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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

How to Promote Your Writing on Social Media

When you’re a freelance writer it might seem a bit strange to promote your writing to others on social media but it’s an important step in marketing your work and showcasing your skills.

How to promote your writing on social media

Your first thought might be that you can’t share your freelance writing either because it won’t make sense to your social media followers, you’re ghost writing and it’s not exactly OK to take credit for ghost writing or you’re under a confidentiality clause. All very possible and very important reasons why you should not be sharing your stuff! But that doesn’t get you off the hook. Maybe you can’t share your freelance work but you can promote your writing on social media.

What writing you ask? Here are a few ideas.

How to promote your writing on social media

  1. You can write a blog and share individual articles on social media as they publish

    Write and publish articles on your website or on a platform like Medium. Whatever it is, you can share articles on LinkedIn, tweet links to them on Twitter, post about them on Facebook, talk about them on Instagram…you’re creating content, putting your work out there and engaging your followers all at the same time. Blogs are brilliant.

  2. What’s your area of expertise? Create tips and tricks to help your followers improve in that area and post about them on social media

    Maybe you offer a tip per week on Instagram or perhaps it’s a Facebook Live video each month…whatever it is you’re showcasing your skills on social media and helping potential clients get to know, like and trust you.

  3. Have you written a book? Then why not talk about that on social media

    Develop a content calendar and rotate through different ways to talk about your book—talk about who it’s for, what the benefit is to the reader, publish excerpts, put it on sale, etc.

  4. Post about what you learn

    Maybe you can’t post about the exact freelance work you’re doing but maybe you can post about ways you’ve learned to make it easier, more efficient, etc. Have you learned about a new place to get great gigs? Why not share about that? How about a new hack to get your brainstorms down in a quarter of the time? I’m sure people would love learning about that! When you share about things you learn you become a resource for your followers—someone they want to hear more from.

  5. If you can post your freelance work—do it! Share them all over social media

    When you share your latest article or post try and talk about it in a way that is interesting rather than “Here’s an article I wrote, check it out!” While that works every now and then if you become someone who drops links and just expects your followers to read it because you wrote it. Try and engage them by describing what’s in it for them if they take the time to click the link.

When you're a freelance writer it might seem a bit strange to promote your writing to others on social media but it's an important step in marketing your work and showcasing your skills.

For more ideas about promoting your writing check out these articles

I’ve Self-Published a Book…Now What?

You’ve worked hard for a while writing your book and then you worked hard and self-published your book. Wow! Well done! That’s a lot of work. So…now what do you do?

Self-published now what

In an ideal world you, the author, would have worked out your marketing plan before you wrote and self-published your book but from what I see and hear from the authors I know and work with…it doesn’t happen that way. The drive to write and publish becomes a hyper-focal point and no “you should plan your marketing!” bird chirping in the background will make any difference.

And if the entire goal is to get the book done and self-published then this is an awesome accomplishment. However, if selling the book is the goal then there are a few more steps to take. Well, maybe a lot more.

Once you’ve self-published your book the next step is to market it to your ideal readers

In essence this is simple—put your book in front of the people who will love it. Except finding those people is not always easy. You have to dissect your book and figure out what type of reader would be interested in your writing style and subject matter. And then you need to find them…what stores do they shop in? Where do they hang out? What is their favourite social media platform? What are their biggest fears? What do they care most about? What type of marketing will they best respond to?

There are a lot of ways you can find your ideal reader (or book buyer, however you want to see it) 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.


If you are stuck for ideas here are a few you can consider to help market your self-published book.

  • If you’re looking to find new readers make the e-version of your book free and find a way to add them to your email list. This way you can nurture them and (hopefully) sell them your next book
  • Need sales fast? Run ads on platforms where your ideal readers are—consider Facebook, Amazon, BookBub, KDP Countdown, etc.
    If you want to dive deeper into ads here’s a helpful post from David Gaughran
  • Set up local readings or offer to speak free at local events in order to promote your book
  • Go on an online book tour (wondering how to set it up? Here’s a guide from Book Marketing Tools

You've worked hard for a while writing your book and then you worked hard and self-published your book. Wow! Well done! That's a lot of work. So...now what do you do? #writing #selfpublish

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How to Write a Case Study

If you know how to tell a story you can write a case study. However, if you’ve never done it before you might be wondering how to write a case study. So here we go. By the way, a case study is a success story told about a client you’ve helped. Simple, right?

How to Write a Case Study

Maybe before I get into how to write a case study I’ll talk about what makes something a case study. In essence, it’s a study analysis where you overview a business problem, outline options for solving the problem and what happened in the end. The fact that you’re telling your client’s story from beginning to end, and including twists and turns along the way, makes this different than an advertisement or a sales page because you’re keeping the twists and turns in the story. The fact that it’s not just “I decided to do this thing and then it worked and now I’m successful yayyyyy,” makes it a case to study. Case study. Right!?

Something to keep in mind is although this isn’t a traditional sales page, a case study is a tool in your sales and marketing arsenal. It’s something you want prospective clients to read and become convinced to hire you—so make sure it’s targeted to people who are on the fence about working with you and tell client success stories that will help them see how you’ll help them reach their goals.

How to write a case study

Here are a few sections to include:

Introduction

In one or two sentences present your reader with the problem or issue and a quick summary of the outcome.

Background

Think of this section like setting the scene. You don’t want to spend too much time here but your reader should learn what has brought your client to this point in his or her business.

Alternatives

I know this might seem like overkill but you want to list ideas you or your clients entertained/tried in order to build your narrative arc. Overview what alternative solutions you considered and explain why they wouldn’t/couldn’t work or were not possible.

