Use Quozio to Create Text Pins

Quozio is a bookmarklet available from Quozio.com.  Intended to create pinnable quotations with attribution, I use it for much more than quoting other people.

First, install the bookmarklet onto your browser toolbar.  I keep it right next to the PinIt bookmarklet.

Quozio Bookmarklet on my browser toolbar

Quozio bookmarklet on my browser toolbar

When you have something to quote, click on the bookmarklet.

Quozio Pop-up

Quozio pop-up

 

Type your quotation or text into the large field, and the person who said it into the smaller field.  See the Quozio how-to if you need more information.

Quozio background and font choices

Quozio background choices

Scroll through the background and font choices till you find a combination that works for the message you want to share.  You can probably get close, although I wish they had a few sky-cloud backgrounds.  Don’t use the casual handwriting fonts for serious messages, and be careful about the black backgrounds–they can look very serious.  You’ll know when you get it right.

(Notice that the thumbnail second from the left in the screen shot above is the US Flag.)

Quozio will pin to your open Pinterest account (or most recently-opened) and your most recently pinned to board.  You can change the board on the fly.  Unless you edit the link, the pin will point back to to the Quozio site.  You can open the pin from the “Success” pop-up window and point the link to a page on your own website that fits the text.

I use Quozio when I hear a useful business idea, or when I find a quotation in a book that I want to share.  (Add book and page information to make the pin more useful to other people.)  But those aren’t the only ways to use the tool.

Other Ways to Use Quozio Beside Quotations

  • (Links in these bullets all go to pins and boards within Pinterest.)
  • Create cover pins for your boards—pins that explain what the board is about, better than the board title can do.  (I use Quozio for a board cover when I don’t own m/any of the images on the board itself, esp. for my teaching boards.)
  • Post text-based information, such as an announcement about a class that would interest people looking at the board.  (Be sure to include a year, because calendar-based information gets old fast.)  Point these pins to the website for the class or event.
  • Passing comments on Pinterest itself.  (Why do they keep showing me boards about Vegans when I have never pinned any food-related content at all?)
  • Live pin-journalism, from an on-going event.  I will point these pins either to the speaker’s website, or to the website for the event itself.  (Article about pin-journalism in process as you read.)

If you find Quozio useful, be sure to like them on their FB page!

 

PinIt Bookmarklet Passes Alt Tag

Inquiring minds want to know:

What image meta tag gets pulled into a pin?

Does it matter which pinning tool you use?

Your personal Pinterest Investigative Reporter to the Rescue.

I tested Pinterest’s PinIt Bookmarklet (first option on the list) on my Rugs from Rags site (better image collection) to see which of an image’s metadata fields was passed to the Description field on a pin.

It’s the Alt Tag.

PinIt Bookmarklet passes Alt tag to pin description.

Test of PinIt Bookmarklet


When you load images to your website that you want other people to pin, make sure you have useful content in the Alt field. Some pinners will delete this and add their own description (often lame, unfortunately) but if you offer good content, you have a better chance of your words making it into the pin flow.

I’m off to review all my alt tags. (Will test other WP plugin pinning options as I come to them. I use NextGen to manage a lot of the images on Rugs from Rags and I don’t like the way any of the Pinterest plugins work with NextGen.)

I’m writing a separate post about using Pinterest’s image-specific PinIt button (third option on the list).

Don’t stress over your precious images

I have heard people say that they “don’t want to go near Pinterest because of their Terms of Service.” Hum, I thought. That’s your choice.

Pinterest’s terms of service (TOS) are shifting and changing frequently, by the way, so I can’t be sure which version anyone saw when they made that decision. The TOS on the site as of today are the most clearly presented I’ve ever seen. Pinterest has good graphic designers.

But later, I wondered. I run a site for a balloon twister. As a rule, event planners don’t exactly Search for these entertainers. They see a clown working one party, and they save the idea, and then they try to find the person they saw at the last event, and if they miss or lose the business card, they get whoever shows up in Google.
From a balloon twister’s point of view, being seen by an event planner, working parties in Pinterest, is almost the exact same thing as being seen working a real in-person event.

Ubi the Clown

Ubi the Clown’s Pinterest Account

What’s so bad about letting people copy your images, if you’re a balloon twister? You’ll be in the picture. Most balloon animals are stock items, known to all in the trade. Twisters have to be seen. Why not be seen in Pinterest? An image of a line of children waiting their turn for their own balloon animal, –what twisters call a “45-minute line? THAT’s good marketing!!

The problem, I believe, comes down to a mistaken evaluation of the dollar value of images.

