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Posts Tagged ‘creative concepts’

  1. Is There a Writer in You?

    April 30, 2012 by Rusty LaGrange

    It’s like, everyone who wants to be an actor goes to Hollywood.

    But what if you want to be a writer? Well, you can go to Hollywood, too. But that’s usually scriptwriters. There’s probably more scriptwriters hoping for the big break than there are actors.

    So where does a writer go to learn the ropes and get noticed?

     Not sure.

     

    Figure Out the Basics First

     Writing opportunities are everywhere and cyberspace is full of them. If you wish to be a writer, it’s currently easier than ever before. However, I do know that you first have to figure out if there is a writer in you.

    • · Did you start early in school being that kid who always had a pen and notebook ready? I started writing poetry at about age 9. Wrote for my high school paper.
    • · Do you visualize your story in video format while you’re sleeping or with your eyes shut? Can you rewind the scene in your mind, at will, and describe what you’re seeing?
    • · Do you have late night conversations with story characters who refuse to let you sleep until you write their tales on paper? There’s a fine line between writing and insanity.
    • · Have you talked yourself out of the idea? Knowing full well that, if you just sat down and started the book, it would all flood out?
    • · Have you “studied” the craft of writing but didn’t think there was a quality book in you? Maybe you’re setting your sights too high?
    • · Is your advancing age making you believe that you better get that book on paper before it’s too late?
    • · Or, are you a “late bloomer” and never even considered writing a book until just lately… for whatever personal reason?

    If any of these markers look familiar to you, then I’m pretty sure there is a writer in you.

     

    The hard part is making the Muse respond to you. The Muse is that mystical entity that allows you the freedom to write without restriction. It’s the unbound creativity we all have tucked away somewhere inside. The Muse wakes you up in the middle of the night and demands to be heard.

     I’ve fought the Muse at 2 a.m. and found myself sitting at the computer pounding on the keys like a madman. And creating a pretty dang good story concept. The Muse can run rampant in your brain and make you start a dozen story ideas, then leave you exhausted.

    Taming Your Muse

     The hard part is taming your muse to work with you.

     That comes with using writing exercises to help focus your talent on one idea at a time. Getting that rough draft or outline on paper is a partnership with the Muse. Defining that partnership will become the temperament you’ll need to continue a long novel, write a nice piece of poetry, or create that children’s book you’ve caressed in your heart. If the Muse is tamed you’ll become the writer that produces regular, quality work. You’ll let the Muse have some fun and give you new exciting ideas. You’ll also need to be patient when the Muse abandons you in front of a blank computer screen.

    Source: i.imgur.com via Jolene on Pinterest

      All in all, there is a writer in you clawing its way to the surface. Now draw it out and start with the first four steps:

    • · Say out loud: “I am a writer.”
    • · Make a list of your story’s main characters and their traits. (You can refresh your mind later) I like to use index cards to keep my characters descriptions and goals in mind.
    • · Be consistent with your writing time or you’ll become frustrated.
    • · Begin writing down your story idea in a list of plot ideas, an outline, or just start the first scene from your mind. Don’t worry about how it looks. Don’t be a perfectionist yet.

    Your Bonus Step

    And, the bonus “step”: share your writing with others who you can trust to give you good feedback. Read some of your excerpts to a friend, join a writing support group like California Writers Club. I’m sure there’s a writing club near you. A writer, who keeps his work in a closet, is a consumer of paper and ink. No more, no less.

     Then when you have your first draft… the hard part begins… editing your work so it’s the best and most readable product you can offer. Only then will you have proven to yourself that you are a writer.

     

    Rusty LaGrange


  2. What Type of Marketing Fits Your Business?

    April 8, 2012 by Rusty LaGrange

    Guest  Article: In Marketing, One Size Does Not Fit All

    by C.J. Hayden, MCC

    Online at www.getclientsnow.com/not-one-size.htm

     Imagine that you went shopping for a new shirt, and the salesperson presented you with a garment three sizes too big, saying, “This is one of our most popular colors.” Or showed you a shirt in a child’s size, telling you, “This style is new this season.” You’d probably think the salesperson was crazy, right? And you certainly wouldn’t trust his or her judgment about what shirt might be right for you.                                                           

    Imagine that you went shopping for a new shirt, and the salesperson presented you with a garment three sizes too big, saying, “This is one of our most popular colors.” Or showed you a shirt in a child’s size, telling you, “This style is new this season.” You’d probably think the salesperson was crazy, right? And you certainly wouldn’t trust his or her judgment about what shirt might be right for you.

