Tag Archives: content

Writing Journal 24: Website, New WordPress, and Workshops

Writing Journal 24: Website, New WordPress, and Workshops
My writing journal for Friday, September 5, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another oddball morning.

I received a call last night from a client who’s developing a website for a product launch, so I can’t start the day with my current fiction and nonfiction books as I usually do. I had to start work on the website content, because it’s a rush job.

I read all the material he sent me. Then I created lists of interview questions. Julia will call the company to line up some chats for me with their subject matter experts (SMEs.) I hope the chats will be later today, but somehow I doubt it. It’s Friday, and it’s very short notice. Not to worry, I can do some research on my own. I’ll need to look at competing products and the marketplace, so that will keep me going for a while.

I meant to work on the novella last night, because I didn’t get to it yesterday, but I had the coaching call, which took longer than expected. MUST get to fiction today…

Breakfast for Honey, and for me, while reading email. Then answering email, and giving feedback. I’ve got several students’ short stories to read, but I’ll save those until the weekend, when I have more time to think.

WordPress 4: looks great

When I checked my blogs this morning, I noticed that WordPress 4.0 has been released. Excellent… I’ve updated the blogs, but haven’t had a chance to check out the new options yet. TNW has an article reviewing 4.

The updated WordPress editor means less scrolling: excellent. I do most of my writing in WordPress. Well, I use a Markdown editor to write drafts, then I post the HTML into the WordPress editor, but one way or another I spend a lot of time scrolling.

After that, I set a reminder to make sure that I WALK today. I need to get back to daily walks. I spend far too much time sitting. As a reward for that, hummingbird cake at lunch. :-)

More email, and a post about our new “Leap” workshops for the freelance writing blog.

Then it’s off for a walk…

UGH! Rain. And it’s cold. So I weasel out of walking and set a reminder to do some yoga and a session on the rowing machine tonight.

Finishing up the week’s projects

I’ve made a list of projects which are almost ready to be sent to clients, so I devote the rest of the morning to that.

Julia and I head for our weekly lunch. We missed out on it last week, and I can hear a BIG slice of hummingbird cake calling my name…

Back to the office. It’s time to return phone calls, and wrap up the week. I do a quick review of the week’s projects, and adjust our schedules for next week.

No more tech aggravations, I hope

I’ve got to keep an eye on my data usage with the hotspot — I’ve used 1.5 GB in a day and a half; that means I’ve got 2.5 GB left before I need to recharge.

And… YAY! Cable Internet is back. Bless you, Telstra.

The technician suggested I turn the cable modem on occasionally to see whether the cable has been fixed, and it appears it has… a miracle.

However, that was a real lesson to me: keep the hotspot charged. Usually when I go out, I use others’ networks: clients’, the library’s, etc. From now on, I’ll take my little hotspot with me. That will keep the SIM active, so that it doesn’t die. It’ll save unexpected journeys to get another one, and it gives me peace of mind too.

I feel like dancing around the room… Happiness is a good Internet connection. :-)

Research for the client’s new website

As expected, Julia couldn’t get any interviews with SMEs today. Onward to research the client’s competitors, and make notes.

Evernote’s Adonit Jot Script stylus, or Livescribe Sky?

Last night I was making some notes in Notability on my iPad, and trying to get a fine line. Not possible, really. I’ve been eyeing the Adonit Jot Script stylus, but can’t justify it as a business expense. I may treat myself to one for Christmas. It looks amazing, but so does Livescribe’s Sky pen. I’ve got the Livescribe Echo, but the Sky pen pushes notes directly to Evernote.

(Sigh…) OK, when I start researching purchases, I know I’ve lost my focus. Time to finish up for the day.

Daily and weekly reviews are done, and I know what I need to do on the weekend. So that’s it for today.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 21: Handwriting and Creativity

Writing Journal 21: Handwriting and Creativity

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 2, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Novella: character arc challenges

I got up a little later this morning, and dived into the novella immediately. Although most of the niggles about the story got sorted, I’m still uncertain about the character arcs for the two main characters.

Yes, I could fix this in the second draft, but I don’t want to. So, I went back, and dragged two scenes into my “Maybe” folder, and wrote three new scenes. This makes the characters stronger, and I’m happy. I ended up with a total of 3,500 new words.

