Monthly Archives: February 2015

Writing with distractions

A quick question for my fellow bloggers – when you sit down to write, is it always sitting properly at your desk, free from distractions? Or do you prefer to write in a more relaxed manner? Like listening to music or even watching a movie (which I am doing right now).

Since I started my copywriting business, I’ve been pretty disciplined in setting aside time each day and aiming for a minimum word count goal that I’ve set for myself. I usually treat this like “a job” to get the most out of my writing time.

But sometimes… sometimes… words just  seem to flow better when I’ve got my laptop literally on my lap – leaning back on the couch – and in my case, right now, watching Hope Springs.

Your thoughts? Do you find a change of environment – or even distractions help with your writing?

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How to write SEO friendly content (and human friendly content) for your business blog

There are many advantages to writing a regular blog for your business – not the least of which is that it can help with your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Done correctly, your blog will not only attract customers, set your business up as an expert in your industry and improve your search rankings.

Done incorrectly however, you can alienate potential customers and actually get penalized by Google and the other major search engines.

One of the important things to remember when writing for you business blog is to write content that is both SEO friendly and human friendly. SEO friendly content will help search engine crawlers to find your content and in turn, give your site a better ranking.

Human friendly content will help to ensure that visitors to your site have a great experience. Content needs to be well written and engaging.

The following are a few tips to make your blog appealing both to search engine crawlers and your future customers:

1. Think about your content (and keywords).

What are your potential customers searching for? If they don’t specifically know the name of your business – or haven’t heard of you – what are they typing into their internet search bar? Think about these keywords and write a blog that incorporates them. Just don’t overuse them – not only does this make your blog harder to read but it looks spammy and it can actually hurt your SEO. Generally speaking, keywords should only be in about one to two percent of your content. (And don’t forget to include them in some of your subtitles and tags).

2. Be an original

Sorry but copy and paste is not going to do it here. When you were in school, this was called plagiarism. In SEO world, duplicate content is going to get you Google-slapped. You need to make sure that your content is original.

3. Length matters!

Blogs should be long enough to be informative – think articles rather than tweets! Your article length will also help with your SEO. A minimum of 300 words is recommended.

4. Keep Writing

The whole point of having a blog is to write regular content. As more people discover your business blog, they will begin to follow it – or start returning regularly for updates. Search engines will notice return visitors and your ranking will increase.

5.  Make your blogs sharable

When your site visitors read a blog that they find fascinating, they will naturally want to share it on Facebook, Twitter etc. When they share it, this will naturally create backlinks on those sites – once again improving your SEO.  Use share and tweet buttons to make sharing easy!

6. Link to your other blog posts

As you write more and more posts, topics will naturally start to overlap – so link to your previous posts where it makes sense to do so! This will help your readers move easily between posts that interest them – and Google likes it too!

Five Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

A common question of entrepreneurs is whether or not they really need a blog for their business. These days it’s almost impossible to have a discussion about marketing your business without hearing the phrase – content marketing. And there is good reason for this.

As the internet becomes a more and more social place, through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. businesses are realizing that they are now part of a two-way dialogue with their customers and prospects.

Still, you may wonder whether blogging is really relevant to your business. After all, shouldn’t you be focusing more on selling your product or service than writing a blog every week? I mean, what does banging out 500 or more words of content actually add to your bottom line?

Glad you asked!

There are some good reasons why businesses should have blogs:

1. They help with your SEO – Search Engine Optimization – that’s another phrase you can’t escape these days. Regularly adding relevant content to your website, earns you major points with search engines such as Google. As a result, your search engine ranking improves – meaning that more people will able to find your site. Of course, you need to make sure that you write in an SEO friendly manner, but that’s a post for another day. But more people to your site potentially means more business and more sales.

2. It helps you to position yourself as an expert. When people want to know something about the service or product that your business provides, many will search for the answer on the internet. They may not be looking to buy anything then and there, but if you’re site regularly provides them with great information – when they are ready to buy – they will think of you. Surveys conducted by HubSpot and others have found that businesses who blog on average, do more business than those who don’t.

