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Education, Real Estate, Relocation, Travel

5 of the Best Elementary Schools in Washington, DC

This series of articles was originally posted on a travel/real estate website as an article for their Washington, DC. branch.

 

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Washington, D.C. has a rich history in shaping America’s modern educational system. Families looking to relocate to the city want to make sure their children have access to the best schools in the area, and there are many great choices in the Public School sector. Read on to discover some of the best public education D.C. has to offer!

Continue reading “5 of the Best Elementary Schools in Washington, DC”

Real Estate, Relocation, Travel

Mortgage Options for Washington, D.C.

This series of articles was originally posted on a travel/real estate website as an article for their Washington, DC. branch.

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So, you’re moving to Washington, D.C. and you’re looking to buy a home. From researching the best neighborhoods to home affordability, there are assistance programs that you could qualify for, too. We’ve compiled a list of mortgage options that support buyers in their quest for homeowner status in the District.

Continue reading “Mortgage Options for Washington, D.C.”

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What Hockey Playoffs Can Teach You About Social Media Marketing

Well, here we are. My favorite (and most anxious) time of year. NHL Playoff Season! I grew up cheering for the Washington Capitals and with the addition of Alexander Ovechkin, the Capitals have transformed DC Sports into the dynamic and exciting sports town that it is today. But, if you know our history, we have a tendency to exit early from the playoffs- even when we destroy the regular season. But, I digress. This post is about marketing strategy, not my pain how well we’re doing in the post season.
 
You might be thinking, “Sooooo, how can I equate Hockey Playoffs with my marketing strategy? What do they have in common?”

A lot, actually.

Continue reading “What Hockey Playoffs Can Teach You About Social Media Marketing”

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Why You Should Hire a Ghostwriter For Your Book

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You’re sitting at your computer desk because you have an idea. An idea that has been gnawing and gnawing at your brain like a tiny parasite. An idea that might change the world if read by the right people.

But the cursor is still blinking because you have absolutely no idea where to start.

Maybe you’ve written something clever like “Once upon a time…”, which is how all great books start– even though you’re a CEO who wants to be an authority figure in your industry, not a fairy tale writer.

You’re not alone. For many people, publishing a book is the dream, but over 80% of books that start as an idea never make it to the page.

Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of hiring someone to write the book for you. Or maybe you have actually no idea what a ghost writer actually is. Well buckle up, buttercups! I’m about to tell you!

  • A Ghostwriter is a magical being- a person that not only loves to write but has the time to do it. When you hire a ghostwriter, you’re getting a book. Plain and simple. What could take you a few years to do on your own could be finished within a few months.  A few months!

 

  • Ghostwriters will let you be you. The process will take up way less of your time, so you can shine like the star you are. As it is the writer’s job to write the book, the only time you will need to spend with them is prep and follow-up work.

 

  • How much time? Typically I spend a day to three meeting with you and fleshing out your idea for the book.  After that, I may follow up for clarifications or elaborations, and for feedback on chapters, but other than that, I  write and do the research needed to give you the best manuscript possible.

 

“So, do I need a Ghostwriter or just a kick-ass Editor?” 

Do you say things to yourself like “I’m a terrible writer, but I do have things written, and I’m planning on writing more.”  Then you don’t need a ghostwriter. You need an editor.  They’ll deconstruct your manuscript and tell you what’s missing/needed and work with you until you have a workable draft.

Ghostwriting is a lot of fun for me.  I do it with pride and attention to detail, and you might as well do something you love, right?  If you’re still on the fence, drop me a line and let’s talk. At the very least we can find out if the idea you have would make an amazing book!

 

 

 

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5 Ways Small Businesses Can Boost Activity to Their Social Media

Congratulations, you’ve made a Social Media account for your business! You’ve invited all of your friends, and you’ve put an adorable picture up of your storefront. (Or a stock photo, or something sort of related to your business..)

And you wait.

After a few weeks, maybe you’ve gotten a few more likes and a comment or retweet here and there, but for the most part, it’s pretty stagnant. It’s certainly not driving any new business for you and you’re not making any new revenue.

According to a survey on Yodle, 1 in 10 small businesses have figured out how to use social media or online advertising to market their product.”

1 in 10. That’s a phenomenally low number, considering the mountains of data that backs the claim that Social Media can and does boost revenue. Just look at this article from Hoot Suite.

Without Social Media, you’re missing out on a potential 1.5 BILLION prospective clients– and that’s just on Facebook alone.

Still need convincing? Here’s an excellent infographic:

I think I’ve given you enough information about WHY you need Social Media. So, how can you get started? You’ve already made the page, but what can you do now?

1.) Post. Often.

This seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how many business pages I’ve stalked and they haven’t posted for 2 months. And when I say post often I mean posting at least once a day and posting things that are relevant. That could be specific things from your business, funny content, articles. (Tip: Make sure you vet each article you post. You might share an article about, say, lighting and why LED lights are amazing. But if you’re a company the sells LED lights, you’re going to want to make sure that your article doesn’t sing the praises of Philips lighting, too.)

