Friday, November 22, 2013

Kristi Stalter blogs into fashion success

Kristi Stalter
By day, she is a bright, energetic 24-year-old who teaches second grade at Stevenson Elementary in Bloomington, a lifelong Twin Citian who went to Bent School and University High before moving on to a liberal arts college in Indiana. 
Then there’s Kristi by night and weekends. 
That is when, while quietly seated behind a laptop in her Bloomington home, out of the glitz and lights of such worldly fashion capitals as Paris, London or NYC, Kristi runs a highly popular fashion blog. 
It attracts up to 20,000 views a day, has sponsors, gets her free clothes, counts notables and celebs among its “fans” (Emily Maynard, most recently of ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” is a regular visitor) and more recently led to a series of tweets, posts and even a blurb on the sports-gossip site that romantically linked Kristi to Clay Matthews, the star linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
Reference: Flick: She’s blogging her way into fashion fame.

Bill Flick writes a wonderful story about Kristi Stalter, who has apparently made herself into a blogging success.  The Coral Court is straightforward, and simply set on Blogger.  She isn't a professional model, and her photographer may not be professional, either.  But she makes for a very pretty look with the everyday fashion that she showcases.     

What underpins her success?
  • She is genuine and earnest as a person, and her blog speaks to everyday life.  So much of what passes for high fashion in Paris, New York or Hong Kong runways are simply not wearable.
  • She brings her blogging to life with her colleagues and friends.  After all, fashion may be admired, learned and sold online, but it's about actually wearing it.  
  • She doles out a warm, positive spirit: 
Kristi’s blog is not about glitz and high glamor, but instead work-a-day wear and simply looking nice. Or as she puts it, “creating an environment for positive female relationships ... and being confident in life, including how you dress.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bud Light videos speak to football fans

We'll never know if somehow, in someway we can affect the outcome of a game. But when the clock's winding down and everything's on the line we all believe. After all, it's only weird if it doesn't work.
Some fans will do whatever it takes to help their team win. After all, it's only weird if it doesn't work.

I love these video ads, and I love Ramsey the best.  Bud Light has struck pure gold in how it speaks to us quirky football fans.  

As a small business or new brand owner, you may not have the budget to undertake a production like this.  But what ideas do you have?  Let me know.  Let's see how we can make it work out within your budget.  E-mail me at  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Getting on Pinterest makes business sense

Reference: Kicking Facebook to the Curb: Why Pinterest is Good for Business.

I've been looking at Pinterest since early last year, more as a side note.  I was already active in the Big Five of social media - Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - and I didn't want to extend myself, unless I had a purpose.  A few months ago that purpose came.

I first set up a profile to upload photos of my trips to downtown Chicago.  +Chicago has now evolved into re-pins, videos, and stories.  Still I simply wanted to get the `lay of the land of Pinterest, before setting up project profiles.  The first of these projects - T'ai Chi Empower - is now in full swing after a handful of months.   

I really enjoy Pinterest.  It's easy to upload stuff, there are a lot of cool stuff, and it serves the dominant group in e-commerce: women.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Crediting multiple sources on Google+

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Whichever social media sites you decide to use for your business, brand or organization, be sure you understand enough of its functioning to serve your purpose.  You don't want to get bog down in details, but you need to know enough to optimize your social impact.

Natalie Van Veen shared a post by Alicia Feliz, titled Multiple links: Preserving the social signal on Google+.  I simply bookmarked it, after looking it over and deciding it was an important read for later on.  In brief, it has to do with how Google+ picks up links (i.e., social signals) from posts.  Remember, Google is an enormous ecosystem on the internet, and those who promote their business, brand or organization want their signals picked up.  

I've learned over time that each site has its value or usefulness, and it has cool features and some annoying bugs.  Among the things I like best on Google+, for example, are the easy edit, link to the post, communities and Hangouts.  But as Feliz writes, we have to deploy workarounds for quirks, flaws or limits in functionality.  In her case, it's making sure all links migrate with the post, when it's shared, and all links are credited on Google.  

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The art of web design

The explosion of the internet over the past 20 years has led to the development of one of the newest creative mediums: the website. Web designers have adapted through the technological developments of html, CSS, Flash, and JavaScript, and have mastered the balance between creativity and usability. Now with the advance of mobile, the greatest websites have taken user experience and responsive design to the next level, and continue our evolution from print to a digital world.
Whether you're a designer with a technical bent on websites and blogs, or an owner with a design need for your business website or blog, this video is for you.  Color, font, structure.  HTML, Flash.  There is an array of information in this short video.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The madcap, breathtaking world of viral videos

"Viral Video" is the signature phenomenon of internet media. Something akin to pop songs, these videos with irresistible hooks have saturated video culture online and have now evolved into a multitude of sophisticated forms. Whether rooted in comedy, spectacle, schadenfreude, cuteness, politics, performance, or deep meaning, the idea of viral videos, and the huge audiences they generate, have forever changed the values and potential impact of video online.
An advertiser with a campaign.  An activist on a mission.  A YouTuber in a creative spin.  Whoever they may be, they end up with a viral video on hand.  

