How to Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need (nay, require) better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I’m a writer! I cannot! Even!

How to create better blog post images with Canva

Create better blog post images with Canva

And a few years ago I would have commiserated with you. Because there was a learning curve if you weren’t a professional photographer—you have to learn design and of course then you had to figure out Photoshop (and pay for it).

If you gave up on taking photos yourself then you entered the world of stock photography and, a few years ago, the cost was high and the competition was low.

But the story is tres different today. There are so many tools available to non-designers and non-photographers it’s time to accept your need for better blog post images and hop on the bus.

Elements of a Brand Worksheet

By the way, good graphics start with a solid brand

I’ve created a worksheet to outlining the elements of a great brand, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Then once you’re in the library, navigate to the blogging section and look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

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For creating better blog post images I recommend Canva to anyone who asks. It’s a free design tool for non-designers—and it’s so easy to use. It’s in the cloud so you don’t have to download anything and you can use it from anywhere, including your mobile.

You can design your own graphics if you’re inclined, or you can take suggestion from their huge template library.

The first thing you should do is figure out a few image templates you’ll use over and over in your blogs. This cuts down on decision fatigue and helps keep your blog brand consistent.

Don’t freak out! This is all a part of creating better blog images. Templates are your friend. And remember what I said earlier? Canva has a massive template library! You’re going to be fine!

When building your templates you may get tripped up on fonts, images and colours. Since we’re not design trained I suggest we don’t trust our instincts.

At least, that’s what I suggest to myself. Here’s what I do instead.

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Create better blog post images with canva

Fonts

First, you need to choose a font, which is no easy feat. There are bajillions of fonts to choose from.

In the link I dropped I’ve offered a few ways to narrow it down but here are the main points: choose something readable and stick with it.

Now, when you’re creating images you may want to use a couple different fonts—risky stuff! If you want to spice things up font-wise, use Canva’s free font combinations thingy. Select your main font and let Canva show you what will pair well with it. Done.

Images

While you can create graphics without photos there is still a decision to make here—will you be an exclusive image-only blog? Or just graphics? Or a mix of both? Figure out how you want your site to look and go from there.

If you’re going with photos, Canva has a large stock photo library—some of which are free to use. There are many, many options online for stock photography these days so you have options if you want to use photos but can’t/don’t want to use your own.

Even if you’re not planning on using many photos I still recommend finding a photo style you resonate with (be it nature, lifestyle, flat lay, etc.) as it will help you in your ongoing branding and in colour selection.

Extra credit: If you’re looking for unique, free stock photos, allow me to recommend Sage Media & Marketing.

How to Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

Colours

If you’ve chosen your website or blog branding colours then this isn’t a decision you have to make—stick with your branding.

However, if you haven’t done this yet it’s time to pick a palette. And, since we’re not designers, how does one know what colours go together?

I use Canva’s colour palette generator every time I need one. And I don’t just use it for my blog images—it’s how I chose my living room colours and how I decide the palettes for my knitting projects!

When you find your inspiration image, one that you feel represents the essence of your blog and/or brand, upload it to the colour palette generator and watch it do its magic. Because it’s magical.

As a writer, the subject of website images can be overwhelming. The goal of today’s post is to help simplify it—yes you should have images on your blog and yes, I think you can create better blog post images.

Here are the highlights.

  • Use a program like Canva
  • Remember, templates are your friend
  • Build a visual brand using fonts, images and colours
  • Stay on brand!
In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I'm a writer!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I'm a writer!
In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I'm a writer!

5 Marketing Ideas to Reach Your Audience

If you’re a freelancer looking to scale then you know how important it is to reach your audience. And how do you do that? Marketing.

5 Marketing Ideas to Reach Your Audience

I know, I know. I’m a broken record. But the cold, hard truth is marketing is one of the most important aspects of running a business.

And yes, I did say business. Because that is what you’re doing, if you write for money (even if it’s a side hustle) then you’re running a business. So act like it!

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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How to reach your audience with marketing

Yeah, you may get by for a while pitching outlets or responding to calls for pitches on Twitter. But without developing an inbound marketing strategy, you’re going to continually have to go out to find work rather than attracting it to you.

