As a mentor of my writing peers, I am often asked to discern the difference between a blog post and an article. When submitting work to clients and content sites, how do you know if your writeup should have gone to your blog instead? Blogs can certainly be professional and articles can definitely be conversational. However, even though you can publish an article on your blog, it's not very wise to submit something that should have been a blog as an article. In some cases, it may even hurt your career. So what's the difference?
What is a blog post?
A blog post is written text on any subject or event and can be fact or fiction. Poetry can even be used as blog posts. There is generally no word count limit for a blog posts, unless specified by the blog owner. Some people use blogs to tell others about daily events in their own lives or in certain industries, sports, or causes. Others may use blogs as a form of self-expression. For instance, someone going through an illness may update the blog on their progress or their feelings throughout their journey. Another person might blog about their children or their favorite sports team. Personal blogs are often (but not always) based more on opinions then they are on facts. Business or professional blogs may read more like articles.
What is an article?
An article is a text writeup that is generally non-fiction. Although some styles can be fiction, such as a satire piece. Usually if an article is meant to be satire, it will be specified. People generally read articles as a trusted source of information. They also expect to find enough details to answer what the title implies. News stories are one form of article. How-to guides are another. In both cases, the information should be clear, to the point, and appropriately detailed. Articles are generally longer than blog posts, but not always. An article should be an appropriate length to get the point across without too much or too little information.
Can an article be a blog post and vice versa?
Some professional blogs read more like news articles. This is fine and even respected. However, blog posts should not be substituted for articles in most cases. For instance, your blog post about your terrible breakfast does not belong on an informational site. However, if you would like to give your blog a more professional feel, by all means, post articles instead of treating it like a personal journal.
What about personal experience articles?
Personal experience can bring a unique angle to an article - provided that's what the client wants. However, personal experience does not mean you have to dish on the latest family drama to get the point across. If you must do that, at least leave it to your blog. In an article, it's only necessary to share enough of the experience to get the point across. Share what adds to the informational aspect of the article. But don't share as much as you might tell your best friend.
Discerning whether to use your writeup as an article or blog post.
When making the decision whether to post your writing to your blog or to sell or publish it as an article, there are several things to consider. Does the article provide the reader with useful and unique information? Would you want to read it as a solution to an issue or a source of information? Is it factual without unnecessary rambling? While your blog readers may want to hear every minute detail, the average web reader would rather skip to the point. If people want a blog post, they visit a blog. But if they want facts, instructions, or info, they look for an article.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network.
Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Web writing can be like other forms of writing. But it also can be quite different. There are many things to learn if you want to succeed in this business. As an experienced online writer, I've learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't. Here are 10 things I feel every web writer should know.
People will talk negatively about you. Whether it's your neighbor, your significant other, or even one of your peers. Someone will have something to say. In order to succeed in online freelance writing, you need to grow a thick skin. Keep doing what you do best and prove your critics wrong. Rather than defending yourself with more hate speech, fight back through your work. Let it speak for itself.
Success in web writing takes work. Just because you can form a sentence does not mean you will instantly earn millions. Just like any other career - that's right, "career" - you need to put in effort to be successful. Some people will earn their way to the top faster, but regardless of speed, they all have to work in order to see results. The more you put into it, the more you get out if it. Taking shortcuts might seem to work at first, but it could all blow up in your face when you least expect it.
Online writing is not for everyone. Love to write? Good. Have talent? Good. That's part of the equation. But it's far from the entire puzzle. In order to make money, online writers need to be able to write just about every day. If it takes you weeks to get through one school paper, don't expect to immediately succeed in web writing. Some components are very similar. Can you produce quality journalism in a short time-frame? Do you enjoy the act? Then, you might be ready.
There's more to web writing than just writing. In online writing there is not always going to be an editor to look over and correct your work. Many times you will need to edit your own work. You also may need to promote yourself, be social with readers and fellow writers, and much more. Success in online writing comes from being flexible and having a variety of talents that complement each other.
Success comes from being unique. If you see another successful web writer, it's a good idea to study their techniques. However, it's bad idea to try to mimic their entire style. Why? They most likely succeeded because of being unique. If you are mimicking their style, you could be seen as a copycat, which will get you nowhere. Instead, follow their techniques and advice. Develop and apply your own style. Otherwise, the online world will chew you up and spit you out.
