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April 16, 2018

Now Learn How to Conquer Your Writers Block and Summon Inspiration 820x380 - Overcoming writer’s block - All you need to know!

Overcoming writer’s block – All you need to know!

Just for the irony of it, I really wanted to leave this page completely blank.

Hilarious right?

I’m certain such a jape would garner not only smiles and laughter from such a canny witticism but more predominantly a solidarity from writers the world over. However, that wouldn’t be much use to those of you hoping for an explanation into this stumbling block and a few clues into how to beat it. So here we go. Let’s hope they get you over your hump and back to business.

What is writer’s block?

Writer’s block is the horrifying moment where everything, absolutely everything, dries up. Your ideas, your creativity, your drive and your will to sit down and write a single word you can be proud of has taken leave from your brain and it feels like it isn’t coming back in any kind of a hurry.

Why has it so suddenly and cruelly hijacked your usual process?

Your brain might be busy processing something else. You may have all sorts of ideas but at this moment in time there isn’t a single one of them that seems good enough to be worth starting on or you might simply be tempted by all the other things that you could be doing instead if your heart just isn’t in it.

They’re all valid reasons and there’s plenty more to boot. Most of the time we’re scared to write in case it’s not going to be good enough for those we’re writing for and worse still, not good enough for ourselves. We want everything we write to be the best it can be and if we don’t have that confidence in our work then there’s a good chance it probably won’t be. So tell yourself, you’ve done it before and you can do it again. Convince yourself. It’s in there, and you can eek it out, it’s just going to take a little effort on your behalf.

Sometimes you just can’t force it

Rubbish. Sit at the screen and force it. Do it. That is without doubt the very first thing you should try.

Write. Just write.

You’ve heard the phrase ‘dress for the job you want, not the one you have’, well, writing, or attacking any creative outlet, is pretty similar. So many times all you really need is a kick-start. So write. What comes out might not be the brilliance you’re hoping for but maybe, just maybe, it will be the first step into a re-write, an edit or a fine tune into something that has the makings of such

brilliance. Fake it until you make it. That’s my best advice to you. Try. Force yourself, and then if that doesn’t work, move down the list and come back to it again when you’ve given yourself the break, the recharge, or whatever else you can try to re-gather and regroup your thoughts. Then try again. But do try. Try.

So what else should we do?

We should examine what we think our problem is and if we can, fix it. Generally we think we’ve got nothing to write about, we have no good ideas, and perhaps we don’t have any ideas so start with that. How should we go about digging some up? How do we get that ideas pool topped back up so we can swim about in it again?

Sit back and think

Where do your ideas usually come from? If they’re part of your thinking process then think. If they come from inspiration, then go read other material that would normally inspire. If they come by accident from conversation then pick up the phone and talk to someone who can help you juggle things up a bit. Brainstorming is good. Not only will you have an opportunity to create some good ideas out of practically nowhere but also the psychology of spending time with friends will feed the healthy chemicals in your brain it needs to better enjoy the challenge you’re really facing.

Go find your answers

If your thought processes require solidarity or space then get out of the office. Go for a walk or a run. Go sit in a coffee shop and watch the world go by. Any one of the people you notice in passing might be the trigger for what you’re missing. Stories are all about people’s actions and reactions after all, why not get some first hand experience of how they behave outside of your mind?

Reboot your system

Not your computer, your head. For half an hour, ten minutes or half a day, go turn off and do something completely unrelated. Tell yourself that a break is all you need. When you do go back to the job hopefully your brain will have believed you and subconsciously prepared a host of new ideas for when it knows you’re going to start again, with a newly added vengeance to get the job done.

Be inspired

Instant access inspiration is a great place I find. Listen to some music but put your headphones on and really listen. If it’s passionate and has a point, or a story, there could be something in there you can glean for yourself. It often takes just one line to get you moving and once that big old ball is rolling

there’s often no stopping it. As we learned earlier, sometimes it’s just about getting started and if one line from one song, or one poem, or one meme even, then that’s worth its weight in gold for you.

Sweat

Not out of panic if there’s a deadline looming — but from exercise. One of the ways we can help our brain to perform at its best is to stimulate our body. Get your blood flowing to all corners of your body and soul and it could well be enough to fire up those dormant neurones and drive them into action.

Be positive — avoid the negative trap

The worst thing you can do is to become maudlin and think negative thoughts.

Don’t wallow in your failure so far.

Don’t make excuses; you’re better than that for sure.

And don’t give up.

All of these things will just reaffirm your brain’s current pathway that it’s useless and has already failed. So take a time-out but as soon as you can get back on that horse. Go back to where we started, tell yourself you’ve got this, pick up your pen or boot up your computer and write.

Just write.

Write

Start somewhere new, somewhere you’ve already been. Start anywhere. Write anything. Write a bad idea if you have nothing else. You can delete it if it really was that terrible; but then decide why it was so terrible and write a better one. It’s only a draft after all; it doesn’t need to be genius. The genius might be hidden somewhere in between the lines you haven’t written yet SO WRITE.