Watch this video simply with an open mind.  Let your imagination run, let thoughts come to you, learn lessons that you need to learn.

What ideas do you come up with for your promotion video?  Please feel free to run it by me:, and let's talk it through!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Take stock of your websites across all devices

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Two years ago I worked with a software developer to turn the algorithms I had developed into apps.  I was clear that I wanted everything to work well across devices: from desktop or laptop, to smart phone and tablet.  He explained that the interface for the web-based app he was building for me had to be adapted accordingly.  I sensed, in this conversation, that this was going to be a challenge for him.

I have since learned that what I was looking for was this:
Responsive web design is simply this–a website design that adjusts gracefully to fit on desktop, tablet, and smartphone browsers. Ever pull up a website on your smartphone and it was just a very tiny version of what you would see on your desktop, so you zoomed way in, and then moved the website around and enlarged and shrunk it as needed to read text and click on things? That was not a responsive website. Or if it was, it left out the key point of adjusting “gracefully.” A responsive website looks good no matter whether you’re looking at it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.
Reference: Why Your Business Needs A Responsive Website Before 2014.

First, take stock of all your online presence: websites, blogs and social media.

Second, whether you have a business or brand, a community organization, or a personal blog, clarify for yourself who your target audience is and who your actual visitors, followers, connections et al. are.

Third, find out from what devices they visit, follow, and connect with you.  Mobile devices - smartphones and tablets, in particular - aren't just a growing trend, but they're also a tech presence now.

Fourth, visit all your sites on all devices you own.  Better yet, arrange for a friend, colleague or family to do the same, then get their feedback.

Next may be more challenging: Given your findings from these three steps, decide what you need to do vis-a-vis your online purpose, aims or priorities.

Having a developer reconfigure your website into responsive may be so cost-prohibitive for you right now that it's not even a consideration.  If this is the case, it's not the end of the world, as writer Joshua Steimle would lead you to believe, in the article I referenced.  It's simply reality right now, but again decide what you need to do vis-a-vis your online purpose, aims or priorities.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Budweiser Black Crown's well-calculated promo

First, the half-veiled teaser.  It's about sexy and luxurious, yet hip and demure.  Just a hint of the new beer.

The loud.  The savvy.  The famous.  The smooth and distinctive Budweiser Black Crown is fit for a Millennial party.  

This is essentially a behind-the-scenes video, without coming across as a behind-the-scenes video.  It's a calculated market research by Budweiser that apparently guided product development.  That is, beer making.

Now, what ideas do you have for your own promo video?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Social media helps trainers and lecturers

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I attended a conference with the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and the facilitator encouraged us to Tweet during the talks.  Howard Tullman was one of the speakers, and he ran down his stuff so briskly that it was difficult to track and Tweet at the same time.  But other than that, it was a blast to connect quietly among us attendees, share observations and reactions, and post photos as well.  

1871 is a CEC project and a business center, and in one conference we downloaded and used an app - GoSoapBox - to ask questions of panelists.  You can post them directly, or you can scan posted questions and simply check the ones you also want to ask.  The facilitator picked them up, and relayed them to the panelists via his tablet.  The app was really cool.  

If your business entails training or lecturing a large group of people - that is, in person - social media can definitely add impact to your event.
The survey of over 8,000 faculty found that 41% of college professors use social media as a teaching tool, up from around 34% in 2012.

Jon Marshall, an assistant professor at Northwestern University, says he started using Twitter in one of his lecture classes to connect better with students. 
"Nothing replaces the face-to-face communication, but when you have a class that large I found it was helpful to have yet another tool to get to know them," says Marshall, adding that it also gives shy students another way to participate. 
Students say using social media for academic purposes can be beneficial, as long as it doesn't get too personal. 
"The fact that I am able to communicate so easily with so many people all at once makes the learning experience that much more simple," says Cheri Bailey, a senior at the University of Florida. 
"I think it's very important to mix your professional and your personal life just a bit," she added.
Reference: More professors using social media to teach.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tumblr goes literary and prompts book deals

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It is a boon for writers to blog about a topic of interest, which happens to stir the interests of a wide readership.  Then they work at carving their blog into a book and striking a deal.  Such was the case with Humans of New York, by photographer Brandon Stanton.

Conversely, writers may have published books on hand, and blog about their babies not just to promote but also to discuss.  Social media serves both functions rather well, but blogs offer a more personal haven without losing community.  Blogs also afford more capabilities in organizing, collating and presenting content. 

In Blogging for book deals - on Tumblr this time, Emily Keeler speaks to these points, plus one more about the migration of those book clubs at the library to an online platform:
In January 2012, Tumblr hired Rachel Fershleiser and tasked her with literary outreach; in addition to her online duties, she has organized readings and meet-ups to bring the online community together IRL.
To date, I have four blogs on Tumblr - such as leaders horizons - and I absolutely love it.  I have a variety of free designs to choose from, quite user-friendly functionality, and little features I really like:  for example, uploading an image via its link and queuing posts easily.

In case, I keep my eyes and options open for a book concept and deal!