Achieving GoalTopia: A chat with Debra Eckerling, author of “Your Goal Guide”

One of my go-to Twitter chats is Debra Eckerling’s #GoalChat (which everyone should totally check out). When she mentioned her forthcoming work on goal setting on the chat in 2019, I immediately knew an author interview and book feature was on my blogging horizon.

I spoke with Eckerling in January, just before the publication of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals.

A writer has to be creative and entrepreneur; an entrepreneur has to be a writer and creative; and a creative needs to be a writer and entrepreneur. Which is exactly what Your Goal Guide is marketed for!  —Debra Ecklering

YourGoalGuide_Cover_3

What prompted you to write this book?

I started leading goal-setting and productivity groups at Barnes & Noble after college, relaunched them in Los Angeles [in the early 2000s] and then over the years it become this hybrid of live group and online support. Somewhere along the line, people started asking me to coach them.

My business background is communications and project management and everything that I do [contains] one or both of those elements, so I started doing workshops and was one-on-one coaching. For example, someone who [struggled to complete] their book for several years – and working with me finished it in three months!

If you can’t figure out your goals in your head, you need to do the work to figure out what you want and then … plan how you’re going to get it.

Also, this book has been in my head for years!

You’ve written other books, correct?

Yes, all self-published. The first was Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages (2014); someone asked me to coach her daughter, who wasn’t getting enough creative inspiration in school – to do what I do for adults for her daughter. So I started a Purple Pencil Adventures blog.

I got to the point where I was coaching people on writing books, and I wanted to write a book! That’s how Purple Pencil came about. I wrote my second book, Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog (2016) because I’m a firm believer in the power of the blog. I was born to blog because I’ve always written like I talk, and I felt that would be a great way to get information out there.

I also did a survey [during the process of writing Write On Blogging] so the examples are from real bloggers, not powerful, big names. They’re examples that [readers] can relate to.

[The D*E*B Method] is for people who need to make a change by choice or circumstance. Usually that change is a career change or job change, grow or start a business or side-hustle, become a known expert, or achieve work-life balance. Those are the four paths I talk about in the book.  —Debra Ecklering

Explain the origin of “The D*E*B Method,” which forms the core of Your Goal Guide.

Almost two years ago, my primary client was outsourcing what I did to someone else. I had to make a change; [that] change was making a decision to go all-in on the goal coaching.

Around the same time, my mom – who follows #GoalChat – suggested I use “DEB Goals” … [which] totally works for what I teach because:

  • D = Determine your mission;
  • E = Explore your options;
  • B = Brainstorm your path.

I got this brilliant idea and started playing with The D*E*B Method as a brand. Another reason I [developed the concept] is because when you say Write On Online, some people say “I’m not a writer!” The D*E*B Method really takes into account all the major possibilities for a career path.

Provide readers with a brief overview of Your Goal Guide.

It’s a road trip theme. The first half of the book is setting up your road trip [by taking] the reader through The D*E*B Method. Determine where you want to go, Explore different destinations, Brainstorm your route.

The second half [contains] tips for success … a successful trip, car maintenance and troubleshooting.

My GoalTopia is helping people finding THEIR GoalTopia!  —Debra Ecklering

I love the “GoalTopia” concept. How do your readers achieve GoalTopia within the framework of The D*E*B Method?

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Debra Eckerling

I made up this word for my book!

Even if you know what your goals are, you should go through the “D” to determine your mission because the first step is to visualize. When you close your eyes and think about what you want, what does that look like? What is your “GoalTopia”?

Then you need to look at your starting point: what is your current bio, what is your future bio. Because you need to take an inventory of where you went versus where you want to go, because you’ll see what tools you have versus what you’ll need.

[Next is] the mission statement. That’s why I always have missions and mottos as the first #GoalChat of the year, because you need a focal point. You need to know what you want, why you want it, and how it helps others. That’s the driving force, that’s the gas that gets your car to the destination.

Once you have your mission, you need to create a short motto, something to use as a compass in making your decision. For example, if someone asks me to speak, I weigh that. My motto is “goal-setting simplified.” Everything that I do involves goal-setting, simplifying life, and if [another action or goal] falls out of that realm it’s got to fulfill me in another way – that’s why the motto is important.

