Create a Twitter Background Using PowerPoint (with Video Instructions)

In a previous post, I explained how I use PowerPoint for all of my graphics projects. A designer will laugh at this because they probably use software such as PhotoShop to handle complex projects. Well, I don’t know PhotoShop well enough to whip out something fast, but I know just about everything that PowerPoint can do. And for the types of projects I have, I’ve figured out how to get them done fast using this software I already have.

My latest project consisted of changing my Twitter background for my main account, and another one here @ digitalbreaks. PowerPoint gives me total control of customization.

Here’s how I did it (links to YouTube videos included below).

UPDATE: All the videos on YouTube show you how to do this in PowerPoint versions 2003 and 2007.

Ready PowerPoint for Your Design

  1. Decide on your color scheme, matching your Website, blog, etc. (or not), and sketch out a rough design. (Here are some charts that show you Web colors that match.)
  2. In PowerPoint, resize a landscape slide to 20” Width and 12.5 inches Height (click the File menu, Page Setup). Depending on your monitor and resolution, you may have to reduce the Zoom level in order to see more of your slide. Both monitors are set at resolution 1280 by 720 pixels.
  3. Either from Slide Master view or directly on the slide, change the color of your background. Make it more interesting by using two colors and experimenting with Shading styles (click the Format menu, Background, down arrow to Fill Effects, Two colors (then click the down arrow and choose colors). Try the different Shading styles. My @peggyduncan Twitter background is a dark blue and white with the Shading style, From title.

Here’s a Video – Part 1

(Rate and Comment please. Subscribe to my channel for updates.)

Place Your Graphics and Customize Your Design

  1. Display the ruler (click the View menu, Ruler).
  2. To place graphics on your slide, first set your Zoom level at 50%. The zero (0) marks the center of your slide. Using the ruler as your guide, to the left, place your graphics between 0-8.5. On the right, place them between 4.5 and 6.5.
  3. Use guides and a grid to help you line everything up (View, Grids and Guides, Display drawing guides on screen, Display grid on screen.
  4. Create more guides by hovering your mouse over one and dragging while holding down the  Ctrl key. When you’re finished and don’t need as many guides, click and drag some of them off the screen.
  5. Add any other drawing elements and graphics you want (the higher the resolution the better). Add text using a text box so it will be easier to move around (located on the Drawing toolbar. Click the Tools menu, Toolbars, Drawing).
  6. Save the slide as a PNG (click the File menu and change Save as type to PNG Portable Network Graphics Format, Current Slide Only). The final filesize can not be larger than 800k for Twitter. If you need to resize any photos (but maintain the quality), read my previous post, Resize a Bunch of Photos by the Batch.

It’s important to note that when you save your slide as a graphic, it’ll only be 96dpi. This might be good enough for your design but if it’s not as sharp as you want, check out Image Exporter from the PPTools Website. This is the software I use when I need to save my PowerPoint slides in higher resolution (about $30.00 and worth every dime), especially when I need to print them.

Here’s a Video – Part 2
Here’s a Video – Part 2.5

Add Design to Twitter as Background

Once you’re satisfied with your PowerPoint design, sign into your Twitter account.

  1. Click Settings, Design tab.
  2. Under the default theme, click Change background image, Browse to find your graphic, double-click it.
  3. Untick the tile background box (so design won’t repeat itself when viewing using different monitor resolutions), Save changes.

Tweaking It Until It’s Right

You will probably have to tweak your PowerPoint design several times and resave until you get it just the way you want it. I use two monitors: one on my laptop and a second 22?, with both set at resolution 1280 by 720 pixels. The designs looked different on both so I tweaked it as much as I could so it would look great both ways. You have no control over other people’s monitor resolutions so just do this to your satisfaction. A huge advantage of doing this in PowerPoint is that tweaking is so easy.

Now change the default colors in Twitter such as the sidebar background color, text, and links.

  1. Go back into Settings, Design tab, Change design colors.
  2. You may want to change the text, links, sidebar, and sidebar border, keeping everything color-coordinated with your new design.
  3. Click the sidebar block to select it. Now use your mouse to click desired color in the box and use the sliding bar next to it to hone in on the exact color you want. When you’re satisfied, click Done.
  4. Repeat Step 3 for each color block until you’re satisfied and click Save Changes.

Here’s a Video – Part 3

After you’ve created your new background, leave a comment and link so I can check it out.

BLOGGING BOOTCAMP: WordPress Training with DIY SEO and PR

Create a self-hosted WordPress blog, implement search engine optimization techniques, and start getting free publicity that attracts the media and new business to you like a magnet!

Description
This is a full-day workshop that’s hands-on with your laptop. Learn from experts how to build a professionally-designed, self-hosted WordPress blog from scratch and optimize it (and your Web site) for search engines. You’ll also learn how to use other no- to low-cost tips and strategies for getting found online, including social media.

Dates & Time

See Website for details.

