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

 

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

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I was sitting cozy in my white privilege until a friend reached out. Image: Adobe Stock

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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Image from Adobe Stock

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Not everyone is able to protest.

Not everyone is able to donate.

Not everyone is able to write.

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

 

For the Cause

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

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

Brand Communication: Writing with Vision

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

Communicating Your Story

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

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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

Positive Lead Generation: 5 Reasons to Avoid Paid Ads

What is Lead Generation in Digital Marketing?

Lead Generation in digital marketing is an incredibly important part of a small business’s strategy to success. Any potential customer who is considering your brand, business, or product, is considered a lead. You can generate leads through social media, as an example, with the ultimate goal being to convert your lead to a customer who pays for your goods or services.

Nearly half of small businesses are not utilizing a plan for lead generation, and that is a big problem. It’s a completely untapped source of revenue, and generating leads is absolutely crucial to your small business success.

Can paying for ads bring small business success?

I guess paying for your ads can bring your small business success? But… you’re paying for it, and without having as much control on how those paid ads are being implemented. Why pay for it, if you can achieve healthy lead generation through organic SEO with a higher rate of successful conversion?

Tips to Avoid Paid Ads

  1. Organic SEORather than dumping money into paid ads, do some keyword research and build your social media posts, blog posts and marketing content around those keywords. No need to spam the words into your writing so much that it sounds weird or unnatural–especially since the algorithms are already onto that nonsense and penalize sites that are using such silly SEO practices.
  2. Target your ideal Client. And I mean, go to the page and write about the ideal client you would like to meet. What do they look like, how old are they, what kind of job do they have? Gone are the days of thinking of a whole audience or demographic. Niche targets are possible now, thanks to the wide web of information and at-a-touch customization. 
  3. Hiring a content writer instead, or  create your own content strategy. Organic SEO and content strategy can be a little time-consuming and learning some of the ever-changing keys to success can require a moderate time commitment. There can be varying levels of dedication here, and it doesn’t have to completely monopolize your time. However, if your business would benefit from it and you have other things you’d rather be doing, consider hiring a content writer who employs organic SEO strategy. I am one of those, ahem, so feel free to contact us to say hi. I also offer strategy consultation packages in which I can help you think of ways to develop your own strategy and workflow in creating great organic SEO.
  4. Social Media Mastery. This can be huge for your organic reach. You don’t need to pay for ads if you can drum up authentic engagement. The algorithms on social media are all about user engagement, and they’re staying up on human habits enough to know when stuff is ridiculous and when stuff is legit. Likes are nice, but shares and comments are better. Shares and comments are good, but clicking links to your business’s main site with the ultimate point of commitment and purchase? That is gold.
  5. Focus Your Brand Building. You’ll want to attack a few social media sites and keep your blog/website frequently updated and ripe with good content. No matter which site your audience visits, you want to be sure that your small business is on-point in their image, branding, and overall messaging. Visual cohesiveness is extremely important, but it can really come down to voice and personality in the written content, as well.

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Committing to Authentic Growth

Committing to authentic growth organically via social media is not easy. You may choose to still supplement your organic digital marketing efforts with some paid ads–especially at first. That is okay if it fits your small business budget and you feel the results are worth it. But I really do recommend giving organic SEO a chance. The results won’t be immediate, but they will be lasting. With careful tending, your metaphorical garden of truly interested leads will be growing like… well. Weeds. Or cilantro… (that is always the only herb I can ever get to grow in my sad, dry, desert garden here in Colorado).

Committing to your business’s digital marketing strategy can feel daunting. Some suggest posting often and posting during peak hours of social media usage. There are a lot of strategies here, I have a few opinions, some of which I detail below…

Beat the Rush: Social Marketing

Beat the rush with some social marketing strategy that may not seem obvious. Instead of scheduling your post for peak hours, share your content outside of peak hours. If you post during Facebook’s peak hours, for instance, then you compete with the most posts of any other time of the day. Instead, beat the rush and make really compelling posts that attract a lot of engagement, hopefully garner some shares, likes, and comments before rush hour hits. The more engagement your post has initially, the more it climbs the social media feed algorithm and gains visibility. So the post you shared before peak hours will, ideally, gain some initial attention (likes, shares, valuable engagement) then receive a natural boost of visibility during peak hours.

