The Comicpalooza 2016 Official Blogger Campaign

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comicpalooza 2016

 

This year New Creative Media joins Comicpalooza and Houston First for the fourth year. In prior years we have been part of the blogger program and in 2015 was the coordinator for the Podcaster and Blogger Program. This year we again returned as a Social Media Consultant, Blogger Campaign Coordinator and Press Junket Organizer.

About Comicpalooza

Comicpalooza convened on Father’s Day weekend – June 17-19, 2016 – at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Comicpalooza is Texas’ largest pop culture event, catering to a wide variety of interests, including anime, fantasy, science fiction, art, film, fashion, high profile guest appearances and more.
It reaches a multi-generational audience with 2,000 hours of programming.
Over the past six years, Comicpalooza has grown to become one of Houston’s largest consumer conventions.
In 2015 alone, Comicpalooza hosted more than 40,000 attendees and booked 16,000 hotel rooms and generated a $20 million economic impact to the City of Houston.

Fun Facts
• First ever US appearance of the Aliens cast, including three-time Academy Award nominee Sigourney Weaver and Bill Paxton, marking the 30th Anniversary of James Cameron’s hit blockbuster film (1986).
• Reunion of Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery and the cast of the cult classic, The Boondock Saints.
• Norman Reedus will also be joined by fellow The Walking Dead star, Lennie James.
• Other notable appearances include Underworld star, Kate Beckinsale, world-renowned wrestler Ric Flair, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Walter Koenig (Star Trek), David Prowse (Darth Vader, Star Wars) and Carl Weathers (Rocky, Predator, Happy Gilmore).

FX Series Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam is returning to the Lone Star State to meet with fans at Comicpalooza, Texas’ largest comic and pop culture event.  Hunnam is scheduled to appear on both Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 at the event. Hunnam is honoring the Sons of Anarchy VIP ticket holders from Space City Comic Con, offering them free autographs Wolf Studios will honor unredeemed VIP photo op vouchers from Space City Comic Con. In addition, Comicpalooza will issue one free adult 3-day pass to each of those SoA VIP ticket holders. Space City Comic Con and Comicpalooza are separate entities and are not connected to each other in any way.

Beyond the Comic Book
• 1,000 hours of tabletop and video gaming including an “Indie Gamer Alley” featuring a select group of entrepreneurs beta testing their games with a public audience and the Hearthstone Fireside Gathering and Tournament presented by Microsoft.
• Largest literary festival in Texas featuring more than 100 authors and 3 New York Times best sellers.
• Comicpalooza Film Festival to showcase 1,200 short films and 10 hours of feature films submitted by directors from around the world. Program will include exclusive Q&As with directors and select cast members.
• The Comicpalooza MakerSpace will showcase engineering marvels in interactive booths.
• Houston Community College presents CodeFest 2.3, challenging participants to create an entire website from scratch during the event. Students who participate will receive credit.
• Live sports, including professional wrestling matches, roller derby bouts, Quidditch matches and Monster Energy BMX stunts.
• Comicpalooza’s “Artist Alley” will host more than 200 local and regional talents and a PTSD expert artist will educate guests on art as therapy. Comicpalooza will host an art auction, raising money for the Ronald McDonald Charity House Charities of Greater Houston/Galveston.
• Japan’s first and largest “J-Fashion” house, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, will host a fashion show to display their creations for Comicpalooza attendees.

Comicpalooza partnered with Growtix, an event management software company, to create an app where attendees can download important event information including celebrity profiles, maps and the latest schedules. The Comicpalooza app can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.

comicpalooza 2016

Comicpalooza 2016 Bloggers

Pre Con Content

 

Post Con Content

 

Comicpalooza 2016 Twitter Party #CPHou

Additionally this year was the Comicpalooza first every Twitter party including special guest Ming Chen, with official blogger participants and hosted by New Creative Media.

Find all coverage of the event by using the #CPHou on your favorite social media channels.

 

Press Junket and Bloggers Meet and Greet

A big thank you to SkyHouse Houston for providing the beautiful rooftop lounge for both the Press Junket and the Blogger Meet and Greet. Celebrity and Talent Guest included Eva Bella and Livvy Stubenrauch, Ming Chen, Anita Long (the CEO, of Long Films Studio and President of Women in Film and Television Houston), James Morrison – FBI Cyber Crimes, Lou Ferrigno, Chuck Huber, Sandra Joseph Taylor  – Author The Scholarship Guide and CEO and Founder of EDU Funding Guidance, Dr. Linda Seger –script consultant, seminar leader, and author of four books on spirituality and nine books on screenwriting includingWhen Women Call the Shots: The Developing Power and Influence of Women in Television and Film and Ravi Brahmbhatt  – Director of Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Adjunct Faculty
Houston Community College. 

