Why You Need to Focus on Inbound Marketing on Instagram

When creating a marketing strategy for your business and deciding how your social media channels will contribute, focus on inbound marketing. Especially focus on inbound marketing on Instagram.

Instagram is meant for sharing valuable and attractive content that your audience wants to engage with, which is why inbound marketing strategies are much more successful than outbound marketing strategies. However, there is always a time and place for outbound marketing, but I highly recommend that when it comes to social media, especially Instagram, you will see more results from focusing on inbound marketing strategies and techniques.

First off, what is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is encouraging, or drawing, customers to your products and services through techniques such as content marketing (creating desirable content to attract an ideal audience and drive them to take a specific action), search engine optimization (using the right keywords, writing longer content, improving user experience on your website, etc), and branding.

On the other hand, you have outbound marketing which is directly advertising or promoting your products or services.

Not only will I be explaining more in depth on why you need to focus on inbound marketing on Instagram, but I will also share some inbound marketing content ideas and tips for successful inbound marketing strategies.

Here are 3 reasons why you should focus on inbound marketing.

REASON #1: Advertising Can Be Annoying

People don’t want to open Instagram up, only to be blasted with ads about products they don’t care about. Instead, they use Instagram to keep up with their friends and family, as well as their favourite celebrities and influencers. That is where inbound marketing slips in. If someone is following you and you are for example, a beauty guru with their main following on YouTube, they are following you to see more of your makeup looks, more of the behind-the-scenes of your life, and updates on new content to come. If you happen to be launching your very own makeup line, you will use inbound marketing to get your followers to buy it rather than only asking them to buy your new eyeshadow palette (which you will do). This content will look different, but here are a few ways to successfully market this new makeup line to your audience using inbound marketing strategies:

  • Create a makeup look with your own makeup line and remind your audience in the caption that your new line has released.
  • Write up a caption about the story of your makeup line, and what inspired you to finally launch your own.
  • Go on Instagram Live and answer questions from your audience about your makeup line.

This is a much more engaging and interesting way to get the word out about your new product, and encourage your audience to buy it without only asking them to buy it. Instead, you are offering value and entertainment as well.

Click HERE to check out this example of how I promoted Focal’s new photography business consulting program (Business Accelerator Program) by offering 5 helpful tips for growing your photographer business INSTEAD of just advertising it.

REASON #2: Inbound Marketing Will Help Grow Your Instagram

Inbound marketing, like I have said many times, is all about creating valuable content for your audience to engage with. This is the type of content you should always be posting. Sometimes you might not need/want to drive your audience to take a certain action like with inbound marketing, however, always including a call-to-action in almost every Instagram post is a very helpful technique! Even if it isn’t getting them to buy something, but maybe encouraging them to check out your recent blog post. Nonetheless, the act of posting often and posting good content often will inevitably draw in new followers.

The photos below show how many posts, in the last 24 posts, that I have posted to Focal’s Instagram that blatantly promote one of their services…it’s only one! The rest have captions that offer value and include a call-to-action for the audience to engage with. Posting actual images rather than ads has helped grow this platform from 300 followers to almost 1,000 in just a few months.

REASON #3: It Creates Trust

The more valuable and education content you offer for free, the more your audience will trust you because they know you understand your stuff. If you are a beauty guru and do honest reviews for different types of makeup and then you suddenly come out with your own line, your audience is more likely to buy it because you know what good makeup is! If you don’t post about makeup and offer reviews on different products or share tips for finding the perfect concealer, it will seem inauthentic.

Do you see how beneficial inbound marketing is on social media? Specifically Instagram? It is a vital part of your marketing strategy and those reasons are exactly why you should focus on inbound marketing on Instagram.

Here are 3 tips for successful inbound marketing.

1. Create a Content Calendar & Schedule Content Ahead of Time

Inbound marketing is all about creating and posting content that your audience can engage with and enjoy that will ultimately lead them to take a specific action. That means, it is important to consistently post to your social media (in this case, Instagram), and consistently post good content. This is where a content calendar and social media scheduling tool comes in. However, that does not mean you need to post every day and multiple times each day. For Instagram, it is recommended to post 5-6x per week, once a day, and then to Instagram Stories at least once every day. Of course, we deserve off days so I personally aim to post once to Instagram stories every single work day, but the weekends I am much more lenient.

The purpose of a content calendar is to allow you to plan out content ahead of time. This allows you to put the time and effort into producing valuable content that your audience can really engage with, rather than slapping together a quick caption. Creating a content calendar also ensures you always have content going out because everything is planned out ahead of time. By consistently posting to Instagram, you are increasing your chances for engagement and traffic. It just makes it easier for people to find you and see your content. I rely so heavily on having a content calendar because organically posting is incredibly draining after a while. Instead, I recommend setting aside one or two days at the beginning of the month or the beginning of the week to focus on planning, creating, and scheduling your content for the next week, two weeks, or month.

