I am such a Christmas lover, I really am. But after all the fun, socializing, indulgence and relaxation of the holiday season (and my birthday - it really is a celebratory season for me!), I feel like the start of January is a huge, refreshing breath. I’ve always loved the idea of a new start at the beginning of the year. You don’t need to wait for a specific date to start afresh, but it feels right to me to close last year’s book with celebration and to hit the refresh button for the start of a new calendar. So, today, let’s talk about how you can get organized for the new year.
“You need to know that being organized has nothing to do with being neat and clean. It simply means being able to find what you're looking for quickly and accomplishing what you want to accomplish efficiently.” - Harry H Harrison
1. Get your finances in order
The holiday season is always a drain on your pockets so starting the year off with your finances in order can encourage you into keeping the habit up for the rest of the year and stay smart with your spending. I always like to draw up a budget at the start of the year, taking any goals or plans you have into account ahead of time.
Tips to organize your finances:
2. Set up your agenda
Whatever planning system you use, give it a refresh for the new year. I’m switching back to a traditional planner this year, after a year bullet journaling, and I can’t wait to start filling in my agenda. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about a new planner/notebook that fills me with excitement. If you’ve never been a planner in the past, consider trying out a planning system! I have some tips in this blog on how to find the planning system that’s right for you.
Top tip: When you’re setting up your system, make sure to include important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, estimated dates for doctor and dental check-ups, prescriptions, even things like insurance renewal dates!
And I don’t just mean your physical space (although I really recommend it! Here’s a 30-day challenge, if you’re up for it), I mean everything. This doesn’t mean throwing away all that you own, just what you don’t need, what takes up space but has no use, what brings you too little joy. After, hopefully, you’ll feel lighter, more excited by the things you do have.
Places to declutter:
4. Start a routine
What better time to create a new routine? Routines are great ways to remind yourself to make the most of your time, to build habits and to enjoy your time that much more. Maybe you rush through your mornings before work, well, find something fun to add into your morning routine - add a playlist, ten minutes to watch YouTube, a walk, extra time for making an extra yummy breakfast - whatever will make your morning more enjoyable for you.
I always like to write mine down on my phone for easy reference. Routines always feel a bit forced the first few times, but they soon become natural and doing things the way you really want to do them, becomes second nature.
5. Pick some new habits to start
Likewise, what better time to pick up some new habits? Make a list of habits you’d like to try, ones that would help you be more organized (ideas below) and start building them into your daily routines. As you repeat them - and I recommend, at the same time every day - you will find them slipping more easily into habit and becoming a part of your day. There’s no need to wait for the new year to do this, but winter gives us a good chance to turn inwards and spend more time on ourselves. Indeed, the new year also gives us some motivation to start new things.
Habits to Help you get Organized:
6. Set Some Goals
It’s the new year so of course, we’re talking new years resolutions. Setting goals and weaving them through your plans for the year will help you make steady progress and stick with to them. I know I tend to be one for rushing into things very quickly, so when I set goals at the beginning of the year, I can be a little overly ambitious. But planning your goal over a year-long period will help you create a steady plan so succeed and don’t burnout.
7. Perfect your workspace
Especially if you’ve joined the work from home gang (hey ?), your workspace can have a big influence on your productivity. Put some time into organizing it and making it a helpful space that helps you work in the most comfortable and productive manner. Also, make it comfortable, add reminders that inspire you, make it an enjoyable place to be, where you feel motivated to work your socks off.
8. Create a year plan
The great thing about getting organized in time for the new year is that you have a full, fresh calendar to work with. So, dream up a year plan. I know things rarely go to plan, especially over the course of an entire year, but I think creating a plan for your vision right now is a great exercise, whether it comes to fruition or not. As things change over the year, pause, reevaluate and rewrite your plan. I’ve shied away from writing plans before out of fear that it would impede me when things changed later, but I’ve come to the conclusion that editing your plan is just part of the process and starting out with a plan is still your best shot.
Hopefully, those tips will help you get organized for the new year so you can not only start the year off on the right foot but continue walking the whole year through. In the past, I’ve placed too heavy a weight on the need for organization. It’s not a need. It’s a tool to help you, and it’s always important to give yourself the best chance at succeeding, whatever you set your mind to. That being said, it is also important to forsake organization when you need to. To be led by whim and feeling, to face things unprepared and to not panic in the face of spontaneity. Be organized, but equally, have fun.
