Five Tips for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles

When you’re a hungry freelance writer or getting started in the industry it’s difficult to know where to look for work. Things like job boards, Craigslist, and cold emailing queries are what people trend towards but these are (in general) low paying, competitive, and an exhausting hustle. Your chances of landing solid clients are low so your pitch rate has to be high.

If you’re wondering how established freelance writers generate leads they’ll tell you most of their work comes through warm leads (existing relationships) and referrals. Even if you’re just starting out these options are available to you too, the trick is letting people know you’re available so they think of you when an opportunity comes up.

The best way to let people know you’re available is by saying you’re available. It’s easy to look at your social media profiles as places where friends and family connect with you, so there’s no reason to talk about your business (don’t they already know what you do?) but what better place to find referrals than your friends and family list?

And don’t assume they’re aware of what you do or even understand it. Do you know the details of your entire network? I don’t. Take assumption out of the picture and optimize your social profiles for your freelance writing business. Lay it out for them so it’s easy for them to think of you when they hear about someone looking for a writer.

Another reason to optimize your social media profiles is because your reach is wide on social. A potential client is more likely to run across you on Twitter or LinkedIn before ever seeing your website. You want to ensure you tell any potential clients who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

Five tips for optimizing your social media profiles

  1. Choose a professional/standout profile picture and cover photo
  2. Your profile photo should be high quality, square, reflect your brand, stand out in news feeds, and be a picture of you.

    Your cover photo (on applicable platforms) should be high quality and represent the core values of your brand.

    The more consistent your images are across platforms, the better.

  3. Make it easy for people to know who you are/what you do
  4. If you want to capture leads from your social profiles then use your full name or business name. Nothing cute here. A great social media bio explains who you are and what you do, shares your personality, and targets your niche audience with keywords. Think of it as an amped-up elevator pitch.

  5. Link to your website
  6. Some gurus teach linking to your professional Facebook page and if that’s where you prefer doing business I won’t stop you. But don’t leave the URL section blank. Think about it this way, where do you want your prospective clients to go? Send them there. I want them to go to my website so I can showcase the best of my work on a property I own and control.

  7. Include keywords about your services
  8. If someone is searching on Twitter for someone like you, what will they search for? Make sure those words show up in your profile in a non-spammy way. Avoid buzz words, use terms your ideal client would use, be concise, and mention the benefits of what you do.

  9. Be clear on your location/contact info
  10. If you work from home you may not want your address listed for the world to see, but how about your city or region? Adding your location helps potential clients discover you. And what about your contact details? Make it easy for people to get in touch, but only share what you’re comfortable with. Adding a phone number may be too much, but what about your work email address? If you want people to contact you with work, tell them how to reach you.

Now get out there and be social!


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Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Your Freelance Writing Business

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Your Freelance Writing Business

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

If you’re a writer, you probably have something you want to accomplish. You know, a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG). Write a book. Make 100 per cent of your income from freelance writing. Secure year-round contract work.

So, what’s your goal?

And how long have you not been reaching it?

I don’t mean any offence, I just know from experience how those BHAGs can paralyse, overwhelm, and otherwise sabotage productivity. That is, until the BHAG is broken down into smaller, less hairy, S.M.A.R.T. goals. You know, the ones that will spark your creativity and propel you towards your dreams.

No pressure

For years I’ve said I want to write a book. In an offhanded, joking sort of way. And yet for all my wanting I have 1,600 terrible words accomplished. Why? Don’t I want to write a book? Then why am I not writing it?

Because I’ve never broken down the goal into manageable steps. Daily word counts. Specific time set aside for book writing. Book plotting. Why haven’t I? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s overwhelm. Maybe insecurity. Maybe I’m waiting for someone to not only beg me to write a book but also pay me to do it.

Enough!

It’s time to get real, set the goal, state it, and break it down into steps that will get me there.


Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Your Freelance Writing Business

Everyone agrees goal-setting is important. However, while it’s fun dreaming and thinking big, the work of it is figuring out how to achieve your goals. The best way to set goals you’ll actually work to achieve is following the S.M.A.R.T. system goal-setting model. It’s quick, straightforward, and keeps you focused on action.

Once I have my BHAG (in this example, write a book) I break down the goal into smaller, less impossible steps. You know, I make them smart. Here’s how I define S.M.A.R.T. (because there are many ways to do it). I keep things straight by applying who, what, when, why, how to the matter. If I can’t answer those questions, my goal might still be too big.

Specific—what will you do?

Here’s where you force yourself to get clear and focus in on your objective. What do you even want to do?

