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Writing Tips for Bloggers

Poynter Online is one of the best resources around to help you with your content development. It is actually a tool for those wanting to improve their journalistic skills – but as is often the case – it is easily adaptable to the blogging medium.

Their section on writing is especially useful. Check out their latest tip for example – its on the use of repetition in your writing – I said the use of repetition in your writing (sorry). They write:

‘The repetition of key words, phrases, and story elements creates a rhythm, a pace, a structure, a drumbeat that reinforces the central theme of the work.

Such repetition works in music, in advertising, in humor, in literature, in political speech and rhetoric, in teaching, in homilies, in parental lectures – even in this sentence, where the word ‘in’ was used 10 times.

Writers use repetition as a tool of persuasion, few as skillfully as Michael Gartner, who, in a distinguished and varied journalism career, won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.’

Hmmm – the other bonus of repetition is that if you repeat the right word it is good for your Search Engine Optimization and Google ads.

Seven Reasons Why Businesses Should Blog Now

Seven Reasons Why Businesses Should Blog Now has some good reasons for businesses to get into blogging –

1. They fan the flames of customer evangelism. Their personal nature helps humanize you and your organization.

2. They function as an instant-feedback mechanism. Most blogs allow readers to respond to your posts or link to them on their own blogs. These features provide almost real-time feedback on ideas and issues that strike a chord, or highlight new or existing problems. A blog can reveal a little problem before it grows into a bigger one.

Read the rest at Seven Reasons Why Businesses Should Blog Now

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Recruit Writers

This is the Fifth post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts and Ecto.

Get others to write content for you. I’ve often asked other people to write an article, review, reflection or rant for me on a topic that they have a passion or interest in. I don’t pay for content (some people do) but I try to make it worth the writer’s while by giving a link back to their site or by promoting them and encouraging them. I’ve also bought gifts for one or two people who’ve written me significant amounts of content over time.

Some writers will also allow you to co-publish posts. In this way they their post would appear on both their own blog and yours.

The Inside Story on the Sale of the Ensight Blog

Jeremy C. Wright, the blogger who sold his blog, has been getting a bit of criticism for doing so in the last few days and has decided to give his readers The Inside Story on the Sale. It makes for fascinating reading giving an insight into the thought process that went on in his mind in the lead up to the sale, why someone would be willing to pay for his blog and why ‘his blog’.

‘Ultimately I still believe blogs need to fall under a different valuation model because you’re buying more than just the three Big Ones (brand, content and traffic). You’re also buying into a knowledge network, you’re getting a writer and (by definition) you are getting staying power.

All blogs grow as long as the writers keep writing. It’s what naturally happens in a social networking situation. While I’m not big on social networking sites, per say, I do know that the same rules that apply to real world social networking apply to blog social networking: all active nodes will attract more active nodes.’

I don’t know why anyone would criticize Jeremy for selling his blog – I think its something that we’ll see more and more of in future and suspect that the reported $15,000 he got (although he seems to be indicating it wasn’t this much) is just the tip of the iceberg of what blogs will fetch down the track. Good on him!

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Ecto

This is the Fourth post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the other posts in this series at Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Use a blogging tool like Ecto. I’m a big user of this tool. It is blogging tool that allows you to post offline (ie I can take my laptop to the cafe where there is no wireless net connection and still blog – to upload later).

It also has a nifty two click ‘blog this’ function that lets you highlight text in an article that you want to quote. With just one key stroke you can import the highlighted text, article title and a link to the article into your blog tool from your browser (in a pre-determined format) to be posted with just another click (some editing is sometimes needed depending upon how the article is formatted). They also have a ‘what you see is what you get’ editing feature and a drag and drop image uploader.

I use the Mac version (version 2 – still in beta) which has a few extra features than the Windows one but I’ve heard the Win version is just as helpful. I know that using Ecto during the Olympic games enabled me to post over 100 posts per day on our Olympics Blog.

