B2B Copywriting & Storytelling

Hi, I’m Angi, and I am a storyteller who works a lot with B2B copywriting. My job as a copywriter is actually all about storytelling. My job is also about: creating brand identity, developing a persona of credibility and authority, connecting and engaging people and communities. I do all of those things through storytelling. So, to simplify my job description: I am a B2B storyteller.

Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with B2B MARKETING concept related words imprinted on metal surface
As a creative, B2B marketing gets my gears turning in a different way–but it still revolves around the story I’m trying to sell. Image: Adobe

I recently had someone tell me, in short, that my job shouldn’t exist. Apparently, deliverables sell themselves, and storytelling is simply not needed. Especially–I surmised–in B2B; the whole point seemed that B2B is simply providing services and products from one business to other. People buy the outcomes, it was explained to me.

B2B copywriting is not needed in this commenter’s view. Pointless waste of space. The deliverables sell themselves. Period.

Okay.

Thanks for that opinion, but as one who works in B2B copywriting, advertising, and marketing, I can tell you that… stories sell. They just do. We are innate storytellers, and by that token–we are innate story seekers.

B2B Needs Stories, Too

Even in B2B, we need stories. The story of what your ideal business client is doing and why they need your company’s *insert valuable thing that everyone should know about* is incredibly important.

Without a marketing plan and strategy, how will people find out about your amazing product or service or magical deliverable? If I don’t tell you, you won’t know. A few might search for this thing they so obviously need, and maybe they’ll find your copy. But chances are, they won’t.

B2B copywriting is most effective when we relate the deliverable and its value as a story. Even reviews, in and of themselves, are stories. People share how a company’s deliverable did or didn’t create a solution or desirable outcome.

B2B Copywriting Has Benefits

There are many businesses who benefit from B2B copywriting. I would also dare to say B2B copywriting is not so different than client-facing copy, except that it often requires a deeper understanding of specific knowledge areas. However, humanizing B2B is a growing trend, and I am all for it.

Color Wheel of Marketing strategy client personas
Knowing your target persona is just as important in B2B marketing, because ultimately businesses are still comprised of humans. Image: Pexels

Businesses are run by people, and many would tell you that businesses are built on relationships. Stories sell because people like stories, and stories help us understand everything better. Stories become a way for us to envision things and we automatically search for a way to insert our own self into the narrative. This is why, in Storybrand by Donald Miller, the big chunk of wisdom is create a story that your ideal client is the star of. Help them win the award/solve the mystery/conquer the thing. You are not the star–your client is. You are the solution, the road home, the whole plot fixer.

Storytelling for B2B vs. B2C

Storytelling as a marketing strategy is much more common in B2C, but B2B copywriting often relies on storytelling. Especially beyond plain copy: social media, content, and more can lend itself to the creation of a brand’s identity and define their authority.

B2B isn’t so different from that client-facing marketing strategy. B2B copywriting often aims to explain and educate, while also selling companies on products they may or may not need. This is why, fundamentally, storytelling is still effective in your B2B strategy. We are all, of course, humans–and that is why we need to humanize B2B.

Because B2B copywriting is written by humans, for humans, it must come from some seed of humanity, and to argue otherwise is dismissive of most anything fundamental to the basics of Marketing 101. To say that B2B copywriting is irrelevant and that stories don’t sell is ignorant. Until two days ago, I would have thought this was an obvious statement. However, the negation of my career’s value really did make me think about what I do and what value it brings.

In the search for B2B storytelling examples, you’ll find plenty of examples like this one. And so, I was able to remind myself that what I do has value, and I’m probably doing just fine in my field. I hope this blog post helped educate on B2B marketing and why it’s just as creative as any other marketing field. And I hope it perhaps offered some encouragement or validation to my peers and friends who are also creating narrative, stories, and strategies that sell (even in B2B).

 

Until next time,

 

 

 

 

October: Domestic Violence Awareness and a Presidential Collapse

We’re getting political, and raw, for an unusually personal post. I debated on where and how best to share this, and decided that Moonphase was born from the ashes of my demise and escape from domestic violence. Please read to hear my voice and thoughts on what I see in our nation right now.

I refuse to be silent one minute more. Image: Pexels

For some time I had intended to write an essay about all the ways our current administration reminded me of my years of living with a narcissistic abuser. I planned the essay, and even wrote a monstrous draft that was an unruly 3,000 words and fell short of capturing what I wanted to relate to my fellow Americans.

Then October came upon us, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; and then came the presidential collapse—if we could call it that—when Donald Trump and First Lady Melania both tested positive for COVID-19 and the events that followed stirred a nation that was already over-stirred and weary from a strange and surreal trip that began in 2016.

In 2016, I was still with my ex-husband. I had been worn down by two difficult pregnancies, separation and isolation from my family and then, finally, even his family. I was without a car, without financial means, forbidden to work and told often how I was: fat, ugly, dumb, incapable, unlovable, and lucky that he loved me anyway. I was a bumbly bag of bones barely fit to be a mother and destined to be his—grab them by the pussy? He loved Trump and all he said. Trump was, after all, exactly the way the world should be for Alphas like my ex (as he described it).

Trump’s abusive, offensive, degrading spew reinforced and amplified the abuses I heard every day. Once he was elected, I watched the nation turn into an abused spouse: when lie after lie could be unraveled with a simple fact-check, the nation would sit with tight lips with blatant gaslighting subduing us all. See, it isn’t that you truly believe you’re wrong; you know, beyond a doubt with provable points that you are definitely right in whatever the matter is. But your abuser will say there were misunderstandings, you’re the one not thinking clearly, check your dumb head before you say something else stupid…

 

Does it sound familiar?

 

We have been gaslit into a pandemic that couldn’t be controlled because we were worn down, nationally, by leadership that made thinking with any clarified autonomy impossible. In the course of my short marriage and the relatively short while of a bumpy relationship prior to our marriage, I faced a tailspin from a poor single mom in her twenties struggling as an adjunct professor, to being a mother of three living estranged from everyone without access to a car and being denied a bathroom to the point I was forced to soil myself in front of my children.

