Dustn.tv https://dustn.tv Social Media, Blogging, and Design Resources Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:24:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 https://dustn.tv/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Dustn.tv https://dustn.tv 32 32 25176972 The Ultimate Social Media Image Sizes + Templates https://dustn.tv/social-images/ https://dustn.tv/social-images/#comments Tue, 16 May 2017 18:00:44 +0000 http://dustn.tv/?p=6964 Looking for all the “right” social media image sizes? Don’t fret, I’ve got you covered. What size do my images need to be for Facebook? Twitter? Google+, Instagram? There are countless blog posts and infographics telling you the social media image sizes you need to know. You know the biggest problem with all of them? They’re […]

The post The Ultimate Social Media Image Sizes + Templates appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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Looking for all the “right” social media image sizes? Don’t fret, I’ve got you covered.

What size do my images need to be for Facebook? Twitter? Google+, Instagram?

There are countless blog posts and infographics telling you the social media image sizes you need to know. You know the biggest problem with all of them? They’re too stinking complicated!

It’s impossible to memorize every single image dimension for every single network, especially when they’re changing so often.

So I’ve come up with my own solution. A solution that has served me well, creating hundreds of social media images for myself and clients alike.

And it’s simple.

There are only four dimensions you need to know. That’s it. And I’m not only going to tell you what they are, I’m going to give you free templates to start with every time you create a new social media image or graphic.

Consider these your minimum viable blueprints— for those who want to stop wasting time and get things done.

Too Many Social Media Image Sizes

You don’t need to know what size something is when it’s viewed on every possible screen. You don’t need to know what size the thumbnail preview is. You don’t need to know the exact dimensions of a Facebook profile photo when it’s being seen on a desktop or smartphone.

You just need to get it done.

Don't waste time creating images for every possible social network size. Use these 4 templates:Click To Tweet

All you need to know is what sizes work best and what networks they work best on. So here is your dead-simple guide to social media image sizes.

And P.S. if you’re looking for social media cover photo dimensions, you’ll want to view the post I have dedicated to that specifically. It’s even got its own downloadable templates!

Social Media Image Sizes

Landscape, portrait, and square. These are the only three sizes that you need to know. I have added one bonus size though, specifically for Facebook link snippets, but more on that in a minute.

Here a quick reference cheat sheet for visual image sizing:

social media image sizes infographic

If you would like to embed this graphic on your own site, just copy/paste the code below and it will always stay updated:

<p><a href="https://dustn.tv/social-images/" target="_blank"><img src="https://dustn.tv/free-resources/social-media-image-sizes-infographic.jpg" /></a></p><p>Image courtesy of <a href="https://dustn.tv" target="_blank">Dustin W. Stout</a>.</p>

Just for good measure, here are the four social media image dimensions I use for each one of my templates:

  • 1920×1080 (Landscape)
  • 735×1080 (Portrait)
  • 1080×1080 (Square)
  • 1200×628 (Facebook specific)

To make it even easier for you, I’ve created the following downloadable blueprints for you to use as starting points for your images.

social media image templates

Download the Social Media Image Templates

Simply add your email below and click the Download button. Your download link will be emailed to you immediately!

Once you download them, you’ll notice that each template has social icons on it. I’ve done this so that you can instantly know which social networks these dimensions look best on.

My Reasoning

After going through each social network and testing out which image size looks the best, I came to a few conclusions about each.

Landscape

The landscape orientation (1920×1080) is a perfect HD quality 16:9 aspect ratio. This size works great on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for image uploads

This is the first and most important social media image size.

Why? Because it covers all the biggest social networks in one swoop. If you have limited time and want to be super efficient with your image creation just create this version of your image.

On Google+ if your image is high quality and landscape ratio it looks the best when expanded into the lightbox interface. If you follow my Anatomy of A Perfect Google+ Post, you’ll definitely maximize both your reach and your engagement on the platform using this image dimension.

On Facebook the landscape orientation appears in the full width of the post area covering as much horizontal space as possible.

Now, you’ll notice I’ve included a fourth template that is 1200×628. This is because Facebook has a very specific image size ratio that populates for link previews.

In order to keep from getting your images cropped in an undesirable way, and minimize the degradation of the image quality (because Facebook sucks at resizing images and maintaining quality) you’ll want to use the 1200×628 for all images destined for Facebook link snippets.

On Twitter image previews are shown in landscape with the top and bottom cropped out, so using a landscape image just makes sense.

On LinkedIn images only cover the full horizontal area when they are landscape. Otherwise, you get a big gap of space to the right of the image, making it look less significant.

Bonus tip: If you keep all your points of focus (text or primary image subject) in the square area of the template you can easily use it on Instagram as well, killing two birds with one stone. There will be some minor cropping, but if all your vital components are in the square in the center, you’re golden.

Portrait

Power users have known for quite some time that tall images work best on Pinterest. You get more real estate in the Pinterest stream, making it more visible to those scrolling through.

But why 735×1080? Good question.

Basically, Pinterest recommends images be approximately 735×1102. The 735px is the maximum width that Pinterest will ever display images at in its current user interface. The 1102px height keeps it tall enough to cover most people’s browser windows without having to scroll.

When I started creating tall images specifically for Pinterest, my Pinterest traffic went through the roof! It really works!

So why did I cut my template’s height by 22px? Another good question. You’re just full of them aren’t you?

In order to keep my workflow as streamlined as possible, I wanted to keep a base height of 1080px for all my templates. This makes it easy to copy/paste elements from one to the others with minimal resizing.

This style also seems to do relatively well on Google+. From my personal experience, this style doesn’t yield as many views or engagements on Google+ but can be a nice variant from time to time.

Square

Thanks primarily to Instagram’s size limitations the square image has become increasingly popular on social networks.

Why 1080? Since Instagram is the primary network in which square images are being used, I went by their maximum dimensions which are 1080×1080. Although they may only display a smaller, 600×600 image, their servers will keep a maximum of 1080×1080 (which you can see if you dig into their source code).

You can use square images on Google+ or Facebook as well and see decent engagement and reach. On Facebook, it doesn’t seem to matter quite as much, but I still recommend the landscape over the square due to the standard lightbox interface when you click on an image to view the larger version.

I also recommend using this size for creating profile pictures (or avatars) for your social networks as most of them use squares. While most networks don’t recommend an image this large, the higher the image quality/resolution the better I always say.

Now go create!

So take these templates and use them in your favorite image editing software as a starting point for your next set of sharable social images.

Oh, what’s that you say? You would like a recommendation of the best free image creation software available? Well, that’s awfully convenient, because I’ve covered all you could possibly need in the following:

If you have any questions about using these social media image templates, let me know in the comments below!

The post The Ultimate Social Media Image Sizes + Templates appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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How to Grow Your Email List by the Thousands https://dustn.tv/grow-email-list/ https://dustn.tv/grow-email-list/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000 https://dustn.tv/?p=23747 This is how you go from a slow trickle of email subscribers to growing your list by over 1,000 new subscribers per month. When you first begin blogging, email list building is likely to be one of the lower priority items on your to-do list. You have so much to worry about from blog design […]

The post How to Grow Your Email List by the Thousands appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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This is how you go from a slow trickle of email subscribers to growing your list by over 1,000 new subscribers per month.

When you first begin blogging, email list building is likely to be one of the lower priority items on your to-do list. You have so much to worry about from blog design to just getting your first few posts written.

For beginner bloggers, it can be both intimidating and confusing to know where to begin growing an email list.

Well, in this post I’m going to outline all the different ways you can begin growing your email list by the thousands. Today.

You see, every blogger started in the same place–we were all newbies at some point, just trying to figure out what the heck we were doing.

No matter how big the blogger you admire is, they were once right where you are.

So I’m going to navigate you through all of the stages of email marketing maturity that I went through as a blogger, and hopefully cut your learning curve significantly.

Stage 1: Picking Your Email Marketing Software

grow your email list stage 1

I’ve written a bit about this in my previous post, The Biggest Social Media Mistake, but I’ll touch on it again here.

Picking your email marketing software can be really difficult. There are too many options, and if you don’t really have a solid strategy in place for your email list, it’s very hard to compare features of different products.

I’m going to make it dead simple for you– just pick one of the following:

There are plenty of other great email service providers out there, but the last thing you want to spend time on is trying to pick the “right” email software. Trust me, you’ll waste hours of your precious time comparing a bunch of features you won’t even use.

So, make this part easy on yourself and just choose from one of the two options above.

But, Dustin, why only these two email marketing software providers?

I’m glad you asked. And don’t call me butt Dustin.

Basically, both of these companies provide a few things that are crucially important to get started with your email list:

  • Super easy to get started
  • User-friendly interface
  • All the bottom-line features bloggers need
  • Affordable

When I first got started, I chose MailChimp. Recently I moved over to ConvertKit after 5 years of growing my list.

If I could go back and do it all over again, I would start with ConvertKit.

mailchimp vs convertkit

The huge benefit that MailChimp offers over ConvertKit is that it’s completely free to use for up to 2,000 subscribers. That alone will be the deciding factor for most new bloggers.

However, the reason I’d go back and choose ConvertKit out of the gate is three-fold:

  1. Email list management and segmentation is simpler
  2. Setting up automated sequences is simpler
  3. Basically, everything crucial for a thriving email list is way, way simpler

Now, to be fair, I’m not saying that MailChimp is overly complicated to use (for the most part). However, for the majority of things that matter, ConvertKit is just so much easier.

So your choice is basically: Do I want to spend more time figuring out my email marketing software but not have to pay money? Or do I want to spend $29/mo so that I don’t have to spend time figuring things out?

Your call. I would choose simplicity over saving a few bucks.

Bottom line: just make a decision.

Stage 2: Your First Subscribe Forms

grow your email list stage 2

Once you have your email marketing software (EMS), you have three types of basic subscribe forms:

  • Copy/Paste forms: you can simply copy and paste the form code from your EMS.
  • Hosted forms: these are forms that are hosted on your EMS domain that you can send people to.
  • Form plugin: if you’re on WordPress there are a number of plugins you can use to create subscribe forms. My two favorites are Ninja Forms with their MailChimp add-on (ConvertKit add-on coming soon), and OptinMonster.

New bloggers generally start out by simply sticking a subscribe form into their blog sidebar with the words “Subscribe to my email list!” or “Free updates, subscribe below!” and call it a day.

most interesting man gif

As if getting emails from you, for free, was some sort of amazing deal.

I did it. You probably did it. And some of you are probably still doing it right now.

That’s okay. We all start somewhere.

But I hate to break it to you– this is probably the least effective way to actually get people onto your email list.

Don’t believe me?

Well, Debbie Doubter, I tried this approach for almost 2 years because I didn’t really have any sort of strategy behind my email list. And since I was using MailChimp, I had no real incentive to create a strategy because I wasn’t paying anything to have it.

So I grabbed the embed code, pasted it into my sidebar widget and called it a day. I later discovered Ninja Forms, which made this a bit easier.

But I still didn’t have any compelling reason for people to subscribe.

Well, for those first 2 years I managed to add a total of 90 subscribers. That’s it.

My best months I added a whopping 9 subscribers.

So eventually I knew something had to change–I needed to do something differently. That’s when I grew into stage 3.

Stage 3: Lead Magnets

grow your email list stage 3

The month I began utilizing Lead Magnets, my email list grew by 289%. I went from a list of 90 subscribers to 350 subscribers.

My young blogger mind was blown.

chris pratt mind blow gif

What’s a “Lead Magnet”? Well, according to Digital Marketer:

Lead Magnet – noun – an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information.

In simplified terms–it’s something you give people instant access to in exchange for their personal information (for our intents and purposes, their email address).

Some common types of Lead Magnets are:

  • Free ebook
  • Free templates
  • Free swipe file
  • Free email course
  • Free downloadable thing

You get the idea, right? Giving away a thing that is valuable in exchange for the person’s email address.

It’s a relatively simple concept, but the execution can sometimes get technical. And because it’s got a bit of technicality to it, many beginner bloggers put off doing it.

The Easiest Way to Create and Deliver a Lead Magnet

Okay, so I’m about to remove every excuse you have to create and deliver a lead magnet.

I’m going to lay it out for you as simply as possible so that if you’re not using any Lead Magnets at this point, you will by the time you’re done reading this.

Step 1: Create a valuable thing.

It should either be something they can download instantly or you can send them via email. Try to ask yourself what your target audience needs or what challenges they’re encountering.

