How to Start a Freelance Business When You’re Broke

Are you a broke mom, frantically searching for legitimate ways to earn money online? Learn how to start a freelance writing business (and grow it) without any money to spare.

If you’re struggling financially today, I want you to know that I understand! I know how it feels to be so broke you can’t just “give up your daily latte” to save money to make a purchase you want.

And I know it can get better. You are not stuck in broke mode forever. You can pull yourself out. I’ve done it and so can you.

Freelance writing changed my life! Four years after starting, we became completely debt free and I officially replaced my teacher salary – without having to spend anything on daycare, or putting in 8 hours a day.

Being broke isn’t fun! When I left the classroom a few years ago, our income took a massive cut.

Well below the poverty line, we struggled to make ends meet. We slashed our expenses and watched ever penny. It was hard!

We knew something had to change, but I didn’t want to go back to teaching because day care for our large family would eat up my entire pay check. Literally.

Since working outside the home wasn’t a viable option, so I started looking into ways to earn money from home, praying that the Lord would help me avoid scams and find something legit.

And not long after, He answered!

Freelance Writing

I stumbled upon a post written by Gina Horkey, and learned that people were getting paid to write content for the web.

I’d been blogging for fun over on my Maggie’s Milk blog, so the wheels in my brain started turning. Could I really earn money writing online?

I started reading all the free material on freelancing that I could. After scouring the job boards, I sent my first pitch within a couple of days.

I got the gig!

It didn’t pay well (only $20), but that money made me realize that I could do this. I could help our household financially, without having to give up on homeschooling or put the kids in daycare.

That first gig back in 2015 was my first baby step into the world of freelance writing. And the money has been coming in ever since. And not just in $20 increments…

If you’re ready to work hard to improve your family’s situation, keep reading.

I dish out all the steps I took to launch my freelance business, without spending any of our household budget.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

1. Decide to Act

Until you decide that it’s time to actually start your freelance business, no amount of reading, learning, or thinking will count.

You can take course after course and never actually earn any money if you don’t implement anything. You have to do something!

Make a proclamation that you are going to do this. Commit to spend time each day growing your business.

Because if you don’t decide to act, you’ll probably still be broke a few months down the road.

Action truly is key to getting this done. Stop planning. Don’t wait until you “know everything.” Actually do something.

2. Start Small

Do you know what I had for my business when I launched?

A cheap laptop computer, really slow satellite internet, and a freebie blog over on Blogger.

I didn’t have a dedicated freelance website, or money to start one.

Freelance writing courses were on my “someday” list, but I couldn’t afford to purchase any at the time. There was literally no money for that.

And it could have been the excuse I used to never get started. But I decided not to. I just started with what I had.

There is nothing wrong with starting small. 

You don’t need a lot to make it as a freelance writer. Too often, I hear excuses like these:

  • “I don’t have a website.”
  • “No one knows who I am.”
  • “I don’t know where to go to look for gigs.”

You know what? I didn’t either! My online presence (other than my freebie blog) was extremely limited. I didn’t even have a personal Facebook profile or other social media presence prior to launching!

And while perhaps my progress has been slower compared to others who started with more, I didn’t take time to stop and make comparisons.

I started small, with what I had, leveraging my skills.

So once you’ve decided to start a business, take stock of what you have. That’s all you need to get started.

No internet? Go someplace with Wi-Fi.

No computer? Our library has several, and I live in the middle of nowhere, so I’m pretty sure yours will too.

Stop making excuses and find a way to make it happen. It will be hard. But, it will get easier if you keep taking these steps.

3. Start Pitching & Build Your Portfolio

Remember how I said my first paid gig was for $20. That was for a 1200 word post.

Today, I charge at least $120 for the same length. Big difference.

But, when I was first starting I didn’t have the luxury of being picky. I needed money and samples.

So if you’re broke and just starting out, take what you can. Remember you won’t be at that rate forever!

Start getting your name out there, and pitch away!

No matter what you are being paid, always do your best work! Seriously, I don’t care if you’re getting less than a penny a word. If you agreed to write a post for a rate, do it to the very best of your ability.

Wondering where to pitch? Check out these ideas:

Craigslist – the “Gigs” section. Check the big cities (New York, LA, etc.)

ProBlogger Job Board (free, and where I found my first gig!)

