Yes, I’ve been talking out loud and no one but the dogs are in the house with me. You might think I’m suffering from cabin fever here at Carrot Ranch–after all, it has snowed, rained and spit ice-balls over the duration of a week. According to my smartphone, I’m in for another seven days of breezy with snow, sun and snow, chilly with snow, followed by a chance of snow.
It’s dull, gray and squishy-wet.
Which leads me to the thought that I don’t want my website to be dull and gray like the late winter weather in the northern Rockies. So, I’m talking to myself as if you were all here with me because when we write, we never write alone. We write for an audience.
Who do I think you are? Well, mostly I think you are writers, dedicated to your dreams and determined to see your writing come to fruition. Some of you might be bloggers or content writers looking to connect. A few of you might be reading because you need a business writer (my hand is raised for the job, if that’s you).
Here’s the situation–a year ago, I thought you were all potential clients for my contract work. What has changed is my game plan. I thought it would be another year or so before I reached the point that I’d be more interested in building my writer’s platform than my freelancing business.
Don’t get me wrong, I still need my client gigs to butter my bread (and at the ranch, this buckaroo likes real butter). But my writing has significantly shifted toward my creative goals. Thus it was time to make changes to CarrotRanch.com.
Whenever you make changes to your platform, you need to talk out loud and justify those changes. If the audience talking back to you is different, then, yes you do need to change. Yet, keep this in mind. What you change in one place must align with all your social media.
Here are some tips for when you have justified the need to make any updates or changes:
- Have a game plan. When buckaroos round up the herd they don’t just ride off into the hills. They map out where the springs and meadows are located, knowing these to be likely spots for range cattle. Likewise, as a writer you need to plan for the best places to write, when to write and how to progress your writing. For some of you, this might be a vision and for others, it will be a written strategy.
- Establish goals. If you have a game plan, the goal is to win, which means something different to each of us. The buckaroo wants to gather all the herd and you want to herd words into a publication. Set goals that are specific and have a deadline. What do you want to win? Answering that will help you forge your goals. I want to build a rock-solid, fully-engaged writer’s platform by the end of 2014.
- Know the impact of changes. You see, without a game plan and goals, changes don’t impact much because you are just roaming around the hills expecting cattle to come to you. Reality is that you need to be strategic with your writing if you want to win something. This means that changes you make will have an impact. Know what they are before you commit to the changes.
- Maintain consistency. You as a writer are your own brand. Be aware of making changes that impact your brand. If I get tired of horses and buckaroo analogies and suddenly change my header to pink pandas, there’s going to be a huge disconnect. It would be like changing the genre of your book mid-way through the writing. That would be weird and would disrupt reader continuity. So think about your brand, always.
- Proofread. Anytime we alter our static pages, we run the risk of making a mistake, including typos or word omissions. Always take time to read over your changes. Sometimes errors get through and the next day our eyesight improves. I always come back and re-read my changes after a day or two. The beauty of online is that corrections are easily made.
So, what changes did I make? Since my game plan has changed, so has my target audience. I thought about what would be useful to change, delete or keep. My home page, “The Ranch” is revised. It offers a brief background so that you know I have a credible history and I’m not just writing about writing. It also includes my two key blog elements (“Tip for Writers” and “Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction”). It also keeps a call to action for any potential clients, but shifts to my creative writing emphasis.
Speaking of creative writing, I renamed the vague page “Inspired.” Now it’s clear that the page and its corresponding tab read, “Creative Writing.” The last changes were to update my “Credentials,” including my photo to match the one I’m using on other social media sites. That’s tightening my brand consistency. Nothing changed about my services or client preferences so those remain. Neither did I change the “Legend of Carrot Ranch,” which is just a fun way to brand my own story about me as a buckaroo writer.
Are you thinking about making changes? You can leave a question or comment. Discussions are welcome.