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How to Work With Cacao to Connect to Your Why Every Day

how to work with cacao For daily inspiration & guidance

Learn how to open your heart-chakra through ceremony in connecting with Mamma Cacao as part of your daily practice to open you up to a deeper connection with your sense of purpose and passion.

Hello beautiful

My name is Megan, a modern-day alchemist, that fuses cutting-edge brand and marketing strategy with energy healing and tantric practises to help my clients create greater income and impact in their conscious businesses. 

What is cacao?

Derived from the cacao bean, Cacao is a divine feminine plant medicine that was first discovered by the Mayan shamans who used it as a carrier for herbal medicines – and as a tool for deep, heart-centered ceremonial journeying. Cacao medicine found its way into marriage ceremonies as a symbol of fertility, into birth ceremonies to bless a child’s journey into the world, and it was also shared with those who were ready to take their last journey from life into the afterworld.

A single dose of cacao took days to prepare and was, as such, treated with the reverence and mysticism of something divine.

Cacao was often prepared by the Mayans by crushing the cacao beans and mixing it with hot water and a fusion of herbs and spices where it was consumed as a sacred, chocolate drink.

In Mayan culture the birth of humanity is said to have originated from the Gods who bled onto a cacao pod which then birthed earth’s people. 

In the western world, cacao has been described as a chocolate superfood and has been renowned for its host of medicinal properties and it’s resemblance to chocolate. 

what are the benefits of working with cacao?

Working with cacao will allow you to experience a wide array of health benefits and also open up your heart-centre and allow for deeper connection and energetic healing to occur. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Cacao opens the heart chakra and creates a sense of non-psychedelic euphoria and bliss throughout the body through its rich content of mood-enhancing compounds and neurotransmitters like serotonin, tryptophan and dopamine
  • Cacao contains anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants which may reduce the likelihood of strokes, heart disease, and digestive issues 
  • According to studies by Harvard, just 2 cups of cacao a day can increase blood flow to the brain and improve memory while preventing Alzheimer’s
  • Cacao can assist in the healing of sexual trauma through the release of phenethylamine, which triggers the release of endorphins and pleasurable opium-like neuro-chemicals which are naturally released when we are in love or aroused. Creating these states in a safe ceremonial space can allow us to open ourselves up to greater self-love, pleasure and intimacy.
  • Cacao contains one of the highest concentrations of iron and magnesium and contains more calcium than cow’s milk as well as containing 40 x the amount of antioxidants as berries.
  • Cacao also supports you in your journey into the world of the subconscious where you will be able to meet yourself with greater love and compassion as you heal the wounds of the past and connect with newfound passion and inspiration.

how i work with mama cacao to connect with my sense of purpose and passion daily:

My journey with Mama Cacao began 7 months ago as I immersed myself in the soul-medicine of connecting back into the wisdom of my womb during my work with the medicine wheel. Cacao called out to me during a vision quest meditation and since inviting her gentle, but powerful spirit to join me in ceremony – my life has shifted in immeasurable ways. From the moment I sat in guided ceremony with her, I knew that my heart had been opened.

Working with cacao in ceremony is a very personal experience and there is no right or wrong way to sit in ceremony with her. All that matters is that you approach her with reverence and open heart each time you call on her. As cacao is seen by many as a heart-medicine I believe that each of us will have our own unique way of connecting with her – a gentle calling in our hearts.

I connect with Mama Cacao intuitively and sit in ceremony with her throughout my week. I love to begin my day in stillness, seated on the floor with a candle and a cup of cacao at my heart. I allow her to guide me and open my heart to any new insights, visions, and messages she has to share with me in my life and my business.

 

my daily cacao practice:

  1.  I begin my day by opening the windows and allowing light and fresh air to wash over my sacred space. I often burn sage leaves which I pick and dry from my own soul-garden. Other times I feel called to work with the beautiful fragrant Palo Santo to cleanse my body and my space.
  2.  As I become conscious of my body, I begin to bring my awareness to raising a gentle and loving vibration of gratitude as I prepare my cup of cacao. With each step of the preparation process I infuse my love, gratitude and desire into my cup of cacao. (See preparation instructions below)
  3.  I begin in a seated position with my cup of cacao pressed warmly against my heart. I breathe, slowly, as I begin to sink deeper and deeper into my body. 
  4. When I am fully open, I envision a golden ball of light gently encompassing my heart space. I imagine this ball of light growing with each breath, expanding as it radiates outward until it is completing covering the cup of cacao against my chest.
  5. I breathe into this space with the awareness that my heart is now open to receiving the medicine and wisdom cacao has to share with me. 
  6. Next, I begin to connect with 3 things I am grateful for – envisioning them in vibrant colour and embodying all of the emotion that encompasses this visualisation.  All emotions are welcome here and I allow myself to feel them fully.
  7. Once my heart is pulsing with love and gratitude I slowly bring my cup of cacao to my forehead and place it over my third eye. Here I hold a sacred conversation with mama cacao as I share my prayers, my hopes, my dreams and my fears. I ask Mama Cacao to guide me and offer me her support. I also offer a prayer to her for humanity.
  8. I slowly bring my cup of cacao down beneath my nose as I breathe in her decadent aroma. Slowly, mindfully, I reverently sip my cup of cacao.
  9. I allow this process to be guided intuitively and I’ll use this energy to journal, to connect with my tarot and oracle cards, meditate on my vision for my business, cry, or even play some gentle music and dance. I allow myself to move through all the visions and emotions that she brings up for me. You can incorporate the use of instruments, sound, art, movement or love-making in your personal ceremony.
  10. Lastly, I finish by closing sacred space and thanking mama Cacao for allowing me to journey with her. 

