People blog for different reasons. Here are 7 ways to make your blog a success. Here's how you can rank in search engines without spending a lot of money.
By Debbie L. Belair
Proof reading and editing are not the same thing. This post includes 5 strategies you should consider when editing a piece of content. Here are 5 simple but often overlooked elements to writing great copy.
It's still number one. Watch out for those spell checks sometimes they can give false underlines. If you spell a word that is a real word the spell check will miss it. The big thing is typos. One thing that helps me is making a list of the words I have trouble spelling and pin it near my desk. It saves time looking up the word each time you forget its spelling.
2) Voice and tone
You should always read your copy aloud to check for the sound of the voice and tone. If it isn't consistent all the way through you risk confusing your reader.
3) Always add Value
There are no better ways to serve your reader than adding value to what you write. In other words make sure that they take something away from what they read. This is one way to keep your readers coming back.
4) Grammar and sentence structure
Again reading aloud will allow you to find the tripping points in your writing. Then you tweak the areas that need changing or rewording. If you leave that job to the reader they may click off the page right away. Having said that... some readers will be more forgiving than others.
The idea is to give your reader the best possible experience. Adding headings and sub-headings
can make it easier on the eyes and the reader can decide whether or not to read the rest of the copy. In general, people hate reading ads. If you add extra work for them they aren't likely to read the rest of the piece.
Pin this up near your writing desk. These simple 5 elements will make a difference between bad copy and good copy.
Do you compare yourself to other writers? Here's what you can do instead.
Why role model?
Instead of comparing your writing to others you can emulate the habits of other authors. You can take the qualities of a writer you admire and use them as a springboard for your own writing. Read author bios to find out how they got where they did. Sometimes they discuss challenges they had and how they were overcome. You can be inspired by other authors says Kelly L. stone, and author of Living Write. This is a great read if you are serious about writing. Visit www.KellyLStone.com.
I"ve heard of writers who copy out whole pages or chapters from their favourite writers hoping some of their qualities will rub off on them. Other writers interview successful writers.
You can pick and choose qualities of different writers to improve your own habits and routines.
Both Fiction and non fiction writers copy or type out content from authors they admire. I suppose you could try this with blogging too as long as you keep your material original. If you are afraid of plagiarizing you can always use the software tool Copy Scape.
Build an Avatar
The biggest reason for role modeling is for inspiration and motivation. It's useful to learn new sets of skills and insights from other writers. Have you thought about attending a writer's conference?
Stone talks about creating an Avatar similar to the kind of writer you want to be, and keep it close when you are writing--She has some great exercises you can do. Role modeling helps you recognize that you belong to a group of people with the same ambitions you have. All writers have unique backgrounds-- this experience should be eclectic.
A great review for some of us who forget...or for those who are anal in their writing.
Most of us need to review punctuation from time to time. Let's begin shall we?
If you want to write long sentences then use the period wisely. There is no magic to sentence length, but don't make too much work for the reader if you want your audience to read it.
If you are writing online, sentences should be short for those who scan.
The exclamation point
This one is used to show excitement, but don't over-use it or it will sound like you are shouting at the reader. William Zinsser says don't use it for humor, instead be more subtle. If you want to make a point it's better to restructure the wording.
Most of us used this to carefully balance sentences. It connects two sentences together. Many writers still use this, but it's "old school." A long dash is a more modern way to write two balancing ideas. Semicolons are still useful in very long sentences.
It's best used to list items. Again, it's kinda outdated like the semicolon. In it's use you can use the long dash, but be careful, the short dash is not the same thing. Use the colon for more formal documents and research papers.
The dash has replaced the colon and semi-colon in most writing today. Most of us didn't learn to write like this in school. The short dash pushes the sentence forward to amplify the second part of the sentence. The long dash is mainly used to add explanatory detail that would have required a new sentence. You can change the dash settings in what ever version of word you are using.
A good writer uses all of the above to add variety to written copy. If you aren't sure then check. I keep a copy of Strunk &White on my book shelf.
Why knowing your audience is important. This post presents a few tips that will go a long way to engage your readership. It's not intended for academic writing.
The advice I have been given is "don't make the mistake of trying to write for everybody." Many writers still do this. It's even more important if you are writing for business purposes.
Here are a few tips to remember before you begin to write
Many writers create Avatars of their readers well before they start writing. It's time-consuming, but readers will feel like you are talking directly to them on a personal level. It's always good to help your reader feel understood. Most blogs are written to resolve problems that readers have, so you have to appeal to their emotions.
See more of my firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post describes a few things to keep in mind if you are considering a career in copywriting.
The first golden rule is "know thy audience." One way to do this is to build an avatar for each of the audiences that you write for. This is akin to building fictional characters with profiles. You can even give them names. You must first research the intended audience first.
One of the best ways to get started is to blog on social media sites and build an online presence--it's a great way to build relationships. Most copy is digital but I think it's best to learn the old school way, in other words the long way. You can use templates later.
Don't get hung up on the text. Images and infographics help engage readers. If you know how to make videos that's good too. Some experts agree that media converts more customers. There are a few good sites out there that allow you to download free images. One is pixabay.com and of course, there is flickr.com or www.royaltyfreeimages.com.
I recommend buying a good camera and taking your own photos. If you are using an image that is not from a free site you must provide the name of the person who took the photo.
Build a personal brand. Udemy.com is a great place to learn how to do this. Here you can learn copywriting skills online for low costs. Branding allows your work to be identified and remembered by clients. This involves the use of consistent colors, fonts, and even line and paragraph breaks. Even the photos I use for my website have consistent blue and orange colors...for the most part. Branding is like your signature.
Write quality blog comments. Posting on other's blogs helps build those relationships, and shows that you are a serious writer. I've been told that more people will notice your writing if you do this.
Use a key word planner. The most common is a tool from google, but there are other ones that are free. Key words allow readers to find your material easier--they drive traffic to your site, and help you rank with search engines.
Know the difference between features and benefits. Sean Kayne ( an instructor) advises that you forget the technology and write with pencil and paper. It can be done anywhere and you make fewer mistakes if technology isn't in the way. Features are a physical characteristic of something, and benefits are what it does for the customer. Appeal to the reader's emotions and you will convert more sales. Above all, your content must be engaging.
Write quality content. More isn't always better, in fact many copywriting instructors teach that clear and concise writing appeals more to readers, so skip the fluff and fancy words. A great way to make content easier to read is to use bullets and headings. Most online readers skim they don't read all of the print. Short and to the point is best.
These tips are only a few things to keep in mind when you get started. There are plenty of learning opportunities online if you already have strong writing skills. There are many blogs that provide writing tips as well. One good resource is by Strunk&White called The Elements of Style. This is a great little book that I recommend you read and keep on your book shelf.