Even if you think you know your GoalTopia, going through … that first bit of introspection [in Your Goal Guide will] help everything make so much more sense because it’s your starting point. And that’s what the book is! It’s designed for introspection to help you really consider all of the options.

So once you come up with your mission, you have to think about the options and do the research to figure out what you want to do first, and then brainstorm your path. There are also different exercises to map out the different points.

From the moment I said, “OK this is my path,” everything fell into place. I mean, who gets a book published a year after their first conversation?  —Debra Ecklering

Your other books are self-published. How did you come to use a publisher for Your Goal Guide?

I love this story – [essentially] I re-met an agent!

One of the women in my live groups … [told a] book agent at a networking event about my group [and] connected us. I figured out that I met the agent before because he spoke at a workshop I attended! After discussing my two self-published books and the upcoming one, [our conversation went something like this]:

Book Agent: “What is your objective [in the new book]?”
Debra: “I believe everybody deserves to be happy in some of, if not all of, their life. What my book does is help people come up with their own plan, figure out what they want and how to get there. And even if it’s an hour a week working towards something, you’ve got that hour a week as something that you’re really excited about and that can fuel you for the rest of the time.”
Book Agent: “If that’s your plan, you shouldn’t self-publish. Let me try to sell your book. Where’s your book proposal?”
Debra: “I have an older incarnation that doesn’t have my current branding.”
Agent: “Great, do you want me to give you a deadline?”
Debra: “Sure”
Agent: “How about two weeks.”

So I rewrote the proposal, sent it to him, and two-and-a-half hours later he called and said, “When do you want to meet?”

After one minor revision, he sent the book proposal out in two batches; after the second batch my publisher, Mango, expressed interested. It’s very exciting to me because Mango is a wonderful, up-and-coming publisher that focuses on innovative ideas and fresh voices. It’s even listed on Publishers Weekly’s 2019 list of “Fast-Growing Independent Publishers.”

Would you like to share other details about Your Goal Guide, or anything else percolating?

Right now my primary focus is getting this book in as many hands as possible, because I know it can help a lot of people. The book is needed – everybody has something going on in their life that is not quite right. At least one, right? Do you know anyone whose life is perfect?

There’s always something you can do to bring more happiness, fulfillment [into your life]. Or, maybe your life is a mess because of some external or internal force; you can use the book to say: “I may be having all these problems, but what is the one thing, the one personal goal I can put in my life to bring at least a little joy into it.”

And this is another thing! You and I met through Twitter. How cool is that? And here you are interviewing me. That’s the power of the age in which we live. We can basically do anything we want because the resources are out there. It’s just … figuring out what that is, and putting in the time and energy to make it happen. Maybe it’ll take a little bit of time, maybe it’ll take a long time – but if you’re working toward something, [anything is] possible.

Your Goal Guide Links
Purchase:
https://mango.bz/books/your-goal-guide-by-debra-eckerling-794-b
https://www.amazon.com/Your-Goal-Guide-Planning-Achieving/dp/1642501506/
Mango Publishing’s Debra Eckerling page: https://mango.bz/authors/debra-eckerling-367

Debra Eckerling Websites
The D*E*B Method: http://thedebmethod.com/
Write On Online: http://writeononline.com/

Debra Eckerling on Social Media
Twitter, including #GoalChat: @GoalChat, @TheDEBMethod, @WriteOnOnline
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDEBMethod/, https://www.facebook.com/groups/writeononline/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/coastbunny/

You may need a current resume next month. Next week. Tomorrow. Today!

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When my child began full-day kindergarten in 2012, I contemplated whether to go back into work full time, or explore robust work-at-home options. Either choice required a current resume, and at the time I hadn’t updated mine in nearly five years. I’d had a digital version handy since the late 1990s, which was the same one posted on my early 2000s-era LinkedIn profile – so I opened up the Word file to revise.

The first thing I noticed was how old the resume looked, in format and style. The font was Times New Roman, which I still prefer when writing on the computer over a sans serif font. But for the resume? Seriously dated. When was the last time I gave the whole thing an overhaul?

I dug up some old paper files. To my surprise and horror, the structure and typeface of the most recent resume was identical to the version put together when I graduated college.

Yikes. I needed a consult … with a resume doctor.

A friend put me in touch with just such an individual, a writer and public relations professional who helped revamp resumes as a side gig. Best money I ever spent. The resulting copy was far easier to read – less cluttered, with more actionable descriptions (i.e. showing instead of telling), set in a modern sans serif type. The document format and text were also more flexible, and I made further revisions in the years since without needing a resume specialist.

