Monday, May 22, 2017

When work is slow

Magazine cover shot by Glenn Dubock. 
Work is slow. Or should I say, "It has stopped."

Carpinteria Magazine just hit the streets. There's a short lull until we start revving up for the next issue. Additionally, there's been some client attrition in my business. It happens.

Today I find myself facing a day of no billable hours. In many ways, a day without deadlines is something to be treasured. In other ways, a day without deadlines is nerve-wracking.

Here are some of the ways I handle a downturn in billable hours:

  • Freak out. Fully and completely. Typically lasts less than a few hours.
  • Regroup. Embrace the huge cache of "free time" to take care of non-billable items such as follow Real Simple magazine's advice on "Easy Ways to Make Your Office Happier" and tidy my email inbox.
  • Hunt. Troll Web sites such as MediaBistro, JournalismJobs, and, of course, Craigslist, among other platforms. The hunting is kind of fun, though it's a lot more fun when I'm not so hungry for work. 
  • Market. Update social media and engage. Send an email to prospective clients about what I do. Attend meetings of professional organizations of which I belong, such Association for Women in Communications, Santa Barbara chapter.  

My desk pre-organizing. Not too bad, but better now. 

I have been lucky that paying work usually shows up before I've had time to thoroughly enjoy some non-billable time. Today I keep the faith that that will happen again. And it will, as long as I keep up my end by doing what I need to do to get more work and by keeping the faith.






Monday, May 15, 2017

Sustainable Blogging - an idea whose time has come

Here's an idea whose time has come: Sustainable Blogging. This is not my idea and take no credit whatsoever. 

Credit goes to Cooperative Wisdom authors Donal Scherer and Carolyn Jabs, who blogged about it. Click here to read it. 

My takeaway from the post is that we are all so overwhelmed, not only with everyday life but also with the digital bombardment that accompanies us everywhere. Is it really necessary to post for posting's sake? Wouldn't it be better to have something of value to say or share? 

Your takeaway probably will be different, but I guarantee it will be of value. Click here and take a couple of minutes to read the Sustainable Blogging post. 

I liken the idea to the Slow Food movement, which started in response to fast food. Slow Food is about purposefully taking time to make a delicious and nutritious meal and then savoring the effort. 

Pictured above is Ava. I got stuck finding suitable artwork for a Sustainable Blogging post, and Ava fit the bill. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Getting Ink in a Newspaper or Magazine

Carpinteria City Beach in January 2017. 
This probably isn't going to make me popular with people who sell print advertising. I thought it worth sharing, anyway, because I'm frequently asked about how one goes about getting ink in a newspaper or magazine.

Here's part of an email I sent answering someone who recently asked me that question. 

"Regarding the local newspapers, of course, any of them would be happy to sell you space to run an article praising your business. 

The trick is to make the article sound more OpEd-ish and tailor it to the newspaper's readership. Then the paper may run it as editorial rather than advertising. You don't pay and, more than likely, they don't pay you. 

Here's what I suggest: 

  • Create a list of newspapers/magazines/outlets and check the editorial guidelines. 
  • Decide which ones you want to target. 
  • Massage the article to fit the newspaper/magazine/outlet. 
  • Call the editor(s) to say you're sending the article. 
  • Send the article. 
  • Follow up with the editor(s).
  • Pray. 

There's no guarantee that the article will print, but it might. 

If nothing else, you'll have started a working relationship with newspapers/magazines/outlets and a database. You can send news items on a regular basis, such as a second office, you've hired a new salesperson, your product won an award, and so on."

I hope you'll give the above a try. Your business deserves some ink.