Book Review: Twitter Marketing Unlocked by Angela Hemans

TwitterMarketingUnlocked

In August I wrote about  “#EditorsFiguringOut … A Social Media Marketing Schedule.” Here is a continuation of that topic on more specific level, with a review of Angela Heman’s Twitter Marketing Unlocked. Since Twitter is my primary business social platform (followed by LinkedIn) – and as I was already trying to expand my social media presence – Hemans’ new book was a timely and welcome find. At 101 pages, Twitter Marketing Unlocked is a quick but information-packed read. A social media marketing manager and brand consultant who is an expert in digital engagement and (unsurprisingly) Twitter marketing, Hemans (2018) orients the reader from the get-go:

Twitter is a social network. In order for it to work for your business or organization, you have to go with the intention of being social (p. 12).

Being social. Seems obvious, right? But this critical point is one Twitter neophytes often miss. Posting and running without follow-up conversations wastes valuable business time and misses opportunities to grow your business peer / client community. Through Twitter Marketing Unlocked, Hemans offers the reader a teaching tool, the written equivalent of an in-person or online course in strategic Twitter marketing. Accordingly, the text’s seventeen chapters are is separated into five “modules”:

  1. Creating the Foundation
  2. Getting Acquainted with Your Potential Community and Learning About Twitter
  3. Creating a Super-Simple Strategy
  4. Using Technology: Twitter Tools and Resources
  5. Protect Ya Neck

Hemans offers more than just exposition and pointers; the book contains plenty of exercises with which readers can focus and refine their Twitter tactics. For example, there is a terrific activity in Chapter 4: Identifying Your Ideal Audience which asks, “How Do I Choose the Right Audience?” (Hemans, 2018, p. 28). Here are my own answers to this exercise:

~Who have you worked for in the past that you wouldn’t mind continue working for? Going back about twenty years, a supervisor who became a true mentor, and who also valued my opinion and work. With this person’s encouragement, I stopped thinking about getting a master’s in communications and actually completed the degree.

~Am I ready to work with B2B clients or larger organizations? Both. I can tailor my editing and copywriting services to a wide range of client projects / needs, for solopreneurs, small businesses, and larger companies.

~Who has the customer base for your ideal target audience? Anyone looking to improve / expand / hone / assess their website, blog, email promotions, marketing collateral, social profile and fiction / nonfiction manuscripts.

angela hemans
Angela Hemans

~What type of people do you work with and interact with the best? Those who value what an editor / copywriter does (i.e. edit / copyedit, write / copywrite, proofread, evaluate), are open to constructive criticism of their project, and want to improve their work overall. Conversely, it’s also helpful to identify clients I would not work with: those who think plagiarism is no big deal; who want something for nothing (i.e. “Can you just give this brochure a quick look?”); an author whose manuscript is obviously incomplete and / or in need of developmental editing (work which I would refer out to an editor specializing in that area).

~Do you have an ideal location for your best clients? (This is especially important if you are a local business!) As a freelancer, my business is flexible. In fact, about 75 percent is remote.

~What are the specific challenges you can solve for your potential clients? Resolving problems with their written copy, including: grammar; style; cohesiveness; clarity; flow. I also help tighten the copy and focus the writer’s thoughts. Note how the answers zero in on the audience(s) on whom I should concentrate messaging.

The upshot here is that knowing who your target audience is will help you not only to craft messages to reach those individuals, but also to understand who to reach out to in the first place (i.e. people who either needing editing / copywriting services or might share out about my business). Hemans ranges far and wide, touching on many salient themes regarding Twitter marketing. Below is a sampling of the wisdom she imparts:

Still having a difficult time trying to connect with your potential community? Look towards your industry competitors. Who are they following and who is following them? There is always some organization that has been on Twitter longer and have already built up their online Twitter community. Don’t feel bad for trying to connect with their followers (Hemans, 2018, p. 31).