In the case of Instagram, frequent posts with relative hashtags is a great idea. Obviously, keep your IG posts super engaging by posting top-not images. IG is all about the visual, so visual branding and cohesive visual storytelling are absolutely crucial. Frequent posts (ideally, daily) will only do so much for you, though. Be authentically engaged–like, comment, and follow others who are doing things that you like and things that truly interest you. In my experience, trying to like, comment, and follow other Instagram users for personal gain isn’t that useful and its usually very transparent to users so it comes across insincere, spammy, and ingenuous.

If I had to sum up my strategy, it’s that it really is quality of leads over quantity. I would rather have fifty engaged, committed, authentically invested followers who interact, promote, and do business why my small business than have five hundred followers who have forgotten they follow my small business.

Email me: angi.baker.saunders@moonphasecreative.com to discuss what we can do for your digital marketing campaign. Check us out on Facebook, or see us on Instagram, @thatcopywriterlady

 

 

Content Writers on Social Media: Strategy is Key

Content Writers & Content Strategy

Content writers are different from copywriters in several ways, but good writers (whichever kind) are always thinking about strategy. Copywriters are, to over-simplify, writing the static pages structured for SEO and focus on keywords per page to help a website gain rankings and visibility in relationship to those targeted keywords. Content writers, on the other hand, are producing fresh, relevant writing on a more frequent basis that engages readers and helps keep a site’s relevance and rankings up.

I happen to do both of these things and enjoyed both tasks so immensely, I expanded into social media content creation. I love the aspect of content strategy so much, it was fun to take on a new platform that nicely paired with my blog and website experience.

Content strategy goes beyond any specific form of writing or even platform, and has more to do with shaping the way a business or brand puts out the digital stuff their audience consumes. Content strategy is partly marketing and branding, but it is absolutely more powerful when executed by someone with knowledge of SEO, content and copy writing.

Social Media Posts: Clicks vs. Conversion

I want to focus on creating social media posts that consider Clicks vs. Conversion. Content aims to get clicks, but clicks can be the boring kind (a random, disengaged Like) or the best kind (the conversion kind that goes all the way to your website or slides into your DMs with legitimate inquiry). Create authentic content your ideal client would be happy to find out more about and earn those clicks that turn into conversions.

Social media is a shiny vehicle for your business, but garnering likes doesn’t equal customer conversion. Strategic posting using relevant hashtags, compelling images, and descriptions that consider the real end goal (which would be click-conversion to paying customers, not the ephemeral currency of likes) will be most valuable. In the long run, you want your small business to have a big customer-base–not just a fan-base (though a solid fan base is pretty cool, too).

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Photo by destiawan nur agustra from Pexels

Organic SEO

Social media depends on a little more than just compelling content and on-point curation, which is where organic SEO becomes super important. A competent content writer is going to be well-armed with some solid SEO strategy. Organic SEO is not a paid ad that may give a false boost to your sales. Instead, organic SEO takes time to build as your SEO social media and blog posts work to improve your rankings and visibility. It will take months, honestly, so please be patient.

If you follow a few simple rules for creating decent blog content, though, I guarantee you will start to see increased traffic, gains in your clicks, and positive conversion rates. It’s a matter of diligence and blind forging ahead, really–because if you stop posting, your SEO will stop growing. If your site isn’t posting regularly, I can guarantee it will not increase in Google rankings. Organic SEO works with what you have, not with what you’re paying.

What Makes a Good IG Post?

So if you’re looking to make a good–no, awesome–IG post, then, what should you or should you not do?

