How to use thortful to promote other projects

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Michelle Hird has brought us greeting card designs for over 18 months now with her HELLO LGBT brand. However, over the past year she has been working hard to introduce Binx the Jinx into the world. Binx the Jinx is a new children’s book, written and illustrated by Michelle Hird, and released in August; it’s core message is one of love and respect for others. To promote her book further she has illustrated a collection of Christmas themed greeting cards to share on thortful.

Why using your card designs to promote other projects is a good idea?

After all the fuss of promoting my book once it was released and things died down, I wanted to keep the same spirit I had when it was all so fresh. Binx the Jinx is one of my biggest accomplishments and inspires me everyday. Using the character Binx throughout my artwork keeps me motivated and encourages me to keep things alive. I love finding new and different ways of expressing my character and using Binx for my new Cat Christmas Card Collection is a great outlet for that.

More Christmas cards are sent each year than every other holiday combined, so it made sense to me to use this as the perfect opportunity to promote my book, gain exposure for my character and (through thortful!) earn some extra pocket money in the process! The fact that my main character is a cat is another bonus; according to the Telegraph, ‘we are obsessed, sharing more than 3.8 million cat pictures and videos every day. That is more than twice the number of selfies – 1.4 million.*’ Although my audience may be quite specific – there is clearly a huge market out there.

How fellow creatives can do this

According to a feature from Writers And Artists; the UK population spends more than £1.3 billion a year on greeting cards** – so we already know there is a massive market to sell our cards, to people with all kinds of different design preferences. Do your research, take a look what already exists, what is trending and what works. What kind of cards do you buy for others or do your family/friends buy? As a starting point; I spend an hour or two scrolling through the online card shops (thortful included!) or going out into independent art shops for my own market research. Using this method helps my idea process and helps me determine what designs will be strong enough to sell. However, I do think it is important when creating new cards for thortful, to use whatever subject you are instinctively drawn to. Whether that be humour, beautiful fonts, cute animals, photography – this will automatically make you excited to start inventing new ideas. Once you understand who your target audience is and have found your niche – you are one step closer to creating, strong, sellable cards!

Why it can be effective

Since August, Binx the Jinx is now recognisable to my friends and family, my social media outlets, bookstores where I have given readings and he has also been advertised across posters on London’s Baker Street. I am slowly starting to gain an audience for Binx, which is another strong selling factor and so it makes commercial sense to expose him through such a popular holiday. 

Like me, once you get your burning ambition for your new collection, there will be no stoping you! Naturally you will be thinking of what your character/characters can be doing next. The same goes for typography, or any other art form you chose –  ask yourself, what story will you tell next?

How useful thortful is in this process

thortful have been incredible at listening to my ideas, and even though they can be quite vague, they have helped me find solutions. I have only had my Cat Christmas Card Collection up for 24 hours and I have sold 10+ cards already!

Through the help of my publishers, who have constructed a social media marketing plan to target their own/mine and thortful’s social media audience at key times, using the promotional imagery I have supplied to them. I try to get involved in the promotion process as much as possible by liking, sharing posts that are made and interacting with people who start up a conversation. Capturing my existing audience whom have already purchased the book and hoping to buy greeting cards to match or simply to support me as an artist. Through the use of social media and features such as this, I am hoping to gain new cat loving customers. 

I hope this helps inspire you if you’re either procrastinating or in a bit of a creative slump! Having done your market research, believing in yourself and your ideas will certainly help you build the strongest, most cohesive, sellable line you can. 

Merry Christmas,

Michelle

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/pets/essentials/why-cool-cats-rule-the-internet

**https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/artists/advice/179/preparing-your-portfolio/identifying-your-audience/the-greeting-card-industry

Milestone Greetings For Extra Special Birthday’s

September: a birthday-filled month where the only thing harder than organising your social calendar is thinking of what to write in those greeting cards! We know all-too-well the knee-shaking feeling of trying not to stuff up the message inside that perfect card you found (our handwriting feature on the thortful app takes care of that FYI), so we thought we would put together some handy suggestions of what you can actually write inside those special milestone birthday cards.

1ST BIRTHDAY

Writing a card for a 1st birthday can put you under the spotlight, as it’s entirely possible all of the cards will be kept as a keepsake! For now though, it’s the parents you’re trying to impress (the one-year-old will be thrilled by just the envelope, let’s be honest!).

To the beautiful birthday baby: who knew that one tiny little ball of sweetness (YOU) could light up the lives of so many of us! We are all looking forward to another year of joy as we watch you grow.

I hope you have a ONE-derful birthday! Enjoy it like the special boy/girl that you are.

Happy 1st Birthday! I know that no matter what gift I got you, you’d still be more interested in the wrapping paper than the actual present so.. go crazy!

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10TH BIRTHDAY

Turning ten is a huge milestone for kids – hello double-digits! It’s the year they want to be seen as a ten-ager (that’s just short of a teenager in case you didn’t know!), and not a little kid anymore.

What a milestone, you’ve just finished your very first decade! May your 10th birthday be as special as you are.

We wish that the years to come will mean more success and happiness for you. Enjoy the last part of your childhood, Mr/Miss 10-year-old!

Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up because in dog years, you’re already a senior citizen today! Happy 1-0!

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18TH  BIRTHDAY

The big 18, where the world officially classifies you as an adult and everything (ok, most things) are finally legal.

Happy birthday to a wonderful 18-year-old. This is truly a fun time to celebrate life, so enjoy!

Happy Independence Day! Growing up might seem scary until you realise that none of us really know what we’re doing…

Happy first day of legal drinking! Remember, just because it’s legal now doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!

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21ST BIRTHDAY

The age when the real growing up happens. Job hunting, household bills, real responsibilities.. what a milestone.

No matter how old you get, remember this one piece of advice: Have fun! There’s no age in experiencing the joys of life, so make the most of it while you’re young. Happy 21st!

I hope that turning 21 is tons of fun. May you feel inspired and empowered to do great things this year. Happy 21st Birthday!

I remember my 21st… wait, no I don’t. You’ll soon find out why… Enjoy your special day!

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30TH BIRTHDAY

Exiting your 20’s can be an unnerving time for many, but age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter!

Wishing you a very warm welcome to your third decade. Happy 30th birthday!

On your 30th Birthday, look back and think about what a long way you have come. We are all so proud of the person you have turned out to be. Happy 30th!

May you be blessed with more style, charm, panache, confidence and personality on your 30th Birthday. After all, 30 is the new 20 these days! Happy 30th Birthday.

The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits. (Theodore Roosevelt).

You’re not really 30, you’re 18 with 12 years of experience and you’ve never looked better!

Congratulations, from now on you are officially old! But don’t worry – you’re only one third of the way to your 90’s so that’s a bonus! 

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50TH BIRTHDAY

A great milestone to celebrate a great achievement of turning a half-century old.. or young! 

May every unfulfilled dream of yours during the past half century come true. A very happy birthday to you!

I feel blessed to have known you for some of your 50 years. Congratulations on today’s milestone!

Here’s a toast to 50 beautiful years of your life, in which you have spread so much joy and happiness to others. May you live to be a hundred. Happy 50th Birthday!

Unfortunately ageing is the only scientifically known way to live longer. Here’s to 50 more years!

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We hope we’ve sparked some heartfelt ideas to get you started on your card-writing quest, but if you’re still stuck then just stay original, stay warm, and stay witty. Remember, birthdays come around once a year but milestone’s come around just a few times in a lifetime!