Posts tagged brand writer
3 Proven Remedies for Content Writer's Block
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Even for a full-time content creator (that's me!), writer's block is real. As I type this out, in fact, the tail end of a sinus infection and distraction of my toddler's noisy toys (anyone else SUPER sensitive to noise while they work?) are causing the wheels of inspiration to turn about as fast as a turtle on the highway. 

So if website titles and email subject lines and social captions and blog posts and product descriptions are not on your list of favorite marketing tasks, I sympathize. For a non-writer who doesn't even enjoy writing very much, the struggle with writer's block has got to be THE. WORST. And yet, for any business owner, writing is part of the gig. Can it get easier? Absolutely.

Here are my favorite tips for overcoming writer's block, fit for both pro content creators and the reluctant wordsmith who just wants to get out some decent marketing for your business. 

Find new topics in your unfinished thoughts

I'll start with my favorite way to spark inspiration, especially when I need a fresh topic or theme to unpack on a blog or email campaign. This is probably my most-used method for generating ideas. When I'm stumped for new topics to cover, I'll read back through previous blog posts, my website, social accounts, etc., for unfinished thoughts that I can turn into whole posts on their own.

Not others' stuff, just my own content, because I track best with my own ways of thinking and writing. Within a couple minutes, I can uncover a thought that I've never really unpacked. Usually it's a point in a blog post that I wrote three sentences for or a fleeting thought in a social caption.  When I see it, I'll think; bingo, there's your next topic. The best part? I've usually thought it through at least a little bit whenever I brought it up previously, so the train of thought is already tracking for a larger, deeper dive into that point. 

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Activate creativity through activity

Now, before you assume I'm going to try and turn you into a runner, here me out on this. Yes, I'm a runner, and I personally get a lot of inspiration from running. I formulate leadership teachings for work while I run. I process through topics while I run. I came up with my one and only tattoo while running. Running is my thing. When I'm doing burpees at the gym on the other hand, nope. Nada. My brain can only handle getting through those burpees. 

You have an activity that I guarantee encourages your creativity. Or maybe it would if you gave it a chance. 

Here's my challenge to you: Whether it's yoga, walking, cleaning, driving to an appointment, gardening or browsing the aisles at Target, let your creative wheels spin. Don't assume those are activities that are separate from processing through your marketing content. Many times, those are the perfect activities for getting in the brain space to create. They have to be activities you can put on auto-pilot though. So if it's a new yoga flow or an appointment you've never been to before that you need to actually pay attention to the gps to get to, this probably won't apply. 

Bonus tip: bring headphones (even for one ear if you're driving or have littles to attend to) and play some soothing music. The kind that helps you focus. This may turn a mundane chore into a set-up for your imagination to soar. 

Reverse-psychology the pressure for length

GAH, okay, I know I said my first tip was my favorite but I really love this one too. Who are we kidding, all three of these are gold to me. I would go crazy-writer-lady without them. 

Anyway, this one is gooooood because it works. every. time. Do you often face your content pieces with the nagging thought that they have to be long? Like, your next pdf download should be 8-10 pages. That blog post needs to be at least five paragraphs? Your social plans have to stretch out over a week, two weeks, a month? Shoot, that email campaign needs to cover 6 months, which means it needs to contain at least 12 emails!?

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Ladies, I am here to SET YOU FREE. What if, this time, your pdf download was simply one page? Your blog post was only a couple paragraphs? Your social plan is simply a single post? That email campaign is a strong, yet simple introduction email. Does that take the pressure off? Does that help you get past the overwhelm and into writer's mode? I bet it gets you there quicker than what you were originally telling yourself. 

There's no faster way to kill my marketing content mojo than the overwhelm of length. That voice that says I need to chain myself to the desk chair and pour over words for the next 76 hours. So I do reverse-psychology on my own brain. I tell myself; Hey, Lindsey, this time let's just do something short and sweet. Just sit and write something for a few minutes. That's all. 

And you know what happens? I sit to write something for a few minutes, which puts me in the right head space, which turns into a desire to write and create a little more, which, before I know it, turns into a lot more content than I expected from myself at first. 

Girlbosses, we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to putting pressure on ourselves. Give yourself permission to simplify, shorten, or even skip something this time around. No one works well under too much pressure. Especially when it's an assignment you don't really enjoy to begin with. 

