Kite Tales – Published March 2009
Interview with Jennifer Bertman for the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators Rocky Mountain Chapter
Cherish Flieder is not only a designer, but an artist in the truest sense of the word, that has skills to help any client with a wide array of graphic, illustrative, and marketing needs. Cherish has been sketching, painting, drawing, and creating little products ever since she was a small child.
Cherish pursues her passion for art and design at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado. Her design studio, (Cherished Solutions, llc, and brands Something to Cherish™ and Painting for Life™), works with publishers, manufacturers, and other niche businesses to achieve their goals in the marketplace by creating designs and illustrations and pairing them with thoughtful marketing objectives. Cherish works on the creation and production of conceptual and cohesive licensing collections, product development, books (especially children’s books), packaging, and other marketing materials.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
The more I learn and experience in life, the more I want to share my findings with others. I found myself retelling the same stories and sharing the resources repeatedly to other illustrators, writers, family, and friends. I began to think that keeping a blog would be a more effective way to share my messages and updates. I took a few classes on blogging and that helped spur me on to further action.
I first started blogging for the Colorado Alliance of Illustrators as their Secretary and Vice President (www.AllianceOfIllustrators.BlogSpot.com). This gave me the experience and confidence I needed to start my own blog about my art and related interests.
My blog at www.SomethingToCherish.com is woven into the structure of my website that promotes my illustration style. I use WordPress to easily manage and update my blog, but it actually started in www.Blogger.com which is very easy to use if you are new to blogging.
Why is blogging important to you?
Blogging is my way of connecting with others and chronicling events and resources that I don’t want to forget. I know that by sharing this information I can help and encourage others. Blogging also gives my work exposure to a world-wide audience that I would not get with a static website on its own. I have met so many incredible people through blogging and have found an audience for my art that I never knew existed before.
Advice or tips to share about blogging?
The most important thing about blogging is that you tie your blog post articles into who you are and what you do. Blogs have incredible power behind them to promote you and connect you with the search engines using RSS (Real Simple Syndication). For example, my blog is focused on illustration, publishing, and art licensing. So, when I decide what I want to post, I think of things that relate to all or any of the above. There is also a very personal element to blogging and even more so for artists and authors that blog. People who read your blog want to know about your expertise, but also about who you are as an individual. It is highly recommended to have an actual picture of your face on the blog or at least on your website somewhere. Occasionally, you will see artists and writers post personal blog posts about the kids, the cat, the summer vacation etc. When you blog about personal events, you help readers to feel more connected to you on a personal level. However, it is important to balance out your posts. It probably isn’t a good idea to post much in any single area that might detract from the main purpose of your blog. If your goal is to share your expertise in writing or illustrating children’s books, you need to make most of your posts revolve around that purpose. “What do I write about on my blog?” This is the number one question any new blogger has hanging in front of them as they stare into that blank screen. It was overwhelming to me at first too, but now I have so many ideas on what I want to post there is no want of new material, just time to simply write it out. Here are some ideas for blog posts:
- New artwork or articles
- Classes or teleseminars you are teaching
- New videos, podcasts or e-books
- New partnerships, volunteer efforts, organizations and charities with which you participate
- Special events you are hosting, promoting, you attended or you are sponsoring
- New book or product releases
- New services you offer or new details on current services
- Contests in which you are participating or want to organize and award
- Polls or surveys you are conducting
- Your stand on a controversial topic (i.e. Orphan Works)
- Local angle to a national story
- Current holidays and national day/week/month celebrations (See www.Chases.com for a complete list.)
- Share helpful tips and resources
- And the list goes on and on . . .
