Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers

Here’s your five step social media strategy, aka what to focus on when you don’t have time to be social. Stop being overwhelmed and start marketing!

Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers

Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers

Let’s face it. Social media marketing can be overwhelming. The more experts and gurus you listen to, the more steps there seems to be to reach the social media success train. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve put together a quick and easy five step social media strategy for those times you don’t have time for marketing.

Because you’re busy and looking for help NOW we’re going to dive right in. Take what you need and do it NOW.

Pro Tip: Don’t do this all at once. Choose one thing you can do now and work on it first. Then come back and pick another to work on. Then another. Look at it like building blocks—do what you can, master it, then move on to the next step.

Here’s your five step social media strategy

Step One: Decide on your objectives

Your options are endless here, but the key is choosing a goal. What are your social media goals? Why are you posting? You need something to keep you focused on the big picture so you keep moving towards your writing/business targets.

Here are a few objectives ideas: build your online profile, build brand visibility, networking, reach new clients/readers, stay connected with current clients/readers, launch products/books/services.

Remember, choose one and work on that first. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that objective move on to another, then another.

Step Two: Choose your social networks

I know you know. You don’t have to be everywhere. However. You do need to be online. It’s the modern marketplace. Since you can’t do it all, you must choose where to spend your social time/energy. There is a lot of advice out there for which networks have the biggest payoff but you will need to decide for yourself what works. A couple questions to consider when choosing your social networks: Where are you most comfortable online? Where are your clients/readers most comfortable online?

My two cents. If you’re a writer and trying to build your platform as a writer, I recommend Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as your networks of concentration.

Twitter

Yes people are saying Twitter is on its way out and yes it’s not the same as it was a few years ago. However. This is where you meet other writers. You know who else you meet on Twitter? People looking for writers. How you manage Twitter is an art in itself but once you have it set up, you will understand why I won’t let Twitter go.

Twitter is for quick interactions. It’s great for sharing helpful links, meeting new people, and getting ideas. However, it’s not a place to sell. You build relationships on Twitter, 140 characters at a time.

Facebook

This is where the largest concentration of people who are on social media are. Facebook. Join the conversation.

If you think of Facebook as a place to host/advertise events, join writers groups and share your blog posts and article clippings, it may start to make more sense.

However, this is not a place to vent your personal feelings about in-the-moment happenings. Yes you see people doing that all the time, but they’re not trying to build a professional brand and they’re using their personal profile to do that. If you think about your professional goals and aligning what you post on Facebook with them, you’ll know what you need to do.

Instagram

This is where your future fans and readers are. Trust me on this. It’s time to figure Instagram out.

Instagram is a wonderful place to connect with people as you build your brand. How? Consistency and engagement. That means YOU are consistent and YOU are engaging with others.

You can share your writing, post prompts or inspiration, and behind-the-scene peeks at your writer’s life. Images have a way of connecting people with you that words alone don’t. However, this is not a place to post your entire vacation photo album—not when you’re building your professional brand. This is also a place where you do need to engage and be active. If you don’t post and interact with other posts, you don’t grow.

Wondering how on earth to do this?

Read my post on how to build an Instagram strategy. This is one of my favourite social media services and I’ve seen this strategy work time and time again.

Remember: choose one social network and work on that first. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that social network move on to another, then another.

Step Three: Complete your social media profiles

Smack in the middle of your five step social media strategy is optimizing your profiles. This comes after you choose your social media platforms because I don’t just want you to complete your profiles but optimize them. How? I’m glad you asked! Read my post with five tips for optimizing your social media profiles.

But maybe you don’t have time to read another blog post. Here are the main points.

  • Choose a professional/standout profile picture and cover photo
  • Make it easy for people to know who you are/what you do
  • Link to your website
  • Include keywords about your services
  • Be clear on your location/contact info

My biggest tip for optimizing your social profiles is consistency across platforms.

Each network has its own rules for how long your bio can be, what sort of profile image works and where your website link goes, but if you can keep more or less consistent then you’re on the right track.

Step Four: Interact with your audience

We talked about this a bit in the Step Two of the five step social media strategy but it needs repeating. The point of social media is to be social.

I know, you don’t have time to be social. But do you have 15 minutes? Spend 15 minutes a day checking into your two or three chosen social networks and leave comments, reply to comments and lend your expertise whenever convenient. Trust me, this will expedite your brand building like nothing else will.

If you get nothing else from this five step social media strategy remember this: You’re not on social media to sell. You’re there to be social. Offer value, compliments and help. Sales will follow.

Step Five: Build your promotion strategy

All along we’ve been talking about how you DON’T sell on social media. But you do need promotion. There is a difference.

In most cases, clients/readers need to know, like and trust you before they’ll hire you/buy your book/work with you. In a virtual world, how do you make this happen? You need a strategy for converting warm leads into clients and retaining existing clients.

If you can stay in touch in a consistent, helpful, positive way, people who visit your website or connect with you on social will get to know you and will develop trust in you and your brand.

I know it as a “keep in touch strategy.”