Megan's favourite cacao-tonic

1 tbsp of cacao/42g of ceremonial grade cacao +
 
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of ginger powder
Half cup of hot water
Add coconut sugar or raw honey to sweeten
Add a pinch of salt for a richer chocolate taste
❤

where to find cacao:

International: Keith’s Cacao
 
South Africa: Click here to get 30% off your first order.

a note on healing crisis:

Cacao is a gentle but powerful medicine and it should always be handled with care and love during your ceremony. As cacao is so rich in antioxidants and various other healing compounds it may elicit a healing crisis in some people at the start of your journey. You may experience detox symptoms such as nausea, or a headache as you begin to journey with cacao. Please make sure to consume at least 2l of water on the days you choose to journey with cacao. Listen to your body’s wisdom and consider starting your journey with a lower dose as you build your relationship with cacao.

want to journey deeper?

Posted by Megan Chalidis

3 Secrets to Creating Visually Amazing Content

3 Secrets to Creating Visually Amazing Content

From headlines to graphics, we’ve got tips on how to visually amaze your audience

Attract the right audience with visually amazing content

How often have you clicked on a link only to be disappointed with the material you’re lead to? An ad on Facebook finally promised a solution to your problem but the destination it takes you to completely falls short of your expectations. Whether its layout or visual appeal, you’re immediately disappointed and click off the page before reading another word.

What if your content is giving that very same impression? You’re serving up greatness but it’s so hard to look at it no one even bothers to read it. It’s more common than you think and you could be losing potential clients over it. Don’t let another person click away from your website without consuming your amazing content. 

You have 5 seconds to attract a reader and entice them to consume your content. Keep them engaged by following these 3 secrets to attracting and converting your followers into loyal, eager to hear from you, clients.   

 

#1 Captivating headlines

Besides the fact that headlines help your content rank in SEO, they’re the first thing your reader sees when choosing to read or not read your article. With only 20% of those actually reading your content, you have one shot to summarize what they’re going to get out of it. For example, the header of this blog, “3 Secrets to creating visually amazing content”, tells you exactly what to expect when reading this article. Starting your headlines with numbers, specifically odd numbers, helps your article stand out.  What’s in it for me? 3 secrets. Secrets for what? Visually amazing content. 

Answering what and why in easy-to-understand terms anchors your content and makes it more appealing to the end-user. The job of headers are to get the reader excited to consume your content.  

 

#2 Visually appealing imagery

Have you ever been scrolling on social media and get completely off track because of an image that’s caught your eye? Suddenly, you find yourself on a website looking at cute bunnies running in a field of wheat? That’s visually appealing imagery and if you’re not choosing images that get your content noticed, you’re not doing it right. 

Choose imagery that’s simple, bright, and supports your content in the environment your target audience can relate to. For example, check out this ad from Travel and Leisure promoting travel to Mount Fuji, Japan. Who wouldn’t want to visit this destination? I can see myself running across the fields as I type. 

#3 Clean and simple design

It doesn’t matter if your content is the most brilliant on the web if it’s boring or intimidating to the reader, they won’t read it! Large blocks of text that aren’t balanced with white space and imagery will lose your reader ever time. There are three types of readers you should easily satisfy with your content:

  • The thorough reader – this person will read every word of your content from start to finish
  • The skimmer – this person is looking for content that provides them with instant answers
  • The I know what I wanter – this person knows exactly what they want and wants to find it within seconds and move on

Using the listicles way of setting up your blog is the best way to satisfy all three types of readers. Simply put, listicles contain a descriptive title, are easy to scan, and provide bits of information that can be consumed quickly.

With a clean and simple design, your articles satisfy the pickiest of consumers and swoon them time and time again.

 

Unlock your content visually

Following the secrets in this article will help you gain more engagement and loyal followers that look forward to your next piece of advice. The best content on the web is something your audience fines of value and easy to consume. Consistently showing up for them will lay the foundation to position you as a future influencer in your space. It doesn’t come overnight, but if you stay on course and be consistently genuine, it will happen. 

Don’t know where to start? We can help, book a consultation with us today to discuss your needs and what we can do to get you on your way to becoming an amazing content creator. 

Posted by Megan Chalidis
Portfolio: Sleep Pod – Insomnia Advertisement

Portfolio: Sleep Pod – Insomnia Advertisement

Portfolio Showcase: Sleep Pod Insomnia Advertisement Campaign

We designed, and edited this value-packed ebook for our client at Sleep Pod along with a series of social media advertisements for their brand. See the ad-copy below:

Example Advertisement Copy:

Every night that you spend tossing and turning – unable to fall asleep – is stealing joy from your tomorrow.

At Sleep Pod, we have the solution that will help you to reclaim your sleep and your life! We’ve put together years of learning and personal experience to bring you a FREE guide that’s packed with all of the insider strategies that will help you to sleep deeply and peacefully every night. 💤

What are you waiting for? Download your free guide today and get started on your journey to peaceful sleep. 👇👇👇
(page link)

Where We Started:

Our client contacted us prior to their launch-month. The goal was to create copy and marketing collateral to support the launch of their insomnia course in March. We created design elements and copy from scratch to support our client. Prior to meeting with us, Sleep Pod did not have a foundation or strategy for creating consistent content or a finalised lead magnet.

