Shout Your Author-Writer Qualifications on Your Email Opt-in Landing Page

Content MarketingBy Karen Cioffi

All writers, including authors and freelance writers, must have a website. It’s just the way it is. And, it doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or nonfiction – you need a website.

Everyone from Writer’s Digest’s Chuck Sambuchino to Jane Friedman (formerly with Writer’s Digest, now an editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review) to agents to publishers, all adamantly proclaim the need for an author website, even before your book is published.

While a website is mandatory, another must-have is a separate landing page to entice visitors to subscribe to your mailing list.

Having a separate landing page for your email opt-in offer is just a good marketing move. The primary purpose of this separate page is to avoid visitor distraction. On a regular author website or freelance writer site there are usually too many options, which translate into distractions for the visitor.

Think about it.

Do you have a Home page, About page, Reviews page, Events page, Awards page, Excerpts and Illustration pages? Audio? Video? Do you have ads or other sidebar content?

These are all distracting features. They may have their purpose, but they are counterproductive in regard to focusing in on building your subscriber list.

When it comes to building an email list, your site must be focused – NO distractions – NO visitor anxiety. It should have clear call-to-action content with a simple opt-in process.

This page should fully explain the benefits the potential subscriber will get if he opts in, and it should also include what your qualifications are for offering this particular information, for claiming to be an authority in your niche.

Let Your Qualifications be Known

People need to be persuaded into subscribing to yet another mailing list and into buying what you’re offering, so you need to make the YES decision and process as easy as possible. Conveying your qualifications for writing your book and the book’s merits are part of this process. For example, if you write fiction:

•    Do you have a ‘big name’ publisher?
•    Did your book win any awards?
•    Is your book a best seller?
•    Do you have positive reviews and feedback?
•    Are there book illustrations you can share?
•    How about a brief excerpt?
•    Do you have a book trailer?
•    Do you have good sales numbers?

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, the Frugal Book Promoter, suggests you also “include a pitch or logline for that piece of fiction that will intrigue your Web site visitor” and “include praise (blurbs) for it.”

Even your social networking numbers matter (e.g., number of Twitter followers, number of Facebook connections, and so on).

If You’re Writing Nonfiction

Getting a bit more specific as to your actual qualifications for writing the book, particularly if you’re writing nonfiction or offering freelance writing services or products:

•    Did you take special training (e.g., classes, ecourses)?
•    Do you have a degree or certification in the topic?
•    Do you have ‘good’ clips?
•    Do you have great testimonials?
•    Have you won awards?
•    Do you belong to relevant groups/clubs?
•    How in depth was your research?
•    Do you teach the topic?

Whatever gives you authority in your niche, whether fiction or nonfiction, be sure to include it in your list.

Sites claiming to be an expert in a particular niche are a dime-a-dozen. Let the visitor know you and your book are the ‘real deal.’

Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor, offers content writing training and services to natural healthcare professionals (great for small businesses too!).

Get free access to weekly SEO writing and content marketing tips and more: CLICK HERE!

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The Evolved SEO Marketing – Content Discoverability and Socialization (the top 3 strategies)

By Karen Cioffi

SEO marketing has evolved during 2013. While the fundamentals are the same, it now includes socialization and organic inbound content marketing that promotes discoverability.

Search Engine Watch describes the new SEO as “web presence optimization.” The site goes on to note that it’s “an all-encompassing approach to optimizing an entire web presence for organic search including the website, social channels, blogs, articles and press releases.” (1)

Of the many elements of SEO, there are three strategies that are at the top of the content discoverability popularity list and the ones you should be most concerned with.

The 3 most popular SEO marketing strategies:

1. Blogging with Effective Keywords, Content, and Socialization

One of the basics of the ‘evolved’ search engine optimization strategy is organic inbound content marketing. It’s the process of bringing traffic to your website through discoverable content, such as blog posts.

A major element of your content should be the ‘tried and true’ use of keywords. Keywords will drive search traffic to your website and ultimately drive conversion.

Conversion is the process of getting visitors to become subscribers, customers, clients or say YES to some other call-to-action you have in place.

It’s the combination of effective and targeted keywords and quality content that will produce the results you want. It delivers visitors to your site and motivates them to share your content with their networks.

Part of this optimization process that brings traffic to your site is sharing your content with your own social networks as soon as it’s published.

