50 Blog Post Ideas and Activities to Beat The Bloggers Block.

Blog Post Ideas, Activities, Beat Bloggers Block, Photography, Writing, Info-graphics, Google Trends, Inspiration, Motivation

So you’ve started a blog, but coming up with fresh ideas to publish is a challenge? You are certainly not alone. It’s a challenge that most bloggers face especially given the fact the for your blog to succeed, great content matters.

Without engaging content, you will not keep your audience’s attention and this ultimately leads to blog dormancy and failure.

Based on my experience of as an author of a blog that has run for only 18 months and in that short while, has over 1,800 published and well-received posts, I’ve compiled a help list of blog post ideas and activities that you can bookmark and refer to as often as you need to and this list is more than enough to keep you busy for a while depending on your publishing frequency.

Now, let’s quickly go through them.

50 Things To Do

#1. Share your experience

If someone is starting out in your field of interest, what top advice would  you offer them? Create a series where you document your learnings with the world of WordPress. This helps you to keep an eye on how far you’ve come and to keep up your focus. Your story could inspire others.

#2. Have you created a resource post lately?

It could be a simple checklist of resources that you use and people like checklists that they can quickly run through.

#3. Are there helpful books that you would recommend?Blog Post Ideas, Activities, Beat Bloggers Block, Photography, Writing, Info-graphics, Google Trends, Inspiration, Motivation

You’ve read some awesome books that changed your views, totally inspired you to become a better you, or made your laugh out loud etc. Others might find it interesting as well.

#4. Write a post that themes around a holiday season.

Yes, we love holidays and part of blogging is also to make emotional connections with your readers. It could be a little story on how you couldn’t blog because you chose to spend more time with family and recommendations on how to get past those days that you are unable to blog.

#5. Writing Marketing Tips that have worked for you

We all search for new ways each day on how to improve on our habits profitably. Sharing your ideas and tips is never a bad idea.

#6. Write a how to start a project post for a beginner

This could be on your photography, writing, e-commerce, becoming an artist, the list is endless.

#7. Networking advice post

What social mediums work for you? How you’ve managed the multiple medias out there? What would you recommend to others?

#8. Writer a common Mistakes post

What are the common mistakes that you’ve observed in your niche? What possible solution would you suggest?

#9. Create a Blog Series

If a blog topic is a long one, consider expanding it by breaking down into series. For instance, I break my Writers tips series into little digestible bits, because there are loads of tips to write about.

#10 Write a Customer Appreciation Post

Appreciating those who support you now and again through a form of mention is a great idea. People love being appreciated.

#11. Is there something you wish others would blog more about?

Throw it out into the open.

#12. Review products, films, services and write a concise review.

#13. Create a list of influential people to follow in your niche.

Include a brief description of who they are and their social links for others to check them out.

#14. Create pick of the week for your readers

Outline the best posts you read during the week and what got your attention and why you consider them valuable.

#15. Interview someone interesting in your niche

Familiarize with other bloggers who you could interview and mine their thoughts for ideas.

#16. Work with others

Invite your readers to share a guest post or tip post and offer to write guest posts.

#17. Share a workload management post

In this time of super stress, people appreciate posts that help them to get better organized.

#18. Share vibrant photos

Images attract viewers. From time to time use a photo that grabs attention.PicsArt_09-02-09.27.03[1]

#19. Produce and publish your artwork, painting etc.

Showing off your portfolio online is also a gateway for an artist or budding artist to showcase their talent.

#20. Write a Best of Post

A post that pulls the best of  the blog posts you’ve published over a period.

#21. Write a freebie post

Freebies are delightful. Use a blog post to draw your audience to giveaways.

#22. What are the best apps you use online/offline?

Write a post and introduce these apps to your audience.




#23. Write a ‘what not to do’ post

Based on your blogging experience, share those things that you would hesitate to repeat.

#24. Write a recap of a free or not free webinar, training, workshop that you attended.

#25. Do you know some marketing secrets?

Blog about it.

#26. Create an event for your blog and invite others

Blog hops, meet, and greets are social networking tools that would drive traffic to your site and well as creating an atmosphere for bloggers to get to know themselves better.

#27. Create a newsletter

Weekly or bi-monthly, whichever works better for you.