You can also create an account on a site like Hubstaff Talent and look for clients who may be a good fit.

Also, here’s a more in-depth post on how to find freelance writing gigs.

Worried about being scammed?

There are scams out there, hiding as legitimate freelance writing gigs. Most are very obvious. Others are more carefully constructed.

The good news? There are almost always red flags. I wrote a post warning you what to look for:

Read this: Red Flags for Freelance Writing Gigs

How to Write a Freelance Writing Pitch

The goal of a freelance writing pitch is to briefly explain why you’re the best person to create the content the company is looking for. You need to show that you’re knowledgeable about the content area, and able to write well.

Here is a sample pitch template you can use. You’ll notice it’s short. Hiring managers get tons of responses. Be kind to them by succinctly sharing the info they need and don’t bog them down with details.

Hi [insert the name of the editor – AN ACTUAL NAME (you may need to research],

Your ad/posting on [site where you learned about it] caught my eye. I’m a freelance writer who knows a lot about [topic/niche.]  I’m also [share two quick reasons you’d be a great fit, using the language/word choice from the ad].

To help you make your hiring decision, here’s a bit more information about myself:

  • [two bullet points sharing quick connections between your education/background/experience and the role]
  • [one connection to the company – i.e. a shared value or mission]
  • [Link to your portfolio]

Please let me know if you need any additional information. I’m looking forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

How to Build Your Freelance Writing Portfolio

When you’re just start your freelance writing business, you probably don’t have a lot of samples created that you can use to build a portfolio. That means sample writing must be high on your prioritized to-do list.

Here are three quick ideas for how to get published samples:

  • Write a guest post for a blogger in the niche you’re hoping to write for
  • Start a free blog (better than nothing and you can move later)
  • Write on Medium (or a similar platform)

Once you have live samples, you need to collect the links in a sharable format. If you don’t have a website of your own yet, you can:

  • Make a shareable Google Doc
  • Create a Pinterest board and save all of your posts to it (this means you’ll need to create a pinnable image for each post, but you can do that for free on Canva or something similar)
  • Build a portfolio on a platform like Contently

Right now, don’t worry about making your portfolio “perfect.” You want it sharable and you want each link to lead to a great piece of writing. That’s it.

You can (and should) update it later.

4. Reinvest in Your Business

Look, I know how tempting it is to go spend that money you just earned. You’re broke, and really could use the money on X,Y, or Z.

But you can’t.

At least, not right now.

First, you have to invest in your business. Otherwise you’ll be stuck writing $20 posts forever. And no one wants to be there.

So save all of your money (at first!)

When you’ve saved enough, take an entry-level course to learn even more. My first freelancing investment was 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success (aff. link).

The course helped me learn:

  • How to improve my pitch
  • Ways to leverage my past experience and education as a freelancer
  • Confidence in my ability
  • And loads more

I’ve never regretted investing in this course, and have easily made back WAY more than I spent.

But until you’re there, don’t give up on improving yourself.

Keep reading all the free material you can. Subscribe to helpful blogs and read about areas you’re struggling with.

Remember to implement what you’re learning too! Keep saving, and then you’ll be able to take a course.

The course I took gave me the confidence I needed to pitch more. I landed a higher paying job on Craigslist in the education niche, which was perfect with my teaching background.

I took that money, and bought my domain and hosting. This website was born in September of 2015, just a few months after starting my business.

It really does take some money to grow your business, but you don’t have to have that money all at once. So keep working on your savings and you will get there!

5. Slowly Scale Back on What You Save

Once I had more knowledge and a functioning website (it doesn’t have to be perfect!), it was time to start taking some of my business income and applying it to the household budget.

Being able to actually do something with this money was motivating.

When you’re saving everything to get your site up, or purchase a course, it’s really hard. The tangible benefit isn’t there to the same extent.

My first step back was to save 50% of my income for my business and pour 50% of it into the household budget.

After investing in a few more essentials, I reduced that percentage to 25%. But, I ended up spending the money I saved for taxes (oops!) so I’m back up to 35%.

Note: You really do need a budget for your business!

6. Watch for Amazing Deals

I’ve learned the hard way that you really do have to invest in your business to keep growing. So now I’m always watching for amazing deals that align with my freelance writing goals.