2. Guest Blogging

Spread your wings. Research sites that are relevant to your niche and that have high authority and query the owner or follow the site’s guidelines if available.

Guest blogging helps you take-it-up-a-notch. This content marketing strategy brings you to the attention of the high-ranking website you’re guesting on and to the attention of that site’s readers.

Guest blogging has a two-fold benefit. It helps you develop a connection with the site owner, possibly leading to other things, and it broadens your visibility.

To make your guest blogging gigs worth the time and effort, you need to create an effective ‘About the Author’ for the end of your articles. It’s important to make the author tag focused on the reader, not about you. Let the reader know what she’ll get if she clicks on your link.

3. Article Directories / Press Releases

While article marketing via article directories has been around a while, it’s still a top SEO marketing strategy.

As with guest blogging, it’s about using relevant keywords that will allow readers to find your article and it’s about writing quality content that other blog owners will find of value and ‘shareable.’ Other blog and website owners will read your quality content and want to share it with their own audience. This will prompt them to post it to their own sites, especially since it’s free content.

And, as with guest blogging, you need to have an effective ‘About the Author’ with a call-to-action, usually leading to your email list opt-in. Make your Bio count. An effective Bio will let the reader know that if he clicks on your link, he’ll get even more helpful information.

Summing it Up

The evolved SEO marketing strategy is all about discoverability and shareability. The means to this end is optimized content that is driven by organic inbound marketing strategies.

In other words, if you write it using optimization strategies (keywords and valuable content) they will come. And, they will share what you’ve written. This will please the ‘search engine powers that be,’ which in turn will give you higher ranking and authority.

Higher ranking and authority = more perceived value and more traffic, resulting in more conversion.

How About You?

What SEO marketing strategies do you use?

(Original article source: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2014/02/the-evolved-seo-marketing-content.html)

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Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor
SEO content training for small businesses, soloprenuers, and the freelance writer who wants to add this skill to her portfolio

Content Marketing – Is Blogging Worth the Time and Effort?

Article marketing, blogging, guest postsBy Karen Cioffi

The writer and marketer must do lots and lots of things to keep their head above the marketing waters. And, those marketing waters are constantly moving. How do you keep up? And, what are the most effective marketing strategies to use?

Since the game is always changing, it’s important to keep up with marketing trends. One useful tool for this is Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report.

According to their new report, which is based on “over 6,000 influencers, 1,200 consumers, and 150 top brand marketers,” blogs are now heavy hitters with consumers. Blogs are regarded as trustworthy, they are popular, and they wield influence over consumer buying decision making.

So, to answer the title question: Yes it is.

To further validate the importance of blogs, the report shows that blogs have more motivational buying power than Facebook (FB). That’s pretty amazing since FB is the top social network brands use to create visibility and develop relationships with consumers. In other words, brands use FB more than other social networks and they put more budget dollars into it than other social networks.

Reviewing the Technorati Report, Social Media Examiner explained that the reason blogs are so influential is because “bloggers tend to be very honest and sincere in their reviews of products and services. They talk about both negative and positive aspects of a brand, and in doing so become a trusted source of information. Trust drives action, and thus consumers look to bloggers before they buy.”

The study also showed that FB cornered 91 percent of brand presence, while Twitter cornered 85 percent.

Another important finding of this study is that over 50 percent of consumers feel that smaller communities offer more influence. Even new sites were trusted over social networks.

From this study it would seem that people like connecting with other people, not crowds. They like the personal relationship, the kind of one-on-one relationship that social networks don’t necessarily offer.

While the study focused on brand marketers, the results are applicable to your author or freelance writing site. Knowing that people in general trust blogs and look to them for information along with help and guidance to make purchasing decisions is powerful.

It’s understandable that this information may not be interesting to most. You may not care about knowing which social network is more popular with the heavy hitters or the percentage of marketing budget dollars brands spend on social networking. But, having proof that you’re not blogging in vein should put a smile on your face.

Take advantage of this knowledge. Blogs matter. They’re important and can be influential. Keep blogging!

References:

http://technoratimedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/tm2013DIR.pdf

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/blogs-outrank-social-networks-for-consumer-influence-new-research/

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Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor
Business and health article writing training for small businesses and solopreneurs,
and freelance writers

Writing Nonfiction – Using Quotes

freelance writerWriting fiction has a number of elements that a writer needs to incorporate to create an engaging and believable story, such as characterization, plot, structure, clarity, and so on. Writing nonfiction also has a set of elements that must be incorporated into the piece to create similar results, such as clarity, structure, and an engaging story. But, when writing nonfiction the writer also needs to provide authentic information.

