If I Had To Do Content Creation, Blogging, and Organic Marketing for My Own Small Business All Over Again…

I kid you not, I’d make fewer graphics. 

Just as I was thinking about writing a post about this, a milestone alert arrived in my inbox from Canva.

I’m proud of this achievement as a content creator. But… 

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. 
  • Take risks.
  • 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. 

  1. Your mileage may vary. My niche and my audience may be very different from yours. 
  2. 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. 

Need help getting started? Seeking a content coach? Book a quick meeting with me on my calendar!

A couple advancements in my writing career

The word of the year for me so far is “reinvention.” 

I’ve always been a writer. From horrible teenage journals in the 1990s to the journalism courses of my early 20s…there’s always been pen and paper in hand. Over time, my habits and talents have evolved. There was the SEO content writing period. Then there was my needing to be a journalist to legitimize myself as a “writer,” because if you aren’t getting paid it isn’t real, right? It doesn’t count…I think this is covered in the part of The Artist’s Way I’ve already read. Class begins Sunday and I’ve read up to chapter two already.

Let’s do this.

I went through my screenwriting phase — which I’d like to get back into by the way. If only my bills can pay themselves so I can do all this non-stop 24/7 with absolutely no balance, right? haha.

Here’s what’s next! 

I’m excited and feeling like I’m giving birth to more of a stable and exciting writing career than ever before. I’m finding new ways to build my platform and segue into being more of a healing arts writer. More on that to come. I’ve also found an exciting new opportunity I can’t yet talk about. Yes, I’ve written about health before as well as general interest articles for magazines and websites. It’s time to get back into that.

If you’re interested on what’s going on and what’s happening, keep checking back.

My other blogs: 

I’ve also got a couple other blogs I’m writing if you’re interested. One is about my work as a Reiki Master, YouDeserveReiki.com. The other is one I’ve had for years that encompasses all that I do — the writing, Reiki, radio, food, hobbies, music — whatever. Since it’s the grab bag of all I do it’s called Everything Heather.

Check me out on YouTube: 

I’m also starting out on YouTube. What’s great for me about this art form is I’ve made enough videos now since I’ve gotten off the air that I’m telling a story. It’s not a screenplay, poem, short story, or novel. It’s not a blog post. It’s an arc of videos I’ve been putting out since the first week of January. I’ve got (to my surprise) quite a loyal following of those who’ve listened to me on the air in Wichita for the past four years. I decided why not take them with me into my new, post-radio life? As I take risks and make journeys, I’m bringing people along in this story. As I make changes and start new, I’m bringing along an audience. It’s amazing how YouTube can do that for you. This is also helping me broaden my social media skills. It’s my personal opinion all authors can benefit from that.

As soon as something is published, I’ll post about it here!

Some of the old writing I've been sorting through lately. Yes, I wrote for "Veg News" back in the vegan days!
Some of the old writing I’ve been sorting through lately. Yes, I wrote for “Veg News” back in the vegan days! I even framed my article. 

 

I’m re-starting my freelance writing business!

Great news! I am re-starting my freelance writing business!

I gave it up in January 2008 to return to full-time corporate American living when I took a job as a digital editor at Westwood One Metro Source in Scottsdale, Arizona. I worked a morning shift updating news feeds for what ultimately became 98 radio station websites. Then I moved over to the Entertainment News desk and was assigned pop (CHR) and AC music stories as well as television stories about sitcoms, actors, and reality shows.

So yes, I wrote about Justin Bieber for Westwood One when he was a new YouTube phenomenon and the Jonas Brothers before Nick Jonas became an ab-slinging “Jealous” singer. I interviewed all those “Survivor” cast-offs (whose names I can’t remember now though it was fun) as well as some pretty cool actors from shows I actually liked — like the people from NBC’s “Community.” There may actually be audio of me interviewing Donald Glover on somebody’s aging hard drive somewhere…sigh…

Now he’s Childish Gambino and I’m doing morning radio on Power 93.5 in Wichita, Kansas playing his music! Life is full circle sometimes.

But since I’ve been here doing radio since January 2011, I’ve let the freelance writing fall away. Where did it go? Well, radio keeps me busy. Then I started my own Reiki business as I am a Reiki Master. That means I can practice on you as an energy worker as well as teach you the traditional Japanese art of Reiki.

But it’s time once again to hang up the “freelance writer” shingle outside my door. I used to write for CNET’s Webshots.com, reviewed a Mana concert while sitting front row (best sound ever), and created a kickin’ music festival podcast for the new defunct MelodyTrip.com… Actually, most of the sites I wrote for are now gone. It’s been seven years. I also have some journalism experience in print publications, especially in community magazines. There was a time I even wrote SEO copy. Jane of all trades…Master of…well, Reiki!

Check out my clips here on my Contently.com page.

Here’s what I would be fantastic and experienced at writing about for new clients: 

*Holistic health & wellness.

*Reiki, Quantum Touch, Massage, Energy work, energetics, angel healing, polarity, cranial sacral, animal Reiki, Seraphic Wisdom, metaphysics, meditation, spirituality, chakras, health spas, yoga, and more.

*Music, entertainment, and pop culture (often with an extra dose of snark and great quantities of humor).

*Gluten-free, allergen-free cooking and living.

*Concert, album reviews, and band interviews.

*Press releases, social media, and marketing materials.

*Commercial ad copy for radio spots.

*Guest blogging and ghost writing blogs for your company.

*Conducting interviews to either transcribe into Q&A for your website, or to use to create articles and original content for your company webpage. (I have years of experience conducing interviews with non-profits for radio public affairs shows as well as A-list celebrities for live on-air purposes as well as experience in conducting interviews for journalistic articles).

*Coaching and tips for those who are about to be interviewed by the media.

*Traditional and new media subjects; changes and trends in media.

Now to find my first freelance writing job! I was inspired this morning after a friend needed a rush job on some proofreading. Here goes nothing!

Introducing, me! The newest (old) freelance writer on the block!
Introducing, me! The newest (old) freelance writer on the block!

Please let me know how I can meet your writing needs via email at everythingheather [at] gmail [dot] com.