FREE Content Calendar Tools:

  • Asana (I use their free plan!)
  • Trello
  • Google Calendar

FREE Social Media Scheduling Tools:

  • Hootsuite (This is what I use!)
  • Later (This is what I use for my full-time job)
  • Buffer

2. Post Long Blog Posts, Captions, Etc.

Remember, with inbound marketing, you want to create valuable and shareable content that engages your reader. What better way to do that with a long blog post or caption jammed pack with useful tidbits of knowledge? You want to give your reader as much information as you can; you want them to only come to your blog post on inbound marketing on Instagram. To do that, you need to give them everything they need. Also, when you post longer content, it is easier to slip in more authentic call-to-actions without seeming too salesy.

I like to treat my Instagram captions like mini blog posts and I always find that those photos do the best. They always lead to more profile clicks, or website clicks if I am promoting something, which is the goal with inbound marketing!

Here are some engaging Instagram caption ideas:

  • Tell the story behind your company
  • Share a few podcast or book recommendations related to your industry
  • Talk about your daily or weekly goals and how you prep for the week ahead
  • Answer the most common and largest question asked in your industry

3. Engage with Others

One key tip for successfully inbound marketing on Instagram is to engage and connect with likeminded people on the platform. However, it is important to be genuine and not DM someone or comment on a post with the intention of getting a sale. Instead, just engage with their content! Answer a question they asked in the caption, respond to their story, send them a DM introducing yourself, etc. But don’t offer your course or book or services. Engage with them how you would with anyone on the street (if you can remember what that was like pre-COVID times).

People are much more likely to follow you back if you left a meaningful comment on their website, rather than just following them and liking a photo. However, I do agree that engaging on social media is draining! That’s why I recommend spending 15-20 minutes per day to focus on connecting with people on Instagram. This 15-20 minutes should occur right before you are about to post your own content because it will drive more organic traffic to your post.

Inbound Marketing Ideas for Instagram:

  • “Behind-the-Scenes of Your Work Day” on IGTV
  • Educational blog post on a topic you’re knowledgable in
  • Instagram Live
  • Meet the Team
  • How-to’s

My Inbound Content Marketing Example:

Blog Post: Marketing 101: How to grow your photography business online

In this blog post, I share tips for growing your photography business online to promote Focal’s Business Accelerator Program

Inbound marketing on Instagram is all about consistently posting valuable content for your audience to engage with. It should include a call-to-action, but naturally incorporate it into your content rather than blatantly asking your audience to buy your ebook. Inbound marketing should create and strengthen trust between you and your audience, and establish yourself in your industry and online.

Successful inbound marketing leads to downloads, saves, shares, sales, etc., and it begins with good content.


Are you in need of some social media help? My name is Zoe Mathers; I’m a freelance social media manager and content creator. Whether you need someone to do the heavy lifting and manage multiple social media accounts, or someone to create some content every now and then, I’d love to help you out! Click the button below to browse my services 🙂

5 Tips for Creating Buzzworthy Social Media Content

Whatever size your business is, social media is fundamental to your success. Through platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, you can reach a wide audience that ranges from all around the world. That’s a lot of pressure! Especially when there are so many other businesses out there, like yours, who are on social media and trying to reach their target audience. This is why you need to be on top of your game and also why I have curated my top 5 tips for creating buzzworthy social media content just for you.

Before I share my 5 tips for creating buzzworthy social media content, if you are a writer or a freelancer, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter below. At the end of every month, I send out an email filled with creative entrepreneur tips and advice, freebies like ebooks, worksheets, and exclusive offers for my services!

Here are 5 tips for creating buzzworthy social media content.

1. Put Effort into Your Images

If you are posting photos taken by you, or creating graphics, make sure they look nice! While it is aesthetically pleasing to have a theme to your feed, it is not as essential (when starting out) as having good images. Especially on platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. People can tell if you take three minutes to put together a graphic on Canva, or spend eight seconds snapping a quick photo for just something to post. This can be damaging because through social media, you are conveying your brand to your audience; an audience that might not know exactly who you are yet. The last thing you want is for them to get the wrong impression.

TIP: Dedicate one or two days to content creation. Whether that is taking photos or creating graphics, allot a certain amount of time so you can really focus on developing attractive images for your social media that will attract followers.

See my example below of a graphic that took time and thought to create versus one that you can tell I just hastily put together.

2. Offer Value In Every Post

Offering tips, a list of recommendations, or some sort of value in your social media captions is one of the best ways to have people buzzing over, sharing, saving, and just interacting with your content overall. Of course, if you post to your Instagram six times a week, it can be hard to come up with a caption that has a fresh how-to guide in each post. That’s why I recommend really focusing on creating excellent and informative captions for 80% of your posts, and then letting the other 20% focus more on the image. Like with my first tip, it can be helpful to set aside some time to create your social media captions.

TIP: Not sure what to write about? Search up your niche (ex. digital marketing, but if you want to get even more specific, SEO, email marketing, etc.) and add “tips” to the end. Common things people are looking for the answer to will pop up when you do this!

Check out this Instagram post of mine where I offer valuable writing tips in my caption:

Click the image to read it!