Where They Are Now:

Sleep Pod is in the middle of their first-ever launch, and is now equipped with a professional eBook lead-magnet, which has so far received brilliant feedback, along with a series of brand-specific Facebook posts which have contributed to the page’s rapid growth:

  • 9600% increase in page likes
  • 31311% increase in page reach
  • 17400% increase in post engagement

*Statistics based on 30-day organic and non-organic advertising campaign as of the 28th of February 2020. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Target-market specific content results in an increase in social media engagement
  • Value-based copy will help to position a new brand as an industry expert
  • Investing in paid-advertising can help bring your message to the right audience 

How Can We Help You?

Are you looking for clear and authentic copy for your business? Let us help you to create an audience-specific lead magnet and social media campaign so that you can grow your business. 

Posted by Megan Chalidis

Portfolio: 6 Steps to Creating Online Income Ebook

Portfolio Showcase: 6 Steps to Creating Online Income Ebook

We designed, and created this value-packed ebook for our client at Ambition Digital Marketing using their content as a baseline for this project. You can view the ebook here.

Where We Started:

Our client supplied us with a general framework for the ebook along with some the content framework and some images. Out goal was to transform their copy into something insightful and engaging for his readers. 

Where They Are Now:

At the time of its release this eBook was one of Ambition Digital Media’s highest converting lead magnets with over 400 downloads and 1000 clicks. This lead magnet also resulted in a  further 57 up-sells on their additional content. Since then, the business has re-branded and continued to produce incredible content for their audience. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Great design is eye-catching and attracts your audience’s attention
  • Well-designed layouts keep the reading experience as focused and engaging as possible
  • Clear and authentic copy will help you to establish your brand as a trusted industry expert

How Can We Help You?

Are you looking for clear and authentic copy for your business? Let us help you to create an audience-specific lead magnet so that you can grow your business. 

Posted by Megan Chalidis

What Is The Difference Between A Bitmap And A Vector Image?

What Is The Difference Between A Bitmap And A Vector Image?

Design jargon can be infinitely confusing. You may have found yourself asking your designer why the logo on your website would not be suitable for use on the large format signage you want to have printed for your storefront. If you have ever wondered why you couldn’t use the same image file for all your needs, or why the logo that you designed using PicsArt isn’t suitable for printing, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s discuss the difference between bitmaps and vectors.

What Is A Bitmap?

In simple terms, a bitmap image is an image that is constructed from many smaller squares of colour. These ‘squares’ are referred to as pixels or dots. A typical example of a bitmap image would be a photograph. You may have seen the following examples of bitmap file formats: PNG, JPEG, and GIF – to name a few. The most common design software used to process these types of images is Adobe Photoshop. 

Advantages Of Using Bitmap Images:

Detail & Editing Capability

Bitmap images contain a lot of visual information including precise shading and minute details. This visual information can be measured through the image’s dpi – which stands for ‘Dots Per Inch’. The dpi is a measurement of how much information your image contains.

Let’s imagine that you have a square image that is 1″x1″ at 300dpi. This means that your image contains a whopping 90 000 squares of colour (300×300)! The higher the dpi of your image, the more detail the image contains. Highly detailed images are fantastic for editing and the possibilities are virtually endless as each square of colour has the potential to change.

Note: When printing images, most printers require that the image contain a minimum of 300dpi for the best quality print.

This is what your bitmap image looks like when zoomed in. Each pixel contains information that makes up the entire image, but if you zoom in too far the image becomes blurry.

Cons Of Using Bitmap Images:

The biggest con of using bitmap images is that they become blurry when enlarged past a certain point. The reason for this is that there are a specific number of pixels within each image. When you enlarge the photo in question, the software is forced to ‘guess’ which colours to use in order to fill the gaps in the image. Since it has no way of calculating exactly which colours or patterns to use, the image becomes blurry.

Because these images are able to contain so much unpredictable data they are often incredibly large in size.

What Are Vector Graphics?

You may have heard your designer ask you for your logo in a vector format before working on your project. What is a vector graphic?

A vector graphic is a graphic produced using a predictable mathematical equation. They are created from points and lines based on these mathematical formulas. In comparison to a square bitmap image, with 300 pixels of information per linear inch, a vector graphic in the same shape (square) will only contain four pieces of data – one for each corner of the square. The software then completes the rest of the details by ‘predicting’ the sequence through the mathematical formula.

As a result, vector graphics are much smaller, in file size, than their bitmap counterparts. 

Vector artworks are typically created using software such as Illustrator or Corel Draw. Vector artworks can also be saved in PDF format, and later used in design software (such as those listed above).

The vector image above illustrates the scalability of vector graphics. No detail was lost in resizing the vector graphic.

Advantages Of Using Vector Graphics:

The most important benefit of vector graphics – and why the majority of designers request your logo in this format – is that they are infinitely scalable. This means that a logo design in a vector format can be printed on something as small as a business card and something as large as a billboard without losing any detail. The vector image will not become blurry regardless of its size. 

In contrast, you would not be able to use a small bitmap photo on a billboard as it would become too blurry for use.

Vector images are also editable in a non-destructive manner. Once opened up in design software, each layer or element used in the vector image can be edited. These elements can easily be re-coloured, resized or moved around without damaging or affecting any other elements. 

