Tag Archives: content creation

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

My writing journal for Monday, October 20, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

As usual, I started the day writing fiction. The mystery novel is still steaming along. Happy days; 2,300 words. Then nonfiction, working on the two business books: 1,800.

Next, Honey’s breakfast. Over the past few days, the weather’s been cooler, so her arthritis is bothering her. However, she’s still up for a game, and over-eats if she gets the chance.

Then, my own breakfast, while working through email. Monday tends to be a slower day for general email: just clients requesting quotes, and students sending me material. I handle most of it; Julia can deal with the quotes.

Next, it’s time to remind clients that we need images for their content. As I said in a post on Fab Freelance Writing Blog, the Web is all about images now. I’ve been looking at digital cameras; years ago, I had a photography hobby. It might be time to get back to it… when I find the time. :-)

My primary focus today is some “holiday” content for copywriting clients. We’re building up to the hot (pun intended, since it’s summer in Australia) content season. Clients suddenly realize that their website needs updating with their holiday offerings. And they need to plan and create promotional campaigns.

Time for my walk. I haven’t walked in a couple of days; I need it to clear my mind. Cold wind, so I wear my favorite beanie. :-)

Back again, and back to the holiday content. Work on that takes me up to lunch.

Lunch in front of my computer. It’s becoming a habit. However, I’ll be out most of tomorrow, so I need to get as much done as I can today. I browse through clients’ blog archives and Web content, and make notes, so that I can link the fresh holiday content back to previous content.

A reader asked about my favorite content creation tools.

My favorite content creation tools

I create a lot of content, of many different types, every day. So I tend to jump on any tool which might make creation easier. Your mileage will vary. I test and discard lots of tools, but that’s OK. Creating content consistently is a real challenge, so any tool which helps with that is a worthwhile investment.

Currently, my favorite tools include…

Evernote. Always. It’s always open, and I do a lot of writing in Evernote. It means I can write on my phone or tablet, and add ideas as they come to me.

Scrivener. Invaluable. Don’t know where I’d be without it.

Ember. (Mac) A recent acquisition. For research, as well as to check what assets have been created, and need to be created for a project.

MultiMarkdown Composer, and Ulysses (Mac.) Most of my content starts in Evernote, then makes its way to one of these programs: I use Marked as the viewer for both of them.

Marked (Mac). Wonderful for viewing and repurposing Markdown documents.

Adobe Creative Cloud. I use Photoshop and Bridge mostly.

Curio. Indispensable, both to collect assets for projects, and to keep archives of past projects. It’s amazing how often clients will return months and years later – and they’ve lost the assets we used. Curio is a huge time saver, because all the previously used assets are there, and are instantly available.

OmniOutliner (Mac.) I resisted upgrading to version 4, but finally pulled the trigger.

Inspiration. An app I adore, because you can create HUGE cluster diagrams to spark, and to reignite, creativity for a project.

Onward with the holiday content for copywriting clients

Back to developing the holiday content. Finally I’m done with the initial drafts; I send them off with relief. I’m still waiting for some product shots, so I can create product descriptions; I send a reminder to the photographer.

More emails, and phone calls to return. My daily review, and that’s it for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 61: Sell Your Ideas

Writing Journal 61: Sell Your Ideas

My writing journal for Sunday, October 12, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Happy Sunday — another short writing day. I manage to write another 2,300 words of the mystery novel. It’s still zooming along. No idea why… Every project hits a wall sooner or later, but this is going so well, I don’t trust it.

To stop me getting over-confident, the two nonfiction books — I’m writing them in tandem — bogged down. I managed just 350 words, and they were a struggle. I’ll need to do some brainstorming on a whiteboard. Maybe writing them together wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.

Breakfast for Honey, and for me, then email. I’ve still got a backlog, so luckily email was light this morning.

Last night’s coaching calls went well. I love doing them; they’re fun. I write up a call summary, and create a plan for each client. Julia will send them the material with their MP3s.

It’s time to leave for my Sunday commitments.

Sell your ideas

As you may know, I’m a writing coach. I love it, because I love writing, and enjoy helping people to overcome their challenges, whether those challenges are huge, or minor.

Although it’s easier than it’s ever been to sell your creativity, in any form— whether your creativity expresses itself in paintings, cute crafts, books, short stories, or teaching materials — it’s hard for creatives to pull the trigger, and SHIP.  As Seth Godin said:

“The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship.”

I have challenges with shipping, too. I used to be the queen of procrastination. While I’m better at recognizing my own BS than I used to be, I still make excuses for not shipping. I’ve a suspicion that that’s why I like ghostwriting. I like being accountable to someone else. It means that like it or not, I need to ship.

8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 HoursTo help you to SHIP, I’ve formalized a training that I give students. It’s basically a checklist that I use for myself. I’ve tested it on students who have 1,001 perfectly reasonable (and totally BS) reasons they can’t complete projects and ship.

Here it is: 8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 Hours.

Back again: time for Sunday content and blog management

Sunday’s always my big blog management and content creation day. I review all my blogs, and clients’ blogs, and brainstorm content. I aim to have at least ten to 20 draft posts in most blogs at any one time. Although some of the drafts will be deleted, most will be written, edited, and published.

