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    Category Archives: women who write

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    What is content marketing and why is it important for your creative business?

    By Domini Marshall


    There are so many definitions for ‘content marketing’ out there. The Content Marketing Institute defines it as:

    A marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

    That sounds lovely and professional and yes, it defines the process of content marketing well. It is about creating valuable, relevant and consistent content for your customers with the objective of gaining greater conversion, revenue and other positive results.

    In its very simplest terms, however, I like to think of content marketing as storytelling.

    Before we delve in, let’s talk about the term content marketing a little more. With content marketing, your content comes first and channels come second.

    What is content?

    Content encompasses anything you create to tell your brand story. It’s the story itself. Think engaging blog posts, compelling product copy, beautiful imagery, videos, infographics and so much more.

    What are channels?

    Channels are where and how you share that content. So, a blog is a channel. Social media, videos, emails and printed catalogues are all channels. With content marketing, content comes first, channels come second. The importance is on creating engaging and valuable content for your audience. Then, once you have that content, you can decide where and how you’re going to share it with the world. Ultimately, it’s about the customer experience, not just a product or service at the end of the line.

    Amy Crawford from The Holistic Ingredient does an amazing job at creating consistent content across her channels. With regular emails, eBooks, social media posts, recipes and more, she inspires her audience to live a life of wellbeing.

    Amy Crawford from The Holistic Ingredient does an amazing job at creating consistent content across her channels. With regular emails, eBooks, social media posts, recipes and more, she inspires her audience to live a life of wellbeing.

    Why is content marketing so great?

    The reason why content marketing has become so popular is that it offers brands and businesses a way to connect with consumers that is different to traditional advertising methods, and that has a proven track record of resulting in greater engagement, which builds greater brand equity and which translates to greater conversion.

    Great content marketing:

    • connects with your customers – connect is the important word here
    • takes them on a brand experience
    • builds brand authority – which means consumers look to your brand for relevant information on specific topics and which encourages positive word of mouth marketing for your brand
    • improves SEO (search engine optimisation) – Google rewards quality content with higher rankings which means your site will appear higher in search results
    • increases the time spent on your site through greater engagement which, in turn, increases conversion and revenue.

    Which leads us to storytelling.

    Why storytelling?

    At the core of all storytelling is the desire to connect. If content marketing is all about connection, then it’s also all about storytelling.

    We all have a story. We all crave connection. When someone tells us their story and their reason for being, we naturally engage with it because we have one too. If you find a brand that has a story that you find compelling and a message that is inspiring, it’s likely you’ll support that brand and share your love for it with others.

    Fete Press make the most of all their beautiful content. You can try out delicious recipes, find party and food inspiration in their online gallery and enjoy their consistent social media posts on Instagram and Pinterest.

    Fete Press make the most of all their beautiful content. You can try out delicious recipes, find party and food inspiration in their online gallery and enjoy their consistent social media posts on Instagram and Pinterest.

    What’s your story?

    In your creative business, what’s your reason for being? What is it about what you do that you absolutely love? What gets you up and out of bed each day? What inspires you? Start here.

    Think about those questions. What are your answers? Do you share them with your community often? Do your customers know your story? How are you going to communicate your passion and inspiration with them?

    For me, I love learning. I love that moment when I’m reading a book, hearing someone speak or watching a film and I lose myself.  I’m totally involved in the experience and my emotions take over. I feel inspired and afraid and vulnerable all at once.  I crave the moment that someone’s words or creations alter my way of looking at something and I want to create things that do that too.

    In order to connect with people you have to open yourself up to being vulnerable and sometimes that means taking a risk, but if you tell your story with conviction, courage and passion, you’ll discover a world of people who want to know more. In that story (in you) is all the compelling content you could ever want or need.

    Get organised, throw it in a content calendar and go!

    If you’re not already, use a content calendar. Organise all those amazing, wonderful, inspiring ideas that are bubbling away now and get them down on paper. Create something simple in a word or excel doc and plan ahead.