3. Follow Accounts Similar to Yours

It is important to be unique from accounts who post about the same topics as you, but it is also important to understand what is trending and what your competition is up to. That is why I recommend following anywhere from 25-50 accounts that are similar to yours so you are staying in the loop!

Here are some questions to ask yourself when reflecting on their accounts and progress

  • How many followers do they have?
  • How often do they post?
  • When do they post?
  • How much engagement do they get?
  • Do they convey their message and products well?

These answers can really help improve your social media strategy and tailor your content to what your audience really wants.

4. Really Nail Your SEO Plan

There is a lot more to SEO than just choosing the right hashtags (which are also important–especially on social media). But making your social media platforms SEO-friendly also means:

  • Putting the link to them EVERYWHERE (ex. on your website, other social media platforms, etc.)
  • Posting “evergreen” content, which is content that works over a long period of time–people are just always looking for it!
  • Using keywords in your bios (ex. I am a freelancer so I would make sure to include “Freelance Editor and Writer” in my bio)

Some people believe SEO is reserved for websites and blog posts, but it is helpful to put that practice towards every piece of content you post online.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Maybe your business is at a point where you can add onto your team or, as a business owner, social media just isn’t your thing, but you understand its importance to your business. Whatever the case is, it is okay to ask for help! There are so many amazing social media coordinators, managers, and social media support out there, that you are bound to find someone who will do an excellent job of conveying your brand on social media.

Here is a breakdown of the various social media roles:

Social Media Coordinator

Similar to a Social Media Manager (see below), a coordinator is more focused on maintaining a company’s presence on social media. So, while they can focus on creating a social media strategy, they often work under a Social Media Manager (unless you are a freelancer or working in a smaller company) and focus on tasks such as:

  • Researching trends
  • Researching their audience
  • Creating content
  • Keeping up with audience engagement

Social Media Manager

A Social Media Manager is in charge of various platforms and putting together strategies for them. They can work on a team, but also by themselves if they are a freelancer (or the company is small). Their tasks include:

  • Setting up social media platforms
  • Creating content
  • Running ads
  • Social media consulting
  • Social media strategy

Social Media Content Creator

If you don’t necessarily need someone to run your account or directly post to your account, but are in need of some content now and then, that is what a Social Media Content Creator is for.

If you’ve realized you do need some help, I offer Freelance Social Media Management and Content Creation Services. Click below to check them out! I would love to work with you 🙂


Those are 5 tips for creating buzzworthy social media content that will increase engagement, attract inquiring clients, and help convey your company’s brand. Three things that every successful business requires.

Good luck!

My Goals for 2021

With 2021 around the corner and me being on my holiday break from work, I’ve finally taken the time to map out my goals for the new year and now, I’m here to share them with you!

I have a pretty lengthy list of goals, but a lot of them don’t have a solid end goal or point. Most of them are just activities or things I want to spend time working on throughout the year. Anyways, before getting into my goals, let’s chat about some tips for creating and achieving your goals.

5 tips for achieving your goals.

  1. Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-Based)
  2. Make sure your goals reflect your intentions for the year (for example, my main goal is to grow my freelancing business so a lot of my goals are continuing to study social media marketing, etc on my own time, develop a marketing plan for my business, etc.)
  3. Develop an actionable plan for each goal
  4. Write them down
  5. Revisit them at the end of every month

My goals for 2021.

Writing

  • Finish writing The Obsidian Butterfly so it is ready for editing
  • Keep up blog schedule of posting once a week to each blog
  • Outline 2nd The Obsidian Butterfly novel

Freelancing

  • Have freelancing become my part-time job (get between 20-25 hours of work)
  • Create a social media/creative agency (make a website and new social media accounts)
  • Continue learning about digital marketing through online courses
  • Continue taking editing and writing classes (you can never stop improving!)

Reading

  • Read 30 books
  • Actually read all my assigned readings for school (I slacked a little last semester, I won’t lie)

Lifestyle

  • Travel locally more (if things get better, obviously)
  • Keep up my workout routine of going to the gym 2-3x per week
  • Get back on track with school (last semester, I only took 2/5 classes so I want to make sure I am doing full semesters from now on)
  • Prioritize my mental health (this means continuing counselling, focusing more on self-care, etc.)
  • Save more money
  • Develop a repeatable morning routine (it doesn’t have to be a crazy 1 hour routine, but it could just be reading first thing when I wake up)
  • Spend less time online (since it’s my job to be online, I want to cut down my screen time when I’m not working and spend more time outside or reading)
  • Meditate and journal almost every day

See? I have a pretty long list of goals for 2021 which I don’t always recommend. However, a lot of my goals are small things to implement into my days or weeks or even months. I am really excited to work towards achieving these goals because they help keep me on the path I want to be on for the next year. Like I said, I really want to focus on growing my freelancing business but I also have a lot of lifestyle goals because I definitely neglected that aspect of my life in 2020.

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what your 2021 goals are! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Post-NaNoWriMo Plans

Need a freelance editor, blogger, or social media manager? Visit my website HERE.

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My Post-NaNoWriMo Plans

I cannot believe December is almost halfway over and I am only now just thinking about my post-NaNoWriMo plans.