Update: Check out my more recent post on other Blog Desktop Editors.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Break Posts Down

This is the third post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the other posts in this series at Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Break your longer articles down into smaller bite sized posts on more targeted topics. When I first started blogging I used to write very long rants and reflections on topics. These days I still do occasionally but as I do I always now ask myself – ‘can I break this into a series?’ There are multiple reasons to write a series of posts rather than a long article including:

1. You’re more likely to keep your readers attention with some short sharp bursts of writing than a really long diatribe. I rarely get all the way through reading a long post of someone else unless its compelling reading.
2. You might generate some repeat visits to your site if you post on the same topic over a few days telling your reader to come back tomorrow for the next installment.
3. You’ll generate more page views this way which is good if you’re running impression based ads on your site and link from one post to the next in the series.
4. You individual pages will rank higher in Google usually with a more targeted post than a long one that has many themes. ie a post with one point is more likely to rank well on that point than an article with ten points.
5. You will probably get better and more relevant ads from contextual advertising like Google.

Of course this is partly personal preference – a lot of people like the long rant and are frustrated by having to navigate numerous pages of a series. Your choice. Let us know what you think in comments below.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Start a New Blog

This is the third post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the other posts in this series at Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Start a new blog – Many of the successful professional bloggers that I’ve observed over the past few months have highly targeted topics and themes for their blogs (for example Weblogs Inc’s stable of blogs). There are many benefits of having a niche blog both in terms of getting ranked in Google and getting quality contextual ads. However there is only so much that you can blog about each day on most topics.

I realized a few months ago that most days I could find quality material for at least 5-10 posts on my Digital Camera blog but that unless there was a trade show on that I generally had a lot more time to blog each day than it took for those posts. As a result I’ve diversified my blogs and have started another four blogs (including this one) in the past fortnight. Now rather than just posting 5-10 posts on Digicams each day I can post 5-10 posts on four subjects. I’ve just quadrupled the amount of content that I could post each day.

Of course you need to be careful that you don’t bite off more than you can chew – add a blog and see how it goes. If you find you’ve still got time to post more add more until you hit a level that doesn’t burn you out but that gets you generating an optimum quantity of content each day.

To Outward Link or not to Outward link….

There is a good article from Wayne Hurlbert at SEO Chat about the pros and cons of outward bound links in terms of SEO on your blog.

“Few topics in search engine optimization (SEO) cause as many heated disputes as the concept of linking out to other sites. Whenever the subject of linking to other sites arises in conversation or on and Internet message forum, the sides in the debate are certain to become very polarized….

Most SEO professionals tend to agree that linking out provides no real boost in link popularity. They rightly point to the fact that the search engines, and especially link-obsessed Google, reward incoming links. The search engines provide no weight to the links going to other websites. With that in mind, many website owners are reluctant to link out to other sites….

Outbound links are not all bad, according to many Internet marketing specialists. By linking out to other related sites, a visitor is provided with even more helpful information on the topic. Sending to traffic to other useful websites is especially important for purely informational sites….”

Read more at Linking Out: Finding the Benefits

Nerve Endings Firing Away: Google Adsense makes sense

Nerve Endings Firing Away has a good review of Google Adsene, from a blogger’s perspective.

“It has been a month since I succumbed to the advertising devil in disguise. But in retrospective Google Adsense is indeed impressive and makes perfect sense for small-time publishers. Regular bloggers have achieved the tag of informal journalists and are publishing czars in their own right. But there is no free lunch in a capitalistic society. I moved to Typepad couple of months ago from Rediff for greater flexibility and customization of my blog. This additional coolness comes at a cost; $8.95 per month to be exact. Google Adsense gave me not only a way to cover the costs, but also superceded my expectations by making some more. In a nutshell, all visitors see the ads on my blog, some click on them, and advertisers are happy to get traffic on their commercial websites, even if the visitors don’t buy anything. They pay Google for customizing the ads, according to the content, for my blog and Google pays me a share. How much is Google paid and the percentage of my share is not clear yet.”
Read more at Google Adsense makes sense

Read the first post in our Adsense Tips for Bloggers series.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – News Sites and Aggregators

This is the third post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Use News Aggregators (like Bloglines), News Services (like Google News, Daily Yahoo News or Topix) or other Blog tools (like Technorati) to follow subjects that you like to write about. The majority of posts on my commercial blogs are links to articles, blog posts and other sites around the web that write on the topics I’m interested in.

Using the above tools I generally know if someone has written something of interest about one of these topics in a newspaper or blog around the world pretty quickly after its been written and then its not too hard to link up to it with a few comments attached or maybe a quote from the relevant article. It’s great to be able to follow specific blogs of interest using News Aggregators or to be able to have more general alerts on specific keywords.

The great thing about some of the news services is that they are quite automated and will email you any relevant articles – what could be easier!

What tools do you use to find content for your blog?