Why Sporting KC Has the Best Social Media Presence

USP MLS: HOUSTON DYNAMO AT SPORTING KC S SOC USA KS

What person/company do you think of when you consider the best social media presences in today’s digital space?

Chances are, you probably didn’t just think of a Midwestern MLS team. 

Sporting Kansas City, known for being the “Blue Hell” of Major League Soccer and for having one of the best emerging offensive lines this season, also has another win to add to their trophy wall – the best social media presence. 

Even without millions of followers, SKC is taking the social sphere by storm, and there’s a lot other companies and influencers can learn from the team. 

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They’re Informative
Whether another player is breaking yet another team record, a new name has been added to the injury report, or Zusi has cut 8 inches off of his hair, Sporting KC keeps fans in the loop of the latest news as it happens, so that even fans stuck in the concession line during Opara’s game-winning goal can know what’s going on in real time. 

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They’re Interactive
From tongue-in-cheek disses to other teams to showing support to fans through the Victory Project to even checking in on the weather for game day with the local station, SKC knows how to stay at the top of timelines with witty, engaging content. 

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They Know Their Audience
Think a soccer team can’t meme? Think again. Sporting KC uses their unique voice through pop culture content as well as behind the scenes looks into player life. MLS fans don’t want to just see stats – they want content they can laugh with, whether it’s a homemade meme or a partnership between the team and a Toyota dealership that interviews key players from behind the wheel. 

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They Go Above and Beyond
When just their free bobblehead gets a feature video worthy of an Oscar, you know they’re doing something right. SKC takes the time to create polished, quality content that is not only likable, but most importantly, shareable – which helps to grow their social presence in MLS and beyond in an organic way. 

Let’s face it, this team is hard to beat on the pitch – and on Twitter.

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How to Overcome Writer’s Block

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There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sitting down, opening your laptop – and not being able to come up with a single word. 

Ah, writer’s block. 

While some naysayers claim there is no such thing, writer’s block affects almost every writer at some point or another. Whether you’re writing SEO content for your company’s blog or penning the next great American novel, overcoming writer’s block is vital to completing your project. 

Some of the best ways to push through and get rid of writer’s block include:

Outline
When you know where your writing needs to end up, it’s much easier to put fingers to keys and get the words out. Always outline your work before you start to give your writing direction – but don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan if inspiration strikes. 

Stop in the Middle
Have you noticed that it’s much easier to pick up the writing pace when you start in the middle of an action-packed scene? Make a habit each time you write to stop in the middle of a plot point as a favor to your future self, instead of breaking at a chapter or end of a scene. 

Take a Break
Sometimes the best way to better your writing is to not write. It’s hard to find inspiration staring at a computer screen, so instead go for a walk, read a book, or call a friend – your next great breakthrough could easily happen away from the page. 

Unplug from Distractions
Sign off from social media, go on airplane mode, and turn off Netflix. Trust me. Nothing sucks away writing motivation quite like your tenth rewatch of New Girl. 

Change Your Environment
Most writers have a dedicated space for work, but switching it up can often jump start new ideas. Always write at a desk? Try moving to the patio. Used to working at the kitchen table? Head to a coffee shop for the afternoon. 

Keep Writing
The most-proven way to beat writer’s block is to, well, keep writing. While breaks are encouraged, completely giving up on a project will never help your site reach a million views or find your novel a home on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. As Robert Frost famously said, “the only way out is through”. 

What are your best tips for overcoming writer’s block? 

4 Ways to Increase Engagement on Social Media

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In a world where digital media is quickly surpassing – and then lapping – traditional marketing, the way your business approaches social media can either make or break your yearly plan. 

While some companies measure follower growth and others measure impressions, the most important statistic to track on your social media platforms is engagement. Customer engagement comes in many forms – likes, retweets, comments, and click through rates, just to name a few – but ultimately boils down to how consumers are interacting with and spreading your brand throughout the online space. 

