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The Different Types of Ghostwriting

The Different Types of Ghostwriting

The Different Types of GhostwritingEveryone needs to communicate; it’s how we live as humans and how our society has progressed over time. The ability to write and interpret information is a necessary skill, especially when it comes to communicating through various media. In a world of text messages, comments, and blogs, it is crucial to know how to properly convey ideas. These modern technologies have made the written word continuously accessible and ever-changing, which, in turn, has made the ghostwriter an increasingly common and widely used resource for fast and efficient content production.

Ghostwriters are versatile employees who can take on a number of creative and professional roles. However, the strength of ghostwriting can differ depending on the writer’s style, technique, and experience. When hiring ghostwriters, it is important to take their strengths into account. When looking for ghostwriting work, it is important to know your strengths so that you can properly market your services.

Some of the different types of ghostwriting work can be found in the following categories:

Creative work

Autobiographies

Although the book’s title implies that the subject is the author, autobiographies can be difficult to write when you are the subject. Famous figures, especially those who lack communication skills, will hire a ghostwriter to compose their autobiography. Ghostwriting lets the writer take an objective look at the subject’s life, thereby allowing for a different—and perhaps more truthful and sincere—portrayal of events.

Family history

As with autobiographies, ghostwriters can study a family’s history without bias. Such ghostwriting also allows for a more objective and comprehensive examination.

Fiction

Often, a person will have an idea for a great story but will not be able to successfully transfer their thoughts to paper. Other times, the author might not have any writing experience. Hiring a ghostwriter allows the author to turn his or her story ideas into text and bring it to life.

Scripts/screenplays

Script and screenplay writing requires skills that are substantially different from typical storytelling techniques. For an author who does not properly understand stage directions, dialogue, or camera angles, ghostwriting can speed up the writing process. Ghostwriters are often hired to write for TV shows with short deadlines.

Professional work

Business reports/records

Businesses will hire ghostwriters to take meeting minutes (or notes), which are kept on file. This is especially important in negotiations, courtrooms, and governmental meetings.

How-to manuals

Though this might be the most tedious area of ghostwriting, comprehensive instruction manuals must accompany many products, including electronics, household appliances, tools, and even medications.

Blogs

While blogs are typically thought of as online diaries, many are used for advertising, sales, and other marketing objectives. It is therefore crucial for bloggers to regularly post engaging content that will attract readers. Ghost writers can help companies achieve this goal in the midst of heavy workloads and busy schedules.

Medical documents

Researchers and scientists, while experienced and well versed in their fields, may not possess the skills necessary to write medical reports and journal articles. To publicize their research, they will often hire ghostwriters to communicate their ideas and findings.

Speeches

Politicians, celebrities, and corporate executives might have the charisma to deliver compelling speeches, but they often lack the ability to transfer their thoughts into writing. Ghostwriters will be delegated to write speeches, which can take some of the pressure off the public figures they are ghostwriting for.

Social media

Along with speeches, many public figures and businesses need ghostwriters to manage their social media accounts. Since social media sites are virtual spaces of constant activity, popular brands must create regular content and be prepared to respond to users instantly. Ghostwriting can help.

Newsletters

Businesses, news outlets, and other institutions will send out newsletters at regular intervals to an email list of recipients. Ghostwriters will cover various events, updates, and messages for the recipients of these newsletters.

Technology is always changing and improving. For writers, the options available for ghostwriting are limitless, and the market is growing rapidly. For authors and companies, ghostwriters are a mainstream resource that can significantly affect the success of their work. As long as instant communication continues to remain a vital part of everyday life, there will always be a market for high-quality written work.

Image source: quka/BigStockPhoto.com

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The Dos and Don’ts of Content Writing

Inklyo.com's writers explain a few dos and don'ts for businesses trying to get started on content writing.

Content WritingThe field of content writing is unlike any other form of writing in terms of its style, audience, and tone. This makes getting started on content writing a tricky task. However, with the correct technique, you’ll be on the right track in no time. Read on if you want to improve your content writing skills.

Do remain professional

While it’s important to create a personable, humanized online presence to attract customers, you don’t want to make the mistake of getting too casual. Remember that, however laid-back your customers may appear, a few poorly chosen statements could alienate them. Avoid swearing, slurs, or expressing personal opinions and viewpoints outside of a business context when creating your content. Nothing in your blog should offend your target customers.

