5 Ways To Smash Writer’s Block

So you have a deadline looming, or you want to write that content. A blog, or perhaps a manuscript, there’s a hidden “book within” and … nothing. Perhaps you are a seasoned writer, and for one reason or another, you find yourself with a blank page, an empty screen feeling disgruntled. Maybe you are a business owner in need of content but are left scratching your head.

So to get creative- you can do a couple of things to help stimulate that wordsmith mind.

I often say in our workshops; writing has a certain elitism to it that is incredibly overrated. Writing began as scratches in the dirt to communicate. It continues to communicate. If we wish to utilize Search Engine Optimisation, then we need to be using the correct bindings of grammar and readability. However, FIRST- writer’s block.

1) Often creativity arrives peripherally. You know when you are straining your mind trying to think of something, and it just gets blocked up, nothing comes through- zilch. Then, when you divert your mind to something else- bang! The answer pops up just like that. For example, you are trying to remember that 80’s TV character, it’s evading you. Then the next day you are shopping for vegetables and BINGO! You remember Cringer is the alter ego of Battle Cat from He-man. So encourage your peripheral creativity, how so? Get it doing something different!

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2) Nature Walk – beach or bush – as humans, we relax when we are in nature, and it can be incredibly stimulating to be in and around a natural environment. When we unfocus our minds from “other thoughts” and focus on the “right now” an outdoor wander can be the light bulb moment. Don’t forget to take a smartphone so you can voice record your ideas as they come through; then you can keep them for later. Often when we get a great idea, we aren’t carrying a notebook, and we can forget those nuggets of wisdom. If you have something on hand to record your thoughts- you will start to accumulate them like shells on the beach. (Social media tip- don’t forget to take a pic of something nice on your walk for your Instagram and Facebook feed.)

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3) People watch- the opposite of the nature walk. Find a great cafe, and people watch. Complete strangers- look at them (don’t stare too long though or you will gain creep status). Use some imagination. Where are they going? What happened to them yesterday? Are they sad? Then make the rest up. What star sign are they? Do they like their kitchen clean or are they messy folk with a phobia of moths? Let your imagination take over; there might be a story in there. People watching was the go-to for Hemingway in Paris in the 1920’s and remains a wonder tool for the uninspired.

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4) Try and write a paragraph about a topic without using the words typically used for it. For example, try and describe a field of grass without using the word green, soil or sky. This can be quite tricky, but it gets you thinking in “words” that are outside of the square and gets the brain-cracking in a different direction. An indirect thought is a wonder for creative stimulation. If you go to the pantry and it is nearly empty you will end up creating something different and unique- same goes here. write for 5 minutes and go back and replace all the verbs with something unusual- THIS IS GOLD!

5) Ernest Hemingway said “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Start with this. What is the truest sentence you know? Start from there, and words will form. Write them down. Procrastination can be a beautiful bedmate. To counteract it-

Sometimes you need a footy coach rip, a harsh reality checks to get you going. Some no fluff no BS words of wisdom. Stephen King has sold millions of copies of books around the world. Many people know him for his horror genre not realizing he is the master wordsmith behind Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile or by Me. The man is a genius and his other talent, and he doesn’t suffer fools. This includes his university lectures. I quote:

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Remember if you want a long length of string, you have to unravel it and let it roll out, it’s no good sitting in your pocket.

If you would like to learn more about writing excellent content, monetizing your content, sculpturing ideas into articles that rank and all the tools of the trade be sure to join us for our Writing Masterclass at Point Lonsdale. Tickets are at Eventbrite, you can click this link for more info.

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The Blueprint for Successful Event Marketing

The Blueprint for Successful Event Marketing

Here at Geelong Social Media we recently experienced one of the most perfectly run events down to the finest details. We were lucky enough to be a finalist at the Geelong Small Business Awards (GSBA), in the Social Media Influencer category and the event organiser thought of absolutely everything. It was so impressive, we were inspired to blog about it!