Four ways to increase engagement on your company’s social media platforms include:

Be Relatable
If your business is sending tweets with copy that looks like a computer wrote it, there’s a 99% chance your engagement rate will be nonexistent. Consumers want to feel like they are talking to a real person and not just some copy-paste statement. Commenting on trending stories that relate to your brand, or even posting pictures of the behind-the-scenes of your business can go a long way when it comes to engaging customers – both the ones that already follow you, and new. 

Have a Strong Call-to-Action
Sometimes you have to tell your customer step by step what to do in order to gain engagement. Whether through polls, encouraging them to quote retweet with their opinion, or telling them to click through to learn more, strong call-to-actions within your social posts give consumers an easy way to interact, rather than just scroll past. 

Give Incentive
There’s nothing that boosts engagement on social media quite like when consumers feel like they have something to gain. While not something that should be done every day – or else you will come off as spam – things like contests and surprise and delight giveaways are a great way to get customers interested. You can even take this to the next level by giving followers who retweet or share your post extra entries into a contest or other special perks to help organically spread brand awareness. 

Actually Engage with Your Audience
Consumers respond to social posts when they feel like they can be heard, and more importantly, listened to. The best way to make them feel that is through actually talking to and engaging with your followers online. Like their posts, retweet their (positive) thoughts, and for the love of all things PR actually respond to their questions in a timely manner. By treating your social presence like a real social interaction, you’ll be able to build relationships that keep consumers engaged with your brand day after day. 

What are your top tips for increasing social media engagement?

February Reading Wrap Up

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Ah, February, the shortest reading month of the year.

And let me tell you – it definitely was a struggle.

While I still managed to squeeze in 11 books this past month, I wish I could have fit in even just a few more.

Regardless, here are the books I did manage to finish in February:

  1. Swapping Lives by Jane Green
  2. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  3. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  4. Voice Lessons by Cara Mentzel
  5. I Am a Warrior Goddess by Jennifer Adams
  6. As Old As Time by Liz Braswell
  7. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
  8. When It’s Real by Erin Watt
  9. Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino
  10. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  11. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Add me as a friend on Goodreads to see my thoughts on these books, and keep up with what I’m reading next!

4 Ways to Improve Your Copy on Social Media

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Copywriting is an intimidating task – especially when paired with the ever-changing world of social media.

Will your audience buy into what you’re selling? Will this post get more Likes than the last? Are you accurately portraying your business? Is that the best hashtag to use? Did you place those commas in the right place?

Often, the process of copywriting for social media can create more questions than answers. However, you can make sure you are producing the best content possible with these four tips:

Make it Short
It’s no secret that the collective attention span of consumers is plummeting. If you can’t get your message across in 140 characters or less, chances are, your audience will scroll past it without so much as a glance. To avoid this, cut to your point immediately in a way that shows the uniqueness of your brand. Then, once you have their attention, you can hook your reader with a witty call to action that will lead to a landing page where you have the freedom to go more in depth with your word choice, if necessary.

Make it Active 
The copy you write for social media needs to make it clear to consumers what steps should be taken next. Whether you want them to buy something, participate in a giveaway, or simply visit the link in your bio to learn more, a clear, active call to action is important for increasing engagement and making those necessary connections to help your company reach its goals.

Make it Honest
When almost anything a person could ever want to know is just a Google search away, the need for honest copy is vital. This goes for honesty when it comes to your brand and what you do, but also transparency as it relates to your relationship with your customers. People don’t want to interact with a company that misleads with falsities or sounds like every Tweet is computer-generated. When you give your brand an authentic personality through your copy, you will be able to build lasting, trusting relationships with consumers.

Make it Entertaining
There’s nothing more boring than a company who just spouts bragging facts all day long on each of their platforms. While there’s a time and place for self-congrats (LinkedIn is usually it), channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should be interactive and entertaining. Copy that doesn’t invite consumers to partake in a poll, fill in a blank in the comments, or retweet with their own opinion, simply doesn’t stand out in today’s online marketing world.

What are your top tips for improving copy for social media?

How to Land Your First Freelance Client

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Just a couple of short years ago, I had no idea how to start a freelance career or what that even meant. Fast forward a few months, and somehow I managed to stumble into my own side hustle, that has now become a major part of my business life. While I was lucky, and found freelance by a complete miracle, sometimes securing your first client (or second, third, etc) isn’t so easy. 

