How to Find a Digital Agency

If you work in media or run a business you will, if you haven’t already, come across a digital agency.

Digital agencies are everywhere! In fact, it’s possible you’ve worked with one in the past and didn’t even realize it.

If you work in media or run a business you will, if you haven't already, come across a digital agency.

How to find a digital agency

If you’re a freelance writer or content creator then you may be considering starting your own digital agency.

Or maybe you want to take on agencies as clients. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner you may be considering hiring an agency.

They can be a huge help with your digital presence, online marketing and SEO.

Deciding to work with a digital agency in any capacity is a big decision to make. There are many different types with varying specialities and capacity.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re ready to get started working with agencies.

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5 tips for getting started working with agencies

Tip 1: Do your homework

Since every agency is different it’s important to research the company. Before agreeing to work with them you want to make sure they’re a good fit for you.

Starting from scratch? Look for local marketing agencies and make a shortlist based on their skills and services.

Tip 2: Make sure your industries are aligned

While the agency doesn’t have to be an expert in your field, they should have some experience in your area. For example, if you run a bakery but the digital agency specializes in landscaping it may not be a good fit.

Alternatively, if you’re a tech writer and the agency has mostly fashion clients, you’ll be a mismatch and nothing will come easy.

If you work in media or run a business you will, if you haven't already, come across a digital agency. Five tips for working with agencies.

Tip 3: Ask for case studies

Case studies are helpful whether you’re looking to work with an agency or hire one. If you haven’t heard of these before in essence they’re a study analysis where you overview a business problem, outline options for solving the problem and what happened in the end.

It gives you a solid idea of the type of work the agency does and you’ll get a feel for how they work. For an agency example, check out Vine Digital.

Cover of free ebook, How to write a case study: Gain trust with prospects by showcasing your client's success.

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Once you’re logged in, navigate to the “Writing” section and look for “How to Write a Case Study for Marketing Ebook.”

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Tip 4: Meet in person if possible

While this isn’t required, face-to-face meetings always help build rapport and relationship. For many freelancers, the idea of meeting clients in person is terrifying. However, it’s an important part of growing your business.

By the way, in-person meetings are also a great way to test and refine your elevator pitches.

For business owners, meeting with an agency owner in person allows you to connect on a deeper level and give them a peek at the heart behind your professional exterior.

This will help them craft campaigns and strategies that better-suit your needs than if they didn’t have that added insight.

Tip 5: Compare costs

If you’ve decided you want to hire a digital agency but still have a few options, it may come down to comparing the costs. Of course you want to base your decision on other factors as well but this should definitely be one of them.

Extra credit: For more information when it comes to weighing up agency costs, you can visit this guide here.

If you’ve decided you want to work with an agency this is also an important step! Make sure your pay is adequate and the scope of your responsibilities is clear. And get it in writing.

If you work in media or run a business you will, if you haven't already, come across a digital agency. Here are five tips for working with agencies.

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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If you work in media or run a business you will, if you haven't already, come across a digital agency. Here are five tips for working with agencies.

Simple 5 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

Use this 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.

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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. But it’s not a place to sell. You build relationships on Twitter, 280 characters at a time.

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

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. But 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
5 Tips for Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles Ebook

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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 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.

Book Yourself Solid

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.

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!

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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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.

How to Write Powerful Instagram Captions | Free Prompts

Yes we’re getting into Instagram captions today. Because people are SUPER stressed out about them!

I understand, I do. And I’m here to offer some reprive.

How to Write Powerful Instagram Captions | Free Prompts

Writer folks, I’m gonna say it straight: You’re spending too much time on your IG captions!

You just are!

There are a few simple ways to craft engaging content on social media and while you do want to put your best foot forward, it shouldn’t take all day.

I got into this a bit in Content Ideas When You Don’t Know What to Post and if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so.

Because there will be times where you’re stuck for ideas and this little brainstorm method gets me out of jams all. the. time.

