Advertising on Facebook: Part 3 of Social Media Marketing Series

Before There Were Ads on Facebook

I have been on Facebook since August 2007 which seriously dates me, I know.

Facebook-land in 2007 was very different.  It was a simpler world. Posts were limited to the number of characters, and while there was a simple news feed, there was no Like button. Seriously! There was life before the Like button.  We had to rely on ourselves for affirmations.  We could share photos and keep an eye on our friends’ lives. Did you know that there were sane people at the time who had significant concerns about the news feed feature? For some reason, people thought it made stalking easy, but in 2006 Zuckerberg (2018) disputed with, “stalking isn’t cool; but being able to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives is” (This is How Facebook Has Changed…, para. 8).

Facebook ads, originally called Social Ads, were introduced in November 2007 (This is How Facebook Has Changed…, para. 9). An innovative tool that no one realized would become so instrumental to marketers and users of the platform.

You may think it’s crazy, but I’ve used a sponsored ad on Facebook all of one time in the 14 years I’ve been on the platform. I just haven’t experienced the pay-off. Perhaps the learning series on LinkedIn Learning called “Advertising on Facebook: Advanced” will help.

Business Manager

Megan Adams from “Advertising on Facebook…” describes Business Manager as a one-stop shop for business advertising needs across several platforms (2020). It collects all your online marketing efforts for your business in one place. This sounds like an ideal solution to the challenging world of online advertising. It’s suitable if you use more than one platform (i.e., Instagram and Twitter).

Getting started with Business Manager

To get started, you must first have a Facebook account and a Facebook page.

What’s the difference between an account and a page, you may be wondering? A simple way to think of your account (or profile) is for your personal use, while your ‘page’ is for your business use (Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Page…, 2020). There are also Groups, but we won’t get into that here.

Figure 1 Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Page: 10 Things You Need to Know

I won’t take up space here explaining all the ins and outs of Facebook Business Pages, but know that you need to have one for Business Manager. To get a Page set up for yourself, follow the guide below from Facebook (Create a Free Business Page in Minutes, 2021).  Also, keep in mind that whatever account you use to sign into Business Manager will be your primary account (Adams, 2020).

A quirk with Facebook is that you can’t have a business page unattached to a personal profile, which has always annoyed me. It seems Business Manager is their way to get around that issue because it allows you to share content with customers without revealing personal information.

Figure 2 Create a Free business Page in Minutes

Setting up your Business Manager Account

After you’ve logged into your Business Manager account, you will see an overview of your account.

Step 1: Create Account

You need to enter your business name, name, and email address, to set up your account. There is a potential hiccup at this step. Unbeknownst to me, my payment account had been disabled through my business page on Facebook. After spending some time investigating the likely culprits, I still can’t figure out what caused this to happen. I haven’t used an ad for at least two years. At any rate, I will have to wait until regular business hours to talk to someone and, in the meantime, won’t be able to practice using Business Manager at this time. Frustrating!

Step 2: Managing Assets

Assets refer to ad accounts and the money spent along with the pages connected to your account.  It’s in the user’s section where you will page(s), request access to someone else’s page (i.e., a client), and check in on how they’re performing. You can also set permissions for the pages as well as add other people. This allows people on your business team to help manage your account. You can also set up groups for larger companies (Adams, 2020).

Set 3: Notifications

With multiple pages, platforms, and people associated with a business account, managing your notifications is necessary. Handling a variety of notifications can be a stressful part of social media marketing. It may even cause many to give up. However, it appears that Business Manager has you covered. You can tailor when and how you will receive notifications on the various workings of your business social media marketing. Adams stresses the importance of spending time customizing this section (Adams, 2020).

Step 4: Ad Accounts

Adams says that using Business Manager to set up your advertising efforts will be highly beneficial (2020). While she mentions that it’s a time-consuming process, she stresses that it’s worth the effort.

Step 5: Roles & Permissions

Business Manager benefits a business with several people on the account managing pages and ads (Adams, 2020). In the users’ section, click the blue ‘Add’ button to add people to your account. This is the same place where you can assign specific roles and grant permissions. For security, it’s essential to stay on top of managing the roles and permissions of your account (Adams, 2020). It’s easy to lose track of this when people join or leave your organization. Still, with the public aspect of social media, management of this area must become a priority.

Roles

Employee Access: for employees who only want to have permission to work on specific projects.

Admin Access: for trusted team members, you allow complete control and access to your business.

Finance Analyst: for the person who will be viewing financial details

Finance Editor: for the person who has permission to edit financial details

Permissions
To give people permission to work on projects, click on their name, and the settings window appears. In this window, you can see which assets the person has access. You can add more here or customize what they can for each asset/project (Adams, 2020).