Merrian-Webster.com defines ‘authentic’ as: “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.”

If you think about it, this makes complete sense. Anyone can write an article or a book and purport that it’s fact. But, what gives your content the authentic, credible element that it needs to be convincing, to be taken seriously?

The answer is simple: Using quotes.

While your nonfiction article may be accurate, you researched the information thoroughly and created your own content, there’s no real authenticity or credibility without relevant quotes from reliable sources to back your piece up. Along with adding creditability, using quotes increases your professionalism and expert status when writing nonfiction. Those who read your content will assume you know what you’re talking about because you provided evidence from reliable/expert sources.

The quotes can also be the cornerstone of your story, allowing you to build upon them.

Along with the above mentioned benefits of using quotes when writing nonfiction, Andrea Di Salvo, an author and freelance writer, provides a few more benefits in her article featured at WorldwideFreelance.com, “Using Quotes to Give a Creative Twist to Your Writing.”

First off, using quotes offers variety by changing the voice of the story. According to Di Salvo, “Every writer has a voice, a certain tone to his or her writing.” While this is a good thing, switching it up a bit creates engagement and helps keep the content fresh. It helps break up the monotony of a possibly long drawn out monotone piece, which in turn will help keep the reader reading.

Di Salvo also notes that, “a good rule of thumb is to place a relevant quote every few paragraphs.” Along with increasing the story’s credibility, it also adds white space to the piece.

Why is adding white space to your article, report, or book important?

It aids in easy reading.

This is a known writing technique that is used in various forms of writing, including copywriting. You don’t want the reader to become hypnotized and blank-out from too much continuous text. If your content goes on and on with very few breaks (white space) the reader will lose interest. Using quotes will force you to create new paragraphs, which will usually be short. This adds additional white space and gives the reader a breather; it also creates a less cluttered piece, which is also something the reader will appreciate.

When using quotes in your article or book, be sure to offer information pertaining to the author of the quote. Take a look above at how I introduced Andrea Di Salvo and her information.

Sometimes, especially when writing health or scientific information, you may need to include quotes from research teams. Here is part of the information used in a health article I wrote regarding a particular quote used:

Researcher Talal M. Nsouli, MD and his colleagues at Watergate Allergy & Asthma Center in Washington reported their findings at an American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI) meeting.

Also keep in mind that you may need to list the sources for the quotes. This is usually done through footnotes or endnotes. According to the Chicago Manual of  Style (CMS), “The notes, whether footnotes or endnotes, are usually numbered and correspond to superscripted note reference numbers in the text.”

In addition, if your quote is six or more lines, it needs to be blocked off – each line of the quote needs to be indented. There is also the matter of using part of a quote or shortening a quote. In this case you will need to use ellipses and possibly brackets.

Another factor to consider when including quotes in articles is that article directories, if you will be submitting to them, only allow a certain number of ‘quote lines’ within your piece. So, it’s advisable to read their guidelines before submitting.

For in depth information on using quotes when writing nonfiction, you can check out the CMS and/or the APA Publication Manual.

Image copyright 2013 Karen Cioffi

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Karen Cioffi is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and editor. Her specialties include: business writing, health writing, and children’s writing. You can connect with Karen at http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

Ghostwriting – Content Rewriting

As a ghostwriter you will come across a variety of clients that may request your ghostwriting services. One of the clients will be ‘the rewrite client:

Content rewriting is actually a popular project for a ghostwriter. Whether an individual wants to have his memoir rewritten, or a businessman needs to have his business manuscript rewritten, or a business wants articles rewritten for an affiliate or sister site, the client will provide you with a full manuscript or article and request that you rewrite it for them.

Sounds pretty simple right? Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

For the individual with the memoir you may receive a manuscript that’s very poorly written. You will have to try to determine what the client means in certain instances and this will take lots of feedback. Content rewriting will also mean you’ll need to spin words while still invoking the client’s voice. And, depending on the individual’s reason for writing the memoir, you may have to advise that ‘getting even’ doesn’t really make for a saleable book.