Here are some quick options:

  • Create an extensive blog post that you haven’t published and turn it into a PDF using Google Docs
  • Create an infographic using infogr.am
  • Create a checklist and turn it into a PDF with Google Docs
  • Package together a bundle of free stock photos
  • Put together a list of your top resources and (again) turn it into a PDF with Google Docs

You get the point.

I keep using the example of Google Docs because it’s the simplest for me. You can probably do the same with Microsoft Office or whichever Rich Text Editor you use.

Step 2: Create a form that offers the thing.

Again, you can use your EMS to create a form specifically for this lead magnet and then just copy/paste the code. ConvertKit makes this especially easy.

Or if you’re using WordPress there are plenty of plugins you can work with to create a form for a specific Lead Magnet. My favorite to use is Ninja Forms because it’s super easy.

The important thing is to create a form specifically for this one thing. You don’t want to use a general form because you won’t be able to differentiate the people who sign up for this specific thing.

Step 3: Pick a way to deliver the thing.

Once they fill out the form, you need an automatic way of delivering the thing you promised them.

If it’s a downloadable thing–a PDF or other type of file–upload the file to Google Drive, Dropbox, WordPress, or anywhere else that will give you a link to that file.

Then you have three options:

  1. Have your EMS email them the link to the download once they’ve signed up.
  2. Have your form redirect them to a “Thank You” page where there is a link to the download (super easy with Ninja Forms).
  3. Have your form “reveal” a link to the thing once the form is submitted via the success message (also easy to do with Ninja Forms).

The first option is set up through your EMS while the other two options need to be controlled by your form. Do whichever is easiest for you to configure.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to begin collecting emails.

Step 4: Promote Your Lead Magnet

Put this lead magnet form everywhere you possibly can throughout your website:

  • Blog sidebar
  • Below blog posts
  • On your home page (if you have one)
  • Create a landing page for it (just a standard WordPress page will do)

Just make sure it’s highly visible and people can clearly see “Get this awesome thing by entering your email address.”

Obviously, you’ll want to brush up on your sales psychology a bit to make sure your copy is attractive.

When done right, your email subscribe rate will get a significant boost as long as you get this in front of your website visitors.

While this is a fantastic way to quickly grow your list, it does tend to take a while to produce. There’s a lot of work involved, and Lead Magnets aren’t supposed to be a “mass appeal” for your audience.

Most bloggers produce one and keep it at that. And that’s fine.

However, when I entered the next stage in my email marketing journey, I couldn’t believe how quickly my list began to grow!

Stage 4: Contextual CTAs (Post-specific Lead Magnets)

grow your email list stage 4

When I started implementing what I call Contextual Calls to Action (CCTAs), my subscriber rate jumped 400% the next day. I actually wrote about this previously because it was so powerful for me.

Essentially this is a tactic I thought up because I had a handful of high-performance evergreen posts that were getting lots of traffic and I wasn’t converting that traffic to subscribers very well.

So I came up with the bright idea to give people reading those posts a contextual reason they should subscribe to my email list. I asked myself this:

How would the reader benefit from subscribing to my list in a way that relates directly to this post?

In the example of my Social Media Icon Set it was pretty easy: subscribe to my list and be notified whenever I release a new version of this icon set. (I eventually changed this to “Download the icons by subscribing to my list.”)

In the example of my Best Places to Find Free Images it was not so clear cut. I decided to make the Contextual CTA a “Get notified when I find more Free Images Sites” and it’s worked out pretty well. Not great, but still way better than no CTA at all.

After implementing this tactic on my top 20 evergreen blog posts I went from adding an average of 80-100 subscribers per month to now adding 200-250 subscribers per month.

ralph macchio whoa gif

And the big kicker was, I was writing fewer blog posts than any previous year.

Did you catch that? I was producing less content, but more than doubling my subscriber rate.

At this point, I was hooked on exploring new ways to dramatically increase my email subscriber rates. So I began exploring one more route that I was previously 100% opposed to.

Which leads me to the next stage.

Stage 5: Pop-ups (and Why I Changed My Mind About Them)

grow your email list stage 5

There are few marketing tactics that can be as polarizing as the use of Pop-up boxes. You know, those things that unexpectedly interrupt your browsing to ask you to do something?

ugly popup box example

For the longest time, I was one of the people on the violently opposed side of the spectrum when it came to pop-ups.

I hated them.

In fact, if a pop-up was intrusive enough, I would often close my browser tab immediately, and vow to never return to the site that so rudely threw their CTA in my face.

But I had a bit of a revelation.

You see, many times we can have very strong opinions about things that we’ve never actually explored. This is part of our flawed human nature of hating things we don’t understand.

So when it came to pop-ups, I knew there were many “experts” talking about how they “work”. I always wrote it off as a bunch of gurus who don’t care about user experience and only want to make a quick buck using any tactic possible.

Well, I decided to put my own preconceived notions to the test. In my opinion, you can’t fully speak against something you haven’t tested yourself.

So I decided to put pop-ups to the test.

My theory had always been that while pop-ups might gather more email subscribers, the quality of those subscribers would be lower (worse open rates and click rates).

I went ahead and began utilizing OptinMonster which allowed me to use Exit Intent based pop-ups. This means I could create pop-ups that only fired off when it detected the reader was leaving the browser window (as if they were going to close the tab).

I closely monitored both the number of subscribers and the affect those subscribers had on my email open and click rates.

Boy, was my theory wrong.

As “experts” predicted, my subscriber rate went up when I added the Exit Intent pop-ups to key pages. On average, this added about 7 more subscribers a day.

Over the course of 6 months, that was an additional 1,400 subscribers that wouldn’t have otherwise subscribed. These are, most likely, subscribers that were about to leave my site before subscribing.

To me, that’s a big gain. But what about the quality of the subscribers? Did my list open and click rates suffer like I thought they would?

Nope.

Open and click rates remained relatively unchanged. There was a slight dip, but not nearly enough to cancel out the extra lift in subscriber growth.

So I officially became a fan of pop-ups. Albeit, I’m only a fan of Exit Intent pop-ups since they only jump on the screen when a visitor is leaving, but this is still a big leap from my previous violent opposition to all pop-ups.

I also recommend utilizing the fly-ins which can slide into the bottom of the content, out of the way. These have proven to be even less abrasive and don’t interrupt the reading experience while still drawing enough attention to important calls to action.

Now, as exciting as this journey was for me so far, this next stage was the real game changer.

Stage 6: Content Upgrades – the Game Changer

grow your email list stage 6

When I started implementing Content Upgrades, my subscriber rates exploded by 1,000% almost overnight!

That’s a 10x increase in email list growth. And it really wasn’t much more work than I was already doing.

It was like I stumbled upon a growth tactic that had been staring me right in the face. And the results were unbelievable.

people losing it gif

I think it was Mike Allton that first brought the idea to my attention, noting how similar Content Upgrades were to my idea of CCTAs.

What is a Content Upgrade?

Well, the idea is basically a combination of the Lead Magnet and CCTAs. You give people a Lead Magnet that is specifically for the post they’re reading which enhances, or furthers the value of the post itself.

For example: In my Ultimate Guide to Branding Yourself on Social Media there is a downloadable quick-reference checklist.

content upgrade example 1

Another example: In my How to Promote an Epic Blog Post for 30 Days in 5min there is a downloadable version of the templates.

content upgrade example 2

Are your gears starting to turn?

The Impact of Content Upgrades

One person who has written a great deal about the idea of Content Upgrades is Bryan Harris. He says that,

“I normally experience 20-30% opt-in rates on these bonuses and some have been as high as 62%!”

Another person using Content Upgrades with great success is Brian Dean of Backlinko. He first experimented with this tactic and found:

“The result? A 785% increase in conversions (compared to the previous month).

On this blog, I have several blog posts converting at 50% or better. That means that half of the people landing on those blog posts are turning into email subscribers.

Take a moment and let that sink in.

What if you could get one out of every five (20%) of the people who read your blog post to sign up for your email list? What would that mean for your blog?

Let’s do some math:

If you had 100 new visitors per day to your blog, and you were able to convert 20% of them to subscribers, that means you’d be gaining 20 new subscribers per day. That’s roughly 500 subscribers per month.

At the end of the year, you would have added over 6,000 email subscribers to your list.

And that’s if your traffic stays completely flat the whole time.

Have you had that many subscribers join your list in the last year? If not, then it’s time to start creating Content Upgrades right now.

If you can create a Lead Magnet using the methods I mentioned above, you would just need to do this for your most popular blog posts. Start with your top 10–the 10 blog posts that have had the most traffic over the last year.

Then begin asking yourself the following question for each blog post:

What can I add to this blog post that would make it easier, more effective, or more tangible to the reader?

If you can answer that question, you can easily create a Content Upgrade for it.

I’m telling you, this will change the game for your email list growth.

When I began utilizing Content Upgrades, I went from adding 200-250 subscribers per month to adding over 600 subscribers per month.

And this brings us to where I’m at today. At this point, because of the cumulative effect of creating more Content Upgrades I’m now adding over 1,000 email subscribers every month.

And I haven’t even maximized all of my best evergreen posts with Content Upgrades yet.

If you’ve read this far, and you decide to take your blog and email list growth to the next level by implementing these growth stages quickly, you will be amazed at the results.

Let’s Make it Super Easy for You

Many of you reading this will see the process of creating a Lead Magnet and cringe at how much work it seems like. Then you’ll read the Content Upgrade section and think, “wait, I need to do that for almost every blog post? You’re crazy!”

And you’re right. It is a lot of work. But it’s definitely worth it.

However, I’m working on a new project that is going to make the process exponentially easier.

This will be a tool built to give you everything you need build and manage Lead Magnets and Content Upgrades right within your WordPress Dashboard.

This project is a direct result of my own frustration with how unnecessarily complicated the process is for so many content creators.

I’ve spoken with dozens of great bloggers and content managers working on some of the largest blogs on the internet. They all had the same resounding problem: creating Lead Magnets and Content Upgrades is too complicated!

So I’m working with a team to develop a solution. And I need your help to make it even better than I can imagine on my own.

If you’re a content creator, blogger, or working on a team to develop email marketing strategies, I want you to sign up for our Beta list.

I’m going to then choose a handful of subscribers who I am going to personally work with to develop out their content and begin generating more email subscribers than ever before.

So head on over to our brand-spankin’ new website (just a landing page at the moment) and sign-up for our Beta list.

Sign-up!

In the comments below, tell me what stage you’re in and what you’re going to do, after commenting, to grow your email list.

Bonus: Grow Your Email List Infographic

To make this super easy for you to both remember and share I’ve created this handy infographic with all the tips above. Feel free to pin the below infographic or even embed it on your own website using the embed code.

grow email list infographic

Embed Code:

<a href="https://dustn.tv/grow-email-list/" target="_blank"><img src="https://dustn.tv/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/grow-email-list-stages-infographic.jpg" alt="Email List Growth Tips Infographic" /></a><br /><em>Image courtesy of <a href="https://dustn.tv" target="_blank">Dustn.tv</a></em>

Now get out there and start growing your email list like a pro!

The post How to Grow Your Email List by the Thousands appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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The Best Investment I’ve Ever Made for My Blog: CoSchedule https://dustn.tv/coschedule-review/ https://dustn.tv/coschedule-review/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:00:00 +0000 https://dustn.tv/?p=22528 For planning and organizing your blog editorial calendar, CoSchedule might just be your new best friend. Your blog, in and of itself, is a major investment. The time you put into it, the passion that drives it, and the vulnerability of creating something and sharing it with the world are all huge investments. That takes […]

The post The Best Investment I’ve Ever Made for My Blog: CoSchedule appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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For planning and organizing your blog editorial calendar, CoSchedule might just be your new best friend.

Your blog, in and of itself, is a major investment. The time you put into it, the passion that drives it, and the vulnerability of creating something and sharing it with the world are all huge investments.

That takes guts.

After a while, you start to get into a rhythm. You figure some things out. Maybe you even start gaining some real traction, and you think to yourself:

Okay, it’s time to take this blogging thing to the next level.

In 2015 I decided that I wanted to take my blogging to the next level. I wanted to get serious about being both consistent and strategic.

Knowing that I am a visual person, I knew I needed something to help me with planning and executing my blog strategy.

My requirements were simple. The ideal blog planning tool needed to:

  • Have a visual planner
  • Be simple enough to use effectively
  • Have a great user interface
  • Integrate with WordPress

After taking a look at several solutions out there, I discovered CoSchedule.

heat eyes donald duck gif

I was in love.

