Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. Now that I understand the platform? PURE MAGIC.

Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers: Marketing, Promotion, Research

I don’t know why I hesitated other than it didn’t seem like a fit and I didn’t get it. Other bloggers love Pinteret. Like SO much. But since I don’t keep a lifestyle blog, I didn’t think there was any point. I mean, isn’t it just recipes and make-up tutorials?

NOPE.

My perspective shifted after I met Shawna, a minimalist blogger and life coach over at Simple on Purpose. She shared about how her business and blog took off after one Pin went viral.

ONE. PIN.

So when the opportunity came, I asked Shawna to review my profile and give me Pinterest tips to improve my sad attempt at…what was I trying to do anyway? She obliged and provided me with a report FILLED with suggestions. It was 1,000 words long, I counted.

Yes, I had my work cut out for me, and it was just the beginning.

My Pinterest mindset shift

I’ll spare you the details of how much spring cleaning I had to do on my Pinterest account. Suffice to say it would have been easier to start from scratch. Because I didn’t know what I was doing I hadn’t done anything right.

Up until this point I had looked at Pinterest as somewhere to go when you’re looking for costume ideas or DIY projects. But that’s a Pinterest consumer. A Pinterest content creator looks at the platform in a different way.

A content creator looks at the platform and creates appropriate Pins by pairing visually-appealing vertical images with pleasing fonts and a keyword-optimized description. But she doesn’t stop there.

A good content creator also develops a visual brand to stand out from the Pinterest noise and restrains her public pinning to the topics she writes about.

Here’s the most important thing you need to understand: Pinterest is not a social network, it’s a search engine.

Searching for content on Pinterest is a wonderful exercise but Pins also show up as results on all other search engines.

Did you catch that?

If your content is performing well on Pinterest, it may also show up as an image search result in Google.

It then follows that being active and pinning the right content on Pinterest will increase your reach and bring your ideal clients to you.

Pinterest tips for freelance writers

OK, let’s dive in. I’m going to focus on the basics of setting up your Pinterest profile and pinning as a freelance writer. You can go deep with Pinterest strategy and I’ll be honest, I’m not there yet. While I’m happy with the results I’m seeing from Pinterest, I’m still finding my footing.

What I am certain of is Pinterest is a fabulous marketing tool that many freelance writers overlook. Because most freelancers are investing their marketing time elsewhere, this is a great opportunity to maximize your return on Pinterest.

When you’re ready to use Pinterest for promoting your freelance writing business start with your profile

  • Does your user name/handle reflect your business? If not change it
  • Is your profile photo an image of you? If not update it
  • Does your “about me” description talk about what you do and who you serve? If not, rewrite it
  • Are your boards named using keywords related to your business or your niche? Update the ones you can and set the others to secret
  • Have you included a link to your website? If not add it

Feeling ready to start Pinning?

Before you dive in, pinning images from across the Internet remember you are a content creator now. So it’s time to create pins for Pinterest.

Think about what your prospects or ideal readers are searching for on Pinterest. What are the words they’re using? What problems are they trying to solve? Think about what type of images they’ll be drawn to and the types of topics they’ll be interested in.

Brainstorming and researching may take some time but after you spend some time on the platform you’ll get a feel for how it works and which pins work best for your audience and why.

In general, you want to pin things your ideal clients will:

  • Be drawn to
  • Want to read
  • Find helpful
  • Repin
  • Pay attention to

This doesn’t have to be 100 per cent your own content but you should definitely work on adding as much as you can to the platform. Get your writing in circulation!

Pinterest Tips Pin Anatomy
This pin is from the post How to Create a Writing Schedule if you want to see it for yourself.

Pinterest tips: image size

The images that perform best on Pinterest are vertical, around 600 x 900 pixels. You can test the sizes out of course (and the rules do change from time to time) but in general, try and stick to vertical rather than horizontal images. If you JUST CANNOT then square images are also acceptable.

Pinterest tips: create your own Pinterest images using Canva

Creating images specifically for PInterset ensures your image will put its best foot forward on the platform.

