by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
I've said it before and I'll tell you again. Helping others is an important part of being a web writer. Not only can you use your words to do good in the world. But you can also use them to help other writers get where you are.
But I just started. How can I help? No matter where you are in your web writing career, you've done something or learned something that can benefit someone else. Maybe you discovered a new venue others may not know about. Perhaps you learned of a resource that might help. Maybe you struggled in life and you can help someone else with a similar struggle.
Won't helping others hinder my success? No, no, and NO!! There is plenty to do for everyone. We each have our own unique goals and talents. We also each have our own styles and areas of expertise. For more insight, I discussed this aspect at greater length in the post: "Am I Creating Competition by Helping Others Succeed?"
But I don't have time to help others. What? Sure you do! You can help others while doing your normal work. Help can occur within the posts you might already make daily. Also, think of some of the moments you might waste in the day, such as time on meaningless forums or Facebook posts. Instead, use that time on forums and Facebook posts that might help others. You don't have to ditch all of your fun. But it's not that hard to find some time to help others.
Why should I help other people? Why not? It's simply a good thing to do. For me, this is always my favorite part of what I do. But there are other benefits as well, if that's not enough. Oftentimes, those who help others have the most success. They usually find something people need and help them achieve it or maybe they are just so nice and helpful that people are attracted to them or their business. It also may help you build important business connections. There are various reasons helpful people succeed. Therefore, if the joy of helping someone isn't enough, at least think of the possible financial rewards.
Have you helped someone today? What are some of the ways you help people?
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
A friend once asked me why a community needs guidelines. Shouldn’t adults be able to interact appropriately without them and determine what they want their community to be? In theory, that sounds good. However, in practice, it can become an entirely different scenario. Also, appropriate behavior isn’t the only reason to have guidelines in place. While your members should definitely determine the overall feel of the community, there also should be some rules. Those rules need not be complex if you want something simple. But you should definitely have some in place.
Members May Be Confused
A well-run community should have a clear objective. It’s difficult to set and keep that objective when no guidelines are in place. Members may get confused as to what should and shouldn’t happen within the community. Without guidelines, no one really knows what the community is about and what behaviors are expected (or not expected).
Managing Could Become Difficult
A community without guidelines is much harder to manage since members may be confused about things. This often leaves the community manager in a difficult position. If there are no rules or guidelines, members may be reluctant to listen when situations arise. It also may become tough to decipher whether a situation is even a situation at all, since no guidelines are set. When should you laugh about something and when should you take action regarding certain posts and behaviors?
How Do You Know What’s Relevant?
If you have no community guidelines, how can you organize your community? While it may seem beneficial to just let members discuss whatever they wish, it can quickly get out of hand. Guidelines will help you sort it all out, whether your community is about one topic or a hundred. An organized community is easier for everyone to use and simpler to run. With guidelines in place, you should immediately know which posts to move, delete, or leave where they land.
Some Members Might Push the Envelope
With no guidelines, some members might take advantage and run amok. But is it really running amok if you have no rules? There are people out there who will do this simply because they know no rules are there for you to enforce. These members may feel that anything you say is simply an opinion and not something they need to listen to. There’s always the option of banning unruly members. However, simply having guidelines in place to enforce can prevent doing so in many instances. Who truly wants to restrict their members or treat them that way?
*I originally published this on Bubblews.com (no longer published there).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Every community needs to have a clear objective. What is your community about? Do your members know the full purpose or intent? Is your community’s objective obvious when people visit the web space?
Make new on-topic posts as often as possible
In order for members to be able to interact with a similar objective, things need to be fresh and on-topic. If other members aren’t posting relevant topics regularly, as the community manager, you should step in and do so. This ensures that both new and old members understand what the site’s objective is. If things aren’t kept up-to-date, they may lose sight of what your community is truly about, which also leaves room for spam and other unwanted behavior.
