Archive for On Writing Better

Best Kept Secret of an Email Newsletter Bio

Email-NewsletterWhat’s the best kept secret of a newsletter bio? As I mentioned in my last post, your bio on your blog or website About page should be current and tell a story, rather than be a resume written in the third person. The same is true for an email newsletter bio.

Unfortunately, I see many coaches and consultants use their resumes for their sidebar bio. (“Dr. Smith has 20 years experience in strategic planning and holds an MBA from Harvard, etc.”)

Then there are those who go to the other extreme: They tell too much about their achievements and come across like an ego-maniac.

While everyone wants to know about who you are as the author of an email newsletter, mostly they want to know “what’s in it for me.” (WIIFM) Read More→

5 Key Elements for Your “About” Page:
How to Tell Your Story

About-Page-My-StoryWhen’s the last time you updated your bio on your About page on your blog or website?

Smart bloggers know that this is one of the most visited pages: People want to know who’s behind a business. Personalities count. Yet many blogs and sites have a standard resume written in the third person, boring as all get-out.

Certainly client lists are important. But so are you. An About page is an important content marketing opportunity. Tell your story, your real story. If you are the sole author of your blog, write it in the first person. Read More→

2 Sure-Fire Ways to Inspire Your Blog Writing

Business-blog-writingA few years ago I polled readers and asked what their biggest blogging challenge is. Turns out, it’s not lack of time, it’s lack of inspiration. Does your blog writing lack inspiration? Is it hard to get really fired up when starting to write a post?

I get that.  When I was just starting out as a blogger (was that really over 15 years ago?!) I could just feel that screen staring right back at me.  What can a blogger blog about to other bloggers?

Lack of inspiration comes from not being sure you’re doing it right, or doing it well, and lack of confidence that it will be worth it… in other words, fear and doubt.

Fear and doubt go away when you know what you’re doing, and have a system that will allow you to move forward confidently.

Here are two ways you can side-step fear and doubt, and write frequent, consistent quality posts and develop a blogging habit that will grow your abilities over time. Nobody starts out writing well. Yet, everybody’s got a piece of genius within them, so it’s a question of finding it and putting it on paper, quickly, before any demons get in the way. Read More→

The Biggest Mistake Business Bloggers Make (and how to avoid it!)

Oops!The biggest mistake business bloggers make is that they are frequently ego-centric. This isn’t necessarily all bad, it simply doesn’t bring the blogging results that smart professionals expect.

Bloggers are so passionate about their message and their expertise, they preach. They shout. They proclaim. They implore. They explain. They document and support their logic.

But they forget about that old background tune that repeats in the head of all readers: “What’s in it for me?” Bloggers assume that their readers are like them and interested in the same things.

How to Avoid Bad Blogging

If you want good advice, refer to the classics. There’s no better style writing advice than The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B.White. Here are 10 tips that adapt Strunk and White’s advice to blog writing (the first 8 are from Dean Rieck over on Copyblogger and is titled The Ultimate Blogger Writing Guide): Read More→

How to Write Great Blog Posts Every Time

Successful Blog Posts - EverytimeHow do you create quality content that attracts online readers and yet works to promote the growth of your business?

Creating great content for your business blog is a what and how issue, as in what constitutes “good” content, and how does one produce that content so that it brings in the readers that a business blogger wants. Quality content stimulates reader/customer engagement.

Here’s what quality web content looks like: It’s short, sweet, smart, and funny: Read More→

A Quiz: Test Your Content Marketing and Blog Writing Knowledge

A Quiz: Test Your Blog Writing KnowledgeQuality blog posts are key to your business getting found on the Web. While that may sound obvious – (“Of course, why would I write something ho-hum boring?”) it’s harder than you might think. Not everyone agrees on what quality content is.

Quality content scores high with readers, your target clients, and with search engines. If you want to get found, get known and get clients online, you need to write and publish quality blog posts that resonate with your readers.

Two weeks ago I posed the question, “what makes you mad?” This can be a great first step in uncovering a hidden drive – what motivates you. It can also help identify what drives your readers; what content resonates with them. Read More→

The ABC’s of Business Blogging:
Create Shareable Content – Don’t Be a Bore

Create Shareable ContentIn the world of business blogging and content marketing, there’s nothing worse than a bore.

I know we’ve all seen bad content marketing – blogs that are irrelevant, outdated, full of incorrect information, typos, rambling rants and silly drivel. But what I find to be the worst is mediocrity. Read More→

Success Secrets of a Writing Career:
WOOT & WOOF

Writer-Success-AuthorAttitude-Nina-AmirSome say success for a writing career is a question of attitude. You simply put on your super-hero cape and think positively… I say ‘hogwash!’ Thinking doesn’t drive results.

There is no secret ‘law of attraction’ for achieving a writing career. A success mindset helps you tap into energy, but unless you get into action, all you’ve got are dreams.

Dreams come easy for writers, too easy. Take any writing assignment, either for yourself, your own business, blog, or ebook, or one for a paying client. Chances are, you’ll spend as much time dreaming about the piece as you will actually writing it.

Recently I read a good post about “The 5 Qualities You Need to Successfully Self-Publish Your Book,” by Nina Amir on The Future of Ink blog. She suggests adopting an “author attitude” of WOOT, from The Author Training Manual.

This clever acronym suggests five attitudes for successful writers: Read More→

How to Make Yourself Blog When You Just Don’t Feel Like Blogging

boomHere’s a tip for how to make yourself write a blog post when you’re totally uninspired. Use other people’s inspiration to motivate you.

For example, take a look at what you’re reading on the Web right now. If it’s good enough to catch your interest, maybe you can use that spark to create something new for your readers?

Here’s how I went from barely awake blog procrastination to publishing this morning.

You can tell a lot about a person just by reading the titles of the web pages they’ve got open. Right now I’m reading posts on Harvard Business Review:

  1. “How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want to”
  2. “The Daily Routines of Geniuses”
  3. “Stop Trying to Control People or Make Them Happy”

And one on Hubspot: “12 Inspirational Writing Tips from History’s Greatest Authors.” Read More→

Better Blog Writing: Getting Hooked by Your Own Hook

Social engineering conceptIt must have been the coffee. But there I was at 5 a.m. looking for a “hook,” a magnetic headline that would draw readers into my client’s blog like bees to honey. The client needed a post that day, and I needed to write and edit what she’d given me quickly. After all, my morning tennis partners were waiting for me.

Eureka! I cried as I found a cleverly compelling hook, saved my post as a draft and ran off to the tennis courts. Only, when I returned to the office two hours later, my client had a left a message, “Uh, …it’s great except for the headline and lead. Call me back.”

I blame it on the coffee. The hook was indeed inspiring, only it had little to do with the message my client was trying to convey. But a little caffeine and dopamine in the brain can fool you into thinking your writing’s great – and never mind it’s missing the point. Read More→