Guest Post: Your Content Needs A Solid Foundation

The foundation of your content should begin with your story. Have you ever seen the animated movie, “Rise of the Guardians”? I love movies! Jack Frost struggled to find his center throughout the course of his movie. There is a scene where he is having a conversation with Santa Claus to learn what this means. Santa Claus reveals that his center is “wonder.” Everything he does filters through that center. When developing content for your business, your center is your story. Everything should flow through that, building a solid foundation for your content.

So, you’re probably wondering why your story is your center? How does it build a foundation for your content? Your story is unique to you. No one else has your story, your journey. It builds transparency and erases barriers to allow your customers to connect with you. I’m not an expert in branding, but what I do know is that your brand should reflect you and who you are. If you’re on the path to discover the brand for your business, look within. It should be reflection of you. If your business and your brand does not embody parts of you, there will always be something missing.

Your story reveals the reason why you started your business in the first place. It gives your customers insight into your journey and why you are a credible resource to help them. If you’ve noticed changes in the marketplace in the last 20 years, you realize that people rarely filter buying decisions based on just cost and products anymore; relationship, engagement and service are primary components used to dictate buying. They need to feel that you are a good choice for their needs; it’s not a transactional decision. Revealing your story and integrating it throughout your content marketing puts your future customers at ease doing business with you.

Have you ever wondered why Facebook live has become increasingly popular across social media channels? It’s because of its raw depiction of the real you. There are no filters, editing and sometimes, yes, no makeup! The transparency of this platform takes you off a pedestal with your customers. Don’t get me wrong, you are still respected as an expert, but your customers see you as ‘just like them’, making you relatable.

The rest of your content that you develop for your business – your website, blog, social media, email, etc. – should reflect some level of this transparency. This does not mean that you need to tell your life story in all your content – just pieces of it. I’ll share more on how to do this in a later post.

In the meantime, I want you to look at all of your content and make sure you have a solid foundation. When you look across your different content platforms, do you see a theme? Does that theme trace back to your story? As you walk through this process, I want to hear what you find. Share your comments here. We all have special stories to tell. Don’t leave them on the shelf.

Advertisements

Guest Post: How to Start a Writing Career With No Experience

Our friend Sarah Lapallo Beck from Ink Book Company will be presenting at the Agile Writer Conference January 26th. Click on this image to find out more about the Conference. In the meantime, she’s offered this article from her website to help you.

SO YOU WANT TO BECOME A WRITER BUT THE REAL QUESTION IS HOW TO START A WRITING CAREER WITH NO EXPERIENCE? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN DO IT AND FIND WORK TOO.

Picture1

Starting a writing career without any formal education can be daunting. Don’t worry though, this article will show you how to start a writing career with no experience.

Don’t let other people discourage you. No, seriously!

You’ll get “the talk” from some people that you tell about your plan to start a writing career. You know, the one that goes something like this:

Can you type without looking at the keyboard? How fast can you type? You know it’s difficult being a full-time writer. Blah blah blah…

Don’t listen to the naysayers or largely negative messages that you’ll get out there. Don’t believe what others say until you try it yourself.

So with that out of the way, let’s move on.

What You’ll Need to Start a Writing Career

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need any experience to start but you do need the willingness to do and a determination to succeed.

So how do you start learning?

Start by reading some publications from other established writers or people that inspire you. Then you need to take the following steps.

1. START WRITING MORE

At first, you may find it difficult to write for hours but most things worth doing are. So don’t be discouraged.

At this stage, you may not have any work or contracts and that’s ok. By writing regularly, you’ll begin to develop the skills necessary to become a great writer.

Also, the best thing you can do for yourself is to start a blog!

A blog will help you focus on a niche topic that you enjoy and come in handy for acquiring higher paying clients in the future.

Most importantly, it’ll give you much-needed experience but make sure that you’re open to feedback.

2. ACQUIRE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Communication is important in our personal and work lives. So learn to communicate effectively because you’ll need these skills when dealing with clients.

This article about communicating effectively is a good start: 7 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills.

3. BUILD YOUR REPUTATION

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

Warren Buffett

Luckily, it’s not going to take you 20 years but Warren drives the point home.

You need to build a portfolio to start building your reputation. You don’t need to have published pieces but you do need samples.

Going back to step one:

If you’re frequently writing, then you’ll always have an abundance of samples to show potential clients.

4. KEEP UP WITH CURRENT TRENDS

To keep up with trends, you can subscribe to a few blogs that you enjoy or read current publications on things that interest you.

