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  1. Because I work as a content marketer, I often forget that other nurse entrepreneurs might only know the term “content marketing” as a buzzphrase. That’s unfortunate, because content marketing represents the easiest, least expensive way any nurse can promote her business. In fact, if you possess the writing chops, you even can produce your own content marketing assets and save the cost of a writer (like me)! What is Content Marketing? The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing this way: Sounds pretty. But what does it really mean? Simply put, content marketing consists of various assets (blog posts, white papers, web page copy) that provide your prospective clients with information that’s valuable to their situation, relevant to the problems they face, and that positions you (or your product/service) as the best solution to their issues – which leads them to become your client. If that still sounds convoluted, let’s use blogging to illustrate how content marketing works. Perhaps the best recognized example of content marketing is the humble blog. I don’t want to imply that every nurse entrepreneur should run out and start a blog. That’s not the case. Your marketing should be driven by strategy, and if a blog doesn’t fit within your strategy, then you shouldn’t waste time pursuing it. But for the purposes of illustration, I’ll use blogging because it epitomizes the definition of content marketing. A blog can provide prospective clients with: Valuable information that is… Relevant to their situation and the problem(s) they’re facing, and… Positions you (or your product/service) as an authority on the subject who can best solve their problem(s) for them. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to set up shop as a geriatric care manager (GCM). Who is your ideal client? Possibly a daughter who lives distant from her elderly mother, who has multiple health issues. Your blog can provide regularly published posts for that daughter that cover topics that help her better care for her mother, like: How to evaluate an elderly parent’s cognition over the phone What to do if your parent falls repeatedly The importance of family caregiver support systems – and how to create one How to obtain a medical power of attorney You get the idea. The daughter subscribes to your blog and regularly reads your helpful posts. Eventually, it becomes clear to her that her mother can no longer live independently, but arranging for consistent care from a distance is hard for the daughter, so she turns to…you. After reading your blog for several months, she’s convinced you really know what you’re talking about and clearly are the best choice to help her manage her mother’s care from afar. You wind up engaging her as a client. In this case, content marketing via blogging led a prospective client down the sales funnel to your door and helped convert the prospect into an actual client. What Content Marketing is Not I think it’s important to note that content marketing should not be highly self-promotional. Using the example above, the geriatric care manager’s blog should not include (many) posts like: How a GCM solves your care management problems Why you should not necessarily choose the cheapest GCM Why you should always engage a GCM and never try to care for your elderly parents on your own These types of self-serving posts fail the “valuable” and “relevant” criteria for effective content marketing. An occasional post about a topic like “what do GCMs do” would be all right, but mainly your blog posts should confer direct value to the reader. Types of Content Marketing Assets I could go on for a long time in making a list of content marketing assets, but I’ll limit myself to the most popular ones any nurse entrepreneur could commission or produce herself: Blog posts Social media sharing (such as relevant news) Infographics Podcast Video channel Ebooks White papers Case studies Resource pages on your website Best of all, many types of content assets can be repurposed into other assets, giving you a lot of bang for your marketing buck. For example, a podcast episode could be repurposed into multiple blog posts, an ebook, a resource page or an infographic. Bottom line: content marketing represents a very cost-effective way for any nurse entrepreneur to build her business, no matter what type of business she’s in! How do you (or might you) leverage content marketing to promote your business? Please share your ideas and success stories in the comments!
  2. What does it mean to be a source? Journalists constantly require sources (people) to provide expert information and quotes for their stories. As a nurse who owns a business, you can bring a unique perspective to a journalist’s story about some newsworthy event in your line of work. For instance, if a journalist is working on a story about the staffing difficulties hospitals face during the nursing shortage, that journalist might welcome the input of a nurse who owns a healthcare staffing agency - because she's likely seen both sides of that coin. When you agree to serve a source, you allow the journalist to interview you and use your quotes without compensation. The “compensation” to you will be having your business name in the publication. You may also be asked to provide a photograph (headshot or something else) to help illustrate the article. This free publicity is worth its weight in gold, because: It positions you as an expert It raises the profile of your business Being quoted in a news article confers credibility in the eyes of your target audience It costs you nothing but a few minutes of time Think about it. When you see an expert quoted frequently in the media, don’t you tend to think they must be the top person in their field? Your customers will think that about you, too, if you regularly serve as a source to journalists. How to become a source To get started working with journalists, you can pursue several courses of action: Send press releases about your business regularly to editors and reporters at your local news outlets (but only if you have something truly newsworthy to announce) Register with PR Newswire PR Newswire (involves a fee) Register with Help A Reporter Out (aka “HARO” – fee-based) Follow and engage with reporters on Twitter.com Connect with journalists on LinkedIn It’s also perfectly acceptable to contact reporters directly