Tag Archives: professional life

10 Brutally Honest Tips About Online Content Creation

10 brutally honest tips about online content creation

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again — content is king. Online content creation and marketing was once just a way to set yourself apart, but nowadays it’s pretty much a necessity. And if you’re a small business or solo-preneur, your online content can make or break a successful marketing campaign.

Over the years I’ve worked with a ton of brands (both new and old) to develop meaningful online content strategies. Here’s what I can tell you — everyone, from a dog-walker to a CEO who writes bestselling books, can create valuable and relevant online content that will connect with potential customers.

And it’s not too late to get in on the action! But it can certainly feel overwhelming. Do you make YouTube videos, start a podcast, write a weekly newsletter? What should you share? And how often? While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 tips:

1. Have fun!

This one may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how often I find myself offering this simple piece of advice. In terms of building and maintaining your audience, personality matters. Nobody wants to hang out with the person who isn’t having a good time. And they’ll probably be able to tell if you’re faking it, too. But more than audience, you have to consider sustainability. Can you keep something up if you don’t enjoy it? Create the content you enjoy making, at the rate you enjoy making it.

2. Invest in ways to make it easier and more fun.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create online content. Work with what you have to start out. But when you’re ready to invest, consider spending your money on things that will make the process easier and more fun. If the aspect you enjoy most about is photography, maybe you spring for some camera gear. Whereas if drafting written content to accompany those photos is taking up too much of your time, consider outsourcing to a freelancer.

3. Provide value within your niche.

People aren’t going to care about your brand or your products right away. Until you’ve developed a bit of a fan base or a sense of community within your audience, they’re going to scroll right past that blog post about your company vision or the video covering your life story. That’s not to say there won’t be a place for those things eventually! But you’ve got to start by providing value. This can be as simple as a blog post with relevant tips & tricks or an infographic with useful information. But could also include things like printable PDFs, detailed templates, or an inspiring podcast.

4. Have patience!

Organic growth and ROI will come, but it won’t come over night. It takes time. Building up your online presence or brand is dependent upon also building up that community of followers. So, you might hook them with valuable content but now you have to give them time to get to know you. Put out the the content that lets them do so. (And take time to get to know them, too! ) This also means you have to be consistent. You have to tell them when content is coming and then follow through.

5. Track your analytics.

Yes, this is a creative endeavor. But you can have a little more method to your madness than throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Look at the numbers. Create a spreadsheet to chart growth in key areas and keep track of what worked and what didn’t so you can modify as needed.

6. Develop a relationship with your audience.

I’ll say it again — you’re building a community FIRST. The brand will blossom from there. One very simple way to do this within online content is online COMMUNICATION. Reply to comments, answer emails, tag people, reach out to other brands and people when you feature them in your content. Folks love recognition, whether that be clicking the heart next to their Instagram content or writing a LinkedIn article about how much you love their business. Another way to build relationships is by engaging with other creators in your niche. Your voice is amplified when it’s in a chorus of others!

7. Be authentic!

It’s going to be hard to develop lasting relationships with a community of loyal customers if you keep changing who you are and what you stand for based on passing whims (or paychecks). Be yourself. Only communicate what you believe and stand for. Again, people can tell when you’re faking it. You’re interesting and enough just as you are!

8. Don’t be afraid of the ask.

Yes, you want to consistently provide your audience with value when it comes to your online content. But here’s the thing. You got bills to pay! You can’t give everything away for free! So, now that you’ve built up that community that loves and trusts you, you’ve shown time and time again that you’re a reliable source of [information, advice, inspiration], someone out there is probably going to want to actually pay for one of your goods or services. Probably a LOT of someones. But…not if you don’t ask!!! So many of my clients over the years have expressed hesitation when it comes to the sales aspect of their online content strategy because they, “Don’t want to sound sales-y.” And I get where they’re coming from. You don’t have to shove sales pitches down peoples throats 24-7. But you won’t get a sale if no one knows you’re selling. My advice? 1) Keep your content diverse — a fun post here, a value add there, this product, that service, etc, etc. 2) If you think of your overall online content strategy as a novel, make sure you’ve written your audience as the protagonist.

9. Start now.

There’s no “right” time to begin incorporating online content into your marketing plan. You could wait for that new camera, website redesign, or social media intern — but those things may never happen. And you’re missing out in the mean time.

10. Keep learning as you go.

Need inspiration? Look to other content creators. See what YOU enjoy watching and reading, what resonates with YOU, who is providing value in YOUR life. What are they doing that you can incorporate in your content? Without copying them, of course! Need more resources? There are a plethora of educational materials available about online content creation, many of them completely free.

Keep trying new things. Keep creating. Keep seeking out additional knowledge and strategies. You got this!

If you ever want to talk strategy, my inbox is open! Send me a message at ebeth.berger@gmail.com ❤ Let’s work together to make some internet magic!

P.S. 10 Tips for Working an Event.

