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5 Tips for Improving Your Essay-Writing Speed (With Help from Bilbo Baggins)

Essay-Writing Speed

Essay-Writing SpeedWhat do most students have in common with Bilbo Baggins? Besides enjoying at least six meals a day, the trait most students share with our favorite hobbit is the desperate need they sometimes have for more time. Time is what Bilbo begs for when he can’t solve Gollum’s riddle (right), the answer to the riddle being—of course—none other than time itself.

Sure, in the scene above, Bilbo is at serious risk of being eaten by Gollum, while most students just have a lot of reading and essay writing to do. Still, time is the important thing here, and it seems that neither students nor “hobbitses” (as Gollum would say) can ever get enough of it. If only there were some way to make writing an essay a faster process . . .

The bad news? I can’t get you more time. Not even Gandalf can manage that, and I’m certainly no Gandalf. But what I can actually do is teach you how to use less time to accomplish more when you’re writing an essay, which is pretty much exactly the same thing! So, if you’re feeling well fed and ready to learn, prepare yourself for an unexpected journey into the art of writing an essay as efficiently as possible.

Step 1: Make a plan.

Imagine that you’re going on a trip. Perhaps you’re even traveling to the Lonely Mountain to face a very vain dragon in hopes of reclaiming some treasure. Now, how would you rather make that journey: with a map or without one? I think we can both agree that using the map would save you quite a lot of time that would otherwise be spent wandering—right?

Just like any adventurous Took, you shouldn’t try to start writing an essay without first creating a map for yourself. Yes, it takes time to write an outline. However, this is time that you will more than make up later in the writing process and that will ultimately improve your essay-writing speed.

The key elements to have figured out before you begin writing are your thesis statement and the evidence and arguments you will be using to support that thesis statement. Once you have these things, you basically have a road map to your final destination: completion of your essay.

Step 2: Do your research.

This step should really be done in conjunction with the former step. After all, what’s the point of writing a thesis if you can’t support it with research? Your research, including direct quotations from primary sources, should be part of your outline. Finding quotations from scholarly articles and books to support your arguments before you actually start writing will make the actual process of writing much faster, as you will have fewer necessary interruptions. (No, Facebook is not a necessary interruption—nor is a second breakfast. Sorry.)

Step 3: Just write.

Bag EndOkay. Your map is written, you’re out of your hobbit-hole door and into the world, and you’re ready to actually start writing an essay. You still want to know how to write faster? Well, friend, the key is to start by actually writing. Not agonizing over every clause, not questioning all life decisions made thus far, and certainly not watching Netflix. Just write. Try your best to communicate the ideas you’ve painstakingly outlined in your map, but most of all, just get those fingers typing and start writing. Write. There will be some clunky sentences, there will be some punctuation errors, and there may even be some paragraphs that don’t make the final cut. However, if you don’t start writing soon, there won’t be anything to cut, and then you’ll really want to know how to write faster.

Step 4: Tackle your essay in sections.

Of course, as good as the “just write” mentality is, it can only keep you going for so long. Writing an essay in one big chunk is like trying to travel from the Shire to the Lonely Mountain in a single day; that is to say, it is downright impossible without the aid of some kind of anachronistic aircraft, and very dangerous to even try doing. Instead of doing everything at once, think of your essay in terms of meaningful sections. Focus on completing just one section at a time, and give yourself time for short breaks between writing sessions. Dinner with dwarves, break. Meeting with Elrond, break. Goblin kidnapping, break. You get the idea!

Step 5: Take a break before editing your work.

Make sure that you give yourself some time away from your essay before returning to revise your first draft. Editing your essay with a fresh mind will make the process much quicker, as mistakes you made while writing will be much more obvious to your eye and to your well-rested brain. While it’s true that the time period needed to complete your essay will be longer, the amount of time you will actually have spent on your essay will be much, much shorter, leaving you lots of time to work on other things!

Epilogue

There you have it, folks: five ways to improve your essay-writing speed. You now know how to write faster—or, you know, how to complete an essay using less time overall. This more efficient method of writing an essay should give you more time to accomplish other important things, like rereading your favorite stories (cough—Tolkien!), working on your riddle-solving abilities, and perfecting your Gollum impersonation—all pursuits worthy of your extra time and devotion.

