I recently had the privilege of speaking with Ramon Ray, the founder of SmallBizTechnology.com and highly-respected small business expert. He’s been using HP MagCloud, an online publishing tool, and gave some insight into how the service works and how it can benefit small businesses. Check it out:
Melissa Zieger: Before jumping into MagCloud, tell us a little more about your website – SmallBizTechnology.com – how it started and how it benefits the small business community.
Ramon Ray: Well the site was born from my love of tech and small business. It morphed from the tech consulting business I had over 10 years ago. The site itself is a daily resource of fresh insight on the important technology SMBs need to know about to grow their businesses. The company the site represents, SmallBizTechnology, also produces events and other activities!
MZ: What types of tools do you use as an entrepreneur to create buzz about your publication?
RR: Nothing spectacularly special, but definitely the basics like Twitter, email, newsletter, Facebook, Infusionsoft and of course the web site itself. I think the "buzz" is really in crafting great headlines and writing great content, or so I hope.
MZ: You’ve been using HP MagCloud for some time now. What drew you to HP MagCloud as a service?
RR: Like many entrepreneurs, although I might plan things in plenty of time, the deliverable is often on a VERY TIGHT deadline. I was impressed with how fast MagCloud delivers and very impressed with the competitive pricing. It's also very easy to use – design, upload and process – that's about it. The customer service is good as well – no complaints only praise.
MZ: What types of materials do you publish with HP MagCloud and has using the service allowed you to expand your publishing options?
MZ: What has been the most important HP MagCloud feature for you?
RR: Well MagCloud is like a good cup of tea – you need the cup, the hot water, the tea bag – all three to have great tea. However, I think the most important feature is the upload process. You're told if things are ok or not. Then you sit back, drink some tea, eat an English biscuit and wait for UPS or FedEx to bring you your nice new creative.
MZ: HP MagCloud allows businesses to promote themselves in both print and digital formats. Do you see this as a value add for small businesses?
RR: For sure – NOTHING beats holding paper in your hands and flipping through a magazine or brochure. However, it's equally important to have the ability to share that great printed content online – through social networks and other wise. In fact, I have my creative on my tablet as well. So that digital to print and print to digital conversion and blend are a must.
MZ: Do you have any advice for small businesses looking to use online publishing services?
RR: A few tips: (1) Hire a darn good designer. (2) Don't do the design yourself and then use a great service like HP MagCloud to make it look good. (3) Test and be ready to change your design. (4) Have a clear call to action – especially for a brochure.
MZ: Anything coming down the pipeline that you’d like our community to know about?
RR: Well, the summer's coming so most importantly, spend time with your family. Then map out what events that you'd like to attend this fall (in your local area or nationally). Be active in your community, give back and refresh your creative!
To learn more about Ramon Ray and how he came to be a leading small business expert, check out this discussion I had with him when the 367 Addison Avenue blog first began.