What is a Contentpreneure?

I recently heard the term “contentpreneure” and I like it. It describes what many of us are doing these days.

According to Forbes, “An entrepreneur who uses content as a key pillar of their business strategy. Examples include a startup producing blog posts to market their SaaS product, a consultant who creates YouTube videos to build their personal brand through informative content, or an agency that uses a thoughtful newsletter magazine as the core of how they market their services. Content is key in how one positions themselves as a thought leader, especially when produced consistently and in service of building a community.”

The article goes on to point to content creation as a route to earning (through monetization of online platforms or collaborations).

But I don’t think content creation necessarily has to be paid to have value. One of the interesting things about online marketing is that much of it is about building community. The content creator on Instagram or Pinterest is making content to share as a means of attracting potential customers to their website to purchase a product or service. But the way content creators develop customers is not through hard sell. Instead, it’s about providing value, education, entertainment, or nurturing.

I love that as contentpreneures we can fully invested both in running a business and being a maker. Was there ever a time when those two facets of entrepreneurship were so intertwined?

I’ve noticed a trend lately of friends and colleagues leaving social media to escape its toxic qualities. And yes, that certainly exists. But I’m currently inspired by the array of creative opportunities social media and online marketing are offering to innovative makers and small business owners.

Very Peri & Your Brand Colors

Have you thought about your brand colors? One way to come up with color palettes for your business or brand is to visit the Pantone website. It’s one of my favorite online spaces for inspiration, and a great resource for learning how to put colors together.

Each year since the beginning of this millennium, the company has announced its Pantone color of the year. “Pantone specializes in these color trends, especially in the realm of fashion and goods,” explains the Taylor Hieber website. “Pantone announced its first color of the year [as] Cerulean Blue. A sky blue color that reflects what some called at the time an inner peace and spiritual fulfilment with the coming millennia. Pantone Institute at the time had data to support the color blue was the leading color amongst designers and that it was reducing heart rates and blood pressure. Since the start of this Pantone initiative, many have utilized the color of the year as a way to appear trendy and modern.”

In 2021, Turquoise was the color of the year. In 2012 it was Tangerine Tango. In 2020 it was Classic Blue, “a nice rich blue that mimics what we ended up seeing heavily in design over the course of the year.” And last year (for the first time since 2016) it was two colors: a neutral gray paired with a bright yellow.

The Pantone color of the year for this year is Very Peri, a purple hue with both warm and cool tones. This is the first time that a color of year has been a new color created by Pantone. The company describes Very Peri as a transition color, “trying to represent the [shift] from reality to the metaverse concept in a look toward the future.”

Does Very Peri feel futuristic to you? Pantone went on to create several different palettes incorporating the color. They range from muted to rich and neutral to candy colored. It’s interesting how the peri hue shows up when paired with raspberry and cornsilk versus being paired with sand and taupe.

“While this color does seem to be more of a fad color,” concludes Taylor Hieber, “in specific use cases it can be a great color to represent a brand or to be introduced into a design.”

Explore the palettes here and consider how you might use a little (or a lot) of Very Peri in a design or color scheme for your brand.

Are you new to creating social media design templates — or perhaps in need of new ideas? I’ve created a bundle of nine templates (all using Very Peri, along with a neutral palette and minimalist fonts) that you can access for FREE just by signing up for my email list.

There are 6 Instagram / Facebook posts designs and 3 Pinterest pin designs. Are all completely customizable. You can change the fonts, colors, layouts, etc. Or just add your own photos and text and you’re good to go!

Notion for multi-client workflow organization

Where are my master multitaskers? If you’re anything like me, you’re doing a little bit of everything (video, social media, content creation, editing, PR, media outreach, project management …) and loving it. But also going a little crazy. 

How do you organize your days and weeks, and the workflows for multiple clients? I’m a lifelong listmaker so what’s working for me right now is using the Task List function in Notion in an unorthodox way

Notion is an organizational tool that’s infinitely customizable. People use it not just for workflow organization, but also as a personal journal, to track workouts and health stats, to plan vacations, and much more. Here’s what my Dashboard (think of it as a homepage) looks like:

So what you see here are three columns. The left column is for task and idea organization, the middle column has a page for each client I work with (each page expands into task lists, goals, brand description, brand pillars, etc.), and the right column just has one thing right now—my contact lists for various campaigns.

