Tag Archives: work

Five-Part Content Creation Brain Dump

Having trouble coming up with content ideas for your personal brand, small business, or side hustle?

As a marketing writer and content coach, I’ve come up with five questions I recommend you ask yourself at the start of each month. These five questions will help you get all your best ideas out from inside your head and onto the page (as any good brain dump should), allowing you to slot great content into your editorial calendar and begin posting!

Before you get going on your first Content Creation Brain Dump, there are two steps I’d like you to complete first.

Step 1: Determine your CONTENT PILLARS for the year.

I recommend that a content creator (whether that be a person or a business) have three content pillars. These are essentially the “themes” in which your content falls under.

A person creating content for their online jewelry shop, may select:
1. Jewelry Making & Crafting
2. Fashion
3. Travel & Outdoors

Step 2: Determine your MARKETING PILLARS for the quarter.

As you look at your business goals for the quarter, your marketing pillars prop those up. If you want to increase revenue coming in from sponsored Instagram posts, one of your pillars might simply be sponsored content. Trying to build your mailing list? Maybe your pillar is a lead generator.

Our online jewelry shop owner chooses:
1. Sale on Summer merchandise
2. Cross promotion of brick & mortar store that sells some of her pieces
3. Working with a few travel content creators on an influencer marketing campaign

[I advise that you repeat Step 1 every year and Step 2 every quarter!]

Once you’ve determined your CONTENT PILLARS and MARKETING PILLARS, it’s on to the Brain Dump! Grab some paper and ask yourself the following questions…

Question 1: What are some pieces of content I already have that I can repurpose?

Our jewelry shop owner took beautiful product photos of all her Summer merchandise before that line launched. Now that the remaining pieces are on sale, she can use those photos in her Instagram stories to promote her End Of Summer Sale.

Question 2: What is going on this month that I could create content about?

The brick & mortar store that sells her jewelry is a couple towns over and is hosting a small event. She plans to travel there for the event as well as do a restock of her merchandise.

She also donated a couple pieces to a local nonprofit for an online auction at the end of the month.

Question 3: What products or services should I highlight this month?

She’d like to promote her new jewelry collection that’s going on sale next month. She sent out a few pieces from the collection in advance of the launch date to travel content creators.

Question 4: What content did my followers/clients/customers respond best to last month that I can iterate on this month?

Her customers always respond well to giveaways! Maybe she can include some other local products she finds at the small event she’s attending this month?

Question 5: What content am I missing that would help me achieve my quarterly business goals?

Sales in the brick & mortar store are an important part of her business goals this month. She needs to sell the store (as well as the little town it is located in) just as much as the merchandise she has inside it this month. She might think about some content from her trip to the store that falls under her Travel & Outdoors pillar.

Once your Brain Dump is complete, you can build out the content ideas and get them scheduled on your calendar. Repeat each month for ongoing awesome content! Remember: Validate each idea against your two sets of pillars. They should serve one or the other and ideally BOTH!

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. My 10 brutally honest tips about content creation.

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 Find Job Satisfaction (even if you haven’t found your “dream job”)

how to find job satisfaction*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Even in the midst of your dreamiest of dream jobs, work can still seem like a chore. Something you have to check off your list along with mopping the floors and getting your oil changed. They call it “work” for a reason, right? And when you haven’t landed your dream job, or still aren’t sure what that ideal occupation even is, finding motivation can be that much harder.

But everyone deserves job satisfaction in their career, whether waiting tables at the very beginning of their ascent or as CEO on that top rung of the ladder. It’s all about attitude, outlook, and a dash of discipline. 

Not too long ago, broke and in debt, I found myself back at a store I worked at when I was 18. Seven years down the line, it felt like a giant step backwards. But by figuring out the tips below (and trust me, there were times I resisted them), I realized I could find satisfaction in my work…no matter what I was doing. This is the attitude that gets you noticed and helps you to make moves. Sure I’d gotten knocked down a few steps, but climbing back up…and then beyond…was so much easier when I enjoyed showing up at work every day and did my best.

So, let me share the tips I utilized to do so…

Being The Best

No matter what your job, you’ll always enjoy it more if you focus on being the best. Whatever, I’ll say it…winning feels good. Does this mean you have to work yourself to the bone? Not at all. There’s always ways to work smarter not harder, no what I mean? You just have to find that willingness to be ambitious.

I’m competitive anyways so I’ve always got my eye out for opportunities where I can beat people (in a gracious way! obvi.). If you’re not, think about the rewards that motivate you most and focus your energies on receiving those rewards specifically. I’m very motivated by words of praise but you might be motivated by public recognition or money or learning something new! Speaking of learning something new…

Educating Yourself

Even the poopiest of jobs can teach you valuable lessons for later in your career. Dive in! Seek out specialized training, put yourself forward for educational opportunities, and tap the knowledge of co-workers. I pride myself on being a life-long learner outside the work place so I relish any opportunity to learn “on the clock.” Depending on your job this could be anything from taking 30 minutes a day to read industry news, signing up for a wine pairing class, or taking part in an online accredited MBA program in your free time if your company is footing the bill.

My rule of thumb whenever someone asked me “Do you want to learn how to do x, y, or z?” Say YES. A downside to working jobs that are more about paycheck than career path? Monotony! But the more you diversify your skill sets…the less bored you’ll be and the more fun you’ll have!

Finding The Value

Finding the value in your job will not only make your daily effort feel worth it, but could also spark passion. How is your work or your company helping people? What are you doing for the greater good? How are you making an impact? Spend some time connecting the dots here. My retail job at a cooperative grocery store prided themselves on keeping the majority of every dollar spent in our local economy. So, I chose to focus on this value. My efforts were always fueled by a desire to promote local farmers and food. I became super passionate about it! And before I knew it, I was working in the marketing office instead of out on the floor…and I still work in marketing today! 

Keeping one eye on the value is a great way to maintain focus when you’re feeling less than pleased about going in or your boss is angry or some task feels pointless. Not to mention, communicating the value YOU provide is an awesome skill to have in an interview setting, hint, HINT.

Do me a favor – Tell us your job in the comments below and the #1 thing you do to find job satisfaction. Thanks!

P.S. Wanna read more of my career tips? CLICK HERE.