It’s October, and we’re heading into the hottest period of the year for B2C companies. They’re rolling out their pre-holiday sales. It involves dusting off their customer lists, and creating promotions for the period right through into 2015. For some the after-Christmas sales are barely over, when it’s time for the hearts and flowers of Valentine’s Day.

Keeping track of lots of blogs isn’t a picnic, especially at this time of the year. I like to get content plans for 2015 organized before November, because you can’t plan in the middle of the chaos, which defines late November to January.

So, in addition to planning content for this week and the next few weeks, I schedule in some idea-creation for clients’ 2015 content. A lot depends on how much a client is budgeting for content marketing. That means: research, reports and scopes. And proposals. I schedule those in for the next few weeks.

By the time all that’s out of the way, the day is done. Time for my daily and weekly review. Tonight, I’ll catch up on planning my new blog, and drafting some content.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Hate Pinterest’s Search? Go Look!

Hate Pinterest's Search? Go Look!

If you hated Pinterest’s Search function, go and check it out. It’s a lot better. Search now has tags. I first became aware of this when I posted a pin, and Pinterest kindly guided me around all the improvements. The other interface changes seem cosmetic, but Search is a big deal.

Pinterest Search: much improved

When you type a search term into the search query box, Pinterest pops up suggestions in a slider. I typed “novel writing”. My query became tags; more tags appeared, in a slider. When you click on a tag in the slider, it’s added to the search query, to narrow your search.

For my query, the site offered these tags on the slider: process, ideas, projects, prompts, romance, and an arrow, offering even more tags.

My first thought, as it surely will be yours too, if you create content: “Oh wow! Keywords.” When you keep clicking the arrow, you get more and more keyword terms.

If you create content, Pinterest search is for you

Let’s say you have a skin care website; you’re selling products, or services. Type “skin care” into the Search query field, and here’s what you get.

Pinterest search skin care

Keep clicking the arrow, and you’ll get lots more keywords. Very nifty. It’s a content creator’s dream, especially if you’re a visually inclined marketer or writer.

With tags, you can ensure that your boards are easy to find

There’s another use for the tags/ keywords. You can see which tags come up, and edit your boards so that they’re easier to find. This can a trade-off. You may have some board titles which are witty, or creative, that you don’t want to change. That’s OK. Use the most popular tags in your pins.

I love the new Search; it will make Pinterest much easier to use, going forward. If you haven’t checked it out, go and look.
, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Blog Power: 2 More Essential Content Tips

Blog Power: 2 More Essential Content Tips

Everyone’s blogging today; if you don’t have a blog, you feel guilty. However, blogging isn’t for everyone. It takes time. Your time may well be better spent. On the other hand, if you feel that a blog would benefit your business: create one. A blog can be immensely valuable for your business, in ways you’d never expect.

Well over a year ago, I created My Top 10 Content Tips; I’ve just updated the post. Its accompanying slide deck has had over 3,600 views on SlideShare. Reading over the post, and considering the amount of content that’s produced daily, here are two more essential content tips.

1. Keep It On Your Blog!

Many companies decide that rather than blogging, they’ll devote all their resources to their Facebook or Google+ page, and send out streams of tweets. Blogging just seems too time intensive, and demanding.

That’s true. However, your blog is media that you own. Content you post on other sites is at another company’s mercy. Not to mention, it’s hard to find again. Put your content onto your blog first, then tweak it for use elsewhere.

2.  Automate Sharing, But Don’t Turn Into a Robot.

Apps like Buffer make it easy to schedule your blog post reshares, and social media messages, but don’t schedule everything. Show up on social media websites, and get social.

You’ll find many useful content tips on social media. For example, I’d never considered “plussing” my own posts and comments on Google+, but Mike Allton advises that you do:

First, within Google+, you’ll need to understand that there are three possible “Social Signals” on every post: a +1, a Comment and a Share. Every Google+ user can take any of those actions on a single post, including the original post owner. Creating the post itself does not count. But as each social signal is effected, the +1 count on any one single link included in the post goes up. To a maximum of 3 +1’s from any one unique user.

You don’t need to spend hours on social media websites, but after you automate, pop in every day or two and plus your shares, and those of others. And of course, interact. Social media networking is called that for a reason.

If you missed the previous article, read the first of the top ten blog content tips here.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Super-Fast Product Creation: Buy PLR and Profit

Super-Fast Product Creation: Buy PLR and Profit

I love product creation; it’s been a mainstay of my online business since 2002. However, there are hassles. Product creation takes time, above all. You can cut down on that time dramatically when you buy PLR.

Not familiar with PLR? I’m currently offering PLR to three products which I’ve withdrawn, and explained PLR like this:

If you’re not familiar with the term, “private label rights” products, commonly referred to as “PLR”, are products to which you have extensive rights. You can put your name on the products and sell them as your own; you can add and remove text; you can split them up to make new products; you can offer them as bonuses to your own products… basically, you can treat them as your own, and use them in any way you choose.