Then there is the businessman looking into hiring a ghostwriter for his business book that he wants rewritten. Again, you may have poorly written content that you’ll have to sort through. And, you’ll have to strive to keep the client’s voice. You’ll also have to verify all the information.

Another client in need of your ghostwriting service may be the business or health marketer who needs articles rewritten for a sister or affiliate site. This content rewriting is probably word-for-word the most difficult, unless you become very proficient at it. Depending on the genre you will need to become acquainted with the language, the keywords, and the business or health topic you’re writing about.

For example: assuming you’re requested to rewrite health articles about allergies, you’ll need to know the particulars about allergies. You’ll need to know about indoor allergies, outdoor allergies, environmental allergies, you get the idea. And, the word “triggers” means those substances that will cause an allergic reaction. But if you’re rewriting an article you may not be able to use the word ‘trigger.’

If you’re wondering why you can’t use a particular word it’s because when rewriting any content for online use, it must meet non-duplication criteria. This means that the rewritten article must be under a particular percentage in regard to duplicate content according to search engine criteria.

Why is this so important in regard to rewriting content?

Simple, Google penalizes page rank if it determines your content is duplicated by other sites.

A great tool to check your duplicate content score is WordsFinder Duplicate Checker and Article Rewrite Comparison. According to this site, your score needs to be below 80 percent or you may be penalized for duplicate content. But, your client may request it be below 70 percent. To be safe, you should always aim for below 70. If your rewrite duplicate percentage is too high, you have to rewrite it, while keeping it coherent and on topic. You’ll need to get it to that save percentage. This will most likely mean finding synonyms for a number of words. Take the word ‘strategy’ as an example. You might spin it with ‘policy,’ ‘plan,’ ‘technique,’ or other word that has a very similar meaning.

So, while content rewriting may sound easy, it can be a much more involved ghostwriting project than anticipated. Take this into account when quoting a price.

You can find the WordsFinder tool at:
http://www.wordsfinder.com/tool_duplicate_content_checker.php

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To boost your writing and marketing efforts sign up for The Writing World today! Get information, tips, and updates on free instructional webinars. And, join today and get How to “Create an Optimized Website – 3 Essential Author/Writer Website Elements and 9 Must-Have Pages.”

Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing

Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing

In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the craft of writing in an article titled, “Dedicate Yourself to a Writing Apprenticeship.” She explained that the process is slow and long, but is necessary to being a writer, to learn the craft of writing.

If you’re wondering what the craft of writing is, it’s proper writing technique, grammar, and style. These writing elements include structure, formatting, clarity, and in fiction writing, plot, character development, point of view, and dialogue. Even knowing the particulars in the genre you write is important.

So, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘craft?’

Wikipedia’s definition is, “A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.”

Merriam-Webster refers to ‘craft’ as an occupation requiring “artistic skill.”

And, TheFreeDicitionary.com mentions membership in a guild.

Between all three definitions we know that a ‘craft’ is a branch of a professional group or guild. It is a career or occupation, not simply a hobby.

Interestingly, there are various avenues that can be taken to become an accomplished or professional writer, but each one has the need for learning, practice, time, and commitment. Some writers may go to school and get degrees, others may learn from a coach or mentor, others from trial and error, failures and successes. But, whichever path is taken, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming experienced and knowledgeable, in being a writer. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

But today, with the easy-to-do-it-yourself self-publishing explosion, writers may not be viewed as professionals. Certainly, most people have read a self-published book or e-book that lacks proper grammar, structure, and even clarity. These products are easy to spot, but yet they’re available for sale, and the authors consider themselves writers.

While it’s great that those who want to write have a vehicle to publish their own work, especially in this overwhelmed publishing market, those who don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing do themselves and others an injustice. They make the self-publishing book market murky and the label of ‘writer’ less professional.

This shouldn’t be the case.

Think of a professional musician. Imagine him playing an amazing piece, smooth, fluid, and beautiful – every note is perfect. Now imagine another musician; this one isn’t in tune, can’t read the music, misses notes, and sounds awful. Which musician do you want to be?

You should want to be the professional; the one who offers polished and experienced work; the one who earns a reputation for quality.

According to WritersHelper.com, it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, there is always room for improvement. Writers should strive to “study ways to improve their craft.” While this may take time and work, it is easy to find the needed help and resources.

