Top 4 Ways to Read Books on a Budget

It’s hard to believe it’s almost March.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and even though most things have been closed this year, time really has flow. It just goes to show that you can have fun, even when life is stripped down to the essentials.

In light of the fact that most things have been closed/we’ve not been allowed to mix much, I’ve definitely continued with reading as a fulltime habit.

However, given the fact that I seem to be flying through books a lot recently, I’ve had to find ways to do it on a budget (I can no longer justify spending €5 – €10 on a book since I am currently going through around 3 – 5 books per month.)

But, as you will see below there are PLENTY of ways around this:

1. Charity Shop Finds

I got this tip from my friend and I’m embarrassed to say it never even crossed my mind before she said anything, but I’m so glad she did as you can get some absolute bargains – and great reads – from charity shops.

I recently found The Power of Now for €1.00 in my local charity shop – it’s currently €10.49 on Amazon! I often take a trip to my local charity shop to stock up on books, and what’s great about it is that there’s always so much variety as people often drop off the books they no longer want lying around at home – plus buy buying from them, you are donating to a good cause!

2. Amazon Offers

Another strategy I deploy to read books on a budget is to search for the latest offers on Amazon (for Kindle books).

If you’re a fan of reading on Kindle, then I definitely recommend this.

What’s good about Kindle is if you liked the book but don’t plan on reading it again, you simply buy a digital copy, read it and don’t have to worry about having wasted paper by buying a physical copy.

Then, if the opposite happens and you liked it a lot, you can justify buying a physical copy.

This has happened to me a number of times, especially with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton, which are never far from sight and great to just pick up and flick through whenever I get the opportunity.

3. Sort by Price on Offer

You’ll be surprised what a bit of Amazon digging can lead to!

I often sort my search by price on Amazon, which leads to a tonne of free (or incredibly cheap) books, including fiction, non fiction, kids books, cookery books and more!

Simply click on Kindle Books on Amazon, then sort your search by price (low to high) for a wealth of free books.

I started off the New Year reading free books but sometimes the genres are a bit fluffy (there are also loads of free crime/detective books if that’s your thing).

Next, I moved on to £1.00 books and suddenly the quality – and variety – of books increased massively. That said, I’ve found some great classics for free, including The Jungle Book, Robinson Crusoe, Pride and Prejudice and much more!

Alternatively, look for the Deal of the Day for the latest special offers, which features countless books for as little as £0.99.

4. Book Borrowing

Up to now this has worked a treat for me, especially for kids books. This is the ultimate way to share the books you love with others, and learn about some great books that are adored by your friends! I also love book borrowing as it means you get to discuss the book afterwards – it’s always nice to gain other people’s perspectives on books.

What are your tips for reading books on a budget? Leave a comment below!

My Top 5 Books of 2020

What a year 2020 has been! This is the first year in my entire life where I’ve pretty much picked up reading as a full-time hobby. I’ve always been an avid reader but this is the first year I’ve read this many books (just hit 40 and I’m still going strong – lockdown definitely helped…).

I know 2020 isn’t quite up yet and hopefully I will squeeze in a handful more books between now and then. If any of them beat this list then I will update it!

With that in mind, here are my top 5 books of 2020:

5. The Diary of Anne Frank

Obviously I’ve heard a great deal about this book, but I cannot believe I only just read it this year.

Anne Frank is a true inspiration to us all. Something so simple about the book is how she starts each entry with “My Dearest Kitty” or “My darling Kitty” (her imaginary friend.) She was such a character and there are some truly Laugh Out Loud moments (and so many lows) that make you want to hug her and comfort her and tell her how amazing she is.

Throughout the book she talks about how much she wants to inspire the world and become a famous writer or journalist after the war. Well, with 30 million copies sold worldwide in more than 65 languages, she has achieved just that!

Anne Frank has become the most famous young author of all time, and gave a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of a Jewish person in hiding during WWII. Anne was an extremely intelligent and insightful young woman – and is definitely someone who I would invite to my dream dinner party!

4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

Earlier, this year, I helped to organise my friend’s virtual baby shower, and as a Thank You gift, she sent me a bundle of books in the post. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture and I was truly touched by her generosity.