Manage Ads and Campaigns

Ads Manager

Ads Manager is the dashboard where you will be accessing the ad campaigns you create. To start a new campaign, select the Create tool (Adams, 2020).

Adams shows the intuitive nature of creating a campaign beginning with choosing a marketing objective (2020). With each selection you make, Business Manager asks additional questions to drill down the specifics you need to create a successful ad campaign. After you’ve selected things like the type of ad you want, your budget, and who your audience is, you can move on to the section where creativity can flow.

When creating the ad, there all kinds of sections with which you get to play. Of course, you begin by identifying the business page, but then you select how you want the ad to appear, the images, and the meat of the ad, which is the text. This is where you can let loose those copywriting skills we’ve been learning about in our previous workshop (Adams, 2020).

When you’ve confirmed, the design is complete, and your ad will appear in the dashboard.

Ads Manager Dashboard

The dashboard is the hub of all the ads you’re running. You can view and manage the various metrics of your campaigns (Adams, 2020). If you have several campaigns operating in multiple places, you can see how helpful it is to have one place to go to manage them all. It takes an arduous process, simplifying it and making it manageable. Furthermore, I can see how it would even be fun.

Using Excel

If you’re uncomfortable or unfamiliar with using Business Manager to manage ad sets, you can lean on Excel. Adams says you access excel in two ways: copying and pasting or importing (2020). Start the process by selecting the campaign. Once you’ve copied/pasted, or exported into Excel, you’ll be able to view all pertinent data for your campaign.

You can change aspects of the campaign or even duplicate and create new campaigns. However, note that Business Manager needs to create a unique ID for new campaigns, so delete the repeated ID number in Excel.

Once finished working in Excel, export or copy the data back into Ads Manager.

Tags

Tags help you with the vital task of organizing the several ad campaigns you have running (Adams, 2020). After selecting your campaign, you click the three dots at the top, and you’re brought to this edit and create tags pop up.

Creating and managing campaigns will be essential in developing tags to track insights into ads and any traction you may be getting.

Facebook Pixels

A pixel is a small piece of code created by Facebook placed on your website and tracks conversions. It’s a powerful tool for tracking the metrics you need to hone your campaign efforts.

Creating your Pixel

  1. Go to business settings
  2. Click “all data sources”
  3. Click Pixels and then add
  4. Create a name, enter your website, and then click continue

Adding the Pixel Code to your Website

After selecting the setup option, a pop-up window appears, which provides choices for your pixel code.

You can choose from:

  • Add Code using a Partner Integration
  • Manually add the code
  • Email instructions to a developer

Adams says the easiest method is to choose “email” (2020). This will generate an email with all the pertinent information needed so that you can either send it to the developer or even a tech-savvy friend.

Conversions

Return to the pixels manager page, and you can see everything about your pixel (Adams, 2020).  When you click Custom Conversions, you can tell the pixel what you want to track in the conversions section. This makes it possible for you to see how people respond to your ads and convert your views into buyers.

Creating a Conversion Ad

From the ad manager dashboard, you create a marketing objective and then select conversion. After you have it set up, head over to the budget section. You can customize cost control, daily budget, and schedule.

You can learn when and for how long a customer clicks and then delays the time to purchase in the conversion window. It’s easy to see how valuable data is needed to assist in performance in this or future campaigns (Adams, 2020).

Analytics

As we know, analyzing the data from our marketing efforts is an essential aspect of managing strategic performance in advertising. Data is how we can create, direct, curate, and pinpoint what is needed to make more conversions with marketing campaigns (Adams, 2020).

In the analytics dashboard, you’re able to view and track several metrics:

  • Number of users and whether they are unique or repeat
  • Retention
  • Session length (duration of interaction on the website)
  • Growth metrics

However, the dashboard is a simple overview; to see deeper analytics, you can click on the full report (Adams, 2020).

As you keep scrolling down, more metrics appear, such as engagement and demographic information.

Custom Audiences

Adams says that it’s through customer audiences that you can specifically target your customers. This is where we can put into action the research we’ve done on our customers and personas we’ve developed during that research.

Create your Audience

There are several options when creating an audience in the dashboard. Sources can be personally owned, including a website, customer list, app activity, or even offline activity. I’m thinking of when I used to teach workshops. They would’ve been an ideal activity to track audiences.

Other than personal customer sources, Facebook sources are available for use.

This is an amazingly comprehensive tool that can develop our customer profiles and build targeted campaigns from the information we gather (Adams, 2020).

Create the Website Audience

The example Adams uses in the video is a “Cart Abandonment” strategy (2020). You choose your audience by selecting that anyone who already visits our website. We use the pixel to capture these specific customers. You can tailor your choices by selecting the various options, such as the time spend on our website (Adams, 2020).