My long session with the novella ate into the time I’d scheduled for the nonfiction book, but that’s OK. I’m on track with that. If I get to the book later today I will; if not, it will have to wait until tomorrow.

After giving Honey her breakfast, I checked email. A light morning for email, because it’s Labor Day weekend for my north American students and clients.

I’ve got a couple of meetings this morning, so I did some cluster diagrams and made some notes for small copywriting projects I have lined up for this week, and checked the research I did for the video scripts.

Breakfast, and then it’s time to prepare for the meetings.

Content strategy meetings

I’m working with two local businesses, and they’re getting ready for holiday sales. They’re brick and mortar businesses. Although they’ve been online for several years; they’re both starting to see an uptick in online sales.

After having lunch, it’s back to get on with the video scripts I started working on yesterday. They’re short. At the end of a couple of hours, I’ve managed to rough out a quick draft for both of them.

Then email again.

Why I use paper

Yesterday, when we discussed planning and GTD, I talked about my paper notebooks. I received some messages about that. Aren’t we all aiming for the paperless office?

It turns out that you remember more when you write by hand; there’s an interesting study here. And here’s an article from Scientific American, on another study:

Mueller and Oppenheimer postulate that taking notes by hand requires different types of cognitive processing than taking notes on a laptop… taking notes by hand forces the brain to engage in some heavy “mental lifting,” and these efforts foster comprehension and retention.

Although I own LOTS of software — I used to write for tech magazines, and can’t resist playing with software — I’m committed to planning by hand. You can create a diagram on paper in seconds. On the computer, you’ve got to work out how big you want your brush, choose a color etc, and this is all mental overhead. You don’t want this junk cluttering up your mind while you’re trying to be creative.

Recently a Fab Freelance Writing Blog reader asked about software for fiction writers. I’ve tried lots of it over the years, but paper’s better. And easier. Again, it’s because of the mental overhead that an app needs, AND because it’s restrictive.

Let’s say I want to think about a character for a short story. I rough out material on whatever paper’s handy, usually Clairfontaine, because I have a fountain pen addiction. :-) When it’s done, I snap an image on my phone with Evernote’s camera . Once the image is in Evernote, I save it to my desktop as a JPG, and drag the JPG into Scrivener. The original piece of paper is either recycled; or shoved into a folder if it’s an ongoing project.

Writing by hand makes you more creative. I read The Power of Your Other Hand years ago, and it made a big impression on me. It’s now in a Kindle version, in a second edition, so I’ll probably buy it. I have the paper version somewhere, but these days I prefer to read on my iPad. It’s a fascinating book if you’re interested in creativity, and how to tap into your own.

Try paper. Your mileage may vary of course, but if you want to enhance your creativity, paper’s better. And write with fountain pens. :-)

Back to my Christmas short story

Just another couple of blog posts to complete, and schedule, then I check on the Christmas short story I began yesterday. I manage another 1,000 words.

That’s it for today. A productive day. I complete my daily review, and word count.

I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to do more work on the short story tonight.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Tips: Specialize With Niches

Writing Tips: Specialize With Niches

I’m working with my personal coaching students on finding their niches as specialist writers. They asked for some writing tips which would help. I  thought they might help other writers too. So here we go. :-)

A huge amount of content is being published today. On one marketing blog, I saw research to suggest that 90 per cent of businesses were investing a third of their marketing budgets into social media in 2014. It’s no surprise then, that around 3.5 MILLION blog posts are published each day.

With so much content pouring onto the Web in a never-ending flood, you need to be able to stand out.

Here’s the solution: specialization. Choosing to specialize puts you into a smaller niche, so that you can quickly become known in that niche.

I should tell you that for many years I avoided specializing. I deliberately tried to be a generalist, covering many topics. I say “tried” because specialization crept up on me. So if you find developing a specialty hard — you’re not sure what you should choose — don’t worry about it too much. Clients will hire you, and when you do more work for them, you’ll turn into a specialist without being aware of it.

An example. A client in heavy industry hired me to create the company’s monthly newsletter. The first few months were a real challenge, because I didn’t know or understand the industry. Over time, I read a lot, and talked to lots of people. Gradually, I got up to speed. Before I knew it, I was writing for a mining company, and a manufacturer of oil rig machinery. I’d developed a specialty despite myself.

Let’s look at some ways in which you can find areas in which you want to specialize.

