Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Struggling to Write That Marketing Content? Try These Productivity Joggers

Writing is hard -- and I say that as a professional writer with a quarter-century's experience under my belt. Some of the world's greatest wordsmiths have found themselves paralyzed by writer's block or otherwise unable to produce the material they need in a timely manner. Why do we struggle with this particular problem? I mean, you don't hear about people experiencing accountant's block or insurance agent's block. (Plumbers, of course, must deal with blocks of a different nature.) I think it's a combination of intimidation and time management trouble. Writing requires focused creativity for a specific period. If you don't do it regularly and efficiently, you may feel overwhelmed by its demands while also falling behind in your marketing content production quota, which only increases the perceived burden.

Fortunately, you can employ a variety of clever tricks to get yourself pumping out that materials for your website, blog, newsletter, or email marketing campaign. You don't have to resort to the drastic antics of a Friedrich Schiller, who kept stinky rotten apples in his desk drawer to inspire his creative mind. you may benefit from the following smart strategies to turbocharge your productivity.

Optimize Your Workspace

A cluttered desk area is like a cluttered mind: It makes finding specific things impossible. Those bills and tax forms only distract you from the job at hand, while constant incoming emails and online news updates help to ensure that your word processor screen remains blank. Clear all that paperwork away until you've completed your writing session. Look into "minimalist" writing apps that fill the whole screen, banishing all other electronic distractions.

Give Yourself 25 Minutes

Don't beat yourself up if you can't create for hour after hour. Research indicates that most of us can only focus on concentrated mental efforts for about 25 minutes at a time before we run out of steam. Franscesco Cirillo responded to this challenge by creating the Pomodoro technique, named after the tomato-shaped timer he sells as part of his online productivity program. But you can try a basic version of this technique using any handy timer that will alert you at the 25-minute mark. Set the timer, think and work as hard as you can for 25 minutes, and then stop and take a break when the alarm goes off. You'll keep your mind refreshed and feel less intimidated by that next session.

Set Yourself Free

Many writers and non-writers alike feel as if every sentence they set down must be a shining jewel. But if you've ever seen gems in the natural form, they're pretty rough; they need plenty of cutting and polishing before they make their way into fine jewelry. if you insist on creating a perfect phrase before you can move on to the next phrase, you'll probably just get stuck. So stop worrying about spelling, grammar, or flow. Just bang out a draft that you can polish later so at least you'll have something to polish. (Ray Bradbury famously posted a note above his typewriter that read DON'T THINK.) If the beginning of that blog post stumps you, then don't start at the beginning -- write any part of the article that you've got rattling around in your head. That bit will help you figure out the earlier and later bits, and before you know it you'll be done.

I hope these tips prove useful for you. If you still can't muster the time, energy, or creativity to produce a steady stream of marketing content on your own, you can always enlist my services. Contact me today so we can get started!

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Celebrate Independence Day by Building Your Personal Brand

Independence day, a.k.a. the Fourth of July, can mean more than just the date of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. You might see it as a day to celebrate everything America stands for, a time to bring friends and family members together, and/or a welcome day off for fun and sun. (If you're a pet owner or someone who values a good night's sleep, you may view it as a time for shaking your fist angrily at the fireworks-illuminated clouds.) 

If you've stopped working for someone else to establish and run your own business, Independence day may have its own special meaning for you. In fact, I first started working as a full-time freelancer so close to the Fourth that I traditionally celebrate my anniversary as an independent contractor on this date. Even if you work with a national or international franchise, you may take pride in your status as an independent representative. But ask yourself this question: How much effort does that mega-corporation spend marketing you as opposed to marketing their enterprise?

I've worked with many independent representatives of major brands, from the leading insurance providers and realty firms to janitorial services and long-term care companies. They come to me with pretty much the same complaint along the general lines of, "The company I represent has all the marketing it'll ever need, and none of it helps me differentiate myself from the thousands of other reps selling the same products or services." The blog posts, print marketing collateral, and other materials the franchise gives them are all cookie-cutter templates with maybe a small corner dedicated to the "independent" rep. 

If this frustration applies to you, what's the solution I usually suggest? You need to create your own personal brand -- for instance, "John Doe, Your Healthcare Concierge" instead of "John doe, Your Local ABC Insurance rep." ABC insurance has all the visibility it could ever need and want. What you need and want is to promote your own business, not theirs. You also want to build a whole marketing platform around this personal brand, including a website, blog, social media array, and print marketing strategy.

This approach offers a ton of advantages. For starters, you don't have to get approval from Big Brother, Inc. on every little piece of personal marketing you want to implement. It's your brand, and you can market it however you like. Additionally, by throwing the focus on you and your own brand, you relegate the franchise to your line of products and services -- which means that if you want to add more products, services, and referrals from multiple providers under the umbrella of your personal brand, who's to stop you? You're now free to offer a wider range of solutions to your target market than ever before. That's independence!

I can't think of a more fitting holiday to embark on this exciting new career phase. Best of all, you already know a skilled, experienced professional copywriter who can help you craft the content for your personal brand. In addition to creating that written content for you, I can also connect you with top-quality webmasters, digital marketing providers, logo designers, and other marketing experts. Contact me so we can make your personal Independence Day a reality!