Within the bundle was Where the Crawdads Sing, an absolute gem of a book that tells the story of Kya Clark, a young girl described by locals as ‘The Marsh Girl.’

At a young age her battered and bruised mother leaves her abusive father (and consequently, Kya), and from the offset it is clear that Kya lives an isolated and reclusive life where she is forced to fend for herself. There are so many poignant moments where your heart bleeds for Kya, but there are also so many beautiful moments where we learn about the importance of courage, resilience and determination. The initial chapters of the book also have so many exquisite descriptions of nature, which I really enjoyed.

This is honestly an outstanding read and has a shocking ending that I couldn’t stop thinking about for weeks after finishing it. I am so grateful to my friend for sending this book to me (thank you, Jess!)

3. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle

With so much going on in the world right now, it can be easy to get caught up in the never-ending stream of thoughts going on in our heads (especially mine!)

Don’t get me wrong: just because I’ve read this book (and bookmarked about a gazzilion pages) doesn’t mean I’m suddenly the most Zen person in the village (quite the opposite actually; more like the nuttiest person in the village!) BUT what I did take from this book is that no matter how cloudy our thoughts get, the blue sky is always there. We are not our thoughts, and the storms always pass.

If we can just centre ourselves in the present moment, even just for twenty seconds, that’s something very powerful indeed. As Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book, Silence: “One nerve impulse, one action potential, needs only a millisecond. Giving yourself twenty seconds is giving yourself twenty thousand milliseconds to stop the runaway train of thought.”

I’ve read a lot of books on mindfulness but The Power of Now, which I purchased on Kindle, is one book I plan on buying in physical format so I can have it on hand and just flip open a random page for some quick inspiration (Hi George! It’s Christmas soon!)

2. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

I have to admit when my sister first pitched this to me as a ‘must-read book about the Second World War’ I wasn’t exactly jumping with enthusiasm about reading it, but boy was she right in recommending it. It took me a single weekend to get through this book (and at 450 pages, it’s a long book!)

This is an incredible story about two sisters in France and their battle to survive during the Second World War.

There’s so much depth to this story and it is so shocking and truly horrifying what went on in France (and across the globe) during WWII, and I had no idea about most of it. This is such an inspiring and gripping read and reminds you what true hardship really means, and how much people endured during the war. It also reminds you about the power of resilience, love and freedom.

The Nightingale stays with you long after you’ve finished it. It is such an eye-opener and so beautifully written; I cannot recommend this book enough.

1. Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins

This list would not be complete without this exceptional book and if there is one book you need to read at some point in your life, it’s Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins.

It begins with his (terrible) childhood, then goes on to describe the ups and downs he went through throughout his life.

Goggins is someone who simply never gives up and perseveres where most of us would give up or quit or think negatively, very early on. On the contrary, he just keeps pushing himself beyond his mental and physical limits. He thinks so differently to most people and is massively inspiring to us all.

His theory is that we only use 40% of our brains and I totally agree. We just cop out so quickly or convince ourselves that we can’t be bothered or it’s too difficult or we’re not capable etc., when in actual fact, anything is possible. It’s all about mind over matter and shutting up that voice in your head that’s constantly trying to convince you otherwise.

Goggins is an incredible human (superhuman?) who is solid as a rock, both mentally and physically. He has been described as the toughest man alive and if I could just steal 1% of his thought-process, I’d be a really happy human (superhuman?)

So there you have it, my top 5 reads. What books have you read this year that have inspired you? Leave a comment below!

My Top Books on Resilience

Photo by Thought Catalog from Pexels

Reading is one of my all-time favourite pastimes.

You get to absorb yourself in another world and switch off from your own; you get to learn about faraway lands and places, some real, some make-believe; you get to while away an evening without the usual distractions of television or phones. These are some of the many reasons I love to read.

One subject in particular I love reading about is resilience. I love reading books about other people’s struggles, because you learn so much about their abilities to endure and come through stronger than ever.

These types of books are so inspiring for so many reasons. They motivate, uplift and make us feel empowered. They equip us with knowledge and show us a strength we didn’t know existed.

