Are You Ready to Get More Social [Media]?…

Recently, a friend asked me about the social media consulting work I’ve been doing for a few of my clients, so I shared the following information with her.
croppedcolorfulbutterflyAfter I sent the info, and the more I thought about it, I decided it might be a good idea to share the information with everyone… Maybe you — or someone you know — could benefit by “getting more social [media]” for your business?! If that’s the case, please reach out to me. I’d love to chat with you!
 

Get More Social [Media] and Navigate the Social Media Channels with Kathy Magrino as Your Guide…

In the social media world, someone who “loves to talk” can work to your advantage: Kathy Magrino can help you navigate the social media channels and gain exposure for your business. Kathy will serve as your co-pilot and advisor as you take control of your business’ social media presence. She’ll show you how you can use social media to connect with more potential customers and fans, and you’ll gain more exposure for your business or brand. And, if you’d prefer, Kathy can manage and take care of your day-to-day social media tasks for you, while you relax and enjoy the ride!

Kathy has a long history of being known as a “social butterfly” and someone who enjoys chatting with other people. In fact, Kathy’s grammar school teachers would say she “loves to talk too much” and sometimes was “too social” in class. Jump ahead a few decades, and these “social skills” have combined with Kathy’s many years of experience as a writer, editor and marketing professional to create a powerful combination of skills. In recent years, these skills have been helping Kathy guide her clients – B2B and B2C businesses of all types and sizes – through the social media channels, “talking,” “chatting” and “socializing” their way to more exposure and more business.

From selecting the most effective social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and so on), to blogging and micro-blogging, to curating content (finding news and information relevant to your audience’s interests to share through the social media channels), to establishing an online “voice” for your brand and business, Kathy can help you do all things social-media-related, and she can help guide your business to social media success!

Connect with Kathy Magrino today to get started on your social media journey… She definitely looks forward to “chatting” with you! ;)

Email – kathy@thewriteway.com

Twitter – @kathymagrino

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathymagrino

Phone – 732-995-4030  

Getting Ready to Write (in 2016)!

Photo by Lynda Giddens via Creative Commons

Photo by Lynda Giddens via Creative Commons

How do you get ready to write? Whatever I’m writing, these are the steps I take to motivate myself and to get the “creative juices” flowing. Sometimes, I only need to do one or two of the steps to get ready… Other times, I need to do it all!

Note: This is an updated version of a blog post I originally wrote four years ago. We used the original post for an assignment in the writing classes I teach at Rider University, and we’ll be using this post in our writing classes that start this week. All the ideas shared are still applicable today (in 2016), but I’ve made some very minor changes/additions to this latest version. The changes are noted in red… Thanks for reading this post!

Here’s what I do to get ready to write, and I hope you find the info to be interesting and helpful to you:

1. Clear Your Head — and Your Workspace — to Get Organized

To get started on any writing project, I need to focus on the project — not on everything else going on in my life. First, I make a handwritten list of things I need to do that aren’t related to the writing project and tuck the list away to be looked at later. (I believe that when I put a pen in my hand and write on a piece paper the activity “triggers” some creative juices in my brain… Recent research backs up this idea!) Then I make another list — or an outline — for the project I need to do right then and there. In my workspace, I move piles of work out of my view so they don’t distract me, which brings us to the next step…

2. Shut Down Distractions
I turn off my phone or put it on vibrate. I ignore any calls or texts that might come in while I’m trying to work. I sign off all social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.). Then I  close the browser window for my email account on my laptop. If it’s on, I turn off the news/talk radio (sometimes music is okay — it depends on my mood…) and I turn off my TV. I can’t be distracted if I really want to focus on my writing.

3. Do Something Else First — Something You Enjoy Doing
For me, a walk on the beach (in warmer months) or preparing a favorite recipe can inspire me to “tackle” a writing project. Or maybe I’ll watch Netflix or a TV show I’ve saved on my DVR. What inspires you? Do that first, then sit down and write, write, write!

4. Time Yourself — and Don’t Forget to Give Yourself a Break (or Two)
Sometimes I actually set a real timer and write for 20 or 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, I get up and “reward” myself by getting a snack or taking a short break. If I’m really on a writing streak, I’ll reset the timer and keep on writing… I think doing this makes me feel better because it’s a way to “control” the process. (I used to use an “old-fashioned” kitchen timer with an obnoxious ring/buzz when it went off. But today I use the alarm/timer on my iPhone — I can control the ringtone, and it’s a lot less jolting!) 

5. Focus on Your Readers/Audience and Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Think about your readers or audience. Who will be reading or hearing the words you’re writing? What do they like or dislike? How can you grab — and keep — their attention? Successful writing projects are written for specific audiences. (I can’t stress this enough!!) I sometimes pretend I’m having a conversation with my readers, like I’m doing right now.

Well, these steps are the ones I take when I’m getting ready to write. However, we all have different ways of doing things… Here are some tips from Janis Butler Holm: Getting Ready to Write: Rituals vs. Distractions.

What do YOU do to get ready to write? Please share your tips and ideas in the comments here on my blog.

Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading! ;-)

Kathy Magrino

 

Let Go of Your Anxieties About Writing! Just ‘K.I.S.S.’…

Learn to let go of any anxieties you might have about writing! In my 12 years of teaching writing courses, I’ve heard all the fears and excuses (and, honestly, sometimes I’ve experienced them, too). PURPLEKISS FINALWe share the same concerns and fears, we ask similar questions, and sometimes we don’t know what to write about, or how to get started. We’re always on alert, because “writer’s block” can happen at any time! Yes, anxieties related to the writing process are very common, so don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Recently, I taught a one-day “Basic Writing” refresher course for business people at a local community college. It was an enlightening experience for me to teach adult students who are already in the workforce, since I’m usually teaching “traditional” college students (ages 18-22) in my writing classes at Rider University. The main difference was that I was working with people who were NOT “digital natives” and these students represented different generations – mostly Generation X-ers, one Millennial, and a few Baby Boomers, too. And, even though our class took place in a computer lab, the students actually brought pens and notepads to the class, just like the good ol’ days! (Hmmm… “How different generations work and communicate today” might be a good topic for a future blog post?!… Stay tuned!) Yes, there were differences, but one similarity stood out: These students were like my other “traditional” students. They said they have anxieties related to the writing process, too. It’s a very common problem, but, seriously, it’s time to let go!

Here’s how: Just K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Students)! The K.I.S.S. principle for writing is easy to follow. It’s something I try to apply to all my writing – and to almost everything else that I do. If you’re ready to let go of your anxieties about writing, here are a few K.I.S.S. writing tips from my “Basic Writing” class presentation:

  • PREPARE to write. Create an outline. Do research, if necessary. Know your audience.
  • BRAINSTORM for ideas. Ask questions. Consider objectives. Be creative, when appropriate.
  • Pay attention to your writing STYLE and TONE. Be conversational, but professional. Be clear. Be yourself, and write naturally.

These are just a few tips, and I could go on and on about the K.I.S.S. principle for writing, but we’ll save some pointers for another day, or maybe another blog post. :)  If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in reading more about what others are saying about keeping the writing process as simple as possible, like The Power of Simple Writing by Jeff Bulas.

Writing – and almost everything else in life – is better when you K.I.S.S.! What do you think? Feel free to share your comments on this blog. Or tweet me @kathymagrino. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Creativity and enthusiasm shine through the blogs my students are writing!

A few years ago, I blogged about how impressed I was with the blogs my students were creating and writing for our COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions class at Rider University. And each semester since 2012, I’ve continued to be “wowed” by my students’ blogs.blogcollageimage It’s not just the writing that they’re doing that’s impressive. It’s my students’ creativity that impresses me the most!

I give my students complete creative control over their blogs, and they can choose to write about any theme they want (because I believe that it’s always easier to write when you’re writing about a topic that interests you). Their creativity is awesome, and it’s enhanced by their enthusiasm for the topics they’re writing about, as well! They’re doing such a great job writing their blogs this semester, and the themes and topics are so interesting. I enjoy reading every post they write. :)

Take a look at a few of the blogs created during the past few weeks (Spring Semester 2015), and I think you’ll be impressed, too!

Do You Schedule Your Time and Work in a Way that is ‘Natural’ for YOU?

In business, and in life, in general, timing is everything. I came across this blog post this morning: A Resting Revolution: Insight from Martha. croppedsunriseWhile Martha Beck, a popular life coach, author and motivational speaker, wrote this post in 2012, I believe I discovered and read the blog post at just the right time for me.

Right now, I needed to be reminded that “we should follow our own impulses rather than adhering to rigid external rules…” I believe this advice applies to just about everything in life. But, in this instance, Martha is referring to our schedules: when we work, and when we rest and sleep. In the article, Martha also quotes “brain rules” developed by Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist who studies the human brain. His “brain rule #7” is “Sleep well. Think well.” (I know that when I’m tired, it takes me a lot longer to get my work done.)

Our schedules can get crazy these days, with so many distractions, plus the demands of outside influences in our business and personal lives (school schedules, meeting times, sports schedules, travel requirements, etc.) Martha brings up a good point: Our school and work schedules today are based on timing and concepts developed during different times – and the world has changed A LOT since the Industrial Revolution. She says, “There is no reason to continue scheduling our activities based on a model from the 19th century,” and I agree.

Whether you’re naturally a “night owl” or an “early bird,” you’re most effective when you time your work – and your rest – to match your own natural rhythm. Good luck – and let’s get some rest! :)

Twitter grows, while Facebook remains the same…

Do you use Twitter?