It is for this reason that your designer will supply your logo designs to you in vector formats. You will then be able to use them for a variety of applications. 

Cons Of Using Vector Graphics:

Although vector images are infinitely scalable and contain less data, it also means that they are not as complexly editable as bitmap images. They are not practical for complex colouring (beyond basic colour grading) and they are unable to handle certain editing effects such as drop shadows and blurring in the way that a bitmap image would. 

So Why Isn't The Logo That I Designed on my phone or in Paint Ideal?

These days there are multitudes of online logo generating and image editing apps on the market. It seems like an easy choice to create your own logo using an image editor as opposed to paying a designer to create one for you (for a hefty price). You may end up with a beautiful image, however, it won’t be functional in the way that a professionally designed vector artwork would be. 

Here are the main reasons why this will hamper your business in the long-run:

  • Your logo design is most likely a bitmap image. This means that it is a low-quality image which cannot be re-sized without losing quality. Your pretty image may look great on social media but will blur when you attempt to use it on a poster or business card (for example).
  • Your logo most likely does not follow basic design principles. Your designer receives proper training in order to create designs that are well aligned and communicate your chosen message to your audience. They have an understanding of colour psychology and the subconscious messages that are interpreted from different font styles. Your designer also takes into consideration the applications for your logo. Not all designs will be suitable for embroidery – for example. Your designer makes sure that your design meets all of your requirements.  Without these elements in place, you risk limiting your ability to use your logo in various applications. You also risk having others assume that your business is unprofessional. Your logo speaks volumes about your business. 

Which business would you trust to bake your wedding cake? The funny thing is that these are both logos from the same business before, and after, a makeover! It’s amazing how one image is far more trustworthy than the other. 

The Ideal Solution

Make sure that your designer creates, and supplies your logo to you in a vector format. If you currently have a bitmap logo design, contact your designer to request that it be re-created as a vector artwork. 

Investing in a professional logo design is one of the best things that you can do for your business to ensure it’s long term success. If you want to learn more, check out this article on why you need a professional logo design

We'd Love to Hear From You!

Do you have a professional vector logo design? Get in touch and we’ll create a stunning design for you that captures your unique brand identity. To view some of our previous designs please visit our portfolio.

We’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below or leave us a message. If you feel that this article could help someone you know just hit share using one of the social buttons below. If you have any questions about native files feel free to leave them in the comments.

Posted by Megan Chalidis

Top 5 Tools That Every New Business Owner Needs

Top 5 Tools That Every New Business Owner Needs

Starting a business is a thrilling adventure. Things can, however, become overwhelming when it comes to managing every aspect of your business – from client onboarding to service providing and accounting. As a ‘solopreneur’ or a new start-up, the chances are that you’re likely going to have to manage all these new roles alone, or with a limited team. Here are some of the top 5 tools that every new business owner should have in their arsenal.

Note: This blog post may contain affiliate links which means that Minerva Designs may earn a commission, at no cost to you, on any purchases you make using the links below.

1. A Spelling And Grammar Assistant/Checker

Content truly is king, and your content speaks volumes to your potential clients about the quality of your business. Spelling and grammatical errors are a no-go if you want people to perceive your business and brand as being professional. The content that others will use to determine how they see your business is everywhere. It’s in the emails you write, the social media ‘tweets’ you post, your website copy, and in any print-marketing material that you share – to name a few. It’s imperative that you make a good impression with text that is clean, clear and free of error. 

Our Recommendation: Grammarly

Grammarly is currently one of the most popular grammar and spell-checkers on the market, and they offer a variety of solutions to suit your needs. You can use the software online or download their desktop application. Checking your writing has never been easier! Copy and paste your text into the Grammarly App, and it will automatically detect grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing. 

Grammarly also offers extensions for both Chrome and Firefox which allow you to check your writing directly from your browser. This feature will enable you to check everything from emails to social media posts without leaving the webpage you’re on. (Because we all know that there’s nothing worse than sending an email to a potential client only to realise that there’s a glaringly obvious spelling mistake that you spotted too late.)

Price: Grammarly offers both free and premium versions of their software, which makes them the ideal solution for new business owners and avid writers alike.

2. Basic Accounting Software

If you want to stay in control of your business and hit your financial targets, it’s essential for you to understand precisely where your money is going. 

To do this, you’ll need to record your month-to-month business expenses and income using accounting software. You don’t need to be a finance guru or an accountant to understand the essential financial health of your business. There are plenty of easy software solutions on the market that are designed to meet you wherever you are on your business journey.

Getting into a habit of tracking your business finances from the get-go will not only help you to understand where your business is succeeding, but the information shown will also equip you to make better business decisions down the line. 

If you’d like to find out more about how to manage your income as a new business owner or freelancer, check out our blog post here.

Our Recommendation: Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting is a fantastic piece of software for new business owners and freelancers. Its visually intuitive dashboard will help you to manage your money regardless of how in-depth your understanding of accounting. Not only are you able to view reports on your expenditure and earnings, but you’ll also be able to send professional branded invoices to your clients – and keep track of their payments all in one place. 

Price: Wave is also absolutely free to use, and they offer loads of free resources to help you understand accounting.

3. A Project Management Tool

As a business owner or freelancer, you may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of items on your to-do-list. Not only do you need to provide exceptional service to your clients every step of the way, but you also need to stay sane and organised while doing so! Project management tools and dashboards can help you to stay organised even when you’re juggling a variety of tasks, clients or projects.