#28. Create a crowdsourced post

Ask 10, 20, 30 or more influencers to answer a single question, pool their response into one post accrediting their contribution to each of them with their vital links.

#29. Write a well-researched post on a trending topic in your niche.

This might take the time to create a comprehensive post, but it’s worth the effort at the end of the day.

#30. Create a Definition Post.

These are posts that define aspects of your niche and educates your audience.

#31. Create your own 20, 50, 100 list post of blog post ideas.

#32. Write an A-Z post.

For example A-Z of setting up a blog, photography, writing a book etc.

#33. If you want to mix up things, try vlogging or podcast and share with your audience.

#34. Create your cheat sheets that they could bookmark, download or print out.

make money blogging, create quality content, gain readership, networking, income streams, revenue, monetizing, launch blog#35. Create info-graphics, charts or graphs that break down the information in a quick, visual way.

#36. Write about your worst blog posts and why you think they tanked.

#37. Provide useful templates of some kind – finance, business plan, calendar etc

#38. Repurpose an old post and republish.

When you started out publishing your posts, there are chances that you’ve got some gems in your primary articles that barely saw the light of the day. Now that you’ve got some readers, repurposing them might be a great idea.

#39. Reveal your blogging schedule.

Do you blog full-time or part-time? How are you able to balance other aspects of your life and your passion?

#40. Blog your book, chapter by chapter as you write.

This helps you to write the book faster because you are committed to blogging about it.

#41. Make a list of your favourite quotes from influential people. What do you find inspiring about them?

What do you find inspiring about them?

#42 Share what keeps you motivated as a blogger

People love to learn how others keep inspired and motivated. Contribute your own motivating thoughts.

#43. What are your best WordPress plugins?

Share your opinion

#44. Showcase your photography equipment

Share its ups and downs, how it’s served you, your recommendations etc

#45 Make a wish list for your blogging space and future

#46. Use your reader’s comments as an inspiration

#47. Write a how to care for your gadgets post.

#48. Ask your audience what they want. You can also take a poll/survey

#49. Write a post on how you came up with the name for your blog

 Was it for practical or sentimental reasons?

Blog Post Ideas, Activities, Beat Bloggers Block, Photography, Writing, Info-graphics, Google Trends, Inspiration, Motivation

#50. Use keywords as inspiration.

When your creative juice runs dry, you could find inspiration through Google Trends by using keywords in your niche. It’s a tool that uses search facts to decide how many times a word or phrase is used in a given period. This way, you know what’s now trending on a particular subject, that you type in. Pretty effective and easy tool to use.

Hopefully, these ideas that you could tweak to suit your purpose will keep you busy for some time. However, remember that whatever you blog about, enjoy the process and let it be something you are passionate about, that way your inspiration will not wane easily. Have fun

If you’ve found this post useful do let us know in the comments below and please, stay tuned for more blog post ideas.

Blog Bytes – Useful Top Tips

Blog Top Tips, Subscription base, Appreciating Readers, Networking, Engaging Readers, Blog Growth, Traffic, Success, Value

Appreciate Your Existing Readers

In the haste to grow their subscription base, many bloggers become obsessively compulsive in their focus to finding new readers that they neglect to appreciate and properly engage with the existing ones’.

Growing one’s blog is of paramount importance, however, the failure to show appropriate value to your present audience will eventually lead to losing their attention.

As a matter of fact, your existing readers play a huge role in helping to grow your blog and bring more traffic your way.

Find time to consistently connect with them.

In as much as there’s no ‘cast in stone’ right or wrong way to the art of blogging, it is still a form of science whose success lies in certain methodical approaches.

Check here for more useful tips on blogging.

Make Money Blogging

make money blogging, create quality content, gain readership, networking, income streams, revenue, monetizing, launch blog

Income Streams from Blogging – Part 2

In part 1 we explored the possibilities of monetizing your blog through advertising, affiliate marketing and products. Let’s take a further look into other income streams that you could apply to your blog to make money from your blogging. Remember that this project starts first with launching a blog, creating useful content, gaining readership, then monetizing.

Remember that this project starts with launching a blog, creating useful content, gaining readership, then monetizing. If you’ve not yet launched a blog, here are 6 easy steps to set up your WordPress site.