1. What do you LOVE?

Love trumps everything else. I love writing, and I enjoy teaching. However, neither of these areas pays particularly well. My enjoyment more than makes up for it however. Sometimes a specialty will choose you. You specialize in an area because you spend a lot of time thinking, reading and writing about the area.

What do you spend all your time talking, thinking and reading about? It may turn out to be a specialty, once you start writing about the area.

You can specialize in odd things: things most people wouldn’t dream of. One of my students was a real fan of gossip and celebrity websites. She joined forums to catch up on the latest gossip. A forum owner asked her to become a moderator, and she did. This led to her writing a regular column for a website. Then she was asked to assess manuscripts for a literary agent. When I last contacted her, she was still moderating, and writing regularly for a large website. She managed to turn gossip into a career. Who knew?

2. What do you do in your day job?

One of my students was in human resources. Careers, jobs, and job hunting is a huge area, and it’s a great specialty. However, even though she worked in the area, my student had never considered that she already had a specialty.

What about you? What do you do in your day job? A great specialty may have found you. :-)

3. What are your hobbies?

My favorite hobby is reading. However, if your hobby is sports-related — you’re a tennis player, or golfer, or you’re up to speed on any popular sport — you may have found a great specialty.

Make a list of your hobbies. A writer colleague wrote for technology magazines, and wanted to develop a new career as a travel writer. She loves to travel, and she and her family take trips several times each year. Within six months, she’d established her new career. Now she goes on junkets all over the world, and she’s writing a book on how to travel with small children.

4. What are your dreams?

In our 20s, we have dreams. Our 30s arrive, and real life — a mortgage, and a family — tends to knock our dreams aside.

Think about the dreams you had when you were a child, and a teenager.

A friend wanted to go to art school. However, her family convinced her that she needed to follow the family “trade”. So she became a lawyer. However, she never forgot her dreams, and eventually gave up law, because she found it too stressful. She’s now in her 40s, and she’s about to have her first show of her art work.

What did you dream of, when you were young? If you dreamed of becoming a full-time writer, you can achieve that dream. It’s never too late.

One writer dreamed of living sustainably: having a small farm. The dream was always in the back of her mind. In her 30s, she married a man who came from a farming family. They now own a small farm. They grow their own vegetables, and sell some of them at farmer’s markets. She now writes for many different websites, and is making an excellent career out of her dream.

5. What personal challenges confront you?

Many writers turn their challenges into specialties. You may have a challenge with your health, or with relationships. As you learn more, and discover ways to manage your challenge, you can write about what you discover.

One writer’s mother and aunt both died of breast cancer. She had many tests, and she and her sisters were concerned not only that they might develop the illness, but also that their own daughters might one day be at risk. This writer now works full-time as a marketer for a non-profit group helping women to manage breast cancer.

6. What do you want to learn?

You can write about anything you’re interested in. If you take a course in something, why not write about it?

A teacher who spent a year in France to learn the language and teach it took a course in French cooking. She loved it. When she came home, she took more courses. She also loved to write, so became one of my writing students. When we talked about a specialty, she hadn’t considered food and cooking. Within a year, she was working full-time for an independent TV producer, scripting cooking shows.

7. What pays well?

Some specialties pay more than others. If you enjoy learning and writing about health topics, or business and finance, learn more. Start writing articles for magazines and websites. As you publish more, people will approach you to write about your specialty.

Want more? Check out our online store

Want more help with your writing? Check out our online store. Any programs with “closing” in the title are about to be withdrawn, because we have other programs in the pipeline. You’ll fiction programs on both nonfiction and fiction.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Your Google+ Business Page: Create An Asset

Your Google+ Business Page: Create An Asset

Got a Google+ business page? Me too. However, a Google+ business page has been a hard sell to my clients: “I’ve got a Facebook page, why do I need a Google+ page too?” 

The short answer: Google. Google’s been promoting Google My Business:

Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.

Here’s the FAQ to Google My Business. Basically, Google’s tying everything together — search, maps, and social media via Google+, and it all starts when you set up your Google+  business page and verify your address. (Google will send you a postcard.)

Look on your Google+ business page as an asset: one you need to promote your business effectively.

 What about SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) will always be important. The “search engines” are just software scripts. Your website and blog pages need meta data to tell the scripts what each page is about. Your pages still need to be “optimized”, in a sense. And you still need links to your pages. Nothing has changed; Web content is what it always was.

