by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
You're in the midst of a writeup and everything's going great. You just got an amazing quote from the perfect source. But suddenly, you've forgotten the rules surrounding that. Does the period go after the quotation? Or does it belong within? That depends on your sentence. In my years of experience in web writing, this has been a popular question. This tutorial combines my experience along with the time I've spent studying the Yahoo! Style Guide. The following is meant to help readers solve that and other mysteries surrounding punctuation and quotations.
Example of correct placement of a period when quoting a source:
--Tina Baker stated that "fries are better than chips when accompanied by hamburgers".
Because the noted quote was the end of a sentence containing it, the period belongs outside the quote. Had the quote been by itself, the period would have gone inside the quote.Example of correct placement of a period when the quote is a stand-alone sentence.
--Yesterday I spoke with Dr. Allen. His comments: "Looks like we're going to have to do surgery. This a rare occurrence."
Since this quote contains complete stand-alone sentences, the punctuation belongs inside the quotes.
Proper Punctuation When Quoting Exact Text
If there is a string of text that must be typed in an exact way, the punctuation belongs outside the quotation. For instance, if you want to put emphasis on a phrase, you would put any following punctuation after the quote. Some get confused on this because it may not look right to see a period after quotations. However, this is the correct way to construct such a sentence.
Examples of correct placement of punctuation when using exact text:
--To submit that assignment, click on the button labeled "submit".
--To check your daily views, first click on the "content" tab.
When In Doubt With Exact Text, Try Boldface Instead
If you are confused about the exact text and where to put the punctuation, consider using a boldface font instead. If you put emphasis on the text with bold characters, that avoids the need to use quotes.
Examples of using boldface to avoid quotations:
--To submit that assignment, click on the button labeled submit.
--To check your daily views, first click on the content tab.
Exclamation Points and Questions Marks Used With Quotes
When using question marks and exclamation points with quotations, unless that punctuation is a part of the statement being quoted, it belongs outside the quote. If a person exclaims something and you quote that, the exclamation point belongs inside the quotation. But if your sentence including the quote was an exclamation, it belongs outside.
Examples of correct placement of exclamation and question marks in quotes:
--Tommy said he "ran 150 miles today"!
--When Amy saw that yummy taste concoction, she exclaimed "It's all mine!"
--I ran into Brook today and she asked "How do you find the time to write so often?"
--Do you enjoy those sweet pickles - you know, the ones called "bread and butter"?
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
I believe that it’s inherent in every human being who practices enough at the skill of writing to become a great writer. Every person has thoughts that need to be expressed. Intelligent discourse is the only way in which the human race can truly survive. Therefore, it is good that our society stresses the importance of writing skills to such a great degree. However, this dedication to teaching writing skills seems to be often conducted in the wrong way.
Schools seem to try to teach a singular method, one pre-packaged way to write for everyone. I’ve always been a believer that each individual needs to develop their own way of writing on their own. When you try to force everyone into a formulaic routine method, you strangle creativity. That is one reason why I suffered early on in junior high and high school: they stressed the importance of writing a five-paragraph essay and were very unforgiving in straying from their guidelines.
The five-paragraph method can be an excellent tool for outlining a paper. But to force students to write a five-paragraph essay on every assignment that they do is not always truly applicable. Perhaps it is the case that some believe that the five-paragraph form is the only way for some people to learn how to write. I don't believe this is so. It never was years ago. Why dumb it all down now?
What makes someone a great writer is not simply in how beautifully they craft a sentence – although that is a great skill to master. Perhaps, the verb master is the most important word that I can stress to budding writers. Do not concern yourself with being perfect, or you will only drive yourself crazy. Nothing in this world can ever be perfect, but theoretically, you can be close to perfecting your craft with substantial practice.
It’s the drive for discovering the truth that makes a great scholar, and it’s the obligation of great writers to share their own angles with the rest of the world. We can each approach reality from various angles. That is what makes each human being’s perspective unique.
The fact that reality is different for everyone is an inescapable conclusion. However, we’ve come to a point in our society where it seems that people simply cannot agree to disagree. We can't be forcing ourselves into join camps of opinion. We must learn to take our varying perspectives on reality, then reach a consensus on what the truth really is.