Our Recommendation: ASANA

ASANA is a project management dashboard that allows you to organise all your projects, tasks, and team members all in one place. Its easy-to-navigate interface enables users to create to-do-lists, assign particular responsibilities to team members, manage their calendars and have conversations all in one spot. ASANA allows users to organise their projects into boards or lists, and even sends helpful reminders to let you know when particular tasks are overdue!

Whether you need to plan your next product launch with your team or organise your thoughts and images for your next blog post, then ASANA may be the solution for you.

Price: ASANA offers both free and premium monthly subscriptions. Their free plan is fantastic for ‘solopreneurs’ and small teams, however, their premium plans have a whole host of features that are essential for growing businesses. 

4. Email Marketing Software

  1. According to the latest in marketing research, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to transform your leads from interested bystanders to red-hot active buyers. Starting an email list from the beginning of your business will ensure that you always have a list of interested individuals that you can utilise to market your business. 

    Sending out regular email newsletters not only reminds old clients about your business but can also convince potential leads to become regular paying customers (with the right strategies in place). Email newsletters are a great way to let people know about up-and-coming specials, product launches, and new blog posts. The best part about email marketing? – it’s essentially free once you have an active email list (as opposed to paying for leads via Facebook, for example.)

Our Recommendation: SendInBlue

SendinBlue is a fantastic all in one email marketing tool that covers email marketing, SMS marketing, email automation and Facebook retargeting advertisements all on one user-friendly platform. It’s the ideal solution for anyone looking to create a basic email list – and send designer, personalised emails to this list – but it’s also an incredible tool for those looking for a more advanced marketing automation solution.

SendInBlue’s easy to use templates make creating professional email marketing campaigns and landing pages a breeze. All that you require to get started is a webpage for your business. Don’t have one yet? Contact Minerva Designs today for affordable and effective web design solutions.

Price: SendinInBlue offers both free and premium plans, which depend entirely on the number of emails that you need to send every month. Their free plan is ideal for most small business owners as it allows you to send 300 emails per day, and their premium plans are by far some of the most cost-effective on the market (in comparison to options like MailChimp).

5. Appointment Booking Software

How many times have you and your client found yourselves spending 30 minutes trying to organise a time to meet when it suits you both? As your business begins to grow, you’ll understand that every minute spent on a low-value task is a minute less spent on a high-value task. Consider automating your appointment booking system so that you can spend more time on the high-value tasks that keep your business running. 

Our Recommendation: Appointy

Appointy is an appointment booking and management dashboard that allows your clients to book meetings with you or your team members. Decide on your working hours and appointment offerings, set up the process, and sit back while Appointy guides your clients through the appointment booking process with ease. Send your clients the link to your bookings portal and Appointy will take care of the rest. You’ll never have to worry about double-booking a client again! It is also incredibly easy for you or your clients to reschedule their appointments. 

Price: Appointy offers free and premium plans. If you plan to use it for basic meetings then the free plan should suffice, however, the premium plan allows you to manage multiple team members and offerings. Appointy’s premium plans will even allow you to offer your services (with different descriptions, costs and durations), and you’ll be able to accept payment from your clients as soon as they make their bookings. Appointy is a fantastic tool for anyone in a service based industry, as well as those who want to manage their meeting schedules with ease. 

We'd Love to Hear From You!

We’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below or leave us a message. Have you tried any of the tools above? Which tool has been the most helpful to your business? If you feel that this article could help someone you know just hit share using one of the social buttons below. If you have any questions about native files feel free to leave them in the comments.

Posted by Megan Chalidis

How To Brainstorm A Month’s Worth Of Social Media Content In One Day!

How To Brainstorm A Month's Worth Of Social Media Content In One Day!

As an entrepreneur or freelancer, you’re responsible for creating content, finding new clients, delivering exceptional service and managing your business. You’re also expected to find the time to develop an unbelievable presence on social media. With all this overwhelm, what you need is a quick solution to organise an entire month’s worth of content in one sitting. Grab a cup of coffee, open your laptop and let’s get started!

I want to introduce you to task-batching and brainstorming – the top two tools that you’ll need to conquer your content calendar.

Note: This blog post may contain affiliate links which means that Minerva Designs may earn a commission, at no cost to you, on any purchases you make using the links below.

What is Task Batching?

Task batching is a productivity-enhancing time management system. This system helps to maximise your concentration, productivity and creative energy by minimising distraction along with the anxiety and fatigue associated with multi-tasking.

The main idea behind task-batching is to sort your to-do-list into groups of tasks which you would complete during a specified period without allowing yourself to be distracted by other tasks.

For example, answering your emails, responding to social media messages and sending out quotations could all be grouped as ‘administration.’ You would then proceed to block off a specific period in which to work on all your administration (let’s say 9am-10am – for example.) Depending on your line of work, some categories could include things like artwork, social media marketing, networking, content creation, service hours, and more.

Why is Task Batching so Effective?

Contrary to modern belief, human beings were not designed to multi-task, although many people pride themselves on their ability to juggle a million things at any given moment. If you’ve ever sat through a Skype meeting while answering emails and doing online shopping, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Multi-tasking gives us the false impression that we are achieving a lot in a short space of time; however, the reality is that it is stealing time from us. When multi-tasking, the brain requires time to switch from one task to another. While it may seem that these tasks are co-occurring, the brain is, in fact, rapidly shifting from one task to another. Multi-tasking is the human equivalent of having 100 browser tabs open at one time. They’re all accessible with the click of a button, but your computer needs to switch between them and completely reload the required data before you can use the one you need! The result? – fatigue, and ultimately burn-out.