Samantha Krajina, a member of the Geelong Women in Business, the event organiser, reminded attendees that having a small business can be extremely difficult highlighting that owners of the business can be the Managing Director, HR, Marketing as well as the sales person and sometimes you may feel that your skills are not up to scratch in a particular area. Realistically it’s all about learning on the job.

If you have decided to hold an event for your business there are a few key things that you must remember to make the night a success. We have broken it down into crucial categories that MUST be covered:

Strategy

A complete strategy is needed for a successful event, who do you want to attend? What is your intention and goal for the outcome? Who do you want to attract? Delegation is also an important factor, get your team members that are best suited to each area on the job. It is also important to know which systems you will use and create a workflow with a checklist, a whiteboard with lots of coloured markers is a great starting point!

Ticket Sales

Make the purchase of tickets easy to do, there is nothing worse than wanting to attend an event with no idea how to buy a ticket! An online solution that we like to use at GSM is Eventbrite. Choose an automatic and easy to use platform that provides copy and paste links you can include in your Social Media posts and your website, as well as your mail-outs.

Social Media

We like to think of ourselves as social media gurus, so this is a really important device for us and something we can say was thoroughly covered by the Geelong Small Business Awards. Keep your channels active in the lead up to the event. This will give you free coverage and help to communicate casually with your clientele. Your clients will love seeing updates, right down to the creation of the show bags. GSBA utilised the Instagram story function to showcase their sponsors and businesses attending. This technique really helps build up the excitement and you might also consider posting sneak peaks of the gift bags or favours that will be handed out on the night making your attendees feel special and appreciated. CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - SEPTEMBER 07, 2014: A Google search home

Use Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to announce dates, venues, ticket sale links and of course make sure to create a countdown. We recommend picking a colour scheme and designing your posts around that to ensure consistency and recognition– your posts will stand out in a sea of other posts and people are more likely to engage. Don’t forget to Tweet! Twitter  is great for short snappy updates.

Gift Bags

The gift bags are a crucial part of the event and can take a lot of thought, consideration and planning. Who doesn’t like getting a present? It gives your guests a lasting reminder after the event as well, and can give contributors an opportunity to promote their services or products. 

Firstly you will need to plan how many things you will like to include in the bag and if they accurately represent your brand or the cause you’re advocating for. The GSBA bags featured mementos donated from each of the small businesses attending the event, some were items like candles and USBs corresponding with the business theme but others were vouchers for business services.

Next you will need to choose the perfect bag to showcase the items. This could be inline with your business colours or an eye catching pattern that will photograph well… remember you want to leverage these on social media making it effortless for your attendees get a flawless post for their social channels.

Your clients will be more inclined to attend the event if you offer added value, this can be in the form of exclusive offers or VIP packages. Of course if it is an event for an inspiring cause then you won’t have trouble-finding people to attend.

Press Release

If you have never written a press release before, don’t be alarmed when broken down they can be super easy. You need to remember to keep press releases to the point highlighting all key points about the event and a point of difference to make the journalist say ‘Hey this has a great angle!’ Basically take out the hard work for them and give them a catchy title and subheading, intriguing quotes from key individuals and don’t forget a short company bio at the end.

You can never win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, in the same way that you can never expect to get publicity if you don’t put your story out there. Bloggers and print journalists are always on the hunt for the next new thing and can often find it hard to come up with content so you need to fulfil their hunger for a good story.

Key Note Speakers

If you are holding an event- an absolute fundamental to success is having a keynote speaker that is well known, interesting and relevant to the cause at hand. The GSBA chose the perfect speakers/ entertainers for night that could relate to the owners of small businesses and they were Andy and Ben from the Block as well as local radio star Lee Stamps aka ‘Stampsy’. Close up of microphone in concert hall or conference room

Make sure that you leverage the key individuals for your event and come up with a mutual agreement to promote each other. You should make a social media plan stipulating how many times a week they should post, the type of content you would like and make it simple for them by providing them with a pre set list of @handles and #hashtags—this way they a more likely to post content that is beneficial to you.

