Why ephemeral content is here to stay

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One of the newest driving forces in future marketing strategies involves a type of content known as "ephemeral," which is a fancy word for "temporary." This technology was first introduced to the social media world with Snapchat.

With Snapchat, you can send short clips or photos but they only last for 24 hours on the other person’s cellphone. The idea of an impermanent photo or video opened up a lot of options for social media users.

What does it do?

The primary focus of ephemeral content is that it is not stored information; it just "lives" for a short period of time and then will be erased.

In recent years, Instagram and Facebook have implemented "Stories," which are indicated by a small ring around a profile photo. People can "watch" the story that day, and then it will disappear after 24 hours

How does this relate to your business?

This type of social media is not an option anymore for businesses and brands — it’s either do or die out.

You can use this type of tool for your marketing campaigns to make them both relevant and useful. Social media can always come with links for your products, your affiliate marketing tribes can use it, and businesses can see more generated profit from using this tech.

How can your brand use this type of tool?

Brands can give their audience a brief glimpse into their "behind the scenes" work, such as how products are created, shared or promoted.

Several advertisers also use these Snapchats or stories in order to show off their products being used in everyday life.

Dos and don'ts

Do: Your company can do an Instagram Story to display their newest product line before anyone else sees it to generate some buzz and let their fans get excited at being “in the know.”

You could show someone using your product/tool/brand. Or, you could even show how your product is made with small clips down the assembly line. If it’s a service, you could display people’s reviews/reactions to your service right there in the moment.

Don’t: Don’t repeat the same images that you use on your Instagram post, for your story. Your followers don’t want repetitive content.

Alsom stay away from using big blocks of text on the story — as mentioned previously, followers only have a few seconds to review this content. It should make a statement, not be a giant wall of text.

Try to avoid having too much sound in the background — most people will skip over your story if you have too much noise.

Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are great tools for your business, and the craze of ephemeral content is definitely here to stay because millennials love the idea of this temporary sharing of ideas, photos and videos.

It’s easy to snap a photo with your phone and show off your products or services in exciting ways without having to pay for a photographer or marketing team. More companies are using this type of marketing in order to appeal to younger generations and you can, too!

Tips for your new business' website

Are you trying to be a #GirlBoss or start a new business and get it crackin'? Make that side hustle money, my friend!

The most important part of marketing your new business is visibility. You can’t be as visible as you need to be without a website. Sure, having social media accounts is helpful, but you need a total online presence that can only be achieved with a website.

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The first step is to actually get your website online. This sounds terrifying to some non-tech-savvy people, but it can be easy!

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert binary coder or even know HTML — building a website is much easier these days because there are services to help you that do all the coding and hard work. You just input your information into it.

I always recommend Squarespace as a business’ starting platform. This service allows you to choose your domain (website name), host it (store all your information) and design it with ready-made templates.

This is a three-in-one, easy-to-use and seamless way to have something on the web with your company’s name on it.

Here are some more tips to help you get your site online:

  • When you start a website, the most important thing is to keep things simple, and use honest words and photos. Don’t claim you have the "best in town" until you actually do, or it can come off as gimmicky.
  • Don’t be scared to put a little money into your site — this goes a long way and it’s a great investment. Don't forget keep records of it for your taxes!
  • Read about search engine optimization (SEO) and see if you can get your website to rank higher on the top search engines.
  • Have a photographer come by your office and take some quality photos. You can find affordable photographers by asking college photography students — these folks are looking for work to build their portfolios, just like you’re trying to build your company.
  • There doesn’t have to be tons of information on your website when you’re first starting out. Location, prices, contact information and a small explanation of your company will be more than enough to get started.
  • Consider starting a blog.
  • Quality is important — search engines know when you have a bunch of misspellings, broken links or bad grammar. If you have someone you trust, have them read over it before you publish it. You could also hire someone to edit your site using a freelancing site like Upwork.
  • Use free stock images or take your own photos; don’t plagiarize or use copyright images.

Enjoy this time as your new business is launching, and let others enjoy it with you by letting them find you on the internet!    

Meal planning and prep (Free Meal Planning Sheet!)

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Okay, I'm as lazy as can possibly be sometimes. I would rather get take-out every day because I won't have to cook or clean up. However, the cost and unhealthiness of going out? Obviously not worth it. So my husband and I have been starting to cook and eat at home more. 