10 Tips for Working an Event

One aspect of work-life that I look back on fondly now that I’m a work-from-home freelancer is working events. From hosting speech tournaments on college campuses when I was a forensics coach to planning and executing a street fair during my days on the marketing team at a food co-op, these all day affairs used to be a pretty common occurrence for me. They were always stressful. Always a lot of work. But oh so rewarding at the end of the day when you pulled it off.

After a lot of years, and a lot of trial and error, I feel like I eventually got working events down to a fine science. Whether you run conferences, host all-day trainings, or volunteer at your kid’s model UN tournaments, you know the deal! Here are my top tips —

Preparation –

1. Get plenty of sleep the night before.

I’ve worked plenty of events in a state of exhaustion and, let me tell you, it ain’t fun. Do everything in your power to show up bright eyed and bushy tailed. It will feel like way less of a slog and the hours will fly by if you go into the day feeling energetic. If the event starts later in the day still get plenty of rest the night before and make sure to eat well and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

2. Eat a hearty, well-balanced breakfast.

When you’ve gotta go, go, go – sitting down for a decent meal isn’t always possible. Waking up just a tiny bit earlier is totally worth it if it means you won’t have to scarf a pop-tart in the car on the way there.

3. If you can, spend some time outside and/or do some form of light exercise before you go or when you get a break.

This will give you a nice boost of energy and stamina. It seems counter-intuitive, especially if you know you’re going to be running around and doing a lot of set up throughout the day, but I promise those exercise endorphins are worth it. And the sunlight part is a no brainer if you’re going to be spending the next million hours inside.

During the event –

4. Wear comfortable shoes.

If the event is a more casual situation and you can get away with rocking walking shoes, by all means! But even if this is a biz-cas affair, make sure your shoes are selected for comfort and not style. (I mean, you can have both…but you know what I mean.) I spent way too many years rocking ballet flats at events before I realized those aren’t the BEST option for gallivanting from one end of a college campus to the other and being on your feet all day.

5. Hydrate.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back — HYDRATE! Keep a water bottle close at hand and just keep guzzling. Nothing takes the pep out of your step like thirst.

6. Keep your pockets stocked.

I always want to remain incredibly mobile when working an event…and I don’t really want to carry a bag everywhere I go OR have to add even MORE steps to my daily total to run to a “home base” for what I need. For me, this means keeping some cash and my debit card on my person throughout the day.

7. Have portable snacks on hand.

Sometimes your only downtime when working events is when you’re walking from one place to another. So, I like to bring along portable snacks that I can eat on the go. Bananas and granola/protein bars are great for this. NOM.

8. Avoid the urge to pound caffeine and sugar all day.

Another reason to show up well-rested. All the caffeine and sugar crashes just aren’t worth it…not to mention it will mess with your sleep after the event is over. Don’t you want to sleep like a baby after your marathon day? I think yes.

9. Say “Thank you!”

Successful events truly take a village. Show your gratitude as much as possible. Even if you’re not the one at the tippy-top running the whole shebang, there are certainly people who are making your part in the whole thing easier. Tell them you appreciate them!

10. Don’t bark orders.

And if you ARE running things, be considerate with how you manage and delegate. Events can feel way more high stakes than day-to-day work for everyone involved. Tensions will run high. Ask for help with a specific task instead of giving an order. Slight rhetorical shifts can make grunt work sound a whole lot less demeaning.

What tips would you add? xoxo

P.S. 11 Ways to Sneak in Healthy Habits When You’re Traveling.

How To Use Tech To Advance Your Job Search

Over the last few years, the landscape for job hunting and recruiting has changed massively. The way recruiters look for candidates, the way companies seek out and headhunt potential employees, the way that people look for jobs, the way they apply, and what impresses both parties have all been influenced by advances in technology.

Recently, I found myself chatting with a client who works as a headhunter about this very thing. She said she often found herself marveling about the drastic changes in her industry just over the course of her career. While older generations would advise people to just “go pound the pavement,” it is without question that you need to be using technology to get a job these days. She said, “pounding the pavement may show that you are a well presented, well spoken, smart and ambitious person, but the chances of being able to talk to the right person during a face-to-face cold-call are slim to none.” 

“Applying online is not the only way to utilize the technology we are now so lucky to have access to, there are many more ways to broaden your job search and increase your chances of getting a new job.” Eager to know more, I asked her, “LIKE WHAT?”

Here are a few of her technological tips:

Clear Up Your Social Media

You’re going to Google the person interviewing you aren’t you? So, don’t think they’re not doing the same to you! They are. Today, potential employers will actively search your social media profiles to have a look at you, so make sure you are representing yourself well online. Have your LinkedIn profile up to date, your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram clean  (or at least update your privacy settings).

Apply On Apps

Apps are everything now, so get all the job apps available and make sure your CV is on them and your profile is up to date. That way when you’re on a train or sitting in a bar while your friend has abandoned you for the bathroom (or a cute guy), you can have a quick look, and if your dream jobs pop up you are always ready to apply instantly.