Here are my top books of all time on resilience:

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Written by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner.

A woman and a girl form an unexpected bond during the volatile events that shook Afghanistan during the past 30 years, including the Soviet invasion and the reign of the Taliban.

During a time when women were not allowed to leave their homes unchaperoned by a man and public stonings were the norm, Mariam and Laila manage to support one another through some of the toughest and most challenging circumstances, and the most inconceivable suffering.

This is an evocative and beautifully written book that makes for a very emotional read. Some bits were so moving they genuinely brought me to tears.

I would definitely recommend reading this book!

Total Number of Times Read: Twice. This is my favourite book, so I plan on reading it again sometime soon!

Pachinko

Pachinko is a novel about Korean immigrants living in Japan during the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910 (and beyond), when Japan formally annexed Korea. It is so interesting and I knew nothing about this situation before reading this book!

Again, the protagonists endure unparalleled suffering, including poverty, abuse and war. But their resilience in the face of unimaginable hardship is admirable and awe-inspiring.

Total Number of Times Read: Once; would love to read it again!

Memoirs of a Geisha

Young Sayuri is unwillingly thrown into the mysterious world of the Japanese Geisha, where she is forced to survive in the same okiya as the wicked Hatsumono, in the hopes of one day becoming a successful geisha herself.

This is an intricately woven tale of hope, beauty, innocence and the complex world of the Geisha.

Total Number of Times Read: I have lost count! At least 20, if not more!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

This is the first time I’ve read a book about Auschwitz, and I’m so glad I did.

Even though it was very difficult to stomach at times (it’s so difficult to fathom what went on in Auschwitz, and the book is based on interviews with Holocaust survivor, Ludwig Sokolov, so a lot of it is based on fact), I couldn’t put it down, namely because of the resilience that the characters demonstrated in the midst of the most terrifying and disturbing circumstances.

Total Number of Times Read: Once. Would consider reading it again!

What are your favourite books of all time? Leave a comment below!

Coronavirus Survival Kit: Evenings

Photo by Designecologist from Pexels

This is a trying time for all of us.

No one really knows the full impact that this virus is likely to cause (though we can look to China for some ideas). In the meantime, for those of us who are stuck at home, I have come up with this little guide on how to weather the storm.

As a mother of two, I’ve found the more mental health preparation I do the evening before, the better I manage the following day.

While school is out, we’re adhering to our usual routine, so once the kids are asleep I begin to unwind from the day just passed. My first step is to either take a shower, or if I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll have a bath, light some candles and relax, away from my mobile phone and the endless spiral of news stories, articles and opinion pieces about this disgusting virus.

I then do a 10 – 30 minute meditation, depending on how I feel. I typically use Headspace and they have just introduced an amazing collection of meditations designed to support us during this crisis, which, as far as I’ve understood, are completely free of charge.

I highly recommend doing some of these meditations; some of them are just one minute long and you’ll be surprised at how impactful just a short meditation can be! I can’t recommend meditation enough!

Following this, I then read for a bit before switching off my mobile phone and fullying absorbing myself in a TV show or movie for the next hour or so.

Before going to bed, I write in my journal and this is something I have strictly adhered to for about a year now! I make a habit of writing only the positive things that have happened that day, and this is honestly the best thing to do just before I close my eyes.

While all of this might seem fairly dull and straightforward to some, these are my essential tools for supporting and maintaining a positive mindset and avoiding any sort of mental health spiral – particularly in the midst of a crisis!

I Doubt I’ll Make Millions from Freelancing, and that’s Okay

Since making the transition from full time employee to freelancer, a lot of changes have gone on in the world.

When I first started freelancing, it was less common and less heard of to work from home. Particularly in Cyprus, it was hardly heard of to work part time let alone to work from home, and the vast majority of jobs advertised were only offered on a full time basis.

While freelancing probably is not without its disadvantages, for me, particularly at this stage in my life, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Since I started freelancing in 2013, it’s certainly been a bumpy ride. I was lucky enough to land a major client fairly early on, but when that fell through in 2017, I felt shaken up, and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get back on my feet.