Then comes the second issue - what should I cook? Every morning, I have to figure out what I'm going to eat for lunch and then what I'm going to cook after work. My husband works 24 hours on, then 48 hours off as an EMT so on his days off he tries his very best to help me out,  but it's still not easy when we don't know what we're doing. 

So this morning I've created an easy chart for us and it's now on a shared google excel sheet for us to update every week. Meal plannning is a great way to relieve stress on yourself each week, plus you can plan around date nights or events. You can find healthy recipes and build a collection of your favorites. We also plan on making this a big whiteboard calendar in our house, so that we know what's on the menu that week. (Now he can stop asking 'what's for dinner tonight' which is getting annoying :P)

Our plan is to go grocery shopping and cook on Sunday so that we can have our food ready to go. We'll freeze what we need to in order to pop it into the oven for ease after work. We're using epicurious.com for our recipe ideas and our new Instant Pot! Check it out so you can make your own for your home too! 

Download your own free meal planning sheet here!

 

Get inspired today!

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Sometimes, you have phases in your life where you are ridiculously inspired all the time. You’re bursting to the brim with new ideas, energy and options are abounding in front of you. Maybe you’re getting a new job, volunteering, writing, creating, traveling or even just creating a lot. You are on the top of your game - you are in the zone.

These times are fantastic and make you feel like you were born to do (insert your passion here). But what about those times when you are not feeling that way at all? Maybe you’re just in a creative funk, or you’re having a depressive episode, or having creative blocks. You’re hating your job, or you just don’t ever want to get out of bed, you’re feeling like every day is the same as the last - you’re stuck in a rut and you feel completely drowned in your misery.

This may feel like the end of the world for us creative types - especially for the organizers amongst us. We want to have a daily schedule, routines and such - but we also want to feel free and create and soar in our hobbies or jobs. We want a lifestyle that is both fun and also inspiring.

When you’re feeling uninspired, here are some tips to help:

Break your routine

Routines are great for establishing good habits but when they’re not doing that, they kinda suck. Tonight, instead of going home and turning on the TV do something completely different. Maybe call up someone and ask them out for dinner and a movie. Or maybe grab a book or magazine and go to a park nearby. Hell, it could be as small as sitting out on your patio instead of your couch. Just break your routine. Listen to different music, watch a movie you never usually would, call someone who you haven’t talked to in ages.

Get out of your comfort zone

This sounds similar to the first point, but it’s a little more intense. Grab a friend or your partner and do something crazy and completely out of your character. Maybe hit up an improv club meeting or go play a round of golf. Maybe for us introverts this will be super hard at first, but you’ll break out of that rut at least! If you normally are terrified to even watch scary movies, go to a haunted house. If you don’t like to talk about yourself, go to a therapist and do it anyway. Maybe try writing or blogging, or post a selfie on your social media!

Create something else

This is a huge part of being a creative person - we get stuck into our own heads. We label ourselves as a fiction writer and never even think about trying out writing poetry or non-fiction. We think of ourselves as watercolor painters and don’t want to try out oil paintings. Speak only English? Go learn Spanish or French.  Have you ever tried to go to a drink-and-paint class? A cooking class? Write a screenplay. It doesn’t matter what it is but try and consume/create a whole other genre of art. All art is beautiful, why only ever try one?

Listen to someone inspiring

This one is a bit more difficult to pin down into words but sometimes to be inspired you have to reach out and actually find someone to inspire you. Who normally did the trick for you? JK Rowling? Go find and watch an interview of her. There’s a directory of amazing TED Talks and plenty more on youtube. Hearing people’s stories and triumphs is a human experience that makes us all inspired.

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So there are a few tips of mine that help me get inspired when I’m feeling blocked. What do you normally do when you’re in a rut?

 

What to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed

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My wedding is in officially only 10 days away. How am I doing? Yeah, just about as stressed as you’d imagine. There’s thousands of little details that were either forgotten or unorganized properly. On top of that, I’m working a pretty heavy load at work lately, I’m actually trying to stick to writing creatively every day, I’m cleaning and cooking and a hundred other things.

So when my to-do lists have to-do lists, I get overwhelmed - and plenty of people do. None of us can be perfect, and so often, life throws things at us all at once.

Here’s a few tips on things I do when those overwhelming feelings come around:

Journal about it

Yes I know, I talk about journaling in almost every post but hey, it’s really that important! When you write out your feelings, your worries and anxieties, they somehow feel not as massively difficult. Sure, to-do lists and brain dumps and planners are great for this as well, but before I do any of that I try to just journal my actual feelings instead of action items first.

