PrologueDuring a "nomad" night out, I talked with my pal Sammer about blogging, and content writing. Thereafter I searched for a domain where useful content writing tips could be published. Yup, this it the http://associatedcontentnetwork.com website. I keep updating this one pager site, as I've time.
How-to and instruction books are an important part of the non-fiction book market. With so much competition, it is important to organize them for your readers' benefit.
Writing an instructional book can be as frustrating as it is rewarding. There are often so many ideas, tips, skills, images, and processes that need to be put in order that it is easy to get overwhelmed. The five-step system outlined below makes it simple to organize ideas for any size or theme non-fiction book.
Combine all your typed notes, quotes on note cards, napkin scribbles, magazine cutouts, and yellow stickies. Once you have the information in one place, create a master list on a single piece of paper. Don't censor yourself at this time. If anything, add more ideas. You can make corrections and deletions later.
On several pieces of paper or note cards, organizing your ideas like with like. You can even physically cut your master list and rearrange the ideas visually. All the promotional ideas should go together, or all the decorating ideas, or all the recipes using chocolate. Don't worry about naming your categories yet, and don't censor your ideas yet.
You'll find that some categories are naturally larger than others. If you have any that are too large, you may consider splitting them up into smaller groups. If you have any categories that are lacking ideas, consider beefing them up, combining them with another group, or dropping them.
Now that you have combined your ideas into categories, edit each category. Focus on the main theme of the category. Each of your ideas should revolve around this main theme without straying too far off topic. Remove any ideas that won't enhance the value of your book or give the reader new information they can't find elsewhere.
Once you have solidified your main categories with the sub-categories/topics within, put it all together. Put your ideas in a logical order and fill
This system can also be used on a smaller scale to organize articles. Create a master list of ideas, match like ideas with like ideas, level out each topic, edit your details, and put it all together.
Many writers find it helpful to create organize their content and create a table of contents before researching and writing each section. Others prefer to free-write and organize the content in the end. Each preference has its benefits. By organizing your ideas first, you can avoid writing unnecessary copy.
By writing out your ideas first, you have material to play with, and may be able to use what you cut in other sections of your book. Either way, by planning your non-fiction book in an appropriate order, your readers will benefit.
Learning to build a personal website from the ground up takes work to be done right.
Once the website builder has purchased a domain name and bought space to host that domain name on a website hosting server, it is time to build the website. With a little bit of effort, one can build a website for no additional cost and have a professional look in very little time.
Many word processing programs have the capability to build a website. In order to do this, one has to understand how to upload the website to the host server. The website hosting service should have detailed instructions for how to do this. The benefit to this is that the user can build the website in a program that he or she is already familiar with.
Many website hosting providers offer a program that allows the user to build a website on-site. Check the control panel and other options for how to do this. The benefit of this is that the code is usually written for the user and it is usually not complicated to send the newly built website live.
Some website hosting services have a program that can install a wordpress or similar website through the control panel. This is one of the easiest ways to create a complete, professional looking website. The benefit to this is the multitude of free themes or templates that the user can choose from.
Once the website is built and published live on the internet, there is a whole new world to explore. The next steps are to learn how to optimize the content of the website for search engines and place advertising on the website to earn additional money. Website builders should browse other websites that discuss similar topics to gain a better understanding of how to layout the information on the website and make it look more professional.
Once the basic outline for a new website is complete, it is time to add content to the site. Adding website content is important and takes time to do it right. The first step is to decide on how to organize the content on the website. It is important that the content be easy to navigate through the use of internal links and tables. For ideas, visit other websites and explore their method of organizing content.
It is important to keep the content on a specific website limited to the scope of an individual topic. A website that is too broad may confuse visitors. Sticking to an individual topic and expanding content appropriately will help add plenty of depth of information. Keep articles short, at between 400-800 words, and keep paragraphs short for ease of reading. Dig deep into each topic, and write on an area of expertise.
Building a website properly takes time and energy and a lot of research into how other websites are built. Taking the time to do it right will benefit both the website builder and future readers. Once the basic site is built, the majority of the maintenance will be adding content.