Up until recently I was using the Master Calendar function to schedule everything that needed to be posted, such as blogs, Pinterest pins, social media posts and reels, and newsletters. My Master Calendar looks like this:

Each client has initials to identify them, followed by the posting need on the date it must go live. A red tag means it needs to be done or was pivoted away from (that way I know I can reuse that idea later). Green means it’s ding dang DONE. I like the system, but I still wanted a to-do list to jot down what needs to be done but also ideas and inspirations that come up for me. that’s how I like to work. Here’s a typical Alli Marshall to-do list:

It works! And it’s SO satisfying to cross stuff off. BUT this analog method has plenty of drawbacks. For example, see where it says “NewSong record reel”? That was a social post I was creating and it had a lot of moving parts. Still images, video, audio, and an extensive caption. I couldn’t organize those things with pen and paper because I needed them to be on my desktop so I could pull them into my Canva program where I created the reel.

So I created a new system in Notion to address this. See, notion already had a Task List function. It looks like this:

Straightforward, right? I even tried replacing my pen and paper to-do list with this digital version. But what DIDN’T work for me was the columns. All of my to-dos are To Do, unless they’re done. In which case I don’t need a column for them because: DONE. But I did need a to-do list for EACH CLIENT, all conveniently housed in one tidy document. So this is how I reworked Notion’s Task List:

What you’re seeing here is a list for each client, and each item expands to hold text, images, ideas, meeting notes, screen shots … whatever I need! It’s a big fat multipurpose multi-client multitasking to-do list extravaganza. And I imagine it will evolve. Just posting about it here has got me thinking about renaming it (perhaps: My Big Fat Multipurpose Multi-client Multitasking To-Do List Extravaganza).

As I learn more about Notion and how it helps me in my work, I’ll continue to share. I hope this post gives you ideas about how to streamline and organize YOUR workflow.

Let’s talk about Book Trailers

A book trailer is a short-form video (usually about one minute) that introduces a soon-to-be-published book to a potential audience. A book trailer is most often for a novel, but it could also be for a collection of short stories, a book of poetry, essays, creative non-fiction … even a how-to book! The video is an encapsulated way to share the book’s theme, vibe, publication date, and info on how to purchase it.

So, if you’re publishing a book DO YOU NEED A TRAILER VIDEO? Nope. I’m not a fan of hard sells or hard-and-fast rules. I’m not telling you about these types of videos because I want you to feel pressured to make one or hire someone to make one. And I don’t want you to feel like your artwork needs yet more marketing to find its place in the world.

But I do want you to know it’s a possibility. And if it’s something that sparks interest — look into it! The cameras in our phones are so good that you could film and edit your own trailer. Simple is fine. Straightforward is perfect. Read a passage or a poem from your book while showing a collage of images that relate to the book’s themes. Add text and you’re done!

There are also professionals (me among them) who create book trailers for clients, so that’s an option, too. The most important thing, though, is that PROMOTING YOUR PROJECT FEELS JOYFUL.

I mean that sincerely. When my novel was published seven years ago, I found the process to be stressful, confusing, isolating and not at all fun. In retrospect, I regret that I wasn’t able to enjoy those months of promotion and book tour. I had a story to tell and a handful of platforms from which to share it. What an opportunity! But instead I was riddles with worry that I was doing it wrong.

I’d love to look back on that experience with pride over the connection I made and happiness about the journey I took. Next time I’ll do it differently. But now, my artists friends with books soon to make their debuts, is YOUR time. So have fun with it. Share it in a way that feels authentic and inspired. Take lots of photos. Give yourself lots of back pats and sweet treats or whatever it is that reminds you of what a rockstar you are.

Gray Rock Inn Announces Writers Project

Downtown Asheville, N.C. is home to an eco-friendly historic inn with a storied background. The Gray Rock Inn was constructed in 1911. For the past 111 years it has offered rooms to short-term guests and long-term residents while also serving as a stoic witness to eccentric Asheville through the boom of the Roaring Twenties, the bust of the Great Depression, the eras of Segregation, Integration, Urban Removal, Revitalization, and more.

As the saying goes, “If these walls could talk …”  Well, maybe they can. John Senechal purchased and renovated the Inn in the early 2000s, making the building an energy efficient, low carbon footprint place to live or visit. He also began digging into the Inn’s colorful past, the stories of its guests, and the notable moments in local, national, and world history that passed within and beyond the Inn’s walls.

