creativity

Biz Hacks: How To Repurpose Your Blog Content Like A Pro

By Brogan Micallef

Creating content for your biz can feel like a never-ending hamster wheel. You’re writing and producing more and more (and more!) blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, ebooks, webinars, trainings and course materials than you can throw a green smoothie at.

And sheesh. It’s enough to drive a girl crazy.

What if, instead, you made better use of what you already have? Let me introduce you to content repurposing.

You may have heard of content repurposing before. And maybe you feel like you shouldn’t have to repurpose your content (because you’re an entrepreneur right? A creative! You have plenty of ideas). Maybe you feel like repurposing your content is boring. Or you just don’t know where to start...

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to make things harder than they need to be. There’s enough going on in your business without you having to create content 24/7. (And as much as I love content, even I don’t want to do that!)

How to repurpose when you're a creative (+ make it fun rather than creativity-and-soul-sucking)

1.    Reframe your mindset

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” - Henry Ford

The longer I’m in business, the more I realise how powerful the stories we tell ourselves are. What’s going on in our heads has a huge effect on the way we think about ourselves, our work, and what’s possible for our business.

That means you need to decide that it’s a good idea for you to repurpose content. If you tell yourself it’s boring, or that you hate it, or that it feels wrong, then that’s exactly what you’ll believe!

2.    Style it up
The beauty of content repurposing is that there’s no one way to do it. This is all about doing content your way. Let’s say you’ve written a blog post. How else can you get that idea, thought, topic or message out to more people? Get creative. You could:

  • Turn it into a podcast episode.
  • Film a video.
  • Produce an ebook.
  • Launch a course.
  • Run an email challenge.
  • Host a webinar or live training.
  • Create a fun social media campaign (hashtag included).
  • Make a new product for your shop (digital or physical).
  • Write a poem.
  • Craft a love letter for your peeps.
  • Design your own greeting cards. Get them printed and then snail mail them.
  • Produce a set of inspirational quote posters.
  • Present at a local meet-up.
  • Present at a conference.
  • Sketch a cartoon.
  • All of the above!

Use this list to help you brainstorm ideas. Get out a piece of paper and pen, start a mind map and let your imagination run wild. Remember point 1: our mindset is the only limiting factor in this process. Check in with yourself and take note of the language you’re using. Then get back to brainstorming.

Am I doing this right?  Short answer? Yes. Yes, you are. This is your business. And this is your content.

If it gets you feeling super pumped and is valuable to your audience, then yes, you’re doing it right. There’s no need to second guess yourself, lady. And now I’ll let you in on a secret...

Since I wanted to show you just how simple content repurposing can be, I tried a little experiment. This very post you’re reading is an example of repurposed content. It’s a fusion of content from this post and this post, with some restyling and updated content for a new twist.

See? It doesn’t have to be hard.

You’re already creating epic content for your peeps. Content repurposing is simply a way to get more traction from the content you create.

Keep it simple. Have fun with it.  And always remember: your message matters.

Brogan Micallef is a Content-Lovin’, Science + Sci-Fi Obsessed, Jane-Austen fangirl and proud of it! She helps entrepreneurs get their message out to those who need it most (minus the time-sucking procrastination, self-sabotage and comparisonitis). Through her 1:1 services, digital products, blog + her free Facebook Mastermind, she's here to remind you that when it comes to content, connection beats attention. (Because communication isn't leaving 2 emojis on Instagram or sending salesy PMs. Your message is worth more than that.) Learn how to get your message to those who need it most (and have a blast doing it) with a free resource library at broganmicallef.com.

Mindful Painting: Turning Anxiety Into Art

By Monica Kovach

If you’ve had any experience trying to develop a mindfulness practice, you know it can be hard work. Mindfulness, by nature, illuminates whatever is present - the good, bad, and the ugly. Learning to face all parts of ourselves with compassion and equanimity is no easy task, especially when we’ve learned to hate, fear, and avoid parts of ourselves.

Growing up, I was a pretty anxious kid, but you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell. I was afraid of doing anything wrong, and I got really good at flying under the radar. I learned to value “goodness” and “niceness” so much, that when any aspect of my personality showcased any opposite qualities (like anger or impatience), I worked hard at denying them, and thus, buried them. If you’re having a hard time picturing what this might look like, think: UniKitty from The Lego Movie.

And just like UniKitty, these buried parts of myself were destined to boil over at one point or another, and when they did, it was extreme. Not extreme as in I unleashed hell on everyone around me; because, I was still deeply afraid of negatively affecting anyone. It was extreme in the way that I reacted toward myself.

