If A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words….

Do you use high quality graphics, infographics and photos on your blog posts? Chances are you don’t – because most companies don’t! Very often in a place like Cyprus, we’ll find that there are sometimes sunrise or sunset photos, beach photos and the like – but what do these do to make people want to read your content? How do these images differentiate you from everybody else who uses the same sorts of images?



The fact is, they don’t. A sunset image taken on your phone is okay for your personal Facebook feed, but does very little to enhance your business. There was a time when a blog without photos or graphics was acceptable…if the writing was good enough. Today, in a time of Instagram, Pinterest and rampant photo sharing via Twitter, Facebook and more, you need to be adding infographics and professional quality images for your blog and social media posts.

Of course you may say, “I have a phone in my pocket, and I can take photos of my premises/products on that!” Actually, in most cases, phones don’t have the quality you might want, don’t capture the detail, don’t offer the viewer a true representation. This may be down to the camera itself, however, you might not want to pay a photographer for professional images. That being the case, you should still ask a professional to check and enhance your image portfolio. The stuff that can be done by a professional Photoshop expert nowadays is amazing, and, for example can make all the difference between your restaurant’s signature dish looking like a damp squib, and a meal fit for a King!

But what if your business is a little more complex? What if you need to show knotty and convoluted figures in a simple way? Infographics are key to this. If you have a clear understanding of your business, your figures and how they will differentiate you from your competition, you need a clear way to present this information, so you can use chart, information and text together to create an Infographic. You will really need help to present this graphically, so work with your graphic designer to achieve this. Make sure they understand your business clearly.

Here’s how using images and creating Infographics will help your blog and social media posts:

  • Helps you to summarize your blog content
  • Easier for your readers to get the content quickly through Infographic
  • Human brain process images much faster than text
  • Get more traffic by sharing these pictures on social media
  • Pinterest, Instagram and all Social Media love Infographics
  • Helps you to make your content viral

Whichever way you look at it, with the sheer volume of blogs and social media posts out there, you need to work harder to get yourself noticed – otherwise you may as well just be shouting into the void. So get creative, and get noticed!


Ricky Shields is the mascot and de-facto leader of the ShieldsCreate.com team, who have been helping businesses in Paphos and the UK present their professional face to the world with Websites, Mobile Web, Photography, Video, Copy, Content, Graphics,  Print, Signage, Social Media and more, for over a decade. 





What Is Your Personal Brand, And How Do You Build It?


This may be a phrase you’ve never heard before. Or this may be something you’ve been trying to achieve for a long while. The fact is that we spend more and more of our lives online, sharing our lives, our experiences, our successes and failures. This all connects in the mind of the viewer to create a picture of you. According to Wikipedia;


Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands…Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.”

Your personal brand is how you appear to the world. It’s not always easy to work out what kind of personal brand you want to build, and in what niche you want to play. Do you want to promote yourself to get a new and better job? Do you want to promote yourself as the professional leader of your business? Are you a start-up that needs to create leads and make sales? Whatever your goals, it stands to reason that a strong brand is preferable to one that is unpolished and uninteresting. So how do you become more recognized? How do you build your authority and your following? How can you do this effectively?

Here are some basic tips that can help you navigate the minefield of your online presence, and give yourself some control over how others perceive you:

  1. Be Authentic.

Imagine how difficult it would be to build a brand around your “fake” self. You would have to act a certain way, appear a certain way, and say certain things, regardless of how you felt about it. It’s common for social media specialists to recommend that you build a personal brand by shaping and moulding everything that others see. But this is absolutely exhausting to maintain in the long run, as well as draining yourself and your online self of authenticity and spontaneity.

Your brand should be a reflection of you. Do you know what you believe? What you stand for? What your strengths and weaknesses are? Never forget, people connect with other people, and it’s that relationship that leads to contact and collaboration. If you appear inauthentic, you won’t connect. So be the “Genuine You.” That being said, be careful not to post anything too contentious, extreme, rude or controversial on your business feeds, you don’t want to alienate potential customers.

  1. Take Every Opportunity To Write Or Speak Publicly About Your Market Specialisation.

If you’re looking to build your brand, then you should be writing and speaking on a regular basis. Naturally, this will mean developing your communication skills. Find your voice, be confident and speak from your knowledge base. Show that you know what you’re talking about, and answer questions in a way that serves your audience. Some may criticize or disagree with you – in fact they almost certainly will. The important thing is to remain open to feedback. Thank others for sharing their views, and if the points they raised were legitimate, determine how you can improve and do better next time.

Grasp these opportunities, whether you are asked to write for a local magazine or website, whether it is a respectful comment on someone else’s blog or article, whether it is a networking meeting – whether face to face, in print or online – it is a powerful way to show that you know what you’re talking about. Every outlet you build a connection with increases your brand authority.

  1. Build Your Online Presence.

Do you know how you’re appearing and coming across online? Do you have social media profiles? If so, are they fully fleshed out with all of your information? Do they present you in the best light possible, and make you look professional? If you need help writing, or with graphics or photography, are you using professionals that truly understand you and your business philosophy? Are you interacting with others and sharing their content? It takes time to build your personal brand. If you fail to stay relevant, all of your effort will be wasted. It also pays to learn new things, develop new skills, and to expand your knowledge. If you’re not growing, then you’re stagnating, and that’s the last thing you want to do as an entrepreneur.

Take time out from your work schedule and have a good hard think about your personal brand for a moment. Does your personal brand achieve your goals? Does it sit well with your Business Branding?