My ex-husband had “quirks,” a self-declared diagnosis of OCD that I at first happily helped him through by following certain rules and protocols. But my kindness and compassion were my own downfall, as eventually this turned into a control tactic in which I must re-fold and re-do the laundry as punishment should a single piece of clean fabric touch the floor or brush against my chest. Or I must wash and re-wash my hands, and toss entire stocks of food or meals that were “contaminated” by something most people would not even consider.

I was subject to cavity checks to satisfy his OCD compulsions. On multiple occasions I was stripped naked to be showered and “decontaminated” if I were to leave the house the “wrong way.” I watched my dignity stripped entirely, and I saw my sense of self morph into something unrecognizable. There were more things, I could not begin to even tell you—and these things have no real bearing here. Just to point out that, when you are abused, eventually you lose sense of right and wrong and moral to a point it is mere survival and you’ll endure things that, perhaps, four years ago you would have never, ever tolerated in your wildest dreams.

When I escaped, I worried for him. I worried he would not be able to fill out all these forms, and worried if he would he understand the police forms and things I was filling out. It was insane. I was worried for my abuser. You can love someone who has hurt you. You can feel indebted to someone who has hurt you. You can feel scared and ashamed for not worrying about your abuser.

And that right there is what called me to write this today, as the President recovers from COVID-19 and baffles us all with disregard for hygiene and quarantine to limit his spread of the virus that is killing Americans in droves. Because—you can be abused and beaten down and mangled beyond recognition and still have that unbreakable spirit that calls you to kindness and compassion. You can still worry and care for a President that has done so many things that are wrong and inexcusable—and certainly, we can have mixed feelings about his health and recovery and the way he is carrying on at the expense of others’ health amid a pandemic.

It is okay to have a melting pot of emotions during a presidency like this. But if you think the president is for you at the end of the day, I’d point out many abused spouses have said the exact same thing after their abuser has done unspeakable things and ended with, “You’re a despicable human being. No one else could ever love you, but you’re lucky I still do.”

I realize this will not change hearts or waiver opinions. But I lost my voice for too many years to sit tight lipped while another narcissistic abuser uses his power to belittle and hurt others. I have thought, for four years, that this nation is at the hands of an abuser and our collective Stockholm syndrome is going to anesthetize us into a complacent hum of subservience. I believe it has, but I hope that as the hum gives way to discord, that we might find the strength to feel the ground beneath us and walk right out the door into a brave new world with better, kinder, more human leadership.

How (and What) to Write for Business

In two weeks we’ll launch the first night of:

How (and What) to Write for Business

We will be covering ways you can boost your written communication and write better blogs, craft awesome emails, and communicate fo your business with brand, tone, and messaging in mind. We will be offering a lot of tips and tricks and solid info, as well as a real-world assignment that you can use in your own business endeavors. You’ll write a blog and/or email for business, applying the things we learn and discuss in class.

Day international school teachers blackboard books brazil
Get creative. Start communicating in a whole new way with Moonphase Creative’s Writing Course. image: Adobe Stock.

The second night of class (and final class! yes, short and sweet), you’ll receive constructive feedback and ways to keep carrying your writing to the next level. We’re keeping the class small and personable in order to facilitate a COVID-19 friendly setting, and to ensure each student gets the best in personalized feedback and individualized instruction.

Teaching to Empower

I’m teaching business owners, employees, and self-employed folks how to write for business in order to empower your career journey. Learning how to write for business with marketing in mind goes beyond simple grammar mechanics. We will cover ideas surrounding Call to Action, structuring a blog post, utilizing keywords and doing market research in order to craft your message with strategy and purpose.

woman-in-blue-suit-jacket-2422293
Learn to create compelling written communication for your business. Image: Pexels

You’ll be doing some real world work to research, formulate, and craft writing that really responds to our discussion and the things we’ll be talking about. From content creation and content strategy, to planning your social media, we’ve got a lot in store for this class.

Wednesday, September 16th & 23rd

We plan to offer classes continually on Wednesday evenings, and the first will be held September 16th and 23rd, from 5 to 6.30 pm. The class takes place in downtown Colorado Springs at Wolf & Key Marketing, located at your 745 E. Pikes Peak Avenue

You’ll head home from the first evening with an assignment, armed with information about how to complete the writing assignment with things like

  • Blog Post Structure & How to Organize for SEO
  • How to Write with Keywords
  • Word counts
  • How to Write Effectively
  • Brand Communication & Messaging

Come prepared with a notebook and pen/pencil (required) and a laptop or iPad if you have one (not required). The cost is $60, and limited to five students, so you’ll want to get in touch ASAP to reserve your spot.

Good Writing Takes Practice

Good writing takes time, and it takes practice. I’m often hired by those who do not have the time to devote to blog writing or email marketing, and I can be a huge help to those who have the budget and bandwidth. However, I get that many small business owners and solopreneurs are wearing every hat in the business. That was my real motivation in forming this class.

I wanted to offer an affordable class that didn’t demand weeks of commitment, but offered the opportunity to learn some really helpful stuff about writing for business. How do you choose blog topics? How often should you be posting on social media? What is content strategy? How do you write a solid email campaign?

young-woman-drinking-tea-and-using-smartphone-3771060
The take home assignment will leave you with real-world application and positive feedback. Image: Pexels

My goal is to look at the writing itself, rather than tools and platforms, so while we might go over a few things like MailChimp or WordPress blogs, the overall focus of this class is writing and writing alone. I’m happy to help students go beyond and learn more, but for the purposes of this class we will focus on your writing skills, developing really clear, strong communication that is very easily plugged into the platforms so that when your writing goes live, you feel proud and confident about the messages you’re publishing.

Moonphase Creative Classes: Live, In-Person, Online

So far, this class will only be available In-Person, but I’m hoping to expand into online accessibility and various forms of recorded and live classes. I’ll be exploring platforms and options on my end, and of course you can email me with any suggestions you might have.

