July 16, 2009

And now, a word from your sponsor…

Filed under: Featured Design Project — Tags: , , — lidia @ 8:00 am
click image for larger pic

click image for larger pic

I’m excited to announce that we were recently featured in the book Freelance Design in Practice by Cathy Fishel (HOW Books, 2009).

Our e-newsletter Solstice was featured in the book as a way for a freelancer to “announce yourself to the world.”

When I started my business nine years ago, books like this were hard to come by. Freelancers just starting out (as well experienced ones) will find this book valuable. Thanks for the shoutout, Cathy!

October 7, 2020

Diverse & Inclusive Stock Photography Resources

 

Photo from DIsability:IN

Photo from Disability:IN

I love to share products that have worked for me over the years.  This post may contain affiliate links.  This means I may get a small commission when you click on links or buy something in this post.  This is at no additional cost to you. 

 

Updated October 10, 2002

During a session at ComNet V about reaching diverse audiences, the speakers spoke about the importance of using stock photos that are more inclusive and diverse. As an art director and designer, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, a recent stock photo search I did on “voting” returned a majority of images featuring white men’s hands (wearing business suits, to boot).

According to Getty Images’ Visual GPS, 63% of people prefer to buy brands that are founded by or represent people like themselves—however only 14% say they are well-represented in advertising and 15% in business communications.

Getty also reports that searches have increased year over year for ‘diversity’ (up 133%), ‘culture’ (up 115%), ‘real people’ (up 115%) and ‘inclusion’ (up 126%).

The need for images that are representative of all people is clearly here. But I know first hand that finding diverse and inclusive images on mainstream stock photography sites can be difficult. Here’s a list of resources for real and authentic photography.

Stock Photo Resources

Adobe Stock – Brwn Stock Imaging Collection

Brwn Stock Collection features images that feature people of color.

AllGo

AllGo is a collection of free plus-size stock photos.

In 2017, Getty Images reported triple-digit increases in searches for the terms “body positivity” and “real bodies”.

Photo by AllGo – An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

arabianEye

arabianEye is an authentic Middle Eastern collection of visual media, featuring Emirati, Saudi, Qatari and Omani people.

AsiaPix

AsiaPix is a royalty-free collection of contemporary business and lifestyle images with an emphasis on Chinese culture and subjects.

Asia Images 

Asia Images features images of business, lifestyle, and travel destinations in Asia.

Blend Images on Tetra Images

Blend Images is a collection of multi-cultural and ethnically diverse stock content.

Body Liberation Stock

Body Liberation features stock photos and images for body size diversity and acceptance.

Canva Natural Women Collection

Canva’s image collection of everyday women, whose personal stories and experiences challenge both gender norms and societal standards of beauty.

70% of women don’t feel represented in media and advertising and Getty reports huge increases in the following terms over the past year: “real people” 192% increase, “diverse women” 168% increase, and “strong women” 187% increase.

CreateHer Stock

CreateHer features authentic stock photography of melanated women.

Photo by CreateHER Stock

Disability Images by Design Pics Inc.

Disability Images includes rights-managed and royalty-free images showing a range of disabilities.

Disability Inclusion Stock Photography by Disability:IN

Disability inclusive stock photography provided by Disability:IN and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Disabled & Here

Disabled & Here features free and inclusive stock photos shot from our own perspective, featuring disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) across the Pacific Northwest.

eye for ebony

eye for ebony features models of all shades, shapes, and sizes.

The Gender Spectrum Collection by Broadly

The Gender Spectrum Collection is a representation of images of transgender and non-binary people.

Getty Images – AARP Disrupt Aging Collection

A collection featuring images of people 50+ in everyday moments that help break stereotypes and combat ageist biases.

An AARP study on age representation across the media image landscape shows that while people 50+ are fully engaged in their communities, seven in ten images of adults over 50 show them removed from the rest of the world.  

Getty Images – The Disability Collection

A collection featuring images that break stereotypes and more authentically portray individuals with disabilities.

Getty – Gender Blend

A collection of images highlighting the new boundaries of gender roles.

Getty Images reports they are beginning to see more inclusive representations that portray a more rounded picture of LGBTQ+ family life, including single parents, transracial families, blended families, co‑parenting, as well as parents of different ages and socio‑economic backgrounds.