Don’t overdo it

Graphics are great, but when there are too many, your blog will be like a house with too many Christmas decorations. It will look tacky and it will load slowly. Don’t forget that some of your clients may not have the fastest Internet speeds, and a website that has to load too many graphics will end up discouraging potential customers from revisiting your site. Focus on content writing, not on adding flashy backgrounds.

Do practice content writing

Whoever invented the phrase “practice makes perfect” understood writing. Like anything else, content writing takes practice. You’re already taking the first step in improving your writing if you’re reading this blog. The next step is to research good content writing. Write a few practice blog posts, and send them to friends for feedback. Don’t hesitate to listen to customer feedback either. You never know who is commenting on the blog, and he or she may just be a professional.

Don’t plagiarize

You probably remember the lectures about plagiarism from your school days, but you may not realize that those rules continue to apply. The difference is that, when it comes to Web content, plagiarism can cost you a lot more than a passing grade. It’s okay to hunt around websites and blogs to get ideas, but when it comes to content development itself, you need to come up with your own material. If you are inspired by another site, you should cite the source and link back to the original piece. Give credit where credit is due.

Do keep your content writing updated

Outdated content bores readers. Make sure to update your blog regularly. Outdated content reflects poorly on your business. It makes readers—and possible clients—think that your business is out of touch. At the very least, readers may think that you don’t have enough business to maintain an active blog. While none of these assumptions may be true, you don’t want to assume that your audience will give you the benefit of the doubt. If you’re having a tough time content writing frequently enough to keep your site updated, it may be time to outsource.

Don’t repeat yourself

Your article writing should be innovative, interesting, and fresh. Don’t just repeat what other people are saying. The best writing is authentic and brings a new perspective. Think about what you have shared in the past, and why you found it useful.

Image source: iqoncept/BigStockPhoto.com

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What Kind of Content Should I Be Posting on My Website?

It’s no secret that search engines love content that’s optimized, engaging, and relevant to your industry. But remember — robots aren’t the only ones reviewing the information on your website. Creative, credible content can also help set you apart from your competitors, gaining you loyal customers and brand followers. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a lean start-up, strong content can help you generate leads, convert browsers into buyers, and encourage referrals following the sale.

The trick is knowing what kind of content you need to produce in order to initiate and nurture client relationships.

Build trust with better content

According to a recent study by Focus Research, companies should use a mix of content types to attract customers, depending on the type of business they operate. Blog posts, white papers, research papers, and infographics all offer unique opportunities to engage and build trust with your audience.

But what if you want to shake things up a little bit? Here are three unconventional ways to create content that attracts attention to your company.

1. Create a competitive analysis

You heard that right. Publish a downloadable document to your website that compares your product or service to a competitors’. Today, most consumers begin the buying process by Googling information on products or asking advice from friends on Facebook and Twitter. Publishing content that clearly explains how your product measures up (and outperforms) your competition will make it easier for potential clients to appreciate what your company has to offer.

Industry insider tip: According to TechTarget’s 2009 Media Consumption Benchmark Report, technology consumers are especially receptive to competitive comparisons. This report found that technology companies seek out content comparing a vendor’s offering to the competition as they get further along in the decision-making process.

2. Don’t shy away from controversy

A little controversy can give your company’s blog a big boost in readership, but only when the topic is well executed and properly researched. This means quoting reputable sources that support your argument and lend validity to your stance. When done properly, controversial content can increase engagement and brand awareness, as well as drive traffic, comments, and inbound links to your website.

3. Use your FAQ page properly

Never underestimate the value of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website. When executed properly, your FAQ page can help enhance your customer service and communicate your brand value.

Unfortunately, many companies seem to go out of their way to avoid answering questions that could open their product or brand up to criticism. Of course, these are exactly the questions every company should address. Publishing this kind of content to your website is your first line of defense against negativity and skepticism. Be transparent and address any uncomfortable issues up front. Your customers will appreciate your honesty.

4. Interview an expert

Running out of interesting content ideas to incorporate into your blog or website? Then why not ask an expert for their opinion? Interviews are a great way to provide your readers with a fresh perspective on a popular topic. If you’re lucky, you might even learn a thing or two yourself!