If my goal is write a 50,000 page book I’m going to have to figure out how to make it happen. I need to break this huge goal into smaller tasks. Maybe it’s write 750 words a day. Maybe it’s a weekly word goal. Maybe I need an outline and table of contents first. Or maybe I need my topic before I get get into writing. By breaking it down into one or several specific goals, the huge task of writing 50,000 words is all of a sudden not such a crazy idea.

Measurable—how will you know you’ve done it?

The problem (for me at least, maybe you’re totally great at writing 50,000 words or achieving any and every huge goal you have by sheer will power and determination) with huge goals is you only know you’ve achieved it once you hit your word count or whatever it is you have as your finish line. But since it’s such a massive goal you need checkpoints along the way to keep you motivated and not paralysed in overwhelm. Break your goals into smaller pieces, all building towards that huuuuuuuuge goal and you’ll see your anticipation and excitement for the task at hand grow.

When I set myself a daily or weekly word count goal I know exactly what I need to do. Once I reach the goal? I feel pretty good. In fact, I feel great. I celebrate the small wins and feel confident I’m one more step closer to reaching my huge goal. Amazing how that works.

Achievable—who will do it?

Of course, goal-setting only works when it’s actually possible to accomplish it. So when creating S.M.A.R.T. goals you do need to ask if you can achieve it. Can you? How? You might have to look deep and get real with yourself at this point. Do you have the skills you need to reach this goal? Do you have the time? Do you have the resources? Do you have the money?

For me time is always the issue. So I have to ask myself, is this what I want? For reals? Or is it a nice idea. OK then, how will I make this happen? Because “I didn’t do it because I was busy” is a nice excuse, but if I’m going to use it then I should probably give up on my BHAG because it’s not going to happen.

Relevant—why are you doing it?

At this point in the process, you need to make sure you care about the goal and that it fits with your other goals. How does this goal fit in with your other, larger, dreams? Does it drive you forward in the right direction? Does it breathe life into you?

I ask myself if the goal I’m setting is worthwhile, the right time, and a good fit with whatever else is going on in my life. Sometimes I have to set my goals aside for a time while I finish up other tasks. Sometimes I have to shelve them because I realise while it’s a nice idea and fun and stuff, it doesn’t align with my other goals. This is hard but, when done right, honest.

Time-Sensitive—when will you do it?

What’s a goal without a deadline? If your goal is open-ended it stays vague—more like a wish than something you’ll actually accomplish. And because you’ve worked so hard to make your goal specific and realistic, you should be able to commit to a deadline you’ll be able to meet without too much stress. Another bonus when setting deadlines is to keep you focused on your BHAGs and not allow the everyday, urgent, busy stuff distract you.

Once I set a target for my BHAG I find it easier to set individual deadlines when creating S.M.A.R.T. goals. When I have the big number then I deconstruct it into smaller amounts until I have something I can work with, be it a daily, weekly, or monthly goal.

With my goals set I move on to breaking them into tasks, but that’s a story for another day.


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Five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers [beta test]

Are you a writer? I need your help! I’m launching a beta test of my five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers and am looking for people to test my challenge and offer feedback. Interested? Opt-in below.

five-day marketing challenge

Want to boost your online marketing?

I know, I know. You don’t have time for marketing. You’ve got deadlines, you’ve got research, you’ve got kids/dogs/a day job!

But here’s the truth, if you want your business to grow, you need marketing.

Marketing helps future clients find you—enough with responding to Craigslist ads or cold queries. Put your best digital foot forward and help people notice how amazing you are and how lucky they’d be to work with you!

I know you know this, but I also know you’re overwhelmed.

  • Where do I start?
  • Do I need to do *all* the social media?
  • Do I need to pay for a website upgrade (wait…I need a website?!?)?
  • What’s worth doing and what’s a waste of time?
  • What about an email list?

What if I could show you how you could incorporate marketing into your day—just a bit…a manageable amount—and then teach you how to streamline and automate it so you could reach your freelance writing goals without adding more to your to-do list?

Well I can, and it all starts with my free five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers.

Are you up for the challenge?

Let me know by filling in the form below. You’ll secure your spot in the beta test running April 10-14, 2017.

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About Robyn Roste

My name is Robyn and I help freelance writers with marketing, which is important because it allows them to build their platform and helps them make a living doing what they’d rather be doing…writing.

I’m building a 30-day course teaching people how to set up and automate their marketing efforts so they can create a platform of raving fans and happy clients. This five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers is the first five days of my course.