Once you successfully create the audience, you can choose to make a lookalike audience or start an ad targeting them (Adams, 2020).

What are Lookalike Audiences?

According to Adams, Facebook uses the data collected from our audiences and campaigns to help us create a lookalike audience (2020). These audiences have similar demographics or “look like” other people who are already visiting and using our website.

You can begin by uploading a customer list that has already been successfully converted. You can then instruct Facebook to identify other Facebook users who match the demographics of your customer list. Adams says you know this lookalike audience will likely be responsive since they match many of your current converted audience (Adams, 2020).

Advanced Advertising Techniques

Split Testing

As Adams explains, Split Testing is when you compare two of your ads against each other. To create an effective test, she recommends changing only one of the variables (2020). She goes on to say that the point is to create two different ads but achieve equivalency in impressions and audience. However, you wan to ensure the audience doesn’t see both ads (2020). This is a test because you want to determine if there is any statistical difference in the responses of the two ads. You can determine which ad is more effective.

The ad creation menu looks like the other ad creation menus we’ve learned about so far. The difference is there is an option in the left sidebar to create two ads: Ad A and Ad B. You will duplicate the ads identically, but you will change one variable in each ad, thereby testing which options to use.

Testing ads are a necessary step to do continually. It allows you to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Retargeting

Using the data from the pixel code to point ads at people who have been to your website previously but didn’t complete a purchase is called retargeting (Adams, 2020).  They have spent time on your website and have put something in their cart but abandoned it before completing the purchase. You can use the pixel to find these customers and retarget an ad to them.

Dynamic Ads

By targeting customers who’ve made specific actions on your website, you can create a dynamic ad (Adams, 2020). Adams says if you have ten products or services on your website, you should start implementing dynamic ads (2020).

The first step is to set up your catalogue of products or services through the assets column. In this step, it’s vital to ensure that the product photos are clear and of high quality. You can also segment the products into categories (Adams, 2020).

Once the catalogue is populated, the next step is to create an ads catalogue campaign. It’s here you choose the catalogue of products for which you want to create an ad. Note: the only way this will work is by using a pixel (Adams, 2020).

Adams says dynamic ads are a great way to market several products at once (2020). It also helps you retarget customers who haven’t completed purchases in which they’ve shown interest. In a sense, you can create an ad that follows people around, giving them opportunities to complete the purchase. The key is to do it in a helpful manner, rather than a harassing one (Adams, 2020).

Conclusion

Adams reveals her enthusiasm for social media marketing through Facebook (2020). She points out that it’s true; the playing field is frequently changing. Instead of being discouraged from participating, she says to consider it an opportunity to learn. With rapidly evolving technologies and regulations, a social media marketer can have an exciting and growing career (Adams, 2020). Adams shared with us some helpful resources to assist in keeping us up to date on the changing trends:

My Take-Away (Conclusion)

iOS 14 Update Impact

During my additional research, while writing this blog, I came across a post from Facebook warning us about the new Apple iOS 14 update. The post explains the effect of social media marketing. According to the post (2021), Apple has designed an App Tracking Transparency framework whereby people can opt-out of tracking (How the Apple iOS 14…). New limitations will be introduced, such as ad creation limits and delivery status changes. There will also be reporting restrictions, making many of the conversion ads created by pixels a little more challenging to design. Retargeting will be impacted explicitly due to the newly imposed targeting and dynamic ad limitations (How the Apple iOS 14…, 2021). The post provides some tips to mitigate the impact: How the Apple iOS 14 release may affect your ads and reporting.

References

Adams, M. (2020, January 14). Advertising on Facebook: Advanced. Retrieved from Linkedin Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/advertising-on-facebook-advanced-3/increase-sales-with-facebook?u=2109516

Facebook Profile vs Facebook Page: 10 Things You Need to Know. (2020, 12 16). Retrieved from WebSolutions: https://www.websolutions.com/blog/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-managing-personal-and-business-on-facebook/

How the Apple iOS 14 release may affect your ads and reporting. (2021). Retrieved from Facebook for Business: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/331612538028890?id=428636648170202

Learning LinkedIn: Part 2 of Social Media Marketing Series

In the video lesson series entitled, Learning LinkedIn, Oliver Schinkten explains how to set up our own LinkedIn accounts and profiles. He holds our hands through every stage of the process, from signing up for the first time customizing our profile to engage and attract potential viewers.

I will be putting into practice the advice he gives and sharing the process with you here. While I felt like I already had a robust profile, I found the tips Schinkten provided were helpful to me.