At the end of the day, the goal is to develop content that your audience finds useful. Quality content can position your company as an industry leader and a reliable source of consistent, credible information.

Inklyo.com's free ebook about business blogging.

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Catch Me If You Can: 10 Ways to Hold Attention by Producing Engaging Content

How to Produce Engaging Content

Catch Me If You CanProducing engaging content is one thing, but holding a reader’s attention? That’s another. We all know how much content there is on the web, but we also know how easy it is to not read it. Okay, okay, so maybe we do read some articles and blog posts, but let’s be real—most of us tend to skim them rather than read through them in their entirety. We’re busy, and we’ve got things to do! So in today’s hustling and bustling world, how do you write engaging content (articles, blog posts, ebooks, etc.) while keeping your readers interested? Read, skim, or scan the top 10 list below to find out.

1. Make your offer.

Offer information that is original and relatable.

By providing your readers with information that is new, original, and relatable, you will be giving them something that no one else is—engaging content that holds their attention. A lot of the news and information that can be found online is the same from one source to the next, but by offering readers something new that they can’t find anywhere else, you are bound to capture—and hold—their attention.

2. Tell a story.

Present your information as a story to really connect with your reader.

If you present your information as a story, readers will be much more inclined to keep reading—to find out what happens, to learn more about your product, or to find a meaningful connection that they can relate to. In addition, if you have a consistent voice and make your story emotionally relevant, you will be that much more likely to connect with your readers and hold their attention.

3. Be a space maker.

Make your content reader-friendly by optimizing your use of white space.

By formatting your content in a way that is visually appealing and uses the right balance of white space and text, you will already have readers wanting to read your article or blog post. The right amount of white space draws the eye to certain areas and prevents the page from becoming cluttered or disorganized, making skimming much easier.

4. Don’t be afraid to be bold.

Make your headings and subheadings stand out so they can be scanned by the reader.

Just as with white space, you want to make sure you’re using headings and subheadings that draw the eye, offer relevant information, and provide enough knowledge to give even skimmers and scanners a general idea of your article or blog post. Although your ultimate goal is to have them read the whole thing, if they can get what they need just by skimming, then you’ve still done your job well.

5. Make magic with bullets.

Use bullet points to provide a visual break while presenting your information in a way that is easily skimmable.

Bullet points break information up to make it easily digestible, concise, and generally easier to skim. They also contribute to the balance of white space and lend themselves to the visually appealing layout of your content.

6. Get the gist.

Scan only the points that you have highlighted to see if the reader will be able to get the gist of your article or blog post simply by skimming or scanning.

This is probably one of the most important points in this article. While you want your readers to actually read your entire article, you know that many of them won’t. However, you still want to get your information across, and you want your readers to come away with more knowledge than they had before they stumbled upon your article. By making the content of your main headings and points informationally efficient, you will be able to give your readers what they need even when they don’t read every word. This will keep them coming back for more because it will be concise, compelling, and engaging. If you ask me, it’s a win–win!

7. Include links.

Include linksInclude internal links back to your own content.

Not only will these links give readers the opportunity to engage with more of your content via other areas of your site, but they will also allow you to keep the article or blog post concise. By including internal links, you won’t feel compelled to cram all the information into one article, which your readers will appreciate. This is also an easy way to boost your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), as the keywords you use will be more concise and the internal links will show the relevance of the content to the rest of your site.

8. Prettify your format.

Draw the reader’s eye by formatting your posts in a way that is visually appealing.

Whether this means using interesting font styles, unique images, or SlideShares instead of standard articles, format your articles so that they appeal to your readers. Readers are much more inclined to read visually appealing articles. And, once they realize that your content is engaging, too, they’ll be hooked!

9. Use numbers.

Numbers catch the eye and make information stand out.

Have you ever noticed that you’re much more interested in reading a headline if there’s a number in it? Numbers automatically give you some context, which keeps you wanting more. “The Top 5 Ways to Earn More and Do Less.” What does your brain automatically think? “What are the top five ways? I must know—now!” Including numbers, especially in your headings, makes your readers think they are privy to something, something that no one else knows . . . which keeps them engaged and glued to the page. It can also let readers know that an article is a quick read, because lists are easy to skim (see point 6!).

10. Avoid errors.

Edit, proofread, and be error-free.

