Category Archives: Blog

To Do: Write Blog Posts

Do You Have Time for a Blog?

Whether you should or shouldn’t have a blog depends on your business and your resources. Even when a blog could serve your business (sales, search rankings, communication with clients), there’s one more question: Will you add to it regularly?

Blogs take time, even for experienced bloggers who know how to create written and visual content. If you have those skills, you have a good start. If you lack that experience, you’ll have to learn (or hire) a few skills before it’s “easy”.

For many businesses, a few basic skills are enough:

  • Writing Content
    The writing doesn’t have to be fancy or long. It can be informal, but some basic writing skills are needed.
  • Selecting and Editing Images
    Cropping and resizing images is a start. Combining images and creating original graphics is a plus.
  • Organizing
    Basic organization of images and future blog posts as well as writing and editing tasks.
  •  Posting on Your Site
    With most blog software like WordPress, this is pretty easy, but you need to know a few steps .

Your Homework: Create Five Posts

I often ask clients to create a few blog posts before committing. Then they can better gauge the time needed for updates. So that’s your assignment.

You don’t need to create anything fancy. Write five simple posts by creating or collecting the text, pictures and videos.

Posts can be simple, like posting on Facebook: quick cell phone images with a caption or  a few short paragraphs. Or posts can be longer with lots of details.

This short assignment helps you refine the style and direction of your blog. It also helps you decide if you should have a blog at all and how to maintain it.

Ideas for Blog Posts

Over a few weeks, keep an eye out for things to post:

  • an image of your product or service, particularly if it makes a good visual like hair styles, home painting or any kind of design
  • something a client says about your company
  • a picture from a vendor visit
  • a picture from a training session
  • cell-phone shots from industry conferences and trade shows
  • new products
  • new employees
  • technical support answers
  • any news your audience and clients want to know

Then create those first five posts. Once you write a small collection, you’ll better understand the project of publishing a blog.

Digital Cameras

DIY Photography Tips

You need some pictures for your website; everybody does. And you have your own camera; everybody does. So you don’t have to hire a professional photographer, you can do it yourself. The price, the convenience…can’t beat it.

But…you knew there was a “but” coming, right?….but the technology is only part of photography. Lighting and the subject are just as important. Knowing how to use all three (subject, lighting, camera) is just as important again.

For the best imagery, hire a pro. A great brochure or website design can be trashed with mediocre imagery. Professional photography can make the difference.

That said, there are lots of times when you can and should do it yourself, and digital cameras make it easy.  Use them. They are your friend. Here are a few tips to improve your shots.

Take Pictures of Light on a Subject

Photography is about light and the subject (the thing you are photographing), not the camera. So look at the light and shadow when you’re photographing. These tips are mostly about getting better exposure in your pictures and avoiding problems with light.

Use a Tripod

A basic tripod costs less than $20. Better ones are less than $75. A top-end tripod can run $1200. You probably don’t need one of those, but you should get a basic model. Any tripod makes lots of photography better. Get one and use it. It will come in handy for years.

Bracket

Get a camera that automatically “brackets.” That means it can automatically take a series of pictures (often three); one is a little dark, one is about right, and one is a little bright. You’ll have better choices whenever you can bracket. Learn how to use that feature.

Use a Tripod and Bracket

When your subject is stationary, you’re using a tripod and you can take multiple exposures, those exposures can be combined in software to create a better image. Even if you don’t know how to use the software, your graphics person probably does. Multiple exposures give you and your designer more and better options.

Look Around and Behind

Do a quick check around your subject. Make sure there’s nothing distracting in the background. It’s easy to watch your subject, ignore everything else, and later discover something ugly, odd or distracting in the pictures. Try to avoid those distractions when you shoot. As a general rule, a simple background is best.

Look for Soft, Even Lighting

Generally, even lighting is better than sharp lighting.

Even lighting comes from big light sources (or multiple light sources spread out). Reflected light is often soft. It creates softer shadows that are not as dark as sharp shadows.

Sharp lighting comes from one or a few small light sources. Direct light from a bare bulb is sharp. It creates very sharp, dark shadows. It can also create bright, overexposed areas in the image.

This isn’t a firm rule. There are times a small light sources is the best or only option. But as a general rule, look for soft, even lighting.

Don’t Use the On-Camera Flash

The on-camera flash is a small light source that creates sharp shadows. If you must use the flash, check out this tip from December 2012.

Imprinted T-Shirts

T-Shirt Screen Printing Prices

T-shirts…everybody wants to know the price of imprinting on t-shirts. Of course, it depends on specifics. What I can do here is provide prices for a typical screen printing project, so here goes.

Choosing a Shirt

There are thousands of options. Here’s a good place to start:

http://pacesettermedia.com/custom-shirts-apparel

If you find something online but can’t find it here, call and we’ll find it.

BTW: Most prices you find at the above catalog are for 144 shirts of more. Contact us for a quote on a particular quantity of a particular shirt.

T-Shirts

Standard T Shirts like this one are usually on sale for $3.50 at low quantities.

This performance fabric shirt is on sale today for $4.50 at low quantities.

Sales change weekly. Usually the same shirts are on sale for about the same price, but it might change any given week.

Screen Printing

Set Up

There’s usually a set up charge for creating the screens and setting up the machines for your job.

Screen Printing Set Up (one color on light shirts): $30

Imprinting

These prices are for imprinting one color on light shirts.

24-35 qty: $3.80 each
36-47 qty: $3.24 each
48-71 qty: $2.76 each
72-143 qty: $2.28 each
144-287 qty: $2.00 each

Sample T-Shirt Pricing

Here’s a sample t-shirt quote for a sale-price Gildan – Ultra Cotton™ 100% Cotton T-Shirt 2000, one color imprint on one side. It includes a shipping estimate and Florida sales tax.

Qty Each Set Up Imprint Each Subtotal Shipping Estimate Tax Total
12 $3.37 $30.00 $6.60 $149.64 $13.00 $11.38 $174.02
24 $3.37 $30.00 $3.80 $202.08 $18.00 $15.41 $235.49
36 $3.37 $30.00 $3.24 $267.96 $22.00 $20.30 $310.26
48 $3.37 $30.00 $2.76 $324.24 $25.00 $24.45 $373.69
72 $3.37 $30.00 $2.28 $436.80 $35.00 $33.03 $504.83
84 $3.37 $30.00 $2.28 $504.60 $43.00 $38.33 $585.93
96 $3.37 $30.00 $2.28 $572.40 $50.00 $43.57 $665.97
144 $3.37 $30.00 $2.00 $803.28 $70.00 $61.13 $934.41

500 Shirts is the Magic Number

The piece price goes down as the quantity goes up. At 500 shirts, suppliers offer special pricing, and imprint prices are under $1.25 each. At over 700 pieces, imprinting is under $1 each.

Of course, if you need a detailed quote on your project, call Pacesetter Media at (813) 685-9206.