Create a LinkedIn Profile

It is worthwhile discussing first why LinkedIn is vital to those of us who are business students. Schinkten says that LinkedIn has become the new resume (Schinkten, 2017). As I’m learning in my human resources classes, resumes are the first phase in the selection process. It’s scary to note that recruiters will look at your resume for all of six seconds. In this article, Lily Zhang outlines ways to grab a recruiter’s attention (Zhang, 2020). I can’t help but notice that many of her tips align with the recommendations for LinkedIn.

Schinkten points out that LinkedIn is better than a resume because it helps us stand out by providing additional insights about who we are and what makes us unique (Schinkten, 2017). Hearing this got my attention.

But first, why?

Thus, we must identify for ourselves what our purpose is for being on LinkedIn. The most significant mistake people make, according to Schinkten, is to create a profile and never use it (Schinkten, 2017). The likely reason people do this is that they don’t know why they’re building one in the first place.

Why are YOU using LinkedIn?

Is it to get a job? Or is it to network? Maybe you’re only doing it because it’s a school assignment. All of those are good reasons. The important part is to acknowledge it for yourself because it will impact how you design your profile.

According to kinsta.com, the most extensive use of LinkedIn is to generate leads (Osman, 2021).

If you’re like me, you might not be clear on the meaning of “lead.”
Leads are people or organizations who are interested in what you have to offer. So, a “lead” could be someone interested in hiring you, acquiring your services, or buying your products. It could even be a network connection (What is a Lead?, 2020).  

B2B LinkedIn leadsMaddy Osman on Kinsta.com says that LinkedIn is the number one source for lead generation. Why would that be? People recognize LinkedIn as a place to do business (Osman, 2021). She points to the algorithm on LinkedIn, which is designed to identify metrics specifically related to our professional history and capabilities (Osman, 2021). 

So, we’ve identified our ‘why.’ Now, onto the ‘how.’

Schinkten stresses that we must be honest and authentic when creating our profiles (Schinkten, 2017). Remembering to be authentic is essential to keep in mind, especially since most of us are on LinkedIn to generate leads of some kind.

I have found the quickest way to inauthenticity is to try and get people to like me, which provides a problem. It’s one I intend to consider as I navigate the different steps that Schinkten takes us through.

According to Schinkten, the steps to setting up a LinkedIn profile are as follows:

Some things to keep in mind about the various sections:

Profile photos

  • profiles with photos have ten times more views
  • Professional headshots are not necessary
  • They need to be “just something that represents you.”
  • It should be recent and look professional

Background photos

  • The required size is 1584×396
  • Recommended to use Canva to customize photos

Headline

  • Use keywords

Summary

  • It’s like a mission statement and must capture the reader’s attention

Featured Section

  • Opportunity to showcase work that you’re proud of and represents you well

Expand work experience

  • Be sure to include not only your experience but also accomplishments or achievements you had in the role

Education

  • Profiles get 11 times more views when school is added

Skills and endorsements

  • Highlight your skills and get endorsements from others

Configure public profile

  • Tailor how you want your public profile to appear

Customize profile URL

  • Instead of a long-complicated URL, you can create a shortened version

Build Your LinkedIn Network

As mentioned earlier, generating leads is the best thing about LinkedIn. Another way to think about ‘leads’ is connections with people. According to Schinkten, LinkedIn is designed to make connections professionally (Schinkten, 2017). You can also customize who can connect with you. Messages and LinkedIn Groups are different ways that you can communicate with connections you’ve made on LinkedIn. 

Using LinkedIn Day-to-Day

Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn has a newsfeed. LinkedIn’s algorithm is designed to show you content based on your profile, keywords, and interactions you’ve had on the platform (Schinkten, 2017).

You can use the newsfeed to add original content complete with media. When it provides value or information to others, you will begin to build your reputation and brand. It also allows people to get to know you and the work you do (Schinkten, 2017).

Next, when you click on the job icon, you are taken to a page where jobs specific to your skills and experience will be recommended to you. A search with varying degrees of filters is also available. The in-depth, customizable job searching function makes LinkedIn truly shine. You can also let recruiters know that you’re “open to job opportunities” using the specific setting (Schinkten, 2017).

Manage Your LinkedIn Account

There is a paid premium account and a basic free account.  Depending on your needs, you may decide a premium account is a right thing for you. The primary benefit is to see who is viewing your profile as well as trends and insights. Another critical aspect of managing your account is the privacy settings with many options for customization. Syncing to your calendar or other platforms is also possible with LinkedIn.

Conclusion

Schinkten concludes the series by reminding us that this is an introductory course. We are at the beginning of our LinkedIn journey, and he reminds us that it takes time to build a well-rounded profile (Schinkten, 2017). If you’ve explored other social media platforms, you know that this way of networking requires consistent effort. Reaching out to others and responding to their posts are essential aspects of growing a network. We must also be willing to explore the different features LinkedIn offers to become well versed in its functions.