Few pictures are “worth something.” The photographers who create images with resale value work VERY hard to market and sell them. I am not talking about professional photographers or their work in this post. I’m talking about pictures taken of balloon twisters at work entertaining children or convention-goers, when the photographer is the spouse or partner, and the camera fits in a pocket, and the lighting is ambient. What we used to call “snapshots.”

Understood, “Pinterest wants GOOD images,” but “good” is defined by your market. Trust me, the balloon twisting market will accept snapshots. If you’re marketing to the wedding crowd, God bless you; you need good photography. Child’s party planning? Not so much. You can go a long way with a well-planned snapshot. (Photoshop Elements helps. Crop. Crop. Crop.)

I can drive 100 visitors to a clown’s website because they saw a picture of him twisting balloons at a church picnic. If one of those people calls him and book a party, the picture is worth the party fee, which is 100% MORE than he would have been able to sell the image itself.

I don’t know about you, but I do not search the web so I can decorate my home with pictures of balloon twisters working at parties. For that matter, I don’t print and frame pictures of granite countertops, or place settings, or chimineas.

But really: what are you worried about losing if someone repins your image?

Caveat: I am NOT writing about professional photographers, fine artists, or jewelers, or anyone else whose work can be knocked off by a factory in China using only an image.

I’m talking to the balloon twister here. The professional seamstress selling steam punk. “They’ll copy my ideas.” Yeah, somebody will. But anyone who can sew that well would have copied them anyway once she saw the dress at RenFaire. Just as many might want to buy one for themselves, and they might find you through a good image on Pinterest.

So go ahead. Don’t put yourself in Pinterest. I can use all the lack-of-competition I can get.

Better Before and After Pins

I created a before-and-after pin to illustrate photo cropping for my Improve Pinterest Images post. In order to manage the way text flows in a WordPress post, I created a one side-by-side image image with both the before and after versions in Photoshop Elements. That way, I didn’t have to worry about how WordPress would align the images and the surrounding text.

Horizontal Before and After Pin

Horizontal Before and After images in pin format.

I pinned the image to the Pinterest Photography board so it would point back to the blog post. The pin looked pretty insignificant on the board, because it was wider than it was tall and Pinterest formats all pins to be the same width.

OK enough, but not really eye-catching enough to drive traffic to the blog post, which was the point of creating the pin in the first place.

The next morning, I thought about the problem while I was writing my Daily Pages.

Because you can edit the link in an “uploaded by user” image to point anywhere you want, you don’t HAVE to use exactly the same images on both sides of a Pinterest board-blog post pairing.  I could create a vertical before and after pin, load it to the board, and edit the link to point to the blog post.

The new pin is shown below.  It stands out much better on the Pinterest board.

Vertical Before and After Images

Vertical Before and After Images in Pin Format

Here’s a picture of the board before I deleted the horizontal image:

Pinterest Photography Board

Pinterest Photography board, showing both versions of the before-and-after cropping pin.

Understood, this exercise took way too much time for the potential value. I’ll know better next time. Stack images vertically for pins; horizontally for WordPress. Edit the link. Repeat.

How to Photograph Jewelry for Pins

Look at the following boards:

Diamond jewelry on white background

Diamond jewelry against white background looks flat.

and this one, from Michaan’s Auctions:

Jewelry on a black background

Jewelry shown on a black background shows up.

Any one of the pins on the first board is probably worth more than everything seen on the second, but which one are you more likely to repin?

If you don’t have Harry Winston’s brand recognition or advertising budget, make your jewelry do your marketing work for you.

(I’ll write a whole ‘nother post about all those “uploaded by user” tags that leave clickable URLs on the table…)

Overused stock photography

I thought I was alone, but apparently not so:

Top 12 Overused Stock Photos

from Marketing Profs

And while I’m on the topic, a funny, from a most unexpected source:

Cloud Computing

Incidentally, the book Photography Best Sellers: One Hundred Top Moneymaking Stock Photos shows that pictures of clouds occupied positions #1, 2, 3 (sunset + ocean), 11 (sunset + mountains),14, 60, and 67 in a list of the best sellers of 1985 from the Four by Five company.

Load a Portfolio to Linkedin

Post a Portfolio of Your Work to Linkedin

Linkedin is not a very image-friendly application. If you are successfully displaying your work on any of the portfolio sites including Pinterest, you may not need to worry about Linkedin. However, lots of professionals use the site, and adding either or both of the two portfolio display options to your profile doesn’t take very long.

Behance Creative Portfolio Display

If you already maintain a portfolio at Behance, link to it using the Creative Portfolio Display application (More / Get More Applications / scroll — on my account, Behance is #10).

