Category: Websites

Make your own marketing materials

Having a successful business means successful marketing, as we all know. Along with cold calling, cold emailing, and word-of-mouth marketing, it’s just as important to have professional materials that you can physically hand someone. Lately, while out and about doing day-to-day errands, I make it a point to talk about what I do. What always follows is a request for my business card. I love my business cards, but I know I also need something more.

When I contact new prospects, I need to be ready to send them a brochure as well. Sure, my website is a brochure of sorts, but everyone has a website these days. Anyone can make a cold call or send an email. But a freelancer who uses a variety of marketing materials, both online and on paper, will stand out in the crowd.

Luckily, there are lots of options for getting printed materials for your business. You can hire a graphic designer and then hire a printer, you can try printing things from your own home, or you can use an online document producing and printing company.

You can create your own documents right on their site. Making your product is simple, and you can type text, add pictures, and move things around quite easily. You can also upload a finished project or use one of their templates. When you’re planning a major marketing campaign, details are important. You can get an idea of the paper types by ordering the samples ahead of time. I like to know the weight, the texture, and how light affects the paper when I have a serious project.

As a freelance writer, I sometimes run across clients who need printed materials as well. A reasonably-priced printing service is a great complement to my business. Besides brochures, you can try magnets, calendars, catalogs, window clings, envelopes, and a whole host of other marketing materials. And yes…even business cards.

Have you ever used an online printing company?

Can you restart an old blog?

Blogging can be a journey (like this one), a passion, a hobby, or a business. And everything in-between. But sometimes life happens and your blog can wind up the last thing on a long “to do” list. That’s what happened to me and one of my old blogs.

Marana Unwrapped was a blog about the town I lived in, just northwest of Tucson, Arizona. I started out pretty interested in it, some people subscribed to it, and I even got added to the town’s email group for the press. But then I moved out of the town of Marana, and somehow thought I should let the blog move into oblivion.

I let the domain name expire and that was that. But something kept nagging at me over the past couple of years. I knew that blog had potential, and it makes no sense to turn down the opportunity. After all, trying to restart an old blog may be worth it. I checked to see if the domain name was still available (it was), and I re-bought it.

It seemed reasonable to sit on my decision and think things through first. I decided a new WordPress theme was essential, and I got to work on that. I changed some categories, updated and added a few pages, and tried my hand at some CSS/PHP code tweaking. It’s still not perfect (I need to Photoshop some of the heading’s pictures), but it’s ready to reintroduce to the world.

With the restart of an old blog comes decisions about how to drive traffic to it. Word of mouth and Twitter may be the best way to jumpstart it. Local blogs have the advantage of being extremely targeted. Later I may go on to create a Facebook page and maybe even submit articles to submission sites. Getting traffic is always a fun adventure.

If you get a chance, take a look at the old content on Marana Unwrapped. Even better, if you’re a Tucson reader, feel free to send me story ideas and news. Let me know what you think (here or there). I’m all ears.

Have you ever made the decision to restart an old blog? What plan of action did you take?

Entrecard is making a difference

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I mentioned a while back that I joined Entrecard, and I thought it might be time to tell everyone how much I like it.

Entrecard Pros

One of the best things about Entrecard is that I’ve met a lot of other bloggers. I’ve made some new online friends, I’ve found some really great blogs, and I’ve even made some money.

With the influx of traffic comes clicks on my sidebar items, so I’ve made a few sales and some Adsense money. I’ve also written several guest posts, which has brought me even more traffic. Recently, a cool site started a contest that featured my blog. (Thanks Leisa!)

I’ve also decided on an Entrecard philosophy for dropping cards. I don’t drop cards on blogs that I don’t want to support for whatever personal reasons. I like the idea that Entrecard popularity could wind up being a democratic process, so I do my part by not “voting” for some.

Entrecard Cons

Entrecard can take a bit of time, because you have to visit a lot of sites to drop your card (which earns you Entrecredits). And if you’re like me, you can’t help but read some of the posts as you go along.

Besides the amount of time it takes to maintain a high position or to grow your site, I have one more complaint. Though Entrecarders do visit often and even leave comments, my subscribership hasn’t budged.

I also gave up offering my writing service for Entrecredits. For now. I wound up taking on too many projects, and I wasn’t sure that the amount I was “charging” was really worth my time and effort. I wound up refunding (plus interest) several buyers’ credits. My time is probably better spent trying to get new clients that pay real money. Now that Entrecard is starting a service for buying and selling credits for real money, I might start again, but I’ll only do one project at a time.

Have you tried Entrecard? If not, why not? If so, have you noticed any particularly good or bad things so far?

Want to build your dream home business? Here are some tools.

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Are you a work-at-home parent? Even if you’re a home-based entrepreneur without children, this resource list is gold.

The list includes 100 resources, from articles to blogs (mine is included…very nice), to networks and miscellaneous information. Everything’s online, so there’s no need to run to the library.

Even if you don’t have time right now, just go to The Bootstrapper’s site and bookmark the WAHM’s Toolbox. This is a list you don’t want to ignore.