Apparently, Twitter has been gaining more users, while Facebook usage has remained the same.  According to a recent article from Social Media Examiner, Twitter has been experiencing “massive growth.” Twitter screenshotThe article cites a Pew Research Center report that says the social media platform’s audience rose by 27.7% from 2013 to 2014, while Facebook’s audience held steady during the same time. The research also attributes some of Twitter’s increased popularity to TV programs and other businesses and brands using the platform. The article reports, “Twitter’s foothold with television audiences and Millennial consumers suggest there are some marketing opportunities.” That’s good news for businesses and brands.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed using Twitter since I first signed on in 2009. Over the past six years, it’s been fun to learn from people around the world, to meet new friends (some of those friends have transferred from the “Twitter world” to the “real world”), and to watch and participate in Twitter’s growth. If you’re not already using Twitter, you should join in on the fun! And let’s connect there: You can follow me @kathymagrino and I’ll follow you back. Hope to see you on Twitter soon! :)

Business communication: Are your presentations ‘Zen-like’? They should be!

This week in my COM106 Writing for the Media class at Rider University, I’ll be introducing my students to Garr Reynold’s book, Presentation Zen. It’s a required text for our course.presentation zen book Sharing this book and the concepts Garr covers in the book with future business professionals is my attempt (in a very small way) to support Garr’s “mission” — and to hopefully help improve the quality of presentations in the business world in the years to come. ;)

If you’re not familiar with Presentation Zen, the book promotes the concepts of “restraint, simplicity and naturalness” in presentation preparation, design and delivery. Garr describes his book in the first chapter of Presentation Zen:

“This is not a book about Zen; this is a book about communication and about seeing presentations in a slightly different way, a way that is in tune with our times… Our professional activities – especially professional communications – can share the same ethos as Zen. That is, the essence or the spirit of many of the principles found in Zen concerning aesthetics, mindfulness, connectedness, and so on can be applied to our daily activities, including presentations.”

Follow Garr Reynolds on Twitter @PresentationZen and read the book to discover how you can make your business presentations more “Zen-like.” :)

 

In business, it’s okay to change your mind (and follow your heart)

TheWriteWay’s pick for February 9, 2015:

“Change is good.” I’ve always believed this statement, and it’s refreshing and reassuring when you see people embracing change in their lives. heartBut the same “change is good” concept can (and should) be applied when we change our minds, especially when we’re following our hearts. Sisters and business partners Becca Nelson and Ellie Brown changed their minds and decided to keep their business, after Mark Cuban offered to buy it for $200,000 on TV’s “Shark Tank.” There was an article on NewsObserver.com that shared their story, and it offered some validation that it’s okay to change your mind in business, and to do what “feels right” to you. (The link to the article that I had posted unfortunately no longer works.) Best of luck, Becca and Ellie – and keep following your hearts! :)

P.S. In keeping with the “change is good” theme of this post, I’ve opted to change these weekly blog posts… I’ll be posting one article at a time (rather than two or three), so that each selection can get the focused attention it deserves. (And you may be seeing more than one post per week… Stay tuned!)

Change It Up!…Or Start A New Business — TheWriteWay picks for week of February 2

Is it Time to ‘Change It Up’ in Business and Your Personal Life?

If you work for yourself (like I do), your business and personal life often “merge” or, at least, impact each other – A LOT. (It’s similar when you work for others, but maybe not as extreme?…) How do we manage this “merger” of our business and personal lives? @ChrisGuillebeau says we should take the time to think about our goals, both personal and business, each day. He says we should ask ourselves a simple question at the end of each day: “Did today matter?” How you answer this question can offer some guidance and perspective. Chris says, “Did today matter? If so, great. Do more things like it tomorrow. Can’t remember anything in particular that made a difference? Well, better change it up…” Read his post, 7 Alternative Ways to Evaluate Your Life Every Day, for some more guidance and motivation: http://bit.ly/1EoKHqd

Are You Dreaming of Starting a New Business in 2015?…

What type of business will you start? Each year, people starting new businesses search among sample business plans on the Bplans.com website, and the owners of the site track which searches are most popular. Then they publish and share a “Top 10” list. In her article on Inc.com, @MindaZetlin writes about the list, and she says, “It’s a fascinating look into the types of businesses most of us dream of starting, and how those dreams have changed over time.” Read Minda’s article, The 10 Most Popular New Businesses for People to Start, for more insight and the list of “Top 10 Business Plan Searches for 2014”: http://bit.ly/1LBmr6u

Marketing and Twitter… TheWriteWay Picks – Week of January 26, 2015

How Will the ‘Less-Is-More’ Movement Affect Marketing?

The “less-is-more” movement seems to be picking cialis professional up traction lately. 31077_SMJPG_20150126092730284If you’re involved in marketing any type of product or service, you should be prepared. Society seems to be shifting away from a “materialism mentality,” and this could have big implications for the future of marketing and advertising – and the way we communicate and persuade people to buy products and services. Here are some interesting thoughts from Steve Taylor (@SMTaylorauthor) via @PsychToday: http://bit.ly/1Csdyrt

‘Communicate Less & Tweet More Links…’ and Other Good Tips for Using Twitter

I’ve said this before: @Twitter is my personal favorite social media platform, and I love learning all I can about using it for effective communications. Here are some helpful tips from @timsoulo via @SMExaminer for improving results if you’re using Twitter for marketing purposes: http://bit.ly/1ylWEES