Connections

Short rant;

For those of you in need of someone to manage your social media accounts, I have a tip. Let the person who is handling your accounts know what you are doing. If you are updating them yourself, it is easy to add pictures from your day, dull or dazzling. If someone else is doing the updating though, unless they are on hand, keep them in the loop! Upload them pictures. Send them short accounts of interesting happenings. Advise them of changes in scheduled events. Give them notice of upcoming affairs. Let them know about things your audience might find interesting.

It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. More often than not, your customers just want to see you in action. They want to see the faces of the people they know and have interacted with. Candid photos always get more likes, shares, and followers. You can be unpacking a box, wiping a counter, or counting an order. This is what your business looks like. It isn’t always hanging high up in a tree, participating in a fun run, or receiving an award. And that’s business! There are plenty of mundane days when you need to get stuff done, but that is what keeps your business running. And it’s okay to show that side of your company too. A decent social media manager can create a picture of your company from all the pieces. That’s what you pay them for after all. When they don’t know what’s going on though, they cannot share.

So do yourself a favour. Whether it is once a week, month or day, think about what you want from your social media manager and ultimately your online presence. When you know what you want that to look like, get on the same page with your content curator and work something out. A good social media platform is a great base for customers to find you. And that’s just good business sense.

Rant off…

Take the time to connect with your social media manager so that you are all on the same page as far as your social media presence goes
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Pep Talk

Time has a way of ebbing and flowing. Every time I think I am one step closer to ‘making it’, a stumbling block humbles me all over again. Thus it goes in the writing world. I shouldn’t be surprised.

I cannot complain though. Life has been busy with more than just work and having those extra hours to devote to family plans and emergencies is one of the reasons why I have stayed with the job of Freelance Writer. Perhaps my most recent ebb has more to do with the universe knowing I need time to process life?

It really isn’t as dire as I let myself believe at times though. While one client scales back, another is ready to ramp things up in the new year. And while a client is parting ways with the founders of her company, they both look forward to new projects and have asked for my help and insight along the way. That kind of sounds like more work overall, if I think about it that way.

In the interim, I am given the temporary gift of time. As a writer, that leaves me vulnerable to too many time-sucking distractions; ie. Facebook, Twitter, the endless stream of memes on cats and the US election. Ack! It’s a hazard of the job though, when I need to wade through it to fulfil my mandate of content curation for clients. And I still have some who like all my treehugger posts!

I just have to remember my internal pep talk on the days that I falter. You know the drill. I should be writing. I should be editing my novel. I shouldn’t be looking for ways to eliminate grass-stains from my kids jeans, but Oh! I could share the hack to reduce my plastic dependence on a client’s page! Head down. Move On!

It’s hard not to get sucked in, but what I really think I need to do is stop worrying so much. If I need more clients, I need to contact people who might send me in the right direction of some. If I want to write my own independent pieces, perhaps I need to spend a morning brainstorming ideas of what to write about and where to solicit those ideas to. Or perhaps I should recalculate my daily schedule and slate in some mandatory editing, instead of hoping that the hours and whims will strike me at more regular intervals.

I know all of these things, and yet I allow myself to wallow in doubt and self-pity. Take the bull by the horns Katherine! Set a schedule, pencil in a coffee date alone, and with some key contacts. Go for a walk. The fresh air and vibrant fall colours do wonders to melt away worry (and maybe an extra pound or two that dogs you for sitting in front of your computer all day). And whatever else I might do, I have to remember to give myself these occasional pep talks to keep me going.

Time for some fresh air!

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Inspiration

 

 

 

Set Sail

Ontario Place harbour
Set sail for summer adventure

I claim to be a freelance writer, and I am, yet far too many days I find myself scouring other people’s words to share with others. It is called content curation. And as I understand the power of social media and how to wield it, people turn to me for help in that avenue.

Content curation is about sharing, but not necessarily always your own content; you can share any interesting articles, pictures, videos, graphs, or anything that relates to your brand. As it takes skill, creativity, and time to create new content, sometimes it is easier to share what other people or companies have already put out there. Finding it can take valuable resources though—again, that precious commodity time—which many small businesses have in short demand.

time
How many hours do you have in a day?

While I don’t have any more hours in the day than anyone else does, what I do have is the know-how of how social media works. I take the time to find content which fits with a company’s image and consider when best to share it. I spend enough hours on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, not to mention Pinterest and LinkedIn, to know what kinds of content is popular and what isn’t.

At least I do my best. People have been known to surprise me though.

