On Writing Content
Content, the second most important feature of your success.....
Writing great content is one of the most important things that we can do as we try to make the transition from newbie to a success in online marketing. Everyone writes and hopes that what they have so painstakingly written will be read. I'm sure that there are different methods to the process, but here are mine.
It would be great if we didn't have to research our topics. It would make it so much easier to put up content more often, but the objective of a good marketer is NOT content, but TRAFFIC. Traffic doesn't come about in a mysterious way. People are looking for something when they get on the net.
Your job is to try to figure out WHAT they will be looking for in your niche. If you are in the pet niche and you write about why sea turtles are endangered you will get some traffic as many people are interested in the habits and lives of these creatures. The question is how relevant is the traffic that you will get to the items that you are trying to monetize your site with.
If you have sea turtle rescue kits on your site, the traffic may be very relevant, BUT since sea turtles aren't considered pets why would you have such an item on your page to begin with? Your intended market is probably the owners of domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, birds, etc. While the owners of such animals may be interested in sea turtle conservation and safety they really aren't your primary market.
Think of merchandise that would interest your primary audience. Make a list of these things. It might contain dog clothing, leashes, pet beds, toys, feeders, houses for outdoor pets, etc. Also make note of topics that would draw the interest of these readers. Things like housebreaking, best foods, exercise, veterinary care, how to tell if your pet is sick, achieving a shiny coat, and more.
Now, take your lists and start to look up possible keywords on your favorite research tool(s). That could be Jaaxy, Google, Amazon (yes, you CAN research on Amazon), or others. Find out which of your topics have the best keyword rankings and note them, You'll probably want to start with the best keywords and work your way further down the list over time. As you go through your daily life make note of any possible new topics that you come across. Using your phone's notepad, voice recorder, or even text yourself a message. Take a picture if it will help you to remember.
For example you are on your way to WalMart and see someone walking a dog with a new style of retractable leash. Make a note of it and look it up to add to your list of possible topics to blog about. Of course, in a case like this you'll also want to find a corresponding product that you might be able to monetize.
If you're reading an article and see a dog training program offered, make a note. See if they have an affiliate program. Just by staying alert in your everyday life you will be aable to come up with many ideas. Occassionaly check your competitors websites to see if there are any ideas there that you can use. Always put higher ranking keywords higher in your list.
Preparing to Write
I like to write in a quiet room with no distractions. Some people prefer to have music playing. Nobody else can tell you what will work best for you. Figure out your ideal writing environment and try to come as close to that as you can.
I begin by jotting down a few topics that I want to cover and then under each topic I place a few notes about areas within that topic that I want to cover. Open whatever your favorite writing platform is and open other tabs with dictionary.com and thesaurus.com. If you get stuck looking for a word these two sites can often provide you with a usable word or phrase.
I will open another tab or two with other sites that I may need for research. Sometimes this might be a government office, a college, or even wikipedia. Everything that I think that I may need for my post is open and waiting for me to switch tabs to use it.
Writing Your Content
You don't want to sound like a dictionary or an encyclopedia, so make sure to use your own words. Write like you are talking to an old friend. People like to read articles/posts/books by people that sound like they do. Very few people outside of the academic community will want to read anything that sounds like a doctoral thesis.
I try to write my post at one sitting without going back to do corrections or add information. I have found that for me it is easier to write the entire post while my mind is fresh and then to go back later to proofread and make corrections or add additional information.
At this point in your writing you might not want to worry about paragraphs or other niceties. You can go back once you are finished and place breaks where you want them to be. I know that my English professors would be upset with the way that I now place breaks in my content. I don't complete a thought before I place a break. That is for readability.
I personally don't like to have much more than 5 or 6 lines without a break. It makes it easier for the eye to follow what you are writing, especially when viewed on a mobile device. I can't tell you how many websites I have left because I saw nothing but unbroken text for as long as I scrolled.
You will want to put pictures or illustartions in your post as well. These help to break up the text and to help maintain visual interest in your post. Always try to find pictures that are relative to your content.
Make certain that you are either using pictures that you have taken, you have purchased the rights to, or are CC0 images. The last category is the safest. Creative Commons with zero attribution required are easily the safest category to use. ALWAYS keep a file of the pictures that you used complete with where they are from and the date (in case policy changes).
Not all pictures that you take yourself are safe to use in a post that is not strictly editorial. In other words, if you have ads on your site you need to be sure that whatever your picture is of is NOT a trademark itself. For example The Empire State Building is itself a trademark. If your image in any way may be seen to dilute the value of this trademark you could be sued. It appears that it would be okay to use the image to entice peope to buy a licensed souvenir or to visit the building, but not to sell sandwiches using the image because it would imply an authorization by the owners of the building. Here's a link to a case where aa beer maker was sued for using the image.
You can check for trademarks and patents by going to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and doing a TESS search at this link If you have further questions about using an image I encourage you to either A) NOT use it or B) Check with an attorney.. I am NOT an attorney and can NOT offer legal advice other than to tell you to seek a lawyers opinion.
After You've Written Your Post
I encourage you to give the post a quick look over for obvious mistakes and then to save it to your computer. After you get a good nights sleep check it again. Check spelling, grammar, paragraphs, image placement, titles, headings, and punctuation.
You'd be amazed at how many times I have found glaring mistakes after letting the post sit overnight. I don't know why this happens. Perhaps because you were so close to it that you couldn't see the mistakes, perhaps you got tired, or the ever popular, because it could.
I've saved myself from some potentially embarrassing moments by doing it this way. I have literally asked myself, "What were you thinking when you wrote this?" I have actually discarded a few posts completely because I didn't like the way that they read when I came back to them and nothing that I could do seemed to improve the post.
Is this the right method for you? Maybe not, or maybe it's just what you needed to give you an idea to help your writing.
A couple of other suggestions that I'd like to offer are:
- Have someone else read you post to check for errors and if it makes sense.
- Don't try to monetize every post.
- If you are in doubt about something, don't do it.
- With practice writing becomes easier.
- Always be open to suggestions, comments, or criticism. In the long run it will make you a better writer.
- Don't try to monetize your blog too soon.
- Always be learning. It will improve your writing and your life.
- Watch out for the proper usage of words such as to, two, and too.
- Don't use slang that everyone might not know unless you explain it.
- Don't forget to save it, review it, and publish it. You could write the best post in the history of the world, but if nobody sees it, it doesn't exist!
I offer my sincerest wishes for your success in your online business. Remember, that's what we are in, a business. Treat it that way, and you will be helping yourself more than you could ever imagine.