Associated Content and other ventures

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I’ve written a few articles for Associated Content now, as I said I would in a previous post. I’m not thrilled, I must say. Sure, there’s a learning curve as to what they want, but I don’t know if I have the patience to figure it all out. Of the 7 or so articles I’ve submitted, two have been accepted for upfront payment for under $4.

Several others were declined for various reasons. One article was determined to be “humor,” which they don’t usually offer upfront payments for. Another had spelling “errors” (I disagree with their spellchecker, but I fixed the words their system “caught”), and another one or two just weren’t the types of articles they offer payments for (current events and articles that aren’t “in-depth” enough.

Luckily, I’ve been able to take some of the declined articles and sell them elsewhere instead. Otherwise I’m just leaving them as “Performance Paid” articles, and we’ll see what happens.

So check out my AC posts and my recent HubPages posts. Enjoy, and let me know what you think:

Training your cockatiel to whistle

Thinking of getting a pet cockatiel?

My first pet rat

Male or female rats?

Starting from scratch with a new laptop

Calming a toddler: Count to 20 method

Not your first time?

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If this isn’t your first time visiting Crayon Writer, I would like to extend an invitation for you to subscribe.

Most of you are bloggers, so you’re familiar with subscribing to blogs.

But in case you aren’t, take a look at the pretty orange square thingee under my picture to the right. Either click on it to subscribe in a “reader,” or put your email address in the box below it. It’s completely free.

(To learn more about readers, check out Yaro Starak’s post about rss feeds.)

Either way, you’ll get updates from my site on a regular basis, saving you the trouble of traipsing over here to see if I’ve written anything new.

I didn’t know I had it in me (or I forgot), but I recently increased my MyBlogLog community by over 100 in just a few days (in response to a contest).

So now I’m going to challenge myself to increase my blog’s subscribership by at least 50 before Christmas.

I’ll start with repeat visitors, like you. Subscribe for a month, and if you don’t find my blog useful, feel free to unsubscribe (hopefully you’ll let me know what went wrong).

For those of you who are already subscribers, thank you so much! Please let me know how I’m doing, and wish me luck on my challenge.

4 Reasons to Hire a Freelance Writer

Writing

Freelance writers are the answer to the question, How am I going to find the time to do this, too?
Maybe you can write the copy, you can proofread, and you can do layout without any outside help.

But do you have the time? Can you do everything quickly and well?
A freelance writer can step in and take at least one thing off of your To Do list.

The advantages:
1. Don’t worry about benefits, vacation time, taxes, etc.

Freelance writers take care of their own taxes, vacations, and insurance needs. You only pay for the service you need.

2. Hire a writer as-needed, rather than pay for down time.

When you have employees, you have to pay them even when they talk to their co-workers, surf the internet, take bathroom breaks, or just dawdle. Freelancers are paid only for the time-on-task.

3. Freelance writers are customer oriented.

Employees are not necessarily loyal to the employer, but you can bet business owners are loyal to their own businesses. As business owners, freelancers have a strong desire to do their best work for their clients. Happy customers are essential to a prosperous business.

4. Freelancers are committed to your project.

Freelancers are able to accept assignments they want to do. There’s no boss telling them they must do a particular project. That means your job is important to the  freelance writer, hand-picked, rather than just another assignment from an employer.

A freelance writer’s job is caring about your business as much as her own.

The question is, why wouldn’t you hire a freelancer?

If you need a freelance writer to help with web content, articles, blog writing, proofeading, or more, hire me!

Feedburner Flare bug is fixed

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I was having some technical issues, but somehow I figured out that a certain code decided to make things act up. I deleted a script for feedburner, and all of a sudden everything worked fine.

After much research, I finally found out from a co-founder of Feedburner that there was a glitch in their new Adsense program, which I’d recently activated.

I was quite pleased at how quickly Feedburner replied to the question, and at how fast they fixed it.

All systems ready to go!

Lovely links

Here are a few links for your browsing pleasure.

Freelance Switch has just published a list of freelance sites, with categories from writing to designing.

The Copywriting Maven informs us about health insurance for freelancers.

Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home reveals the secret of how to do future posting. I thought it was an obscure plugin…Thanks Wendy! I’m in business now (especially since I now author 3 blogs).

Enjoy!

Websites add a touch of class

Having a website for my copywriting business seems to have added a touch of class. It’s given me just the boost of confidence that I needed to effectively market myself.

I have to thank Peter Bowerman, author of “The Well-Fed Writer” and “Back for Seconds.” I didn’t really dive in head first with his suggestions, but now that I’m finally taking his awesome advice, I’m swimming in the deep end.

Having a website with samples from your portfolio allows prospective clients to instantly see what you can do. There’s no, “Send us some samples,” and all the back and forth correspondence that can entail.

Plus, having a website showcases your ability to, well, write! Prospects get an immediate idea of what you’ll do for them.

I launched my website a few weeks ago, mentioned it in my cold emails earlier this week, and I’ve already increased my clientele by leaps and bounds. It’s truly amazing. Not sure if it’s the website itself, or the confidence it gives me. Positive thinking can net results too.