Content Writing for the Non Writer

Writing ContentGoogle’s move away from old school link building as the cornerstone of search engine optimization, to a more content friendly algorithm, places the importance of content creation front and center for many companies. If you are a marketing consultant, work in a marketing department, or own a small business you must understand how to create the types of content that your clients will benefit from and continue to support. Here are some ideas that may help you.

Where do I start?

Blogging: Before you begin formulating your content, you must have a publishing platform that matches your goals. For people tasked with writing for their brand, a well positioned blog sitting on your website’s domain is the ultimate place to begin. Blogging software, most notably WordPress, provides marketers with the platform to begin creating messages (posts) that will support your product(s) and service(s).

Where do I create my content?

Setting: Many people will disagree with this statement but the fact is there is no correct setting, place, library, office, or dungeon that fits every person. If you need total silence and privacy you know a place that works best for you. On the other hand, if you thrive on social noise and chaos a local coffee house may suit your needs. Think about the most comfortable place you enjoy thinking; that may be your spot.

How do I get my ideas?

Dreaming: One of the best places I find ideas for content is while dreaming during a restful night’s sleep. I have  dreamed about writing ideas and acted upon them the next day. If you are passionate about your company, sleep is the perfect launching pad for ideas. An important tip is to keep a pad of paper and pen on your nightstand. If you awaken with an idea write down notes documenting your ideas.

Niche: Another place to research is your business niche. What is the latest news? Who are the most influential players? Why has the niche moved in a certain direction? Where is the next trend coming from in your niche? Look for evidence of something new or developing.

Experience: Detail your experience(s) that have an impact on your business. Tell a customer story that illustrates the impact your product or service plays in their life. Testimonials are great but you don’t necessarily need a testimonial to write a great piece of content

Social Media: Twitter is my leading idea engine! The shear volume of content I can tap into at any given moment is amazing. Whether mining my real time stream, my lists containing tweets from niche specific accounts, competitor’s lists, trending subjects, or hashtags, Twitter is the mainstay of fresh breaking news and information.

Events: Networking events, conferences, lunch and learns, business trips, and client meetings are some of the live in-person events you attend each year. Look for great stories to tell from your experiences.

The Top 10 Blogs For Writers: A Blogger’s Resource Library

If you need tips on how to become a better writer, you may be acquinted with Copyblogger. If you need more resources to help your writing, the following Top 10 list is sure to provide the content you are looking to read. Michael Steltzner the author behind WritingWhitePapers.com chose his “Top 10 Blogs for Writers-The 2009/2010 Winners” awards. This list can be a content library unto itself. Congratulations to Coppyblogger the winner of this years competition.

Michael Steltzner’s Top 10 Blogs for Writers

The following is Michael’s list in his own words on why he chose each site:

Copyblogger award

  1. Copyblogger: This site is the heavyweight champion of the world four years running (and one of the top blogs on the planet)!  The brain-child of Brian Clark, his blog keeps winning because of its insightful articles.
  2. Men With Pens: James Chartrand and Harry McLeod maintain the number two slot with their inspiring content and rich community discussion.
  3. Write to Done: This blog nearly always delivers a home run with its excellent articles for all writers and is the product of top blogger Leo Babauta.
  4. Editor Unleashed: Inspired by the former Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Digest, Maria Schneider explores writing, social media and community on her excellent blog.
  5. Freelance Writing Jobs: This site is the first stop for freelance writers seeking new work and great articles (and it remains a top winner since this contest began).  Congrats Deb Ng!
  6. Confident Writing: Joanna Young delivers rich and useful articles that will help you take your writing to the next level.
  7. Urban Muse: Susan Johnston covers a wide range of excellent topics that all writers will enjoy.
  8. WordCount: Journalist Michelle Vranizan Rafter explores the challenges freelance writers face on her excellent blog.
  9. Quips & Tips for Successful Writers: A true cornucopia of ideas for writers, Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen provides endless content and freelancing tips.
  10. Fuel Your Writing: This site will certainly fuel you! Michelle Krasniak Oxman and her huge team of contributors provide great content for writers.

