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.

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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 of this person’s comment seemed that B2B is simply about providing services and products from one business to another.

People buy the outcomes, it was explained to me.

B2B copywriting is not needed in this commenter’s view because the deliverables sell themselves.

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, as humans, 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.

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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,

 

 

 

 

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.

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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…

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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.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Writing for Connection: 3 Content Strategy Tips

Building an engaging web presence for your business can be a total game-changer for you business. Even if your business doesn’t operate online, building a strong web presence can help you reach new potential customers and engage with current loyal clients in a way that goes beyond plain old marketing.

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Creating engagement goes beyond analytics and requires marketing strategy and sincere, customer-centered stories that invite conversation, participation, and loyalty.

The Right Engagement Should Lead to Conversions

If you are getting engagement with the right kind of people, your social media strategy should lead to successful conversions. Engagement, in the world of SEO and Social Media Marketing, means all those comments, likes, shares and follows that make your social media presence ping with delight. But all the likes and shares in the world can’t pay your utilities bill… so how can you make sure you’re getting the right kind of engagement?

This requires a defined client that you know you’re hoping to connect with. Forget demographics–focus on the very specific individual you hope to connect with. Because, honestly, which of these following snippets describe the ideal client you desire?

Ideal Client #1

  • 18-24 demographic
  • student
  • single/casually dating
  • under $25 target budget
  • female
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What do your ideal clients look like? Image credit: mentatdgt

Ideal Client Description #2

Twenty-two year old female college student named Rachel. She majors in psychology and volunteers with her hometown chapter of the Boys & Girls Club of America on weekends, about a 45 minute drive from her college campus in the Midwest. She enjoys hanging out with her friends at local eateries and enjoys dating adventures at off the beaten path, locally-owned businesses. Rachel is all about trying out new places and attending entertainment venues when it fits in her budget (under 100 for the month, so she loves to scour for deals!), especially concerts and anything music related.

Which of these descriptions tells us more about a potential client?

When we are honing our marketing strategy, it’s important to understand your ideal client in such detail that they can be described as an actual person like Client Description #2. The more you know about who you are selling your products and services to, the more effectively you can sell them what they want and need.

This brings me to the three quick tips to keep in mind when you are putting together your content strategy.

Three Tips to Keep your Content Strategy On-Point

  1. Keep your message simple and make sure it addresses what your client wants. It’s less about you, and more about them.
  2. Invite a Conversation. Listening to your audience and letting them discuss your social media posts can be a great way to learn more about your ideal clients–it can also lead you to better marketing strategies on future posts, and those conversations can lead to genuinely loyal and invested customers who return to your brand because you are real and you listen.
  3. Small businesses are cornerstones of the community. If you are a small business, local business, or a solopreneur, capitalize on this fact and recognize that very valuable piece of truth. You are a part of your customer’s community. This sense of “we’re in this together, neighbor” is a genuine statement, but it can also increase a customer’s sense of brand loyalty and interest and commitment to following you and purchasing in the now as well as in the future.

A Simple Message with a Strong Call to Action

A message should be extremely easy to decipher, and the call to action should be clear enough that a potential client doesn’t have to pause for long to figure out what your content is talking about. See if you can distill your message into ten words, keeping your total word-count under 50, and follow that up with a clear command. This could be, “Let your wedding be a cozy, memorable event with meaning. Our wedding venue is perfect for your small crowd of besties, without overwhelming excess. Call today to book your tour and see how we can be part of your best day ever.”

The message is simple, and it asks the viewer to initiate contact in a clear and direct way, with the specific goal of scheduling a wedding venue tour. It does a couple other things I mention in the list above, too, and we’ll continue to talk about why this has potential as a strong base for social media messaging.

Invite Conversation

When you’re posting on social media, the conversation is one-sided until the potential client chooses to respond. In our example piece, the call to action is essentially an invitation to start the conversation. Once you can have a conversation with potential clients, the likelihood of making a conversion is much greater.