Want more information on this class or other opportunities to learn and connect? Please contact Moonphase Creative and let us know what your writing needs are.

COVID 19 Classroom Precautions

We are keeping the class small (Limit 5!) to be mindful of COVID 19, and to help ensure an educational experience that is personalized and meets students in a unique and direct way. We also will require masks, as per state guidelines. Probably the coolest part? Wolf & Key Marketing will have a whole wall that can be opened (weather allowing) for optimal airflow and extra ventilation.

If you have any questions or concerns about our in-person learning opportunity, again, please reach out to discuss upcoming online learning options and let us know how we can continue to develop our educational outreach to better serve our community.

Colorado Springs & Beyond

Of course, teaching in-person (let’s be honest–I MISS PEOPLE!! Which is saying something, as I’m an introvert), is only easy if you are also be in the Springs. Again, we are working on ways to connect and educate online. Innovation has never been a strong suit when it comes to technology, if I’m honest, so bear with us as Moonphase Creative once again evolves and expands to meet the evolution of this crazy universe we’re spinning through.

We hope to see you soon, in the classroom or around the blog and in the comments.

 

Until next time,

cropped-Artboard-25-copy-2.png

SEO in 2020: Easy Tricks to Start Conquering Now

When I started writing copy and content in 2017, SEO was relatively new to me and it seemed like a magical locked box of tricks. The fact is, though, SEO doesn’t have to be super complicated: it takes a little ingenuity in the way you think about your structure and word-choice, but the New Google, especially, wants you to be real. Real human, that is. See, packing in the keywords nonsensically is going to lose you points, but being authentic, natural and genuine in your approach–with a little keyword savvy research–will be the ultimate winner in your web copy and content strategy.

You may ask, is SEO even worth the investment in 2020? The answer is definitely yes, and I suggest you check out that link to learn more about exactly how and why SEO in 2020 is changing and evolving, and you don’t want to be left behind.

How do you become an SEO writing guru? You research stuff, stay aware of trends, and look for places to contribute your work. Networking and being part of the communities that matter to you and your business are incredibly important, and if you’re really invested in what you do because you enjoy the work, the networking won’t feel tedious (hopefully).

I’ll cover a few tips, derived from the SEO Master himself, Neil Patel, and what he has to say about SEO in 2020.

Be People Focused

I feel like one of the main goals of Moonphase Creative is to always be people focused. Google agrees this is a hugely important aspect of conquering SEO. But, beyond SEO writing, being people focused is simply the best thing you can do for your business, brand, or company. Building a brand that is focused on the stories of your clients is a brand that will ultimately connect more authentically and this leads to the kind of real engagement you need to grow.

community_writers
Being engaged with the community around you, listening, and taking notes will pay off in the end as you build your business as a writer (or as any kind of freelance creative).

Finding ways to connect and engage in 2020 kind of through us all for a loop. In some ways, I think the flexible savvy of freelancers saved the day for a lot of companies, especially small and medium companies. I know I, as a small-time freelancer, focused on offering social media help to some local folks who owned impacted businesses like Genesis Dance Conservatory in our hometown.

But I also saw freelancers everywhere scrambling to replenish their losses when retainer clients disappeared, and the whole market shifted to a strange and unsettled place of cautious evolution. This brings me to my (or to Neil’s) next point:

Stay on Top of Trends

Staying on top of SEO trends involves a few of the points further down on Neil’s list of ten things to consider for SEO in 2020. But, basically, research and networking to stay actively connected and engaged with conversations about your niche topic. The thing about writing is, it isn’t about writing. Writing is never (rarely) about writing… this blog post is sort of an example, and, really, this entire blog/website is a strange exception. Usually, writers find themselves writing about anything but writing. I’m remembering the time I wrote all about septic tanks and also the time I wrote about auto restoration.

See, trends matter, and knowing how to research your topics and plug in the top writing trends will be absolutely key in crafting killer blog posts that help gain organic traffic and get you leads to the next thing, and the next thing, and the…

pexels-elijah-o'donnell-4066041
Follow your passion. Whatever you’re writing about, make sure it’s relevant. Research the topic, research the trend, and–as every writing teacher will tell you–write what you know.

Constantly research, dig and search for content ideas that will speak to the trends but also authentically speak to the heart of your brand and brand messaging. Building your brand identity while also answering to the trends can seem like tricky terrain, but I promise as you gain experience in crafting your brand message, you’ll figure out the best way to tell your brand story, stay relevant to trends, and turn your messaging into engagement.

Contribute More Places & Plan Strategically

I’m combining a couple of SEO 2020 tips in this article, because I think building your content plan out strategically is an awesome tip. It takes some foresight and *actual planning* but it is a great way to encourage long-term engagement, and the perfect opportunity to strategically reach out to more places to guest post and contribute your knowledge elsewhere.

Planning strategically can help fill your social media calendar with links and cross-sharing opportunities to really boost your social media reach. Once I began writing web copy, then blogs, I realized how simple and smart it would be to add social media management into our offerings. Strategically building a social media plan that involves a month of curated content that moves seamlessly across platforms takes some intentional thinking, planning, and knowledge about market and trends–but the overall polish this next-level brand communication and presence adds to your company is priceless.

neon-signage-2681319
Consider the trends, then go beyond to create an arc of strategic content that tells a story, pitches the sale, and connects with the audience all at once. It take a little out-of-the box thinking, but you can totally do it with a little foresight, SEO, and creative elbow grease!

My final tip is specifically for the writers, and yeah, it also comes off that list by Neil Patel about writing for SEO in 2020. But this is the one I personally love most, and is truly the bread-and-butter of Moonphase Creative:

Master the Long Form

You have probably heard me talk about writing the ideal blog post, which basically requires you to master the long form. A blog post should have a minimum of 1,000 words, contain a few great images, and some external and internal links to help your site both algorithmically and organically. I’m not a super tech-focused sort, so organic SEO is more my style. This requires that special attention be given to the long form, and I always start with my monthly blog topic ideas, and build my shorter-form social media strategy around those larger blog articles. The long form will help you assert your authority, share your value, and overall connect with your audience. So, even though the long form can be tedious, it’s one of the best ways to get your brand going.

