Primary Rule to Creating Creative Content  

You could say you are just writing for your own pleasure. Fair enough. If you have to make ends meet though and/or are writing for clients, your clients’ clients, your publisher, your editor, their readership, your followers and subscribers, you might do even better considering The Primary Rule in Creating Creative Content.

As a writer you need to be three personalities all at the same time: author, character and audience

While this quote refers to fiction, it is also applicable to non-fiction, to blog posts, articles, scientific writing, ads, texts for brochures, websites, newsletters and even twitter posts – you name it!

Unless you are writing for your diary maybe, you are probably writing for an audience. And unless it’s your mum or dad or best friend, your audience doesn’t care about you. What they care about is themselves. So why should they spend half an hour or even five minutes reading your stuff?

BECAUSE IT’S RELEVANT TO THEM.

I admit, like most people a lot of the stuff learned at uni I have forgotten by now. One of the useful things that sticks to my mind though is what our brilliant PR lecturer used to call out at the beginning of each week – and it’s also a prime rule in PR: “We are now tuning into W.i.i.FM!”

What’s-In-It-For-Me

This is exactly and probably the only question that concerns your audience. Bear this in mind when uttering anything, be it the written or the spoken word. You have to make content RELEVANT to them.

Top 3 things people look for in content:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Advice
  3. Entertainment

Some of the things people care about:

  • Feeling well, content and healthy
  • Receiving appreciation from their social networks, friends, family and colleagues
  • Realising their dreams and turning inspiration into visible actions
  • Being informed and making informed choices
  • Saving money, time and energy

Finally, here is a cracking and useful infographic by recessionsolution.com which encompasses all of the above:

content - recessionsolutions.com

 

I hope you found this content useful and relevant to you. If you liked it why not share it with your social network so they can get inspired, too? If you’ve got anything to add why not leave a comment? I am excited to hear from you. 

5 Signs You Should Consider a Freelance Career

There are many reasons why you may want to be your own boss, work from home, work remotely or simply have no choice but freelance.

copyright & source: graphicdesignblender.com

Freelance in your location of choice – The world is your oyster! (image by graphicdesignblender.com)

 1. The dead end job situation

As an employee you feel as if your skills are exceeding your actual tasks, you have too many ideas but too little authority or room to implement them. Your line manager doesn’t appreciate your full potential. You are bored to death and feel frustrated. Your daily routine has become a treadmill from which it’s hard to break free, initiate or contribute ideas. You could if you could, but you can’t. Your job has its limits.

Freelancing most likely means that you have a range of clients and projects to work on. Thus your work inevitably becomes more interesting and diverse. Don’t expect it all to be glamour and glitter. There will be less appealing projects, too. But it’s likely you’ll enjoy them more when you work directly for your client and not for your boss.

 2. The unemployment situation

You cannot land any interesting job. Whether you lack relevant experience, the competition is too strong or the market’s going through a rough patch, it doesn’t need to be YOU.

If you are hard working, resilient, creative and well connected, it’s not unlikely to succeed as your own employer. Freelancing could be just the opportunity for you. However, if your industry’s market is struggling make sure you set yourself apart from competitors by offering something unique and highly sought after. Specialisation in a rare field or certain skills can benefit you as a freelancer, even if they did not get you a work contract.

3. The business idea situation

You come across a market gap and grind your brain on how to solve the issue. You feel rather passionate. Your entrepreneurial spirit sparks. A business idea is born.

Freelancing can mean to offer a competitive service. It often is the first step to start a service business. Increasingly companies are outsourcing today, an after effect of the economic crises, but a blessing for freelancers.

4. The location situation

So you’ve moved to the big city (or small city) for the career opportunity. Six months or six years down the line you still don’t quite like to call it home. It hasn’t turned out to be the place for you. Whether it’s the big city’s hustle or the small town’s quality of life, you spend your days dreaming of paradise.

Interestingly most people, when being asked about what their ideal life would look like, put career first and paradise last. Paradise, be it life by the beach, in a lake cabin, farm living, morning surfs or thriving as a painter. All these lifestyles they put for ‘later’. Later, when they are 50 or 60. But seriously, why? That means about 25 to 35 years of living before the dream comes true.

It’s 2014, the digital age has arrived, wifi’s all around, global migration in full swing and individual life choices more accepted than ever. Go to paradise first. If paradise for you is somewhere foreign, quiet and/or remote, freelancing might be the only option you have. Embrace it as a life changing experience. A flat share near the beach or the outer house on a farm can be a start and are possibly much cheaper than city living. They may provide a great base for your home office. The lower cost in living gives you more room to budget, to spend time surfing, pottering, writing or fishing – whatever your passion. It’s more flexible.

5. The family situation

Your grandparents ran their own business. Your parents are entrepreneurs. Perhaps you grew up to think that your own business is the Holy Grail. However, somehow you followed your classmates into university and then landed internships and from there your first employment. Ultimately you find yourself caught up in a nine to five job with a line manager, who has a line manager, who has a line manager. The entrepreneurial spirit is looming inside you. Set it free, have trust in yourself. Your parents will have. Having your family as an experienced ally strengthens your back. Listen to them but make sure to keep them at a comfortable distance – unless you are looking to be part of the family business. (Btw not an entirely bad idea either, according to this article).