So, then, what is truth? Answering that question should be the goal of every writer. Do not simply regurgitate facts and ideas that you read in a textbook or read somewhere online – even from a reputable source. Criticize everything that you see, hear, and read.
You may not consider yourself a great writer in terms of “talent.” But with practice, you will find that the talent to share knowledge and ideas to the world is not simply a gift given to those extraordinarily proficient in vocabulary and composition. Critical thinking and writing teamed together, as well as great practice and effort, will help you find that perhaps there is a great writer living inside of you.
You'll never know until you just start writing!
Developing a voice in writing is something that requires plenty of practice. Having a voice in writing that's also both clear and consistent is very important, so it's important to watch how your writing sounds. It's OK if your voice in writing sounds different than your regular speaking voice. As long as you are speaking to people effectively through your words, then you are developing a good voice in writing.
My own writing voice is substantially different from my speaking voice. This is true for many people. Of course, if you use voice recognition software, it would be very much the same. In my experience, I would rather type than vocalize my writing, because I can work a keyboard far more quickly than I can talk. But vocalizing your writing can be a useful tool in developing your voice in writing. It's not the only way, though.
In my case, my brain often moves far more quickly than my mouth. Some people that know me may be surprised, with how often that I talk, that I often can’t keep up with what I’m thinking. Because of that, sometimes ideas come out very awkwardly through my speech. This is why I prefer so much to write. I know this is true for a lot of people. When I try to dictate writing, it's a lot more scattered than when I purely type. Using my voice for writing is a skill I hope to improve upon some day, but I do prefer typing, after all.
Even when instant messaging through a platform like Facebook, I find that I'm far more articulate and able to express things a lot more succinctly than with speech. This is because my words can flow more quickly than they could ever come out of my mouth. But, trust me, finding my own unique voice in writing took me quite a while. All of the many instant messenger sessions and notebook scribblings I’ve had over the years certainly helped in finding my writing voice.
When I was in high school, students were often forced to write their essays in the dreaded five-paragraph format. Being a passive-aggressive rebel, I often neglected to write that way. Because of this, I was often graded poorly on many assignments. I just let my words flow without any regard for the restrictions we were meant to respect. These restrictions seemed ridiculous to me.
I had been developing my writing abilities for several years up until that point. Still, I have to admit I was a fairly amateur writer in junior high, because I still hadn't yet found my voice. By the time I got to around my sophomore year in high school, however, it was clear that I had developed a specific style. No one could make me deviate from it.
I'm glad I stayed the course with finding my own writing voice. While my writing voice is far more refined now, I look back at work I wrote over a decade ago, and it's written with pretty much the same voice I started writing with back then! So, my rebellious nature when it came to developing my own writing style allowed me to bring you the voice in writing you read today.
Of course, the lesson here is that all it takes to develop a voice in writing is practice. Don’t let anyone try to force any arbitrary rules on you, besides conventions of grammar and spelling - those rules are fine. It's really as simple as just writing as much as you can and about as many topics as you can. Simply build your vocabulary and exercise your writing abilities at least once a day.
You’re going to struggle at times. A lot of what you write may not look too great to you later on, but you need the exercise. You'll find that after enough practice, you'll actually start to find yourself writing very naturally. Even without having some innate talent for it in the beginning, anyone can write given the proper practice and devotion to the craft. Once you develop a voice in your writing, you can write about anything, anytime, anywhere!
Outside of public speaking, writing is the best way to find your voice. Of course, many of the greatest public speeches were written down first, too. Be a rebel. Make your voice heard. Everyone has a voice, and having a strong voice in writing is something no one can take away from you. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you otherwise.
It’s a well-documented phenomenon that one often writes in a much different style than in which he or she speaks. I know for a fact that this is most certainly the case with me. I am a far better writer than speaker and not only in public speaking. I’ve had the tendency to misspeak on many occasions in ways that simply do not happen in my writing. I’m far better composed in writing than I am in speech. When I’m speaking on a topic that I am well versed in and knowledgeable about, though, I can at least sound reasonably intelligent.