I hope these tips helped, and I’ll be talking more about writing for the web in future posts. Moonphase Creative offers copy and content, strategy and consulting for your social media and website/blogging needs, as well as social media management. If you’re looking for a little help in those departments, please connect to see what we can do for you.

Until next time,

Artboard 25 copy 2

 

Raise Your Voice: Write Louder

Writing for the web can feel like shouting off a cliff into a strong wind that carries your words absolutely nowhere. So I thought I would offer a little class on Blog Writing in an intentional way that can help boost your visibility, credibility, and overall staying-power in the world of web marketing relevance.

If that “shouting off of a cliff into a strong wind sort of feeling” sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing to put your website’s blogging endeavors out there. Increasing your visibility on the web and within social media is crucial–and one of the best ways to do that is by sharing weekly or regularly  updated blog posts.

Why?

Because Blogging Boosts your Credibility

Writing a blog gives you a chance to share on the topics you know most about. It’s a great way to share your expertise and show that you know what you’re talking about to potential customers and clients.

 

Hiring a writer to do the writing for you can save a lot of time, and a good copywriter can research and write on topics you provide with a little fact-checking and approval from you before it goes live. So, though it seems daunting and impossible, it is actually really doable if you outsource the time-consuming task of writing a great post that’s over a thousand words long on a weekly basis.

Plus, you’ll…

Have the Perfect Shareable Content

If you have a blog post that is fresh and new on a weekly basis, you have a whole new thing to share every week: the perfect shareable content created by you. Plus, you can also talk about the topic more on social media, direct people to your blog, and create more traffic and interest this way.

Especially if you feel the topic has buzzworthy interest status or will be really useful to your clients and audience, feel free to share and boost your social media posts to keep climbing that ladder of visibility, encouraging more engagement, and reaching out for more authentic connections that lead to sales and conversions.

Two Blog Posts a Week Give you Powerful Social Media Opportunities

If you can aim for two blog posts a week, that’s great. I honestly miss that mark pretty much every week, but I do have my calendar “soft-scheduled” for Monday and Wednesday. I aim for Monday and Wednesday, and having it on my calendar helps me stay committed and aware of those deadlines. Missing a day won’t be the end of it all. The end is when you decide you’ve missed three posts, so what’s the point? And you give up. That is the end, but only because you decided it is the end.

If you are having trouble coming up with content, think about your industry and what kinds of things your clients are often asking about? Do you notice certain aspects of your job that clients seem often confused by? Take blog posts as an opportunity to educate and inform. It definitely helps your business to increase your authority and trust on the subject you work with–and it will encourage people to reach out with more questions and even inspire them to hire you if it seems like your take on the matter seems particularly perfect.

Write Louder with Better Headers

Writing with strong headlines and titles is really important, and it can be an art unto itself. While I’m a creative person, I admit this is honestly not my strong suit. However, you can do as I say and not as I do (though I sometimes try), and follow these easy tips for making headlines and titles that stick:

  1. Use numbers and lists. Think of headlines you’ve seen…. “5 Tips to…” or “This List of 3 Things…”
  2. Use blazing words that spark interest. And, yeah, I know–we all know that “amazing” post is clickbait. But sometimes not…. Using buzz words like these still play well with humans and algorithms. Make sure your info and writing is on-point and true to your vision, but don’t avoid those catchy titles just because you feel a little silly.
  3. Include tight phrasing that include keywords. My keywords include writing/write/writer, so I am going to use the word write pretty often in my titles. But not always, because I do have other keywords I want to rank for as well–and sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.

Blog Posts are: Time Consuming. Fun. Necessary.

So, Class, which best describes the act of writing blog posts:

A. Time Consuming

B. Fun

C. Necessary

D. All of the Above

 

abc-books-chalk-chalkboard-265076
Answer: All of the Above. Image via Pexels

Answer: All of the Above

 

Or, possibly A & C if you’re not a writer who enjoys coming up with topics, research, and ideas for blog posts. As a small business, a solopreneur, or any business model that benefits from social media marketing–you should be considering blogging one of your top five tools to boost your social media marketing.

If you’re looking for more tips on blog writing, check out these resources or contact us to find out how Moonphase Creative can help you develop a blogging schedule, a strategy, and solutions for sticking to it.

Get Your Blog On

If you aren’t sure where to start, feel free to reach out and start a conversation with Moonphase Creative. We offer blog writing services and consultation to help you meet your web marketing and communication goals. Have a story but not sure how to tell it? Have ideas but not sure how to organize it? Need blog posts but don’t have the time?

We’ve got you.

Until next time,

Angi

AngiBaker-4
Angi, Owner of Moonphase Creative.

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Solopreneurs! Are you ready to rise up?

When this morning hit, I really thought I was going to slay the day. By 9.30, I was my third diaper change, so hey–no one could say I wasn’t being productive! But I was so ready for naptime, so I could get to the keyboard and tell you all about this latest thing Moonphase Creative is offering.

Custom Package with Special Pricing for Black Owned/Female Owned Small-Business Owners

I’m offering customized writing/service packages and special pricing for black-owned and/or female owned small-business owners and solopreneurs. See, when I left my ex-husband three years ago, I was knee-deep in oppression and struggling to make my way. In a world where childcare is the cost of a mortgage and employers are more concerned about their bottomline than employee health, getting to a point of freelance freedom was absolutely crucial to the survival of me and my three girls.

So with all this political uprising and an uncomfortable zoom-in on the unjust ways of our world, I’m here to be part of the solution and extend help however I can. If you happen to be a solopreneur and happen to be black and/or female, please contact me. First consultation is always free, but I want to talk to you about how you CAN become a successful small business owner. I want to help you find a path that works for you. As a copywriter/editor and illustrator with some knowledge of content creation and strategy, I’m confident we can figure out the blueprints of a career that can grow.