My Take-Away (Conclusion)

I had fun applying the lessons Schinkten provided us. It offered me an opportunity to fine-tune my profile. I look forward to continued exploration.

In the meantime, here are screenshots of some of the changes I made.

Before:

I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for many years and had detailed work and education experience listed. However, my photo was out of date, my headline was long, my summary was written in the third person, and I hadn’t updated my new job.

After:

I want to continue working on the summary because I’m not sure it’s attention-grabbing.

I also explored the job hunting function. I tried all of the filters but found that using too many returned fewer results.

References

Osman, M. (2021, March 18). Mind-Blowing LinkedIn Statistics and Facts (2021). Retrieved from Kinsta: https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/

Schinkten, O. (2017). Learning LinkedIn (2017). Retrieved from LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/learning-linkedin-3/get-started-with-linkedin?u=2109516

What is a Lead? (2020). Retrieved from Lead Squared: https://www.leadsquared.com/what-is-a-lead/

Zhang, L. (2020). https://www.themuse.com/advice/you-have-6-seconds-to-grab-a-recruiters-attentionheres-how-to-do-it. Retrieved from The Muse: https://www.themuse.com/advice/you-have-6-seconds-to-grab-a-recruiters-attentionheres-how-to-do-it

How to Write Marketing Copy: Part 1 of Social Media Marketing Series

Ian Lurie, CEO of Portent, says copywriting is one of the most challenging kinds of writing. It requires a balance of both creativity and a call to action, which involves persuasion and strategy (Lurie, 2020).  Yet, this involves more than selling to anyone and everyone. The aim is not to turn the masses into zombie-buying machines. Lurie says that great copywriting markets to people who are already interested. No brainwashing required. Frankly, marketing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Using language to manipulate others is not what I’m interested in doing. It was a relief to hear Lurie talk about marketing to reach those who are already interested in your product/service. Or something like it.

According to Lurie, for copywriting to be successful, creativity is an essential ingredient. Without it, words lay flat on the page and do not reach out and grab the reader’s attention. In other words, copywriting is gripping when it capitalizes on a visual layout and supports a call to action.  Lurie also explains that the call to action must deliver significance to the target audience (Lurie, 2020).  

In the video, Lurie lays out the three ways to classify copywriting: collateral, medium, and style (Lurie, 2020).  The three main types of collateral are letters, brochures, and web pages. The three types of medium, he says, are video, print, and online.  Finally, three types of style are hard-sell, scare, and straight shot.  Lurie notes that it’s essential to know that each type has different purposes and understand them to decide which one to use (Lurie, 2020).

So far, I have had the most experience writing brochures, posters, odd social media posts, and slide show content.  While marketing in itself is not my field of interest, I’ve noticed it has been a part of every job I’ve done in recent years. Hence, the reason I’m taking this course: to improve my copywriting skills.

Lurie says that preparing yourself and your space for writing is the next important part of copywriting (Lurie, 2020). I have also found this to be an integral part of writing or doing any work. I find it helpful to turn on music designed explicitly for focus. I’ve also found brown noise to be supportive.

Writing Copy

Lurie details the process he uses for writing copy.  Gathering the tools, creating a plan, and freewriting are pre-writing tasks (Lurie, 2020).  He mentions various devices, including a timer but points out that our brains are the most important ones.  With regards to note-taking or journaling, pen to paper is my preferred method. I’m even picky about the kind of pen and paper, preferring soft textures and a ballpoint pen.  I love the feeling of writing on a lovely piece of paper. The way the pen slides along smoothly. It’s fascinating that so many people no longer know how to read handwriting (or cursive). It’s through the act of pen to paper that the words that feel most like me come through. That being said, for assignments and work-related writing, a laptop is my favourite tool.

Next, he details writing the first draft, general rules, and polishing the draft. This is about getting into the guts of the writing process (Lurie, 2020). Writing the first draft is, in my experience, the most challenging part. It’s when I feel the most overwhelmed and when I’m most likely to give up.  Therefore, Lurie’s suggestion to start in the middle and “sprint” write using a timer is intriguing. I’m reminded of a book I read called “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. She has a chapter entitled Shitty First Drafts, which is about getting the words out of your head and onto the paper (Lamott, 1994, p. 20).  It was liberating to learn that most people struggle with the first draft. She says it is essential to let go of perfectionism and permit ourselves to write something terrible initially.

The general rules for copywriting that Lurie delivers are worth writing down. These could be rules for communicating in life.  My understanding of these rules is to focus and connect with the reader using concise and straightforward language. Don’t try to elevate yourself above the reader and avoid ploys.  Be direct.