Well, at least we’re here now!

For the last NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month: an international, online writing event that takes place every year during November and encourages writers to write 50k words in 30 days), I wrote around 25,000 words for my Aztec fantasy novel. However, clearly, I did not finish in the 30 days which means I need to keep working on it.

I hope that many of you, like me, took a little bit of a break from writing after NaNoWriMo ended. Even if you did not hit that 50k word goal, you deserve a break! While I only wrote 25k, I did write a little bit (almost) every day and that is a lot of energy. I didn’t anticipate taking a break from writing, but I have only sat down to work on my project a few times since November 30 and then decided that nope, I need to take a few days off. And that’s okay! My body and mind needed a break, but now, I feel the creativity seeping back in.

It’s time to talk about my post-NaNoWriMo plans.

Since the holidays are approaching and surprise, surprise, I’m not really doing much for my 11 days off both work and school, I do want to write a decent amount by the end of December. It would be really nice to hit 40k before 2021 and because I am at 30k, I think that is manageable.

When I think about the new year, CHAOS flashes across my mind. For the first few weeks of January, I will be in five classes until I figure out which one I want to drop. One of the classes is a one-month continuing education editing class (structural editing) that has a “work at your own pace” structure, so that won’t be too stressful at least. I am also working part-time at my current job (I’m a Communications Development Lead for Focal) and focusing a lot of time on building up my freelance business. My freelance business is actually doing pretty good right now, so I anticipate having projects at the beginning of the new year as well. If you didn’t know, I am a freelance editor, digital marketing blogger, and social media manager. Click HERE to check out my freelance website!

Anyways, back to the beginning of 2021: it’s going to be busy! But, I am determined to finish my first draft of this novel idea because I have been working on it for four years! That is crazy to me because in those four years, I haven’t even finished a first draft; I am constantly changing the story around and while I do think it was all for the best, I just want to right the damn thing. You know? So, I have been thinking about a word count goal for January and I think I want to do another 40k. This is a fantasy book which means it won’t be some short book –I’m anticipating around 100k. for a final word count.

That means, I want to finish the first draft completely by the end of February. Preferably, before the end of February, but I don’t think I will officially bring down the hammer until then. I do believe in being lenient with yourself, but sometimes, it’s time to just get it done. And this is that time. I am super passionate and excited about this project, even after four years, and it deserves to be finished!

I am a big believer in letting your story sit for a bit too, so I don’t plan on jumping into the second draft until April. Just in time for Camp NaNoWriMo! Fingers crossed I can stick to these deadlines without getting overwhelmed, but I am hopeful.

Sorry for the rambly post, but I really wanted to share my post-NaNoWriMo plans in the hope of inspiring any of you who are unsure what to do next. Especially if you didn’t hit 50k, like me!

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what your post-NaNoWriMo plans are! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My FINAL TBR of 2020

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My FINAL TBR of 2020

Today, I wanted to share my final TBR of 2020.

This is a list of all the books I want to read before the new year, which I cannot believe is almost here.

Even though I am mostly out of my reading slump, I haven’t been reading very fast, or much at all, lately. I think I have been working on Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare for over a month now, however, in my defence, it is a beastly book. I have also started a few other books along the way which I will include in my TBR, but there are a couple new books that I am itching to pick up before 2021 too.

Fingers crossed that since school is wrapping up and I get a break from work for the holidays, I will be able to finish the year strong reading-wise!

Here is my final TBR of 2020.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Last I checked, I have 250ish pages of this book left which I am fairly confident I can get done this December. I don’t know why I picked this book up after my reading slump because 1) it is my least favourite in The Dark Artifices trilogy, and 2) it is almost 900 pages! But, I have been enjoying myself as I always do when I am in this Shadowhunter world so that counts for something.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Robin Wasserman, Maureen Johnson, and Kelly Link

Ghosts of the Shadow Market: Amazon.ca: Clare, Cassandra, Rees Brennan,  Sarah, Johnson, Maureen, Link, Kelly, Wasserman, Robin: Books

I call myself a massive Cassandra Clare fan, yet I haven’t picked this book up until now! Well, anyways, I have it and suddenly decided it was time to read it. While I am only 80 pages into it, I have been loving it. Reading more about the main characters in Chain of Gold is my new favourite past time because I am a huge fan of them all –especially Matthew. I have no doubts about finishing this book before 2021 because I have only sat down once or twice with it, and I am already almost 1/5 of the way through. However, like ALL of Cassandra Clare’s books, it is a chunky one.

The Round House by Lousie Erdrich

The Round House: A Novel: Erdrich, Louise: 9780062065254: Books - Amazon.ca

The Round House is a book I was assigned for school and even though classes are finished and I am supposed to be done this book by now, I don’t think I am even 100 pages into it. The thing is, it is such an amazing and important book. But, once again, it is the fact that I have to read it for school that is holding me back from picking it up and reading more than 10 pages at a time. That, and it deals with some very intense content matter. However, I do want to finish it. I am hoping that since school is almost over, I will be inspired to pick it up more often.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades: Amazon.ca: Meyer, Marissa: Books

I may have splurged on books this past weekend and one of the books I picked up was Renegades: a book I’ve heard marvellous things about. I had no initial intent on buying this book, but it was a good price for the used copy and something suddenly inspired me to read it. This is another BIG book, which might come back to bite me later on when I am half done every single one of the books on this list and then suddenly it is January 1st… Although, even if that happens, I think I am okay with that.

