Pandemic 2020: Social Media All Onboard

How Are You Staying Connected?

Whether you’re a small business or a singular person, how are you staying connected? The world just got way more virtual then ever before–and it’s a huge change from the way the world worked even a month ago. We’re writing more, posting more, scrolling more…

And small businesses everywhere need to be creating that content to take part in the conversation. It’s amazing to see how people are reaching out and organically, authentically engaging with small businesses and brands. If there is one thing that this pandemic has done for the world, it is humanizing many aspects of the globe we didn’t consider or thought of us a non-human fixture.

Cars simply were everywhere, and everyone was in a room working, and we all got stuck in traffic jams trying to get home so we could fill our heads with mindless noise to drown out our exhaustion until we fell asleep.

Nothing about right now is easy, but it is certainly a change in that rush here/rush there dynamic, and the slowdown seems to be a really big factor for many people. All the changes have people listening to the quiet, reveling in the stillness, and trying to figure out how-the-actual-F to work from home with kids and pets as co-workers.

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Engagement and authentic exchanges on social media? Count me in! (image: Adobe Stock Photos)

And one amazing change happening around me that I’ve noticed? We’re engaging more. We are engaging authentically, and intentionally. People are banding together to call and chat for support via platforms like Zoom and WebEx. Companies are making unprecedented accommodations to allow the world to work from home, which opens up a whole new realm of possibilities going forward.

I’m candidly optimistic that this could be the game-changer the world needs to connect in a new, more relevant way that truly serves and supports more people than ever before. I’m also excited for all the ways we need writers right now to help fuel the conversation and find the best formatting. Creatives have this whole Pandemic thing figured out–our flex and adaptability, divergent thinking, and strong communication skills are all amazing skills to have for this crisis.

Benefits of (Virtual) Contact

Plenty of people are already seeing benefits of increased virtual contact that comes from a place of necessity. Those living in seclusion on a regular basis even when COVID-19 wasn’t commanding all our energies and attention are likely finding more ways to connect and engage than before.

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Empty chairs, everywhere.               Image via Pexels

As the world shifts its energy and mindset to serve the masses who are adjusting to this change, our technology use changes. It is a surprising shift from meaninglessly scrolling to picking up our phone with intention. This may be a purely personal observation, but I find myself more at ease with my offline world and plugging in to have useful, productive conversation with family, friends, and even business connections.

A Strategy for Social Media Success

Re-Thinking the way we utilize social media is bound to be an outcome in this, and developing a strategy for social media success will definitely give us the upper hand when it comes to coping with mental health issues and other negative side-effects of never leaving the house.

This new approach to social media and online service is something I’m excited about–largely because my work is largely web-based and I get really excited about helping clients connect and engage with their customers online.

Developing your content strategy and social media presence will be key if you are self-employed or running a small business. It can seem like a terrifying time, but I’m advising my clients to focus on growth and building authentic engagements that capitalize on future potential.

Nothing is normal right now. No one feels too excited about the current situation. But I’m confident that the metaphorical “tomorrow” is going to get here and it is going to be bigger, brighter, and better if we keep searching for ways to solve these global issues at hand. And, call me crazy, but I’m confident we can and will develop the solutions.

Writing for Your Social Media Presence

If you are a business owner or professional and haven’t already done so, begin writing for your social media presence in a way that elevates your voice and style in a new way. Show the world what you do, why you love to do it, and why you are an expert. Be confident, be friendly, and be authentic. Write posts that capitalize on the moment. Engage with your audience and have fun–because we all need some humor and entertainment right now.

If you can create a conversation surrounding your business now, and develop a community that is entertained and engaged enough to follow along, you may very well have a number of loyal first-time customers waiting for you when this pandemic clears up and we’re back to the daily rush and grind of life without quarantine.

We’re In This Together

Mental health is sure to be an increasing concern for all the many people around the globe who are social-distancing and containing as we fight to make sure the COVID-19 curve is kept down as much as possible. Let’s reach out and connect and mindfully consider what we can do to help our family, friends, and neighbors during this time.

I’m convinced we will keep the curve from rising, even though at the time of this writing we’re seeing a huge and overwhelming impact on our healthcare system, the people who are facing this on the frontlines, and millions of others affected by this directly.

Whatever your expertise, your passion, your drive, use what you have to help. Check out this great post from Harpers Bazaar on ways to contribute and aid your community. Some ideas are really easy, like staying home, and other ideas include

  • shop local (I’m based in Colorado Springs, USA, but please check about your own)
  • donate to places like Feeding America
  • be mindful of loved ones who have limited resources and access–reach out to them.
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Shop Local and Shop Small to help your local community and small businesses everywhere. Photo: Adobe Stock Photo

Share your thoughts.