In the waning months of 2019 resumes are once again top-of-mind, as I apply to permanent part-time and full-time positions for the first time in a long while. With just a few tweaks, my resume was ready to go for my current job search.

My point: the time to update your resume is now. There are individual contractors and resume writing services who can help with the task for a fee. If cost is an issue, check out one of the online, interactive resume building sites. Your local library will also have free resources, including books and workshops. To get started, check out these two articles that list a number of online options (as with any online service, do your due diligence before contracting with any person or service):

Circumstances can and do change suddenly, whether you are working as a freelancer or small business owner … in a large company or a small nonprofit … or even if you are in a position you love. Layoffs might occur. That dream job may unexpectedly present itself! An updated, ready-to-use resume is necessary for any of these eventualities.

The day you need a resume may be today. Is yours ready to rock and roll?

Is spellcheck enough? Nope! Have an eyeball or two review that writing project.

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When people discover I’m a freelance editor at networking events or through casual conversation, they occasionally ask this question: “Why does anyone need an editor when they can just use spellcheck?”

The first few times, this query seriously pissed me off. I mean, really? You think you can do a better job editing than an actual editor? Yeesh.

But eventually I came to see to see the question as a teachable moment, both for the questioner and, as it turns out, myself. Why? Because many organizations and small businesses are unable to afford the cost of – or do not see the value in – hiring a dedicated editor to check over written work. Often proofreading is up to the individual putting out that report, email, or post.

Listening provided perspective. Now when asked, I offer this overview of self-editing whys and hows:

  • Written content, regardless of type, requires review. Writing fast and sending (posting, tweeting, emailing, mailing) courts disaster in the form of mistakes. Some are amusing typos, others are get-you-fired typos.
  • Make time to put aside the copy for at least 15 to 30 minutes … yes, even that 280-character tweet!
  • Reviewing should start with your own eyeballs. Read the text slowly to yourself. Then read it out loud! (A wonderfully effective technique.)
  • Get a coworker or friend to check the copy – someone who has not previously proofread your work.
  • Now run it through the spellchecker installed with your computer’s word processing software (like Microsoft Word), or Google Docs or similar online freeware. Other sites offer the option of plugging in a paragraph or uploading a file for free spelling and grammar review.

Following this straightforward routine will help weed out most grammar, spelling, and style gaffes in your written work.

Other projects may require the services professional editor. Looking for one? Let’s talk!

#EditorsFiguringOut … An Action Plan after a Laptop Drop

Over time, computers – desktops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones – outlive their usefulness. Some become slow with accumulated software updates/upgrades. Others become glitchy. Or the battery life wanes. Or the computer simply stops working entirely. Though my 2015 laptop was a lovely combination of slow and glitchy with low battery life, its writing and editing software worked well … so I ignored the annoyances (and programmed Microsoft Word to autosave and create file backup copies). Until one day when I couldn’t.

That day I was fighting a wicked head cold and decided to sit in the den on the comfy sofa with a hot mug of steaming tea instead of working at my desk. With everything set up, the last item to bring down was the laptop. On the bottom step of the stairs separating the kitchen and the den, I sneezed and lost my balance. The laptop slid out of my grip, flipped over and made a distinctive CRUNCH as it hit the hard parquet floor. Regaining my footing, I stared for a full minute before gingerly righting the laptop and lifting the top.

To my shock, not only was the screen not busted into a million pieces, the project I’d been working on was still visible on the screen. The computer gods were in a giving mood, and decided this device was not ready for the trash heap just yet. Relieved, I settled in and resumed working.

My relief lasted until 7 p.m. I put aside work at 3 p.m. because my head was pounding and my son was home from school. While helping him with homework, doing a load of laundry, somehow making dinner … the laptop went into sleep mode. And there it stayed when I tried to resume work.

Great. Just great. Time for an action plan.

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The Action Plan, Step 1: Getting the Files Off of the Laptop

Yes, I know, I know … don’t I back up the files? The answer is yes, locally – on a portable hard drive. But I’d been lax on that task in the weeks leading up to the mishap.