Song of the Dryad by Natalia Leigh

Song of the Dryad by Natalia Leigh

Okay, this is a book I do not plan on finishing in 2020, but I really want to start it over Christmas break. I bought the ebook version (because I have been led to believe I am getting a Kindle for Christmas…) over Black Friday because I have been meaning to pick up this book. Natalia Leigh is an author and also a YouTuber (AuthorTuber) who I have been watching for years. I thought it was about time to support her writing and I am also just excited to see what I think of this book! Maybe I will even do a book review. We will see.


Those are all the books I plan on finishing, or at least will try to finish, before the new year. I am really excited to have more time to spend on reading because at first, I neglected it because I was in a slump and then I neglected it because I was just too busy! I want to end the year on a positive and productive note by spending time doing what I love, which is reading, in the hopes it will start 2021 on a positive note as well.

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what books you plan on reading this month! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: How to Make Money as a Writer

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How to Make Money as a Writer

Ready to pursue a career in writing? Here are a few ways to make money as a writer.

How do I make money as a writer?

Is getting my book traditionally published the only way to make money?

What other writing jobs, other than an author, are there even?

If you have asked yourself any of the questions above (or all three), I am here to tell you that you do not have to get a book published to make money as a writer. To be honest, that might be the most difficult way to make money as a writer and is not a reality for everyone.

Of course, to make money from writing takes time and skill. It involves crafting an impressive portfolio of writing samples that will make companies want to hire you or literary magazines want to publish you. It takes practice to improve your writing skills and get them to a level where people can and want to read them.

Today, I am going to breakdown what types of writing you can make money from, where you can go to make money from writing, and take you through the steps.

Here is your go-to guide for how to make money as a writer.

Types of Writing Jobs Out There:

  • Article Writing
  • Blogging
  • Press Release Writing
  • Ghostwriting
  • Copywriting
  • Content Writing
  • Creative Writing (Submitting to short story contests and literary magazines. Not a job exactly, but a way to make money from writing on the side with enough patience and practice.)

Some of these jobs overlap. For example, a copywriter can be a blogger and an article writer because copywriting is a form of advertising. It means to write in a way that promotes a company and encourages a client to take a particular action. This is something that can be done it multiple forms.

Where to Start

1. To Freelance or Not to Freelance

Do you want to be a freelancer, which is someone who works for themselves and is employed by other companies either for permanent, contract, or temporary work, or do you want to write for one specific company? This is the first thing to narrow down.

When choosing freelancing, you have to understand that it is a business. That means you need to build a website, keep track of clients, send contracts and invoices, as well as make sure you get paid. If you aren’t willing to put in the work to market you and your business, I would recommend becoming a writer employed by one company.

I love freelancing. I love running my own business and marketing myself (which is why I am a digital marketing writer). However, it isn’t always smooth sailing. It involves lots of long days, lots of rejection, lots of dealing with people, and lots of research. But in the end, it’s all worth it to me!

What’s important is figuring out what fits you best. If you want to try out freelancing, give it a go! If it doesn’t work out, you have other options.

2. Determine Your Writing Niche

The second step to succeeding in the writing world is to determine your niche. But what is a niche? A niche is a specific topic that you decide to write about. For example, I am a freelance digital marketing writer. That means that now, after taking some time to discover my own niche, I only write (for clients) content that relates to digital marketing such as social media, SEO, email marketing, etc.

It is absolutely essential to determine your niche, otherwise, you will just be a meh writer in a wide range of topics. You want to hone in on one topic and really educate yourself on it so that when clients look at your portfolio, they will see that you really know your stuff.

For the literary magazines and writing contest side of things, your “niche” could be fantasy short stories or contemporary poems. The more specific you are, the better chances you have.

Here is a list of more popular niches in 2020: https://www.writingrevolt.com/profitable-freelance-writing-niches/

3. Build a Website

This is especially important for freelancers, but even if you don’t want to freelance, I think it is a good idea to have a website as a writer.

You need a nice and clean website to showcase your niche, services, portfolio, testimonials, and contact information. If a company stumbles on your website and they can’t figure out what type of writing you do, or how much you charge, there is a good chance they will click off the website. We want to avoid those missed opportunities.

Check out my website for inspiration. I am no website designer, but it certainly does the trick: http://www.zoemathers.com

4. Publish Your Writing Online

When I first put together my writing portfolio, I remember thanking myself for creating this blog when I did. For six years, I have been consistently posting blog posts on here and that gave me a strong writing foundation. Not only did it improve my writing skills immensely, especially my skills for writing for the web, but it helped me build credibility and an audience. I am a freelance content and copywriter which means when I contact a company, or am discovered by a company who is in need of a writer, they can see my years and years and hundreds and hundreds of blog posts that I have written. They are not all beautifully written, many were strewn together in less than an hour, but it shows that I can write a lot and fast. It also shows how much my writing has grown over the years. Kind of like a diary. (However, I don’t have many of my own blog posts in my writing portfolio.)