If you do, I’ll bet my shirt you’ll get a lot further than if you didn’t. More than likely it will be the stepping-stone you needed to get off the rollercoaster and back on track.

So do we understand each other? Do you know what to do now?

Well what are you waiting for?

Go write.

influencer marketing 1 - What is a social media influencer?

What is a social media influencer?

Apparently a whopping forty-percent of the world’s population are now on at least one social media platform. That’s over three billion people. If you’ve got something to say, or even more relevant, something to sell, that’s a really big marketplace to promote your wares.

One of the key ways this huge tool is being utilised now is using the one thing social media is designed to do — be social. All the platforms from Tumblr to YouTube are designed to create interactions, relationships, and through careful manipulation and development of those it’s a perfect opportunity to sneak your business through the back door or shout about it from the rooftops depending on where your brand stands in the public eye.

The people that are creating these openings by earning your trust in their opinions, actions and advice and are utilising the social media platforms to do so are what we call social media influencers.

Every time we follow, share, or like a post we’re spreading their news for them, and that’s how their market can spread over the world in a matter of minutes. Influencers want you to send their message virally for them. It’s how they make their money after all.

Why do we trust them?

Well, we are led to believe that they are experts in their field, and they often are, but not always. There are an abundance of celebrities working to a script and the end result is the same for the good of the brand, and the bigger the star the bigger the audience they already have access to.

Or if someone continually blogs about their topic expertise then we’re given one-to-one access to just how knowledgeable they are and with an opportunity to subscribe to any and all of their accounts, to be kept up to date on anything and everything about their subject, we’re buying into what they’re selling.

They know their subject

Take your own life for example; what do you care about and what are your interests? To keep up to date with news and current affairs we follow or subscribe to the newspapers where everything they put under our noses, despite how often we’re told not to believe everything we read in the press, we still pretty much do.

We buy into the fact that they’ve done the research, they understand their topic, and they’re sharing that with us because they want to. The real truth is that they’re sharing it because it’s a multi-million pound industry. But, there it is, every day when you log on to Facebook, Twitter or any of the other myriad platforms, you can be kept up to date on what’s going on; and if you were to drop by their website or buy their newspaper you’ll be bombarded with the advertising that makes them their money.

If you work in finance you’ll follow the movers and shakers in the banking world. They’re going to be a step ahead of the rest of the competition so you’ll look to them for advice. If they recommend an app, a book, a good investment or valuable opportunity you’re going to take their word for it and give it your valued consideration.

These influencers are our experts. Leaders in their fields.

These are fairly simple examples but they make the point well. We trust them because we believe them. That’s how they achieve their power of influence.

We want to be them

We love and loathe them at the same time but celebrities have a selling power second to none.

If Angelina, Julia, Brad or Gerard smell of a certain scent then of course we want to too. Even if it is fifty-pounds a bottle. The brands and businesses that buy into their already huge followings understand just how much return they can make from an investment into a celebrity’s influence. It’s a ready-made market just waiting to be milked.

Ideally, the big brands want to create a relationship with someone who fits their brand profile, who is relevant to the product by age, culture and style, and if it all fits then it’s big business for the brand, the celebrity, and all their adoring fans, or as they should be called, ‘customers’.

For example, lets say a local celeb had a pool installed by https://willshapools.com/ ideally you would want the celeb to share pics on the new pool on their social channels, allowing your brand to reach a whole new audience that you can potentially sell too!

There are flaws in the celebrity process; what happens if the chosen star falls from grace? It’s got to have a good spin to work it to the brand’s advantage but in a world where we can agree that dumping a fallen star is the ethical thing to do we buy further into that brand’s attitude. It’s almost like they can’t fail…

 

We’re just like them already

Basic psychology says we’re attracted to others ‘like for like’. That means that we’re drawn to those with similar belief systems, backgrounds, values and style. So if we see someone on YouTube or Vimeo that we identify with and they’re talking knowledgably about something that interests us then they garner our trust and too an influence into our buying decisions.

The Internet has created a plethora of these miniature stars with massive followings, or micro-influencers as they are known to the marketing masses, and there’s a really strong opinion that we will buy into their opinions with more and more respect as time goes on.

Because they are smaller entities than the Hollywood jet-set they are more likely to preach what we think they really believe in, as opposed to the A-list celebrity with his or her multi-million dollar deals. The micro-influencers are going to become the biggest marketing movers and shakers of the future because already the under 20s spend way more of their time on the Internet and social media than they do watching mainstream television or other more standard marketing channels.

The Millennials may well be the hot players in society right now but the pathways are set for Generation Z to take over, so this trend that’s making waves right now is only set to grow and grow.

Information superhighway

So whether we know we’re buying into it or not the social media influencers are turning our heads and turning a profit. Whether we’re sitting up and listening to the experts and leaders, the bloggers and content writers of our favourite websites pages, the micro-influencers or our celebrities, these are big ways to get into our homes and our heads, and for as long as they’re creating those very relationships that make us buy into their ideas, opinions and products, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

product - How to make money from affiliate marketing

How to make money from affiliate marketing

What’s that then?

