Episode 58 // Creating Content with Erica Midkiff

February 9, 2016

Today’s boss guest is our good friend and content coach Erica Midkiff. She’s talking with us about finding your voice, why writing is important, making time to create content, how to get past creative blocks, and what to do when you feel like nobody is listening. Erica Midkiff is a content coach who helps creatives listen to and trust themselves so they can share what they know with those who need to hear it most.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"If you don't communicate with yourself, it's hard to communicate with others in any meaningful way."
- Erica Midkiff

Discussed in this Episode

  • Why is writing important?
  • Using writing to process ideas for yourself + the clarifying walk
  • How to find your voice in your writing
  • What to do if you don't know what to write about
  • Writing content for newsletters
  • Influence vs copying when finding your writing voice
  • Creating content for multiple platforms
  • Editorial calendars
  • Writing About pages
  • Making time for writing
  • Giving yourself the permission to work the way you work best

featured download!

In this episode, the Content Brainstorm worksheet was mentioned. Download your copy here!

Resources

More from Erica Midkiff

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Emily Thompson 0:05
Hello, and welcome to being boss episode number 58. Brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting.

Kathleen Shannon 0:12
Today we are chatting with our good friend and content coach Eric and midkiff. And you guys, this episode has been a long time coming. I think geeking out about content is one of our favorite things. So we're going to be talking in this episode about why writing is important about finding your voice. We're going to be talking about different ways you can be creating content and why having a content strategy is so important. And we thought that there's no better person to jam on this topic with then our friend. Get your business together, get yourself into what you do, and see it through.

Emily Thompson 0:52
Being bosses hard. Living work in life is messy. Making a dream job of your own isn't easy, but getting

Kathleen Shannon 0:59
paid for it, becoming known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable

Emily Thompson 1:05
if you do the work.

Kathleen Shannon 1:08
being bossed is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Brought to you by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Check out our archives at loving boss calm. One of my mottos whenever it comes to running a creative business is that you track what you attract. So you guys might know about my chalkboard system for tracking my clients. But I also think that it works whenever it comes to your finances too. So I was recently coaching a creative who was a total mess about their finances and felt like they weren't making the money that they wanted to make. So I asked a little bit more about how they were tracking their finances, and they reveal that they're not at all. So I recommended freshbooks immediately. It's so easy to use. It's so intuitive, you don't have to have a degree in financing or accounting to use fresh books. So I think that tracking your income and your expenses, really just almost on a woowoo level gets you in touch with your money in a way where you start attracting more of it. So try fresh books for free today go to freshbooks.com slash being boss and select being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 2:26
Erica is is a content coach who helps creatives that listen to and trust themselves so they can share what they know, with those who need to hear it most. And Erica has been like one of my like online girlfriends for a couple of years. So I'm really excited. Like, hardcore girl talk for a minute.

Kathleen Shannon 2:46
I think Tara is gonna be jealous because she My sister has officially dubbed Erica, her girlfriend, like I think even had a dream that you guys were married. Whoa. Wow. And I want to mention, too, that, you know, because we have a lot of mom bosses, Erica and her wife are expecting a baby soon. Is that okay to

Unknown Speaker 3:12
share Erica 100%. I'm

Kathleen Shannon 3:14
super excited about it. So the baby is due in April. Yes. I'm excited to kind of hear what happens there. And maybe we can even dive into that a little bit like what you guys are doing to prepare for that and how you're going to continue being a boss while also becoming a mom. But first, let's like jump into talking content, all things content. But first, you want to give a little bit of background to your entrepreneurial journey and how you ended up here.

Erica Midkiff 3:43
Yeah, so I started out a few years ago, it's always hard for me to remember how many so I won't get into that numbers game. But I started out as a copy editor, which is somebody who specifically goes through and does grammar and punctuation and commas and all that nerdy stuff that I really get into. I was that girl in college and in high school. Everybody was like, Can you read my paper? And I always said yes, because I loved it. So that's where I started. And I really liked doing it. I liked shaping up people's words and really figuring out better ways for them to say what they were saying. But pretty quickly, I thought I want to back up in this process a little bit. I want to be there. When you're starting to write this, you know, I want to help you shape it, we would be doing less work on the back end. If we don't we're we're on the front end. And so I did and I started backing up and helping people develop content more. And then I thought, okay, I want to back out of even further, you know, what do you know about this before you even start creating it. And so it's just been this sort of domino effect that's gotten me all the way back to what I was saying about learning who you are, you know, paying attention to your own inner wisdom and really learning how to share that with other people. Because I think if you're not communicating with yourself, it's really hard to communicate with other people in any kind of meaningful way. So that's where I'm at.

Kathleen Shannon 4:59
Yeah, Kind of backing up and just reducing it and stripping back. That's something that I found myself doing in my creative career. And it keeps coming back to the purpose like the why of why we do what we do. So I love that.

Erica Midkiff 5:14
Exactly purpose is so important. And just understanding what you're even talking about and who you're talking to. And why is, is everything when it comes to content, because otherwise, you're just talking. And we can all do that. But it might not be very effective. And full disclosure,

Kathleen Shannon 5:29
one of the things I love about you Erica is you helped us on our braid method, branding ecourse. And one of the things that I loved about you is that I am not a grammar nerd like you are, but that you're not a grammar snob. So you really, you still respected my overuse of parentheses, and long dashes, and things of that incomplete sentences like you were never mean about it. And so that's one of the things that I love about you is that you're still all about keeping your voice and remaining true to that, which is something that we're going to dig into a little bit in today's podcast. But first I want to talk about a little bit and we can start wherever you want to. And we can go wherever this takes us. But I want to talk about why writing specifically, like specifically writing is important whenever it comes to creating content.

Erica Midkiff 6:22
Yeah, so it's, in its essence, it's how we communicate with the people we are meant to help. And I think there are people out there that we are supposed to be helping, you know, we've had this combination of experiences and wisdom and ideas, and just everything that's happened has led us to the point where we are now and someone else needs something from us, you know, whether it's, you know, either there's a lot of designers, photographers, writers, coaches, somebody needs something from you. And so that's how you get it out there. It's how you share your vision for how life could be better for these people that you know, you can help. So it's important in that way. And you know, writing is a really easy way to kind of go behind the scenes and really shape what you want to say, before you put it out there. So it's almost you know, can help you remove that foot and mouth situation that many of us have, and where I know, no one here, no one here knows, certainly not me. But it's also really I'm learning more and more. It's how many how we communicate with ourselves. It's how we sort out ideas, it's how we figure things out, you know, if I can't figure something out, I'll write about it for a few minutes. And then I go on a walk, because I've gotten all my ideas out. And then on that walk, they sort of percolate and come together. And I've never come through come home from one of those walks without a breakthrough. Never 10 minutes done. So it's important in that way.

Kathleen Shannon 7:42
So that's a great tactic. I want to I want to like break this down a little bit, though. I want to get real specific about this. So are you writing like pen to paper? Are you writing on your computer? Are you writing in Evernote? Like, tell me how you kind of structure? Is it just freeform flow of consciousness? Tell me how you're structuring that writing and how you know how to get like, Are there any tactics for actually finding that conclusion?

Erica Midkiff 8:10
Yeah, so it depends on the situation. If I'm really afraid of something, or I'm scared, or I'm stressed, or I'm just feeling the anxiety, I will start writing usually on my computer because it comes faster this way, I'm afraid because I'm stressed because kathlyn is kind of like your tactic of saying what I really want to say is before you start a blog post, it's that same idea of like literally writing down the thing you're feeling helps you understand what you're feeling. And so maybe it's that maybe it's I'm afraid of coming on this podcast. So I write I'm afraid of coming on this podcast, because I don't want to say something stupid. And then I keep you know, here are all the times I've said something stupid, and here's why it didn't really go that badly. Or, you know, I've done something like this before people loved it, whatever it is, you know, the truth usually kind of comes out. And so in those situations, sometimes I don't have to take the like clarifying walk because it just kind of comes out when the clarifying walk because I'm now calling it comes in is let's say I have an idea. Or I have 10 ideas, which is more likely. And I just can't figure out which one to do. And I've been thinking about it, you know, the the working in your brain is not really working. It's just obsessing. I'll sit down and I'll map it out. I like markers, specific markers and paper, and I'll just map it out. And then I'll set the marker down and say, Alright, I've done all I can do here I need to go let these connections be made. And so then I go outside and it's I don't know if it's the fresh air. I think it's the exercise, I think it's the movement, I think my brain doesn't have anything else to focus on. But that's when the connections start coming. And so usually what will happen is I'll think of, you know, maybe I'll think of a connection between all the ideas I was writing down and so you know, I'll send myself a quick email with that I keep my phone with me just for that reason. Or maybe it's I realized that it's all really one big thing and I've been trying to separate it too much or vice versa. I've been doing this one big thing and it's really needs to be you know, seven or eight different posts or something like that. And so it really just that process of walking and moving and stepping away from my computer screen consciously makes all the difference in the world.