Make a schedule and stick to it. Luckily, Facebook and Twitter now allow you to schedule posts in advance, so that can save you a bit of hassle.

Also, the general posting rule is, don’t spam. Yes, people want to see your products, and yes, people have probably already bought from you, but posting more doesn’t always equal earning more, sometimes posting too much can turn off prospective clients. Don’t be afraid to share an article on Cooking Life hacks, if you’re running a restaurant. The key is interaction!

Which brings me to….

 2.) Interact with your online community.

Find local business groups on Facebook and create posts. Like and comment under your business page and share content from those businesses. Find other businesses in your Twitter feed that could benefit from your services and start a dialogue via Direct Messaging. Comment on posts by larger brands…you get where I’m going with this. Networking is the key to driving those numbers. And when you start to build relationships with other businesses, you can use them to build your own brand.

 3.) Borrow Ideas.

The best part about Social Media is that nothing is sacred, and that can work to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from other businesses who have used a thing that worked. Blatant copying is not cool, never steal content, voice or step by step strategies that were successful, but there’s nothing wrong with studying successful formulas and implementing some of the same practices. Social Media is all about connection, and using ideas that connects you faster is okay.

 4.) Use Hashtags

People bust on hashtags because they don’t understand their power. When used *correctly* (meaning, don’t abuse them and use them in a targeted manner) you can do some serious brand building. You can drive so many people to find you with the right hashtags. This works especially well for the Twitter and Instagram algorithms, where hashtags are a p language. Finding out if a hashtag is lucrative is relatively easy, too. On Twitter, if you go the search bar and type in a hashtag you think is relevant, you can see who and how many people are using that exact hashtag, which means people are also searching for it.rimary

 5.) Personalize Every Inch Of Your Page

People on the internet want to know who you are. Stock Photos are nice, but I can guarantee someone out there is using the same picture and people can usually spot a stock photo right away. There are tons of free sites out there like this one, and this one, that can help you personalize those accounts. Use them! Holiday coming up? Change it up and celebrate with everyone. Create and use memes:

Don’t know what a meme is? Here’s an example:

This is one I made with Photoshop for a business I manage Social Media for, but what’s so great about memes are: they’re shareable, they can relay info quickly, and they’re easy to read. When looking for memes to post, they don’t have to be as direct as this one, but I like to use them for content solely for the share-factor. If you’re not a Photoshop wiz, you can use a meme generator.

 

Let the world know who you are and what your business is about. I’m not going to sugar coat it– it will be time-consuming, but it’s 100% worth the effort. And, you know, if you don’t have the time to do it, there’s always people like me…

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What does a Freelance Writer Actually Do?

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“I’d love to drink coffee all day and write words for a living.”

To be completely honest, I hate coffee, (*dismayed gasp*) but that doesn’t stop some from thinking that’s what I do for a living.

“But, what do you do?”

Most often when I tell people I am a freelance writer and blogger, this is the response I get. So here we are writing this blog. I thought I would share, with you the world, what it is that I do for shameless self-promotion.

1.)  Well, I write.

The Devil you say! A freelance writer..that writes! Well, yes, but honestly, this is the middle step in a bunch of other steps that are actually more important.

2.) Research– a TON of it.

Most of my time is spent researching. Interviewing clients, looking up product details, finding out about a company, anything that will make the writing relate the company to the customer, use its voice– that’s what I’m looking for. I also find relevant imagery to support the cause, like this one…

3.) Marketing Myself

Being a freelancer means that I am responsible for finding my own clients. Writing posts here, for example does just that. If I don’t believe in the power of having an updated blog, how will I convince a potential client that they need one too? It’s a win-win. Sharing my expertise benefits both of us.

4.) Assume Your Identity

I realize that sounds like something a supervillain would say, but it’s the truth. It’s not my job to write like me, it’s my job to write like you. I write in a way that conveys a message to your consumers, not mine. And yes, I may have a penchant for incorporating geeky references and humor into my posts but if that’s not your style, then it’s not my style.

5.) Commit to Deadlines and Meet Them

If I miss deadlines, you miss deadlines, and that’s bad news for all of us. When I commit to your projects, I am committing to your deadlines, whatever those may be. I commit to your timelines, and I commit to your editing schedules.

 

6.) Bonus: What do I have experience writing?

Well, obviously I can write you blogs– they’re my favorite.  I’ve also ghostwritten some eBooks. But I can also write you marketing materials like Case Studies , Web Copy, eNewsletters (I have a post coming later on why those are super awesome and important for your business) and, I can manage your social media. Just contact me and let me know what you need.