The effect should be to create a holistic whole, a fully rounded interpretation of “You” that speaks to the world in a unified voice. Only then, as you begin to sharpen your personal brand, will the right leads, connections and opportunities start coming your way. People will begin to see that you’re know what you’re taking about, and they’ll invite you to be a part of their circle of professional suppliers and contacts.


If you are struggling with your brand, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and write for you!

Ricky Shields is the mascot and de-facto leader of the http://www.ShieldsCreate.com/  team, who have been helping businesses in Paphos and the UK present their professional face to the world with Copy, Content, Graphics, Websites, Print, Signage, Social Media, Video, Photography and more, for over a decade. 




12 tips to help you Network effectively


If you are a small or medium sized business, you will often get an opportunity to network – whether in a networking meeting, or at a social gathering, or perhaps on a golf course – not in my case though, I couldn’t hit that tiny ball for love nor money. In Cyprus of course, those opportunities to network are more frequent, since the great weather for many months of the year will often open up possibilities to meet more people at events and gatherings out in the open with a Keo in hand!

How though are we able to maximise these opportunities? What can we do to make ourselves stand out in a crowd? Well, I have trawled my contacts and my contacts contacts to come up with a few pro, and some left field networking tips that might help;

  1. Make yourself recognizable. This could mean anything from wearing a company shirt in the company colours to putting on a silly hat – wear some flair!
  1. If the person you want to meet is someone you already, sort of, know via Social Media, wait for natural break to introduce yourself, and try to have a few topics you know they’re interested in as conversation starters.
  1. If you’re at a networking meeting and there’s a break in the main presentations and proceedings, don’t look down at your phone, look around and say “Hi” to someone new – even if you’re not really comfortable doing so.
  1. After you meet someone new, check them out on Social Media – you’re bound to have some contacts in common.
  1. Be open, and importantly, be genuinely interested in your networking contact’s passions and business. Curiosity breeds Collaboration.
  1. Don’t treat it like a networking chore. Ask more questions than the person you are talking to and be interested, not just interesting.
  1. Don’t just stay within the comfortable clique of the people you know. Aim to get outside of your comfort zone and set yourself a target to meet new people.
  1. Most people are as scared and wary of meeting new people as you are. When people are nervous they drink, so have a drink! (Just don’t overdo it…Ensure you stay upright!)
  1. Smile. Smile some more. Smile even more. Even if it feels awkward, keep smiling and make eye contact. You’ll seem open and welcoming.
  1. If you see someone alone, reach out and introduce them to someone else, whether a networking friend or someone you just met five minutes ago!
  1. On the day, or in first contact afterwards, don’t concentrate too much on work – networking should be fun and not stressful. Remember, you are there to meet and make contacts for the future, not sell on the day.
  1. Keep the momentum going after the event. Email people you’ve met or contact them directly via Social Media. Don’t make a sales pitch. Just say “Hi” and create a conversation.

A lot of this may seem like common sense or even be second nature for some of you. That being said, you’d be surprised how many people struggle to stand out and be open and welcoming at Networking events. Give it a try, and see how your network expands!


Ricky Shields has been networking since childhood.

Ricky Shields is the mascot and de-facto leader of the ShieldsCreate.com team, who have been helping businesses in Paphos and the UK present their professional face to the world with Websites, Mobile Web, Copy, Content, Graphics,  Print, Photography, Video, Signage, Social Media and more, for over a decade. 



Old Tricks That Lead To New Gains


They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and that is true in some cases. However, although the Marketing Landscape is constantly changing, there is no reason why you can’t use some of the old tricks, and adapt them to new world! A lot of the fundamental marketing practices still work. Sometimes it’s as simple as recreating and rewriting an old topic and using it in a new way – or retooling your news.

Very often you will see large companies refresh the packaging of a tried and tested product, and the same principle applies here. You could for example;

  • Go through your company archives to find photographs and video that can be re-edited professionally to create a new story.
  • Revise old press releases into a new, ongoing, perhaps weekly series, highlighting the advances in your service or trade.
  • Create Blog posts based on customer testimonials, and adjust the look and feel to use them as a new social media or e-mail marketing campaign.

Social media and email marketing is a great way to share why your product or service stands out. ShieldsCreate.com can help you create press releases and other content, including photography and video to encourage followers to find and establish the differences between you and your competition. Then invite them to share and like those differences. ShieldsCreate.com can even run online competitions for you, so you can offer special rewards to encourage participation.

Of course, if you have used these and other techniques to build a following and a customer base, it doesn’t stop there. You need to maintain a relationship. You can use Special Events to show your appreciation, whilst introducing new products. You can build ties with your community through philanthropy and charitable support. All this and more helps to initiate discussions, and create and maintain relationships. Finally, don’t forget to say “Thank you” to your clients, and continue the connection with interesting and engaging news, press releases and media – not just adverts and invitations to buy – they will soon get tired of you otherwise!

ShieldsCreate.com can help tweak the old ideas, connecting you to new clients, and reconnecting you to old clients. By giving those ideas a digital touch, you’ll build both your audience and your brand.

Ricky Shields is the mascot and de-facto leader of the http://www.ShieldsCreate.com/  team, who have been helping businesses in Paphos and the UK present their professional face to the world with Websites, Mobile Web, Copy, Content, Graphics,  Print, Photography, Video, Signage, Social Media and more, for over a decade.








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