Drawing and Keeping Interest as an Online Article Writer
If you expect to make money in online article writing, you need to develop an audience. First, you need to draw readers in via promotion, SEO, and the like. But once they are there, you need to figure out how to keep readers interested. Otherwise, they'll just click away and possibly never come back to read you or your articles. So, how do you keep web readers interested in your articles?
Be Unique for More Interest
If your articles sound like everyone else's, readers will think so too. You need a unique flavor and angle that no one else has covered. Being unique keeps people interested. Give them something different to read about. For instance, if you're writing about a medical condition, just a description of the condition is something that can be found anywhere. Add in your personal experience with it in a specific aspect, that will give the reader some extra information and entertainment.
Keep Readers Interested With Passion
If you don't care about what you're writing, that will most likely come right through. When you write, you need to show readers that you are passionate about conveying the facts or thoughts. It's possible to do this even in news or other topics that you research. Choose only subjects that interest you or subjects that you know about. Writing what you know or have an interest in helps the passion shine through in your writing.
Use Your Expertise to Draw Interest
Drawing even further on writing what you know, be an expert in your chosen topic each time. This doesn't mean you need to stick to one niche. It's alright to write on a variety of topics. But each writer should have certain topics that they write about often. Also, within each article, where possible be sure the reader understands your expertise. Make that clear in the first paragraph. For instance, begin a sentence with the phrase, "As an educator of 30 plus years" or some other experience indicator.
Be Yourself to Keep Readers Interested
Relax and just be yourself. You do not need to write like everyone else. Your own voice should come through your articles. This is possible whether you write in first, second, or third person. Of course, in third person, you can't say 'I' but the style in which you write can still be uniquely yours. When you just relax and be you, readers may take more interest because the writing won't feel so forced.
Pay Attention to Your Readers
When readers leave comments or send messages about your content, pay attention to what they say. When people blog about or otherwise mention your content, keep your ears open. Pay attention to the feedback and write related articles based on that. Sometimes, in addition to sharing experiences or thoughts about the article, people will ask questions. Answer those with another article and let them know via the comments or any other way you can contact them.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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
In web writing, it’s best to keep your sentences simple. Even though you may be speaking to an adult audience, web readers like to skim and be done with it. Simple wording makes your work more attractive and easier to scan.
Shorten longer and run-on sentences.
On the web, statements should be less than ten words. The shorter, the better. In the following example, the sentence is too long: “Angela took a stroll down the winding pathway that was located in City Park in the city of Denver.” Instead, you could say: “Angela walked the curved path in Denver City Park.”
Avoid words that can be used more than one way.
According to the Yahoo Style Guide (pg 329), words like “once” and “before” can be confusing. They can be used in two or more ways. Instead of saying “Once you add the eggs to the recipe mixture, stir the ingredients slowly before moving on” you could say “Add the eggs to the mixture. Then, stir slowly for five minutes. Move on to the next step.”
Avoid long-winded words.
While the word “pathway” is a simple word, “path” is better for the web. People usually find things on the web via search. More people will search for a word like path versus pathway. Also, path is easiest to read of the two. Always choose the easiest word for what you need to say. That way, even people who have a harder time reading will be able to understand you more clearly.
Use simple words.
Try not to use long words or those that are harder to say (or read). Instead of using the word difficult, you can use hard. This may sound like you’re “dumbing down” your work. Really, you’re just making sure people see it and stick with it until the end. Web readers scan fast and they also leave fast. Your job is to make sure they find what you write and stay with it as long as they can.
Text and Photo by Lyn Lomasi; © 2014 All rights reserved
*I originally published this on another site (no longer published there).
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
"Amy who?" If you get that question often, you need some help branding yourself. Have you ever thought about twitter? Perhaps you've tried twitter already but don't know how to brand your company with it. You're just talking to thin air, right? Wrong. If you use twitter correctly and tap into the available resources, you have access to a very wide audience. I've been using twitter to brand myself in several niche areas for years. So how do I do it?
Follow people who represent what you stand for. This is one of the most important ways to show people what your company is all about. If you want people to know you are involved in a particular activity, be involved in it everywhere, including twitter. One of my missions in life is to help rescue and bring appreciation to small animals. Anyone who knows me, even for a second, knows this. Why? I put it out there. I talk about it, write about it, have a web page about it, facebook about it, and yes, twitter about it with a twitter account dedicated to that alone. On that account, I interact with other animal lovers. Following and keeping up with these people not only shows I'm involved, but it keeps me up to date with what's going on in that niche area.
Tweet tips about your purpose. If your purpose is to bring attention to homelessness and you're tweeting about your new cat and his cute tricks, you are targeting the wrong audience. It's one thing to have random fun posts. But most of your posts should be related to the niche you want to brand yourself or your company in. Otherwise, your followers will be very confused as to what exactly you represent. Do people need to ask what your purpose is? Do your followers often have nothing to do with your niche? If so, work on tweeting more about your purpose, lest you branded for something completely unrelated, such as silly things cats do, instead of fighting homelessness.