Getty Images – The Lean In Collection

A collection of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them.

Getty Images – Muslim Girl Collection

A collection that encourages a more positive depiction of Muslim women.

Getty Images – The Nosotros Collection

A collection that reimagines the visual representation of the Latinx/Hispanic community within North America.

Getty Images – Project #ShowUs

A collection devoted to shattering beauty stereotypes by showing female-identifying and non-binary individuals.

The Jopwell Collection

The Jopwell Collection features images of Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American leaders (social entrepreneurs, editors, techies, financial analysts, recruiters, marketers, student leaders).

kosherstock

kosherstock features royalty-free images of the Jewish world.

Mocha Stock

Mocha Stock features images of people of color.

nappy

nappy features free images of black and brown people.

From May to June alone Getty Images reports customer searches for diverse images have increased by 200% and searches for images around unity and equality increased by 500%.

NativeStock Pictures

NativeStock is a comprehensive image collection on Native American Indian cultures.

PICHA Stock

PICHA Stock features modern Afrocentric stories curated from hundreds of creatives from Africa and abroad

Picnoi

Picnoi is a free collection of images of people of color.

Above: Photos from Picnoi by Windows, Annie Spratt & Hian Oliveira

PictureIndia

PictureIndia features royalty-free images of contemporary Indian lifestyle and business themes.

Pixels in Colour

Pixels in Colour is adding diversity to the world of stock photography.

Pixerf

Pixerf is a global visual community and marketplace for Asian images.

Photoability

Photoability features rights-managed and royalty-free images featuring individuals with disabilities.

Around 15% of people in the world have a disability, but just 2% of stock photos contain any representation of their lives.

POCStock

POCStock features photos featuring Black, Hispanic, LatinX, Native, Asian and Middle Eastern people of color.

PUSHLiving Photos

PUSHLiving features disability inclusive stock images.

Representation Matters

Representation Matters is a royalty-free stock photo site that focuses specifically on diversity and inclusion.

Salam Stock

Salam Stock features Muslim and Islam related royalty-free stock photos, artwork and illustrations.

TONL

TONL features images of diverse people and their stories around the world.

UK Black Tech

UK Black Tech is a collection featuring images of BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) in tech from Britain.

WOCinTech Chat

WOCinTech Chat features photos of women of color in tech, free to use under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Photo from #WOCinTech Chat

Image Collections

Tips & Best Practices

As Getty pointed out in their Visual GPS Report, “People want and expect imagery to be representative of themselves and the world they see around them.” Let’s utilize and share stock photography resources to give them the exposure they deserve.

P.S. Please share any stock photo resources that aren’t already on the list.

September 21, 2020

Racial Equity Organizations, Resources & Talks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:51 am
Photo from nappy.co

Photo from nappy.co

Updated 10/16/20

Below find local and national organizations who are making a change for racial equity, as well as takeaways from related talks and webinars. Some are clients and friends, while others are organizations I support or those with a mission that resonated with me.

Organizations – Chicago

All Stars Project of Chicago

Working in neighborhoods that have been hit the hardest by violence, the All Stars Project of Chicago offers the Development School for Youth where young people learn to perform as professionals by partnering with business leaders, as well as All Stars Talent Show Network and are working to establish a Center for Afterschool Development in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP)

Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP) is a membership organization committed to promoting dialogue, advocating for investment in African American communities, and building infrastructure for equitable leadership roles in the social sector. They are launching a database of BIPOC Philanthropy Consultants and Advisors. Add your listing here.

Equiticity

Equiticity is a racial equity movement that provides programming and advocacy for racial equity, increased mobility and racial justice to make lives better for Black, Brown and Indigenous people of color across the United States.

Future Ties

Future Ties provides free homework help, after school programs, teen and parent programs and summer camps on Chicago’s South Side.

I Grow Chicago

The mission of I Grow Chicago is to grow Englewood from surviving to thriving through community connection, skill building, and opportunity. They engage more than 3,000 people per year to address the root causes of trauma and violence through mentorship and supportive services, restorative justice and community building, as well as movement and health-based programs.

My Block, My Hood, My City

My Block, My Hood, My City provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood. They take students on explorations focused on STEM, Arts & Culture, Citizenry & Volunteerism, Health, Community Development, Culinary Arts, and Entrepreneurism. They recently launched a Small Business Relief Fund to assist small businesses affected by pandemic closures and business damage.