Emily Thompson 10:11
You're like a master at that in a way, in a way that I envy so much, so much. Because I mean, I mean, when Kathleen and I both we all three of us work with a lot of creatives and like, content for a lot of us is the struggle like we work on it, we get the expertise, we do the work, we've got it, but like sharing it is like this roadblock that we get to and we're like, how do we walk over this. And and I love I've always loved that you have this hardcore methodology for for everything because you're Erica, but for for getting these ideas out and turning them into something because, like, for me, I definitely will let these things do in my head for mines. And then I just end up pissed off because I'm not sharing anything. But I don't know how to share it. But like, for you having that methodology of just sitting down, getting it out, walk, taking a walk, figuring it out, coming home and doing as a nice little practice for getting shit done.

Unknown Speaker 11:10
It is Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 11:11
I also want to mention on the clarifying walk, because I used to have many of those before I had a baby Good luck, Erica. But really, um, is that I used to, I used to really consider that time that I was walking as part of writing my blog posts. And this is where I was blogging a whole lot more and doing a lot more written content. These days, I'm doing a lot more like voice driven content, I'm doing podcasting and periscoping. And I want to talk a little bit about how writing can help you with that kind of content as well, and how content is content no matter how you're pushing it out there. But the clarifying walk is so amazing. And I found that a blog post that would normally take me maybe an hour to hammer out on a keyboard would take 15 minutes, if I just took a 45 minute walk first. So again, it's like the same amount of time. But at least with a walk, I'm getting fresh air, I'm getting exercise, I'm connecting with nature. So it really is a good like double duty way. And also meeting blocks are really great to turn, I will sometimes walk down to the coffee shop and have really great meetings. And it's just different. So everyone tried to clarify walk.

Erica Midkiff 12:29
I've even started building in time for it in my client project. So if I'm mapping out how long I think something will take me, I you know, I calculate that, okay, this is thinking time, and this is reviewing the materials they've sent me. And then I'm going to have to take a couple of walks, because that is truly how things die in my brain. But Meredith, and I do that my wife and I do that in our personal life as well that we find that we make decisions a lot better if we're not sitting at our house, if we're not, you know, that's the version of sitting at your computer as a as an entrepreneur, basically, if you're stuck kind of in the place you are all the time and not having any new ideas. And so we'll go take a walk and just hammer out five or six things that we've kind of done, Oh, we got to talk about this, oh, we gotta talk about that. We have to pick a grab whatever it is. And then you know, that's done. So I love that.

Kathleen Shannon 13:13
Okay, here's my next question. And this is one that I think everyone struggles with so much is finding your voice. So let's say you Daniel, walk, walk, you're kind of giving, you're mapping out your ideas, you have a free flow of consciousness, you might have a list of a million ideas, but then it comes down to writing and writing in a way that feels really authentic. How, how can we all better find our voices? Yeah, so

Erica Midkiff 13:40
I think there's a lot of things that can go into finding your voice. And I think everyone who talks about it defines it differently. To me, it's just how you write and how you sound. And that encompasses a lot of things. And we could get real technical about it. But I think it comes down to how you feel comfortable writing. And that comes down to just actually feeling comfortable writing. So that's kind of plug number one, which is just do it and practice a lot and get used to it. But it's also it has to do with what you want to say how you want people to feel when you say it. So you know, if I have a message to send, and I want you to feel like super pumped and excited, I'm going to talk about it one way. And if I want you to feel like maybe a little bit of stress, and maybe you know, maybe like okay, I really need to make a change, I'm going to write it a little bit differently. But that aside, really, I think it's kind of how you talk just on paper. And I truly think it comes down to practicing. You know, I like to do a process called writing in layers. So let's say I want to write a blog post about XYZ, you know, I'm gonna sit down and I'm gonna write all my thoughts about it. And I'm going to walk away specifically and I'm going to come back tomorrow or the next day or next week or whatever I feel, you know, ready to write again, and I'm going to write some more about it. And then I'm going to leave again and I'm going to keep doing that. Maybe it's five minutes at a time until I feel like it sounds good. And then I'm going to read it out loud and that feels Stupid, it feels dumb. My cats are judging me, I can tell. But it really helps you say, okay, does this sound like me at all? In any way? Would I use this word out loud? No, probably not. And so that process of kind of writing in layers, giving yourself time to really let it develop, and then reading it out loud, can actually help you. That's kind of the practice thing. But it also helps you just figure out what you really sound like. And I think over time, as you do that, you do find your voice sort of, just by by doing the work and you can also you know, pay attention to the words you regularly use and try to use those, you know, your lexicon as you guys call it a braid. Um, there's a lot of other tricks like that you can do, but I think doing the work, writing in layers, and reading it out loud really helps you get

Emily Thompson 15:43
there. Nice.

Kathleen Shannon 15:46
So, um, I love talking about finding your voice because I started blogging. Before I had a strategy before I had a content strategy. And then it kind of turned into that. And had I've been worried about finding my voice before I started blogging, I may have never started blogging, because I would have been like, Oh, I don't have my voice yet. I don't have my point of view. So a point that I really want to reiterate to our listeners is that you find your voice by using your voice. So you just like you said, Erica, you have to practice you have to put it out there. And it's okay, if it's not perfect at first, do you have any thoughts about that, like not waiting until it's perfect?

Unknown Speaker 16:27
Absolutely. As a

Unknown Speaker 16:30
dedicated perfectionist,

Erica Midkiff 16:32
when they were, I guess, I should say recovering perfectionist. Yeah, I think the other element, the other big ingredient is time and patience. And I think we all live in this world today of just I want it done. Now I want it done tomorrow. And I am increasingly learning that it just doesn't work. You know, any of those big things worth having like a voice that feels really good at writing practice that feels really good, whatever it is, it you just have to be patient. And so understanding that, like, I'm going to start blogging today, I'm not going to put out something that sounds like what I put out in six months, but it's a step on the journey. If I don't put it out there. If I keep working on one blog post for six months, I'm gonna get way less out of it than if I put out a blog post every week for six months, you're gonna make a lot more progress. And so I think, absolutely, it takes time. And it takes just being willing to put it out there and being willing for it to be imperfect, which is really hard. I know.

Emily Thompson 17:28
So what about tips for for like, if you don't know what to write about? Mm hmm.

Unknown Speaker 17:35
Yeah. So I have this,

Erica Midkiff 17:37
this list of questions that I love for people to brainstorm on. And I love for people to do it regularly. But if you can't, that's fine. It will work right now it will work next week, it will work if you do it once a day, once a week, once a month. So it's really to sit down and put pen to paper. I like to do this on paper, but whatever works for you, whatever gets the words flowing. And then ask yourself, what have I learned lately? jot down some ideas. What advice Have I been given lately? What advice Have I given someone else lately? There's a lot of gems in there? What problems have I faced? And what problems have I solved? And then just what's been happening? Like, what's been going on in my life? what's been going on in my business? And how does that relate to what I want to help people do? And so if you can sit down and just answer questions like that, what's going on around me, you know, what have I been thinking about and talking about, all of a sudden, you may find yourself going, whoa, I have more ideas than I can even write about. And you know, shaping those up. So let's say you've got this list of things, and you've got, you know, 10, or 15, just little kind of notes, it can be hard to see how they all fit together. And so I like to just take those and start writing about them. Even if it's a paragraph, maybe that paragraph fits in with another paragraph. And then suddenly three or four of them make a story, or, you know, script for a periscope, if you'd like to script those things, or just like an idea, maybe a paragraph turns into a longer Periscope. So I think just paying attention and then being willing to sort of work with those those little pieces of an idea and knowing that they can turn into something bigger, but they may not. They may just be. That was interesting. I'm moving on.

Kathleen Shannon 19:09
So I'm going to include a writing prompt PDF in our newsletter. So if you guys are not signed up for our newsletter, be sure to go sign up because every week, or maybe not every week, but I'm sending out lots of worksheets now with our newsletter every week. So it's just another good reason to sign up. So anyway, thank you so much for those writing prompts. I think it's so helpful. And I found that an Emily does this too, that having conversations with creatives where maybe there's no intention for making money, but just helping someone are great ways to create content. So Emily does her three and 30 where she does three meetings a month, 30 minutes each, where she's giving a free consultation to a creative entrepreneur. And I will often just set up coffee dates with people who ask because it's a great way like just having a coffee. versation with someone is a great way to kind of suss out your point of view and some of those prompts that you're talking about Erica. So be sure to do that. Like don't call yourself up, have conversations with people that will help you create content.