Participating sponsors who made everyone’s day with delicious food and drink include YourPie Houston, Cadelaris Washington Ave., Karbach Brewing and Dripping Springs Vodka.

Each event yielded millions of social media impressions and hundreds of thousands in social media reach. Please contact New Creative Media for more details and to arrange your next Twitter Party, Press Junket, Interview or Blogger/Social Media Influencer Campaign.

 

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Facebook Pages Feed: Instant engagement and feed information

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How to and Benefits of Using Facebook Pages Feed

A great number of bloggers I know frequently say “just don’t know what to share on Facebook.” They don’t want to be egocentric and only share content from their blog. But what they do want is engaging content, information and hopefully not have to pay for the increasing their engagement through the use of boost or ads. One really fun way of finding new content for my pages Facebook Feed is to look to use the “Pages Feed” tool available on each of your Facebook Business Pages.

How to Use the Facebook Pages Feed Tool

facebook pages

Start with making sure you are following the blogs, brands and news sources you know and love. For example, if you frequently create and/or share recipes there are probably a number of food brands out there that you follow like Red Gold or Hillshire Farm.

facebook pages feed tool

Check your Facebook Pages Feed when you are looking for interesting content to share.

facebook pages feed tool

Read down through the pages feed content and when you find something you think your readers will enjoy share it.

Be sure to include the original content and create a status post which not only includes a tag back to the original source, but add a few comments or thoughts. Returning to the food brand idea – say Hillshire Farms posts a recipe. You could share it, tag Hillshire Farms and indicate that you may try it tonight – after all it’s easy and you already have all the ingredients at home. Then maybe ask them to share what they are making for dinner that night.

Benefits of Using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool

There are actually several benefits to using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool.

Stay on top of the brands, blogs, services and events which are of interest to you as a blogger and writer, but also those which may be of interest to your audience. 

  • The key to this: know your audience. Look at other posts and see what types of content they respond to on your Facebook business page. What makes them like, share or comment.

Using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool saves you time.

  • I also use Google alerts, but the pages feed tool helps me quickly and easily stay on top of the information I need and want to know from brands, businesses, services and events. The less time I have to spend on research the more time I can spend on other things like graphics, social media, content, images, and learning more about the tools of my trade.

Be seen as an expert in your “field.” 

  • Using the Facebook Pages Feed tool you are “in the know.” So could everyone else be if we actually saw EVERYTHING which those we follow share on Facebook. But thanks to the Facebook algorithm we don’t. As a result, you may have knowledge which others don’t. This creates a trusting relationship with your audience as they continue to see you as knowing what they want to know you that you will share it.

Creates engagement. 

  • Not just engagement with your audience, though that may be a result too. But you will also create engagement with the brands, businesses, events, services etc., which you want to get to know and which you want to get to know you. I know I check to see (and I know brands do too) who has shared what from my Facebook feed and as a result use those opportunities to not only learn what my audience likes, but also to create opportunities for engagement, conversation and relationships with those I want to work with in the future. Brands will do the same thing. Noticing that your ability to share and create opportunities for others to know what they are doing, will continue to bring you to their attention and possibly lead to an email or private message and an opportunity to work with them on a more official basis.

 

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Can you improve your Instagram instantly?

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instantly improve instagram

After attending a blogger conference where Instagram was one of the sessions, I started wondering is it possible to instantly improve your Instagram? I think it is. But then again it depends on what you mean by improve. Do you judge your improvement by the number of hearts your images receive, the number of followers you have or on being true to yourself and being the best you can be. Personally I sort of judge my success by all of the above. Here are a few ideas you can use to instantly improve your Instagram, no matter what your goals are.

Should you have both your personal and professional Instagram as all one feed? At Blog Elevated  the brand Lilly Jade  recommended you separate your personal from professional and I agree. Here’s why.

  • Everyone needs a little break from work.
  • While you may adore that your baby is learning to walk, and the family wants to know every step, your audience nor the brands you hope to work with may not.
  • Your personal life may not always mesh with your professional life and as a result having one account can “muddy” the message which you are hoping to bring to brands and your audience.

hashtags on Instagram

Hating on hashtags? There is a great deal of discussion out there about hashtags. Hashtags are awesome! Though some may say they water down your message.  While some brands may feel that way, others may not. And, let’s face it hashtags work. As you can see from above. GreatBeerNow headed out to a brand new sports pub in the area. Here he’s used 18 hashtags. He has engagement and 155 likes. It is true to his brand and information his audience wants to know. Would he have received that interaction with fewer hashtags? He thinks not. Take a look at his Instagram feed, where he consistently receives over 100 to over 200 “LIKES” on his Instagram posts using upwards of 10 hashtags.

