There are thousands... no...millions of bloggers out there.
And yet, they all sound the same.
Kinda boring, don't you think? As a reader, take a look at what blogs you spend the most time on and the places where you leave the quickest.
If you were interested in healthy foods, would you spend more time reading someone who wrote like this:
" I made these a couple of weeks ago because I had a wicked craving for fish tacos and all I had on hand was shrimp. So I made a command decision: I made shrimp tacos.
It’s called troubleshooting! I’m good at it, but only if it involves food.
Put me in the desert and tell me I have to find my way out using my awesome sense of direction? Goodbye forever. Ain’t happening.
Did you know I can spin Marlboro Man around a thousand times with his eyes closed and with his eyes still closed he can point in any direction and determine whether it’s north, south, east, or west simply because it’s so embedded in his being?
Did you know I can spin around a thousand times with my eyes closed and throw up?I digress. Let’s move ahead with the tacos, okay? "
From The Pioneer Woman.
Or would you like to hang out at this blog:
"...First off, I would like to discuss the proposed theories that coffee has been affiliated with. Coffee has been believed to cause an increased risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension, stroke, cancer, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (1). Coffee has been thought to increase mortality in cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients (2). Also, the consumption of coffee may cause adverse effects with people who have hypertension (3). Lastly, many people believe that coffee is a diuretic..."
Taken from the American Society of Nutrition
Huge difference, isn't it?
Ernest Hemingway had said famously - “Write drunk; edit sober.”
As writers, we find that to be the best piece of advice that any writer can have in creating their masterpiece. But, how does being a borderline alcoholic help with your blog? What Hemingway meant was that after your initial burst of creativity, be ruthless in your editing. Because it's the editing process where you develop your tone and also where all the hard work is done.
So, the next time you start writing your blog, make sure that you spend the time to develop your writing style that will make your readers connect with you. Keep in mind that the writing style you use meets these two criteria:
You don't want to write with teenage angst if your audience are IT Managers... with LOL, OMFG and other acronymns which would only bring down your credibility.
But, don't also write in a dry, academic tone that would make War and Peace a light, frothy read in comparison.
So how do you develop your writing voice?
Hemingway had his own style that evolved from his time as a war journalist - short, clear sentences that was boiled down to the bare essence. His philosophy was - if you can communicate a concept in three sentences instead of five, do it. He once won a bet that he could write a story in six words. On a napkin, he wrote - For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.
However, there isn't really a strict set of rules in creating your writing style. There’s no “right” style that you have to follow. Your own writing style is really a combination of your personality, how you view the world and most importantly, how you speak.
Some people communicate in a very flowing writing style. Others write in short bursts of thought and focus entirely on the main points of what they write. What matters isn’t learning a style, but finding your own style and developing it.
The more you write, the more you will get better at it. And your writing style will evolve over time. At first, it may seem difficult and slow, however, as you keep writing, you'll notice that you become more efficient.
Here are some tips to develop your writing style:
1. Be a voracious reader.
Read every book that you can lay your hands on. Read blogs and magazines. Newsletters. Novels.. By reading more, you will understand the type of writing styles that you resonate with. Discover how articles are put together, understand how good writers create interest and engagement. You'll start learning what makes for uninteresting blogs and what really grabs your attention.
Your blogging too will naturally improve and evolve, especially if you are making the effort to study and learn technical skills such as grammar, the mechanics of the writing process itself, and certainly, the art of storytelling.
2. Write as much as possible.
Practice makes perfect. On top of reading as much as possible you have to write as much as possible. Play writing games with yourself... a good one is picking one word around a theme and writing for ten minutes - answering questions such as what memories does it bring for you, what emotional pull does it have, why is it interesting for you... Don't stop and don't correct until the ten minutes are up.
Other techniques that you can use are:
3. Learn from the top bloggers/copywriters
Although, we did mention that finding your own style is unique to you... learning the fundamentals of blogging from the masters can help you. Learn from top bloggers, such as:
By using them as a foundation for your own writing, you get a feel for how they communicate. Analyze their writing style, understand how they craft their headlines and how they create a compelling story that grabs the readers' attention immediately.
4. Learn copywriting
Although copywriting is used in direct mail pieces, landing pages and websites, to persuade a target audience to take action, the lessons that you learn from copywriting techniques can help you immeasurably with your writing. Some of the best bloggers are also copywriters. As mentioned earlier, they know how to craft a great headline and how to create a compelling post that grabs the attention of the reader immediately and keep them reading until the end.