Save your commonly search items (CSI) on Twitter. If you are looking for business leads, referral partners, Twitter chats, or keywords, then this is the way to go. Use this feature so you don’t have to spend time fighting with autocorrect on your phone or desktop (Hemans, 2018, p. 53).

Networks like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to connect your Twitter account within their own profile settings. Don’t miss out on these simple opportunities to share your Twitter info plus add a few layers to your online reputation (Hemans, 2018, p. 90).

If Twitter marketing and visibility is a priority for your business – editing, copywriting or other industry – this is the book to read, right now. Hemans (2018) says it best (italics my emphasis):

Are you trying to grow your brand influence, business, product, app, or service visibility? Then you will want to have a public and active Twitter account. There is just no way around it. You need this especially in 2018. You don’t exist if someone cannot find you on Twitter (p. 91-92).

Angela Hemans is on Twitter (of course), LinkedIn and Facebook. Twitter Marketing Unlocked is available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2DeQ7dX.

References Hemans, A. (2018). Twitter Marketing Unlocked. GA: Hemans Marketing Media.

#EditorsFiguringOut … A Social Media Marketing Schedule

081618_EditorsFiguringOut1_SocialMediaPlan_BarrowayEditing_3Do freelance editors truly need to do social media marketing? YES – resoundingly so. Even if most of the business is local, those locals need to see the editor is comfortable online as well as off. Such is the digital world we now inhabit. Plus, a well-thought-out, targeted social media calendar can lead to greater online peer / client connections, referrals and (paying) jobs.

Whether you’re just starting or – like me – are trying to revamp an existing social media schedule, the process can be daunting, with many variables to pull together into a straightforward, cohesive and strategic social marketing calendar.

I’ve written and edited social media for many clients. But deciding what goes where, when and how often? Beyond knowing to focus on a maximum of two or three platforms, I’ve a few nebulous ideas, sure, but creating a whole schedule is frankly not my forte. So, I did the next best smart thing.

Ask for help!

Assistance comes in a couple of forms, including:

  1. Outsourcing the task to a paid social media manager.
  2. Seeking out (and be willing to pay for) assistance from someone with expertise, who can help set up a realistic social media calendar that an editor will then maintain.

Very recently I followed the second option, where the word “realistic” is key. Specifically, a creation of a schedule you do not find overwhelming and will therefore commit to sustaining over time.

Do your due diligence.

Make sure whoever assists you (social media manager or other expert) knows their stuff, which includes reviewing:

  • LinkedIn profile / website / resume.
  • Social media marketing calendars they’ve created.
  • References to contact by phone or email – i.e. clients for whom they have actually completed work.

If the prospective service provider cannot offer the last two, then move on to someone who can – even if a trusted professional peer or friend supplied the referral. You’ll save yourself lots of grief.

Unique, like your editing business.

Whatever path you take in developing a social media marketing schedule, the results will be unique – tailored to your editorial niche, business goals, client base.

How did you put together a social media plan, and what were the results? Did you keep it going over time? Please share your experience in the comments section below!

[box] #EditorsFiguringOut is a new periodic blogging effort at BarrowayEditing.com focusing on topics important to freelance editors.[/box]

Writing is No “Tiptoe through the Tulips”

In a creative writing class many years ago, a college professor looked at us – a bunch of 19 and 20-year-olds struggling to put words on paper – and said something to the effect of: “Writing is not difficult. Just look within and let the words spring forth.”

Hahaha. BAHAHAHA.

As if writing was as effortless as tulips emerging from the ground each spring. In reality, that latter process is not easy. Not one bit. Perennial bulbs such as tulips require enormous energy, and often care, to successfully bloom again and again each year.

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Writing too necessitates perseverance, and lots of it, on the part of the writer. Even the shortest blurb can be subject to fits and starts … sometimes even more so than longer articles! As the work flowers in all sorts of unexpected ways, a writer needs to tend to the words, editorially pruning rambling trains of thought, wordy passages and typos till a final, cohesive document emerges.

Our intrepid writer can finally post the completed piece to a blog or preferred platform. Right?