However, social media is becoming ever more important, and search engines are getting smarter. Google wants to tie all your business information together  to help your customers to find you, and to do a better job of indexing the Web.

So, a Google+ business page as gone from “meh, who needs it? I’ve got Facebook”, to becoming the foundation of your online marketing. Don’t fight it. Click the big blue “Get on Google” button on the top right of Google My Business, and get started. :-) As Google is at pains to point out, it’s free, so it won’t cost you anything.

You’ve got a Google+ business page, now what?

Start posting to your page, and getting followers to your page. Social Media Examiner gives you 11 ways to get followers to your Google+ business page:

One of the first tips I give people is to use your Google+ personal profile to interact with your Google+ business page content.

Since Google’s using your information for Web search, it’s vital that you show willing, and get some content on your Google+ business page, and some engagement going too.

Google advises:

Keep your customers in the know by posting updates, news and special offers on your Google+ page. Your customers can +1 and comment on the content you post, giving you a direct connection to their feedback.

Treat your page as you’d treat your other social media pages. Promote your page on your website, and ask customers to respond. As Google suggests, make it worth their while to visit your page and interact by posting special offers for them.

So there you have it. Like it or not, your Google+ business page is important. It’s a vital asset for your business. You need one. Google has spoken. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others’ Content?

Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others' Content?

Social media sharing can be a challenge, especially the ratios of the various kinds of content. Should you blast out your own material, or should you minimize your own input, and focus on sharing others’ content which you hope your audience will find valuable?

A couple of authors asked about social sharing ratios in reference to the article on book marketing in 30 minutes a week.

Kevan Lee of Buffer posted “6 popular ratios for sharing content on social media”, and you can certainly follow others’ formulas. However, it all comes down to your audience, your time, and the social media network.

To be honest, I don’t think about it too much. Of course, I don’t consider myself a social media expert. Apropos of social media experts, B.L. Ochman’s funny post: Twitter bios show epic growth – to 297,897 – of self-proclaimed social media gurus will make you smile. “Social media whores”? Who knew? :-)

As regards sharing, I’m with Buffer. Kevan Lee said:

Our social media updates are 90 percent our own content and 10 percent from others, and many days those numbers are even more lopsided.

Here’s why my sharing’s 90/10 too, pretty much. Two reasons:

  • It’s easier to target your audience with your own material – you know the audience you want to reach; and
  • Your audience isn’t served well if you consistently repost others’ material which they’ve already seen in their social stream many times before.

Consider that it’s YOUR social media account. This is why you need to…

Be Yourself When You Share.

Social media is social, but I’m not comfortable posting images of my lunch or my coffee shop snacks to social media, nor do I do post that sort of material for clients. Other people are comfortable with that, and that’s perfect for them. Be yourself. If people don’t like what you’re sharing, they’ll stop following you, as they should.

Curate Content on Social Media, if That’s Your “Added Value.”

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, and a few years ago, my entire @angee Twitter account was others’ content, which I curated. That seemed to work well at the time. However, the Web’s constantly changing. It wouldn’t work for my audience today, because too many others are doing that. Your account becomes just another “me too”, in that case.

However, if curating content on a social media account is your value-add to your audience, and ten other people aren’t doing it, go for it. You can devote a social media account purely to curated content, with just a smattering of your own content. It all depends on your audience, and on YOU.

So, in summary, do whatever you feel will work for your audience. Adjust as needed, and as the Web changes. Most importantly of all, have fun with it. Your social media accounts are yours, and as long as you’re creating and adding value, and entertaining, you’re doing it right.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book marketing can be amazingly simple, but nevertheless effective. Even if you hate marketing, you can get great results in just 30 minutes a week. Schedule it once a week, or split it up, into three ten-minute sessions. Even if you hate the idea of promotions, you can do it.

My students ask questions like:

* “HOW do I market?”

* “Is this enough?”

* “What should I do now?”

You’ll find some easy marketing ideas below. Essentially it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, as long as you do some promotion.

A digression: hate marketing? Many hardcore writers do. (Me included, oddly enough, I’d rather write… :-)) If you hate, hate, hate the idea of promotion, forget about it. Write another book. End of digression.

1. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles – Choose One or Two Social Media Websites.