I’ve subscribed to several “waiting lists” to be notified of any flash sales for courses I particularly want to take.

Pay attention to the amazing bundle deals that become available, and sign up to be notified. Then tuck some funds away so when they appear you can make the purchase guilt-free.

Watch for Black Friday sales. Often companies will have Anniversary sales as well.

If you find something you want, have patience and try to get it at the lowest price possible.

7. Make Time to Grow Your Freelance Writing Business

Wondering how you’ll make time to grow a freelance writing business from home? You’ll have to make it a priority.

And you need to do it as a team. Your family won’t understand why you’re suddenly spending more time on the computer unless you tell them. So get your family onboard!

8. Continue Pitching to Avoid Freelance Famine

Once you’ve landed a client or two, it can be easy to forget to pitch. After all, you’ve got more client work to keep you busy.

But, eventually that gig might dry up. Then you’ll be left without that income.

So make pitching a permanent part of your game plan, at least for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, you’ll be right back to where you started with no money.

Pitch even if you are busy. Not every pitch will land a client, but it will help you gain confidence. And some of them will give you work!

Freelance famine is a roller coaster cycle you don’t want to get started with!

There are so many ways to find time, even if it means getting a bit creative.

You can do a lot with a part-time freelance business, so don’t let a lack of 40 hours a week stop you8. Continue Pitching to Avoid Freelance Famine

Once you’ve landed a client or two, it can be easy to forget to pitch. After all, you’ve got more client work to keep you busy.

But, eventually that gig might dry up. Then you’ll be left without that income.

So make pitching a permanent part of your game plan, at least for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, you’ll be right back to where you started with no money.

Pitch even if you are busy. Not every pitch will land a client, but it will help you gain confidence. And some of them will give you work!

Freelance famine is a roller coaster cycle you don’t want to get started with!

9. Make Connections

Do you know where most of my leads come from now?

From other freelancers.

That’s part of the reason I love the mastermind group I was a part of for a couple of years. I’ve also gotten leads from different Facebook groups.

Take time to make connections and build genuine relationships. Give more than you take, and be willing to help others. You won’t regret it. Or at least, I haven’t!

Other freelancers are not your enemy! Learn all you can from them and help them out too. Be genuine and patient!

Here’s a post giving you ideas on how to network with others, even as a busy mom without much time.

10. Be Willing to Try Something New

I never planned on being a virtual assistant when I launched my freelance writing business.

But, the door opened and I walked through it. Now I have a couple of VA clients, and I personally love the variety!

I also didn’t plan on this website turning into a monetized blog. But, that just made sense as a logical step on my online business journey.

So as you’re working, don’t get so focused on what you’re doing that you completely miss a good opportunity. Say yes to new things when you can, because you never know where they’ll lead.

Don’t be afraid to pivot if it makes sense.

On the other hand, don’t get so focused on chasing the next “new thing” that you forget about what is currently working. There’s a balance. You’ll have to figure out what that looks like for you.

11. Don’t Give Up

Bootstrapping your freelance business is challenging. But, it’s also rewarding, and can help you move past broke.

Don’t give up when things get tough. You can do this!

Take time to think about your why. Why did you start a business in the first place? When you think about your why, it’s motivating.

Here’s more inspiration when you’re feeling like you’re ready to quit:

What to Do When You’re Ready to Quit Your Online Business

How to Start a Freelance Writing Business: Recap

Starting a freelance writing business doesn’t require a lot of capital. In fact, if you already have a computer and internet access, you can get started today.

Remember to save your money, and invest it back into yourself. Watch for deals so you can still save money while investing! 😀

Be willing to work for less at first, because you won’t be at that rate forever.

Find a community and get involved.

And when you’re ready to take an awesome course on freelance writing, I highly recommend Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success!

By: Lisa Turner

Lisa Tanner loves helping busy moms find time to grow their own business. As a homeschooling mom to nine, she knows a thing or two about balancing diapers and deadlines.

Source: How to Start a Freelance Business When You’re Broke – Lisa Tanner Writing

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Related Contents:

4 Reasons Why Focusing On Community Is Your Best Marketing Strategy

Digital communities are quickly becoming the lifeblood of organizations as more companies turn digital and remote. A recent article by the Wall Street Journal found that adults in the U.S. are now spending up to 16 hours a day on digital media. With so many options, the one commonality that many people are looking for is genuine connections with people and brands that share their interests and values. 

