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).
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Comments from readers can make a person laugh, cry, or even stare off into confusion. Readers can do anything from asking genuine questions to trolling posts and leaving comments to get a purposeful rise out of the author or other readers. Should web writers answer reader comments? I've written on this topic before but it's been a while and is a good time for a refresher course, as well as some new information.
Is responding to your readers allowed?
Depending on where you are doing your web writing, responding to readers may not be allowed. If you are writing for a website or blog other than your own, be sure to know the terms and what is and isn't allowed. Some venues encourage commentary between authors and readers, while others prefer that only the readers do the commenting.
Is the comment genuine?
Before you lay your fingers on that keyboard to draft a response, consider whether the commentary left is genuine or not. Does the reader appear to be truly curious about the subject or does something seem off? Sometimes readers may leave comments meant to reel you in, so to speak. Consider the motive behind the comment before deciding about responding to it.
Is your response reactionary or truthful?
Are you just responding a certain way in a moment of frustration or passion or are you being completely truthful? Be genuine and true if you are going to respond to your readers. If you can't be truthful, there's no sense in engaging readers via the comment section. Sometimes what you want to say at first may not be totally in line with the way you truly feel after some thinking. Some comments don't really need a response and many times you'll find that your readers will come along and defend you if the comments seem to call for it. You won't have to say anything because they will do that for you. Of course, I am one who really doesn't care what people think of me, so I generally don't feel the need to be defensive anyway.
Is your response useful?
Don't waste your time typing up a response that isn't going to benefit your readership in some way. If your reader is asking about lizard care, there's no point in answering questions about your college degree, unless you graduated from some lizard specialty school and it's relevant to the questions at hand. A helpful comment section will include questions and information that adds to what is available within the article itself.
Is your response helpful or hurtful to your desired image?
Is the language and context you present in your commentary what you want to present to readers and potential clients? I personally am my true self no matter where I am. Therefore, I don't worry about this one too much. I know that I am not going to say anything that I wouldn't say in front of anyone, including business contacts. But if you know that you don't have the same awareness and control, be sure to examine what you are posting before hitting that comment button. Some people may find it helpful to type up potential comments in a document and read it aloud before posting.
At the end of the day, if you are truly comfortable with what you are posting and it is acceptable to the venue, readers do appreciate interacting with writers. Therefore, if done correctly according to your personal standards, this could actually boost your career.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
If you browsed my Facebook wall (or other social media sites I am a member of) and hadn't before (or were not made aware of what I do), you might quickly become confused. Why? I often share work written by my friends as well as what I create myself. This means some topics might conflict with my personal viewpoints and other things posted -- and that's okay. However, it is confusing to some people and I receive questions about it often.
Here's the deal. Freelance writers often get paid based on page views. Therefore, I frequently share to help them out once I have read a piece. Sometimes I agree with the points made in my friends' articles and sometimes I don't. I don't always share based on topic because I can disagree with a topic and still feel the article has value. Even if someone doesn't agree with me, they have a right to speak their mind as well. Unless it's harmful to others, opinion doesn't affect my choice to share the link to someone's work on various social networks.
My strategy for reading when my friends do the same is to click what I'm interested in and ignore the rest. It's silly to send a message to someone asking them not to post certain things. Yes, I have had that happen: (http://www.articlewriterforhire.com/1/post/2013/10/please-dont-tell-me-what-to-post-on-facebook.html). I realize I do share lots of stuff on social sites. Please ignore what you aren't interested in and only share what you are. After all, sharing should be organic, not forced.
What's your sharing strategy? Do you use opinion as one of the deciding factors in sharing content on social media?
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
(c) Lyn Lomasi
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Are you competing too much with your peers? Trying to keep up with their writing success so you can match or exceed it? If so, you're doing it wrong. Completely. Why are you in competition with your writing peers when you can empower them instead?
But Lyn, if I empower my peers, they'll beat me at my own game, won't they? I know that's what you're going to ask because it's been asked of me countless times.
I've been in web writing a long time. There is no competition. I repeat, we are not here to compete with each other. Be unique. Be you. Be true. Be helpful. But don't be a poor sport. The most successful web writers work together as a team to help each other succeed. Trust me, there is plenty of work for us all and then some. There is no shortage of content needs and each writer has their own style and topic strengths.
Empower your writing peers by teaching them what you know, as well as encouraging them when you can tell they need a push. What's in it for me, you say? If you're actually asking this question, you just don't get it. It's not about credit or paybacks. It's about working together to empower each other and build something awesome, be it a large venue or a small blog where a few of you contribute.
What if someone helps you and can't help them? Once again, this isn't about paybacks. It's about working as a team. If you want to be of service, pay it forward to another writer who could use the kind of help you offer.
have you empowered a fellow writer today? If not, get on it!
You spend hours on a submission perfecting every little detail when along comes an editor to mess with your masterpiece. If you're going to make it as a writer, you will have to work with editors. A necessary part of the publishing process involves dealing with editors.
Learn to compromise. Editors can and often do change things. That's what they're there for. They catch the little mistakes we make (and we all make mistakes). They also may make changes that are better for structure, your audience, the web, and more. Though you may not always agree with their changes, you will have to deal with many of them. Depending on the publication, you may be able to form a compromise with the editor.
Let it go. That may be easier said than done in many cases. As writers, we see our writings as our little babies, if you will. We work hard on it and it means so much to us. Altering it can feel like someone is trying to change us. After all, it does have our names on it. But at some point, we have to learn to let it go. If the work never bypasses an editor, it may never get out in front of the audience. Try not to get too attached and let the work go once its complete.
What's the change? Instead of becoming to attached to the way the piece is written, focus on the message. If the edits do not take away the message, don't be so hard on the editor. It's perfectly fine to address the editor if you feel that the changes are unsatisfactory or take away from the message. But if the change is nothing that takes away the message, why waste all that energy getting upset? Write another article.
Report the editor. This is only for extreme cases. I say that because as a writer, you will need to learn to deal with the fact that your writing will be changed by editors if you want it published with major companies. If the editor really is making changes that are unreasonable (and not just changes you don't like - changes that affect the quality of the work significantly), that's when you report the editor. I advise not taking this route unless necessary because a writer and editor need to be able to work together peacefully. But obviously, if there is an injustice it should be reported.
Switch venues. If you just cannot deal with a particular editor, write somewhere else. Ultimately, you should be happy with your writing (or any) career. If that's not happening, you haven't found the right venue/s to write for yet. Realize you should not be switching venues every time you don't like what an editor does. But if there is a true problem, remember that you can move on.
Write for yourself. If you truly cannot deal with anyone at all messing with your own work, only wrote for yourself. When someone is paying you to produce work, it should be what they want, hence part of the reason for the editors. If you create your own venue, such as your own website or blog, you make the rules. Even if you go this route it can still be a wise move to have an editor or at least a writing buddy that is willing to be a second pair of eyes. But you'll have the most freedom when writing for yourself.
Bottom line: Editors are a part of the writing and publishing business and writers need to be able to adapt to that fact. Work with (not against) your editor, unless you have a legitimate claim against them.
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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