LGBTQ+ Crowd Welcome, Too

Not to be exclusive, and definitely welcoming all rainbow fam–I want to welcome the LGBTQ+ crowd into this offer, too. See, when you’re struggling on the peripheral of society, you can get so caught up in daily survival, trying to make it through the trauma and societal norm navigating just to avoid panic attacks–strategizing your business can seem like an afterthought.

close-up-photo-of-lgbtq-letters-on-a-person-s-hands-1566842
Moonphase Creative is focusing on the LGBTQ Community to help LGBTQ solopreneurs slay the day. Image found at Pexels

I’m here to connect and use my skills as a solopreneur in the freelance world to help you develop your ideas, define your path, and execute a plan. Our first consultation is always free, and I know a lot can be accomplished in that initial meeting. If you’re ready for more, we have plans and packaging that can be engineered to fit your budget because right now, I’m giving back to the world that has so graciously given to me.

 

Others Lifted Me Up… Now it is MY Turn

When I left my situation a little over three years ago, I was emotionally battered, physically exhausted, and mentally stretched thin. Traditional employment quickly showed itself to be an impossibility for many reasons. I was a single mom of three, and all three were already needing tons of therapy due to the trauma we were all escaping and navigating.

sleeping_scared
This was me holding my beautiful girls after a fruitless shift in retail. Shortly after leaving my abusive marriage, I worked for not a lot of money and it mostly complicated my situation, rather than adding value. Enter: Freelance Freedom.

Beyond that, there was a police investigation and lawyer-stuff happening on the daily… I was in no shape to be dropping my kids off at daycare and going off to work in retail or wherever else. Jumping back into teaching after a five year absence while my ex-husband degraded me and convinced me I wasn’t able or worthy wasn’t going to be so easy, either.

But I could write and I could draw/design. I held an MFA in Writing; I had studied art and animation. I had a few skills, and I knew I could sail my own ship. This was how it all began, and I registered Moonphase Creative as a writing and illustration sole proprietorship, and did my best to jump in and build my empire.

It Takes Time… but you CAN

Building your freelance career takes time, but you can definitely do it. I want to avoid telling you it’s easy and you’ll have a great income in six-months, because that wasn’t my personal experience and I’m all about transparency. I was lucky to meet a few great mentors and learn a few hard lessons right at the starting line, and this definitely helped me shape my path and achieve eventual success.

photo-of-woman-standing-on-sunflower-field-3756168
Let’s figure out where you are and where you’re going–and if Moonphase Creative can help. Image: Andrea Piacquadio

Every day is a learning experience, and some days will be more productive, more successful than others. Due diligence will reveal results, though, and I want to help others work on the plan to get you where you want to be.

Let’s Find Your Niche

Let’s talk about your goals and interest and find your niche if you’re still wandering in search of it. And let’s see how you can start building your plan. Please contact me to get chatting, and I’m so excited to talk about what we can do for you. Or keep an eye on our website to see new posts rolling out about being a small business in the land of niches.

I’m a writer and illustrator and I’ve often said the beauty of my job is that I’m not limited to any single subject or sector. But if I’m honest, I love working with fitness peeps: exercise, bodybuilding, nutrition, and more. I also love working with woman-owned businesses that somehow relate to the service industry, motherhood, or female-centric products and services. I felt weird saying that for a while, but it’s true. And I also love working with creative out-of-the-box niches that have a place and a purpose but are sometimes hard to nail down. One of my very favorite projects to have helped launched into the world? This Sex Positive Education website.

If this sounds like we would be a good fit, let’s get together and talk about what your options might be. I can hand you some resources and ideas, and we can have a coffee chat by Zoom or by phone to go over the details of what you’re doing, where you’re headed, and how Moonphase Creative can help.

A Thoughtful Response to Schessa Garbutt’s “Black Lives Matter is Not a Design Challenge”

 

The article shared on Medium’s Design Toast at the beginning of June made a lot of great points about virtue signaling and how garnering likes for social justice sketches is a less than okay way to respond to the Black Lives Movement. To be honest, I was sitting in my cozy seat of white privilege doing exactly nothing because I felt it was my place to do nothing when I got a message from my friend that catapulted me into action. I agreed with all the points of Garbutt’s article, and I still do agree with the points—but I wanted to respond in case the article might shut-down some actually on-point actions and responses to BLM for fear of being the wrong kind of help.

Close up of old English dictionary page with word privilege
I was sitting cozy in my white privilege until a friend reached out. Image: Adobe Stock

 

The message I received was a tearful, exhausted confessional of emotions and maybe a decade or more worth of her personal and silent struggle to pretend it’s all okay and race issues in America aren’t all that bad. She and her family have been living the struggle on the daily, but her public persona would never let you in on that fact.

“I’ve been up all night. I fear for the lives of my kids—my husband could have lost his last night.”

You see, her (black) husband had been peacefully protesting the day before, and before he could come home, Columbus, OH police kettled the protesters for six hours before letting people leave. People tried to get in their cars and leave, but police were forcibly removing them from vehicles and “beating their faces off,” my friend related to me.

It was at this point I decided I couldn’t sit by and say this isn’t my fight because I’m white and I don’t belong. Being intentional about purchasing take-out from black-owned local restaurants suddenly seemed like a paltry contribution. Reaching out to say, “you okay?” to my black friends seemed hardly enough. And now, I had a friend reaching out to me in fear saying very blatantly, we need your help.

We need your voices right now because when black people speak up here, it doesn’t mean as much. We need white voices to help lift up the black voices.”

So, if you are white/privileged/otherwise leading a comfortably entitled existence but wanting to contribute in some way for the right reasons, let’s have a look at some ways to do this productively–and some of these do completely echo Garbutt’s suggestions. Her words are what I, as a white writer/illustrator/communicator, need to be listening to first before responding. If you haven’t read her article, please do click on this link.

