What Is Custom Publishing?

Custom publishing can make your business stand out

Custom publishing can make your business stand out

Over the weekend, I was again reminded that the term “custom publishing” conjures up a variety of definitions and rarely the right one. The Custom Publishing Council uses this definition:

“Custom publishing marries the marketing ambitions of a company with the information needs of its target audience. This occurs through the delivery of editorial content–via print, Internet, and other media–so intrinsically valuable that it moves the recipient’s behavior in a desired direction.”

You’ve no doubt seen examples (aside from ours, of course) and didn’t even know it. Costco, AARP and AAA all have well read examples of a custom magazine. These publications are information packed and well written. They provide you with information about their products in an inviting and fun environment. Their goal, and in these cases they’ve succeeded, is to put them at the top of your mind when you think of the type of products they offer.

As you start to become more aware, you’ll see examples often. Maybe you’ve seen a special lifestyle magazine at your bank, or a health related one at your doctor’s office. For years, company and organization newsletters played the role of custom publishing without the designation.

Blogs (such as the Eagle Publishing one you’re reading right now!) are one of the newest and most exciting examples of custom publishing. The internet provides ready answers to every question we can think of and we’ve come to depend on to fulfill many needs in our daily lives.

Gone are the days when a standard display ad is enough. I say that hesitantly, as advertising in print media is what supported my family for years and brought me to where I am in business today. And, I am still and likely will be for years to come, a reader of magazines. Fact of the matter is, though, the average display ad in a magazine has the eye of the beholder for two seconds—about as long as it takes to say custom publishing. For the same dollars spent, a custom campaign has the potential for you to spend hours with your customer one on one. Which one do you think will benefit your company most and give you the best return on your investment?

Custom publishing is a win win for all involved. Companies are able to reach out to their existing and potential customers in a friendly, relevant environment. On the flipside, the reader has access to volumes of information that can help improve their lives, give them pleasure and allow them to learn more about a company they may want to do business with.

It’s been a win win for me, too. Being the info-holic I am, I’m learning new things every day as we journey confidently into the realm of custom publishing. I love it!


What Is A Blog

istock_000006057864xsmall2There are well over 100 million blogs on the internet today. Yet, I am frequently asked, “So what exactly is a blog”. Originally, blogs were used simply as online journals—a place for people to log their thoughts, adventures and daily activites.

Today the humble blog, derived from weblog, has evolved into its own social platform. Although still used to chronicle the lives of individuals, blogs now discuss, educate and offer enlightened observation on every topic of interest imaginable.

Blogs usually have a single author who keep the site updated. To the unseasoned eye, it can be difficult to distinguish between a blog and website. It’s simple to find blogs to read if you’re looking for examples. Pick an interest. Type it into your favorite search engine, i.e., cat blog, travel blog, etc.

Start clicking through and prepare to watch hours (maybe even days!) disappear. I should note here that unless used judiciously, blogs can be hazardous to your productivity (and maybe your health—hmmm, 10pm…did I eat dinner?). So, back to our topic…some of the components you’ll almost always encounter are the most recent post, an author bio, an archive of previous blog articles, a link to subscribe to future posts and a place to interact and comment. Depending on the goal of the blog host, you might also find advertising.

Blogging can be fun and one of the most cost effective ways to stay in touch with your customers if you have a business. There are several free or very affordable platforms to help get you underway. I use WordPress. I like the format. Others to explore are Blogger or Typepad.

About now, you may be saying, “But I can’t write!” A successful blog does require a time commitment but keep in mind you’re not crafting the next bestselling novel. It’s your blog and people expect a conversation tone and your voice.

Blogs were almost non-existent ten years ago and now, for many of us, they’re part of our daily routine. Maybe it’s time you joined in the fun? Another day and another time we’ll talk about how it can even make you money.

Time strapped companies should keep in mind we offer blog set-up and ghostwriting services. Like our tagline says—We make you look extraordinary!

Can Barter Benefit You?

Keep more cash in your pocket

Keep more cash in your pocket

It seems everyone I talk to now is trying to stretch their hard earned dollars to cover more with less. While attending a women’s business meeting last night, a table mate inquired if I had ever tried bartering.

I’ve been a member of a barter organization, ITEX, for over 15 years now. I’ve traded goods for goods directly, also, but joining an organized barter organization like ITEX allows more opportunities to use your trade dollars.

The big question…How does it work? Think of ITEX as the bank where you have your account. You have a service people pay for. Let’s say you’re a restaurant. An ITEX member has dinner at your restaurant and pays with a trade draft that draws from the trade dollars they have banked in their ITEX account. You deposit the draft, just as you would a check, into your ITEX account.

You now visit an ITEX member, a dentist, to have some work done and pay him with trade dollars in your account. You’re also in the process of renting a vacation beach house in Mexico that is owned by an ITEX member that lives halfway across the country. You pay for the rental with trade dollars. All the while, fellow ITEX members continue to dine at your restaurant, helping grow your trade dollar spending power.

Sign up fees for ITEX vary from office to office. My broker is running a new member campaign now and you can sign up with no fee. The usual sign up fee can vary. Each month, you’ll pay a cash maintenance fee and 6-8% on each transaction—coming and going.

People have bartered practically since the beginning of time. In these challenging economic times, barter might help you take care of business even when cash flow is tight or maybe you’ll be able to take that much needed vacation after all. If you have questions, I’d be glad to answer them and put you in touch with my trade broker to explore your options. Email me at nwwoman@mac.com or call me toll free at 1-866-638-1115 ext 3.