To begin, do a search for online writing instruction; try the keyword “learn to write.” You can also check your local schools for adult education classes, or take some college writing courses. There is an abundance of writing information available, much of it free or very inexpensive; take advantage of it.

Being a writer means you need to learn the craft of writing, and continue honing your skills.

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More Reading:

8 Steps Needed Before Submitting Your Manuscript
Writing Nonfiction: Using Quotes

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Ignite your writing and marketing efforts with Karen Cioffi and A Writer’s World ezine. Get weekly tips and guidance, plus updates on free webinars, and TWO FREE ebooks! Sign-up today: http://thewritingworld.com

Websites That Work – 7 Key Factors

Marketing in an oversaturated market is a difficult journey. Whether you’re promoting a book, services, or other product, you will have tons of competition. And, if you don’t have a website, you won’t be able to get in the marketing game.

No matter what product or service you’re offering, having a website is an absolutely must.

While it’s not that difficult to create a website or blogsite using services, such as WordPress (http://wordpress.com) or Blogger (http://blogger.com), there are essential steps you will need to take in order to create an EFFECTIVE site.

Here is a list of 7 of the most essential and bare-bottom basics that are needed for an effective website:

1. The Name of Your Site

Create a site with your name as the domain name. Even if you already have one or more sites with different names, take the time to create one with your name. This can be your central site that leads to your other specific platforms. Think of it as the Sun to your other orbiting web planets.

If you have multiple sites, include them on your Media Page and on your About You page.

2. The Subheading

When including a site subheading, think of your platform. In your subheading add keywords you want associated with your site. These are words that should quickly inform the search engines what your site is about.

3. The Opt-in Box

Provide a readily visible opt-in box. This is one of the only ways you will be able to create a mailing list. A useful way to entice visitors to sign up for your info emails or newsletter is to offer a free gift. Usually an e-book related to your site’s focus is a practical gift.

The opt-in box should be placed in the top portion of your sidebar, and must be immediately visible upon landing on the page – this means it needs to be above the fold line.

4. The ‘About Me’ or ‘About Us’ Page

Let the visitors know who you are with an About Me Page. This is especially important on sites that do not use the site owner’s name as the title. There are so many sites where a visitor needs to search to see who the site belongs to – it can be a bit frustrating, as well as a waste of the visitor’s time. There are even some sites that do not offer this information.

Along with the names of the site’s contributors, you should let the visitors know what the site is about, what they can expect from the site, what information will provided.

The About Me Page should include a bio along with any pertinent schooling and/or training. Most visitors want to know who is posting the content and what qualifies them to offer that particular information.

Providing this information allows the reader to develop a relationship with you.

5. The Media Page

Create a Media Page. This page will tell visitors what you’ve written and other qualifications that make you an expert in your field. You should also include your books, reviews of your work, brief synopses and possibly excerpts, links to the sales pages, testimonials and awards, links to interviews others have written on you, events/workshops you’ve presented, your appearances, and links to all your other sites.

6. The Contact Page

Your contact information needs to be available. This means having a Contact Page that offers a contact form, or your email address. A visitor may have a question, comment, or request for your services; you want that visitor to be able to know how to reach you.

7. The Resource Page

Probably the second most important factor that will make visitors find your site valuable is providing a Resource Page. This page should provide links to pertinent books, sites, and tools related to your niche. Visitor will appreciate the effort and information, thereby making your site of value to them. It will also prompt them to link to your site, and recommend it to others.

And remember, when creating a website, simple is usually best.

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Related Marketing Articles:

How to Create an Ebook – 5 Simple Steps
SEO and Marketing: Basic Tips and Definitions
Book Promotion: The Foundation

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Karen Cioffi
Award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer

Karen’s Books Page:
http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/p/karens-books.html

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing
http://KarenCioffiFreelanceWriter.com
http://WritersOnTheMove.com
DKV Writing 4 U
http://KarenCioffi.com

Writing Goals, Detours, and Opportunity Cost

The year is under way and hopefully, most of you have taken the time to think about and actually write out your writing goals.

This is actually a key element to seeing your goals recognized – you must write them down and keep them where you can see them everyday. Certainly, you’ve heard this strategy before. It’s simply not enough to think of your goals, you need to see them written and even visualize them.

Jack Canfield and his co-author Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul (http://chickensoup.com) wrote their goals out and pasted them everywhere possible, even in the bathroom. No matter where they were, they saw their objective and after 144 rejections, Chicken Soup for the Soul was finally accepted for publication.