The concept of a community is not always tangible. Communities can come in the shape of forums, social media pages, private groups or, in some cases, a mix of each. For brands that really get community right, this phenomenon could be fragmented and simply come down to offering a service that people genuinely love to associate with. The best communities are built organically over time and can act as a powerful and genuine marketing channel. 

For Binance co-founder and CMO Yi He, community has always been an important part of her career journey, as well as the driving force behind building out one of the most popular digital-assets exchanges in the world. In just three years, Binance’s business model, which includes executives interacting daily with the community, has helped it scale to more than 15 million users

Related: The Digital Dollar’s Global Potential For Entrepreneurship

Yi was kind enough to provide insight into her journey, along with practical advice that entrepreneurs can use to start growing a community for their personal brand or business. 

1. Community marketing is cost-effective and impactful

Community management and marketing is a mentality more than a strategy. It’s about focusing on users and developing activities and actions around it. Community marketing includes livestreams (AMA sessions), webinars and social listening and engagement. It is important to note that community building is not an overnight task; it takes testing and patience. 

Yi explains, “Building a community takes time and it’s worth it. Personal connections with a community is vital to ensuring continued growth. That includes responding to issues and taking feedback into action which require strong collaboration with customer support and product teams.” https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

This cross-functional effort might seem challenging, but it can be organized and is typically very profitable when done right. Yi adds, “It is significantly more cost effective to organize an AMA session with the CEO or executive, which allows customers to connect with the company and address issues or new products, than broadcasting noisy ads.”

2. Community engagement gives companies authenticity and loyalty

The best way to create a meaningful community is to remain authentic. Transparency builds trust, both between a company and users and within a user base, compounding to strengthen the community over time. 

Even more impactful is when a key executive is part of this plan. At Binance, CEO CZ (Changpeng Zhao) is famous for being extremely active on Twitter, where he interacts and responds with thousands of people. Yi says this interaction is vital and “allows customers to have a personal connection with a company that translates to higher engagement and loyalty.” 

For companies without a public-facing executive, focusing on micro-interactions helps humanize a company and its mission. According to Yi, “Community marketing requires knowing what your customers need and care about, and what they don’t care about too. Ultimately, focus on customers to deliver products and services they want, need and will like.”

3. Strong community marketing brings brand-activation and innovation

Strong community marketing activates a brand by bringing more awareness and more meaningful exposure and customer experiences. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of customers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising. This word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful marketing tool a company can have as it comes from a user, not an advertisement or the company directly. 

In the world of digital-asset exchanges, competition is fierce, and users have no shortage of options. This is where brand activation can be the critical differentiator. Yi says, “When a brand is activated, customers are more engaged and become more long-term customers. Strong community marketing also brings more personable and emotional connections to its customers which helps activate brands.”https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Related: 8 Smart Ways to Analyze Crypto Token Before Investing in It

4.Timely community management makes great customer service

In 2019, Binance experienced a $40 million hack that set off panic amongst the entire industry. Rather than cower away, the company took proactive actions to quickly admit there was a security incident. Even more important, Binance had a contingency plan (#SAFU fund) in place that allowed them to cover the incident in full so no user funds were affected. 

Outside of extreme events like this example, communities are where customers often turn to for quick customer service. Entrepreneurs can use their community as a way of product iteration and improvement by monitoring common requests. As CMO, Yi is responsible for making sure the community management teams are actively engaged with product teams.

“When this approach is optimized, it ensures the delivery of community-driven products and services that cater a company’s core, its users/customers,” she sums up. “Great products and services are built by communities, not a one-directional approach.”

By: Jared Polites / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Alyson Shane is a Winnipeg writer who has been publishing content online for 15 years. Growing up, she spent her free time in online forums and communities, which developed into a passion for social media and digital communication. In 2014, she started her digital marketing agency, Starling Social. Alyson has been recognized as one of Manitoba’s Top Social Media Influencers by CBC Manitoba and featured as one of Winnipeg’s Hottest Bloggers on Shaw TV.

