See my eBook that helps you declutter your home with a 30-day plan on Gumroad.
You can learn more about my coaching business, Destiny Architecture, here. I like to test out new tech, so there’s a second Ghost site for Destiny Architecture geared directly for those who are interested in personal development for content creators.
I like to conduct content experiments online using social media. I publish results to my audience (with exclusives for subscribers). The best place to follow along for this is on Twitter @WriterHeatherL.
Get a quick taste of my conversational, down-to-earth style on Typeshare.
I specialize in social media content writing for B2B SaaS companies and broadcast writing of all forms—from commercials to TV news programs.
I’m always learning something new on Hubspot Academy, Google Skillship, The Ghost Creator Program, Ship 30, The Copy Writing Summit, or Saylor.org.
My marketing career began in radio, where I did old-school guerrilla marketing. Now, I get to work remotely from anywhere doing all forms of digital marketing! From SEO copywriting to social media marketing, I LOVE the online life.
I have been calling this type of content by several names this year:
I think that last one is catching on in the marketing industry since I attended a SparkToro webinar about zero-click content.
The above photo is a Typeshare sub-atomic essay. It’s around 100 words long. I wrote it yesterday to allow myself to capture a thought worth sharing. I didn’t have time to write an entire blog.
No one has the time to read an entire blog anyway.
I shared this on Twitter (as Typeshare does automatically) and received a thoughtful response from a Twitter follower.
💥 Boom! Idea validated as good! I can keep pursuing it. Most importantly, I offered content that the follower got to consume without leaving the Twitter platform. This is why zero-click content is important right now.
Algorithms penalize us for taking users off the platform.
The idea is to create this zero-click content that’s clean and skimmable for attention spans that are shorter than ever. Your content has to be better than ever. Your job isn’t to write stuff—it’s to capture attention.
Here’s an example of the engagement you’re seeking 👇
Just thought I’d share some recent YouTube accomplishments. I owe it all to adopting short-form video! I wrote about it, if you’re interested.
I haven’t been uploading podcasts all summer. I’ve only been experimenting with short-form video on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. While it may appear that my YouTube success is phenomenal, I am seeing the best reach on Instagram Reels right now.
There are two courses in digital marketing you can take online for FREE right now. They are perfect for beginners to digital marketing. You can know absolutely nothing and either of these courses will get you up to speed.
I took both of them so I could compare them. Here’s how that works.
*Last year, I completed the Digital Marketing Certification from Hubspot Academy
*I renewed this one last month.
*This weekend, I completed the LinkedIn Learning Digital Marketing Foundations Certificate
*To be clear, I’m deep into Hubspot Academy and have earned 6 certificates; I do not pay the monthly fee for LinkedIn Learning, which costs $29.99/mo or $19.99/mo for the annual plan.
Deciding between the two should be pretty easy if you’re looking at which costs less. That’s Hubspot Academy, which offers its certifications for free. But I found an article about all the free LinkedIn Learning classes this month, so I thought I’d sample them.
I 100% believe in investing in one’s education because you will always get something out of it, especially if you actively apply what you learn. I’ve become a constant online learner since the pandemic after completing my undergrad online at Boston University in 2010. I was an O.G. remote worker and online learner before it was a hashtag.
I also believe in getting things done the most efficient way possible.
Time could be more important to you than money, or vice versa. In January, I used my Typeshare account to write about the subject of using free online courses to pivot to a marketing career so you can work from home. This atomic essay I wrote earned the most engagement of anything I’d written this year (12.5%). This tells me many of you want this information, so let’s do this!
Let’s get into the two courses you can take for free right now to learn the absolute basics of online marketing.
1. LinkedIn Digital Marketing Foundations
Hurry for this one because it’s only free for August 2022, according to Social Media today.
Certification Expiration date: Renewable annually (Hubspot will email you a reminder)
Release date: Unknown
Hubspot’s course features longer videos that are more in-depth than LinkedIn. Hubspot also features a variety of its experts and network in its course videos; LinkedIn’s course features only one expert speaking through the entire course.
Which online digital marketing course should you take—LinkedIn or Hubspot?
These are two very similar courses offering an overview of digital marketing to include SEO, email, paid ads, social media, website performance, and video marketing. Since they are very much alike, it’s hard for me to decide which is “better.”
LinkedIn’s course mentions the importance of Google My Business, so it’s outdated. I earned my Google Certificate in that right before they canned the product. I wish I’d known!
If you’re a new digital marketer, know two things:
Google My Business is gone forever
Google Analytics is leaving forever soon. It will be replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
When you do take these courses, it’s important to keep in mind that Google (and all platforms) tend to change quickly. If you want to be a digital marketer, you’ll have to learn to keep up by watching industry news and trends evolve.
The LinkedIn Course still offers plenty of nuggets to help you as a newbie marketer. Anytime I take or retake one of these courses, I pick up something new. LinkedIn’s course also touches on hot topics like AI, automation, and influencer marketing. So it may be worth a spin if you have the time and catch it while it’s free this month (August 2022).