To collect those stories, Senechal has created The Gray Rock Inn Writing Project. The initiative seeks authors, journalists, and writers to craft short stories based on the Inn’s history. The stories can be works of fiction or creative nonfiction, but must use historic details of both Asheville and the Inn itself. One character in each story must be a guest, resident, or employee of the Inn. Stories will be commissioned by the Inn for publication in sources such as a blog, print anthology, podcast, and social media content.

A select number of writers will be commissioned to create a 1,000-2,000 word story within a 30-day time period. Payment is $200. Publication rights will remain with The Gray Rock Inn Writing Project, though all commissioned writers will be credited in each publication of their work and welcome to share and cite links to the published projects.

Interested writers should submit a cover letter, resume, and links to published works of fiction, non-fiction, journalism, and / or historic research to grayrock100@gmail.com.

Learn more about The Gray Rock Inn at https://www.grayrockinn.com.

For questions or additional details about The Gray Rock Inn Writing Project, contact Alli Marshall, amfmbroadcastmedia@gmail.com.

Organizational Tools

Think about organizational tools that can streamline your workflow, such as planners and schedulers. Do you set aside time each month to plan for the upcoming month? Do you have tasks, to-do lists, a project timelines stores in a handy and easily-accessible place that you can consult daily? If you’re using social media, do you have a monthly content plan in place?

One tool I love for everything I just mentioned is Notion. You can use the free version at https://www.notion.so. I’ll talk more about how I use Notion in future newsletters, but here’s a video that really helped me to get started:

Think about your filing systems and how your store drafts of your projects. Are you easily able to find older projects? Do you know where your most recent drafts are located? Can you audit your files and offload superfluous documents such as duplicate copies, abandoned drafts, and projects you don’t intend to return to? Lightening the load is hugely helpful when it comes to organization, and organization (using a tool such as Google Drive) is hugely helpful in taking stock of WHERE YOU’RE AT and WHERE YOU’RE HEADED.

One online tool I love for organizing and presenting a writing portfolio is https://www.clippings.me/ It looks great and is super easy to share.

WNC-based author Mindi Meltz announces After Ever After — Book III: The Queen’s Rain

Local (Bat Cave, N.C.) author Mindi Meltz is readying the release of her latest novel, After Ever After — Book III: The Queen’s Rain. This is the third in Mindi’s After Ever After trilogy, an epic, lyrical fairy tale of real relationships beyond the “happily ever after” union where most love stories end. Published by Logosophia Books, the novel launches June 14, 2022.

Mindi will hold her book launch event at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva on Saturday, June 18, 3 p.m. She will also read, discuss, and sign copies of her novel at Of Wand & Earth in Marshall on Saturday, July 23, 3-5 p.m. Mindi will present her bookin conversation with author and astrologer Gary Caton, at a virtual event through Malaprop’s Bookstore / Café on Tuesday, July 19, 6 p.m.

“Mindi Meltz’s rich and captivating fantasy epic injects new life into fairy tale lore. …The Ritual of Forgetting is an irresistible high fantasy novel that places the fate of four awed-over princesses, and their troubled kingdoms, at its center.” — Forward Reviews

Book III entwines the threads of animal and human, feminine and masculine, city and wild, future and past, to integrate that forbidden magic which the heroines first encountered in Book I, then faced more deeply in Book II. Now they must heal their children’s traumas and return this magic to their kingdoms and queendoms, in the hopes that their peoples will evolve and unite, rather than condemn them.

Readers will relate to the third book of the trilogy and its themes of finding one’s way back from exile. There’s a strong parallel here to our collective return from the pandemic. We’ve all been in a sort of exile for more than two years, and now we’re returning to a world that’s irreparably changed. We’re having to find new ways of navigating and new skills and strengths within ourselves: Mythology is, as always, where we turn for tools to do just that.

Queens and princesses whom fairy tale aficionados think they know are fleshed out in new, humanizing, and divine ways: made priestesses whose songs bind the sky and earth together, and who mourn every life taken without need; made to own the space between the supernatural and the everyday.” — Forward Reviews

In addition to the After Ever After trilogy, Mindi Meltz is the author of two more novels, Beauty and Lonely in the Heart of the World, and creates Animal Wisdom knowledge decks. Originally from the coast of Maine, she lives in an off-grid home in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband, cats, and goats. She can be contacted through www.mindimeltz.com.

Logosophia Books is an independent publisher based in Asheville, specializing in practical mysticism in its myriad expression. https://logosophiabooks.com