3. Blogging is sharable.  When you create really interesting content, it is only natural that people want to share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Try placing a share or tweet button on your blog to make this as simple as possible for your audience. And more sharing means… more traffic!

4. It’s a cost effective marketing tool. Whether you do your own blogging or pay someone else to do it, this is a cost effective tool when compared to other forms of marketing. And when others share your blog through their social channels, it’s like expanding your reach for free.

5. You’ll get to know your audience. When you advertise through traditional channels such as print or radio, it can be hard to know who is hearing your message and what they are getting from it. Blogging however comes with analytics tools that you can use to find out how many views, click-throughs and conversions you are getting. Allow for likes and comments, and it can help you start a dialogue. It can give you insight into what the popular topics are and what resonates with your audience and help you plan future content.

Does your business have a blog? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! 

3 Habits for Overcoming Motivation Block

As a content writer, I seldom get writer’s block. I have a number of clients who, in most cases give me the topics that they want blogs or other web content for. What I do struggle with from time to time is motivation block. And that usually happens with topics that I don’t find overly interesting.

For example, this past weekend was spent writing 6000 words about dent repair. I know, right! I did get it done, but boy did it take me awhile to get started.

The following are a few habits that I’ve developed to help me overcome motivation block.

1. I don’t write when I’m tired or hungry

When I’m writing about a topic that I find completely fascinating, I can sit in front of my computer all day and barely notice that I haven’t eaten. Not so, when I’m struggling with the topic! If motivation is an issue, then fatigue and hunger are big distractors. So if I’m hungry, I’ll have something to eat. If I’m tired, I’ll take a nap. I’ll do what it takes to feel refreshed before trying to tackle the subject matter at hand.

2. I think about who will be reading the content

Imagining my audience is a great motivator for me. Who wants to read about dent repair? Someone who has recently had a dent to their vehicle. I think about how they got that dent, the frustration they felt and the information that they are now looking for. I use that to start writing their story – something to engage them. Doing this actually makes me more interested in the topic as well.

3. I set a goal and get to it

When all else fails, I determine an amount of time that I’m going to write for – or a certain word count that I wish to reach before taking a break. I don’t worry too much about keywords or even if I’m writing great content for that matter (I can always edit afterwards right?). And once I get going, do you know what? I start to feel more motivated – just because I’m making process.

Do you have any tips for overcoming motivation block? Please share in the comments!

The art of doing (almost) nothing

Well, today is the last day of my mini vacation from my day job. I took the time, not because I was heading off to some exotic location (although that would have been wonderful) – but essentially because I have vacation time that I’ll lose if I don’t use it up by our corporate year end.

My plan was to get a few things done around the house, get my hair done, do a bit of shopping as well as work on my freelance business. Not exactly a movie script I know – but it’s exciting to me. 🙂

Did I get everything that I planned to do done? Nope!

Of course some of my lack of productivity was my fault – a combination of procrastination and just being over tired. And part of my productivity was derailed by other circumstances (like my brother-in-law from Tennessee coming to London for almost a week) 😉

But I definitely feel more rested and ready to become a productive member of society again 🙂

And it was good building my business too – I was able to gain a new client and have also had some communication with two other prospects.

So while I feel like I’ve done almost nothing this past week – I do feel rather refreshed and recharged. Maybe I accomplished more than I think I did…

Friday Fun – Writing Drunk – A Good Idea?

Live to Write - Write to Live

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Hemingway famously said, “Write drunk; edit sober.”  What are your thoughts on this approach? Does it work for you – either metaphorically or literally?

headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: I’m a little apprehensive about answering this one. Philosophically, I embrace Hemingway’s advice whole-heartedly – in the metaphorical sense. Truth be told, however, I don’t always follow it. I am chronically guilty of editing while writing. It’s a habit I am working on breaking, but which still plagues me on a daily basis.

I have also taken Hemingway’s advice in the literal sense. Well, perhaps not “drunk,” but definitely tipsy. There have been several occasions on which I have written a column or blog post after having a…

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