In speaking, I have a way of stating the incredibly obvious without even consciously realizing it. Again, this does not happen in writing, unless some sort of sarcasm or “tongue-in-cheek” humor is intended. These differences between my own writing and my own speech patterns could make a very fascinating and in-depth study into the functioning of my own mind. Not being a social scientist, however, I’m not sure just how accurate my observations will be. To be honest, I’m far more curious about how others perceive the differences between their writing and speaking styles in contrast to how others perceive the differences. That would make for quite an interesting discussion.
On that note, how different do you feel your writing styles and speaking styles vary? Do others ever comment on those differences? Or do you feel that your writing and speaking are actually much the same?
There are many different views on how often you should tweet. Personally, I believe you can tweet as often as you like, as long as you're not just repeating yourself.
But have you ever seen the same thing tweeted twice in a day? Or even in an hour? There has been a growing trend on Twitter to automate tweets and schedule a bunch of messages to be sent out onto your timeline throughout the day. Really, scheduling posts is really an awesome idea, especially if you know just when to do it (hint: between 2-5pm seems to be the best traffic time for Twitter.) But how often should you tweet the same thing?
I follow tons of great SEO and content marketing resources on Twitter. I follow many of the same on Google+ and Facebook. But I can’t tell you how many times I stare at my Twitter timeline and feel like I’m having déjà vu. In fact, it’s not. People really are tweeting the same articles daily, and sometimes even more than once in the same day. What is up with this?
Now there are obvious advantages to doing so. First of all, the half-life of a tweet is really, really short. I could quote some stats, but they’re likely to be outdated soon enough. In fact, the busier Twitter becomes, the harder it will become for your tweets to be found. Hash-tags certainly help in getting people interested in particular topics to find your tweet. But unless you’re hitting on hash-tags with extreme tweet volume, it’s likely your tweet will go unseen if you don’t have thousands of Twitter followers.
Also, you never know when your best followers will actually see your tweet. It’s very likely that someone may not even know about your article until you’ve tweeted it for the third time. Posting a link to an article at different times throughout the week sounds like a logically good approach. You’ll increase your reach and get people that may have otherwise missed your content another chance.
More and more, though, I hear from people that have been following certain Twitter feeds for some time and end up un-following them because of the repetitive messages they were receiving every few hours. One resource that I like quite a bit happens to send the same five tweets again and again. There’s a difference between keeping followers informed and simply spamming them for the sake of trying to pick up every last click you can get. While it’s often the case that you actually won’t lose followers in great numbers, it’s likely you’ll lose the attention of those getting annoyed at seeing the same articles being posted over and over again.
My personal philosophy is that you can certainly tweet the same thing again, but never on back-to-back days unless you have some new spin to put on it. Certainly, don’t tweet the same thing in the same day unless there's some major update to it! I personally find it incredibly annoying to favorite an article that I enjoyed, only to sit there the next morning wondering why the tweet wasn’t favorited anymore – only to then realize that it was a new tweet that read exactly the same.
I’ve personally re-tweeted things that I posted perhaps a month or two ago as long as the content was still relevant. I still get people that complain: hey, I’ve read this before – this is annoying, stop it. You’re never going to please everyone, sure. But I personally find it annoying to be reading the same tweets over and over again. I understand that this is a Twitter phenomenon – you don’t really see it on Facebook, Google Plus, or LinkedIn because you will be un-followed for duplicate content there. Twitter is a great tool, but I think some people are getting carried away with tweeting the same things.
My philosophy is tweet as much as you like, as long as you’re providing relevant and unique content. If you want to re-tweet 20 different things, that doesn’t bother me at all. If you want to share something you wrote 3 months ago, and make it clear that you did but that it’s still relevant, by all means, do so. Re-purposing is fine. Spinning old content of yours is fine. But please people, get a little more creative and stop just scheduling the same five tweets over and over! And please stop tweeting ten of your articles at once. Give me time to breathe!
I would love to hear other opinions on this topic. I understand that the traffic gain from repetitive tweeting is probably well worth the aggravation to loyal followers. I’ve recently un-followed a few resources simply on account of this, though – because I find myself favoriting the same article twice far too often. These are just my thoughts. I would love to hear yours.
Having enough time to blog and being sure to produce quality posts are two of the most important things to do when it comes to blogging. The third thing that online writers often struggle with the most, and the part that takes the most time, is interacting with your audience.
It’s a Fact, You Need to Interact!