I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to build a platform where you post your writing on. Whether that is a social media account like Instagram or Facebook, or a blog, it will make jump starting your writing career a lot easier.

5. Create a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of your best writing pieces out there. Mostly, they are samples already published online, however, if you are just starting out and don’t have a blog, they don’t have to be published.

When it comes to curating content for your portfolio, make sure you include pieces that showcase your skill, voice, and niche the best.

Want some inspiration? Check out my writing portfolio: http://www.zoemathers.com/writing-portfolio

6. Build Up a Cold Emailing List

Whether this list is full of literary magazines to submit to or companies to propose your copywriting services, build up a list of people to cold email. Cold emailing, when done right, can lead to new clients and is an essential step towards making money as a writer. I recommend building up a list of at least 50 potential clients before starting to send out emails.

Here are some tips for cold emailing:
  • Be Personable and Personalized – Be courteous; compliment their company, tell them why you admire them and want to write for them. To check if your email is personalized enough, if you read over your email and realize you could send the exact same message to the next company on your list without changing anything, it is not personalized enough.
  • Offer Up Your Ideas for the Company – Do they not have a blog on their website? Do they have a poorly written “About Us” section? Whatever it is, kindly offer up your ideas to them in a pitch. Tell them how a blog would improve their website and drive more traffic to it. And then, tell them how you would proceed to build up a blog for them.
  • Link 2 Writing Samples – Do not attach your resume or attach your writing samples. Instead, provide a link to your Google Drive where they are organized by category, topic, etc. Or, link them to where they were originally posted. You don’t need to overwhelm with samples either, so stick to two.

7. Create a CRM Spreadsheet

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager. Basically, it organizes your clients, or potential clients, so you can keep track of what project they hired you for, if they’ve paid you, if they contacted you first, if you sent them a cold email, etc, etc. It will be a time saver as you grow your writing career. It is also handy when submitting to contests or literary magazines. When it comes to the end of the year, the time when you want to reflect on your writing business and see how much you made, a CRM that process a lot easier. Trust me.

If you want a CRM template, subscribe to my freelancing newsletter HERE. My newsletter went out today (Nov 30) so if you sign up now, you can still get the template I included in this month’s newsletter! If it is past that date already, feel free to subscribe anyways and leave in the notes section of the sign up form that you would like access to my CRM spreadsheet! 🙂

Places to Find Writing-Related Work

Now that you have your niche picked out, a website built, and a curated selection of writing samples, it is time to figure out where the heck to submit your work or find clients.

Below, I have listed a few freelance job boards to help kickstart your process of making money as a writer.

A lot of the websites listed below are best for beginner writers, or those of you who want to build up your portfolio. Some of them, you can find well paying gigs, but on websites like Fiverr, you will start out not making too much per word. However, this is how I started and it really helped me learn how much my services cost and what my writing was worth.

Fiverr

Upwork

Freelancer

FlexJobs

Pro Blogger Jobs

Guru

We Work Remotely

LinkedIn (Much more credible and better for finding a full-time, non-freelancing job)

Now you have all the tools to get started! Remember, you won’t find success right away, and that’s okay. Some months for me are super busy with contract work and it is great, however, there are slower months too. Much slower months. That is the life of a writer, especially a freelance writer.


I hope this was helpful, and if you are in search of more writing and/or freelance-related content, consider checking out the links below! Thanks for reading 🙂

My Freelance + Writing Newsletter:

My Freelance + Writing Blog:

Last Blog Post: My Anticipated Releases

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My Anticipated Releases

My anticipated releases before the end of the year!

Happy Monday!

Sorry for the little hiatus again!

ANNOUCEMENT: In celebration of NaNoWriMo being (almost) over, I am once again offering 10% off any one editing service when you book for or during December. Take advantage of the discount HERE as well as my free 10-page sample edit if you are interested.

In a quick update, I am behind on NaNoWriMo but I am 23k into my first draft so it is not a complete fail at least. On the reading side of things, I have been chugging along with Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare and am just over 500 pages into it. Since the end is in sight, I thought it would be fitting to talk about my anticipated releases for the rest of this year (which is almost over?!) because these are likely to be some of the next few books I will pick up.

Here are my anticipated releases for the rest of 2020.

Inanna’s Bargain by Claire Sulos

I am a sucker for any mythology, ancient civilization-inspired fantasy which is why this book grabbed my attention. Also, the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. Inanna’s Bargain is a historical fantasy novel set in Mesopotamia during 2,284 BCE. I have not read any Mesopotamia-inspired fiction, so I am super excited to get my hands on this book. It actually came out this past Saturday, so if you are interested in it as well, you can check it out HERE. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Inanna, the goddess of love and war, sends our main characters who are half-siblings, Samri (a priestess of Inanna) and Kianu (a gala priest) to act as aid when a dire threat from the north appears. However, it is not a smooth journey to reach their king, and along the way, they encounter thieves, kidnappers, hybrids beasts, and much more. While their journey is dangerous, the two siblings grow closer along the way and this adventure-filled story highlights their love and familial bond for one another.

