Content Creation: Graphic Design

Graphic design brings everything together. Multimedia marketers use graphic design to transform raw content into branded stories. A powerful position awaits entrepreneurs who combine graphic design with other multimedia marketing skills.

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YDNTB just received another big endorsement!

When it comes to learning graphic design, first find software you like. I prefer Adobe Photoshop, but Canva is a free option that’s grown in popularity. As you explore graphic design software, you’ll learn a lot just by tinkering. Simple effects like backgrounds, banners, borders, gradients, and text overlays will soon become child’s play. These everyday enhancements strengthen the continuity of your content creation. You can also watch tutorial videos or take a class to go even further, but for most busy entrepreneurs, the basics are enough to make the marketing message more consistent and thus, easier to connect with an audience.

The ability to bring your own ideas to life saves time and money. The time saved from less creative collaboration can be spent delivering more content. The money saved can be used to push stories further. Fewer cooks in the kitchen also makes pure brand alignment a breeze.

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My go-to resolutions for photos/graphics I plan to share throughout social media, is 16×9 paired with a complementing square version.

As you build new projects, maintaining brand alignment must become second nature. To achieve consistency, use the same colors, fonts, and logo pack for every project. If you’re a lone wolf or working with a small team, a dedicated document to highlight brand guidelines will help maintain long-term alignment. A more official document with assets and guidance on how to use everything, often called brand guidelines or a brand kit, will add increased value the more different designers interact with your brand.

This rigidity can feel less adventurous and even lazy for true creatives. If that feeling creeps in, think of brand guidelines like skipping past the small talk. You now have more creative freedom to mix up the story! This combination also makes stories more remarkable. The added variety keeps things interesting, while the consistency avoids brand confusion.

Be distinctive with graphic design, but stay consistent to the aligned narrative that sets you apart.

UP NEXT: Skill #5 – Creativity

Content Creation

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore six multimedia marketing skills to make students, entrepreneurs, side hustlers, and intrapreneurs dangerous.

Skill #1 – Writing
Skill #2 – Photography
Skill #3 – Videography
Skill #4 – Graphic Design
Skill #5 – Creativity
Skill #6 – Organization

Before we begin this series, which can also be found in You Don’t Need This Book, let’s start by examining the impact of content creation. When it comes to marketing, content is the currency used to earn attention. As attention is earned, content becomes the instrument to share stories with people who care.

Telling your story is easy, but doing so without becoming too self-serving takes practice. If your voice always sounds the same, it will pave a one-way street. Instead of always pushing content, curiously pull from your audience. Be inversely charismatic and socratic by asking sincere questions and leaning into motivational interviewing habits. Actively listen and interact within these absorbing conversations.

Don’t be afraid to spread the word, but limit your storytelling until it flows into the discussion. When your stories add value within the context of an existing conversation, your narrative will be more appetizing.

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Listening, sharing, and learning from stories is how humans communicate, work together, and evolve. When applied to marketing, the narratives we share connect us to people who help us succeed.

In the information age, content is available and consumed in infinite ways. This makes attention scarce, so stories wrapped around remarkable work becomes more important. Consistency is huge, but adjust content for environments that work in your industry. Aligned, yet diversified content will optimize how the world hears your story. Formulating a combination of text, graphics, photos, audio, and video will give you an edge. Consider what content gets noticed and compare that to how hard it is to produce. No matter where content lives, make it clear why consumers should care.

As content creation continues, encourage organic engagement that can translate into repeatable conversions. In the connected era, the easiest way to do this is online. The nice thing about digital content is that it’s used in so many ways, yet it’s the easiest to create. Even if it’s taking small steps at first, it’s worth learning how to create your own content. Multimedia marketers can forge content that is quick to digest and made to share. This allows ideas to spread. You win if people share your story, so let’s make it easy.

UP NEXT: Skill #1 – Writing

Career Nirvana

Career nirvana is achieved when your community, work, and personal life are in harmony. This state of mind comes from happiness, health, and wealth emanating from the freedom to do whatever you’re best at with people you care about.

