An Apple iPad can make a major contribution to your writing and marketing success, whether you’re a self-employed professional writing a book to build your brand or an entrepreneur creating social media content to market your small business.
I can understand, though, if you think I’ve overstated the benefits of writing and marketing with an iPad.
Confession: I was originally skeptical about using an iPad for writing and marketing.
As a result, when I received one as a birthday gift, I viewed it as something else to complicate my life! I never expected it how much it would actually simplify my life and save a lot of time.
Here are the top reasons I recommend iPads to authors and small business marketers:
1. Planning before you write
Whether you’re writing a book to build your personal brand or blog and newsletter content for small business marketing, it’s essential that you plan before you write.
An iPad makes it possible to work anywhere, planning articles, blog posts, books, and book proposals before starting to write.
Numerous mind mapping applications are available for iPads. You can begin to create your book’s table of contents or marketing plan anywhere using one of the dozens of free, or low-cost, mind mapping apps like MindManager or Mindo. Mind mapping on an iPad improves your writing and helps you get more done in less time because:
- The success of any writing project is determined before you start to write. Writing proceeds smoother and faster after you clarify your goals, identify the ideas you’re going to include, and create a structure, or framework, for your project. Time spent planning before writing means less time writing!
- You can get a lot done in just a few minutes. Mind mapping on the iPad means your work is always with you, permitting you to productively use a few minutes between meetings, during a short break, or in bed before you fall asleep.
- Planning doesn’t require a lot of typing. I was originally concerned about using the iPad’s virtual keyboard – the keyboard appears on the iPad’s touch screen. What I didn’t take realize, however, was how you don’t need a lot of words to create a valuable mind map; the value of a mind map is in the quality and quantity of the ideas you include and your skill in organizing them in the right order.
- Mind maps are intended to be exported and shared. Mind maps are not islands. They’re intended to be shared with others and exported to the software on your primary computer for completion, editing, and formatting.
Your writing efficiency escalates once you break yourself of the trap of thinking that writing with an iPad means writing every word on your iPad!
2. Project & time management
Project and time management is the “elephant in the room” for many authors. Authors tend to focus on the quality of their ideas, and their ability to express them, rather than improving their ability to write their book and marketing content efficiently and on time.
Progress rarely occurs without deadlines, priorities, and schedules.
Intention, alone, is not enough to get your books and marketing content finished on time. There are simply too many other obligations and demands competing for your time.
Mind maps make it easy to break big projects, like books, into a series of relatively simple writing, self-publishing, and social marketing tasks.
Several mind mapping applications for the iPad let you add start dates and deadlines to topics and subtopics. This means you can give yourself deadlines for the various tasks necessary to your writing and social media marketing success.
You can also add icons – a type of visual shorthand – to delegate responsibilities and track progress.
After creating an action plan mind maps on your iPad, you can export it to your primary computer for refinements, share your map with co-authors, editors, and marketing partners, and sync it with your online calendar.
3. Social media
The work everywhere advantages an iPad offers helps me do a better job of keeping up to date with the blog posts by the writing, marketing, and design experts I follow. It’s also made it easier to update my social media presence:
- Individual bloggers. Using Feeddler RSS, I’ve been able to organize the the bloggers I follow into a few major categories. I’m now doing a better job of keeping up to date than when I had to be at my computer to do the same thing.
- Media feeds. In a similar way, I find that apps like Flipboard, Huff Post, and TED are ideal for tracking graphically rich publications and major media. Separating individual from major media sources has helped me do a better job of following both sources.
- Social media updates. Being able to work anywhere with an iPad has also made it easier to respond to Facebook and LinkedIn invitations. It’s also made it easier to schedule social media topics, plan blog posts before writing them, and schedule my Twitter updates.
4. The iPad reading experience
If you’re planning to write and distribute ebooks, marketing materials, and white papers on mobile platforms and ebook readers, it’s essential that you gain first-hand experience reading on an iPad.
Reading on an iPad will open your eyes to the importance ,of graphic design and the role it plays making your message as engaging and easy to read as possible. Downloading and reading books, white papers, and reports at sites like Scribd and Issuu.com will make you more aware of how design and layout can work either for you, or against you.
- Book covers. Viewing the front covers of ebooks you’ve downloaded in the “bookcase” view of your iBooks app, will drive home the importance of how – even at thumbnail size – your book cover must compete with the covers of other books.
- Inside page design. Reading the inner pages on your iPad will emphasize that design tools like color, layout, type, and white space as necessaties, rather than luxuries.
5. Presenting with an iPad
Speaking and presenting play a big role in any author or business owner’s success. Authors typically speak and present about their book, helping promote their book while writing it.
Although you may not want to creating presentation visuals on your iPad, you’ll appreciate presenting from your iPad 2 hooked up to a video projector. (Owners of the original iPad can purchase an adapter to connect to a video projector.)
You can upload presentations as PDF files to your iPads, or you can use presentation apps like Apple’s Keynote to import, edit, and present PowerPoint files. You can also use apps like Office2 HD to edit and present PowerPoint files (as well as edit and update word-processed documents and spreadsheet files).
Living with an iPad
In part 2 of this series, Living with an iPad, I’ll describe some of the ways that iPads are easier to live with than laptops and desktop computers. It’s not just that the iPad is smaller, lighter, and less expensive than many laptops; there are many usability advantages built into the iPad’s operating system. Please share your experiences planning and writing books and small business marketing content on an iPad, as well as your recommendations for iPad apps. Share your experiences as comments, below!
Roger C. Parker invites you to visit Published & Profitable & download his developmental editing workbook, 99 Questions to Ask Before You Write and Self-Publish a Brand-Building Book.