Help! I Can’t Write—5 Tips to Make You A Better Writer

Start writing today

Start writing today

Writer’s block is an all too real term for many of us. Whether you’re writing a book or a letter, that horrible feeling that your brain is paralyzed and your creative thoughts suspended in time can be overwhelming.

Here are 5 tips that will make writing easier, faster and better:

Read Learn to distinguish good writing. Ask yourself what made it good and how you can use the same techniques. Pay close attention to titles, headlines and first paragraph. This is what drew you in.

Be aware Make an effort to learn something new every day. Feed your mind ideas and resources you can draw on.

Research your topic The more you know about your topic the easier it is to write about it. Look for the three most interesting aspects.

Organize Write an outline. Include details that support your points. Remember the outline is not set in stone. It can always change, but will help you stay focused as you write.

Start writing Let your outline be your guide. Write a first draft. Perfection is not required. Allow yourself time. The key to good writing is rewriting. The more you write, the better you’ll write.

Try to enjoy the process. If you still feel stuck, at Eagle Publishing, we write every day and we’d love to write or fine tune your writing for you.

The World of Apple Macintosh

A move in the right direction

A move in the right direction

Thinking about buying a Mac? A new Twitter friend @midlifetrip mentioned that she was a Macintosh newbie. I can promise any hesitation in her journey and yours will be brief.

I’ve been a diehard Macintosh fan and user since 1987 (ooooh, that’s an age marker!) I’ve lost count of models I’ve moved through over the years but never have I been disappointed. Here are a few things to consider if the world of Macintosh is calling to you.

Which one do I want? With so many choices today, choosing the right model can be overwhelming. Plus, spendy purchases can lead to indecision. Ask yourself how and where you’ll use your computer. Question number one—mobile or desktop. It’s a mobile world but if you’re only buying a laptop so you can get your email on the go, remember there are other, even more portable, options.

Desktops have advantages but I would be lost without my laptop. When I’m sitting at my desk, my work demands a larger screen. Keep in mind, the Pro versions allow you to add an additional screen.

How much power do I need? The answer lies in what you do. Any graphic oriented acitivies whether it be gaming, movie editing or graphic designer raises you a higher tier. Remember, also, that processor speeds of PC and Macs are like apples and oranges. The same number does not mean the same thing. Always shoot for the higher side of what you need.

How much RAM do I need and what is it anyway? RAM (random access memory), your computer’s memory, may be the biggest source of frustration for computer users. Invest in RAM and you invest in a frustration free future. Does your computer freeze up or process unbearably slow sometimes. RAM is the likely culprit. Like the human brain, RAM is trying to memorize everything you have open and are working on. More is better.

Macs are easy, simple to use, look cool and are destined to be your friend for life. We’re not experts but as enthusiastic fans, we’re here to help our friends. If you encounter questions on your Mac exploration, run it by us. You can follow me on Twitter and send me a message @vickidar. Welcome to my world!

A Flip Video Love Story

Vicki and her loveable new friend

Vicki and her loveable new friend

What’s smaller than a toaster, slower than a turtle and as much fun as a talking cat? I had been waiting a week. My new toy was a day late and I was getting anxious. And then, yesterday, finally…My new love was wrapped in my arms.

My new Flip video camera was only a box cutter away. I’m working on a second blog— 42best.com —coming soon to a computer screen near you. It’s being developed to talk about the coolest of products for people like you and I.

But, for now, back to the Flip video…It fits comfortably in the palm of my hand. It’s sleek, ergo-friendly design is easy to learn and manage. What it lacks are adjustment controls for things such as lighting, resolution and flash. In my opinion, though, these are not shortfalls—they are blessings.

For Christmas, I bought one for my daughter. I wanted one but said to myself, “just get the old one out and put it to use”. Well, the videos Gods decided to shine on me and I was the Flip Video gift recipient now. He’s sleeping on the desk beside me (I always humanize my favorite gadgets). He took the cat’s place who moved to the chair with me.

Being my father’s daughter, printed how-to instructions and I are like water and oil (funny thing when my business is all about words, huh). Anyway, I had this sweet little video camera up and running in a matter of minutes after reading less than four sentences (the reason the old one is in the drawer). In no time at all I had a test video of the disgruntled cat playing on my computer screen. The quality is exceptional considering the size and ease of use. A limited zoom feature and clear sound make this a must do for anyone looking for fast fame and on the go portability.

Oh, the possibilities! The simple, straight-forward, no learning curve opens up a whole new world for fun and business.

Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. We always have great things to share!

Twitter Your Way Into the League of Publishers


Have you met Twitter? Let me introduce you.

Being a publisher once meant I belonged to a fairly exclusive group. Today, with the rapid development of social media, my peers now number in the millions. Twitter has become one of the powerful new ways to communicate.

Never before has it been so easy to connect—with friends, family, business associates and far beyond. Here are a few ways people are using Twitter:

  • Find new friends
  • Promote your business
  • Announce a new product
  • Get feedback
  • Send out an invitation
  • Learn something new
  • Keep up with the news

Have you ever been in an online chat? Twitter expands your reach. You are allowed 140 characters for each post, referred to as a tweet. Whether you use it as a tool or just for fun, its effectiveness is proven. You can control how you want to use it. The beauty of Twitter is its simplicity.

Have I piqued your interest? You have nothing to lose and much to gain by exploring this just over two year old phenomena. You can follow me at www.twitter.com/vickidar. It’s easy to get started. Sign up today and soon you’ll be on your way to sharing your thoughts with the world. I’ll be looking for you!