I cannot wait to read this book and it is not very long (298 pages), so I can already see myself flying through this story!

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

I did not register that this book is coming out in less than 10 days…and I haven’t re-read the second or third book in forever. I am not prepared! The past few days I have been juggling back and forth with the ideas of just reading/watching summaries on the series and then diving into it when it releases, OR re-reading the entire series first. The last few days of November will be crazy though, and part of December as well with school wrapping up so I don’t know what to do! Regardless, this is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 hands down.

The first book, An Ember in the Ashes, follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier in this Roman-inspired militaristic empire. When Laia’s grandparents are killed and her brother kidnapped by the empire, Laia sets out to save him, disguising herself as a slave at the martial school in order to spy for the resistance that promises her brother’s freedom in exchange. There, she meets Elias, one of the best soldiers at the school but deep down, he dreams of being free of its chains. Eventually, their destinies intertwine and together, they threaten the entire age of tyranny they live in.

I love this series and I have since the first book came out four years ago. I cannot believe it is coming to an end but I am eager to see what happens! I follow Sabaa Tahir on Instagram and I already know she will not be easy on her readers.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)

This is another book that is already out; it came out earlier this week on Tuesday, I think, and also has such a stunning cover. I hadn’t heard much about it until recently, but once I did, I was really intrigued. When the Goodreads description said that it was “perfect for fans of the The Last Magician” I was like “that’s me!”…even though I haven’t read the sequel yet. This book has gangs and fueds and bloodshed and just sounds so good! I also believe it is inspired by Romeo and Juliet? I remember hearing the author doesn’t like the play so I am curious to see how that is transferred into the book.

For whatever reason, I had hard time putting this book into my own words so here is the Goodreads description:

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.


Those are three books that have recently come out, or are about to come out, that I cannot wait to get my hands on! Hopefully, you are also excited for them and if you have any other anticipated releases, please share them in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: NaNoWriMo 2020 Strategy

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NaNoWriMo 2020 Strategy

My NaNoWriMo plans and the tools I’ve been using to have a successful start.

Happy day 3 of NaNoWriMo! Hopefully, your projects are all going well and if they aren’t, that’s okay too.

So far, NaNoWriMo is going really well for me! I am a few hundred words behind but considering I haven’t been in a writing routine for a long time, the fact that I am only 500 or so words behind is impressive.

What am I writing this month?

This month, I am working on the novel version of Project Mystic, an Aztec mythology-inspired story that for the last while, I have been writing the novella version. However, I decided that after three years of working on this story, it is time to write the damn thing. I am going for the 50,000 word goal but that is more like the “oh, well it would be a bonus if” type of goal. Instead, I am focusing more on writing a good chunk of words every day. And some days, that just isn’t 1,667 words.

My new writing routine

Ever since I started working full-time and doing university part-time (and running my freelance business on the side too), I thrive off routine. However, I get suffocated when there is too much routine but somehow, I’ve found a great balance. For example, if I really don’t feel like writing or reading or doing some other hobby, I will make myself do it but only for 10 or so minutes. If I am still not feeling it by that 10-minute mark then I have learned it is better not to push it. Thankfully, reading and writing have been the only things I’ve wanted to do lately!

This writing routine most likely won’t stick around for long, but hopefully it will for the rest of NaNoWriMo because I am loving it! Like I said, I am not super strict on writing 1,667 words per day, but I am trying to get a solid amount done each day. With work and school, it is hard for me to find enough time to only sit down once and bang out all my writing in 30 minutes or an hour (like I used to). Instead, I have started breaking up my writing sessions into short sprints. This is something I used to do but then it stopped working but now it is back in full swing and has been working great.

Here’s a little insight to a normal day routine:

7:00 AM – Wakeup

7:30 AM – Write!

8:00 AM – Work

12:00 PM – Lunch

12:30 PM – Write!

1:00 PM – Work

4:00 PM – Finish Work & Take a Break

5:00 PM – School Work

6:00 PM – Eat Dinner

7:00 PM – School Work

8:30 PM – Write!

9:00 PM – Relax

That is the basic idea of my day but once again, it changes day-to-day. Some days I spend time with friends, some days I do less work (because I work from home and can make my own schedule) or less school, and some days I only do two writing sessions. It all just depends and it is important to remember to be flexible!

Writing Live Streams

I have always recommended writing live streams in the past, but so far this year, I have used them religiously each time I’ve sat down to write. Maybe that is because I am really using the writing sprint method this year. Some of the 30-minute writing chunks in my daily routine are more like 10, 15, or 20 minutes sprints, depending on the situation.

Some writing live streams I have been loving are Davaisha’s (grapefry) and Natalia Leigh, Brooke Passmore (bytheBrooke), and Mandi Lynn‘s group streams.