As you may know, blogging is a form of social media. Therefore, connecting your blog to your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Tumblr and others is one of the best ways to promote interaction on your blog. While positive blog comments are obviously quite welcome, almost everyone who reads your blog will not leave a comment. However, those too shy to comment on the blog itself may well comment on your Facebook fan page, mention you in a Tweet, or share your post on LinkedIn or Google Plus. These are all great ways to get useful feedback on if what you’re sharing is working.
The greatest challenge for engaging in any sort of social media is to be consistent and stay the course. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a week or two of blogging, as things happen in life that you simply can’t avoid. In any case, it takes dedication to keep up with a blog and the subsequent promotion of it. If you’re just starting out, it’s important to understand that most of the time you won’t get immediate results for your blogging efforts. However, if you write good content and and build a quality archive through posting consistently, the search engines will pick up on this over time. It may not be immediate, but if you write articles on topics that people are consistently looking for, slowly and surely, people will come.
If you do already have a blog with plenty of content, and you know you’ll be unable to post much for a while, it doesn’t hurt to re-share your older content as long as it’s still relevant. While some readers might not like you re-sharing older content, as your following grows, more often than not, that content will be new to most eyes.
No One’s Clicking or Sharing My Posts! Am I Not Using Social Media Correctly?
Say months go by and you’re getting views, but no interactions on your social media posts or any shares or comments on your posts? You may ask yourself: “What in the blazes am I doing wrong?” It’s really quite likely that you’ve done nothing wrong. As long as people are looking and spending time browsing various articles on your site, then you have been successful in providing good content. The trick is to figure out how to make people share and interact with your content in order to build your audience and authority. So how do you make people interact?
The most commonsense way to get people to interact is to literally ask your readers questions. While this doesn’t always work, if it makes sense to end the article with a question, then it’s a good idea to do so. The best questions to ask are those that you would find yourself asking if you were searching for the question that brought them to your article in the first place. The best question to ask is if your reader found exactly what they were looking for, and if they didn’t, they should let you know. You want to let your readers know that their feedback is valuable. Always make an opportunity for people to share anything that they have to say, and be clear that feedback is always welcome.
So when you do get legitimate comments - and not the typical spam that you may daily find yourself discarding - you want to be sure that you respond. Use their first name in your response, if possible, or their screen-name at the very least, to promote a conversational atmosphere. The Comments section is meant to be a discussion forum. Your response can be as simple as, “Bob, your feedback is greatly appreciated. We welcome any questions you may have.” In the past, I’ve been asked by clients to use such responses to immediately try and promote their own interests. It’s vitally important not to do that. The focus should always be on the one who commented. They should be made to feel that their feedback is important. You don’t want them feeling like their comment is just an opportunity to push a product or service, unless that comment specifically requests that information. People can respond quite negatively if their comment is responded to in a way that is self-promoting. Be helpful, and never ever be pushy.
What Should Be Done with Negative Comments?
There is always the possibility that you will receive negative comments from frustrated or disgruntled readers. This is a case in which it’s actually best prompt someone to contact you directly. You want to be able to resolve the situation without it going out of control in the comments. For example, a business blogger may want to say something to the effect, “Please contact us so that we can better serve you.” If you’re a personal blogger, offer to have them contact you directly to resolve the situation. Something you might want to say: “Your comment is greatly appreciated. I would like to discuss your concerns privately, so that we can resolve any misunderstandings.”
In any case, it’s also a good idea to post another comment on that thread in response to your original response if you come to a resolution. Most of the time, simply encourage reader feedback and respond promptly if readers ask good questions. Best of all, if someone asks a question that you've answered before, it’s very helpful to provide a link to the content you previously created that answers that question. It makes you look very good in readers’ eyes to show that you’re creating content that appeals to them.
What if Nothing is Working for Me?
If you’re not getting any interaction or many page views, then it may be good to seek out assistance with your keyword strategy. The trick is to produce content that us relevant to your intended audience without sounding too much like you simply want to rank #1 on Google for “best blog for X ever." At the same time, make sure you’re including keyword phrases that relate to the niche you’re trying to fill with your content. This way, you have a much better shot of reaching your intended audience through organic search - that is, people simply using search engines and clicking on non-ad-related results.