New Moms

New Moms is changing the future for young moms experiencing poverty and homelessness in Chicagoland by offering housing, job training, and family support. Their work focuses on the West side of Chicago.

Talks & Webinars

Learning and leading in times of trauma: How to establish an anti-racist workplace [wethos]

Presented by Susan X. Jane of Navigators Consulting

Key takeaways:

  • We’re knitting a big sweater—you only have access to one stitch, discover and pick a stitch that you can make the strongest.
  • Pick something you are passionate about focus on that (i.e. families, storytelling, gathering resources)
  • Be aware of the 4 Is of Oppression and create strategies to address them
    • Individual: Learn about race/racism and question your own assumptions
    • Interpersonal: Share what you have learned, connect with people who are similar and different
    • Institutions: Develop clear policies around race and create inclusive spaces
    • Ideology: Participate in movements, support storytelling and sharing

Watch replay

Understanding Identity, Power, & Equity in Design Leadership [99U Conference]

Presented by Antionette D. Carroll, Founder & CEO, Creative Reaction Lab

Key takeaways:

  • Instead of human-centered work, we should strive for equity-centered work.
  • As you do your equity work, as yourself: How is my mindset being shifted over time? What am I learning? How am I progressing?
  • We all play an active role in being a redesigner for justice.
  • Equity designers put people/equity first, are always tterating/making and improving, are building upon existing resources and have lived experience with inequity
  • Design allies can leverage their power and access on behalf of equity designers.

Watch replay

The Power of Allies and Inclusion in the Workplace [ASAE Conference 2020]

Presented by Bernadette Smith, Founder of Equality Institute

Key takeaways:

  • Use the ARC approach = ask, respect, connect
  • Come from curiosity: Can you tell me more? How do you feel? Can we talk about this?
  • Treat others as THEY want to be treated.
  • Be a visible ally, use your words.
  • Ask great, open ended questions.
  • Check in with team members.

Read more

The Stories & Storytellers We Need Now [Power to Fly 2020 Diversity Reboot Summit]

Presented by Dr. Sheila Robinson, Owner and Publisher of Diversity Woman Magazine,  Snigdha Sur, Founder & CEO of The Juggernaut, Carla Santiago, founder of STORi.Digital and Afrika Bell Kathuria, Founder of ABK Creates.

Key takeaways:

  • Bring more voices to the storytelling process, find ways to bring in different comments to change the narrative.
  • Open it up to more people—don’t default to same people for advice,  panels, etc.
  • Think of diversity as a whole (all aspects of it)
  • Expand your network—ask people in your network to connect you to new voices.
  • Make the current examination a long-term examination.
  • Educate at your dinner table.

Watch replay

Please spread the word about these organizations and talks—and let me know what your stitch is.

October 25, 2019

Tips for using social media in your #GivingTuesday campaign

Filed under: Social Media — lidia @ 10:03 am

We are almost six weeks away from #GivingTuesday! Now that you’ve outlined your goals and strategy, created a brand guide and developed your story, it’s time to launch your campaign on social media.

With 29% of online donors saying that social media is the communication tool that most inspires them to give, you don’t want to ignore this aspect of your campaign.

First, let’s go back to my post that mentions the 4 characteristics of an effective #GivingTuesday campaign and see how it applies to social media:

  • An inspired leader – Include thoughts from or images of your leader (or team member who is leading the campaign) in your campaign to bring a personal touch to your outreach.
  • Clear BIG goal – Define your social media goal: Is it donors, dollars, event attendees, followers, partners or volunteers?
  • Collaboration with partners – Collaboration is huge in social media. Think of ways to partner with a like-minded organization so you can both expand your reach.
  • Authenticity – Help your followers emotionally experience your mission and daily work through real-life photos and videos that genuinely tell your story.

Make a plan

You can’t expect success from a social media campaign if you don’t have a plan. Using your overall #GivingTuesday campaign strategy as reference, create a social media strategy that includes the following:

  • Goals of social media campaign
  • Social media outlets to focus on
  • Audience for each outlet
  • Types of posts for each outlet
  • Posting frequency

Remember that each social media outlet may have a different goal and audience, so you’ll want to consider each and tailor your content accordingly.