Erica Midkiff 20:14
Yeah, and look to things you've done, like, say, in the beam boss Facebook group, you know, look back, if you make a comment or give some advice to somebody, and you think, whoa, Where'd that come from? Copy and Paste, put it in document, and then keep going. You know, okay, so I said this, like, how can I make this work for the rest of my audience, you could even start, you know, a column where you kind of say, you know, these are things, this is advice I've given other people, if you don't want to fancy it up, you know, you could just say, here's some advice I gave somebody else I thought it might help you. But that kind of stuff is just it's it's you really thinking about a real problem. There's such a big difference between sitting at your computer and thinking, what are my dream clients want to hear? Maybe they want to hear this and like an actual person asked an actual question, you gave a specific answer, that's gold. So don't don't lose this.

Kathleen Shannon 21:01
Yes, totally. The more specific and the more real, you can make your content by looking at real conversations, the better it's going to be the more your clients or potential clients or followers or audience, the more they're going to say, Oh, my gosh, you were inside my head. Because I think it's that specificity.

Unknown Speaker 21:23
specificity.

Kathleen Shannon 21:28
That is what helps you find your voice.

Emily Thompson 21:32
I mean, I think those I mean, like, you're just saying, it makes you relatable. And I feel like a lot of times whenever people are writing content, especially if they're like forcing it out, because I have a blog, and I have to put something out every week, and you just do to do like, backing up and looking at real conversations you're having and just sort of capturing those makes it relatable in a way that just cranking out content never will.

Unknown Speaker 21:59
Precisely.

Kathleen Shannon 21:59
So I want to talk about platforms for a little bit. And Erica, obviously you help us with our ecourse you're probably going to help us with our book. Yeah. Yeah, book, a really intense conversation in Columbus, New Orleans. Me and Taryn Erica, we're all sitting at Cafe du monde, eating videos and coffee. And we started talking about writing a book and the topic of writing and books stresses me out so much, because I know how much work it is, which is why I will be working with Tara and Erica and Emily to hammer it out. Anyway. And so whether it's an E course, or an E book, or book or a blog, or social media or Periscope, or a podcast, let's talk about like the places where your content lives. And just what are your favorites? Or what would you recommend for someone starting out.

Erica Midkiff 22:58
So I have, I have a blog and a newsletter, which right now are the same thing. And I've thought about turning them into different things, but it just, it has not happened. And I'm also on Instagram, and I'm really not anywhere else. I have a Facebook account for groups and stuff. And I have a Pinterest account that at one time I was pinning a lot of really good articles and stuff, I just kind of haven't really kept up with that. I like doing it, I just haven't really made the time to keep going. I have not done much on Periscope because I really like writing and I am somebody who would just stress so much about the video part. But I think it's a really cool thing for people who either don't love writing or who want to get a little more personal or who just really feel comfortable, like hopping on for 10 minutes and talking about something, it would take me a week to do that. And so I think it's really about where you feel comfortable. I think Instagram has turned into kind of a mini blogging platform for some people. And for some people it's not but I like that about it because I feel like it's everyone I've talked to lately, who has talked about struggling with blog content has said I have no problems on Instagram, but I really can't write a blog post and you know, my hand Yeah. And it's, it's, you know, I keep saying to them, okay, well take your Instagram posts, once you're done with them, like don't put any more pressure on Instagram, but you know, just take them and do something else with them, pull them together, find the theme, keep writing, share them in a newsletter or blog post just as they are and say you know, I share more like this on Instagram. I mean, it can you can do so many things with with those different elements. But one of the things that kind of came out in a conversation I was having with somebody recently was your content should almost feel like cheating. Whatever feels like super fun and easy and like, Oh, I can't believe I get to do this. And this is considered like work and content. That's what you should be doing. And so have a blog feels like a ton of horrible work. Don't do it or find another way to pull in like just give a quick tip every week, or you know, link to your periscopes that you've done that week. There are a lot of techniques you can use to basically pull pieces of content from one place to another. But I really think it comes down to where you feel comfortable. If you hate taking pictures. Don't be on it. If you hate talking in front of a video, don't be on Periscope. So really figuring out what makes sense to you is kind of, I think the bottom line, the thing I will say is that I think newsletters are pretty important. And you guys have talked about this before. But it's it's a really direct way to communicate with people and keep them kind of up to date in a way that you know, they will see in either choose or not choose to read, but that they will see it and so sometimes pulling in from other places that you feel comfortable, you know, you can make kind of aggregate of content or you can create something new there. But I think newsletters are really important. The rest of it should feel easy and fun and almost like cheating.

Unknown Speaker 25:37
Tape bosses,

Emily Thompson 25:38
did you have a case of FOMO that stands for the fear of missing out

Kathleen Shannon 25:42
when you saw all the being boss magic go down for our being boss vacation in New Orleans,

Emily Thompson 25:48
we're not friends, because we are planning another boss vacation this spring in

Kathleen Shannon 25:53
Miami. So it was really hard to figure out what location to go to. But we've never been to Miami. And the reason why we do these boss vacations is to cultivate our creative pack, see different parts of the world, get some face time with each other, connect with each other and live the boss life. So to learn more details about this boss vacation, just go to love being boss, calm slash Miami,

Unknown Speaker 26:20
we hope to see you there.

Kathleen Shannon 26:27
I want to talk about newsletters, a few things. Because one, I love the way that you structure your newsletter. Like I feel like there's some technical stuff, I can even pull it up in front of me and look at it. But maybe you can speak to this a little bit more specifically, but I feel like you always have like something at the very top where it's like a little brief. And I feels like a technical thing like a like you know what you're going to get into. So I would love it if you just almost break down your newsletter because you have your you know, your subject line, you have that little intro, you have the body copy. And then I feel like maybe at the bottom, you even do a like recap, or if if this is too long, like just go to this part, don't do that.

Erica Midkiff 27:09
I have done that. And a lot of people have said they really like it. So that's kind of a copywriting technique that some people use, and some people don't. But the idea is okay, so you've got your subject line, and then you've got, you know, in MailChimp, I don't know what you guys you guys don't use MailChimp. But in MailChimp, there's a little line above the the header where you can put a little blurb and so let's say somebody is reading in Gmail, and yeah, you can see the first few lines. That's kind of where you can control what that says. But then you've got your, your body of the email, and so you say whatever you're going to say. But then at the bottom, you can put a PS and sometimes I'll put something different, like, just as an FYI, I'm not gonna send a newsletter for the next three months, because I'll be on maternity leave or whatever it is. But a lot of times they'll say, you know, if you scammed here's the, the short version. I've just watched something or I'm going to launch something or here's like the one line takeaway from this email, you know, deal with your fingers, or whatever it is, and that I've heard a lot of people say that they do kind of skim a little bit, and then they'll read that PS and go, Oh, I am really interested in that my brain has taught me to skim through emails, but I'm gonna go back and read it because I write longer emails. And I understand that people just kind of bop on through sometimes, but that PS isn't a chance to say okay, I scammed and I got it or scammed. And this is not what I got out of that I'm going back. And so either way, it helps people who really don't have time to read that week, or just whose brains have trained them as I think a lot of ours are have just to skip on through. Okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 28:37
let's rewind a little bit subject like how do you handle like, this is something I struggle with daily, because I'm creating so much content, that's pretty much my job is creating content. So titling podcast episodes, titling the subject line of my email. I find myself taking so much more time to do that, and always doubting myself or wondering if I've gotten it right. Do you have any tricks for titling your newsletters? Like, how do you do that?

Erica Midkiff 29:07
Sometimes I sit down, and I already know what the title is. So when I would, I would want to write about, well know what I want to write about. And so that's pretty easy. But a lot of times, I'll start writing. And then at the end, I'm like, well, that's not what I thought I was gonna write about. And so then I have to find a title and I have never really consciously thought about it. But now that you bring it up, I think what I do is go back and try to find, if I were going to write like a one sentence summary or find one quote, that kind of sums it up, what would it be, and then I just pull a few words from that and make a title. So I don't do and there's nothing wrong with this. This is just not who I am. I don't do that, you know, 27 tips for this are one way to do that. That's just not my style. And that is a lot of people style, and it works and it's great. But I really like to try to just kind of sum up what I'm going to talk about and I feel like That almost lets people decide, you know, do I want to read this or do that. And sometimes it's not real clear, you know, find a theme, I think was or find your themes or something like that was the title of one of them. And that's not super clear. But if you have no interest in looking through something and finding connections, this is probably not a good email for you to read. And so that's, I think that would be my best tip is like, look through what's the main idea? And then pull a few words from that. And a lot of times, that's what's really compelling to people anyway, that's the part they would skim down to read. And so they can say, Yeah, I really want this or no, I really don't. So

Kathleen Shannon 30:32
just say what you mean, is what you're saying what

Erica Midkiff 30:35
you mean, is what I'm saying? Exactly. But it's really that kind of, it's kind of the juicy part. You know, like, if you're writing a post, and you start out and you're telling a story, and then you're you're saying, Okay, this is how the story relates to you. And then the bottom, it's like, bam, just do whatever it is, or do this thing or feel this way, or think this way, or try this out, or whatever it is. It's almost like that summation element. So it's there at the top you read through, it's there against them. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 31:01
that's a good point. Like sometimes I alternate whenever it comes to titling my work between something more emotional, and then something more practical and sometimes blending the two, but I'll play around with it a little bit. Or sometimes, I'll try something a little bit controversial, like so for example, today, I did a periscope. And I titled it why launching is overrated. Now, that doesn't mean that I hate launching, but someone might surmise that from that title, right? So it was kind of like a more controversial pointed title, whereas I could have called it. So okay, I ended up calling it why launching is overrated, I could have called it why no one cares about your launch more than you do. I mean, I could have titled it a lot of different things based on what I was saying about it, but I'm wanting to just kind of make it as simple as possible. So that's what I came up with. But I guess what I'm trying to say is, maybe there isn't any right or wrong way to title your posts. Like you just have to experiment and try lots of different things and see what feels right to you.

