May 26, 2015

a new beginning…a new opportunity

Opportunity is a funny thing, when you aren’t looking for it, it seems to pop up left and right. When I began RavenWood Creative, I networked, I passed out business cards and told former colleagues and friends all about my Marketing and Communication experience. I depended on Word-of-Mouth advertising and it worked great. Former colleagues gave me opportunities to work on projects both internally in their companies and externally to try to market their wares or services.

Everything was going great. The company I started, which I thought would be providing mostly writing and graphic design services, quickly evolved to one providing web design 80 percent of the time. I found there was a need for small and medium size businesses to have a single source of marketing materials, whether they are online or on paper. WordPress became a powerful ally, as most clients wanted the ability to create content and update their own website to talk directly to their customers. My design skills came in handy when creating new web graphics and corresponding brochures, business cards and advertisements. My desktop publishing skills were tested and expanded as I began laying out hundreds of pages of reports and books for clients such as Monitoring Analytics and Flourtown Fire Company.

Then I saw it, an ad from a financial firm, they needed help with their marketing and communications. The job entails everything I’ve been doing with RavenWood Creative wrapped up in a neat little company that is rapidly growing and with plenty of opportunity. So as my relationship changes with my clients, I ask for patience and understanding as we make this transition to a new opportunity for all of us. It’s been a pleasure working with everyone, as most relationships go, they’ve had there ups and downs, but in the end I hope your relationship with RavenWood Creative has helped grow your business and opened new opportunities.



Same Name, Different Game

Recently, I’ve been getting the occasional message from people having problems playing the Facebook-based game Ravenwood Fair. Seems just because I have RavenWood in the name of my firm, I must be the expert on how to get off level 24 or have all the secrets behind the game. Unfortunately, RavenWood Creative is a marketing and communication firm for businesses and organizations and has no ties whatsoever to the game.

So if you need help with marketing and taking your business to the next level or need graphic or web design services, we’re your firm.

If you need help getting to the next level of a fair game … look elsewhere …

Has your business ever been mistaken for something or someone it’s not, let me know?

Thanks, Tim


RavenWood Creative’s Tim Ernst Featured in Communication World Bulletin

CW Bulletin | Combat Information Overload with Visuals – July 2009


The July 2009 Communication World Bulletin from IABC features a piece I wrote on using visuals in online communication. Visuals are more that photos on the screen – as websites on their own are a visual media, just like TV and film. Check out my column Using Visuals in Web Communications.


Let me know your thoughts on the piece.


Until next time, Tim


Web Design

image_home_150The Web. Whether it’s a web site redesign or a build from the ground up, RavenWood Creative can help you put the pieces together for your business. We’re experts at integrating social media, blogs, and graphics into a professional and solid web presence. We use the latest tools and web standards to either build a CSS/HTML site from the ground up, redesign an existing site or convert your static website to a WordPress blog-based site that the client can update themselves. As an Accredited Business Communicator – RavenWood Creative can even help with the site’s content.


Social Media Exploding and Twitter is Lighting the Fuse

Tomorrow, I plan on taking on the impossible. I need to sum up what’s happening on the web in the realm of social media for group of business people, and I only have about 30 minutes. I’m presenting on the web to the Flourtown Businesspersons Association, FBA, a group that spans several generations and obviously is a diverse audience from different lines of work.

I plan on briefly covering the history behind social media, about a minute. Discussing how eBay and other original online communities (remember listserv, bulletin boards, chat, etc.) have continued to evolve to the facebooks and Twitter of today.

Then, I’ll explain how facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have taken the online world by storm. Facebook offers advertisers the opportunity to get in front of 175 million pairs of eyes.

Finally, I’ll tackle some of the many examples of how people are using social networking, these new media tools and micro-blogging such as Twitter to find jobs (Dave Murray), recruit members (Coast Guard), and stay in contact with customers (TSA, Timbuk2, Zappos).

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until next time, Tim


The Changing Standards of the Web

Last week, I participated in a Dreamweaver class that discussed CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The days of web site being design using tables, and random styles are fading into history. The power of CSS became clear throughout the day. Adobe’s Dreamweaver CS4 product can do some powerful things, now I have to get  back to work in redesign my own sites and some others that still make use of tables.

The Spry features of Dreamweaver are incredible, the cool built in “Flash-like” features they offer to navigation menus, photo galleries, portfolios, or anything else you can imagine open up a lot of design possibilities.

Are you using CSS? What do you think of Adobe Dreamweaver CS4?

Until next time, Tim


Does the Location of a Blogger Matter?