I first heard about it when I read Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. He suggests building an automated strategy using customer relationship management (CRM) software. While that’s something you can build up to, there’s lots you can do before investing in a CRM.

You’ll need to figure out a few things you can do to make people feel special, noticed, and important. Here are some ideas.

Passive ways to stay in touch

  • Posting regular blog/website content
  • Posting regular social content
  • Share real-life tips and tricks from behind the scenes of your business
  • Commenting on/liking/sharing others’ posts on social media

Active ways to stay in touch

  • Build an engaged email list and connect consistently
  • Send handwritten notes or cards
  • Live streaming—doesn’t get much more personal than that!
  • Initiate communication
  • Send an article you think your contact would appreciate (personal touch)
  • Become a connector—in helping your connections cross-promote or develop business otherwise (even if it’s without you) you will build so much good will
  • Share gratitude and compliments—recognize others, say thank you, give sincere, public displays of affection

Remember, this is a five step social media strategy but work on one step at a time. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that strategy move on to another, then another.

There, of course, is more. But you don’t have to do it all today. If you’re feeling like you don’t have time to be on social media or you’re overwhelmed with where to start, then please implement this five step social media strategy. It WILL help you! And if you are just plain stuck then I can help. All you have to do is get in touch.

Feeling overwhelmed by social media marketing? Here's your five step social media strategy, aka what to focus on when you don't have time to be social.

Freelance Writing for Beginners | 4 Tips

When you research freelance writing for beginners all sorts of tips and tricks pop up. It’s a bit overwhelming, I know. You wonder how people get started, how it works and if it’s possible to make a living writing.

Freelance Writing for Beginners

Freelance Writing for Beginners

I landed my first freelance gig by accident. I had blogged for a while, for fun, and one day I received an email asking if I would help promote a movie by writing a preview on my blog. It paid $35.

Because I didn’t understand, well, anything about freelance writing and didn’t know anyone who was freelancing I continued blogging for fun and taking freelance writing gigs as they came to me.

Over the years I became savvier and joined professional associations I thought would help me figure things out. It has taken a while but the pieces are falling into place and I believe there are more opportunities than ever for people who want to get started freelance writing.

Don’t Let Technology Hold You Back

These days you can launch a blog or website in an afternoon, get YouTube famous with a couple viral hits and apply for remote gigs from your smartphone. So why not give it a shot?

Launching a successful freelance business is an entrepreneurial venture like any other, and requires a good deal of hard work, focus and discipline. Here are a few quick tips for getting started.

Four Tips | Freelance Writing for Beginners

  1. Set up a website and optimize it for search engines
  2. Think of your website as your digital business card, you resume and your writing portfolio all in one. This is the most important resource in your toolkit and worth spending time creating.

    If you take time to optimize your website for specific keywords, you’ll increase your chances of prospective clients finding you. If you’re looking for some SEO help, here are 6 simple steps to ranking well on Google.

    Although it’s not mandatory to have a website before you can land a paying client, having even a simple site with your name and contact information on it will go a long way to giving you credibility and status.

    Extra credit: Wondering what goes on your website? Here are essential freelance writer website elements.

  3. Create a writing portfolio
  4. When you don’t have experience it’s tough for potential clients to take a chance on you. Writing samples are the freelance writing industry’s version of education and/or experience. In lieu of samples, consider writing blog posts and using those to demonstrate your skill until you build your portfolio.

    Here are a few other ideas for getting writing samples for your portfolio.

    • Offer to write for local charities
    • Guest post on other websites
    • Submit letters to your local newspaper

    Anything that shows that you’re a capable writer is worth displaying in your writing portfolio.

    Extra credit: As you gain experience, collect testimonials from clients. This will help build trust with future prospects.

  5. Market like crazy
  6. Even if you land a retainer client on your first at-bat, consistently marketing your freelance business is one of the best things you can do.

    When you’re just getting started, your marketing will be more outbound than inbound. Think outreach, pitches, cold calls/emails, etc. As you build your brand and establish yourself in your niche your marketing will be more inbound than outbound. Think books, podcasts, interviews, referrals, etc.

    Extra credit: I believe in the power of marketing to transform people’s careers and businesses. Here are three marketing ideas for writers who hate marketing.

  7. Turn up each day, and do the work, whether you feel like it or not

As writing can be seen as a creative job, people sometimes leave their work until inspiration strikes. However, freelance writing is a job, not a creative exercise.

It’s important to turn up each day and do the work, whether you feel like it or not. In no time you’ll be on your way.

Extra credit: Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don’t feel like it is key to a thriving freelance business.

When you research freelance writing for beginners all sorts of tips and tricks pop up. You wonder how it works and if it's possible to make a living writing.

How to Be Productive Even When You’re Unmotivated

Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don’t feel like it is key to a thriving freelance business.

How to be productive

How to Be Productive Even When You’re Unmotivated

When you’re the one juggling all the balls and keeping your business going, there are times when you might wonder if it’s all worth the effort. No one said running your own business would be easy but sometimes it’s harder than you imagined. So what do you do when you have no motivation?