I wish you all the best 2021 - enjoy it. Visit also my YouTube, my blog, my Twitter and my Pinterest! Love, Ella-Rose xx
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
As a small business owner, you might not know where to begin with creating your business presence online. You know that you should have social media accounts, maybe a website, run some ads, etc. But, it takes more time, planning, and creating content to grow your following, reach your target audience, and convert your followers into paying customers or clients. In this post, we will go over the basic tips you should follow on your social media accounts if you do not have a social media manager to create and manage your content.
Your logo is very important to your brand and your business. If you need some tips on how to use graphic design to create your own logo, visit my blog post explaining everything in detail. You should make sure that your logo is always on your brand images online. If you take a photo of your products or of models for products, make sure to place your logo at one of the corners of your image. This will do two things: (1) make sure that your image is protected from being used without permission or giving credit, and (2) will ensure that your brand gets exposure. Placing your logo on your images is a great way to increase brand awareness by subtly including your logo in all photos or brand images that you share. You do not have to place your logo on every single image on your social media accounts. But, it is a good practice to start doing, especially for smaller creators and smaller businesses. Another tip is when you are placing your logo as your profile picture, make sure that the logo fits within the proportions of the profile image of the platform you are using. This will help your logo be fully visible and it will make you come out as more professional to your audience.
An important part of posting is using proper hashtags and proper hashtag etiquette. When using hashtags, you should keep in mind your industry and your target audience. Start by researching your industry and audience in order to understand what they are looking for online and which hashtags resonate with them the most. For example, as a hair salon you can use #HairDresser, #HairDresserMagic or #ModernSalon. Keep in mind that when using hashtags, proper etiquette is to capitalize the first letter of each word. This makes it easier for the words to be read and understood, especially for longer tags. Using hashtags will also categorize your content and help you pop-up in search queries on social platforms.
Sharing Customer Content
It's important for you to keep in mind that you should tag or give credit to your customers when sharing content that they posted. Sharing customer content is a great way to showcase positive reviews and comments of your services and products. User-generated content through customer reviews or comments online is one of the best marketing techniques because word-of-mouth (WOM) is one of the most trustworthy forms of marketing. Brands and other businesses usually promote word-of-mouth because it generates more brand awareness and has the potential to increase sales. Although WOM is harder to keep track of and control in terms of the content and commentary being shared, it is one of the best ways to promote a brand, sell products, and raise brand awareness.
One of the best ways to grow your following, reach your target audience and stay in touch with your industry/community is to engage. Engagement includes liking posts, commenting, and sharing others' posts on your company's social media accounts. An important reason why engagement is crucial is that it creates a positive brand image. In public relations terms, by engaging with your audience online you are creating a positive brand image which helps increase brand awareness, network, increase sales, and solidify your brand. You can always maintain your engagement by being consistent, responding to questions and comments, and partaking in social listening to keep track of what others are saying about your brand. This is particularly important to do because customer service through social media matters a lot for the image, transparency and reputability of a business.
Selecting the right photos for product promotion is very important for small business. It' important to have the right tools and the right techniques to take photos. A lot of the photos of products that get the most engagement are those that are clear, crisp, aesthetically pleasing, and use the right brand colors. Of course, it all depends on your brand and industry. For example, a hair salon can take their photos of clients on the salon chair or designate a spot in their location for photos by using a solid color wall, a ring light and a good camera (this can be a mobile device with a good camera). A ring light is a great investment for taking product or service photos because it helps bring out the features of the subject by placing the lighting in the right places. Another good tip is to use the right photo editing apps. There are a lot of photo editing apps that can bring your images to another level that leads to more engagement and shares of your posts. Read my post on the best and easiest to use photo editing apps for mobile devices for some more photo tips.
One of the most typical ways for businesses, brands and content creators to reach new audiences and network with other brands is collaborating. Collaborations are a great way to raise brand awareness with new audiences, enter new markets, and take advantage of hype around certain holidays or events. For example, small businesses can partner together during the holidays for giveaways in which their followers on social media share images of the brand products or services, tag a few of their own followers, and follow each business/brand. This is a good idea when a small business is trying to reach more people, grow their followers, and network with other small businesses. Collaborations and partnerships are always great on social media because they have many benefits for the businesses involved.
Thank you for reading my tips. If you have any questions or would like me to audit your small business or brand social media accounts, fill out my form on the services page or leave me a message in the comments below.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Holiday gift guides are the best ways to get some great gift ideas when shopping for friends and family. Sometimes our loved ones make it easy by giving us a list of what they want, but other times, it's a guessing game! So, let me make things a little easier for you. Here is a holiday gift guide for the creative people in your life. The items on this list are great for social media managers, graphic designers, bloggers, content creators, and for those wanting to learn new skills. And, the best thing, is that you can get most of these items from Amazon.
