18.10.2018
Shell
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You have something to say, so say it. Just be sure that you say it to the right people in the right manner and at the right time. Because, well, if you don't, it could all backfire on you. After all, people don't play around these days. Especially with all the social media outlets allowing unfiltered self-expression. Trust and believe that if somebody doesn't like the words you have to say, they can - and will - surely let you know it. So what happens when you have something inspiring to say that you feel can transform the world in a positive manner? You start a blog -- and say it. Then, you share it. You sit back and you wait for your post to go viral because it's that good. And you wait. And wait some more. Still waiting... Truth: Having a blog doesn't guarantee that you will get your message out there to the world. It is simply a platform to voice your opinion and share. Maybe you will have some readers, maybe you won't. But, don't give up. Why? Because the world needs positive words. The world needs inspiration. And, the world needs you. Do a search for "how to gain blog followers," and you will get a ton of the same information. Write what people want to read.  Follow and comment on other blogs in the same niche.      Share your blog on social media.      Promote your blog posts through social media.      Give away something free that will entice people to sign up to receive your blog.  But if what you have to say doesn't fit the norm? You can put use all the best SEO tactics and do all the right things, but if what you have to say isn't what your audience wants to hear, then perhaps you have the wrong audience.  Write your words. Share them. And find your audience. There is someone out there waiting to be inspired by what you have to say -- even if they aren't the mainstream folks.  Whatever you do: NEVER STOP WRITING.
08.10.2018
Shell
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Ok, so you blog. Good for you. Here is your golden star/pat on the back/ shout out you were seeking. But, what good is your blog if it doesn’t do anything?  It needs a purpose. You can always write about random things and blab about the latest news events, but unless your readers get something from what you write, they may not be reading for long. If you have a website with a blog, then you should be writing content that can empower your clients. Teach them. Guide them. And be there for them. Even blogs with the most boring subject matter – say, corkboard manufacturers – can provide helpful, engaging content for their readers. Think: "Brighten your office with these must-have holiday decorations for your corkboard."  To bait and hook your readers, you will need a blog that: §  Provides useful, easy-to-read content. Keep it light and something they’d want to read. §  Makes the readers forget they are reading a blog about your boring product but convince them they need it at the same time. §  Ends before it gets too tedious or drawn out. Keep it to the point and interesting - then end it. In other words, give your customers solutions to their problems in a fun, indirect way. Blogs can be posted to your site and then shared via email to those on your list. Sharing through all social media avenues that you utilize is another incredibly useful idea.  Not only are you keeping your website active, but you are also driving customers to your website. It’s a win-win! Of course, if all of this just doesn’t enthuse you or seems like it may take up too much of your time, you could always reach out to a content and copywriter who can create written excitement for your business. If you’d like to see how it can be done, contact me today.
28.09.2018
Shell
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Let me tell you a story.  There was once a little ball decorated with stripes of brown and seafoam green. No matter how much it wanted to sit still, it couldn't. Why? Because it's a ball, of course. It didn't have any way to stop itself - why would you even ask why?  Anyway, it rolled off the table and hit the floor. Then, it rolled through the office and straight into the elevator. The first floor seemed to have the most popular vote.  And, once it reached there, it rolled its way out the elevator and straight out the front door.  There was so much foot traffic in the busy office building that no one even noticed.  So, the ball rolled down the road. It passed some people, it bounced off a few walls, and it even rolled under a few cars.  And... swoosh...there went some beautiful rose bushes. Oh, how the ball would have loved to stop and take in their beauty. But, there was no way to slow down.  Before long, the striped ball stumbled across a playground. It was like strolling straight into heaven. There were smiling children, laughs, giggles, and fun. Just a lot of fun. It finally felt like it found a home.  The ball spent its day bouncing and flying through the air. Children were laughing and running. The sun was shining brightly. It turned out to be a magnificent day. Maybe the best day ever.  It even thought, hey, maybe being a ball isn't such a bad thing after all. Even though you cannot stop, you just keep rolling until you find your place.  