    Unfortunately, this sort of thing goes on with marketing all the time. Without asking you a single question about your situation, an acquaintance describes the latest marketing idea they heard about, and urges you to try it. Or a workshop leader who knows nothing about your business explains the best way to market your services and recommends you adopt it. Or a consultant advises you to use a specific marketing approach with almost no understanding of your business.

    It can be tempting to follow recommendations like these. After all, these folks sound so sure of themselves, and perhaps you feel on shaky ground where marketing is concerned. Maybe you should just take the advice of people who seem to know more. Or maybe not.

    Maybe marketing needs to fit you every bit as much as a shirt does. If it’s too big or too small, casual when you need something businesslike, or designed for a party when you’re planning a workout, it won’t do you any good.

    Unfortunately, this sort of thing goes on with marketing all the time. Without asking you a single question about your situation, an acquaintance describes the latest marketing idea they heard about, and urges you to try it. Or a workshop leader who knows nothing about your business explains the best way to market your services and recommends you adopt it. Or a consultant advises you to use a specific marketing approach with almost no understanding of your business.

    It can be tempting to follow recommendations like these. After all, these folks sound so sure of themselves, and perhaps you feel on shaky ground where marketing is concerned. Maybe you should just take the advice of people who seem to know more. Or maybe not.

    Maybe marketing needs to fit you every bit as much as a shirt does. If it’s too big or too small, casual when you need something businesslike, or designed for a party when you’re planning a workout, it won’t do you any good.

    Lets’ Take a Closer Look:

    Here are four different types of “size” to help you measure the fit of your marketing.

    1. Marketing a professional service is not the same as marketing a product.Products are tangible; you can see them, touch them, maybe even taste them before you buy. Services are intangible. You can’t experience them until they are demonstrated. Because a service is intangible, until it is performed for you, you have no idea how it will turn out, whether you will like it, or whether it will work for your problem, situation, or opportunity.Therefore, when clients purchase a service for the first time, they must rely on their judgment about the person delivering it. They must trust you. Trust is built through positive experiences over time, by referrals and recommendations from reliable sources, and credibility-boosters like speaking, writing, or media stories.Marketing your services with any approach that doesn’t build trust (or may even harm it), is a bad fit. Examples are mile-long sales pages that offer multiple bonuses if you buy today, subscribing prospects to an email list without explicit permission, or ads offering low prices, deep discounts, or coupons. These are tactics that sell products; that’s why you see them so often. But that doesn’t mean you should copy them.
    2. Small business marketing is different than big business marketing.Big businesses have marketing departments and sales departments with different functions. They have full-time staff dedicated to marketing and sales. They have substantial marketing budgets, and they can afford to invest in name recognition.You, however, as a small business owner, must manage both marketing and sales, and that’s only part of your job. If you’re a solo business, you have to actually perform all the work of sales and marketing, too, except for those portions you might be able to contract out. Your budget doesn’t allow for marketing approaches that only result in name recognition; you need your marketing to turn into closed sales.Bad fits for a small business include promotion and advertising just to “get your name out there,” selling strategies that require making dozens of phone calls per day to pay off, and maintaining multiple websites and social networking profiles to increase your online visibility.

      To find approaches with a better fit, the key is to be realistic. What can you actually execute well with the time and money you have available? Successful small business owners often rely on low-cost, low-tech strategies like personal networking to build their contacts and referrals, public speaking, or pursuing high-value clients by researching contacts or leads and contacting them directly.

