This is not Urgent…

Hello!  I hope you’re enjoying a new season! In my newsletter this week- the subject line was actually – ‘This is not- Urgent, a Reminder or the Final Hours’ I hope you know by now that I love to keep up with marketing trends. I recently read a reputable business site and the title was something like- ‘How to Get your Emails Opened.’ Those techniques in my newsletter subject line- Urgent, a Reminder and Final Hours– were just a few of their suggestions! No! I’m sorry, that’s not my style. Maybe if it’s from a retailer who I trust- though still doubtful. I don’t believe those tactics work- they’re stressful, seem icky and spammy to me. 

In fact, another highly reputable site and whom I trust further stated that words in the Subject Lines like Free, Reminder or Percentage Off are overused and have negative open rates. Whoa! Who wants that? Okay, so what will work? Here’s a few in my personal inbox that I plan to open-

  • ‘Countdown to Summer’ This is a new collection from a retailer I love. 
  • ‘Classes Start Today’ – I signed up for those. 
  • ‘Today Only’ I’m still deciding, though it’s not as much of a put off as others
  • ‘ 10 Ideas to Refresh.‘  It’s Spring here. Who doesn’t want a Refresh?
  • ‘The One Thing You Should Know’ Folks love Lists or that One Thing. 
  • ‘Let’s Talk About…’  Ok, women tend to like these subject lines. Men usually don’t. 
  • ‘Cleopatra’s Favorite Perfume.’ Now, really who doesn’t want to know that? Ok. Maybe just me. It’s thought to contain myrrh, cinnamon, fruit oil- probably from dates and pine or cedar resin. Apparently, the recipes for the fragrance have been found in ancient writings. I’m not making this up! This is from a reputable History site. So, yes! I trusted the information.

So! How do we actually get folks to open, read or even just scan our written content? It’s like anything else- Develop a relationship with the reader, stir in that Know, Like, Trust factor and you’re on your way. Some of our titles or subject lines should be Specific and Straightforward- like ‘Classes Begin Today’. And there are those which use a play on words- which I tend to like. Still others create interest, are quirky and fun- obviously Cleopatra’s Perfume checked all of those boxes for me! 

I want folks to feel happy, intrigued and curious- not stressed out with another Urgent Demand- unless it’s really Urgent– let’s avoid that! 

We want whatever we write to be a pleasure to read. Something they will enjoy. It’s always about Information and Inspiration. Speaking of that! If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter- it’s free but not in the subject line! Just send me a message and I’ll tell you how to get on the list!

I’ve been posting about Color lately on Instagram. Here’s a download from my course about Color Mapping-

Click Here:  “C:\Users\sunni\OneDrive\Color Mapping for You.pdf” It’s a fun way to find out your Color Values- I have more training available in my course!

opening-slide-for-courseSpeaking of which- We are having so much fun with ‘Be Unforgettable- Beginner’s Guide to Visual Marketing.’ If you think this is something you’d be interested in- I’d love to have you! Here’s the link to find out more! https://camellia-s-cottage-blog.mykajabi.com/about-course-copy-1-ed7ee1ac-4438-4133-968b-ffee43106f2b

Love y’all, Brenda 

Write using Scent…

The Scent of Fall. Think about it, what do Autumn Scents evoke? In the South, we plant Pansies, we collect hydrangeas on the wane…drying. The Zinnias are making one last effort. Full Blown Roses may take center stage on the fall floral scents. Yet. And this is Important- Fall Scent is really the decay of leaves and moss or fungi breaking down, this creates the musky sugary scent of a leaf pile. Yes, Mums have a distinct spicy scent and as fruit ripens- well you know the scent of ripe fruit, right?

Scents are closely associated with Memories. For instance, I worked for the Fragrance Division of Oscar de la Renta- the Classic Oscar fragrance was born from his stroll through his mother’s garden in the Dominican Republic. He picked a bouquet and the scent was born. With floral scents of Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Rose and Gardenia- Oscar brilliantly added herbs- Basil, Lavender and Rosemary. There is also a hint of Coconut and Cloves. So! Why all of this talk of Scent? Well..

When we show off our photos or even videos, we appeal to sight, maybe sound- using only 2 of our 5 senses. There are 3 more senses we need to appeal to our audiences. Scent is one of them- if you show Fall Food- write about the scent as the Food is prepared. Let us know the aroma is irresistible. If you show Fall Gardens, please know that it’s not the scent of a Pumpkin or an Apple- you want to evoke in your audience. It’s the Warm Spices of a Pie, hot from an oven. Create a Memory using Scent. That’s the biggest lesson of Writing in this post. Yes, we enjoy the photos, yet it’s the combination of images and words which form the greatest attraction. Writing which uses the Unseen Senses of Photography and is one of the best ways to draw us in. What keeps us there? is Writing about it!