Are you feeling freer yet? Have you found any of these to work for you? I'd love to know! Leave your comments, friend, and let me know how you get past writer's block, whether you're a content queen or a words-averse boss babe ;) 

Of course, if you could care less about ever writing another marketing word again, I am for hire, and I do offer free 15-minute consultations to help you decide what your content needs or if it's time to turn it over to a pro. 

Now it's time to go put my own tips into practice. Have a great week!

6 easy ways to grow your business in 2018
woman entrepreneur

January again. The start of a new year, chock full of new possibilities. If you're an entrepreneur like me, running a side hustle or a full-time, money-making machine, this is one of the best times of year to hit the refresh button on a few aspects of your business - not the least of which is your marketing. Need a little inspiration? I've got you covered.

Here are a few easy ways you can improve your marketing and reach bigger, better business goals in 2018.

1. Performance review

Before you assume something worked last year, or start piling up marketing ideas you're not sure will be effective, look at your analytics. If you have a website, social accounts, or an email platform you use regularly for business marketing, there should be a place you can see engagement. Even a basic understanding of what content did well can lead to improved marketing decisions in the new year. 

2. Automated email campaign

I know, I know, before you can send emails, you need email addresses. We'll get to that. BUT once you've got a list of email addresses collected, you'll want to start sending emails ASAP - and building them can take some time. Create 6 emails that are ready to go as part of an automated email campaign before you get bogged down by business demands. When your email list starts to grow, you'll have those emails ready to send. (If you're not sure why emails matter so much, comment below and I'll fill you in ;)

3. Incentivize 

Ok, so about collecting those emails. You have to give your audience good reason to give you their email address in the first place, and incentives almost always work well. Create a giveaway or come up with a way to offer free or discounted services for a limited time. An incentive that isn't asking too much of you, but is valuable to your website visitors or email readers can provide a huge boost to your email list. How to communicate your incentive? I'll cover that in a minute. 

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4. Photo update

Old photos on your website or social = neglectful, careless business owner. Fresh photos = responsible, organized, trustworthy business owner. Now, I'll admit I'm no photographer and rely a lot on stock images - but even those can get old after a while. Spend some time updating your product images, headshots or stock photography and show your new visitors you're on top of things. 

5. Repurpose content

One of my FAVORITE marketing tricks is repurposing content. Rather than always feeling like you have to create something new, go back and grab an email that performed well and turn it into a downloadable PDF to offer visitors on your website. Or, turn a great blog into an email. When you've crafted something solid, make the most of it all year long! 

6. Lead generation

If you've visited my home page, you may have noticed the cute little pop-up. This is called a lead generator. When you've created an incentive or a PDF download, you can use a pop-up to ask for email addresses in exchange for the free giveaway or service you're willing to offer. If you're not sure how to add a lead generator or pop-up on your site, look for tutorials offered by your site provider or google lead generators to find services that are compatible with your website. It's really not that difficult!

Hey, be proud of yourself. You're making progress just by reading these suggestions.

Have a fantastic, business-booming 2018!

My "stop the scroll" trick to a better business website

Hey there, biz buddy! Let's talk about a quick tip to a more effective business website and check at least one thing off our to-do list today, k? 

Here goes: stop the scroll

full service marketing agency

One of the hardest disciplines of writing advertising content, whether it's on a website, email, social or print ad is keeping the message succinct and targeted. Not many readers these days have the attention span to read lengthy copy, especially when they're trying to make a purchase decision. They just want to know 1. who are you 2. what can you do for me.

Honestly, it's pretty basic when you boil it down and too many words overcomplicates and overwhelms your reader, resulting in one big NOPE. Are you shaking your head because this is your #1 brand writing downfall? I have a video that may help

So how do you know if you've got too much content on your website? I mean, you have to have SOME kind of message on there, don't you? Yes, and I have a great way to give yourself room for a little chat with your reader WITHOUT overextending your welcome into their world. It's all in the scroll. 

If you don't have to scroll down at all to read everything on the page (or all content is "above the fold" as they say in design world), that's great, but often impractical when you consider design templates and where to put what, etc. The good news is, readers are usually willing to give it one swipe before they decide you're asking too much.