Behance is the portfolio engine for Pantone, BTW.

SlideShare

At the time of this blog post, you can’t open a SlideShare account through Linkedin directly. (Check under More / Add more applications / Slide Share.) You can create a free account at SlideShare, and then link a presentation to your Linkedin Profile (as well as share it in your updates and groups).

Use MS PowerPoint or your choice of presentation software (most formats are supported) to create a deck with images of your work.

Think about a useful file name if you are going to allow downloading. Once files are downloaded, they are easily lost if the file name is something like “Portfolio 2012.” Use your own name and useful search terms to help viewers find the file again. (Put contact information in the header or footer of each slied, as well.)
Add captions and watermarks as needed. Load your portfolio presentation to SlideShare, and then let your network and groups know, as appropriate.

The Little Book of Wrong Shui

In the course of study of professional organizing, sooner or later, you’re going to encounter Feng Shui. While in no way a trained practitioner, I can nevertheless drop a bagua on any building I visit and tell you where the Love and the Money sections are in the house. If you’re broke or lonely, declutter here first, the general advice holds, and your luck will change.

I found The Little Book of Wrong Shui at the checkout line at Barnes & Noble. If you, or anyone you love, has been the subject / victim of a drive-by Feng Shui treatment (look for octagonal mirrors and red ribbons on the drainpipes), you’ll get a chuckle.

Examples:

  • A bright idea: if parts of your home are prone to darkness, a light, carefully located, will solve the problem.
  • Nice to see you: attract visitors to your home by placing stereo, video, and computer equipment where they can be seen from the road.
  • The ups and downs of stairs: stairs going up are good Wrong Shui. In your home only have stairs going up.

New copies are less than $5 and you can get them used for $2. Buy a handful and help all your friends to a more prosperous, love-filled life. At least, they’ll be laughing so hard at the Feng Shui jokes, they won’t notice they’re still broke and alone.

Daydream Believer

Daydream Believer

Several days ago, I saw a request on the HARO email asking about business owners who daydreamed and how forced themselves to quit daydreaming and get to work.  IMO, “daydreaming” and “work” are not mutually exclusive.

I don’t know how businesses get created without a dream.  Business starts with an idea, and any way you label it, “ideas” aren’t too far from “daydreams.”

The trick, which is probably what was driving the reporter’s question, lies in turning the idea into reality.

For me, the first step between a dream and reality is writing.  Some people have their best ideas in the shower.  I have my best ideas with a pen in my hand.  Once I recognize I’m in a “day dream” (and, of course, not driving at the same time), I’m writing.  It helps that I write for a living, and paper and pencil are never far out of my reach.  Write the story.

  • What is it that I am thinking about?
  • What do I want to have happen as the outcome?
  • Who’s starring in the latest drama?
  • Why have I cast the story with these players?

Sometimes, simply writing a daydream is enough.  I’ll see, “Oh, I’m still processing XYZ______,” and make a note to discuss the issue next time I talk with the person involved, and poof, the story is gone.

Sometimes, however, I’ll see something bigger.  “Hum,” I thought, the last time this happened, when I found myself dreaming about teaching a class on a topic I know well but never thought to teach. “If she’s never thought of that approach, (this particular “she” is an expert on developing and implementing goals), then maybe this IS new material and maybe I should follow up on it….  Maybe this is a new way of looking at the problem!”

After I write out the story and identify the core elements, the daydream transforms itself into one more business idea.  It needs to be worked into my project list and acted upon, and grown into something that can be sold.  David Allen, of Getting Things Done fame, made his fortune working in this space.

The Universe Baits its Hooks with Daydream Bait

One way to explain daydreams is “universe bait”—God, maker, source; your choice of name—wants to have something created, and dangles hooks baited with ideas in front of our minds.  Those ideas first present as daydreams.  What if …?  Wouldn’t it be great if….?”  I wonder what would happen if …?  If we don’t actually take the bait, the idea moves on, and someone else takes the hook, implements, and turns an idea into reality.  In business, that usually means income.  When that happens, we’re left on the sidelines, saying, “But I had that idea last year!”

I have to admit, I used to be someone whose air castles stayed evanescently in the air, never descending to intersect with my real ilfe.  “Wouldn’t it be perfect if…”, I could go on for hours.  I’d exhaust myself.  Once I started writing out the stories, it wasn’t long before I noticed ideas starting to grow in new directions.  When I committed a train of thought to paper, the next step would appear.  I saw a knitted rug in a book and thought, “I could make that,” and I did.  I’ve since made 72, and sold 40.  Similarly, a thought that ran, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could take this Chatlist outside into my carving tent?” turned into the book Carve Smart a year later.