Image sources: yanjing/Pixabay.com, kewl/Pixabay.com

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What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Website Optimization

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Website Optimization

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Website OptimizationIn 2010, Simon Sinek’s TED talk about the Golden Circle of marketing took intellectuals and business-minded Internet audiences by storm. Labeled like something out of Greek mythology and sounding at first like holistic cutesy talk, the Golden Circle is actually grounded in specific behavioral science, and it quickly transfixed audiences.

Sinek’s theory illustrates an approach to marketing that stems from the why as opposed to the what; in short, companies that appeal to our gut reactions are more successful than those that attempt to influence our decision making by telling us about their products. Consumers are more swayed by why a company / activist / organization does what it does than by what it actually does. The “gut reaction” function of the brain affects decision making far more effectively than rationalization does.

Now apply this to online marketing. Think about what gut reaction your company’s website may trigger. Researchers at the content marketing super-site HubSpot found that users judge the appearance of a website in 1/50th to 1/20th of a second. The concept of website optimization is nothing new, but it is still largely underestimated or underemployed by myriads of businesses and not-for-profit organizations alike.

Simple website analysis reveals that the most effectively optimized websites are those that follow the Golden Circle. They convince by relaying why the company does what it does. Their aesthetics trigger an instant positive reaction from visitors, and easy navigation and well-designed landing pages enable the swift conversion of why-inspired visitors.

Don’t be afraid to learn from your competitors. Here are a few examples of companies and organizations that have got this website optimization thing down.

1. Coin

The brilliance of Coin’s website happens as you scroll down. Granted, some visitors won’t bother to do so, but the overall spectacular design and eye-catching (without being distracting or obnoxious) animations encourage users to continue down the page. From there, this website truly embraces the Golden Circle method for website optimization. The best part? The call to action (CTA) of “Get Yours First” that allows newly convinced consumers to believe they’re jumping on board ahead of the crowd.

  • Changing custom background to target different user personalities
  • Visually interesting, interactive experience
  • Explains benefits and relates the product to real-life situations
  • CTAs at both the top and bottom of the page
  • Stellar CTA statement

2. ZURB

Simple, beautiful, and to the point, ZURB’s homepage lets you know who they are as a company and utilizes a truly brilliant CTA. In addition to its perfect use of color and design, “ZURB in 30 Seconds” is hard to pass up; who wouldn’t want all their questions answered in half a minute?

ZURB's Homepage.

  • Phenomenal CTA
  • Direct message about who they are and what users have to gain
  • Easy navigation (as you scroll down) that provides clear answers to user questions

3. Panera Bread (mobile)

Most online consumers have experienced trying to access a website from a mobile device, only to discover awkward layouts, teeny-tiny fonts, and agonizingly slow load times. The reaction? An immediate backward swipe, especially when expensive data usage is at stake. Websites like Panera Bread, which employs unique optimization for both desktop and mobile devices, are very much ahead of the game. Panera Bread’s mobile site is attractive, functional, and—most importantly—user-friendly on a small screen.

  • Large, clear, easy-to-use navigation
  • Simple, attractive aesthetics
  • Designed to immediately meet user needs
  • Shareable on social media

4. You Need a Budget

Think about what a user probably asked Google: “How can I balance my budget?” comes to mind. You Need a Budget presents immediate answers to that and similar questions, minimizing user effort (crucial in today’s online culture of instant gratification).

The You Need A Budget Homepage.

  • Several clear, relevant CTAs
  • Talks about user benefits rather than products
  • Demonstrates the company’s driving beliefs to encourage trust
  • Visible free-product offer

Conclusion

When optimizing your website, remember the Golden Circle—demonstrate that your company is genuine, believes in what it does, and offers a great product. Trigger positive gut reactions from visitors by making your website a delight to look at and easy to navigate, and transform those same visitors into customers or donors with easy-to-find, direct, and inviting CTAs. Remember that first reactions to your website and user friendliness will do a huge chunk of your sales pitch for you. Once that gut instinct happens, visitors can use the additional pages of your informative, well-laid-out website to rationalize the affirmative decision they’ve already made.