    Once you’ve got it down you can start thinking about where you want to share it. Start a blog. Create a YouTube channel. Sign up to Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. You choose. Once you’ve got your story, once you’ve got the content, you can decide on your channels.

    Just remember that in storytelling there needs to be a listener or reader too. So, have a conversation with your audience. Share your story and ask for theirs too. Own it, embrace it, and listen to what others have to say. It’s there that you’ll find connection and plenty of ideas for content too.

    Domini Marshall is a freelance writer living in Melbourne. A love for great stories and connection inspires her work for brands and businesses in copywriting, content creation and social media. A creative at heart, she also writes short fiction and screenplays and you can find her sharing inspiration and more on Instagram and Pinterest

    (Photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc)

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, guest blog, what's new in social media, women who write | Comments Off
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    Graphic Design Speak: Tips, Advice and Jargon Defined for Non-Graphic-Designers… paperback edition!


    Last year we released the eBook Graphic Design Speak: Tips, Advice and Jargon Defined for Non-Graphic-Designers, to lots of great feedback and hundreds of copies sold. By popular demand, we’re soon to be releasing Graphic Design Speak in paperback format through our sister-biz Creative Minds Publishing, and you can pre-order it now to get it first!

    This handy 44-page paperback guide explains:

    • Basic colour terms like Pantone, CMYK, RGB and what they mean
    • Common file types and where you use them (a.k.a. Why can’t my printer just get my logo from my website and put it on my business card?)
    • How to distinguish a high-resolution image from a low-resolution one (a.k.a. A journalist has asked for a high-resolution image for a story about me, but how do I know which one of these image files to send?!)
    • The standard paper and envelope sizes
    • Facts about fonts
    • And over 95 common words and phrases us graphic designers throw around willy nilly.

    Here’s what’s new in the paperback edition:

    Plus, it’s printed in full colour in Melbourne, Victoria using environmentally friendly printing methods and paper.

    Read more here or pre-order here! Books will be posted in early September.

    Graphic Design Speak - written and designed by Tess McCabe

    How and where to use colours such as Pantone, CMYK, RGB and more. Written/designed by Tess McCabe. Image by Louise Jones.

    Graphic Design Speak - written and designed by Tess McCabe

    A handy reference for paper and envelope sizes. Written/designed by Tess McCabe. Image by Saint Gertrude Letterpress and Design.

    Graphic Design Speak - written and designed by Tess McCabe

    Over 95 graphic-designy words defined in plain English. Written/designed by Tess McCabe. Images (left) Brand by Name; (right) Pom by Pomegranate.

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: books, CWC news, women who write | Comments Off
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    Interview: Leanne Clancey, food writer

    By Tess McCabe


    Tell us about your background. What have you studied, where, and how did you come to specialise in writing about food and lifestyle matters for publications such as Epicure, Gourmet Traveller and Broadsheet?

    Because I come from a really ‘foodie’ family (which includes several chefs, a winemaker, a butcher, growers, bakers and fishermen), the food thing was always there but I didn’t really consciously pursue it as a career path in the early days.

    During high school I was obsessed with music. I hosted my own radio shows, ran club nights and all-ages shows, DJed, published little ‘zines, interviewed touring bands – all that stuff. Looking back, I guess I was quite entrepreneurial and courageous from a young age. After VCE, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts (Social Science) at Deakin University in my hometown of Warrnambool, but after the second year I had really itchy feet to get to the big smoke, so I quit uni and enrolled in an Audio Engineering course in Melbourne. That took me into the worlds of film, TV and studio recording, which I loved.

    Like a lot of university students, I started working in restaurants to pay the rent. My first real hospitality job in Melbourne was at O’Connell’s Hotel in South Melbourne, where I worked alongside chef, Greg Malouf for almost five years. It was here that my real food and wine education started. I really lucked it – the place was iconic and influenced a lot of young chefs at the time. I worked with so many seriously talented and passionate people during those years and I was a total sponge for it all. What I lacked in age and experience (I was 20 when I started there) I made up for with enthusiasm; I was forever asking questions, so I learnt a lot.