  • Make sure to use a visually-pleasing image (light images tend to perform better than dark images)
  • Overlay branding elements like your website or logo
  • Include your main keywords as a text overlay on the image (and repeat your keywords in the description)
  • Bonus tip: enable rich pins (if you’re lost, check out the video below from Redefining Mom on how to do this)

One thing to consider is if you want to pin a lot then you may need to create more content on your website to link to. Another idea, pin your samples to a Pinterest board. Here’s my Writing Portfolio as an example. And yes, I’m customing-making most of those pins.

Even if you aren’t ready to pin you can still use Pinterest in a few interesting ways

  • Discover potential clients who are using the platform
  • Do keyword research using Pinterest search
  • Brainstorm pitch ideas by finding topics related to your niche

I know I already said this but I just think Pinterest is such a great opportunity. So many writers overlook it because they don’t understand the platform or they don’t believe their prospects are there. But with 175 million users…there’s a good chance your ideal clients are at least somewhat active on Pinterest.

And wouldn’t it be great to show up as the answer to their question?

I think so!

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. I don't know why I hesitated other than it didn't seem like a fit. Now that I understand how to use it? MAGIC. Pinterest is revolutionizing my website and my opinion has changed. To say the least.

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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5 Great Sites to Get Free Stock Photos

These days there are endless sites to get amazing free stock photos. There are so many sites offering royalty-free images there is no longer any reason to take any old image from the Internet and use it on your website.

5 Great Sites to Get Free Stock Photos

Hey, do you love this stock photo in my blog header image? It’s available exclusively from Sage Media & Marketing and free for your personal or commercial use.

What are royalty-free images?

There’s a difference between stock photos and royalty-free stock photos, although they can be one and the same. At times. A free stock image means you can use it free-of-charge. Royalty-free means you can use the image however you want but you may have to purchase it.

When you’re on a stock photo website, take a moment to review the terms and conditions. Sometimes you can download a free stock image but there are restrictions in how you can use it or you must credit the source and/or photographer. Some sites allow you to use an image once for free and require you to purchase a license to use it again or in another way. Some free stock image photo sites are also royalty-free and allow you to use the images for commercial use.

There are some great commercial use, royalty-free free stock photo websites out there. And that’s important to us because we’re writers, not photographers. We need the help! While I do purchase stock images and take my own photos from time to time, I mix in a good amount of free stock photos on my website and social media.

Places to Get Free Stock Photos

Sage Media & Marketing

These images are a customized mix of flat lays and lifestyle, perfect for bloggers and small business owners alike. There are 10 free stock photos available from Sage Media & Marketing with more promised in the future. The best part about these stock images is they aren’t available on any other stock photo website so there’s a good chance you haven’t seen them around.

Pixabay

I’ve talked about Pixabay before and I still recommend it. It’s a great place to go for general images. The free stock photography site offers more than a million images and videos including illustrations and vector graphics. It’s worth checking out.

Unsplash

Unsplash is the hipster mecca of free stock photos. These beautiful, free photos are gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers, according to the website. All photos are licensed under Creative Commons Zero, meaning you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

Gratisography

These quirky, creative, always free photos are toted as the world’s quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures. According to the website, these free stock photos are comprised of the world’s best, most creative images and are free of copyright restrictions.

New Old Stock (this is such a cool free stock photo site)

This site curates old photos for personal and non-commercial use, at minimum. Links to the original image location are provided for users to check the licensing details for themselves. Most or all of the images available on this site are in the public domain, which means no permission is required to use these free stock photos at all.

These are a few of my go-to sites for free stock images and I hope you find great images from them.

But if we’re taking free stock photos, how do photographers get paid?

I wanted to address this objection because this freelance lifestyle isn’t easy. And, if you’re like me, you’re friends with professional photographers and you want to support them whenever possible.

And you may be wondering if taking free stock photos is a bit hypocritical since many photographers are freelance and we work so hard to not work for free.

When you use free stock photos you’re not stealing from the photographer. Many of them are trying to make a name for themselves and are gifting their images to the community as part of their long-term strategy. Once they gain a larger following they’re able to make money from their photography through bookings, selling images to their follows and fans, and many other income streams. They’ve decided by offering some things for free it will help them reach their career goals.