Affiliate marketing is a term used for driving sales to online sellers for a percentage commission.

And how do I do that?

You promote someone else’s product on your own website. Your visitors click through from the link on your website to an appropriate page on the vendor’s site and buys the item in question. You then receive a percentage of the money from the sale.

But I can’t build websites

You don’t have to. Not anymore. Many affiliate marketers spend time and effort learning how to write code and build a website themselves. Many others think that they have to do just that and give up before they even get started. But with so many free options that require no programming skills to get you started you really don’t have to, so why not jump straight into an option that will have you trading faster and easier?

Where do I get a free website?

There are a plethora of free website building packages out there. You can consider WordPress, Blogger, Wix, 1&1, Squarespace, Tumblr, Weebly and more. The list is endless and they all offer basic free packages to get you started.

They operate on pre-designed template systems so you don’t have to be a designer either. Simply pick the one you think suits your niche and start filling it with content.

It’s beneficial to purchase and add your own personal domain name to your site as using the one provided for free will look professionally clumsy and more than likely add the provider’s name to the URL. Domain names are cheap and you’ll want to find one that looks professional, be part of your brand, and hopefully include a reference to at least one keyword relative to your market.

Where do I buy a domain name?

Your chosen free website builder will provide that facility. With some you may have to pay a subscription for the next package up but most will only charge you for the cost of the domain and automatically insert it as your new website URL.

Choose your niche market

This is such an important factor to take into consideration. It will most likely dictate whether or not you’re likely to see this through to the point where you not only make money but also keep making money.

Do your research. Join all the affiliate network websites. They have lists of thousands of retailers and the products and services they will pay you to promote. Go through all or as many as you physically can to get an idea of what you feel you can describe, discuss, advise about and have a genuine interest in; it’s likely that that is going to be your best market.

If you pick a retailer or product type just because it has a higher percentage of commission then there is a good chance that you’ll lose interest in the continual amount of work it takes to keep making sales. Each product is going to require regular promotion to attract search engines and visitors, without them you’re not going to make referrals and without those you’re not going to make any money.

So if you have a hobby already and it appears on the affiliate network lists, then that’s a great place to start. If you see something on the affiliate networks that you’d love to get involved with perhaps as a new hobby or interest then that’s great too.

If it’s interesting to you then your new part-time job will be interesting to you too. If it isn’t, then it’s going to make doing the work a chore that eventually you’ll resent having to work at just to make a few extra pounds.

Finding the right affiliate programme

Some retailers will offer their own affiliate programs. These in-house programs will guide you in how your partnership will work, how they recommend you set up your website, how you’ll make the referrals and how you’ll get paid.

If the products or retailer you’d like to utilise doesn’t have it’s own program then you’ll join the network program that they are signed up to and from there you will be provided with the information once again on how to create and use your affiliate links and how you will be paid your generated income.

Get some training

Most affiliate network sites will offer guidelines on the best way to utilise your website to make a profit. More than likely these things will include how to set

up your website, how to make the best from Google’s Webmaster Tools and how to gather important marketing data from Google Analytics. They’ll offer tips on search engine optimisation in order to promote traffic from organic web searches, possible use of email marketing, driving additional traffic from social media platforms, considering paid traffic marketing such as AdWords or Facebook Ads, and more.

Some of the more overlooked but most important skills to learn about are the ways you create content for your website.

If you’re going to present yourself as somebody who understands the products you’re affiliated to and create relationships of trust with your website visitors to the point they want to buy those products then you’re going to need to learn how to write engaging, informative and exciting copy. Your articles are going to be what turns your website’s visits into sales. You need to be persuasive without being forceful. There is an art to writing readable and driving sales copy and this should be high on your list of things to learn.

All the time that you are learning you’re finding new or better ways to operate. Joining affiliate marketing discussion groups is a great way to trade techniques and tactics. These people are working in the same field as you so should be offering up-to-date methods of how best to operate so lean on them. Never stop learning or working at becoming better at what you do.

Keep building

If you’re expecting to build your website, link to your affiliate and then watch the profits roll in then you may as well stop now and pick another way to try and turn a profit. It’s a slow burner that takes real work in creating regular content and new input.

Search engines want to see up to date news, they want to see regularly updated websites in order to rank them as active in your chosen market, so adding three or four articles of content every week should be your standard. Linking them to your site from all the social media platforms, guest blogging on other sites, pushing your links from any opportunity you can is all part of the process. It’s a lot of work if you’re going to make it work well.

Don’t give up early

My biggest piece of advice is don’t give up too early. Your results aren’t going to come overnight. You’re going to have to work on your website until it gains suitable rankings for your products. It will also take time for search engine optimisation to become established and present the beginnings of the kind of traffic that you’ll need. It will take time for that fist trickle to start to fall into place and from there you will need to keep working with all that you’ve learned to grow your results into those where you’re finally becoming satisfied with your new income stream.

So keep plugging, keep blogging, keep putting in the hours, and hopefully, eventually, you’ll be pretty glad you did.