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Effective, Results-Driven Communication Ideas for Daycare Providers

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In a past life, my days revolved around fingerpaint, giggles, scraped knees and relaying a ton of information to parents that were coming off of their own long, and often stressful work days. How can you effectively relay information to anywhere from 10 – 20 sets of families in a day quickly without losing your mind and taking up your entire afternoon writing blurbs?

In my classroom, 1-3 pm was the time when I would sit, reflect on our morning, and jot down notes– naptime. I fell into the trap of writing 10-20 individual written reports, jotting down their eating and restroom habits, and a small anecdote about their day. If I’m being honest, they were usually BS because remembering something awesome and specific each child did in a day was blurred by all of the other normal classroom chatter.

I was cheating them out of the good stuff because I got consumed by the busy work. It wasn’t until I started my Bachelor’s degree that I realized I could be a more effective writer and communicator to my families, and I implemented a few new strategies that got me more than a couple of excellent parent reviews.

Class Email

I always enjoyed writing my weekly newsletters, but I quickly discovered that only about 25% were taking the time to read them–if they took them out of their folders at all. Not exactly a good use of my time, and it’s a giant waste of paper. One day I asked my parents for their email addresses and asked my boss for a company email address for my classroom. (As it turned out, I was allowed to create a Gmail account)

As it turned out, parents love email! My read rate jumped from about 25% to over 80%, and I didn’t need to verbalize everything anymore. (except for those select few– every classroom has them.) Many of them read them at their leisure at work, and since I was writing them mid-day I could put requests out for that same afternoon.

Add a few pictures you took during the day, and pick 3-5 kids per day to write a little blurb about (Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with HIPPA policies).

It doesn’t even need to be long– maybe 2-3 paragraphs and some pictures. That’s it!

Blog

Lots of people have blogs– you’re reading one now! But, blogging isn’t just for jotting down life adventures anymore, it is a valuable marketing tool and with the right content strategy, a blog on your school’s website can send new enrollments flooding through your door.
New parents want to know what their child’s day looks like, and unenrolled parents won’t be receiving the emails or written correspondence that your teachers are writing to their families. Blogs allow prospects to glimpse what they can expect while their child is in your care, and it doesn’t have to be complicated– just updated! Events, teacher profiles, child success stories, excellent art projects– all ideas for your blog that showcases your school, and if you don’t have people on your staff that enjoy writing, there are a lot of local writers that would jump at the chance to be your personal blogger.

Dry Erase Board

Some people just don’t like writing. I get it writing is what I love to do, and it comes naturally to me. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an effective form of communication with your parents. Another one I used that had a decent read rate was my dry erase board. I stuck it next to my front door with my sign in/out sheets and a few pieces of fresh art, and I’d use colorful markers to write down things we did during the day. It’s a little less personal since your space is limited, but you could keep up with it during the day by writing bullet points to highlight your activities. Then you could focus on naptime cuddles or sanitizing that room instead of toiling away writing down your whole day.

What rockstar communications does your school implement that you’ve found effective? Share them in the comments!

 

Like this post? Visit my blog!

@wordedadventure on Twitter

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Case Studies Boost Revenue

Do you have clients that were very happy with your work and you want to showcase their story on your website? Did you know that this type of website content generates more leads than a product description?

“Nowadays, 9 out of 10 people are looking at online product reviews, posts on social networks, and so on before making a purchasing decision. Most customers know that a little online research could spare them from a bad experience and poor investment of your budget.”

We need to let your potential customers know how amazing you are. And the best wat to do that is to publish their story on your website and social media platforms.

This article from HubSpot is a great resource for the what and why’s, and I think you should give it a look over if you’re still on the fence.

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/case-studies-marketing

Some of the highlights:

1.) Have a dedicated case studies page.

2.) Put case studies on your home page.

3.) Write blog posts about your case studies. (I can do this part for you, as well.)

4.) Use case studies on relevant landing pages.

5.) Post about case studies on social media. (Not to brag, but I offer Social Media also!)

 

Writing case studies can be a time-consuming task that not everyone has the chance to do well. If you want some case studies for your website, I will conduct client interviews and write them for you. If you’re still on the fence about using case studies or why you need them for your website, this article is a great resource for the “why’s”.

 

 

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This Week In Tweets!

Happy Friday, Pubbies. Here is our Weekly Twitter Recap where we post our list of blog posts  we think you would benefit from reading.

 

1.) @corinamanea   Humanize Your Social Media:  http://bit.ly/227an7H

2.) @thegreat_gabbby 8 Digital Marketing Buzzwords You Shouldn’t Ignore in 2016:  http://bit.ly/1LhxiFW

3.) @MarshaCollier 7 Things Every Small Business Should Consider When Starting a Website:  http://bit.ly/1plguUH

4.) @Shopify The Real Reason Why Millennials’Buying Behavior Is Difficult to Influence: http://bit.ly/227byE2   (Who doesn’t love Ninja Turtles as a marketing example?