Guest Post by: All Curves West – Tiny Curves too!! :-)

~It is always a daunting idea to start-up a new business. Often it is not the business idea but the business practices that “fail”. Marketing, and for me, social media marketing, is one of the crucial aspects of winning the business game. One of my side projects, All Curves West, depends almost solely upon social media to grow or “succeed”.

In my opinion “social media” includes; blog networking using platforms like WordPress or Tumblr, social networking via Facebook & Twitter, business networking through Google Plus and Linkdin, and the more recent trend of photo networking using applications such as Instagram and Pintrest. Having a solid “online presence” can seem complicated when you see that big list of sites and applications. It comes down to having a plan, and being efficient. Social media can steal your entire life if you let it! But it doesn’t have to. I could spend a lot of time talking about exactly how to do that but for the purposes of this article I will leave it at that.

All Curves West is a little blog I have, these days my ability to keep it as up to date as I would like is struggling. But one way I keep it alive without too much time is by having my WordPress blog linked to my Facebook business page of the same name. It isn’t the same and I still deserve a good slap on the wrist for not practicing what I preach but it is still a great way to help grow your blog following.
To me the best part about having a Facebook page in addition to your blog is growing your “personality”.

Blogging is limited in that you can only present your own writing or the writing of your fellow bloggers. It doesn’t allow for the quick “shares” and “likes” that can let you show people what you are all about. My blog, All Curves West, is a fashion forward, body positive, journey sharing type of blog. Writing is great for me to share my journey with people in detail, but sharing pictures of fashion, or other pages allows a much more visual presentation of my interests and message. It is also a great way to save time in a busy week! A decent amount of social media might take three 2o minute sessions a week, whereas writing a solid post could take ALL week!

Getting followers to your blog is also a lot easier when you can get them to “like” your page and THEN get them to follow the blog by connecting the two. Don’t be afraid to ask people to like or share or follow you, not all the time, obviously, but once a month is certainly reasonable! Confidence is attractive to people whether it be in marketing or dating, so let people know you have a great thing happening over here and ask them to come take a look! Once they have liked or followed you, it is your job to keep them there! Maybe next time I can talk about that!

Erin 2Since I am here I am going to take a little minute and tell you about All Curves West (ACW)! It has taken a long time to figure out my message in a really tangible way. In a word, All Curves West is about inclusion. My journey of self love has jumped forward since I found the power of inclusion. I feel like the very best way to teach love is through love. I had to truly find the ability to let go of comparison. I discovered that very few of us, whether our curves be big or small, possess true self-love. I learned that so many of the people who possessed the body I so desired, did not possess the confidence or self worth that I had spent my whole life assuming came with it! And that is what pushed me to start writing and create All Curves West.

My message is acceptance: all the curves, all the love, all the time. My motto is: Present Choice: Happiness – because you have to be present, it IS always a choice, and ALWAYS choose happiness.

I have a serious love for fashion, fashion art, modeling & photography. My Facebook page allows me to showcase that aspect of ACW as well as draw attention to artists/designers/businesses/events/people who fall in line with my message. My blog gives me a place explore my journey through words.
There is so much more to All Curves West and I could spend so much more time on everything I said above but for now I leave you with this thought courtesy of a very special tarot card that I pulled almost every single week for two years at the beginning of my yoga-for-curvy-ladies practice…(paraphrased)!

~Is the bamboo less mighty than the oak? Is the oak less beautiful than the bamboo? Comparison is not the answer. We all have our strengths and our beauty.~

All Curves West!

Erin

Building an online presence to BOOST your SEO

ball-142738_1280~This week I’ve really been focusing on building an online presence and let me tell you, it’s a job!

I have spent countless hours following pages on Twitter and Facebook, reading a ton of great material, connecting with a lot of talented writers and entrepreneurs… and of course, commenting on posts and having discussions with people about writing.

Here is my new confession: I am a bit obsessed with social media right now!!

It really sucks you in once you get momentum going on multiple social networking sites, but it is definitely an essential tool when building your business. It’s also incredibly exciting hearing feedback, gathering followers and gaining knowledge on many subjects. I’ve met some really interesting people and they are all on their own journeys, which is a wonderful way to learn the ins and outs of networking. You must follow and connect with like-minded people to grow, and the experience is really fun once you really dive into it.

Sharing is caring ❤

Now, this is just my own opinion as I am diving into a few different writing outlets including novel-writing, copy writing and freelance journalism. In all the research I’ve done, I’ve found that most agents will look for a strong online presence when working with writers. It’s the best way to promote ones self when your publishing a book, building your portfolio or for any kind of web writing. Social media sites are a fabulous source for finding publications and clients.

Some people don’t agree though and it’s really up to you how far you want to take it. It can be overwhelming and time-consuming which some people don’t like. I’ve had a few friends say, “I could never do something like that….” and that’s fair enough. This magical world of social media is not for everyone. I have to step away sometimes and remember that there is a real world out there that needs to be cherished and loved. The best way to do that is make a social media schedule.

social-media-400854_1280Greg Pratt, my instructor at Uvic, doesn’t really use social media to build his freelance business. In Freelance Journalism it’s not always necessary to have a huge following online because most of the time freelancers are communicating with specific editors and using the perfect pitch to land a publication. Also, Greg works as an Editor himself so he has an actual “day job” taking up a lot of his time. He’s been quite successful without using a large amount of social media.