Web content development requires some amount of evergreen content to keep the information current. So, what is evergreen Web content?
Evergreen Web content is work that can't be outdated easily and is suited to many demographics. Many of the largest websites are looking for content that will stay green forever and will not require any pruning.
In Web time, one month is a year and one year is 10. If a Web page mentions time, that page is dated. If someone looks at it a week or a month later, the information is not as fresh as the information they could get elsewhere.
Often, the specific amount of time isn't necessary to the work. A Web writer may need to mention a news story that came out the day before, but it can be done so that the piece itself doesn't date itself. Instead of using the date, the story can be referred to as "recent."
Referring to specific prices or statistics can make your work quickly lose its evergreen status. Yearly inflation as well as pricing changes will soon make specific numbers out of date. The only exceptions are historic prices ($24 for Manhattan island) or promotional sites that must use the specific prices of the items.
If you tailor an item for a narrow audience, readership will largely be limited to that audience. However, a more evergreen piece has an unlimited readership potential.
To avoid directing the content to just one age demographic, avoid slang as well as too-technical terms. The word usage and article construction should be neither too complicated nor too simple. Many Web writers and webmasters suggest writing at an 8th grade reading level. This makes it possible for most people to read it easily without the work sounding too simplistic to be helpful.
There are many cultural references that never go out of style. But, mentioning a popular actor, model, band or song can date your piece as well as leaving some of the audience scratching its head. Most of the popular cultural icons of today will be forgotten as new ones take their place.
Reading an article that makes reference to a forgotten icon will make it hopelessly dated and the audience will be lost when they don't understand the reference.
It can seem like the most popular actors, singers, etc. will always be big- but they won't. Don't believe it? Imagine an article that mentions how to get a career as big as M.C. Hammer's. Those who remember who he is won't be interested because he no longer has a career. Those who don't know who he is will have no incentive to read any further. An evergreen article would tell instead how to have a successful career without mentioning any names.
Not all Web writing has to be evergreen. In many cases, it isn't possible to be. But, websites are increasingly looking for evergreen content that won't have to be edited or updated later. This saves time and money for the writer, the website and for the read trying to get relevant information.
Developing a content strategy can help businesses better plan their online publications and information needs.
Having relevant content available online to potential customers is becoming an important part of a business’ marketing mix. Developing a content strategy can help businesses organize their online components and provide them with a guide in creating compelling web content that delivers the information customers are looking for.
As more customers turn to the internet to make their buying decisions, it’s important for a business to provide the information customers are looking for. In fact, a study by iCrossing Inc. entitled “How America Searches: Online Shopping” revealed that 40% of adults who conduct online research use an internet search as their first form of research. Relevant, search engine optimized web content is one of the key ways businesses can improve their chances of being found when customers search for information online.
A content strategy embraces all of the web publication elements used by a business. From videos to informational articles, a content strategy examines each online element and how they impact the overall customer experience.
All web publications should tie into customer information needs and the business objectives. For example, an educational developer might have an objective to position their business as the educational software authority.
To meet the business objective, the company might focus their content on research studies that reveal ways educational software enhances test scores, interviews with leading teachers and ways they utilize educational software in the classroom, and video tutorials that show customers how the software works while highlighting the key educational benefits.
When developing a content strategy, companies need to determine the type of web publications to use and how the materials will be created. The web publication plan should include a web publication outline and budget for content creation. If a business does not have a staff member on staff to create content there are a variety of freelance writers and agencies available to assist with content development.
Business owners should refer to the content strategy and create a plan for web publications that center around customer needs while meeting the overall business objectives. Analyze web publications created and social media efforts to make sure the web materials are consistent with the business objectives and customer needs. It is very easy to start producing materials that may not directly align with the business objectives and customer needs.
Strive for providing quality content over producing a great deal of materials. Don’t be afraid to insert personality into materials. Authentic communications help customers connect with the business and build stronger customer relationships. Encourage customers to participate by allowing them to leave their own reviews on the website. Good customer testimonials can be the factor that closes the sale.
Businesses can help customers find them by providing them with helpful web content that is interesting and informative. Taking the time to develop a clear content strategy can help guide a business through the process and minimize the headaches associated with creating web publications.