But it’s more than just producing content, as we’ve already discussed. One of the greatest elements of being social online is being active on the social media networks and sharing content from like-minded people. If you find an article or other piece of content that you feel your readers and social media followers might want to say, it’s perfectly okay to link to it with a paragraph or two of your own thoughts about it, along with properly quoted excerpts. Just be careful that you’re never paraphrasing too much or flat out copy-and-pasting, even if you’re giving full credit to the author, because that does you absolutely no good.
There are so many other things that help to promote interaction, but gently coaxing social media interactions and responding properly to comments are the key components. Unfortunately, just writing fantastic content isn’t the only trick to get found. You have to work for your audience more and more every day. But once you do, and hit a sort of “critical mass” with your following, you let your fans become your ambassadors, your free marketing team.
Good luck with your blogging and promotion!
Flickr is a well-known photo sharing website hosted by Yahoo. At one time, what you could post without having a paid Flickr membership was very limited. But for some time now, with the creation of a free Yahoo account, everyone gets a free terabyte of storage. Businesses, brands, and professionals have been posting pictures on Flickr for quite some time, as it’s possible to put a great deal of content on the website for free. So how can you best use Flickr photo sharing for yourself?
The best use of a site like Flickr is to upload high-quality images that you may not necessarily have room for on your own website. Since they can be found via search engines, using both high-traffic and long-tail keywords in your pictures’ titles and tags can help both Flickr users and image search engine users find your content. It’s easy to link the photos to appropriate pages of your website, helping drive visitor traffic with your more popular photos.
Posting pictures to Flickr also gives you more to post for your social media accounts, especially Facebook and Twitter. You can add these pictures to Pinterest boards, as well, which helps promote your Flickr account. Also, Flickr has a great way to organize your pictures into albums and sets, helping to make your content even easier to find.
Also, when you’re looking for photos to use for your articles, Flickr has a Creative Commons search to help you find photos that are available for re-use. Some are in the public domain, and others have been given public domain dedication, which is basically the same thing. However, most rights holders to Flickr photos require you to at least credit the source. Be careful to make sure you attribute the photo correctly, and make sure that derivatives are allowed. This includes cropping and adding text onto an image; even if you can get away with it, if a photo’s rights specifically say no derivatives, be sure to respect that. Also, if you’re not using the images for a personal blog, check if the photo you want has is allowed for commercial use if you plan to use it on a monetized or business website.
Flickr is one more great content sharing and image search tool to add to your arsenal, and this amazing amount of free photo storage will last for years to come!
One of the most difficult aspects of effective blogging is finding not only relevant content to share with your potential readers, but content that tells your story. Many blogging experts commonly suggest that story telling is the best way to creature content that resonates enough with your audience to hopefully turn them into future loyal fans.
Telling your story sounds like something that an “about” page on your website can do that well enough. But telling your story in blogging is about telling stories on an individual level. This means writing about situations that you have dealt with personally, either professionally and privately. Perhaps there was a client or friend that you went above and beyond for on certain occasions. Those occasions are certainly topics for blog posts. However, the best sort of telling your story blog is situations in which someone had a problem, and you were able to help them solve it.
People search online for solutions. If you have a story, no matter how simple and commonplace it may seem, if it answers a common question your audience tends to have, you should write about it. Those sorts of stories will not only make you look human, but also help establish you as a thought leader in your field. It's one of the first steps to take in thought leadership: show that you know how to solve problems.
Now here's an interesting thought: what if there is a problem that someone came to you with that you weren't able to solve at the time, but later did resolve and in turn helped you better serve your blog audience and others? That's good, too. If you admit that you had to step back and learn something to better help people in the future, it shows your audience your willingness to grow and learn to improve the quality of your work. It's okay to fail sometimes, as long as you show that you learn from those times, and show that you're always working towards a solution.
There are many other ways to tell your story through your blog. If you have had success stories, or difficult lessons, that you may think that would make a good blog post, feel free to let us know in the comments. I'll be happy to look them over and let you know how you might use those stories to your best advantage, free of charge!
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
My writing peers often ask me how I get so much done in a day. How do I keep track of everything? What scheduling system do I use? How do I plan my articles? The truth is that I write more articles in a day by eliminating these unnecessary steps. Here's how and why.