Before calling the Geek Squad, I physically took out and then put back in the lithium-ion battery, and turned on the computer. And it did start up … but at a glacial pace. The laptop was clearly on its way out, so I downloaded all the files as fast as possible – which is to say, it took forever. But five nail-biting hours later, my information was safely ensconced on the portable hard drive and several flash drives.

The Action Plan, Step 2: Wiping the Computer

Wiping a computer – i.e. erasing all the data – when retiring a device is non-negotiable in 2019 in order to protect personal information. Luckily my now super-slow damaged laptop cooperated (though this action literally took overnight). On a Windows 10 device this means doing a hard “reset” to “remove everything.” This February Laptop.com article, “How to Reset Your Windows 10 PC,” offers step-by-step instructions complete with screenshots and an instructional video. Similar directions exist to wipe Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and Mac computers.

The Action Plan, Step 2: Shredding the Hard Drive

Recovering data erased as described above is difficult, but not impossible. So go one step further and ensure your device’s hard drive is completely destroyed: shred it. According to an article on SearchStorage.TechTarget.com, “A hard drive shredder is a mechanical device that physically destroys old hard drives in such a way that the data they contain cannot be recovered.”1

Some companies like PROSHRED Security and Shred-It offer these services for a fee, and will provide a certificate of destruction (seriously) for your records. I take my devices to a local South Jersey outfit called The Tab Group, Inc. Seeing the hard drives being demolished offers peace of mind; the experience is enjoyable cathartic, too – who on occasion hasn’t wanted to throw their computer out a window, like the old Second City Television (SCTV)  intro?

If cost is an obstacle, sign up for event notifications on your township or county website. Municipalities often have free e-waste recycling at least once a year, and occasionally will feature a company that shreds hard drives for free.

The Action Plan, Step 3: Purchasing a New Computer

You’re frantic. Project deadlines loom. I totally get it. Even so … do not run out and purchase the first computer you see. I did my homework – an hour of miserably achy, stuffy-nose research (on my son’s notebook) to compare features, user and professional reviews, and pricing of both computers and associated word processing / office software. Two good sites for reviews are PC Magazine and TechRadar.

(An aside: word processing / office freeware is available, of course. Options include Office Online or Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. My preference is the one-time purchase of Microsoft Office for a single computer – which I will use for several years – as opposed to an ongoing Office 365 subscription. Every editor and writer should make this determination based on their individual needs.)

After finishing the legwork, I went to a store to look over two particular laptops … and to type. Editors and copywriters do a LOT of typing, and testing out a new keyboard is vital. In this instance, one keyboard was significantly smaller, making for an awkward, hand-cramping typing experience – despite the fact that the devices were the same size. My choice was made!

Due diligence saves time, and, potentially, money. For example, when looking into accessories a few days later I discovered my laptop had just gone on sale; I went back and received a $200 refund.

The Action Plan, Step 4: Setting Up the New Laptop

1. Turn on the computer and follow the on-screen setup instructions.

Windows 10 gathers a lot of your information for Microsoft. If you’re concerned about online privacy and security issues like I am, there are a number of quick actions to take at setup – especially using a local account to sign in instead of a Microsoft account. This Computerworld.com article, How to protect your privacy in Windows 10, gives a good instructional overview.

2. Install essential software, including but not limited to:

  • Antivirus / anti-malware programs.
  • Word processing and other office-related software.
  • PDF editing software like Adobe Acrobat Pro.
  • Other grammar / usage software for editing / writing.
  • Design software; I use Xara Designer Pro for image manipulation for my website, blog, and social media marketing.
  • Printer drivers / software.
  • Browsers; I actually use three – Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge.

3. Transfer any essential files back to your computer from the portable hard and flash drives.

The Action Plan, Step 5: New, Improved File Backup Strategy

My fresh approach? Keep the external hard drive plugged into the laptop to act as a mirror drive. I prefer keeping all files local – but cloud storage can certainly achieve the same goal. There is no wrong answer, only what works well for you!

What’s Your Plan?

This action plan is comprehensive, but not exhaustive. “What works well for you” also applies to the form and order of the steps, should your own computer unexpectedly go kaput … whether quietly or via a literal laptop drop.

Since it’s time to get back to work editing and copywriting on my shiny, new (and fast!) laptop, I will end with this question: What is YOUR plan? Please share in the comments below!