Erica Midkiff 32:03
Exactly. And I think I would say also, it comes back to voice You know, you're not gonna say why no one cares about your lawn? I mean, you might, but would

Unknown Speaker 32:12
you mind? Yeah, I feel like, I'm nice.

Erica Midkiff 32:17
I do feel like Kathleen, that you have a good blend of what you're you're pushing the envelope. But I've never seen you've been really mean to anybody, I don't, I don't get that vibe from you. And some people do really light like that's their voice is kind of being a little bit mean and making you feel a little bit bad about yourself in a way that motivates you to change. But you chose the title that kind of pushes the envelope a little bit, or a lot depending on you know, how you feel about launching, if you've written an entire book about it, that's probably personally on mobile app for you. But it's it's also not that mean. So I think that those examples of those two titles like one was you and one just wasn't really you as much.

Kathleen Shannon 32:52
I want to come back to that to voice a little bit because I have to admit and confess, I've tried on lots of different voices. So I'm not a writer by trade. I've definitely turned into one. But I remember early in my blogging career, I was reading a lot of join a Goddard so she always starts every post with Hello lovelies. So I started saying lovelies to I wanted to be just like Joanna Goddard. And then I realized I would never say lovelies out loud, then I started reading Marie Forleo. And I started trying to get you know, a little bit more straightforward and practical, or, you know, are reading you know, Danielle Laporte and I start trying to get all poetic, or I'm reading ash and bridge, and I'm trying to get all mean and drop the F bomb and you know it like so. So I think that but what I want to say is that it's actually okay to admire different writers and to try on their style a little bit, because sometimes I think it's just like going to art school, you, you have to learn how the Masters do their work before you can kind of really craft your own point of view. So this is just me saying, Don't shy away from trying some different voices on and seeing what really starts to resonate with you. What do you think about that? Erica?

Erica Midkiff 34:05
I totally agree. I think it's, I think there's a lot to be said for trying on someone's voice as long as you know you're doing it. And sometimes if I feel like I have really gotten into like reading somebody who has a very strong voice, I will take a break, I call it taking a pause before I write something because I know without a doubt that whatever I have to say is going to be written in that person's voice. And there are pieces I've written, basically in someone else's voice got at the end and said, That's not me. But I'm going to save it because I learned something and I want to be able to go back and look at that and and pull from from that what makes sense for my voice. But I do think that pause can really help so that you're not you're consciously doing you either read somebody's writing and say, Okay, I'm gonna write something that kind of imitates them, but I'm just gonna keep it for me. Or you say I've been immersed in this voice for a while. I'm going to pause and then I'm going to write something of my own. I know everything. I've ever read and thought about will be sort of jumbled up and influenced what I write. But it's not. It's not a direct copying. There's a big difference. Huge difference.

Kathleen Shannon 35:09
I know that like whenever I start writing more about my vagina, I've probably been reading too much Lena Dunham. But at the same time, so here's like an example of copying versus being influenced by I started reading a lot of Nora Ephron and Lena Dunham. And what it did is it gave me courage to take ordinary moments. And I think, isn't it Julia Cameron in the artists way? Or maybe who is it that writes about the one inch square and like viewing the world through that one inch, and really expanding on it? So like finding the detail, and I feel like that's something that Nora Ephron and Lena Dunham, who I both admire do really well. So I try and think, Okay, well, they do this really well, where in my life, can I find a detail and expand on it like they have? And that's where the influence comes in versus the copying. Exactly.

Erica Midkiff 36:03
Yeah. Influence versus versus copying is a great way to put that in. I love that.

Emily Thompson 36:07
All right. So what I want to ask about is whatever mixes all of this together in this idea of voice and figuring out what you want to write about, because for I know for me and a lot of bosses who are a little further into it, so they've, they've gotten an expertise and their brand is growing, and they want to share, they want to start expanding what they share. And especially if they're on multiple platforms, like how it is that you how it is that you expertly guide your clients, and those around you, and sharing their content on multiple platforms when they have different things to talk.

Kathleen Shannon 36:48
And I feel like this is kind of a selfish question, because Emily and I are no strangers to creating content. So we do have a podcast Periscope, we're about to launch a blog, we have personal blogs, we have professional blogs, like we have a million different platforms. So this is kind of a selfish question.

Emily Thompson 37:06
Yeah, totally.

Erica Midkiff 37:07
I think there's a lot of different ways to look at that. I mean, I think that you guys are doing somewhat separate things, but that are related. And I've heard you guys talk about kind of having your businesses and then having your personal brands. And I think it seems like being boss is almost a blend of those. It's really your personal brand that you're putting out there. But you're using what you've learned, and your businesses to kind of move this forward and help other people with their businesses. So that's all connected, and there's a lot of crazy happening there. Right?

Emily Thompson 37:35
is like, like a business and personal brand orgy?

Erica Midkiff 37:38
Yes, well, I will say that I think you guys do a nice job of and I'll tell you why. So I follow you guys personally, and then on, you know, your your business accounts, all of them, actually, on Instagram. So let's use Instagram for an example. And I see that you guys talk about being boss, on your personal on your being boss account, and on your business accounts, because they're connected. But I like the way that you do that. Because on the being boss account, it's like, here's what we talked about this week. And you know, here are some quotes and things like that from the the podcast. And then personally, it's almost like you talk a little more about the behind the scenes or just have like, you know, we really enjoyed this, and we're really excited about taking moving forward. And then a lot of times on your business account, you're saying, okay, you know, our leader, Emily talked about this, this this on being boss this week. And so you're, you're clearly pulling back from that a little bit Emily, and kind of, you know, putting your team on the same footing with you and kind of making it separate. And so I think that's a really good way to do it. I think if you look at might be easier to explain just looking at someone who doesn't have a lot of different. So let's just say we're looking at someone who just has it as a business to start out with. I like this idea i that I've been thinking about lately of content flow. And so it's thinking about, maybe you look at it as a series of rings. So the outer ring is like how people find you. And maybe that's Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or whatever your jam is, maybe it's all of those things. And so what are you sharing there that draws people in. And then the next ring is, let's say your blog. So you're the point of the outer ring is to capture people's attention, but also move them to the next ring. And so how do you basically get them from Instagram to your blog, let's use Instagram as an example. So then they're on your blog, and they're bopping around, they're doing their thing. And then what you really want us to get them from there to your newsletter, because that's kind of your inner circle. And it's probably where a lot of your sales are coming from or your your client work is driving from. And so how do you move people through that it it gives you a different way to think about what you share? So instead of saying, Okay, well, I have to share Instagram, you know, posts. And so that's one circle all by itself. And then I have to write a blog post and that's another circle over here that's totally unconnected and then I have to write a newsletter. Oh my gosh, when am I gonna find time to do this? You can always start with the newsletter and say okay, here's what I'm going to Share, how can I write a blog post that draws people into this like next layer? And then how can I back that up and write an Instagram post that gets people interested in that. And so let's say you're writing about fear in your newsletter, maybe you go into some tech tech tactics and techniques that you can use to really look at your fear and deal with it move through it, maybe your blog post is a little bit of a lighter version of that, or the introduction, or just one of the concepts and say, you know, later this week, I'm going to talk more about this in my newsletter, here's how you sign up. And then you also share on Instagram, after you share that blog post a couple of quotes, maybe, you know, one of the ideas, something you're planning on sharing in the newsletter. And so you draw people you've worked backwards, you kind of draw people from one layer to the next. And I think, you know, I was saying earlier that I have the same thing on my blog as I do on my newsletter. And that's mostly because I haven't really sat down and done that content flow for myself, I do it in a way. But you know, it's kind of a do, as I say, not as I do situation,

Kathleen Shannon 40:58
there are so many things we can talk about there with newsletters, strategy versus blog strategy, but I love the content reading. And what I love about it, whenever you were describing the visual of it is I can see it almost going from the outside in, but then going back to the inside out. And once you start to develop content over a year, where you have lots of it, it's gonna start, you're gonna start seeing traffic going both ways, right all the time. Exactly.