Income through Services

Once you’ve built readership and trust, a common way for bloggers to make money from their blogs is to offer their services to their readers. These services could range from content writing to editing services, coaching to consulting, freelance services, designing, training and promoting.

In this instance, there’s no middle man like affiliate marketing. The direct business decision between the blogger and the client allows both of  them to arrive at a suitable fee.

Income through Events

From the onset, organizing events may not be possible for a new blogger, but as the blogs traffic grows and it becomes better known, the possibilities of organizing blogger/writer oriented events such as conferences, webinars, workshops, meet-ups, summits etc, offers great opportunity to make money as well as the chance for face time with other like-minded people. The upsides are many.

Recurring Income

Income could be derived from aspects such as special membership programs for premium content or for some form of service. A quick example is a platform that hosts writing competitions or reviews and needs paid membership in order to become part of such community.

Money from Offline Business 

Your income could also improve by using your blog as a promotional tool to build your credibility in your chosen niche. With time you become a recognized figure in that industry and this could lead to the approach of others who want you to give a speech to an audience for a fee, to coauthor a book, organize a program, be a brand ambassador and so much more.

Other Streams of Revenue

There are many little ways that a blogger could apply to earn some income. Some add PayPal donation buttons asking for support to their blogs  like the one that I have, collaboration with other bloggers one way or the other, and some popular bloggers eventually go on to sell their blogs as a brand, for a fantastic figure.

make money blogging, create quality content, gain readership, networking, income streams, revenue, monetizing, launch blog

Making money from blogging takes lots of patience and persistence. Diversifying your income streams through the various methods mentioned and more as well as your marketing approach would help get you on track to where you want to be as a blogger and reduces the risk of the painful process of slow income growth.

Just bear in mind that making money from blogging doesn’t just happen by sticking up a blog post and hoping that tons of visitors will come. You must be willing to put in the time that it takes to create quality and useful content, network and build relationships with others, experiment with as many methods as you can, till you find the effective mediums that work for you.

I hope that you find this article helpful on your journey to fulfilling your dreams of turning your blog into a money-maker. If you’ve tried any of these methods, it would be wonderful to learn from your experience.

I’ll keep sharing little tips and tutorials on how to make the best from your blog and it would be awesome if you could subscribe to The Art of Beautiful Expressions so that we can do this together.

Essential Tips To Improve Your Photography 1

Essential Tips, Photography, Great Photos, Camera, Shoot Every Day, Digital Camera, Skill, Perfection, Practice

Take Photo Shoots Every Day

Every skill is perfected through practice. It’s as simple as that. The more you take photos, the more you understand the medium and your tools of operation.

You don’t have to own an expensive digital camera in order to take great photos. Start from where you are and with what you have at hand. The important thing is to develop your eye as you take more pictures. Just keep practicing and creating and you will be well on your way to owning great photos that are sellable.

For tips on how to sell your photos online, you can check this post.

How To Make Money From Your Photography and Sites To Sell Online.

Making Money From Your Photo Stock

Did you know that there are ways you could earn some money by selling your photographs online and offline?Make money photography, Stock photos, selling online, sites selling online, gallery, opportunities, earn money, making money,E-commerce, WordPress, Stock photography, greeting cards,

We live in the age of visual culture where everyone owns a form of a camera these days and we all love to take a snap or several to capture our special moments and random interesting things.

Given the continued increase in demand for great photos for varied business and entertainment reasons, because as we all know, images enhance, illuminates work and drives engagement there is no better time than now to monetize those great images of yours.

Yes, the market overflows with other aspiring and professional photographers who are equally keen on selling their own work, but this shouldn’t discourage you, rather, you should see it as a challenge to excel in your art. Even if you never become a World acclaimed Pulitzer-winning photographer, the opportunities are endless and you shouldn’t give up.

There are personal steps and some renowned websites that you could look into to start with.

From day one, start treating your photo interest as a business and create a marketing plan. Create a portfolio of your work both online and offline. No, it is not a dumping ground for every click and shot you’ve taken but a curated portfolio of great shots that makes a statement about your work and regularly showcase your work on social media like Instagram, Pinterest.