Share your thoughts in the comments or shoot me an email at angi.baker.saunders@moonphasecreative.com

 

Tips from a Work-at-Home Writer: 4 Keys to Block Scheduling

Productivity & Block Scheduling

I figure everyone is working from home, so, as a work-from-home freelance writer, I wanted to share some strategies for increasing productivity and utilizing block scheduling. As a work-at-home mom, I’m fairly used to (and well equipped) to be flexible and creative in ways I get things done. I’ve been utilizing this super effective method for some time, but only now realized it is, like, a thing and people call it block scheduling.

I previously discussed ways small businesses need to change their approach during the Coronavirus pandemic, and now I want to talk about ways people–small business owners, self-employed people, and traditionally employed folks–can all make the most of these days spent home under the realm of social-distancing.

Ways To Build a Block Schedule

Build a block schedule by examining your goals, your responsibilities and your hours of availability. Instead of an overwhelming list of things to do and trying to find time to do them, find chunks of time (hours or even 30 minute increments) and start filling those calendar spaces with tasks and projects.

  1. Figure out daily to-dos and recurring tasks that need to be on the schedule.
  2. Consider important work goals and deadlines that have fixed or inflexible due dates.
  3. Think about recurring appointments or routines that you must work around.
  4. Start considering your day in chunks of times rather than lists of itemized to-dos.
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Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

1. Dailies & Tasks

This sort of runs parallel to numeric point three below, but it’s on a smaller scale. Do you like to walk the dog at ten? Do your kids leave for school by a certain time? Do you have certain chores you prefer to do in the morning vs. the afternoon? A lot of my work-from-home-strategy banks on nap time of our youngest, who is still home full-time, and when the others are all gone for school (which is now irrelevant because we’re all here, all the time, because Coronavirus).

But these types of daily chores and routines can be a helper, not an enemy, to your block scheduling. For instance, I know everyone won’t be out the door until eight a.m. and then I know the baby will be ready to nap at 9 so–instead of trying to cram work in somewhere in the early morning (because if I lived alone in a weirdly isolated perfect world, that is what my Type A Personality would enjoy)–I work with this routing. A normal Monday–when we have no other appointments typically, and when people can leave the house (lol), my schedule looked like this:

6 a.m. nurse the baby

(I’m an early riser. This was hard because I felt I should be getting up at 5.30 a.m. But this was easily deemed impractical once I honestly had a look at the schedule and realized I’m up a lot at night with the baby and inevitably she always was ready to eat at 6 a.m.)

7 a.m. Bigger Kids off to school

7.30 a.m. Household upkeep, just a bit

(usually dishes. Always the damn dishes)

8 a.m. Play with the baby and get her tired!! Start some laundry.

9 a.m. Nurse & Nap. And now I can WORK

9.30 a.m. Schedule Any Client Calls or Zoom Conferencing etc.

10-Noon Writing for Clients/Batch Blogging the Posts You’re Reading Here

Noon-2 Organize Social Media, Work on Illustration, Eat Something Probably

(The Baby wakes up somewhere in that last block. She doesn’t understand punctuality, clearly Block Scheduling is her thing also)

2-3 pm Creative Work, Printing Stuff, Prep the Next Day

3.15 pm Eldest arrives home and Snacks, Mom-Time, Homework Help, and Family Art Class all begin.

 

Hopefully you can see that, with this structure, I have a lot of flexibility with fairly defined guidelines in place. For instance, I find it easier to dedicate uninterrupted time to  play and enjoy my fourth and final baby. That is so important to me, let me tell you, to enjoy that last round of firsts and finals. Knowing that yes, our routine and schedule allows for work time makes it much easier to shift my full attention and focus to just her without worry or stress.

When I shift into work mode once Baby H is down, I’m not locked into a singular specific task. If I have a client call, I handle that–but otherwise, I can choose from a list of things that can fit in this hefty chunk of work time. It really boils down to Writing Time for two hours, and organizationally this works–but it always works with my schedule, not against it.

Once Baby H wakes up, of course, I feed/change and do the mom thing a bit. It is the perfect time to switch to the more fluid and sometimes flexible workflow of illustrating. Baby H can remain entertained while I get some sketches down or scan some illustrations. I’ve been known to paint with her on my hip, but that is getting a bit dangerous now that she is a bit more capable of finger-painting.

Usually, she has an afternoon nap. I crank out the more detailed demands of illustration, file prep or emails, and get those things out there before my kids start arriving in quick succession starting at 3.15 p.m.

It isn’t perfect, some days are different, but for the most part, I know how certain chunks of time go. I have a set type of task that goes into certain designated chunks of time.