to offer yourself as a source. For instance, if you routinely read a particular trade publication, feel free to contact any of the reporters (but not all of them) with a simple note to say, “I enjoy your work on X topic and want to offer myself as a source if you ever need background or a quote on Y (your particular topic of expertise).” How To Be A Great Source Working with journalists is all about cultivating relationships. If you’d like to become a source that reporters turn to again and again, follow these tips: STEP 1 Be available. Journalists often work on very tight deadlines (sometimes the same day), so try to make time to take a brief phone call on short notice. Also, if you arrange an interview appointment, be sure to have your phone in hand to take the call. Journalists (myself included) find it incredibly annoying when we call and call at the appointed hour only to have our call go to voicemail repeatedly. STEP 2 Don’t ask for payment or compensation of any kind. It’s unethical for a journalist to pay a source or to offer any kind of non-cash compensation. Please don’t request it. STEP 3 Don’t ask or expect to review your quotes or the story prior to publication. When being interviewed, take your time to respond to the reporter’s questions. Choose your words deliberately. And then do not request to review or revise your quotes later because you wish you’d said something else. Legitimate journalists never allow sources to review the story or their quotes. STEP 4 Be courteous. In my life as a health reporter, I’ve interviewed some surgeons that certainly would qualify as “pompous asses.” Don’t be them. If a journalist asks you a question you consider “dumb” or “beneath you,” please remember that a reporter’s job is to obtain as much information as possible, sometimes including very basic facts about the topic. STEP 5 Offer additional resources. The best sources do a bit of research in advance, when possible, and point the journalist toward websites or professional associations where they can obtain background information, or they offer their own PDFs or slide decks from lectures or anything else of value related to the subject matter. Questions about how to become a great source for reporters? Post your questions below!
  3. Carol Ebert

    Is It Possible to Burnout in Retirement?

    And as I check in with others my age, I find several different paths that people take with their newly found free time. Take care of grandkids Travel Start hobbies Start a new business Go back to school for a new career Relax and hang out with friends Your path might be different because there really is not one path to take since the freedom you now have allows you to explore whatever you want. My path continues to be wellness because that is what I have always loved to do in my career and my passion has not stopped. What is different is that there is not a boss telling me what to do so I am free to do what I choose. And that is the reason I am writing about Burnout During Retirement. Can that be possible? I thought burnout was for those left behind who are over-worked, stressed-out, worn-down, exhausted and often depressed. As it turns out, when you aren’t answering to a schedule and the directives of an organization, you are still at risk for burnout. In my case, I blame it on my entrepreneurial nature which always directs me to seek more to explore, learn and do. And the result is that I find myself experiencing all the same symptoms of burnout that caused me to leave my last job in the first place. Here are some classic signs that employers report from their employees: Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion Sense of cynicism – everyone is bugging you, you don’t feel empathy for others Sense of ineffectiveness – you can’t see a path for yourself Lack of downtime – always “on” Lack of enthusiasm – can’t summon energy for what you used to be excited about Physical problems – headaches, stomach ache, bouts of cold and flu – especially if you don’t normally get sick Overreacting to requests I’m sure you are familiar with these or have even experienced some of these symptoms yourself. But if you are in your third act and happen to be an entrepreneur like me, you are still subject to this happening to you. I know that for a fact because I find myself overworking even more than I did as an employee because there is no schedule or corporate directive to tell me to stop and go home. I’m already home! So if you are entering the retirement zone, this is a cautionary tale – especially if you are an entrepreneur. But it is not hopeless. First step is to be aware that you might still burn yourself out if you have that busy nature as I do. So here are some excellent strategies to prevent this from happening. Tackle what frustrates you the most What stresses you out and leads to that headache? Pick it apart and see what you can change and what you can’t. Make the changes that you can and accept the changes you can’t. Surround yourself with inspiration Start and end your day with gratitude. Create a pleasant environment to work and play in. Listen, watch or participate in inspirational offerings Heed red flags Pay attention to the signs of burnout. Catch frustration early before your body starts to give you a symptom. (mine is a headache) Network with others your age who are entrepreneurs There is strength and support in numbers Find out what strategies they use to avoid burnout Do switch off Power down all your electronics before 8 pm to force downtime for yourself Create relaxing evenings before bed Get enough sleep We still need 7-8 hours/night Your body needs time to repair, restore, relax and during sleep is when that happens Talk things through Find someone you can talk to – friend, coach, therapist Find entrepreneur groups with your same interests who may be experiencing the same thing Take a break You may need to force this upon yourself because it is against our nature Keep a schedule and write it on your calendar Spend time with yourself Schedule time when you can purposefully do nothing Practice by working your way up from 5 minutes to finally about 30+ minutes. This inspired me. Hopefully, these strategies will be useful and provide you with a roadmap for creating a Third Act Retirement Plan that gives you the peace and wellness you desire while still honoring your busy nature. Your thoughts?
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