Erica Midkiff 41:27
And let's say in your newsletter, you can say I talked about this a little bit on Instagram, come join the conversation. And so then that's a good way to interact with people. You know, I love talking to people in the Instagram comments. It's one of my favorite places to really talk with people, because then other people can see what is being said and and you know, that kind of thing. So I totally agree with you. It goes both ways.

Kathleen Shannon 41:46
And you know what else I love about the content flow, because whenever you first started started scribing describing it, I thought, Oh, it's like a sales funnel, but with your content, but it's really not, it really is so much more of a flow, because it's not necessary. Okay, what what else I like about it is that there's a really good focus there, like whatever is in the center of that content flow is like the nugget of the content. So for some people, it might be the blog in the middle or might be, I mean, I think that newsletter is really good one now because it's a good way to get a direct access to your audience and to sell to them. Eventually, it hooks into your sales funnel. But for some people, it might actually be a blog post or, you know, for example, for braid, it might be our E course, like that might be the content that's in the middle of the ring. But there's like this paid barrier to get into it. And so that's what I love about that, like your your content flow gives you really a focus of like, Where are you hitting hard. And then everything else around the edges is kind of like little little jabs or, you know what I mean?

Erica Midkiff 42:50
Yeah, and then when you're creating it, it's it's not this, like, five separate creation processes that make you feel super overwhelmed, you're sitting down, you're creating something, okay, I'm going to pull some pieces for the blog post, I'm going to pull some quotes for Instagram, I'm done. You know, it's an annual talk about other things on Instagram. But you could take that so many places, you could interview somebody like to do a mini q&a on Instagram about fear or on your blog even and say, Okay, well, I'm going to get in, you know, this person is an amazing expert, I'm going to get into some more tips for me and the newsletter or whatever it is, and you've got so much material there in so many ways that you could play off of that, that you know, all of those things, we want to do the interview series and the, you know, featuring and all this stuff really then has a focus. And so you don't just get crazy overwhelmed, which is what I do when I have a million ideas, it's really more concentrated. And then you have room to share on places like Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter, kind of what you're doing day to day, and that fills in those gaps. So it's not all just go to my blog, just go to my blog, you know, it's that's just one piece of it. But you're also sharing other things that come to mind. And there's a place for that.

Emily Thompson 43:51
I like to think of this think of this exact thing as creating an environment of content. So you are really sort of encompassing your your listeners or readers or engagers with this content that you create. So they're kind of seeing you and all the places like wherever they may be finding you. And you really can create an environment where you have different aspects of a topic being talked about in various places, and they're just kind of consistently reminded of what you're doing. But you're you're giving value to them wherever it is they may be and pushing them around to your different places, depending on what they want to ingest.

Erica Midkiff 44:32
Yeah, and it's I like that you said you're giving them value in all these different places. Because let's say, Emily, I'm signed up for your entire content, but which I am. So I see everything that you do. But let's say that you've followed that flow for your fear posts, and I've read your newsletter and then you share something on Instagram, that might just be a really good reminder because we all need to hear things more than once before we we take them to heart. I know that's true for me and I know that's true for most people. And so instead of it being kind of I know I already heard that Oh my gosh, I forgot I read that great post, this is another nudge to kind of deal with my fears or whatever it is. And so I think you're right that it can add value. That's the way to add value without worrying about being repetitious because you're really spreading it out over different areas and trying to accomplish different things with it.

Emily Thompson 45:18
I like this. So this leads me to a thought about editorial calendars. And do you have any tips?

Erica Midkiff 45:26
I have very, very mixed feelings about editorial calendars, I think they're necessary for let's say, we're going to go with launches or an okay thing. And they think they're great. I know, I'm joking. I'm totally joking.

Emily Thompson 45:42
with you now.

Erica Midkiff 45:42
So totally. So let's say you're going to launch something that say you're working on your braiding course, and you want to launch it in a couple of months, but you want to kind of start mentioning a little bit you do need to think about, okay, what do I need to be sharing with, that's an intentional flow of information, the different kinds of content flow that goes up to your lunch. But otherwise, I like to keep it pretty open. Because what I think, today that I might want to write about in March, I might have to march ago, I've already written about it, I don't care anymore, they don't care, I'm selling something different. It's whatever it is. And so I think that's where that writing and layers process comes in for me, because I'm usually writing several things at one time. And so I'll come up with ideas for my regular brainstorms, I'll jot them down in the grocery store, you know, wherever it is that I have these ideas, and then I just start writing about them. And when one of them feels kind of ready, or I need to share something, I pick whatever I feel most excited about. And then I share it. And so there, there's a mix of sort of editorial calendar, like I know all of March is blocked out for a launch, or whatever it is. But then in January and February, I still need to share. And so I'm just going to kind of share what comes up. And I think in some ways that naturally ends up moving towards your goal anyway, because you're creating whatever it is you're going to launch. And so you're kind of thinking about it. And so it really, it lets you be in the space that you're in now, and work on what you're working on now and also talk about it without feeling contrived, without feeling like you're forcing it. And so that's kind of my feeling about editorial calendars is feeling what you know, you have to do, and then just sort of let the rest develop, but give yourself space to create it.

Kathleen Shannon 47:15
I have some thoughts about that too, about editorial. Whenever I'm coaching my clients around content, I so in this is what I want to kind of tap your brain about because I think one of the things that you're really great at Erica is you're writing a lot, and you're kind of doing these brain dumps and Mind Maps is really uncovering the patterns. And so I like to think of almost five buckets of content, you know, and they're, they're these overarching themes that is coming out in my content. So for example, being boss, we're about to re do our branding, and we're going to launch a new website, and that is going to be included with that is going to be a blog. And because we have a whole team of people, and we're hoping to have contributors for the blog, we can't just all willy nilly, which is the way that Emily and I have been both of us do it like we we don't know what we're gonna write about typically. And I think this

Emily Thompson 48:10
is only due when I do that this

Kathleen Shannon 48:12
is true for you. And we like we write about what we're feeling whenever we sit down to write it. But having a team and being more responsible for like an, like an editorial calendar of content, just so that we can all stay on the same page. It's important to have that that editorial calendar, but kind of the way I'm trying to structure it is we always know we're going to be writing about boss habits, Boss routines, Boss life boss, with some other ones, Emily,

Emily Thompson 48:41
no, I'm leaving you.

Kathleen Shannon 48:43
I can't even fit these buckets of categories. So like whatever we're writing about has to kind of fit in within those themes, but then we kind of leave it more open so that there's flexibility to write about whatever we want to write about but still within like so that we can literally tag it with those categories.

Erica Midkiff 49:03
Yeah, and that totally that goes right along with what I was saying because you're still you're saying okay, I have this idea does it fit into one of my buckets and you guys could say no but it might fit into the breed bucket or mind fit into the and Kathleen begginer might fit into the you know Emily Thompson comm bucket You know, it might just depends on what you want to write about. But that gives you almost more freedom to write about exactly what you want to write about knowing you have somewhere to put it but I agree completely about the buckets thing because you don't you know, I don't tend to write about other than in passing my cats I I'm very interested in them. They're a big part of my life. But there are a few people out there who'd run a read an entire blog post about what my cats did yesterday. Funny or odd. You know, nobody cares. And so there are definitely things that don't fit and I think that's where, you know, the brainstorming comes in. But also I think really creating those buckets is really important and that's often hard for people I get a lot of people come to me and say I don't I have all these ideas and here's what they are how do i shape them up and to me it's very clear because i'm not in their head i'm going oh well this is very obvious this fits here and then i create those buckets and they either say oh my gosh yes or well that leaves out bla bla bla which they hadn't even written anything about so either way i think being able to create those buckets is really important but it can be tough and i think you know getting with someone else who you know as a business friend or hiring somebody to help you narrow down those buckets can be a big step toward really feeling comfortable writing within them so i agree with you and unless you have a plan schedule like week you know week one is boss habits week two is xyz week that you know whatever it is unless you have that planned schedule you still have flexibility and you can also go back and say we've written a lot of boss habits posts lately maybe want to write something else this week and so then you pull from something else you've kind of been working on or thinking about and then you shape that up