Learn while you earn. There is no one person who knows every single thing about online writing. Successful web writers learn something new daily. Study often and apply the knowledge, both in the beginning and throughout your career. You can never know too much. Things are always changing and evolving, especially in online writing.
Online writing is not the same thing as print writing. While both industries require quality, that definition varies for each. Web readers like to look up a topic and read something in simple terms to quickly answer their issue or interest. It takes great skill to simplify writing for easy scanning. This does not mean you need to sound uneducated. But it does mean you need to make your text easy on the eyes and easy to find. Think of the phrases you use when you search for similar things online. Obviously, you are more likely to search "homeschool tips" than "advisement for home educators". Your content should read the way you would search combined with what makes it easier for people to read.
You're obligated to your client, not the other way around. When working with others, especially long-time clients, it may be easy to feel like they owe you certain things. But the truth is, the client hired you. Their only obligation to you is proper payment for your dedication and hard work. Hopefully, they will also be respectful. But don't ask your client for extra privileges. Your client is not obligated to please you. If they want to give you something extra, that's perfectly fine. But, don't expect it and certainly don't ask for it.
You are a trusted source of information. Do your research. When people read articles that contain the information they need, they expect them to be accurate. If you can't do the proper research, don't take the assignment. If you continually provide accurate and detailed info, your readers will respect you more. On the other hand, if you do not, you can completely damage your online writing career.
Web writing is a career. While some may enjoy this as a hobby, it can indeed be a career and many people, like me, do this for a living. If you want to succeed, treat it like the career that it is. Not doing so can lead to failure very quickly. Be sure to also make it clear to family and friends that this is your career.
by Richard Rowell, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
The Benefits of Becoming an Authority in Your FIeld, Niche, or Area of Expertise as a Blogger
One of the hardest things about blogging is getting people to come back for more. You can build up a huge initial audience. But over time, even if you keep up with continuous content creation, that doesn’t mean that people will come back and interact in ways that you might expect. You can provide the greatest information in the world. It could even be exclusive. But with this strategy, most of the time, you’ll get an overwhelming majority of “hit-and-run” visitors. Yes, they may click on an ad. They may check out a product or two that you are promoting or selling. But very rarely do you convert this traffic into actual revenue. Curiosity is great, but it doesn’t make you a living. In fact, big page view numbers can lead to little more than frustration.
There is hope, however. You just have to ask yourself a deceptively simple question.
What’s In It For the Readers?
Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketing once published an article about how he and his team built up a blog from zero to $6 million in sales in only a year. The website is called SurvivalLife.com, and it’s about survival and preparedness. Yes, it does promote products but in a passive way. They have become a huge resource in the survival and preparedness market. It’s not just because they have a network of blog contributors and a team of blogger experts. Each article offers something beyond just the article. Having ad networks and even affiliate programs like Amazon Associates is nice, but they don’t work for everyone. But having a mix of affiliate and in-house offers is better if they’re well-targeted, unlike a lot of those pay-per-click ads.
Ryan says that becoming an authority is so much better than being an “ordinary” blogger for a number of reasons. One of the reasons, he says, is this:
“You don’t need a product, sales copy or even an idea… you just need to have a passion in a market where great content and fascinating experts already exist.” – Ryan Deiss (http://www.digitalmarketer.com/6-million/)
It’s all about the passion. There’s more to it than that, obviously. You have to really dedicate the time and energy to become the sort of “insider” that he talks about. In fact, he says you don’t even have to be a writer to become an authority. Earlier on in that same article, he mentions Oprah, who has built an empire by simply associating with experts in multiple fields. She makes big time revenues off of those affiliations because those are real sales that she’s generating by the interest in those experts because of the trust that she has built over the years.
So What Can You Offer Your Readers?
Sharing other content is great, especially when it’s by other experts that I trust. However, I don’t necessarily subscribe to Ryan’s idea of “The World Doesn’t Need More Information.” I do agree that if the information already exists, and is already well-written and presented, then you should share it with the world. You don’t even have to rewrite it “in your own words” as they say. “Spinning” isn’t really necessary if the information is already worth promoting.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still be part of it. You can still share personal experience. What it does mean is that you have to always bring it back to making it about what your audience is looking for when they come to you. Offer up other authoritative content that you love, no matter where it comes from. This sounds counter-intuitive, but people will remember where they heard something from if it’s valuable enough.