Academic Earth: Entrepreneurs & Students Learn Together

academic-earth

Whether you are a 20 year old college student, 35 year old entrepreneur, or 49 year old corporate type, one constant stays with you throughout your business career: learning. If you are looking for an edge, a resource for solid information, or new content for your own branding purposes look no further than AcademicEarth.org

What is it?

Academic Earth is a massive library of video lectures, classes, and course from some of the leading  University professors in the country. Simply put this is your chance to go back to college or attend for the very first time from the comfort of your home

Universities

The Universities that provide the content for Academic Earth:

  • Berkeley
  • Harvard
  • MIT
  • Princeton
  • Stanford
  • Yale

Subjects

Instructors
The list of Instructors is both very long and illustrious. Set up in alphabetical order, each instructors name has a link sending the reader to his/her lectures, classes, or courses.
Benefits of Academic Earth
  • Research for students or businesses
  • High school students review a university, instructor, or course
  • Journalists looking for content or proof to back up their claims
  • Law firms searching for expert testimony
  • Entrepreneurs searching for context within their own business
  • Refresher for anyone in any subject

Blogburst.com: Syndicating Dreams One Blog at a Time

blogburst-30-day-activity

Blogburst.com is a blog content syndication service that helps bloggers create more exposure for their blogs, helps legitimize their writing, and it provides the opportunity for mass media awareness of your message. You have to be chosen for membership into blogburst; I am happy that I was lucky enough for selection.

Recognition and Reality

The graphic above is a screenshot of my blogburst dashboard which shows my Top 10 Publishers for the Past 60 Days. The real takeaways to consider:

  • I am not part of the mass media in the traditional sense
  • I want to be recognized by the traditional mass media
  • I want to partner with the traditional mass media
  • I want the traditional mass media to survive with my help
  • I would like the traditional mass media to embrace bloggers
  • I want the traditional mass media to embrace the paradigm shift to Internet as Platform
  • I would like the traditional mass media to embrace my friends, colleagues, and partners in the blogosphere

Wall Street Journal: Pen Envy?

For all of the page views, click throughs, comments, accolades, brush back sniper shots, and brushes with fame, I would trade them all for the chance to appear in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ to me is the Yankee Stadium, the Gawden, and the Golden Dome in Indiana icon of all mass media outlets. I have my 1 (one) page view for an article that never provided me with a link–just a nice visual

Realtor’s Video Tool: Monkeysee.com How To Library For Exposure

Chicago Sun-Times paper the Post-Tribune published this deansguide article 10-31-08

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 10-31-08

How many times have we said: “If I could only watch someone do it first, I could really get the hang of it much faster”? And when we think of the concept of learning through video tutorials we are usually looking through youtube, or another video site. We often find amateur video with a wide variety of opinions on how something should be done. Not with Monkeysee.com. Monkeysee bills itself as providing “The highest quality, most credible how-to videos on the web.”

Monkeysee.com Features

1. 17 Categories: Everything from Auto & Mechanical to Business to Sports & Leisure

2. Upload: Upload your own videos for possible inclusion, save your favorites for future use

3. Become an Expert: Submit your video to be considered for inclusion on Monkeysee.

Monkeysee.com Benefits

1. Huge Library: Great informational videos for your education

2. Opportunity: Featured Videos are on the home page for each category and become a huge opportunity for exposure: Newest, Most Viewed, Recommended, and Highest Rated

3. Expert Spotlight: Expert page is a fantastic spot to land if you can get accepted

4. Traffic: Monkeysee.com has huge traffic numbers and would provide you with networking and exposure opportunities

Realtors Branding Guide

1. Public Speaking: If you create a video that showcases your expertise, and it is chosen for inclusion, you will have the beginnings of your public speaking platform

2. Exposure: If your video is chosen you will have the opportunity to gain wide spread exposure to your message and your business. Monkeysee.com’s Alexa ranking is 24,545 worldwide and 6,736 U.S. which translates to huge traffic numbers

3. Content-Research: The site library has how to videos with rich content and resource potential for ideas and projects

Blogging Realtor’s New Content Tip: Blog Article “Mashup” Provides Variety and Measurement

The mashup content post is a concept that combines 3 subjects, in tip or list format, in one blog article. Today’s first edition will provide 3 tips on 3 different subject categories: Anchor Text, Social Media Construct, and Focus and your plan.

