How to Make the Switch
Astrologers have different strengths and talents in our personal toolboxes. Some of us are researchers, others are expert coaches, counselors, and therapists, still others are philosophers and spiritualists, and some indeed are writers and published authors. Not everyone has the ability and skill to write proficiently, but writing and blogging has become increasingly important as a marketing tool in a successful astrology business.
Without formal training in journalism or publishing, we have to figure out who we are as writers often in the wild, wild, west of social media, which can be daunting. I was lucky to have been an executive with the Disney Company for many years, which was a great environment to learn business writing, but I still have a lot to learn when it comes to producing creative, entertaining, and self-marketing material.
As an avid reader of astrology blogs and newsletters, I have found a spectrum of creative skill and talent. Through my personal studies and my education at Kepler College, my knowledge of astrology increased, and I was able to identify those authors who really knew their astro-stuff as well as those who were inaccurately mixing techniques, key words, and using houses, sign, and planetary meanings interchangeably. However, even the poorly written or less credible material allowed me to see how far I had come in my understanding of astrology.
As I read, I often think about the author’s target audience and objective in writing an article. Are authors writing to clients to educate them and to attract more readings? Are they informing the astrological community about a particular event or person? Do they write to demonstrate a particular astro-skill? Would this article make me want to have a reading with this astrologer, subscribe to their newsletter or buy their book?
In the past, astrologers got used to writing for other astrologers and for astrology journals, because peer astrologers were the only ones reading the more technical articles and research. However, astrology is seeing a resurgence of mainstream popularity. In a recent article in the New York Post, “Millennials are Ditching Religion for Astrology,” Kari Paul reports that astrology is becoming more and more popular with millennials in particular, even more so than religion, and many people believe their fate is written in the stars. They see astrology as a way out of a hyper-rational world into a place of finding more meaning in life, connecting with their own version of spirituality, discovering their place in the universe, and they are using astrology as a less structured vehicle for enacting change in their lives.
There is a new generation of open-minded followers on InstaGram, Facebook, Twitter, and general digital media who want to know and read more about astrology than just their daily horoscope. Astrology articles are making their way into popular magazines and pop culture media both online and in print, and this is an avenue for all of us to plug in to and maximize. We have to change gears and begin writing for these potential new astrology clients in order to continue the momentum.
One of the opportunities in targeting this emerging group of astro-fans is to really put some time into thinking about the right level of technical versus simple and entertaining content. Even with a pretty well developed skill set, many articles and online posts are just too detailed and confusing to read more than a couple of paragraphs. More often than not, I end up hitting the delete key mid-way through. Is this what our new audience is doing as well? Don’t do that! Here are some tips that may help all of us when crafting newsletters, blogs, Facebook posts, advertising material, etc.:
Research Your Reader
As a new astrologer most of my readers are representative of the clients I am attracting, and I try to speak to them, which forces me to be pretty elementary at times. One way to accomplish this is to imagine writing to the last person I did a reading for, which puts a face on my audience and helps me to talk to a real person. If you have been in business as a professional astrologer for an extended period, then your readers may be more savvy, and there is probably a range of experience. The diversity may actually make writing for them more complex, but it is best to speak to the individuals with the least amount of knowledge to be sure everyone can benefit from your astro-wisdom.
Another approach is to research the charts in your client files and use their combined astrology to identify your audience. Build an ideal client from a conglomerate of the demographics in your cache of astrology charts. Is there a Sun sign that is more prominent? Do you attract people from particular professions or industries? Where and how do they live? Is there one client in particular that keeps coming back time and again? Is there someone you love working with and always give them extra time and attention? Use your client’s charts to piece together your ideal astro-person and speak directly to them.
In addition, listen to clients and readers, because they will tell you what to do differently. Go back and review the posts or articles that received the most feedback and figure out why. It is often surprising to me which posts get a lot of attention. Even when I think I have written to my ideal client and in the simplest of terms, I still get a reader who says, “I love your newsletter, but half the time I don’t know what you are talking about.” Grrrr….Back to the drawing board.
Find Your “Why” for Writing in Your Own Chart
This step doesn’t necessarily have to be writing specific. In fact, your why should be tied to the vision and mission you have as an astrologer. What is your intention for writing? What are you trying to achieve? As professional astrologers, we know that our own astrology chart provides clues to our mission as astrologers and as writers, but we often forget to actually use it.
The Sun and all its qualifiers is the greatest descriptor for any public mission, and the 10th House reveals what you want to be known for and the professional legacy you want to leave. Reviewing the 3rd House dynamics and natal Mercury can help develop your why for writing, and understanding how you naturally communicate allows you to maximize your strengths and stay focused on your goals as a writer.
As a very simplified demonstration of how much detail an astrology reader actually needs in order to see the connection between their present day life and their astrology chart, as well as how to use a chart to see your brand, who you write to, and why you write, I have a client example (Feb. 6, 1968; 11:15 p.m. EST; Brooklyn, NY): She is a Sun sign Aquarius (the systems of society) with Leo on the MC (royalty). She is a financial advisor (systems of society) who calls herself, “ The Money Queen” (royalty). She even wears a Leo animal print in her marketing video!
The Money Queen has Sagittarius on the 3rd House, which rules publishing, and she is a published author of a book called, “The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear.” Guiding others is a Sag quality, and in her marketing material she says, “As you travel through this book,” - travel is another Sag reference. She has Venus in the 3rd House in Capricorn, and she writes for women (Venus) to help them secure their foundations (Capricorn). Interesting to note, her Venus is un-aspected, and she specifically targets women who are alone after a divorce.