 

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This is not what parenting and working simultaneously looks like. This is a beautifully posed stock photo that is basically the opposite of real life. Work from home and parent simultaneously with great caution. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

2. Work Deadlines & Inflexible Dates

Instead of looking at these like looming lines of death, look at these like excited finish lines to cross victoriously and celebrate. With the help of block scheduling, you are going to smash these goals, maybe even finish early, and celebrate with cake. Or whatever you like to celebrate with. I’m a fan of cake.

When I’m chunking my time out according to the daily routines and tasks, I consider what deadlines I’m headed towards. If I have a big writing deadline, then I work on that at 10.30 instead of blogging a batch. If I have an illustration deadline, I will priortize that over organizing my social media content calendar. Makes sense, right?

 

3. Appointments & Routines

I always consider the personal things as well. Frankly, as a self-employed freelancer, the personal and the professional are always closely packed together. Plus, as a mom of four, I’m also shuttling kids to this appointment or that and coordinating our family of 6 in my synced and color-coded calendar to be sure we are kind of on top of it most of the time. (And when we aren’t? “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a busy mom of four……..”

So, my block calendar takes in account my eldest’s guitar lessons on Fridays and my Middle Littles weekly appointment with a therapist, and my various group fitness classes about four times a week (I’m convinced Zumba class is just al of us middle-aged mamas trying to relive our high school dance and cheerleading days). These things are constant, recurring, and important to our family. Yes, I schedule self-care. I know I get my hair done every six weeks and have certain appointments that recur anywhere from weekly to bi-weekly, monthly, or even bi-annually. I account for every single thing I can and this ultimately makes me more efficient with my time.

4. Chunks of Time vs. Lists

Freeing yourself of lists is like freeing yourself of a really precarious noose that could snap you up any moment. Chunks of time afford you flexibility and freedom while helping you keep up with your productivity. You’ll start viewing your chunks of free time in a more opportunistic way, too, I almost guarantee it. It becomes more about fitting things where you can and less about hoping things get done in time, because the list is so incredibly long you already feel defeated.

Having been a work-at-home-mom for so long, I feel like I innately utilized this Block Scheduling model simply as a means of survival. But, truthfully, it is a valuable tool for anyone and I hope it helps you make sense of your time if you are suddenly required to work from home and change everything you know about your work scheduling.

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Look at your schedule visually, in chunks, with pictures–however it makes sense to you.

Why Block Scheduling Really Works

Block scheduling is a really flexible way to view your calendar–and it can definitely hold a lot of visual appeal, if you’re into that kind of thing. Looking at your productivity in a new light can hopefully help you achieve some new goals and achievements as you plan and implement your work strategy.

What kind of scheduling strategy do you use? Feel free to discuss. I love finding nifty planners, apps, and other methods to make it happen!

 

 

Small Businesses & Content Strategy

Small Businesses Need Strategy

Small businesses are definitely going to need a strategy to survive these strange times. But it’s all about adaptive thinking, creative thinking and a fresh take on your content strategy. I already work at home and my favorite thing to do is talk about ways to share and grow your small business. So, I wanted to talk about how we can shift the conversation and continue to grow and thrive.

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Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

Think About Things Differently

And I mean, really creatively expand your take on the situation to think about things differently. Reach out to your community in ways that you can and I promise that if you are giving with a strategy, you will also receive. Results may vary, as they say, but I’m a firm believer that when we’re shifting the conversation and creating the change, we have the power to create positive results and effective solutions.

If you’re a small business, offer ways to serve your customers without open doors if you feel the impact of social distancing.

  • Offer takeout and delivery options
  • Connect and serve via social media more
  • Show how your small business is helping the community survive
  • Be open and honest as you have conversations with the public about your business during Coronavirus Pandemic 2020

 

How Can Social Media & Content Strategy Help?

I’m a freelance copywriter and am pretty passionate about content strategy and social media. I’m all about the ways we can help have a conversation between small businesses and their clients. I believe being proactive with your social media presence is going to be one of the most cost-effective ways small businesses can stay afloat and adapt right now. Furthermore, I believe small-businesses have the potential to thrive if they get creative about the ways they offer useful promotions, meaningful conversations, and flexible, pandemic-centered changes to their business operations.

As a global and local community, this could be our finest hour, or it could be a spectacular failure. How we choose to respond is crucial, and I’m hoping to help small businesses adapt and thrive during a time when restaurants and coffee shops, retail and people-in-person type place are seeing way more empty seats.

If you would like to chat about your business and how content strategy, social media, and content writing can help, please feel free to reach out!

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Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Tips for Working from Home While Everyone Panics

Hello there! Are you searching for sanity during the Pandemic of 2020?