Why do people go back to major media outlets or remain loyal to brands? It’s because people create emotional attachments to things that provide them with what they’re looking for if it delivers on a consistent basis. It doesn’t all have to come from your mouth. You just have to keep the good content coming, no matter what the source.
Sometimes, it turns out that the best approach really is to become an expert by showing how you learned to become an expert in that field. By doing so and showing the process, you teach others how to become an expert in their own field, niche, or area of expertise. The idea is to lead by example, even if you’re not the greatest writer in the world. It’s about sharing and caring, as silly as that sounds.
As it has so often been said, it doesn’t matter so much what you give someone, but rather how you made them feel in doing so. Once you have the emotional connection and you continue to deliver on that connection, you’ve made a fan for life. It doesn’t matter how many of those you get as long as they’re genuine. They will be the ones that not only will grow your business, but also be friends for life.
So, you've just joined a content site and need some tips on commenting etiquette? Maybe you've been around a while and just need a refresher. Whether you're new to the game or an old-timer like me, you may be reading and commenting on the works of fellow writers frequently. Here are some of the rules I practice and recommend when it comes to commenting on the works of others.
What should I say?
Say whatever the writer's article makes you feel - provided it is not threatening or slandering in nature. There is no exact way to comment, as long as you are not violating the TOU (or TOS) of the site or breaking the law. However, it is nice to leave a comment that signifies to the writer how you felt about the piece or the subject matter.
Think about the author and readers.
Some may be offended by certain comments or those that read "PV love" or other similar statements. Even if it may not be your intention, some may feel you are only reading the article for reciprocal views. Also, outside readers may not understand the meaning behind such comments. There is nothing wrong with helping out fellow writers. But, putting some thought into your words may be appreciated even more.
Just be you.
This is something I am very adamant about in everything I do online and off. Be yourself. Allow your personality to shine through in your comments. There's no need to be reserved if that's not you. If you're reading an article, but don't know much about the topic other than what your reading, don't be afraid to admit it. The author will be glad to know you appreciate the lesson.
Share personal experiences, but in moderation.
If you feel like it, go ahead and share your life in comments. That can be a great addition to an article. But, think before you speak - or rather, type. There are some things that you just don't tell everyone. If the writer is a friend of yours, you might send a private message instead. A good rule of thumb: if you are not alright with everyone you know reading it, don't say it. You never know who might come across what on the internet. Also potential employers or clients might Google your name to see what you're up to.
Don't have expectations.
If you leave a comment on someone else's article, they may choose to reciprocate. However, don't assume they will or expect them to. Also, remember that just because someone does not leave a comment does not mean they did not read your work. Speaking for myself, because my days are busy, I do not leave a comment on many of the articles I read.
Be considerate of other people's time and choices.
Ever received a message from someone asking you to read an article you've already read because you hadn't left a comment? Please don't send such messages. If someone wants to read your article, they will - and they may not always leave a comment. No one should feel obligated to leave a comment on every article they read - or to read every article from their favorites or followers. When would there be time to write or spend time with our families? Instead, simply leave comments when you are able and appreciate the comments you receive as well. Bonus: Less stress from worrying about whether you or someone else has commented or not.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Often friends and family of online writers don't understand their lifestyle or career. It's not something they do on purpose. They just really don't understand. Here are some of the top things family and friends of online writers need to remember.
Just because we are at home does not mean we are available. Online writers work at home. Yes, this means we are at home more than some others might be. But it does not mean we can always answer the door or the phone. All of a writer's home hours are not hours that the writer is available. We have hours that we work, just like everyone else. It just so happens that our work is done at home. Just like you would not want someone calling your job to interrupt your work, we feel the same.
If the phone is off, we are most likely working and probably not dead. The phone being turned off is not an invitation to bug a writer on messenger or Facebook. It's also not an invitation to keep leaving messages or show up at our door. It simply means we are working and will get back to you when the work day is over. Writing is no different than any other job. If we don't do the work, we don't get paid. So if the phone is off, please don't take that as an invitation to interrupt our work with other means of contact.