Once the copy is written, the next part Lurie covers is writing and testing the headline (Lurie, 2020). He explains again that direct is best and directs us not to try being mysterious. He encourages trial and error by writing several headlines and combining them to find the two or three to test.

Whether it is your writing or helping a colleague, editing is an integral part of the writing process.  Lurie stresses that cutting down words, being succinct, and writing in the active voice make copy engaging for the reader (Lurie, 2020).

Typography is an element that could take our writing to the next level. The goal, Lurie says, is to make your writing scannable. Images, fonts, white spaces assist in that goal. The golden ratio is a ratio that depicts what is pleasing to the eye (Lurie, 2020).

Writing for Various Media

When writing for print, Lurie recommends making the call to action clear and letting images dominate the space. There also needs to be an immediate call to action being cognizant that print is permanent.

Concerning online media, he mentions disadvantages such as a potential lack of context. However, there are several advantages as well. It is editable, testable, and transferable to multiple channels. He also stresses that multiple small paragraphs are preferable to large chunks of text (Lurie, 2020).

Lurie says about webpages, creating a solid call to action and ensuring that writing is in the active voice is beneficial. He also suggests having fun with this form of writing (Lurie, 2020). 

Next, product descriptions are a very commonly used form of copywriting. Be sure to leave space for images, Lurie says, and use minimal text (Lurie, 2020).

And, lastly, writing for social media has unique aspects. Keeping it fun and brief are two points that Lurie stresses.  And while these posts are editable, it’s not considered good taste to do so unless there is a significant error (Lurie, 2020). This information was new to me.  I often don’t notice mistakes until after I hit “post” and find myself editing more than once. It’s time for a new course of action. Editing social media posts for effectiveness may mean writing more, not less, despite Lurie’s rule to keep it brief. He indicates that writing to the reader, creating a connection, will take our writing and message to the next level (Lurie, 2020).

Lurie’s Conclusion

Lurie expands on creating a structured plan in his conclusion. Firstly, he discusses the importance of creating an editorial calendar. It lists what the writing projects are and who will be writing them. He says that most of it should be explicitly based on the business strategy when planning the content, but some should be riskier.  It is the place where we can play and try new things (Lurie, 2020).

According to Lurie, a posting schedule should be included in the editorial calendar. Also important is assigning editors for the writers. This makes sense since editing live posts is such a no-no.

Managing the brand voice for a product or service needs to be understood, Lurie explains. It’s about development and management by creating a guide for your company. He lays out several rules, including creating a lexicon, personas, and a library of terminology (Lurie, 2020). He also, again, mentions testing. Run ads on Google and evaluate the responses. Monitor as you go. Lurie stresses that recording results as you go will assist in developing a solid and distinctive brand voice (Lurie, 2020).

My Take Away

In my work with Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) Society, I create social media marketing images and slide shows for webinars. I’m often uncertain about my work. I’m not trained in graphic design, and, therefore, I’m usually scrambling trying to make things look good. I use templates, but those can be very limiting. After learning about the Golden Ratio, I am re-thinking some of my creations. For example, I made an image for our upcoming webinar earlier this month. I adjusted it, applying the Golden Ratio. Even though it seems small, it did make a difference:

Before

After

As Lurie concluded this series, he talked about copywriting being half art and half science. When I first started my business education at NAIT, I feared that professional writing would kill the creativity in me. However, I have found the opposite to be true. The more I learn the science behind concise, professional writing, the more freedom I feel to be creative. I can see that even the structure I so often resist would be supportive in increasing creativity.

I am interested in developing an editorial calendar for myself. I have written a personal blog on and off over the years. I have also written long-form Facebook posts that garner a positive response. However, my writing method has always been inspiration-driven. When an idea strikes me, writing comes pouring forth. When inspiration is not present, which can be long periods, writing does not happen. My concern, again, is that structure will kill creativity.  How can I schedule inspiration? That being said, I’m willing to try an experiment. If nothing else, it will get me writing more which will undoubtedly improve my skills.

Inspiration is one of my driving factors in life. But waiting for it could be something like this:

I’ve noticed in life ideas come from walking down the path, not standing at the beginning waiting for something to motivate you to walk.

                                                                                   

References

Lamott, A. (1994). Bird by Bird. New York: Anchor Books.

Lurie, I. (2020, 11 25). Learning to Write Marketing Copy. Retrieved from LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/learning-to-write-marketing-copy/what-is-copywriting-2?u=2109516

Whisperings

Something has been whispering in my mind for the last few years. I’ve yet to hear the words clearly. They are an idea. A hint of a profound insight which leads to freedom. They are about mothering, forgiveness, and the love that binds but also liberates. They’re like a dream; the more I try to grasp them and turn them into something solid that I can market or teach, the more they dance away. They’re on to my motivations.