Prerequisites
Easy pre-work (e.g., register a domain) is required for this training and full details are on the official Website, www.DigitalBreakThroughs.com.

Who Should Attend?
The workshop is designed for small business owners, non-profits, virtual assistants, and anyone else who needs to build an online presence and get found. You must be computer savvy.

Your Trainers
Part I. Peggy Duncan will teach you how she started her blog from scratch, maintains it with fresh content, and what she does to keep her top position in Google’s organic search results. She is a personal productivity expert and author of six books on organization, time management, and technology tips, tricks, and strategies. Peggy travels internationally helping busy people spend less time working but get more done. She is an award-winning blogger, and her technology blog was recently selected the Top Business Blog by Fast Pitch! Visit Peggy online at www.PeggyDuncan.com and also enjoy tips in her award-winning technology blog, www.SuiteMinute.com.

Part II. JB Brathwaite will teach you how to build a professional WordPress blog from scratch and enhance it with some of the most popular plug-ins that will increase its functionality. He is an Internet strategist, WordPress blogging expert, and Peggy’s teacher. He’ll work with you to build your self-hosted blog from scratch or will take what you already have to another level with more functionality. Visit JB online at www.DentistSOS.com and www.2TheNextLevel.com.

Get Details and Register Here TODAY!
www.DigitalBreakThroughs.com
Space is Limited to 10 Participants

SPONSORED BY


Small Business Owners Want to Know How to Get Found Online on a Budget

I presented my shameless self-promotion seminar for SCORE Chicago recently. The standing-room-only crowd of small business owners was totally into it. Lots of great questions and comments. Jo Anne Cano, Vice President of A.J. Smith Federal Savings Bank, said: “Thank you so much. Your presentation on Tuesday at SCORE was awesome. It gave me lots of great tips and I hope to put them to good use.”

My secrets to getting boatloads of publicity are detailed in my booklet, Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO. And I’d love to travel to your next event to speak live, or we can meet on the Web. If you’re interested, contact me directly.

This seminar and ebook outline is as follows:

  • Get Your Website Ready.
  • Promote What You Know.
  • Find Out What the Media Wants.
  • Find Time to Do All This.

I put all this together because people kept asking me how I get so much major publicity without a public relations agency. This is beginning to be one of my favorite things to teach.

Here are a few of my tips in this
FREE slideshow titled Blogging Your Way Up the Google Ladder.

PEACE.

How to Promote Your Events Using the Internet

I’m helping a client develop ways he can market an upcoming conference using the Web. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with so far.

Website/Blog
Create a detailed Website with seminar descriptions, speaker photos, bios. Give visitors and people who want to help you promote your event something to link to. Consider creating a separate Website for the event.

Create a group blog and get all speakers to contribute articles to it. Also create an RSS feed using a site such as FeedBlitz.com.

Create banner buttons (called blog bling) in different sizes that every registrant, exhibitor, speaker, and volunteer can post on their Website or blog. If you create an affiliate program where members will get paid when people click their link, that’s even better.

Event TV
Create a TV channel on YouTube.com and have speakers contribute any appropriate videos. Also add video from previous events. In addition to having a TV channel on YouTube, my blog has one that I created at Viddler.com (see the SUITE TV tab above).

Press Releases
Create an online press release to announce the event. Also create separate releases to announce each speaker and sponsor. I pay a flat monthly fee ($14.00) and use FastPitchNetworking.com to create multiple releases that include videos. A free service is PRlog.com. Every time something new happens, send a release.

Also write a press release template so all speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors can send out on their own.

Webinars
Conduct seminars via the Web with some of your speakers to give just a taste of what attendees can expert. Record everything and publish that too.

Teleseminars
Set up a free call on demand for up to 150 people and three hours at www.freeconference.com/reservationless.aspx

Podcasts
Create a radio show for free but please use a professional radio interviewer (free service is www.talkshoe.com or www.blogtalkradio.com).

Social Media

Twitter. Create a conference Twitter account to keep everyone updated.

Also for Twitter, create a hashtag and encourage everyone to always add it to any tweets when they mention the event. For more information on hashtags, visit http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Hashtags.

To find the tweets that mention your hashtag, go to search.twitter.com and type your tag in the search box. Put the resulting URL on your Website and blog. Also create an RSS feed using a site such as FeedBlitz.com.

Be sure to explain hashtags on your site and at the event. Encourage people to tweet before, during, and after the event.

CommunitiesExisting. Post your events, start discussions, and relay news on LinkedIn.

Communities-Create. Use various free services to create communities so attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors can create profiles, post articles/blog posts, and interact with each other (e.g., www.crowdvine.com, Facebook profile group (up to 5,000 people can join), Facebook page, Collectivex). You can also create your own group on LinkedIn.

Other

Advertising – Comcast Cable. Create Comcast cable commercial and air in major markets. (Kim McClure, a former TV producer, can create your commercial if you need one (very economical). Contact her at 770/559- 2361.)