Inviting conversation could be something like drumming up interesting conversations and comments within the social media platform. This is useful because it raises public awareness, and you have a chance to manage and curate the image your brand has with direct customer relations.

And, of course, inviting clients to contact you directly is the most straightforward method–and it can be completely successful time after time.

Be a Cornerstone in Your Community

Be a genuinely involved leader in your community and don’t be afraid to join the conversation. React to current events, be present within local forums, and offer support and encouragement to others. There are, of course, a lot more strategies but this seems like a really simple approach to life as a small business owner or solopreneur. I’m a huge advocate of this kind of genuine marketing because, at the end of the day, we are all people serving other people. We are connecting and growing constantly, and being a well-reputed, respected, and genuine professional in your local and online communities can definitely take you farther than you might imagine.

In Summary: The Three ‘C’s of Content Creation

  1. Call to Action: Call your reader to action, and/or give them actionable items.
  2. Conversation: encourage engaging, genuine issues.
  3. Community: Whether it’s physical community or a virtual community, be an involved and visible member of the world around you.

I hope these quick tips help you if you are putting together your own social media strategy and building your online presence. Consistency and perseverance are key, always, and this can be time-consuming, but the long-term benefits are many!

Until next time,

 

Angi

 

Writing a Blog Post 101

If you’re reading this, you may be wondering how to build more exciting, engaging content for your blog. You probably know that a blog is super important for your website. And you probably understand that frequent posting (at least weekly!) is key. But what you may not be so sure about is how do I create a blog post, especially one that is interesting?!

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Be Relevant

Relevant content is an absolute must to keep your rankings up and connecting with the right crowd. Be authentic in the topics you choose, which is hopefully an easy task if you have a website and blog you’re passionate about. No sense starting a blog about airplanes if the most you know about airplanes is how to navigate the security line, stow your carry on in the overhead compartment, and nap politely until landing.

If you have a blog and website you’re truly invested in because you are super knowledgeable about your field, relevant content will be a breeze. I would say, your biggest grinding chore will be avoiding that sense of repetition. When you’re truly in your element, you’ll beItem sharing content that can truly help others. As a writer, I’m writing about–well–writing. But if your blog is about beauty, review your favorite new releases for the upcoming Summer collections. If you’re a real estate agent, make posts that are relevant to your favorite kind of client; that might mean a post about preparing your house for sale, or a checklist blog post going over the To-Do’s for buying a home.

Content creation doesn’t have to be a chore, but it can be time consuming. Picking the topic, structuring the post, and fine-tuning those paragraphs to achieve your word count and hit all the keywords can definitely eat up a couple hours. But at the end of the day, that relevant content will help your lead generation… which brings me to my next point:

Be Irresistible

Blog posts should be informative and/or entertaining. Depending on your topic and brand, the “entertaining” part could be flexibly subjective. Engaging might be a better word for it. But whatever you are writing, make it irresistibly useful and needed to your audience. How-Tos, Tips & Tricks, and other kinds of “guides” are very useful types of content that can easily be tailored to fit your niche audience.

Actionable Items

Offer your readers actionable items to apply in their own lives. One of the most successful types of blogs are recipe/cooking/baking blogs (like this one, which I discovered almost a decade ago because Google rankings had my old fiction writing name, AM Baker right there with the blog). Recipe blogs are insanely successful because they have useful recipes that people are willing to scroll through in order to carry out a useful, desirable action. When you offer how-to’s and DIY posts, it’s great to offer useful knowledge. It’s even better if you can include a specific project, recipe, or even a freebie printable for you readers to have a useful takeaway.

Photos and & Video

Finding relevant photos can be time-consuming, though I have a few go-to spots like Pexels to find free stock photos that can make my site look fresh and relevant with pictures. I use my own photography or images on occasion, but my goal is always two to three images with relevant, descriptive captions for every blog post.

