Melinda F. Emerson, the “SmallBizLady,” is America’s #1 small business expert. Forbes named her the #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She publishes the Succeed As Your Own Boss blog, and is the author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.
The best way to establish your expertise online is to publish great contest on a regular basis. To keep driving traffic back to your business blog, you’ve got to constantly find interesting ways to engage your audience. Writing 400-word post after post simply won’t cut it, especially with all the competition out there. You must mix things up. Here are 10 ideas on how to develop irresistible content for your blog and keep people coming back for more.
1. Use a Roundup of Quotes
People love posts with expert tips from leaders in your industry. You could, for example, write a post with 10 tips on clearing clutter if you are a home organizer, and get 10 experts to weigh in. Include a headshot of each expert, along with links to their social media profiles and websites, and they’ll even help you promote the post!
2. Review Products
You likely have had a problem that hundreds of other people have had, and hopefully you’ve found a solution. You might even have purchased a product to solve the issue. Why not share the product with your blog followers so they can benefit from it too? Aim to write an unbiased review and point out the benefits or drawbacks that this product provides. Take photos or videos of it to enhance the post. (more…)
Media Shower writer Grace Stephen is well-known for her work in health, medical, and travel writing.
Every once in a while, a good article will suddenly sneak up on a writer. There are seasons in the life of a writer when a book that he or she wrote soars to the number one position on the lists that matter. Sometimes, a blog post will become the center of a long-term discussion, receiving thousands of comments in a single day or a news article will go spectacularly viral. This is the story of a news article I wrote and an evaluation of the aspects that enabled it to go viral.
A Great Start
The article under the spotlight here is a news article called ‘Progeria and a boy called Sam’ written by me, for the Guardian Liberty Voice. If there are two overriding concerns in the world today, they are the quest for youth and good health. The title and opening sentence of my article combines both these concerns to catch the readers’ attention. Another very useful technique that I found works well as a hook to capture and sustain a reader’s attention is to ask questions. According to Ms. Henneke Duistermaat the renowned writer and blogger, asking questions will seduce the reader. My Progeria article begins with two very straightforward questions and the popularity of the article definitely proved Ms.Duistermaat right. (more…)
Media Shower writer Kari Brummond is well-known for her work in finance, law, and education.
Plumbers, industrial hoses, French doors, tax adviser — those keywords and their kin can strike even the most creative content writer dumb. Whether this writer’s block is an everyday occurrence or just once in a blue moon, you need strategies to push through the sludge and find an idea. Here’s a look at five activities to get your mind moving.
1. Get Off the Main Search Results Page
The main search results page can only take you so far when it comes to idea generation. Get off the main results page and look at “news” or “image” results. News articles help you find out what’s new, what’s important to consumers and what’s been happening in the industry, and they can often lead you to your angle
Image results are easy to scan, and they help to introduce new questions, problems or features you hadn’t previously thought to explore. Pair your keyword with another word or concept to alter the images that appear in the search results. (more…)
Every business needs content. Whether you create it in-house or outsource it to third-party professionals, content costs money.
But how much should you realistically pay? Understanding how an article writing service sets its prices can help you budget a practical amount for your content-generating needs.
Bare Bones Article Writing Services
Some writing services deliver articles and nothing else. You don’t get edits, images, or detailed specifications. You might not receive topic approval in advance or extras like sources and fact-checking. This means you’ll have to publish the article as-is or add those extras to the content before it goes live.
These articles might cost as little as $5 each, according to one infographic. As the artist notes, however, online articles at this price point will likely feature regurgitated content, no distribution assistance, minimal or non-existent search engine optimization (SEO) and poor readability. In other words, you’re paying for content that likely won’t produce any significant ROI (return-on-investment). (more…)
Media Shower writer Jennifer Earles is well-known for her work in health, marketing, and education.
Is the English language full of bad habits?
Laurence Musgrove from Saint Xavier University in Chicago seems to think so. In his article, Musgrove pleads with other professors to share the rules of good writing to help people care about their words.
What are the rules of good content?
Online content writers bring in new customers by marketing their businesses and asking them to act. Good content makes businesses better, the Web better, and the world better. That might seem like a far-reaching goal, but according to George Orwell, writers can change how people think.
Orwell became famous with his novels Animal Farm and 1984. He cast talking pigs, horses, and donkeys in his Doomsday novels about the Cold War. As students, his books encouraged us to think about social justice. As writers, Orwell taught us about how to captivate audiences.
But, Orwell was also a literary critic and in his 1946 essay, he had a lot to say about the English language.
As content writers, his writing tools are worth learning:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Orwell hated “dying metaphors.” Metaphors like “don’t cry over spilt milk” turn cliche and don’t help readers create visual images. No one imagines the drip, drip, drip of milk and feels better about facing a real issue.
