Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy (Colin MacIntyre, cartoonist preview interview)

Well, fuck. I guess I should just give up the chase then. No more interviews.

At least, thats what I thought last Sunday, when I didn’t post this months preview post.

I made a mistake, doing this crazy venture, yet again. I thought I was going to make this awesome interview with a local cartoonist, a first for me on timotheories, and everything went to plan… right up until diving head first into the editing process.

You see dear readers, I brought in Colin MacIntyre of @thecolinium instagram fame with the intentions of revealing his secrets for you. Secrets about making artwork every day. This dude is insanely committed to sharing at least one drawing each day on his instagram feed. And he damn near does it at least five days a week. So that was my intention. To share a cool story with you, about a cool artist, and the awesome conversation we had.

Then I learned that somewhere along the line, his closeup video came out super yellow – I don’t know if it was the tungsten filer on my LED lights, or the warm tube bulbs hidden behind the chairs, but somehow, he ended an incredible shade of yellow and orange, like an Oompa Loompa. And so I messed around with Lumetri Colour settings in Adobe Premiere to correct my problem. Turns out that once something has been over-exposed, video or photo, it’s quite difficult to correct.

Lesson learned I guess! But you know what creative cuties? The results aren’t so terrible, and they work on two levels I think.

1) Colin is a cartoonist, so that resulting video has an illustrated feel, and

2) Pushing through with this interview is definitely in the spirit of Colin’s deeply held mantra of making art no matter what

Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy, as the great Mrs. Frizzle used to say, amirite? That said, Colin is  is a full-time communicator. He works in sales by day, and freelances as a cartoonist, podcaster (I Have Some Notes), and blogger (The Long John Index) who makes art every day. In this preview clip below, he and I discuss why making a commitment to art is difficult.

And humour conveniently plays a factor into his response.

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Does it really surprise you though to learn that television, smart phones and overcommitment can play a huge role in why we don’t make art? This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg on why Colin is awesome and why making art is so important, even if you fail in the process.

So watch the clip, leave some comments, subscribe to my channel if you haven’t yet, and enjoy the process of watching me learn the ropes of this social media thing too, because surprise, I’m not an expert either. And it hasn’t stopped me from continuing this dream. Never give up, never surrender. That’s my own theory for success.

Tim!

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (Syndication)

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have it all, dear readers.

I want to have a successful blog, publish a few bestseller novels, create & feature in at least 3 popular YouTube video series, maintain a healthy diet that include meals, meditation, exercise, & affirmations, create meaningful & beloved paintings, and operate a community driven app for the arts.

Now you might say that that is crazy, but a lot of that those ideas tie in and relate to each other, which means that I’ll be sharing my brand across a number of channels, and working together with others to produce a brand that is viable and collaborative.

But in order to do that I need to syndicate – which happens to be a major part of marketing.

This is post number three in the Importance of Marketing series. We already have the business plan post ready for your absorption, so be sure to check that one out as well. But I digress, let’s now focus on today’s Wisdom Wednesday topic – A post about the importance of content syndication.

What’s content syndication timotheories?

Well my dear, sweet readers, content syndication is a way to put your name and ideas out there into the ether. It helps you build your reputation and generate leads which then generate sales for your business. If you can figure out a healthy mix of syndication, you’ll be rewarded with search rankings, increased traffic, and better exposure to your personal brand. Did I mention that it will also help promote you as an industry leader too? And when you become a leader, people start back linking to your blog.

That’s when you know you’ve hit the big time.

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But in order to get your name out there, you should set up a strategy first. Set some goals and determine the results you need in order define that content strategy. You need to be honest with yourself and ask the hard questions. Like whether you’re positively impacting the community around you with your syndication methods or if you’re really going to drive traffic with your current plan.

What it comes down to is quality content and quality resources to manage your syndication. You could use the carousel method and increase your traffic by publishing to established websites like Hubpages or you could go the advertising route and use something like Newstex to get paid when other publishers source your material. Having said that, you aren’t assured to get paid right away if you share your material for a fee, your content has to be of a certain calibre.