Pre-Plan Your Post

Plan your post before you begin writing. Think of your topic and make some notes. Consider what points you’d like to include, and this is a really good time to remember what your English teacher taught you about Topic Sentences, Main Ideas, and Supporting Sentences. I know, you never thought you’d have to revisit that boring, tedious essay structure again…

If using a graphic organizer helps, or taking notes by hand is your thing, go for it. Blog posts will become an easier task with time, but especially at first, a little organization and time dedicated to brainstorming is a great idea.

BlogPostChecklist
Download and Print in the link below!

 

I am including this BlogPostChecklist for you. It includes reminders of important marks to hit–like a minimum of one-thousand words–and includes some space to name your blog post topic, take some notes, and define the actionable items you can include. Graphic organizers like these can be really helpful for simply getting the work done. It’s easy to stare at a blank screen when you don’t have a clear vision of what you need to write.

 

Write Your Post!

Once you’ve written your post, make sure to preview it in whatever platform you are using. I currently use WordPress, and am familiar with the way Preview works and I usually save my drafts, then schedule them ahead so that I have to edit and revise, or simply avoid the procrastinating monster.

Let me know how your blog post writing process goes. I’m curious to hear about your own process, or comments and suggestions you may have. I hope this tutorial of sorts was helpful and possibly helped you understand that writing a blog post isn’t hard–it’s just a matter of making an outline, sticking to it, and giving the audience something they can really use.

Contact Us!

We would love to hear about your process. A lot of my clients could write their own blog posts, but their businesses don’t leave a lot of time for putting together those posts once a week. This is where we can definitely help you! If you’re looking for great content written with organic SEO in mind, please contact us to find out more about our blog writing services. We offer blog writing services for many industries and can craft tailor-made posts that are meant for your audience.

I look forward to hearing about your journey in blog writing!

 

Until next time,

AngiBaker-4
Owner of Moonphase Creative, a company all about writing and design.

Angi

5 Tips for Working from Home

My work as a freelance writer and visual arts dabbler demands a more creative and dedicated approach to time-management and chunking work-blocks effectively. Like many, I have a busy family-life to balance, but not having a 9-5 job affords me many ninja skills for coping during our current pandemic, as well as a unique flexibility to innovate a work-flow that serves clients and allows me to be a more present parent and spouse.

If You Can, Choose Happy

It isn’t always a choice, but it can be an option to at least focus on the positives. I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping a gratitude journal to remind me there are always things to be grateful for. I am never one to dismiss or discount the dismal realities we may be facing–but both personally and collectively, it’s important to choose a few things to list as our Thankful Fors.

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It’s not always a choice, but often times we have the choice to focus on positives in our situation and grow them like flowers. Weed out the stuff that doesn’t work and focus on the positives.

If you’re recently transitioned to working from home, you probably are starting to refer to your house as a madhouse. If you’re not yet, congratulations. Many of us, in fact, are–and those with kids have a blessing/curse conundrum in that at least we don’t have to talk to our plants as though they are people, we do have to worry about the plants being upended by wild children struggling with the isolation and confinement.

I’ve put together a few tips, and to be honest these aren’t new. I talked about these tips last year here on the blog before Moonphase went through yet another transformation.

