The Word Refinery is a freelance writing company specializing in providing content to help small businesses share their message.
With an exceptional talent in sounding like the voice of our clients, you will have content that accurately portrays your company, but is understood by the masses.

How To Survive In The Freelance World

Are you a freelancer working at home? I am. And you know what? Sometimes I get lonely! Every freelancer that I’ve ever chatted with about this has the same sentiment. Whether you’re a writer, social media manager, or graphic designer, we all need interaction with people. But it’s about more than feeding our soul with a little socialization. Getting out there and speaking with someone face to face has other benefits.

It’s easy to get into a freelancing rut. You get up in the morning, (maybe) get ready for the day, and suddenly leaving the house becomes an enormous effort. It makes sense to stay at the home office most of the time. You can:

  • Wear what you want
  • Eat at home
  • Not be judged by how many times you have to go to the bathroom in an hour
  • Ditto for how much water you drink in an hour – hydration is important!
  • Get focused
  • Be productive

However, getting out of the house has its fair share of benefits:

Get out of your head. It’s so easy to internalize when you’re at home by yourself. I was talking with a freelance graphic designer, Sarah Rochel, last night about taking criticism. She mentioned that you almost have to hate your own work so that you don’t get attached to it. You also have to tell your ego to take a hike. But even the most confident and experience freelancer can get down when it seems like the criticism is piling up over the week. We’ve all had those weeks!

Self employment is a lonely gig. So get out there and talk with other freelancers. If you don’t know anyone, head to your local coffee shop and find someone who is obviously working on a project. Strike up a conversation by asking that person what they’re working on. Here’s the interesting part. They are likely at a coffee shop to run into people. If they had some work they really needed to crank out, they’d be in their office. So get chatting!

Make connections. I was working at a local coffee shop yesterday, Duluth Coffee Company. I ran into someone I’ve done a couple of projects with and we began filling each other in on our recent projects. I told her about a new business I’m thinking of purchasing and how worried I was about finding seasonal staff. She gave me some insight that will not only take that task off my shoulders, but it’ll save me a huge amount of money on worker’s comp insurance! My point is, you never know who you’re going to run into and the helpful information they’ll have for you.

Treat yo self! If you’re hitting a creative wall, nothing works better than doing something for yourself. Go for a walk, take yourself out to lunch, wander around some shops, get a massage – anything! You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself.

So, now that it’s Friday and everyone is taken care of, I’m going to head out the door and see who I see, learn what I learn, and let the crazy of the week melt away. That’s how you survive in the freelance world!

 

 

How Email Marketing Turns Followers Into Clients

origin_391609724With all of the ways to communicate online, it may be surprising to hear that email is still very relevant – especially for marketing. Some online marketers may try to tell you that email marketing is dead. You may even worry about annoying your contacts by filling up their inbox with yet another message. While valid concerns, I’m going to tell you why email marketing is still very relevant.

stay on top of mind.

Let’s be honest. Not everyone on your contact list is going to open every newsletter or email blast you send out. But not everyone is going to delete it or opt out either. That means you’re gracing peoples’ inboxes and staying on top of mind. Even if they never open your message, your name or business name will slowly get engrained in their mind. Then, guess who they’re going to think of when they need your service.

turn followers into clients.

But what about social media? Oh, that’s still very relevant. But when was the last time you got paid for a “like”? Social media should act as your funnel. It’s how you build awareness. Then, over time, you become someone your followers actually want information from. That’s when you get an invitation to their personal inbox, making them ever so close to becoming a customer.

Here are some other benefits of email marketing:

  • Announce new services
  • Get more customers in areas you’d like to get more business
  • Easily track where customers are coming from
  • Track what your audience is interested in

the platform the pros use.

Are you ready to start sending emails? While there are many platforms out there to choose from, I consistently have the best luck with Constant Contact. Here’s why:

  • They have the lowest reported spam and bounce rate
  • They have the highest click through rates
  • The formatting is easy to work with

Constant Contact does have a monthly fee. But if you’re serious about using your valuable contact list to grow your business, isn’t it worth it? As a business owner, you know by now that you have to spend money to make money! The fee depends on the size of your contact list, but they offer a handy tool so you can see exactly what your fee will be.

Now it’s time to dust off that contact list and use that valuable database you’ve worked so hard to build up. I’ll look for your next newsletter in my inbox!

ingrid.hornibrook@thewordrefinerymn.com

photo credit: idogcow via photopin cc

The Magic Pill To Getting More Followers

large_5614813296Have you ever wondered what those companies are doing that have thousands of followers? There are actually 2 ways to get more followers. Which one you choose depends on whether you want engagement on your site, or not. My guess would be that you want engagement.

Every company out there wants more leads. A high amount of engagement usually translates into leads, which translates into real dollars. You may be perusing Facebook and checking out those larger companies that have a high amount of followers and are thinking to yourself, “what do they have that I don’t have?” Well, likes for one, but before you get too down on yourself for not having a large amount of virtual friends, let’s dig a little deeper.

Large companies have large marketing budgets. Take Comcast, for instance. Their Facebook page has over 5 million likes. However, their posts have a low amount of engagement in ratio to their amount of likes. The reason for this is because it’s very possible that Comcast purchased engagement through promotional posts, contests, and offering other incentives to like their page. Therefore, that incentive is the one and only reason the majority of those people followed that page.

Now, check out The Manager’s Diary Facebook page. They have a high amount of engagement, but much fewer likes on their page. This page grew their following organically by doing the following:

  • Making personal connections
  • Inviting followers
  • Posting helpful and valuable information (NOT promotional!)
  • Posting consistently

So now you know what to do with that dusty stack of business cards on your desk, in your desk, and in the trash beside your desk. No matter the social media platform in which you’d like to grow your following, it all starts with you and a personal invitation.

photo credit: Ksayer1 via photopin cc

Website Content: Big Sandy Lodge & Resort

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 9.47.46 PM

Big Sandy is a big resort. When we first started working on this site, they had too much content. They were using words, instead of images, to describe all their beautiful resort has to offer. In this case, less is definitely more. Now their content gives just enough information for people to start dreaming about their vacation with a clear call to action on how to book a reservation.