Here are seven inbound marketing ideas to help you reach reach your audience. YOUR audience. AKA, your ideal clients.

Email marketing

Remember the time Facebook and Instagram went down FOR A WHOLE DAY? Good thing you own your email list! Not only is this a great way to stay in touch with existing clisents and warm leads, but you can get to know new people as well, if you’re doing it right. Use email marketing software like Mailchimp or SendFox (affiliate link) to send emails about new products, sales, and any other news you want subscribers to know.

Bonus: How to Get Your Email List Started (and What to Send)

Networking events (in person or virtual)

While you may FEEL like you’re alone, on an island, no freelancer should actually be alone. We need each other. You need the support of likeminded peers who can encourage you and offer advice when you need it. And you need to actually meet people who you can talk about your business with, even if you don’t think they’d make a good client. Even if you don’t think they’ll need your services. Who cares, meet people and tell them what you do. Who knows, they may know someone who needs exactly what you offer. Guess what? They’ll refer you, and referral clients are, in general, an excellent thing.

Bonus: Networking Tips for Introverted Writers

Blogging and content marketing

Like, yeah, OK, the blogging craze has passed. I know, it’s not 2012 anymore. But! Blogging is still a fabulous way to develop an inbound marketing strategy and draw people to you through your fantastic (and SEO optimized) content. Blogging helps people learn from you, get to know you, and learn what you’re all about. Really, I can’t recommend it enough.

When people become familiar with you and your brand, they’re more likely to hire you or buy from you (as your blog stays consistent and on topic).

Bonus: 10 Reasons to Start a Blog

Digital ads

Advertising can definitely work. BUT you do need to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. That’s when it all comes together. Social media has become such an essential part of our lives so it just makes sense to advertise where the people are.

In addition to targeting the right audience with the right message is using the right keywords. For example, if you’re looking for clients or selling products in the skincare niche, then using words and phrases your audience would use in the title and the description is critical.

Billboards

This is a tricky tip because billboards are HIGHLY visible and yet SUPER expensive. Also, your have to absolutely nail your graphics and messaging. And it doesn’t suit every niche. However, don’t discount billboards. They’re a powerful force and are a unique way to reach your audience. Plus a lot of other people. Allvision is just one of the companies you can partner with to reach an audience at scale. Larger than life, even. 

Modern digital billboards allow for even more options, since you can integrate video, motion graphics or even animation. Something to consider, although it’s not for everyone.

If you're a freelancer looking to scale then you know how important it is to reach your audience. And how do you do that? Marketing.

I know, I know. I'm a broken record. But the cold, hard truth is marketing is one of the most important aspects of running a business. 

And yes, I did say business. Because that is what you're doing, if you write for money (even if it's a side hustle) then you're running a business. So act like it!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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3 Simple and Helpful Keywords and SEO Tips for Writers

At some point in your writing career you’ll face keywords or SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is a marketing skill, which writers may or may not have.

Keywords SEO Tips

I say it’s a good idea to become acquainted with the concept as it will make you more valuable to your clients.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Finding Keywords for SEO

Most freelance writers spend time researching different topics online, which is good news because finding keywords involves the same skill: research. And, in fact, there’s a good chance you’re doing keyword research as part of your regular workflow.

Brainstorming writing ideas, building content calendars or working on branding all involve some aspect of SEO.

This can be as simple or complex as you make it. I like to keep things simple.

Keyword Tips

1. Answer questions your audience is asking

Think about the audience you serve and the types of questions they’re asking. Then take those questions and answer them.

If you take the time to figure out what questions your target audience, customer or reader is asking, the more you increase your chance of them finding your answers. It’s amazing stuff.

2. Figure out three or four main topics for your website

If you understand editorial planning then you already know this. If not, think about the main themes or categories of the product or service you’re writing about. Then break those main ideas down into smaller topic ideas or sub-categories.

Continue breaking the ideas down into smaller and smaller ideas until you’re as focused as possible. You now have a HUGE amount of on-topic keywords to build articles and content around.

3. Look at what others in your industry/niche are writing about

Browse their websites and see what topics they’re addressing. Is there anything missing? Can you offer more information about one of those topics on your site? Can you go deeper on any of these themes? See what your competitors are doing and improve on it.