Keep it just this simple and easy for yourself and your chart or add as many layers as you want to delve into using all of your astro-skills to come up with your brand and identity.
Meet Your Clients Where They Are, Not Where You Are
If you are writing an article, chances are you have a good understanding of the material you are presenting, and you are proud of your knowledge. However, sometimes authors use too many planets, too many aspects, or too many techniques or all of the above at the same time, which is overwhelming for our inexperienced readers. Most of the time the same information could be boiled down to a couple of major aspects and done.
On the other side of the spectrum are those astrologers who identify the WOW… That one thing that stands out and tells the story to those with the least amount of astrology know-how in a way that allows them to understand and relate. That’s what keeps me and others engaged, scrolling, and reading the entire piece.
Using the Money Queen example, I could have talked about her Moon in abundant Taurus on the cusp between the 7th house of partnerships and the 8th House of “Other People’s Money”, sextile to her Mars, ruler of her 2nd house of money, and in a mystic rectangle with Neptune and her Uranus/Pluto conjunction….blah, blah, blah. I wonder who can follow all of this other than our fellow astrologers.
Our culture puts all of us in a time crunched, multi-tasking mode, and getting to the point is essential to keeping readers interested and followers loyal. The goal is not to dumb it down, but to Twitter-Size it; Edit, resist the urge to show off everything you know all at once, and make a conscious effort to bring others along on the learning journey.
And That Means?
When I attempt to talk astrology with my husband, he inserts this question at some point in the conversation, because I have gone off into an astro-babble without stopping to interpret the language for him. As astrologers, this is one of the most important questions to keep in mind as we communicate, because we are speaking a language few understand. We must constantly translate the astro-babble by using analogies, visuals, or real life examples to help tell the astrological story without totally losing the audience in unrecognizable words and terms. The good news is my husband sometimes surprises me by spouting out an accurate astro-explanation for something he hears on the news, or he comes in from work after a challenging day and announces that he must be having a Mercury Retrograde on his Uranus - LOL.
WRITE TO MAKE LOVE (AND MONEY)
In the end, we are all trying to make a living doing what we love regardless of the reason. We write monthly newsletters, tweet daily, hold Facebook live sessions, record podcasts, etc., but most of the time there is still a huge need to monetize our efforts. Best-selling author Deepak Chopra says about writing, “Every good story is a love story.” When we approach writing from a place of love, we give what is needed by the other person, not what we need to give, and we end up with what we need in return….The money to continue doing what we love.
“The Money Queen”, has Scorpio on the 2nd House cusp. She transforms people’s lives through what she does to earn money, and her clients trust her with large investments that they want to see grow into even larger retirement funds. The ruler of the 2nd house is Mars in Pisces. She is heavily involved in raising money for charity, she has a higher purpose for her work and in return, she wants to find a deep satisfaction within herself in the process of fund raising and making money.
What does your money house, planets, and aspects reveal about your financial motivations? Look for connections between the 2nd house, 3rd house, or 10th house and the rulers, their placement and condition, because these aspects give clues as to how money flows through your chart and how what you communicate into the world brings a financial return on your investment.
There is a fine balance between coming off as smarmy or money hungry versus being a smart business and marketing person who has to pay the rent. First, focus on your clients and write for and to them, while keeping your goals and your WHY in mind. Then shorten and simplify the style and provide effective interpretation that leaves room for marketing in the dialogue. There are extra words available for a quick marketing stab that ties your posts to what clients want to manifest in their lives and how you can help them live their lives with more ________ . Fill in the blank with the word that best describes your client needs…. Joy, love, money, health, etc., and then fill up your bank account after they schedule a reading with you to get it.
For the Money Queen with Aries on the 7th House Cusp, her recently divorced clients need financial independence, the ability to confidently make their own decisions, and the motivation to move forward in their lives. She uses her Ascendant in Libra to build relationships, provide some legal advice, and she is a natural soft sell salesperson who is able to close the deal, while making the other person feel good. She fills in “her blank” with Aries related words, and helps her clients achieve them.
This approach to the 7th House is a little different, but those of us in helping and healing professions (or operating disfunctionally ourselves) may attract partners on the 7th House who have lost touch with their essential selves or are demonstrating the traits of this house in lower form in order for us to show them what the expectations are and get back to being a whole person. It works for the Money Queen, and it can work for you as well.
As we make the shift from writing for astrologers to writing to the evolving astrology client, we should keep in mind that every piece of material we write is an opportunity to advertise and market not only for ourselves but for a whole community of astrologers. Some of the articles and reports in current news are authored by individuals who have little or no experience in our field, and we must take the challenge of having our well-established astrologers and shining stars be the ones who are on the front lines telling our story and accurately portraying our craft in a positive light.
We are all trying to keep up, stay hip and relevant, and continue growing and developing as our industry and clients change. No matter how long you have been an astrologer, it is always beneficial to either create a writing strategy or review the one you have in place, and use your chart to connect the stars to your professional brand and identity. Putting thought and structure around writing helps to prevent your hard work from falling into the black hole of social media nothingness and begins to consciously bring our readers along on a new astro-journey toward understanding and using astrology in their daily lives.
Gina Jones, KPDA
Kepler Professional Diploma in Astrology
To complete the diploma program, students are asked to create a demonstration of learning. Gina used her interest in writing for the astrology market to reflect on the different types of approaches that can be taken.