She is the lead contributor to the MTS Business Hub and manages the National Film Board’s What Brings Us Here Instagram narrative about indigenous-led activism in Winnipeg. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

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Three Basic Steps To Plan Your 2020 Content Marketing Campaign

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Any savvy marketer knows there is a lot more to content development than writing a blog and haphazardly publishing it to your company’s website when you have time. To create and execute a content marketing campaign successfully, your content should have a carefully crafted purpose and be planned out well in advance.

Great content delivers the exact information your prospective customers need, when and where they need it — and one of the best ways to accomplish this is with a full-fledged content marketing campaign.

For many business professionals, this process is much easier said than done. Below, we’ll explore a few basic steps to get your 2020 campaign started:

1. Consider Your 2020 Goals

At this point in the year, your team has likely already mapped out a strategic plan for your organization in 2020 — from strategizing how you will manage your online reputation and what (if any) leadership changes will take place, to new technology you will implement to streamline processes.

Before planning your content marketing campaign, it is essential to consider the goals your team has set in place for the new year, and how your content will complement them and drive results.

If you have not already, identify your focus for 2020. Are you targeting a new market demographic? Have you made changes to your products or services that you plan to promote? Are you offering a new promotion?

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The answers to these questions will dictate your focus. From there, you can identify the keywords someone might use to search for information about your services and what blog content would resonate best with your target audience.

For example, when one of our clients, an alternative online ratings platform, set a goal to change its core messaging, our agency shifted the company’s entire campaign. The client wanted to shift from promoting how alternative ratings can drive new leads and instead focus on how the ratings market is transforming to meet the changing needs of today’s consumers. Our team took this fresh messaging and developed blogs, emails and social media posts to complement and promote the client’s new focus with great success.

2. Research Your Buyer Persona(s)

Never lose sight of your buyer persona(s) when planning your content. While you now have a primary focus in mind for your content, it is still important to consider the pain points your prospective customers are experiencing, and address these challenges in all pieces of your content accordingly. If your content does not speak to your persona, your campaign will likely suffer and may not drive the ROI you desire.

According to HubSpot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Research the market demographics of your audience. Take into consideration customer demographics, behavior patterns, goals and motivations. Be as detailed as possible. What social channels do they use regularly? Where do they like to spend their free time? What products or services are most valuable to them? What’s the most challenging aspect of their daily life that you are trying to solve?

These questions will not only help you determine who your content should be targeted toward and how it should be promoted, but they will help you craft specific blog and offer topics that position your business as a valuable resource.

For example, with the alternative ratings platform, our research found that its buyer personas — decision makers and senior-level marketing managers — were not only struggling to understand why alternative ratings were important but also why their internal online reputation management efforts alone were not yielding the results they desired.

3. Plan Your Content

When I talk about content marketing, I do not just mean blogging. While blogging is an integral component of your campaign, your strategy should also include social media, emails and drip campaigns, downloadable offers, and landing pages.

That being said, a campaign often begins with engaging blogs that then lead prospective customers down the marketing funnel. With your 2020 focus and buyer persona in mind, it is time to determine a series of blog topics that support and promote your goals while addressing the pain points of your target audience.

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For example, when the alternative ratings platform shifted its messaging, our team developed an extensive list of blog topics to support the change. Instead of topics like “Five Ways Alternative Ratings Can Drive Leads to Your Business,” we brainstormed topics like “Why Subjective Ratings Are on the Downfall, and How Your Business Should Respond” and “Why Your Online Reputation Management Efforts Aren’t Working.”

These topics not only promote the company’s new messaging, but also address some of the core pain points of the company’s buyer personas.

Once you have your blog topics in place, things should begin to flow more easily. From here, you will develop supporting social media posts, targeted email campaigns and downloadable offers that help tie these pieces together while promoting your organization’s products or services.

Planning What Works Best For Your Business

While the basics of developing a strategic content marketing campaign are similar across various industries, the implementation of this strategy will vary depending on your business and location and the market demographics of your audience.

Ultimately, you must map out what will work best for your organization and buyer persona(s). Setting up and growing a successful content marketing campaign takes time, patience, creativity and organization. If you follow these steps to get you started, executing your strategy for the new year won’t be as daunting as it seems.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Owner of Criterion.B, overseeing client strategy and company culture.

