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.
A press kit is designed to earn media attention for your business, brand, products, events, etc. It is one of the oldest tools used by public relations professionals to earn media attention for their clients. Back in the day, press kits were printed and mailed to media contacts while now they can be sent out electronically as electronic press kits (EPK) via email. Press kits can vary depending on your industry, business size, brand, etc. There are many ways to design visually appealing press kits that get your business the media attention you want. Getting your business featured in one of the major publications in your area, region or country is a huge accomplishment. Of course, you can always pay publications to feature your business as an ad. Earning the media attention through the use of these elements and media pitching is much better for your business because it is more trust-worthy to potential customers than ads. In this post, we will go over the best tips for creating your own press kit from public relations professionals and a free Press Kit Template will be emailed to you once your subscribe to my monthly newsletter (subscribed members will receive the free template with the December newsletter).
Press Kit Design
First thing is to gather all of your materials. There is a lot that goes into a your kit whether you are a small business, a blogger or a large non-profit organization. Before you can earn media through your good work, products and word-of-mouth, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. As a public relations professional, you learn the basics of creating a media kit in your introductory PR classes. In these classes, you learn that a media kit is a collection of materials arranged in a folder, envelope or other device that includes a cover letter summarizing the content of the kit and other materials that are listed below. I had not thought about this topic for a while since I work in the government relations aspect of PR which focuses more on pitching to journalists through press releases. But, a few weeks ago, I received an email newsletter from Garrett PR, you can subscribe to their newsletter on their website. The master mind behind this agency, their social media presence and their amazing blog is Michelle Garrett whom you can follow on Twitter @PRisUs.
Now that you know what sparked my interest in creating a press kit template and providing you with their purpose, let's dive in to their design. As I said before, you need to gather your information. Things you will need:
Media Guides and Guest Commentaries
A media guide is something that a brand/business/individual/organization provides to journalists that cover their industry. A company/business can have a section on their websites dedicated for the press with materials that are typically provided through a media guide. In this section of the website, you can include your bios, stats, fact sheets, press releases, photos and videos, etc. Of course, this all depends on your business. For bloggers, this might be different. Bloggers pitch their services to PR representatives at different companies and businesses through a press kit. The main difference between a blogger kit and a company kit is the purpose. The blogger press kit works to earn partnerships and sponsorships between the blogger and the business. The company media kit functions to earn the business/brand media attention by pitching to journalists and other PR representatives at different publications.
Another thing that is a great addition whether your purpose aligns with bloggers or companies, is guest commentaries. These are written reviews, letters or other materials from individuals that have certain credentials. For example, a skin care company might include a review from a dermatologist while a blogger might include a testimonial from a previous partnership or sponsorship. It all depends on the industry, but it is always good to have some individuals ready to give commentary to either journalists or PR representatives on your brand. The purpose of these guest commentaries is to be persuasive in their nature. They help in supporting your brand/business/individual credentials and provide word-of-mouth in support of your purpose.
Social Media and the Blogosphere
Social Media has a long history and has had an enduring influence on the way people and organizations communicate. It provides a two-way channel of communication between organizations and their customers. Unfortunately, at times it is a double-edged sword when it comes to bad reviews and bad comments on the brand. Still, social media is very important to your presence online. It is a great place to make contact and communicate with brands you want to partner with and with journalists you want to pitch. There are a lot of journalists on Twitter over other platforms. It is very important for your brand to be active on social media, to reply to comments, to share good reviews, and to help customers when they ask for help. This allows your reputation to be positive, to have more page likes on Facebook, to have your products pinned on Pinterest, and to increase your reach and engagement.
The blogosphere refers to all of the blogs on different industries that exist on the internet. There are blogs on lifestyle, exercise, personal blogs, company blogs, commentary blogs, book reviews, and so forth. As a small business, it can be beneficial to pitch to bloggers because they can provide positive attention for your business/brand. They will also help increase your reach and engagement with your target audience. For example, if you are a candle brand, it would be beneficial to partner with lifestyle and decor bloggers to have them review your products. This will only cost you shipping fees as you can provide them with your products to review. If things work out and the blogger likes your product, you can always offer them an affiliate code to promote your product. To learn more about affiliate marketing, visit my blog post on the topic.
Thank you for reading my long post on a public relations press kit for your small business or blogger brand. Subscribe to my newsletter to get the free template in your inbox. Remember, subscribed members will receive the templates with the December newsletter. And, if you have any questions or need any help, comment below or reach out to me on Twitter.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Social Media Trends are continuously changing with new algorithms, new social platforms, new features on existing platforms, and new audience psychographics. I've discussed previously the demographics and psychographics of audiences in my post on creating your own Social Media Marketing Plan. In this post, we will touch upon some psychographics that will be causing social media trends to change in 2021. These changes have already been seen with various audiences throughout this year with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Throughout this post, we will discuss various social media trends that small business owners should be aware of for 2021.
Social Media Trends
A COVID Content Focus
We just discussed 5 of the social media trends that you will be seeing in 2021. Now, let's take a moment to discuss something new. If you take a look at some of the social trends for next year on Google, you will come across articles from Social Media Today and Talkwalker that discuss COVID content as a trend. They discuss the 4 C's of COVID content which focus on communication, contactless, cleanliness, and compassion. This is becoming a big topic in marketing because according to Talkwalker, 78% of consumers want brands to help them in their daily lives. What does this mean for small business? Well, this means that consumers are looking for brands, big and small, that can provide a way to help in relation to one of the 4 C's. For example, some businesses offer contactless shopping and deliveries, and others openly communicate about their policies and what they are doing to help. This open communication and the efforts businesses are taking to keep everyone safe through contactless shopping and cleanliness demonstrate the compassion that they have towards their consumers and employees. Additionally, this is very important to keep in mind considering that more members of a business's ideal customers are more socially aware than before.
These are all trends that you need to keep in mind for your small business, brand, and content. It will be beneficial to keep them in mind when working on your marketing strategy for 2021. And, if you need any help, visit my services page and fill out the contact form to reach out to me.
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