Archive for the Category »Writing Tips «

Trump familyOn a recent episode of “Celebrity Apprentice”, the task was to create a slogan and a display for Donald Trump’s new cologne, “Success”.

Each team did a good job, however the team which lost had a poor slogan and failed to provide a “take-away” for the cologne campaign.

The winning team had provided two take-aways; one was a small card, printed on both sides and included detailed information about the cologne, plus they also designed a cardboard “sniffer” stick.

George, a Trump executive, stated how no matter how great a campaign or product is, people quickly forget. Hence, having a take-away is vital.

Today’s Lesson

George is right. With all we have on our mind, it’s easy to forget not only what we saw or read, but where we saw or read it.

This holds true not only for products, but for blogs, as well.

With a product such a cologne, it’s easy to create a take-away. Just brand a “sniffer” stick and hand them out to customers with a sample of the scent. No hard sell is needed, and the customer leaves feeling they got “something” of value.

So what about blogs?

Do people quickly forget us and what we shared?

With millions of blogs online, probably.

So the question becomes, how can we become more memorable?

What can we do to encourage our readers to return? To remember us?

Here’s a few ideas bloggers try.

  1. Offer something for free.
  2. Whether it’s a free e-book or podcast, make sure your freebie is well branded. Link back to your blog so your readers know where to find you again.

  3. Ask readers to subscribe via a RSS feed.
  4. Keep in mind, although readers might subscribe to our blog, if we do not continue to provide valuable content, chances are they’ll either unsubscribe or not continue to read your posts.

  5. Offer a free newsletter via email.
  6. A lot of bloggers use this technique to not only harvest email addresses, but are also able to keep their name fresh in their readers’ minds. This “freebie” can be beneficial IF the subscribers are opening these emails, however the regular emails can become a nuisance and subscribers either move the emails to their trash file or unsubscribe. Just like blog posts, newsletters must have value.

  7. Have a unique blog theme.
  8. I remember when the “fad” was to have a black and white blog theme (black header, white background for content). Not surprisingly, none of these blogs stood out from each other.

  9. Have a memorable or easy blog name to remember.
  10. If you take a look at some of the popular sites, one thing they have is a memorable and often, short name such as Problogger or Mashable.

    This is something I wasn’t aware of when I started blogging and before I realized I had made a mistake by using such a long name, I felt it was too late to change it. That said, I now use my mistake to my advantage and proudly broadcast “I’m blogging without a blog”.

  11. Create content which so good, readers will find any way they can to not lose sight of you.
  12. When I find a site I want to bookmark, I’ll either share a link to the site on Facebook or Pinterest since I no longer use my RSS feed and my “bookmark” file is over-flowing.

  13. Build an online presence others want to follow.
  14. If we spend time on Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterst and all we do is self-promote, chances are those who follow us will quickly stop listening. Take time to promote the work of others, share informative finds, become a “go to” person for different topics of interest and be unique. Guy Kawasaki has done this not only on Twitter, but on Facebook, too.

  15. Be outrageous
  16. When I think of people who gained popularity by being outrageous in the real world, I think of Madonna and Lady Gaga. These ladies have not only been outrageous in their appearance, but in their song lyrics, as well. Online, this could be a harder task to accomplish, however Perez Hilton might fit into this category.

So, what about you?

Today’s Assignment

What are you doing online to be memorable?

What other methods can a blogger use to stand out from the crowd?

Care to share?

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Photo credit Waiting For Tonight

WordsIf you spend time in the blogosphere, you’ll find many talented writers.

Some bloggers are great word smiths. Some write posts which read like a book you can’t put down. Whereas others write so concise no word is wasted.

Sadly, sometimes words are wasted.

Wasted because some of our readers don’t understand them.

Today’s Lesson

When we blog, we try to envision a target audience and write our posts accordingly. However, we may be forgetting an important factor – what “level” are we writing at?

By “level” I mean grade (reading) level.

For example, the grade/reading level of the content on a scientific or technological blog will most likely be higher than the grade level for this blog.

Since I write about blogging and know anyone can have a blog, my audience could be bloggers ranging in age from ten to 90 (or older). Plus, I also have readers who are foreigners and English is not their first language. Knowing this, I feel it’s important (for me) to keep my wording as simple as possible.

A great way to determine if we’re writing for the age group or reading level we’re targeting is to test our content.

On the site, Readability Formulas, it’s easy. Just copy and paste 150-600 words (from your blog) and hit “check text readability”. Within seconds you will have the scores from eight different sources.

Here are my overall test results from a portion of a previous post:

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 8
Reading Level: standard / average.
Reader’s Age: 12-14 yrs. old (Seventh and Eighth graders)

I’m happy with the results and feel most anyone who lands on my blog will understand what I’m sharing.

How about you?

Today’s Assignment:

Do you consider the age or reading ability of your potential visitors when you publish?

Take a moment and test your content. How did you do?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

Photo Credit: Emborg

Every time I write a post about comments and how to receive more, it becomes a popular one. The most recent one, Five Ways To Increase Blog Comments, is no exception.

What this tells me is most bloggers WANT comments. Bloggers like to have their thoughts validated. Bloggers also like to communicate with their readers and via comments, ideas can blossom into great discussions which can lead to bigger and better ideas or solutions. Comments create community on blogs and it’s through comments, online friendships are often made.

Comments are what makes a blog interactive and is why many people enter the blogging arena.

To be heard.

Today’s Lesson

When I commented on Betsy’s post Life Skills: You Don’t Have to Explain Certain Things I went back later to read her response. In a comment that followed, Betsy wrote, in part,

“…sometimes they’re just not that into us”*

Her words reminded me how with blogging, as much as we love receiving comments, one of the reasons we may not not get any (or very few) is just that, our readers are just not that into what we’re posting.

Ouch! That’s a blow to the ego.

In fact, when we hear that, our first reaction might be “Then why do I bother to post?”

And in truth, that’s a good question to ask ourselves. “Why do we blog?”

If it’s only to receive validation or to PROVE our point(s), we could be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Maybe, no one cares.

Or maybe, as Betsy eludes to in her post, our readers don’t feel the need to explain themselves on the issues we’ve written about.

So that leads to the question, “Does a lack of comments mean our readers are just not that into us or what we’ve posted? Or might our visitors be reading but feeling they don’t need to explain their viewpoints to us?”

Since bloggers are usually the readers who comment most often, for today’s lesson, let’s take the commenting discussion further and share what inspires US to comment, or not.

Today’s Assignment

When you read a blog post, what inspires you to leave a comment?

Also, what hampers you from commenting?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

*A book with a similar title, He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys was popular several years back. (*affiliate link)

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