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Alright, so why are Instagram captions so tricky?

My hunch is because it’s a visual platform and many/most of us are words people so may find it difficult to find that balance between capturing attention through visuals and then compelling action through emotional writing.

Why is this hard? Because it’s hard! You have to marry skills which may or may not be equally developed. And you have to think about your posts in a few ways.

  • The post at hand (image + caption)
  • What you posted before and what you’ll post after
  • The grid (this post within the context of your IG grid, a nine-photo display of your most recent posts someone will see when they check out your profile)

There’s a lot to keep track of.

Here’s a quick look at my personal IG grid—this is literally my latest nine posts from whenever it is you’re looking at this training. No pressure, right? My goal is to keep it looking awesome for whenever someone stumbles upon it.

Instagram captions: free prompts

If you want these Instagram caption prompts as a handy PDF download, I’ve got that ready for you! Just sign up for my free resource library by putting your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and look for “Instagram Caption Prompts.”

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One month of Instagram caption prompts! 

Compelling Instagram captions are an important part in increasing engagement. When you have high engagement your visibility improves, which is key for getting discovered. However, coming up with great captions day after day can be tricky. These prompts will help!

Compelling Instagram captions are an important part in increasing engagement. When you have high engagement your visibility improves, which is key for getting discovered. However, coming up with great captions day after day can be tricky.

These prompts will help!

  1. But first…
  2. I left the house for this
  3. I can’t work without ____________
  4. My morning ritual
  5. Namast’ay in bed
  6. Current status
  7. This book changed my life
  8. My day ends like this
  9. Spotted on my walk
  10. Win for the week
  11. Inspiration for today
  12. Guess where I am
  13. Left or right?
  14. Mistakes are proof that you tried
  15. Question of the day
  16. *insert witty Instagram caption here*
  17. Can you tag an account I need to follow? I’m looking for _________
  18. Quote of the day (motivation, inspiration, poem, book, song lyric)
  19. Describe your current status using only emojis
  20. Typical me
  21. Me doing me
  22. I woke up like this
  23. When dream becomes reality
  24. Awkward…
  25. The journey is always the best part
  26. Mirror: you look amazing today. Camera: nope, you don’t
  27. I got 99 problems but _________ ain’t one
  28. Be right back
  29. Just gonna cross this off the bucket list…
  30. Just like my eyeliner, I always wing it
  31. Yes, another food pic

A few writing tips to keep in mind

Finding a caption “style” and sticking with it will not only help you come up with content but it contributes to your branding. Maintaining a consistent style also helps your followers know what to expect and keeps them interested.

It’s more important to be yourself than it is to nail your caption. Don’t forget the likes and comments come from real people and focus on them more than the stats. Be yourself and people will be drawn to you.

Don’t stress out about captions—stay authentic. If you feel like your captions are forced your followers will too. Keep having fun and being social in mind as you put your captions together. The more you do the easier it gets. And many times short and fun captions do much better than lengthy ones. So if you are stuck for ideas keep it simple and to the point.

(Easier said than done, I know)

Writing captions is easier when you think of them as a story. And planning your captions gets even easier when you think of your entire Instagram grid as one long story—a serial if you will. Think about how your posts can build upon each other to tell a larger brand story and there will be less pressure for each individual caption.

If you tend to write longer captions consider breaking up the text with emojis. They can enhance your words and encourage your followers to keep reading.

Compelling Instagram captions are an important part in increasing engagement. When you have high engagement your visibility improves, which is key for getting discovered. However, coming up with great captions day after day can be tricky. These prompts will help!

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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Stuck? 5 Content Ideas for When You Don’t Know What to Post

Do you feel stuck for content ideas? Whether it’s social media or website or marketing content, it’s easy to feel like you have nothing to say.

And yet, the need for content doesn’t go away!

Stuck? 5 Content Ideas for When You Don't Know What to Post

The entire goal of this post is to give you at least five content ideas for when you don’t know what to post.