Image sources: Vladimir Galkin2012/BigStockPhoto.com, Gumption Inc. (used with permission), Zurb.com (used with permission), You Need a Budget (used with permission)

Inklyo's free ebook, 25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales.
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Avoiding Gender Bias in Academic Writing

Avoiding Gender Bias in Academic WritingAcademic writing and research is becoming an increasingly globalized practice, and because of the Internet, journals are able to quickly and easily accept papers and studies from researchers around the world.

A challenge for English as a Second Language (ESL) writers is that it is standard for many academic journals to publish in English, meaning that the original research must be revised and sometimes even translated into natural-sounding English. With research arriving from such a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds, keeping the language in these studies free from gender bias has become an important part of the academic writing process.

What is gender bias?

Gender bias is a form of sexism that indicates that one gender is superior to another—most often that men are superior to women. Often, writing with gender bias is unintentional; using gender-neutral wording may require some extra thought or attention to detail for academic authors who aren’t accustomed to thinking in such terms.

Awareness of gender bias in writing is relatively recent, and it logically stands to increase as the number of female academics continues to climb in many countries.

Why does gender neutrality matter?

In the broadest sense, language is an integral part of human society and interaction, and how we use language both subtly and pervasively influences the way people perceive and understand the world.

In terms of gender, women in research-driven online communities, such as Wikipedia, have indicated that the use of male-centered language leads to feelings of inadequacy and experiences of misogyny and harassment. It can foster non-inclusive environments in which women may feel that their point of view is not perceived to be as valid as their male counterparts’.

In turn, this can lead to fewer women contributing to research in various fields, and whether or not people realize it, female authorship still has an effect on how content is received. It’s common knowledge that even famous female fiction writers, such as J.K. Rowling, have been asked to use a gender-neutral pen name to increase readership among both males and females.

One area of academic writing in which gender bias and inequality is pervasive is the sciences. A study by the journal Nature analyzed over 5,000,000 academic articles published from 2008 to 2012 to determine the ratio of female to male authorship. Despite the fact that female enrollment in the sciences is higher than male enrollment in many countries, this was not reflected in research output. Nature found that, for every article published with primary authorship attributed to a woman, there were two attributed to men. A female’s academic writing was also less likely to be cited in other works if the author’s name was obviously that of a woman.

What this means is that, despite the fact that women are becoming a dominant force in many scientific fields, a lot of their contributions are unrecognized by the wider scientific community, which still favors inequality and male perspectives.

Politically, gender equality in language is backed by legislation in many countries and by the United Nations, who insist that gender-neutral language is a professional responsibility. In Canada, all laws must be drafted using gender-neutral language whenever both genders are being referred to, because laws that do not reference the female gender do not support equality.

How to avoid gender-biased language in your academic writing

1. Swap out gender-specific terms for gender-neutral terms.

The most prevalent form of gender bias in academic writing is the use of gender-specific words when both genders are involved. Many of these words can easily be made neutral:

2. Don’t use male pronouns when talking about individuals in mixed-gender groups.

Both native English-speaking and ESL writers, when referring to groups that contain both genders or when referring to someone whose gender is unknown, commonly use male pronouns. The important thing to remember is that he, him, his, or himself are not all-encompassing terms for individual group members, who may be either female or male. To write in this way is disrespectful, inaccurate, and dismissive toward women, regardless of whether the author consciously realized this while he or she was writing. Instead of saying something like, “The student may bring his own books to class,” say, “The student may bring her or his own books to class.”

3. Restructure singular pronouns, and make them plural: they, them, their, or themselves.

To avoid the repetitiveness of using him or her constantly, the sentence can also be restructured to make the pronouns plural, using they, their, them, or themselves. The important thing to remember when using this method of gender-neutral writing is that the entire sentence should agree with the plural form of the pronoun. For example:

Each of the players had their picture taken with the gold medals.