Call before coming over. Online writers might be working at various times of the day or night. Our schedule is flexible. However, because writing requires a specific thought process, when we are in the middle of it, interruptions can actually ruin our work. So, even though our work day is flexible, we need to be able to be the ones to choose the hours. If you'd like to visit an online writer, call first. If the phone is off, the writer is probably busy.
Facebook and other networking is not playing. Online writers get paid by page views on many of their pieces of writing. Just because your online writer friend or family member is on Facebook, it does not mean that person is playing. We need to stay social to keep connected with each other, as well as our readers. Both conversations and posting article links helps us with this aspect. Just because we are posting on Facebook, it does not mean we are not working. It also does not mean we are available. Facebook, twitter, and more can be an important part of an online writer's day.
Online writing is a career, not a hobby. When you ask your friend or family member how their 'little hobby' is going, expect them to be offended. Why? Online writing might be a hobby for some, but to many, it is actually their career. Does your friend or family member get paid for their writing? If you can answer yes, then it is not a hobby. Online writers are business owners, which makes writing their career. Just like everyone else, we have to file taxes, we have to put in the hours, and we get paid. Please do not call an online writer's career their hobby.
*This content was originally published by Lyn Lomasi on ListMyFive.com.
by Richard Rowell, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Why does it seem like writers aren’t taken very seriously? It really bugs me how it seems that writing has become such a poorly compensated skill. What bothers me even more is that it is considered one of the most important skills in any business today. Proper and clear communication is extremely important for any human being. Highly skilled writers are some of the greatest assets any business can have.
So why do writers have so much trouble finding steady work nowadays? People always need writers - ghostwriters, especially. Why is it that so many of we freelance writers and content marketers have to often resort to receiving pennies on the dollar for what we’re really worth? There are clients that truly appreciate a writer's skills and abilities and value them accordingly. But so many others don’t. I truly can’t comprehend this.
I've learned that it might be so easy for me to write articles. But for a lot of other people, it really isn't. So what takes me half an hour could take someone else hours. It's possible they won't get anywhere near the same end result. I love it when I learn that a piece of content I wrote touches someone, or convinces someone to buy something from myself or one of my clients. A little time and effort goes a long way.
Writing has always been that singular skill that I have long excelled at. Fortunately, I was smart enough to pursue it with due diligence. Some of us need more pushing than others. I always wanted to be a writer, from a very young age. The great deal of encouragement I had always helped. Eventually, writing became a reflex for me. As it turns out, as I’ve met more and more writers, it seems that this writing reflex is a common thing for us writers. Regardless of what it is we write about, we all share this compulsion that we just have to write.
Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Many businesses are realizing that they need to hire more skilled writers to write content. Up until now, it’s been about writing for the search engines and hiring “marketing experts” that know how to game the system. It should be about just hiring writers that know how to write for people. It shows when you have dedicated writers that actually are writing for the audience and not for gaining traction on Google, Bing, et al.
The new paradigm shift that content marketing is taking means that there are more writers needed than ever. There's a huge amount of hyper-niche content needing to be created. It makes those without degrees, like myself and many other writers, a lot more valuable. We’re more than happy to crowd-source. We just expect to be fairly compensated. This simply hasn’t been happening as it should.
Do writers need to unionize to make this happen? Actually, there is a National Writers Union here in the United States. What we definitely need to do is not give into writing 1000-word articles for only $5 a pop. That level of content written well can be worth hundreds of dollars in what they will end up netting in the long run. Well-written and engaging content is proven to work on a regular basis. You can’t just post any old content and hope people will interact with it and share it. More of the world is finally waking up to that fact.
In fact, studies have shown that writers outside of a given field can end up with better results writing content for businesses. This is because they offer a fresh perspective that those in the field may never have considered. Some of the best content comes from guest bloggers. Writers always love a challenge. If you pay us decently enough, you may be amazed with what you’ll find. We’ll be writing anyway, so give us a shot!
Writing isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and practice. It also takes a lot of passion to always be looking to improve on the art. As writers, we must constantly expand our knowledge so we can infuse everything we write with all that we’ve learned. We writers need to find a way to set the market straight and prove to people that our skills are grossly under-compensated. We don’t just sit around all day typing away for pennies because it’s fun. We do it because we love to create. Honestly, we'd love to create for a fair living. We want to work. Just give us the chance.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is their top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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