How to Use Purchased PLR in Your Own Products.

You can use PLR products you’ve purchased in many different ways:

  • To kickstart your own product creation;
  • As social media content;
  • As bonus added-value material to your own products;
  • On membership sites;
  • In newsletters you’re sending out to customers;
  • As the basis of audio, video or presentation material you create.

I created a monthly newsletter for a UK gym company for several years, and bought health and fitness PLR extensively to repurpose in the publications. The balance of new content to PLR was around 50/ 50. The company was happy, because they got inexpensive content, and I was happy because I spent less time on the newsletter each month.

When I created a social media campaign for a marketing company, I used a lot of edited PLR in tweets, Facebook postings with images, and as fast and easy reports. When you look at PLR as raw material, it’s like baking a cake. You have the basic flour, fat and protein. By the time you’ve mixed it up and baked it, the raw material is completely transformed.

Death by PLR: Avoid It – Use PLR as Raw Material.

Once Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) became popular a few years back, Internet marketers jumped on it mindlessly. They shoveled PLR onto the Kindle bookstore. Predictably, Amazon got very cross, and swept away much PLR.

Pay close attention to what Amazon says:

Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content

Some types of content, such as public domain content, may be free to use by anyone, or may be licensed for use by more than one party. We will not accept content that is freely available on the web unless you are the copyright owner of that content. For example, if you received your book content from a source that allows you and others to re-distribute it, and the content is freely available on the web, we will not accept it for sale on the Kindle store. We do accept public domain content, however we may choose to not sell a public domain book if its content is undifferentiated or barely differentiated from one or more other books.

You can use PLR as the basis of your own products. Remember what I said about using PLR as raw material, then baking it into something which looks completely different?

I don’t use PLR on Amazon; I publish content under several pen names, and ghostwrite ebooks for clients. However, if I wanted to sell an ebook on Google+ for small business for example, I’d buy good PLR and use it as raw material. Why not? It would kickstart my own thinking, and by the time I’d revised, edited and added fresh content, its own mother wouldn’t recognize it as PLR.

If you’re wary of product creation, even though you know it would benefit your business, take a fresh look at it, with the idea of judiciously using PLR in your new products. It saves time.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

3 Easy Web Content Tips: Meet Your Writing Goals

3 Easy Web Content Tips: Meet Your Writing Goals

Whether you love writing or hate it, you need to meet your goals for creating Web content. Content development may be part of your day job, or it may be your job. Either way, you need workflows to not only create content, but also to manage it.

Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy writing. That hasn’t always been so. I struggled with writing for years. Looking back, I was just scared. Fear can masquerade as procrastination, and perfectionism. I was convinced I wasn’t “good enough”. Yes, my writing sold, but I measured myself against writers I admired.

Eventually I realized that although I might want to improve my skills, I had to write anyway, so I might as well do it and enjoy it. Can you imagine a bricklayer deciding that he couldn’t do his job and build a house today because he wasn’t “good enough”?

Tip: the way you write is the way you write. As long as your writing gets the job done, you’ve succeeded. Chances are you’re better than you think you are. Look back on writing you did a year ago. You’ve improved, and you’ll continue to get better. ;-)

Let’s look at three easy Web content tips which will help you to meet your writing goals.

1. Carrot and Stick: Create Fast.

What do you do when you need to write fast, but can’t get out of your own head?

You use 750words.com. The developer says:

I’ve used the exercise as a great way to think out loud without having to worry about half-formed ideas, random tangents, private stuff, and all the other things in our heads that we often filter out before ever voicing them or writing about them. It’s a daily brain dump. Over time, I’ve found that it’s also very helpful as a tool to get thoughts going that have become stuck, or to help get to the bottom of a rotten mood.

750words.com is a way to just say yourself: “Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!” – and write.

750words.com just asks you to write. It’s a carrot: write 750 words, and you’ve done it. Write or Die on the other hand, applies the stick – there are consequences if you don’t write. Several of my students report great success with Write or Die.

Currently I’m using Write or Die to help me to write romance fiction, because I’ve set myself a demanding schedule. I love Write or Die because it doesn’t care whether I want to write or not. Nor does it care that I have a headache. When it’s time to Write or Die, you just do it.

2. Manage the Content Flood: Get Organized.

I’ve often talked about Trello, and Evernote. Both apps help me to get organized and stay organized. I commend both to you.

Both apps help you to collaborate with others. Create shared notebooks in Evernote for your editorial team on a project. In Trello, create boards, and invite people to the board.

3. Plan, Plan and PLAN: Schedule Content Creation and Management.

We’ve discussed planning too. PLAN. Enough said. You can achieve much more than you think you can, as long as you plan and schedule everything.

On my WordPress blogs, I use Editorial Calendar and the Drafts Dropdown plugins to schedule content. Although Drafts Dropdown hasn’t been updated in a while, it works great.

Try these three tips. They work. You’ll create more, and better, Web content than you think you can. Happy writing. :-)

Is writing a real challenge for you?

If you’re not meeting your writing goals, consider coaching. I coach writers every day. Get in touch.  

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.