How to get a press feature for your cards

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If you’re a creative type then you’ll know the power that comes with having people notice your work. Press features are a great way to get your designs in front of customers who are pre-disposed to like them and be keen to buy, as well as making your brand look great and spreading the word about your thortful designs! Here we’ve asked our resident PR expert Louise Rowlands to come up with her top tips on securing some coverage:

Choose wisely

Identify which local press titles would suit your card designs. Who is your target market? What do they read? How are your cards perfect for them? Once you’ve worked this out, find out who you need to be speaking to and put your designs in front of the right people! Who writes/sources stories or features at your key titles? It’s likely to be a reporter if it’s a news story or an editorial or features assistant if it’s a product feature. Do your research and find out what they’re looking for, and how you can connect with this. Work out where you’re most likely to get a feature too (as a story, or a product feature in the ‘shopping’ pages?) and how you can target your cards towards this.

How are your cards current?

How does your card design (or range) relate to the current zeitgeist? Is it for an upcoming occasion? Does it tap into what is on-trend? Journalists want to write about things which are relevant for their audience!

What’s your angle?

The first thing to ask yourself is what makes your design(s) (or you!) stand out, what makes it/them different from all of the other cards out there? Journalists are looking for a hook, so not just a product but a story behind it too. What inspired your design(s)? How have you made your brand unique or successful, how have you changed your own life or that of others? Being a creative person with some good card designs is simply not enough of an angle to be feature-worthy!

Have a presence

Having a thortful profile is not enough – you need to be easy to find across social media, and ideally have a website where you express some personality, and make your brand 3D. Journalists want to be able to search for you and find a real, authentic person or brand! Make sure you have your ‘story’ or USP featured somewhere, and incorporate a basic reference in your bio line if possible. This will not only ensure that your brand has a clear message, but also help to pique people’s interest when they read about you on your profile or the back of your cards!

Twitter is key

Twitter is a great tool for this task! Find out what journo’s are after by searching #journorequest, follow key journalists and publications you’re interested in and engage with them where appropriate to build a relationship. If you see an opportunity, tweet them!

Pitching to the journalist

Before you call or email a journalist it’s a great idea to create a 200 word pitch. Journalists are very busy and don’t have much time so make your title attention grabbing, then breakdown the story and angle for the journalist, and always finish an email with clear contact details. Journalists hate big picture files cluttering up their inboxes too, so it’s a good idea to include any cards or designs in a Dropbox link.

If it’s a struggle to get your cards featured directly, think about other options too: why not try offering a couple of your designs for photoshoot props – even if it’s only in the background you can still get a credit and/or link to your profile. And if you’re lucky enough to get a press feature? Make sure to let us know too, so that we can share where possible.

Louise Rowlands is an independent PR consultant: expert on all things PR, Social and Marketing. Find her on Twitter @Loulou300

How We Protect Our Creators’ Work

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Copyright and copyright theft is something that thortful takes very seriously! We know how hard you work to come up with those fabulous designs, so we want to help you make sure they’re in safe hands and aren’t liable to being downloaded, copied or ripped off 🙂 Here we run you through all the ways in which we strive to protect your work!

All of the images you upload are stored in their original format in a secure location. (It’s top secret – we cant even mention it here!) We then create five – yes, five! – different versions of the original design at a lower resolution and higher compression level, to be displayed in our mobile apps and on our website. Of course, the resolution used will depend on the device & screen resolution: the image used for an iPhone 4 is a much lower resolution than the image needed for an iPhone 6, but the main thing is that these images are not of a high enough quality to be printed at card-size.

The only time the original high-res image which you upload is used, is over the secure connection to our printers, when a card is ordered.

We have also made sure to disable the ability to right click on an image and save it, to prevent those sneaky people with ulterior motives from copying creators’ designs!

Our technical team are currently working to further reduce the quality of the image that we display on our website and apps too: our aim is to ensure the customer buying the card is satisfied with the quality of the image used (so that they’re still keen to buy your card!), but still restrict the ability of someone to copy a high quality image. The good news is that as it currently stands any image would be pixelated if printed directly off the website 🙂

Here at thortful we like to go the extra mile too, so we are also looking to implement a service called Tineye, which is a piece of software that checks all cards uploaded to our platform and informs us if these cards are displayed anywhere else on the internet. This service carries out a search on the web to see if any of our cards are being marketed and sold anywhere else, and therefore ensures that we do not sell work that belongs to someone other than the creator who uploaded it.

Hopefully you’re satisfied with the measures we’ve taken to ensure your designs are protected, but we’re always open to suggestions on how we can improve. Send us your feedback to team@thortful.com and we’ll do our best to make thortful a safe and secure space for you and your work!

A Cup of Tea With…Hoppy Bunnies

If you caught some of our excellent Instagram takeover by Lucy Player from Hoppy Bunnies over the weekend, you’ll have been treated to a glimpse of those cute little critters she illustrates! We sat down for a cup of tea with Lucy and asked her for the lowdown on where the idea for bunnies came from, her creative inspo and the design process…

Lucy Player: the genius behind those cute little Hoppy Bunnies!

