Rejoice with me …..
I’m delighted to announce that Judith Bond Cakes has reached a significant milestone.
We are in print. We can be found in the Autumn Issue of Cupcake Heaven, double page spread, pages 110-111.
It all started back in January on a cold frosty morning by the river Conwy at Llanrwst. If you’d been there, you’d have needed your woolly hat and gloves and you’d have seen a small gathering of business owners eagerly awaiting the start of their Product Photography course. In bounded the very talented Darren Warner with his entourage of camera bags, equipment, studio lights and assorted IT devices. We were in for a treat.
Darren is a Photography and Media Tutor at the University of South Wales. He also does some amazing work as Creative Director of ‘Plugged In’ Magazine and as a freelance photographer. We had a great 4 days together, learnt loads and I’m sure the other participants would agree it was great time spent.
The course was fully funded by the University of South Wales and hosted by Glasdir Business Centre.
It was the perfect spot for this 4 day Product Photography course as we were able to have a number of outdoor assignments along the riverbank and around the town of Llanrwst enjoying the winter sunshine.
The course resulted in several things:
- My Nikon SLR coming off Automatic for the first time in it’s life
- Learning lots about manual photography, even a few “light bulb” moments
- Making some new friends
- Writing a blog about photographing cakes
This blog published in Cupcake Heaven has been one of my most successful posts and you can find it here
It seems to be a subject many are interested in and I hope that the tips I learned on my course, highlighted in this article will continue to be useful to many folk who call by my blog.
If you buy the magazine you’ll be pleased as it’s full of cupcake recipes and other interesting articles. My article is a NEW FEATURE so you’ll see it headlined on the front page in 2 places.
It’s also mentioned in the contents section with one of my photographs. I was pleased that the magazine used all the photographs I sent them – Valentine’s Specials.
I’m really pleased with the article itself. It’s nicely laid out with lots of white space, good use of photographs and they’ve hardly edited me at all!
I know, I know … what you really want to know is how I managed to get my blog into a glossy national magazine?
Well to be honest I didn’t do very much at all. I received a tweet one evening from the Editor expressing interest in my article and asking permission to print it. Of course I said yes and after a short exchange of emails the deal was done.
But it’s got me thinking about how I could get more publicity for my work and so I’ve come up with 7 top tips based on my experience that should help you if you’re keen to go down this route.
1 WRITE A GOOD ARTICLE
I know it seems obvious but your article needs to be well written and laid out without spelling mistakes. That’s the only way you’ll be take seriously and stand out. It should be attractively presented, have a strong subject line and be interesting to the reader. Get your friends to read the article and see what they think? Do they find it interesting and engaging? If you’re already publishing blogs – what sort of response have you had online? Once you have confidence that you’ve written a good piece then you can think about getting it into print
2 WOW WITH YOUR WEBSITE
If a magazine or newspaper editor wants to check you out, the first place they will head is your website. They’ll form an immediate impression – they need to find you very easily, and you need to make sure your website is professional and hopefully a little bit “wow”. Of course, design and layout are vital to showcase your work but if your page is stagnant, unloved and out of date – they’ll think you are too! Keep it vibrant by updating with news and photographs and make sure you include links to your social media accounts. Again, ask people you know for their honest opinion and if they suggest changes, then do something about it.
3 SIZZLE ON THE SOCIAL
In today’s world of business, social media is not an option, it’s an essential. When I publish my blog posts they automatically post on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In and I follow them intensively for the time that follows. I make sure that all interested parties, or people I have referred to, get a link to the blog and I ask for their comments. All the feedback I get is shared or retweeted to get maximum benefit from the comments.
If an Editor can see that you are active on social media, that will immediately create a buzz that they will want to be part of. Make sure your accounts are up to date and you publish great visual material regularly and this will reflect well when other people are looking.
If you’re not confident on social media, sign yourself up for a course at your local college and learn, or if you’re a business, find a trusted local company who can manage your accounts for you.
There are many companies that offer this service in North Wales but let me just give a little shout-out to my good friend Stori Social Media who offers a range of social media management packages to suit all budgets. You can follow on facebook and twitter and enjoy their informative posts.
4 IMPRESS WITH YOUR IMAGES
This is a particular passion of mine, and in fact, is the subject of the blog that has just been published so you’ll have to read the article to get all my tips on this one. We are living in an image driven culture, and great photographs are essential to accompany your product. If you can’t do them yourself, then find a photographer friend and persuade them to help you out. You could approach the local College and see if there are any students that would like to practice on you, and gain some work experience at the same time.
In my cake world, I often work with professional photographers at corporate events and weddings. They are usually happy for you to use their watermarked photographs which helps them publicise their work too. Over the last few years, I have met a number of good photographers in my home town of Llandudno so there’s always someone to call on when you need a real professional.
5 RELATE TO YOUR REPORTERS
It’s always best to start local, check out your local newspapers and make a note of the reporters that cover your geographical area, or cover business issues. The beauty of twitter is that everyone at the end of a 140 character message, and any day now Twitter are unlocking direct messaging so you can write much more. Contact your local journalists, get to know them, build a relationship and then you have a platform on which to offer them your work for publication. You’ll often find they are looking for pieces to use on their pages so may be pleased to hear from you. If you’re aiming for a magazine publication – make sure you’ve done your research and you’re aiming for the right magazines. Have a look at some back copies and see if the tone of your article will fit in with the magazine’s style. There’s also local community magazines to consider – you’ll often find these on twitter and they might be keen to support and publish a local business.
6 CHARM THEM WITH CAKE
Honestly, if you’ve never tried this – it works a treat. If 2 people turn up at an Editor’s office – one with a file in their hand, and the other with a file in their hand and a box of cupcakes in the other hand – which one do you think the Editor will remember? You will forever be known as the one who brought cake, and this gives you a great advantage. It’s not bribery …….. it’s generosity, thoughtfulness, kindness and shows just how keen you are to make a good impression and progress your business.
Oh, and if you do decide to take cakes, please don’t take supermarket ones, make sure they’re handmade by a professional!
7 AIM TO BE AUTHENTIC
Over the past few years I have attended quite a number of courses put on by various local providers – Coleg Llandrillo, Business Wales, Glasdir Skills Academy University of South Wales, Koogar Digital Marketing and others. I would say that of all the great advice I have been given, the thing hit home the hardest and embedded itself into my thinking is the idea that doing business is no longer about advertising, it’s about relationships.
People don’t trust advertising, but they do trust people they know and recommendations from their friends
So I see my role at Judith Bond Cakes less about directly selling cake and more about being myself, building relationships and reminding people that I’m here – so that when they do need a cake, they’ll naturally think of me. We’re all looking for integrity, honesty and someone we can trust – so YOU need to be that authentic person. It doesn’t matter what you are writing about – those values need to come through your writing and the reader needs to connect with you ‘tone of voice’.
So, go on, get writing……
Surround your writing with quality and thoughtfulness, planning and purpose, reflection and a sprinkling of imagination.
We are bombarded every minute of the day on our phones smartphones and devices with information and reading material. If you want to blog successfully and have your articles widely read or even printed – you need to stand out, be different, be Seth Godin’s Purple Cow
I’m just starting out really, only been blogging for a year but it’s one of my favourite things to do and I’m very passionate about combining cakes, photographs and writing. If you’ve enjoyed reading this I would love you to subscribe to my blog and have it delivered to your inbox so you don’t miss any posts. And please pass it on, share, retweet – whatever your prefer!
If you enjoy the article and find it helpful, please let me know by commenting or emailing me – I’d love to hear from you.
That’s all for now folks
All photographs taken on my Nikon 3200