Create If Writing - Authentic Platform Building for Writers & Bloggers

Create If Writing is a weekly podcast for writers and bloggers dealing with authentic platform growth. Kirsten Oliphant interviews experts to find out how they are building email lists, connecting through Twitter, and using Facebook groups. These practical episodes are balanced out with inspirational interviews from successful writers and bloggers who have made it big and want to share the struggles, the creative process, and tips for reaching your goals whether you are an author publishing books or creating an online presence through blogging.
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Create If Writing - Authentic Platform Building for Writers & Bloggers





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Now displaying: April, 2017
Apr 24, 2017

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Apr 17, 2017

A few weeks back I told you to stop creating content. Now I'm telling you to stop buying courses. What gives? Keep reading! Or listen to this latest episode.

Listen to Episode 98- Stop Buying Courses


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Confession: I'm a course junkie.

Not even just a course junkie, but a resource junkie. I love to learn and I love to buy resources that help me learn. These days that's mostly courses. I LOVE courses. So why am I telling you to stop buying courses?

First, for context, you should check out my post about why you should stop creating content. The main point there is the same main point here: Be a good steward of what you HAVE. Whether you are creating or buying more, first take care of what you've got.

So...if you're a course junkie like me, what do you do? How can you be a good steward with the courses or information sources you have?

Stop Buying Courses...and DO THIS

1.Make a List. Whether you are a spreadsheet person or something else, you need to make a list of the things you've purchased. Am I the only one who has bought a course and then FORGOTTEN I BOUGHT THE COURSE? Yep. Done that. So keep a running list in a Google doc or somewhere of what you own. Don't waste your money! Track it.

2. Make a Plan. There are two parts to this. The first is that you need to think about what gives you the most ROI. (That's return on investment.) What will bring you cash or benefit first? Consider what course might bring you a return for the time or money invested first.

The second part is that you may need to go in order. If you want to make money with Facebook ads, you need to drive them to something. So you might need to take the course that helps you to create a product that you'll sell through webinars through Facebook ads, you'll need to first take the course on courses, then the course on webinars, then the course on Facebook ads. Make sense?

First, plan around ROI. But within that, you'll need to plan in the order of how the pieces fit together.

The actionable part of this is that you need to plot this out on a calendar. Make an actionable plan to complete the courses & resources so that you have the space to apply it.

3. STOP BUYING COURSES. Once you have your list and have your plan, do not invest in any more resources. Yup. Stop buying courses until you've complete the plan and the list.

The caveat, of course, being if you find a really great deal that will expire. But you should ask these questions:

Do you NEED it?

Can you FINISH it?

Will you have time to APPLY it?

Ask those questions before you invest in any new resource or even tool. (Because often tools take time to learn and set up.) On then should you ignore the advice to stop buying courses. 

With all this in mind, I DO hope that you'll sign up for the Profitable Blogging Summit. It's not a course, but it's a summit with 30 + actionable sessions that can act as a course in terms of training and information.

So why would I tell you to stop buying courses and invest your time in the summit? 

I ask you this because you can go in with a plan. You can apply the three pieces of advice I gave you in a smaller sense with investments you make. Make a list of the schedule. Make a plan of what sessions you'll watch. And take some time off during the summit week to invest your time in the summit. 

I recommend this not just because I'm biased as one of the hosts. But because it was so hard NOT to take notes during these interviews. That's how actionable the sessions are. I plan to watch them again and to watch the ones that I didn't record. This is GOOD STUFF. 

So despite my advice to stop buying courses, you should invest your time and money in the things that move you forward. I really do think that the Profitable Blogging Summit will do that!

Apr 11, 2017

Whether you love to take your own photos or not, most bloggers need to find free stock images or free photos for their blog at some point. But as a few recent horror stories have shown, how to find free and legal images for your blog is NOT so simple. Here are three things you need to know!

Thanks to PopUpAlly Pro for sponsoring this episode! Find out more about PopUpAlly Pro!

How to Find Free and Legal Images for Your Blog 

Before I get to the tips on how to find free and legal images for your blog, I want to share the horror stories. You MAY have already read these, but they are scary. The first is from Allison Puryear who shares that she was sued for using an image that she got from a stock photo site. (Language warning in case that offends you!) Her malpractice insurance saved her, but the interesting thing to note is that the lawyer she spoke to said that this is COMMON. Because photographers are doing this on purpose as a cash flow. That stinks. But it's legal. 

The second post is from Chrystie of Living for Naptime and she shares how several years ago, she used a photo from a Google Search (hey- a few years ago MANY of us did that ignorantly) and lost $7500. She also explains that this was an intentional practice of the photographer

You might think that this won't happen to you, but there are three key things that everyone need to consider if using an image that they did not take. Let's get into it. 

Three Things to Know Before Using a Photo on Your Blog

  1. Permission - if the photo is able to be used by a third party (that's you)
  2. Attribution - how you need to give credit for the image source
  3. Usage - in what ways the image may be used legally

Often people stop at permission. We KNOW now that we shouldn't use an image we find on Google. But we may NOT consider the fact that we still might have to put a line underneath the image that tells where it came from and who took the photo. We also might assume that because we find a free photo or even PAY for a stock photo that we can use it on the cover of our book or sell t-shirts using the image. 