Another family situation – You’ve just become a parent and are unable to find caretakers. You don’t want to be “just” a parent but love your career, in which you’d like to continue thriving. With your skills and experience, your career may be suitable for work from home as a freelancer. From App Developer to Web Designer, from Film Maker to Social Media Community Manager – there are lots of possible freelance jobs that did not exist ten years ago.

With telecommunication tools, Skype, Google+ and Deskdrop, working remotely really has become an option.

 

Now I want to hear from you! Please post your experiences on freelancing – or considering freelancing – in the comments.

The author has recently started freelancing, which allows for a more flexible work-life-balance – and to be in a location of choice (still hard working, no mojito sipping!). Liked this post? Then why not share it with your network – it may inspire even more people!

Anticipating the Monday Blues

On Sunday afternoon you may find yourself thinking, ,,oh no, tomorrow is Monday again…”, you think of the Monday morning meeting, the appointment with your client or that issue you didn’t manage to solve last week and that is likely to bubble up again. (Because it’s just too tempting to postpone occurring issues on Friday until next week)

Monday Blues?

Monday Blues?

Basically, you are already laying the foundation for a (possibly) disastrous Monday. Alone the commute into work will feel like a culture shock to your happy-go-lucky-weekend, while you may be anticipating the meetings and your do list with slight stomach cramps. If you work from home you may be stretching breakfast a little longer in procrastination fashion, going through your mobile snapshots from the weekend rather than checking up with your clients. Let’s see if you couldn’t do a little better. Even if you love your career, you probably still could do a little better in anticipating Mondays.

 

3 Tips for a Successful Start into the Week

Here are 3 tips on how to prepare a successful Monday on Sunday already. So that Monday becomes the new Tuesday – less daunting, less frightening. I am not saying that Sunday therefore must become the new Monday. I am simply suggesting that preparation (even if it’s just mentally) for the week ahead is the key to succeed. See it as if we are deleting “daunting Mondays” from our system.

 

 1. Organisation – The Golden List

Let’s start with the least appealing tip: Organisation. It’s key to organise your clutter of large and small projects from last week. Only with a decent overview of your tasks, you’ll eventually see a red thread rather than a red threat in front of you! Try to make this the last thing you do on Friday late afternoon, so you only got to review and tweak it a little on Sunday.

So brew yourself a cuppa, find a sunny spot near the window, take a deep breath, smile and start. Allow yourself about 15 minutes time and peace for this – just as long as it takes to enjoy a tea.

There are a million ways on how to create a to do list and everyone has their own way of making one. Here is how I do mine: I divide into projects, then sub-projects, tasks that relate to these projects, and eventually numerise by priority or deadline.

Project A                                             Project B

  1. subproject 1                                     1. Subproject 1
  2. subproject 2                                     3. Subproject 2
  3. subproject 3                                     2. Subproject 3
  4. subproject 4                                                  3. Subproject 3.1
    1. subproject 4.1                                       2. Subproject 3.2

Also there are digital tools to help you, if you are into tech. I still use paper calendars and post-its, because I enjoy handwriting. I try to keep the to-do-list as short as possible. This way it looks less overwhelming and allows for the flexibility to jump at ad hoc tasks. Other dos and don’ts:

Do

- qualify the contents, only write down things you need to do that day, that are important and that you cannot delegate.

Don’t

- go crazy with your list. Remember that the work day (ideally) has 6-7 hours (1 hour for lunch). Realistically estimate how much time and attention each task will need and do not write an endless list, which will leave half of the things undone and yourself frustrated by the end of the day.

- get too hung up on this. It’s Sunday after all.

 

2. Expect great things – Attitude, baby!

Now that the organisation is out of your way and done, you will feel a lot more prepared. Now it’s time to declare positive outcomes from your Monday ahead. Why should a Monday actually be worse than any other day? Instead focus on what you will get done, what you will achieve and drive forward. Try to find joy in your projects and take a moment to appreciate what’s great about your work, its opportunities and challenges.

Last but not least, mentally prepare a list of positive things that you’ll want to implement on Monday, such as bonding with the new colleague, smile and small talk, suggesting an appointment for lunch with your boss to catch up casually, giving positive feedback to the assistant that helps you so well. A positive attitude is worth spreading. Your colleagues will appreciate you and you’ll enjoy your job a lot more. Remember Buddha: “Smile and the world changes” – esoteric or not, it works!

 

3. Rejuvenate – Glorious Sundays to strengthen you

As said, Sunday is NOT part of your work week. While it is vital to prepare a little, you should still opt for a happy Sunday and do the things that you love. Meet friends if you’re a social person, spend the day out with the family, take the dog for a long walk, run, climb, swim, kayak, sail and head to the farmer’s market before cooking up a (healthy) storm. In short: Eat well, live well, exercise.

Sunday is the day to rejuvenate, detoxify and strengthen your immune system for the busy week ahead. If you have socialised and bonded with your loved ones, have climbed a mountain or went running, have succeeded in crafting a tree house for the kids, a flower arrangement for the dinner table, tried a new recipe and eaten well, then you’re more likely to feel energetic, strong, balanced and motivated for work projects, too. You’ll feel like you have taken life with both hands and actively created a lifestyle you enjoy.

So stop reading this blog post and get going!

 

What are your tips to anticipate Monday blues?