Mashup Article Benefits:

1. Variety for the writer and reader

2. Measure your reader’s enthusiasm for each subject with traffic analytics

3. Valuable information in multiple areas

Tip #1 Anchor Text:

Anchor text is according to Wikipedia “is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink.” According to Marilyn at Seoshootout.com you will “Improve your SEO and build relevant anchor text by using an important keyword as the hyperlink – preferably linking it to another, relevant page on your site or linked to an external site that is relevant.”

Ex: SEO Shootout is the premeire SEO blog in the blogosphere

Tip #2 Social Media Construct: Chris Brogan-Darren Rowse featured by James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com

Here is a great description of the construct for Soc Media sites

a.) Blog is Home where all sites should point and all readers funneled

b.) Outposts (Darren Rowse) “are third party sites where he creates “Relationships, ideas, traffic, resources, partnerships, community and much more emerge from the outposts” Darren’s idea is a powerful method to multiple points of exposure for the blogger

c.) Frontiers (Kyle Lacy) feels these are “a website or service you have a presence on but rarely go.”

Tip #3 Focus

According to James Helms the best method to stave off burnout and feelings of overwhelming angst over the massive crush of available social media sites and tools is to consider the following:

“When it comes to social media don’t focus on the tools before the goals within your strategy. Said another way, first focus on your campaign and then leverage available tools that help you meet your goals.”

Great advice and very important to remember–your efforts to leverage tools is useless if you don’t stay connected to your planned campaign

Courtesy of James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com and inspired by Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Kyle Lacy and James Helms

Outbound Link Strategy: Drudgereport Success Changing Perception


Courtesy the drudgereport.com

Perception in the real world is often reality. In the online world of websites and blogs it is often the rule that people rely upon to much. The perception that a blogger who provides too many links in a post will lose his audience is simply a myth. The best case study supporting this statement is the famous and very popular drudgereport.com. The drudgereport is an aggregates news feeds and links to some of the best sources available. They then position small amounts of text (description) around the outbound links. Yet with all of these pathways that lead away from the site, people flock(Alexa ranking 728) to the drudgereport for their daily fix of news.

My deansguide article (9-19-08) “Drudge Report: Proof Outbound Link Strategy Keeps Readers Coming Back” and the concept behind the article may be worth another look. The premise that most experts support:

1. Do not send your readers away from your site by providing outbound links

2. Sending readers away from your site means they will not come back to your site

3. You will be converting your readers into somebody else’s readers by linking outbound

Reality

1. Outbound linking does not mean your readers will always leave on each visit

2. Readers that leave will come back because you have established your site as a place that provides value and answers

3. Other site’s content becomes your strength as you help people find quality information

4. Outbound links will bring readership back to your site from the sites you link to

5. Time spent on your site will actually increase as readers bounce back from the outbound links to find additional information

The article published at the Business and Finance page on Reuters.com and on deansguide

Blogburst.com: Create Your Writing Platform On a Global Scale

The example below provides information on Blogburst.com, what a published post looks like when placed on a mass media site, how to apply for membership, the value of the service, the benefits to bloggers, the benefits to your marketing efforts, and the benefits associated with building your writing platform for your business.