Emily Thompson 50:55
emily here coming at you to talk about managing your schedule one of the hardest things about being boss is how many people can be vying for your attention from clients and customers to online buddies real life friends and family and more scheduling time to focus on your work or yourself gets more and more important the more boston get our friends at acuity scheduling are here to help you take back your calendar giving you the functionality you need to easily block out times for focus and leaving time open for checking in with clients and friends with an easy to use interface that matches your actual schedule with available appointment times making it impossible for your schedule to get hijacked by another meeting schedule clients without sacrificing yourself sign up for your free 60 day trial of scheduling sanity at acuity scheduling.com slash being boss now let's get back at it

Kathleen Shannon 51:56
um i did have a question and this comes from our facebook group um so kelly says she wanted to know and this is me making a call for periscoping and and i was saying like what do you guys want to chat about and so kelly said what about writing prompts i'm putting together and about me for my partner and i like introductions and i feel like writing questions for myself to answer which is super strange i said that she already wrote their mission and company about page so this is something that i'm really curious about because there's so many different ways to write an about me page and i don't even know if this like entirely fits into your expertise whenever it comes to content but writing content for your website is huge and the about me page is the most visited page so whenever it comes to your about me page what are some recommendations that you would make there even regarding like writing your mission statement or writing a more friendly and fun and personal about me

Erica Midkiff 53:00
yeah so one of the things that i like about about me pages is that they're all different they can be different it's a great way to kind of show who you are and what you're about and all that kind of stuff and i don't use you know if i'm helping someone with an about page i don't really have a formula because everybody's so different and their businesses are different but i look at it as a page to share kind of your philosophy a little bit of your background story and then really use those things to pull your audience in and so i like to start with if i'm creating somebody's job page or helping them i like to start with figuring out what their core messages and this is just a short statement that is really it really sums up the work that you do it's kind of your philosophy it's less about i work with people to do this and it's more about your overarching so i might say you know i believe that content is a great way to connect with your audience but you can't connect with your audience if you're not connecting with yourself that could be my core message so it doesn't say here's how you can hire me it says here's what i'm about so if you have that in mind and then you look at your own experience and you say okay how did i get to that what was what was the story or what were the steps that really got me to this point okay that's kind of the story part that's going to be interesting for this person because they can relate to it and then you layer in your audience so what are they really looking for what do they think they are they're looking for you know what do they need that kind of stuff and then you you kind of mix all those together and you know you could start with your core message at the top because sometimes it's a really bold like powerful statement and people go yes i want some of that or you could start kind of with you know it was a dark and stormy night and i was really xyz whatever it is i can't think of a good one i was struggling to face my fears let's use fears is another example and then at the end you kind of lead gently to your core message but either way you're really telling people like i've had your experience or i know how you feel this is how i can help you kind of on a bigger picture level and then there's room to kind of say and here's how you can hire me but it really gets your story and your Philosophy out there while also kind of letting them be a part of it, because you're really speaking to them, you're speaking about yourself, and you're really talking to them. And I think this is a good place to say something that I wrote a post on a couple months ago, which is that your point is to find people and speak to people that need what you have to offer, not to convince people who don't need what you have to offer that they need what you have to offer, and that's a sometimes we can get lost in just sort of, I need sales, or I need bigger numbers or comparison or whatever. But if somebody doesn't need what you have to offer, they're not going to like what you've written. So don't worry about those people worry about the people who will see themselves in what you're writing and go. Yes, someone gets me your sidekick, amen.

Unknown Speaker 55:44
Amen. Amen. So I get

Kathleen Shannon 55:48
Okay, so another thing I want to ask you. So thank you for all that about the about page. That is awesome. And I want to just interject here to go ahead and sign up for Erica's newsletters, because a lot of the stuff that she's sharing here on the podcast, she goes into in her newsletters and on her blog posts, and it's totally free. And she also offers some other things, which we'll get to in a minute. But I want to talk a little bit about making time for writing. And this is something that I'm personally struggling with right now. I love writing, I have found that I love like the content that feels like cheating for me that feels so fun and easy as podcasting and periscoping. But like my heart, like the thing that I want to be known for whenever I'm a little old lady is maybe the stuff that I've written. But I'm having the hardest time finding time to do that. And so talk to us a little bit about finding time and getting really intentional about writing.

Erica Midkiff 56:47
Yeah, so to start with your example, if you had come to me and just said privately, or it hired me and said said this to me, I would say Do you really want to be writing? Or is that just what you want to be known for? Because there's a big difference. And I don't I think you can put your writing out there without actually doing the writing, let's say, you know, you hire someone to take your periscopes and your podcast, and pull those ideas out there and write them down maybe like she can but like, that's how you do that's a question I would

Kathleen Shannon 57:14
I crave it. So like, we'll pretend like you're guiding me right now you want for like my soul to be writing, right? So for sure writing is to do but I think that's a good point. Okay, if you don't necessarily want to be writing, you can be dictating what you want to say and and hiring someone and lots of people do that hire someone to write their posts for them. But I want to write so for that I want to be writing.

Erica Midkiff 57:41
If you're coming to me and said I'm not writing at all, I've never written I need to start writing, I would say just start with five minutes. And I don't mean five minutes a day, I mean, five minutes, you have five minutes, I have five minutes, we all have that time. And that's really what I'm really saying there start slow. And I know that you know for you, you have a lot of writing obligations. And so that's a little bit harder. But it's also maybe it's scaling back your expectations a little bit. So if you're writing three times a week, maybe it's writing once a week, if you're writing once a week, maybe it's writing once a month, for a little while until you get into that groove because you want to make yourself feel comfortable with what you can do. Not bad about what you're not doing. And so I think starting small and just sort of saying, Okay, well, I'm gonna write today for five minutes. And then I don't have to write anymore if I don't want to, or don't want to meaning can't seem to make the time for it. Another strategy is to write in the morning, before you do anything else. And that's really hard to do. And you have to find what, quote unquote, in the morning, and quote unquote, before anything else means to you. Because that might mean, the second you step out of bed before you even step out of bed, or it might be when you sit down, you're going to your desk in the morning, or it might be after you've done your big project for the day. That's first thing because it's the first kind of non money making thing you do that day. So you know, but if you identify that time where it feels like there's a shift from one thing to the next, and you can kind of layer in this habit, that's a really good time to write because you're, you know, you're already making this shift, and you can sort of easily just say, Okay, I'm gonna spend five minutes, every time I stopped doing this thing, or start doing this other thing, and you can kind of play off of that momentum you already have there. And then I think also, just paying attention to when you feel most comfortable writing, there are a lot of times where I'll sit down and know I have to write something and I'll say, No, it's not happening. It's just not coming as I don't feel it, or have any ideas. I don't care, whatever it is, it's just not happening. And so, you know, working to seize the moment when you do feel like it, but also saying, Okay, if I haven't felt like it five days in a row, I'm gonna have to do it. You know, there's a balance there of sort of wanting to being in the zone, and then actually making time for it whether you want to or not,

Kathleen Shannon 59:52
does that make sense? It totally makes sense. And something that really started popped out to me as you were talking on all three those points is that I have been writing I feel like I haven't been. But I've emails and specifically, I've found a pen pal. And I don't know if I've talked about this on the podcast, or maybe on Periscope, but I'm a marketing director at a company approached us about sponsoring being boss, and it ended up not working out. But we found that we have a lot in common, and we've been chatting a lot back and forth. And I've been writing to her emails that almost feel like blog posts. And I know that even you know, Erica, you and I have written to each other before, like really vulnerable emails that feel really good to write, you know, they feel soulful, and they feel meaningful. And so I think what I've been doing is putting an expectation on myself that writing looks like the way it's looked for me for the past five years, which means writing in a blog post and hitting publish. And maybe that's not what writing looks like, for me anymore. Maybe it looks like more like emails, maybe I can just collect those somewhere like in an Evernote and come back to them one day, or, you know, so so maybe I just need to change the expectations of what writing looks like

Erica Midkiff 1:01:11
100%, I am always telling people to release expectations, because we do we create these little worlds for ourselves where something looks like this. And that's just the way it is. And it's we don't even think to rethink it. But if you you know, I had somebody tell me recently that she writes in a journal, and it's very easy for her and it just comes and I said, look at that, you know, look at it and, and just pull pieces out of that. I'm not saying you have to write your journal word for word online. But you're you're writing down a lot of thoughts and ideas that if you just flip through it, you might go, oh, here's something to write about, here's something to write about. And then you get excited, that's another piece of it is being excited. And you're clearly excited to write these emails. And so that maybe that is what writing looks like for you. And there's nothing to say that you couldn't later use them, you know, in another way, or just save them for yourself. And like you said, this was my season of writing emails, and that's a good thing, you know, or letters or whatever it is, or journal entries. You know, it doesn't always have to be public. That's a great point.