As the sun started to set, a group of teenage boys made their way into the park. They spotted the ball and immediately started up a game of kickball. It didn't take long at all for a hard kick to knock the ball straight into the nearby dumpster.  The ball was never to roll again.  *******  What does your blog look like? Does it resemble the life of the striped ball? Did it get off to a great start, rolling along so fast that it couldn't even stop to smell the roses? It doesn't take long for burnout to creep in and your blog to end up a stagnant piece of web space -- just like a ball in the dumpster.  Fresh web content posted on your website's blog is important for your online presence. Not to mention it makes your business look organized and on top of even the tiniest details.  Don't let your website sit dormant without any action -- and don't let too much time pass between posts. Create a marketing calendar and post engaging content at an automated rate. You just may find yourself surprised at the result. If you are ready to take a step in the right direction with your blog and web content, click here. A free 15-minute phone conference will help determine the best course of action for your business.  WWW.MICHELLEBLAN.COM
There are many ways in which you can try to find yourself some new clients. You could...  post on social media until your fingers are raw - with no guarantees sign up for some $3,500 course that promises you at least 100 new clients in 7 days buy an email list and start campaigning until you (hopefully) get some sort of response  stand on the street corner dancing with a sign advertising your business enjoy a hot air balloon ride while dropping pieces of candy with your website address from the sky Or, you could just write some awesome content and spread it far and wide. Keep it engaging and make people want to come to your business for your service/product/free stuff. After all, that's the desired outcome, right?  If so, then you are in luck. There is something called a Freelance Writer or Content Creator that can make that happen for you. I know, I know - perhaps it sounds like a foreign idea. What can a writer do that will build my business up?  Oh, boy. What you should be asking yourself is what can't a writer do to build my business?  See, writers are not magicians, though they may appear to be. Instead, they are creators that can take the most boring business -- think plumbing gadgets -- and turn them into an interesting and engaging story.  In fact, remember John Candy as Del Griffith making money by selling shower curtain rings in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? Check it out.   He gave each shower curtain ring a great story in the middle of an airport - and boom! Sold! Your freelance writer creates the same sort of content surrounding your business. Although, you can rest assured that your writer is going to go for a more honest approach.  If you are ready to take a step in the right direction and increase your business, then you need to have a writer on your team.  Hire yours today!
You thought you'd try your hand at freelance writing since you love to write. You did your research, made connections online, and managed to find yourself a client or two.  Then, you sit back, and write. Right?  You are so WRONG.  Freelance writing is so much more than just writing. Writers write. Freelance writers run a business. In fact, there are things you will have to do that will make you re-consider or think that you've gotten yourself in over your head.  Let's see...  Your client has requested that you write two SEO-friendly articles per week and post them to his WordPress blog. In turn, he will pay you $x. Sounds easy enough. You've got this for sure. Hold up. Wait -- have you ever used WordPress? A quick google search brings you to some nice tutorials on the program and you feel confident to proceed.  You begin writing and realize that you let the client believe you knew more about Canadian Mining that you actually do, so you will have to do a bit of research on the topic first.  Once that is under way, you begin writing. You double-check and triple-check your work, making sure there are no errors. You provide some backlinks and make sure that the overall article is SEO-friendly (after you educated yourself on this topic, too).  Finally, in WordPress, you hit Publish.  You can relax. Well, no, actually you can't. First, you have to bill your client. So, you create your invoice, develop a method you will use for tracking it, and then send it on. Then, you make sure to make a note not to forget to follow up for payment. Before you can sit back, you will want to throw out a few more pitches, research and approach a few new clients, and check job posting sites.  There is always, always, something to be done as a freelance writer. You are, in a sense, running your own business.  Sure, the perks are great -- you get to work from home (or anywhere for that matter), set your own rates and your own hours, and be your own boss.  But, it takes a lot of hard work. More than most people realize. As long as you know this and understand it, you should find no big surprises. Embrace your entrepreneur self and watch blooms happen. After all -- if you work hard and learn all you can about the freelance writing business, you can't go anywhere except up. Stick it out, you'll see.