There is little holding you back from achieving such splendor. Start by doing remarkable work you enjoy. This creativity earns attention and delivers intellectual, human, financial, network, cultural, physical, and institutional capital. As we learn from The Startup Community Way, the Seven Capitals keep you building by using what you have, to attract what you want.

Let passion fuel persistence, then fuse your career portfolio into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As you connect into community, be generous by accelerating others and use the trust that creates to do it more often. When this becomes routine, your generosity will leave a legacy. For innovators looking to change the world, such a legacy grants enduring satisfaction and furthers the sense of euphoria.

As a fulfilling career is composed, it’s easier to find work-life balance. Remember, we work to live. We don’t live to work. Nobody looks back wishing they had spent more time in the office. Use the freedom you create to embrace those you love while doing more things that make you happy.

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“The peace and satisfaction of building what you truly care about is one of life’s greatest gifts.”  –You Don’t Need This Book

This may sound idealistic, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. This approach to work requires creativity, immeasurable time, immense ambition, and advanced efficiency. As discussed in the Side Hustles chapter of YDNTB, an acute awareness of your personal bandwidth is essential to optimizing when and how resources are utilized. It can also be tempting to spend too much time on things that are fun but may not have real potential. Be humble enough to recognize what you have and what it will take to evolve your idea(s) into reality. Managing multiple “hobbies that pay” takes serious effort, but the reward is extraordinary work you love talking about and an inner peace that provides transformative happiness.

If you achieve career nirvana, be thankful, but recognize that things will always change. What you have today may not be the same tomorrow. Keep building to enjoy the moment, then make it last with generosity that recycles a sense of abundance for others along the way.

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Cheers to everyone who made last week’s book launch a huge success! Signed softcovers were shipped nationwide and more orders continue to pour in. As you dig into YDNTB, I’d love to see photos, hear what resonates and explore fresh ways to accelerate your work.

The Headline Trap

Reducing barriers to entrepreneurship allows more people to feel inspired by their work. There are many common barriers to entrepreneurship. As I’ve worked with students, new entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs working inside existing companies, I’ve noticed a self-limiting ideology we can call The Headline Trap.

The Headline Trap is an emotional barrier that can subconsciously make people think their own entrepreneurial abilities don’t warrant action. It festers from the deception that business ventures must “go big” or make a bunch of cash to positively impact one’s career portfolio.

This is no surprise. Successful startup stories are celebrated loudly. These spotlights are well deserved and celebrating entrepreneurs is important, but you don’t have to build something crazy to feel the innovative energy of entrepreneurship.

Everyone has a product or new initiative they’ve thought about exploring. Yes, building a business that impacts a lot of people is absolutely possible, but we’re all invited to tinker. Side hustles, community building, volunteerism and innovative projects that intrapreneurs spark inside existing companies all represent entrepreneurial efforts that should be celebrated.

Need someone to bounce ideas off of? Let’s have coffee.

Any project you care about generates genuine energy. This energy is commonly referred to as passion. The beauty of passion is that it leads to persistence. As you find ways to create joy, you’ll savor the project longer. Even if you’re not making a profit (yet), you can still be inspired by the process. This inspiration often transcends into other areas of your career portfolio as well. In fact, sometimes an entrepreneurial venture is less about the money and more about the opportunity to collaborate with others. Working with people you enjoy being around is a treat and finding trusted partners with complimenting skill sets is the trick to make things even more interesting.

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Building a business with less concern about revenue can provide a sense of peace, but beware, the luxury of not needing something to work can lead to crippling procrastination. Maintain transparency with everyone’s commitment levels to avoid tension.

Even when a project is only a tiny sliver of your career portfolio (we’ll talk more about managing your career portfolio next week), curiosity is being triggered. Not everyone will identify these actions as entrepreneurial, but innovative energy is being activated. Whether a project works or not, the entrepreneurial spirit gets bolder with time and often leads to more innovative initiatives in the future.

This type of personal growth also creates expanded interest in the startup and small business community. At the community level, entrepreneurial ecosystem builders can help people avoid The Headline Trap by recognizing, encouraging and celebrating projects that don’t make the news. This benefits everyone when more passionate people are invited to plug in. As more curious people are connected throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem, take the opportunity to be radically inclusive to fuel a more diverse, flexible and sustainable environment.