5 Tips For the Work-at-Home-Freelancer

  1. Treat your job like a…well…job. I’m guilty of saying, “well, I can make any appointment at any time because my schedule is flexible.” Not true. I don’t have a traditional 9-5, but I have work to fit in the day–that is valid reason to be protective of my time and realize I’m responsible for treating my work-hours as valid chunks of time.
  2. Block out FOUR HOUR work periods during your self-imposed work-week. I say FOUR with emphasis because, like me, freelance probably appeals because it isn’t strictly and eight hour work day all the time without variation. I do recommend committing to four hour chunks, though, because now you have allotted time to work productively without interruption. You will be less likely to schedule appointments or cut your day short because of other peoples’ needs if you create four hour work-blocks. Anything less, it is easier to lose productivity; anything more, you may feel it hinders the flexible appeal of freelance.
  3. Set THREE small goals. Then kill them. Kill them dead! I like the number three because it is doable; even if one of the goals is bigger, like “finish writing client’s 10 page content package,” I know I can accomplish it within my four hour work-block (with the help of the right soundtrack, that is). And usually, accomplishing three goals snowballs to five or six–depending upon the task size. It is a good number to aim for when I need help boosting a positive trajectory.
  4. Keep a journal and list notebook. As with everything on this list, modify whatever items you need in order to make it work. Discard the advice that doesn’t resonate with you. Many creative freelance types, however, may like the idea of keeping a tangible notebook with lined or unlined paper to capture their thoughts, notes, lists, and letters. I personally have a lot circulating; stationary and unique notebooks is a sort of collector’s-hobby for me at this point in my life, and I don’t like wasting so I have many notebooks dedicated to lists, doodles, work-related notes, home-related notes, personal journaling, and personal art journaling. ET CETERA.  Find something to keep near your work-desk that makes you happy and reminds you to be you. You will be happier, and this will lend itself to greater productivity.
  5. Teach others to treat your job like a job. This ties back to point number one, and it demands that you honor point number one and take it seriously. In every aspect of our lives, we essentially teach others how we want to be treated. When you work from home, are self-employed, and call yourself a freelancer, the need to define your work time and your scope of work as a real thing demanding time and space to accomplish is paramount. People will think of you as a stay-at-home-parent, a part-time dabbler, and a hobbyist if you do not teach them that your work is valuable and the time and space needed to do it is mandatory.

Recognizing your Pitfalls and Being Proactive

It’s so hard to admit where we fall short, but recognizing your pitfalls and developing solutions is the best way to proactively meet your success. Number Five in my list can be the hardest of all for me. I’ve struggled with teaching others to take me seriously, largely in part because I didn’t take my own work seriously. I can say that, in the past year or two, that has drastically changed and I have seen my own success grow exponentially as a result.

I wrote a post similar to this one almost a year ago, but now things are super different for the whole world. Suddenly, many are working from home during the unprecedented times of COVID-19. My husband is included in that newly-minted work-from-home status. Last year he responded to my frustration about working from home and balancing it all with, “I’m honestly grateful I have a desk and an office to go to, nobody questions that. If I had to work at home and see stuff piling up, I think I would lose my mind too.”

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexelswoman-in-gray-sweat-shirt-sitting-beside-window-3759080

Never underestimate the power of feeling validated. Working from home is no less of a job than one that exists in an office. Our unprecedented times are proving that. And when we shift our mindset to embrace this work-from-home setup, I see the potential for a world that is flourishing with arrangements that really do have better work-life balance and allow families to bond and have more quality time together.

I look back on my frustration that was really at an all-time-high one year ago, and I realize it was less about my personal situation and more about how the world is or isn’t built for working from home. I’m seeing people make the shift to working at home, though, and I feel like it’s a beautiful thing. COVID-19 aside, of course, because this part of the isolating, social-distancing is devastating. It’s my hope, though, that we can collectively develop a better approach to work, the economy, and business solutions so that people can create meaningful lives that don’t require such a divisive way of life.

Of course, many types of jobs require a physical place other than home. But many tech-based, customer support, and even education jobs, don’t require a physical office–or maybe simply less workplace time is required to be productive and successful. If you can work from home and make it a productive, positive experience, I’m applauding you from over here.

Working from home in the current crisis.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Thanks for Reading!

Were these tips helpful? What tips do you have to add? I’d love to hear what works for you and what you’re doing to conquer and thrive the work-from-home challenges!

 

Until next time,

 

Angi

Moonphase Creative’s Guide to Writing for Your Brand

Writing for your brand’s blog can be so intimidating. Finding your topic, structuring the post, planning the links, the images, then promoting it across all the social media platforms…

Content strategy
Content Strategy can be key to making your business light up online.

