Would you like to turn your passion into profit?
Nicole Akers has done it. In this interview she shares how to engage readers, test your ideas to see if they’ll sell, and build a tribe that will help you make your dreams come true!
1) Tell me a little about how you got started as a writer.
Since I was in 4th grade, I knew I wanted to do this. I was placed in a creative writing class. I wrote poetry and short stories. In fact, I still have the first bound book!
As I went through school, I stuck with it. I became Editor of my high school literary magazine. In college, I was an English major with a minor in creative writing, and journalism.
Then I turned away from writing for a while. My parents wanted me to write and I resisted – for years. After the girls had trouble with their diet, I studied the effects of what they ate. I did this for 7 years. I wanted to share, to help people. That’s how www.wetalkhealthy.com was born.
I still get resistance from family about what I write about. “Why do you live like that?” they quip. “I couldn’t live like you do,” some remark. Still, I press on.
2) You’ve got a great way with people. What would you say is the key to connecting with people online?
People have to trust you. They need to know your story. They need to know what you can do for them. Until there’s a bond, there is no growth. Most importantly they have to understand your message in a way that touches them. They will reciprocate relationship as soon as your message relates to them in a meaningful, usable way.
People don't care about you until you care about them. - Nicole Akers Click To Tweet
3) Your graphics are amazing. How do you get the ideas for them? Do you have an art background?
I don’t have an art background. I have taken graphics courses. I learned the mechanics, and found it enjoyable. As for creativity, I find a free picture and make a graphic. Then I tweak it until it feels right. I trust my gut.
4) Suppose a writer wants to use Pinterest to promote herself. What would you tell her to do to succeed?
I’m positive any niche can have a platform on Pinterest. It’s seen as all crafters and women. But there is so much more. There’s food on Pinterest. Lots of bloggers are there. On Pinterest, there is power in connecting with people on group boards, in a similar niche. The ability to pin to group boards, and repin from group boards can help a pin go viral.
If you want to succeed, try to get your pins into the group boards. Interested parties will see your content without being followers.
I'm positive any niche can have a platform on Pinterest. - Nicole Akers Click To Tweet
5) What’s the secret of writing an engaging blog post? Do you write to someone in particular? What’s the value of having an “avatar”?
Yes, I have avatars – definitely. I did it because my writing needed focus. People don’t care about you until you care about them. I have something to share and make it meaningful to those who read it. I have a whole family of avatars – a mom and dad, and a girl and a boy. When you write to real people, readers can see themselves in your story.
6) How can a writer use stories to make data more interesting? You write a lot about health, which can be complicated for some of us. How do you make it accessible to someone who may not know all the technical terms?
I don’t enjoy being technical. I have to break down complicated things so they can be applied. People don’t want to be buried in data. It’s boring. I’d rather cook, explore, and be creative. Health information – or any information for that matter – is a lot more engaging inside a story.
7) Do you write best in the morning or at night? What’s your process for writing a blog post?
In the morning I write best, when my mind is fresh and clear. It’s hard to write at night. It’s best to do it before everyone wakes up.
Any information is a lot more engaging inside a story - Nicole Akers Click To Tweet
8) You’ve got a series of cookbooks to sell. That fits well with what you do. How can a writer in any niche decide what products to offer? And at what point in your relationship with your reader should you offer your product (or service)?
I wanted to write a book, but didn’t finish. I have a lot of recipes, so I started compiling them into cookbooks.
I did surveys to see if the idea was sound. It was! The first cookbook started generating sales. This gave me money to continue the series.
Everything is tried and proven. I reached out beyond the email list. I did online research on cookbooks that sold. I gave them appealing covers. I shared details about my struggles in the kitchen. If I could solve those struggles, I believed my readers could, too.
9) You’re busy with two young girls, a husband, and a day job (blogging, right?) How do you make time to write when you have a lot to do?
When they’re at school, my day is choppy. Everything changed when they got out of school. It’s a lovable, wonderful together time every day. Writing happens in odd chunks, especially in the morning until school starts back.
10) Here’s one for the fun of it. What’s your favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
I’ve read The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman 4-5 Times. It fits with my niche. When relationships get messy, everything gets messy.
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