If you don’t know who your competitors are you can open up an incognito browser and Google your theme or topic. See who ranks in the top (not counting ads) and check out the articles. Ask these same questions and see how you can improve on what’s already ranking well in search.

One last tip: Tech Tools

If you’re stumped for ideas online tools like Wordstream’s Keyword Tool or Google Trends will help you brainstorm ideas. They will also give you a good indication of how many people are searching for the term so you don’t waste your time answering questions no one is asking.

A few years ago my website was quite random and unfocused. I spent a lot of time writing about whatever struck my fancy and not much time wondering what people would like to read.

One day I realized I was ranking as the number four search in Google for “DIY Chocolate Bubble Bath.” I thought that was pretty great until I realized I have no interest in the topic, offer no services or products on that topic and no one ever actually searches for that topic.

Oops.

Finding Keywords Conclusion

The closer your keywords are to the actual topics you cover and services you offer the better your SEO ranking will be. Part of your website’s value comes from how long people spend on your site.

If you show up in search and people click on your link only for them to leave a second later, this tells Google the search result wasn’t relevant to the user and over time your ranking will go down until it disappears altogether.

There is a bit of a learning curve to figuring out keywords and SEO but if you keep it simple and think about what your audience is searching for online, you’re on your way to optimizing your writing.

Pin for Later

Most freelance writers spend time researching different topics online, which is good news because finding keywords involves the same skill: research. And, in fact, there's a good chance you're doing keyword research as part of your regular workflow. 

Brainstorming writing ideas, building content calendars or working on branding all involve some aspect of SEO.

This can be as simple or complex as you make it. I like to keep things simple.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Most freelance writers spend time researching different topics online, which is good news because finding keywords involves the same skill: research. And, in fact, there's a good chance you're doing keyword research as part of your regular workflow. 

Brainstorming writing ideas, building content calendars or working on branding all involve some aspect of SEO.

This can be as simple or complex as you make it. I like to keep things simple.
At some point in your writing career you'll be asked about finding keywords or SEO (search engine optimization). Understanding SEO makes you more valuable.
At some point in your writing career you'll be asked about finding keywords or SEO (search engine optimization). To be clear, SEO is a marketing skill, which writers may or may not have. So you're off the hook there. That said, it's a good idea to become acquainted with the concept as it will make you more valuable to your clients.

6 Helpful Services a Book Publicist Does for an Author

What does a book publicist do?

what does a book publicist do

In general, this is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales. So it’s an interesting and important role.

But just how does a book publicist affect this positive influence? And what does a book publicist do for an author? And what does it take to be a book publicist?

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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What does a publicist do, anyway?

Think of a publicist as both your biggest cheerleader and a teammate on your book marketing team.

He or she will champion your book to the media and sing about how wonderful it is. And my, how wonderful that feels.

They have one main goal: get positive press coverage for his or her client.

A book publicist gets involved in the process after your book goes to print but (in general) before it’s published.

You've decided to write a book tip sheet free download

By the way, are you thinking about writing a book? You are, aren’t you.

Read the post, How to Write a Book before you dive in. And when you’re ready, grab the complimentary worksheets that go along with the training. They’re in my resource library—just pop your email address in the form below for the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Here are a few things a book publicist does for an author

  1. Gets book reviews
  2. Gets articles written about the book or author
  3. Nominates book for awards
  4. Gets interviews for the author
  5. Sets up and promotes virtual book tours
  6. Schedules book talks and tours

These are all essential ingredients in the book marketing recipe for success.

Now if only you could look at marketing as a creative outlet instead of a thorn in your side we would all be singing to the bank.

But I digress

Of course an author can do his or her own marketing and if this is something you’re considering, here are some of the required skills.

Here are a few skills a book publicist should have in order to be successful

  • Ability to work with all kinds of different clients (every author is different and requires a different approach)
  • Strong writing and oral skills
  • Strong public relations skills
  • Knowledge of the journalism industry
  • Understanding of what journalists and book bloggers are looking for
  • Outgoing personality
  • Good at networking
  • Organized

Considering becoming a publicist? For extra credit, read So, You Want to Work in Publishing: The Role of a Publicist from Writer’s Digest

Your writer's statement worksheet free download

If you can get clear on why you’re writing, it will become a beacon of light showing you the way forward.