 

  1. Defer to the black community about what is needed.
  2. If you are a white person, be cognizant of the racism embedded in your community. Talk about it. Educate your community. Be an ambassador.
  3. Be really aware of what your goals and intentions are with your work.
  4. Find ways to give back to the black community through your work.
  5. Feature black-owned businesses, connect and collaborate with black creatives, and find ways to utilize the works and voices of the black community.

 

 

hands_reaching
Image from Adobe Stock

 

After this article was published over at Medium, I heard a few creatives discussing it in various forums. I digested the message and double-checked my actions, and truly felt my work was coming from the right place—but I decided to keep evaluating and adjusting the way I approached things.

 

But then I got an email from a local designer friend whom I know is genuinely, deeply committed to the causes of social justice and change. She had been working on some truly beautiful works for our print efforts, but she said, “well, as per this article, maybe I shouldn’t even put these out there.”

 

I responded, “no I think you should keep doing the work—let’s just be mindful how and when and where we put stuff out there.”

Because, you see, this friend has experience with oppression and missed opportunities, judgment, and assumptions because of being differently abled. She is deaf and has experienced audism (which I did not know about and she educated me to understand this term used to describe a negative, ableist attitude toward deafness and the deaf community). She has also dealt with sexism and religious oppression, and she has developed her worldview through her unique experience.

Her experience aligns her empathy with Black Lives Matter in a way I can’t even fully fathom. Just as, in other ways, my own experience aligns me empathetically with the cause in ways others may not realize and I don’t feel the need to explain or justify, because right now my story doesn’t matter: but the ways it has prepared me can at least be useful to Black Lives Matter.

SayTheseNames_List
I did my own design work with all the right intentions, but the names overwhelmed. It seemed trite and ridiculous to even attempt. Besides, the issue goes so much deeper than police fatalities and systemic racism. Image is mine.

We all probably have a story or an experience that in some way helps us empathetically align to the cause. To say we have no point of reference is to minimize the collective human experience and how we are all uniquely equipped to be first responders to the Black Lives Matter issue. Whatever your positional point of reference may be, I think the important point of consideration remains: consider your white fragility, your place of privilege, and what you truly have to offer the world on behalf of Black Lives everywhere.

I decided to double-check my intentions, re-examine my privilege, and make sure my actions are going to help further the cause rather than pollute the social media sludge scroll. I encourage others to do the same, and if someone asks, “are we being white saviors?” or “is this really going to help?” I think that measuring your output against this list is a worthwhile litmus test.

If you have engaged with black thought, read about current events, white privilege, virtue signaling, divisive thinking, and you have done the internal work to check yourself—by all means, continue on with your crusade. Be mindful and definitely defer to number five on Garbutt’s list of how to direct your energy for the greater good and cause of Black Lives Matter.

 

“If you must make art, here’s a challenge: figure out how it can benefit the movement without benefitting you.” Schessa Garbutt, from “Black Lives Matter is not a Design Challenge”

 

I truly believe art is often the most powerful and effective tool for change. Writing and art can educate and empower in both an immediate and lasting way. Art persists when protests end in violence. Writing remains when the words of angry rioters are lost into the elbows of their oppressors. Powerful writing can lift up a cause and become a voice for the oppressed, and powerful art can spread a message that transcends language and meets us on another level where our emotional conscience fights to raise our awareness to another level.

So while I ask that everyone check their intentions and do the necessary navel-gazing work in the shower where it belongs, I also encourage everyone to do their part—even if that means it falls on the creative spectrum and you are not yourself a person of color.

 

Not everyone is able to protest.

Not everyone is able to donate.

Not everyone is able to write.

Not everyone is able to draw/paint/sculpt/sketch.

 

For the Cause

Take up the cause however you can while carefully listening to the black community, deferring to the voice of the unheard in order to amplify the cause rather than to virtue signal.

If you are unsure where you fall in this category, you’re probably at least asking the right questions to keep self-aware. Keep going. But remain open to criticism and questions. Be ready to have that hard look in the mirror and carefully reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if it’s going to make a difference.

Brand Communication: Writing with Vision

I’ve been delving into branding and strategy more and more lately, simply because writing for social media is kind of inseparable from the fascinating land of Branding and Marketing. Here are a few thoughts to get you on your own path to better brand communication, on-point messaging, and a more mindful approach to tone and story.

Communicating Your Story

When you’re writing for social media, you are communicating the arc of your brand’s story over the course of social media. The catch is, though, you aren’t the hero. You are the answer to the hero’s struggle, and your mission is to show them all the ways your business, your products and/or services, make their struggle all better.

man and woman having troubled communication
Make your communication clear so the crowd hears you loud and clear. Image: AdobeStock

So communicating your brand’s story should be authentic and engaging, but it should also be incredibly intentional. It should focus on your client persona and really achieve a specific conversation leveraged to gain their interest and trust. This intentional appeal to your perfect client is what will ultimately win you more conversions. Because–as we’ve said before: engagements are great, but conversions are better.

Brand Communication is a Thing

I promise you, brand communication is a thing: if you ignore this important fact, your messaging will be significantly less effective. Operating within your company’s brand and vision can be an entirely different thing from communicating well and communicating effectively. You can communicate well and effectively, but if it isn’t in-line with your brand’s vision, mission, and overall image, then it is counterproductive and can damage your marketing endeavors.

Developing your branding takes time, and there are tons of creatives who dedicate their professional careers to developing brands, cultivating the looks, style, and messaging of a company. For my peeps in Colorado Springs, are just a few places to connect with if you want amazing, professional, and personal attention to brand your professional outfit.

Neon Pig Creative

Ren Creative

Copywriting & Voice

Copywriting can seem like such a stiff and boring aspect of branding and marketing, but the voice of your brand ultimately belongs in the hands of the writer. Finding the right tone and style for your brand’s professional communication pieces, blog posts, general website copy, and social media can be more challenging than you first assume. Considering written tone is harder to decipher with certainty, finding a writer who is a good fit for your brand’s voice is incredibly important.