Instead, Orwell encouraged writers to form quality, fresh images for their audiences. (more…)
If you’re an entrepreneur, your brand should extend past your company’s page. Entrepreneurs can benefit from creating a strong personal brand, especially across social media platforms. Having a personal brand unifies your profiles and makes it easier for people to identify you in searches. It also connects your personal image to that of your brand, giving a face to your company.
Your social media profiles are what people will associate with you, and in turn, your brand. Entrepreneurs should work on curating their social media profiles; this is not to say they can’t still have a personal life, but rather that their personal persona online should align with the values they want their brand to represent. One easy way to strengthen your brand is content marketing.
Media Shower writer Joleene Moody is well-known for her work in health, business, and marketing. She has authored three books; you can follow her work on her website.
I’ve always wondered what the deal was with eBooks. It seems like every savvy entrepreneur has one. My Twitter feed offers me dozens to buy every day. It also offers content claiming eBooks are a waste of time. They are either poorly written, which disgruntles the buyer, or someone is writing faux content with the intention to take advantage of the system. It wasn’t until I published two eBooks myself that I discovered the value of the eBook.
I should preface by saying I’ve never considered writing an eBook. It just wasn’t on my radar. Until the morning I downloaded a well-intended but poorly written eBook for my own consumption and realized, “Wait. I can write this so much better. I can write with meaning and passion and I can make it profitable.” And so I did. (more…)
Media Shower writer Alison Page is well-known for her work in health, careers , and home improvement. You can follow her work at her website.
Writer’s block is a mysterious illness that can attack the unsuspecting wordsmith at any time, regardless of whether you are a content writer, a composer of academic essays, or a best-selling author of popular fiction.
Like the common cold, there’s no magic pill that offers an instant cure for writer’s block, but there are a number of very effective therapies that can be employed to cure a bout of creative constipation. Brew up a cup of tea and try these home remedies.
Your creative brain can be likened to a muscle; it needs warming-up before it will perform to its optimum. Sometimes, the best way to kickstart the writing process is simply to write about something. Forget all about the client brief, grammar and punctuation; just write as wildly as you like about any random subject that pops into your head.
Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.
- Charles Bukowski
This mental physiotherapy can actually be quite a cathartic experience. After all, no-one’s going to review or edit your ‘work’, so for once you can be as outrageous and flamboyant in your prose as you like. Often, this liberating brain-physio is all it takes to cure writer’s block.
Best-selling Da Vinci Code author, Dan Brown takes mental physiotherapy to a whole new level by hanging upside down in order to oxygenate his brain. And whilst clearly effective for Dan, this writer’s block treatment does seem a tad extreme! (more…)
Dr. Eboni I. Green is a Registered Nurse and family caregiver who has extensive experience focused on caregivers’ health and wellness, with an emphasis on caregiver stress, burnout, and related family conflicts. Green is a published author and has written two books focusing on family caregiving. To learn more, visit CaregiverSupportServices.org.
Imagine signing a contract for a marketing campaign. The caveat is that the campaign would span 10 years, during which you would not receive any feedback about the outcomes of your efforts. In essence, you would not know if you are connecting with your target audience, nor would you know whether sales have increased as a result of your efforts. Then imagine that your salary is tied to the success of the campaign and held until the end of the contract.
If you were offered this contract, you would likely decline. Yet publishing a book or a major work is strikingly similar to blindly signing a long-term writing contract. In fact, if you look to Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, you might conclude that this was her path. It took her more than ten years to write the book, during which time she likely received limited feedback from third parties, nor did she earn income for her writing. Luckily, as a freelance writer, you have a unique opportunity to sharpen your skills, build your readers, and receive immediate feedback from customers and editors.
Following are five insights freelancers can glean from Margaret Mitchell’s experiences to become more effective writers.
When you’re on a roll as a writer, sometimes the ideas flow so fast your fingers start to cramp on the keyboard. Other times, however, the creativity comes to a standstill. The following are 5 tips that will give even the most stubborn writer’s block a nudge.
Old Fashioned Brainstorming
Years ago elementary teachers would tell their students to get out a piece of paper and write a topic, even just a single word, in the center of the paper and circle it. Then the kids were to write down every word or thought that came to mind no matter how silly or disconnected to the main topic it seemed. This old fashioned method of brainstorming is still incredibly powerful when it comes to generating ideas. Sure, most of the words won’t be useful, but there’s almost always a few nuggets that will get a fantastic piece of writing started. McKinsey & Company describes the best methods for brainstorming effectively at the corporate level.
Watch the News
Yes, the news can be depressing, but it’s a solid source for finding trending topics and fresh ideas. Watching a news source that a person wouldn’t normally tune into can actually help generate new ideas since different sources and anchors often present material in different ways. The local news can also be a good source of ideas when trying to write for a niche audience.