What Can Digital Marketing Do For You?

“But wait!”

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What if I told you Content Writing has EVERYTHING to do with Digital Marketing?

 

“You’re a writer.

Oh. Okay.

But what if I told you that a lot of what I offer as a Copy and Content Writer has everything to do with marketing? And, since I primarily write for web, my writing really has everything to do with digital marketing–though, no, I am definitely not a digital marketer.

What is Digital Marketing?

So, first off, what is digital marketing, actually?

HubSpot gives this definition:

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.

And that is exactly why my job as a copy and content writer has everything to do with digital marketing. I write for every single one of these platforms. As Donald Miller, author, speaker, and creator of the StoryBrand concept says, words are the ultimate tool in storytelling.

Visual storytelling is awesome. Having clean, crisp images and a color palette that ties in a brand’s identity and helps sell a brand image and further their story is awesome. But at the end of the day, folks, it comes down to words.

What Can You Do to Tackle Digital Marketing?

Since Digital Marketing really is an umbrella term encompassing all the many ways we target, connect, and engage audiences online, tackling digital marketing can have a lot of steps. I recommend setting some doable, bite-sized goals for yourself and starting small. Perhaps this means setting up a website for your small business, and then committing to writing blog posts regularly to help boost your SEO organically.

Then, after you’ve mastered that, perhaps your next step is tackling Facebook and Instagram. Make business accounts for both of these social media powerhouses and start sharing those blog posts you’re publishing regularly, and commit to several weekly posts on Instagram showing relevant content rather than just pictures of your adorable dog cuddling a parakeet.

 

Develop Your Digital Marketing Plan

Developing your digital marketing plan can be a process that evolves overtime. But, basically, you should commit to three or four strategies and then prioritize following through. Trust me, this will be the hardest part.

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Outsourcing your digital marketing implementation might end up being a really great option for you, or you might find that utilizing a suite of nifty tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are the answers to your side-hustle prayers.

Learning about different ways to digitize your marketing and diversifying your strategy will be key to your success. Check out some of these ideas to keep growing your digital marketing strategy.

Whatever route you choose, remember that the follow-through is most important. Especially in organic SEO: consistency is key, as results can easily take six months to become noticeable.

Familiarize Yourself with Writing Techniques

In addition to learning the basics of digital marketing, familiarize yourself with writing techniques. Learn how writing for web and digital marketing works, and make an effort to identify your strengths weaknesses as a writer. This really will help your professional communication in every aspect, from emails to blog posts, to social media blurbs and bylines.

Check out my post about writing a blog post for some really basic ideas on getting started, or read up on SEO strategies in 2020.

And beyond trade-specific writing info, check out resources like Grammar Girl’s guide to writing properly (her blog is full of fascinating word-nerd info), or take a quick course to freshen your business and casual writing skills. Top-level writing will definitely help you pull of you DIY digital marketing endeavors with greater success. If that isn’t your skillset and you’re not eager to make time for it yourself, outsourcing copy and content is a viable solution that many small businesses find a huge time-saver and value-booster.

Stay Committed

Stay committed to digital marketing strategies and implementations. I’ll reiterate what I said throughout previous paragraphs about that exact thing.

Stay committed to your digital marketing plan.

Stay committed to developing your understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Stay committed to content planning and strategic posting schedules.

And if you can’t, then commit to outsourcing the work to someone who does it for a living because it really can be that much of a game-changer for any company.

What’s your plan going to be?

So now that you know what digital marketing is, and a little bit about what it might entail, what is your plan going to be?

As always, feel free to be in touch. Email me or find us on Facebook. Moonphase Creative is always excited to help you in whatever phase you’re orbiting.

 

Until next time,

 

Angi

 

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

Productivity & Block Scheduling

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

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

Ways To Build a Block Schedule

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

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

1. Dailies & Tasks

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

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

6 a.m. nurse the baby

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

7 a.m. Bigger Kids off to school

7.30 a.m. Household upkeep, just a bit

(usually dishes. Always the damn dishes)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

2. Work Deadlines & Inflexible Dates

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

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

 

3. Appointments & Routines

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

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

4. Chunks of Time vs. Lists

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

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

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

Why Block Scheduling Really Works

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

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

 

 

The Artist Mom’s Summer Adventure

Remember when I said the summer insanity was nearly upon us? Well—it’s here! And I have been fighting a ton of anxiety, mom-guilt, and a lot of pressure to 1) get my business better organized and continue the expansion and 2) prepare everything and everyone for our newest addition that will arrive in August.