For example, 39% of millennials worldwide are inspired to give because of what they saw on social media, so you may focus on Instagram for that audience. And over half of LinkedIn users report donating to charities, so that outlet may be useful for targeting organization leaders or business professionals.

Focus, focus, focus

For a social media campaign to be effective, it has to resonate with your followers. One way to do this is to be very focused. Instead of sharing miscellaneous content, tell one singular story from different points of view throughout your campaign.

TIP: Creating a campaign focused on one story related to your mission also means you will end up with content that can be reused throughout the year.

Make it easy to share

In order to make it easier for everyone to spread the word on social media, it’s helpful to create a simple media kit.

Gather campaign-related images, videos, logos and other graphics. Then create a document with sample pre-written posts to cut and paste for each social media outlet. File everything in a shared folder that can be easily accessed by your team, freelancers, or ambassadors.

Did you create a brand guide as I demonstrated in my last #GivingTuesday post? Great news! Include that in the media kit so that your branding will be consistent throughout the campaign.

Get others on board

Social media is well, social, so get as many people involved as you can. Consider featuring your organization’s leader or the team member leading the campaign through stories and images. And of course, encourage your team to share the campaign with their personal networks.

If you have supporters who regularly share your posts or mention your organization in their posts—turn them into social media ambassadors. As nonprofit social media marketer Julia Campbell says in her guide to coordinating social media ambassadors on #GivingTuesday, this “group of passionate and inspiring people who want to spread the word about your cause and raise money for you” are your greatest asset.

Partner up

Are there like-minded organizations or groups—locally or nationally—that you can partner with on your campaign? By cross-posting content or participating in an Instagram takeover, both organizations can expand their reach.

And don’t limit yourself to fellow nonprofits. Small businesses, especially local businesses, can be great collaborators as they prepare for Small Business Saturday (Saturday before #GivingTuesday).

Get more done in less time

Organizations often struggle with social media because of a lack of time or resources.  A strategy I recommend is to block out a few hours to write and schedule a month’s worth of campaign posts. You can still share and post spontaneously throughout the month, but this way you’ll have a steady stream of posts and maintain consistency in your campaign.

Another way to save time is to use a content calendar to track current and upcoming posts. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet or you can use an app like Trello, which has useful content calendar templates.

TIP: Many social media schedulers and other tools have nonprofit discounts—see my list of 15+ Low-Cost Social Media, Content & Email Marketing Resources for Nonprofits.

Don’t push the ask

Don’t lead with the ask. Make sure your social media content is evenly distributed between information, education, stories, conversations—then the request for donation.

Also, remember that people may want to donate in ways other than money, so consider highlighting non-monetary ways to get involved in your #GivingTuesday campaign, such as board or volunteer opportunities or wish lists of goods and services.

Show followers the impact your organization is making, show them why you are passionate about your mission. Give them enough background so that when they do see your ask, they will be inspired to give.

Be inspired by others

As the #GivingTuesday Learning Lab Facebook page branding expert, I often hear people struggling to find ideas for their #GivingTuesday campaign. One of the best ways to get inspired is to see what others are doing.

Observe how other organizations are using social media in their campaigns—specifically techniques you may not have considered such as Instagram Stories, Facebook Live or a Q&A session or live interview.

A #GivingTuesday hashtag search will provide lots of examples, or you can reference #GivingTuesday 2018 Success Stories for examples from nonprofits, foundations, higher education, schools and more.

P.S. Be inspired, but please don’t copy!

Haven’t started working on your campaign yet?

Not to worry! #GivingTuesday has put together a handy 6-Week Communication Plan that will get you caught up, week-by-week.

On average, nonprofits gain 4X the number of new donors on #GivingTuesday than they do on a typical day. And with social media driving 57% of traffic to fundraising campaign pages, it’s smart to invest time and effort into this aspect of your #GivingTuesday campaign.

Catch up with my #GivingTuesday series:

And stay tuned for the next post where I’ll be talking about last-minute tips for your campaign.

July 31, 2019

15+ free (or low-cost) social media, content & email marketing resources for nonprofits

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Social Media — lidia @ 10:00 am

Free Digital Marketing Resources | lsvdesign.com

Offers are subject to change, refer to the company links for most recent information. Updated 2/15/20

As the marketing and communications VP for a nonprofit board of directors, I’m often called on to provide recommendations for digital marketing resources such as email marketing, blogging and social media scheduling. I’ve used many of these resources personally both in my design studio as well as in my client and board work. 