    Later, I spent three years travelling around Europe. While my friends were more interested in getting drunk and pashing boys, I voraciously chased down wine and food experiences like drinking Soave in Soave and sherry in Jerez and WWOOFing(working on organic farms) in Umbria. My whole world opened up. I was in my element and it inspired me like nothing else.

    Back in Melbourne, I worked in a handful of high-end restaurants as well as helping manage a really great little 2 Chefs Hat restaurant in Port Fairy owned my two brothers, Shane and Andrew. It was a great time for us – three passionate siblings with our own areas of expertise (Andrew is a chef, Shane’s a wine maker, I was the front of house doyenne). The place had a real buzz and the customers loved it. We worked hard and had a ball.

    In 2005 I started teaching hospitality, wine knowledge and barista courses at William Angliss College. This experience taught me good skills in observation, assessment and critiquing – which now informs my work as a restaurant critic.

    The food writing thing came out of a gnawing, long-term passion that I just couldn’t ignore any more. I did a couple of short courses on food writing and travel writing and editing in 2009, and later started a blog. I then took my mentor, John Weldon’s advice and started approaching some editors about doing proper, published work. I started writing for The Age Good Food Guide, The Age Cheap Eats Guide and Broadsheet in early 2011 and that’s when it all started taking off.

    How did the opportunity to write An Appetite for Melbourne come about – did you approach the publisher or did they approach you?

    They approached me, though it all came about quite serendipitously, actually. I had been aware of the Herb Lester guides for some time, after reading about them in Monocle magazine and then seeing them in bookshops like Hill of Content and Third Drawer Down. I was a big fan and was really drawn to their excellent design, unique themes and snappy copy.

    In early 2013 I caught up with an old school friend,Caz and her author husband, Paul who were out visiting from London. As it turns out, Paul had written a guide for Herb Lester the year before, called The Look of London. After finding out more about me, my work, and my crazypassion for all things food and MelbournePaul later recommended me to the publishers to write a Melbourne guide. I was very flattered to be commissioned for this project and the finished product makes me really proud of my city. Melbourne’s dining scene really is world class.

    clance hobart mary

    What was the process for putting the guide together, and how long did it take? Did you suggest the content or was it a collaborative process with the publisher and editor?

    The process took me a few months, as I had to juggle my other work around it. Plus Ideliberated for some time over who to include and how to squeeze Melbourne’s best stuff into just 40 listings. It was also a challengeto get the right mix of places that I thought would appeal to Herb Lester’s predominantly international audience.

    The Herb Lester guides often like to uncover nostalgic gems and aren’t so interested in what’s new or hot or cool. This meant really taking a step back from my usual work of chasing the new/hot/cool, and instead looking at some of Melbourne’s more enduring classics with new eyes.

    I also get that if you’re coming to Melbourne from London, Paris or New York City that you don’t necessarily want a ‘European’ experience (which Melbourne does so well) but rather, you’d want to get to the heart of what’s unique about the city and its culture.

    My London editor, Ben steered the broad themes quite loosely so really, curating the guide was all up to me. This side of things was both liberating and scary; I was pretty concerned about how many industry friends I’d lose via the whittling down process!

    What makes this guide special in comparison to other Melbourne guides, for the local and the tourist?

    I think the guide’s most obvious charm is its beautiful design and the sense that you’re really getting off the beaten track with a savvy local’s insider tips. There are hidden gems and character-filled places that locals might’ve forgotten about. For a tourist, it’s a little peephole into the bits of Melbourne that I love and chance to live like a local, even if they’re just visiting for a few days.

