Rock Your Marketing (Even if You’re too Busy for Marketing)

Freelance writers are business owners, busy business owners. And many of us lack the time to work on our business because we’re always working in it for our clients. Blogs, social media posts, and marketing in general fall by the wayside in favour of the now money. But what about later? Do you go back to hustling with the gigs dry up? Do you stockpile your rainy day fund in case there’s no work for a while? What if you could rock your marketing while you’re busy so you stop having dry spells? (Spoiler: You can, and I’ll tell you how.)

Rock your marketing

But first a story.

I’m part of a bi-monthly marketing challenge in one of my professional networking groups and the most interesting parts of the challenge is how many people “sit this one out” citing they have a full client load so they don’t need marketing.

What? You’re too busy for marketing!?

This is difficult to hear. Because this tells me you’re not thinking about the long game, you’re focusing on the here and now. And you should, don’t get me wrong, but it can’t be all you focus on.

Here’s what no marketing plan gets you

  • Scattered, inconsistent presentation in front of potential clients
  • Random posts and self-promotions on social media
  • Irregular networking (in person, virtual networking groups, bi-monthly marketing challenges…)
  • Unfamiliarity with competitors’ strategies

Oh, and no new clients. Unless you’re so busy month after month that you’re turning away new clients, you need marketing. Even when you’re too busy for marketing.

So, how do I rock my marketing even if I’m too busy for marketing?

I’m glad you asked. Since we’re at the beginning stages of this conversation I’m not going to ask you to do new things…yet. Right now let’s focus on what you’re already doing and sprinkle in some focused marketing. Getting it going is the first step.

Rock your marketing with these three tips

First, think about the content you put out on social media right now

Be honest. When you post something on social media, what is it about? Personal? Photos of your weekend? Political memes? Food? Is anything you post related to your business or how you serve your clients?

If you’re going to rock your marketing, I challenge you to consider your social media platforms places where you can attract new clients and brand yourself rather than something separate. Who is your ideal client? How can you help him/her today? How can what you post be useful in moving him/her ahead? How can you inspire someone? (Need help? Here’s your five-step social media strategy for freelance writers.)

Second, carve out time to connect with your ideal clients or colleagues

And no, this does not mean sending out cold pitches by email. CONNECT!

Remember, I’m not asking you to do anything new…yet. So who are the people you speak to every day? Do you pass them on the street? In a store? In a restaurant? Look them in the eye and make a connection. Start with hi, hello, how are you. One or all of those will do. Next? Have a conversation. It doesn’t need to be deep or time-consuming, but make sure you mention something about how what you’re working on lights you up and you love your job. Make a connection, then continue on with what you were doing.

But what if you don’t go out because you’re chained to your computer desk all day? How about a nice email to a contact? A check in, a hey how’s your business going? Is there anything I can help you with today? Or how about an old client, why not send a nice note and see if there’s a project you can help out with. If not, no biggie. But you tried. You reached out. You connected.

Third, you don’t need to post new content every day

Hear me: you need to post content, but it doesn’t have to be new. Whoa.

This was a huge mental shift for me. When I let go of the idea that every blog post was a slam dunk and lived on in my readers’ minds I was free to re-use them as appropriate. (By the way, I wrote about my favourite tools to re-share content here.) I combed through my archives and pulled the articles I thought my idea clients would enjoy. Then I plugged them into a content library, created a schedule, and let them go. I’m still amazed at the freedom I feel setting up this small automation. Because I can accept that not everyone will see my LIFE-CHANGING articles and freelance writing tips the moment I write them I’m free to keep sharing them on various platforms. All it takes is this careful balance of humility and pride.


See? That wasn’t so bad. Don’t you feel ready to rock your marketing? These three itty bitty marketing tweaks can help you ROCK your marketing! Visualize how stress-free your freelance marketing game could be. Dream big, my friend.