Like an archaeological dig when one must painstakingly chip and methodically brush away sand and rock around the outsides of a hidden item, ever so slowly allowing the precious treasure to emerge, I must do so with this budding understanding. In the excavation, even as an item makes itself known, the finder is patient, continuously brushing with the lightness of a feather, waiting for the artifact’s whole story to reveal itself of its own accord. I’ve learned that a new realization of self and life must be treated thus.

When I think I know the whole truth after a mere glimpse or when I preach to others as if I KNOW the entirety of the wisdom being offered up, it’s as if I’m an archaeologist ripping an ancient treasure from the ground without regard for preservation.

There are realizations about ourselves we all experience. They’re the kind that when we see them for the first time, our eyes spread wide with awe and our minds alight with surprise, having us exclaim that we “haven’t looked at it like that before”! I’m learning that those are the ones to treat with reverence.

They need to be honoured, digested, and integrated. They’re precious and need to be sanctified, not disregarded or shared too soon. Even though I’m so eager to share. That’s my first instinct when I learn something new; I believe that people need to hear this! But this infant idea needs to be brought to my breast and suckled. I need to embrace and gift it fully to my own heart, allowing it to change the essence of my being. Instead of thrusting it out to the world looking for it to be verified before I can affirm its veracity, I can ask: What does this feel like…inside my body? And is it true for ME? Because that’s all that matters.What is true for me? And how will I let it change me?

So I will keep these whisperings safe for now. And you keep yours. And maybe we’ll meet one day to share our treasure troves with each other, venerating them with the esteem they deserve.

Closing is Closing

“The greatest thing we can do is help someone know that they’re loved and capable of loving.” Mr. Rogers

This speaks to my heart so deeply. When I’m in one-on-one inquiry or in groups and someone finds forgiveness for themselves or someone else, there’s a look in their eyes of possibility. It’s like I’m witnessing their heart opening. Their eyes relax and I feel a movement closer to complete love – without barriers or conditions. A love that includes everything. Perceived wrong doings and betrayals. Differences. Anger and hurt. Annoying traits. Addictions. EVERYthing.

Cutting ourselves off from love, even in the name of righteous justification, has the same result. A closing of our hearts. When we close to one person – even if the whole world agreed we’re right to do it – we close our heart a little to everyone and, of course, to ourselves. That’s just how it works. Closing is closing. Opening our hearts is freedom. For us.

An open heart can include saying no and expressing pain. This is a relatively new lesson for me. Saying no doesn’t require closing.

Closing our hearts to someone doesn’t really do anything to the other person. But it does do something to us. It’s painful and takes so much energy. It’s not our natural state. We have to be holding onto painful stories in order to be closed. Even a little. It takes effort, actually. It’s exhausting. And you see the effects if, you pay attention. Tight shoulders. Low energy. Resentments. Depression. Compulsions to drink, smoke, eat, use drugs, over watching Netflix. Short tempers. Insecurities. Stress. ALL a result of closing our hearts. To others and to ourselves. And to Life or God.

Closing is closing.

And opening to RADICAL COMPLETE NO HOLDS BARRED LOVE is freedom. All hail Mr Rogers who was a pioneer in radical self love.

We Can Do Hard Things

It’s hard to reach out when feeling anxious or depressed.

Depression and anxiety want us to isolate and believe that everyone is better off than us. That we’re alone and that no one understand us. It feels like the hardest thing to do, but we must do the opposite of what our brain is telling us to do. Everything inside is screaming for us to run away and hide. To sink under the pillows. Or to lash out at those we love.

Instead of separating ourselves, we need to reach out and CONNECT with others.

Yes. It feels impossibly hard, but we CAN do hard things. How can we change patterns that we notice aren’t working for us?

Here’s a process I just learned from Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map:

1. Breathe – Connect with your breath in a conscious way; try a simple “Boxed Breathing” technique.

2. Connect with your desired feeling – Is it to feel good? Is to feel purposeful? Free? At peace? Whatever it is…bring it up into your awareness and experience your desire to feel this way. The purpose of this is not to ignore or bypass your current state but to notice what else is possible.

3. Reassure and encourage yourself – Even though this is hard, remind yourself that you can do hard things.

4. Focus on the process not the outcomes – Imagine the possibility that reaching out will be a positive experience. Rehearse it in your mind. It starts to re-write patterns in your thinking.

5. Go back to the drawing board – How did it go? Did you make it to the phone or write that text? It’s okay if you didn’t. Connect with what stopped you. If you did reach out, how did that go? Take note of how it felt to try something different. And then CELEBRATE your efforts.

Change IS hard. And we can do hard things. ❤

Reach out! You have people in your life waiting to be there for you. We are more supported than we realize.