Tip 1: Stop Making Excuses

If you find yourself blaming outside forces or other people for why you’re not more productive it may be time for some honest reflection. There will always be obstacles and reasons why you can’t work on your business. Stop making excuses and figure out a solution. Keep moving forward.

Example: I can’t market my business, I’m awkward/introverted/etc. Nope. Get over it. You have to market your business. Figure it out. (By the way, here are some marketing ideas for people who hate marketing.)

Tip 2: Celebrate the Victories, Big and Small

While you were analyzing your freelance business did you stop to celebrate the small wins? Take a moment now. You’ve worked hard, you’ve had some good times. Acknowledge it.

No matter how small the accomplishment, give yourself some credit. Savour it. Pat yourself on the back. Being a business owner is tough, whether you’re a plumber or freelance writer. You’ve earned this moment of celebration!

When we’re stressing about how to be productive and worrying about how far we still have to go it’s easy to miss the progress we make. Try to see it. Try to feel positive.

Once you’ve found a few victories write them down and remind yourself of your progress every time you’re feeling down. Use the small wins to spur you forward.

Tip 3: Ask for Help | How to Be Productive

Just because you’re an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, overworked or under pressure it might be time to ask for help. Sure, you may have a time management issue and if there are systems you can implement and changes you can make to your routine then you should do it. But it also may be time to ask for help. Outsourcing isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of growth. Finding the right strategic partners could make all the difference.

If this sounds like what you’ve been looking for, learn more here about marketing and SEO agencies.

Tip 4: Analyze and Evaluate

Rather than digging in and pushing harder, it might be time to take a step back and take stock of your situation. Give yourself some space, evaluate where things are at compared with where you want to be.

Here are a few questions to consider. Are you circling burnout or do you just need a bit of help? Is your work/life balance in tact? Are you working towards your S.M.A.R.T. goals or are you just working?

If your business financial health is in question, it may be time to dig out last year’s reports and take stock of your actual numbers. How did things go? What’s changed?

Once you have a good idea of where things are at you can re-evaluate where you’re going. Take a look at your road map and adjust as necessary.

Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don't feel like is key to a thriving freelance business.

Five Tips for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

Optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles

These tips are available as a free download, plug your email address in below and I’ll send you the printable.


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?

One More THing…

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.


These tips are available as a free download, plug your email address in below and I’ll send you the printable.


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.

    And my favourite tip for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

  9. Be clear on your location/contact info

Conclusion

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!


These tips are available as a free download, plug your email address in below and I’ll send you the printable.

Optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

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What is a Ghostwriter?

“What is a ghostwriter?” At a recent writer’s breakfast workshop on book writing and publishing, a writer asked me this. The topic came up as I was giving examples of alternative publishing options to.

What is a Ghostwriter

My example, in this case: ghostwriting.

“What is a ghostwriter?” The workshop attendee asked. “Is it when you change names in your memoir to avoid disclosing someone’s identity?”

This was a new concept to the workshop attendees. As I thought about the term I realized how weird it is. I mean, it kind of sounds like some sort of niche mystery writer. The answer is much less sexy, sorry.

What is a Ghostwriter?

When people outside the industry think of writing I think they imagine a standard person-writes-book-and-puts-name-on-it. But when you enter the wonderful world of professional writing you realize there are SO MANY MORE OPTIONS.

Sure, writing a book and putting your name on it is a thing. A big thing. And the easiest way to explain ghostwriting to someone who things of the writing life as limited to authoring a book is this: a ghostwriter is someone who writes a book for someone else. They provide the service of writing a book and then release the rights to that book to the person who hired them to do it.

What does this mean?

When you write a book for someone else it means you get paid once and they sell the book as their own. They put their name on it. They take all the credit. And they get all future money for it.

And it’s totally above board, don’t worry. Sure there are other arrangements ghostwriters make with their clients. Sometimes the book will say “so and so with so and so,” which indicates the it’s the first person’s story but the second person put it together and did the writing. And sometimes the writer does receive royalties. Quite often these are collaborations with an editor and done for people who are celebrities, politicians or CEOs.

Other Types of Ghostwriting

I look at ghostwriting as any writing you aren’t credited for. And there are so many times where this makes sense. Some examples: website copy, product descriptions, social media posts, podcast show notes. It doesn’t really make sense to have a byline on things like this. And you maybe you don’t think about this type of writing as professional writing but it is.

The label for this type of ghostwriting is something like business-to-business writing or even professional writing. In essence, you’re hired to write for a company and once your contract is completed they own the copy and you get paid.

Makes sense, right? Do you still wonder what is a ghostwriter?

Another type of ghostwriting is taking one form of media and transcribing it into written form. You aren’t coming up with the ideas or doing the research, you’re just repurposing it. It doesn’t make sense to have author credit because, well, you didn’t write it. Not really.

I could keep going but I think you get the idea. The great news about ghostwriting is often it is better paying than writing for credit because people understand what you’re giving up and compensate you for it.

A writer asked me what is a ghostwriter. It came up because I suggested it as an alternative to traditional publishing and it was a new idea for attendees.

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