Existing opportunities by creating your own market

In other to carve a niche for yourself, you’ve got to figure out what you want to explore and express through your lens. Create images that speak to you.Make money photography, Stock photos, selling online, sites selling online, gallery, opportunities, earn money, making money,E-commerce, WordPress, Stock photography, greeting cards,

Keep working on your skills and developing your eye as a photographer. Always look at the work of other professional photographers and continue to educate yourself through reading about the latest trends being discussed in this field.

  1. Put your best work online in your photo gallery with an e-store option to sell. There are lots of plugins on WordPress such as Gallery e-commerce that provides such options.
  2. Print a large format of a number of your best images, frame them and approach coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores in your area to display them for sale for some weeks. Make sure your contact details are within reach.
  3. Turn those great shots of yours into greeting cards for sale. You could make and sell loads of greeting cards with special messages on them, like ‘happy mother’s day, Merry Christmas, Bon Voyage… Approach shops around you that would accept such cards to sell at a commission.
  4. Consider participating in art gallery exhibitions or art fairs. You can share the cost of renting space by teaming up with other vendors at the art fair.

Existing opportunities to sell online through other websites

There are lots of websites that specialize in buying and selling stock photographs online. Stock photographs could be used in website design, blog posts, book covers, magazines, posters, newsletters, ads, and so much more and because of the high demand for high-quality photographs, this can become a decent income revenue for a photographer with a large stock of great photographs for sale.Make money photography, Stock photos, selling online, sites selling online, gallery, opportunities, earn money, making money,E-commerce, WordPress, Stock photography, greeting cards,

The first step is to build a collection of photographs that would sell profitably as stock photos. Take a bit of time and research photos people download often on these sites to gain an insight on where the demand lies.

These websites offer free registration but have specific guidelines on what they want and willing to take, how to upload and tag your photos. Each of these sites has their specific commission rates and payments terms, so you should make it a point to read their fine prints and  choose that which works best for you.

  1. Shutterstock
  2. Dreamstime
  3. Fotolia
  4. iStock by Getty images
  5. SmugMug
  6. Alamy
  7. 123RF
  8. Photoshelter
  9. Can Stock Photo
  10. PhotoMoolah
  11. Snapped4U
  12. FineArtAmerica
  13. Crestock
  14. Redbubble
  15. Zenfolio
  16. SnapMarket
  17. Thinkstock by Getty images
  18. Flickr by Getty images
  19. Photos.com by Getty images

Some of these companies are big and popular thus might be more difficult to get noticed, others are smaller and might offer a better choice for a beginner to start with. Either way, these are all great options to sell your photos online and earn extra income. Now get snapping happily and do share your experience with us.

Essential Writers Tips 3

Essential Tips, Writer, Writing, Getting job done, Appearance, Little Changes, Best practice

Focus On Your Appearance

You might wonder what your personal appearance has to do with your writing especially when you are a new writer trying to chart a path for yourself.

Some writers may sit and write in their underwear, pajamas or their favourite raggy house clothes, but most times, sleep mouth, gritty eyes paired with comfortable, casual worn-out clothing translates to sloppiness.

When you plunk down in to write in a shabby state, your brain also registers that mood and you get little work done before the mood to climb back into the bed, or couch hits you once again.

Little changes like brushing your teeth and hair, washing your face and wearing clean smart clothes – not necessarily formal – makes a lot of difference.

Making such minor changes sends a message of readiness to your brain and your writing. Your appearance ultimately has a positive effect on you. Taking your writing seriously means treating it like your job and you won’t go to work in your underwear or shabbily dressed.

Check here for more snippets of helpful writing tips. Do share some of your tips with us. I love learning new methods and best practice.

Become a writer – transform your inspiration into words.

Transforming inspiration, Writing aspirations, grab readers attention, writing, structure your story, keep it simple, Writing POV

Ways to transform your inspiration into words – Part 2

Many times I’ve met people who express their wish to become a writer, but they haven’t been able to transition into taking their writing passion seriously due to other pressing exigencies, thus their wish to write keeps taking the back burner.

Important lessons that I’ve learned about writing is – that there will never be the right time to get started because life keeps happening and secondly, you have to treat your writing like a job; whether it’s started paying or not.

Your writing is not something done in a haphazard way if you truly want to make some meaning out of it.

I suggest that you take a look at Part 1 of this series on how to become a writer to help you merge both series.