Reuters.com’s Finance and Business section has published the latest deansguide article describing the ongoing Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group scandal “Ed Okun Tax Group Scandal Reaching Climax: Is Recover of Monies in The Cards?”: article

Blogburst.com

If you have a stand alone blog not connected to Active Rain, if your stand alone blog has traffic numbers that measure up, and if you want more exposure for your writing and your business consider submitting your application for membership to Blogburst.

Blogburst Overview

This overview is a 10,000 foot view of how the site works and how it works with your blog. It is very benefitial as this section provides you with the reasons why this is such a fun and powerful membership for your blogging efforts

How Does it Work?

1. Guidelines: go here to learn about what Blogburst looks for in their member blogs. Information about the type of content, the news agencies that are looking at the content, timely content, fair and ethical content that does not jeopardize the publishers, and more information that will help you to determine your chances of membership

2. Tips and Selection: this criteria list is very important and it should be reviewed closely. Give yourself the best chance for inclusion by following this advice

3. Technical Criteria: this is simple and basic criteria like having a RSS feed on your blog. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row and review this section

FAQ

The FAQ section is where most of your questions will be answered as others have had the same concerns or curiousities.

Mass Media Syndication

The following is an example of some of the mass media partner sites with US and global reach:

Chicago Sun-Times

Customers include:

Blogger’s Guide to Expertise: Lorelle VanFossen’s “Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging”

Reuters.com published this deansguide article September 24, 2008

I never push my readers to read or subscribe to someone’s blog or website. I feel it is their choice, their time, and their preferences that are most important. But I am going to break that rule this one time. If you are about to establish a blog, a beginning blogger, an intermediate blogger, an experienced blogger, or if you think you know everything about blogging–you MUST check out Lorelle VanFossen.

Why Lorelle VanFossen?

Complex strategies made simple, hands on help made easy, effective and valuable guidelines made accessible, and the energy to continuously deliver fresh valuable content without asking for anything in return. Lorelle is an incredible resource.

Lorelle Van Fossen was a presenter at WordPress’s Word Camp 2008 in San Francisco and she made a huge impression on the audience. She is an expert on WordPress, how to stretch that platform to it’s limits, and everything blogging. On top of those facts, Lorelle is very giving of her time and energy to help people–she’s one of the good ones.

Authority and Substance Factor

Lorelle VanFossen is one of the leading experts on WordPress software, techniques, strategies, and writing. Her blog Lorelle.wordpress.com is a massive treasure chest full of help and answers. Lorelle’s blog mantra:

“Helping You Learn More About Blogging and WordPress Every Day With Help, Tips, Advice, and Techniques For Blogging and Using WordPress, and WordPress.com. The Blogging Help You Need. Now”

Must Read For Any Blogger

Although it is a beginner’s guide to blogging, “Blogging Tips” has many very valuable tips and strategies for the intermediate and advanced blogger. Yes all of the type of information Lorelle has outlined exists for free online–if you are willing to research each author’s reputation, compile the information, and then organize it from ground zero to advanced techniques. For a sample chapter and the chance to see what I am raving about go here for your free chapter

Why This Book?

1. It is organized extremely well leaving out nothing for chance

2. The text is simple and easy to digest

3. Bullet points, well thought out examples, and commentary lead the reader at their own pace on a learning expedition

4. Lorelle addresses your motivation. Do you blog for fun, to write, or for business. She approaches each with strategy and useful advice

5. Succinct style as this book is 92 power packed pages

6. SEO tactics

7. Blogger Rights section with copyright information

8. Community Building strategies

9. Blog Management and Administration

10. Work-Book Size and Index section make this an easy book to cross reference

Analysis

People are curious animals in that many of us do not want to take the time to buy a book. If it’s free we can find it online. Yet when push comes to shove, we don’t always find the right information. We don’t spend the time to investigate, and we don’t make the learning process a priority.

Suggestion: The Best $12.95 You Will Ever Invest

Invest in yourself, your blogging, and your education. Buy Lorelle’s book as it is the best $12.95 I have spent in years! At the very least subscribe to Lorelle’s blog and begin to reap the benefits!