Completing both courses will earn you a certificate you can display on your LinkedIn profile. Hubspot Academy offers additional options for you to share your certification on social, like Twitter, Facebook, and embeds. You will also receive a link to your certification on Hubspot and a certificate you can print out.
If I were starting out, I would do both.
Considering the LinkedIn course is free this month, I’d start with it to get the overview of information on digital marketing foundations quickly. If you’re a career changer, this is for you.
Much of the content in each course is geared for absolute beginners. So if you’ve already completed the Hubspot course (as I have), then you probably won’t want to spend more time on the LinkedIn course. Once the LinkedIn course is gated again (in September 2022), I’d go with Hubspot.
Hubspot courses are always free and not gated like LinkedIn Learning courses are.
My question as an online learning junkie is this: which of these are better for landing a job interview or freelance gig? I’ve seen someone specifically ask for a Hubspot certification in a job ad only once.
I think the LinkedIn course is perfect if you’re a beginner with your first marketing job interview later this afternoon.
You can finish it in under three hours and earn a certificate that’s visible on your LinkedIn profile. If you’re applying to jobs right now and pivoting careers from something else into marketing, do it. You have nothing to lose. (Except ~3 hours of your time).
If you’re just looking for that very first marketing job and you’re right out of high school or still in college, start with this LinkedIn course today. (Then, take what you learn back to your professors and classmates for discussion).
If you’re someone who needs all the help they can get with their LinkedIn profile, start with the LinkedIn course.
Obtaining a certificate will never hurt you.
If you are starting out with digital marketing, use these courses to find out where your interest lies:
Which quizzes did you ace?
Which topics interested you most?
Which ideas didn’t resonate as much?
How you answer these questions can help you choose your next course and a career direction.
Some online learning tips:
Allow more than the given time so you can take notes, search online for items mentioned (like books or websites), and ad time for taking the quizzes.
Take notes—either on paper or in Notion. I like using Scrivener, but that’s just my thing as a writer. You’ll want to take notes on the course and capture whatever ideas it sparked. I prefer taking digital notes because I hate paper clutter. (Notion is free).
Exercise or stretch while watching. It’s easier to take these courses when you don’t feel as if they are contributing to a sedentary lifestyle. I set my laptop up at a high table and move as I watch. I use resistance bands, do yoga poses, and stretch. This helps me feel more positive about spending my time learning.
If you’ve taken one of these courses, please leave a comment about your experience! I’m really curious to find out what courses others are taking online.
If you need a professional coach to help you with your career direction, online leanring, resume, interviewing, and your LinkedIn profile, book a free discovery call directly into my calendar. Let’s meet and see what simple action you can take to create the career of your dreams.
Of all the 150+ things I’ve written this year on Typeshare, this was my most engaging piece of writing. This atomic essay written during my first cohort of Ship 30, earned an engagement rate of 12.5%. Per Ship 30 standards, I should now double down on what worked here and write more of that.
What worked here?
I had hundreds fewer Twitter followers. But that lead-in Tweet is perfect. It’s well-formatted, like the essay itself.
This is an easy read because it’s skimmable. It also hit a target—people who want to upskill in their marketing career.
The essay makes the subject seem both:
Doable because it’s FREE
This type of writing works well for me. I’m still waiting for someone to come back and say, “I got a Hubspot certification and a new job because of that thing you wrote in January!”
C’mon! I’m saving you $7,000 and helping you get a new career 😉
What are you waiting for? Book in my calendar and meet with me today!
What did my friend Ken Moskowitz learn from this time spend at VaynerMedia this spring? Turns out, quite a bit.
Since VaynerMedia is the agency of record (AOR) for TikTok, not only was TikTok the most talked about thing in the halls—the folks at Vayner have the inside track to the most up-to-date information about TikTok hashtags, the algorithm, and best practices.
Just as I was thinking about writing a post about this, a milestone alert arrived in my inbox from Canva.
If you are just starting out and writing your first blog posts, you don’t need to worry about graphics!
Unsplash is built into most sites for free now. Use that. Or use nothing. Here’s why.
If I had it to do all over again, I’d start out even leaner than I did before. I originally began with the free Canva plan and spent years there. But what I did spend? A ton of time on creating graphics when my time as a sole proprietor could have been spent elsewhere.
(Now I pay $13/mo for Canva and can’t imagine my life without it because it saves me time with resizing and background remover!)
I think it’s easy to get into all the shiny objects when you start out.
I started Destiny Architecture Life Coaching & Reiki in the summer of 2016 as I was working two jobs and completing my life coaching certification. I thought creating the perfect blog was my ticket to future business success. I had no idea what I was doing.
So I spent a ton of time writing blogs that didn’t work, which I’ve since either deleted or edited. I also made sure to create my very own graphics. They had my personal stamp on them! They were special. They were pieces of me, just like those early blog posts that I’ve since realized weren’t helping me at all.
