after making an internet list of the image vendors you are considering.

Next you insert your images into your website alongside your text. Remember, these images should reflect your mission and brand. Don’t be afraid to go back to your images source for new ones if your current pictures don’t aptly reflect you and your business and organization.

Finally, be sure to market to your audience that your site has been updated.

For more information on “Finding Your Image” please visit the online education site Art Gush.

John Yianni Stamas Tells You How to Put Together Your Own Team of Ghouls

06-your-own-support-teamIt’s a spooky time of year so in our current Art Gush online education installment we are currently working on video/PDF course 6 of 9 in the “How to Create a Web Publication” series that will haunt you (in a good way). This episode is perfect for any goblins who want to have their very own support team of ghouls.

Hi. I’m John Yianni Stamas and I have a question for you. Is the idea of putting together your own support team a spine tingling concept full of fear? The good news for solopreneurs is that these days you can overcome being scared by now having access to special online services. These services make it very much like having one’s own group of other worldly helpers.

Putting together a group of freelancers means you don’t need to deal with with the frightening aspects of having actual employees. Sites like Fiverr make it possible to do things with your witch or warlock kettle of media such as creating a website at a very low cost.

Many solopreneurs try to do everything all by themselves – a “Ghost of All Trades” so to speak. But this is difficult, even impractical. For those who like working primarily alone but realize they can’t do it all themselves, hiring online freelancers can be a good fit for getting out from beneath the cobwebs.

When you hire freelancers online your communication with them is primarily by email which allows you to think through your business and art choices without the pressure of having to perform well in front of others. You can even wear your Dracula cape at the computer if you want.

So for more information on forming your every own support team check out webisode #6 of 9 in the “How to Create a Web Publication” series and make staying alone in your tomb a thing of the past!

John Yianni Stamas Talks About How to Finalize Your Content

05-finalize-your-contentLAST WEEK’S ENTRY

If you’ve been following along with our Art Gush online education courses and/or our Lights Camera Read blog plus newsletter, then you know that last week we looked at “Create Your Content.” This week’s video entry for “Art Gush” is the finalizing of that content.

WEBSITE CATEGORIES

The areas we developed website content for this past week included the “About” page (mission/vision), the nonprofit “Donate” page (or products/services for for-profit companies), the “Blog” section and finally the “Newsletter” category (which consists of excerpts from your blog).

BEST TIP FOR FINALIZING YOUR CONTENT

The best tip I can give you about finalizing the content of your website is that you need to ask yourself the question “What is it that I want my website to do for me that is simultaneously a useful solution for my readers?” In other words what is the call-to-action that you ultimately desire the web browser to take?

WHERE THE ROADS LEAD

If you are able to answer the call-to-action question it subsequently makes finalizing the content easier because then all roads lead to the same place: the thing that you wish your reader to do.

GETTING MY MASTERS

As many of you know I am currently working on getting my masters degree in “Arts Administration” so the work that I do for Lights Camera Read is relevant to the work I am doing in school and vice versa. I have a meeting soon with the new “Arts Administration” department head to propose an idea I have for my final project thesis and consultancy.

A POSSIBLE NEW ORGANIZATION

And although I am only about halfway through the degree, as well as am only going to school part time, I figure there’s no time like the present to get a jump on the final phase of the program. The idea I have for my thesis is the formation of a new organization that is quite different from what I have done before.

MAKING A CONTRIBUTION

The thesis organization is based on an issue that I think is very important to solve in contemporary times. It’s a big issue with lots of social ramifications so I don’t think my proposed organization will necessarily solve the problem – but I do believe it can make a contribution to the effort.

WAITING FOR GREEN LIGHT

What is the issue that my possible organization will solve? I am not at liberty to reveal that just yet. I need to get the green light from my department head so that I can work on the business plan in conjunction with getting my masters.

POINTING IN ONE DIRECTION

But I will say this – if I do get the go-ahead from the department head, there will be big changes to the courses, blog entries and newsletters that we do. All resources will be pointed in one direction.

How to Create Your Content

create-your-contentNEWSLETTER MISSION

The mission of our newsletter is to bring you updates on Lights Camera Read creative projects (Platinum Pias Awards Show, Art Gush Online Courses, Magic Neighbors Theater Company and so forth) as well as help you build your visibility on the web.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR CONTENT

Last week we covered how to plan your website and this week we are going to lightly touch on how to create your content.

CONTENT IS KING

You may have heard the saying “Content is King” and it’s true. The text you put up on your website can make or break it, so it’s a good idea to put some thought into what your content is going to convey.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR WEB PUBLICATION

In this week’s Art Gush course entry (Number 4 of 9 of the “How to Create Your Web Publication” series) we are discussing the menu items “About,” “Donate (or Products/Services),” “Blog” and “Newsletter.” In this communication we will explore these areas also, with more information available in the Art Gush course.

