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Archive | September, 2008

Urgent Orphan Works Legislation Update!

Brenda Pinnick shared on her blog that Illustrator’s Partnership has posted an extensive update on the state of the Orphan Works legislation in Congress that is being widely opposed by artists’ groups. (For more on the history of this legislation and why it should be of interest to scrapbookers, see the links at the bottom of this entry.)

Basically, the bill’s Senate sponsors used the chaos over the economic rescue legislation last Friday as political cover to use a sneaky, undemocratic process called “hotlining” to get the legislation passed in the Senate with no debate, with a minimum 15 minutes notice to Senators’ staff, and without a roll call vote. If no Senator objects within the window after the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders decide to use the procedure for a bill and alert Senate offices via special phone lines, the bill is considered passed by “unanimous consent”. As you can imagine, during the scrambling over negotiations for the failed rescue bill on Friday, Senate staffers didn’t have time to even read the bill in the response time, let alone decide if they wanted to object to it.

As IP said in their entry “What better way to pass a bill that was drafted in secret than to pass it while nobody’s looking?”

Now is the time to contact your Congressperson again about Orphan Works if you are against this legislation! This issue is not over! Let your Representative know that you do NOT like the Senate version of this bill and that you don’t want the House version (which is still sitting in committee and is preferred by artists’ organization) killed just because the Senate version has already passed that chamber.

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Free Webinar From Bogen To Teach Product Photography

Product photography is used at many levels of this industry. Even if you work for a manufacturer that brings in professional photographers to do catalog photography of products, knowing how to take good product photos of giveaway prizes and tradeshow displays is a valuable skill. And for store owners, being able to produce quality photos of new inventory for use in a website or email newsletter is a dollars and cents skill.

Learn an important skill…for free!

Bogen Imaging, a manufacturer of camera accessories such as tripods and lighting equipment, is hosting a free hour-long webinar this Friday, Oct. 3rd titled “Selling Your Products Online? Learn How to Shoot Products that Sell Themselves“. The webinar will be at 2pm EDT and registration for the event is free.

The webinar will be taught by Mark Astmann &  Christopher Abbiss, Bogen’s Lastolite Product Managers. Covered topics will include:

  1. The Cubelite – quick portable lighting system perfect for taking web images. Enables businesses to master the complexities of lighting, shadows and reflections, and take ready to use photographs
  2. Additional, exciting lighting options
  3. Tips to achieve great images with a digital point and shoot camera
  4. Positioning and placing light on your products
  5. White balancing your camera to eliminate unwanted colors to your images

Webinar attendees will be able to interact one on one with the speakers to ask questions. They will also get a chance to win one of three Lastolite 20-Inch Ezybalance Cards being given away at the end of the seminar (but you must watch until the end to win!). There will also be a recorded version of the webinar made available afterwards to attendees of the live event.

Isn’t a webinar just a commercial?

Obviously the event is a promotion for the Cubelite but it should also have some good educational content as well on lighting, a subject too many photographers know little about.

And what if the webinar does convince you that a Cubelite is something that you can’t live without for the photography you do? The basic Lastolite LL LR1886 18-Inch Cubelite that is probably big enough for photographing most scrapbook products is available on Amazon for just under $76 (or there’s the Lastolite 24″ Cubelite for just under $100).

I’m signing up so that I can improve my photography of items for Scrapbook Update, and I’m hoping that it might improve my photography of my scrapbook pages that are too bulky to scan well.

It’s free and should provide information about a topic that is very useful to a lot of people in the scrapbooking industry…check it out!

What: Bogen’s Learn How to Shoot Products that Sell Themselves Webinar

When: Friday, October 3rd at 2pm EDT

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Learn How to Catch the Social Media Cluetrain from Lego & Jake McKee

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a geek event  in Orlando known as an “unconference” with a bunch of my online friends. This was the 3rd year that Josh Hallett has organized BlogOrlando, and the second year that I have attended. It brings together an assortment of minds in the blogging community from around the country, many of whom are in the fields of PR and marketing. (For a full review about BlogOrlando, listen to this week’s episode of True Tech Life.)

So what was there to learn about scrapbooking at a geek conference? Quite a bit, actually – and I wasn’t the only attendee with a professional tie to the scrapbook industry. Alex de Carvalho (formerly of Scrapblog) was in attendance, and Geno Church of Brains on Fire (the brilliant mind behind the Fiskateers word-of-mouth marketing campaign) was one of the session leaders. (But more about that in another entry!)