Right?

Well … not so fast! Did the writer put aside their writing for a day (or at least several hours) before the final review? Did they get another person to eyeball their work? Did they come up with a plan for social media promotion?

EEEEYAAAH!

Honestly, sometimes I do feel like shrieking at the process – and I’ve been writing since the time of that memorable college class. (Not going to say how long ago that was!) But seriously: If a writer is questioning their work; self-editing and also obtaining an outside reviewer; looking ahead to social marketing; then they are … doing the job right!

Writing (and by extension, editing) never follows a smooth, linear progression. There will be wild, unchecked growth and the need to cut back stalky runners. But like beautiful spring tulips, the end results can be gorgeous and inspiring.

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*These April 2018 photos were taken not in Holland, but at Holland Ridge Farm in Cream Ridge, New Jersey at their first-ever Tulip Festival! Well worth a trip if you’re in the area in late April to early May.

March 2018 … Certainties … Uncertainties. Or, plowing through (with some Women’s History Month inspiration).

The first day of March began with clouds and ended with rain.

The second day of March began with rain and ended with
snow and lots of horizontally-blowing wind.

The third day of March began with clouds and ended with sunshine.

This much is undeniable, because those three days are already history. But what would the remainder of March’s first week bring? How about the second, third or fourth? At the time of this writing, questions bursting with uncertainty.

Uncertainty is disquieting. Uncertainty is paralyzing. It’s much easier to put the thoughts of what-might-happen aside … along with so much else.

  • What to write in that blog post? I’ll think about that tomorrow.
  • The website needs updating. Oh well, it’ll keep till after the weekend.
  • Will formatting of the new portfolio editing samples look professional? Too stressful to work on.
  • Will I make any solid connections at the networking event? It starts so early in the morning.

Procrastination is an old, comfortable robe that’s all to convenient to slip on when dealing with indecision.

Women who didn’t let uncertainty get in their way.

March is also Women’s History Month. A few weeks ago I browsed through the National Women’s History Project 2018 Honorees. Women who didn’t give in to adversity or doubt – and for purposes much weightier than deciding what to blog about.

A local (New Jersey) 2018 Women’s History Month Celebration recognizes such women, all but one whom I had not heard of previously (the amazing Winn Khuong):

  • Uyen (Winn) Khoung, Co-Founder of Action Together New Jersey
  • Amy Anderson, NJEA Teacher of the Year, Ocean City High School
  • Wilda Diaz, Mayor of Perth Amboy
  • Ruth Mandel, Director of Eagleton Institute of Politics Ruth Mandel
  • Audrey Meyers, President and CEO of Valley Health System
  • Rev. Tiffany Williams, Founder of The Esther Project

Examples of extraordinary women are everywhere! Just look around. If they can power through uncertainty (because everyone experiences doubt at one time or another), so can you … so can I!

With that, the first Barroway Editing blog of 2018 is officially complete. Onward!

Planning to write a blog. Planning to view totality. (Similarities? Totally!)

I geek out about many things.

The need for an apostrophe before the last “s” in a word (singular possessive: “the cat’s kittens”) or after (plural possessive: “the cats’ kittens”). A perfect cup of hot tea. Any episode of Star Trek TOS (The Original Series, for you neophytes). Terrific historical fiction and non-fiction. Almost anything science-related and explainable in lay-person terms … including this year’s nationwide craze over the first total solar eclipse to traverse the continental United States since 1979!

I toyed with totality for a whole year. All (excuse the pun) the stars aligned: the eclipse took place on third week in August, our usual time for family summer vacations; my son’s camp ended the previous Friday; and the eclipse was going over the East Coast!

Planning the excursion was similar to the writing and editing process for any article or blog. Once deciding upon a topic – in this case, viewing the solar eclipse – map out the salient points. Research the details and commence writing. When finished, read through to make sure all details appear and edit for errors, conciseness and clarity. Next put the piece aside for a short time; then scrutinize the copy one last time to finalize for publishing.