10.08.2018
Shell
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Life of normal folks: Put in a solid 8-hour workday at the office. Head home, relaxing to some tunes on the commute.  Throw a quick dinner together (or order takeout). Watch some tv.  Catch up on social media.  Throw in a load of laundry.  Go to bed and start all over tomorrow.  Life of a freelancer: Wake up and shower.  Sit down with your laptop and breakfast. Walk the dogs for the 2nd time. Clean up your breakfast dishes.  Get the kids up and make them breakfast.  Walk the dogs again. Check your email.  Start a new article.  Hear the dryer buzz and go switch the laundry.  Get sidetracked by more dishes in the sink. Wash them.  Get halfway through your article.  See an email come in that you need to address right away.  Dogs need walked again.  Remember that you wanted to sweep and mop today, so you stop and do that.   Then decide you better make the kids lunch. And yourself some, too.  Sit back down with your laptop and finish your article.  More dishes.  Dogs need to be walked again.  Look to your right.... and - wow, that shelf looks dusty. You dust the entire house.  Sit back down to your laptop and realize you should take something out for dinner.  You do that and then start checking your social media sites.  Back to focusing on writing again.  Then, BOOM -- its dinner time, spouse is on her way home, and the dogs need to be walked again.  Where does the time go?  And what got accomplished?  Good intentions.  Bad follow through.  Working from home means that it is incredibly easy to get sidetracked. Whether its kids, dogs, cleaning, cooking... it is easy to feel like you have to have it all together. But, the truth is, you don't. If you worked in an office, you wouldn't be able to dust and clean and do laundry while you are working. I mean, it'd be pretty awkward if you did. Who's laundry would you be doing at work? Ew. Gross.  Anyway, there is a simple fix for this all-too-common scenario. Are you ready for it? In...  5...…… 4...…… 3.....….. 2.....….. 1...….... Set your office hours.  It is that easy. Treat working from home like a "real job" that "normal folks" have. Go to work and focus on work. Then, get up and walk into your living room and start cleaning if you want -- but only after quitting time has arrived. You just may be surprised at how much more productive you are in everything you do. 
12.07.2018
Shell
3 Comments
As a writer, I have been witness to a few different reactions when I respond to a question asking what I do for a living. Most usually come with a nod of the head and a slight, nearly-inaudible, hmm... sound. Others give a look of pity. And, then there are the very few who reply with a quick, "Oh, nice!" and move on.  It doesn't matter who asks, I nearly cringe every time I hear, "So, Michelle, what do you do?" Because the initial response is almost always followed up with, "Have you been published?" Now, yes, they could be sincerely asking the question. And, they are likely not intending to do the damage they do. But, it happens. Every time.  The funny thing is that even when you are published, the feeling still holds true because you are still aiming to get your book published, increase your readers and platform, or find yourself published with a more reputable news source. It is always an upward climb (that often feels stagnant). In other words, its that ever-present writer doubt.  So, as a PSA, I am sending out the top 3 questions you should never ask a writer.  1. Have you been published? *see rant above. 'nuff said. 2. What do you write about? For most writers, trying to verbally put all the words in your head into a clear, concise, Cliff Notes explanation in order to properly answer this question is exhausting. If you ask it, and get a general answer -- don't press for details. Please.  3. Must be nice not having to really work, right? Wrong. Writers work. A lot. Even when it doesn't appear so.  From now on, when someone answers "I'm a writer," to the question, "What do you do?" Tell them awesome! Or, that's fantastic! Or even, I'd love to have your job. Something, anything positive. Writing is fulfilling a dream, but it is hard work - and it takes strength, determination, and courage to do it. It also takes time. Lots and lots of time to get to the finish line.  