Hmm…free stock photos are much like offering free advice on blogs….

Here’s the bottom line: if you don’t feel comfortable using free stock photos then don’t. Take your own or purchase them. There are upsides to not using free stock photos. Not only will your conscience be clear, you’re images will be unique and customized if you take them yourself. If you purchase stock photos your images will likely higher quality and less “all over the Internet.” So there are there’s that.

Once you have great photos, here’s how to make them even better.

These days there are endless sites to get amazing free stock photos. There are so many sites there's no excuse not to have great images on your website.

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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These days there are endless sites to get amazing free stock photos. There are so many sites there's no excuse not to have great images on your website.
These days there are endless sites to get amazing free stock photos. There are so many sites offering royalty-free images there is no longer any reason to take any old image from the Internet and use it on your website.

How to Write an Elevator Pitch

The phrase “elevator pitch” comes from the idea of communicating what you do, who you serve and what makes you different in the time it takes to ride an elevator. It’s a short, compelling sales pitch.

How to Write an Elevator Pitch

Do you want the worksheets that go with this training?

I’ve added the two elevator pitch templates from this post as a free download to my resource library. This is a freebie you’ll need a password to access the library itself. You can get the password by popping your email address into the form below.

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How to Write an Elevator Pitch

We know how our writing can help others but our potential clients don’t. If they did they probably wouldn’t need a writer. It’s a classic conundrum. We can get so wrapped up in our writing world we forget that those not in our world have no idea what we do or why it matters. It’s our job to educate them. This is where the elevator pitch comes in.

I know, how can you explain all the facets of your writing business in a way that both makes sense and persuades someone to hire you? How can you craft a pitch that not only positions you as an expert but convinces the listener you’re the right person to deliver the solution he or she wants? (Yes, this is the hard part.)

Telling people “I’m a writer,” is great but it’s vague. What do you write? How do you make money? Who reads what you write?

See what I mean? Think about what you do and then expand your definition to include someone who has no clue about your industry. Think of your grandmother or someone in an unrelated field. How would you describe the service you provide to them?

Break it down

Before we write the pitch let’s answer these questions:

  • Who do you help (in an ideal world)
  • What problem are you solving
  • What is your solution?

Who do you help?

When I first went through this process I realized I couldn’t be a generalist and “help everyone with their writing stuff.” I needed to zero in on an audience/group. It took some soul searching, but I recognized I had a passion for helping new/emerging writers learn how to make money from their writing and helping established writers market themselves. Yeah, I know. Specific. Scary stuff, right?

Except it’s not scary. It doesn’t mean I can’t help non-writers with writing (I do it all the time), it just means I have an ideal client who I focus on the most.

In the end I found the easiest way to write an elevator pitch was by filling in the blank. Here are two formulas I found helpful.

How to write an elevator pitch example ONE

The biggest problem my audience has is _________________ and I can solve this problem by (showing them, giving them, etc.) ___________________, which will allow them to ________________ and that really speaks to their desire to ________________.

I found this over on Zach Spuckler’s site in a freebie called Your First Course Playbook. I have no idea if it’s still kicking around but I thought it was a good exercise.

How to write an elevator pitch example TWO

I help _________________ (target population) with/gain/develop _________________ (problem) by delivering _________________ (your solution).

This is from a six-week coaching program I did last summer called Simplify Your Social Media and Spark Your Sales. It isn’t offered anymore but if it ever is again I will let you know. I LOVED every second of it and ran through it a few times after the initial course. I like how simple this sentence is. It helped me narrow my gaze enough to commit to an elevator pitch.


Do you want the worksheets that go with this training?

I’ve added the two elevator pitch templates from this post as a free download to my resource library. This is a freebie you’ll need a password to access the library itself. You can get the password by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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The phrase "elevator pitch" came from explaining what you do, who you serve and what makes you different in the time it would take to ride an elevator.

Other Helpful Articles

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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Elevator speech. Elevator statement. Elevator pitch. Why are we on an elevator all the time? The phrase came from the idea you need to figure out a way to explain what you do, who you serve, and what makes you different in the time it would take to ride an elevator. It's a short, compelling sales pitch. So, how do you write an elevator pitch?