What Specifics to Cover? Or: Details, Details.

My original destination idea: Oregon! (I know, I know … the eclipse ends on the East Coast. But my husband, Ken, and I had talked previously about exploring the West Coast with our son, Ethan.) I found a town close to the ocean and in the path of totality, with plenty to see and do. Ken, however, nixed that idea straightaway. (Him: “I’m not traveling five hours to see an eclipse.” Me: pouty face.)

So! I regrouped and revised: South Carolina. Specifically, Charleston. Two-hour direct flight? Check! Historic downtown, museums and associated sites? Check! Golf courses (for Ken and Ethan – that’ll be a museum day for me)? Check!

With my family in agreement and a mere month and a half before the big day (August 21), I procured tickets for a direct, somewhat reasonably-priced flight to Charleston, plus a one-room suite in a nearby hotel. (Suites generally have a separate, closed-off “living room” with a sofa bed – important if one doesn’t want to go to bed at 9:15 p.m. like their 10-year-old.)

Writing Research: Finding Resources in Surprising Places

The next and possibly most important task, even more so than travel plans: procuring eclipse glasses! I researched safe, NASA-approved versions that met the “ISO 12312-2 international safety standard,” ensuring full protect of the eyesight. I decided to splurge on three plastic sunglass-like versions (instead of the flimsy cardboard variety) – two that would fit over regular optical glasses for Ken and I, and cool wraparounds for Ethan.

In this purchase again I was so, so late to the game. After a lot of internet investigation, I secured three eclipse glasses from Astronomical Society of the Pacific, clear across the country. (Thank goodness for prevalence of online marketplaces like the “AstroShop.”) Whew!

We’re ready, sporting NASA-approved eclipse glasses. But who ordered up those clouds?
Final Edits

On August 20 we arrived in Charleston, South Carolina. But the final edits to our eclipse odyssey were looming! Namely, where exactly in the city to view the eclipse. Originally, I signed up to attend an Eclipse Meetup in downtown Charleston. But the night before leaving home I discovered we were wait-listed … and there were 362 people ahead of us!

With the help of a hotel concierge, two possible alternatives emerged: an “Eclipse Baseball Game” at the minor league Charles RiverDogs stadium, or on the (decommissioned) U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots Point in nearby Mt. Pleasant.

A quick family editorial conference deleted the baseball stadium option in favor of the battleship due to several concerns (assigned seats, restricted movement, possible neck strain). The morning of August 21, 2017, we confirmed tickets were available and were then on the road by 11:00 a.m.

Ready to Publish: Unexpected Delays and Final Form
Totally totality.

On the U.S.S. Yorktown, my family and I geeked out with three thousand other giddy eclipse watchers. There was plenty of room to spread out on the expansive deck to see the “Eclipse on a Warship,” as the event was billed. Using our backpacks as pillows, we lied down flat to take it all in.

Though an unforeseen haze lasted throughout that day, we got lucky. There were enough breaks in the cloud cover to see the moon’s path across the sun, the eerie daytime darkness of totality when the sun’s corona is visible, and the Baily’s beads or “diamond ring” effect heralding the first bright rays’ return.

And, like the writing and editing of this blog post, my family’s 2017 eclipse odyssey was over over and published, both in our memories and the following videos!

My (highly amateur) video of totality and the diamond ring effect:

Ken’s (equally amateur, multiple-ways-oriented) video, recorded at the same time:

 

Typos in the pre-digital age. Or, why proofing your work matters then … AND now.

Think back to a high school or college writing assignment. Term paper, book report … anything, really. Did you get dinged for typos? (Shorthand for typographical errors, in case you were wondering.) Does a particularly egregious error come to mind?

Allow me to get this conversation going, with an embarrassingly cringe-worthy example out of my own not-so-recent past.

Imagine a senior feature writing class in college, circa mid-1980s. Students had to mimeograph (a gold star for anyone who remember what this machine is/does) copies of their work to share with classmates, which was then read aloud.