Blame Coronavirus or TP shortages, or the cleaning out of dry goods on your local grocer’s shelves… but everyone is dealing with anxiety, uncertainty, and the side-effects of mass panic.

As a work-from-home-freelancer, my job isn’t changing all that much, and I’m grateful for that aspect of my certainty. What’s more, I’m viewing it as the perfect time to offer my personal knowledge about work-life-balance when home is your office.

  • Set Boundaries
  • Schedules Are Amazing
  • Have Clear Expectations & Express Them
  • Don’t Work In Your Bedroom!

 

Set Boundaries

Set boundaries in your home for yourself, for your spouse/partner/roommates, and kids. Maybe even pets, if it applies. For instance, my husband–a new work-at-buddy, is considering talking to his traditional employer about setting an alternative split schedule that would allow me more time to work and chunk up our time while four kids are home from school.

Speaking of kids: I’m having a conversation with my twelve and five year old, who can understand a bit more. The conversation goes: we are a family, and we’re in this together. Find ways you can help, please do what you can, and it’s going to be ok. It isn’t always neat and tidy, but we’re trying to navigate the stormy seas on this quirky ship of misfit pirates.

And pets… every freelancer’s best-friend, right? I love our cats, but they’re no good when it comes to my art studio where I create my commercial art and illustrations. Watercolors, acrylics, wet paint and cats don’t always mix… so I do shut them out when need-be.

Boundaries are your friend. It helps you and others know what, where, and when work and home-life can take place.

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Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

Schedules Are Amazing

I’m making a few visual calendars that embrace daily block scheduling because schedules are amazing, really! This helps to visually guide my family as well as myself during these days of unknown territory. It will keep me on track, as this new arrangement will definitely demand that I do even better in managing my productivity.

Block scheduling

Create Work & Home Categories: Categories can include things like “Work on Writing” and “Client Calls” or “Managing Social Media.” Home Categories may include “Family Lunch” or “Thirty Minute Snack and Story” and stuff like “Chores & Dinner Prep”

I find a middle-ground of not-too-specific and not-too-broad is the happiest place for my Block Scheduling Labeling.

Schedules Are For Everyone

The idea of chunking out your time and creating a routine is beneficial for everyone, so remember that schedules really are good for everyone. Encourage every member of your household to develop and utilize a schedule. Help your kids create one, let them be involved in the process if possible, and let your schedules align in a way that everyone can include some togetherness in this time of mess. Urge your spouse or partner to also make a schedule and you can look at it together to determine how to maximize productivity for everyone.

 

Have Clear Expectations & Express Them

This one may seem obvious, but often we have clear expectations but we fail to express them. Often, it’s less about not saying what we need, and more about the fact we don’t think we need to say what we need. There are a lot of layers here and maybe we can peel that onion another time… but for the most part, remember the importance in being clear about what you need (and maybe check out some articles on communication).

It could look like:

  • Hey, I have a client call at ten a.m. and I really need it to be quiet then.
  • I need to remind you that I have a big deadline on Thursday and I’ve got to prioritize that. I need several hours especially on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • I have a few appointments I need to work around this week, can we look at our schedules and see how we can adjust things to make it work?

And, as a mindful next-step… so many of us forget to express expectations, including our spouses/partners/roommates/etc… So, why not ask them what they might need? Remember to check in and see, and it will prompt open lines of communication from all sides, and everyone is more likely to end up on a better and more productive page.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

 

Don’t Work From Your Bedroom!

I’m realizing people may live in a tiny apartment or studio and not have this option, but that said–do the best you can to create some physical boundaries. My husband, for instance, has his workspace in our bedroom out of necessity (ethernet and security requirements of the IT nature). Some steps he takes, though, are having a desk that faces out the window and away from the bed. The space is contained and as compartmentalized as it can be. And, being the visually driven quirky woman that I am, I have tried to delineate a visual break between the rest of our modern-black-and-gray bedroom and his wood-mid-century-modern workspace.

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Excuse the blur, but this is my workspace at the moment, and my butt is currently where you see the empty pillow next to the computer. Also, I probably need Wall Art, no?

And my own workspace is in the basement. I have a small area for the kids to play, watch  a movie or play piano and guitar. But Mom’s Office essentially starts at the bookshelves and, in the most contained cases, is behind the closed door of my illustration and commercial art studio.

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My  illustration space.

 

Other Ideas

What are your tips or other ideas for navigating the new work from home situations millions are now dealing with? I’d love to hear down in the comments or you can contact me with your anecdotes, ideas, or questions.

 

 

 

 

The Demographic is Dead

 

Social Media in 2020

Target audience and niche demographic are terms to be done with when we talk about social media in 2020. Sort of. You need to think of the perfect person you want to do business with and create an authentic dialog with your potential clients in 2020.

