This is how a simple internet marketing idea and some PHP coding generated a 365 different daily cartoons to promote my visibility online. It’s really amazing how my single panel cartoon designed to offer a different gag-a-day type of cartoon for visitors to my own site and elsewhere which helped me to grow my internet business.
So, let me tell you the whole story and share my idea with you.
Since launching my cartooning “career” back in the 1970’s, I had no concept about anything digital, nor would the term “internet” cross my mind. Not so much until I noticed magazines to which I had continually submitted my gag panel cartoons start making a gradual shift to offering so called print versions of their product online in the mid 90’s.
Probably due to so much pre-hype by the newspaper industry proclaiming the internet was the next “big thing” in publishing. A great number of newspapers slowly began to offer their readers access to online versions of their print editions. Along with this transition, editors began recieving syndicated material via “feeds”, the producers of content began providing what they created by offering it through their own web pages and soon all forms of writing, photography and journalistic content switched over to the online realm.
Learning to use technology
As a cartoonist, I began contemplating making that “paradigm shift” myself, and with much angst, since I was never a technically oriented person and hated the thought of learning to use technology to my advantage, not to mention the fact I could use it to build web pages and communicate with my editors, art directors and graphics people electronically. I was so used to faxing my rough sketches, and sending final approved artwork via Fedex to the art directors and marketers I was working with at the time.
Many of my regular editors started asking the usual questions such as “can you send me the files digitally?”, or those new art directors who saw samples of my work in the various sourcebooks and talent directories would ask “where can I find your website?” and I then realized it was either sink or swim. After years of paddling upstream, I am still learning various marketing and promotional techniques on how best to get samples of my single panel gag cartoons, cartoon pictures and various portfolio samples made available to the right people.
One extremely important aspect for any artist, is to offer what you do through your own web site. Don’t ask someone else to do this for you because exactly then, is when you lose all control over what you want to offer, how it’s presented and in what format.
The single most important leap you can make is by intense study of web design and how using SEO or “search engine optimization” will get you the best results. It’s all very intimidating at first, I know . . I have been there / done that. But the leap is so necessary to take. And once you make that progression, your learning curve will gradually take you into other areas of using software such as Painter, Photoshop and all the other elements that can be used to your advantage.
Imagine being a “creative” in this day & age, and still sending your wares out through the mail system, setting it up for loss and / or damage…not to mention being misplaced by a careless editor somewhere. Besides, most editors today all learned journalism and their craft or business using computers and software anyway. This is now the way most professionals prefer working. You’re then left wondering where your submission is, who if anyone, has seen it and whether anything was used (plus the cost to mail all of them out)…emailing submissions in a compressed “zip” folder is free!
This same concept applies across the spectrum whether you’re working with a graphic designer on a direct-mail piece cartoon illustration or a logo or banner for a web development company in Cairo. You’ll ultimately need a good web presence to promote yourself. Period!
And once you’re marketing yourself online, you then need ways to “virally” promote who you are and what you do. In the simplest sense, I devised what is called a PHP script to offer interested web designers, webmasters and web development companies an auto-updating daily web cartoon. It isn’t so much a comic strip with a cast of regular characters but rather a single panel cartoon offering a different gag-a-day type of cartoon for visitors to my own site and elsewhere. The script was written so it “calls up” a new cartoon at a specific time every 24 hours and the actual control of each image is done on my web host’s server . . all I have to do is once every year, upload a folder of new cartoons (365 different cartoons) to my site and publish that new folder to my web host and “voila”…no muss / no fuss, I have it set and can forget, and am onto creating other cartoon-related projects and assignments.
Now, you may be a photographer, and are asking if this same thesis or modus operandi could apply and the answer is definitely yes….think of offering a “picture of the day” scenario.
Are you a writer?
Perhaps a “Thought” of the day or “joke of the day“.
By offering my cartoon and gradually getting it seen on various websites around the planet, I am not just getting seen but at the same time, optimizing my web site’s URL by getting a backlink….that “backlink” is important, since search engines spider my content and and other sites my daily comic appears and will provide me with greater “juice” or elevation in the search engine results pages based on my chosen keywords I prefer to be found by. It’s actually a win-win situation to have some sort of offering online.
My single panel gag cartoons have been published in many magazines including National Review, The National Enquirer, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping magazine, Better Homes & Gardens magazine, Barron’s magazine, American Legion magazine, Saturday Evening Post magazine, First For Women magazine and Woman’s World magazine including a wide variety of trade journals ranging from dental publications, regional and national agricultural magazines including business newsletters and national medical trade journals including similar types of publications in Australia, England and parts of Europe.
Many other single panel cartoons I’ve created, appear in the popular Chicken Soup For The Soul series of New York Times best sellers such as Pet Lover’s Soul, The Mother’s Soul, The Christian Soul and The Gardener’s Soul.
I also offer a large selection of my favorite cartoons on various gift items through cartoon gift stores I make available where my cartoons appear on t-shirts, calendars, coffee mugs, caps and other cartoons on iPad covers also.
If you’re a web designer or blogger and have an interest in adding Dan’s daily web cartoon, it’s easy to add by following the instructions using one of the two variations of code provided. The image is even available as a WordPress Daily Web Cartoon plugin that can easily be downloaded and used on your WP blog or site!
In summation, I cannot emphasize enough as to how imperative building an online web library of of your work really is…whether you are an artist, painter, photographer, cartoonist, caricaturist, writer, marketer, sculptor …. ANY type of professional, you have to establish an extensive online portfolio. Study web design, how to offer an incentive to your visitors and offer yourself to professionals in the world of business!
Glad to hear your thoughts!