The nuance of written communication, along with brevity and clarity, are some of the most important elements you need to consider when developing your brand’s written communication. Beyond these things, it should be consistent. When people see an Instagram post, Facebook post, or blog post from your company, the copy should read with a similar enough tone, message, and personality that your audience doesn’t feel jarred, or as though a dozen different people are talking at them through different social media platforms.

These points of consideration should be on your checklist when you set to the tasks of defining and improving your brand communication where necessary.

three-black-handset-toys-821754
Don’t get your wires crossed!    Photo: Alex Andrews

Deliver on What You Say

Consistency is key, so if you can deliver on what you’re saying–then of course your business is solid and gold. I make mention of this because when we work within the structure of Marketing, it can be easy to start making lucrative promises and painting pictures beyond what we can deliver.

Dream big, but dream realistically. Carefully consider your messaging and what you offer, to be sure you set yourself up for a successful delivery of any products, goods, or services. Charge fairly–charge enough that you can take on a comfortable load and make a comfortable living. This factor alone will give you the power to politely decline jobs that sound like they’re not a good fit. If this happens often, it may be time to revisit your strategy and take a look at your ideal client persona vs. what your business is actually attracting.

communicationweb
Every part of your brand’s communication realized on words and visual cohesion. Image:AdobeStock

Communication is Key

Written communication becomes the binding thread between all of your print and web publications. Every single marketing campaign, social media platform presence, and newsletter publication will boil down to the message you send through writing.

Visual content is also important, but without strong writing to carry and lift, everything will fall flat. Poor communication and sub-par writing will leave your readers doubting you, and eventually they will move on to the more polished shop with shinier words and better communication.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your writing, or would like to outsource your writing, please contact us. And if you’re not sure where to begin as you set sail through social media, please feel free to reach out with questions or shoot me an email at

angi.baker.saunders@gmail.com

 

Until next time,

 

 

Angi

Social Media Building Blocks

Copywriting can provide the building blocks for a great social media marketing plan. For all the components of social media that can seem really intimidating, writing is one of the most straightforward aspects that can take up a lot of time but can provide the biggest, most solid foundation for your small business strategy to conquer social media.

 

Which social media platforms should I use?

If your business isn’t currently utilizing online social media, I strongly recommend a Facebook business page and a business Instagram account to closely follow. These are two of the most widely used platforms, and they’re also owned by the same company and this means there is a lot of ways to use these two platforms together to increase your effective use of Facebook and Instagram.

After you feel comfortable with Facebook and Instagram, feel free to add other social media platforms that you would like to use and that make sense for your professional niche. Twitter can be a great platform for bite-sized conversations, link sharing, and finding conversations to be a part of to increase your connection and visibility.

Tumblr is often the forgotten platform, but it focuses a lot on a merging of visual and writing, making it a great place for visual-based solopreneurs to share their work, projects, and passions while having space to talk about your vision at length.

If you’re struggling with knowing where to start, feel free to shoot us an email–Moonphase Creative offer Social Media Onboarding packages and consultation to help connect people with platforms. And of course, there are so many amazing resources online to help sort your first steps in social media.

advertising-alphabet-blog-close-up-267371 (1)
Using Facebook to connect, educate, and communicate with your audience is a valuable move. Photo: Pixabay

 

Facebook is your Friend

Having a business page for your business is easy to set up and offers you an almost immediate connection to the world of social media. Posting several times a week with posts that are useful to your audience is a great way to start your social media strategy. Creating strong, useful posts can be intimidating–but scheduling your posts ahead of time can allow you to create your strategy ahead of time and get a leg up on your content creation.

There are numerous resources and pros offering the perfect strategy–so I encourage you to check out some of these great resources for learning the basics of utilizing Facebook as a business page strategy.

advertising-alphabet-blog-business-267363
Eye-Candy and interactive! Pinterest offers an opportunity for marketing strategy at its finest. Photo: Pixabay

Learning to use Pinterest

Learning to use Pinterest as an effective marketing tool can be slightly intimidating, and Pinterest won’t be the right social platform for every business–but it can be a fantastic tool for many industries to generate interest and attract clicks to their website. If you have a blog, let your anchor images and body images become the images for Pinterest posts that will entice people to click and learn more on your site.

Some great niches for Pinterest include fashion, visual art and illustration, and foodies–but it certainly isn’t limited to these groups. There are so many ways to use Pinterest as an innovative, effective marketing tool and if this is something you’re looking for more information about check out these folks who have some great things to say about developing your Pinterest marketing strategy.

access-blur-close-up-colorful-238480
Photo by Omkar Patyane from Pexels

Instagram: Conquering the Beast

Instagram can be an absolute beast to effectively use, and conquering the Insta strategy can seem a bit elusive–especially with the constantly changing algorithms. Instagram is easy to use in its most basic sense, but building your following organically can be extremely challenging. Check out this quicksprouts guide to making effective Instagram posts and boosting your Instagram account.

Strong visuals, high-impact designs, and visual messaging that prompts the scrolling IG user to pause is a great goal. A longer caption that relates a compelling story, interesting nugget of education or trivia, or a really helpful how-to is a great way to create authenticity, engagement, and establish your credibility and authority. These points of consideration can help you approach your social media strategy with the right visual-to-copy ration. It is easy to think of IG as a totally visual platform, but considering lengthy captions as an important component of your successful IG strategy, it is extremely important to give attention to those strongly written captions.

young-woman-drinking-tea-and-using-smartphone-3771060
Tackle your social media strategy from anywhere, at any time. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

 

Tackle your Social Media with confidence and consistency. Consistency is really key. Nothing will be built overnight, but your persistence will show results with the right strategy over the course of a few months. If you’re looking to be in touch for more information or consultation, Moonphase Creative is always here to help–feel free to contact us!

