Monday, 18 June 2012

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Paul tinkles the ivories with the Beatles 'Let it Be'
Artists Inspire Artists
 I was at my brother's piano recital yesterday and had a very interesting conversation with his 92 year old piano teacher and one of her students.  The student, who was an artist and had only started learning to play the piano, was talking about how she used sound to teach painting.  A long stroke was a 'shoosh' and making short, staccato brush movements went 'bup, bup, bup'.  I smiled and thought about how all creative types overlapped, embracing all elements of culture to enrich one's specific area of skill and passion.  A sculptor or painter often creates to music and, as a writer, I definitely pull from my cultural experiences, whether it's a symphony or an art gallery, to help formulate descriptions of feelings and senses to lay out on a printed page.

 Nature Inspires
Creative types see the world around them just a bit differently, which leads to the creation of books, paintings, music scores and movies and a litany of other sources of entertainment for all to enjoy. 

I was looking at this little creature as I sat peacefully drinking my coffee just the other day.  He was minding his own business, seemingly enjoying the ride on his leaf, that was gently bouncing in the breeze.  Now, this is a strange looking bug, I thought as I took another sip.  Then I chuckled out loud... this was the type of vision that would inspire the likes of an animator working for Pixar.  Add a little size and color to this little fella and, voila!  He could have proudly stood next to Sully in Monsters, Inc.  I certainly never know where my inspiration will come from but I know how to put myself in the places both physically and mentally where I'm most likely to release the creative juices I need to do my job.  And, no matter where I go or what I'm doing, I'm always absorbing life!

Thanks for inviting me to your recital, Paul.  It was inspiring.  I think I'll pick up my guitar when I get back to Thailand.   


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Pinterest Skeptic Turned Convert

Pinterest Business use Still Minimal (photo:
Yesterday I decided I would participate in a webinar on Pinterest.  I have to admit, before yesterday I didn’t get it, didn’t want to and had enough on my plate, actually several spinning plates, that I didn’t need to add one more social media platform to my already crowded set of dinnerware. 

Really… who wants to see a mish mash of photos of someone else’s favourite products?  I went for a walk just before it started and didn’t rush because I was still averse to the idea of being part of the herd.  What a bunch of lemmings, I thought.  But, I couldn’t ignore that it had quickly entered the top three most used social media platforms and as a professional communicator, I could no longer resist.  So, I signed up for Melanie Duncan’s ‘How to use Pinterest for your Business to get Traffic and Customers,” hosted by Carl White of Social Marketing Animals.

I was late, but fortunately there were still spaces (it was being capped off at 1,000 participants).  Melanie’s infectious enthusiasm drew me in immediately.  I plugged in my headphones (which is what I do when I really want to pay attention and capture absolutely everything being said), pulled out my webinar notebook and with pen poised, prepared to be wowed.

Pinterest's Practical Business Uses  
Melanie didn’t disappoint.  Even before the end of the session I had linked to the sales page and jumped on the bandwagon.  I’m not usually an impulse buyer but she convinced me that there was a very practical business use to Pinterest for both my clients and me.

There are so many I couldn’t write fast enough, which is why I had to become a member of the Social Marketing Animals group (I'll let you know how it goes). 

My 5 Big Take Aways

·      Businesses can use Pinterest for consumer research. Duh!  A simple search will show you what other people have re-pinned from your boards, what products of yours have been pinned by others and which ones are most popular.

·      Pinterest is highly search engine friendly.  So, in the 200 words in the about section, which appears at the very top of your page (just like Twitter), you should use keywords as you would in any of your online marketing SEO. And, you can use either your name or your company name.

·      Make sure you write captions for all photos using key words again.  

·      Create an infographic.  Apparently they’re the most viral and collected forms of shared content on Pinterest.

·      The hottest type of content are How To’s and Tutorials but create a visual to pin and then link to the content on your blog or website (you can even pin a video from YouTube)

As Melanie put so succinctly, “Clarity always wins in marketing.  If they can’t figure out what you’re all about in 10 seconds, they’ll leave.”  A picture paints a thousand words, right?  So, why didn’t I see this before?  Oh well, better late than never.  However, according to Melanie, “Businesses are just starting to do it and there are very few doing it right.”  So, I guess I’m still slightly ahead of the curve.  One more thing… you have to be invited to participate. 

Are you using Pinterest?  How’s it going for you?  Here's a little taste of the Power of Pinning.