5. Read your writing out loud
It's not the writing that is important - but the editing. As Hemingway mentioned - it's not the creative act of writing that is important, but the hard work of editing. One of the best tips that we've received in regards to editing, is reading your work out loud. You will pick up some nuances that may not come up when you're reading to yourself. Mistakes such as repetitive words, or tone of voice that sounds too casual, too formal, stiff or even dry can become evident to your ear.
Most importantly never stop learning.
Although Hemingway was known as a hard-drinking, big-game hunting, prize winning writer, he always took the time to help out others with their writing. Much of his wisdom was taken from a lifetime of writing and in spite of the years, it still can be applied to the art of blog writing today.
Like Hemingway, the best strategy is to keep an open mind with regards to your writing style. Learn from the pros, learn from your friends and peers, and learn from yourself.
If you persistently work and focus on writing.. your style will begin to meld and take shape. With millions of other writers out there all competing for eye balls… a unique style and perspective is the best tool to get them glued to your page.
Before writing a post, get your creative juices flowing. Have a glass of wine, drink a beer, take a nap or go for a run.. whatever it takes.
Write fast. Until you are out of ideas.. and then revisit in the morning for some cold sober editing.
As writers, we love anything related to content marketing and writing, which is why we've compiled a list of great content tips and articles from around the web... Check it out.
27 awesome ways to get people to listen to you
As a blogger or content marketer, not only do you need to create and maintain your editorial schedule, but you also have to do some blog marketing. This involves commenting on other sites, doing guest blogging, promoting your posts and connecting with others through social media. All this is tough to maintain over a period of time. This article shares a few ways how to get your readers to listen to you...
3 tips for increasing your content productivity
Being productive in your blogging is a problem that many online marketers have. Your success in blogging is dependent on being consistent, organized and relevant. This article outlines how you can produce quality content frequently.
12 important steps bloggers should never forget
A blog is a great way for you to get your message out. However, if you're not showing up on Google and your traffic is low, make sure that you follow these steps.
10 must have templates for content marketers
Being organized is key in your content marketing strategy. These templates will help you clarify your vision and create an content map that will allow you to provide fresh, relevant content that meets your prospects needs.
A lot of people argue that of the goals of an online content marketing strategy is to support your link building efforts. However, content marketing should be more than just a way to get link juice for SEO purposes. You should consider it as a way to build your brand - increasing your reach within your target market. Here is why guest posting should be a part of your online content strategy.
1. You get more brand exposure
If you have a popular blog, you know the speed in which buzz can be created from publishing a great post - controversial or not. When you write as a guest blogger on another site (or even have someone write on your site), not only do those readers get an unique point of view, they have access to new expertise that they couldn't have found themselves.
Readers always look for fresh information and once they realize that they get great content, it's more likely that they will share the blog to others. By writing on other blogs as a guest poster, you are taking advantage of expanding your network and brand exposure by showcasing your expertise. You will have access to new readers and by engaging them, they will perhaps become your fans.
2. Improving your website's SEO
It doesn't matter if you guest post on another blog, or have someone post on yours, guest posting is not only a way to get more varied and interesting content but also helps with your own site's SEO. By posting on popular blogs, you get the opportunity to get your name on authority blogs, whose backlinks will provide you with some great link juice from search engines. Additionally, when readers find content that is interesting and informative, they tend to share it with others. With traffic from guest postings, plus shares amongst readers, you will receive targeted organic traffic. Many SEO experts mention that receiving a high authority backlink from a guest post carry more weight from Google than the thousands of links received from article marketing or directory submissions.
Remember that writing for your own blog is quite different from writing guest posts for others. You must not only be aware of the writing style of the blog but also make sure that your topic is related to readers' interests. Take the time to write a great guest post as this will be your calling card to increasing your own blog's visibility.
When it comes to creating content for your website, there are a lot of myths out there. If you ask online marketers, webmasters, and bloggers about their opinions on creating content, you’ll receive so many different answers it'll be hard to separate fact from fiction. We'd like to set the story straight. In no particular order, here are six misconceptions on creating online content so you can avoid making mistakes that may kill your website...
Writing for SEO doesn't mean that you must sacrifice on quality.
Why would you want to drive users to your site, only to push them away with poor content? It is wasted effort and becomes expensive for the long term.
Using a plagiarism detection service or rewriting an article makes it unique.
Putting an article through a plagiarism software only checks to see if it's a duplicate article. It doesn't mean that the article is unique and can't be found elsewhere. If your article is considered to be a duplicate, even when it's rewritten and passes Copyscape you could still be penalized by the Big G.
Article marketing works, sometimes.
When Google changed it's algorithm to include the Panda update, it dramatically affected spam article directories such as EzineArticles.com, ehow.com and others. Don't worry, it doesn’t mean that article marketing no longer works, it's that you'll have to make sure that your articles meet stricter quality standards. Poorly spun and private label rights articles won’t do well. However, original, well-written, and informative articles helps, especially when other websites link back to it for their readers. Be careful when posting junk because it will affect your website's brand..