Useful info from Clovermead
Useful info from Clovermead

I have to admit though that some days, I feel like a liar when I say I am a writer. Today I wrote up invoices. Not exactly fine literature, but it pays my bills (once my clients pay theirs). I spent most of the day either scouring for articles to share with clients or editing old blog posts to ensure links aren’t broken and images still exist. I took a break to collect a library book my daughter left at a friend’s house and stopped at the grocery store to pick up buns for dinner. No short stories were written or started. I didn’t dash off any witty poetry or even a haiku to stun the Twitterverse.

Sigh…

Set for Stratford Festival's "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe"
Set for Stratford Festival’s “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”

Not very writerly. BUT, it is summertime! School is out and the children are home daily. Some days I spend in front of the computer all day, but many more are spent with friends and family doing whatever fun things come along. We have camped, swam, gone to the theatre, drive-in, and beach. Festivals have filled plenty of days and campfires have lit many nights. So what if reams of writing hasn’t chained me to my desk? Sometimes there is more in the living, than there is in the imagination.

Perhaps tomorrow we will set sail on a new adventure to spur creativity later. I think that sounds like the perfect plan.

(Re)Published Content

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Content is king. That has been drummed into writers and anyone contemplating social media marketing for years. You need to constantly  create quality content to engage your readers.

Is that entirely true though?

As of late, I have been reminded that there is plenty of fodder in my archives to potentially revisit. I have been blogging since 2009 on various sites. That amounts to thousands of posts I could republish, many of which might not have been seen by present audiences. While it might not be new to me, it is new to someone who has never seen it before. And as such, it worthy of being republished.

(Re)Published Content

Before you just republish old articles though, there are a few things to consider.

Check for;

  • broken links – linking to other websites is good practice, but not if the links are broken. Before republishing a blog article, make sure your links are still active and link to the correct content.
  • dated images – sometimes a picture that was good enough back then, no longer fits the bill now. Consider updating images to freshen up the post.
  • missing images – if the original picture has been taken down from a site you shared it from, you might find a broken image in your archives. Using your own images prevents this
  • changes in viewpoint – our idea and viewpoints are constantly changing. You might want to make sure you still believe the views you are expressing before you republish old content
  • changes in formatting – updates to websites offer a fresh new look. Sometimes that affects how previously published articles look though
  • quality of post – the more you write, the better a writer you become. Hence, it makes sense that sometimes old content is just not worthy to share. It doesn’t hurt to delete old posts that aren’t up to present standards, or at the very least sliding them out of published status to give them a thorough going over before you republish them.

Republishing old content is a great idea. It gets your words in front of a potentially wider audience. It saves you time writing new posts. It allows readers to revisit old articles they might not remember. And it just might inspire new words in the future. It helped inspire this post for me today!

Do you ever republish old content? Have you gone back and edited/updated old posts?

Sharing is Caring

Surfing the net
Browsing for content to share is just one part of what I do

I have a confession to make. There are days when I feel like a sham when I call myself a writer.

Yes, I spend an inordinate amount of time at the computer. And yes, I am actually working. BUT, I am not always actively writing.

What I am doing while I sit at my laptop is browsing the web. You might think that is another word for wasting time, but in actuality I am surfing the net (yup, that includes everyone’s favourite time-waster Facebook) for content to share. This even has a fancy title nowadays—Content Curation.

I have several clients whom I do this for. They have Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Google+ sites, Pinterest boards and LinkedIn accounts and they all need fresh content on them. As I have noted before, when you have fresh content to share, people come to visit. More importantly, web crawlers and search engines take note and stop by too. The more content you publish, the more interesting you are.

In theory anyway. That content still has to be quality, or else your esteem drops in everyone’s eyes, from your clients, to their customers, to search engines, which drop you to the bottom of the pile if they feel you are plagiarizing or just re-posting the same thing ad nauseam.

So my job is to constantly be on the lookout for fresh content that will attract new visitors and keep existing ones coming back. And boy, that is sometimes a tricky task! Can I share that I love holidays, local events, pictures of clients in action and yes, sometimes even cute cat photos? They just make my job easier.

And so do my friends who share things on their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Google+ accounts, Pinterest boards and more. The things you find cool, other people find cool too. And if lots of people are interested and sharing them, then my clients just might share them too. It pays to be on the cutting edge, in the know of what’s going on in the world, funny or just plain current. So keep on sharing and don’t get offended if you see your next event shared on a small, local businesses page. It’s good to get the word out and sharing helps do that.

Now, back to surfing the web…