Tag Archives: Facebook

Studying at the University of YouTube

YouTubeLogoA few months ago, I, a freelance writer and publication layout artist, was contracted to make a series of videos. Of course I was thrilled and my imagination went wild with creative possibilities, but as with many projects, dreaming is easier than doing.

In the past, I’d only worked with Windows MovieMaker to produce rather simplistic videos, but for this project, I would have to step up my game. I soon discovered that I was already in possession of Adobe Premiere, one of the best video editing software programs on the market. Unbeknownst to me, it had come bundled with my copy of Adobe Creative Suite. The bad news was that I had absolutely no idea how to use it; and being such a highly technical, professional-grade program, it’s neither user-friendly nor intuitive. With Adobe Premiere, you gotta know what you’re doing from the get-go.

For the first few days, I futzed around with the help files, but to no avail. Sure, they provided the basics for getting started, but for the kinds of bells and whistles I wanted in my videos, they were an exasperating labyrinth.

Just about the time I’d decided to lower the bar and revert to my old friend Windows MovieMaker, on a whim it occurred to me to see what YouTube might have to offer in the way of tutorials.

Gadzooks!…I’d hit the Motherlode! On my first try, with a few well-chosen keywords, I discovered top-notch tutorials on every technique I would need to make my video vision a reality, not to  mention a few nifty little tricks along the way.

Just out of curiosity, I began exploring tutorials on other software programs that a freelancer might need. What I found was a seemingly endless array of video lessons on every task and topic imaginable:

Need to learn how to do a mail merge in MS Word?

Want to sharpen your advanced Excel skills?

Like to find out how to add eye-popping special effects to a digital image in PhotoShop?

Thinking of starting a blog on WordPress?

Fancy a professional Facebook page for your freelancing services?

Crave a makeover for your website?

Then head for the University of YouTube. It’s not just for goofy fratboys anymore.

CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.

She was a pushy dame with an appetite for the limelight…

SpillaneAs a freelancer, I wear two hats: one as a writer, the other as a publication layout artist. The season for my publication layout work runs from August through February, which leaves about five months of unscheduled time to pursue my own projects. Some years I get assigned to write a book, others I go scrounging for piece-work. Last year, I had neither to fill the gap, so I set several of my own ideas in motion: a series of Kindle cookbooks, a line of spice blends, an apron design, a collection of short stories, and a self-published children’s book that had been shelved and forgotten for nearly twenty years.

In the spring and summer of 2012, I managed to lay the foundations, to begin production on all of these projects, and to design a website for each one. But that’s as far as I was able to progress before it was time for the publication layout season to begin again. And now that I’m finished with this year’s edition, I’m once again presented with another five months of unscheduled time to pick up where I left off last August.

The first thing I realized is that I now have to find the most effective way to market what I’ve created. And I know I’m not alone when I say that marketing has never been my forte. I’m sure there are lots of ‘creatives’ out there who would much rather spend their time writing a novel, creating a work of art, composing a song, or in my case…developing a new recipe and photographing the finished dish!

But market I must.

On my very first day of freelancing freedom, while pondering the possibilities for introducing my creations to the world, as if manna from heaven, I happened upon a quote from steamy, noir detective novelist Mickey Spillane, who said: “Wherever I go everybody knows me, but here’s why … I’m a merchandiser, I’m not just a writer. I stay in every avenue you can think of.”

His career spanned more than sixty years, from his early stories in DC Comics and the publication of his first novel, I, the Jury, in 1947, to his death in 2006. He appeared in every medium, from comic books, magazines, and pulp fiction, to movies and television. Several of his novels have been published posthumously, and he now has a presence on the Internet that yields more than 700,000 search results.

Mickey Spillane’s words lit a fuse that sparked fireworks in my imagination, and over the course of a single week, I have explored the promotion of my products via Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, Goodreads, Twitter, Google, and Groupon, not to mention the thousands of bloggers who write about the very things that I’ve created. Suddenly there aren’t enough hours in a day, a week, or even five months to pursue them all…but I’m gonna give it my best shot.


CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.


Facebook Folly

facebook logoby Catherine L. Tully

Be warned. This is a bit of a rant.

If you are a Facebook user, you undoubtedly have an opinion on this already–after all it did make the papers…

There is another round of “improvements” going around on Facebook. And once again, I’m tired of it.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you open this social media app and see that you have to spend yet more time figuring out how to use (or not use) the new features and, for the 100th time, check your privacy settings. And I’m sick of it.

As a writer I use social media for my business, which means deleting my Facebook account isn’t really an option (although I will admit having considered it). So, yet again, I get to try and figure out how the changes will impact the way I use this app. I have yet to see any that have actually been helpful.

Twitter, on the other hand, seems to have it right. They roll out minor changes a little at a time and give people the chance to get used to major ones before switching over. There is a long learning curve where they will let you decide on your comfort level and take the leap when you are comfortable. I went back and forth between the old and the new Twitter for quite a while, getting used to features and changes. It worked great for me–and they warned me ahead of time–imagine that!