CoSchedule’s marketing calendar gave me everything I was looking for and so much more. I’m convinced that there is no better planning, coordinating, and executing tool out there for bloggers.

In this post, I’m going to dive deep into all the features that make it an essential part of my blogging process and why you should seriously give it a look.

Visual Calendar

First of all, I’m a highly visual person. When it comes to planning things out, I need to physically see it.

If you’re the same way, you’ll love CoSchedule’s visual calendar interface.

It gives you a full-screen layout of your month (or as many weeks as you want to show at a time).

coschedule calendar view

With the drag/drop interface, you can take unscheduled drafts from your content drawer and drop them onto your calendar when you want to publish them. As long as you’ve already connected your WordPress site, these drafts will be updated with the date and time that you’ve set in CoSchedule.

(Video coming soon– Subscribe on YouTube in the meantime.)

You can also create new content from anywhere on the calendar. If you are creating a blog post, it actually creates the WordPress draft as well. Pretty convenient.

This is now how I go about saving ideas for blog posts. If I’ve got a great idea, I add it to the calendar immediately and either put it right on the calendar, or drop it in my content drawer.

Another little gem is the ability to color coordinate your posts. What I’ve done is assign each blog post category a color.

This way, when I look at my calendar, I can instantly know which categories are getting the most attention and make sure I’m hitting all categories as frequently as I want.

dustn.tv color coordinating categories

Wow, now doesn’t that look super organized?!

More Than Just Blog Posts

Smart bloggers know that they’re not just publishing blog posts–there’s a lot more that goes into running a successful blog. Things such as:

  • Newsletters
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Courses
  • Landing pages
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts

And there are many more types of “content” you could be publishing as a blogger. Thankfully, CoSchedule allows you to plan them all. They currently have 20 different content types you can add to your calendar.

(Video coming soon– Subscribe on YouTube in the meantime.)

Right now, I’m mostly just using the Blog Post, Newsletter, and Course types for my personal blog as well as the occasional Social Campaign for things that I want to promote using CoSchedule’s Social Templates (more on this later).

Task templates

Task templates make my editorial process so much smoother. Instead of having to reference my “Blog Post Checklist” (coming soon) and “wing it” when it comes to executing the post in time, I have just set up a task template.

My primary task template includes what things need to be in the blog post, and what timeline they all need to be done in.

coschedule task templates

Blog post necessities:

  • Headline Score Green (using the Headline Analyzer)
  • 2 external links (to relevant authoritative articles)
  • 2 internal links (for SEO and user experience)
  • 2 click-to-tweet quotes (powered by Social Warfare)
  • 3 Pinterest images
  • 1 animated GIF

Time-sensitive Tasks:

  • Finish Draft (3 days before Publish)
  • Move Draft to WordPress (3 days before Publish)
  • Proofread (1 day before Publish)
  • Finish and upload images (1 day before Publish)
  • Schedule shares (1 day before Publish)
  • Google+ Community share (3 days after Publish)
  • Evaluate for ReQueue (30 days after Publish)

Your process may not be as elaborate. For me, this level of discipline is needed to keep me on track. You can customize your own Task Templates however you want.

And that’s the real beauty! Your workflow, the way you want it.

Social templates

I’ve actually written all about how amazing Social Templates are in my previous post and the CoSchedule blog. If you aren’t familiar with the concept yet, simply put:

Social Templates allow you to create a social media promotion schedule that you only need to plan once, but apply to every blog post you publish thereafter.

You probably have a routine when it comes to promoting your blog posts once they’re published. Maybe you go and manually share them all to your social networks or maybe you use Buffer to do so.

Imagine how long that takes. Every. Single. Time.

Well, Social Templates allow you to schedule that routine once and with the addition of Text Helpers, Image Helpers, and even Video Helpers you can create placeholders in each social message that you can populate quickly and easily one time.

Here’s a video of me using my own Social Templates:

(Video coming soon– Subscribe on YouTube in the meantime.)

These have literally saved me hundreds of hours of work per year since they released them.

Can you see why they alone are worth the price of admission?

ReQueue

If Social Templates have saved me hundreds of hours, ReQueue has saved me thousands of hours that I wouldn’t have even considered working in the first place.

What ReQueue does is allow you to decide which posts to repromote (ideally your evergreen posts, and then put them on a repromotion schedule completely on auto-pilot.

There’s a reason I agreed to be the “poster child” of their ReQueue landing page:

coschedule requeue page

I freaking love this feature.

All you need to do is select which of your social posts you want to add to be repromoted and CoSchedule will intelligently decide when is the best time to share them based on frequency and ideal time of day.

You can set up your ideal reposting frequency on the settings page.

coschedule requeue settings

You can also create multiple different groups, each with their own frequency settings.

coschedule requeue groups

I have yet to find an automated system for evergreen posts that works this well and is this simple to set up.

All the Social Media Things

I haven’t yet talked about the ability to connect your social accounts and use CoSchedule as the central hub for all your social sharing. Just like scheduling your blog posts, you can schedule social media posts.

I also covered this in my previous post about Social Media Management Tools. But for the sake of this post, here are the social networks you can connect through CoSchedule:

  • Facebook (profiles, pages, and groups)
  • Twitter profiles
  • LinkedIn (profiles and pages)
  • Google+ pages (Powered by Buffer)
  • Pinterest profiles
  • Instagram profiles
  • Tumblr blogs

In my humble opinion, this is all you need and more.

They’ve also just recently announced that you can now target specific audiences with your Facebook posts when using CoSchedule! This is a real game-changer in the Social Media Scheduling space.

coschedule facebook targeting

This is something I’m really looking to try out for our Warfare Plugins calendar.

Awesome Referral Program to Lower Your Cost

coschedule referral program

So if you’re like me and you save money whenever or wherever you can, you’ll also love CoSchedule’s referral program.

When you sign up for an account you’re given a Referral Link which you can share out. Each time someone clicks on your link and ends up signing up for a paid CoSchedule account of their own, you get 10% off your monthly (or yearly) bill.

That means if you were to get 10 paid referrals, you’d get your plan 100% paid for!

They also have the option for you to write a review on your own blog and you can submit it to them for an instant (and lifetime) 50% discount!

Yes, that’s one reason I’m writing this post. But I would have written it anyway because I blog about the tools and apps I use frequently, and CoSchedule is one of the tools I simply cannot live without.

With a 14-day free trial, there’s literally no risk to giving it a try.

Try CoSchedule for Free

There’s Really No Better Investment for My Blog

The amount of time that the Social Templates and ReQueue save me is worth the price alone. There are services out there that perform similar services with far less ease that cost more.

The fact that CoSchedule also allows me to visualize, plan and execute on my blogging as well as any other related marketing efforts (like newsletters) is icing on the cake.

No, screw that… that’s icing on a cake that is on top of another cake, which also has icing on it.

So if you’re a serious blogger who wants to make your life easier, more effective, and more efficient, give CoSchedule a try.

The post The Best Investment I’ve Ever Made for My Blog: CoSchedule appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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How to Promote an Epic Blog Post for 30 Days in 5min https://dustn.tv/blog-promotion-template/ https://dustn.tv/blog-promotion-template/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:45:00 +0000 https://dustn.tv/?p=20729 A quick and simple template for creating 30 days worth of social media posts in 5 minutes or less! Let’s say you’ve just finished up a blog post and it’s a masterpiece. You’ve spent hours crafting it, ensuring that it’s a literary work of brilliance. You’ve carefully crafted your content in a way that people […]

The post How to Promote an Epic Blog Post for 30 Days in 5min appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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A quick and simple template for creating 30 days worth of social media posts in 5 minutes or less!

Let’s say you’ve just finished up a blog post and it’s a masterpiece. You’ve spent hours crafting it, ensuring that it’s a literary work of brilliance. You’ve carefully crafted your content in a way that people are just going to eat it up and ask for seconds.

Finally, you get to hit that beautiful “Publish” button. Feels good.

But now what? Oh, that’s right–now you have to get that wonderful piece of blog post goodness out in front of people. How do you do that?

Well, social media, of course.

But then you realize, “Oh, shoot. Now I have to spend the next 20+ minutes promoting this post across every social network I’m on.” And that kinda feels like:

new girl "no" gif

Let’s face it, promoting your blog posts across all your social networks isn’t the most fun part of blogging. In fact, it can become pretty tedious and boring work if you’ve been doing it for a while.

But what if I told you it didn’t have to be that way?

What if I told you that you could implement a simple social media promotion template that would cut down your time into a mere fraction of what it would normally take you?

You’d probably think I was selling something, wouldn’t you?

Well I’m not here to sell you anything. I’m here to show you exactly how I have mastered the process of promoting my blog posts on social media with maximum effectiveness and minimum effort.

When I publish a blog post, I spend roughly 5 minutes scheduling out 30 days worth of social media shares across 7 different social networks. 

And just to be clear, I’m not just sharing out the headline of my article and a link to it. I’m scheduling out 29 different messages over the course of 30 days to 9 social profiles. 

social media blog promotion template

How do I do that? 

Simple. I’ve created a template, and I use the heck out of it. 

Social Media Blog Promotion Template

social media promotion templates

For every blog post I write, I create a unique set of messages by filling in each of the following fields, which I call “Text Helpers”

[Title]
[Lead]
[Summary]
[Quote]
[Question]
[Tweet]
[CTA]
[#hashtag1]
[#hashtag2]

As soon as a blog post is finished, I fill out each one of these text helpers for the post. Here’s a closer look at what I put in each of them:

Title: This is pretty obvious–just the title of the article. Always keep this 70 characters or less.

Lead: The lead is what I call the brief introduction that I put at the very beginning of every blog post. It serves as a sort of “hook” or a “why you should read this” intro to the post. Its purpose is to make it very clear, in 1-2 sentences why the reader needs to read the article. Keep this to 110 characters or less and make sure you’ve mentioned your primary keyword once.

Summary: This is a longer 2-3 sentence summation of the post. What are they going to get from it without giving it away entirely? You will want to make sure you have all your keywords hit in this element. No character limit, but it shouldn’t be too long. 

Quote: Use the best quote from the article or turn one of your best points in the article into a quote. Keep it to 110 characters or less. If your quote is from an influencer, be sure to use their Twitter handle in the quote.

Question: Your article should be the answer to some question or problem that your audience is facing. Formulate that question and use it here, in 110 characters or less.

Tweet: A message that will be exclusively for Twitter–optimize it for the Twitter audience to get the most clicks (add hashtags inline with the text). Again, 110 characters or less. 

CTA: This is simply the link to your article. 

Hashtags: You should have at least one good hashtag that goes along with your article. You only need 2 maximum. 

For example, here’s what I filled out for one of my recent articles: 

[Title] = The Biggest Social Media Mistake (And How to Avoid It)

[Lead] = As the recent fate of Vine shows us, you should never put your audience solely in someone else’s hands.

[Summary] = Are you working to build an audience online? If so, I want to warn you about a very serious social media mistake that I see a lot of social media stars making.

[Quote] = “Anyone who says you don’t need a website to develop a successful online presence is a short-sighted idiot.”

[Question] = Are you in danger of making the BIGGEST Social Media mistake?

[Tweet] = Don’t make the BIGGEST #SocialMedia mistake like so many others.

[CTA] = https://dustn.tv/the-biggest-social-media-mistake-and-how-to-avoid-it/

[#hashtag1] = #SocialMedia

[#hashtag2] = #marketing

Once I’ve filled these out, I can start copying and then pasting them into my scheduled social messages. Next, I’ll show you how I break it down for each network.

social media promotion template

Bonus: Get the templates!

Download the free Template for exactly what I show you in this article as well as a PDF version of this post to save for your convenience.

Google+ Combinations

Using varying combinations of those text helpers, I’ll schedule out 3 Google+ posts over the course of the next 4 weeks.

Post 1: Link post format.

*[Title]*
_[Lead]_ ([CTA])

[Summary]

[Quote]

_[Question]_

[#hashtag1] [#hashtag2]

Post 2: Image post format (so an uploaded image goes with this).

_[Quote]_ ([CTA])

[#hashtag1] [#hashtag2]

Post 3: Image post format.

_[Question]_ ([CTA])

[#hashtag1] [#hashtag2]

By combining different pieces of the text helpers you can create 3 completely different messages. You can create even more combinations if you like, this is just what I do.

Facebook Combinations

Since Facebook has a similar posting volume as Google+ for me, I use 3 posts as well, but with a different combination of helpers.