The best ways to land your first freelance client include: 

Network 
I know, networking is a scary thing, but it is honestly the best possible way to expand your freelance client list, and grow your business. Networking at industry functions or even through well-connected friends will allow you to meet people in need of your services, and help you establish strong, personable relationships that last. 

Avoid Job Boards
It can be tempting to simply search Indeed and LinkedIn for a gig, but those postings are rarely worthwhile. While they are easy to find, freelance clients posting on job boards often are just in need of a quick solution, and are not willing to become a regular client. Plus, these postings almost never pay what your work is worth. 

Let Them Find You
If everything you attempt just isn’t working out for you, try letting clients find you by publishing a digital portfolio online, or establishing yourself on social media. By getting your name and work into the internet space, potential clients will be able to find you with just a simple search. But keep in mind – once you connect with someone online, an in-person meeting or phone call will do wonders when it comes to building a quality partnership. 

What are your top tips for landing freelance clients?

January Reading Wrap Up

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There’s nothing better than snuggling in to watch the snow fall with a good book – except doing that with 16 books.

Which is exactly what I did this January.

While that may seem extreme (that’s about a book read every other day), it didn’t feel like it, thanks to a diverse reading list, and a constant need to forget about the bitter temperatures throughout Kansas City.

Without further ado, here are the books I read in the first month of 2018:

  1. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  3. Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover
  5. Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
  6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  7. Summer Secrets by Jane Green
  8. The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn
  9. Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
  10. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
  11. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
  12. A List of Cages by Robin Roe
  13. The Goddesses by Swan Huntley
  14. Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
  15. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
  16. Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi

Add me as a friend on Goodreads to see my thoughts on these books, and keep up with what I’m reading next!

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Writing Session

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Tick, Tock. Is your novel written yet?

Like most Americans (and writers), there’s a good chance you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Between work, traffic, friends, and keeping up with all of the latest internet gossip, making time for anything creative can seem impossible.

That’s why, when you finally do get that 25 minutes or hour to sit down and write, you need to make the most of it.

Stop making excuses as to why your manuscript is still only a 1,000 words long, and instead put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and get the most out of your short writing session with these tips:

Disconnect
We all know you aren’t really conducting “research” when you’re scrolling through Twitter when you should be writing. As soon as you sit down to write, disconnect from the internet, put your phone on airplane mode, and turn off the TV. By limiting the distractions around you, you’ll be able to give your undivided attention to your novel, making for a productive session.

Set a Routine
The best way to get in the mood to write is to establish a routine. Whether before work, as soon as you get home, or over a lunch break, setting up a dedicated time and place to write each day will train your brain to work creatively in that space, and help you dive into the work quicker than if your schedule and scenery changes each day.

Make a Plan
While some authors swear by the tactic of making everything up as they go, give yourself the favor of creating at least a brief outline before you start writing. This planning will give you a direction to start with, allowing you no excuses for “writer’s block” as you work.

Don’t Edit
The most disruptive act a writer can do while working is to edit their piece as they write it. While you’re writing, refuse to let yourself go back and read what you’ve written until after the bulk of your session is over. When you do this, you won’t waste time arguing with yourself over grammar, and will instead get further with your plot.

WRITE
It goes without saying, but the most important thing to do for a productive writing session is to actually write. Whether it’s 500 words or 5,000, getting sentences on the page is the only way to become a writer. Plus, chances are you’ll have more epiphanies about your plot and characters while actually writing than you will staring off into space while you procrastinate.

How do you make the most out of your writing sessions?

 

How to Finish the Year Strong as a Freelancer

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Jingle bells are ringing, the leftover turkey is long gone, and the world is counting down until that famous ball drops in Times Square. That’s right – the year is drawing to a close, whether you are ready or not. 

As a freelancer, the end of the year is a daunting time. From meeting deadlines to an influx of holiday project requests, this last month is a master class in chaos. However, by applying these four tips, you can end the year strong, and set your freelance business up for success in the months to come. 