Write what you know about

When you are familiar with something or a topic, it’s far easier to write about it in more depth and details. The realism of your story shows in your words and ultimately translates to a better read. There might be times that you want to dabble into a not so well-known topic, you would need to do enough research to comfortably express your thoughts.

Grab your reader’s attention

Help your readers to see through your eyes right from the beginning because a readers’ minds could be very selective. You’ve got to give them a reason to pay attention to what you are saying. To do this, there are some techniques that you could use:

  1. Start with an opening that arouses curiosity to know more.
  2. Use the emotional and sensory approach. Our experiences and perception of things are through our senses and your words should draw on the sense of visual, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and emotions which will often compel your readers’ own imagination as they vicariously experience what you are writing.
  3. Add concrete details that would help to give a sense of understanding of what is happening in the writing. Instead of using generalist terms to describe an image – a man in a white shirt, be more specific – the tall man in a white shirt with a limp in his steps.

Structure your story

Sometimes achieving the natural progression of your story by writing chapter after chapter in a linear structure of beginning, middle and end, may not be as easy to do as we would like, but you could take up your story from its climax – if that comes easier – and then backtrack to flesh it out as you go on.

Choose a point of view

The point of view you decide to use is largely dependent on the information that you seek to communicate. There are various POV’s that could be used in writing. Let’s take a brief look at them.

  1. The First person POV could be used when your main character is telling the story. Here you use an ‘I’ narrator and your readers’ experience of the story is through the eyes of the narrator. The first person POV could equally be in the plural form ‘we’ when there’s a collective number of narrators. The first person POV could be a detached narrator who might be a supporting character in the story.
  2. The Second person POV. This is most often used for instructional writing which it told from the perspective of ‘you.’
  3. The Third person POV is the most commonly used point of view in writing. The third person uses ‘he/she or it’ narrator and your narrator is not a character in the story.  The third person POV has three main types:

The third person limited POV which limits the point of view to one character. The narrator is only privy to what the character knows, therefore the vision would get smaller and limited.

The third person multiple. Here the narrator can follow multiple characters in the story by using he/she/it, but the onus lies on you to make sure that your reader knows when you are switching from one character to the next one.

The third person omniscient. This point of view offers the narrator a free rein in the story where the narrator knows everything and is not limited by what one character knows. Your narrator in this point of view could even know things that others are not aware of.

Keep it Simple

Starting with simple sentences is the best approach. Yes, your vocabulary might be extensive and you love to toss those fancy words into the mix, the usage of bogus words right from the onset throws readers off-balance. Your need to give every reader who comes across your writing an opportunity to understand and appreciate the information.

Thank you for visiting The Art of Beautiful Expressions. We do hope to see more of you.

 

Essential Writers Tips 2

Writing Intention, Writing Strategy, Focus, Communication, Message, Readers, Approach, Writing Tips

When writing, focus on the intention of your writing. What message are you trying to convey? Do your words express your message as you would like it to? What impression would you like the communication to leave on your readers?

By focusing on these things, you place yourself in a state of mind where you are able to sense what you want to express as well as trying to get into your readers head.

This approach makes it easier for your words to flow naturally and unstinted. It’s equally a great strategy to overcome writers’ block and many forms of a writers’ anxiety.

You can check our Writers’ Tips for more tips on writing and the book by Roy Peter Clark;  55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer for further reading.

Are you working on any writing project? What strategies work for you to keep focused on your project? Do share your secret to success with us.

Essential Writers Tip 1

Essential writing tips, Writing Projects, Writers Block, Writing Strategy,  

Consistency and focus are key in completing a writing project, however, there are times when the writers’ block would strike and the reason that you should have several projects going on at the same time is the ability to switch and keep working without stagnating and feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.

Your projects could be based on different writing genres or even other creative outlets. This way, you give your mind the opportunity to exhale and most times in-between working on other things, your muse returns from her sabbatical. The important thing is to keep writing.

Recommended further reading: 55 Essential Strategies For Every Writer. You can also check our short post To be a writer – Simple ways to start.

Are you working on any writing project? Do you have a strategy for staying focused and completing your project? Share your secret to success with us.

How To Network, Promote Your Blog And Grow Your Traffic Effectively.