Post 1: Link post format.

[Lead] [CTA]

Post 2: Image post format.

[Question] [CTA]

Post 3: Image post format.

[Quote] [CTA]

[Summary] [CTA]

Twitter Combinations

Twitter has a much higher posting volume tolerance, so I schedule out at least 5 different tweets for the 4-week span. All of these tweets, except for the first one, has an image uploaded with it.

Post 1: 

[Tweet] [CTA]

Post 2: 

[Question] [CTA]

Post 3: 

[Lead] [CTA]

Post 4: 

[Quote] [CTA]

Post 5: 

[Title] [CTA]

I’ll then repeat a few of those over the course of a month since it’s likely that all my followers aren’t seeing all my tweets. 

Pinterest Combinations

For Pinterest, I always have at least 2 or 3 different Pinterest optimized images to use, so I’ll just create a Pin for each one using the [Summary]. I then try to post them to 4 different, relevant boards (making a total of 8-12 different pins).

LinkedIn Combinations

For LinkedIn, I basically use the same posts as I use for Twitter, but without the image upload. All LinkedIn posts are just link post format for me.

Instagram Post

I only promote once on Instagram and I use the custom tweet. I may add a few extra hashtags, but that’s about it.

Tumblr Combinations

For Tumblr, I pretty much just treat it like Google+ (minus the text formatting).

There’s great SEO value in Tumblr, however, I can’t say whether or not I’ve reaped the benefits of it just yet. Since it’s no extra work for me, I add it in anyways. 

What about Visuals?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know how crucially important visuals are in any digital marketing strategy.

So, in addition to the Text Helpers, I also have a number of Image Helpers that I use as well. At minimum, you just need to have a Feature image and a Pinterest image and that will get you plenty far with your social shares.

However, if you have the ability, here are the image helpers I use: 

[Feature img] = the image that is shown on the blog post itself.
[Title img] = a version of the feature image with the title on it.
[Quote img] = a visual version of the quote Text Helper.
[GIF] = an animated GIF that I’ve used in the post (because every good blog post has an animated GIF)
[Pinterest img] = the primary Pinterest optimized image for the post.
[Pinterest alt] = an alternate Pinterest optimized image.
[Pinterest quote] = a visual version of the quote Text Helper, but optimized for Pinterest
[Utility img] = usually a visual from the article that had utilitarian value or a square image version of one of the previously mentioned Image Helpers.

All that in less than 5min?!

doctor who what gif

Yes. The reason this only takes me 5min is because I use CoSchedule and they have an amazing feature called Social Templates. I was recently featured on their blog talking about exactly how I use it. 

Basically, I have created a sharing schedule with my Text and Image Helpers one time and can instantly apply it to any blog post I want using CoSchedule. All I have to do is apply the template, fill in the helpers, and when the blog post is published the social media promotion happens exactly as I’ve set it up beforehand.

Now, if you don’t use CoSchedule but still want a way to create an optimized template for your social sharing promotion, our team at Warfare Plugins has created a new free tool called Soopz.

Soopz was basically created to allow you to have a simple place to create optimized social media messages and save them for later.

Here’s a video of me walking you through how to use it with the template I’ve outlined above.

My Insiders have had access to this free tool for a few weeks now and the feedback has been great.

Let me know if you have any feedback on the tool itself. It’s only in the early beta stages and we’ve got some grand plans for the evolution of it.

Once you’ve crafted all your messages, you can then begin the copy/paste process of scheduling them out. Now, here’s where you can really perform some magic if you want to streamline this as much as possible.

If you have a template such as mine in a text editor, all you need to do is run a Find and Replace for each of the helpers.

Using my example post from above I would start with finding [Title] and replace it with The Biggest Social Media Mistake (And How to Avoid It). Make sense?

Then just do this same Find and Replace for all of your helpers.

If you’ve downloaded my free template from above, I’ve recorded a quick video to show you exactly how I would use this template in real time.

Once you’ve got all your messages crafted, it’s just a matter of scheduling them in your scheduler of choice. If I didn’t have CoSchedule doing all the heavy lifting, I’d be scheduling all of these messages via Buffer. (See my full list of recommended social media scheduling tools.)

More Time Saved = More Time Engaged

Being able to instantly schedule out 30 days worth of promotion for my blog posts in five minutes or less has been a total game-changer for my productivity. It’s almost impossible to count how many hours I’ve saved by using this one feature alone.

The less time I have to spend writing and scheduling social media posts, the more time I can spend engaging with my community.

This is why I highly recommend any serious blogger give CoSchedule a try.

Otherwise, just go out and crush your content promotion with my template and customize it over time to meet your own needs! I’d love to hear how you end up using it. 

P.S. If you’re looking for a more exhaustive checklist on blog post promotion, my friend Mike Allton has written an excellent piece (complete with a checklist) which he calls Blog Promotology and it’s the most comprehensive guide I’ve seen.

The post How to Promote an Epic Blog Post for 30 Days in 5min appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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How to: Typography for Visual Content That Doesn’t Suck https://dustn.tv/typography-visual-content/ https://dustn.tv/typography-visual-content/#comments Wed, 04 Jan 2017 22:15:00 +0000 http://dustn.tv/?p=10936 Choosing the right typography (or fonts) for your visual content can be difficult if you’re not a seasoned designer, but it doesn’t have to be. The good news is that all you need are a handful of helpful tips to start improving your visual content typography today! In this post, I cover some basic principals […]

The post How to: Typography for Visual Content That Doesn’t Suck appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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Choosing the right typography (or fonts) for your visual content can be difficult if you’re not a seasoned designer, but it doesn’t have to be.

The good news is that all you need are a handful of helpful tips to start improving your visual content typography today!

In this post, I cover some basic principals of choosing the right fonts, pairing fonts and a handful of typography do’s and don’ts. These are things that anybody can begin implementing.

Message is First and Foremost

When choosing your fonts for visual content keep in mind the message you want to communicate. I’ve said this a thousand times in blog posts and speaking engagements:

The purpose of good design is to effectively communicate a message.

Making things look good is a worthless feat if it’s not helping you communicate your primary message.

You must have a singular objective of what you want to communicate to the viewer/reader. What is the one thing you want them to interpret?

Solidify it in your mind and let that message be the filter for everything you add to or takeaway from your visual content piece.

You might think, “what does that have to do with just picking a font?”

I’m so glad you asked.

Typography Has Personality

Just like different styles of clothing can communicate and accentuate different personality types the fonts you choose can completely change the mood of your content.

There’s even a quiz you can take to discover what typeface you are.

To help explain this concept, Sarah Hyndman does a fantastic job in her TEDx talk:

“To the child in me, fonts are like multi-sensory imagination grenades.”

In her talk she explores the parallel between how the clothes you wear make an immediate impression as does the type you choose for a graphical piece.

So the first question you need to ask when choosing a font is: what kind of impression do I want to make?

Do you want to look sophisticated or whimsical? Do you want to come off as elegant or practical? Do you want to be seen as exciting or calm, cool, and collected?

Here are some basic ideas of how each typographic classification is often perceived:

  • Serif: smart, traditional, sophisticated, sturdy
  • Sans Serif: casual, easy-going, personable
  • Script: fancy, high-class, expensive
  • Monospace: plain, technical, utilitarian

typography quick-reference sheet
Pin This!

These are, of course, very generalized as there are many styles within each type classification. I highly recommend this article which dives deeper on the classifications and styles. Also, this study discovered how people perceived various fonts and their preferred usage.

Key Takeaway: your font choice will have a personality trait (or traits) that will affect how your content is perceived.

For example:

bad font choice

In the above image, you can see that the seriousness of the content is undermined by the comical nature of the font used.

This is not what you want.

You want your font choice to compliment your underlying message. Here’s what a better font choice looks like:

falling in the water quote

Notice how it feels a bit more connected to the message.

Being Consistent vs Being “Creative”

If you’re building a personal brand or a business brand, I highly recommend deciding on a typographic style that you stick with consistently.

Pick 1-2 fonts that you use for everything. This is something I’ve also mentioned in my article on designing a stunning reading experience on your blog.

The same rules can be applied to visual content.

andy warhol art quote

Notice how in the above image there are two fonts used. This makes it easy for the viewer to process what they’re seeing because their brain is not having to process and decode too many different fonts at once.

Not only is limiting your fonts easier on the viewer, but it’s better for branding.

You’ll notice that all big brands have a specific set of types (or fonts) that they use on everything. This not only makes for a consistent and highly professional looking impression but also makes the creation of new visuals easier because your fonts are already chosen.

nike branded typography examples

Now, are there plenty of examples where many different fonts are used to create a great typographic piece? Of course!

However, these types of pieces are often created by professionals. People who have been pairing and matching fonts for a long time.

They’re also extremely time-consuming to create. So my biggest piece of advice is: leave the complicated stuff to the pros and focus on being simple and effective.

Where to Find Great Fonts

If you’re working with design apps such as Canva, Adobe Spark, PicMonkey or other web-based design apps then your font selections will be limited to the ones they make available. This is also true of mobile design apps.

However, if you’re using a desktop application such as Photoshop, Pixelmator, or Gimp then you can use fonts you’ve downloaded onto your computer.

If you have this ability, I’ve found there are a handful of sites that I use for reliable font downloads:

I use DaFont as a last resort, because it can be hit or miss with quality. Since it’s such a high-volume site, there is bound to be lots of low-quality (or even straight up broken) files throughout the site.

Between Google Fonts and Lost Type though, I rarely need to go elsewhere.

Typographic Inspiration

Sometimes it just helps to observe what other great artists are doing to help shape and inspire your own design. So, below are a list of places where I go frequently to find inspiration.

Apps like Adobe Spark and Canva also make it super easy to get inspired with their designer templates.

Typography No-nos

Now, as one last effort to give you some good, practical and actionable (or non-actionable depending on how you look at it) advice, here is a list of things you definitely do not want to do when it comes to typography:

Never use Comic Sans. Ever.

unicorn vaporized gif

Every time you do, a Unicorn dies.

Seriously, there has been no other font in the history of fonts that will make a piece of content look more amateur.

Comic sans is one of the most reviled fonts on the internet. Unless your visual is meant for pre-schoolers, you will only be doing yourself a disservice by using it.

Just. Don’t. Use. It. Ever.

Never use Papyrus. Ever.

dead unicorn cake

[This image was too good not to use. Source.]

Every time you do, a baby Unicorn dies.

If any font can dethrone Comic Sans as the worst and most hated font in existence, it’s Papyrus.

Its gross overuse by amateur designers should now be considered a public nuisance. In fact, at one point there was even a digital equivalent to a Papyrus “neighborhood watch” blog.

It was cool that one time in 4th grade when you used it for a report on Egypt. But that was the only time.

Avoid it at all costs.

Only Use Impact for Memes

take me seriously meme

Only use Impact if you’re making a meme that is supposed to be funny. Otherwise, it won’t be taken seriously.

Since the internet adopted it as the go-to font for all memes it can no longer be taken seriously.

Mind the Medium

Be sure that wherever your intended audience is going to consume your visual that it will be legible.

What does that mean?

For example, if you’re going to be sharing this visual on Pinterest you need to know that the majority of Pinterest users are viewing on their phones.

This means that your font needs to be big enough to read on a smaller screen that what you’re likely creating it on.

Legibility needs to more important that style.

Make sense? Good, let’s close this thing out.

Onward to Better Visual Content!

With these typography tips, you can be confident that the visual content you’re creating will be seen as professional, and deliver the kinds of messages you want.

Which of the above tips was most helpful to you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The post How to: Typography for Visual Content That Doesn’t Suck appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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The Best Social Media Management Tools https://dustn.tv/social-media-management-tools/ https://dustn.tv/social-media-management-tools/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2016 20:15:00 +0000 http://dustn.tv/?p=10818 Need to make the most of your time on social media? These tools are the best of the best for social media management, planning and posting. If you’re like most people trying to grow your personal brand or business on social media, you’ve got your work cut out for you. It’s likely you’ve got a […]

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Need to make the most of your time on social media? These tools are the best of the best for social media management, planning and posting.

If you’re like most people trying to grow your personal brand or business on social media, you’ve got your work cut out for you. It’s likely you’ve got a Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram account, Pinterest account, Linked In profile, and (if you’re really savvy) a Google+ page and/or profile.

And if you’re completely crazy you may also be on YouTube, Periscope, Ello, Vimeo, and Snapchat.

That’s a lot of social media to manage. How the heck can you possibly be effective with all of that?