Now, a word of caution. You can go down the marketing rabbit trail and end up overwhelmed and not sure which shiny object to focus on. Because there is always more you can do. All we’re talking about today is not doing nothing. Don’t do nothing. Keep putting yourself out there, even if you’re busy and have a full client roster. Keep networking, keep posting relevant, helpful content on social media, and keep putting your work out there even if you haven’t created anything new in a while. Keep going!

Freelance writers are business owners, busy business owners. And many of us lack the time to work on our business because we're always working in it for our clients. Blogs, social media posts, and marketing in general fall by the wayside in favour of the now money. But what about later? Do you go back to hustling with the gigs dry up? Do you stockpile your rainy day fund in case there's no work for a while? What if you could rock your marketing while you're busy so you stop having dry spells? (Spoiler: You can, and I'll tell you how.)

One more thing. If you’ve got these three daily tasks down you may be interested in my free five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers. It walks you through putting a few simple systems in place to help you with goal setting, reaching out, keeping in touch, and even a bit of branding. Why not check it out? I made it for you!

What Is Hip? The Life and Times of The Tragically Hip [book review]

WHAT IS HIP- The Life and Times of the Tragically Hip

Canada is celebrating 150 years of being Canada and when What Is Hip? The Life and Times of The Tragically Hip came across my desk I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate. By reading books about Canada and Canadians.

Makes sense, right?

The Tragically Hip is one of those legendary stories, everyone I know has a moment where he or she discovered The Hip and many of my friends made it out to their farewell tour.

My journey began with purchasing Road Apples on cassette. What what. I may even still have it somewhere. Even thinking about it song lyrics float through my mind and I smile. What was it about The Tragically Hip that has us so captivated?

To be honest, I didn’t find out in this book. I had hoped I would, but it’s more of a Wikipedia history of the band’s career. It’s all interesting and factual but I guess I was looking for more heart. Perhaps what put me off was reading the introduction. You know, before the book started. Author Marc Shapiro goes out of his way to say he didn’t write the book to capitalize on lead singer Gord Downie dying of brain cancer. I found it strange to have to even bring it up and couldn’t shake the opposite opinion as I read the What Is Hip?

Weird, right? But because it seemed to be missing heart I found I doubted the author’s intentions, and even if he was a fan of the band. Not quite the reading experience I was hoping for.

That said, if you’re curious about the band this is an interesting biography showcasing a great Canadian story. Why not grab a copy and decide for yourself if this is a worthy tribute?


What Is Hip? The Life and Times of The Tragically Hip Synopsis

“The Tragically Hip…the soundtrack our lives.”—Justin Trudeau

On August 20th, 2016 11.7 million Canadians stood transfixed, watching the final concert of The Tragically Hip, and the rest of the world asked, “Who is this band?” New York Times Bestselling pop journalist Marc Shapiro answers that question in the first American book about this Canadian rock band that largely shunned the spotlight but has become the standard bearer of a resurgent sense of Canadian pride and patriotism. What is Hip? The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip delves deep beneath the surface of this rock and roll story to discover how a band that spent more than three decades in the rock and roll trenches selling millions of albums and opening for the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin’s Page & Plant, remained almost unknown outside their home country, even as they rose to the level of rock royalty in Canada.

What Is Hip: The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip reveals:

  • The behind the scenes story of how the band took over The Horseshoe Tavern and made it their own
  • How a high up political personality was instrumental in landing the band their manager
  • The day-to-day, often unforgiving, spirit-grinding days of life on the road in Canada

The ins and outs of opening for three of the biggest groups in the history of rock and roll The Tragically Hip are not cartoon rockers. They are real men who live by their creativity and their principles. Through extensive research and a couple of well-placed sources, author Marc Shapiro has put together a complete look at The Tragically Hip’s rise: from their humble Kingston, Ontario roots, to endless tours, to their internal struggles to keep their music fresh, to the fanatic loyalty they fostered in millions of Canadian fans. These fans shed more than a few tears when it was announced that singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and that The Hip were about to embark on what might be their final tour.