Mark Thompson says, “Two of the vital ingredients for success online or in the “real world” is converting your Dreams to Goals and surrounding yourself with people with similar goals and ideals.”

Again, this is achieved by making your writing goals visible, writing them down, and by projecting them. But, you also need to make your goals attainable and don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals.

According to writing coach Suzanne Lieurance (http://workingwritersclub.com), you should limit your primary goals to three, and under each goal list the strategies you’ll take to achieve each one.

As an example, suppose you want to freelance for magazines. This is your number one goal and actions you might take to help you achieve that goal are:

1. Research three magazines you’d like to write for.
2. Decide on a topic that would be appropriate for each magazine.
3. Write an outline for the article.
4. Write a query letter for each magazine.
5. Submit to each magazine.

Then, you would simply follow your own goal reaching instructions to obtain your objective/s.

One big pitfall or roadblock to achieving your writing goals though, aside from not writing them out and reviewing them everyday, is a lack of focus and allowing yourself to get sidetracked by taking detours.

If you’re like me you start the year with your goals front and center. Then you seem to get sidetracked doing ‘this and that.’

You might decide it’s a great idea to prepare and present workshops or webinars to build your mailing list or sell products. Or, you attended a number of webinars that told you how easy it is to make money creating your own information products. So, off you go, doing ‘this and that.’

Unfortunately, unless that ‘this and that’ is earning you money, the detour is pointless. It’s not only pointless, it creates an opportunity cost.

What do I mean by ‘opportunity cost?’

If you spend your time and energy on projects that aren’t in line with your end objectives (your writing goals), and those detour projects aren’t earning you money, you’ve lost time and energy, and you’ve lost the money you might have made if you stuck to your original objectives.

BusinessDictionary.com defines ‘opportunity cost’ as “a benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else.”

That time, energy, and money you lost on your detours is the ‘opportunity cost.’

If you do decide to make a detour, be sure the benefits (money, networking, learning, etc.) are worth it. Achieving your goals takes discipline, drive, and perseverance. Don’t let unfruitful detours derail your writing goals.

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Related Articles:

Keep Your Writing Goals Front and Center
8 Steps to Take Before Submitting Your Manuscript

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Karen Cioffi
Award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer

Karen’s Books Page:
http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/p/karens-books.html

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing
http://KarenCioffiFreelanceWriter.com
http://WritersOnTheMove.com
DKV Writing 4 U
http://KarenCioffi.com

A Ghostwriter: 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business

A ghostwriter provides services for different types of people, marketers, and businesses, and on a number of topics. She works silently, behind the scenes and creates whitepapers, newsletters, e-books, informational products, articles, posts, stories, and other forms of content for a business or marketer seeking to:

• Create and/or build your company’s platform visibility
• Generate and increase website traffic
• Provide instruction/information for employees or clients/customers
• Offer an informational gift as an ‘ethical bribe’ to subscribe to your company’s mailing list
• Create landing pages for your company or products
• Create product descriptions and guides

The list goes on and on. But, let’s breakdown some of the uses of a ghostwriter, and her benefit to businesses.

A Ghostwriter is a Must-Have Tool

According to tracking by the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce grew 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Within those first three months, Americans spent $43 billion online. And, the projection for 2012 is that e-commerce will increase another 11.3 percent.

Based on trends and statistics, this growing e-commerce market will continue to grow.

1. Building Your Brand and Visibility with a Ghostwriter

So, it’s easy to see that with e-commerce rapidly growing a ghostwriter is a must-have business tool for marketers or business owners who need to provide regularly updated content on their site/s and in their newsletters or informational emails. This marketing strategy is known as inbound marketing. It helps build your platform, creates and increases traffic to your site, and will help increase your mailing list.

Creating content for businesses is actually a busy area for ghostwriters. Marketers are very aware of the importance of having effective and fresh content on the sites they are managing. Businesses hire a writer to write a set number of post/articles per week or month for a certain amount of money per article. Some businesses may want one to two articles per day; others may want one a week.

If you are hiring a ghostwriter for this capacity, be sure she knows about keywords and SEO. The point of hiring someone to create valuable content for your site/s is to have that content picked up in the search engines, which in turn will help searchers (potential customers/clients) find your site/s.