Networking, Promoting, Guest Posting, Social Media Sharing, Content Sharing, Collaboration, Target Readers, Blog Traffic, Growth

Networking and promoting your blog requires online community building which takes consistent effort to engage, interact and share on social media platforms. Most bloggers know how difficult it could be to grow a blog, however, inculcating useful tactics would allow you to make the most of your efforts to promote your blog.

For a new blogger, networking is especially important to help you speed up the process of growing your blog business, gaining new readers and subscribers.

With the spate of networks coming out so often, there are many opportunities for a blogger to grow their blog, however, time constraint may make it impossible to try to use them all. A great strategy would be to focus on a few of them and work them to the best of your ability.

One recommendation that I would offer any new blogger is to invest a significant amount of time daily connecting with others online, which entails reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, responding to comments, connecting via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest etc.

To embark on effective promotion on social media, I would make a number of suggestions:

Identify your target readers based on your niche.

If your articles are mainly visuals, mediums like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumbler may work best for you, while LinkedIn, Google+ Facebook, Twitter could work in your favour for written posts as well as visuals.

Create great content

The importance of creating content that serves your readers must be reiterated. Killer contents that offer how-to tutorials, solutions to a problem or list of resources relevant to others in your niche would gain and retain the interest of many. Also use snippets that offer tips in-between your schedule of posting killer contents.

Automate content sharing

Through WordPress.org you could choose plugin mediums with the potentials to grow your traffic and the social sharing buttons are easy to implement on your blog and WordPress JetPack provides a service that automates sharing to a number of social networks.

Keep the sharing buttons to a minimum for several reasons; having too many options presents a problem to your readers who may end up not sharing it at all, it also slows down your page speed when you have too many social media buttons.

Use Guest posting and Collaboration

Reach out to blogs in a similar niche as yours and offer to guest post on their blog or to collaborate on topics that you might have in common.

Most times new bloggers aim for high A-list bloggers with tons of traffic and undermine the B-list bloggers with medium traffic flow. The hard truth is that most successful bloggers out there are extremely busy people who are constantly inundated with a deluge of networking requests, so it might be more difficult to catch and retain their attention.

Other medium growth bloggers within your niche are equally in a position to drive traffic to your end especially when your interests lie on the same ground. There’s no point guest posting on a blog that talks about construction, while your interest lies in poetry or healthy lifestyle.

Be Useful. Give, then Receive

Self-promoting is far easier that getting others to promote you and if you choose the path of self-promotion only, your journey will be far more arduous. Be more generous and open-minded in giving rather than just taking. When you highlight and share the good work done by others, encouraging them with your comments and supporting them to achieve their goals, it creates a ripple effect. Generosity may be old-fashioned but still works all the time and you’ll be in a much better position in the long run.

Most people have the fear that in promoting other people’s work they will lose the authenticity of their blog’s which is a total misconception. There are several methods of doing this, either by making reference to the article that you are highlighting, sharing it on social media, featuring the post on your blog and so on.

Be Consistent and Prove Yourself

When you are starting out, it takes some time to create an impression and to build a community. A lot of bloggers start out and give up within the first few months of blogging because the demands of blogging/writing are not easy. The initial slowness of growth and the rigours of networking could make it a steep climb, but you’ve got to keep going and show that you are in it for the long haul. Disappearing into thin air ever so often is not great for the growth of a blog. Be consistent in proving yourself as you grow your niche and keep your expectations to a minimum.

Network, Network, Network

Make time to consistently network at least 30 minutes to 1 hour each day. Read and comment, link to posts of bloggers in your niche, interact with others through Twitter, Facebook

You can search out and join like-minded groups on Facebook such as Share bloggers and Cafe Blog. There’s a number of them online.

Try and build relationships with others. Don’t approach them just as a one-off to help you grow your blog. No one likes to feel used. The basis of interaction should be due to respect for their work and expectation creating a good synergy.

Promotion

Take some time each day, at least a 30 minutes to 1 hour each day to promote your blogs article. Let people in your niche know about it, post it in forums or submit to social bookmarking sites.

With these consistent efforts, the fruitful dividends of your networking will surely pay off over time. I must warn that you shouldn’t expect too much to happen too quickly. The relationships and growth will happen as you persist and build trust.

I would love to hear about your own experience on networking your blog. Are there tips that probably helped you  to grow your blog that you would like to share with us?