Download the Your Writer’s Statement worksheet from my resource library.

Pop your email address in the form below, confirm your subscription to my email list and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in, navigate to the “writing” section and look for the worksheet titled, “Create a Writer’s Statement Worksheet.”

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There’s no question publicity (aka marketing) helps book sales. If people hear about a book they’re more likely to purchase it rather than one they’ve never heard of.

“If you write it they will come,” isn’t really a thing.

Before you get too worked up, I understand this isn’t your favourite thing but I still think you can rock your marketing. And when you need a boost, hire a book publicist.

Related posts

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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What does a book publicist do? It's a common question. In general, it is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales.
What does a book publicist do? It's a common question. In general, it is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales.
What does a book publicist do? It's a common question. In general, "book publicist" is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales. So a book publicist is an interesting and important role. But just how does a book publicist affect this positive influence? And what does a book publicist do for a writer? And how long does it take?

3 Smart Questions to Ask to Discover Your Ideal Reader

No matter if you’re a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.

Ideal Reader

What is an ideal reader?

This is a fictional persona to whom your writing will most appeal. While this is not a scientific process, creating a profile helps you write with purpose and enables you to craft elements into your writing that surprises and delights this person.

Your ideal reader represents who you are writing to. It’s one person, not many people. This is a specific process and if you do it right, your ideal reader will come alive in your mind.

What this means is you need to figure out who your ideal reader is, what his or her interests are, and why your ideal reader reads.

Your most important question is why will your ideal reader be interested in your book?

Whatever the why, all readers have one and it’s your job to discover it for your ideal reader.


Discover Your Ideal Readers Worksheet

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

Pop your email address into the form below, confirm your email subscription and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library.

Once you’re in look for “Discover Your Ideal Reader Worksheet” in the writing section.

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Your ideal reader is your biggest fan

When you know who you’re writing to it gives your writing purpose and direction. This may seem like a strange exercise to go through but trust me, it’s a key step.

Even if it’s a loose definition, think about the person (real or fictional) who would most be interested in reading your work.

ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

  • What does this person tend to focus on?
  • On social media, what does your ideal reader like sharing about?
  • From what you can gather, what does he/she most need/want/desire?

Once you know the answers to those initial questions answer this one: what problem are you solving for your ideal reader through your writing?

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Through thinking about your ideal reader you should have a few words and phrases jotted down. Take a look and add a few more words to the page.

This time, write down things about your ideal reader. Noting things like hopes, dreams, challenges or family dynamics can help you paint a picture.

It can be vague or specific, long or short. Just jot down as much as you can think of in a five-minute period.

Look at the list you came up with and compare it to your first one—are you seeing a character emerge? Write a biography for this person—whatever comes to mind with as much detail as you can include.

Remember, this is a creative exercise. You’re trying to imagine who the person is who can’t wait to read what you write. The more human you can make this person, the better.

No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.

Here are a few marketing applications

In essence, marketing your writing is simple—put your writing in front of the people who will love it. If you have an idea of who your ideal reader is then finding those (real life) people is a lot easier. The more you know, the better.

  • What stores do they shop in? Now you know where to sell your work
  • Where do they hang out? Now you know where to hold workshops or readings
  • What is their favourite social media platform? Now you know where you need to be online
  • What are their biggest fears? Now you know how to help them
  • What do they care most about? Now you know how to relate to them
  • What type of marketing will they best respond to? Now you know what you need to do

There are a lot of ways you can find your ideal reader (or book buyer, or ideal client, etc.) so it’s important not just to parrot what you see others doing online but to find something that works for you and feels natural.

free fillable worksheet discover your ideal reader

Don’t forget to download your free worksheets for this training

Pop your email address into the form below, confirm your email subscription and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in look for “Discover Your Ideal Reader Worksheet” in the Writing section.

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Other helpful articles

No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets (like the worksheet from today’s training!) and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.
No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.