Niche Down and Grow Up: Why a tiny target audience means major growth for your company.

Marketing becomes more and more niche and personalized with the amazing capabilities of tech and social media. It’s absolutely fascinating but, sometimes, absolutely terrifying to try to navigate the road when everything is constantly changing so incredibly fast. Digital marketing and content strategy are relatively new on my personal interests lists.

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Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Why is the notion of demographics dead? I wouldn’t say dead, actually, but—it’s evolving. Now that marketing is so incredibly flexible and able to be personalized, delivered, and tailored to a very specific personality type, the traditional demographics we once considered are now impossibly too broad to be effective.

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Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

Population growth, the expansive internet, global community vs. local loyalties. All of these things are important to consider when examining the way marketing works now. On the one hand, our world is increasingly globalized. We are connected by the Internet, while still living in our tiny communities all across the globe. And with that, there comes a call to action for people everywhere to

buy local and support small businesses.

If you are a small business owner, you probably #hashtag it at least once in a month: shop small. Shop local. Support your local-everything. It’s hugely everywhere while simultaneously being incredibly small and right there in the palm of your hand. Literally. Like, you’re probably reading this on your phone right now, am I right?

 

So, how do we capture our target audience?

We don’t capture our target audience. We don’t think about a whole audience. It isn’t a captive audience in a theater watching the stage waiting for you to come out on the stage. The link in this paragraph takes you to an article with lots of tools you can explore and use to maximize your endeavors in social media marketing.

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

Social Media Marketing is a Must

The big takeaway is: social media is no longer optional for small businesses–everyone must be able to find you on Google, Yelp, or hear about you when they ask Siri or Alexa. So find your perfect person, focus on your niche, and craft your social media to meet that person where they are. Don’t think of the sea of people you’re talking to, but envision that ideal customer finding your content, finding your business, and imaging how you would want that conversation and interaction to go.

 

 

 

 

Connecting Through AIGA

In December 2019 I decided the year ahead would be My Year to grow, particularly within my career. As an SEO content and copywriter, I had been building my client base and considering my business model and saw some success even amid giving birth to my fourth and final baby and coping with post-partum-everything for the first time as an, ahem, older mom. I decided that the timing was now-or-never, I had to lean in and take the proverbial bull by the horns if I was going to finally capture the career I wanted.

Joining AIGA

I joined AIGA on a whim one day in December. I figured final business expenses that could serve as valuable tax deductions should probably be spent before 2020 rolled in, and it seemed like a great thing to involve myself with. I had joined the very-active AIGA Facebook group for members in my area, and I knew quite a few board members and active members from my time in illustration courses at PPCC and connecting with fellow freelancers and creatives through the downtown creative community of Colorado Springs.

Once I made my membership official, it felt like my participation was mandatory as a self-imposed call to accountability, and I’m so glad that my monetary commitment inspired me to solidify my membership with a proactive attitude. I attended the first monthly Coffee Talk that AIGA offers in January, and loved the atmosphere. From there, I decided to learn more about the organization and the community in order to immerse myself and serve the design community in whatever way I could be useful.

I’ve so enjoyed the AIGA community and learn a ton from the monthly Coffee Talk topics that educate and expand my professional experience. The networking, community, social opportunities of groups can help you take your freelancing to next-level connections within your community.

Connect with Your Community

Because of the good things I saw happen immediately once I made the choice to connect and take action, I felt the need to urge the same. I thought about all the ways we are largely living in isolation and putting so much upon ourselves to do it all on our own. It seemed worth mentioning to the other self-employed writers, designers, or otherwise independent creatives to reach out and connect with your local community to professionally network and nurture relationships with your peers and colleagues.

It is so easy to become wrapped up in our virtual worlds of emails and social media, networking platforms and even helpful resources like YouTube videos that, while wonderfully informative, can ultimately be very one-sided in its very nature. Don’t undervalue your worth or ability to make a meaningful contribution to your community.

And if you’re an introvert, like me, this jump into physical presence may seem uncomfortable. I would like to encourage you to go boldly anyway, and if you care to share your experience, I would love to hear how your efforts to connect turn out.

Something for Everyone

Opportunities to connect are out there, no matter your profession.

For writers:

And if you are not in the Colorado Springs area, check out the Writer’s Relief website for writing groups and programs available to you, sorted by location.

For Artists:

and, of course, AIGA as a community resource for designers, illustrators, and professional creatives of all kinds.

I’m hoping to dig deeper and find the time and space to visit some of the groups I shared, as well as deepening my involvement in my surrounding creative community and AIGA. What steps are you taking to network and grow?

