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Introducing: Create Your Own Marketing Trail Map

Create Your Own Marketing Trail Map Ebook Cover
Just last week, I officially published my brand new guide to creating a simple, effective, and authentic marketing plan. If that makes you think “Oh, I’d like to have one of those for my business!” type your email address below and you’ll get a free copy, plus free marketing ideas, insights, resources, and advice about once a month. (Of course you can always unsubscribe if your inbox is getting a little crowded.) Read more →

January Marketing Focus Wallpaper: Ambition.

ambition desktop wallpaper
New Year is by far my favorite holiday of the year. I love the atmosphere of closure and fresh starts, of collecting your lessons learned and leaving behind what doesn’t suit you anymore. In that spirit, I came up with a little New Year’s gift for you: Focus, for every month of 2013.

Unwrapped: Marketing Focus Wallpapers

Starting with January, you’ll find a wallpaper for your computer, tablet, or phone here on my blog for every month of 2013. Each wallpaper will have a different theme. The idea is to keep that theme in focus, explore it, practice it, work on it, and have fun with it throughout the month.

You can of course come up with your own interpretations of the themes, but in case you’re in the mood for more specific suggestions on how they might translate into marketing ideas and actions, I will also offer a blog post on the theme along with the wallpaper.

Sound good?

Then on to the first theme of the year: Ambition. Feel free to read on, or skip ahead and download the wallpaper at the bottom of this post.

January Focus: Ambition

Ambition to me means dedicating yourself to a goal that requires you to stretch yourself, to learn new skills, find creative solutions, and be OK with uncertainty. It means trusting your potential, intuition, and stamina.

In some ways, it’s like setting out to climb a mountain: you can’t predict every step you’ll need to take to reach your goal (if you can, it’s probably not all that ambitious) or what conditions you’ll encounter, but you’ve still got to be ready to get going and enjoy the process – and let go if you realize that it’s not the right goal or the right time for you.

(I also liked this article on ambition and wisdom on tiny buddha.)

How ambition might infuse your marketing activities this month:

1. Define your ambitions.

Clarify your goals for your practice or business for the year. What do you want it to provide for others? What do you want from it for yourself? Include some big, ambitious goals, the kind that will continue to inspire and motivate you for the long haul.

2. Distill your message from it.

Create a clear and simple message about your vision to share with your people. Of course you don’t have to make all of your goals public, but let them know where you are headed, why it matters, and how they can get involved.

3. Spark connections.

Identify the people who share your ambitions, and the ones you want to benefit from it. Find out how you can reach out and connect with them. Start sparking some of those connections this month.

4. Start the learning process.

Make a list of skills you need in order to realize your ambition. How, where, and when can you learn them? And how can you have the most fun possible with the learning process?

Download your January wallpaper


320 x 480, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 800, 1366 x 768, 1440 x 900, 1024 x 1024.

The superb photo of the Matterhorn is the work of Chris Zielecki a.k.a. zanthia on Flickr.

Basic image fixes made super easy.

PicMonkey

Hello, beautiful blog readers, I’m just stopping by to give you a quick intro to one of my new favorite tools: PicMonkey. Let’s go!

Why you should care:

Well, images are super important in marketing (we already knew that). Images are what make your website and print materials so compelling, they get shared on social media platforms, and they help you convey your message and reflect your brand. And they do all of that so much better if they are optimized for the medium – you want them to look crisp, have the right proportions, and load fast.

Three basic functions

Of course there are a lot more functions and things to experiment with on PicMonkey (yep, all our favorite hipster photo filters, too), but for now, let’s just look at three basics: dimensions, file size and watermarks.

Dimensions

In some cases, there are ideal dimensions for an image. For example, your Facebook cover photo should be 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall (as of August 2012). You can adjust the dimensions of your image in PicMonkey to fit that perfectly – just go to the Resize tab, set the width to 851 pixels and then crop the image to the right height (or vice versa).

Size

When you are using your image online, you want as small a file size as possible without compromising quality. To do that in PicMonkey, you don’t even need to know what size would qualify as “small” – just choose one of three settings: Mel (not great quality, tiny file size), Evan (good quality and file size), or Russell (awesome quality, large file size). You’d go with Mel for online, and Russell for print materials.

Watermark

I am including this because I am working with a phenomenal photographer and true artist right now, and she might want to add her watermark to her photos when she showcases them online. On PicMonkey, upload your photo and click on the icon with the heart, star, and comic bubble on the far left – that’s the Overlays tab. Then select “Your Own” to add your logo or signature to the image.

There are a bunch of other online photo editing tools out there, so if PicMonkey isn’t hitting the spot for you, maybe try Pixlr, or Photoshop Express.