Well, the truth is most people are not effective with it. Mostly because they don’t have a strategy in place— but that’s another blog post altogether. I want to give you my insight on the best social media management tools to help you streamline your planning, scheduling, and posting.

The right Social Media tools for the right social media jobs.Click To Tweet

Social Media Management Tools

I’ve used dozens of social media management tools over the years and there are plenty of lackluster, come-and-go tools that are just a waste of time and energy. I’m not going to waste your time on every tool available. I don’t find that kind of “all the things” post helpful.

Because there are many categories of social media apps and tools that accomplish a wide range of things like analysis, curation, artificial intelligence, and other super-cool jobs to help you do more with less effort, I’m going to narrow things down. I’m going to be limiting this post to the “Publishing” category of tools that help you with specific tasks such as:

  • Planning social media posts
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Posting to your social media accounts

What I have below are the tools that not only get the job done but are going to be around for a long time to come.

Buffer

buffer homepage

My number one, go-to social media management tool of choice is Buffer. Hands down. I could stop the blog post right here and just leave it at that.

Buffer is primarily a web app that allows you schedule and share social media posts to your pages and profiles. The network channels it currently supports are:

  • Facebook (profiles, pages, and groups)
  • Google+ (profiles and pages)
  • LinkedIn (profiles and pages)
  • Twitter profiles
  • Pinterest profiles
  • Instagram profiles

Not only do you get a wide range of social account options, but the user interface is beautiful. Out of all the tools I use regularly, Buffer has the best user interface by far.

And let me just say, as someone who lives inside digital apps and interfaces all day long, UI/UX is one of the biggest selling points for me. If I don’t love using and interacting with the interface, I won’t do it. SaaS companies should take that to heart.

Using Buffer you can schedule posts to your social networks one at a time or simultaneously. This is a big help for those of us managing multiple accounts and brands.

Additionally, they have a browser extension that makes sharing any web page super easy.

Nearly all of the tools listed in this article have browser extensions, but Buffer seems to have perfected the workflow and execution of theirs while the others seem to be a bit more cumbersome, especially if you’re managing multiple social media channels and want to customize your messages for each one.

If you are a Buffer user and you’re not using the browser extension, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Get it!

They also have great smartphone apps for both iOS and Android for scheduling on the go.

On top of its powerful scheduling tools, Buffer also has some incredibly powerful analytics that will allow you to keep track of key social growth metrics.

buffer analytics

Additionally, Buffer gives you another feature called Content Inbox where you can add your favorite RSS feeds. This means that any time a new blog post is published to the feeds you are following, they will appear in this section for easy viewing and sharing to your Buffer queue.

The last thing I’ll note about Buffer is that it also has collaborative capabilities. So, if you’re working with a team and have multiple team members working on the same account contributing content, you’ll love their team features.

Buffer allows you to manage team members with specific roles (Content Contributor or Content Manager). The account owner and Content Managers have the ability to publish posts at any time while the Content Contributor’s posts get added to a For Review tab where they need to be approved before getting added to the queue.

Now, the downfall of Buffer as a full social media management solution is that they don’t have the ability to be an “inbox” of where you can easily see all your notifications or brand mentions within the app.

Buffer is simply a scheduling and analytics tool for social media managers.

However, Buffer has recently gotten into the social inbox game with their new tool, Respond. Since it’s a separate app, I don’t find myself using it much as it’s one more thing to log into. As crazy as it sounds, I actually prefer doing my engagement and responding in the native social network interfaces.

All around, Buffer allows me to perform the most arduous part of maintaining a consistent social presence across multiple accounts, networks and brands—that is the scheduling of content. And it does so in the most beautiful and seamless way possible.

Visit Buffer

CoSchedule

coschedule homepage

I’ve talked before about how great CoSchedule is as a content marketing calendar. I’ve even written extensively about why it is a non-negotiable tool for our team at Warfare Plugins. But even if you didn’t need it for this purpose it also works as a fantastic social media management calendar!

You can connect the same social channels as you can with Buffer but with the addition of one more (Tumblr):

  • Facebook (profiles, pages, and groups)
  • Twitter profiles
  • LinkedIn (profiles and pages)
  • Google+ pages (Powered by Buffer)
  • Pinterest profile
  • Instagram profile
  • Tumblr blog

Now, why is adding a Tumblr blog such a big deal? Well, in case you weren’t aware, Tumblr is great for both social media marketing and SEO according to Moz! So adding it to your account is a definite must– even if you’re not putting a lot of time and energy into it.

It’s also worth noting that if you are a Buffer user as well, you can connect your accounts so that scheduling in CoSchedule will add to your Buffer queues. For someone like me who likes to keep everything in one place as much as possible, this is super cool.

Their user interface is also beautiful and lays everything out on a calendar interface so you can see the exact distribution of your posts.

coschedule calendar

You have the ability to color-code your scheduled posts as well. This makes it possible to decide which colors represent certain types of content you are sharing so you can be sure you’re getting a good mix going.

The big bonus here is that CoSchedule also connects to WordPress and if you’re using a tool to schedule your own content on social media, you have direct access to it right from within the app.

And now with CoSchedules new Social Templates and ReQueue features, you can bet that this may soon be the one social media management tool to rule them all—especially for those who have WordPress blogs.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention briefly what those two features do.

Social Templates allow you create a templated sharing schedule for all your social networks when you have a new piece of content to share. Using their Social Helpers you can instantly populate an unlimited number of pre-scheduled messages with placeholders.

ReQueue is basically the best thing that’s happened to my social media management in a long time. You can mark any post you share through CoSchedule to be added to your ReQueue and CoSchedule will automagically repromote your best posts on a recurring basis, finding the best timing and spacing (so as to not be sharing the same things too frequently).

This makes your evergreen content take on a life of its own.

Visit CoSchedule

Sprout Social

When it comes to enterprise-level social media management, Sprout Social is a favorite. When you dive into the laundry list of features that are offered, you can quickly see why it is far more attractive to enterprises.

The networks supported include:

  • Facebook (profiles and pages)
  • Google+ pages
  • Twitter profiles
  • Instagram profiles
  • LinkedIn (profiles and pages)

What Sprout offers that the previous options do not is a central hub in which to manage both publishing and monitoring. You can also use sprout to respond to comments, which is a big value add for many teams who want everything in one place.

The ability to assign tasks and collaborate inside of the Sprout Social dashboard really makes it the most comprehensive and easy-to-use tool for teams.

Like CoSchedule, you also have the ability to see everything in a calendar view and tag social posts with certain categories. You can then easily see what your spread of messages and message categories are at a glance.

When it comes to content curation, like Buffer’s Content Inbox, Sprout has an RSS integration that allows you to connect your Feedly account. This means if you’re utilizing Feedly as a content curation tool, you can now pull it right into your social media management dashboard and do it all from one place.

sprout social feedly

Sprouts analytics tools are a big allure for many social media marketers because they’re beautifully designed and easy to export presentation-ready reports.

Seriously, these reports are gorgeous.

sprout social analytics

Their reports can also integrate with Google Analytics, making their reporting and analytics product second to none, in my humble opinion.

The scope of what Sprout Social is capable of can be truly daunting. It does so much that your head will spin trying to take it all in.

This is why I wouldn’t recommend Sprout for the newbie. However, if you’re a seasoned social media pro and you’re working with a team, it’s definitely worth looking into.

Visit Sprout Social

Friends+Me

friends plus me home page

For the Google+ power users out there, there is no better social media posting tool than Friends+Me. The reason for this is because it was a tool built for Google+ first, with all other networks as the secondary.

Unlike any other social sharing/management app, Friends+Me is the only tool on the market (that I’m aware of) that allows you to post to Google+ in every different way possible:

  • Profiles
  • Pages
  • Collections
  • Communities

I’ve not seen any other tool able to post to Google+ Collections and Communities.

If you’re a heavy Google+ user, there’s no better tool.

It also has the ability to connect and post to other social networks:

  • Facebook (Profiles, Pages, Groups)
  • LinkedIn (Profiles, Pages)
  • Pinterest boards
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

Another feature that Friends+Me has that I haven’t seen in any other app is the ability to set up custom rerouting for your accounts.

For example, if you wanted to just post to Google+ and have those posts automatically cross-posted to your other social accounts, you can set up a number of rules and hashtag triggers to make that happen.

friends plus me rerouting

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this app from its early days and have seen the founder, Alois Belska, do amazing things with it. It’s super cool to see this indy app become such a powerhouse tool.

Visit Friends+Me

Hootsuite

hootsuite home page

Although Hootsuite was one of the first big social media management tools on the market it has not been a part of my workflow for years. While it covers a handful of important social media management tasks and desirable features, they’ve sorely lacked the ability to execute on a good user experience.

As I mentioned above, if a user interface isn’t pleasant to use, I’m not going to use it. This is the biggest reason I’ve not interacted with Hootsuite in years.

However, it still continues to be a go-to tool for many professionals, and there’s good reason why.

Like many other tools previously mentioned, it supports all the most crucial social channels:

  • Twitter profiles
  • Facebook (profiles, pages, and groups)
  • Google+ (profiles and pages)
  • LinkedIn (profiles, groups, and companies)
  • WordPress.com Blogs
  • Instagram profiles
  • YouTube channels

Hootsuite allows two additional channels that none of the other tools thus far have included: WordPress.com blogs and YouTube channels.

With Hootsuite the big draw is that it serves as both publishing tool and central hub for monitoring and replying to social mentions and comments.

Their streams view allows you to create columns that feed in your social streams from different networks.

hootsuite streams

For the people who love Hootsuite, the streams seem to be the primary reason for their use. You can create streams for a number of things you want to monitor such as mentions, comments, your own posts, your scheduled posts, specific search terms on a given social network, and much more.

Visit Hootsuite

Specialty Social Media Management Tools

I’ve categorized the following apps and tools under “Specialty” because they have a more limited focus or are limited in the social networks they can help manage.

Post Planner

post planner home page

Now, Post Planner is probably the most unique of all the tools on this list. While it is limited to only being able to manage Twitter (profiles) and Facebook (profiles, pages, groups) the real value it adds is in the area of helping you find and post the best possible content.

The folks at Post Planner have been digging through Facebook and Twitter’s most successful posts and creating a system for discovering and ranking content.

They then give you the ability to take advantage of their data and share posts that have proven to generate the most traction.

post planner popular posts

Like Buffer, you can create a schedule and add posts to your Plan (what Buffer calls a queue) and have them automatically go out according to that predetermined schedule.

You can also create multiple plans and assign specific types of content–links, images, and text posts–to each plan.

If content curation is a heavy emphasis for you and you would like some help in discovering the most popular/successful content to curate, Post Planner is definitely the tool you want in your arsenal.

Visit PostPlanner

TweetDeck

tweetdeck home page

If you like the idea of having multiple streams of social media messages all in one view but only for Twitter–TweetDeck is probably a good tool for you.

This app is owned by Twitter and allows you to easily manage multiple Twitter accounts from one app. You can monitor and reply to mentions and messages as any of your connected profiles. You can also schedule posts to be tweeted at specific times.

tweetdeck home streams

Personally, I like using TweetDeck for Twitter Chats because you can create a stream for the chat’s hashtag and have it right next to a stream of your @mentions to make sure you don’t miss out on anything important.

Visit TweetDeck

Tailwind

tailwind home page

If you have a strong emphasis on Pinterest (which I highly encourage) then you will want to add Tailwind to your social media toolbox. Their tool is second to none when it comes to gaining insights as well as creating, curating, scheduling and posting content on Pinterest.

They are also testing beta integration with Instagram.

But the real power in this tool is the ability to deliver high-level Pinterest analytics, pull in pins that others have posted from your domain, and perform actions based on these things.

It really is a power-house Pinterest tool.

Now, I will say that the user interface could use some serious work. But if you’re not overly sensitive (like I am) to UI, then you won’t even notice it because the utility it provides is overwhelmingly good.

Visit Tailwind

The Right Tool for the Job

Social media management can be a difficult task. Having tools help, but having the right tools for the right job will make a world of difference.

Hopefully, you’ve found a few here that will help you in your efforts to streamline your social media efforts.