Many writers focus on a single niche while others can write about practically anything that comes their way. Neither approach is wrong.

It really depends on what you want to do.

5. LEARN THE BASICS OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

A basic understanding of SEO is an asset to most clients but not absolutely necessary. Some clients will want their articles optimized for search engines, so having this skill can help you win those contracts.

Where to Find Work

It wouldn’t be complete without this!

Here are some great places to find work as a writer.

  • Freelance Websites – Sites like Upwork, Guru and Freelancer are great places to find writing gigs. Clients go to these companies to post available assignments and freelancers apply for the work. The competition can seem fierce but you can win bids if you focus on value or customer needs.
  • Content Mills – Similar to freelance marketplaces, these websites act as the middleman. You’ll definitely find work here but the pay is a little lower. Popular content mill sites include: TextBroker, Great Content and Hire Writers.
  • Job Boards – In most cases, you can find the best paying gigs on job boards like Indeed or Career Builder. Often, these are companies looking for full-time or part-time writers. Also, yearly contracts or more are posted on these sites.
  • Market Yourself – This one can be tough, especially when you’re just starting out. If you don’t have one already, get a website or blog and start marketing yourself. You can use social media, email, video or other strategies to do this. However, make sure that you choose one primary marketing strategy and focus on it.

That’s it! You’re ready to start your writing career and build up experience along the way.

Guest Post: Avoid Writer’s Block with the “Candy Crunched Method”

Our Own Jackie Hunter Featured on WTVR Virginia in the Morning

“Lost in the Red Hills of Mars”

RICHMOND, Va. – Jackie Hunter, retired educator turned science fiction writer, is using several creative outlets these days to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. She stopped by the studio to talk about one of those projects, her debut novel called Lost in the Red Hills of Mars. To learn more about Jackie Hunter and her new book, you can visit her websites atwww.therippyeffect.com or www.lostintheredhillsofmars.com. You can also find her new book on Amazon.com. 

Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 9.53.22 PM.png

The Price of Editing…

From  at The Write Life:

For comparison purposes, let’s look at the editing rates and use an average page-per-hour and an average hourly rate. For instance, the EFA lists basic copyediting of 5–10 pages per hour at a cost of $30–$40 per hour, so I’ve assumed 7.5 pages per hour at a cost of $35 per hour. The other total calculations also use their respective average rates.

For a 70,000-word book, your editing costs could be:

  • Developmental editing: $.08 per word, or $5,600 total
  • Basic copyediting: $.018 per word, or $1,260 total
  • Proofreading: $.0113, or $791 total

It’s easy to extrapolate from this what your total expected editing cost could be. Fantasy, sci-fi, and epic novel writers should be forewarned.

For a 120,000-word book, your editing costs could be:

  • Developmental editing: $.08 per word, or $9,600 total
  • Basic copyediting: $.018 per word, or $2,160 total
  • Proofreading: $.0113, or $1,356 total

Realize that these are simply one website’s average estimates for editorial costs. For further comparison, CreateSpace offers copyediting at $.016 per word for books longer than 10,000 words. Pronoun’s list of editors is also an easy way to compare many editors’ costs.

Read More at The Write Life…

A 12-year-old boy who can’t speak wrote a book with his eyes

DghtgkWXkAM1iD1(CNN) Twelve-year-old Jonathan Bryan can’t verbally speak or physically write. He was born with severe cerebral palsy, has limited motion in his limbs and is in a wheelchair.

For most of his life, Jonathan’s parents used nonverbal cues like a smile or a frown to communicate with him. Educators determined he had profound learning difficulties and never taught him to read or write in school.

That all changed when Jonathan’s mom, Chantal Bryan, began taking him out of school for a few hours a day to read and write. By the time Jonathan was 9, he could spell anything he wanted to say.

Now with the help of an E-Tran frame, Jonathan not only communicates — he wrote a book.

Read more at CNN…

Practical Writing Tips

I don’t like to share promos or ads. But this advice from Writers Life is pretty good. It matches a lot of what I’ve been telling my writers at the Agile Writer Workshop. While I don’t necessarily endorse the Writers Life products, I do like their advice. Caveat emptor…

Practical Writing Tips You Can Actually Use
1. Say something; Think about what your message is
2. Use short sentences & simple language
3. Be specific & use details
4. Use an active voice
5. Break up your text
6. Don’t overwrite
7. Become a brutal editor

Get more tips and tricks in our ‘Get It Done’ toolkit: http://www.writerslife.org/writing-tips-toolkit