Since then, I’ve managed to build up a relatively steady stream of clients (and have had another child), so although the work sometimes feels like it’s not enough, I also feel like I’m able to strike a really good balance between working and parenting/managing all the other stuff that comes with being a working parent.

But with the rise of social media, I’m frequently bombarded with articles, emails, videos and social media posts on subjects like ‘How I Made my Millions from Freelancing’ and ‘Yes you CAN Charge $2,000 per post!’

While I don’t doubt that these posts aren’t true, I do think that this sort of success is difficult to come by. And while I believe in the law of attraction and the power of positivity, I also believe that if you do attain this level of success, it will come at a cost.

At this stage in my life, I’m happy to make a little bit of extra cash each month to support my family and put less financial pressure on my husband.

While I used to be obsessed with calculating my earnings each month from freelancing, some months I know have been much quieter than others, and if I’ve made close to nothing, I have learnt to accept that that’s okay.

Yes, we have monthly bills to pay and unanticipated payments always arise, but we always manage to work it out.

Because freelancing means that some months you’ll have made a decent amount, and others you’ll have made nothing! By being as organised as possible with our finances, we somehow seem to figure it out even during the most difficult months.

The flexibility afforded from freelancing has also meant that I’ve got more time to do other things, like meditate, work on my own website, focus on the kids and spend longer on my current workload, without feeling the pressure to get it done as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next task.

And as I said before, while each month definitely differs in terms of workload (and ultimately, income) for the time being, that’s okay.

As a working mum, there have been plenty of occasions where I’ve had to drop what I’m doing to go pick up one of the kids at a moment’s notice, and having the ability to do that means the world to me.

While I’d never say no to extra work, when it doesn’t come through as I’d initially hoped, I have learnt to accept that and move on.

For those of you out there who are making a fortune from freelancing, I salute you!

And while I may not be making millions from freelancing (far from it!), for now, I’m completely okay with that.

What are your thoughts on freelancing? Leave a comment in the box below!

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

Working as a freelancer is both liberating and frustrating. You get to work from the comfort of home – but also with only yourself for company.

While this doesn’t bother me, it definitely doesn’t work for everyone. Some people simply need to be surrounded by other people in order to work productively – and that’s absolutely understandable.

If you’re wondering what it’s really like to work from home and aren’t sure whether it’s right for you, read on for the pros and cons:

Pros:

Fewer Distractions

For me, one of the biggest benefits of working from home is that there are fewer distractions.

Yes, I am guilty of putting the washing machine or the dishwasher on, which can be incredibly annoying, but generally speaking, the house is so calm and quiet, and the only noises I can hear are passing traffic or, if I’m in the mood for it, the music I’m playing in the background.

While I do find I concentrate best in complete silence, sometimes when I’m working on something a little less demanding (like an upload or some admin), I do enjoy a chill out mix.

Set Your own Hours

Need to run to the post office or go to the bank? Working from home makes it so much easier to carve out time for errands or appointments which you don’t always want to schedule around your working hours.

The beauty of working from home is that you carve out your hours around your schedule.

As a working mother, there have been plenty of occasions where I’ve had to pick up my daughter from nursery at a moment’s notice, or stop what I’m doing to show the builder how to open the latch to the roof (the husband seems to love arranging for builders to come round while I’m home and he’s at work!)

But being at home reduces your frustrations around these unforeseen events, and I always feel so grateful that I can be home when I’m truly needed.

Increased Flexibility

Having the ability to set your own hours automatically equates to increased flexibility. If something non-work-related comes up in the morning, I simply pick up where I left off later in the day, or carve out time in the evening when the day just didn’t work out. I don’t have anyone looking over my shoulder pressuring me to work during specified hours – I simply make up for lost time when my day hasn’t worked out as planned.

Cons:

You Feel Out of the Loop

I have a long-term client who I’ve been writing for since 2013 and have gotten to know him and his team pretty well. They have head offices in Switzerland and I really love their work culture, ethic and philosophy.

It’s an amazing company and they’ve worked on some incredible projects, but sometimes, you can feel a bit out of the loop and it would be amazing to sit in on a meeting (physically) instead of being heard through a speaker!