Which social media management tool is your favorite? Did I leave yours out? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The post The Best Social Media Management Tools appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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The Ultimate Guide to Branding Yourself on Social Media https://dustn.tv/social-media-branding-guide/ https://dustn.tv/social-media-branding-guide/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 16:00:00 +0000 http://dustn.tv/?p=10941 Create a strong personal brand across all your social platforms with this no-nonsense guide. When people visit your social profile, are they impressed? Does your social media presence look like one cohesive, professional brand? If you cannot confidently shout “yes” to both of the previous questions, we’re going to fix that. Want the PDF version […]

The post The Ultimate Guide to Branding Yourself on Social Media appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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Create a strong personal brand across all your social platforms with this no-nonsense guide.

When people visit your social profile, are they impressed? Does your social media presence look like one cohesive, professional brand?

If you cannot confidently shout “yes” to both of the previous questions, we’re going to fix that.

Having a solid, attractive and professional social media presence can open up countless opportunities. Business, partnerships, employment opportunities and much more.

Heck, I’ve gotten six different job offers over the last two years just because of my social media presence. And I haven’t even been looking for a job since 2012.

It all starts with having a solid personal brand.

The goal here is to make sure your personal brand, across all your social media accounts, is one you can be proud of and will give people the best possible impression.

branding social media checklist

Bonus: Quick Reference Checklist!

Download the free quick-reference checklist and worksheet for Branding Yourself on Social Media for easy access to all the tips included in this article.

Hello, My Name Is…

The first thing you need to consider is your name. This might sound like a “no, duh” moment, but it is something you need to be aware of.

Ultimately you want to have the same name across all of your social channels.

#SocialMedia #Branding Tip: Aim to get the same exact name across all networks that matter.Click To Tweet

Sometimes this is not possible, and that’s not the end of the world. But if you can make this happen, it is the best route because it makes it super easy for people to find you.

Take my social accounts as an example—I’ve managed to nail down dustinwstout across all my most important social networks:

  • facebook.com/dustinwstout
  • twitter.com/dustinwstout
  • pinterest.com/dustinwstout
  • instagram.com/dustinwstout
  • linkedin.com/in/dustinwstout
  • youtube.com/dustinwstout
  • google.com/+dustinstout

Now, the only exception here was that I didn’t get to use the “w” in my Google+ profile URL because when I received the custom URL, it was automatically given without the ability to customize it. Because I was one of the first people to get a custom Google+ URL a year before everyone else did, I didn’t argue.

I highly recommend you avoid using pseudonyms or ambiguous numbers.

Cheeky or clever usernames with your birth year at the end were fun in middle school—we’re trying to build a personal brand, though.

So stick to your legal name or some version of it.

If you’ve already started a social media profile with a pseudonym, consider starting a new account if you cannot change it. Trust me; it will be worth it in the end.

Who is Your Daddy, and What Does He Do?

Arnold who is your daddy gif

Next, we want to make sure Arnold doesn’t have to interrogate your kids just to find out what you do. Make it clear and easy for him to check your social profile and have all the info he needs.

You only have a small amount of space in which to give people a few key things:

  • What you do, or what you care about
  • What your personality is like
  • How they would benefit from following you

This is not an easy task when you have limited space in which to do it. You will want to make the most of it by keeping it simple and effective.

Just be sure you give those three items above covered in the allotted space you have. If someone is taking the time to read your bio, make sure they’re not left scratching their head afterward.

#SocialMedia #Branding Tip: Make the most of your profile bio. Answer 3 fundamental questions. Click To Tweet

Semantics, Oh What Fun!

Now, many of you reading this are not SEO people. And that’s fine—neither am I. I leave that to smart people like Mark Traphagen.

So for us non-SEO people, I’ve come up with a simple exercise for identifying what your keywords should be. Answer the following questions in the form of bullet points:

1. What do you do for a living?

2. What are you passionate about?

3. What value do you give to people?

For example, here’s how I would answer those questions:

  1. What do you do for a living?
    1. Blogging
    2. Social Media Consulting
    3. Speaking
  2. What are you passionate about?
    1. Storytelling
    2. Coffee
    3. Social media
  3. What value do you want to give to people?
    1. Better storytelling
    2. Social media education
    3. Entertainment

See, that’s not so hard, is it? Now, by going through that exercise you should have identified a few strong keywords that need to be mentioned in your bio.

Represent Your City

Most social media profiles give you the ability to show where it is you’re located. This might seem scary to some, but you don’t need to give your home address publicly.

Having a general geographic location can help you significantly in getting local opportunities and recognition. Studies have even shown that having well maintained social profiles linked to a local area can boost local search rankings.

So make sure you don’t skip representing your neck of the woods.

This tiny bit of geographic contextualization can help people relate to you more and make you seem like more of a real person.

#SocialMedia #Branding Tip: Add your city or location to make your profile more relatable.Click To Tweet

Because let’s be honest, it’s hard to think of people online as real people. That’s why it’s so much easier to get bent out of shape and berate someone via Twitter than it is when they’re your next door neighbor.

Most Important: Your Digital Home

You’ve heard what the biggest social media mistake is, right? So you already have a home base (website) where you’re sending people to?

Okay, good. Now don’t forget to make sure this is visible in your social media profiles!

You won’t believe how many times I visit someone’s social media profile and one of the following things is happening:

  • They haven’t listed a URL
  • They’re linking to another social network profile
  • They’ve linked a Bitly or other short URL that could be linking to anywhere

Let’s break down why each one of these is a big no-no.

Not Listing a URL

Just do it. If the social network doesn’t provide you with a place to add a URL, add it right into your bio.

On Periscope, for example, they don’t give you a place to link somewhere else, so I’ve just added at the end of my bio.

periscope profile

You have to assume that if you’re doing a good job maintaining a significant social presence that people are going to want to know more about you.

Don’t miss those opportunities. Link your website.

#SocialMedia #Branding Tip: Link to your site, not another social profile.Click To Tweet

Linking to Another Social Network Profile

If you don’t have a website (did I mention that’s the biggest social media mistake?) and all you have is a primary social network that you want people to connect with you on… well, fine.

I guess that’s all you can do.

But get a freaking website.

If you do have a website and you’re still linking to another social network profile, stop it.

When someone discovers you on a social platform, it’s highly likely that it’s their platform of choice. Don’t give them the impression you’re not as invested in their platform of choice by promoting another.

Using a Bitly Link (or other short URL)

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some short URLs.

However, if you’re using a generic URL shortener for your primary URL for people to see when they first meet you, they’re not going to click it.

It’s too easy for spammers, hackers, and untrustworthy people to shorten a URL through a generic shortener like Bitly or Goo.gl. Too many unsuspecting people have clicked through to somewhere they never wanted to go on these types of links and been burned by it to make it your first impression point.

Just use the full URL you want them to visit. Period.

If someone doesn’t already know, like, and trust you, they’re not clicking on a generic short URL.

#SocialMedia #Branding Tip: Don't put a generic short URL in your profile bio.Click To Tweet

The only exception to this is if you’re using a custom branded short URL and it’s clearly a shortened link that you own. I’ve covered how easy this is to do in my previously mentioned post about short URLS.

Say Cheese!

Your profile picture is a crucial part of building trust. So take some time and get a good shot of yourself to use for your profile picture.

It doesn’t need to be a professionally done photograph—you don’t need to book a time to do glamor shots with the local Senior Class Photographer.

Just make sure it passes the following profile picture checklist:

  • Make sure we can see your eyes
  • Be sure that you’re smiling (or at least not glaring at me like someone peed in your Cheerios)
  • Frame your face so it’s not cut off
  • Make sure it’s bright enough to differentiate between you and the background

That’s it. That’s all you need for a solid social media profile picture.

#SocialMedia #Branding Tip: Frame your face, smile & let us see your eyes in your profile pic.Click To Tweet

Profile Picture Size

To have a good quality profile picture across all your social media profiles, it needs to be a minimum of 500×500.

Now, none of the social networks will display it that big, but you can upload it at that size, and they’ll worry about resizing it.

You don’t have to memorize the exact profile picture size of every different social network. One good 500×500 that you use across all your social platforms is all you need.

The Same Photo?

Yes, I highly encourage you to have the same profile picture across all your social channels.

Why? Because you want people to recognize you instantly.

You don’t want someone who follows you on Twitter look you up on Pinterest and sit there for three minutes wondering if they found the right person.

searching for someone on social media

How am I supposed to know who the real Inigo Montoya is?

Recognizability and good branding go hand-in-hand.

#SocialMedia #Branding Tip: Make sure you use a consistent profile photo across all networks.Click To Tweet

Social Media Cover Photos

Now I’ve already dedicated an entire blog post to social media cover photos which also includes free downloadable templates.

Grab those. They’re always updated with the latest dimensions and recommendations.

One more thing I’ll emphasize here on the topic though is that you should make it less about advertising and more about showcasing your personality.

Think of it as a visual expression of your bio.

Have your social media cover photo represent who you are, what you do, or what you’re passionate about in the form of a photo or graphic. And use as few (if any at all) words as you can.

Let’s Talk Content

When most people hear the phrase “branding yourself on social media”, they may instantly think of visuals, colors, logos and typical things associated with a brand identity.

Branding is not just about looks.

Branding yourself on social media also relates to the type of content you’re sharing.

When someone discovers your profile and begins scrolling through your social posts, are they seeing content that falls in line with the rest of your profile?

Or in other words, if you say in your bio that you’re a pet lover, are there posts in your stream that prove it?

When you went through and found your keywords for your profile, you should also be using this as a guide to the types of things you’re sharing on your social channels.

Sharing things on social media that are consistent with what you want your brand to be known for is the most crucial part, and one people often miss.

Be strategic in what you share so as to be consistent with the brand you’re creating.

social media branding quote

#SocialMedia #Branding isn't just about looks, it's about the content you share consistently.Click To Tweet

Some might argue that this is the most crucial part of the process. If you can’t do this consistently, hire someone who can.

Way to Go!

As long as you are consistent with all the above, you will develop a brand worth following on social media. You will solidify your reputation and people will know, like, and trust you as the authority in your fields.

Time is your friend, but only if you are consistent. Building a solid, trustworthy personal brand doesn’t happen overnight, but it does pay off in many ways.

Are you building a strong brand on Social Media? What network is your focus? Let me know in the comments below.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Branding Yourself on Social Media appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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Why You Need to Be at Social Media Marketing World 2018 https://dustn.tv/social-media-marketing-world/ https://dustn.tv/social-media-marketing-world/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2016 18:00:48 +0000 http://dustn.tv/?p=12103 If you’re a social media professional or aspiring to be one in any way, Social Media Marketing World is the event you need to be at. What do you get when you cram 3,500 social media professionals into the San Diego Convention center for 3 days? Why, Social Media Marketing World of course! Without a […]

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If you’re a social media professional or aspiring to be one in any way, Social Media Marketing World is the event you need to be at.

What do you get when you cram 3,500 social media professionals into the San Diego Convention center for 3 days? Why, Social Media Marketing World of course!

Without a doubt this is the biggest live event in the social media world. With the biggest names in the business in attendance.

Important: Get your ticket now and you’ll save $700. Skip to the end to grab your ticket now, before it’s too late!

In the words of Guy Kawasaki,

guy kawasaki social media marketing world quote

If you’re in the social media business, you’d be an idiot not to come.

I couldn’t have said it better.

But if Guy’s commentary isn’t enough, I’m going to give you my inside scoop, having gone two years in a row, on why you need to be at this conference.

To date, SMMW has always been the most fun conference I go to every single year.

I want to give you my insider look at why I believe this is the must-attend social media marketing event of the year.

Thought Leadership

If you follow any great social media thought leaders, odds are you will find them at the conference. Some of the speakers include:

  • Guy Kawasaki
  • Mari Smith
  • Chris Brogan
  • Jay Baer
  • Michael Hyatt
  • Ann Handley
  • Darren Rowse
  • Marcus Sheridan
  • Pat Flynn
  • John Jantsch
  • Pam Moore
  • Chris Ducker
  • Amy Schmittauer
  • Brian Fanzo
  • Donna Moritz
  • Ian Cleary
  • Kim Garst
  • Peg Fitzpatrick
  • Holly Homer
  • Brian Fanzo

Seriously, the list goes on and on.

It draws the greatest minds in the industry— between whom you’ll learn more than you’ll ever need to be successful online.

Oh, and did I mention… I’ll be there as a track leader!
social media marketing world 2017

That should be reason enough to go, right? Okay, maybe not– so keep reading.

Meet Your Social Media Marketing Heroes

Let me tell you the story of my first ever Social Media Marketing World. I went there with the sole purpose of seeing the people I look up to in the social media world, live, in person.

I didn’t expect to actually meet them, shake their hands and have actual conversations with them. But that’s exactly what happens.