But it doesn’t have to be such a battle to come up with relevant content that engages and informs your audience.

Tell a Story

Tell a story in a blog post, but include your call to action and let your keywords carry it. People love stories, and all the better if they can envision themselves somehow fitting into this story.

Once, I wrote copy for a septic tank company and it was very clear, as I got to know the client, that their brand’s story was super important. As I wrote the copy for their website, I kept that story at the forefront of my mind. Everything related to the topic of septic tanks and systems and repairs–but I kept their copy super personable and related the brand story throughout the website because it was relatable, engaging, and–most importantly–the brand’s story was all about the people at the center of their plot: the customer.

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Tell the story your client wants to read.

Their company was all about the community they serve. Their story was about educating and helping a rural community live with septic tanks and properly care and maintain for those systems. The branding of their company depends on connecting to that community in an authentic, friendly, but professional way that assures the main character: we’ve got your septic situation covered.

In a blog post, your brand’s story should be the overall package. Pick a specific story to tell in order to richly illustrate your points, engage with the reader, and build a sense of loyalty and familiarity.

Embrace the Evergreen

Evergreen content is Queen, so embrace this type of always-relevant blog post. It is perfect for link-backs, for eternal sharing, and makes a great “foot in the door” type post where people learn about your particular expertise, knowledge, and experience.

This kind of content is meant to be timeless, so the topics are all about stuff that remains relevant no matter the season or place or time. Think: ways to organize your desk, types of work strategies or recipes for general success. Depending on your company niche, your specific evergreen content might be industry-specific.

Other types of evergreen content have what I like to call “revolving relevance.” These are seasonal pieces that will be relevant every year for a period of time. Examples of this kind of “revolving evergreen relevance” include topics such as “Holiday Survival Strategy” or “Tips for Staying Calm During Tax Season” or something like “Five Ways to Celebrate Back-to-School.”

All those imaginary titles operate on the idea of a seasonal event, but their general tone and content should be re-useable from year to year with, maybe, some tweaks and revisions to update and freshen the content.

Overall, evergreen content is the stuff of dreams. It is always shareable, always relevant, and can go far in having huge circulation possibilities to boost your brand awareness and gain new followers and invite potential clients to dig deeper for what other things you have to say.

 

But…Jump on the Trend Train

Having touted the lovely perennial charm of an evergreen post, I must also recommend jumping on the trend train from time to time. This is great for a short burst of marketing frenzy, or capitalizing on something extremely crazy and all-encompassing (like COVID-19, for instance).

Trend posts (like this post about fashion for holiday 2015) can capitalize on the here and now, and play to people’s obsessive scrolling “FOMO” behaviors. If your’e sharing info about a topic that just came out in the new a day earlier, people are going to be operating on a sense of urgency and immediacy as they interact with your post.

Structure and post accordingly. These sorts of posts rely on a certain infusion of energy and urgency to make them float. Don’t worry about being on trend all the time. In fact, avoid being a slave to trends. Evergreen is still the way to go, but sharing popular news and offering some insight from your niche industry perspective is definitely something to consider every once in a while.

Teach, Preach, and Carry On

Establish your expertise, share your passion, and show that you are a confident and competent name in your profession. But, remember too, your potential customer is coming to you for their personal victory. Your brand, your product and service, is the thing they want or need to do better in life. Assure them that they’re in good hands, that your knowledge is sound and what you have to offer is top-notch.

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Plan your content and write with confidence to show clients you’re an expert in the field.

Your confidence will carry you: the way you speak and write, the way you carry yourself in a meeting or presentation, and how you come across to others in person. But your knowledge will be the most important thing that lets people know your service is definitely worth their time and money. People will want what you have because they see that your knowledge can help them succeed.