Yesterday, I was asked to add my blog to LoadedWeb, a online directory of blogs. Nothing special there, but this one has a unique angle.  The directory is broken out by geographical area (in the U.S. and Canada) of the blogger.  It also has local business directories on its site.

My question is to you, does the location of the blogger matter? Are you more willing to read a blog in or near your hometown over on across the country? I tend to think I’d find more of interest in my own area, but I also like to see what’s happening in the world and in places I’ve visited or want to visit. That’s the beauty of the web, correct.

What do you think?

BTW, I listed my blog in US/Pennsylvania/Flourtown (nearest my office). Should I have listed it under Philadelphia, which is less than a half mile away? I thought Flourtown, PA would be more unique. No one, who isn’t from around here, knows where it is. Let me know your thoughts …

Until next time, Tim


Web sites I’ve designed, how best to feature them on my own site?

Recently, I’ve been wanting to redesign my own web site I’ve been so busy building other people’s sites lately that my own site has been neglected.

So I ask you what’s the best way to feature various sites on my own web site? Do I use Flash, or thumbnails with links, or some combination I haven’t thought of yet? I want something that looks cool but remains easy to update and change.

What do you recommend?

They cover a variety of businesses, from non-profit to a conceirge or architecture business.

Flourtown Fire Company

Schaefer Design, LLC

Flourtown Businesspersons Association

and others.

Let me know, until next time, Tim


Do we really need to use jargon?

My wife, Eileen, works in marketing for a manufacturing company. Lately, she’s been venting at home about all the jargon in the corporate world. Recently she’s taken up collecting the jargon terms that she feels are being overused. Her goal to fill a “buzzword bingo card.” So far here’s her list:

value add
talent management
point of pain

To which I would like to add, synergy, maturity, and driven. My wife is not alone, recently I found two sources debating all the jargon used in business. The first is at myragan where communicators and PR executives are discussing the need to use jargon for their clients, “internal” and “external” and among themselves. The second comes from one of my favorite resources on networking and brings up a great point, that with all this jargon in use, your “audience” or even your coworkers might not understand what you’re talking about. It comes from Steve Smolinsky and Kay Keenan at Conversation on Networking and their free email newsletter.

“Jargon Addendum: We are always so happy when readers take something we say and try it out, add to it, and, most importantly, send us the results. This story seems to be a great way to end this month’s issue so read on to the fine thoughts and great information from Jeanne Best:

“Jargon seems to be generational. I am working w/2 twentysomethings and managing them through the planning/execution of a convention of 400+ people. So the other day I was explaining the detailed spreadsheet one of them needed to set up to track materials and I said I know this is a lot of detail but we really need to have a major CYA – you know, cover your a__. The young man said yes to the assignment w/no expression so I asked him do you know what CYA is? He said no. So I explained it. The young woman in our office stopped in and I explained we have to keep this detailed info and that is was an exercise in CYA and I said do you know what it is? Her guess was Catholic Youth Association – made me feel bad to explain reality after all we had all just gone to see the Pope in D.C. but I said no cover your a__. So I learned a new lesson in communication.”

This is such a great example of assuming others know what you’re talking about. It’s another great reason to be clear, to keep away from jargon, to refuse to use abbreviations, to spell it out. Not only that, notice how clever Jeanne is. She actually did what we suggest: ask it they understand. And look what she found out. Thank you Jeanne. Now if you only knew about those little ¤¤ signs we like to use.”

So what jargon terms bug you the most? Let me know and help my wife fill out her bingo card.

Until next time, Tim



Shout out to TOVA!

The Internet is full of cool sites to explore and hopefully interact with, as I think that’s the goal of any site, you want the user to take some sort of action, whether it’s just learning something or playing a game or buying something, to often corporations forget that the web is an interactive media.

To show you what can be done if you merge design with function – I just wanted to share a cool site friends of mine from my QVC days have put together for a client – Tova Borgnine - the site is Tova25. Designed to help Tova celebrate 25 years of her fragrance line, the site has everything from her OSCAR-award-winning actor and husband, Ernest Borgnine to QVC and others that have influenced her fragrance are here in a slick, yet elegantly simple, timeline interface.

It’s interface is cutting-edge, a truly multimedia experience on the web for something, like fragrance, that would challenge most of us to present in such an eye-catching and dramatic fashion. Until they invent, the “Scent Internet” this is the way to promote a brand and its essence.

So a shout out to Tim Megaw and Matt Shadbolt for a job well done. Do you know any cool site that are out there using the latest in video, audio and graphics? Let me know and we’ll share them here.

Until next time, Tim