A cosy blanket? Help me ‘Feel’ the Texture. Tell me what I taste and smell when I read your post- Warm Bread? Oh my, yes! Caramel? Did you know Caramel is one of the Burnt Sugar Scents of Autumn- the distinct burning of the sugary scent of Fall Leaves. It’s a scientific fact- when leaves fall and turn brown, part of the process is releasing sugars to feed the plants and trees through the winter.

Try on the Scents of Fall as you write, create more than Beauty- Create a Memory. Just like Oscar created a Memory of Home in his mother’s flower garden.

Love y’all, Brenda

PS. Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written a post! I’m about halfway through creating an online course- A Beginner’s Guide to Visual Marketing. Stay tuned.

A Writing Lesson using Doors…

A fun way to Write is to assign Human Characteristics to Inanimate Objects such as Doors.. It’s no secret that I love architectural elements. I take photographs of fences, railings, windows, shutters, windowboxes and more…especially Doors. Though this Writing Lesson may focus on doors, the technique applies to any inanimate object of your choice.

Take this first block of doors… that White Tool Shed, she’s a hard worker, down to earth with an unexpected flair for the dramatic with that blue door. The Hidden Door on a side street strikes me as a shy, private one- though hoping to be found, she secretly longs to stand out. That impressive Pediment in Constitution Hall, speaks of confident authority- yet one who probably wears sensible shoes. In contrast, there’s the humble thrifty landowner who probably caught paint on sale and didn’t give a whit about that showy color! Don’t you know that’s true!

In this block, there’s the introverted nature lover who obviously enjoys quiet and solitude. Bermed in, yet that blue Door is ready to welcome a friend or two. Now, the pretty Door with a Vine is a cheerful soul, a generous gardener who offers rustic dinner parties after holding a cooking class. Don’t you love her already? Oh my, that amazing Ornate Exterior has amassed a fortune, is also home to a fashionista. She’s a not-so-subtle standout with impeccable taste. The humble rustic door is concerned with protecting house and home- how do I know this? Well, it belonged to pioneer Kit Carson!

I had to include at least one window, a warm, open, happy personality, who allows us to see just the right amount of her humble home. as she breezes easily through her life.

Of course, the opening image is a Sanctuary Door- welcome, wise and strong. It’s as if She knows, at some point in our lives, we’re all going to need a discreet Listener. You know? I love them all- beautiful, unique as a fingerprint- serving their own purpose- big or small. Still. If I had to choose, it would be that white tool shed with the blue door. Why? I’ve decided that she’s actually a ‘Work in Progress’. Yes, I definitely relate to that! Which one would you choose? And, if you’d like to give it a try, assign human characteristics to an inanimate object like a Door.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. If you’d like to be on our mailing list for the free planning guides- drop me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

Patina…

Patina… that magical thing that happens with age. I find it fascinating- maybe because I have a bit of patina myself. Ok, more than a bit. Still. Patina was originally a word used for a thing that happens to copper when it’s exposed to – well, life. Gradually patina came to represent objects that had been around a while, traveled through more than one experience- looked at life’s inevitable hardships and instead of becoming bitter became more beautiful and interesting- simply because it has survived and continues to thrive.

Patina holds within it, stories we may never read- through doors that have been the silent listeners to a time we’ve never known. They may not be shiny and brand new- yet, they’ve figured out how to be old, determined and useful.

One of the things I enjoy while traveling is taking photographs of architectural elements- especially those with patina like that wrought iron fence in New Orleans (oh, how I miss that old girl this year!) Patina is a good historical teacher who isn’t the least bit hysterical- especially when it comes to aging.

Now, it’s important to me that you know- I love all of you with all of your amazing talents, yet what always surprises me are those of you, who have a bit of age on them, seem more stable, less stressed, more inspired and less complicated or competitive- more willing to try new things. The ones of you who’ve realized that the last thing you want to do- is wake up and realize you didn’t do the things you were meant to do.

If possible, age should never be the limiting factor on potential. Patina is proof of timelessness- of a life fully lived. Just know, when you see patina anywhere- even the lines on a face, a bit of exposed brick, rust or peeling paint- you’re looking at proof that getting out of your comfort zones, staying strong, rising to the challenges, weathering the storms – results in something real, valuable and beautiful. Patina. Admire it. Aspire to it. Appreciate it in yourself.

Patina is a design trick used by the finest stylists. Take a tip from them. Use items with patina for your props or backgrounds. If you’re traveling, even in your own town- try to find and photograph patina. It’s beautiful and, I think you’ll find it everywhere you look.