Self-deprecating shame spirals were a common occurrence, as were migraines and emotional breakdowns in the form of uncontrollable crying. And later, panic attacks.

All of this self-inflicted abuse continued until I learned how stop avoiding the parts of me I didn’t love, and ultimately, accept and love them instead. How did I do this? Mindfulness. And therapy, let’s be honest. But mindfulness was a big part of my therapy journey as well, so yeah… Mindfulness.

This concept and practice of mindfulness is really just about observing what’s happening in the moment - thoughts, sensations, and emotions - without judgment. It’s the “without judgment” part that really tripped me up at first; I would immediately label my thoughts or emotions as “bad” because I learned to do that at an early age.

The thing that really helped me break free from the automatic judgment response was art - specifically painting. I never considered myself a painter; in fact, I went to school for photography and was pretty attached to that identity for my creative outlet. But when I started experimenting with watercolors as a medium to express my inner experience, it just clicked. The way the colors blend, move, and spread across the page matched my inner thought-scape. Their watery nature felt like an accurate representation of subtle, elusive states of mind, body, and spirit. Their fast, fluid unpredictability said “Yes, this is what emotions feel like.” And after a while, I realized that I was practicing mindfulness.

By representing my thoughts and emotions as abstract, fluid swatches of color, I was able to literally observe what was happening in the present moment. I was able to release judgment, knowing that unpredictability is just part of the watercolors’ nature, and that it would be silly to judge a watercolor painting for doing what it does best. How easy it was, then, to replace key words in that sentence: It would be silly to judge a mind for doing what it does best. There’s a fascinating thing that happens when we create something that resonates so profoundly with our inner experience. It’s like looking into a mirror, and seeing all your flaws, strengths, and features. Then, magically, we look at the image looking back at us, and see ourselves with fresh eyes… With compassionate eyes… With loving eyes. It’s this compassionate and loving experience that I was a stranger to for most of my life.

Watercolor painting opened up an avenue for self-expression, authenticity, and ultimately, self-love. And while I still dance with anxiety, my relationship to it has changed; I now realize that it’s just part of the masterpiece that is my fluid state of being.

Monica is an art therapist and career coach, based in Detroit, Michigan. She runs TheGrowthStudio.org, where she helps dreamers, doers, and change-makers find and live their calling.

The Friday Files

I'm back! Guys I have to admit that I have never felt so energized to sit down and write a post. If I'm being completely truthful this space has felt a bit distant to me lately, the desire to write and share just wasn't flowing and in an attempt to stay true to myself (and my word of 2017, 'Flow') I allowed that space to happen.

And the gap widened and suddenly months had passed and The Friday Files went on hiatus.

Until now. 

I've found that for many of us creativity energy ebbs and flows. There are times when we outwardly express ourselves and thrive off the creative energy that writing, reading and social media can offer and sometimes these channels can have the opposite effect where we need time to disconnect in order to replenish ourselves. No matter which stage you're in know that it's absolutely okay. You are where you need to be. I find it's best to embrace each time as both are needed in order to grow and move forward. As I've said here before many times, sometimes you need to slow down in order to speed up.

I am definitely in the creative phase and I have no idea if the impending arrival of my little bub has anything to do with this newfound energy (I expect it does and that it may be fleeting so I'm harnessing all I can for now) so expect to find me writing more, sharing more and creating more as the desire for connection is running deep.

After spending last weekend glued to my laptop in major ecourse prep, I can't wait to grab my other half and spend some time putting my feet in the sand. Summer is slipping into Autumn here in Sydney and I'm determined to enjoy those fleeting summer moments as long as I can. I hope you have an equally relaxing weekend planned and before I say goodbye (until next week that is) here is some link love that caught my eye this week:

  • Soul-care vs self-care: this podcast hit a personal note and blew my mind
  • An office makeover that I'd certainly be happy with!
  • Erin's post on finding your passion hit me HARD
  • This is where you'll find me this Saturday morning after my swim, I can't wait.
  • Save your sanity with these time-saving tips

xx Jaclyn

The Journey To Believing In Yourself (It's Not Always An Easy One)

Belief-in-yourself

By Jenipher Lyn

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and still have to do all the time) is to believe in myself. Life is a pretty challenging place, especially when you’re going after your dreams!

Believing in yourself with your whole heart is the only thing that will get you through the rejections, the setbacks, and the disappointments that come unexpectedly and often all at once.

Your true self is the part of you that dances when you think no one is looking and sings at the top of your lungs even though you might be a little tone deaf. It’s being the person you always felt you could be if the pressure of being someone else wasn’t so heavy.