Until next time,

Angi

Three Types of Blog Posts and When to Use Them

There are a few strategies one can employ when it comes to blog posts, and you may be a bit confused by this. Maybe, even, you figured a blog is a blog and a post is a post and what more can we really say about it. You wouldn’t be wrong, but yet, you’d be wrong. Because blogs are two-fold in the way they are read. By this I mean, people read blogs and Google reads blogs, and those are two separate but similar things.

Choosing Your Structure

The way you set up a post can be really important, and choosing your structure is going to impact how Google finds your website as well as how readers interact with your writing. Deciding whether your content is better suited for a bulleted list, an embedded video with compelling captions, or a lengthy narrative with links, are all things to consider. Knowing what kind of content to create is only half the battle, though.

You’ll want to structure your bulleted list of information in a way that best works with Google and SEO. You’ll also want to be aware of how you’re incorporating links and tagging keywords. When it comes to my personal writing and my personal blog, I’m honestly not always practicing what I preach (and I’m making a note to myself). It’s a good goal to keep things relevant and precise, link to useful content, and offer your readers something they can use. If a list is the best way to do that, then create a list. If you love editing videos and your content is well-suited for videos, do that. My friend over at Mint & Porter really has a passion for vlogging and has started a project that showcases her talent and passion for video content. So: Be You and your passion really will guide your content.

Types of Content: Evergreen & Trending

There’s so much I could get into here, but I want to keep this writing advice to the point, so in short: consider whether a post is evergreen or a a trending topic post. Evergreen content will be those perennial posts that are never stale and can relate to your audience no matter what. Depending on your blog’s topic, this may be a useful how-to post or a post that lists some really great, fundamental information surrounding your business’s area of focus.

Trending topics are, on the other hand, just what they sound like. They are posts that are reacting to something seasonal or perhaps something that is happening in current events. It may be a local event that somehow ties into your community and small business. Or perhaps it’s a post focusing on a holiday or seasonal event. Trend posts can talk about virtually anything, but the point is to remember that once the buzz about the event you’re reacting to dies down, the traffic through that post will definitely deaden too. This isn’t always a bad thing, and you can certainly internally link to trending tops, or link to your evergreen content. Diversifying your topics and focus will create a better site all-around.

Word Counts Matter

Remember when your English teacher assigned a page count or a word count, and you wondered if word counts even matter? Well, they matter. Especially when you’re talking about SEO and blogs finding their way to Google rankings. This is maybe one of the top reasons people hire me. In addition to creating lists and links and defining keywords and research, aiming for two-thousand words can seem like a really daunting goal. Updating your content twice a week, minimum, is ideal, and making sure your posts are reaching a minimum of 1,200 words is crucial. Ideally, your word counts should be somewhere around 2,000.

To give this context, a Word document typed in some kind of standard font at a standard font-size will yield about 250 words per page. Basic editing and proofreading are, of course, incredibly important, so hitting your word count can suddenly feel like being assigned one or two college essays every single week. At least you can just link to your references rather than typing up those pesky Works Cited pages, am I right?

Contact a Writer

I hope this post was a tiny bit helpful if you’re a small business owner or otherwise considering social media and blogging as part of your workflow. You can always contact us with any questions, and if you’re curious how hiring a writer could better serve your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Writing Down the Bones: Revisiting My Past

Originally, I planned to teach creative writing and write fiction on the side. Over twenty years ago, Natalie Goldberg released her now-classic book, Writing Down the Bones. I read it in undergrad and this plus Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird and considered them both indispensable maps on how to craft my life of writing. Now, I’m a writer freelancing in Colorado Springs and while it does have me offering writing service on the daily–it doesn’t have me using my creative writing skills in the same way I did when I was writing fiction and poetry and teaching kids and adults how to write a story or memoir.

A Writer’s Dream

I guess I ended up living the writer’s dream, in the sense that people pay me money to write words for them. I find a huge amount of satisfaction in being able to lend my creative voice and expertise to all sorts of Colorado Springs businesses and websites. I love bringing an authentic voice to a blog or website for a small business that doesn’t have time or the niche expertise to put together keyword-driven, SEO writing. But sometimes, a person wants to tell the story they were meant to tell.

This is why I’ve started revisiting creative writing in the cracks of my spare time. Also, I don’t have a lot of spare time–but that’s another matter. I’m loving how feeding my creative spirit is rejuvenating my professional writing. I’m remembering all the reasons I loved writing creative non-fiction and memoir narratives. I’m also remembering how incredibly freeing and healing creative writing can be.