Do

  1. Use bold, pleasing, or eye-catching images. It’s the quintessential quest of the VSCO girl, amirite? But whether you’re a battle-hardened millennial searching for your identity, or one of the new VSCO babes hoping to score influencer status, you’ve got to be ready for the pursuit of superior images.
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    The VSCO Girl in a Field. Photo by Dominika Gregušová from Pexels

     

  2. Know how to #hashtag wisely. Appeal to brands and follower that fit with your own aesthetic and visual. It is really amazing how the visual narrative of a brand can be narrowed down and conveyed with such precision just by condensing the use of certain hastags and related groups.
  3. Tell a Story and Have a Schedule. My personal IG game is a little weak, tbh. I need to take my own advice on this one! Tell your brand’s story and create a content schedule. When you’re winging it, your post will start to look less like a personal-professional hybrid and more like a moody snapshot of your life, cat, and meals to and snacks you’ve eaten in the past forty-eight hours.
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Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Don’t

  1. Don’t use underwhelming photos that have more personal meaning than they have public appeal. Make these photos your best shots of whatever you’re selling, whatever you’re about. Make it fresh, authentic, and relatable–but don’t make it underwhelming with blurry, unfocused images that take a minute to figure out what the subject is.
  2. Don’t tag people, promote, or hashtag posts without reason. Don’t attempt to blow up your feed in too many directions to garner a few likes and views. The fact is, this might work in the very short-term, but a ton of likes means absolutely nothing if no one clicks through your IG links to check out who you are and what you do.
  3. Don’t be afraid to post. Post often and be mindful about what you’re sharing. Let your content be relevant and authentic to your brand, and the results will eventually follow. If you need some help crafting that image and creating the content, please contact us and we would love to help!

Until next time!

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Photo by Prateek Katyal from Pexels

Angi

 

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

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

The Productivity Mindset

Every one of us probably falls into the productivity self-sabotage category at some point. For me, there have been multiple causes along the timeline of my adult life, and in every season of self-sabotage, comes an opportunity for solutions and personal growth.

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. In season of toddler parenting and pregnancy, it often falls to the wayside due to family life; but not having a 9-5 job that allows–demands, even–the dedication to work, means I find weeks passing without much satisfying workflow.

The cycle is never-ending, and it usually ends with me demanding a change because one more day of dishes, laundry, and screaming offspring without a single “grown up work achievement” is going to drive me into the madhouse.

Everyone wants to keep mom out of the madhouse.

So I return to the pages with a freshly minted mindset of productivity and dedication–and it works. It works well! But in another six weeks, I can tell you where I will probably be…

Yes. The madhouse.

All that said, this list isn’t just for you, Dear Reader. It’s more for me, and I’m optimistically hoping that maybe it will help another work-from-home-parent out.

 

5 Tips For the Work-at-Home-Freelancer

  1. Treat your job like a…well…job. I’m really guilty of saying, “well, I can make any appointment at any time because my schedule is flexible.” And while this is true–truer for those with a brick-n-mortar workplace with timesheets and managers–it doesn’t mean that I can fill up four out of five work-days with back to back appointments and keep up with my freelance workload.
  2. Block out FOUR HOUR work periods during your self-imposed work-week. I say FOUR with such 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 packet,” 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. This is probably not the best pointer for productivity, but I think my bigger point is: 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.

Number Five is my current struggle. Today I received a text asking for my time for an important but rather personal matter. As we scrambled to pass out cereal bowls, dress kids, organize the day, and generally eject from the house, I told my husband, “I get it, but I absolutely have to get some work done or I am going to lose my mind and lose the weekend because stuff is piling up.”

“I get it,” he said. “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.”

Never underestimate the power of feeling validated. But, beyond that, I “teach” him that my work is real. He sees the assignments I have, we talk about my clients, and because we run a household together and my job requires that creative flair of scheduling work time, he is usually the only other adult to actually see me demand time to meet a deadline or finish a project. He is easy to teach, and respects my work, but generally speaking I do the most self-advocating to him, and really I should have that attitude with appointment-making, volunteering, committing to social or sport events, and otherwise spreading myself too thin.

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!

 

Works in Progress

As I grow my daily (or almost daily) practice of art, I am finding so much inspiration for decorative art especially!! Selfishly, I want to keep this mermaid canvas for our house for my daughters’ bathroom.

We are expecting our FOURTH baby!! And I am thrilled, particularly with the art and decor of the baby’s room-to-be. Previously, I found there was never enough time or resources to get creative and go all out with home decor of any kind… and maybe that is why I am so drawn to making that kind of decorative, relatable, accessible art that can add a splash of personality to rooms of all purpose.

Keep an eye out as I plan to be speaking more to home decor art and showing my process as I focus on this aspect of illustration and creation!