Life-changing conversations.

You see, the folks at Social Media Examiner have been extremely intentional to encourage the speakers to be amongst the crowd, networking and having conversations. More on the networking in the next section.

Because of this, I’ve been able to get to know, on a personal level, some of the folks I have looked up to for years.

chris brogan at social media marketing world

I got to spend time with Chris Brogan who has mentored me from afar (whether he knew it or not) through his blog posts and a handful of back-and-forth emails.

Thanks to the amazing Peg Fitzpatrick I was able to go to dinner with none other than Jay Baer, who gave me some of the best speaking advice I’d ever gotten.

peg fitzpatrick and jay baer at social media marketing world

Next time, I’ll make sure I tell Jay that I’m taking a photo.

But to make that dinner overwhelmingly special to me, joining us also was:

guy kawasaki at social media marketing world

Yep, that’s right. Guy Kawa-freaking-saki.

Also there that night was Anne Handley (who also gave me great speaking advice), Michael Stelzner (founder of SMMW), Carlos Gill, Mari Smith and a boatload of other influencers.

All because of the connections I made and the relationships I built at this conference.

rebekah radice, peg fitzpatrick, brian fanzo at social media marketing world

Pictured with me above is Rebekah Radice, Brian Fanzo, and (again) Peg Fitzpatrick. We still haven’t figured out who the photo-bomber throwing the peace sign was.

So, for me, the most compelling reason to go to Social Media Marketing World year after year has been to be amongst, and meet your heroes.

#SMMW18 is a place where you can be amongst and even MEET your #SocialMedia heroes.Click To Tweet

Put the Networking Back In Social Networking

Nobody does networking events as well as Social Media Examiner. At least, nobody that I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been to a lot of conferences.

The planning team has put an immense amount of thought and intentionality behind the networking side of the conference. If you walk away without making some valuable connections— you must have slept through it.

simon pegg waking up

The relationships I have been able to cultivate through the power of this event have been second to none.

You have to be willing to network though. Understand that people come to this event to network with other business professionals. And you know the tickets aren’t cheap, so the people here are serious and don’t need to be convinced about the value of social media and digital marketing.

So. Much. Fun.

Take the business out of Social Media Marketing World and you have:

  • A party on the U.S.S. Midway
  • A themed party on the second night (details to come soon)
  • Most likely a Karaoke jam at some point
  • Did I mention it’s in San Diego?

If you like to work hard and play hard, you will have your fill of both— and then some!

All Access, All Recorded, All for You

matthew mcconaughey alright alright alright

You couldn’t possibly be at all 100+ sessions happening over the course of the 3-day conference. Luckily, you don’t need to be since they are all recorded.

As an attendee, you get full access to every single recording for up to a year after the event.

So Much Content for Your Audience

Take it from me— turning your experience at the conference into content for your audience can be pure gold.

Some of my SMMW notes, for two years, have been some of the most visited (and revisited) content on the site. Can you say evergreen?

Not to mention it’s also highly repurposable content as well. You can create quote graphics, recap videos, and continue to recycle that content in other posts as well.

Some people would gladly pay a much higher premium for this kind of content creation. And at Social Media Marketing World, you’ll have more than you could ever possibly create.

Go to Social Media Marketing World

This event is 3 days of intensive networking, education, creative stimulation, and fun. There’s no reason not to go— especially if social media is any part of your professional career or business.

So be there. And make sure you tell me in the comments that you will be there— I want to meet you!

Reserve Your Ticket!

So, who’s headed to Social Media Marketing World 2018 with me? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The post Why You Need to Be at Social Media Marketing World 2018 appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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The Biggest Social Media Mistake (And How to Avoid It) https://dustn.tv/the-biggest-social-media-mistake-and-how-to-avoid-it/ https://dustn.tv/the-biggest-social-media-mistake-and-how-to-avoid-it/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:05:00 +0000 https://dustn.tv/?p=17712 As the recent fate of Vine shows us, you should never put your audience solely in someone else’s hands. Are you working to grow or build an audience on social media? If so, I want to warn you about a very serious social media mistake that I see a lot of social media stars making. With […]

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As the recent fate of Vine shows us, you should never put your audience solely in someone else’s hands.

Are you working to grow or build an audience on social media? If so, I want to warn you about a very serious social media mistake that I see a lot of social media stars making.

With recent news of Vine’s imminent death, it makes this post all the more crucial for ambitious social media brands and personalities.

So if that’s you, pay attention–this is !important.

How About a Few Stories?

Before I jump into what the biggest social media mistake is and how to fix it, I want to share with you some real life stories that illustrate just how devastating this mistake can be.

You’re smart, so you’ll probably figure out what this mistake is halfway through the first story–but read through anyways.

You’ll be glad you did.

Live Streaming Star Bob

There is a close friend of mine whom, for the purposes of this article, I’ll simply refer to as Bob.

Bob was an early adopter of Blab. He began doing regular broadcasts on the platform, growing his audience and actually building a revenue stream from it.

Bob is a smart businessman who had a solid revenue strategy for his live Blab broadcasts. He was making things happen in a very cool and unique way.

But, in case you haven’t heard, Blab is dead.

I have listed some of my thoughts about why Blab died, but regardless of why it happened, the fact of the matter is that it did.

Without any warning and despite a level of perceived popularity that had people abandoning all other live streaming platforms.

Well, unfortunately, as savvy as Bob was, he put all his eggs in Blab and didn’t have a backup. He believed that his success on Blab was all he needed and was completely unprepared for when it up and disappeared one day.

Now Bob is left scrambling to salvage, in whatever way he can, the audience he took countless hours to build.

From Viral to Vanishing in 5 Days

Back in early 2014 Crystal Paine was building a thriving business thanks to massive amounts of traffic from her Facebook page.

She had heard experts say that you should not rely so heavily on one social channel for your traffic but didn’t quite realize the gravity of that advice until disaster struck.

Her Facebook audience was over 200k and growing by the thousands without spending a single dollar.

One glorious day she had a post go viral, gaining more engagement than any other before. It was incredibly exciting for her and her business.

Just five days later, her Facebook reach vanished. Her posts started reaching as little as only 1% of her audience and the traffic she was getting to her website was nearly gone. And it wasn’t a temporary bug.

“We had depended so heavily on Facebook for traffic, that when the bottom fell out, it hurt every part of our business. I worried about what it would mean long-term if things didn’t pick back up again. And this frustration spilled over into many areas of my life.”

This is not where Crystal’s story ends. She learned a valuable lesson and recovered from it like a champion.

But the hard lesson will always stay with her.

Vine is Dead, Long Live Viners

Today we have a very real scenario where a large number of creators have made a name for themselves on Vine. They’ve amassed millions of followers and tens of millions of views.

Some of these creators have even managed to carve out a significant living creating sponsored content on the platform. One such star that I am aware of was paid more than $15,000 for one 7-second clip.

But now that Twitter has officially decided to shut down the app, many of these creators are scrambling to figure out what their next move is.

They’ve realized that they never had control of their platform.

What’s the Biggest Social Media Mistake?

biggest social media mistake title
As you’ve probably guessed, the biggest mistake you can make in social media is assuming that social media is all you need.

No matter how great a social network is and no matter how popular you become, it can all disappear at any time.

Placing all your digital eggs into one social media basket is like handing the car keys over to your cat, Toonces, and going for a family drive. You’re leaving your fate in someone else’s hands. (Oh, now that feature image up top makes sense!)

Putting all your digital eggs in one #SocialMedia basket is leaving your fate in their hands.Click To Tweet

I have to admit, it’s my wife that came up with the Toonces analogy. She’s pretty awesome like that.

So the most important thing you can do, in growing your social media audience, is: invest in a personal website and grow your email list.

Last year I was watching an alleged “personal branding expert” talk about personal branding and he was asked a question:

“Should I have a website or can I just use my [social media profile] instead?”

His response nearly made me put my head through a wall.

“No, you don’t need a website these days as long as you have a solid [social media profile].”

miss piggy headdesk

Let me make this very clear: anyone who tells you that you don’t need a website to develop a successful online presence is a short-sighted idiot.

You can quote me on that. I’ll even give you a graphic to do so.

biggest social media mistake quote

Pin Quote

It’s either that they are a short-sighted idiot, or they haven’t been around for long (and they won’t be around for much longer either).

I love the way that Michal Hyatt puts it:

“…when it comes to your platform, you can’t afford to build your house on a rented lot.”

His analogy of social media being “rented” property and your website being “owned” property is spot on.

When you’re on someone else’s digital property, they make all the rules and call all the shots. They can giveth and they can taketh away.

'...you can’t afford to build your house on a rented lot.' @MichaelHyatt Click To Tweet

Facebook, in particular, has proven this time and time again by making unexpected algorithmic changes. And now we see it in the form of platforms just up and shutting down.

The only way to ensure your online success does not disappear overnight is to 100% own and control your primary place of growth. You can call this a home base or a digital HQ if you like.

The only way to ensure your #SocialMedia success doesn't disappear overnight is to own your primary place of growth.Click To Tweet

Or you can just call it what it is–a personal website. Whatever you call it, the point is, this:

Use social media as a means to drive people to your digital headquarters where you control the experience.

Again, the two best ways to do this are with a personal website and an email list.

What Does it Take to Have a Personal Website?

There is literally no excuse these days for not having a website of your own. You can be up and running with a web property in less than 5 minutes if you needed to be.

Gone are the days of having to know HTML and CSS because the technology for building a website has evolved dramatically over the last 10 years. But still, many people who have yet to create a website of their own have questions.

I’m going to do my best to answer those questions for you and remove all the excuses for not sucking it up and getting yourself a website now.

Bonus: Want a no-nonsense, step-by-step guide to getting a website up and running? Add your email below and I’ll send you my guide as soon as it’s ready.

The Cost of a Website

How much does it cost to have a website? This is the question that many people begin by asking. They tend to assume that the cost is greater than the reward.

I beg to differ.

Your basic, bottom-line cost for creating your own website, that you own 100%, is roughly as follows:

  • Domain name: $10-30 per year (you can get domains for as low as $4)
  • Webhosting: $5-20 per month

Some web hosts will even give you a free domain name with your hosting package. Let me tell you from experience, though, you never want to go with the cheapest solution. You really do get what you paid for.

Let’s assume the average cost of a domain and moderately good shared hosting plan. The average yearly cost of owning a bare-bones website is about $130 per year.

Anybody can do that. Especially if you expect to grow an audience and make a living online.

The Technical Setup of a Website

It literally takes me 5 minutes to set up a new website. But that’s because I’ve built a lot of websites in the last 7 years.

But you don’t need to have any experience in order to launch your first website in less than 20 minutes. All you need is a webhost that has 1-click WordPress installs.

All webhosts worth your time have 1-click WordPress installs. Your hosting provider will likely have plenty of documentation or walkthroughs for you. They may even offer a service to set it all up for you.

Then, boom! You have your own website that you own and nobody else can control.

You can then use your social media profiles to send people to it. However, now you then need a way to capture their email address and keep in touch with them.

Why do you need their email addresses? How about a few quick facts:

  • There are an estimated 4.35 Billion email accounts worldwide
  • There are an estimated 2.586 Billion email users worldwide
  • When you send someone an email, 90% of intended recipients recieve it as opposed to the 2% or less reach that you typically get with Facebook.

I could go on and on, but you can read more great stats from Campaign Monitor’s blog post on the subject.

What Does it Take to Build an Email List?

Having an email marketing strategy is not difficult. In fact, if you wanted, you could just read the book on it (it’s free)!

But if you just want to get up and running as quickly as possible, here’s what you need to do:

  • Choose an email marketing software provider
  • Place subscribe forms everywhere you can
  • Give people a reason to subscribe

I’m going to go over all three of those points in detail further into this post.

Before I do, I’m going to answer the question most people will be asking when they hear they need to have an email list: What does it cost to have an email list?

The Cost of an Email List

Well, to do email marketing right, you need to have the proper email marketing software to do all your heavy lifting (like managing subscribers/unsubscribers, sending in bulk, gathering analytics, etc.).

The trouble is, the cost can vary greatly depending on which provider you go with and what size your email list is.

Let’s just assume the baseline of a beginner level, just getting started email list. Here’s roughly what you’ll be paying for the most highly recommended and popular email marketing services:

  • MailChimp: Free for up to 2,000 subscribers, plans start at $30/mo for up to 2,500 subscribers.
  • ConvertKit: Starts at $29/mo for up to 1,000 subscribers.
  • Aweber: Starts at $19/mo for up to 500 subscribers.
  • Mad Mimi: Free for up to 100 subscribers, plans start at $10/mo for up to 500 subscribers.
  • Constant Contact: Starts at $20/mo for up to 500 subscribers.