1. Rose Gold Desk Organizer: Desk organizers might not seem like a great gift, but speaking from experience, they can be great gifts. I used to have my things laying around and stacked up on the side of my desk, but this desk organizer made everything so much better. Everything is nice and neat, and I know exactly where to find what I'm looking for. There are also a lot of other colors, materials and styles available on Amazon, but my favorite is the rose gold.
2. Desk/Office Plant Decor: A great way to liven up a small space is by having a chic desk plant. It brings things to life and they can be good for you as they clean up the air around you. Here are two chic and decorative options for your desk, office or bookshelf.
3. Journal: A journal can be used for many different things. You can use a journal to write down your thoughts, your blog post ideas, to draw for your graphic designs, and to plan your keywords. This is also a great little tool to take with you when talking to clients so that you can write down everything you need to know.
4. The Paper-Like iPad Screen Protector: If your graphic designer friend or family member just got themselves an iPad on Black Friday, or someone is planning on getting them an iPad for the Holidays, then the perfect gift is right here. A screen protector that feels like paper. This is one of the best screen protectors for graphic designers because it is not slippery or too glossy, it has a paper-like feel that makes it feel like you are drawing on paper.
5. Yeti: What's better than a barista-like latte at home? A barista-like coffee in an insulated Yeti mug or tumbler. This is the perfect gift for those designers, social media managers and bloggers that are always on the go. They can take their tea or coffee in these insulated tumblers to drink on the go. These are also great quality, stay hot for hours, and are stylish.
6. Ring Light: A ring light is perfect to get those beautiful indoor shots for your YouTube videos and pictures. They are also great for when you are taking product pictures or taking photos for your blog posts. This is a great gift and not that expensive.
7. FabFitFun Subscription: Although this subscription box is not available on Amazon, it is a great gift for social media managers, creators, bloggers, YouTubers, and everyone in general. You can get your loved ones one box or a year subscription. Either way, they will love all of the goodies that come in these boxes. This winter, the box brings a beautiful warm robe, a vanity mirror, and a lot of other great self-care essentials.
8. Gift Cards: This is another one that is not actually on Amazon. You can get some Amazon gift cards for your friends and family so that they can get exactly what they want on Amazon. But, you can also get them Apple gift cards to help them get the latest in high-tech essentials.
9. Adobe Creative Cloud: You can find Adobe Creative Cloud essentials on Amazon. This is a great investment to help out your friends and family members that are serious about their careers as content creators. You can also click on the link below to get 60% off of Creative Cloud for students.
10. Gift your Time: A great way to spend some time with your friends and family is to gift them your time. Offer to help them out with setting up for taking photos for their blogs, help them research, offer a listening ear when they want to bounce off ideas, and offer your time when they need opinions on new designs for their clients. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved!
I hope you enjoy a wonderful Holiday Season! Be safe, have fun, and spend time with those you love. Happy Holidays! And, be sure to check CouponMeUp.com for the latest coupons to save on your Christmas wish list or even their savings blog for more ideas!
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Video editing does not have to be difficult! Usually we think only big influencers, trained professionals and self-taught creators can edit videos like a pro. But, there are video editing apps on the app store that can make it easier. I am a self-taught video editor using Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Premiere Rush, but there are many apps that can make it easier for you to edit, even when you are on-the-go and don't have time. I decided to write this post to help fellow bloggers and creators after I saw how many loved my post on photo editing apps and Instagram stories tips. In this post, I will go over 4 apps that are good to use for beginners.
1. Adobe Premiere Rush: This Adobe app is easy to use and gives you flexibility when editing. You do not have to be on desktop to do a good edit because this app allows you to do it on your phone. You can put clips together, add background music, add titles and subtitles, add logos and graphics, and it makes sharing easy. The app includes social media sharing. Some more features it includes are being able to enhance colors and adjust the speed of your clips. There are two versions that you can have. The FREE version allows you 3 exports, access to all features, and only 2GB of storage. The paid version costs $9.99 per month and includes unlimited exports, access to all features, sync projects on mobile and desktop, and 100GB of storage.
2. Splice: This is a FREE video editing app for iPhone and iPad. Another easy to use video editing app, it allows you to edit on your phone and share online. Some of the features it includes are trimming, transitions, sound effects, borders, background music and voice over. They also allow you to add text to your videos. On their Splice Blog, they have a lot of editing tutorials and tips if you are interested in using this mobile app to edit your videos.
3. InShot: This is a FREE iOS and Android app. It is essentially an all in one app where you can edit the video by trimming and adding sound effect while being able to add text, effects, filters and stickers. This app also includes a canvas feature that lets you adjust the video to the dimensions of the platform you will be sharing it on. The app does not have many tutorials or tips on how to use it, but while researching I found this blog post on Elegant Themes that might be helpful if you want to use this app.