This sentence is incorrect because each is singular and does not agree with their. Instead, the sentence should be written as follows:

All of the players had their pictures taken with the gold medals.

Here, the sentence is restructured using the plural term all and now agrees grammatically.

4. Replace a pronoun with a definite article.

To avoid the use of gendered terms altogether, many times the pronoun can be replaced with the indefinite or definite articles a(n) or the. An example would be:

The employee complained in his report that the chairs in the office were not ergonomically correct.

The employee complained in a report that the chairs in the office were not ergonomically correct.

5. Repeat the noun instead of using a pronoun.

This method can be repetitive and sound formal, but both problems are better than promoting gender bias in your academic writing. Instead of using a pronoun, rewrite the noun phrase:

The professor can revoke the grade, but he cannot expel a student from the class.

The professor can revoke the grade, but the professor cannot expel a student from the class.

Conclusion

As you can see, gender bias in academic writing is an important issue that deserves every writer’s attention. The best way to avoid gender bias in your writing is to put effort into being intentional about your words. Yes, striving to be “politically correct” can be a hassle, but the root of this goal is thoughtfulness and sensitivity to others—an objective that is worth spending your time pursuing.

Image source: David Marcu/Stocksnap.io

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Article Writing: 4 Article Ideas for Your Website

Article Writing - 4 Article Ideas for Your Website

Article Writing - 4 Article Ideas for Your Website Content—the word is thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? Content can refer to anything from sales pitches, to product information, to policies.

From a content marketing standpoint, articles are a great type of content that businesses can use to build a following for their website. By creating articles that customers can connect with, businesses can relate to their customers on a personal level and provide them with interesting information. Businesses will often employ a writer to specialize in creating this type of content. But what should you write?

Editorials

Editorials, or opinion pieces, are a great way for writers to connect with your audience. Writing opinion pieces about various issues can help you communicate your company’s values to your prospects. Indeed, if you have firm and clear views, this can create very strong feelings of connection and loyalty to your company. Just be sure that you’re prepared for a backlash should your opinions prove unpopular. Some ill-considered remarks by Guido Barilla to a radio interviewer resulted in a firestorm of bad publicity and calls by gay rights groups to boycott their pasta.

How-To

The great thing about the Internet is that it can teach you how to do anything. Why not incorporate this into your business? Articles that describe how to use your product, how to use products that relate to your business, and articles that help your customers achieve their business, work, or personal goals are always going to be popular.

Feature Articles

Feature articles are creative pieces that can focus on any aspect of your business. These long form pieces could focus on your company’s home city, or highlight the accomplishments of your top five customers. You could do a feature on a cause that your company supports or even discuss a fun aspect of your company’s culture. Feature articles are all about connecting on a human level with your customers.

Reviews

Another great way to gain a following is to post your thoughts about products, services, books, movies, or music as well as reviews on your own products and services. Reviews are a great way to connect to your audience and to show them that your business is open to comments and suggestions. Reviews are also a slightly safer alternative to editorials in that they’re a good way to generate a conversation, but less likely to incite a boycott. Again, though, make sure you know and understand your customers. It’s not a very good idea to post a bad review of the latest Justin Bieber single if your customers are all huge fans.

The article is a valuable tool that can help promote your business online. The more content you post to your business’s website, the more visible your site will be to potential customers. Since this is such an essential part of marketing online, it is important that content be posted regularly and to the highest standards.

Image source: Gts/Shutterstock.com

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Press Releases: The Astonishingly Easy Way to Boost Your Business

Press Releases - The Astonishingly Easy Way to Boost Your Business

Press releases are dead, right?Press Releases - The Astonishingly Easy Way to Boost Your Business

Yes . . . and no.

If you’re a solopreneur or even a small-to-medium sized business, writing a press release is not an effective way to get the attention of major media outlets. There are just too many press releases and not enough journalists, so only the very important releases from really big companies ever get read.

Press release writing can sometimes be effective for communicating with your local, small market media outlets, especially if your release has a local news angle. But there’s an even better way to use press releases, and that’s to talk directly to your potential customers… online.