    3. One-to-one marketing doesn’t use the same tactics as one-to-many marketing.How many clients do you need to have a successful year? Three, or three hundred? The answer makes a world of difference to the sort of marketing that fits your business best.When your business consists of a handful of large, ongoing contracts, one-to-one marketing is a perfect fit. Your marketing plan might include no more than attending or presenting at professional meetings, following up consistently with a small group of prospects, and lunch with colleagues.But if your business is made up of many small sales to a large number of people, one-to-many marketing is called for. You’ll need approaches that allow you to become known to a substantial audience, such as authoring an ezine or blog, public speaking, or active social networking.
    4. B2B marketing isn’t the same as B2C marketing, and SB2SB marketing is its own category.B2B stands for business to business, B2C means business to consumer, and SB2SB is small business to small business, a lesser known classification, but a rapidly growing group.Depending on which of these three labels fits your target market best, you might focus your social media marketing efforts on LinkedIn (best for B2B) or Facebook (best for B2C or SB2SB). You might include cold calling in your marketing plan (B2B or SB2SB) or leave it alone (B2C). You might do best by giving presentations to corporate audiences (B2B or B2C), or to small business networks (SB2SB).

    Clearly, knowing where you fit among these different marketing “sizes” is essential to choosing the right marketing approaches. Are you a small business marketing B2B services one-to-one? A small business marketing B2C services one-to-many? Or perhaps you need a custom size.

    If you truly want your marketing to fit your business, you’d better know your measurements. And, when someone tries to tell you how to market, they’d better know your measurements, too.

     

    Copyright © 2011, C.J. Hayden

    C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now!™ Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. Get a free copy of “Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You’ll Ever Need” at www.getclientsnow.com.


  3. What Type of Creative Eye Will See Things Your Way?

    February 8, 2012 by Rusty LaGrange

    Creativity is an elusive thing. It can help you visualize a concept for…let’s say… your business branding “look”, and can convey the type of style you embrace. Style, logos and sales materials, color concepts, tone, consistency and ethical business practices are all part of your branding. Not just one of these will brand your business.

    Artwork with 3.5-inch floppy disks and paint. I like creative uses of old tech. 1.44 mb of storage space just doesn't go that far anymore (unless painted)

    The word “branding” can be just as elusive for new businesses trying to compete with established companies as older companies with track records. But if you have an idea that will tie all your marketing plans and branding styles into one cohesive package, then you are on the way to a successful launch.

    Learning the Ropes

    Creativity takes center stage when conceptualizing these specific parts. If you don’t have a solid idea or don’t work with a creative person who can understand your ideas, how successful will you be? It takes a bit of time to find a creative writer and designer who sees your vision for your business. Most copywriters have those qualities — some better than others, some as green as a young sapling, but — willing to work with you to learn the ropes.

    The toughest part of establishing a working partnership with a creative designer, copywriter, graphic artist, or marketing planner is the ability for you to get him or her to “see” your vision. That takes your ability to a new level: sharing your passion for your idea to make it into the complete package that will elevate your product or company to the heights you envision.

    Sound lofty?

    Not so much. A good working relationship with a creative designer/writer can eliminate those ackward moments when you know he can’t “see” what you’re trying to “say.” It may take some searching to find a person of that caliber who can quickly assess your needs, swing right into the fray, and basically clone your ideas into a working concept you will both enjoy creating.

    The working relationship is prime to the equation. You need to explain your detailed dreams in a manner that helps the designer/writer conceptualize it. In turn, he needs to share the ideas he believes are what you are looking for, and be willing to be wrong. Being wrong allows him to backstep and take another approach. If after the dance of two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back is finished, you can both move ahead to the framework of your designs. Being wrong can sometimes derail the whole relationship. To get on track the idea he envisons must be viewed from several different angles before you can both agree.

    Concept vs. Reality

    The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?: design by Alison Forner

    Is the concept workable? Does the idea represent what the company is? Do outside influences mask the branding idea you envisioned? How about the cost? Too much for a start-up idea? Does your designer/writer see other elements you may have missed? Can you streamline your ideas and add more later? Are both of your egos to big to play together? It happens.

    At the crossroads of your creative vision, check off the different elements as you discuss the problems that are popping up. Can you see a compromise? Is the compromise going to undermine everything so for? If not, then you are on to a rich and satisfiying journey of discovery with your partner and mentor in your branding development. And that’s what it is: branding development. It will emerge and change and eventually become that elusive thing you wanted.

    Rusty LaGrange

     

    Photo credits: Pinterest.com

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