And we haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to promotion. Just using a syndication delivery method isn’t going to get you there alone. Yes, you have to take advantage of the networks mentioned already, but you’ll also have to start guest blogging on websites that already have success in a wide breadth. And of course you need to consider where social media and forums fit into the mix. Every social media application and forum has a different tone, so be very mindful of how you construct your tweets, posts, shares etc.

But before I get too far into the weeds and begin the process of telling you in detail how to syndicate your content, I’m gonna stop the post and let these theories sink in.

After all, at timotheories, we are about digital curating at heart, and that means giving you content in bite size pieces. We would never expect you to swallow the elephant all at once.

And so I’m out of theories for today, I hope you enjoyed this peek into syndication, and I look forward to releasing the remaining introductory points on the importance of marketing. I’ll see you tomorrow friends, with something timely and rather tasteful.

Tim!

Dear Diary (How To Best Start and Keep A Journal)

Have you ever tried free writing before, dear readers? It’s a technique where you write continuously over a set period of time, ignoring the majority of the typical conventions of writing – The purpose for free writing is not to produce great content, though that can potentially be a by-product, but rather to address self-esteem and internal criticism.

I’ve tried it a few times before myself, but I’ve found that writing a blog works to that end as well and is even better because of the regularity involved with the creative process. Because whether you believe it or not, what you are reading right now is not the first draft, it’s more like the 6th or 7th version of this post.

For those of you who do not pre-date the internet, a journal used to be the main method of delivery when it came to combining free writing with purpose. Though in many ways the blog has effectively replaced that practice. Or has it?

Now just hang on a tick, I know what you’re thinking.

Keeping a journal seems like one of those monumental tasks which will eat into your personal time and which is mostly self-gratifying. But the reality is that there is no right or wrong way to do it, and it will help provide value in a number of ways

Don’t believe me? Let’s list some reasons off really quick.

  1. Greater focus and organization skills (ie. to do lists and goals)
  2. A record of past achievements and milestones
  3. Emotion management and stress reduction
  4. Reflection time which leads to self-discovery
  5. Perspective on your own thoughts and feelings
  6. Cathartic release from trauma
  7. Alleviate negative effects of stress and strengthen your body
  8. Working memory improvement
  9. Creativity becomes more common
  10. Thinking about and articulating the next step in the plan
  11. Becoming inspired beyond the obvious and intentional in all work
  12. Accountability for our actions
  13. Inspiration for ourselves and others

Yeah, and that’s just a short list. I read somewhere between 10-15 articles in preparation of this Wisdom Wednesday post, and I just thought those examples were really solid.

The truth is this, journals help facilitate personal growth. To quote this article:

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes a journal such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

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I initially wanted to start this post by pointing out that writing a journal is something that successful people do. It’s not just for hormonal teenagers or those beset by grief and cats.

For example, Mark Twain, Anne Frank, Sylvia Plath, George Lucas, Virginia Woolf, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frida Kahlo, Marilyn Monroe, Courtney Love, Pablo Picasso, Agatha Christie, and Leonardo da Vinci are just SOME of the examples of creative people who regularly journal/journaled.

Of course, there are also tons of articles out there that will tell you how you should get started and how you should keep up the habit of journaling. I’m going to tell straight up that you shouldn’t worry so much about the details of writing at this point, but rather, you should figure out when you are going to do it, then build some good habits to ensure you keep at it.

And if you really want a detailed how-to, this wiki will do the trick.

If your journal features content from other sources, so be it. You might find that source material is a great jumping off point or a good visual reminder for the period down the road when you revisiting your work and want to reflect on ideas.

Another good habit to get into is to have a log with each entry so that you know where you were when you wrote, the time of day, and the calendar date. The details will help solidify the moment in time and allow you to only focus on the current event(s), which will be great when reading previous entries – And besides, if you only stick to the negative things or the major milestones you’ll run out of ideas quickly.

