I took a bit longer this year to pay my membership dues because I needed to assess the groups.
I wanted to make sure I was getting everything that I could from the groups. Memberships have much to offer but if you are not taking full advantage, it might be better to attend occasionally as a guest, find a free webinar, attend a one-off conference or find a different organization that is a better fit.
If you do to decide to join a group, here are some of the benefits you might expect to find:
Encouragement and confidence My mystery writers group (Sisters in Crime Central Virginia) provides me with encouragement and confidence. Many of the members are published authors, some of whom have made the best-seller list. All of them have offered tips and advice as I work on my manuscript at my pace.
Writing skills I’m also working on my writing skills thanks to James River Writers. In the coming months I’ll learn how to organize my writing life, write a killer synopsis, define my audience and build relationships with bookstore owners and librarians.
New skills My involvement with VPC and NFPW enables me to hone skills in areas that I don’t work in every day. With VPC, I’m responsible for program development, which will keep me seeking individuals who are current of the latest trends.
Leadership opportunities I began to develop my leadership skills serving on committees. Eventually I served as president of both my state affiliate and the national organization. Now I’m encouraging those around me to do the same.
Friendship As an added benefit, I have found that in all of these groups I have made some lifelong friends. Almost anywhere I go, there is someone I know. That’s a nice bonus.
How do you decide which groups to join?
I spent a day recently researching, writing and editing blog posts.
I plan for four types of content for my blog:
Date-specific: I keep a content calendar for the year and pepper it with dates that are known and that I will likely write about. For example, I almost always write something related to New Year’s Day and the idea of resolutions and/or goal setting. Sunshine Week is in March and I often write about the topic.
Evergreen content is not tied to a specific day and can be used any time during the year. This post is an example of evergreen content. If I attend a conference, I frequently write about the workshops I attend and the speakers I meet. If I want to be timely (date-specific) then I will run a post during or immediately following the conference; otherwise, the content becomes evergreen.
Breaking content is tied to a story that has traction in the news. I can write a post related to the breaking news. This is known as “newsjacking,” and PR pros do it all the time. If they have a subject matter expert related to the topic, they will pitch, or work to connect, the expert with the reporters covering the story. For my blog, I’ll write a post related to the content. For example, I wrote about office success lessons learned from watching the latest James Bond movie or how people connected while watching a Royal Wedding (not Harry and Meghan, the other one).
Repurposed content: Review your most popular stories and posts and then tweak the headline or update the statistics. You can also take the content and use it on a different platform. I expect to do more of that in 2019 as I work to finish my travelogue book and complete a mystery. For me to do that, I will need to spend less time writing original content for the blog, but I hope you will still find inspiration in the posts.
When it comes to content, I am seldom at a loss for copy. I simply need to plan and identify my content opportunities.