Task batching helps to eliminate this anxiety and fatigue by helping you to focus on a single task/group of tasks at one time. Task batching allows you to access higher levels of concentration and creativity by eliminating all unnecessary distractions.

So, to plan the best social media strategy for your business, we’re going to make use of task batching. All that you need is a few hours of uninterrupted time to dedicate solely to developing your content calendar. I enjoy working on my social media calendar on a Sunday to prepare for the week ahead. So switch off your phone, shut the door and let’s get ready to plan your content strategy.

Part 1: How To Organise Your Social Media Content Strategy

Before we begin brainstorming the incredible ideas that are going to populate your content calendar, it’s essential to take some time to plan your strategy. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Planning also reduces the amount of time you’ll spend working on creating a balanced content calendar.

Step 1: Decide Who Your Audience Is

Can you imagine sitting through an entire mathematics lecture if you were an art student? The likelihood is that you’d high-tail it out of there or be asleep before the speech ends. The same is true of your social media content. No matter how incredible your content is, if it’s not suitable for your target audience, then ultimately it’s useless content. 

Start by defining who your target audience is. Define your audience’s age group, interests, hopes, desires and fears. What need does your business solve for your audience? Once you’ve identified your audience, you now have a foundation on which to build your content plan. 

Step 2: Create Balanced Content

Ultimately, your social media content is a conversation between potential customers and your business. To convert a cold lead into a red-hot buyer, your potential customer first needs to trust your brand. To build this trust, you want to develop a relationship with your followers. The most effective way to build this relationship is to create a variety of content that directly addresses their needs and desires – which you identified in step one. 

So how does this affect your content plan? Well, have you ever logged onto a particular Facebook group only to be inundated with ‘get rich quick’ scam advertisements? Immediately, your trust in that specific group decreases, and you’d be likely never to revisit the page. However, if you were to visit a page where there was quality content that directly addressed your needs and desires, you’d not only be more receptive to advertising on that page, but you’d also be likely to revisit the page in the future. 

To achieve this delicate balance, you must include a variety of content in your content calendar and add value to your target audience to encourage them to engage with your brand and revisit your page. Before you fill your page with daily advertisements, consider incorporating each of these themes into your weekly content calendar:

  • Entertaining
  • Inspirational
  • Educational
  • Conversational
  • Promotional

Step 3: Define Your Brand - And Stick To It!

Now that you’ve defined your target audience and you’ve begun to think of ways that you could create content that would appeal to them, it’s essential to identify who you are as a brand – and to stick to it!

Your brand can be defined as the sum of all the experiences that you deliver to your customers. It’s how they identify and describe your business. Most people leave the definition of their brand to fate. Successful companies, however, carefully cultivate their brand image by deciding how they want to be seen by their target audience and customers, and then actively working to portray themselves in this light. 

For example, if your business is a beauty salon which caters to young women, you may have used feminine colours (such as pinks and pastel colours – or the elegant and fashionable marble and rose gold) to represent your brand and to attract your ideal client. You may make use of script fonts that denote style and beauty, and as a result, your customers perceive your business as being modern, stylish and refined. 

What would you think of another beauty salon that made use of sickly shades of green with masculine fonts in their designs? It wouldn’t quite have the same appeal now, would it? How would you perceive this business? Which would you choose to support?

Your branding is one of the most important things to master to create killer content for your niche.

 

To Define Your Brand Ask Yourself The Following Questions:

  1. If people described their experience with my business in 5 words, what would they be? (E.g. fun, elegant, practical, inspirational, authentic)
  2. What message do I want to convey to my target audience?
  3. If my brand were a person, how would I describe them? Think of their tone of voice, how they look, and how they would behave.

Sticking With Your Brand

Let’s use the example of the feminine beauty salon one more time. Let’s assume that this salon maintains an active social media content calendar. You would expect that the content on their social media pages would reflect their brand. You’d find more feminine colours, fonts, inspirational quotes, beauty related articles and other relevant materials. 

Let’s say that this same page has continued to post regular content that is consistent with their brand image – until one day; they share an image that is entirely out of character. The image is rugged, masculine and nothing like the rest of their content. The business then returns to their regular feminine styled content the day after. The result? – confusion. 

Sharing content that is not in line with the image that you want to create not only confuses your following and potential clientele, but it also decreases their trust in your business. Human beings are designed to feel safe in consistent and predictable environments. 

One could compare the previous example with a relationship with a good friend. Your friend, whom you’ve gotten to know over the last few months, never swears. One day he/she spews out a tirade of cuss words in response to a question. Because this behaviour is inconsistent with their usual response, you immediately assume that something is off. The same is true with your brand. 

Your following is incredibly sensitive to the subconscious messages you’re sharing with them through your social media profile. Make sure that these messages are in line with how you’d like your business to be perceived. The way to achieve long term brand trust and a relationship with your audience is through consistency. Decide on how you want your business to be recognised and stick with that theme. 

Quick Note: Creating a brand style sheet is an effective way to make sure that your content stays consistent. It gives you a brief overview of how your brand should be portrayed, what colours and fonts to use, as well as what types of images and mood should be used to represent your brand. It’s essentially a reference poster for your brand. If you’d like to find out more about style sheets, contact your designer today. 