Are you hiding your true self or doing things just because you feel like you’re “supposed to”?

When I was a teenager, I felt like I had to be a “girly girl”, so I had days where I played dress up. One of my friends would invite me out with her friends and I’d go.. but I felt SO insecure being myself. So I would wear my girliest clothes, sometimes even makeup, and try my best to emulate what I thought I was “supposed” to be like. It felt mechanical, exhausting, and I felt like a fraud.

At the time I think I really believed that if I tried harder to become someone different than myself, then I would... but I learned that’s not the case. After a handful of pretending adventures, I burnt out on not being true to myself, so I started figuring out what made me “me”.

Believing in your true self (and not the person everyone else wants you to be) will come more easily once you start to truly get to know yourself.

As an adult I now know my style is cute and comfortable, and I’m certainly not a make up girl. I’d rather paint than spend time doing my hair and feel confident in my messy buns and colorful mixed matched socks than trying to look sophisticated or trendy. And for me, this is my true self!

Here are a few tips to help you begin your journey to believing in yourself:

  • Keep trying new things. Then decide what you like the best. Once you know the answer, DIVE IN and learn as much as you can. DEVOUR your craft and you’ll FLOURISH! The more you know, and the better you feel doing things, the easier it will be to believe in yourself!
  • Throughout your life you will try lots of different things; some activities will stick, some will feel like chores. My creative journey took me to jewelry making, horseback riding, making dollhouse food, painting, food photography, fashion design, and FINALLY illustration.
  • Not everyone will believe in you, and that’s okay too!
  • I have been surrounded by naysayers many times in my life. Especially on my journey trying to find my purpose. Throughout each chapter in life, i felt lonely at certain points. (many points to be honest!)
  • When I finally figured out that I wanted to encourage people for a living, little sparks began to form around me. Until then, my family really didn’t trust my judgement to be an illustrator. Something changed in their eyes and perspective when I started encouraging others, though. My family began to tell their friends about me, and people were excited to share my work. Wanting to encourage others changed my life, it made me believe in myself, which made my family and others believe in me too.
  • Try and find someone who believes in you, even on the days you don’t believe in yourself. Someone that helps build you up and not people who make you feel bad about yourself. There’s something really magical when you find someone [a friend, family member, or significant other] who really understands all of you (both good, and messy you!)

My husband is the KING of pep talks for me. I’m very quick to freak out, pile in the cookies, or take a nap. He is often blunt, and very honest, but in a kind way, he builds me up often and I’m so grateful for him in my life. When I was growing up, my GREAT Aunt Kiki was my only 100% confidant. I felt comfortable to share every thought and dream with her and I’m SO grateful to have had her in my life.

My great aunt was my safe place and I miss her every day. She was the person I went to throughout my whole life. When I needed a trusted friend, a listening ear, and a comforting meal. She made me feel heard and loved. Calm and understanding, even when she didn’t understand.  Someone like this, even just one person makes ALL the difference in the world.

Remember that relationships take time, and just because someone isn’t your go to person right now, you never know what they will become, or who else you’ll meet in time. Give others a chance to believe in you, and show them who you really are.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can truly believe in yourself. The only one who feels the flutters in your belly when you know things are how they are meant to be so trusting your gut is crucial. Over time, believing in yourself will be super easy!!! Except for on the days it isn’t. And those days are okay too! ;)

Jenipher Lyn is a self-taught artist who believes the more genuine encouragement in the world, the better! Her goal in life is to inspire as many girls and women that they are not alone! She accomplishes this with whimsical illustrations and vulnerably humorous articles.She can be found drawing and eating cupcakes in the middle of Florida with her amazing husband and giant cat, Baby.

5 Must Know Tips for Taking Better Blog Photos

By Kimberly Murray

Everywhere I look it seems that someone is posting a beautiful picture online. Have you noticed that, too? Whether on Instagram, Pinterest, or your blog, visual images are key to communicating to people more about yourself, your brand, and/or your products and services. For bloggers, high-quality visual images are essential to securing the best sponsored post opportunities with the brands that you love. For businesses that sell a product, they are crucial to showing how your product looks or works. Many creatives choose to hire a professional photographer to create images for their visual marketing strategy. However, you may want to create them yourself. There are a few simple things you can do to make sure that your photos stand out.

1. Learn Your Camera
Regardless of the type of camera you are using (e.g., DSLR, point-and- shoot, cell phone), it is important to know all of the features that are possible to adjust. Sure, you can take a decent photo with your camera on “auto,” but you have so many more options if you learn to adjust some of the manual features. Instead of having the camera guess the type of look you are trying to achieve, you have control over whether you want everything in focus, the background blurred, a really bright image, etc.