The same goes for other clients. Yes, I’ve spoken via email, Skype or phone with countless clients, but there are so many of them that I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person.

 Sometimes, you can’t beat that physical interaction and the chance to get to know them and all their quirks! I’m really interested in body language and tone of voice, but if I’m not meeting them in person, I definitely miss out on these factors.

Where do you Draw the Line?

As I mentioned above (in the pros no less), working from home offers immense flexibility, but you have to be able to draw the line and switch off mentally from your workload.

When your work desk is right there in your face 24/7, it can be difficult to draw the line between work and home life.

But if you’re disciplined and focused, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds. As long as you are strict with yourself and learn to switch off when it’s time to switch off, working from home is definitely a dream come true.

What are your Thoughts on Working from Home?

Does the idea of working from home put you off or fill you with joy?

We’re all different, and that’s what makes the world go round. I for one love working from home. It suits my personality down to a T and fits in with my routine and schedule. It affords me amazing flexibility, and as a mum of two, this is a huge plus.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

My review of Headspace (& How it helps my Writing)

Image by Snapwire from Pexels.

I’m naturally a very busy ‘thinker,’ which isn’t necessarily a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing, but I wouldn’t mind having the ability to switch my brain off every now and then – or at least the sound!

I’ve wanted to get into meditation for years now but I took the wrong approach and never seemed to find the right time. I began with the book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, which is an incredible book but too deep/heavy for a beginner. Then I switched to various meditations on YouTube, chopping and changing depending on my mood.

I can’t remember exactly how I came across Headspace but I haven’t looked back since. After giving their Beginner’s Level 1 course a go (which is free of charge), I then did session 1 of Managing Anxiety, which is a 30-day course (the first audio is also free of charge). After that, I was in two minds about whether to invest in Headspace. First of all, you can get meditations for free on YouTube, and the app is quite expensive, especially when you compare it to services like Netflix for instance.

As I continued to commit to one 10-minute session a day, a ‘40%-off’ offer came by. I took the plunge and bought a 1-year subscription, vowing to try to commit to one 10-minute session a day.

In the first weeks, during those daily 10 minute meditations, not a lot changed for me, especially outside of the sessions. I still had lots of thoughts coming and going, and my brain rarely stopped ticking. As the weeks developed, I began to notice a small difference as I was meditating, and I occasionally managed to hold on to that calm, focused feeling for a short while after.

But then, without even realising it, the daily meditations began to impact my daily life, from how mindful I was during something as mundane as housework, to my level of concentration within a conversation. I have naturally become more mindful as I am driving (always a bonus), during a conversation with someone, or when writing an article. I now feel much more focused and ‘in the zone’ as I move from one activity to the other, finding more pleasure and enjoyment in whatever it is I am doing.

Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay

Image by pixel2013 by Pixabay.

As a writer, I’m often forced to be analytical and sometimes sceptical about things, and I wasn’t without my doubts when it came to meditation. But this app is definitely up there on my list of top investments!

Don’t get me wrong, like everyone else, I have terrible days where I feel like everything is falling down on top of me. Days where I worry ceaselessly, feel anxious or down in the dumps. Some days, meditation is much harder than others, and sometimes it feels as if my mind has been elsewhere for most of the session and that I’ve actually wasted my time bothering with a session.

But the truth is, I can’t imagine my life without meditation – and the Headspace app – and everything it has taught me so far.

I’m also truly grateful for the impact it’s had on my work. I have fewer ‘fuzzy’ days and my ability to concentrate while writing has definitely been heightened.

I can’t wait to continue with my meditation journey and see how my practice develops and evolves.

Has anyone else tried meditation? What have your experiences been like?

How to Create a Press Kit for your Business

I recently collaborated with an upcoming jewellery designer to create a press kit for her new brand.

Working closely with the designer, we created a press kit that appropriately represented her new brand whilst providing the right amount of information to potential press.

The kit needed to be professionally presented and structured in order to brief the press but also to ensure the information was correctly communicated.