Email Campaign. Create email campaigns with tips from speakers and ads from sponsors. I use iContact for my email campaigns. And I set it up so that every blog post I write can go out via RSS. You can also create autoresponders set up to go out to your subscribers at pre-defined intervals.

I’ll update this list as I develop more ideas. Let me know if you have any other suggestions by leaving a comment below.

P.S. Check out my ebook, Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself PR. Get Found Online. You’ll learn all about how I receive national publicity all the time because I  show up on the first page of Google and other search engines. When journalists and potential clients are searching for my expertise (personal productivity expert, time management expert, email expert), I’m there on the first page and never paid one red cent with pay per click.

I also have a seminar based on this topic, and I travel internationally.

The 35-page ebook is available for immediate download on my Website for only $77.00 (http://www.PeggyDuncan.com/learnmore.htm). You’ll also have access to my national TV producer list.

Your purchase includes:

  • FREE updates emailed directly to you.
  • 24/7/365 online access to my national media database (television producers for Oprah, The View, and more).
  • Teleseminars (I had a teleseminar for purchasers of my ebook that went over so well I’m creating a podcast titled SuiteTalk. Stay tuned.)

PEACE.

Related Posts

When You Send Press Releases Does Google or Yahoo Know?

Make Your Blog More Popular with These Tips and Free Tools

Promote Your Own Stuff on Your Blog

Social Networking Can Lead to Social Notworking

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest craze of social media and networking. But when it takes over and you start to neglect handling business, it’s a problem.

One of my clients didn’t understand why it was so hard for her to finish projects on time. She worked crazy hours but was always trying to catch up. I suggested that she maintain a time log for at least a week to track how she was spending her time.

Guess what? She quickly realized she was spending more time Twittering, Flickring, Facebooking, and Myspacing than she was working. She’d landed into the thick of all the popular social networking tools, but she became so addicted it led to social NOTworking.

If this sounds familiar and you think the same thing has happened to you, keep the time log for a few days. Make a visual of how you’re spending your time and let me know what you discover.

The social media tools can be good for business if you do it right. I hope you’ll start to balance all this.

PEACE.

UPDATE: Here is a study conducted by Nucleus Research on the topic of social notworking.

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

My Blog Takes Top Honors: Top Business Blog

I’m excited to announce that Bill Jula, CEO & Co-Founder of Fast Pitch!, informed me that SuiteMinute has been awarded “Top Business Blog” as part of a recent competition. A thousand businesses across nine categories participated.

The honor was based on a combination of open voting and an expert panel of judges.

Fast Pitch! is an active social network for business professionals to connect with friends, colleagues and customers and share content about their business.As one of the fastest growing social networks for business professionals, Fast Pitch! has connected millions of businesses across the world and provided a simple and intuitive way for professionals to enhance their online presence.

PEACE.


Easier Blogging Using WYSIWYG Interface: Windows Live Writer from Microsoft

From a previous post, you’ll come to understand why I’m delighted to work with my new self-hosted WordPress blog. My main issue with it though is the clumsiness with formatting, adding graphics, etc. It isn’t smooth and simple enough.

But Microsoft is continuing to think, and they’re currently offering a free solution that has reduced my aggravation. It’s Windows Live Writer (WLW) and is currently in beta. I don’t have to be online to write my blog posts, and it’s an easier interface that is as slick as creating a document in Word. Get Windows Live Writer here (it’s not Web-based so you’ll have to download it to your computer).

After you download this free software, you’ll have to set up access to your blog. Click Weblog, Add Weblog Account, Another weblog service, enter all of the appropriate information.

It didn’t work.

I logged into my WordPress blog and clicked Settings, Writing. Under the Remote Publishing section, I ticked the XML-RPC box.

After all this was set up, I created this blog entry using WLW. Using this software is very intuitive…just start clicking and you’ll soon figure out how to work with it. Click to Publish and that’s it! Love it! If you’ve been updating your blog directly in WordPress and you decide to try WLW, you’re going to see why I’m so happy!

One more thing, YouTube has several tutorials on how to use WLW.

Update: For a detailed article on the advantages of using Windows Live Writer, see the Contextures blog written by Excel expert, Debra Dalgleish.

Related Posts
Find out why I think you should start with a self-hosted WordPress blog
Promote Your Own Stuff on Your Blog
Shameless Self-Promotion of Your Blog

Peggy Duncan, Time Management Expert

Upgrade Your Blog Image and Functionality

I wrote a recent article for SCORE Association’s blog on the process I went through to convert a free Blogger blog and a free WordPress blog to a self-hosted WordPress blog. And I am so glad I did.

I want my blog to be viral with you linking to it, downloading my blidget (the Widget in the right sidebar that lists recent posts and updates automatically every time I add more), and spreading the word by clicking any of the social icons at the end of each post. And I wanted a more interesting design with better choices.

I can have all these things with a self-hosted WordPress blog. Click here to read the details of what I went through. I hope you’ll pick up a tip or three that will save you some time.

Peggy Duncan, Time Management Expert