Marc Shapiro is the author of more than 75 books. His most recent releases include Trump This! The Life And Times Of Donald Trump and Hey Joe: The Unauthorized Biography Of A Rock Classic. When he is not working, which is rare, he can usually be found mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and walking the dog.

My journey began with purchasing Road Apples on cassette. What was it about The Tragically Hip that has us so captivated?

How to Add Captions to Facebook Videos

Subtitles. Words. Closed captions. How do people add captions to Facebook videos?

How to add captions to Facebook videos

I wondered the same thing, is adding captions to Facebook videos some sort of magic I wasn’t privy to, or perhaps a paid feature for rich people? Well, it turns out there’s one easy way to add captions and I’m here to blow your mind. Maybe.

Do I need to make an argument for adding captions? You scroll through Facebook with your phone/computer on silent like I do, right? So even though “everything’s all about video” people still need a hook to draw them in. I believe the hook is captions. Tell people what they’re watching. Don’t make them work too hard.

How to add captions to Facebook videos

  1. If you’re on a page, click in the “write something” box and then on the camera icon like you’re going to add a new post (because you are). If you’re on a personal profile click on the Photo/Video link in the “what’s on your mind?” box. You’ll find this at the top of your timeline or news feed
  2. Upload your video, add your description and screenshot and then click post
  3. Once the video is ready to view, hover over the video and click the three dots in the top right-hand corner, then click on Edit Post
  4. Your default view is on the first tab, Basic. Navigate to the second tab, Captions
  5. Here you’ll see two choices: Upload SRT File or Generate. Let’s choose Generate
  6. Here’s where things get magical. You’ll see Facebook auto-populate your captions and now all you need to do is tweak them (their voice recognition is good, but it’s fallible)
  7. Once you’re happy with the captions, click Save to Video and you’re done! You have just added captions to Facebook videos you genius you!

If you’re wondering about the SRT File option, this is a SubRip file you have to set up ahead of time in Notepad or TextEdit. You’ll need to understand the formatting and know your caption time spans so if you aren’t following this sentence just stick with the Facebook-generated captions, alright?

Top tip: I schedule video posts for my clients and was dismayed when this didn’t work. When your post is scheduled you can’t generate captions to Facebook videos but you can still upload a SRT file. So don’t worry if you can’t generate captions—just create a reminder to add them once your video posts/publishes on Facebook.

Subtitles. Words. Closed captions. How do people add captions to Facebook videos? I wondered the same thing, is adding captions to Facebook videos some sort of magic I wasn't privy to, or perhaps a paid feature for rich people? Well, it turns out there's one easy way to add captions and I'm here to blow your mind. Maybe.

Essential Freelance Writer Website Elements

If you’re a freelance writer, do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?

Seven essential freelance writer website elements

Around the Internet I see a lot of advice and tips for author websites but I don’t see much out there to help freelance writers. Why oh why are we left out? Don’t worry. I’m here to help. Here are seven essential freelance writer website elements. Oh, and three things.

First things first, you need it. Every freelance writer needs a website. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. A website is the most critical tool in your freelance writing marketing arsenal. It’s available on-demand, year-round and is the one place you have complete control over what the message is. You want and need a website. (Which is why we’re going after the freelance writer website elements today.)

Next. There’s a common idea that social networks can replace a website—that’s where your readers and clients are anyway. But here’s the thing. You don’t own the platform and you can’t control the message. You can add to the conversation, yes. And I think you should be social networking. However, you don’t want all your eggs in the social media basket. It could go away at any time, and then what?

One more thing

Set goals for your website. Yes, I’m talking about S.M.A.R.T. Goals and yes, you need to set some. What’s the primary goal of your website? What do you want people to do when they land on your site? Who do you want to see your writing website? When you know what your goal is, you will know how to build it to help you achieve your freelance-writing goals.