So what is the cluetrain and why do I want to be on it?

The “cluetrain” in the title of this post refers to a book from 2001 called The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual that called on businesses to start using social media and the internet to communicate differently with their customers. (If you don’t mind reading on your computer, the full text of the book is available online.) Jake McKee used his opening keynote at BlogOrlando to talk about how he spent five years at LEGO getting that company “onto the cluetrain” by setting them up a social media marketing program for communicating with their customers.

McKee’s message was somewhat in the same spirit as last year’s BlogOrlando keynote by Shel Israel (author of Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers) but McKee’s message was built around just the single cohesive example of building a total social media plan for his employer, Lego, and the rewards of it and the obstacles he faced.

high-value-customers

But Legos are a kid’s toy, not a hobby – what can they teach us?

Surprisingly, Lego is in many ways a similar marketing model to scrapbooking. The targets of Lego’s social media efforts were adult hobbyists who spend far more per capita on Lego’s products than their juvenile consumers do. These are high-value consumers to the company, and reaching out to them was both important and rewarding for Lego.

This similar type of high-value consumer also exists in scrapbooking, although the difference isn’t easily defined by age like in Legos, and those consumers are often active on the internet. Scrapbook companies would be wise to follow Lego’s example if they aren’t already.

McKee also made one specific point that is extremely applicable to scrapbooking about the use of professional teams to create model displays versus supporting local hobby clubs to encourage consumer interest. He said that they found that sponsoring a display of Lego engineer-produced models at a place like a shopping mall would attract a lot of gawkers but not generate a lot of Lego sales because people were intimidated and didn’t think they could do what the professionals did.

But Lego found that donating supplies or sponsorship for a similar display by a local hobby group did result in increased sales of Lego products in the area – because people weren’t intimidated by the work of what they saw as “people like them”. They looked at the work of the hobbyists as something that they could possibly do too. Visitors to the display weren’t too scared to try building things like they were when similar models came with a label saying they had been made by Lego’s professional model builders.

This same comparison can be made with papercrafting projects and consumers and professional designers. The work of “people like them” – their friends, neighbors, etc – is much less intimidating to people even when it is the exact same work. Attaching the “professional” label attaches a level of difficulty to creating something in many people’s minds that can intimidate them right out of trying something because they think “I could never do that.”

Catch Jake’s cluetrain yourself thanks to the wonders of streaming video!

If you’d like to see Jake’s keynote (and all it’s wonderfully elaborate Lego pictures) for yourself, I’ve embedded a video taken by a conference attendee below. The keynote actually doesn’t start until about 15 minutes into the recorded video – just click forward on the progress to about 3/8 of the way across it to start there. And don’t be concerned that the start of the video doesn’t seem to have audio! All that said…the video is well worth watching!

Free video chat by Ustream

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[Positions] Available Scrapbook Positions

The following scrapbook industry positions were listed on Monster.com in the past week:

Sales Manager – F+W Media Inc.: The publisher of MemoryMakers Magazine is looking for an advertising Sales Manager for MemoryMakers, MyCraftivity, The Artist Magazine, Pastel Journal, Watercolor Artist, The Artist Network, WetCanvas, and the Artist NetworkTV. This full-time managerial level position is based in Cincinnati, OH and pays $70K-$80k/year plus bonus. Qualified candidates should have 5-7 years experience and a bachelor’s degree, and demonstrate understanding of the fine art/scrapbooking media markets.

Graphic Designers: Aerotek Commercial Staffing has re-listed for contract graphic designers, apparently the same listing as was posted last week.

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[Poll Results] Have you started holiday scrapbooking projects yet?

Store owners, hope you are listening…holiday scrapbooking and papercrafts projects are a popular topic…out of 26 respondents, only two said that they won’t be doing any projects at all. And the majority of poll respondents are already planning or working on a holiday project of some sort! It’s time to kick that holiday marketing into high gear!

Have you started any winter holiday scrapbooking projects yet? (26 votes)

I have begun to plan but not make holiday projects or gifts – 26.9%

I have started work on a gift item – 19.2%

I have started making my holiday cards – 11.5%

I have not yet started any projects but will in the future – 34.6%

I will not do any holiday scrapbooking projects – 7.7%

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