But PERMISSION does not mean that you can use an image without attribution or anywhere you want. You MUST consider all three. 

Every site for stock photos is different, but you want to look for the licensing and attribution information. It may help to email the company itself if this is unclear. This may vary from image to image on ONE site, which is the hard thing. You might get used to no attribution on a certain site because most don't require it and then not realize that ONE of the images does. Pay attention!

Or use a site like Pixabay, where all images fall under the Creative Commons 0 license, where you can use it for commercial purposes with no attribution. Be sure if you are searching for Creative Commons photos that you STILL read the license, as there are several different kinds of Creative Commons licenses. 

Be sure that even if you are PAYING for a photo, you read the fine print. You want to be as careful as possible, especially considering that some photographers are intentionally using this as a means to make money. Smarmy, but they can. WE need to be the ones doing our due diligence on our photos!


Apr 4, 2017

I'm a big dreamer and an ideas person. But today I'm going to tell you to stop creating content! Yes. I said it. Stop. Keep reading (or listen to the podcast) to learn why AND what you should do instead.

A big thanks to our sponsor, Ambition Ally, the makers of PopUpAlly Pro!

Stop Creating Content

I'm the kind of person who loves to START. If I could hire a team of finishers, I would be the most productive person on the planet. I have half-finished books everywhere-- both books I'm reading and books I'm WRITING. I like to paint and I have half-finished paintings stacked up against the wall in one room. I even have a half-finished hallway.

So creating content is my jam. I DO finish blog posts (though I have a ton of drafts in my lifestyle blog, waiting for an image or a few more paragraphs) because they are shorter. As a lover of starts, I can just keep on churning out blog posts. I used to post every day of the week, multiple times a DAY. Then I moved down to once a day, seven days a week. Then five days. Then three days. Then one day a week.

And you know what? My pageviews didn't drop. (Not until I became a blogging derelict and stopped posting weekly at all...)

There are two main problems with creating so much content:

  1. You get stuck on a hamster wheel of creation and feel like you can't stop.
  2. You don't give each piece of content the attention it deserves.

The Hamster Wheel of Content Creation

When you create content over a period of weeks, months, or years, sometimes you get to a point where it's like the schedule owns YOU instead of the other way around.

If you've ever ruined a vacation because of your blog, you know what I mean. (Yep. I've done it.)

It's time to stop creating content when the content owns YOU. 

If there is guilt when you don't post every day. Or every week. Maybe you should STOP. Take a breath. Take a break. Remind your content who is boss. (Spoiler alert: it's YOU.)

If you feel constantly behind and stressed and rushing for a deadline or to get that Instagram post up at just the right time, then maybe you should stop creating content.

I don't mean forever, by the way. I'll get to that later.

Being a Good Steward of Gondor...and Your Content

One other way you may know you need to stop creating content is if you are not giving each piece of content the love it deservers. If you are rushing to post. Not proofing. Not creating awesome content because you don't have time and just want that post up.

Or if you don't have time to promote the content. Because let's be honest: this isn't 2007. If you create content and write a blog post, people DON'T just come. (Unless you rock your SEO and Fred-- the new Google update-- doesn't hate you.) You must promote posts for people to find them.

If you aren't promoting your content well, then you are just tossing it into the abyss.

Don't waste your content. Share your content well so that it gets the attention it deserves.

This means that you need to set up some kind of system by which you are constantly sharing your content and promoting it. (More on that in a minute.) If you aren't being a good steward and sharing your already existing content, maybe it's time to stop creating content.

Stop Creating Content and Do THIS Instead

If it's time to stop creating content (even for a bit), here are two big things you can do instead.

  1. Repurpose existing content
  2. Set up an evergreen sharing system for your content

I love, love love repurposing content. It can be a fine art. I'm going to share a few really helpful posts on that here instead of going into detail in this post.

Repurpose existing content into a paid product. Read my post, listen to episode 90, and download the free case study on how I took a few live trainings that were free and turned them into over $1500 worth of income.

Update old content to increase traffic. This post from Becky and Paula goes into great detail about how you can update old posts to see more results. It's super detailed from your title to the amount of whitespace in your post!

The point of repurposing existing content is to take something that is already working and make it work better. Do more with it. Change and tweak rather than starting from scratch. It saves you time and it makes better use of your old posts. Which brings me to the second thing you can do instead of creating new content.

In order to be a good steward of your content, you should set up an evergreen sharing system. This is not simply scheduling every week in something like Hootsuite or Buffer. This is setting up automation that means your posts will keep on sharing after you set it up ONCE. (Read more about the difference between automation and scheduling.)

You can use tools like Social Jukebox (which I use), Recurpost, or Meet Edgar to create sort of content libraries with your links and images and even how you want to word the post itself. Set a schedule of how often you want it to post and where, and then YOU'RE DONE.

For Pinterest, you can use something like Tailwind or Board Booster. These aren't quite automation, but close. You can set things up for a long time and even loop things in Board Booster.

You are not being a good steward of your content if you aren't sharing it well.

Unless you want your blog to be a diary that only you read, you need to get it in front of people. This should happen with the double-edged sword of SEO and social promotions. If you aren't doing these things for your current content, maybe you should stop creating content until you have a system in place.

So...what do you think? Are you on board with this movement to stop creating content? Are you treating your current content well?