12.06.2018
Shell
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If you are a writer, then you likely already know when you are your most productive. However, if you are just starting out and trying to find a balance between your writing and the real world, you've likely faced a lot of frustration.  Have you ever taken your car to the mechanic and were told that your "simple repair" will take "about 30 minutes" - only to find that you are still waiting on your car two hours later? No matter the profession, we all think that what we do will be finished faster than it really it is. Perhaps it is a good thing that we give ourselves so much credit. But - truth-be-told - it leads to a lot of aggravation when you realize you have over-scheduled yourself. You know that anxiety-ridden overwhelmed feeling you get when you are staring at your deadlines. Did you ever think that maybe you have been scheduling your time to write during your least-productive hours? Perhaps if you decided to write when during peak productivity times you will find that you truly can get your work done in the time you have allotted yourself. Some writers love late-night writing after the world is fast asleep. Others prefer getting up early with the sun. As the world comes alive, so does the writing. Still, there are some writers who do their best work during the 9-5 hours. It all depends on you. Spend some time experimenting and find what works best for you. The time when you find it the easiest you will notice an increase in your productivity. The sooner you discover this, the better your chances of succeeding as a writer.  When are you most productive?  www.writersjourney.org
29.05.2018
Shell
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You write something phenomenal -- and people read it. Then what? You just let them get away? You let them move on to the next article or continue strolling through their news feed?  NO! Make them do something. Make them want to do something.  A call-to-action, a.k.a. CTA, is a marketing technique used to get the reader to take action. It is an incredibly common tool, too - for good reason. CTAs work wonders for getting potential customers to take a specific action. For instance, sign up for a service, sign up for a free trial of a service, sign up for a free email course or e-book, or even sign up to gain a free consultation. A CTA could also simply convince your readers to connect on social media. Grow your network and transform your readers into future customers - all because of a little CTA. Sounds great, doesn't it?  So, if this technique works so well, why don't we use it for something good? (I know, I know, transitioning leads into customers is something good). But, I am talking about something good as in motivating and inspiring personal growth or something that leads to the betterment of mankind. You know, something bigger than just your personal desires.  Just hear me out. People want to feel good. Yes, they want free stuff, but they also want to feel successful and motivated to change. These people are your potential customers. Why not give them something to feel a bit inspired?  At the end of your blog, article or email, you could offer a CTA that... Donates one meal to a homeless person.  Donates one bowl of dog food to a no-kill shelter.  Reminds the reader to hug their loved ones.  Asks for one good deed to be done.  Of course, this can be combined with whatever you are offering or with your subscribe button.  Its a simple dose of good. And its a simple way to offering a feel-good vibe.  The world is heading down a rough path - when it comes to politics, crime, and the like. Heck, CTA could stand for Crazy Times Ahead. The world needs more good. Why not let it start with you? Together, we can make a difference. What has been your best or most successful CTA? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.  www.writersjourney.org
24.05.2018
Shell
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It happens. No matter how much you try to stay focused on what you need to get done, procrastination quietly starts peeping at you from around the corner waiting for just the right moment to pounce. Sometimes, whether we like to admit it or not, we fall victim to it -- we become the procrastination's prey.  There is no sense in getting your knickers in a knot. When you find yourself in this situation, all you need to do is face procrastination head on. Look it in the eye and remind it who the boss is. (That's you -- you are the boss). Then, do something else for a bit until you can regain your focus.  Choose one of these 7 things to do while procrastinating.  1. Clean out your inbox.  If there is one thing that can get out of hand quickly, it is an email inbox. Moment by moment, 24 hours per day, this inbox is wide open for receiving. If you are overly efficient, then perhaps you have rules set up that automatically direct each piece of incoming mail to the proper folder. However, if you are like most of the population, that inbox can blow up in a matter of hours - leaving you scrolling and scrolling to find what you are looking for.  Cleaning out your inbox is a fantastic habit to get into. It keeps you better organized and reduces the risk of missing something important.  2. Go for a walk. Walks (or any type of exercise) can help get the blood flowing, your endorphins released, and your breathing relaxed. When you find yourself struggling to concentrate and focus, go for a walk and then come back. This short break away may be all you need to get back on track. If you sit in front of a computer all day, you should be doing this regularly, anyways -- but that's a story for a different day.  3. Update your social media pages. Read this carefully: Update your social media pages. That doesn't say scroll, check out your best friend's activity, or read memes until you turn into one. Just update. Post an updated status, change up your profile picture, etc. In other words, help keep your pages active.  4. Organize your desk or workspace. Some people work best when surrounded by a mess. Others, not so much. If you find yourself unable to focus on your task at hand because your desk or workspace is cluttered, then take some time to de-clutter and organized the space.  5. Listen to a podcast.  Depending on your industry, there are many reputable podcasts that offer up tidbits of knowledge, insider information, new ideas, and the like. Take a few minutes to listen to a podcast - letting yourself absorb something beneficial. You can even sit back and close your eyes while doing so.  6. Read. Reading is part of learning and growing. This is something you can do just about anywhere. So, when you find yourself procrastinating on a project, turn your mind to a book, a blog, a magazine, something, anything, that can lead you down a successful pathway. 7. Write a blog. Sometimes you just have words within you that need to get out before you can focus on anything else. Take a moment to release it so you can move on. Blog, journal, doodle, or whatever it is that you do best.  You can be productive while you procrastinate. Sure, the work you need to get done or have a deadline for isn't going to finish itself. But when you are not focused and find your attention straying, you have a choice. You can waste time or be productive.  What will you choose? What do you do when you find yourself procrastinating?  www.writersjourney.org
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