Social Media & Content Marketing Resources

One of the biggest time-savers for my clients has been using a social media scheduler, rather than scheduling posts manually. These tools for scheduling posts and creating a content calendar are essential for organizations with a small staff or those working with outside vendors, as they keep your social media and content marketing in one place and make it accessible by everyone on the team.

Email Marketing Resources

If you’re not already using an email marketing tool for your organization, now is the time to start. Not only does it make your message appear more professional, but it allows you to segment contacts for more targeted outreach, conduct A/B testing on your messaging, and see exactly who is engaging with your messages. 

Also, just because a nonprofit discount isn’t advertised, doesn’t mean it’s not available. Most tool developers are happy to work with you to meet your organization’s needs and budget, so it’s worth reaching out to them personally. 

Did I miss something? Let me know so I can add it to the list. And be sure to bookmark this page—I will update it as new resources are available.

Read the other posts in my series, Free (or Low-Cost) Design & Marketing Resources for Nonprofits:

February 6, 2019

Why (and How) to Set Healthy Social Media Limits        

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

In my post about why I didn’t check email on vacation, I talked about the reasons why you should avoid email on vacation (spoiler alert:  you will be more relaxed).

But for many of my colleagues and friends, the thought of taking a “digital detox”: is downright frightening. I totally get it: FOMO has been a part of my life since I was a teenager not wanting to miss a Friday night party. And since much of my social media usage is business-related, there’s the fear of missing out on a business opportunity.

Arianna Huffington—author of the book Thrive, which examines our addiction to productivity—describes our digital addictions perfectly: “We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing.”

Set digital limits—and stick to them

So how do we get ourselves out of this downward spiral of feeling like we always have to be connected? We’re not going to leave behind our smartphones anytime soon. The answer is: creating a healthy relationship with technology.

Like myself, journalist and former editor-in-chief of Glamour and Self, Cindi Leive decided to keep the spirit of her “digital detox” going when she came back from vacation. She says: “I’m vowing to stay off email for most of my evenings, to keep my phone in my bag, not my hand, more often this year. Anyone with me?” Sign me up!

Once I became more aware of how often I check my phone—and how most of the time it’s out of habit and not necessity—I knew I needed to set ground rules for my social media usage:

  1. No checking email on weekends.
  2. No phone usage while driving.
  3. No walking and texting.
  4. Minimal phone usage when kids are around.
  5. Minimal social media usage before bed.
  6. Bring magazines or books to appointments.

In general, I’ve gotten myself of the habit of using the phone as “something to do.” As a parent, I know sometimes you desperately need a break, but I try to grab a magazine or book instead. And if I am browsing my phone with the kids around, I will include them in the experience by showing them a picture or telling them about an interesting article I read.

Get a little help from your (app) friends

If the thought of going cold turkey on digital scares you, there are apps that track your digital device usage, such as Moment and QualityTime, which can bring you more awareness of how much time you’re spending on digital devices. (Also useful for iPad-addicted kids!)

If you’re ready to go hardcore, there are apps like Flipd that temporarily lock your phone for a period of time—and restarting doesn’t affect it so you can’t cheat.

And tech companies are jumping on board too: Google and Apple recently announced system-level tools designed to help users monitor their screen time and restrict their use of apps. And Facebook and Instagram debuted similar features that will be integrated within their applications. As this WIRED post says, “The implication of these companies’ actions is clear, if softly stated: People want help unplugging from our products, and they are in a position to help.” (Honestly, I’m a bit skeptical, but I will hope that is their intention.)

Remove—but make a healthy replacement

Instead of just stopping your digital habits cold turkey, it can help to replace it with something healthier. As Huffington suggests in Thrive, “Our primary goal shouldn’t be merely breaking bad habits as much as replacing them with new, healthier habits that help us thrive.”

Along those lines, it’s worthwhile to examine how you feel when you use digital devices. For example, if you feel tired and drained after reading your Facebook feed, perhaps your time would be better served doing something that makes you feel uplifted and inspired.

Personally, my solution during my vacation digital detox was to replace the time I usually spent in the evenings on social media with another activity—in my case, reading books or a magazine. And I found that it actually helps me sleep better, since I don’t have myriad thoughts running through my head before bed (which inevitably happens after browsing social media).