4. KineMaster: This app is very popular because it brings a lot of professional video editing features to an app that is not difficult to use. It allows users to add many layers including text, handwriting overlays, transition effects, audio and image layers. Like the other apps, it allows for sharing on social media. This app is available on iOS and Android. It is not a free app aside from the 7-day free trial. It costs $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year. Some of the other features that this app includes are stickers, themes, frame-by-frame trimming, audio filters, animation styles, and much more!
These 4 apps are easy to use for beginners and include great features for attention-grabbing social media videos. The majority of them are free while some have paid versions. From experience, Adobe Rush and Adobe Spark are easy to use for editing quick videos that are ready to share on social media. Adobe Spark also has a video editing app on mobile and it is also available to use on desktop. I hope these apps help you on your content creation journey for your social media marketing and content marketing purposes.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Content Planning is essential in content marketing. It is also essential to have a strong content strategy! Planning good content will help in creating your strategy and ensuring that your content marketing goals are achieved. Take a look at some of our older posts for more information on planning strategic content and creating a winning strategy. And, if you are not sure what a content strategy is, take a look at our blog post explaining everything for you. Now, let us discuss our 5 essential content planning tools for small business, bloggers and other content creators!
1. Planners: I think planners are one of the best ways to help you keep organized, write down your ideas and plan out when you will write and post your content. For the most part, I used to utilize planners in school to write down my tasks and deadlines. After graduating college, I stopped using the planner in favor of virtual tools, but I find that they do not keep me accountable. I prefer writing my weekly tasks, ideas and posting schedule on a physical planner that I carry from my home office to my other business locations. Get my new planner today! The Blogger's Planner 2021 is your all in one content planning tool for bloggers where you can plan, track metrics and have tips right in your hands!
2. Google Calendar and Google Sheets: If you prefer a virtual planner, then I suggest Google Calendar and Google Sheets. The calendar will help you stay organized and plan which days you will be writing, creating, designing and posting content. It also helps you keep on top of scheduled meetings. Google Sheets can be used for creating a content calendar. Here you can select the dates for posting, write down the titles, select your image or video, write your copy and add in any links and social media handles that you will be using to tag others. You can also collaborate with your team which helps everyone stay on the same page. We will be creating a Content Calendar 101 soon to help you with your content planning needs!
3. HootSuite: I am a big fan of HootSuite because the platform is easy to use and free. There is a paid version for larger companies and teams with more content creators and social media managers. With that said, HootSuite is a social media marketing tool which helps you schedule the content that you will post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There are other platforms like it out there, but this is my go-to and they have an app so you can do your planning on the go! Overall, HootSuite is a great content planning tool because it helps you schedule things in advance which helps you stay consistent when you don't have much time to be active on social media.
4. ContentCal: This is a new tool that I came across while researching for this post. ContentCal is essentially a mapping software that helps users and teams visualize their planned content from social media to planned blogs. It makes it easier to visualize, prepare and plan content and campaigns for future dates. I will be trying this one out myself, but from everything that I've read, it is a great content planning tool for businesses, bloggers and other creators.
5. Canva & Visme!: Yes, Canva again. Canva is great for creating graphic designs for your social media posts, blogs, website banners and ads. It has pre-designed layouts that make things easier when you are in a rush and the Pro version has a lot of photos that you can use if you do not have the time to go out and take pictures. And now, they also allow you to post and plan posts directly from their website to your social media platforms. Finally, Canva also has calendar and planner layouts that help you create your own planners and calendars to print to use and to share with others! Visme is also a great tool! Visme is a cross-over between Canva and PowerPoint. You have all of the essential features that you would have on PowerPoint to create slides for your presentations. But, it goes a step further. Visme is similar to Canva in that it has a similar interface. It gives you access to stickers, different fonts and a lot of themes. Additionally, it gives you access to shapes, stock images and characters that have movement. Visme is also used for other forms of content like flyers, scatter plots, and social media graphics. There is a free version and a paid version which gives you access to many more features. The paid version costs about $12, which is about the same as what you would pay for Canva Pro. Visme is a great tool to use to present your content plans to your team mates, show analytics and other Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to managers and executives, and it is a great tool to use for any presentations you will be creating for webinars. Below are some links to the Visme pages showing you exactly what types of designs you can do and how versatile this platform is:
Visme is used to make Graphs and Charts:
Visme is used to also create Printables such as Flyers
Visme is also used to create Scatter Plots:
https://www.visme.co/scatter-plot-maker/ scatter plot maker
Visme is also used to publish Survey results:
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