Part 2: Creative Brainstorming

Now that we’ve laid the foundation for creating a killer content plan, it’s time to put on our thinking caps and get ready to brainstorm our content.

It’s time to come up with 31 (or more) ideas for your content calendar. While this may seem like a lot to some of you, there are those of you who will be able to use this time to brainstorm content for the entire year – yes you read that right!

What You Need:

To begin with these exercises, you ideally need the following:

  • A notebook
  • A large piece of paper (Or your favourite digital note-taking app)
  • Pens, kokis and highlighters
  • A timer/alarm (your cellphone will do if you promise not to check your Instagram feed while doing this exercise)
  • A cup of coffee
  • A dash of creativity

Step 1: The Brain Dump

This exercise is incredibly simple.  Set your timer for 10-15 minutes and write down as many post ideas as possible. The trick is not to spend time editing your thoughts. Just write down as many ideas as you can possibly think of. Once your time is up, we’ll go ahead and edit those ideas to flesh out the highest quality content to use in your social media calendar.

For example, a chef’s post ideas may look like this:

  • Inspirational quote on food and health
  • Recipe post (article) on how to cook steak – the healthy way
  • Poll about how people like their steak
  • World’s weirdest recipes
  • Advertisement design for Steak and Wine evening
  • Kitchen Selfie and caption

Step 2: Mind Mapping & Refining

Here we’ll further refine your ideas by making sure that you select the content that is balanced and full of enough variety to keep your audience engaged.

Pull out that big piece of paper and draw a circle in the centre of the page. Title it “My Awesome Social Media Plan”. Next, draw some circles around the outside of this circle and label them as follows:

  • Entertain Them
  • Inspire Them
  • Educate Them
  • Start A Conversation
  • Advertise

Now it’s time to review your big list of ideas and begin to sort them into these categories. Write down your favourite ideas under the corresponding headings. If new and similar ideas come to you while you’re working then be sure to write these down too. The beauty of mind mapping is that it helps you to come up with various interlinked ideas around the concept of your choice within just a few minutes. Be sure to fill up the page with as many quality ideas as possible.

Step 3: Narrow It Down

Now that you’ve refined your ideas, it’s time to narrow things down and select 31 concepts that you would like to include in your content calendar (assuming that you’d like to post once a day for a month). Be sure to curate a balanced selection of post ideas from each of the categories on your mind map. This selection will ensure that your plan of action will keep your viewers engaged and focused on your brand through the use of a variety of content which helps to hold their attention. A great idea is to group similar content into weekly themes. You’ll then be able to build on a particular topic with content that ultimately supports what your business has to offer.

You can plot these concepts on a 31-day calendar template or simply record these ideas using Google Sheets or any other note-taking software. 

Step 4: Create Your Content

Now that you’ve successfully brainstormed 31 days of content, it’s time to  put your post content together. 

To do this, open up a blank page on your chosen note-taking software. (I recommend Google Sheets) or ASANA. You can include some of the following headings to help you organise your content: post summary, post content, image or article link. 

You can use the titles you brainstormed as your post summaries. Now you need to work on creating the actual body copy of your posts. Type out each of your posts in full. Don’t forget to include contact details and call to actions where necessary. Go ahead and find all the articles, images and videos that you need while working on this. Include links to these materials in your notes so that you can quickly refer back to them when it’s time to post your content. Be sure to save any images/videos that you may need. I find the best way to do this is to save them to a specific folder on your desktop or Google Drive and name them as follows: “JD12” 

J=July (Content Calendar Month)

D12 = The specific day in your content calendar 

Step 5: Share Your Content

Congratulations on making it this far! You’ve successfully brainstormed and created 31 days worth of content that your target audience is going to love. 

Now it’s time to schedule your posts. Where possible, you can now batch-schedule your social media posts using tools like Social Pilot, Hootsuite, Buffer, Later, or Facebook’s very own post scheduler. Many of these platforms offer free plans if you’re only managing the accounts for one business. 

If you’re unable to schedule your posts, it will be incredibly quick and easy for you to post to your chosen social media channels every day. All you need to do is open up your notes and media folders, copy the body of your post and paste it into your preferred social media platform’s post update text field. Add your images or links, and voila! 

You now have a cohesive and engaging social media plan with which to wow your target audience. 

We'd Love to Hear From You!

We’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below or leave us a message. Did you manage to create your content calendar? What was your favourite part about this process and did you learn anything new? If you feel that this article could help someone you know just hit share using one of the social buttons below. If you have any questions about native files feel free to leave them in the comments.

Posted by Megan Chalidis

$5 Logo? Here’s Why It’s Not Worth It

$5 Logo? Here's Why It's Not Worth It

Even in this world of digital business and visualization, most companies, especially startups, still don’t fully understand the importance of professional logo design. Most people don’t perceive a logo as something quite valuable that could help their business.

The Importance Of A Good Logo

A logo allows a business to build a brand around their products and services. This helps businesses inspire implied authority, superiority, loyalty, admiration, trust, and recognition. A company’s commercial brand uses a professional logo design to present their business as an economic entity.

The main elements of any logo are images, fonts, colors, and shapes. These elements help a brand stand out from others in the market. It’s safe to say that a logo is how consumers identify a brand.