Be more intentional

My word for this year is “essential” so I decided to apply that advice by doing a clean install on my new phone and only adding apps that are essential—which meant no social media apps.

Now, if I want to post on social media, I have to do it from another device which makes it more intentional (and, I will admit, sometimes frustrating—old habits die hard!) Also, since I can only check social media at certain times of the day, it helps avoid the mindless browsing throughout the day.

And since the habit of checking my phone upon awakening is hard to break, at least now I’m seeing an empty screen—instead of a long list of notifications that puts my brain into “MUST—RESPOND—NOW” mode. This makes for a more peaceful morning and less chaotic start to the workday.

Disconnect to reconnect

This leads me to this last piece of advice from Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive: “Disconnecting from the digital world will help you reconnect to your wisdom, intuition, and creativity. When you wake up in the morning, don’t start your day by looking at your smartphone. Take one minute—trust me, you do have one minute—to breathe deeply, or be grateful, or set your intention for the day.”

My 7-year-old has a great habit of saying “Get off your phone and play with me!” which is a great approach to take—whether you have kids or not.

Everyone’s ideal situation is different, but if you bring more awareness to your digital usage, you will be amazed by how much better you feel.

June 15, 2018

Creating a better world for my children—one design at a time

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 9:15 pm

Lidia Varesco Racoma on CWC

I spend a lot of time interviewing moms in business for my online community Biz Mama, but I rarely share my own story so I was thrilled when Creative Women’s Co. (a Chicago-based group that hosts intimate gatherings for creative women entrepreneurs) asked to interview me.

Read on to get a peek into my creative inspirations, what a typical day looks like, and why I do what I do.

01. Introduce yourself.

Hello! I’m Lidia Varesco Racoma of Lidia Varesco Design, a branding and marketing design studio in Chicago’s West Loop. I help education-focused organizations such as nonprofits, associations and entrepreneurs share their mission and make an impact. I also outfit kids in good design with my line of baby and kids apparel, typebaby and have an online community for moms in business called Biz Mama.

02. Summarize your life in a few sentences.

I’m a mom of two—kids and businesses (my kiddos are 2 and 6 years old) and my husband is also a creative (writer) so I am creatively-challenged and inspired in both my work and home life.

03.Tell us about your education background.

I graduated from the graphic design program at Columbia College Chicago and was lucky to have talented professors working in the field, as well as an amazing internship at a small design studio that turned into my first job. This helped pave my own career path.

04. How did you start your business?

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I always knew I wanted to have my own business. I had an amazing mentor at my graphic design internship-turned-first-job (thanks, Robin!) so after getting a few more years of experience, I took the plunge and started my design studio in 2000.

05. What inspired you as a creative woman?

I am inspired by what I see around me. I’m a very visual person, so I need to be constantly surrounded by images and words (technology has made this much easier and neater!) Now that I have kids, my children also inspire my creativity as well as my problem-solving skills.

06. What was your first job ever? Any funny or memorable story?

My first job was in middle school as a receptionist at our local church rectory. It was by far the quietest, least stressful job I’ve ever had. In high school and college I worked in retail, which provided many opportunities to hone my customer service skills.

07. If you can build a million dollar company, what would it be?

Basically, I want to help create a better world for my children. I want to help as many organizations as possible get their message out so they can focus on making a difference. I do this by offering nonprofits and other small- to mid-sized organizations the type of strategic design they would get from a large agency but in a more affordable, accessible and personal way. I also aspire to grow my Biz Mama online community and bring more awareness to the many amazing mom-owned businesses out there. We are all in this together!

08. Walk us through your day.

I start off my day with breakfast and getting the kids ready. After I drop off my son at school, I work in my studio until school pickup time. Evenings are generally family time, but I catch up on work or social media in the early morning or evenings. Weekends are generally work-free zones.

09. What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

The highlight of my career was having my design work featured in HOW Magazine (twice!) I’ve been reading HOW since I was in design school, so seeing my work on their pages is an honor and a thrill.

10. Share a quote/advice that you’d like to tell the 25-year-old you.

Don’t rush—you’ll get there. I still have a tendency to try to do too much too fast, so I would encourage my younger self to be patient and know you have plenty of time to achieve all your goals (not to mention, the new ones that will come along!)