Fancy schedules take up time better spent writing. Some of my work is assigned and some I submit at will. Assigned topics are already right in front of me in the account of the site who assigned them. Why should I waste more time by printing that info out or filing it elsewhere? I can just look it up right there in my account. It takes about the same amount of time to open a file on the computer as it does to log into my account at this site. By eliminating the step of writing up and saving this information, I can write more articles.
Over-analysis of a project wastes time spent on the final product. When I first started writing articles for a living, I spent way too much time analyzing how I would write each item. Instead of plotting and planning, just do it. When I know I have a project that needs to get done, I just get it done. Of course I still need to make sure the work is up to par. But I can do that in my proofreading, editing, and fact-checking. I look over what the client wants, do any research that needs to be done, study their website if necessary, and then just write. Even if my initial writeup is not in the requested style after my first draft, it's easy to rearrange and edit as necessary. Once the writing part is done, the rest is easier to do. Leaving more time in the day to get other writing projects completed.
Write first. Edit later. One mistake I used to make is to edit too much while writing. Sure, go back and fix a typo or two. But don't waste too much time proofing before you're even done with the work. I find that if I just let the writing flow and edit when it's finished, the work gets done much faster. The more articles I can write, the more money I make. Therefore, I let the writing flow when it's flowing and I save the edits for later. As mentioned above, what's written first can be easily changed or edited. It's easier to edit something down than it is to keep writing and rewriting.
Only make outlines when necessary. I have a particular style that I write most of my articles in, unless the client asks for something else. Other than copy/pasting that style template into each document, I don't outline much for most of my articles. Sometimes I'll fill in the title and subheads ahead of time. This is especially true if I know I want to make certain points or if there is extensive research involved. Otherwise, I find that if I just jump right into the writing instead of outlining everything, I get more articles done in less time.
Write what you know. This is my number one time-saver tip. Unless the client is requesting a researched piece, writing what you know eliminates the time of looking things up. For instance, I am an expert parenting writer. Unless I am looking for proof of facts, I use my own life experiences to write pieces readers can relate to. This helps me write more articles and it also helps me connect with my audience. When my firsthand experience needs to be backed up with expert advice, I have specific trusted sources on my bookmarks toolbar for my most common topics. This way, I can just click a button, search, and find what I need.
When you spend more time writing than planning and analyzing, it's easier to get more articles written in a day. I challenge all my writer friends to try this out and see for yourself how many more articles you can write in a day when you don't sweat the small stuff and just dive into the work. For me, this method means less stress, more productivity, and a decent return.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Are you pressed for time, but need to write a large number of articles? Try writing them all at once. I know you may be thinking "How in the world can I write multiple articles at the same time". It's definitely possible. This is how I write much of the time. But certain strategies will help to get it done efficiently and quickly. Since I am a workaholic momtrepreneur, I am constantly pressed for time and striving to write as much as I can in the quickest way possible. Both my children and my writing dominate my life, but I like things that way. Perhaps my experience will help you succeed at writing more articles at once as well.
Use All Your Writing Documents at Once
If you plan on writing ten articles, open and save your document for each one. Keep them all open during your writing process. You can flip back and forth as needed. If I am particularly into a certain topic, I might keep writing that one.
But for the most part, I will go back and forth to keep the process interesting. I determine when to move to another article by various factors. Being stuck on thoughts is a good time to move to the next article. Also sometimes an idea will come up for one of the other articles. That's another indicator to switch topics.
Make Outlines (or Templates) for All the Articles
Before getting started, consider making outlines or templates for each of the articles. This way, it's easier to determine what you need to fill in. That alone can speed up the writing. Example templates or outlines might include the title, subtitle, a space for intro text, and subheadings.
I sometimes change my subheadings after or during writing the article. But they are good for remembering what points you want to make in each section. When you don't need to think of the points during writing, it's easier to focus on the topic at hand. Doing the subheadings ahead of time also helps ensure you make all the points you wanted to.
Use Multiple Computers
Yes, I realize this gives away my workaholic status. But for those with capabilities, it really does help speed up the writing process. If your computers are networked together, it's even faster, but a flash drive can do the trick if they aren't. I often use my laptop and a mini notebook computer at the same time. When I had desktop computers, I would utilize those as well. I've used at most 4 computers at once, but two is my usual number when using this strategy.