One time I waited till the very last minute to write the story. (Well, it wasn’t my first instance of procrastination. But it was the latest, time-wise.) Rushing to get finished typing on my old IBM® Selectric typewriter – surprise, surprise – I did not take the time to proof my work before rushing off to mimeograph copies.

Whew! I actually finished making the copies and was able to get to the course on time. The class was small, no more than 10 budding writers. Finally, my turn came. I passed the mimeographed sheets to the teacher and other students, and stood to read. Everything went well until I came to a particular passage, which should have read:

Once they agreed to pursue a particular course of action, all plans were written into the bylaws.

Instead, this is what I read … aloud (caps for emphasis):

Once they agreed to pursue a particular course of action, ASS plans were written into the bylaws.

Yup! Read out loud, to my peers and professor. I recall pausing in abject horror as I realized what I had (or had not) done, and then stumbling through to the end of the article. Then everyone, including the teacher, had a good laugh; I remember pretending to laugh, the better to hide my mortification.

I actually got an A-minus on the assignment, the “minus” added for – you guessed it – neglecting to proof my work. Ever since, I’ve been positively compulsive about two interrelated actions: proofreading my writing, and setting aside the necessary time to do so. The experience was instructive in bringing home that:

  1. The quality of what you write in terms of grammar and usage matters just as much as content.
  2. In the real business world, editorial do-overs won’t count – even when you can correct your work after the fact on the internet.

And that brings us back to the beginning: what did you do in the face of your own typo horror story? Put it out of your mind, or internalize it with the thought of weeding out grammatical errors forever? Don’t be shy … please share in the comments section below!

Cursive, curses? No! Cursive, creative.

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Another holiday season, another slew of season’s greetings cards to send out.

I always compose brief notes on each card. For the occasion, I break out my (somewhat rusty) cursive writing skills … after first doing a practice sentence, an old typing drill which employs every letter in the alphabet:

121516_momcursive_barrowayediting-com

Not bad, right?

Despite a long, interesting history, cursive is going out of style fast. Friends my age can read cursive, but most of their kids can’t. My son’s elementary school – much to my dismay – doesn’t allocate any time for its instruction! I instead decided to teach him myself; here’s a sample that makes this mom proud:

121516_soncursive_barrowayediting-com

So, Ethan can now read and write cursive; but how useful is that ability over time, in an ever-more digital world? Will knowing script go beyond honing fine motor skills and improve his reading comprehension? The general consensus is, thus far, no.

But I have a different take. Proficiency in and use (however infrequent) of script promotes an appreciation for the writing and editing process in a larger sense. Cultivating such a perspective is beneficial, especially when working on a blog or novel.

Beauty and attentiveness is intrinsic in cursive. It is a form of art, akin to thoughtful writing and editing. Or as my southpaw son says, “It’s cool.”

“Write” on(ward)!

Crosswords are tremendous! Or, expand your word horizons.

081216_CrosswordsAreAwesome_BarrowayEditing.com

Those “dog days” of August summer have arrived, with a head index of 105 degrees today. Stepping outside into this figurative blast furnace brought mental images of my mind – and plans for inspired writing discourse – boiling to a liquefaction halt.

Now back in air conditioned heaven, I’m trying, trying to reform coherent thoughts. To flex those writing muscles to ensure they aren’t completely atrophied from the relentless heat and humidity. Come on, words! From brain to fingers to keyboard to computer.

But articulate wordsmithing is not forthcoming. Instead, my reflections keep returning to … crossword puzzles.

Crossword puzzles on United States presidential facts.
Crossword puzzles on United States presidential facts.
Crossword puzzles on the American Revolution.
Crossword puzzles on the American Revolution.
Crossword puzzles on anything and everything!
Crossword puzzles on anything and everything!

These are my son’s crossword books. He LOVES them. He took several to overnight camp. In summers past, I had him keep a journal to prevent fledgling writing skills from sliding. This year, however, the journal has been partially supplanted by crosswords. He’s engaged, learning new words, honing spelling skills and soaking in some history to boot. What’s not to love?

