Archive for Writing for the Web

Success Secrets of a Writing Career:
WOOT & WOOF

AuthorAttitude Nina Amir 226x300 Success Secrets of a Writing Career: <br>WOOT & WOOFSome 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

bigstock D White People Antivirus Pro 43001323 300x218 Creative Work, Blogging, Writing and 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

bigstock What You Need To Know 40622695 300x200 Key Content Marketing Strategy: Answer Readers Questions Does 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 0428 300x225 Content Marketing Adventures in Mexico: Stuck on My Own RoofI’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

Writing Pen 300x200 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 Steps 300x300 Expert Ebook Writing: 5 Steps to Get StartedIf 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 StuartMiles 300x240 Whos an Expert, and Why Experts Write EbooksIn 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?

(Image: freedigitalphotos.net)

Is Ebook Writing Different than for a Blog,
Webpage, or Printed Book?

EbookWriting 225x300 Is Ebook Writing Different than for a Blog, <br>Webpage, or Printed Book?In this series of blog posts about writing an expert ebook, we explore these questions about digital content writing, or content marketing:

  • How is writing an ebook different from writing a blog post, a special report, a web page, or for a printed book?
  • Are there any grammar or style differences?
  • Formatting issues aside, what are the rules and best practices to improve readability and boost readership numbers?

Or, is it any different? Most people I know, including many of my clients for whom I ghost write and edit, assume that all book writing is the same. They try to follow the rules of style and grammar learned in school.

They could be wrong. If there’s one thing rapidly changing technology has taught us is to question everything. Don’t assume anything.

What worked for Dickens and Hemingway won’t necessarily work for you on the Web. It might work, but then again it probably won’t. Read More→

Top 4 SEO Tips for Small Business Blogs on a Shoestring Budget

ShoestringWallet 300x199 Top 4 SEO Tips for Small Business Blogs on a Shoestring BudgetThe Search Engine Optimization landscape has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. One of the side-effects of these changes has been the fact that many low-cost SEO tactics have lost their effectiveness and power.

Consequently, a lot of small businesses and professionals today are struggling to achieve their SEO goals on a restricted budget. After all, for small companies, hiring an expensive agency is often not feasible. Having said that, there are still a lot of smart yet pocket-friendly SEO tips that businesses can implement on a shoestring budget.

Here are 4 top SEO tips for small businesses on a shoestring budget:

Contribute to High Authority Blogs in Your Niche

Aim your energies at quality blogs. This will help you to develop referral traffic, cultivate thought leadership, and garner authoritative and quality links. Of course, you’ll only be able to do that if you generate remarkable content that offers actionable information.Here are a few strategies that can help you identify quality blogs:

a) Create an account on platforms like myblogguest, etc. These platforms create a meeting point for bloggers and blog owners looking for guest blogs, so you can easily identify quality opportunities.

b) Download the Google Chrome PR plugin. It will let you see the PageRank of every blog you visit instantly. While PR is not the sole indicator of a blog’s quality, PR 2+ blogs that show regular updates and host quality posts, can be good prospects.

c) Run a Google search for potential high authority blogs by using the niche areas you want to blog about with the keyword “guest blogs”. For example, let’s you want to write posts about e-cigarettes, your search query could be “E-cigarette guest blogs”, “quit smoking guest blogs”, etc.

Publish Quality Content on Blogs by Content Curating and Accumulating Content

Content curation is the act of collecting, discovering and offering digital content that surrounds some specific subject matter.Content is the most effective SEO tool there can be, if used right. But, the major problem that a large number of business owners or bloggers face is the lack of quality blog content. Luckily, there are gazillion resources available that can be used to generate interesting content ideas.That’s where content curation comes in. Simply put, content curation involves:

a) Researching and putting together top blogs on a subject.

b) Quoting important paragraphs from the blogs, and giving them proper citations and credit.

c) Adding your own spin, or interpretation to what’s already been published.

Conduct Competitive Link Analysis Using Free Tools

One of the things that helps your website rank higher is the number of links from other reliable and reputable website that link back to your website. There are two ways you can do this, either get someone to do it for you or do it on your own.

Look for websites that are linking back to your competitor’s website. You may use Open Site Explorer, to do this. With OSE’s free services, you may not be able to get all the data, but you’ll still be able to gather information to get started with your own link building activities.If you can stretch your budget a little, you may as well opt for paid membership for detailed information about your competitors link-building activities. There are lot’s of tools like, SEOSpyGlass, Majestic SEO, etc, that you can use.

Use External Proficiency and Expertise Tactically

Before engaging in a complete retainer based relationship with an agency, seek out the following kind of arrangements:

a) Monthly consultancy: Some SEO agencies or consultants do sell hourly consultations, which is a very smart way to garner some useful insights for a lesser fee.

b) DIY SEO audits: You may use free tools like Seoptimer, WooRank, Goingup, etc to do a review/audit for your website, so that you can identify the areas that need improvement. Then hire contractors and assign them specific tasks suggested by the tool, and implement the changes that require minimal technical expertise in-house.

c) Use free SEO tools to keep track of your performance: Free versions of tools like Ranking Checker by SEOmoz.com, SEO Analyzer by Sitening.com or SEO for Firefox by SEOBook.com, can all be of great help.

When it comes to budgeting, you have to make a choice between investing time or money. For small businesses, these cost-effective SEO tips make a lot of sense, however, if you adopt them you have to be prepared for some time investment, especially if you plan to implement all of them in-house. Good Luck!

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too please contact www.pitstopmedia.com.

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Bloggers: Brush Up on Your Writing Skills

ContentMatters 001 Bloggers: Brush Up on Your Writing SkillsBusiness bloggers: just how good are your writing skills?

Most bloggers and those who run small businesses that publish blogs are not natural-born writers, or even trained writers. Most businesspeople studied things such as marketing, communication, or business.

It’s not often they’ve studied English or creative writing. Yet it’s becoming expected that businesses have a well-written blog, as well as expertly-written content on their website.

Some businesses can afford to hire professional writers to author their blog and/or website. This is great, if you can handle the expense. Many small businesses are not willing or able to pay a writer when first starting out. So how can you brush up on your writing skills in order to maintain a professional blog and website for your company?

There are lots of resources for business bloggers available in many different mediums. Here are some ideas:

  1. Books: Good old fashioned reading can definitely help you to review grammar and sentence structure rules. There are many good books out there on writing. A search on Amazon for “writing skill reference books” turns up many titles that are well-reviewed by customers. Most can also be purchased in an eBook format for reading on the go. You could certainly purchase one of these books and read it when you have a few free moments. Any effort you put into learning more about writing well will show in your material. Read More→