The biggest thing to keep in mind though is that it’s not your responsibility to fill in the gaps if you take a break from writing, whether its for a day or a month, resume with the day you’re in and the stuff you’ve forgotten about or missed recording will crop up.

Lastly, if you can figure out a way to personalize the diary with a unique cover (collages, stickers or drawings) that will also help down the road. And consider including “if found” information at the front in the event the journal is lost, after all, this is not a blog and it could get lost.

Okay one more cool thing, you might want to hide your journal from prying eyes, so consider a hollowed out book for storage, because that’s super cool.

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And now I’m out of theories, so keep it cool and I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely.

Tim!

This Click-bait Will Change Your Blog For The Better (Buzzfeed)

Click-bait. We all hate it, and we hate it because of what it makes us feel inside. We click that link hoping that the headline will deliver on what it says or that picture will open up a gallery of wonders. But it never does… It just fulfills instant gratification, without any kind of growth. In case you have absolutely no idea what I am referring to dear readers, I’ve set up some examples, which will follow below.

He thought he was safe. What happened next changed his world.

Number 9 is the most shocking one!

Marketing companies hate her.

What they learned was terrifying.

We already knew it, but she perfected the delivery.

This idea will make you a better reader.

Click-bait is without a doubt, the perfect example of a pejorative word. With sneering and everything.

We’ve all been there, surfing the internet from the safety of our homes while rocking our PJs with a litre of red wine, while scrolling through our preferred media of consumption (insert Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Google Reader or YouTube for starters) when we see it. A headline that just screams INSTANT GRATIFICATION. All you problems solved in one click. Knowledge, sex, fun, tears, power, miracles, etc.

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But fuck that.

Click-bait doesn’t really solve any problems. In fact, it’s been designed by marketers to help generate revenue; quality and accuracy be damned. The goal is close the sale and get your curiosity past the point of intrigue but not sated enough that you can ignore the headline. And so you click. Because the thumbnail picture is conjuring feelings or the headline has a supposed spoiler in it. As I already mentioned, go anywhere on the internet and you are sure to find examples of click-bait in use.

It’s what made the website BuzzFeed so popular in the first place way back in 2006. It was originally founded as a hub for viral content, and it did a good job of bringing in users so that they would see content on its way up the social ladder, at the peak of its popularity, or content that was now overexposed and burning out fast.

With this traction the company was able to grow over the past decade and slowly become a source for internet media of all kinds, with a focus on digital media and tech. They’ve made great efforts to curate old content, deleting over four thousand articles at one point as they changed the face of their brand.

Now a website that once used click-bait of every kind to draw in traffic, instead produces their own daily content which consists of both articles and video, and has a staff of reporters, artists, and part-time contributors. Did I mention they also let their community contribute to the conversation?

Which means that they are more interested in traditional methods of publication now that they have traffic and want to have a good reputation too. Though they still click-bait. Man oh man do they still click-bait.

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So why did you decide to write about Buzzfeed then timotheories?

Because I have this theory.

How convenient for me. And for you! You see dear readers, I think that click-bait is our generations version of hot topic marketing. It’s not that much of a stretch when you think about it, but have you thought about it?

That’s the real question.

You see, over the past couple of centuries in the western world, marketing as evolved just as much. We’ve gone from eras of trade, to production, to sales, to having marketing departments, to having marketing companies, to “relationship” marketing, and now we are in the middle of social/mobile marketing. This article goes into detail on it, but for our purposes I’ve included a handy little chart that D. Steven White put together.

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As you can see, none of those marketing previous forms have died by any means, however, as they lost focus and became normative behaviours, creativity moved in new directions (as it always does) and communication had to go right along with it. Is click-bait the end-all-be-all answer in an era of social/mobile marketing? God no. But it is something to consider in the scheme of things, and it does have value.

So your task as an art maker, art shaker, and art breaker is to figure out all of the tools available, become an expert at marketing and move forward. But that’s something we can go into more detail on in a future post.