Your Creative Journey

As I contemplated what to share this week, I felt the stir of spring (even though we are having the typical Colorado Springs snow flurry and winter weather right now). I thought of all the artists everywhere who might be struggling to do the thing and make the art. Whether its writing or drawing, painting, or the art of running a small business, those with the drive to create and make things can find this time of year so exhausting. It’s the demand of the daily while fighting the cold sludge of winter, meeting the promise of spring and the waning boon of the New Year and all her glorious resolutions and anti-resolutions. Everything on our list seems so important yet so elusive. The wheel of time seems so fast and yet so slow.

I’m challenging you to do the the thing in the month of March. Conquer a goal or a single step on your list that might seem insurmountable. The stir of spring really is stirring. Even beneath the snow and flurries of freezing winds, the promise of spring will still emerge. I’m wishing you the very best, no matter what your goals might be. For me, as I mentioned, I want to return to some creative writing ideas. These personal projects really leave me with more energy than they steal away.

The Writer’s Journey

So I’ve decided the writer’s journey hasn’t, in fact, ended for me at all. I’m energized by my work and excited to add clients to the growing client roster. I’m really looking forward to finding some others who would love to critique and revise their writing in a small-group setting. I’m not wanting to return to teaching or leading workshops–I’m simply hoping for some community.

With that said, I’ve heard good things about the Pike’s Peak Writers, and I bet other groups are out there if I just look for them. You can always drop me a line and let me know what writer groups or critique circles you know and love. And if you’re looking to add some professional and SEO writing to your website, please shoot me an email and be in touch!

Until next time,

Angi

Hiring a Writer: 5 Reasons You Totally Should

Connecting and Expanding

A lot of small business owners struggle with connecting to the community and expanding their clientele. No matter the type of business, nearly every small business owner is hoping to create meaningful and, ultimately, profitable relationships with clients. As a business owner and a copywriter, I’m always learning more about ways to network, connect, and expand my own presence, and it’s been valuable to consider how my business can help other businesses.

Show-Up and Be Seen

I try to connect and show-up in the real world more so I, as a business-person, can be seen. No one can hire me to write if they don’t know I exist, right?! Attending events and meetings that relate well to my niche, for instance, helps me connect and serve more of my local community. And I love the conversations that come up about what other people are trying to do to show up and be seen in their industries, too. I notice trends within these conversations, like, oh, I know I should be updating my website more, but… and Social Media Marketing is definitely important, but…

And those “buts” are so often along the lines of: but I don’t have time. But I hate writing blog posts. I can never think of what to say. Who has time for it?

It might be time to hire a writer if:

  • You need more time to do the stuff that interests you within your business.
  • Your website is up and going, but you struggle to keep it updated with fresh and relevant content.
  • Increasing web-presence is your goal, but social media can be so hard to tackle.
  • The niche industry you work in has specific language and particulars that make it hard to communicate with the general population.
  • You know what you want to say, but writing is hard.

More Time For Your Business

This one is the obvious one, but you need time for your business. Maybe you’re super-busy with daily tasks, you have no time to sit down and crank out two-thousand-word articles on a weekly basis.

A writer can do this for you, because their job is to write. You want to connect with more peeps and grow your business, but you also need to do all the things. Let your passion be your passion, and outsource the time-consuming parts that fall outside your scope of expertise.

Your Website Needs Content

Every website needs content, and they need good content. What people might not consider once they’ve partnered with a pro designer or web dev to launch the website of their business-dreams, is that once that pro website is up and running, your Google rankings don’t make themselves. Among all the SEO strategies, fresh, continuous content is still key to getting your rankings up there.

SEO writing is more than dumping words on the blog, too. It’s why writers like myself geek out over keyword analysis and silly formulas that actually work. As a writer, I happen to be a fan of writing, though, so while I’m applying the stats and the formulas, I’m still striving to create relevant, engaging content for my clients that works on several levels.

Increase Your Organic Google Traffic

If you want to increase your organic google traffic, solid writing can be key. Social Media Marketing can take place across a ton of platforms like Twitter and Instagram, but a website is often home-base for a small business. Often, the social media marketing strategy will involve some kind of funnel back to a business website. So, if you’re looking for one more way to connect people to your website—and to your services!—frequent, relevant, fresh content on your website’s blog is definitely one way to increase the traffic and Google ranking of your website.

A writer can prioritize your company’s blog-writing and deliver those blog-posts to you on a schedule, leaving you with one less worry. Did you know Google loves posts around 1,500 words? And did you know there are a few ways to format your blog posts to increase your visibility? I’ll try to get to those topics on another day…

But, seriously, there are so many little details that can be second nature to a good content or copywriter—and since it’s an industry unto itself, it could be a complete hassle for business owners to follow trends and adjust their writing formula to meet all the new “rules” for writing on the web.