Wrap Up Projects
For many people who run a freelance business, December is often a time of drowning under the weight of deadlines and rushed orders. Help make the most of these crazy weeks by prioritizing your projects, and putting in the extra effort this time of year calls for to make sure all is wrapped up by the time the clock strikes midnight. Having your projects completed gives you the satisfaction of knowing your work is done, and the freedom of a clean slate to start and grow with in January. 

Organize Your Finances
Finances. Has your heart rate skyrocketed yet? Freelancing means taking control and digging into the nitty gritty of your business’ finances. Before the end of the year, make sure all is in order by double checking your invoices, figuring your profit for the year, as well as paying your estimated taxes for the fourth quarter. Taking the time to organize your finances in a simple spreadsheet will save you a lot of time and stress once April rolls around. 

Send Thank You Notes
This time of year is meant for showing others how much they are appreciated, and your clients should not be an exception. Stock up on thank you notes and send one to each client you have worked with this year, telling them how much their business means to you. This simple touch will put a smile on their face, and help to build lasting relationships. 

Plan Ahead for the New Year
Setting goals for the New Year is the perfect way to start aligning your business plan for the next quarter. Want to land more clients? Hoping to expand your services? Set a game plan for each goal with actionable steps you can take in the New Year, or even in the remaining weeks of this one. Having a clear set of goals you can achieve will help get you on the fast track to growing your business and set you up for success in 2018.

How are you planning on finishing your freelance year strong? 

8 Tips to Help You Finish NaNoWriMo Strong

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Here we are, halfway through November, or as I and countless other people refer to it, National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a tradition celebrated worldwide where (arguably insane) writers attempt to complete an entire book in a month, or at least 50,000 words of one. 

That equates to roughly 1,667 words per day, and at this point in the process, many are falling behind, most are right on target, and only a handful of writers are ahead of their goal (high five to you!). While already having 25,000 words on the page is a major accomplishment, there’s nothing like hitting that lofty 50k to really help you end the year on a high note, and give you the kick in the pants you need to keep up this habit into 2018. 

So let’s keep on charging ahead and make that dream a reality by finishing NaNoWriMo strong with these eight tips:

Set a Schedule
Pick a time each day, and no excuses, write. Whether before work, during lunch, or at 2AM when you neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, create a schedule and hold yourself accountable to your craft. 

Stop Mid-Scene
Have trouble starting up each time you sit down to write? At the end of a writing session, stop mid-scene so that you know exactly where your plot is headed next, and you can dive in quickly the next time you open the document. 

Outline
While flying by the seat of your pants can lead to great character moments, it’s in your best interest, especially when you have such a high daily word count to hit, to at least partially outline your work. Whether it’s your whole manuscript or just the next scene, an outline will give you structure to hold onto when writer’s block tries to knock you down. 

Disconnect
Turn off the Internet. Get off of Twitter. Stop scrolling through Instagram. Those cat videos will still be there once you’ve finished your book. 

Join a Word Sprint
Need some inspiration? Join a word sprint on NaNoWriMo.org where you will race against the clock to get words down on the page. Not only is this a fun challenge, but it is an easy way to add to your word count. 

Take a Break
Writing a novel in a month isn’t supposed to be easy. When you start to feel overwhelmed, step away from your laptop, take a walk, or even binge-watch Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time. Sometimes time away from your manuscript is the best thing for it – but remember to come back eventually!

Check In with Buddies
NaNoWriMo is can be a lonely process – that’s what happens when you sit in front of a computer talking to made-up characters all day in your mind – but that’s where writing buddies come into play. Chat with your friends who are also working toward 50,000 words, and make some new ones on the NaNo forums where other writers are surely procrastinating. 

Celebrate Small Victories
Even though we all want to rejoice in the big victory of that almighty 50k, simply making a point to sit down and write is a victory within itself. Celebrate that great scene you just finished, give yourself a high five for pushing through that block, and remember that every word on the page is a step toward accomplishing your bookish dreams. 

How is your novel going so far? Check out mine by adding me as a writing buddy!