But what do you think? Am I missing notches on the marketing tool belt? Is click-bait not worth the time it took me to craft this sentence? Please leave some comments, subscribe to the blog, and share with your friends (artists, art enthusiasts, and humans apply)… I’m out of theories for today friends, I’ll catch you tomorrow with something timely.

Tim!

What A Sweet Song (Twitter Basics)

Today’s post is all about Twitter folks.

Most of you know about Twitter, and the majority of you probably have an idea of how it works, but this post is about the basics of it, what I’ve learned in three weeks of really starting to use the website as it’s intended, and some basics for those of you who avoided it like I did initially.

I have decided to dedicate this post to my 1600+ followers on Twitter – thank you for your initial support, your continued support, and what I believe will be decades of collaboration and mutually assured benefit!

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There are a few timotheories admissions to make about the global phenomenon known as Twitter though. At least before I get this post started off right.

First, I thought I understood Twitter when I first heard about it back in 2007. It was already over a year old, and I wasn’t even fully committed to the idea of Facebook so Twitter seemed a little bit superfluous at the time. But to me Twitter represented  a quick way to access articles and ideas (no matter how interesting), but I had just finished art school and already had a head full of ideas. Plus a few resources to access content myself. So Twitter wasn’t an option.

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Second, I didn’t have a blog yet, and Twitter seemed like a place to market content, but I didn’t just want to post pictures or videos I liked, I wanted to market my art and my own contributions. And then my own art fell by the way side for a few years, and so I forgot about Twitter.

Fast forward to 2013. After a bad experience with art and business mostly forgotten, I was now comfortable with Facebook, learning the ropes of social media in general, and I wanted to start a blog. But due to some personal relationship problems, I never got the account off the ground.

So I worked out some shit, and got my domain name sorted out, taking baby steps as I went. The final quarter of 2014 rolled around, and I started writing.

I had heard all about the struggles of traffic generation, and I knew that blogging wasn’t something you could JUST DO, get traffic and get paid for your art. You had to write good content and build an audience. Which is why I wrote for a few months, one post or two every month, and accepted the slow burn.

Then I introduced some more ideas, interviews in particular,  AND set up a Facebook fan page. That got me some more attention, but nothing steady. Next, I tried my hand at a schedule and regular content, again, I started to see a spike in monthly views, but nothing as substantial as I was expecting.

Syndication was just not being my friend. I tried posting to FB group pages and sharing my links on Reddit, and I would definitely see bumps on those days, but the bumps were temporary.

When I finally admitted I knew nothing, and began searching online on how to grow an audience, I kept seeing the same things over and over. Syndication, use all the social media channels, and become an expert in them.

Well guess what? Twitter is number one on all the lists.

This website is micro-blogging at it it’s finest. And according to this article, it’s the SMS of the internet. Which really makes sense to me, almost a decade later.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, this post is about Twitter. The basics that I’ve learned and how I’ve seen substantial growth in the mere three weeks that I’ve become a student of it’s principles.

What have you learned timotheories?

I thought you would never ask, dear readers. Well here are my basics of Twitter, which I hope to expand upon in the coming months.

  1. You only have 140 characters to work with, so keep your word choices succinct, your hashtags relevant (for community building), and your URLs short.
  2. @reply is at the start of a tweet and is between you, your friend, and both parties followers.
  3. @mention appears at another other point in the tweet and is a public post.
  4. Post what you know about to your followers, and share what you care about via retweets
  5. Twitter is not Facebook, it’s public domain. Be particular with what you share, how you write, and be generous with your time.

The other big takeaway of the Twitter experience has been following people that I care to associate by searching for them with key words, and even following their friends. Of course you should also follow back when appropriate, but the only way to organically grow your following is by participating.

And that’s all the wisdom I can share at this time, I’m out of theories. What do you think? Am I on the right track? Do you use Twitter or not? In the future I’ll write another post about how to use the website as an artist, but for now, please comment and subscribe for more timotheories!

Tim!