YOUR “ABOUT” PAGE

Studies have shown that the “About” page is one of the first read, so it is important to work hard on this one. It is a good idea to have your organization’s mission and vision on this page. As we’ve discussed in the past, your vision is what you are trying to achieve and your mission is how you are going to get there.

YOUR “DONATE” OR “PRODUCTS/SERVICES” PAGE

If you are a nonprofit you should have a “Donate” page and if you are a for-profit you should have a products/services page. The intent behind both pages is the same: you are trying to get the reader to take action. In the case of the “Donate” page you want your viewers to donate, and in the case of the “Products/Services” page you desire your readers to purchase your products and services.

YOUR “BLOG”

Your blog is an important part of your website. Why? Because your blog is a consistent way of creating new content, usually on at least a weekly basis. New content means more listings on search engines as well as can be used as the basis of the content for your newsletter.

YOUR “NEWSLETTER”

It is a good idea to stay in touch, and your newsletter is a way to do this. And the great news is that if you are doing a blog on a weekly basis you can re-purpose this content for use in your newsletter. It is recommended that you include approximately half of an individual blog entry in your newsletter and link from it to that blog entry. This means that people reading your newsletter will potentially click through to your blog.

Yianni Stamas Shows You How to Plan Your Website

plan-your-websiteAs we’ve mentioned in the past, we are working on a series of courses on the “Art Gush” site concerning the topic of “How to Start a Web Publication.” These courses are intended for those who have an interest in journalism as well as folks who want to promote their company, organization or themselves. In other words, the sequence of courses will be ready-made for those desiring to make a difference in their community.

Therefore this entry is going to be looking at the current online course in the publication sequence we are working on which is “How to Plan Your Website.” This topic is useful both if you are just starting out with a website or already have a website and are looking for ways to improve it.

One of the first things you should do when planning a website is to decide the format you are going to use. The two basic ones for those who don’t want to hassle with difficult-to-learn programs are “control panel” and “WordPress.” There are tons of control panel sites out there offered by many different companies. When choosng one you want to think in terms of ease of updating and if the aesthetic works for you. The other option is WordPress which is the best choice for those who are going to want to do a lot of updating of functions. You see, there are literally thousands of different kinds of plugins you can get that do different things.

Once you’ve decided on the format, the next thing you’re going to want to do is look at what menu items you are going to present. If you already have a site then you’ve done this, but might be interested in adding some new ones or delete those that are no longer relevant. Here are five that are classics: “About,” “Contact,” “Donate,” “Staff” and “Blog.” We’re not going to go into detail in this article about these menu items (we do more of that in the Art Gush course) but we will say that these are just a few that are possible.

For example, if you are a nonprofit you might use “Donate” since this is how you survive as an organization, whereas if you are a for-profit you might substite “Products” or “Services.”

In the end what you want to do is to put yourself into the position of your user and audience member and think in terms of what kind of information is useful to them and how you can you make it as easy as possible for them to access what they need.

Your Mission and Vision

your-vision-and-missionThis week’s Art Gush online course that we are creating is on the topic of your vision and mission. Therefore we are going to focus this blog entry in that direction as well.

If you have a nonprofit organization, having a vision and mission is vital, but even if you run a for-profit business, a vision and mission can be helpful. Plus, if you’re a freelancer or work at a job, it is a good exercise for fine tuning your point of view to create a vision and mission.

First off what is a vision and mission and what are the differences between the two? A vision is how you would like things to be and a mission is how you are going to get there. A success pathway can be broken down even further into five phases: (1) vision, (2) mission, (3) goals, (4) strategy and (5) action plans.

For example, we make weekly online Art Gush video/PDF courses for introvert artists. Lately we’ve decided to spotlight Art Gush more. So our vision is to create a world where introvert artists are empowered by Art Gush. And our mission is to let introvert artists know there is an online Art Gush solution that can help them achieve their objectives. Our goal is to get more introvert artists to sign up, so our strategy is to use our newsletter to promote the courses. And finally our action plan is to write an article about it for our blog and newsletter.

The vision and mission process can assist you if you need to juggle multiple projects like we do. We have our online courses plus blog/newsletter as well as other undertakings to contend with. In other words we have at least three things going on at any given moment so if these endeavors can share the same vision and mission – or even synergize in the workflow – it can make life less confusing.

Do you have a vision and a mission? We’d love to hear from you!

Discover Your Audience with John Yianni Stamas

discover-your-audienceDiscovering who your audience is, is a critical step but how do you do it? This is the question being raised in the first of 9 installments that we are currently working on for our latest Art Gush online course series entitled “How to Create a Web Publication.”

Figuring out who your demographic is and sticking with it can be tough. When we first started the “NYC Make a Difference” newsletter we figured our readers were artists in a general sense including writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers and so forth. But as we’ve progressed over these years, we’ve come to find out that many of you aren’t just artists but are introvert artists.