I used an 8- step structure to create the kit, which consisted of:

1. The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the brand

This stage involved gathering as much information as possible from the designer. I wanted to create something that would provide the press with an all-round understanding of the brand whilst maintaining the brand’s messaging, voicing and integrity.

Here, I began the press kit with an overview of the company and some background information, including the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the brand. I wanted to keep the press kit professional and accessible, as the whole point of a press kit is to ensure that the press can access the information they need quickly and easily.

This section included information about the jewellery collection, including what the jewellery items were made from and where the stones and diamonds were sourced from.

We then provided information on how the brand was launched and where the source of inspiration came from for creating the jewellery collection, followed by details about sponsors and exhibitions.

For section one, I also created a Mission Statement for the company, as well as a paragraph of text outlining the company’s vision.

2. Biography of CEO/founder

This section is all about the founder/founders of the company, as well as any notable execs who require a mention. For the jewellery brand, we focused on creating a biography of the jewellery designer, including how she became interested in jewellery and jewellery design/creation, as well as some background information on her work experience and academia.

A biography is something rather personal so you have to collaborate closely with each individual to include the information they wish to be included, in a manner that they are happy with. When working with the designer, there were certain aspects that she wanted to emphasise, and others that she didn’t feel were necessary to mention. We worked carefully together on this section to ensure the content appropriately reflected who she is and how she wants to be portrayed.

3. Any recent Press Releases

If you have any recent press releases, these need to be added to this section.

4. Product/Services Fact Sheet

In this section, I emphasised what sets this jewellery brand apart from the competition. We focused on some key areas of the jewellery that are unique, including where the inspiration came from four specific pieces, what each piece is made from and some specific details about the materials used to create each piece. We also mentioned where the items are available to purchase and some information about placing orders.

Of course, this section is unique to each brand and can be structured in line with your preferences. Some businesses prefer an ‘FAQ’ style factsheet – it is totally up to you. What’s important is that you collaborate with the writer to ensure the section is structured and written in a manner that positively represents your brand and provides all the information the press would require in a clear and accessible way.

5. Case Studies

If your business or brand has received any customer testimonials, these need to be included here. They must be professionally presented and directed at the media, but must not have any promotional ties (remember the press kit is for the media and therefore not for marketing purposes).

6. Any Noteworthy Press Coverage

If the company has any press coverage or up-to-date media (including relevant news) this is where it should be showcased. Anything that shows that brand/founder as an industry leader should be included here. When including press coverage, the name of the original outlet and a link to the original article should also be featured.

7. Industry Awards, achievements and accolades

Here we included any notable awards, achievements, mentions and accolades the brand has received, including a brief description of each. The purpose of this section is to highlight the brand’s importance in its field and position it as a company the media needs to know about.

8. Contact information

Finally, it may seem obvious but a press kit is not a press kit without some contact information! This section needs (at the minimum) an email address and telephone number, but it would also be worth adding a website address, physical address and some social media contacts.

Press kits are unique to each and every business, but this is the structure I personally adhere to when creating one. It ensures that information gets included in a consistent, factual manner that is easily accessible to the press, whilst giving an opportunity to showcase the brand and what makes it special.

If you’re looking for a writer to create your Press Kit or other materials, get in touch!

 

Lessons from 4 Brands that Failed at Content Marketing

Green pencil with shavings

Let’s face it, not every business is going to get their content marketing strategy right, every single time. Even some of the world’s biggest brands have made mistakes, and the biggest positive is that we can learn from these mistakes when we implement our own marketing strategies.

With that in mind, here are 4 businesses that failed at content marketing, and what we can learn from those failures:

Malaysia Airlines

In 2014, Malaysia Airlines was struck with not one, but two flight disasters. In an effort to get the company back on track, they ran a contest asking people to send in their ‘bucket lists’ in exchange for free prizes. Since a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die, people were quick to make the link between the previous accidents and the bucket lists – which didn’t bode well for the campaign.

Lesson: Think your campaigns through; be willing to cancel a bad idea before it plays out.