Tweet links to more information. This shows your followers you know what you're talking about. An authority on a topic should have an outlet where the topic is further discussed. This could be a blog, a website, a facebook page, or all of the above. Tweeting these links helps to brand your name (or company name) to a niche topic because it shows activity on a particular topic. I am well-known for my parenting and pet content. Why? I live it, write about it, and share content about it regularly. Those links go out to twitter every single time so that followers know what I stand for. When your followers know what you're about, they will start to look forward to this information. That's when you know you've done a good job branding. But don't stop. Keep up the momentum.
Use hashtags that represent your purpose. This helps readers and potential followers find your tweets. If you tweet about homelessness, you might use the tags #poverty, #homeless, or #homelessness after your tweet to indicate what you're talking about. If you do this with every single tweet, people come to associate you or your brand with the topic. To reach the maximum amount of people, experiment and search twitter for various hashtags that mean the same thing. Choose the ones that produce the most results. The more people that regularly use a hashtag word or phrase, the better.
Use hashtags that represent your brand. You can also take it a step further and create tags that represent your company or name. Place those tags, as well as other related tags, in every tweet so that it's easier for people to find you and associate you with certain topics. I add #LynLomasi in many tweets that I want associated with my brand. One of my websites is called Life Successfully. When I tweet about something I want branded to that website, I use the hashtag #LifeSuccessfully.
There are many ways to brand yourself on twitter. Be clear and consistent in the methods you choose to gain the most positive results. Be fair and don't spam too many links or over post. That will actually cause you to lose followers, rather than gain them. Be authentic and use twitter to enhance what you already believe in.
**Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Try doing a Yahoo search on anything related to freelance writing jobs and you’ll pull up a multitude of opportunities, many of them scams. The simplest way to tell if one’s a scam is that it usually starts with “make easy money” just like any other scam. While it’s true that some aspects of a freelance writing career will become easy to an experienced writer over time, freelance writing as a whole is NOT an easy full time career path. But it’s worth it.
As a full time freelance writer, I used to spend countless sleepless nights thinking, researching, and typing out the results endlessly. Wait, “used to”? If I’m no longer a full time freelance writer, what do I know? The thing is, I spent years as a full time freelance writer and I slowed down, not because of the lack of money or interest, but because I wanted to help other freelance writers. That’s right. Now my full time job is helping others do what I did. But I still write almost full time as well. Therefore, I assure you, you can trust my experience.
Some people think “Oh, I can write. My poems from high school are great. I should be a writer.” And if that’s you, writing might be a good career choice for you. But just keep in mind that writing for the web and writing a poem here and there are two entirely different things. Freelance writing as a full time career path will involve writing for a considerable amount of time most days. Decide which you REALLY want to do and do that.
Writing for the web as a full time freelance writer is hard work. Yes, work. Forget all those scammers out there telling you it’s easy. Yes, it’s easy for them at first because they’re copying and pasting the text that I (or another talented writer) put real time and heart into in order to create it. But it no longer becomes easy for them when we decide to pursue it legally.
Ah yes, there’s another thing about freelance writing. You’re not JUST a writer. You’re a writer, researcher, marketer, CEO, manager, self-appointed attorney, and many other things.
The first part – the actual writing – may come easy to you sometimes and maybe even most of the time. But there will be days when you may not be able to form a complete sentence no matter how many deadlines you’re facing or how much money is on the line. Even for writers who seem to just sprout creative words in an instant, writing all day every day can become difficult. And you WILL need to write very often (among other things) in order to make the most money at web writing.
I know what you’re thinking because it’s me as well. I definitely said it too. You’re saying “but I love writing. I already write all day long, nonstop. I can do this.” If so, then you probably can, just like me. However, keep in mind that even you will likely have days where you just can’t. Also keep in mind that everything you write, though it may come from your heart, is for someone else. And, while you are in charge of yourself, you do still have to actually work. Otherwise, what are you getting paid for?
Up until this point, I may have turned some people off already because it sounds like a big complaint. But heck no! I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world. The thing is, if you’re going to be in the business, someone needs to tell you the real facts. Yes, I can spend more time with my kids (human and fur variety). Yes, I make a fairly decent income when I’m consistent with it. But it does take real work and effort and if you can’t commit to that, this is NOT the career for you because if you stop working, the money stops coming.
For me, the benefits of staying home with my kids, the satisfaction of knowing my words may help people, being able to finally start saving some money, and some of the other things directly related to being a freelance writer are worth the hard work. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Still want to be a freelance writer? If you said yes, I commend you. Feel free to reach out to me on my Facebook page for help getting started: facebook.com/LynLomasi
(No, I’m not going to charge you anything for advice, unlike those scammers out there looking for a quick buck. NEVER pay for work. You’re the one working. YOU should be the one getting paid.)
**Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this here on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
When you write an article and publish it on the web, you don't know who is going to read it. Your high school English teacher might read it. But then again, so might someone with minimal understanding of English or a person with low vision. You need to be able to target as many people as possible when writing for a web audience. One way to do that is to toss the "educated jargon." You're a journalist. We all know you can read and write. Keep it simple and keep the readers.
