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GCU Community Newsletter – May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011


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Issue #5

NATURE IS BLOWING HOT AND COLD

Welcome to the latest edition of the GCU Community Newsletter.

In my copious spare time (ha ha ha :-)), I’ve decided to start a new Zazzle store called Every Little Thing just for some of my new greeting card designs for cancer patients. It’s an experiment, I admit. However, focusing on a group of related cards may attract shoppers who don’t want to wade through unrelated products when they only want a greeting card. I’ve added the same designs to GCU, too. Wonder who’ll be first in sales? Time will tell!

Hidden Gems: Memorial Day - May 30 - artist William Martin

Last week, our Artist Interviews with Doreen Erhardt and Tom Rent gave us a window on some very extraordinary artists (and business people). In addition, Doreen’s regular column, A Dash of Inspiration – A Cup of Creativity gave us inspiration for digital painting. In our Promotion in Motion feature, we talked about using Squidoo as a vehicle for promoting your GCU greeting cards. And finally, our Design Spotlight was on Pattiann Malynn.

Keep up the good work, and don’t forget to pass the love around!

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Bad Habits to Avoid

When you’re running a blog, it’s easy to fall into bad habits that might turn readers off, or cause you trouble either now or down the line. It’s much better to prevent yourself from developing these habits at all, but if you’ve already picked up one or two, then knowing you may have a problem is the first step towards solving it. For both beginning and experienced bloggers, here are some behaviors to avoid.

Don’t Ignore Comments: Did you know that only one in ten readers will actually leave a comment on your blog post? If someone takes the time to give you a thoughtful comment, it’s not only polite to reply, it’s good sense. Cultivate loyalty with your readers by engaging with them. You don’t have to reply to every single comment—especially the “me, too” kind, or if a troll tries to tempt you with tasty bait—but you should never ignore a question, request for an opinion, or a compliment. A little “thanks” goes a long way.

Don’t Make Yourself Crazy: I know authors listed on Amazon who obsessively check their book ranking every hour of every day. Don’t be that way with your blog stats or comments. Yes, we all love comments on our posts, and we all love visitors, too—they make you feel like you’ve succeeded. But don’t obsess. You’ll only fret yourself into a state, as well as waste time that could be spent more productively like, oh, I don’t know, making card designs. There’s no need to check stats or comments more than once or twice a day.

Don’t Be a Copy Cat:Unless you have permission from the author, you must never – never, never, NEVER – copy

Hidden Gems: Memorial Day - May 30 - Tanya and Craig Amberson

someone else’s post or web site content. Never! Remember, cut and paste is not your friend. Not only is it unethical, but search engines won’t give you any love for plagiarizing, either. Readers will be more attracted to a blog that gives them YOUR opinion, YOUR story, YOUR thoughts in YOUR unique voice. Short quotes are okay as long as you credit the source. Be original. Be unique. Don’t be a copy cat!

Don’t Run Out of Steam: Many bloggers start off with a bang. They’ll enthusiastically make post after post, then after a short while the enthusiasm wanes. The posts come further and further apart, then peter out altogether. Readership falls off in droves. Ennui sets in. You start to wear a beret and write slam poetry…nah, that probably won’t happen, but you DO need to make regular posts on your blog. Decide when’s a good time for you. You don’t have to stick to a rigid schedule unless that’s the way you roll. Just pick a time—like once a week—and write something. You don’t have to spend hours doing it. Let your spirit flow.

Don’t Forget to Promote Yourself: Just about any blog post can include links to your store or greeting cards at GCU. If you’re promoting other POD sites and not GCU, you’re missing out on an opportunity. Why not take advantage? Using the GCU widget is great. However, it’s been my experience that specific cards promoted on relevant posts tends to attract interest, too. People like recommendations.

Now’s the time to shed any bad habits you may have picked up. You’ll be a better blogger, and you’ll find your posts get more attention.

We’re having a blog carnival! You could win a $50 gift certificate from Amazon! I’m so excited, my exclamation points are showing! Join us and have some fun! Just make a new post on your blog with the theme SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVING IS EASY, and include 3 links to GCU cards (or make a new Squidoo lens with the same rules). On May 24th, I’ll have a drawing. The master list of posts will be shared by all participants, so this is an excellent opportunity to get backlinks to your blog! Send me your link – you’ve got 5 days left.