This post originally appeared on the Creative Women’s co. blog

Learn more about Creative Women’s Co here.

If you are a mom in business, visit my Biz Mama page to submit an online interview.

April 11, 2018

November 27, 2017

Recap: Digital Summit Chicago 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

The Digital Summit series made its inaugural stop in Chicago this year. The 2-day digital marketing conference was filled with insights on digital, email and content marketing. Here are a few of my top takeaways.

Deep thoughts by Ann Handley…

The conference kicked off with an inspiring and entertaining keynote by content queen, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, who encouraged us to be bigger, braver and bolder with our digital content. Ann talked about the importance of data, used in conjunction with listening and instinct. Your brand should be in a place where your customers or clients will say “They get us!”

She also emphasized that your story is the start of what sets you apart. She challenged us: what is the story everyone tells in your industry and how can you tell it differently?

Lastly, she suggested that we be braver in our perspective and tone of voice. Think about how you sound vs. how you look. How can you make the ordinary (about pages, landing pages, email confirmation pages) extraordinary?

Email is still king—but keep it simple

Nora Snoddy of Emma told us that ROI of email is double of all other channels, (so yes, you should be sending out those regular email campaigns). She said that including video and GIFs can lead to higher CTRs. And she also advised not to give people too many options, stick to a single call to action (using first-person, action verbs) and tell people exactly what you want them to do.

She encouraged us to use automated email campaigns, as well as using reminder emails as a way to increase sales.

A few of her recommendations were to monitor CTR increases between campaigns, as well as subscriber growth over a year. And, split test those subject lines!

Don’t create new content—reuse what’cha got!

One of my favorite sessions was from Ginger Shimp of SAP. The visual learner in me loved the content map she presented, as well as her easy system of creating and repurposing content.

Ginger recommended starting your content creation with the end product, say a whitepaper, and then versioning it into various other content pieces: blog, cast study, podcast, video, eBook, microsite, presentation, infographic, web documentary, just to name a few.

She also brought up the idea of creating a video whitepaper (Is anyone doing this already? Please share, I would love to see!) One of her recomendatons is

Make search work for you

Shana Sullivan of Vertical Measures spoke about how to make search work in this ever-changing time. A few things to avoid are:

  • Duplicate content
  • Slow page load times
  • HTML problems such as missing metadata or title tags
  • Bad (or not enough) backlinks
  • Poorly optimized images and videos
  • Thin content (too short blog posts)
  • Not being mobile-friendly

She also told us what people are actually searching for:

  • Cost/price comparisons
  • Problems/issues
  • Comparisons
  • Reviews
  • Best of/Top posts
  • Resources

And she recommended using Google Suggests and Keyword Tool to get keyword ideas before you start writing your content.

Prepare for the skim

Lorraine Goldberg of Allrecipes.com spoke about being data-informed, not data-driven when doing email marketing. Look at and analyze trends, web analytics, news, social intelligence, SEO as well as top subject line performers.

She emphasized preparing for “the skim” and creating content that stands out. She also encouraged thinking at the little things in people’s lives—what are their day-to-day challenges and how can you help. And most of all, stand for something!

Take it from The Onion…

One of the most entertaining sessions was from Joe Fullman of The Onion. In addition to sharing classic Onion moments, he spoke about the 3 Ds of content: design, distribute, develop.

He suggested to continually measure reach of each content type by network, make sure content is format-driven, and develop content to be derivative and modular, easily targeted to each audience.

Now, time to put it all to work!

Overall, my takeaways at Digital Summit were to make a plan with concrete goals, be bold and tell a unique story, create content that can easily be repurposed—and most importantly, stand for something.

April 1, 2016

A to Z of Branding: a daily blog series

Filed under: Branding — lidia @ 3:20 pm

A to Z of Branding: a daily blog series

Today marks the first day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, a daily blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April. There are over 1,800 bloggers participating this year!

You may recall I participated in the challenge last year with my A to Z of Being a Mom in Business series.

This year’s theme is one of my other passions: A to Z of Branding. Follow along to learn a little something about branding, improve your own branding and have fun while you’re at it (and see what word I will come up with for the letter Z!)

Follow the A to Z of Branding blog series here or on twitter at #AtoZBranding

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