Sometimes, when your camera is on “auto,” the resulting image will be underexposed or too dark. You might think to yourself, “I can just fix it in photoshop.” But, you shouldn’t have to. Take time to learn your camera settings so that you can get it right “in camera.” If you aren’t ready to jump right into full manual mode, many cameras have in-between settings, where you adjust one component, such as the aperture or f-stop (which controls the amount of blur in your photos), and the camera automatically adjusts the other settings for you.

2. Turn Out the Lights
After learning your camera, the number one thing you can do to improve the quality of your photos is to turn out the lights. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. In my opinion, natural light is the best way to go! (Unless, of course, you have an awesome studio lighting set-up. In which case, you probably wouldn’t be reading these tips.) When I am at home, I take my photos near the windows in the mid- to late-afternoon, which is when my living room gets the best light. If I am in a cafe or restaurant and know that I want to snap a picture with my cell phone to post to Instagram, I always choose a seat by the window.

Turning out the lights applies to shoots outdoors, too. If you do “outfit of the day” posts, try taking your next photo in the shade and avoid the urge to use your pop-up flash. This creates an image with nice, even lighting. If you want to try that hazy or sun flare look, then stand with your back to the sun and have someone take a photo of you. This is referred to as a backlit photo.

3. Study Your Surroundings
Spend a day studying the light in your home. Turn out the lights and see which rooms get the most light and at what time of day. What if none of the rooms get ample light? Take your setup outdoors. Mother nature provides the best light there is! If you opt to stay indoors, shoot in the rooms that you’ve learned get the best light. Hey, no one needs to know that you shot images for your latest recipe post in the bathroom…unless of course, you have tell-tale signs in the background. Speaking of which, once you decide on where you want to shoot, take a moment to make sure that there is nothing distracting in the frame. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to upload your image to your blog or website only to discover that you forgot to remove that dirty mug. Finally, it is wise to look around and make sure that there is nothing nearby that is creating a color cast (or unintentional tint) in your image. For example, if you are trying to achieve a bright image with lots of neutral or light tones and there is a bright pink object nearby (but out of the frame), that pink color might create a tint to your otherwise neutral scene.

4. Buy White and Black Foam Core
Most craft stores sell foam core in white or black. They can double as both backgrounds and objects to reflect or detract light. When I’m shooting an image and I notice that the shadows are a little deeper than I’d like, I prop up a piece of white foam core next to the setup (and opposite the window) to reflect light back into the scene and lighten or remove the shadows. Anything white or silver will do the trick…a white sheet of paper, a white pillowcase, or a piece of aluminum foil wrapped around cardboard. The opposite is true with black foam core. I use it when I want to create more shadows.

5. Experiment with Angles and Aperture
Once you’ve learned to adjust your camera settings, found the best light, removed distracting elements, and set up your scene, it is time to take the picture. If you are using a digital camera or cell phone, there are an endless number of exposures you can take. So, don’t be afraid to snap away! Typically, I either shoot my images straight on, slightly above the scene at an angle, and directly overhead (oftentimes called the “bird’s eye view”). Which angle I choose depends on what I want to highlight. The angle also affects what aperture or f-stop I choose. (Again, the aperture dictates whether some aspect of the photo is blurry or whether everything is in focus. It is adjusted by changing your f-stop.) When I take photos straight on, I almost always blur part of the background to make the main focus of the image stand out. I achieve this by choosing a smaller f-stop, such as f/2.8 or f/2.2. For extreme blur, some lenses go down to f/1.2. I also achieve this by moving whatever I want in focus away from the objects in the background and closer to my camera lens. The closer they are to the objects in the background, the more everything will appear in focus. When I shoot at an angle, I typically want to focus on the object in front and show the other objects in back, but slightly out of focus. When I shoot from above, as I do with flatlays, I always shoot at a higher f-stop (e.g., f/16) so that everything is sharply in focus. In general, if you want to show height, such as with a stack of cookies, you will choose to shoot straight on or slightly above at an angle. If you are shooting something flat (e.g., pizza, invitation suites, what’s in your bag), you will likely choose to shoot from above.

Those are some of my top tips for taking better photos for your blog or website. With a little bit of practice and experimentation, you can create images that make your brand stand out. How will you use these tips for your next photo project?

Kimberly Murray is a product, lifestyle and portrait photographer. She works with creatives to enhance their visual marketing strategies prior to their launch and throughout the life of their businesses. She also collaborates with bloggers on special projects. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and at Kimberly Murray.