Do I need to edit pictures before sharing on Instagram? You of course always want to put your best foot forward. Research indicates that first impressions are 80% of a person’s impression of you. But Instagram is meant to be “instant.” Instant means in the moment, but with the easy to use filters available on Instagram as well as many cell phones it doesn’t have to take long to do a little cleaning up of your images.  Look at saturation, the depth of your colors. Look for distractions in the image, does it need cropped? Look at the texture and layers of the image. Remember dominant colors are blue and green. They are appealing to the eye. You do want bright, clear images and if there is a background, Lilly Jade says leave it. It only adds to the story you are trying to tell. Use a variety of images from close up to far away. Use a consistent color palette. The details matter and variety keeps your feed from looking flat.

How can I gain followers on Instagram?  Doing all of the things above can organically gain you followers. It may take time but they will be followers which really are interested in what you have to share. Other ways to gain followers is to follow others, whether it is bloggers or brands or individuals who have images you admire. Give their images a little love and see who else is following them. Follow those that follow the images you are interested in, if they appeal to you. Try an Instagram “loop” giveaway, though I’ve heard many bloggers say that it has gained them followers immediately, but in some cases they eventually fall off.

instagram features

Instagram features are actually perfect for getting attention.  Don’t miss out on the Instagram features which can help you gain attention to your feed. Look carefully at your screen. Are you making the most of the features which Instagram offers?

  • Tag people: Are you posting a picture which features a brand or product, a restaurant, attraction, hotel, travel destination? Then tag them and let them know you are sharing what you like.
  • Location: You will need to turn on your location device for this feature but it can help you gain followers. It will automatically pull up your location (or nearby locations) and then when people do a search on Instagram for that location it pulls up your images. You now have an audience you wouldn’t have otherwise. Be sure you use this nearby, as I’ve been unable to if I’ve moved too far away or tried to do it later from the hotel so I dont’ lose my family while we are traveling.
  • Direct: Direct your images to a specific audience, using a menu much like the Facebook tagging system.
  • Social Media connections: You can link your images to each of these social media channels and your post on Instagram will be posted to these social media account. However only Facebook will actually show the image. Personally I try to take separate ones and do another post to Twitter but link the Facebook account. If you are using both Twitter and Instagram use “tag people” then use the @ symbol for Twitter. This can bring in followers to your Instagram feed from your other accounts.

There are several things which hold true when trying to instantly improve your Instagram and I’ll let others say it better than I can.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. ~ Shakespeare

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A beginners guide to shorten URL’s

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shorten url

There are many reasons why you may want to shorten a url. Two that come quickly to mind is social media sharing. After all with Twitter’s limit on characters, every space counts. But Twitter isn’t the only place you can use a shortened URL. Using a short URL also helps with all your social media channel sharing, frequently you may not even realize it’s happening. It looks neat and tidy, and depending on the services you use you can even create a report to show you who is clicking on what URL’s that your are sharing.

URL shortener services

I don’t like to reinvent the wheel, so I’m sharing what I think are two really good lists of URL shortener services.

URL examples long and short

Here’s an example of a share that is not shortened by a sharing service or shortner service.

example of URL

Most of the time when you share you probably use a share tool on a website or blog. In most cases this share tool automatically shortens the URL providing you more room to add content or hashtags. It may look a lot like this.

URL shortened by Hoot Suite

 

 

See how much more space you have? So what do you do when you may want to share something, like a news article or other link such as an affiliate link that is very long and unsightly?  You turn to one of the services listed in the articles above.

I know that bitly.com is a very popular URL shortener service. If you use the Hootsuite bookmarklet it’s easily and quickly done as you see above. Hootsuite also makes it easy to shorten URLs and schedule your social media shares and syndication.

Those are a few ways, but sometimes you may need to manually create it and for that I normally head to tinyurl.com  or goo.gl url shortener which is an extension you add to your Chrome browser. Tinyurl is sort of my go to, since I started using it many, many, many — okay you get the idea – years ago when I started writing content online for both clients as well as content providers like Yahoo. Maybe I use it because it’s just so easy!

Shortening Your URL

Say you want to share something from Amazon, and it is an affiliate link.

1) Select text option. It’s easier to find the code than if you are using image. Your code will look a little something like this

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3ZPNCI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00J3ZPNCI&linkCode=as2&tag=XXXXXX-XX&linkId=Q3DNQNSIDBLPAPZK”>&#x26BE;&#xFE0E; MARCH MADNESS SALE 50% OFF &#x26BE;&#xFE0E; Zoom Power Bank – External Cell Phone Battery Pack – Provides 80 Hrs Talk-time/320 Hrs Audio Playback For Most Cell Phone Batteries. Lifetime Guarantee, See Why Zoom is the #1 Rated Brand.(Electric Blue)</a><img src=”http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=freefind03-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00J3ZPNCI” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Who wants to share that?