Other Writing Tools

Another writing tool I have been LOVING is a writing prompt book called Coffee Break Writing by John Gillard. I got it for super cheap at the bookstore and is filled with 100 prompts. So far, I’ve done this every morning for the last two weeks or so. It is a great exercise before my morning writing session to do because a lot of time, I write a piece for each prompt that is based of my NaNoWriMo project. I highly recommend it!



How has NaNoWriMo gone for you? Let me know in the comments below, and also share a snippet of your story if you’d like. I wish you all the best of luck for the first official week of NaNoWriMo!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Updated Freelance Website!

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Updated Freelance Website!

Did you know I have a freelance editing and writing website? Well, I do! I just gave it a complete makeover and would really appreciate if you checked it out.

Along with various editing and writing services, I now offer digital marketing services. If you are in need of any of those, you might find exactly what you need on my website.

Thanks!

Let’s Talk About Motivation

My journey while lacking motivation for the last 6 months and how I found my way back to reading and writing.

Hello! Long time no see, I know. Life got busy but I am back today to have a talk with you all about motivation.

From May to early October, I struggled to find motivation to do the things I used to do so easily: read, creatively write, and eventually, blog. At first, I was like, “Okay, I just need a little break because I’ve burnt myself out.” This happens; burnout happens. However, little did I know, I needed 6 months to gain back my motivation!

That’s okay though. Even if it doesn’t feel okay in the moment (because it really didn’t), we all need breaks and sometimes, those breaks are longer than others.

My main anxiety during these 6 months of barely reading or writing for myself was that I was never going to read or write for fun again. That terrified me! The idea that these two activities I had spent the last 6-8 years doing religiously, and that had become a HUGE part of my identity, possibly losing interest to me made me panic. What would I do if I didn’t read or write? I still don’t have an answer to this question because I didn’t need to answer it (thankfully).

It’s not like I didn’t try to read over the last several months. It’s not like I didn’t try to write. I started about 3 or 4 books between May and October, and only finished one (Daisy Jones & the Six –which is one of my ALL-TIME favourite books so this barely counts! I can read this book in a day regardless of how busy or tired I am). One book in particular, I was 400 pages into and only had 50 or so before the end, but I just never had that initial interest in it. By page 400, I had NO idea what the plot was or who the characters were –and this wasn’t the author’s fault, it was mine. My attention and interest wasn’t there. I looked at these books I was trying to read and felt no desire to open them.

The same goes for writing. I attempted Camp NaNoWriMo in July and got around 5,000 words down that month. To put it lightly, shit hit the fan that month and even if I was in the mood to write, I wouldn’t have gotten anymore done than I did. I can’t even tell you what I wrote that month because I was so disconnected from my passion to write.

However, this month, something flipped inside of me. Suddenly, I am reading 3 books and enjoying all of them (Fifth Sun by Camilla Townsend, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare)! I think I spend more time reading than I have in the last 2 years. Suddenly, I am furiously outlining a new version of my Aztec mythology-inspired story for NaNoWriMo (mostly thanks to the Surrey International Writers Conference that happened this past weekend that turned my small spark to return to writing into a forest fire!). Also, now I am writing this blog post.

Basically, my point for this post is to reassure you that just because you are not reading or writing right now, and haven’t for the last month or two months or more, doesn’t mean you will never return to them again. Even if you don’t, that’s okay.

Reading and writing are such monumental aspects of my life that it made me sad and anxious thinking about never returning to them again because for me, they bring comfort and clarity to me. They always have and without them, I felt blind. Over quarantine, my anxiety definitely skyrocketed and it still isn’t great, however, ever since I found my way back to reading and writing, it has been so much more manageable.

I didn’t rush myself back into reading and writing. I only got 5 or so pages in each session, but I never pushed past that. And sure, I was disheartened that I didn’t want to continue, but that’s because I didn’t realize how badly my body and mind needed a break! So, here is your reminder to embrace that break. Work on other hobbies, discover other hobbies, spend more time with friends and family, or whatever else interests you. Reading and writing will wait for you; they will still be there when you’re ready to come back.

Now, I wanted to talk about something very, very new in my life that has helped me stay motivated and productive. This sounds sponsery, but I swear it isn’t! In one of the webinars from the Surrey International Writers Conference, the host talked about tools that help her stay productive and she mentioned Habitica. I swear everyone has heard about this but me. If you haven’t though, I highly encourage you to check it out! It allows you to keep a list of habits you want to keep, daily reminders you want to achieve, and a to-do list for that day, all laid out on one page in front of you. When you check each task off, you get coins and items. Basically, it is a game, but this game inspires me to check off all my tasks because I want that new pet or potion!

(Sorry for that random tangent but seriously, check it out if you haven’t!)

I hope this post was as enlightening and helpful for you as it was for me experiencing it and then writing about it. I also wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you for continuing to read and spread love on my blog posts even though I haven’t posted in over a month. It makes me smile to see comments and likes still coming in –it truly makes my day!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Favourite books of 2020…So Far

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