Check your calendar

I guess this goes without saying but before you start anything check your personal calendar, local calendar and key note speaker calendar. In doing this you will ensure your event can gain the most reach and attendance with the right people and  avoids clashes with other events that would have the same audience.

Additionally you can check with local Facebook community pages and ask if they can share your event details on their pages. Provide them with eye-catching graphics and details of the event and they will be happy to promote your content.

Email Marketing

You may think that email marketing is out-dated but this is immensely untrue as email-marketing tools have grown and transformed in recent years.

EDM programs such as Infusionsoft can assist with automating campaigns for your event such as ‘Send email notification for ticket bought’ following with the sequence ‘Follow up with event details’. You can then take it a step further adding ‘Send email for dietary requirements’ giving attendees the option of filling out a web form with types of dietary requirements, don’t forget the ‘other’ option.

Of course if your business is smaller and you have fewer than 20 attendees you can organise your own emails in a regular email program.

Advertising on social channels

Lastly, you’re doing all of this hard work to get your event out there so remember to make use of the promotion tools within Instagram and Facebook. You pay a little amount and reach a large audience. Don’t forget to get HEAPS of photos during the event that are funny and tell a story, this is great after-fodder for your social media. Show everyone how great the night was and how much fun everyone had- because this will attract more for the next event and it’s a fun way to showcase the hard work you have put in. CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - OCTOBER 03, 2014: All of popular social m

Handy tip: Promote the post on Instagram and share to Facebook as well, that way you only need to pay for the ad once.

Final note- if you don’t have time to get your online Event Marketing done, you can click below to find out how we can do it all for you!

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Twitter

Twitter for Business

With a multitude of social channels you are doing your business an injustice if you don’t engage in every social channel. Of course you have heard that Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin are cementing themselves in the online world but you should also look upon Twitter with the same eyes.

Before anything you will need to get a grasp of the terminology used on Twitter so that you can interact with your clients/customers and make the most of the functionality of the platform.

A tweet is the message that your business posts on the platform, which can be made up with a mix of text, photos, videos and don’t forget to hyperlink. Keep in mind that all tweets can only be 140 characters—not a lot of content but you will soon get why.

It is crucial that you master the art of hash tagging and mentioning; with 140 characters there is only so much you can write so you need to make your page and content searchable to other users. We always hear of hashtags ‘trending on twitter’ and if you aren’t familiar with this vocabulary, it is the gateway into conversation that is being most talked about. For example #BanTrump is a way for Twitter users to voice their concerns about Donald Trump’s power in the United States and this is a way to find petitions and distaste against his decisions. Now we know you guys are not going to be using your page to discuss political issues but this can be translated in the same way any other business such as a hair salon with #Hairgoals. Mentions are a synonym for tagging people so you can bring a tweet to someone’s attention by @username. You could use it to ask someone a question, thank them or to highlight a piece of content.

Further, with mentions it is important that you keep track of mentions and utilise them properly. There is nothing worse then a customer trying to get through to you and getting no response, consequently they will become a detractor of your brand.

In the academic article ‘Social Media and Customer dialog management at Starbucks’ Gallaugher and Ransbotham stress the importance of communication and consider Twitter as a customer empowered environment where they able to speak directly to brands, “While firms have long recognised the importance of listening to and communicating with customers, they are struggling to navigate the emerging complex, consumer- empowered environment.”

It is also key for brands to understand the power of Twitter for business and how it connects people, as it creates bonds that were never possible allowing customers from different sides of the world to communicate and discuss their experiences of businesses.

“Historically, firm and customer interactions focused on two direct relationships (firm-to-customer and customer-to-firm) and one indirect relationship (customer-to-customer). Social media not only intensifies these existing relationships but also creates new options and new variations on conventional options.”