Now, if you decide to go with a $5 logo, you can’t expect it to be excellent or memorable or trustworthy.

The problem with these cheap logos is that they all use the same free standard-issue fonts, colors, and shapes. These logos are hardly memorable, simple, or effective.

All 5$ logos look the same. They don’t have any of the elements that make a good logo. A good logo is scalable, effective without color, memorable, and describable.

The Same Issues Always Follow These Cheap Logos:

  • Consumers can’t remember or describe them
  • The logos aren’t effective without color
  • They aren’t scalable
  • They don’t gain immediate recognition
  • They fail at conveying brand’s attitude, character or personality
  • They don’t inspire credibility, trustworthiness or familiarity
  • They fail at connecting a brand with its consumers
  • They don’t have any association with satisfaction and quality

Professional Logo Design

Unique logo design requires time, skill, and knowledge. Creating such a design is a process that involves reflection, conceptualizing, sketching, and research. This process consists of:

  • The design brief
  • Research
  • References
  • Conceptualizing and sketching
  • Reflection
  • Presentation
  • Acceptance

So, a professional logo designer has to go through a lot to come up with a simple but memorable logo that tells a complete story about a business.

Let’s state some more facts and reasons why a great logo costs more than your lunch:

  • A company’s logo is the first thing consumers see
  • It’s the very first impression consumers get from a business
  • A good logo needs longevity
  • It has to be original to help a brand stand out
  • It has to look professional
  • It should reflect the brand message in the appropriate tone
  • The entire corporate image starts with a logo
  • A professional-looking logo gives the impression of business being authentic, professional, serious, credible, and trustworthy

With all this in mind, let’s state the five most important things each company should know about professional logo design.

Five Things Businesses Should Know About Professional Logo Design

Your logo tells pretty much everything about you as a business. It helps establish a good dose of professionalism, but most importantly, it provides social proof that your brand is an actual business.

This is why every business should seriously consider investing in branding. Two things are essential for starting and running a successful company – the brand name and the logo design.

Just think about how online business works – businesses are required to establish a presence on social media and other channels of communication. That means they have to put their logo on everything, including invoices, ads, newsletters, business cards, products, services, websites, and so on.

Your logo helps by making your brand stand out from others in a saturated and highly-competitive market. Because of that, here are five key points worth taking into consideration.

1. A Logo Can Be Cost-Efficient And Memorable At The Same Time

The cost of a logo depends on the details of the project. Every business has different needs and goals. Many companies that provide professional logo design services offer a customized quote for each business by considering several factors.

The cost depends on the size of a business, the amount of research needed, the number of revisions and concepts required, etc. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good and effective logo designed.

It’s easy for big companies to spend thousands for an incredible logo design, but startups and small businesses can’t afford that luxury. The trick is to make it work according to your business goals.

Most logo design companies provide three or four different options at very reasonable prices.

2. Be Limitless

Never limit yourself with your logo. Both branding and design are fluid things – they change, develop, grow, and evolve.

The moment your business starts gathering feedback from customers and data as well as reap the fruits of your labor, your business will start growing and developing in many new directions.

Your professional logo design shouldn’t resemble a single product, but your entire business, company tradition, and culture. Remember, we live in a customer-centric world. You don’t just want to sell – you want to make and keep your customers satisfied.

Think about your brand moving in a new direction. Your logo has to be flexible and abstract to encompass the atmospheric and emotional expression of your business.

3. Keep Key Traits In Mind

Three key characteristics make the best logo design:

  • Simplicity
  • Memorability
  • Appropriateness

Your logo isn’t supposed to wow your customers, win design awards, or intimidate your competition. It simply needs to be effective enough to reflect your business’ essence to attract the right demographic.

4. Follow The Examples

Never copy or mimic other brands, especially not your competitors. Instead, learn from the example of the biggest companies. Study their success stories to get an idea of what your logo should be and stand for.

5. Your First Logo Will Change

Even the greatest companies went through many logo changes until they finally reached the desired form. What works at the moment, won’t work in the future. It’s how things are. Just like your business will grow and develop, logo design is also always on the move, changing, evolving.

There are new technologies and techniques every day. Be prepared for a change, but most importantly, focus on the things that truly matter for your business, such as finding the right market and being ready to scale.

When all things are set, build a brand around your business by starting with a logo. Use it to reflect the meaning behind your brand. It’s worth the time, effort, and resources.

Conclusion

The importance of logo design is growing exponentially as it is becoming increasingly important to engage customers on an emotional level and tell a story. A good logo gives companies the edge and allows them to unfold their potential.

If we consider all this, hiring graphic design experts and their logo design & professional branding services is a long-term investment that every serious business should consider. A great logo helps a business stand out, but it also helps capture a brand’s unique personality and style.

You need an effective logo that you’ll be proud of. Invest in something extraordinary to find your style and give your brand a personality your ideal consumers can relate to.

We'd Love to Hear From You!

We’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below or leave us a message. Do you feel that professional branding is a worthwhile investment? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

If you feel that this article could help someone you know just hit share using one of the social buttons below. If you have any questions about native files feel free to leave them in the comments.

This Post Was Kindly Sponsored By Artwork Abode.


Artwork Abode is the ideal place to stop if you’re interested in outsourcing your graphic design needs. To find out more about their service offerings visit their website.t this article could help someone you know just hit share using one of the social buttons below. If you have any questions about native files feel free to leave them in the comments.

Posted by Megan Chalidis