I hope you’re rolling your eyes reading that last paragraph just as much as I was while writing it 😉
What I should have done? I should have:
Spent time editing blogs for readability, content, spelling, and grammar mistakes.
Spent time studying what successful bloggers in my niche were doing.
Spent time learning to harness SEO. For real, it counts.
Spent time community building both on and offline.
Trading links and guest posts—but that’s also part of optimizing for SEO. It’s also a vital part of business networking.
Been consistent in delivering content.
What I’m glad I did:
I hit social media from the start.
I also built my email list from day one.
I created a mix of working online as a coach while also continuing to work within my local community.
I never, ever gave up.
Now, it’s time for yet another pivot.
I recently explored what happens when a writer and online content creator (me) makes the effort to be consistent. I wrote and published my work online daily for 190 days straight. I called the first 90 days of it “#ContentStorm” on Twitter.
But it went so well, I didn’t stop until day 190!
My break from daily shipping has lasted a few weeks now, but I’ve still been writing online nearly every day. I am a professional writer, after all. I write for my sites and newsletter. I write for the social media marketing agency where I work.
It was easy to get into this discipline and lose sight of other business priorities.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been delving into my coaching and Reiki business again as I simultaneously work to complete my yoga teacher and meditation teacher trainings concurrently. I’ll soon hold my RYT-200 along with a 100-hour meditation teaching certification.
Now is the time to lean out my processes, settle up on prices, and make my offerings easier for clients to navigate.
That’s what I have devoted my energy to lately, rather than take up 30-60 minutes daily because, “I have to write and hit this quota.” The writing also was taking a backseat to the reason I started consistent shipping in the first place. That was so that I could use my online content as an organic means of attracting an audience to my work as a transformational life coach and Usui Reiki Master.
In pursuing the goal of daily shipping for six months, I lost sight of what I was writing about.
Which brings me to the original story on how my online content marketing journey began. I knew I could write because I was a working journalist and content creator before it was cool. Before the word “content” was thrown around so often and casually that it became the trendy thing it is now, I was low-key creating content online.
I’m talking about when the Internet was young, in the pre-9/11 times.
Because I knew I had this skill—and because I was that absolutely broke journalist/social worker—I knew that if I was going to make it as an online life coach, I had to do it without paying for ads.
So I spent the past six years learning how to reach my clients organically.
What to do if you’re just starting out as a content creator:
Define your core audience and write to that person. Niche down hard. Then, go even harder.
Use Typeshare + Twitter/Medium/LinkedIn to test and validate your ideas.
Have a website, blog, and/or podcast if you must. But don’t expect anything to come of it.
Invest in where people are right now. I see that in this moment to be TikTok and YouTube Shorts.
Spend time on creating writing your readers find valuable, not on creating graphics.
Keep your tech stack simple and lean. Find tech that works together. Look for freeware and free starter plans as much as you can. But don’t forget you will be charged more as you grow. Plan to scale over time!
Find a mentor.
Create a system in which you can plan, track progress, and self-reflect.
Find ways to go paperless. Get and stay organized from day one.
Realize you’re going to have to learn, grow, and change constantly.
Know what the trends are, but be objective enough to know when not to follow them.
I could go on all day, but I think there are a couple things worth noting.
Your mileage may vary. My niche and my audience may be very different from yours.
All of this is subject to change quickly in the world of digital content.
My philosophy is to put yourself out there, test content, and then study analytics. Metrics are often my boss, but I never lose sight of the human beings I serve.
This is a tweet that I manually imported ages ago into Typeshare so I could judge its performance over time.
It has a 10.34% engagement rate 😮
Since I’m always trying to replicate success, let’s unpack this so you can do the same.
This Tweet Has Every Damn Thing That Works
Call it a kitchen sink tweet.
From a @tag to #HashTags in camel 🐫 case, this tweet has reasons to click and engage. It also has great formatting with line breaks plus a bulleted list. There is one emoji: 📺
Then there’s the pic!
This is a YouTube thumbnail made specifically for the podcast with a freeze-frame image I stole while editing the video. I use Canva Pro, which gives you background remover. There’s also very little in this graphic; just me, a ship, and a speaking bubble.
The thumbnails I worked too hard on didn’t do as well. Actually, this is such a good photo of me, even I like it!
Try some of these tricks for yourself and see if you can replicate this Twitter success:
Use a hashtag or two
Pop in an emoji
Make a bulleted list (click option+8 to make bullets)
Use line breaks (must. be. skimmable).
Make a kick-ass graphic in the style of a “YouTube thumbnail”
If you find the YouTube thumbnail-style image works for you on Twitter? Do it again. Bullets? Lists? Hashtags? No hashtags?
Success leaves clues. ALL social media apps track metrics. Tap in, experiment, and double down on what works for you.
Do I write for social media for a living? Yes. Am I revealing trade secrets here? No. This is me revealing what works for me on Twitter @WriterHeatherL.