You then also have the capabilities of replying to a tweet, so this is where your business should monitor the conversation about around your business or subject matter through hashtags to provide expert opinion and assistance to other users. If you are active in replying, you will gain more followers and influential status in your industry. In the same way, it’s important to keep an eye on what other ‘authority’ users are posting, particularly in your industry, as you can retweet this knowledge to your own followers—this B2B lovin’ goes a long way on Twitter

Let’s not forget the power of acknowledgement, Twitter also allows the function of ‘liking’, allowing businesses to show interest in compatible posts while also showing other brands that you are listening to their conversation.

Now that we have established some foundation in Twitter terminology and their role in customer engagement, we need to know how to effectively post. This evidently is how Twitter distinguishes itself from other social platforms.

Attention grabbing content will increase your following and keep them constantly engaged. It would be a shame to significantly increase your following only to see it drop back down to your original figures.

140 characters is not a lot to communicate your content but it is also a blessing because it means that you can use some awesome imagery to draw your target audience in. Ultimately, Twitter is a news platform, not a blogging stage and is made to give live updates.

This is the perfect example of a good tweet.

Tweet

In this example you can see strong imagery, short sharp content and a relevant brand hashtag which iclothing has created for consumer conversation. If the tweet was directing to a blog post, you cold use url shorteners like bitly to assist with directing customers to a particular post or page without taking up too much content space.

 

 

So we hope this has made Twitter a little clearer and yes it is well worth it! 

The Importance of Imagery

 

  • Images are the communication tool of the world. Images can convey so much without the need for language across the globe.

 

  • Take a cave drawing from thousands of years ago; pictures have been the fabric of human society since way back when. Symbolism, imagery and an audience can create inspiration. Images can tell a powerful story. They can invoke inspiration, cuteness, fear, love, adoration, anger…so it is so important to implement images in a way that effectively tells your story or what you are trying to say to your audience.

 

  • This applies to Social Media Posts, Blogs, Websites, Online Articles, you name it, the image is the one visual stimuli that should stand out and capture attention. Anyone in Social Media will tell you that an image included in your Facebook Posts will increase the response it gets over plain old text.

 

  • An example is a blog I wrote recently for an automotive website. We wanted to capture the audience’s attention quickly. The majority readership and audience were males aged 40 and over that like classic cars and have a higher income. So to capture this potential set of eyes on masse we needed something suitable. Imagine if we had used a cute cat picture, or a picture of someone eating breakfast? This is probably an exaggeration but you get the idea. If I am a model airplane hobbyist then an awesome pic that involves a plane, a propeller or a flight of some kind will grab me over something else.

 

  • I cannot reiterate enough- Do Your Research. What is your demographics’ visual psychology ? What is it visually? What do “they” like looking at that can fit in with your message? Profile them like an FBI profiler, work out what they like, how they like it and what’s going on in their world on a large scale and you will hit the jackpot.

 

  • Find images that are good quality high resolution, using colours that are complimentary, particularly if sourcing images for your website. You can purchase good quality from companies like Adobe Stock or Dreamstime. Better yet, if you can afford it get a good photographer to take some for you it’s a terrific investment or if you are any good; take your own!

 

  • When you are in business it pays to have a professional & good quality profile pic of yourself. Good quality pics that reflect your personality in a classy and positive way makes you look good, feel good and promote your business well. This can be used on your website, your LinkedIn page, your Twitter profile, anything that involves a Bio.

 

  • Photography is a powerful language that can break barriers and speak directly to the heart of your audience, so do it well!

 

We have had the opportunity to be photographed for our profile pics and product shots by the divine Annie Murray from Murray Studios. Annie has worked tirelessly to make women around the globe realise their potential and reclaim their inner beauty as it reflects outward. Annie worked hand in hand with Anastasia Hmua; Professional Makeup artist to NOT make anyone look beautiful, but to compliment their unique individual beauty bringing the inner into the physical space. The translation is brilliant. Annie made this amazing short film about this journey and we thought you might like it! Click this link to watch : Finding Your Beautiful You can also contact Anastasia HERE