Let’s get into it. What are the essential freelance writer website elements?

Less is more here

  1. Clear name. Look at your website. Is your name visible? Anywhere? Make it visible. If you write under a business name you can use that one, but make sure it’s easy to spot and read
  2. About page. This could be called something similar (bio, the company, meet your expert, experience, who I am, my story, profile, ETC.) and it should be on its own web page on your site
  3. Information about your products, services, or portfolio. Or all three. I have lots to say about portfolios (they drive me crazy…they’re out of date so fast in the freelance fast lane!) but I’ll refrain till further notice. Include as many links as you can to recent work and/or merchandise
  4. Social media icons. Do you have a few favourites? (I know I do.) Link to them and give your avid fans a chance to connect with you
  5. Contact page. Yup. You need to let people know how to get in touch with you. How do you want them to contact you? List that information in a clear and visible manner
  6. Email newsletter signup. Even if you don’t have anything to send, start an email list. Do it. You want to keep in touch with people who want to stay in touch with you
  7. Blog. I mean, I think you should have a blog. But I’ll leave it at the bottom so you know it’s not the first thing you do. Nothing allows your sparkling personality to come through like a blog. I don’t know what it is about the medium, but it WORKS! It serves as your pre-portfolio and helps you improve your writing. Oh, but you do need to keep it updated
  8. Around the Internet I see a lot of advice and tips for author websites but I don't see much out there to help freelance writers. Why oh why are we left out? Don't worry. I'm here to help. Here are seven essential freelance writer website elements. Oh, and three things

    Do you have freelance writer website elements to add? I’d love to hear about them!

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically

I’ve written about why I write book reviews before but let’s flip the switch and concentrate on how to get great book reviews. Exciting, right!?

How to Get Great Book Reviews

Is reviewing a book on how to get great book reviews too meta?

I don’t care. If you’re an author you need this book.

First of all, this isn’t something you read once and memorize. It’s the text book of getting book reviews. Covering the gambit in six sections plus appendices, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically addresses everything from Your Review-Getting Arsenal to You Have Your Review. Now What?

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Why do you need great book reviews? If you’ve gone through the trouble of doing all the writing isn’t your work done?

Nope. Sorry. Now you get to do MARKETING!!! (My favourite part.)

Why You Need to Get Great Book Reviews

I’m borrowing from the book’s argument here, but I hold it as well.

  • Reviews are platform builders
  • Regardless of negative or positive, stars or lattes, reviews give you the chance to be a better writer, learn more about your genre, and know your target reader better.

  • Reviews are resources for endorsements
  • Blurbs, praise, bullets, whatever. Need some nice quotes? You can get the with book reviews!

  • Reviews can be networking tools
  • Both getting and giving reviews gives you contacts with editors of review journals, contacts with other reviewers who are potential reviewers of your books, contacts with other authors who need quotations for their books or referrals.

    Once you’re convinced you should get great book reviews, then you’re ready for the rest of the book. It walks you through alllllllllllllll the things you need to think through and plan for. It’s a lot, but they payoff is worth it. Not only that, but once you have the reviews the fun is not over! You can reap the benefits of past reviews for years to come.

    If it’s time to market your book, get this book.


    How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career Synopsis

    How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the culmination of a nearly two decades Carolyn Howard-Johnson spent helping writers avoid pitfalls, misconceptions, and out-and-out scams perpetrated on unsuspecting authors…and helping them reach their dreams of great reviews, great book tours, and great launches. It turns out that How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the essence for a successful marketing campaign that includes all those things and—more importantly—for building the readership necessary for a prosperous writing career.

    Is reviewing a book on how to get great book reviews too meta?  I don’t care. If you’re an author you need this book.  First of all, this isn’t something you read once and memorize. It’s the text book of getting book reviews. Covering the gambit in six sections plus appendices, How to Get Great Book Reviews addresses everything from Your Review-Getting Arsenal to You Have Your Review. Now What?