On Writing for Free

I wanted to talk a bit today about writing for free.

Mostly this is on my mind because I hear so many opinions about it. Here’s the story (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short).

A couple years ago I joined Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC…and yes it is fun to say) thinking it was a pretty big step forward to helping me become a “legit” writer. I like being part of a professional association because it helps me take writing seriously. I think before this I was more wishing I was a writer, hoping I could get enough experience for someone to notice me.

One of the first things impressed upon me was about writing for free. I think it’s safe to say the more outspoken members and perhaps even the others feel a professional writer should never write for free, not ever. At least, that’s the party line I heard over and over. But after a couple years I’m hearing a bit more underneath the blanket statement, which leaves me a might confused.

Well, I guess if you’re trading services then it’s alright.

If you’re able to network and get other paying gigs as a result of the free work, then you’re doing yourself a favour.

As long as the person asking you to write isn’t being paid either, it’s probably OK.

You can write for free if you have a time limit and good reasons for doing it.

So…the black and white rules are a bit muddier now.

I should mention I’m a big fan of making money from things I write (I love this guide on how much you should pay a professional writer), and am not advocating writing for free. In fact I agree with the notion that if you work for free then you undermine the industry. However, there are always exceptions.

And that’s where I’m at today.

When I think about writing for free I can’t say I have a firm opinion on it yet. Maybe each situation is different. Or maybe the traditional “you write a story and we’ll buy it from you” model isn’t the only one out there. Maybe there are other ways to make money writing in an…alternative way. You know? Like getting a sponsor, or advertiser, or putting a ton of writing out there aimed at selling a product or service you have. Those also seem like really good ways to make a go of it while not technically writing for free.

Anyway, this was on my mind and I wanted to share about it.

This is Not a Book About Food

They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

They say that.

And I add to it: or the book blurb.

I say that. From experience.

And yet, time and time again I choose books by the cover, the blurb, or a combination of both.

I do that.

Just for fun let’s look at my latest choice, Constantly Craving: How to Make Sense of Always Wanting More by Marilyn Meberg.

As soon as I saw the title and the subtitle (how to make sense of always wanting more) meshed with the image on the cover (some sort of pop or other carbonated beverage?) I thought to myself, “By golly this is a book about food! How intriguing!”

And then, to be careful, I also read the back. Beginning with:

WE WANT MORE.
More peace
More excitement.
More romance.
More free time
More chocolate…

And I was sold!

About 80 pages in (oh yeah, I requested the physical product this time. Didn’t want a repeat of my e-reader experience) I realized something: This is not a book about food.

I kept waiting for it to come up and it just never did. Here is what the book is actually about, lest you (like me) be fooled and found foolish in front of your peers.

This book is about you and your craving for more in life. More love, more space, more time, etc. It’s a book about how we’re all missing something in life; something we cannot ever fill because we are all created with a longing Meberg calls a “homelessness of the soul.” It’s a longing for the eternal, something we will never find or fulfil here on earth.

Honestly once I realized this was more a book about relationships and the self I was quite put off. I was grumpy even. I felt really tricked by the title, cover, and blurb (although separately they all work to describe the book…well I don’t really get the cover but I just assume it’s too arty for my literal mind) because together they led me to believe the book was going to talk about something it never did, but I wished it did.

But I had committed to finishing the book so I thought I could do that much. And then I realized something. Once I accepted this book was different than I thought, I was able to read what the words were saying.

Each chapter is divided into the different things we crave in life and some resonated with me. For example there’s a section on being enslaved to time. I can relate, especially since my husband is not enslaved to time. And I felt quite convicted about it. Especially when I read “An overly conscientious awareness of time can thwart meaningful connections and blind us to opportunities to help people. When we’re enslaved to time, a phone call from a friend can be looked upon as an unwelcome interruption because it throws off the timing of [a] carefully planned day…” (99).

It made me really think about my priorities and how many times I’ve been annoyed or frustrated because I had an interruption or wasn’t perfectly on time for something. Instead of worrying about how my lateness would be perceived, I am learning to pay attention to the reasons I am not always on time. You know what, many times it is pretty reasonable. And if I’m perfectly honest, much of the time I wasn’t even that late—in fact sometimes I actually wasn’t late. So what’s my problem? I’m a time slave. Got to get that checked.

OK so no. This is not a book about food, not even a little. And I’m not really sure why the blurb mentioned chocolate (although I’m not mad anymore). But this is a neat little book about cravings, how to recognize them, and what to do about it when you’ve got ’em.