According to the Yahoo! Style Guide lesson entitled " Translate Voice Into Words " (pg. 36), using simple words is helpful. It's not a good idea to practice all those big words you used in school in web writing. This is not to say that web readers aren't smart. But, when a person searches for something on the internet, they just want to find and scan the info quickly. If you have too many big words, they'll just click away and move to the next, costing you a potential reader. Lighten your vocabulary load.
As an experience web writer, I agree with the Yahoo! Style Guide on this point. When I first started writing for the web, some of my work contained too many big words and complex language. You can still be considered a professional without having a talk with your thesaurus every day. Simple wording does not mean you aren't smart. It just means you're catering to your audience.
Another vocabulary-related mistake is being too formal in web writing. Take this sentence for example: "According to authorities, Amanda was unwillingly arrested, due to the unruly bar commotion she provoked." There is nothing wrong with the sentence. But it's not as easy to read as the following: "Amanda is said to be in jail after refusing to go with police. Reports state that she caused some ruckus at the bar before that." Which one is easier to follow? Most likely, it will be the second one.
There's also your unique voice. Your content should be written in a way that immediately tells readers it's something you wrote. Think of the books and articles you read often. Are there authors that stick out? Do you know right away who wrote something, based on the topic and tone? That's what you want readers to do with your work also.
One way to do this is to create your own wording for certain things. For instance, I call myself a "Momtrepreneur". When I say that, I am referring to the fact that I'm a mom and an entrepreneur at the same time. I work at home and stay home with the kids. I've received countless comments and messages over that one term. Also, just the way in which someone "speaks" in their writing should tell you who the author is. Two people can write about the same thing and have it come out entirely different. Give your content that special touch that only can come from you, but at the same time, keep it simple.
Yahoo! Style Guide by Yahoo! and Chris Barr
**Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
**I originally published this content on Yahoo! Voices on Aug 2, 2010
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
No offense meant to the writers this applies to. But I have been doing this a long time and am a natural observer. I've noticed that oftentimes the writers who have the most interaction from readers are those that update their profiles, especially photos. I mean, who wants to look at the same picture for years, no matter how good looking it might be?
When you update your profile photo often, it shows that you are active and it also gives readers something fresh to look at. Think of your profile photo just as you would your written content. Random browsers may find an older photo or piece of content interesting. But those faithful followers need something new to look at or they might wander somewhere else more interesting. Yes, most of what readers will be focused on is the written content. However, it does help when the author photo is shiny and interesting. People on the interwebs like shiny things. It's a given -- and new shinies appear often.
How often do you update your profile photo? Have you observed the same things I have? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section.
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
Why would online article writers need a website if many article submission sites allow a professional profile? This is a question I get asked often when I mention the idea. Learn some of the many reasons all freelance web writers need a website of their own.
When applying for online writing jobs and gigs, reference links and/or a resume are often required. This will be much simpler for those with a website. Some may create an area where a client can download their resume by requesting the link. Others may post links to samples. Yet others may do both or handle it another way. Online article writers need a website in order to reference their work all in one place.
Professionalism is key, even though you don't see your clients face-to-face when writing online. A freelance writer's website is like a virtual resume, meeting place, and office at the same time. This is where you can let your clientele know you are professional by including all of the right things. A bio, samples, and a contact page are just a few. Read "8 Musts on a Freelance Writer's Website" for more details on those and other must-include items for professionalism.
Even if a client finds your work elsewhere, they may want to know more than they can find in a limited bio attached to your profile on a content site. This is where your website comes in handy. Many content sites allow article writers to place a link to their website in their profile or bio. Also, be sure to link to it from any blogs or other profiles you have. Giving clients (both potential and current) a place to find more information about you as a person and as a writer is very beneficial to them as well as to your writing career.
If you have any big writing projects, off days, exciting news, etc it can be posted to your website. Of course you don't want to announce information that is too personal, but a web writer's website can serve as a great way to spread the word. Doing this has many benefits. Some include letting clients see that you are accomplishing things, engaging with your audience, and also depending on the announcement it might bring in more readers or clientele.
Depending on how much bandwidth your site allows, this can be a great place to store certain files. Of course you still need a hard copy backup, but storing them in a secure, hidden location on your website can help you keep everything related to your online article writing all in one spot. This also can free up space on your computer if you'd rather not have the files there. Just be sure, as mentioned above to keep a hard copy if you go this route.
Tired of writing about the same topic all the time? Your readers may be tired of looking at it as well. While it's great to specialize in something, you should also throw in other topics now and then too.
You can specialize in more than one topic without losing credibility with your readers. In fact, you may find they are glad to see random topics mixed in with what they are used to seeing you write.
If you want to succeed in freelance writing, variance can be a very good thing. Clients love writers who specialize. But they also like to see some versatility. This way, if they have a topic that shies away from your usual routine, they know they can at least consider you for the project. However, if you only write on one topic, how will they know if you are able to handle anything else.
Are you showing enough variance in your work?
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?
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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