 

Source: Three Basic Steps To Plan Your 2020 Content Marketing Campaign

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Unlike most autoresponders, you’ll likely lose 30-40% of your email list when trying to import to them because they’ll make ALL your contacts have to CONFIRM to be on your list ONCE AGAIN – even if they’d been your subscriber for years.

Just as you can import unlimited contacts, you can also create unlimited email lists and assign each list of imported emails to their own separate email list. This is extremely powerful if you’re operating in different niches, are building different brands, have different products and services, need to keep your free subscribers separate from your PAID customers or anything in between. With Sendiio you can create as many different email lists as you want.

You can quickly and easily create unlimited optin forms which integrate with ALL page builders on the market. It doesn’t matter if you’re using ClickFunnels, LeadPages, OptimizePress, ProfitBuilder, Elegant Themes or ANY other lead-capture page builder. Just create your form, copy our HTML or iFrame code and paste it into ANY page you’d like.

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Remember: You Are Not The Target Audience

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One key component of any marketing program is determining a target audience. That is, once you’ve developed a message, who do you want consuming it?

Ask yourself: Who should care? And who will care? How am I going to create compelling content that attracts the people my business can best serve?

If you’re representing a tech startup in Silicon Valley, perhaps your target audience is recent Stanford graduates looking for a job. If you’re promoting a skiing and snowboarding conference in Boston, then your target audience is most likely the avid skiers and snowboarders in the New England area. For sporting goods companies in New England, you want to be reaching athletes in the region but also their family and friends — those who could make purchases on their behalf.

It may seem like common sense, but your target audience is just as important as the message itself, and the channels by which you’re communicating it. Picking the right audience can turn an otherwise average PR campaign into a resounding success. Choosing the wrong audience, however, can derail even the best-laid talking points. Targeting the right demographic can be invaluable.

One of the most common mistakes I see people make when identifying a target audience is assuming that they represent the demographic. Just because you don’t use Facebook or Twitter, for example, does not mean that your target audience doesn’t. I often advise baby boomers who aren’t active on social media and yet are trying to reach Americans who use it every day. And I tell them: Your blind spot isn’t necessarily the average American’s.

My mom and I have a joke because as an 86-year-old, she doesn’t care for watching 20-somethings with bare midriffs shaking their bottoms on television. When she complains and asks, “How could anyone watch this stuff?” I respond, “Ma, you are not the target audience.” I’ve said this to her so many times that she hears me start saying that line, and we end up saying it in unison.

Take Instagram, one of the most popular platforms for photo and video sharing. Instagram has 1 billion users around the world. Just under 3% of Instagram users are in the 55- to 64-year-old age group, although many in that age group are probably professional decision makers — from small business CEOs to nonprofit executives. Users under the age of 35, on the other hand, make up more than 70% of the platform’s users.

Therefore, if you’re looking to target that age group with a PR or advertising campaign, Instagram can be a powerful tool — regardless of your own social media preferences. Even if you don’t post travel photos and share concert videos on Instagram, it doesn’t take away from the power of Instagram as a way to communicate your message to others.

Identifying the right demographic requires a holistic view of the general population. Think beyond yourself. From college students and CEOs to football dads and soccer moms, the United States is home to more than 300 million people of different ages, colors and creeds. We truly live in a melting pot. Also, just because someone is female, 40 years old and likes shopping does not mean that she is the same as another person the same age.

One 40-year-old might like shopping at Cabela’s for hunting supplies, and the other might like going to the makeup counter at Nordstrom. So it’s important to drill down and know your audience. I sometimes say that marketing is like marriage. You need to know your partner so well that you can anticipate their every move and preference.

Not everyone is like you. Not everyone consumes content like you do or gravitates to the same messages as you. What you find unappealing someone else may find incredibly tasteful.

Because there are so many people in the United States (and globally), picking the right target audience isn’t always easy. But therein lies a golden opportunity — an opportunity to reach consumers you didn’t even consider at first.

That’s what makes marketing fun (at least for me). You have an opportunity to reach all sorts of people by learning more about their tendencies and unique interests. The sheer size of the population forces you to learn.

Stepping outside of yourself is valuable in many aspects of life, but especially in terms of communication. Imagine how boring the world would be if you had to send messages only to people like you.

Fortunately, there’s much, much more to the world than you, my 86-year-old mom or me. Remember that, and remember to choose your target audience accordingly.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Nancy Marshall, The PR Maven(R), CEO & Founder, Marshall Communications, creating & implementing marketing/PR/personal branding strategies.