Proposed Solution

This is your moment! Highlight your one and only amazing solution to your client’s problem or issue. Make sure it’s relevant, specific and realistic, explain why you chose it and support your solution with evidence. Your evidence can contain either research or anecdotes or both.

Recommendations

Here you’ll overview the steps you took to accomplish your proposed solution. This should be specific, strategic and relevant (are you sensing a theme?).

When writing a case study make sure you tell it from beginning to end, following this outline as much as possible. Use as much data as you need to frame your point but keep your reading in mind—too much data = dry and boring. Don’t be dry and boring.

A case study doesn’t have to feel like a case study—your reader doesn’t even have to realize they’re reading one. If you share a client’s success story from start to finish in a compelling way and help potential clients decide to do business with you…then you’re case study has done its job.

The question of how to write a case study is a great one. But maybe you're wondering what a case study is and why you should care about it. I get that.

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How to Market Yourself as a Writer

I know, I get it. You HATE marketing. And talking about yourself? Yeah, I know. You hate talking about yourself too. But here’s the thing, when you’re self-employed you need marketing to get work and when you’re a writer you need to market YOU in order to get clients. This is tough stuff, I know. But you need to put yourself out there. You need to market yourself as a writer.

The goal of this post is to help you understand how to market yourself as a writer without being a sleaze-ball and maybe even learn how to talk about yourself in a way that doesn’t feel weird or braggy. Because you need to market yourself as a writer if you want to make a living from your writing!

How to Market Yourself as a Writer


When I first struck out as a freelancer I wasn’t sure how to sell myself to a potential client so I defaulted to applying to random job board adverts and Craigslist postings. And it was OK. Not great. But OK.

Then I came across a two-hour seminar at my local art gallery taught by a freelance writer about…well, freelance writing. How to get started. And I was like, YES! This is what I need!

So I attended the seminar and connected with a couple people there, which led me to a professional writer’s organization and connections with many more professional and freelance writers. From there I found a mentor and found my career moving forward. If I hadn’t put myself out there and asked “how do I make this happen?” I don’t know where I would be now.

As I advanced in my skills and learned the different types of writing, I discovered much of the time my clients had a marketing problem as well as a writing problem. In fact, once I learned how to combine the two skills things really began taking off.

And I also discovered many writers have marketing problems. They’re great at writing about others but when it comes to talking about what they do they’re struck with writer’s block. They fumble, they ramble, they stress right out.

It’s time to fix that.


How to market yourself as a writer

There is a way to talk about who you are and what you do without coming across as promotional or insincere. But you have a few mental barriers to overcome before you’ll see it. So many people see marketing as sleazy, scary, and overwhelming and if you can’t get past that perception then you’ll never feel comfortable talking about your work. I’ve talked to so many writers about this I’m pretty sure the objections against marketing narrow down to about four excuses.

Reasons why you think you hate marketing yourself

  • You don’t know what to say
  • You don’t want to get shot down
  • You don’t know how to explain what you do
  • You don’t want to limit your options by putting yourself out there

Identify with any of these? I get it! But let’s move past them and flip the conversation around. Think about the people you write for, the problems you solve for clients and readers with your writing, and the solution you provide for your readers/clients. Yes you may be a generalist but even then you have a “type.” Think about it a bit, commit a few ideas to writing, and then think about how you can describe the service you provide to others.

By the way, we talked about this a bit in how to write an elevator pitch so you may already have these jotted down somewhere. Crafting a elevator pitch is an awesome way to talk about yourself. It’s short, to the point, and focuses on the benefits you offer.

When you talk about how you serve others you turn the conversation around from “me-focused” to “others-focused.” And that changes marketing from sleazy to helpful. Just like that. Because if you’re providing a valuable service to the world, why wouldn’t you want people to know about it? If you could help someone grow their business through your writing services…don’t you owe it to them to at least hear about how you could help them?

See what I’m saying? By learning how to market yourself as a writer you learn how to put yourself out there by focusing on your clients. You highlight the value your work brings to others’ lives and how your writing could help this person with their current struggle.

No pressure. No sales pitch. Just relationship building.

This is why I love marketing. Because I know there are so many talented, amazing people out there who are working at making the world a better place. But most of the time we’ll never hear about it unless they share it with us. By learning how to talk about yourself and what you do in a genuine, helpful, others-focused way, you shed the skin of creepy-scary-pushy-marketing and enter into a much friendlier space where you make new friends, share your stories, and look for opportunities to collaborate.

The bottom line is this. People don’t care about what you do, they care about the benefit they’ll get from working with you. This isn’t meant to be harsh, (but…it’s not about you, so let’s rip the bandage off now shall we?) just a re-framing of how we look at our businesses. You care a lot about what you do, and you should. But when you market yourself as a writer, you need to keep it outward-focused so potential clients can see the benefit to THEM by working with you.

I know, I get it. You HATE marketing. And talking about yourself? Yeah, I know. You hate talking about yourself too. But here's the thing, when you're self-employed you need marketing to get work and when you're a writer you need to market YOU in order to get clients. This is tough stuff, I know. But I hope this post will help you understand how to market yourself as a writer without being a sleaze-ball and maybe even learn how to talk about yourself in a way that doesn't feel weird or braggy. Because you need to market yourself as a writer if you want to make a living from your writing!

OK, so that’s how to market yourself as a writer. Want to take things to the next level? Here are five tips for optimizing your social media profiles. Better yet, you can have it as a free PDF download. Just fill in the form below!

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