Two new books are cued up and waiting for me to take the next step.  The goad that will get me over the “it’s too hard” hump is imagining how irritated I will be if I see those ideas, written by someone else, on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.

When I hear people talking “air castle talk,” I don’t suggest they stop. Instead, I ask, “what does the foundation look like?”  They look at me with a blank stare, so I go on.  “What’s the first thing you would need to do if you wanted to live that life?”  A rock-star wannabe girlfriend needs to take guitar lessons.  Her dream of performing in Madison Square Gardens may never happen, but she’ll be a whole lot closer when she knows four guitar chords.  It may turn out that she’s called to be some very different kind of performer, and the universe only dangled the rock concert in front of her because it knew she’d jump at that bait.  She won’t know until and unless she learns to play.

Daydreams outlast dreamers

Ten years ago, a friend was forced to leave her new house because of Black Mold.  She had an agonizing two years of health problems, followed by two moves and attempted remediation, before the problem was solved with a new house.  She dreamed of telling her story on Oprah.  She contacted the producers of the show, but she never heard back.  One woman, one house?  Oprah likes to hear from movements, not individuals.  It’s possible that a different first step—a notice in the grocery store, or Craig’s List, looking for other people affected by mold, suggesting a meeting, self-help, activism–could have been the start of a national movement.  She’ll never know.  Her life moved on.  I just checked today, and there is a “Moms Against Mold” website, started by someone else, several years after my friend’s story.  The idea was in the universe, waiting to be developed.

There are two paths away from “not daydreaming:”

  • Not dreaming
  • Implementing the dreams and making them real

Only one of them has any value.  I can’t stop daydreaming.  I can learn to become faster at taking the hook and building foundations under my air castles.  It’s a nice life.

Innovation in a Be Here Now Model

Showing my age in that title, no?

I spent most of December rethinking what services belong under the Red Tuxedo umbrella. I’m really comfortable working with innovation design processes, change management and staying changed, metrics, and the intersection of behavioral economics and marketing (to the extent they’re not the same arena, as some marketers suspect). Created seven huge mind maps about these topics and my plan is to turn some of those notes into articles, blog posts, and possibly, products.

At this very minute, I’m not quite sure how the notes will turn into a business. That’s not the point of today’s post; and neither is it the point of the work itself. I’m letting the process tell me who the clients will be. I have some ideas, based on what I already know about the business world and who might benefit from this information:  patent lawyers, for one, actuaries, CPAs, and other degreed professionals whose gifts don’t often run to marketing or process design. But that’s just what I understand today, and it may change.

A business advisor told me that the next step would be for me to go out and meet these people and find out what was on their minds, what problems they had, and what they services they would be willing to pay for. I’m not surprised that I resisted; could have simply ignored the suggestion, although that would have been awkward to handle conversationally. It’s not where the work is, yet.  The work needs to be written; now, first, before I try to take it public. (I want to capitalize “work,” but Byron Katie uses “The Work” to describe her process and I don’t want to step on those toes.)

When I think about this decision point in terms of innovation and design processes, I can see that:

  • Not going public is one way on not “failing fast,” by not getting feedback
  • You can’t innovate through focus groups. Henry Ford said, “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have told me, ‘faster horses!'”
  • Ideas need protection in their early stages.  The first sign of green rarely looks like the adult plant.

“‘Seeing what happens next’ is not a business strategy,” my advisor said. “Yes, it is,” I answered. Given that we cannot ever predict the future in all its detail, “seeing what comes next” is what we always wind up doing, regardless of what additional actions we take. Sometimes we poke the bear by taking action, and call it “business strategy.” Sometimes we just watch to see what the bear will do on his own. (Your bear may be different from mine.) In the end, we always get an opportunity (unless we’re dead) to see what happens next. For that matter, plenty of people believe that being dead is the ultimate vision of “what happens next.” I’m simply choosing not to poke the bear right now.

Thus far, my writing reveals that I have more research to do. Hum. Ideas are always perfect, until you try to implement or execute on them. That’s when things get really interesting, at least if you understand creativity. So my ideas aren’t as perfect as I’d like to think they are. I’ll stay with them. I’ll post most here, or at www.hiringhowto.com, or at karentiede.com (my art blog) as they take form.

It’s not that I think I have such a great process, exactly. Like Churchill said about democracy, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Innovation by “being here now” may not be the “best” process.  It isn’t what they say happens in Silicon Valley, or what Wall Street invests in. But when you’ve tried everything else, it doesn’t hurt to use what’s left. Stay tuned.

Feel free to share your experience with “let it be” innovation in the comments–thanks!