This past weekend, I tried to explain all these nerves and anxieties to my ever-patient partner. He totally understood; he reminded me that he’s here to take care of the kids, juggle the family taxi and let me have time to work, self-care, and all the other things. By Monday evening, after similar reminders from my dad, who is a wonderful grandparent-support just up the street, I felt a whole lot better about everything. So much better, in fact, I planned to commit and attend the weekly early-morning business networking group that could prove invaluable to my work as a freelance writer. I scheduled out blocks of work-time, and strategized about the dreaded Tuesday when my younger two kiddos have lots of appointments and no daycare. I felt pretty good about the newfound structure and was optimistically secure in my support system.

On Wednesday, my partner has the kids up and out the door well before 8 a.m. because my early meeting begins at 7.45 and their daycare is on his way to work. My eldest, still sleeping and self-sufficient, was enjoying the first real opportunity to sleep in on her summer break on this particular morning. I felt confident about this day—after all, I even called ahead at 6.30 a.m. to the daycare to ensure my four-year-old had the three tee shirts I’d ordered all ready to go for her summer camp uniform. I packed her backpack with a labeled water bottle and sunscreen, her favorite stuffed bunny, and we talked about her class trip to Build A Bear for the day.

I’m the first to admit I’m a hot mess mom, but this day felt pretty okay. I got everyone out the door with kisses, hugs, and neatly tied ponytails (except Ben, he can take care of his own hair). Less than an hour later, though, about 10 minutes prior to my meeting’s scheduled beginning, I got a rather stern phone call from her school.

“You will have to come get P,” the employee said. “She has a field trip today and she is totally unprepared, and it would be unacceptable for her to attend the field trip today.”

“Hmmm, okay, I’m sorry what is she missing.”

“She doesn’t have a shirt—”

“I called at 6.30 a.m. to ask if the 3 shirts we ordered several weeks ago were available, and I was told the shirts are there—we hadn’t been given them to take home in the weeks since I placed the order.”

“She doesn’t have sunscreen, a backpack, or a water bottle—”

“I labeled her sunscreen and water bottle and put them in her backpack—which should also have her name on it. I am really sorry, what else does she need today?”

“A hat, she doesn’t have a hat. You have about two hours to get a hat to her or she absolutely can’t go.”

Of course, I skipped my meeting—because either way I was going to have to miss the meeting, and at least if I ducked out and brought the hat to her, I could still get writing and illustration work accomplished. But I admit, I was fuming. All this worry about juggling kids and childcare, and wondering if a thousand dollars per child–per month– could be justified for childcare costs… in that moment, as I forfeited a profitable and important business opportunity so I could get my kid’s hat to her, the thousand dollars did not seem like a well-spent investment.

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My family. We are usually going lots of different ways. Photo by Jackie & Ryan Photography, Colorado Springs!!

 

I can’t imagine too many parents would want to be called out of a meeting and lose opportunities over a hat. Sure, it is one incident, and normally if the kids have an appointment or need me, I’m there and can be there quickly because being self-employed is typically one of the most flexible jobs ever. Had my daughter been actually totally unprepared, even, I could see the school’s point and would feel less annoyed and flustered by being asked to cancel my work and deliver a hat.

It did help me re-evaluate what I’m doing and where I am with my kids this summer. My heart is with them. Often, my days are spent coordinating and shuttling to and from appointments for one of the three, and so my work suffers despite 2/3 of our children being stuck in a classroom. The evening is dedicated to them, and after they sleep I’m too busy cleaning and preparing for the next day to do much work. And weekends, too, seem the worst place for work, because they’ve been in school and daycare all week and now I want to spend time with my family.

Yesterday, though, that “dreaded” day of appointments? We survived it, and we thrived it. Work-life balance is hard to come by, but yesterday seemed great for the most part. We accomplished all our appointments and squeezed in a special milkshake treat and a trip to the park. We got home just as some rain set in, and everyone watched a movie with popcorn while I retreated to my studio to work on painting and a few small business details. It was, in all aspects, more productive than most days—AND I spent more quality time with my kids than usual, too. In fact, I didn’t want today to start so rushed and send everyone off to summer camps and pre-school. I knew my 4-year-old was pretty excited for Build A Bear, and that I had plenty of work to get to– but also I wondered what kind of adventures would I have if we didn’t have to commit to the scheduled grind.