Monitor member posts for relevancy
In addition to making those new, relevant posts, it’s important to keep an eye on what community members are posting. Part of a community manager’s job is to make sure that what’s being posted is relevant to the community. It’s fine to have an area for off-topic things. But if you want your community to be user-friendly, most posts should match what your community is about. Those that don’t should be moved to an off-topic area or removed entirely. Use your better judgment based on what your community members would prefer.
Keep an updated “About” or “Mission” section or page
Every web community should have an area that describes the community’s purpose. If your community consists of a website with multiple conversation areas (like comment sections, private messaging, and forums), you can create a specific page for that. Usually, that page should be titled along the lines of “About Us” or “Mission statement”. If your community is just a forum, you may want to include some community info within the main/welcome/guidelines post. That way, it’s immediately visible.
* I originally published this on Bubblews.com (no longer published there).
Readers and fellow writers often ask me why I enjoy helping so many people? Am I worried about creating competition for myself? Why do I just freely give advice and inform others of what I do to succeed in writing? Am I creating competition by helping others succeed?
If I were creating competition, I am not afraid to play the game and I'd play it fair. However, I don't believe I am. Why? There is a vast sea of opportunities, gigs, jobs, and contracts in the writing world. It's not humanly possible for me to have every writing task to myself, nor would I desire to.
Aside from that, I am wise enough to know that every assignment is not for me. I don't know everything there is to know. Also, each writer has their own style. Why take on a project I know I can't do when there could be someone else better suited to it and who may need it more than I do? Instead, I could refer a good writer and move on to something better suited to me.
I have always believed in helping others, no matter the situation. Whether in my career or in every day life, if I see someone who needs help, I'm going to provide it if I have the means. If you knew a secret that could change the whole world for the better, would you keep it to yourself? Of course not - at least, I hope not.
No, writing advice is probably not going to change the world. However, if I can offer some guidance that can help change someone's perspective or career for the better, you can bet I'm going to tell them. One small piece of advice or word of encouragement could be all that is standing in the way of someone living their dream. How do I know this? People have given me that kind of hope and assistance. Were it not for fellow writers pushing me and offering me advice, who knows where I'd be today?
So, am I creating competition by helping others succeed? Does it really matter?
Even the best of writers make errors. From typos to grammatical mistakes to run-on sentences, mistakes in writing are common. In internet writing, many writers are editing their own content. This works well most of the time, but we all have our off days. Even a star editor can make a mistake in their own writing. So, how can you solve that? One way is to get a writing buddy.
What is a Writing Buddy?
A writing buddy is another writer whom you trust with your work. This writer also must entrust their work to you. Writing buddies give their final proofread copies to each other to be sure the work is of good quality.
What exactly do writing buddies do?
Writing buddies read over each other's final drafts and make correction suggestions if needed. If both writers also are good editors, there may not be many corrections, but it always is good to have more than one set of eyes looking over a project. It's a great way to ensure quality work is produced as often as possible.
Why Should I Get a Writing Buddy if I Never Make Mistakes?
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. No one is perfect. I'm sure that anyone combing this very post will find at least one (if not more than one) suggestion to make. There always is more than one way to look at writing. Also, like I stated, nobody is perfectly accurate all the time. I have gone over pieces of work several times, thinking they were up to par. Then, after they've been published of course, I've found grammatical errors or typos. Having a writing buddy can minimize the chance of inaccuracies.
How Do I Find a Writing Buddy?
If you're a writer, chances are you know at least one other writer. If not, you really should start networking. Having other friends who write can be extremely beneficial in more ways than just the one listed here. I recommend choosing your closest writing friend for this particular project. Be sure that you and this person can fully trust that neither will misuse the other's work in any way. I won't give legal advice on this because I am not a lawyer. Only you can decide how you should handle the legalities. But, I will say that it can be extremely helpful to have a fellow writer give an opinion on work before it is turned in to the client.
How Many Pieces Should My Writing Buddy Check?
All of them, if possible. However, if you are like me, then that may not be possible. I write way to many articles in a day to fairly have a buddy check them all. You and your buddy should decide on a fair number that is feasible for you both. Once you get a balanced writing, reading, and editing routine down, you may be able to add to that number.
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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