I think that is one of the things that bothers me the most as a businessperson–the lack of any consideration for the user. Overwhelmingly, the changes on Facebook don’t seem to go over well with those that use it, yet they continue to roll them out at a blistering pace. Don’t like it? Too bad. And from what I understand, we’re not finished with all of this yet. There’s more to come…

What do you think? Am I the only writer hating this? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are…

Writers – You Need To Be Available

Catherine L. Tully
Catherine L. Tully

by Catherine L. Tully

I was talking with a fellow writer about people who have a poor web presence and I voiced one of my own “pet peeves”. What is it? The person you are unable to find contact information for on their own website.

Is this you?

If so, you might be losing potential clients (and their $$$).

It’s as simple as that.

People have  a low tolerance for spending time online searching around for information. I include myself in this rather large group. I was just looking for a freelance writer or two to solicit a quote from and I went  through five sites that ranged from difficult to impossible to find contact information for the person in charge.

Again….this could cost you money.

This doesn’t just apply to your website, but to your social media accounts as well. Include a link where people can find you on Twitter. Make sure your website is available on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. If people like what they see, they just might reach out to you…but you have to make it easy for them.

Have you ever had an issue finding contact information on a particular website? If so, did you abandon it…or continue searching? If I can’t find it on the main page, under the “about” tab or under a specific person’s tab, I go elsewhere.

I’m sure I’m not the only one.

And by the way, if you want to contact me, my e-mail addy is info (at) catherineltully (dot) com.

Catherine L. Tully has been a full-time freelance writer since 2002 and is co-founder of Freelance-Zone.com. She is also the owner/editor and webmaster of 4dancers.org, co-founder of Pas de Trois at dancing3.com and owns the group Dance Writers on LinkedIn.

Social Media For Freelancers

book and script editor for hire Joe Wallaceby Joe Wallace

While browsing Freelance Switch I ran across this post discussing five ways NOT to use social media in your freelance work.

Melanie Brooks writes,Facebook and Twitter are different beasts. For marketing purposes, your Facebook status update should be updated a few times a day, max. Tweets should be used more frequently. If you tie them together you run the risk of annoying your Facebook followers with too much information; you don’t want to alienate your followers…”

To which I would like to add that I tried an experiment on Facebook and came up with quantifiable (to me) results that bear this out.

I decided to see what the tolerance is for daily posts on Facebook on a page which requires “likes”. Since liking a FB page is totally voluntary, and the users can opt out at any time, I figured paying attention to how many people liked a page versus how many dropped it based on the frequency of posts would be something valuable to know.

The page I was using had an average of a new “like” every two or three days.

I had been posting four or five times per day, and I noticed that for every two or three followers, I would lose one or two in a few days or a week. I decided to dial it down to three to four times a day, and noticed that the numbers leveling out a bit. The light had come on–there was still a two steps forward, one step back element going on.

Next, I played with posting three times a day but posting within the typical eight hour work day. No real change here. I didn’t start seeing a steady increase in numbers until I spaced three posts a day out to about six or seven hours between each post. I post around 5:30 AM, again at around 1 or 2PM, and once more at 9Pm.

THAT schedule has earned steady upward numbers with few, if any, ditching the page once it’s been liked. Is it a magic formula? No, you still have to have relevant, engaging content, but it is a system that certainly has worked for me–and one I now use as a default with new clients when appropriate. Naturally, you have to watch your audience on each individual account and pay attention to the nuances.

But if you’re looking for a posting schedule that seems to work, you could do a lot worse than starting off with that.

Joe Wallace is a freelance editor, writer, and social media manager for companies including Bank Administration Institute, VALoans.com and MilitaryHub.com. He is currently editing a book on voice acting and recently finished editing a video game script for military accuracy, jargon and American idiom usage. Contact him: jwallace (at) freelance-zone (dotcom).

Using Social Media To Listen

Joe Wallace freelance social media.jpgby Joe Wallace

One tactic some businesses use with social media is to cultivate Twitter and Facebook followers to crowd-source ideas. This happens in some non-traditional ways when the web savvy business types get to it, and these techniques can be used be smart freelancers to get ahead in their own work.

If you use Twitter and Facebook to monitor trends in your area of expertise, you’re off to a great start. What’s the biggest complaint from users about some iPad apps? In my own particular case, I’m fascinated by what’s going on at the Times in London, where the entire newspaper has gone up behind a pay wall, and by the failures of Rupert Murdoch’s Daily to deliver a user-friendly reading experience to mobile users.

Those trends inform the decisions I have to make about issues like mobile versions of Freelance-Zone.com, the mobile needs of my clients, and due consideration for any future clients I take on who might want to hop on the iPad bandwagon.

Because I pay attention to the complaints on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, I feel better equipped to answer someone who might ask “Why can’t we deliver Content X as an app for the iPad?” I don’t know jack about designing iPad apps, and I’m sure my clients don’t, otherwise they’d be developing them instead of asking about them.

So the first question for them is, “How much can you spend?”. The next question is “Will the end result help or hurt based on all these user complaints I’m showing you about similar bright ideas that were poorly executed?” Sadly the execution factor and the budgetary factor can be linked together in ways that don’t help the client’s blood pressure.

In a lot of cases, staying out of the early adopter game is a smarter move than rushing something into an app store that delivers poorly and fails to live up to user expectations. And that’s exactly what I can tell people based on keeping my ear to the ground, so to speak, on social media.

There are plenty of other examples of how using social media to listen and not just talk can help you get ahead. Feel free to share your own strategies in the comments section–I’d love to read how others are paying attention to the trends in their freelance spaces.