    The cover of Leanne's publication 'An Appetite for Melbourne', published by Herb Lester

    The cover of Leanne’s publication An Appetite for Melbourne, published by Herb Lester

    What other projects are you working on now?

    As well as my regular editorial work for The Age Epicure and Broadsheet I also contribute restaurant reviews for The Age Good Food Guide and Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. This kind of work keeps me busy and means that I get to eat out a lot and meet some great people. I love it.

    Right now, I’m working on some pieces for SBS Feast Magazine, as well as another travel guide (as yet under wraps). There’s a book in the works too; something I’ve been chipping away at for a while now. Hopefully this year will be the year to get it over the line.

    I do a bunch of copywriting, ghost blogging and social media for other people – like wine makers, designers, chefs and producers – too. It’s fun, and I love getting the opportunity to help people with their business in this way.

    Recent highlights? Spending almost a month in California ‘on the job’ with my favourite photographer, Peter Tarasiuk for some editorial work.

    I also had great fun doing a guest spot on radio recently; it took me back to my teenage days of community radio and has prompted some other media opportunities too, which is exciting.

    Another big one this year was being invited to appear at the Melbourne Writers Festival. I’ll be speaking at two events in late August where I’ll be chairing panel discussions with some industry heavyweights on themes around food ethics. It’s a huge honour and I can’t wait.

    Where can people get the guide and how much is it? Also how do we follow you for more Melbourne tips?

    The guides are available from a number of local retailers including Shelley Panton Store, Books for Cooks, Third Drawer Down, Hams & Bacon, The Lark Store, and Hill of Content. You can also purchase them online via the Herb Lester website. They retail at around $12 each.

    Catch up with what Leanne is doing/writing/eating via her Instagram (@clance), Twitter (@tourdeclance) and her blog.

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: interview, women who write | Comments Off
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    Women Who Write – Michelle de Kretser

    By Sandra Todorov

    Michelle de Kretser is back with her new novel Questions of Travel. The beauty and tragedy of life is explored through the eyes of two women: Ravi, a Sri Lankan born IT specialist and aura, a middle class Australian travel writer.

    De Kretser (herself Sri Lankan born) explores the idea of what travel means to society, criticising some of the commercial aspects of it. I asked Michelle about her writing life and her start in the industry.

    How many words do you write per day? Do you listen to the radio or music while you do it?

    When I’m writing the first draft of a novel I write a minimum of 500 words a day. That handy little word count function on my word-processor gets a lot of use. `Still 417 to go….’.

    I sometimes listen to classical music while working. Anything with words interferes with writing.

    Describe your workspace.

    I work at home, in a room that has a lovely Federation-era moulded plaster ceiling with lyrebirds and waratahs. There are, unsurprisingly, several bookcases filled with books. The ironing board also lives here. The mantelpiece holds photographs of my dogs and also five rather creepy little plastic doll masks that I found about thirty years ago in an op shop. There is also a standard lamp with a pink satin shade like a little girl’s party skirt; it used to belong to my mother.

    What is the best thing about being a writer?

    Autonomy in your work: no meetings! The great satisfaction of making something, and the joy of being able to spend time thinking about words.

    What is the worst thing about being a writer?

    The insecurity and self-doubt.

    How did you get your first book deal?

    I had met a few literary agents while working in publishing. I sent the manuscript of my first novel to one of them, a woman I liked very much and who struck me as being very good at what she did, and things went on from there.

    How important is it for writers to be part of a network of creative people?

    I don’t know. I have dear friends who are writers but we rarely talk about the nitty-gritty of our writing with each other. I have many friends who are readers, and that’s wonderful. We share our enthusiasms with each other, and that can lead to marvellous discoveries.

    Sandra Todorov’s writing has appeared in The Seminal, The Lowy Institute ‘Interpreter’, Kill Your Darlings and Miranda Literary Magazine. She runs a consultancy from Melbourne CBD and her first novel will be out in 2013.

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    Posted by: Sandra
    Categories: regular columns, women who write | Comments Off