Kathleen Shannon 1:02:05
I have a technical question for both of you. Like whenever we were talking earlier about Instagram posts and kind of mini blogging, I love that. And Emily, your Instagram posts are super killer. Are you typing those out with your thumbs on your phone? Or are you like typing it out? And then copying and pasting it to yourself? Like how technically How are you doing that? Sure.

Emily Thompson 1:02:26
I really am just doing it with my thumbs on my phone. And it's one of those content things that like I can't plan. Like, there's no editorial calendar, like in the moment, I'm sitting wherever and I'm like, I'm instagramming this shit. And, and it really is just right there. In the moment. I've tried to plan things a couple of times, like, especially when we were on our road trip this summer. There was a couple of times like you know, when I don't have service or whatever, and I open up an Evernote and for some reason I can't write them in Evernote. Like I have to be there in the moment. I've talked about this too, with my newsletter, like a lot of my content has to be right than my newsletters are usually written like moments before they go out. Like that is a very common thing for me. So yes, my Instagrams are done via thumb on my iPhone, because that's just how I roll.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:18
I like via thumb.

Kathleen Shannon 1:03:22
And I've mentioned this, there's something about finding the right space to write. And so for a while, I didn't like the way that my blog looked anymore. And I had a hard time writing in it like literally, I don't know, it's so weird. Or I don't necessarily like just writing in a text edit, I found that I started liking Evernote, but it didn't feel quite right. So I felt things flowing more in my Google Docs. So this is me wanting to recommend to you guys like just playing with different platforms in writing and seeing which one really resonates with you. Because I think that there is something to that. So just like Emily's writing in her Instagram posts with her thumbs, because nothing else feels natural, like looking at what feels natural. And it's okay even if it's someone else that you respect and admire is doing it a different way. That might not be the way for you. So Erica, where are you writing? Like, what does that look like for you,

Erica Midkiff 1:04:14
I have to write it on my computer. Because if I get into Instagram, I can't. Or even just on my phone, I can't back up and change things the way I want to. I really writing flows very differently. For me, it does not flow A to Z, it flows very sort of blue all over the place. I have to do with my computer, and then I'll just copy and paste it. But I agree with Emily that it kind of has to be done in the moment. There are some times where I'll think of two or three things to say. And I don't want to send them all out within a five minute period. So I'll write them down and save them. But I find I have a harder time posting those because the moment is over, even though I've already written it it's just the kind of feeling is gone and it doesn't feel relevant anymore. And so that's that's an interesting point that you made Emily.

Kathleen Shannon 1:04:54
I think these letters, where are you writing those?

Erica Midkiff 1:04:57
I am writing those at my desk and in order document. And I have to have a separate Word document for each one of them. I tried using Scrivener, which is a really great writing program, you can create these chapters, and it's meant for people, I think originally created for people who are writing books. And so you can have these kind of tabbed chapters on the side. And I thought, that's genius. And I can toggle back and forth Nope, I, I like it for a lot of things, and I can't use it that way. And that brings up a really good point, which is something is kind of become a theme of mine, which is do what works for you. And there's so much to say, these days of people, even I've done it on this podcast, I feel like and said do it this way. But that's really a suggestion. And you should feel free to take things as suggestions. Only you can know what works for you. I can say I think this will work for you. And you can do it and say, Nope, doesn't work at all, you know. And so all of this everything we've said today is a suggestion for what could work for you. And what you really have to do, like you said, Kathleen is experiment. And you know, Emily, you figured out how Instagram works for you. There's no sense in doing it any other way. You figured out how your newsletters work, it's just not going to work if you do it any other way. And so that's like the cheating way for you kind of the cheating easy way it feels like to do it right beforehand. And that's great. Give yourself the permission, enjoy the kind of guilty pleasure feeling of it, or the kind of, you know, I'm doing what I'm not supposed to do. And I like it, you know, enjoy that. It's, it's whatever works for you. I know.

Kathleen Shannon 1:06:18
And I love that about you, Erica, even whenever we were working on the ecourse together between me, you and Tara, you and Terrence speak the same language and you guys were in these, like master plans, and it was all coded and I was like you guys I can't hang. And especially because that was during my year of sleep deprivation. So you guys are just feeding me the content and be like, I specifically need you to fill in this chunk and write something here. And I can I can totally hang that way. So it's just funny looking at what works for you. But I also really appreciate your ability, Erica to maybe this isn't for everyone, maybe you're just being extra nice to me. But um, to kind of bend the way that you work in a I mean, in a flexible way, not in like a people pleasing way. But like you're really flexible with me as far as working with me and not me. So thank you.

Erica Midkiff 1:07:06
Yeah, and I wasn't compromising the way I work. You know, I simply said, Okay, this is the how you're going to respond best To me, it's in my best interest to get you to respond to me. You know, if you'd said, Can you fly to my house and tell me things in person every day? I would have said, well, you haven't paid for it. But, you know, that's something I can't do. I totally paid for that perfect next time. But, you know, sending you a separate email with each question. So you can handle one at a time and then come back later, that doesn't take any more of my time. Or if it does, it's five minutes. And so I think that's, that's a big part of, you know, if we talk about like client work on a bigger scale, you know, figuring out what works for other people and just kind of being attuned to those clues of like, Okay, this is not working. And it's probably because I could send this email differently, I could break my questions up into five emails, you know, that's a pretty easy way to really make client relationships work better is to kind of know what your boundaries are, you know, I wouldn't, couldn't have edited a different way or couldn't have couldn't have developed it very many different ways. But I could absolutely send questions a different way. And so that's, you know, kind of a total side note, but I think that's a really important point is that everyone works a certain way. And the more you know about the way you work, the more you can just kind of figure out the way other people work, the easier it will be

Kathleen Shannon 1:08:19
good. That's a good point. Like, we were talking a lot with Tara last week, or Yeah, two weeks ago, about, about process and method. And I think that that's a good point that the more you know about how you work, the more you can kind of break your own rules a little bit just to be a little bit more flexible. Um, okay, what are you what are you working on right now? What are you launching? how can how can our listeners connect with you?

Erica Midkiff 1:08:46
Yeah, so the biggest thing I'm working on is a baby.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:52
Where can we find it?

Erica Midkiff 1:08:54
We can you can find him here in Alabama and April. Yeah, he has a boy Yeah, if you haven't been which we're excited about. We have a couple in mind.

But we go back and forth. Meredith I would not be alive anymore to hear my own podcast because she would come home from work and cut me.

We are waiting until he's born. Well, we've talked about a few names we keep coming back and you know we'll we'll like a name for a few days in the go. Oh,

Unknown Speaker 1:09:22
look at more

Unknown Speaker 1:09:24
as a worst name ever so

Kathleen Shannon 1:09:29
Foxton and have a name for two days and he was almost Grover, or spike like spike was my number one and it's because spike Jones was winning lots of awards around the time that Fox was Yeah, like that's such a cute name unless he's a bully. And then it's an awful name. And it's

Unknown Speaker 1:09:45
awful.

Kathleen Shannon 1:09:46
Even then, like two days after he was born, he did not have a name and I it's hard like I still don't know if he's a fox.

Erica Midkiff 1:09:57
It always stained it. I mean, if he grows up and says Nope, this is not it. Changing names is not that hard to do. I think it's kind of hard to do, but it's not impossible.

Kathleen Shannon 1:10:07
And so anyway, Matt, where people can find you. All right? Well, that

Erica Midkiff 1:10:11
total Dandan. Anyway, so the biggest thing we're working on is this baby. It's what I was saying. And so that's, that's changed a lot of maybe if you'd asked me a year ago, when I was gonna be working on this time this year, that's changed a lot of things. So I have a couple of ideas. And backed by minus I have about 75 ideas. But the things I'm really focusing on right now are number one, email coaching, which I launched at the end of last year, and I'm in love with you not about cheating. This feels so fun and exciting to me. So basically, the idea is that you send me an email with where you feel stuck with your content. And I have a welcome guide that helps you kind of shape that email. So it's not just I know, it's a little more, it helps you think through it a little more. But then you send me an email, and I'll spend either an hour or two, basically answering your email. But you know, making those connections that are so hard to make yourself, giving you resources to check out giving you ideas, whatever works for where you are basically giving you a little boost to get you on your way, because sometimes we just get stuck in one place. And that's the thing that's holding us back from doing 25 other big things or small things is that we just can't get past that one roadblock. So that's what that's for it, I've really loved doing those and had some really wonderful people sign up for that. So that's still open. And then I also just launched at the end of last year, and we're finishing up the first session of it now, something called explore. And it's 31 days of intentional writing. And the idea is that just like we've been talking about finding time and space to write, and then actually doing the writing and knowing what to write about is really hard. So I created 31 prompts, you get one a day in your email. And it's it's very open ended, you know, it's it's not something that there are a lot of different options that how you can respond to these prompts. And you can use what you write in different ways. Or you can just use it as a writing practice and move on, I'm creating a wrap up guide for how to use basically the momentum you created and the writing you created. Because once you get to the end of something like that, it's very easy to go.