Secondary goal? To prove that there’s always something.

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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Content ideas for when you don’t know what to post

I don’t know about you but I do a LOT of writing. All day, every day.

But I do it for other people and most of the time, they’re telling me what to write.

So, I guess that’s easy in a way. Like, it has it’s own challenges but I never wonder what on earth am I going to write?

It’s more like…OK…um…how am I going to make this random topic somehow interesting?

Anyway, I think freelancers and writers find they don’t have ideas when it comes to writing for themselves. On their blog. On their social media. In general.

I’ve been here. I feel you.

BUT you can break free cause this is one big mental game. And you’re probably overthinking it.

No shame, you just need a system.

I’ve shared my personal system before (How to Create a Content Calendar) so you can check that out if you’d like a refresher, and I’ll summarize it quickly below as well.

Since I implemented this system in 2017 I haven’t had a single moment where I didn’t know what to write. Dead serious. It has changed everything!

For my blog content I have organized everything into six topics, also called themes or content pillars depending on what industry you’re in. Or who you’re talking to.

Here are my personal content pillars

  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Publishing

I start with these big topics, then I brainstorm ideas for what could fit within each one. I write them down and do my best to keep breaking down those ideas into smaller and smaller pieces.

Why? Because the more pieces, the more posts.

The more posts, the less I have to figure out later. I just look at my article ideas and get writing.

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What to post on Instagram

Alright, let’s get specific about Instagram, since that’s where I feel like the most people get stuck. Maybe it’s because we’re words people in a visual medium…maybe.

Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like it’s just difficult!

We see what the cool influencers are doing and feel like we need to do it to. But…do we? I mean, our goals are different, aren’t they?

(They are.)

I know you’re going to be shocked beyond shocked but…I systemize my social media posting too.

Here are my Instagram content pillars. I used to keep them the same as my blog topics but this fits a bit better visually for my brand:

  • Tips and tricks
  • Books and stationery/coffee
  • Nature (especially my home/safe space/refuge)
  • Establishing myself as an expertise (helping people get to know me)

And here’s an example from one of my clients, to help you see how topics/themes help demonstrate your unique personality and skills:

  • Writing quotes
  • Humorous quotes
  • Dogs (specifically French Bull Dogs)
  • Gardening/Mushrooms/Quilting/Canning

But let’s say themes or topic just doesn’t work for you. Fair! Here’s another idea from another one of my clients.

In this case, they have thousands of resources on their website and publish content every day. There’s a lot to work with. Like, an overwhleming amount.

Four or five topics just wasn’t cutting it, so here’s what we do instead.

  • Illustrations from existing content (articles)
  • Quotes (text overlaid on stock photos)
  • Graphically branded post
  • Flat lay products

The big idea with this strategy is to showcase the huge range of resources available on the site, and to continually provide encouragement and inspiration through regular, consistent social media posting.

Content ideas AND MORE for those who are still stuck

We’ve reviewed a lot here, but it’s all high level so I understand if you’re still feeling a bit stuck coming up with content ideas.

So here’s what I recommend. Steal this content strategy I wrote for Sage Media & Marketing and stop stressing about it. Do it. Just take it.

The content strategy reviews five different types of content you can write and rotate through for a well-balanced, cohesive feed.

It’s truly awesome and if you do the work, you won’t run out of content ideas. And it will give youa fresh, well-balanced feed!

And when you’re ready to uplevel, check out this how-to guide: How to Create an Instagram Strategy.

If you’re honest-to-goodness stuck on the visuals then here’s who I recommend to help:

Do you feel stuck for content ideas? Whether it's social media or website or marketing content, it's easy to feel like you have nothing to say.

And yet, the need for content doesn't go away!

The entire goal of this post is to give you at least five content ideas for when you don't know what to post.

Secondary goal? To prove that there's always something.

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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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?

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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.

How to Be Productive Even When You’re Unmotivated

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.

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.

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
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.