Your knowledge needs a vehicle, though, and that vehicle will be the most important aspect of your brand’s online presence. This vehicle can be a blog, a website, a social media account, or some hybrid collection of all these things. The way you write for your brand on these accounts and within these vehicles will be key to your success.

 

Words & Pictures

It honestly comes down to words and, second to that, pictures (or, overall, your visual presentation and aesthetic). Pretty images, savvy design, trendy aesthetics: all these things are wonderful to have, and they can do a lot to boost your overall appearance and even the readability of your brand. But, for better or worse, words become the most important part of your brand. Whether we’re talking about print or web, words are the biggest thing driving your brand’s story, and your story is always the thing that makes the biggest impact.

Moonphase Creative
Contact Us. We’re all about writing your story so you have time for more.

So bring your words to the next level. Read about how organic SEO can help your website grow overtime. Find out how telling a story can help you connect to the perfect client. Practice writing bios and bylines and your company’s mission until it is easy to explain in a quick, succinct way. And if you just don’t want to do all that work on writing, consider hiring someone who can.

Until next time,

 

Angi

 

 

Could a Content Writer Help My Social Media?

Content Strategy & Social Media

Social media without content strategy is like vanilla ice cream without chocolate syrup. I mean, you can, but why would you want to? Hiring a content writer who understands strategy is a smart move if you’re looking to maximize your click-conversions. Small businesses, especially, can see huge benefit from developing a strong and authentic presence online.

Content strategy brings your social media presence to Next Level performance, and will leave your audience feeling engaged, informed, and (possibly) entertained. An audience that engages is an audience that cares–and getting people to care enough to click and read is a lot closer to your end-goal: commit and purchase.

Hiring a Content Strategist

Whether on a project-to-project basis or full-time, hiring a content strategist could be an excellent move for your small business brand. A content strategist likely has a few other tools in their belt, such as myself. I am a copy and content writer who is constantly applying strategy to capitalize on consumer psychology when it comes to social media.

Content Concept. The meeting at the white office table
Develop your content with a creative approach to strategy. Image via Adobe Stock.

A content strategist is, I would say, rarely just a strategist. They are most likely copywriters, content writers, and/or freelancers employing their strategy talents to expand their value and provide a better quality result for clients.

Freelance Writers Using Content Strategy

Freelance writers using content strategy understand digital marketing and SEO in a unique way. Businesses may be looking for ways to optimize their SEO, but they may or may not consider strategy beyond that, and this is where freelancers with a background in both writing and digital marketing can have a bigger impact. Search-friendly SEO best practices can be textbook solid, but the changing landscape of SEO and digital marketing means web content needs to reach a new level of relevant.

Many freelance writers are in constant pursuit of ways to improve their SEO structure and analyze performance. This is a field of niche skill, and while your small business can probably handle picture-posts to Instagram and Twitter shares, it helps to have a team dedicated to the production and maintenance of social media account for, if nothing else, one reason.

Content strategy
Find way to push your social media presence to maximum results. Photo: Adobe Stock

That One Reason is quality social media content creation. Writing blog posts that are structured properly, meet the recommended length (over a thousand words, always!), and contain useful, engaging information that also helps your targeted keyword ranking? It is definitely time consuming. And requires a workflow that is optimized for efficient turn out.

How do I use Content Strategy?

If you are a small business looking to capitalize on your social media marketing plan, posting frequently is only part of the strategy. You’ll want to be sure your content strategy is reaching across several platforms and pointing people back to your home page. Beyond that, clear branding, cohesive imagery, and a visual story can all be incredibly helpful in making sure consumers know your business when they see your content.

Promotional strategy can help you achieve better conversions in sales and find a relevant, respected foothold in your industry. Are you struggling to conceptualize your small company’s brand? Are you looking to create cohesive content that is shareable and invites engagement?

Moonphase Creative is ready to help your journey, so feel free to contact us about how writing and content strategy could play a part in your business growth.

 

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