Unknown Speaker 1:12:06
Well know what people like who are the prompts geared towards? Is it? Is it for other creative entrepreneurs? Or can it be personal writing? Like

Emily Thompson 1:12:14
what humans? What does that humans humans human? No,

Kathleen Shannon 1:12:18
no. But like, who would it be good for? Like, who would it be great for to take this course? Like, what are some examples of some of the prompts that you're asking? Is it business oriented? Is it personal oriented? Could it be both?

Unknown Speaker 1:12:30
It could be both.

Unknown Speaker 1:12:31
So the the idea

Erica Midkiff 1:12:32
is that it's just to get you writing, exploring, the prompts are mostly related to you. So I don't ask a lot of things like in your business, what

Unknown Speaker 1:12:41
is this,

Erica Midkiff 1:12:42
it's more like, describe a time when you felt really happy, or write about a choice you had to make that was hard, or write about an idea that won't leave you alone. So it's that concept of that's very open ended. And I give examples, like write an idea, or about an idea that won't leave you alone, maybe it's a business idea, maybe it's something you want to do, maybe it's just a you know, color, you want to paint your walls, again, could be anything, the point is to get yourself writing. And the point is that I'm emailing you every day and saying, hey, do your writing, hey, do your writing, hey, do your writing. And there's there's stuff in the welcome guide about like figuring out where you want to write. And when and setting an intention for the practice so that you're not just sort of going in, you know, willy nilly, I know you guys like, in this situation, you don't have to. And so you could you can trash that and say I'm just gonna write from the prompts, you could you know, but

Kathleen Shannon 1:13:31
it's kind of like I'm doing a whole 30, which I think a lot of our listeners earlier with, like, it's a great way to reset to get really intentional, it doesn't mean that that's the way you're going to be eating forever. So same thing with a 31 day course, which I love so much, because it's about you, you know that you can commit to 31 days, because you know that you can carve out the time and that is important. And what it will do is can you reset your your habits that will reset your mindset so that maybe writing even just once a week after that 31 days is over is going to be a lot easier than it had been before.

Unknown Speaker 1:14:06
Exactly.

Emily Thompson 1:14:07
Are you planning on doing explore again? Yes,

Erica Midkiff 1:14:10
I'm in the middle right now of finishing up what that will look like. And I think I'm going to make it evergreen for a little while so that you can just sign up anytime and it will start the next day or however that ends up working out. I recommend that from a business standpoint, I think that's a great idea. Yeah. And I thought of you

Kathleen Shannon 1:14:28
because we did that with our ecourse like our E course for a while was only like there's three courses and we rotated them once a month and then we decided to combine it all add four more sections and make it evergreen. And just so there wasn't quite as much work around launching every month as I love launching. Are you responding to the prompts like when are people are you Is there any one on one interaction? Are you just sending out emails?

Erica Midkiff 1:14:56
I'm just sending out the emails a couple of people have just written back and said I really enjoy or you know this than the other and so i respond to those emails i sent everybody a personal like i'm excited to doing this email when they signed up just because i really like connecting with people that way but you know if somebody emails me i email them back but i do i do make it clear that you know i can't read all of your writing and i can't respond to an email every day but i do want to hear from you and i do want to hear how it's working and i will ask for feedback when it's over and really read and take that to heart so my hope for the people that i work with and who buy stuff for me is always that i can get to know them in some way because i just really like people and i one of my strengths i've done the strengthsfinder test have you guys done that no oh it's amazing i don't know what the website is it's kind of hard to find you can take the test online or you can buy the book it's a little bit hard to find the test on their website but keep going it's in there but it's it's basically you fill in it's one of those personality type tests you fill in all these questions and they give you your top five strengths and one of mine is individualization which is seeing people as individuals so for a very long time it's been hard for me to create things that are one to many because i see like i know you're reading an honor you're reading and i know all the people who are reading and i know there are way more people that i don't know her reading and that's hard for me sometimes or who are buying it or might be buying it and so this is a way that i've been able to kind of do the one to many while still keeping it open so this can work however you want it to and then you know you kind of take it from there so that was a side tangent but the strengthsfinder test was so validating for me because it showed me that you know one of the things i really love is gathering information and it said that's one of your strengths you know i love finding processes for things that's one of my strengths and so it gave me permission to do those things instead of thinking i shouldn't be wasting my time on this i've instead found found ways to incorporate those it's just another layer of understanding what works for you

Emily Thompson 1:16:52
well and i have to shout it out that i'm doing explore and i'm loving it so i'm so glad

Kathleen Shannon 1:16:58
i love hearing i wouldn't do it i think i was as part of these maybe last time you launch that or having like

Unknown Speaker 1:17:06
it's entirely possible

Emily Thompson 1:17:09
no it's fun so so where can people go to to sign up

Erica Midkiff 1:17:13
yeah it's erica midkiff comm slash explore and i hope to have it launched i don't know when this podcast is going live but i hope to have it launched by them but if not you can sign up and there's a little email signup box and i will send an email when it's open so easy peasy

Kathleen Shannon 1:17:30
anything else emily or erica

Erica Midkiff 1:17:33
i don't think so there are other ways that i work with people one on one i can help you take action i know sometimes finding just figuring out a plan and moving forward can be hard so i can do stuff stuff like that finding deeper clarity about things like your core message like i mentioned earlier i do work with people one on one with that kind of thing work like the braid method ecourse i do that with people as well that's not your favorite right no i love doing it i i'm such a nerd i will i love tara my obviously we got married in her dream so let's let's just put it out there i love to

Kathleen Shannon 1:18:11
see i think that meredith is gonna listen

Unknown Speaker 1:18:13
this episode

Unknown Speaker 1:18:14
and be like what's going on between

Emily Thompson 1:18:16
erin marrying erica and erica is talking about how much she loves tara and she's just gonna get weird

Unknown Speaker 1:18:27
it's so

Erica Midkiff 1:18:28
what tommy it's totally platonic platonic but we see so but i loved working with tara and just that she she does think the way that i do in a lot of ways but we have enough differences to where i felt like it was just a really fun collaboration and i just i loved going in and pulling in all the pieces sorting them out seeing the connection saying what if we did it this way and then tara saying no i'll do it this way and he goes yeah that's even better and that just it was just so much fun for me so i really do love doing stuff like that so that's another way you can hire me but a lot of those are just you know if you're struggling with something email me and i usually will say okay here's how i think this could work because i found that people are so different like i said individualization that you know a lot of times it takes hearing what they're looking for and then i can say well here's this package i've created this is the right one for you and i find that it's easier than having them choose from something because a lot of times we don't know what we need we need someone else to tell us what we need

Unknown Speaker 1:19:25
thank you so much for joining

Erica Midkiff 1:19:27
yeah this was super fun i'm so glad that the three of us got to do this

Emily Thompson 1:19:30
i love you guys too

Kathleen Shannon 1:19:32
i mean we've been trying to do this forever with you

Emily Thompson 1:19:34
so i know i'm glad it worked

Kathleen Shannon 1:19:37
yay and good luck with everything nikki up we're gonna miss you in miami

Unknown Speaker 1:19:42
i wish you were me too i'm

Erica Midkiff 1:19:43
really sad about new orleans was so fun i know you guys are you still taking taking people are you fall for miami

Kathleen Shannon 1:19:52
no yeah we're still taking people

Erica Midkiff 1:19:53
okay so i will just say your endorsement is approval i want to say that it was it was incredible To be and I noticed that this both of you guys, but it was incredible to be an environment where people were so open and welcoming. I said, I know I said to both of you that if I walked up to a circle of people, they widen the circle to include me no questions asked. Everyone looked at me, you know, it was a very inclusive group. And I'm just there was a special energy that I hadn't felt in any other. Any other in person group was different. It wasn't better, or, you know, I'm not saying everyone else sucks that I've ever been around. But it was it was a really cool environment. And I feel like you guys have created such a specific feeling. And that feeling carried over in person. So that's my endorsement. Go to Miami.

Kathleen Shannon 1:20:36
I'm glad to hear it. And you know, Emily, and I recognize that our boss vacations are not for everyone. It's very much a vacation. And we're there to have a good time. But we're also there to get to have really even conversations like this, but in person with each other, and there's something magical about that. So and then we're so glad to have you at New Orleans. We're gonna miss you in Miami, but maybe you can come to the next one, I hope. Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Show Notes for this episode at love being boss calm. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to new episodes on our website on iTunes, SoundCloud,

Emily Thompson 1:21:16
or Stitcher. Did you like this episode, head on over to our Facebook group by searching being boss on facebook and join in on the conversation with other bosses or share it with a friend. Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.