What’s a Social Media Manager and Why Should I Care?

I heard of the social media manager title years ago, but never considered I would or could be one. I figured it was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management (things that didn’t exist when I did my bachelor of journalism). But then my LinkedIn job suggestions started getting…obvious.

What's a Social Media Manager?

But I’m a writer! Who cares about what a social media manager is!

Here’s a splash of what I see whenever I check LinkedIn Jobs to see what’s new and who’s hiring.

  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Copywriter
  • Office Administrator
  • An Open Letter to _______’s Future Marketer
  • Client Success Coach
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Social Media Manager
  • PR Consultant
  • Marketing and Events Coordinator
  • Brand Publishing Specialist

Keep in mind these are the jobs posted in the past seven days in my area, which LinkedIn thought I’d be a good match for. If you’re a writer but have collected different skills, experience, connections, etc. you may have a different snapshot. But do you see what I’m talking about?

Two reactions come to mind I must choose between.

  1. Wow, this social network doesn’t know me at all
  2. When did I become a social media manager?

So I begin wondering, what’s a social media manager and is it different from what I’m doing now?

Well I’ll cut to the chase, all 10 of these postings are about the same. The type of work, the skills involved, the experience required, everything. No matter if it’s administrator level, coordinator level or management level. Now that’s confusing!

This tells me a few things. First, I need to understand all the ways people think of the skills I have—calling myself a writer without attaching any of the other keywords strips out nine of these jobs. Wow. Yet all require the exact same skills. OK…

What now?


Here’s what’s in the modern-day social media manager’s toolkit

  • Fluent in social—all social (paying attention to social trends, dos and don’ts, what’s hot and what’s not)
  • Strong writing skills (with a specialization in content marketing/copy writing)
  • A people-first approach to everything (a service mindset, which not only has you listening to your customers and industry chatter but being engaged in your community)
  • Graphically inclined (not a pro, but you need the basics of design and video production)
  • Comfortable with social selling (and understanding how this is done)
  • Competent at SEO and analytics (yes you will have to run campaigns and reports)
  • Confident public speaker (yes you will have to use Instastories and Facebook Live—you may even have to speak on a panelin person)
  • An understanding of human behaviour (you don’t have to have a psych degree but you do need to understand what works and what doesn’t, what people want and what they don’t)
  • Reasonable budgeting skills (show me the money! Er…show your clients how you’re spending their money!)
  • Adaptable (this industry is like a river—moving fast and constant, you have to keep up with the changes and adapt as necessary)
  • Curious and savvy (in order to succeed as a social media manager, you need to know what works—but if you’re ahead of the curve you’ll be able to move your clients’ business strategies forward faster and won’t be distracted by fleeting trends or vanity metrics)
  • Strong grasp of marketing (specifically strategy and digital, email, and funnel marketing)

If this seems like three jobs in one, you’re right.

And if it seems like a lot of different skill sets wrapped up into one, you’re right again. But this seems to be where the industry is at these days and if you want to compete, you need at least a cursory knowledge of these tools.

Keep in mind the typical day-to-day tasks a social media manager executes each day are a little less overwhelming: writing and scheduling posts, running ads, replying to fans and creating graphics.

See? Not so bad. However, the only way this works is with a strong foundation—a strong social marketing strategy. This is where the real value of a social media manager comes in. If you have good instincts and can build a strong strategy for your client, you are going to see great results. So stay at it and invest in yourself!

Are you looking to level-up your business on social? Need a social media manager? Let’s chat! Let me know what problems you’re looking to solve and I’ll be happy to send you a quote.

I never considered I would or could be a social media manager. It was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management.

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

Going Viral: Creating Contagious Content

Have you ever wondering what makes something go viral?

Is there a secret?

What do viral-video makers know that you don’t?

Learn the what and how of going viral and a few tips for what you can do to make your content more contagious.

Going Viral

Going Viral: Creating Contagious Content

It was my niece’s first birthday and her mother threw a party, inviting the whole family to join in on the celebration.

Everyone was excited to share in the festivities but the morning before the party, people began cancelling saying they weren’t feeling well.