How can a press release help you talk to your customers?

Let us count the ways:

1. A history of widely-distributed press releases provides something for your customers to find

Let’s face it, you’re going to get “Googled” by your prospects. It’s natural for them to want to know more about you before doing business with you. So why not give them something to find?

Older press releases will demonstrate that your company has been around for a while, and reassure the customer that you’re not a fly-by-night outfit. And being written up on other websites, even when the customer can plainly see that it’s a press release, does still lend you a (tiny) bit of credibility.

2. It helps you to craft your image

Before you go firing off several press releases about how you updated your website from version 2.01 to version 2.02, have a good think about how this kind of thing will look to customers right now and many years into the future.

A press release is an opportunity to tell your story, or at least help frame how customers perceive you. A series of meaningless updates will be seen as just that. But stories that announce things like how you donated to a particular cause, or how you received an award for excellence in the service you provide will help you build your brand over time.

Pro tip: never, ever, ever fake this kind of thing, and never do something for the potential PR value you can get out of it.

3. It keeps your website fresh

One of the many factors search engines use in determining where to position your site in search engine results is how “fresh” or how frequently updated it is. By regularly updating the News section of your site (and you do have one of those, don’t you?) with a version of your releases, you’ll improve your search engine rank. This is critical if you want your customers to find you and your products or services.

4. The web works in mysterious ways

There is a crazy amount of value in just putting something “out there” and seeing what happens. For example, a story about how you and your staff adopted a highway might be seen by someone who works for the local roads department, who has a brother who needs exactly what you sell. And this could happen when you first put out the release, or, because it’s the Internet and things like this stay available almost permanently, a year later.

Press release . . . like a boss

Press release writing isn’t something everyone is familiar with, since it is a specialized skillset that isn’t taught universally in school. You can outsource it to professional writers if you don’t want to deal with it yourself. If you want to try your hand at press release writing until then, however, read on for a few tips to guide you along.

Spend time on the headline

Titles and headlines are what bring your reader in, and it’s no different for press release writing. For that reason, these need to be crafted to quickly grab your reader’s attention. Short, snappy headlines are best. Make sure it’s to the point and accurate, too. As soon as your audience sees the headline, they should know what the press release will be about.

On that note, if you do email it to various news sources, make sure the subject line of the email is as snappy and informative as your headline. This could be the most difficult part of press release writing, so don’t let it fall by the wayside.

Keep your reader engaged

In the same way that your reader doesn’t want to be bogged down by lengthy headlines, they don’t want to hunt through paragraphs to get to the point. In the digital age, when information is transmitted and internalized in a split second, you want to make sure your reader has the basic, important information in the first paragraph. Most of the time, readers will only skim the rest of the article, so you don’t want to let them skim over the good stuff. The first couple of sentences should contain the things you most want your audience to know.

Press release writing should be concise

Lose the flowery language! Keep it concise and grounded in facts. Don’t worry about getting creative with your writing because that isn’t the point. A press release conveys information, numbers, and evidence to support your assertions, and that’s all you need.

And since you’re avoiding the fluff, your press release should be one page. Two pages is the absolute longest a press release should ever be. The shorter, the better.

Don’t forget contact and relevant information

You’re sending out a press release to grab attention, so you need to include some contact information. There isn’t much use to a press release if the reader has no idea how to contact you once you’ve piqued their interest. The email, telephone number, and the name of the person who is the main contact for press release queries should be included.

Don’t forget to include the website for your company. This saves the journalist the hassle of searching Google when researching your company. This will immediately improve your connection with them, which is a positive consequence for the future. It shows that you’ve been thoughtful and comprehensive in your press release writing, and the journalist will appreciate that.

Don’t forget the little details

Good press release writing is in the details. This includes both content and style. Double check that your press release doesn’t have any grammatical mistakes. It’s also a good idea to have an outsider or a professional look over the press release before sending it out. This looks more professional.

Finally, a very important detail that is easy to forget is the human aspect. If you can, incorporate a quote from a customer or employee. This provides a bit of personality without subtracting from the concise, fact-based quality of your press release writing.