We’re not counting this activity in your 30 minutes a week. Setting up your social media profiles may take you 45 minutes or so, but you only need to do it once. Review your profile every couple of months, as you book marketing activities change, and tweak as necessary.

Before you start, develop some creative material – images. Your creatives can be book covers in various sizes, some CTAs (Calls to Action: advertising images), images of yourself, image quotes from your book, or anything else you choose. Your creatives grab people’s attention. Use canva.com to create FAST images, completely for free.

Now set up profiles on two social media websites. You can choose any two you like. Book marketers get results on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, however your mileage may vary. Choose the two with which you’re most comfortable, and set up your profile pages on these sites.

Here’s my Twitter profile page.

Angela Booth on Twitter

Essential: use your book’s cover as a profile background image: people need to associate you with your book. If you’re promoting several books, create a collage of your book covers, and add the link to your Amazon Author Page on your profile.

2. Create Types of Social Media Shares.

Your types can include:

Shares of Others’ Material.

Let’s say you’ve written a nonfiction ebook about online dating. You an reshare the content of influencers in that niche, or of anyone in the niche, as long as you feel it’s useful and important to your followers. If you’re writing suspense fiction, your can reshare other suspense writers tweets and posts – readers are always looking for great new books.

Thoughts and Questions.

What are you reading? You can post your current reading using the hashtag #amreading. Alternatively, what are you writing? Post using the hashtag #amwriting.

I’m currently on a Georgette Heyer kick, so I’m posting #amreading, as you can see in the Google+ post below.



You can also ask questions of your audience. What are they reading? Who’s their favorite character?

Book Announcements, and Promotional Material.

You were wondering when we were going to get around to promotions, weren’t you – here we go. :-) Promote away. Use your ebook’s covers, quote images, and anything else you’d like. Tweet and post snippets from your book.

VITAL… include your Amazon link, please, so people can buy your book.

It’s easy to forget to do this. I often read something about a book in which I’m interested, and when I search for the retailer link, there isn’t one. I need to copy and paste the book’s title into Amazon… and sometimes I think – “later.” Make it as easy as possible for people to click through to your ebook on Amazon or wherever you’re selling.

Reshares of Your Own Blog Posts.

If you’re running a blog, don’t be shy – reshare your blog posts. Over time, you’ll develop a lot of content. I have around 4,000 posts on one blog, and 2,000 on another. You’ll develop masses of content too: use that content to promote your books.

3. Create Draft Content for Social Media Posts.

I create a week or two’s worth of draft content in a spreadsheet on Sunday evenings. It’s become automatic now, and takes me around 15 minutes. It may take you a little longer when you start out.

4. Schedule Your Content: Use Buffer.

Buffer makes it simple to line up your content for sharing. You can schedule for specific times, or use the Settings scheduler, and so that your posts go out at regular times. Buffer is free for a basic account, and it’s all you need for book marketing.

So, there you go. Once you’re set up with the types of material you’re sharing, you can create and schedule your book marketing in just 30 minutes a week. See? Marketing can be easy. Dip into your social media accounts for a couple of minutes occasionally during the week, to respond to people.

Enjoy Writing? Imagine Starting and Running Your Own Highly Successful Copywriting Business.

Copywriting Business: Master Class

You can earn while you learn to write copy in ten weeks. Join us in the Copywriting Master Class.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

3 Essential Copywriting Secrets for Today’s World

3 Essential Copywriting Secrets for Today’s World

Copywriting – writing to sell – is in many ways much easier than it used to be, it’s also harder, in today’s busy world. Back in day, you could write catalogue copy, or a brochure, and call it done. Today, both your catalogue copy and brochure-like websites need to be tagged with meta data, and supported with social media marketing.

Let’s look at three essential copywriting secrets for today’s busy and fragmented audiences.

1. Emotion First – THEN Make Them Think.

Arouse emotion in your audience first, THEN make them think. The old copywriting formula, AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is based on emotion. Emotion not only grabs attention, but it also inspires action. AIDA is useless without emotion.

The easiest way to arouse an emotion is via visuals. A recent post on visual content on the Buffer blog made this point:

The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text. We are wired to take in visual content faster and more effectively than we are words. Ninety percent of the information sent to our brains is visual; we’ve been trained to consume visual content as quickly as we can.

Bigger is better with visuals – viz print magazines and social media – for two reasons: emotion, and memory.