But this was my niece’s first birthday! A big O-N-E!

With much pressure on, the family came together to save the party. Those who were feeling sort of better were encouraged to show up anyway and give my niece the party she deserved.

So they came.

And it was a lovely time. Good food, good conversations and good feelings all around.

Later that evening…

I haven’t vomited from being ill since I was a child.

But vomit I did, from midnight till 8 a.m. the next morning.

Who was the culprit?

No real idea, since there were a few people at the party who weren’t feeling 100 per cent and we spent the day switching children, changing seats, and grabbing snacks from the same bowls.

And I learned I wasn’t the only one. Most of the other non-sick party-goers spent the next day beside the toilet.

It all happened so fast.

One moment we were minding our own business, living life like normal, and the next we were swept up into a wave of vomit-filled illness by no fault of our own except for attending the party and enjoying ourselves.

What happened? Our party went viral.

Going Viral: The What and How of Creating Contagious Content

What does “going viral” mean?

Sans vomiting, going viral in Internet terms is seen as a good thing.

It’s what happens when a piece of content (article, photo, video, etc.) is shared, copied and otherwise spread across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How many shares does it take before something is considered viral?

I’m sorry to say, there isn’t an exact number.

Viral status is achieved when the proportion of people seeing the content and then sharing it increases over what’s usual.

I know, could it be more vague?

Think of viral sharing like a secret.

If you share a secret with someone, and that person shares it with someone else and then another, and another. Pretty soon everyone knows your secret.

But if the person keeps your secret, that’s where the sharing ends. It’s safe and no one knows about it.

The simple math of virality

Viral content is relative.

When you share a piece of content on social media, how many shares is normal? If you see your shares go up from normal on a couple posts, you can consider those viral.

However, if your shares go up and stay up then it’s the new normal. Not viral anymore.

The more complicated math of true viral content

Of course, a few extra shares here and there doesn’t make a big impact. We want to know about the life-changing kind of viral content like Chewbacca Mom’s laughing video or Mandy Harey’s deaf singing audition for America’s Got Talent.

How do you get those?

The next level of viral content

When you level up on going viral this is where stuff happens.

On day one a piece of content is shared and you receive your regular likes, shares, and website visits, plus a few extras. This (according to ShareProgress) is called “first generation.”

From there, a few of these first generation people share your content on their social channels and some of their friends check it out.

They’re called “second generation.”

By the second generation there should be more likes, shares and website visits. Now it’s on the second generation of visitors to share your content.

If a few more than the first round do this, then the third generation of visitors should be seeing your content. If this continues then you’ll see exponential likes, shares, and website visits.

This is where things get crazy.

In the simple viral example, you’ll have a bump of activity and then things will go back to normal.

In the next level of going viral, the momentum grows and keeps growing and, if you’re prepared for it, sends your life in a new direction.


How do I make something go viral?

Yeah, sorry. I don’t know how.

Actually, I don’t think anyone does. No matter how many terms I Google, all I come up with is “there’s no formula, there’s no secret.”

But here are a few things you can do to help your content be ready for going viral.

Here are some reasons people are most likely to share something.

  • If they have a strong reaction to it
  • If they have a positive emotional response to it
  • They are more likely to share if they feel inspired by it
  • If they are surprised by it
  • If they find it practical and useful
  • People are more likely to share something if they think it will help someone

Where to go from here

Before you write an article don’t think about what will or won’t make it go viral, instead think about what will help and inspire your audience.

Think about what they’d like to read/watch/hear and then create it.

Be genuine, be real and be positive.

Here’s how Derek Halpern says it.

Positive uplifting content always gets shared. Remember, there’s a lot of unhappy people in the world, and while there are different reasons for being unhappy, content that is uplifting and inspirational helps people get out of their rut…even if it’s only for a few seconds.

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to help someone out of their rut today.

If you need help coming up with content ideas or don’t know who you’re audience is, that’s where I come in. Drop me a line and let’s start a conversation. I’m here to help!

Have you ever wondering what makes something go viral? Learn what going viral means and a few tips for what you can do to make your content more contagious.

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