Image source: iQoncept/Shutterstock.com

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Web Content Development Tips

Inklyo.com's eight tips for effective web content development.

Eight tips that will bring your content to the next level

Inklyo.com’s eight tips for effective web content development.Help! I know nothing about web content development, but I need to design a website for my business! What do I do?

Do not panic. Plenty of people need to design websites, but very few know every technique for optimizing their site. The first thing you need to know about is developing high-quality web content. The content is what makes the website valuable for your customers. Without informative content, the website cannot serve your business’s goals.

So what do you include in your content to develop it? Here are a few simple tips to get you started with web content development.

1. Use headings

A great way to format your content is to divide it into points and use headers to describe them. This gives your customers a good idea of what information they will get from reading each point. Then, they can decide which ones they want to read and which ones they want to skip. If the text is simply one long document, the customer could get overwhelmed and decide your page is not worth reading.

2. Inverted-pyramid style

From their first look at your page, your customers will decide if they want to continue reading it. It is essential that most of the information that you think is important to your business be included in the first content section that appears on the home page. This way, the customers can get a good idea of your business and what you do, and they can make an informed decision about whether they should invest the time to read the website.

3. Call to action

This is where you direct your customers to what you want them to do. Make sure you explicitly tell the readers how to engage with your business. For example, if your website sells a product or service, write a statement that says something like “buy now” or “purchase today” so readers know how they can use the information on the site.

4. Bold keywords

It’s very rare that a customer will visit your website and read every single word on the page. Instead, you’ll get customers passing through for a glimpse or visiting to find particular information. Cater to this audience by bolding all the keywords and phrases in your content that are important to your business. This makes them jump out at the customer. In addition, search engines pick up on bolded words as keywords and phrases for search engine optimization, which will make your business’s website appear when customers search for those words.

5. Use lists

People like to read short content that flows nicely. A great way to format your web content and make it flow is to use a list. Short, bulleted lists present the reader with a clear layout that will help them retain the information because they do not have to pick it out from long, complex paragraphs.

6. Allow the content to stand on its own

Make each page of your website easy to navigate and understand. That way, if customers begin on a random page, they will not get lost in your web content. Every page should include essential information about your site (such as the business’s name), navigation, and an outline of the website. This will ensure your readers are never confused and always understand the message of the website.

7. Link to other pages

Instead of explaining every last detail to your customers in your web content, use links to direct them to explanations and more information. This keeps your web content short and concise, which is appealing to readers.

8. Pictures

Try to use pictures that complement your content. Visuals will engage readers in a dynamic way and might make them interested in learning more.

Image source: Ivelin Radkov/BigStockPhoto.com

25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales

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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.

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Five Tips for Writing Blogs

The word "Blog," with a globe in place of the "o," highlights the global benefit of writing blogs.

Writing BlogsWriting a blog that attracts every reader is a difficult, often elusive, task. However, there are many benefits of blogging, and your blogs can appeal to the majority of your audience. Read on to learn five tips to keep in mind the next time you are writing a blog for your website.

Be consistent

Choose your topic, and write on that topic only. Many bloggers try to include too much information in too small a space. Remember, though, that all your ideas are worthwhile, and you should write them down to use another time.

Consistency allows your readers to stay focused on the post. As well, saving your extra ideas ensures that you have a treasury of topics for future blog writing, giving you the ability to plan. For example, which blog topics are best for the season? Which topics are similar and, therefore, should you post separately?

Avoid monotony

Experiment with new fonts, graphics, and clips. Change the overall aesthetic of your blog from time to time, such as every season, to avoid boring your readers.

When it comes to the content of your blog writing, it is true that some similarities are inevitable, but you should avoid too much overlap. Your audience might think that you do not take the time to write about new ideas if you simply add slight twists to the same blog. Furthermore, you do not want to appear as if you have little to say; this is a good (and bad!) way to lose readership.

Leverage past work

Post links to the work you have already done. You have probably written about the foundations of your field in past blogs, so take advantage of your website’s flexibility and your previous work. When you write about something that you have already discussed in a previous blog, include a link to that post. You can also place links and tabs in the page margins to connect your readers to relevant and related posts that you have written in the past.