Position the computers very close to one another so that switching back and forth is very simple. One computer can be open with articles and research for one client, another can contain the work for another, and so on. Or you can split up big projects for one client onto more than one computer. If the computers are portable, try doing this in a fun setting, such as the backyard or park.
Bulk Similar Topics
Writing similar topics at the same time can help increase productivity. For instance, if you are writing about a particular parenting method, you may write five articles. Each could describe how to apply that method to certain groups or situations. If you are writing about homemade household products, you might have an article on the benefits, another on the best materials, another on how to make it, and so on.
When you are writing an article and have ideas that branch off your main idea, use those as separate articles. Don't try to put too much information into one. It's better for readability and you'll also get more articles from doing this. In most cases, more articles equals more money.
Don't Stress - Just Write Instead
Yes, I know this one may be hard. If you are writing multiple articles, you may either have a goal or be on deadline. But stressing yourself out can reduce productivity. Stay calm and focused. Instead of thinking about your articles in numbers, just write them. Remember why you got into this in the first place.
You likely love to write or have some other good reason for choosing this as a career. Have fun and focus on that original inspiration instead of the fact that you have a large number of articles to write. Just write.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
One method of writer promotion is to maintain a Facebook fan page. But in order to take full advantage of having a Facebook fan page, you need to keep it updated. A freshly updated Facebook fan page keeps people coming back for more. This should be done in a variety of ways to attract more people and keep them interested.
Update your status often and keep it varied. Keeping your status on your Facebook fan page fresh keeps people interested. Let your fans know what you are doing at the moment. Post milestones, pitfalls, and goals. You can also post things that don't have to do with writing, but aren't so personal that they turn people away. Don't post the same thing all the time. For instance, we all know you are writing if you're a writer. Don't post "I'm writing" every single day. Post it sometimes, but not every time you write.
Share links to your work. If someone is following your writer fan page, they want to see your writing. Post it. Whenever you have a free second, share links to various things you have published on the web. This can be anything from blog posts to news articles to book links. Whatever you write, share it with your Facebook fans. That's what they want. You can also throw in work from fellow writers occasionally to mix it up and help them out.
Offer writing advice. Post random writing tips on your writer fan page. Although some of your followers may be random people that like your work, other writers might also follow you for inspiration. Let them know how you got there and possibly help them too with some tips when you can. Writing tips may even look good to potential clients.
Share news related to the writing field. Since writers often follow other writers, share news relevant to the field. It helps keeps you as well as your fans and fellow writers in the know. Plus, it can be interesting to share something other than your own work. Staying up to date can help you improve your writing. It's always good to learn something new and share it with others.
Auto-share blog posts and other article RSS feeds. Auto-sharing your work via RSS is an easy way to keep readers up to date, while still being able to focus on producing fresh content. The auto-posts will alert people to new posts and you can focus on your writing and on other updates.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Write, edit, write, edit, rinse and repeat. That's the norm for a writer. Even so, we can still make mistakes or use some constructive feedback. Whenever possible, it's always good to have a second pair of eyes - preferably a fellow writer. I like to call this person a writing buddy. By looking over each other's work, making suggestions, and correcting minor typos, you can help each other improve. Some clients do not edit your work. There are many clients who expect your work to be a finished product when it's delivered. The least amount of work they have to do before publication the better. Some clients will flat-out reject the work if they have to make corrections. Even if the company you are submitting to has an editor, that doesn't mean you should take advantage of that fact. Have your writing buddy double-check your work to be sure you didn't miss something vital.
A writer should always present clean, publish-ready content. If a client has to spend a great deal of time editing your work, they may as well write the copy themselves. They hired you so they wouldn't have to. Do your best to ensure their work is minimal. Most writing software has grammar and spell-check. But a human eye is still necessary to pick up errors the computer won't. Some typos can be actual words and the spell check is not going to pick up on that. A writing buddy can help make sure you catch all those tiny errors you and spell check might have passed over.
A writing buddy can offer fresh perspective. So you think you covered all the main points in a tightly focused manner? Maybe not. Your writing buddy can suggest extra points you may not have considered. There also may be ways to get your point across in fewer words. When a writer is passionate about a topic, it's easy to ramble without realizing it. A writing buddy can catch those sections and suggest where you should tighten it up.