Levi’s

Levi’s infamously created a campaign that sold jeans with the tagline ‘Hotness comes in all shapes and sizes.’ The problem was, the image that went alongside it was of four women with very similar body shapes – tall and slim. The campaign was hugely unsuccessful and sparked immense controversy, with many people complaining that the ad was not an accurate representation of the average woman.

Lesson: Ensure consistency throughout your marketing campaigns to ensure that every step of the project has a cohesive and unified tone.

Nesquik

Nesquik’s campaign went off without a hitch, but the company soon learnt the hard way that this doesn’t always equate to success. they spent a great deal of money and a lot of time on creating a campaign that encouraged people to download their app that created bunny ears for your photos and pushed for a new “National Bunny Ears Day.” The campaign resulted in hardly anything and people had no interest in downloading yet another app that didn’t really offer much.

Lesson: Just because your marketing department loves it, doesn’t mean the public will, so put yourself in the shoes of your audience before launching a new campaign.  

Apple

If you’re an iPhone owner, you probably remember randomly receiving a copy of a U2 album onto your iPhone, without your consent or desire. At the time, Apple thought it would be a good idea to give everyone free music – regardless of music preference or storage space. As you can probably tell the campaign wasn’t much of a success!

Lesson: Offer content for specific promotions, but don’t force it upon people.

Having a strategy, goals and plenty of ideas will definitely help your business to achieve its content marketing goals. It’s also important to constantly analyse your content to gain insights into future creation. What’s worked for your brand so far, and what’s failed? Staying on top of your campaigns will definitely help you to stay ahead of the game!

Need help with your content marketing?

Then contact HQ Content Writer today to discuss your content needs!

Why Hiring a Freelance Content Writer Could be Right for You

Fresh, high-quality content is the perfect recipe for more leads and conversions and improved SEO rankings. By hiring a freelancer, a range of content will be delivered professionally including blog posts, articles, website content, SEO pages and much more.

If you’re thinking about hiring a freelancer writer but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, here are 6 benefits to bear in mind:

Get fresh, well-written, industry-relevant content

The amount of research, time and commitment it takes to create something completely new should never be understated. Professional freelance content writers perform plenty of research into the requested subject, taking their time to determine the right angle and tone of voice. Elements such as quality, grammar and appearance are also taken into account, as well as keywords, metadata and much more.

Increase conversions with CTAs

Freelancers are skilled and adept at writing strong calls-to-action. CTAs have the power to prompt customers, visitors or leads to take action, whether that action involves downloading your e-book, attending your latest event or contacting your company. Your CTA must be simple and to the point while being informative and engaging. It also needs to be positioned somewhere eye-catching to increase the chances of it being seen and accessed.

Increase SEO rankings

With competition so rife across the internet, it’s essential that your content is of the highest quality so that it attracts Google’s web crawlers, and ranks your site appropriately. Elements such as meta titles, meta descriptions, headlines, keywords and keyword phrases are all vital contributors when it comes to improving your search engine rankings. In turn, your target audience is more likely to see your content and respond to it.

Give your company a stronger brand voice

When a potential customer visits your website, they want to learn more about your company and what it would be like to work with it. It’s so important that your content establishes your brand voice, not just across your website but across all other channels including your social media platforms, emails and other marketing materials.

When you hire a freelancer, they’ll work together with you to craft content that reflects your branding and corporate message. Before you know it, they’ll know the ins and outs of your company so well that they’ll be able to create appropriately branded, well-written content quickly and easily.

Bring old content to life

When you scan through your current content, consider what can be refreshed and repurposed. Many times, the information is there, it just needs refining and tweaking to bring it up-to-date and make it more appealing to your target audience. This information can also be used to create new types of content, such as infographics, podcasts, email newsletters and webinars. This gives it even greater opportunities to reach a wider audience and improve your presence on the web.

Save time and money

Skilled content writers are superb timesavers. They get the work done, creating something carefully written, error-free and insightful. They deliver the results you want, in an eloquent, skilled way.

Have you considered hiring a freelance writer?

Freelancers are passionate, committed and always striving to exceed your expectations in order to work with you again. You’ll develop a direct relationship with the writer, and be able to communicate your exact needs.

Contact HQ Content Writer today to discuss your unique content writing needs!