2.Find your code for just the link. that would be from the “http:// ….. until the ” so in this case you would want to select this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3ZPNCI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00J3ZPNCI&linkCode=as2&tag=XXXXXX-XX&linkId=Q3DNQNSIDBLPAPZK

Do not select the ”

Now that is a little shorter but it’s definitely not leaving you a lot of room for any content or hashtags.

3. Head over to your URL shortener service of choice. For this example I’m going to use tinyurl.com. Enter your long URL.

tinyurl.com

Copy paste the long URL into the space provide. Select make Tiny URL! And you get this!

urlshortenerex4

 

Your URL went from 169 character to 26 characters. That leaves a whole lot of room for adding a description, statement, content, and or hashtags.

3. Look at the first picture and note “never expires.” What does this mean? Do you plan on sharing this information or content again and again? If so I recommend starting as shorty spreadsheet using your favorite spreadsheet tool. In one column describe what the URL is shortened for (for example Zoom Power Bank portable charger on Amazon) and then in the next column insert the shortened link. You can now easily use it over and over again wherever you need to.

Remember if you do an affiliate link shortener service you better use the #ad hashtag when you share because it’s not clear, conspicuous and concise that there is a relationship between you and what you are sharing.

The cons of a URL shortener

We’ve talked a little about the advantages of using  URL shortener and why you may want to use it. Let’s talk a little bit about the cons. In the first URL you can tell exactly where this content is coming from (Amazon). As a result it is more likely to be trusted. However, not everyone uses a shortened URL for good. You know those email messages you get which say have just a line of content – usually a shortened link? What does that mean? It means the not so good guys know about the URL shortener services and use them too. They use them to hide malware, viruses and other phishing schemes. That’s the downside. Many consumers and readers are aware of that so may be cautious about accessing a link from a shortener service. It’s up to you to be reputable and honest so they know they can trust yours.

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Twitter Audit: How fake are your Twitter followers?

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twitterauditgbn

There has been a great deal of discussion about fake followers, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Bloggers, brands, businesses and events are frequently offered a “special offer to help them get more followers.”  Translation, paying for your followers as opposed to the good old fashioned way of organic followings. Twitter has decided to help you find out how fake are your followers.

How to do an audit of your Twitter followers

Head over to Twitter Audit, which is not affiliated with Twitter and simply type in the name of the Twitter user you are auditing. For this example we used the Twitter account from our blog GreatBeerNow. A “timer” will start. We were first told it would be approximately 20 minutes for our results to appear, however it was really about 6 minutes.

twitter audit

So there we have it! Our audience on Great Beer Now is 96% “real” with only 105 “fake” followers. You can audit as many Twitter accounts as you like, however, if you decide to “re-audit” there is a charge (as of time of writing) of $3.99 and a request for your email and credit card information.

It also provides links and information to other recent audits, not just your own, in case you are curious.

What are fake followers according to Twitter Audit?

First, Twitter Audit is not a tool owned by Twitter. It is independent of the Twitter brand. According to the service their results are determined by:

Each audit takes a random sample of 5000 Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. We use these scores to determine whether any given user is real or fake.

So basically they are taking the engagement and involvement on Twitter of your followers and using it to determine if they are real or fake. For example, a “fake” follower maybe one that, according to this service, which is not actively involved on Twitter according to their particular calculations.

My question is, what if it’s a “real” follower, but they just aren’t that active on Twitter. There are those that just use it for fun and rarely use it on a regular basis.

Why is it important to know about fake followers?

As bloggers our “value” is often seen in our numbers (the discussion on how that really works we will save for another day). However, if our numbers are inaccurate then it is possible that we are kept out of certain opportunities. Add to that, we just like the social media tools we rely on, also want real engagement and interaction with our readers. Lastly, if we can find out how “fake” our followers are, we can be sure that social media savvy brands can too. That being the case, we can end up again losing out on opportunities because no one wants a fake friend, or in this case – a fake follower.

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Expert tips on boosting your online and social media presence

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Tim Carroll Interview on social media presence

I recently had the opportunity to interview Tim Carroll, VP of Small Business Engagement at Deluxe Corp. We discussed several topics important to bloggers, social media professionals as well as anyone from small to big business, that has an interest in increasing their online and social media presence.

Grab your notepads, you will want to take some notes using his tips on:

  • Maximizing your social media  and web presence
  • How much is too much?
  • When to DIY and when to leave it to the experts
  • Guest Posts
  • SEO tips
  • Find out where you can get additional information and free webinars. 

Tim Carroll has a strong track record of developing innovative ideas, embracing new media and building focused, cross-functional teams. Most recently, he has applied this expertise to lead Deluxe Corporation’s brand transformation initiative: building awareness of Deluxe’s products and services among small business owners and helping them live their passions. Tim holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Yale University. He is an active member of the Mobile Marketing Association, Direct Marketing Association and Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association.

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