Word campottawa writingtips


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From the "Content Creators" track at WordCamp Ottawa 2014. 10 Writing Tips for Non-Writers / Bloggers. #wcottawa @coffeewithjulie @wpottawa

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Word campottawa writingtips

  1. 1. Writing Tips for Non-Writers Julie Harrison @coffeewithjulie www.coffeewithjulie.ca
  2. 2. “Grammar Police” @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  3. 3. Sure, Grammar Matters. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  4. 4. But not as much as some people think. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  5. 5. “Non-Writer” @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  6. 6. A “non-writer” could be someone who … • Needs to write in order to effectively share their expertise • Runs a small business and needs to create content for their website • Writes regularly, but wants to earn an income from writing • Recently discovered blogging, but doesn’t identify with the term “writer” yet • Is traumatized by an incident with the grammar police • What did I miss? @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  7. 7. A “writer” … • Has a specific goal or objective to meet for each piece • Applies learned techniques • Edits work several times before considering it finalized • Proofreads work at least twice before considering it finalized • Meets deadlines (writer’s block is a luxury he cannot afford!) • Pays her bills with income earned from writing • Continually markets and “pitches” for work @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  8. 8. I am a writer • What ya’ gonna do with an English degree? • Paid to write since 1995 • I am not an author, journalist, novelist • Speeches, newsletters, bios, articles, websites, annual reports, white papers, product feature sheets, investor kits, brochures, billboards, case studies, training manuals, performance reports, RFPs, blah, blah, blah, you name it and I will write it … @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa www.caffeinecommunications.ca
  9. 9. What is the real difference between a non-writer and a writer? @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  10. 10. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  11. 11. Writing Tips were Pinky-Promised! @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  12. 12. Tip #1 There is no secret sauce. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  13. 13. Great writing = Hard work Hard work = Editing, editing, editing You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there's no free lunch. Writing is work. ~ Margaret Atwood @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  14. 14. Tip #2 Get active. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  15. 15. Find instances of passive voice in your post. The students are being taught by the professor. The entire stretch of highway was paved by the crew. The word “by” is a giveaway Is the highway the “do-er”? The crew paved the entire stretch of highway. The professor teaches the students. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  16. 16. Tip #3 Read your post out loud @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  17. 17. Ask yourself: • Have I used active voice? • Will this pique reader curiosity? • Does it allow for self-selection? • Can you make it shorter? Tip #4 Tweak your headline. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  18. 18. Piquing Curiosity Use power words • Free, Secret, Discover, The Top X, Easy • Discover 5 Writing Tips that the Pros Use Ask a question • So the reader will want to know the answer! • Want to Write like a Professional? Identify a clear benefit • WIIFM? • Increase Traffic with these 5 Writing Tips Solve a problem • Why do you search for things on the internet? • Keep the Grammar Police at Bay Make it personal • Include “You” and “Your” in your headline • Improve Your Blog with 5 Simple Writing Tips @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  19. 19. Self-Selection & KeywordsBe specific and let readers know if this post is really for them • 5 tips for getting over your doubts … about what? • Writing Tips … for who? Plugin: WordPress SEO by Yoast Mimics Google Suggest to help you identify your focus keyword @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  20. 20. Tip #5 Hook. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  21. 21. Some hooking techniques • Relate your topic to a news headline • “Rob Ford brings the topic of addiction and the workplace to the forefront.” • Reference pop culture • “What does Miley Cyrus’ tongue say about this generation?” • Share a personal anecdote • “My heart raced as I stepped into the interview room.” • Cite a new major study • “According to a new nation-wide poll, 60% of women have cheated on their husbands at least once.” • Contradict convention wisdom • “Money does buy happiness.” • Use an anniversary • “Exactly 10 years ago today …” @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  22. 22. Tip #6 Reel. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  23. 23. Some reeling techniques • Agitate, then solve • Convince using metaphors, similes, and analogies • Address objections • Tell a story • Make predictions • Point to social proof @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  24. 24. Tip #7 Read. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  25. 25. Tip #8 Don’t let ideas slip away! @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  26. 26. Keep a running journal of your post ideas • Kick it old skool with a paper journal • Use your phone (iNotes, Evernote) • Use a WordPress plugin (Ideas) @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  27. 27. @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa Tip #9 Plan wisely. Tip #9 Plan for it.
  28. 28. Plan for … • Interruptions • Time to edit & proofread • Topics that must get covered (sponsored, etc) • Filling your editorial calendar @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa WordPress Plugin: Editorial Calendar Drag, drop, and track progress
  29. 29. The Tips 1. There is no secret sauce (get over it, and get to work!) 2. Get active (because passive voice is boring) 3. Read your post out loud (and fix the awkward) 4. Tweak your headline (you need a great headline!) 5. Hook (don’t drop ‘em after the headline) 6. Reel (you want to eat, don’t you?) 7. Read (or weep from lack of ideas and new techniques) 8. Don’t let any ideas escape (these are precious!) 9. Plan (you know, to use the ideas you have) 10. Did I mention there is no secret sauce? (Caffeine helps! ) @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa
  30. 30. Thank You! @coffeewithjulie / #wcottawa www.caffeinecommunications.ca