Not only will posting links to previous blogs prevent repetition, but it also expands your readers’ knowledge of you and your business. Posting links shows your readers that they can relate the information to other blogs on your website, and it encourages them to read those blogs as well.

Take advantage of social media

Be sure to utilize every social media outlet available. When you are writing a blog, your primary concern is to ensure continuous readership. Share your blogs on Facebook and Twitter, as well as any other form of social media that your business uses.

Use social media to get old blogs out there, too. You can use websites and applications that will post on your behalf to each social media outlet connected to your business. Use these tools to schedule daily blog posts, whether they are current or seasonable “oldies but goodies.”

Start writing blogs with pizzazz

Titles are the first thing a reader sees, but they could be the last if they do not grab your reader’s attention. The first step to attracting readers may be obvious, but it is definitely worth pointing out: you need a catchy title.

Create quick, engaging titles that get the point across in as few words as possible, and do not forget that questions interest readers. Whether they read your entire blog or not, readers are likely to be curious about the question you have posed in the title.

Curious about why you would continue to blog for your business, given that it takes a lot of effort to get it right? Check out our free ebook below.

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Inklyo's free ebook about business blogging.

 

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Cooperation in Writing and Editing Jobs

Writing and editing jobs

EditingCamp explains why writing and editing jobs go hand in hand

Writing and editing jobsWriting is a creative pursuit that can earn you an income for expressing yourself. Editing is a precise activity entailing control and imagination. The difference in requirements between writing and editing jobs is clearly definable: the writer must be aware of the editorial requirements for each project, and the editor must know what style conventions the publisher prefers. Editing requires a strict conformity to the rules, and writing demands originality. And yet, both the writer and editor have a common goal: to produce great writing people will enjoy reading. And both must keep this in mind, or the finished piece could fall short of expectations.

Creative writing

Creativity is an important part of all writing and editing jobs. Writers must express a given theme in a manner that speaks to a piece’s target audience. Meanwhile, editors must be aware of publishers’ requirements to ensure a finished piece fits the brief. As editors usually have the final word on a published work, they have the power to alter the article to fit their opinions and style. However, should editors’ standards and aims differ tremendously from writers’, both will have to spend a considerable amount of time rewriting. A publisher, therefore, has to ensure the writer and editor are both working under the same set of rules. Writing and editing jobs both require conformity to rules as well as creativity.

Mutual dependency

Both writers and editors are committed to making each piece publishable. Writing and editing jobs dovetail. However, these jobs only pay if the writer and editor understand each other. Thus, editors are usually selected for their experience in a particular genre, such as romance, poetry, technical papers, medical articles, or news stories. Usually, the writer must also specialize in a particular genre to get hired. Editors must understand each piece’s audience and mediate between the writer’s output and a sophisticated readership. Writing and editing jobs are only commercially viable if the end products sell, and that will only happen if the style and language of each published work are appropriate to its target readership.

Finding writing and editing jobs

As you forge a career in writing or editing, you should focus on one particular type of writing. Although you might find work writing in a range of genres, you stand a better chance of getting hired if you can exploit your natural style and specialize in the genre it leans toward. Most writing and editing jobs today are in the field of copywriting, rather than in the production of novels. If you don’t get the job you want, don’t automatically assume you missed out because your resume wasn’t strong enough. The hiring manager might have thought that your writing style and personality wouldn’t mesh with the writer or editor you would be working with in that position. Specializing in a particular field will help you find colleagues whose style you can complement.

Work together

Writing and editing jobs can be enjoyable, or they can be a real drag. As a general rule, writers and editors should always have a common outlook or worldview. Randomly paired writers and editors can fight, making it a struggle for them to produce anything coherent; writing and editing jobs are fraught with emotion if there’s no camaraderie or respect between those involved. Your career prospects depend on both your experience and your perceived image. If you don’t get a job you hoped for, don’t take it personally. There are so many opportunities out there; just move on and apply for another position. Sooner or later, you’ll land a job that suits both your experience and your style.

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