Source: Remember: You Are Not The Target Audience

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Find The Content That Works & The Influencers Who Matter

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Of all the goals you have for your content, the most important is engagement. Sure, traffic is great, but if your content doesn’t engage that traffic, you won’t see the results you were after.

While many options exist, interactive content is designed with the sole purpose of grabbing your visitors’ attention and keeping it until they are satisfied. Fortunately, with the help of an interactive content marketing platform, it’s never been easier to produce this kind of valuable content.

4 Examples Interactive Content Marketing Platform

Furthermore, there are only four main types of interactive content you need to consider for your website. Better still,
with the right interactive content marketing platform, just about anyone can
create an engaging example quickly and, often times, for free.

1. Quizzes

Maybe the most popular form of interactive content is the basic quiz. They’re simple to create and take. Yet, quizzes can produce absolutely incredible results. In fact, Women.com owns well over half the engagement for quizzes, dominating even Buzzfeed, which is probably better known for this kind of interactive content.

Their quizzes aren’t overly complicated, either. Check out their most successful one, “Quiz: Only 1 In 50 People Can Identify These 16 Grammar Mistakes. Can You?

SurveyMonkey
is an extremely popular interactive content marketing platform and is also completely free to use. Otherwise, Quiz Maker offers three different options.

2. Calculator and Tools

Online calculators do more than just help readers add and subtract. They help readers by making convoluted calculations much easier. For example, if you wanted to know what the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” would mean for you, the NY Times’ tax calculator requires you to only answer four questions.

Another extremely popular tool is a mortgage calculator. Just about every major mortgage originator and real-estate advice site offers one. That’s because those in the market for a new home absolutely need this information, but would rather not conduct complex calculations in order to receive it (or find out for the first time when they’re in a lender’s office).

Take a look at this mortgage calculator from NerdWallet for an excellent example of how you can use an interactive content marketing platform to create a winning webpage that will bring you traffic for years to come. If you’re looking for a free interactive content marketing platform to build your site a calculator, try uCalc or Calculoid. For those who may need more from their calculators, ContentTools is an excellent choice.

3. Interactive Visuals

Interactive visuals make it easier for people to understand complicated concepts by illustrating them with visuals. As opposed to an infographic, though, these visuals allow the viewer to adjust the input for specific outcomes. One really fun example that showed up in recent years was “Winds and Words”:

“Using data collected
from script dialogue and other sources, this experiment analyzes and visualizes
characters’ words and interactions from the first six seasons of HBO’s Game of
Thrones.”

If you watched the show, you know how daunting it could be at times to remember the dozens of characters’ interactions with one another, year-after-year. The fun tool shows users whom every character spoke to – and how often – broken down by season. This type of marketing asset is possible with an interactive content marketing platform like R Shiny. It’s too involved for any sort of free software, but the results are clearly
worth it.

4. Timelines, Sliders, and More

Finally, another fantastic way to use an interactive content marketing platform is to create a timeline or slider that shows the progression of a product, service, or event. For example, check out this cool timeline that documents the evolution of the iPhone. With just one click-at-a-time, you can watch as the model in front of you changes. That’s a lot more interesting than simply seeing them all laid out in one static visual because it gives you a much better sense of how the device’s dimensions changed over time.

Another interesting example shows how diversity in tech grew between 2014 and 2017. Once again, a simple side-by-side comparison of each year would have sufficed, but it’s far more engaging when you can look at each metric and see exactly how it changed with just a simple click. If your site needs a timeline, Preceden offers a free trial, yet it’s trusted by brands like Netflix and Slack. Otherwise, R Shiny is also great for this kind of content.

The Most Important Rule When Creating Interactive Content

Now that you understand what interactive content is and what your four main options are, the next step is deciding which would make the most sense for your business. As you research the different types of interactive content that is successful in your market, you’ll see that even in a single category – say quizzes – there’s no limit to what you can do. In terms of the questions you ask, the interface of the quiz, how results are provided, etc., the sky’s the limit.

However, remember this quote from the founder of “Convince and Convert,” Jay Baer, about content creation: “One of the best ways to succeed with modern marketing is not to try to be amazing, but just be useful.” Bells and whistles are great, but if your interactive content doesn’t actually provide the answers your market wants, don’t expect it to attract much attention for very long.