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Forum Stars: Every artist who posts on the GCU Forum has stars after their name. What do they mean? How do you get them? You earn Forum stars by making posts. Here’s how it breaks down:

Gold Member (5 stars): 500 posts
Senior Member (4 stars): 250 posts
Full Member (3 stars): 100 posts
Junior Member (2 stars): 50 posts
GCU Newbies: (1 star): 1 post

Double Posts:Speaking of the Forum, quite often when you try to post, you’ll be timed out and get a “proxy error.”

Hidden Gems: Fathers Day - June 19 - artist Tom Rent

Don’t fret. Chances are your post has been made. Just return to the main Forum page, click on the topic you were posting in, and you should see your post there. Always check before you re-post to avoid double posting.

DID YOU KNOW you can “like” this newsletter or any post on the GCU Community blog, or include them in your social bookmarks? Just click the title of the post, which takes you to the permanent link page. At the bottom of the page you’ll see buttons for social sites like Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. And thanks for sharing!

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Blog Carnival I
SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVING IS EASY – Our first blog carnival is going great! We’re halfway through, and already we’ve had 10 entries. If you haven’t done it yet, there’s still time. Just write a post on a summer topic—anything summery will do—and include links to 3 summer-themed GCU cards. Or mkae a Squidoo lens on the theme. That’s it! All participants will share the master list on their blogs, and everyone will receive a special GCU Community star, too!

Big Apple Visitors, We Need You!
If you attended the New York Stationary Show this year, please get in touch. We want to hear your story. We want pictures. We want your YouTube video. We want it all! Your peeps are waiting with bated breath to hear what happened. Don’t leave them in the dark. Send me an email and we’ll work out a guest blog, ‘k? Otherwise, fugeddaboutit!

2011 Reminder Time: Since search engines can take up to 6 months to index new content, you should be working on this year’s cards ahead of time for the following holidays:

  • September 11 – Grandparents Day
  • September 11 – Patriot Day
  • September 29 – Rosh Hashana
  • October 8 – Yom Kippur
  • October 10 – Columbus Day
  • October 10 – Thanksgiving (Canada)
  • October 13 – Sukkot

Don’t Forget: To change the date on your year specific cards such as Graduation and  New Year’s. While GCU tries to contact artists who’ve been a little absent minded, this takes time that could be spent doing other things… like reviewing cards waiting for approval! If you happen to come across another artist’s card, and you notice they haven’t changed the date, give them a friendly heads-up. They’ll appreciate it.

We Need You!: If you’ve got a blog, a website, a Squidoo lens, or a YouTube video promoting your cards at GCU, or a Facebook or a Twitter account that you use, we want to hear from you! To join the roll calls here, leave a comment or send an email to gcucommunity (at) bigdates.com. We update the roll calls daily, so you’ll never be absent for long. Do you have suggestions? Features you’d like to see added? Tips you want to share? Send them in!

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The next issue of the GCU Community Newsletter will be Thursday, May 26

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2011 1:58 pm

    Great newsletter, thanks! Congratulations on your new store Every Little Thing is a beautiful shop, good luck!!

  2. May 19, 2011 11:02 pm

    Thank you Corrie for all your hard work and information you are sharing with everyone.

    I have created a Squidoo Lens to be included in your contest for summer. It is regarding summertime grilling.
    I included one of your cards Corrie, as well as a card from Amy Reges. Hope that was okay.
    http://www.squidoo.com/summertime-grilling

    Thank you Sher.

    • May 20, 2011 6:05 am

      I’ll put you in the drawing and on the master list, Sher.

      Corrie

  3. May 20, 2011 2:14 am

    Corrie, Am loving your newsletter!
    Just published a Squidoo lens for your Summer Fun theme: http://www.squidoo.com/summertime-and-the-kids-education-goes-out-the-door
    Thanks for giving me some motivation!

    • May 20, 2011 6:06 am

      Hey, Sue! Nice to see you getting into the carnival – I’ll add you to the master list and put you in the drawing.

      Corrie

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