Let’s say you’re an introvert artist and have an artistic project or business for which you want to communicate with your audience. The question becomes how do you define your audience? Plus most importantly, once you know who your audience members are, how do you reach them? These are possibly the two most important questions you can ask yourself regardless of whether you’re an introvert artist or extrovert artist.

First off let’s look at one strategy for defining your audience: the suggestion is to stay close to home. In other words consider seeking out an audience that is much like you. Why does this make sense? Because it enables you to more easily know what your audience wants in terms of likes, dislikes and interests.

What about actually getting your message in front of your audience? This is where it gets harder. But again, if your audience is much like you, you can ask yourself questions such as “Where might I visit online to find other people like me?” The internet locations you come up with can be included as targets in your audience development plan. It all starts with properly defining your audience in the first place.

For example, the team behind the Lights Camera Read website and it programs, consists of introvert artists. But ironically, defining our audience as introvert artists wasn’t what we thought to do initially. We figured we would try to connect with artists in general.

Discovering our audience is primarily introvert artists rather than just artists, leads us to telling you about another tip regarding uncovering your audience: “Be as specific as possible regarding who you are trying to reach.”

So let’s say you know the places on the web your audience frequents. Next you might want to ask yourself “How will I get a presence in those places so that those visiting the sites will click through to me?”

Another approach to audience development is to work toward ranking on search engines for various keywords. These keywords should reflect searches that you believe your target demographic will type into search engines. This is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. You can learn more about the term SEO and how to do it by conducting a web search.

So there you have it, a couple of different ways to discover your audience.

P.S. If you aren’t already signed up for our newsletter “NYC Make a Difference,” we suggest you do so by clicking here. This will ensure you staying up to date with Lights Camera Read’s tips for introvert artists as well as our projects including Art Gush, the Platinum Pias Community Awards for Artists, Thrillumentary and more.

P.P.S. There are many more ways to discover your audience which our friends at Art Gush explore in their online courses including one entitled “Discover Your Audience.” Of course if you want the comprehensive aproach to marketing yourself as an introvert artist on the web, we suggest you join the Art Gush membership program which gives you access to all our mini courses, with new ones added each week. Each course is designed to help you achieve your goals at the pace of only three steps a day.

How to Find Your Soulmate

soulmates2

Quite some time back we made a feature film that was originally released episodically on cable television. We also created a soulmate campaign to promote the project.

Since in our newsletter we’ve been talking a lot lately about introverts and extroverts, we figured we’d bring back the soulmate quiz which is based on the personality type concept.

Why take the soulmate quiz? Because the soulmate quiz is designed to help you seek out your soulmate or to discover if you are dating your soulmate or even uncover if you hopefully married your soulmate.

It all started with “How I Broke My Love Curse” which is a feature length movie (and episodically released series) that was originally shot in 1989 and featured the Manhattan Magician, Jessica Tuck, folk singer Peter Yarrow and a coven of 13 pop rock witches.

Ironically the actual cure for breaking one’s love curse was not manifested until a decade later by filmmaker Manhattan Magician while doing his spin-off weekly “real life” Time Warner cable series known as “Diary” (which preceded MTV’s The Real World). Each week he sought the secret of finding true love which resulted in him discovering the soulmate quiz that in turn lead to his subsequent marriage.

If you would like to take the soulmate quiz yourself simply email the publishers of this website and we will send you the information. Once you fill out the soulmate quiz we will be able to tell you the personality type of your soulmate so you can determine if you are currently with your soulmate or be armed with the knowledge of how to find your soulmate.

Platinum Pias Feedback

feedback2Last week we asked NYC Make a Difference newsletter readers to give us their feedback about whether or not the Platinum Pias Community Awards Show for Artists should become an online-only event so people all over the world can participate more easily. Your responses were unexpected and interesting.

Many of you clicked through from last week’s email newsletter and went to the Lights Camera Read blog where you read the full article. In the article there is mention of a cyber awards show possibly being more palatable to introvert artists so they don’t have to attend a live and crowded awards show (which is not a shy person’s idea of a good time). This seemed to resonate with lots of folks.

One suggestion we received was that we consider doing the best of both worlds and stream the show so others can enjoy. Though, a member of the Artist Introvert Revolution felt that the time had come for introvert artists to have their own awards show.

But to be clear, this is not about making the Platinum Pias introverts-only, it’s finding a way that more people can participate who don’t live near NYC. And yes, the awards being online might make it more introvert friendly.

It goes back to what the Platinum Pias are all about which is recognizing artists (introverts and extroverts) who are making a difference in their communities.

One concept that someone came up with that I thought was intriguing was to re-nominate some of the nominees who didn’t win over the last 8 (almost 9!) years. The idea being that there have been some incredibly talented and benevolent individuals who deserve to be recognized.