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Growth Hacking

Ways to Outline and Focus on Your Writing

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No matter how long you’ve been writing, getting started or finishing can be challenging. Professional writers still get writer’s block or freeze up when looking at a blank page, despite their years of training. Even if you just want to write to express your feelings, it still takes discipline to put words on a page. If you want to become a more productive writer, here are some tips that help get the job done.

Writing Time

It is not really a surprise to find out that most writers write in the morning or at a time when their energy level is at their peak.  Writing time differs from writer to writer, but many of them dismissed the notion of setting aside a specific amount of time to write. Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman for example said that he spends time writing a page and a half before launching into his work day. The words don’t have to be about your project or book. It can be about anything. The idea here is to get your mental gears going. Think of it as a warm-up before a workout.

Detailed Outline

Creating a detailed outline sounds like something you did for your high school research paper, but it helps get ideas flowing. Journalist Shane Snow shares that he breaks down his writing into smaller pieces, whether it’s a short article or a full novel. He says that writers get a psychological reward from tackling smaller pieces of a big project. Breaking down work also keeps you motivated to move forward.

Always Be Ready

Sometimes inspiration sparks out of the blue and words spurt out. When this happens, you have to be prepared. Sarah Wendell, author of a widely followed romance blog, says that “word labor”, an experience she links to having children, can strike anywhere, and her mind suddenly bursts with words that need to be written. When this happens, she stops whatever it is she is doing and takes out her phone or a notepad and starts writing.

Social Media

The internet is widely used by authors and writers for research. It is a good tool to have around, but can be distracting, especially with social media. Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors author Sarah Stodola shuts down social media completely by using a tool called Freedom.

The Right Place

Finding the right place to write is essential if you want to get your writing done. Shane Snow says that for his book Smartcuts, he got the bulk of his writing done in a corner table at a Starbucks. Author Joanna Penn also shares that she finds it easier to write in coffee shops compared to her apartment. Environment is critical when you want to write. Find a place where it is easy for you to concentrate so that you can write more.

Hopefully these writing “hacks” will get you in the mood to write. Getting started and finishing is an ongoing battle, but having plans to help you fight along the way can make the job a bit easier.

Growth Hacking

How To Leverage Social Media As A Word Of Mouth Tool

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Thousands of small business owners still rely on the power of “word of mouth” or the idea that their satisfied customers will drive new potential customers to them through telling people they know. They have no interest in the new techniques of modern marketing, specifically social media, because they’ve always relied on word of mouth.

They’re making a huge mistake, because social media isn’t just a place where you can see your weird uncle rant about politics, or what your high school buddies are up to now. Social media is the modern word of mouth. In the past, if a customer loved your service they may tell 2-3 people max, but now all it takes is one Facebook post and they are telling everyone on their friends list. Considering the average user has 338 Facebook friends, just one recommendation can prove to be very valuable for any type of small business.

Leveraging social platforms for word of mouth begins with the same process as stirring up regular word of mouth referrals: with great service/product that gives customers a reason to talk about it. Everyday people don’t wish to be a sales person to their friends unless your product or service elicits one of two responses: Love or Hate. No one tells others about a product thats “meh” or a service that “got the job done”. They tell of the horror stories that came with the worst lawn care company ever or how the local coffee shop has the best espresso they’ve ever tasted. Understand word of mouth goes both ways, so if you regularly disappoint and receive tons of complaints don’t be surprised when people are talking, but not in a good way.

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Growth Hacking

Public Relations Lessons To Learn From

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When you’re new and inexperienced, the public relations world can be strange and exciting at the same time. Even if you went to school or took the appropriate courses, nothing can prepare you for the real-life experience because there are some things that cannot be taught in school. There are lessons in the PR world that is best learned from experience, trial and error and by learning from other people’s mistakes. Here are examples of PR lessons that you can learn from.

Work With Influencers

There are many novices who do not consider working with influencers when they are working on or launching a PR campaign. They undervalue influencers because it is seldom taught in school. Partnering with an influencer is a great PR campaign because they already have networks in place that you can leverage to make your campaign succeed. Nowadays people are connected not only through work but through the internet and social media too. It is normal to “follow” or be “friends” with somebody on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and influencers have their own circle of followers and friends in these platforms. Working with influencers is a great way to spread your message quickly and make your campaign succeed.

Cultivate Media Relationships

People in the media have access to a bigger audience. When you’re working in PR it is all about getting the word out and reaching the maximum number of audiences. Don’t be shy with reporters. Get to know them and build relationships so that you can call upon them when needed. Aside from reporters, you also need to cultivate a relationship with your online audience. To do this, you need to be accessible to them through social media and blogs. Respond to their queries and engage them in conversation.

Create Newsworthy Content

When you’re in school, it is easy to imagine that your clients will have newsworthy content and you will have unlimited media coverage because of it. But when you’re in the real world, this is not always the case. When you’re a PR executive, it is your job to come up with newsworthy content by capitalizing on relevant events and to find ways to position your clients so that they can engage the media. Whether it is a holiday trend or current events, it is always important to stay abreast of what’s trending to get press for your clients.

Rejection Is Not Personal

Don’t take rejection personally. Just because you think that something is newsworthy or amazing does not automatically mean that other people deem it so. In school, most students do not need to access the media to garner attention for their assignments. This is why most of them do not have first experience when their stories get rejected. Don’t take it personally. Just because the reporter is not interested in your story does not mean to say that your story next week will also get rejected.

Timing Matters

When somebody tells a joke, the narrator has to time it perfectly for maximum effect. The same applies with public relations. It is easy to get impatient because you might think that it is best to strike immediately. However, it also pays to watch and be patient. Don’t send newsletters and pitches when no one is likely to read them. Learn the right time to update your clients or company’s social media pages, the best time to send email newsletters or when your blog posts go live. Knowing the right timing to update can help maximize viewership and impact.

Re-Use Content

Many of us who frequent the internet know that fresh is always best. However, in the world of public relations, it is alright to re-use content and repeat your message. There is a difference between sounding like a broken record and repetition. You want to repeat your message because some consumers won’t remember your message the first time. Repeat the message and reuse content by referencing past blog posts, sharing old posts in your newsletter or sharing old content as #throwbackthursday.

There are many public relations lessons that you don’t learn in school. In PR you need to learn to exploit situations to your advantage. If you’re new to PR have to be brave and try things that are new to you or get ready to learn as you go along.

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Business

7 Known Brands that Bootstrapped to Success

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Today’s entrepreneurs have a misconception that in order to succeed, you need outside money, and you need others to validate and invest in your idea. Below are 5 major companies to prove that theory wrong. You’ll probably recognize these 5 successes below and you’ll be more impressed with the fact that they didn’t receive any funding to become successful.

1 – SPANX

Sarah Blakely started her $400M company with about $5000 in her bank. At the mere age of 27, the wild idea of her new to be found startup came while she was getting dressed for a party. At the time, she even researched and wrote the patent herself in order to save money on hiring an attorney. Fast forward to 2016, her company reportedly worth $400 million and she owns 100% of her company.

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