I’m a writer, so I’m heavily focused on words, but visuals allow you to arouse emotions faster in your audience, and get them to remember more. Here’s an interesting PDF from hp on the power of visual communication.

Copywriting is persuasion, and there’s no persuasion without emotion.

2. What’s the Big Idea?

Every copywriting project depends on the power of a big idea, such as the idea (and the emotion) behind David Ogilvy’s classic Rolls Royce ad.

Your big idea is the message. You’ll leverage your message with content, so the more you consider your message, and its implications, the easier it will be to leverage.

Politicians know the persuasive power of repetition. They stay on message. You may repeat words in your copy, however, beyond words, focus on the emotion, and your big idea.

3. Leverage Your Message With Content.

Copywriting isn’t just advertising in today’s world.

From The art of adverts: How social media is changing the way companies speak to consumers:

“The guys get together in the morning and say, ‘what’s happening, what’s in the news and in the online space’,” he says. “It might be something relevant to one of our brands and we need to come up with an idea and get it out there in a short space of time.”

Today, your copy needs to be leveraged with content, in any way you can manage it.

You’re running a small business; you don’t have an advertising agency to do your social media for you. Indeed, social media can seem like a nuisance. At best, it’s an afterthought.

What if you switched that around, and made social media the focus of your advertising? Start paying more attention to social media. You may find that social media not only enhances what you spend on advertising, but helps you to spend less.

As John Wanamaker said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

In summary, consider emotion first, then focus on your big idea, and leverage it with content. These copywriting secrets are essential today.

Enjoy Writing? Imagine Starting and Running Your Own Highly Successful Copywriting Business.

Copywriting Business: Master Class

You can earn while you learn to write copy in ten weeks. Join us in the Copywriting Master Class.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips To Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the mood to write a blog post? Although I love blogging, half the time I’d rather be reading – or doing something else undemanding. If you allow it, procrastination can kill your blog. For hobbyist bloggers, that’s okay. It’s not okay if your job or your livelihood depends on writing more content.

Check out these three blogging tips for those times you’re just not in the mood.

1. Get Inspired by Google Suggest – Tip Toe Through the Alphabet.

Google’s the savior of recalcitrant bloggers. Hie yourself off to Google, and enter a topic – any topic. Add the letter “a.”

google suggest

As you can see in the image above, I entered “blogging”, plus “a.” I haven’t anything to say on blogging away debt, but I could create a post on any of the other three ideas, even if I wasn’t in a blogging mood.

2. Write a List of Words. Use Them in Your Blog Post.

Challenge yourself. Write a list of words – any words. Author Ray Bradbury used nouns:

These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.

You can use any words you like. Example: summer, drizzle, sly, sky blue, river, petunia… Now write a blog post, and include those words. Or not, your choice.

Writing a list of words primes the pump. You’ve given the logical side of your brain something to think about. Before you know it, the creative side of your brain gets in on the act, and you’ve written a blog post.

This exercise works well if you need to create your editorial calendar for the month.

3. Temper, Temper – Think About Something That Annoys You.

Got a temper? Me too. I’ve calmed down over the years, but I can create a list of annoyances which get me into a temper without any effort.

Think of something which annoys you. No, don’t blog about that. Use the energy and make a word list. Anger is just energy, and you can direct it anywhere you like. Direct that anger into creating a blog post. Tip: keep your post positive.

So there you have it. Next time you’re not in the mood, try one of these blogging tips. They’re fun.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photopin cc

Business Blog Tips: Fresh Traffic From Older Content 3 Ways

Business Blog Tips: Fresh Traffic From Older Content 3 Ways

You love your business blog, and it’s an essential marketing tool. However, you’re missing out on traffic. Google’s serving up personalized content, and if content isn’t fresh it’s dead. Although you have great content, it’s unappreciated, because no one sees it.

Here’s the key to making the most of older content – plan to revisit and revive it. It takes less time to polish older content than to create brand new material.

Let’s look at how you can turn older content into a traffic generator.

Tip: while you’re revising, update your calls to action (CTA).

1. Revise older content, and republish it.

How much content do you have? I have several thousand posts on some of my blogs, so this year I’m making a concerted effort to bring back older content that’s appropriate and valuable for my audience today. If your blog’s older than a few months, your visitors will completely miss the content you published when your blog was brand new and you had little traffic.