It really depends on what you want to do with your writing.

Do you want to publish ebooks?
Would you like to build a travel blog?
Will it benefit your website to link it to another social networking site like Twitter?

I have answered YES to these questions so now it’s time to take my SEO to the next level. Following the most popular trends, I’ve learned that Twitter and Linkedin are the two major social networking sites most people use to connect. Link ’em all together and BAM!!

SEO at full throttle! 🙂

Here are some great links I’ve found that cover SEO information quite extensively:

http://www.acronym.com/bebrilliant/seo/5-ways-you-need-to-use-social-media-to-boost-your-seo/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-seo/

http://blog.sumall.com/journal/8-ways-social-media-affects-seo.html

and if you work with WordPress.org and use plugins you can really optimize your site:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-social-seo-booster/

Thanks Google!

Certain plugins aren’t available for WordPress.com users apparently, which I just found out through… you guessed it, Social Networking 🙂

Thank you to my fellow bloggers who have helped me out with optimizing my website. I am very much enjoying this whole process.

The internet is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

How about you? Is their anything about SEO I’ve missed that you have learned about in your journey?

What are your thoughts on Social Media?

I would love to hear from you! I am just learning all of this myself so any feedback would be great. Let’s connect!

Happy writing xo

Becoming a successful writer: The journey continues

I am a writer.

mary-pickford-391111_1280I have been a writer since I was a little kid. When I was 6 years old I wrote my first song about flowers and sang it to my big brother Adrian. He didn’t even notice the words because he was so blown away at my singing voice, but I will never forget the look on his face. And that is the first memory I have about writing.

Over this last month or so I have learned so much about writing itself. How it makes me feel to sit and write what’s in my head.

The labyrinth of my mind unfolded by a series of words, thoughts and feelings that are now constructed into something worth reading. I’ve built my writing platform.

I have learned how others write and how different styles and personalities light up the internet. I have connected with other like-minded people who also have a lot to say and it is immensely intriguing. I absolutely love reading other people’s blogs, learning about them and how they view the world. This makes me feel whole.

I am not alone and neither are you.

And so I share my journey with you 🙂

There are a few fundamental points I have picked up on in this journey to become a successful writer and here is a recap of them:

Niche Market and following you have to find your niche, but you can’t make your niche market work for you unless you have some kind of a following. Most blogs don’t make any money and a lot of blogs don’t even last a year on the internet. So what you choose to write about is the backbone of your style and success. Content, consistency and care are the 3 C’s for writing a successful blog and it takes a very long time to develop your voice. I am definitely still working on this and that brings me to the next key element: Patience.

Patience is a virtue in all aspects of life. Especially when it comes to writing. I have read that most writers/bloggers spend the first couple of years just building a following. So if you understand that success doesn’t happen overnight then you’re golden! This is going to take time and I have accepted that. Sharing is caring and that’s how you slowly build your audience over time. So keep writing what you love and the right people will eventually follow. Then you can pick their brain about their own writing habits.

A Community of writers This is probably the most vital thing I’ve learned over the last year. I started my blog last fall and I am only just beginning to build an online community. Other writers are going to teach you a plethora of lessons in writing. If someone has a successful blog with a lot of followers… follow them! Learn what works for them and surround yourself with like-minded people so you can share information. Liking and commenting on articles that you relate to will then connect you with those particular bloggers… and then they will not only help you connect with others you may not have been able to find, but you will learn different ways to make writing fun.

Sure grammar, punctuation, paragraphing, phrasing… these are all important too. But the content itself is what captures people’s attention. The stories.

Social networking is the present and the future outlet for writers. Get connected!

I don’t claim to be an expert in any of this as I am just in the learning process myself. But it seems these elements are what people are talking about when they talk about the writing process and how to make it work for you. Since this seems to work for other successful writers… I’m going to listen.

There are also a ton of different writing avenues to get involved in if you want to make money as writer such as blog advertising, copywriting, travel writing, freelance journalism etc.  It’s seems as though a lot of writers do at least one or more of these types of writing jobs to make a decent living. I personally want to be a travel writer and/or freelancer so I’ve been researching different ways on how to do that. I am just getting my foot in the metaphorical door.


Some great resources I have found helpful are:

http://www.writersdigest.com/

http://www.thebarefootwriter.com/

http://www.awaionline.com/

http://www.off-the-path.com/

And that’s just to name a few. There is some really great information out there so you just have to look and see what interests you.

But most importantly, to be a successful writer… you have to write! Enjoy the amazing process of writing. Let it captivate you to the ends of the earth.

Make writing your life ❤

Next week I’m starting a new course at The University of Victoria https://www.uvcs.uvic.ca/Course/Freelance-Journalism-in-2014/ASWL081/

I am so incredibly excited to share what I learn and even more so to ask the instructor as many questions as I can. Greg Pratt is a local freelancer here in Victoria and has worked for Douglas, Revolver, Island Parent, Snowboard Canada, Brave Words and other publications.

So I am going to pick his brain!!face-109969_1280

He is the perfect person to talk to as he is doing exactly what I want to do. Connecting with like-minded people IS CRUCIAL at this point in my journey. I can’t wait to share the information I soak up from this course with my fellow writers who are also beginning this wonderful journey to become a successful writer.

I would also like to thank my followers for your inspiration and hope you enjoy reading about my experiences. THANK YOU!!

Happy writing! xo