Although my industry of creative innovation is secretive and often very confidential, without sharing your work and experiences with others it would be really difficult to take your organization to the next level. The internet is the ultimate resource for sharing knowledge and I’ve had some great experiences since when I first started sharing my work online.
1. Show off your best work
It’s truly important that your website has fresh case studies and a portfolio showing the type of work and services you’re aiming to provide potential clients with. But it’s also important that you spread your ideas and products elsewhere. Writing an email to the editor of popular product review blogs such as Engadget or Gizmodo is one way of getting the word out there. The type of blog you contact may depend on what type of product or brand you’re attempting to promote. Since I’m a designer, Coroflot is the obvious choice for showcasing any type of creative work. It’s a designers best bet in getting their work recognized. Hundreds of hungry journalists, blog writers and even investors scout Coroflot daily for the next big idea.
Since I created my Coroflot page three years ago, I’ve had 80,000 profile views. Even if you’re not a designer yourself, I’m sure you work with one or several creative individuals. Take advantage of that and ask them to upload their portfolio and link all the good work they’ve completed for you directly to your site.
Those little USB Scent Flowers would never have happened, had I not shared some of my initial concepts on Coroflot. Since January, 2009 and after filing 3 patents, we’ve had thousands of visitors per month on the official website. Surprisingly, the word spread to 122 countries around the world and we have distributors in over a dozen countries. We have delivered them across the globe from Alaska to New Zealand. Not to mention that hundreds of sites and printed magazines have written about our product. (click here to see what Google picks up)
Another Coroflot success is the Wall Mounted Computer Case that I designed back in 2005. It only takes 5 minutes to upload a great idea on Coroflot, and this portfolio piece averages 1,000 views per month. Not to mention that PC World dubbed it one of “The Worlds Most Outrageous PC Cases”. Once the word is out there, it spreads like a wild fire: (click here to see what Google picks up).
2. Start Blogging
If you don’t have a blog for your company, now is the time to get one. Social media networking is a very efficient marketing strategy and the blog is the best place to start. If you want a blog but don’t know where to start, we can help you set one up that matches your company profile.
Once the blog is up, start sharing your experiences. This is even better than a portfolio page or getting noticed by other blogs or publications since you get to explain and describe your work with your own words. It’s also really easy to automatically share your blog entries through other social sites as soon as they are published. At The Product Farm, we share each blog post via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in this fashion, without any extra effort at all. It’s the ultimate social media outlet.
After writing a blog article about several 3D illustrations I did in 2001 for the Swedish ice cream truck company Hemglass, I posted the high res images that I used on the blog on Flickr and did a link exchange back and forward to The Product Farm’s website. The result was that my illustrations ended up in the top of Google’s image search results under the keyword “Hemglass”. This company delivers ice cream to 4 million households every week in Sweden alone, so it’s guaranteed that people search for them on Google. By doing this, I opened another entrance onto our site and increased website traffic. Each keyword associated with an article has a potential opening for more visitors to find your blog.
Kimberly Green, Executive Producer of NBC 17’s show “My Carolina Today” was looking for some interesting content for their gadget segment “Tech Tuesday”. When searching the local Google directory for individuals with experience in this category, they found me and asked if I was interested to come onto the show. A few days later, I was in the recording studio talking about my USB Scent Flowers. Google would never have linked them to me if it was not for the blog.
3. Create a Newsletter
One of the most efficient ways to guide traffic to your site is to spread the word about it via email. An email newsletter gives you an opportunity to periodically reconnect with past and current clients. It’s a great way to let them know that you’re still out there, eager to provide them with outstanding service and support. It also allows you to expose what you’ve been up to lately. Showcases on a blog or website can be very powerful when attracting both new and return business. Attract them with an inviting image and short description within the Newsletter and allow them to read more about it on your blog at their leisure.
CampaignMonitor is our preferred Newsletter distributor. We simply design a CSS style sheet to match your company’s corporate identity and then import it as a newsletter “themes” into CampaignMonitor. There are some samples above at the top of this paragraph. It easy to enter content and images. It’s also very easy to import your contacts from your address book. Once the email newsletter has been sent, you can track exactly who have viewed the email and which links they clicked (if any). You are provided with extensive statistics that will tell you who seemed more intrigued with your content than others. You will most likely also get feedback via email in response to the newsletter and some great potential sales leads.
It’s important to create interesting content, tailored for your intended blog or newsletter audience. This can fairly easily be accomplished by surrounding your content around what you believe is interesting to them. It will also generate search results hits on Google from folks that want to learn more about what you’re writing about.
As I’m in the field of product development, I periodically share educational videos about how things are made. There’s an unlimited amount of videos available on YouTube, and tons of “How it’s Made” clips. I also share videos from inventors that have come up with something truly unique. Each time I share this type of educational material, it gives me an opportunity to add search tags that generate new traffic from Google.
I’ve also decided to play with open cards when it comes to how I work and how I gather research material etc. I know that other designers or inventors might pick up a few new tricks and knowledge from me which potentially could allow them to compete with my services at some point. But it’s more likely that I’ll providing really helpful content for my network of contacts. Especially if I tie this content to a periodical newsletter.
Exciting and inspirational material is always appreciated and entices visitors to return in hopes of finding more interesting articles in the future. If you know your clients and their needs well, it should not be hard to imagine what they might have an interest in.
Since I’m a designer with almost 15 years of experience, I’ve decided to dig into my archives and display designs and projects I’ve worked on over the years. At the same time I’m updating the renderings to give them a fresh look. I’m also adding them to our Flickr Photostream which is linked back to our websites portfolio gallery. The long term plan is to provide an “idea database” of concepts that can first of all inspire my clients when picking product ideas for their brands, but also showcase a deeper arsenal of creativity. The above collection of pill organizers is an example of this approach.
Another way to inspire is to take advantage of video clips from YouTube, Vimeo or other sources where acknowledged professionals and speakers tells their stories. If you’re interested to see a few examples of such videos, please click here.
I would also greatly encourage you to visit TED.com – it’s an outstanding website with content for all categories from highly acclaimed leaders of their industries, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and many other great minds from around the World.
I hope this article has been helpful to you. Please check in again, we will share lots more.