While you revise, you can add new content as appropriate. If you’ve changed your mind about something in the original post, create a heading: “Updated in 2014”, then add your new information and insights.

Add internal links as appropriate to fresher content. If you’re using WordPress, consider using a related posts plugin.

2. Create new content, linking to your older content.

Keep a list of the content you’ve freshened. You’ll get story ideas from it. Then, when you create the new content, quote and link to your older content.

If you have posts you’ve written in series, turn them into ebooks, and offer them as downloads. One of my blogging friends has been collecting her series posts into ebooks, which she offers in EPUB and MOBI format, as well as in PDF. Here’s a comparison of ebook formats; they tend to be confusing. In a nutshell: MOBI’s for Amazon’s Kindle, EPUB is for everything else.

3. Create roundup posts, linking to older posts.

Large blogs which post multiple times daily offer round-up posts on a specific day of the week. Consider doing a roundup once every couple of weeks, or once a month, going forward.

You can create roundup posts at any time that it’s worthwhile for your readers. If you’ve been getting lots of questions about something you’ve covered before, create a roundup post on the topic. For every person who asks a question, ten others will have the same question.

A “this time last year” roundup post brings back content today’s visitors haven’t read; you can create these kinds of posts if you’re too busy to create new content for your blog.

Your business blog is an asset; so are its archives. Make the most of them.

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, and on Twitter: @angee

Blogging Tips: 5 Easy Tips To Simplify Your Business Blogging in 2014

Blogging Tips: 5 Easy Tips To Simplify Your Business Blogging in 2014

Love blogging or hate it, it we’re all looking for tips which will simplify our blogging. Although I’m in the “love” camp, I have lots of other writing I need to do, so I look for shortcuts.

Here are my top tips to help you to blog more effectively in 2014, so that you can turn your blog into a powerful marketing tool for your business.

1. Before you start writing, decide what you’re selling.

We discussed thinking about conversions, rather than traffic. Ideally, each blog post you create will have a call to action. If you ask your visitors to do something, some will.

Way back in 2004, when blogging started becoming mainstream, commercial blogging was frowned on. A little of that “content for content’s sake” mindset remains. You don’t need to blog with a “buy this!” mindset, but you do need to include a call to action.

Tip: each month, look through your list of posts, and edit your calls to action. Your business and marketing goals change over time. Update your blog posts to reflect this.

2. Batch-create, always.

If you’re creating a blog post, you might as well create two. Or more. Here’s the key to batch-creation: always have blog posts in draft form.

This simplifies business blogging, because your brain hates unfinished tasks:

After starting a task, your brain will be more enticed to finish it to its “conclusion.” You also tend to see that it’s not as big a mountain as you initially imagined, and that the work involved in completing this task won’t be so terrifying after all.

Here’s how this works. Let’s say you’re writing a blog post. Create a list of keywords for the posts, as you usually do. Then in addition to the article you’re writing, begin another couple of articles.

As the old saying goes, “well begun is half done”. Just writing working titles, and a couple of sentences for each draft, helps you to conquer procrastination.

Add the drafts to your editorial calendar. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you complete the posts you’ve started.

3. Before you create, decide how you’ll get more value from each blog post.

You can get more value from a blog post by: using it in a short report or ebook, creating a podcast or video from it, or by using it in your company newsletter.

4. Write fast, edit at leisure.

Writing and editing are two separate mental processes. If you try to combine these two processes, you’ll get frustrated, and will decide you hate blogging.

Batch-creating comes into play again. Give yourself 20 minutes to write a quick draft. Use a timer. I like Repeat Timer Pro. Then spend ten minutes adding content to a couple of your draft posts.

You can edit your posts another day, or later in the same day. I always say that professional writers expect to write cr*p, because they know they can improve on what they’ve written. You write to discover what you think. Just get something written, and let your subconscious mind do the grunt work.

5. Get out of your office: use your camera.

Your cell phone camera is an amazing blogging tool, so get out of your office, and wander around, snapping some photos.

It doesn’t matter much what you photograph. Your photos act as triggers to your inspiration. You can use them on your blog, or not, it’s up to you, but if you frequently find yourself thinking: “I don’t know what to blog about”, take photos. Your images will inspire you.

Try these simple blogging tips. They work. You may discover that you love blogging too. :-)

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, and on Twitter: @angee