I keep a little notebook/folder with my ideas for future blogs before they even make it to the web. If you start brainstorming a list for yourself first before you even turn your computer on you will have much more focus and success with your blog. “How often do I need to publish new posts? This is another commonly asked question. However, the answer is really left up to you. Just remember that once you start a blog you need to add posts regularly. It does not positively promote you if your last blog post is several months or several years old! I try to post new material to my blog about one a week with the minimum being once a month. I just pick a day of the week, Wednesday in my case, to do all my online marketing updates and use it as a reminder to post something new on my blog. My last piece of advice for all bloggers out there is to make sure that your contact information is easily accessible from any page of your blog. Also, don’t forget to add a link back to your main website, where people can learn more about you and your work. You are missing out on valuable correspondence if you don’t put it out there. Favorite blogs? I subscribe to over 100 blogs on many different subjects. Here are a few blogs that I can always count on to be full of ideas and inspiration:
When I meet a new artist I like or an organization with whom I want to keep in touch, I subscribe to their blog using my RSS reader. I use Google Reader, but there are many others out there for you to explore. Subscribing to an RSS is great. It doesn’t clog my inbox and I can pull it up all in one place to catch up on my reading. I also recommend subscribing to your own blog to make sure that the RSS is working properly. I like to use www.FeedBurner.com to publicize my feeds all over the internet. Blog Excerpt: My most popular post is an article called “Leveraging LinkedIn’s Networking Power” about how to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool. Below is an excerpt. Thank you for your interest in my blog. I hope to connect with you online soon. Happy blogging everyone!
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
You may have been sent an email with this exact request on more than one occasion by a friend or colleague. If you have dismissed this invitation as just another one of those time wasting, friend collecting sites, then you may be at a considerable disadvantage.
So, if it’s that important, what exactly is LinkedIn you ask . . . and that’s a great question!
LinkedIn, found online at www.linkedin.com, is by far the largest and most professional, business-oriented, social media networking site on the World Wide Web. Although it has only been around since 2002, it has over 25 million participants worldwide and grows at the rate of over 130,000 members each week!
LinkedIn is easy to use and opens the doors of opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with key players of the human race, in a new and effective way. The basic concept of how it works beckons back to the theory of “six degrees of separation.” On LinkedIn it will only show you up to three degrees of separation, but that alone will connect you to millions of professionals once you start linking up with other users. Your network will consist of your connections (1st), your connections’ connections (2nd), and then the connections to which they are connected (3rd). This dynamic function will start to make more sense as you begin see it in action.
It’s a good idea to create and maintain a professional LinkedIn profile page if you want:
* a beneficial way to promote your art brand, products, and/or services online
* to meet key players in your areas of expertise
* to discover new business or job opportunities
* to learn about a new industry in which you hope to expand
* to reconnect with colleagues, classmates, and clients
5 Things I Love About LinkedIn
* LinkedIn helps me to “stay in touch” and “touch base” with people that are important to me. Often, we get so busy that we never follow up on important connections and we loose out in the long run. LinkedIn is a superior tool for keeping you cognizant of your important connections and gives you an easy way to contact with them when the time is right.
* LinkedIn gives you a visual reference of your network, helping you readily discover commonalities. You can find someone with a skill you desire. You can post jobs or even apply for them online. When you are looking to join or serve with a new company, you can use LinkedIn to conduct preparatory research. LinkedIn makes it easy to discover which connections you have working with that company or who is associated with it, even before you have your first interview.
* LinkedIn is a great way to learn about any industry. You can see what other people are up to, see how they are promoting themselves and view their notable accomplishments.
* LinkedIn manages my database of connections for me. I don’t have to go and look up an email for anyone that is connected to me or even open up my email composer to send out a message. It gives me an instant connection to their email inbox from their profile page.
* LinkedIn makes it simple for each member to keep their own information current for the benefit of the community. This feature helps users quickly access updated job summaries, aspirations, interests, status, website links, and more.
One last thing about social media sites . . . there are so many of them out there. If you are using them for your business you will need to carefully select the ones that help you best maintain professional connections and ultimately keep your brand in front of your clients. Professionally, I use Plaxo, Facebook, and Twitter, in addition to LinkedIn. MySpace can be good too, if you approach it with a professional touch. But, if you only choose one, I urge you to go with LinkedIn, as it will give you the most professional online presence and effective online networking available.
If you would like to read Cherish’s “10 Tips for Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile”, sign up for her e-zine at http://somethingtocherish.com/souvenirs. To see the complete issue of Kite Tales, click here.<–>