I used to do several crossword puzzles a week – usually the ones in the newspaper (yes, some of us still get the daily paper). But over the years, this pastime waned. I wondered: Would I still enjoy the process? Would it be a joyful challenge or a slog? Time to conduct an experiment…

********** CUE PUZZLE-SOLVING TUNES **********

…which, I’m happy to report, turned into pleasant half hour of concentration while dinner was cooking and my exhausted kid (thank goodness for day camp) was sprawled out on the couch, taking in the Olympics. I completed about 75 percent of the puzzle; figuring out some of the more obscure hints and words was very gratifying, indeed.

The upshot: I’m setting myself a very modest, doable goal of solving one newspaper crossword puzzle per week. Who knows what ideas – blogging and otherwise – will result from the activity. At the very least, I will expand my word horizons. And so can you!

Don’t get a daily paper? (Stop laughing.) There are any number of grown-up crossword books available for purchase, on about any topic you can imagine. Or, go to one of the websites that offer online, interactive crosswords, including:

http://www.dictionary.com/fun/crossword
http://www.bestforpuzzles.com/daily-crossword/daily-crossword.html
http://www.bestcrosswords.com/bestcrosswords/SolvableOnline.page

Let the vocabulary games begin!

Writing and Editing as Art and Science

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In late April my third-grader received homework relating to the elementary school’s annual “Science Matters Day”: explaining how music and sound relates to science.

We are a household of science buffs, so with customary gusto my son and I scoured the internet for sources that could inform his answer. Turns out that finding elementary-level explanations relating music and sound to science is no easy task!

Finally, we teased out a four-sentence answer (Ethan was especially excited to use the piano, the instrument he plays, as an example):

Music is an art, but also has real-life examples of things you can learn in science. For example, sound is caused by something emitting energy in the form of a vibration. The movement is called sound waves. When you play a piano and the hammer strikes the strings that cause vibrations, that causes vibrations, sound waves and the music you hear.*

Similarly, writing and editing also hold dual roles as art and science. Reflect on the beauty of – and effort that went into – an engrossing book … a thought-provoking article … an amusing blog … some convincing marketing promotional copy …  an attention-grabbing tweet.

Or consider the virtuosity of skill required in editing that book/article/blog/marketing/tweet, determining which words to revise just so to produce a finished version that will reach out, and speak to the reader.

Unlike the Greek goddesses Aphrodite and Athena, great wordsmithing doesn’t spring fully formed onto the digital or printed page! The science of good writing and competent editing requires patience and practice, plus ongoing work to maintain one’s expertise and willingness to continue learning about the craft

So take a moment, and marvel at the artistry represented by the finished product of whatever is it you’re reading today!

___________________________________________________________________________________

*These nifty websites – geared towards kids and adult non-scientists – contributed to the above explanation of the how music and sound relates to science:

http://www.sciencekidsathome.com/science_topics/what_is_sound.html
https://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/students/features/connections/science-and-music#sound
http://www.sciencemadesimple.co.uk/activity-blogs/sound

Spelling Mnemonics for Everyone, Everywhere

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Brief
Piece
Shield
Shriek
View
Yield

Ah, third grade spelling lists. Above is a sampling of my son’s from last week, in which words containing “ie” were a significant focus.

Though an adequate eight-year-old speller, Ethan (unsurprisingly) inverted “ie” on several words, and was especially stuck on “shriek.” So much so, in fact, that I taught him an oft-used and eminently useful mnemonic poem for remembering the “ie” ordering rules:

“I” before “E” except after “C”
(Watch Ethan’s help recitation in the video below.)

As in “pIEr” versus “perCEIve.”

A wide range of mnemonic rhymes exist for spelling and grammar rules, and act as cues for this editor, her elementary-age offspring, writers and editors of all stripes – and you too!

Periodically I’ll reveal other favorite examples. In the meantime, please share yours in the comments section!