With that in mind, give your webpages this test: On your phone AND on a laptop/desktop, open your website, go through each page and if you can swipe once and reach the bottom you've probably been pretty good about keeping your message simple and digestible. If it takes more than that, you may be losing your audience (especially on mobile - which is far and above the main web browsing platform used these days) and hurting your business potential. 

One swipe to reach the bottom, that's the space you get to craft a clear, effective message to your potential customers. 

Is this helpful? I'd love to know! Comment your thoughts and let me know what else you'd like to know about below. Now, back to business butt-kicking!

Walking the talk
lindsey wagnon digital marketing agency

When I set out to create Lindsey Wagnon | Brand Writer, I had stockpiled a LOT of information from more than a decade of professional writing and marketing work. I've blogged (I was among the first "professional" bloggers), been an ad agency copywriter, covered news for an NPR-affiliated radio station (bleh), wore the reporter hat for a small community publication, submitted countless lifestyle magazine articles and currently work full-time for the marketing department of a mortgage company. Yes, mortgage company

My thickening career portfolio (one of the perks of being in my mid-thirties *gasp*) may have given me the confidence to launch a personal brand, but wow, I was not prepared for the challenge of applying all my cumulative knowledge to my own company. When it's so personal, yet needs to be your best professional representation, it's another level of pressure. 

Raise your hand if you're an entrepreneur, girl boss, mompreneur who can relate. 

So, honestly, the past couple of months have been a test in walking the talk. I may know a lot, and even practice a lot of what I know on a daily basis, but doing it for myself is the hardest assignment I've ever faced. I thought I was aware of my weaknesses and limitations before, but I'm HYPER aware of them now *cough* design *cough*.

Fellow entrepreneurs, I salute you. You may, like me, feel the weight of everything that isn't up to your standard, needs more time or money that you just don't have, has glitches you don't know how to fix and isn't exactly at the ROI you expected by now, but listen, you're moving forward a little at a time and that's what matters. And let's be honest, we wouldn't be leading our own companies if we didn't kind of love being in charge of every part of it - even if it's shockingly demanding. 

With that said, I have a toddler, some chores and a marathon training run to attend to. Overachiever much? Nah, not me. Oh, and here's a Cora picture in case you need a laugh. 

Mac & cheese (emphasis on the cheese)

Mac & cheese (emphasis on the cheese)

Look at me, blogging again after a decade
Photo cred: Sean Lyon, LyonPictures Photography

Photo cred: Sean Lyon, LyonPictures Photography

Hi there! First, thank you so much stopping by. I love you for taking your time to check out my website. 

This is going to be a place where I just shoot straight. Like, maybe even embarrass myself a little with exposure and vulnerability. I hope you don't mind. This won't be the place to look for perfect writing either, btw. This is my thought process vomited on the page at lightning speed. Because I'd rather spend my time and mental energy creating authentic, effective brand writing for other people's businesses. I feel like you can appreciate that. 

Ok, now that we've set expectations, I'll proceed with more of what you're probably looking for here - who is this Lindsey Wagnon and why has she invaded a tiny corner of my world via social media, a search engine, word of mouth, etc?

Well, I'm a wife and mom, for starters. I am a Christian and part of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C. Of course, there are stories behind all those facts which I'll continue to open up about here (shamelessly tempting you to check back later). 

I also work full-time for Movement Mortgage as a marketing communications manager which is where I practice much of what I've learned about marketing content, branding, digital marketing, marketing campaigns, SEO, analytics, copywriting and so-on. Before that, I worked for a lifestyle magazine doing mostly fluffy feature writing and before that I was a professional blogger when blogs were first becoming a thing, oh, about a dozen years ago. Little known fact - I had a personal blog on one of the first versions of Wordpress around 2006 - 2008ish called Runner's High that I was obsessed with.

Yep, I was part of that original SEO blog craze that was big business for a hot minute.

Obviously, writing and content creation are my forte - particularly the kind that involve strategy, some business sense and a large dose of persuasion. Which is what brings us here today. You may or may not be in need of someone to take the controls of your digital strategy, website content, email marketing, etc., but either way, I am glad you landed here and I hope you feel you gained something worthwhile from it. 

If you're looking for practical marketing tips, I offer free training on my Facebook page and Instastories, so you’ll want to check those out for sure (icons linked below).

That's all for now!