Love y’all, Brenda

5 Principles of Good Design…

Why is a gate standing ajar or roses along a fence so inviting? How does a change of pillows or adding a house plant lift the mood? A clean open room or a swath of colorful flowers pleases the eye. Why are we drawn in with a touch of wonder, a bit of mystery or whimsy, just from reading words upon a page? And, what is it about the morning sunlight, a cheerful window box, open shutters, finding an unexpected sculpture, even overlooking a greening field? Emotions are stirred, inspiring the click of a camera, the swath of a paintbrush, the writing of poetry.

img_4608Whether you’re writing a novel or a blog post, making a garden plan or creating a room… producing artwork, planning an event or marketing a product or service- Good design is essential. Here are my 5 Principles of Good Design:

img_49181. Structure– This sets the boundaries, writes the outline, establishes the parameters. Structure in creative design includes entryways, walls, fences and paths.  Windows, enclosures, doors even garden gates all offer a view from beyond. Structure is  the size of a canvas or even the frame of great artwork. Good placement of structure, allows for taking advantage of natural or planned views. Outbuildings, barns, sheds, greenhouses, even porches are good examples, too. Structure is very much like the plot of a story, the layout of a room, setting the stage, doing a first draft or an initial sketch- even a basic recipe. Everything depends on the planned or existing structure.

img_48652. Light and Color. Whether muted or harsh, light is an amazing tool, that’s why we have phrases like ‘… shed light on a subject.’  Words, fabrics even paints are really absorption of light. Twilight in a garden, dark passages, shady fern glades opening onto a patio’s splashing fountain, glistening droplets cool down a sunlit space. Light highlights form. Color can be compared to a main theme, prompting a response. Color draws the eye and keeps it focused. Shades of color massed together are more pleasing than bits here and there. All good storylines have a main theme, color is way to establish theme. Keeping color consistent is important, with the occasional exception of an accent color, always best when used sparingly.  Do you enjoy reading about colorful places, delightful folks or being enlightened? Remember that phrase and you’ll do alright.img_4924

3. Focal Point– a focal point draws you in. Into the garden, into a story, into a work of art. A focal point has the effect of pausing, just as a curved path slows the pace. Focal points can be compared to deciding which type of frame best suits a painting. And, a focal point is very much like punctuation, exclamation mark or even a main character. img_4855

4. Emotion. This might be the most important principle of all. How does the design make you, your reader, your audience feel? Is it the scent, is it the shape, the shadows? Is it the sense of comfort or being home? It might even make you smile or be inspired. Never underestimate the value of mystery, curiosity, serenity, anticipation or a bit of whimsy. And always leave room for serendipity. The unexpected twist. Emotion is movement, memory and motivation. Change structure, focal point even light and color and you experience new emotions. Adding whimsy to a serious garden, home or story always brings a smile.

5.  Abundance and Restraint. There is a place for both in great design. The abundance of roses, a single flower, each has a message all its own. Generally in a garden or a home- abundance is highly desirable, a huge bowl of fruit, a flower arrangement, an overflowing bread basket, a mass of single color. Often in a painting, a marketing plan,architecture even in writing – restraint is often best. Remember, if the restrained design of a room, a work of art or a garden looks easy, it’s not.  Nature teaches us the best lessons-  dew drop says something far different than a generous spray from a watering can.

Tell me your story, don’t leave anything out. Take a photograph, set the scene, put color and emotion – use restraint or abundance to its best advantage and if it’s a recipe… well, you know I want you to do everything except scratch and sniff the spices, vanilla or lemon! Spark my imagination, let me feel the emotions.  Let the colors in your art or garden lift my spirits, thrill me with color combinations, set boundaries with a fence, gate or beautiful frame.img_4471

If you design a beautiful room, add a focal point or a pleasing outdoor view, maybe a charming window box. Literally, frame the view of your amazing work of art and it actually visually expands the experience. Give me abundance or show restraint, it’s like editing– often what you take away is more important than what you leave in.  And, hey! In the South, we like a bit of whimsy, humor and often we tilt to the morbid side of things. We put our crazy eccentric sides out there and relish being different, maybe we could use a bit of restraint. Oh me, how I do run on…

Love y’all, Camellia

*This is a larger subject than one blog post can contain. Still. I think to have these principles in place builds a framework on which your creativity can thrive.

  • Build the framework with structure. 
  • Light and color are much like adjectives or spices.
  • Add a focal point as your main character.
  • Use emotion to its best advantage, this is the active part of your design.
  • Stir in restraint and abundance and you have a winning combination.