Keep in mind, too, that those answers don’t necessarily have to be life-changing. Finding out how much of a mortgage you can afford is great, but clearly, many of Women.com’s readers were interested in discovering if they could name “All 15 of These 80s Hits by One Line.” Different markets. Different interactive content.

It’s Never Been Easier to Create Interactive Content

Depending on the kind you want to create, an interactive content marketing platform could produce your next post by the end-of-the-day and for absolutely free.

By: Susan Moeller

Source: BuzzSumo: Find the content that works and the influencers who matter

1.58K subscribers

An introduction to the h5p framework, with examples.

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Are You Going to Ignore Voice Marketing or Leverage It To Rake In a Staggering FREE Buyers For Your Business

Getting your content onto Amazon Alexa is equivalent to using Twitter in 2006 or Instagram in 2010. There’s more opportunity available than any one business can handle! Think of Alexa and voice-first marketing as a “land grab” for marketers equivalent to Thomas Jefferson purchasing the Louisiana territory for 3 cents per acre.

Flash briefings are short, informative pieces of recorded audio containing news, tips, advice, round ups or how to information on any topic. Simply ask “Alexa, what’s the news?” or “Alexa, play my Flash Briefings” and your device will play your flash briefings while you’re waking up, having breakfast, taking a shower, or relaxing at home…

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Your Marketing Stinks Like Fear That’s Why Your Content is Getting Ignored

Fear is like sex, sweet onions, and a seven-day road trip: Once the stink gets on you, it’s hard to shake. And, when it comes to the marketing strategies used and the content created by most organizations, that stink is so overwhelming it drives their audience toward any alternative that seems even remotely bold.

How do you gauge the influence fear has in your approach to marketing, communications, and content?

It’s relatively simple.

Do you make decisions about marketing, communications, and content based on:

  • Unwritten industry norms?
  • A desire to appeal to every possible audience?
  • A reluctance to be the first?
  • An avoidance of anything remotely controversial or political?
  • A lack of faith in your marketing and communications team?
  • A lack of knowledge about (or worse, judgement of) modern, diverse cultures and generations?
  • The way you’ve always done it?
  • An unwillingness to avoid making anyone angry?
  • A worry that you’ll look, feel, or get called stupid?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, fear is playing a big role in your marketing and content creation.

Fear can be useful. For example, that guy who made the documentary where he canoodled with grizzly bears before being eaten by a grizzly bear could have used a little more natural fear encoded in his DNA.

But you aren’t canoodling with grizzly bears.

You are running a business.

In business, fear is the fastest road to irrelevancy.

And irrelevancy is failure.

To better understand how fear leads directly to irrelevancy in your marketing and communications, take a broader view of the word “content.” That word means more than just Instagram posts, videos, and blogs.

Content also includes movies, books, music, and art.

Using that definition, think of the content that forms big parts of our shared cultural history. Think Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Grapes of Wrath, Invisible Man, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, every Motown record Berry Gordy ever produced, “This Land is Your Land,” every painting Frida Kahlo ever painted, The Catcher in the Rye, every book Toni Morrison ever authored–all part of our shared history.

Combined, all the great works of content like the ones mentioned above represent an immeasurably small percentage of all the content produced, period. But the content we remember? The content that changes all of us collectively, and each of us individually? Behavioral change is the goal of any marketer, and content that succeeds in changing behavior–regardless of whether it is a great novel or a thirty-second commercial–is fearless.

Always.

Every time.

The same is true for your organization’s marketing and communications strategy. The only way to succeed as a marketer is to be heard, and the only way to be heard is to be fearless.

Finally, being bold and being fearless do not justify using Gandhi’s voice to sell Hyundais during the Super Bowl. That sort of “fearlessness” is just cynicism with good cinematography.

Plus, everyone knows Gandhi would never drive a Hyundai Accent.

The man was a revolutionary.

And revolutionaries only drive the all-new, redesigned Hemi-powered Dodge Ram.

Be bold.

Be fearless.

Be a better marketer.

 

By: Dustin McKissen

Source: Your Marketing Stinks Like Fear. That’s Why Your Content is Getting Ignored | Inc.com

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