Reaching out is hard. And we can do hard things. ❤

In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful song of encouragement.

Seeking Love

How does the seeking of love keep me from the awareness of its presence?

Love is who we are when we’re clear.  When we’re SEEKING love we miss the awareness of its presence and we don’t notice that it’s not even love that we’re after.  When we’re in seeking mode we’re actually chasing something else. Often it’s approval.  Or safety and reassurance. Or something to fill the lack space within us.  And because that lack space is actually an illusion, nothing will ever fill it.  So we send ourselves on an endless and hopeless journey of love seeking that can never be achieved.

Alternatively, when we notice that we ARE love.  That we already have everything we need, we’re complete and whole, we can rest in the awareness of true, abiding and eternal Love.  A Love that requires nothing from anyone…even ourselves.

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Motivated by Love

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A very kind teacher in the Work guided me to realize and trust in something about myself. Something I maybe once knew long ago but forgot. And that is…my own goodness. Trust in my own goodness and know that whatever I do I’m doing it from LOVE.
Yes. Even when I do that thing I’m ashamed of, I’m doing it from love. Because in my heart of hearts I know that I would never ever want to do harm. When I’m operating from fear or anger that’s not coming from my heart of hearts. That’s not coming from my true nature. That’s coming from confused thinking.
This realization, this knowing, has allowed me to let myself off the hook for so many wrong doings.
I still have remorse. I still make amends and things right where I can. And I still want people around me to feel supported and cared for. I just don’t have to go around with the weight of punishment on my back. And what is it serving anyway?
The more I trust in my own goodness and see and KNOW that I’m always motivated by love, the more I operate from that space.
And I feel so filled up inside as a result.

I’m Willing to Love You…

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This beautiful drawing from Dharma Comics hit me in the gut. It gets to the heart of what loving those who aren’t in my life anymore feels like.

My parents aren’t physically with me but I am willing to continue loving them. From afar.
The irony is that when I’m willing to love them from afar, I realize it’s actually not that far. Bringing in the love and embracing the connection I feel makes them feel really close.

Dharma Comics has so many beautiful messages. I highly recommend checking them out.

A Timely Message from the Ashes

Acquaintances of mine lost their house to fire a few days ago. They’ve been kindly sharing their experience daily on a Facebook group. They’re a family of 9 (2 parents/7 children) and it’s been both sad and inspiring following their journey.
Yesterday, with the smoke and heat having settled, they were finally able to walk through the wreckage of their home.
They collected books, both old and new, and look what they found in the burnt out remains of a bedroom. A page to a book from 1915. This page so perfect in its message, a hundred years later, revealing its meaning to the family in a time of trial.

The Page

The message coupled with the scorched page touches my heart in a way that the touching feels literal not figurative.

I’m not a religious person. Going to the School for the Work last year and learning inquiry was a way for me to find me…and then, surprisingly, I also found God.

When I first started explaining the three kinds of “business” to people (your business, my business and God’s business), I used to only give God things like tsunamis/bad weather. And then last summer during a retreat, a click happened when the question was asked:

“Is it true that you have control over your life…even a little bit?
I have even some control- is that true?”

My first was reaction was YES!  I mean…okay, of course, not complete control but SOME surely.  I decide.  I make things happy.  I have personal power.  Ra ra ra, and all that.  I wanted to assert that to the group but as is the way of self reflective inquiry I chose to look deeper.  Sitting in the quiet meditation of that question, I noticed something else begin to surface.  A tentative answer that I wasn’t expecting.  No.  It’s not true that I have even some control.  Instead of pushing it away as nonsense I allowed it to emerge.  It was actually a possibility of ‘no‘ that opened up inside rather than a fully formed acceptance of that declaration.  Allowing in the quiet possibility of ‘no’, made a significant crack in the concrete foundation of “This is MY life.”
Katie often says, “Don’t believe me – test it for yourself.  So, 
I’ve been doing just that.

And, of course, since then I continue to find more and more ‘business’ to give over to God. Eventually, I suspect I’ll discover what a friend told me over a year ago, that there is actually only one kind of business – God’s business. Full stop.
Until then, while doing the Work and living this life, I’ll continue to look for God’s business, letting each new discovery settle into my heart. When sitting in inquiry I ask, what part of this is God’s business?  I have to ask because it’s often elusive to me at first but then low and behold…the answer shows up in a quiet whisper. And instead of shushing it, I listen. I listen until the noise of the obvious “This, too, is God’s business” is so loud that I’m astounded that, yet again, I had missed it.

This scorched page, found in the rubble of a burnt out home, is a confirmation of my own journey.  It was a timely discovery for the dear family and I’m thankful they shared it.  A message from the ashes of their home to my heart.