Without proper editing and proofreading, none of the tips above will matter. If your content is great but riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, there’s no way your readers are going to stick around. If your content is engaging but lacks the professionalism of grammatical accuracy, your readers will become disengaged with each typo they see. Having error-free content is the ultimate key to holding your readers’ attention, so it’s imperative that you avoid making mistakes. To ensure that your content is error-free and awesome, have your articles and blog posts edited by the experts at Scribendi.com. If you’re serious about producing engaging content that holds your readers’ attention, there’s no better way to get the results you want than by using a professional editing service (and following these 10 tips).

Image sources: Jon Eckert/Stocksnap.io, PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.com

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How to Speak Millennial: 9 Best Practices to Follow When Writing for Millennials

Millennial Falcon

The Millennial Falcon

Haters gonna hate . . .

Many an article has been penned (or, for the comment-lurking nitpickers, typed) about the failings of the Millennial generation.

  • Why, they’re online addicts with short attention spans!
  • They’re narcissistic, materialistic, unrealistic twerps who don’t understand what it means to get a real job!
  • They’ve forgotten how to maintain interpersonal relationships that don’t involve a screen!
  • They’re entitled and demand everything for free!
  • They’re the reason marriages don’t work out anymore!
  • They’re only skinny because they photograph their food instead of eating it!
  • They’re click-happy, swipe-happy, selfie-taking, duck-lipped (or, if we’re really staying on trend, sparrow-faced) Fickle Freddies who share content more for social recognition than personal interest!

Whew. Annoyed yet? We certainly are.

Leave the big brush behind

In addition to painting with ridiculously broad strokes over a population that spans different countries, cultures, education levels, and consumer values, these often obnoxious claims fail to recognize the power of Millennials in online culture. Perhaps one truth that may be safely applied en masse is that this generation grew up during the rise of the Internet. Their formative years were spent alongside a rapid technological advancement not experienced by any other generation.

We’re talking about people who watched Family Matters and Full House, nursed Nano Pets, and jammed to the Backstreet Boys on Discmans. People who can imitate the sound of dial-up Internet but now navigate touchscreens and instant communication like extensions of their bodies. Millennials have grown up with constant, fast-paced changes to the way knowledge and information are obtained, processed, and shared.

As a result, they read and interact with content differently than those who witnessed these changes during adulthood, or those who were born already plugged in to the App Store. Any online writing venture marketing to Millennials must address their unique reading styles. These are tech-savvy individuals with a literal world of obtainable knowledge and purchasing power. Writing specifically for Millennials may be the biggest influence on your blog’s potential success.

Get ready to target your writing

Millennial PocahontasIf Pocahontas were a Millennial, she’d have sung, “The thing I like about news feeds is, you can’t log in to the same feed twice; the info’s always changing, always flowiiiiing!” In addition to the surge of information that constantly threatens to drown out yours, there’s this hard truth to face: your content probably isn’t original. The rule of the Internet seems to be if you can think of a concept, it already exists online somewhere. So, should Millennials swipe upon your blog, will the design and writing be enough to keep them there? The following steps are a guide to help you when blogging for Millennials so that you attract and keep your readers—and convince them to share your posts.

1. Looks are everything

Online content marketing tycoon Hubspot reported that Internet users judge the aesthetic value of a website in as fast as one-fiftieth of a second. That snap impression is particularly influential on Millennials, who, according to Millennial Marketing, will actually reject quality content if the visual effect is poor. Cluttered, unappealing web spaces are perceived as unreliable, unprofessional, and unintelligent. As seen in this helpful infographic by Digital Information World, 94% of online users develop mistrust and dismiss a website because of poor design, and 75% use website design as the basis for their opinion of a website’s credibility. For those who don’t identify as particularly tech-savvy, blog hosts like Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr have built-in design templates and customizable options, as do many domain providers like GoDaddy and Wix.com. It’s worth it to take a few hours to play with these features and develop a unique, attractive web space that will make Internet readers want to stick around.

2. Meet their needs, and stop there

Remember the cutesy acronym KISS—Keep It Simple, Stupid? This doesn’t mean you should lower the reading level of your writing, but rather that you should keep your main text focused. Provide links to supplementary information instead of explaining it in the post itself, which often weighs down the writing and makes it harder for your answer-seeking readers to find the information they came to your page for in the first place.