Get Interactive

It’s all about making a good first impression but also about standing out, and you can use technology to do this. Why not make your CV interactive? For example, you could make a video or create an animation. It’s far more effective than a piece of paper and also, as mentioned before, this will show your prospective employer that you are well presented, well spoken, smart and ambitious … just in the form of a video. It also shows that you think outside the box and that you use your initiative.

Network Online

The social networks are out there, so use them. LinkedIn is the obvious one when it comes to business and careers, but Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can work well for connecting with people and networking. If there’s a particular industry you want to work in, then follow people who also work in that industry, connect with them, engage with them. Then, you can eventually suggest meeting for coffee to pick their brain or find out  how you could help each other out in some way.

Any tech savvy folks out there with tips to add?
Are you currently searching for a job? How have you used technology to bolster your approach?
SHARE BELOW! xoxo 

February Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Happy March, Finding Delight readers! This year, I decided to approach my New Year’s resolutions a little bit differently. I wrote out all the months in my  journal and have filled in things I want to work on in 2017– 2 items per month. Not every item is filled in yet. I want to give myself space to grow over the year, to not set my resolutions in stone.

My hope is that, once something is set into practice for a month, I’ll continue the habit throughout the year.

I’d like to share results and thoughts at the end of each month because accountability. (You can check out my first month HERE.) Here’s how I did in February…

February Resolution #1. Cut down on correspondence response times. 

I’ve developed a really annoying habit over the years. All too often, when receiving a text message or an email (especially one that most definitely warrants a response), I wait to respond.

Truth be told, in my earlier years I had a bad habit of popping off notes and emails when I was way too angry to approach them in an effective (read: sane) way. And so maybe in an attempt to slow my roll on that habit, I wandered into the territory of taking my time with ALL my messaging.

So here’s what happens: I get an email. Obviously I read it pretty much as soon as it hits my inbox (because let’s be real we’re all attached to our phones and laptops). ….And then I let it sit. Even when it just warrants a couple sentences that I could easily fire back and be done with! Sometimes I even create a bullet point on my daily To-do list JUST TO RESPOND TO THAT EMAIL.

And I’ll bet you can guess what else sometimes happens. Yep. I forget to respond…completely. *cringe*

Now, this problem mostly existed in terms of personal, as opposed to professional, messaging. But sometimes those lines are blurred, and a responsible/healthy approach in BOTH realms seems like a worthy pursuit. I don’t want to let an email with a potential client get buried in my inbox anymore than I want to hurt a friend by not responding to their text for days on end.

This month, my approach has been pretty simple. If I can respond to an email or text right away…I do. But Beth, you might be asking, does this mean you’re constantly interrupted throughout the day? Well dear reader, I too had similar worries. But they were unwarranted. Because this new approach also involves checking my phone and my inbox at set intervals throughout the day. Instead of constantly. Life changing, y’all.

Going forward: I’ll continue to respond to messages as soon as I can (with the understanding that not every email needs to be perfect, just sent). I’ll check my messages less frequently. I’ll gently check back in with slow responders because HEY, I’ve been there.

February Resolution #2. Ask more thought- or conversation-provoking questions.

Similar to Resolution #1, Resolution #2 is all about relying on technology less in order to communicate MORE. Hear me out.

I believe the art of conversation takes practice. And I kinda think past generations were more aware of this then what we got goin’ on presently. So many of the conversations I find myself in revolve around Person A telling Person B about something they saw in an article online or heard about on social media. Not really opinions or insights so much as, “Well, I read about XYZ…” (Do I sound like an old fuddy-duddy yet?)

I think that as water-cooler communicators and happy hour orators, WE CAN DO BETTER. I know I can do better.

So this month, in an effort to spark more enlightening and entertaining conversations, I resolved to ask more thought-provoking questions. I’d much rather find out about where you were during the O.J. Simpson car chase or ask you what you think your dreams would be like if you were blind (<– real convos I’ve had recently that were AWESOME!) then hear about how tired you are today or what so-and-so tweeted. (Spoiler Alert: We’re ALL tired and I don’t actually care.) 

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss the things we consume online. I LOVE sharing information! But I want FOLLOW-UP questions. What did you think about it? How can we apply this information to our lives? Do you *gasp* disagree? When it comes to everything going on in our (broken) world right now, I want a CONVERSATION not an echo chamber of information.

Going forward: I’ll remind myself that good conversation takes practice and that little inquiries are a way to foster fun communication. I’ll ask follow-up questions. I’ll answer them, too!

Alright friends, onward to March!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Two months down! Tell me how you’re doing in the comments below (#accountability) or feel free to email me – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – if you’d like to keep it private. You got this! 

P.S. Need help sticking to your 2017 goals? Check out this post. Oh, and “Like” the Finding Delight Facebook page! I’d love to have ya!