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Accomplished while the kids survived popcorn and a movie in a separate room.

When the morning rolled out as it did, I felt all sorts of things bubble up. The feminist in me started ranting about mom-shaming; after all, just that morning as Ben asked me about new classrooms and where to bring her summer camp backpack, and he joked it was good to be a man, because everyone is helpful and no one thinks anything of it when you don’t know what’s going on at your kids’ school.

The mom in me felt guilty.

The self-employed freelancer felt stressed and worried about work missed.

I decided this is, perhaps, the last summer we have before my eldest is “too cool” to be part of the adventure. It is our last summer before my second-born starts school. It is a summer of a lot of change, and I couldn’t imagine three people I would rather spend it with than my kids.

Will it be easy? No. But it wasn’t easy before, either.

 

We start the adventure July 1st, stay tuned!

 

Happy summer,

 

Angi

 

 

 

 

 

Moonphase Updates

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This is me. I’m excited.

I am excited to share updates and information about both my sales AND classes I will be teaching. I’ve updated my Etsy shop, and would love to ship some art to a good home. A lot of my art has been not only a joy to create, but a joy to share, and the process itself has inspired the classes I will be teaching in March & April.

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Art for sale in my Etsy: http://etsy.com/shop/moonphasecreative

In addition to creating these darling little paintings that can sit on a desk or mantle, or find their way into gift bags and gift boxes, I’ve created the framework for some classes that I am REALLY excited to share with you.

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This is an example of what we will do in the 2 hour workshops that happen on Saturdays at Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

I want to inspire people to creatively take the helm of their daily lives. How can we use art and writing to delve deeper into our personal growth? How can we use words and art to be unique in our self-expression?

 

I’ve also been exploring some fine art projects/hibernating writing projects; it has been wonderfully busy around Moonphase Creative, and I’m very excited to keep sharing the developments on several projects I’m taking on.

Please email me or find me on social media if you’d like more information on the Art + Writing Class Series or the Illustrator’s Alley series that will start in March at Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

Let it Go

As the year winds down, and our lives slip into a colder state of being, I find it is the perfect time to focus on introspection. This is largely why I’ve chosen to focus on aspects of Moonphase that give me joy, and bring the buzz of energetic passion. I want to grow my business from the root of joy—rather than the root of “everything that I can possibly do but don’t have time for.”

The other day, my kids made getting out the door difficult. I mean—really difficult. Like the average one hour ordeal turned to three hours after my three-year-old unzipped my gym bag, dug out my shower bag, unzipped my shower bag and the interior pouches, pulled out some face soap, and slathered her little legs with face soap.

She used enough soap, I think, to wash the faces of every single Miss America contestant post-production. Before the soap incident, I was trying desperately to get everyone out the door—and it was not working. In fact, the more I admonished, pointed, prodded, pleaded, begged, explained…. the more they dilly dallied, dawdled, diddled, and didn’t.

After the soap, though, I thought. Why rush? What will fall apart now that we are three hours late anyway? I mean, really, the time to rush had long since past. Being timely was clearly not going to happen; so why keep rushing and pushing when it made everyone—especially me—so stressed out?

I had a sweet and funny conversation with the three-year-old about soap and skin and mama being so careless in leaving the gym bag out. And we talked about her favorite movie, Frozen. We left the house, without tears, and… my day got a lot worse. But that is neither here nor there, because I had a wonderfully useful revelation:

If it does not serve you, LET IT GO.

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The work I love.

That’s what I plan to do as we spiral forward into a new season, a new year, a new cycle. I plan to let go of all those endeavors and expectations that did not serve me. Because of this, I hope to have time to share a bit more regularly on my blog, and offer some useful classes that tap into what I love most about being an artist and writer. I also plan to expand and update my line of little whimsies, while honing my focus to better suit the art that makes me joy-filled.

 

What have you decided to let go to better live your life? What have you been hanging on to that may not serve you? Feel free to send a message or discuss in the comments!

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Thanks for stopping by Moonphase Creative!