Those are the best options for beginning your email marketing journey.

If you’re looking for the simplest solution, my highest recommendation is ConvertKit. It’s not the cheapest, but it will give you the simplest tools and they have amazing resources for getting you started.

If you’re looking for the cheapest solution, go with MailChimp. It served me well for years and they have a beautiful user interface that allows you to easily create, send, and track your email campaigns. And despite being the “cheap” solution for beginners, their software is second only to my top pick, ConvertKit.

The Technical Setup of an Email List

This can be as simple as a link to your sign-up page, a form in your blog sidebar or as sophisticated as a content upgrade or exit-intent pop-up. It’s just a matter of how much time, energy and know-how you have.

Most email marketing software will give you a number of ways to get people signing up to your list:

  • Landing page (hosted by your email marketing provider)
  • Embeddable form (copy/paste code)
  • Various integrations to work with your website CMS

You can start out simple by just using the copy/paste embed code they give you. If you’re on WordPress, this is as simple as placing a text widget into your sidebar and pasting the embed code into it.

For example:
copy mailchimp embed code

paste into wordpress text widget

If you want to get a little more strategic with your email opt-in placements (like I did when I boosted email opt-ins by 400% in one day) then you will need further tools to make your life simpler.

As I said previously, OptinMonster is a great solution.

However, if you want to stay a bit more cost-effective, I recommend all my clients and students use Ninja Forms and purchase their MailChimp Add-on ($19/yr) if you’re using MailChimp.

It’s the easiest solution you can get for placing opt-in forms (and all sorts of other forms for that matter) wherever you need them on your WordPress site.

Give People a Reason to Subscribe

With so many people asking to get into your inbox these days, you need to come up with a compelling reason for people give up their email address. You can’t expect to just throw a sign-up box in your sidebar with the words “Subscribe to my email list” and expect it to work.

No, you need to come up with a compelling reason for people to trust that giving up their email address to you is worth it.

In order to do this, you first need to know who your target audience is. If you know exactly who they are, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • What are they struggling with?
  • What do they need help with?
  • What are they searching for online?
  • What questions are they asking?
  • What could I do that would make their life easier?

If you can answer any/all of those questions, you can come up with a compelling reason for them to give you their email address.

Create something that answers their question and offer it for free in exchange for subscribing to your email list.

This is also known as a Lead Magnet.

Optin Monster has a great article on this with 69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas. Here’s just a few to get you started:

Now, don’t let creating these delay you from taking action. The most important thing is that you get started collecting emails right away.

Every successful digital entrepreneur will tell you that their biggest regret is that they didn’t start building an email list sooner.

Don’t make that same mistake! Get started now!

Conclusion

The only way to ensure that your social media success is protected from unforeseen changes, shutdowns or anything else is to have full control over it. The best way to do that is by owning your own website and email list.

You can then utilize your social media platforms to drive people to your website where you control the environment and can capture their email addresses.

Doing this will save you from ever having to worry about or experience that fateful mistake of taking a social platform for granted and having it swept out from beneath your feet.

What question is keeping you from launching a personal website right now? Let me know in the comments below.

The post The Biggest Social Media Mistake (And How to Avoid It) appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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The 20+ Best Places to Find Free Images Online https://dustn.tv/find-free-images/ https://dustn.tv/find-free-images/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:00:54 +0000 http://dustn.tv/?p=6134 Looking to find free images to use in your blogs, websites or social media posts? The following sites are the best on the internet. If you are frequently sharing images online it’s essential to have a virtual Rolodex of go-to websites where you can quickly and effectively find 100% free images. Not only that— but […]

The post The 20+ Best Places to Find Free Images Online appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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Looking to find free images to use in your blogs, websites or social media posts? The following sites are the best on the internet.

If you are frequently sharing images online it’s essential to have a virtual Rolodex of go-to websites where you can quickly and effectively find 100% free images. Not only that— but it’s important that you have websites in which the legal restrictions are clear and concise.

Below you will find my go-to list of the best sources, hand-picked and vetted by me to a strict set of standards. I’ve also included some of my favorite paid resources as well just in case.

This is part of the Essential Guide to Sharing Images Online series. Be sure to catch the rest of the posts in the series as well.

I update this post regularly with new resources. If you want to be notified when something new is added, be sure to subscribe to my Insiders list by adding your email below.

Free Images Galore

The following sites are the best places I’ve found online to get free images. I have sorted through dozens of sites to only bring you the best of the best so as to save you time and potential frustration.

Unsplash

unsplash free images

This was a small free photo project that turned into an absolute behemoth of a website. It is now one of the most popular sites on the internet and home to more free photos than you could even know what to do with.

Their journey from a simple Tumblr site posting 10 new photos every 10 days has turned into a place where you could probably spend hours and never need to go elsewhere for your image hunting.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Unsplash


Mopho.to

free images from Mopho.to

This site is my favorite place to find photos. It is the collaboration of a handful of talented photographers with a very specific, non-stock style of photography. It began as a paid-only service but now offers all of its photos for free.

What used to be a $5/month subscription is now 100% free without any copyright restrictions. And the photography is fantastic!

I recently interviewed the founder of Mophoto to get his thoughts on using images. You can view that interview here.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Mopho.to


Burst (by Shopify)

Burst by Shopify - free stock photos & images

This site is very new but already has me super impressed. The site is laid out beautifully with the ability to sort through new photos, popular collections, or perform a search for specific image keywords you’re looking for.

According to a representative from Shopify, the site currently has over 1,000 free stock photos and they’re adding a set or two every week. Once they start seeing what people are searching for most they will be making some “big updates” to it.

It is specifically targeted at entrepreneurs and business owners looking for stock photography, but certainly, anyone can use them.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Burst


Pexels

Pexels free images

This site is a huge time saver. Basically this site has taken and aggregated a lot of the sites I list below and pulled in their images so that you can sort through them all in one place.

It’s easy to search, updates with new photos daily and has a very large library currently.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Pexels


Libre Stock

free images on librestock

If you’d like a centralized place, much like Pexels, to search all the best free image sites using an intelligent tagging system. The search engine is powerful, and when you click on an image in the search results you are taken to the photo on the site it originated from.

Image restrictions: CC0 (but be sure to check the site you’re downloading from)

Visit Libre Stock


PicJumbo

Free photos from PicJumbo

A project of Viktor Hanacek, designer, who understands the importance of high quality images in a designer’s life. New photos are uploaded daily.

Fantastic work, and completely free. There is a paid membership for $6/month if you want even more from Viktor.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit PicJumbo


Bossfight

bossfight free photos

One of the newer image aggregators with zero strings attached is Bossfight which sources new images daily from other popular CC0 image sites into one place for you. It also gives you two options to download all images if you want to build your own library:

  • Monthly Download: Get all photos sent to you in a .zip file every month.
  • Yearly Download: 1 year subscription to the Monthly Download with a 20% discount.

Definitely a brilliant approach to the free images model that seems both convenient, helpful and sustainable as a project.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Bossfight


Minimography

minimography free images

One of the newest players on the free images block is this beautifully minimal project by Lauren Mancke and Brian Gardner. Both of them are a part of my favorite Premium WordPress company, Studio Press and dedicated to building a beautiful online world.

Their photos are of the highest quality and perfect for when you need something beautifully minimal. If nothing else, just head on over there to be inspired by what they’ve built so far.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Minimography


Barn Images

barn images free photos

A relatively new resource, this site is owned and operated by two photographers who set out “with the hope of redefining traditional stock imagery.” They publish new, free photos every weekday and are dedicated to high quality, non-stock images.

Despite the name, the site is not dedicated to images of barns, but has a vast diversity of fresh and high-quality images that are great for use with your website, blog or social media projects.

Images restrictions: None

Visit Barn Images


Gratisography

free images from gratisography

A personal project of Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. Very beautiful high-resolution images added weekly, completely free of copyright.

What I like most about this site is the personality and uniqueness of the photographer’s style. Very fun and a tad bit quirky.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Gratisography


Pixabay

pixabay free photos

A collection of images that are personally uploaded by contributors under Creative Commons Public Domain. The site functions beautifully and has great navigation, sorting, and searching functions.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Pixabay


Compfight

compfight free images search

Compfight allows you to search through Flickr’s Creative Commons listed photos. It’s pretty simple to use and will automatically generate the HTML code to insert photo credit.

It can be a bit buggy sometimes though, so you may be better off going straight to Flickr.com and doing an advanced search for Creative Commons photos.

Image restrictions: Depends

Visit Compfight


Morguefile

morguefile free images

This is a big searchable database of free images. It also has some great filtering options to really find the photos you’re looking for.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Morguefile


New Old Stock

new old stock free photos

Another Tumblr powered site, New Old Stock features “vintage photos from public archives”. A great place to find authentically vintage looking imagery.

Image restrictions: Public Domain

Visit New Old Stock


Death to the Stock Photo

death to stock photos

Their mission is to “make the internet more beautiful”. This is an email subscription that sends you free curated photo packs every month.

They also do the occasional paid pack that is usually from a trip they are taking. Their photography is always top notch.

Image restrictions: Limited (but more than fair)

Visit DTS Photo


Jay Mantri

jay mantri free photos

Yet another Tumblr based photo archive. I recently discovered this site and love the creator’s style.

No notes about how often he updates it but his only request is that you “make magic” with them.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Jay Mantri


Kaboompics

kaboompics free images

Also newly discovered, I found this site to be easy to search and photos are well tagged, much like on Pexels.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Kaboompics


Albumarium

albumarium free images

Now here’s a site with a very interesting take on the world of free images– all images are organized into albums (hence the name Albumarium). Instead of searching for photos, you search for albums.

This is very helpful for when you’re looking for more than one image under the same theme. Lets say you need 3-4 photos that need to look like they were taken by the same person, or in the same setting– this site is exactly what you need.

Other sites offer a similar “packs” model, but most of those are paid only.

Image restrictions: CC2.0

Visit Albumarium


Life of Pix

Life of Pix free photos

Very simple site, updated regularly with new high resolution images that are free to use and share. The search function works well, but I’d love to see the search function work with the grid layout. As of now, when you search you only get one-column results and that can be a bit tedious.

Image restrictions: CC0

Visit Life of Pix

Paid Stock Images

Of course if you really want to do things in a way that’s both legal and time-efficient, you can always utilize one of the many stock image sites that offer royalty free stock photos for purchase. This is the best solution if you have a professional blog and you want the highest quality selection without any potential legal issues.

iStockPhoto

istockphoto

The leading stock image site on the internet. They have a huge selection of royalty free images for purchase and their search filtering options make it pretty easy to narrow down your searches.

Their downside is that they use a credits system as opposed to a straight dollar amount. This makes calculating costs a bit more difficult.

Visit iStockPhoto


Photo Dune

photodune stock photos

Not quite as big of a selection as iStockPhoto but they are my personal preference. I prefer them because the payment system is in dollars rather than credits, so you know exactly how much you’re paying for each photo.

Visit Photo Dune


Lightstock

lightstock photos

Some of the highest quality Christian photography you will find on the internet. Period. The prices aren’t cheap, but neither is the quality of the photos. If you’re looking for the best premium quality Christian oriented photography, this is the place to go.

Visit Lightstock

One Last Thing

As I was ruthlessly searching for the best sources for free images I had an idea– what better way to ensure people had the highest quality images that were free to use and share that to create them myself?

So that’s what I did. I have gone ahead and created a page where I will frequently add new images for you to download, share, and use freely in your digital projects. Just visit dustn.tv/images to see what I’ve come up with so far.

free images

Take a look!

It’s still a bit of a work in progress, but the idea is to make sure you have all sorts of interesting images to use in your digital efforts. I’ll be slowly building out the functionality of that page as I monitor how it’s being used and what people are saying about it.

And just FYI, all images on dustn.tv are free to use as long as link attribution is given. All I ask is that you give credit where credit is due. Fair enough?

My hope is that you are now overwhelmed with sources to find legal free images to use online. Sort through your options and find the sites that work best for you. Then bookmark them, and continue being awesome.

Do you have any free image resources that you would add to the list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The post The 20+ Best Places to Find Free Images Online appeared first on Dustn.tv by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT dustn.tv, it is STOLEN.

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