How to write a quality blog and newsletter - with Blogger, Angela Peters.
Award winning Blogger, Actress, Mentor, Voiceover artist, Screenwriter, Copywriter and Mum to beautiful bubba ‘Otto’ (seriously, this kid makes our ovaries hurt!) - Angela Peters, is one busy lady. Hailing from Brisbane, we’ve known Ange since WAY back in our corporate days when we were all wearing power suits and using way too many acronyms. Now living in the UK, Ang started her hugely successful acting blog ‘BABE - Begin Acting.Be Everything’ seven years ago - to inspire women wanting to jump boldly out of the mundane and instead follow their dreams. Today she also mentors and coaches new actresses and actors on all things related to the business-side of becoming an actor.
We recently caught up with Ang to tease out some pearls of wisdom to share with you, specifically. her top tips on writing quality blogs and newsletters for your business (something we struggle with at times).
How many years have you been fine tuning your craft?
Forever! I think I have always had to be a fine tuner of sorts as you use various versions of writing every day. The way you communicate has a massive impact on getting in the door to new businesses, pitching for jobs, getting seen by a casting director, and even getting the right press and publicity. In the last five, I feel like I’ve finally become much clearer about what I want to write and what my style is. Before that it was a bit wishy-washy. I guess I’ll always be fine-tuning my craft. If I’m not, I’ve probably stopped allowing myself to learn new things, and that’s just silly isn’t it.
We are both procrastinators and we find we have to be in the ‘zone’ to sit down and write something meaningful, which translates to… our houses are very tidy when its time for either of us to write a blog! What tips can you give for the creatively stalled individual or someone like us who procrastinates when we should just start writing already?
I promise you, just about everyone feels like that! My washing up looks so enticing right when it's time to start. These would be my favourite for tips for getting on with writing:
1. Lists lists lists: For me, lists are key. And I don't mean fancy Trello lists or Excel lists (I've tried them, I swear - I have). I use good old-fashioned pencil and paper style lists. Every week before I set off about my weekly work, I write my to-do lists, including anything I'm scheduled to write for that week. This could be a blog, email copy for my mailing list, a script, a copywriting piece, an article or even scheduling social media content. Each of those items will be a separate to-do list item. This means that as the week progresses I should be seeing some of these writing projects being ticked off. And if I don't, I have to stop doing fun things like social media updates, until I get back on track. It's like a tiny punishment to myself :)
2. The tea rule: As soon as I sit down to write, I want a cup of tea. I'm sure it's my version of suddenly wanting to do the housework. So now instead of sitting down, then getting back up again, I have made making a cup of tea part of my writing routine. I brew my green tea, sit down, and I begin. No more excuses to get back up.
3. No access to social media or any social apps - as soon as I sit down to write I know that I won't be looking at Twitter, FB or what's app until I've finished my writing (whatever time I’ve allocated to writing that day). Initially this felt challenging as I felt disconnected. But after I had done it's a few times it felt wonderful! To make sure I'm not tempted to check any social media, I usually write at my desk, and leave my mobile phone in a completely different room where I can't see or hear it. And I close down Safari or Chrome so I'm not tempted to look on my desktop computer either.
4. And finally, I give myself a time limit, not a word limit: I write while sipping my cup of tea, for the amount of time I've set aside. If I get on a roll and go over, then hurrah!! If I get to that point and I really need to stop, then it is fine too. I've made my deadline. And if I'm really lucky, I've also finished writing something on my to-do list that I can tick off. Its incredibly satisfying ticking things off the list (oh, we hear you there Ange!)
How active are you with your subscriber file?
I think being in regular contact with your subscriber base is key. It’s actually something I need to be better at. I get so distracted by other pressing matters I can put off sending my planned subscriber email. The thing is, the whole reason someone is on your list is because they value your insights and ideas. They want to hear from you. They want you to update them regularly. They’re learning from you. Finding the right amount of updates your subscribers need takes time. If you are sending four emails a week and getting lots of unsubscribes, its likely your frequency isn’t right. However much you decide is the right number of emails or updates to send, you should do a little bit of trial and error, and see what sort of results you get with open rates and click-throughs as a result. Numbers don’t lie.
Oh and an especially helpful tip I heard years ago - consider the days of the week you send that content to your subscribers. For example, unless you're a travel company, don’t send an email out to your audience on a Monday or Friday. On a Friday they’re off thinking about holidays or the weekend, and on Monday they don’t want to be back at the office so they’ll be deleting a mountain of emails from their inbox that they don’t have time to read. You don’t want to be one of those emails. (Eeek! This is hitting your inboxes on a Friday - we'll be monitoring that!)
Can you share ways you convert your audience into paying customers?
This is a great question because everyone with an audience should be thinking about this at the onset of starting a blog, readership, business, facebook page etc. How will you turn those humble readers into people who will buy from you. Firstly you need to be talking about something you authentically care about. If you’re not telling the truth and aren’t genuine about what you’re talking about, they’ll see right through you and jump to the next best thing. But if you really passionately care about what you talk about, even if it’s a micro niche (which is quite useful!), then your audience will be passionate about you and your business. Then once you have a loyal fan base, you can start to think about what you can offer them that is useful to them. Everything must come from what you can do for your audience, you are there to serve them. This is why if you don’t really believe in what you write about and offer, you’ll never be able to genuinely create a product or offering that will add value to your audience.
Belief in you and your ideas = audience = creation of products/services that your audience will love and find useful = paying customer.
Who are some of your favourite bloggers for inspiration?
I have so many!! If I had to narrow it down, and it always depends on who is my flavour of the month, I would say David from Raptitude.com, Intelligent Change (from the amazing team who came up with the Five Minute Journal which I use daily) and Regina from byregina.com. All three are massively passionate in their respective areas and they offer so much value to their readers. I pretty much don’t delete their emails from my inbox until I’ve read each and every one of them (even if it’s a week later). And I think this is where any writer with a growing audience should aim to get to – make your content matter.
Someone very wise recently said, people don’t 'buy into' your products, they buy into ‘you'. So I guess it’s all about being the person, and the inspiration, that your niche audience is looking for. Be that change for them that is different from everyone else.
Angela Peters is a feature film and short film writer who is currently working on her feature 'Martini Girl', as well as in pre-production on one of her short films shooting later this year. She also writes a popular award winning blog for new actors to London called B.A.B.E. (Begin Acting, Be Everything), as well a participating in a number of other writing collaborations. She has contributed with pieces for The Stage, Casting Networks, Verite Magazine, Cinema Jam, Honest Actors, Acting 4 Camera, and Britflicks among others. Nominee for Voices 2013, and also a published author in The Stage, Verite Magazine and Pen Works Media’s The Emerging Light Series.
Find out more about Angela here:- http://actingbabe.com/writing-life-away