And, if the work involves rewriting articles, the ghostwriter must know the source article’s duplicate content score. Search engines frown upon duplicate content, so it’s the writer’s job to make the article different enough so it is perceived as new.

Maintaining and increasing visibility is essential to authors, writers, and businesses. Keeping up with blog posts and guest article writing is an important marketing tool for all, well at least for those who are trying to sell their products or services.

2. A Ghostwriter Provides Informational Content

Information rules in today’s ever changing world. Providing informative and/or instructive content to your staff, customers, and potential customer is now essential, especially with business transparency being a desirable feature that employees and customers look for.

While businesses and marketers can generate their own content, a ghostwriter frees up company time for more productive and revenue generating work.

‘Informational gifts’ is another content product that businesses need to be aware of. Of the thousands of websites within your industry available for customers to find and subscribe to, why should they choose yours? That’s where an ‘ethical bribe’ comes in to play. Providing an informative report or e-book with valuable information that your potential customer will appreciate tends to motivate that individual, company, or visitor to click on your opt-in box, thereby increasing your mailing list. And, every business knows the importance of having a mailing list – it’s crucial with the increasing e-commerce trends.

It’s this offering of valuable and quality information that helps build a relationship with your site’s visitors and keeps them coming back. This ongoing relationship will eventually lead to an increased mailing list and sales.

3. A Ghostwriter for Your Business’ Landing Pages and Products

The first impression an online searcher – potential customer searching for your product or business type – will have of a business, is its landing page. Obviously, a business needs to have an attractive, quick loading, SEO friendly, and informative page. Now, while a ghostwriter will most likely not be a web designer, she can create the needed content for the site, content that will engage the visitor and motivate him to subscribe to the mailing list and make contact with the business.

The mailing list is what generates long-lasting relationships and sales. Through the mailing list you can offer information, along with product and/or business promotion. Marketing experts advise though, to offer a 75 to 25 percent ratio of information to promotion.

Again, information is what people want today; they want to know how to find a solution to their problem or need, and they want to be informed. If you provide that, you will have sales.

Along with creating effective landing page content, a ghostwriter can produce product descriptions and guides. Through the information you provide and additional research, she can create informative and customer appreciated content, thereby fostering customer loyalty.

4. A Ghostwriter – Copywriting and Keywords

In addition to writing articles, newsletters, e-books, reports, and other content, a ghostwriter should know copywriting. While this skill isn’t essential for some aspects of the job, it is important in the event a client requires projects such as landing pages, email marketing, product guides, articles, or other.

And, being aware of SEO and keywords will help the ghostwriter create traffic effective content, leading potential subscribers and customers to the business’ website.

Knowing copywriting and SEO is a surefire way for a ghostwriter to increase her value to business clients.

5. A Ghostwriter Must be a Good Writer

Lastly, the number one quality a ghostwriter needs to have is being a good writer. It’s also a good idea for the ghostwriter to specialize in a couple of different areas – this also increases her value to specific clients.

If you are thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, you might ask for samples and/or testimonials. Note here: testimonials from ghostwriting clients may be difficult, if not impossible to come by . . . for obvious reasons. If the ghostwriter can’t provide testimonials, it’s important to understand why and ask for writing samples instead.

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Related Articles:

The Ghostwriter
Article Directories and Ghostwriting

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Karen Cioffi
Award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer

Karen’s Books:
http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing
http://KarenCioffiFreelanceWriter.com
http://WritersOnTheMove.com
DKV Writing 4 U
http://KarenCioffi.com

Editing a Book: 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers

You’ve been working on your story for a while now and you think it’s just about done. It’s been critiqued numerous times and you revised it numerous times. Now, it’s time for ‘editing a book;’ this entails proofreading and self-editing. You don’t want to short-change yourself on the last stretch, so get ready to put the final layers of polish on your manuscript.

While this ‘editing a book’ article is geared toward children’s writers, it has information for just about all writers.

Here are 10 tips to you can use to help fine-tune your children’s manuscript:

1. Check for clarity

Check each sentence for clarity. It’s important to remember that you may know what you intend to convey, but your readers may not. It’d be a good idea to have someone else read the manuscript for you. This is where a good critique group comes in handy.

2. Check for “telling” and lackluster sentences

Check each sentence for telling. While you will need some effective telling, you want to have more showing.