 

Until next time,

 

Angi

 

 

Developing Your Content Strategy

There are a lot of ways to streamline your social media marketing and blog post outreach, and a dozen people will tell you a dozen different ways to do it the best. However, if they’re worth their salt, you will hear a few resounding repeats in the advice thrown your way. I’d like to cover some ideas about developing your content strategy in  in short-form.

Firstly, though…

What is Content Strategy?

In short, Content Strategy is how your brand chooses to use social media content (blog posts, Facebook posts, Instagram, Twitter, and so on) in order to strategically appeal to the audience and make connections that become conversions.

Content strategy is kind of like the Ad Man job of the 20th century, in a way. People got really tired of kitschy commercials and two-page print ads in magazines they didn’t want to subscribe to once 2001 arrived. Print advertising isn’t dead, but it has changed. Just like content strategy isn’t new–it’s just been evolving for a while and we’re finally seeing how this little component of online marketing and social media outreach can be a hugely important part to any small business or solopreneur’s strategy.

Content strategy
Develop your content strategy with authenticity, accuracy, and your audience in mind.

The thing is, content strategy isn’t hard, per se, but it takes a little time to develop and the skillset is an elusive mix of knowledge, common sense, and social savvy. The idea is to develop content that appeals to your crowd in an authentic way–because no one likes a sales pitch that feels smarmy, out-of-touch or too thirsty. I prefer to coach clients when possible to develop their own brand strategy and give them the tools to implement it themselves. I do provide content and social media designs, but largely I truly believe most small businesses and solo professionals can be successfully coached to take the reigns of most of their own social media campaign with the right information and toolset.

Being an Authority & Expert in Your Field

The reason I believe most small businesses and professionals have the potential to arm their own social media is because the biggest piece of the puzzle is being an authentically engaged, dedicated expert in your field. You can learn how to wrangle your social media; but your expertise is exactly why you do what you do. That being said, a successful and well-done content strategy plan can be time-consuming–which is why some choose to outsource the job to freelancers like myself who invest their time and unique toolsets into this as a full-time career.

But–time and toolsets aside–

People want knowledge and answers to their questions. That’s the big thing to remember when piecing together your brand’s social media strategy. People want to hear from an authority on topics of concern. This is where a small business has the chance to give followers and potential followers a clear idea of who your company is and what knowledge and expertise you offer. The internet is a scary place filled with misinformation and scammy back-alleys. So, if you can prove you’re a genuine, authentic person with actual authority and knowledge on your topic–you’re golden.

Because content strategy is developing ideas about how you can communicate your knowledge and know-how to your audience in an authentic way that keeps them coming back for more. That’s it. In a nutshell, that’s what you need to do in order to grow the right kind of following that will turn into sales/loyal clients/returning patrons (and so on).

marketing-school-business-idea-21696
A successful plan for your content strategy is possible with a little planning and consideration.

How Do I Create a Plan for Content?

You might be asking where to begin and wondering how to create a plan for your content.

Forget the strategy, how do I even make good content?!

I’ll talk more about the particulars of content in a future post–but simply put Content is simply the stuff you are talking about, promoting, and showing across your social media platforms. Are you talking about the hot new homes for sale in your area? That’s your content: the real estate market is the subject you’re discussing. Are you sharing a DIY post on how to mend a hole in your shirt? Then your content is craft and DIY related, and your mending a shirt blog post is probably going to appeal for people searching DIY methods for fashion, or “clothing hacks” for everyday people.

Knowing your audience is absolutely key in planning your content. But before that, even, you must know your brand. This seems insanely obvious, but it is painfully true that many solopreneurs and small businesses do not know their own business well enough to be generating the right kind of content.

Often times, my clients know their industry really well, but they’re failing to see how valuable and indispensable they are within the industry they serve. Know your own worth, trust your authority, and make lists about what you do and why. Once you have explored what you do and how you serve people with expertise and authority–write down your plan.

Content Strategy: The Authority Plan

Develop a two-week plan that covers a certain topic in part. You can cover this over the course of two or three blog posts, and then promote these posts across other social media platforms. Talk about your current blog posts that are offering an “in-depth look at the industry (fill in your niche)” or share resources related to your two-week campaign in addition to the blog post you wrote on the topic.

man-wearing-white-top-in-front-of-woman-wearing-blue-long-1181715
Create a sense of authority and expertise while also remaining relatable to your audience.          Photo by Christina Morillo

This is a reinforcement of your expertise and authority, which highlights what you can do for your clients and why you’re worth hiring. The best part is? Your how-to and information campaigns can honestly help people and you never had to pitch an awkward, weird sales-pitch to someone who didn’t want to hear it in the first place.

Content Strategy: The Launch

Gear your social media toward a launch. Maybe it will be the launch of a new product or a new class you’re teaching. It’s up for you to decide, but if this is a good fit for your small biz and what’s happening in your brand’s world, The Launch is a fantastic way to operate on a couple of marketing techniques that can really motivate people to jump on board your train of awesomeness.

The launch strategy capitalizes on a few things for your readers/viewers. First of all, since the launch happens at the end of a timeline, there is a countdown and a sense of scarcity as tickets/availability/time dwindles as the launch date draws closer. The “get it before it’s gone” mentality makes it hard to pass by if it is something that intrigues your readership or viewers.

Content Strategy: The Evergreen

I know I’ve talked about evergreen content before, but evergreen content really is that valuable. It’s the kind of stuff that, over time, stays relevant in the Google rankings because it remains relevant. If you write a really fantastic and informative, helpful post on a common problem in your field, people searching for a common solution to this common problem will be thankful you shared the answer.

creative-female-artisan-drawing-in-workshop-3771079
Demonstrate your expertise and show what you do as a form of content strategy.                     Photo by Andrea Piacquadio 

It’s the perfect chance to flout your authority and help some people out–who, in turn, might just poke around the rest of your website/channel/social media account and decide you’re pretty much the bee’s knees. At this point, at the very least you have the chance of earning a new follower. And, best case scenario, this evergreen content could earn you a converted client because they have found you–and your information–to be tried-and-true.

 

 

 

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