3. Make the hunt easy

An important development (evolution or mutation? We’re not sure…) in the way Millennials read is that they scan for important information rather than reading content in its entirety. The most successful blog posts are those that are structured so that the main points can be gleaned from a quick scan even if you don’t read the entire piece. Headings, subheadings, lists, and graphical content are all excellent ways to guide readers to your post’s critical information in a hurry.

4. Use visual interest

In a similar vein, Millennials are more responsive to visual content than block text. This may require some technical skills or the selection of a host site that is better optimized for visual aids (Medium and Tumblr are great examples). High-quality images or videos are not only more likely to attract online readers to your blog post in the first place; they also increase the chances of those users sharing your post with their social media circles.

5. Teach, don’t preach

Unlike the older Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials respond best to content that reads as if it’s been written by someone similar to themselves—friends, family, even strangers—rather than by “experts.” In short? Be relatable and genuine in your writing. The #YOLO trend has thankfully died down (save for a few ill-thought-out tattoos), but the concept “You Only Live Once” does a good job of summing up what kind of content reaches Millennials. This is a generation that is largely motivated by firsthand experience. Create an experience through your writing that is interesting, relatable, and shareable.

That said, one of the most painful and misguided writing trends hitting websites meant to market to Millennials is the plague of dumbed-down writing. People read content to learn something, so don’t make your audiences feel that they aren’t being taken seriously or that you, the writer, are not trustworthy. Interesting, engagingly written content that teaches its readers something or inspires a dialogue will have more lasting appeal than assumed-to-be-popular vernacular.

6. Separate the trends from the fads

This is a biggie. Staying on top of trending topics, visual styles, and overarching messages that resonate positively with Millennials is important in developing a feel in your writing that will appeal to this target group. For example, 48% of Millennials interviewed for the Boston Consulting Group’s U.S. Millennial Supplemental Consumer Sentiment Survey (2013) reported they prefer to invest their time, money, and attention in companies that demonstrate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. In this study by NewsCred, 64% of Millennials report positive responsiveness to posts that are useful and relevant to their cultural interests.

What not to do, however, is hastily adopt fads. Fads don’t have lasting value within the generation; they are catchy items that surge in popularity and die down just as quickly, often drawing negative reactions when used after their peak. Need proof? Think of how quickly “clickbait” headlines plummeted from edgy to cringe-worthy.

7. Optimize for sharing

While the joke that the Millennial reader processes only 140 characters or fewer is a tad insulting, the point does have merit in terms of sharing potential. Incorporating Twitter-sized pockets of information into your post or boiling down the essence of the piece to such a size will help in getting it shared across social media platforms. Consider how lengthy news articles use pull-out quotes to highlight key information. Are the most important points of your post contained in succinct, nicely worded parcels?

8. Proofread

The Internet is brutal to those who make innocuous typos or punctuation and spelling errors. What happens in Vegas may stay there, but your Internet blunders are just a screenshot away from being permanent and globally accessible, like the ones seen here. We cannot state enough the importance of having your blog content edited by another party, preferably a professional.

9. Creep

Millennials process information quickly.When you’re faced with endless waves of competition, staying current is critical in maintaining approval from Millennial audiences. Research popular keywords, keep track of trending headlines and hashtags on Twitter, and be aware of frequently shared or liked news items to keep your own writing interesting and relevant. Millennials grew up in an era of rapid change that forced intuitive learning. As a result, this group of Internet consumers processes information quickly, learns fast, and adapts even faster; if your blog doesn’t do the same, they’ll move on to one that does.

Marketing ain’t wasted on the young

Advertising analytics prove that brand loyalty and buying habits are established at a young age. Politicians know that the underexploited young vote has the power to turn an election. Online writing industries—from blogs to news outlets to creative content hubs like Colossal and Upworthy—have shifted their headlines, content presentation, and writing voices to suit the reading styles most consistently observed in younger audiences. Millennials dominate the online world and are the next generation of consumers; wise bloggers know how to play to the reading habits and responses of this age group to successfully generate a following. Still above writing for Millennials? Better not quit your day job, son.

Image sources: OpenClipartVectors/Pixabay.com, Luis Llerena/Stocksnap.io, ClkerFreeVectorImages/Pixabay.com