Keyword density is king.
While keywords are important, stuffing your article with a particular keyword is frowned upon by Google. The best way to get great organic search rankings is by:
using the keyword phrases strategically, including variations of the keyword,
creating anchor text, considering basic SEO tactics such as headlines, bolding etc.,
and encouraging incoming links.
Work ends once the content is uploaded.
Once your content is uploaded, your work does not stop there! Not only must you continue to add fresh, original content to your site on a frequent basis, you must also start promoting it. This will keep the search engines and, most importantly, your users coming back.
Web content writing is the same as writing for print.
Writing for the web requires a different skillset than writing a print publication. Not only must you be aware of who you're writing for, you should also have knowledge of SEO, article structure and readability. You have to remember that readers do not read online, they scan material quickly following a triangular path on a web page.
Creating online content isn’t easy and as an online marketer, you must be aware of how these misconceptions can cause more damage than good.
Creating content on a regular basis can be challenging, especially when, you as a marketing director have other deadlines and responsibilities. In another post, we've discussed how you should create a content plan as a way to organize and generate content. We've provided a few tips to generate content ideas if you're struggling for blog topics.
Another great way to add to your portfolio of blog topics are interviews... Here is why:
Planning the interview
Understand that there is a purpose to your content. Know that your readers are here to learn more about solutions to their problems through your blog. Ask yourself:
Doing the interview
Make sure that you are prepared before the interview. Do your research on your subject, it's always good to over-prepare. Read their articles, blogs and anything that they have published. The more you know about them, the easier it is to ask insightful questions. Write out the questions ahead of time, and leave enough leeway for side topics during the interview. Prior to the call, prepare the interviewee on who the audience is so that he is aware on how to present the message the right way.
The success of your interview would depend on the technology you're using. If you're doing an audio interview over the phone, a great tool to use is Skype. With Skype you can not only call your interviewee but also have the option to record the audio. You can then transcribe it afterwards into text for your blog...
Let us know who you want us to interview...
We would like to provide you with the best information possible in regards to content marketing or online marketing. Let us know who you would like us to interview in the comments and we'll do our best get their expertise.
You have been staring at your computer screen for hours, stumped.
As a small business owner, you have to deal with unpaid invoices, inventory checks, vendor issues and on top of that, you have to promote your business and build relationships with your clients. So that's why you blog.
But why is it so hard?!
As an expert in your field you should know what topics are important for your clients...what their pain points are. But in the last hour or so, all you're doing is staring at a blank, white screen of your microsoft word document.
Makes you want to throw that laptop through the window....Just take comfort that you're not the only one with this problem....
Learning to be chatty...
No, it's not from relaying the neighborhood gossip online... although it can help.
It's by planning your editorial strategy and calendar weeks in advance. As real estate agents say, it's all about the location. Likewise, for content marketers it's about planning, planning, planning. Here are the steps that you must take to never run out of things to write about:
Start with the research
But don't just start listing random topics that come to your head...You wouldn't create a sales or marketing plan without doing some market research. So why would you do the same for a content plan? Use the research to know:
Use Google trends and IceRocket to determine the popularity of certain blog topics, keywords and if they repeat over time. Armed with this information you will be able to know what interests your readers, how they get their information and what they are doing to solve their problems. Are there competitor sites that are not focusing on a particular topic? Learning about your competitors determines whether a particular topic would get lost in the noise or would get some visibility.
Research your competition and readers
As you can see, an important part of the editorial process is research. And a large part of the research is the information/search habits of your readers. If you are an experienced online marketer, you already know what tools you would use to compile a list of search terms that your readers use to find solutions to their problems.
There are hundreds of tools out there but the simplest one is the Google keywords tool which will allow you to determine the keywords used by a particular site. So, if you want to quickly find out some of the keywords that your competitors are using, simply type in their domain and you would get a list of their keywords and phrases. Use these keywords to use as a foundation for your blog posts.
Know your sources
You need to find an issue that hasn’t been beaten to death already by competitors or experts. If there’s only really one main issue at stake, give it a novel spin; zoom in on a detail; zoom out to put it in context – anything to keep things fresh and make people want to know more about. Spend the time to create a source list that will allow you to keep track of breaking topics:
Creating the editorial calendar
The editorial calendar is a great way for you to beat writers block. There are other benefits to creating an editorial calendar such as:
Andy Wibbels has provided an editorial calendar template that can help you keep track of your daily topics. Having a written plan also allows you to recognize and find potential topics whenever you come across interesting news and feel that you can add to it.