Your Industry Language is Too Specific

This is maybe my favorite reason for people to hire me–when their passion involves an industry language that is super specific. I often work with people who are experts in their industry, and that expertise can actually hinder their ability to talk about what they do to people who need their services the most. Perhaps it’s a plumber or an electrician, or a massage therapist or insurance sales person. I love being an “interpreter.” Because I am not an expert in your industry, I must research and learn enough to effectively communicate accurate, relevant information to your audience.

I love the initial conversation with clients, because I always learn so much. I can tell their expertise and passion converge, but this makes it hard to connect with accessible language. Commercial electric engineering? Specialty plumbing? Auto detailing restoration or detailing? I had no knowledge until I wrote for these industries.

Writing is Hard

This may or may not ring true to you, but writing can be hard. I know, because my Master’s is in writing. When I was working on my thesis, it sometimes felt like I would never hear another positive word about my paragraphs. The work was exhausting, tedious, and mind-numbing at times. But, at the end of the day, I love writing in a lot of forms because it is my chosen niche industry, so all that difficulty is worth it. 

Oh, and writing is a talent. Now excuse me while I laugh at that one. No, writing is a niche skill that some kind-of-crazy people (like myself) spent a few extra years learning on a whole different level of intensity. Many people can write, and perhaps they can write really well. But gaining the skills to fluently write about things outside your knowledge-base, while plugging in certain SEO criteria, is definitely a “talent” in the sense that it is a focused skill.

My training as a writer never really ends. I’m always learning more about how SEO and social media work. The way it works constantly changes. This means I’m constantly adjusting my approach and looking for ways to be better and more efficient. It isn’t hard, but it certainly isn’t something every business owner wants to do in addition to all the other things their management duties entail.

Are you ready?

Are you ready to hire a writer? Or are you ready to be a writer? Either way, it’s a call to action if you’re serious about connecting people to your website. If you want to learn more about how hiring a writer can help your business, please contact us. And if you’d like to learn more about writing, please… contact us! I’m always so happy to answer questions and have a conversation about words.

Angi is a freelance writer based in the Colorado Springs area. Contact us if you would like to connect!

Writing for Success: 3 Things I’m Changing NOW

I started 2020 with big goals, and tbh I’m smashing them. But it’s a slow smashing. Like, chipping away at a very hard surface with a delicate hammer made of ceramic. I don’t want my tools to shatter, so I’m sort of going about things delicately. But it is about to change. I’ve got the grid-work in place and partners lined up! I’ve got a schedule that sometimes works. And a support system that is pretty darn amazing.

#Goals and Daily Productivity

SO…it was really time to look at my daily productivity and decide what’s going to happen, and what needs to change, in order to meet my goals. I am sure a few are out there nodding already.

I put together a list to nail down some specifics about how I’m turning my part-time freelancing into a more serious SEO writing endeavor. I love partnering with local businesses and small business owners to offer solutions for web-based content writing and freelance writing work. My problem has been lacking the availability because, well, kids and family are my absolute first-loves. It took some soul-searching to realize prioritizing my career isn’t about loving my fam less, it’s about feeling productive and excited for opportunities to add value to the local and online communities I serve.

A Freelancing Mama’s List of Change

  1. Dedication to Freelancing. I’m a Freelancing Mama, and I plan to emphasize the Freelancing aspect this year and attack those local business networking events, like, hardcore. And all the many To-Do’s that fall under Work & Accountability–it’s my year to treat them with serious commitment. This means I’m connecting with current partners like Colorado Springs-local Modernize My Site and the lovely Angelina Pecoraro (who does amazing work with front end web design). I am also networking and actively seeking new small businesses and local folks who are in the market for SEO writing and freelance services.
  2. Writing Daily: with intention, with commitment. Kind of like back when I completed my Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing, I intend to sit down every day to work on writing and SEO projects. Maybe it’s a personal project (hello Fiction, my old friend), or maybe it’s a blog post or SEO content for a local business. The goal is to stop putting off work until I’ve done “enough” around the house. No more fitting it in somewhere between naps and baths.
  3. Letting Go of Guilt. Because Guilt serves no one. Guilt is completely unhelpful and serves no one. This is a tough one to tackle, and I know so many others wrestle with this annoying thing on the daily.

And That’s All, Fellow Freelancers

If you’re a fellow freelancer, what are you changing? What are you hoping to do in 2020? I love connecting with other freelancers, small businesses, and local businesses to work together. You can always leave a comment or shoot me an email at moonphasecreative@gmail.com

Look for some more changes and improvements soon-to-come. It will be a slow but steady year of adding, deleting, moving, and changing the way Moonphase Creative does things, and I’m so excited.

Until Next Time,

Angi