It's easier to catch other's mistakes than your own. Because people are used to the way they write, frequent mistakes may be missed when proofreading your own work. For instance, if you frequently type 'had' instead of 'has' out of habit, you may not see it when checking for errors. But your writing buddy will likely have different typing habits and may notice it right away.
Learn from each other's styles. Each writer has their own way of getting across their message. They also each have their own preferred topics. Being writing buddies allows each person to learn new facts. By examining another person's writing, you can also learn new styles and techniques you may not have thought of. Ask each other questions and give each other advice often. It helps if you are close friends with your writing buddy because you'll be more likely to listen to each other. But then again, learning together can also bring you close. Who understands a writer better than another writer?
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
You may have heard of Tumblr and Reddit, two popular social networks each becoming increasingly important promotion tools in their own ways. How can Tumblr and/or Reddit help your SEO and overall promotion strategies?
The Blogging (And Reblogging) Power of Tumblr
Tumblr at one time did not have "no-follow" tags on their external links. Because of this, there was a time you could derive a good chunk of SEO value from well-optimized hyperlink text. Now, this is no longer the case, due to the fact they began to get some serious spammers clogging up the site. So no more of that special “link juice” sauce will be coming from Tumblr. However, Tumblr is still useful.
All you'll need is to sign up for a free account. Be aware that choosing your Tumblr name is important, but it can be changed later if you wish. To get started, search a few basic keywords related to your favorite (or relevant) topics on Tumblr. If you find that there's a good deal of content around those keywords, Tumblr automatically saves those searches as tags that you can continue to search every time you return to the site.
If you have any content that works around those chosen keywords, it can't hurt to post a link to it. Better yet, post a picture or video (YouTube embed is allowed), and tag it with those keywords. You would then want to link it back to related content on your website, not just your homepage! Visual content works best on Tumblr. Text-only links stand a very good chance of simply being scrolled past.
Having trouble finding content around the desired keywords? Then perhaps Tumblr isn’t really for you. Since Tumblr is so hash-tag/keyword driven, you really want to make sure your posts will be getting seen. If you’re not going to get much traffic, it’s probably best to promote using more traditional channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
So what does using Tumblr get you besides free publicity? It can get you a ton of traffic if you post on it often enough with content interesting to Tumblr users. The trick is to get people to "heart" it or re-blog it. Tumblr profiles are search engine indexed as long as you don't make them private, too. All of that content is index-able just as your Facebook fan page and other social media profiles are, except each post is indexed more like a regular blog post!. Tumblr doesn't directly help your own properties’ search engine rankings. But SEO is more than just rankings; it's all about getting found! Also, being mentioned on Tumblr does count at least for something, as even no-follow links still help you in relevancy for the keywords attached to said links.
Reddit: The So-Called “Front Page of the Internet”
As for Reddit, which also needs a free account, their links actually do provide link juice. They do not currently (as of this writing) have "no-follow" tags on their links. So it can't hurt to post links to your content with keyword-rich hyperlinks. Preferably you want to find a "sub-reddit" related to your website content. Do keep in mind that many sub-reddits don't allow commercial content to be posted there, but personal blogs are usually perfectly fine, even if you have affiliates. If you just post your links on plain old reddit (i.e. not a sub-reddit), you may or may not get traffic from it. If you do so sparingly, that link can be useful for SEO purposes. How much that link counts is hard to say, but it can't hurt you.
The primary benefit of Reddit is that it has an up-voting feature. There are also many very active commentators on the site that can do a lot of positive work for you if your content is good. Do be aware, however, that down-voting also exists and there are plenty of opinionated Reddit users. So be careful what you decide to post to Reddit, because there are "trolls" on the site who browse the site simply to antagonize people. Be aware of this downside and if it's not worth the potential upside to you, avoiding Reddit may be a good plan.
Whereas bookmarking tool sites like Delicious and StumbleUpon can be useful to share content in certain niche topics, Tumblr and Reddit relatively large social networks can be a more useful tool in gaining some useful mentions and possibly some extra traffic.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of Brand Shamans & the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, we are your brand healing, soul healing, & content superheroes to the rescue!
Running our network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is our top priority.
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We also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, we’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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