Blog writing is by far more difficult than writing regular website content because of its target audience and the way the blog needs to be structured.
Blog writing is a different animal than website writing or even newspaper writing. Some of the best writers on the internet operate their own blog, knowing full well what it takes to increase traffic to their blog. Blog writers put a lot of work into the product that they produce for their blog, taking the time and energy to make all of the content pop once it is posted to the site.
Writing an effective blog post, one that grabs the attention of thousands of readers, will discuss a topic that readers across the web will want to read about. The best blog writer will take time to research popular topics around the internet at the time of writing, finding the most popular topics being written about and read by internet users. The blog writer should then sculpt a topic based on what has been found, taking note not to copy any work from another source.
Always Make a Point With a Post
When writing a blog post, make sure that it always has point. Blog posts that just have catchy titles and grabs the attention of the reader in the first paragraph but does not have a point will not hold the attention for the entire post. Each blog post should matter to the reader for one reason or another. If the post does not matter to the reader then it will not be read in its entirety.
One of the most important things to remember when posting blog content is for the blog post to have a ton of depth. Depth can be a myriad of different things, from quotes to interviews to suggesting further reading to adding charts to using examples. Not all of these items should be jam packed into one blog post. Instead, use one or two in each blog post to add depth to the written content. Readers love to read interviews or read quotes from others aside from the writer of the article or blog post.
There are millions of bloggers on the internet these days, each one of them posting a blog at a different time of the day all throughout the week. Some bloggers post during weekdays, some on weekends, some post solely in the morning and some post solely at night. It all depends on the topic of the blog and the patterns of the readership.
There are bloggers out there who preach not to post during national holidays, in the United States, because there is a lower amount of readership. During national holidays, such as Christmas or Memorial Day, people are so engulfed in celebrating with family and friends that they do not find themselves near a computer. On the other hand, some blog posts will do extremely well on holidays because people find more leisure time to browse the internet.
Almost every blog post written should include a call to action at the conclusion of the post. A call to action asks the reader of the blog post to make something happen, whether that is to click on a link to another blog post or to check out another website, because a call to action will make the reader more interested in the topic being discussed.
Blog writers should make a clear and conscious effort when writing posts to include all of the above tips in each post. Why? All of the tips outlined in this article will make blog posts better posts and make blog writers better writers. It might take an extra 20-30 minutes to write the blog post but it will be worth it in the end.
Table of Contents and Indexes are a source of presenting the structure of documents. Indexes organize information into keywords for reference to the documents' topics.
All aspects and elements of a document are important, starting from Title page to the Back cover. Every element displays the character of the document. Table of Contents and Index are the factors that show how good or bad the document is organized. The table of contents page is perhaps second only to the cover in terms of its importance to the book.
Table of contents is often abbreviated as TOC. Table of contents is often considered to be one of the most unspectacular design elements ever invented.
Because of its simple, usual form, table of contents is often not given the attention it may deserve — after all, it is just a list of the parts of a book or document organized in the order in which the parts appear. But why not use exactly that and surprise the reader of a booklet, brochure, annual report or a book with some beautiful and original table of contents? In fact, many creative approaches are possible.
A good table of contents page works like a good menu. Therefore, it is well organized. It shows the chapter distribution, columns, features, etc as per their relation to the respective document. For example, the table of contents of a magazine will consist of columns, reviews, features and more.
Another example can be of a book; it will show the name of the chapters, sub divisions, and other related factors. Anybody reading a document always consults the table of contents. The reason is that they give an overview of what the book contains and what a reader can achieve from it.
A document that is well structured and that has a table of contents that contains clear headings and subheadings can help a reader to find information. However, that is not sufficient. An index is usually also needed. An index organizes information that is scattered through a document. An index lets reader find information by supplying search terms that direct the reader to the applicable locations in the document.
Indexes are an overview of keywords from a large scale to small scale. In addition to table of contents, indexes also help in scanning the context of a book. For example, when people go to the library for specific topics, they see the indexes of the books related to the subject. Indexes are a structured format of entries as marked as the main entry and cross-reference in the document.
To be continued...