Example: Joe hit his head and was dazed.
Alternative: Joe banged his head against the tree. He wobbled a moment and fell to the ground.

Show, don’t tell. Use your imagination and picture your character going through motions—maybe he’s turning his lip up, or he’s cocking his head. Try to visualize it; this will help in showing rather than telling.

A good way to add more showing is to add more sensory details. Use the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) to create a living character; this will help breathe life into your story.

Example: Joe felt cold.
Alternative: A chill ran through Joe’s body.

Example: Joe was frightened.
Alternative: Joe’s breath stopped. Goosebumps made the hair on his arms stand at attention.

3. Point of View: Watch for head hopping

Checking for head hopping is especially important for children’s writers since their stories should be told from the protagonist’s point of view or perspective.

If the story is being told from your main character’s point of view (POV) make sure it stays there.

If my POV character Joe is sad and wearing a frown, it wouldn’t be advisable to say: Noticing his sad face Fran immediately knew Joe was distraught. This is bringing Fran’s POV into the picture.

You might say: Joe knew Fran would immediately notice his despair; they were friends for so long.

Or, you can just use dialogue: “Joe, what’s wrong?”

4. Watch for story consistency, conflict, clarity, and flow

Checking for consistency, conflict, clarity, and flow is another must for all writers of fiction. If you’re a children’s writer it’s even more important. Children need a structured story that’s consistent. The story also needs to provide conflict and action to keep the child engaged, along with clarity to help with comprehension. It should also flow smoothly with one paragraph, chapter moving seamlessly into the next.

5. Use spell-check

Make sure you write with spell-check on or use your word processor’s spell-check when you’re finished with your manuscript. I like writing with it on.

Just be careful here because while spell-check will catch misspelled words it won’t catch words that are spelled correct, but are the incorrect word in regard to meaning.

Example: He was to tired.
Correct: He was too tired.

These words are called homonyms and spell-check will not catch them.

A homonym is a word that sounds like another word, but is spelled different and has a different meaning. Examples of homonyms are: hare/here/hair; bare/bear/; stationary/stationery; peek/peak; principle/principal; capital/capitol; compliments/complements; cite/site/sight.

6. Use your Find function on your word processor

This is a great tool to check for “ly” words, “ing” words, weak verbs, and over used words such as “was.”

7. Watch for redundancy

Check the story for repeated phrasing and even paragraph beginnings. You don’t want several paragraphs in a row beginning with “the” or other repetitive wording. When editing your manuscript use the Find function in your word program and look for overused words.

Another aspect of redundancy is using unnecessary words.

Example: Sit down on the chair.
The word ‘down’ is redundant; ‘sit’ implies down.

Example: She whispered quietly.
The word ‘whispered’ is redundant.

8. Check for tight writing

In today’s market, tight writing is important—readers have a shorter attention span. So, get rid of unnecessary words and text.

Example: Joe had a really hard time lifting the very heavy and big trunk.
Alternative: Joe struggled to lift the huge trunk.

Also, watch for words such as “began” and “started.”

Example: He began to lift the trunk.
Alternative: He lifted the trunk.

9. Check for punctuation and grammar

There are a number of great books and even online articles that will help you learn proper punctuation and grammar. Two books that I use are: The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard Johnson and The Great Grammar Book by Marsha Sramek.

You can also do a Google search.

10. Children’s writers: Take illustrations into account

When writing a picture book you need to allow for illustrations. Picture books are a marriage between content and illustrations—a 50/50 deal. So, watch for text that an illustration can handle. With picture books your content doesn’t have to describe every little detail—the illustrations will embellish the story.
Well, this completes the 10 tips, but please know that self-editing is a tricky business and this is not an all inclusive list. Even knowing all the obstacles to watch out for, self-editing is still tricky. It’s almost impossible for us writers to catch all our own errors; we’re much too close to our work. We know every nook and cranny of the story and that makes it difficult to read it in a fresh manner. Even if we think we’re reading every word, our mind is way ahead of us, that’s why it’s advisable to look into hiring an editor.

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Other Writing Articles you may find of Interest:

Is Your Manuscript Ready for Submissions?
Article Content Formatted and Search Engine Ready Part1

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Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer

Karen’s eBooks Page

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing
http://WritersOnTheMove.com
DKV Writing 4 U
http://KarenCioffi.com (children’s author site)