Pray about it

Sure, you may not be religious but there is a peace of mind that comes when you ask whatever higher power you believe in (God, Nature, the Force?, Yourself) to help you out. Maybe nothing comes out of it (other than hopefully an appreciation for how small your problems are when compared to the world’s) but the most important thing is that you’re not making this all about what you have to do. You’re acknowledging that there are outside forces that can either help or hurt all of your struggles.

Talk about it

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to your best friend, your spouse or partner, your parents, or even a therapist. Talking about the things that are overwhelming you can help tremendously. There’s plenty of studies out there that prove how talking to someone about a problem can almost instantly provide some relief to your brain. It relieves stress and most of all - those people can give you advice, or even better yet: They can help you get some of your tasks accomplished. Next time you think you’re all alone in cleaning the kitchen or planning an event - trust me, you’re not.

Relax about it

Now this one can get a little controversial. Most of the time people tell you not to procrastinate or ignore your duties just because you’re stressed. But honestly? I find it ridiculously helpful to take a huge step back from my planner and to-do list for a few hours. Sure, those things are all important but most of the time they can handle being put on hold while you relax. When you’re really feeling overwhelmed, nothing is going to go well anyway - so put it to the side. Listen to some music or watch one episode of a show (Don’t start binging though) or go for a workout. Exercise helps stress so much!

What are some things that you do when you’re feeling super overwhelmed by a bunch of things happening to you at once? Let me know in the comments below!

Why your new company should be blogging

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When you first start your company, one of the best ways to get the word out is through marketing.

When marketing comes into play, a lot of people get worried and confused. It can be a bit of a daunting task when you start researching social media, website design, advertising and creating campaigns… but it doesn’t have to be difficult, and blogging can be a great way to market the new business.

The numbers show that businesses who added a blog to their company’s website brought in overall more business.

Another reason to blog for your company is that it increases interactions between you and your clients. These people may not have felt comfortable talking to you before, but now they have another platform to talk about their concerns and now you can discuss with them (and create a loyal customer base).

Now, I know you’re asking yourself — who has time for a blog when I’m starting out a company?! But this is a fantastic way to get constant traffic to your company’s website, which means more customers. It will also increase your reputation — everyone wants someone who actually knows what they’re doing. If you’re blogging about it, then that means you know something about it.

Consider having an article each week to start off. This can mean as little as 300 words! Just think about ideas that concern your company’s particular area of expertise.

For example: A working dad just started a landscaping company. He opens his website and has a blog section on that site. His first few articles: “How to take care of your grass during the sprint?,” “What lawnmower should I use?” and “How do I get rid of weeds forever?”

These are easy for him to write well, the posts are maybe 500 words — and he uses free stock images from the internet or his own. He spell-checks and posts. Over time, he will build up his following and he could purchase some Google advertising easily.

Now, every time someone in his area is on Google searching for lawnmowers, this landscaper is going to show up in their search. They may say, why buy a lawnmower when I can just pay this man to do it for me every week?

This is obviously a very generalized example, but you can see how it can help you and your company with credibility and sales.

When you finally get some work on your blog posted and done, the next part comes in — promoting it. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends and family to help you with this! Most people love helping when it’s easy to do - and copying a link on their profiles is easy.

Some tips to promote yourself:

  • Social media is the best way to promote your blog and your company — read up on it and don’t give up. Create reminders on your personal calendar to remember to post!
  • See if your association or other newsletters you’re subscribed to have an advertising section. A simple link on a newsletter goes a long way to get blog traffic.
  • When you’re used to your blog, consider starting a blog newsletter for your company — you can even include coupons/sales promotions.
  • Put your website link on everything. T-shirts, cars, business cards, referrals, invoices, receipts, brochures, any print material your company may have, and — most importantly — add it to your email signature.

These are some great starts, but there is a whole world of blogging advice on the internet. When you start anything, the most important thing is research. Consider having someone help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed — and you’ll see how much your blog helps your company in the long run.

Encourage employees to take care of themselves

Encourage employees to take care of themselves

Flu season, illnesses, tough political times, economic hardships, grief, difficult relationships — all of these things and more are affecting your employees on a daily basis. Obviously, a lot of this is happening outside of your company's walls, but it can still cause problems during work hours. There's scientific research based on the correlation between your work and your health. There's also research based on how being a good boss means taking care of your employees' wellness.

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