Archive for Writing for the Web

How to Make Social Proof Work for You


When writing on the web about your services or products, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of testimonials and client reviews. Social proof is such a strong persuasion trigger you shouldn’t limit these comments to just a page, but have them scattered throughout your web and blog pages.

Know what works best for your content marketing strategies, especially when creating a website or blog, introducing yourself, a new product, or special promotion.

In my previous post, Social Proof: Why It’s So Important, I reported on research that showed travel destinations with client recommendations and photos of the reviewer were selected 20 percent more than destinations with no review.

But not all recommendations (and ratings) will yield the same results. According to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, in her book Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click: Read More→

SEO and Content Marketing: A Love Story

Once upon a time, SEO met up with Content Marketing, fell in love, and vowed to never separate, to always work together in harmony.

Anyone who’s been around the ‘Net a while understands a little about optimizing content so that the search engines can index it according to topic and relevance to readers. About ten years ago, someone decided to give a name to the type of marketing that occurs that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers: Content Marketing. How do the two differ and how are they alike?

This week, I invited Jack Dawson of to share his insights on working with SEO and CM together instead of separately.

Where and How They Met

There are many techniques that make up internet marketing, two of which include search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. SEO has been around for quite some time, more than a decade at least, while content marketing has only gained popularity in the last few years. 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→

Success Secrets of a Writing Career:

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→

Creative Work, Blogging, Writing and Resistance

Blogging-Creative-Work-ResistanceEver get stuck? Everyone encounters resistance when it comes to blogging, writing, and creative work. It’s so easy to give in, isn’t it? When it comes to doing work – putting words on the page… or electrons on a screen – you can’t escape getting stuck.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a scientist, blogger, CEO or rock star. Work requires you to actually do something. When you sit down to do it (or stand up, whatever), you experience stuckness – a state of mental morass punctuated by mind chatter and an inability to move. Read More→

Key Content Marketing Strategy: Answer Readers’ Questions

What You Need To KnowDoes your website answer readers’ questions? This is a key element of a smart content marketing strategy. You must devote a few key content pages to answering readers’ questions about your business products and services.

Otherwise you’re not helping them solve their problems. You won’t keep visitors on your site for long; it will be “click and bye-bye.” Read More→

Content Marketing Adventures in Mexico: Stuck on My Own Roof

IMG_0428I’ve got a Mardi Gras parade dancing down my street right now, in my sleepy little village of Ajijic, near Guadalajara in Mexico. It happens three or four times a year, always because of religious fiestas: the whole village dresses in costumes on floats with music blaring as loud as possible.

It’s so loud it’s hard to think. I couldn’t finish my content marketing project for a client, so to get a good view, I went up on my roof to watch. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

And it was great… until I wanted to come down. I realized that dropping over one roof top ledge to another is easy enough. Not so when you’ve got to go back up and over the ledge and it’s just out of reach. Read More→

Easy to Make Ebook and Blog Writing Mistakes


Here’s why it’s so easy to make these common ebook and blog writing mistakes:

Many small business professionals with a business blog are keenly interested in getting their message out there, and don’t care so much in writing “properly.”

Younger people, in particular, like to write like they talk. Speech can be a great way to convey personality. It’s more like jazz rather than a sonata.

When people use a lot of verbal expressions in online content, however, their readers have to work harder to understand the message.

Blog writing with a conversational tone is good for connecting with people, for sure. You should, however, make a concerted effort to follow grammar and writing rules that make your blog easier to read. Read More→

Expert Ebook Writing: 5 Steps to Get Started

5-StepsIf you’re an expert in your field and want to publish a digital book, how should you get started writing content?

  1. Write down 3 – 5 of your most compelling stories, ideas, nuggets, mistakes, or experiences you think interest your readers.
  2. What’s your point? (What’s your unique message you want readers to know that will impact their lives?)
  3. Write out a working title and a tag line that clearly states what the book is about and what it is designed to solve for readers.
  4. What’s your conclusion, what you want readers to do, think, believe, act on…? What’s your call to action?
  5. Write an outline that explains in a sequential order how you will provide benefit to readers.

(Please note that in each of these steps, the word “readers” is mentioned. Your readers are clearly at the heart of your book. In other words, you aren’t, they are.)

At this point you can continue writing or start looking for a ghost writer. Ask yourself, is it worth my time to learn how to do this and actually write the sentences, or hire a writer who already knows how to string together sentences, paragraphs, chapters from preface to conclusion, to notes, etc.? Read More→

Who’s an Expert, and Why Experts Write Ebooks

ExpertEbooks-StuartMilesIn my current series of posts about writing ebooks, I’m primarily addressing the challenges of experts who want to write and publish a digital book, for example, on Amazon.

Who, exactly, is an expert? Who qualifies? I don’t know that there’s any definition or standard that one must go by. To me, my clients are professionals such as doctors, lawyers, consultants, coaches, speakers and educated people who’ve been practicing their skills for 20, 30 or more years. They’re experts.

Wikipedia defines an expert as someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study.

I guess just about anybody can call themselves an expert, especially if they have knowledge and skills that others don’t. Writing and publishing an ebook doesn’t make you an expert, but it certainly shows your knowledge, experience and value as such.

Why Write an Ebook instead of a Printed Book?

There is no denying the shift that is happening in the book industry: ebooks are on the rise and here to stay. Check out some of the latest industry data:

  • E-book sales grew dramatically in the first quarter of 2010, jumping from just 1.5% of total US book sales in 2009 to 5% of the market in the first quarter of 2010. Source: R.R. Bowker
  • The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) reported U.S. wholesale ebook sales for January, 2010 were $31.9 million, up 261 percent from the same month a year earlier.

Reports from Amazon

  • Ebooks are now outselling hardcover books at Amazon, selling 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers.
  • Jeff Bezos told the USA Today that he predicts Kindle ebook sales will outsell all books (including paperback) within a year.
  • The Kindle is now available at Target and Best Buy.
  • Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.

Most experts I know believe that by publishing an ebook, they’ll get known by a larger number of people. They’ll establish credibility by writing about what they know best. They’ll connect with readers who may have exactly the kinds of problems they can solve.

To me, writing and publishing an expert ebook not only makes sense, but is a requirement for anyone who wants to use the Web to get found, get known and get clients. What do you think?