Lucy Player: the genius behind those cute little Hoppy Bunnies!

Your cards are based solely around cute bunnies – what was the inspiration behind this?

It all came about from a project I worked on at university… We’re talking 8 years ago now, which is a little scary! As part of my graphic design degree we had to do a typographic piece, creating our own fonts. Out out this came the Bunny Rabbit Alphabet, which started my whole little obsession for drawing bunnies! 

What comes first with your designs – the pun or illustration?

It can vary – sometimes a bunny pun will hop (sorry, I can’t help myself) into my head and that dictates the illustration. But now I’m focusing much more on the greeting card market, I tend to think more in terms of occasions, and how to tailor a bunny character to it… to be fair, replace ‘Happy’ with ‘Hoppy’ for most occasions and you’re on to a winner!

Where do you seek inspiration?

The internet is a wonderful thing, let’s face it. Having so much creative work at the click of a mouse – be that on Pinterest, blogs, Twitter, Instagram, or sites like thorful, Folksy and Not On The High Street, it’s so valuable to see what other designers and makers are up to, and what new trends are emerging. 

What do you do if you find yourself stuck in a creative rut?

Look on the sites mentioned above, generally! But sometimes you just need to get out the house with a notebook and a pencil, and scribble away without caring about the outcome. A good brainstorm or a chat with a friend can always help get ideas flowing. 

Lucy's bestselling Wedding design!

Lucy’s bestselling Wedding design!

What’s your best-selling card?

The Hoppy Couple wedding card tends to go down quite well, and I’ve recently worked up designs for same-sex marriages, too.

Can you give us a sneak description of what you’re working on next?

I’ve always got a little list of card design ideas on the go that I’m gradually working my way through, but I’m also looking to expand out of cards and in to more prints and gifting… watch this space!

Whose work do you admire?

I’m a big fan of The Old English Co – just really simple typographic pieces that have a lovely tone of voice. And Alison Hardcastle has such a good way with colour, simple shapes and wonky lines. And finally, Crispin Finn have an amazing range of 2-colour designs which just ooze cool.

What’s your favourite social media platform to showcase your designs?

I’m a bit obsessed with Instagram – I have accounts for my personal life, the Hoppy Bunnies, and my graphic design business – each has their own purpose and their own following. It’s just a great visual platform, both to be seen, and to see others’ work.

Tell us a good joke…

What’s the first sign of Madness? Suggs walking up your driveway… (sorry, such a ‘dad joke’, and probably goes over the heads of anyone born post-1990!)

Lastly, what exciting work plans do you have on the horizon?

I did my first trade show this year at Progressive Greetings Live, and it went so well that I’ve booked in again for June 2017!

Discover the full range of Hoppy Bunnies cards here!

Make Your Profile Pop!

Having a great profile page is really important in order to pull those customers in and let them know what you and your brand are all about. This is especially true if you’re going to be sharing your profile on your social channels too, and is essential if you want to be featured by us in our marketing campaigns and on our social channels (cash in on the free advertising!) 🙂

A complete profile!

A complete profile!

So how can you achieve this? Read on for our three simple steps to profile perfection.

1. Upload a great profile pic!

Your profile picture will be shown next to all of your cards in the main thortful catalogue, so not only is it going to be one of the first things customers see when they get to your profile, it will also represent your brand across thortful. Some of our creators have designed a logo, whilst others have opted for a simple, professional headshot. Whatever your style, try to make sure that the picture emulates your brand: match it to the style you use for your cards to really create a visual thread throughout your page. Bear in mind that the profile picture is optimised for square images, so it may look distorted if you go for a rectangular one!

Add a profile pic!

Add a profile pic!

2. Catch their eye with a banner image!

An effective banner image will tell your shop’s story in visual form. The right banner for you might be a lifestyle photograph of some of your cards in situ, or maybe an illustration or photograph that represents your style and brand. Make sure your image is the correct dimensions to be displayed optimally (1160 x 210px), and remember that it has to fit nicely with your profile image which will sit just in front of it. Consistency is key!

Add a banner image...

Add a banner image…

3. Tell them how it is with a captivating bio line!

Your bio line is your opportunity to explain who you are and what you’re all about. The key here is to be succinct as you only have 140 characters to get this across! Pique people’s interest: what makes your designs unique? What sets you apart from the crowd? What’s your story? Remember this information will be printed on the back of every card you sell too, so make sure it’s P.C.!

Add a bio

Add a bio

4. Name your page and give your shop front a unique identity!

Finally, make sure to use our fancy new function to create a custom URL for your page! Make it something memorable and not too long so that it looks good when you’re sharing your page on social. You can use a combination of any lowercase letters, hyphens (-) and underscores (_).

Create your own custom URL!

Create your own custom URL!

Et voilà! Your profile should be up to date and ready for all those customers to start spotting you and buying your cards 🙂 Get started on your profile optimisation bby logging in here.