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

1https://searchstorage.techtarget.com/definition/hard-drive-shredder

Editing, Copywriting, Exercising

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Writing at mid-morning, I am focused. The only sound is the computer keys as I type, and my awareness of even that noise fades as words appear on the screen. Sitting up straight – not hunched – helps to maintain concentration while fingers fly over the keys (thanks to eleventh grade typing back in the 1980s). Otherwise, I am still, save for flexing my mind. But one can only be stationary for so long before concentration and creative productivity wanes; the body requires periodic flexing too!

It is possible to sit at the computer for hours if you are really in an editing or copywriting groove (or for any computer work-related reason). But again, those diminishing returns. Better to get up every half hour or so and … do what? Stand up for a few minutes while you get a fresh cup of coffee or tea, then sit right back work?

No! It is better to move around – and you absolutely can fit exercise into your work routine. Literally! As in, beyond scheduling a half hour or so for power walking, running, cycling or whatever is your preferred mode of working out.

***** PAUSE TO STAND AND MOVE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY *****

Back now! Allow me to explain: I did go make a cup of hot tea. And while the water was boiling, the tea steeping and then cooling down, I power walked down the stairs to and around the basement (and then back up again) for about ten minutes. Not the fastest power walk, but one that provided an attention jump-start to the engine of my mind, allowing work with renewed productive gusto on the editing and/or copywriting project at hand (like this article).

My on-the-spot exercise plan may not be your solution. Everyone’s answer is different, and there’s no “right” way! The point is, figuring out a drill that fits well within your particular job surroundings will help make a habit of the practice … and enhance your effectiveness throughout the workday!

For additional context, I recommend listening to the inspiration for this article, a recent WHYY Radio Times broadcast entitled “The science of fitness and how to make it a habit.”

What copy do you need to write in 2019?

Every December I take stock of the accumulated clutter my basement. Not exciting, but oh so necessary. Similarly, now is a good moment to review small business or freelancing endeavors – including the written portion. In the New Year, do you plan to stay put or mix things up with regards to your existing copy?

Spending even an hour or so to assess the state of your existing and planned content will reap benefits in 2019. Below are areas that should be on the year-end inspection list (though this will look different for every business), plus targeted questions to pose.

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Website

How long has your website content been the same? As in, exactly the same? Six months? A year? Longer than two years? Whatever the answer, as the year winds down take a critical look at the entire site.

Review each and every web page, and take notes as you do. Does the copy convey where you are, and where you’re going? Or does it reflect where your business has been in the past? Wherever the latter is the answer is where the text needs revising.

Blog

What subjects did you blog about in 2018? Do these align with your current business plan and marketing strategy? If not, determine topics and a schedule that will support and further your overall goals beginning in January.

Social Media Marketing

Do you have a day-by-day social media marketing calendar, or a haphazard, “when I can get to it” approach? Do you coordinate content curation / creation / posting with ongoing objectives and promotional efforts, including associated keywords and hashtags? If the answer is “no,” “sometimes” or “not at all” … you’ve got work to do!

Coincidentally, my last two articles focused on this theme, and will be useful here:

Marketing Collateral / Promotions

This covers a number of broad areas, including (but not limited to): advertising – online/social media, print, television; email campaigns; newsletters – online, email, print; other print marketing – flyers, brochures, rack cards, mailers; radio; podcasts; videos. (Whew!)

The strategy here mirrors the other sections: taking a critical look at everything created for your audience to read, watch or listen to. Is the language in synch with your current or forthcoming marketing strategy, and does it serve to advance those goals? Time-saving tip: if you’re using the same pieces from two, three, four, five – or more! – years ago the answer is always going to be “no.” Time to budget resources to produce updated materials.

Willingness to (Write) Change

Finally, enter your end-of-year content evaluation with a mindset open to making the necessary changes. Remember, online, digital and print wording matching business direction will encourage growth. (For additional context, I recommend Jess Dewell’s in-depth December article: Hit a Business Growth Plateau? 5 Insights to Break Through.)

The task might seem huge; to avoid becoming overwhelmed, tackle one area at a time. Your audience will notice the difference in your text reboot, even if on an unconscious level. And if you find you need help with your 2019 evaluation, copywriting and editing to-do list – let’s talk!

Book Review: Twitter Marketing Unlocked by Angela Hemans

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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.

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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.

051618_Writing_Tulips_BarrowayEditing

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.

051618_Writing_Pam&Tulips_BarrowayEditing

*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!