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GCU Community Newsletter #7 – June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011

It’s getting warmer in the Netherlands, and soon we will experience the annual harbinger of summer: the mosquito. We live close by a canal, and every year the mosquito population comes out to feed unless it’s been very dry. Time to stock up on citronella oil!

Hidden Gems: Fathers Day - June 19 - artist Corrie Kuipers

Last week on the blog, the Design Spotlight was on Diana Delosh and her cute Groundhog Day card; the Rainbow Connection gave you a three color palette of this summer’s hottest wedding colors, and in a new feature, Inspiration Station, you found links to wedding related sites to inspire your new designs + a collection of wedding fonts; the talented Doreen Erhardt’s column A Dash of Inspiration – A Cup of Creativity brought you tree and leaves brush sets; our Nuts and Bolts feature struck a chord with guidelines about front of card text; and finally, we announced the new Blog Carnival II: SHE SELLS SEASHELLS BY THE SEASHORE. Good luck, everybody!

Until next time, don’t forget to pass the love around!

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Four Tips About the Structure of a Blog Post

If you haven’t already started a blog, why not? You can write about what you love (everybody’s got to love something), entertain or educate other people – or maybe both, and promote your art at the same time. If you’re already blogging, you know it’s easy to scribble any old thing down, but somewhat harder to make a blog post that engages readers. Here are some tips that will help.

Hidden Gems: Fathers Day, June 19 - artist Eugenia Bacon

Be sure to define what it is you want to share: Have a think about the point you’re trying to get across. What’s the main theme of your post? Pare your thoughts down to the essential. You don’t want a post that’s crammed full of everything but the kitchen sink – chaotic writing isn’t attractive, and information overload is hard to digest.  Stick to one idea.

Be sure to define your target audience: Don’t try to be all things to all people – you’ll end up attracting few or none.  If the focus of  your post is North American butterflies, don’t go off on a tangent about the quantum butterfly in the hope of broadening your audience. That doesn’t usually work. Stay focused on your main readers.

Be sure to give it a good title: What makes a really good blog post title? The same thing that makes a really good newspaper headline. It needs to inform the reader what the article is about and be punchy doing it. Once you identify the theme of your post, spend a few minutes thinking of potential titles that will attract readers’ attention. Just be careful – you don’t want to deceive readers by making a super fantastic headline and not following it up with a good post.

Be sure to structure your writing: Some bloggers write off the cuff. There’s nothing wrong with that provided you’ve got the skill to pull it off. Many other writers prefer to organize by making an outline of a potential post, and defining the format they’re going to use like a top 10 list, Q&A interview, links list, personal or inspirational story, news or other informative article, comparison of A vs. B, etc. Once you define your structure, you’ll find the writing comes easier.

With these tips in hand, you’ll be able to create blog posts that are catchy enough to catch the readership you crave!

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The Greeting Card Universe fan page on Facebook now posts the daily Design of the Day? If you haven’t “liked” the page, what are you waiting for? You might be chosen next!

Hidden Gems: Canada Day, July 1 - artist Free Spirit Designs

We’re splashing out with Blog Carnival II: SHE SELLS SEASHELLS BY THE SEASHORE. Just make a new blog post (or a Squidoo lens) about anything beach or sea themed: surfing, clambake, seashells, marine wildlife – you name it, as long as the ocean’s involved, it’s fair game! Use your imagination. Include 3 links to beach or sea-themed cards at GCU and publish your post before June 18. On June 19, I will publish the master post of links to share + announce the winner of a drawing for a $25 AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATE!  Who will be the lucky winner this time? Who knows, but if you don’t enter, you don’t have a chance! Plus all participants will get a very cool Community Star to add to their collection.

Unsure if a photograph of yourself or someone else at a monument (or artwork) in a public space is copyright free and okay for commercial use? Here’s a Forum post where you’ll find the answer.

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.

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Be careful using descriptive terms in your keywords like embossed, foil, metallic, etc. as misled shoppers can and will return purchased cards. Every card returned is a loss for all of us because that shopper will likely not return, so let’s be careful out there. See Mindy’s forum post for details.
Don’t forget you can preview the print margin of your cards two ways: either in Manage Cards (you’ll find a link for Print/Margin Preview beneath each card) or in Administrative Settings >> Print/Margin Preview where you’ll be able to enter the card’s PID#. The margin allowance is a tricky thing, and one of the main reasons for card returns from the reviewers. If you’re not sure your design elements are well within the margin allowance, double-check.
Check out the Community Art thread on the GCU Forum – it’s fun! Artists post a picture for other artists to use to make a card, and the results are posted for everyone to see. If you haven’t gotten in on this yet, try it.

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The next Newsletter will be published on June 16, 2011

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