Is your website struggling to rank for your main keywords and search phrases? Are you finding it difficult to attract visitors to your website? If so, then your website most likely needs SEO. [Read more…]
One of the first things you learn when you start writing is that writing isn’t easy.
Whether you’re nearing the end of a long novel or writing the first sentence in a short story, coming up with the inspiration and the verve to keep the words flowing – and having the confidence to stop yourself from throwing the pages out – is far from a simple task. [Read more…]
Here’s a harsh truth: getting straight A’s in high school English doesn’t make you a killer copywriter. It’s a profession, and like other professions, there are skills and strategies that you need to learn and master.
It’s true that you need a certain amount of natural writing talent, but you also need to learn the rules. Just like a baker has to learn how to separate eggs, or a mechanic has to learn how to use a wrench, copywriters need to learn how to craft a killer headline and create captivating content.
The good news is that there are plenty of free guides to help you acquire those skills and learn how to wield the tools of the copywriting trade. And one of them is by the content marketing guru, Neil Patel, which can be found here. [Read more…]
What’s the worst thing you can do as a freelance writer?
While each of us can think of different horror stories, we can all agree that sending content to a client with technical gaffes and sloppy writing is the best way to ensure you will not be invited back for another gig. But unless you have an editor to review everything you write – which we can’t all afford to have – how can you be sure you’re catching it all?
Here’s where editing tools can make a dramatic difference. [Read more…]
Some say that successful writers are born to write. That there’s no way you can learn to become like them. I say that anyone who wants to become a writer and be successful at it can learn, especially if he wants it badly enough.
Whether you’re starting out your quest to become a writer, or you’re already making a living off writing, you’re fortunate that these days, there are so many ways to learn and improve. You may not know anything about the technicalities of writing a novel but if you have one inside you, it will come out. You may just need a little guidance. [Read more…]
We all make mistakes and typos, but that’s what proofreading is for, right? There’s also Word – or whatever software you use to create documents – which has spell check built in. However, we know quite well how Word misses a lot of mistakes, especially when it comes to more complicated syntax. Also, Word is useless if you’re typing on your browser.
That’s why I was really interested when the guys at Grammarly got in touch to share their new web app, which does what Word does, but more effectively and more efficiently. In fact, Grammarly is supposed to find and correct up to 10 times more mistakes than the conventional word processor. Of course, I had to give the app a try! [Read more…]
Just like zombiecalypse (or apocalypse) believers have a survival pack ready and accessible for when the end of the world comes, a writer ought to have an emergency pack he can rely on when things go haywire.
We can go the simplistic route and call it writer’s block (although the block is not that simple when it comes to the point). Sometimes, though, it’s not that bad a block. Perhaps you just need a little jumpstart.
That’s where the Writer Emergency Pack can help you.
The Writer Emergency Pack started out as a Kickstarter project by John August, who is a writer himself.
John, a screenwriter, came up with the idea of creating a pack of cards that contain suggestions that gives writers a nudge when they get stuck – whether it’s on a plot point or on characters that don’t connect.
Let’s say the Writer Emergency Pack is kind of a collection of writing prompts – only made more fun.
The Kickstarter project has been funded – quite successfully, too! The original goal was $9,000, and it got more than $150,000 in backing.
Thanks to writers who found the idea brilliant, the pack will be available for purchase soon. If you’re interested in getting one for yourself, visit the official page and sign up to be notified when the Writer Emergency Pack becomes available.
Here’s a question for you: Do you have your own “emergency pack”? Why not tell us about it in the comments?
You might also want to read: When Writer’s Block Hits and Brute Force Just Doesn’t Cut It
When that happens, you can always force yourself to go on, or you can take a break. You can also turn to other things that may help bring more out of you – creative writing prompts.
Here are 20 quick creative writing prompts that are fun and “easy”. When you need a break from whatever it is that’s giving you problems, check these out. [Read more…]
In journalism, writers learn that all news stories should answer the 5 Ws and 1 H: who, when, where, what, why, and how. Did you know you can apply the same questions to your freelance writing pitches to identify the primary reasons why those pitches fail?
It’s true! By simply asking yourself the six primary questions every first year journalism student learns, you can fix fundamental problems in your query style and pitch success rate.
Why do your query letters fail to generate interest in your pitches? Check out the six basic reasons based on the 5 Ws and 1 H below.
1. You don’t know where you’re pitching.
Before you can develop a story idea and pitch your idea to a publication, you need to understand that publication. Read that publication and gain an understanding of the needs of that publication. The editor who reads your query letter is looking for content that will help him or her meet those needs. In other words, no matter how great your story idea is, if it doesn’t meet the needs of the publication, your query will end up in the trash.
2. You don’t know who you’re pitching.
It is absolutely essential that you understand the audience for the publication that you pitch your story idea to. If the audience won’t be interested in your story, the publication will have no interest in it either. Editors look for content that will engage their readers, encourage them to talk about that content with other people, and motivate them to come back for more. Your pitch needs to demonstrate to an editor that your story can do exactly that.
3. You don’t know when you’re pitching.
Many publications operate using an editorial calendar. If you can get a copy of the editorial calendar (either from the publication’s website or by requesting a copy from the publication), review it and try to tailor your pitches to match the overall theme of that editorial calendar. Also, use common sense when pitching a story to match your idea to holidays, seasons, and so on. Finally, remember that many publications create content weeks or months in advance of the actual publishing date, which could significantly affect when you send a pitch. In other words, it doesn’t matter how great your story about summer barbecues is if the publication is working on the Christmas issue.
4. You don’t know what you’re pitching.
Your pitch should be clear, concise and compelling. Delete all extraneous information from your query letter, and lead with the most captivating part of your story. Be relevant immediately. Editors have very little time to read a full page query letter. If your pitch doesn’t jump off the page within the first few sentences, you’ve wasted your time. Instead, be specific and get to the point quickly!
5. You don’t know why you need help.
There is a rule that writers can’t always follow, but you should stick to it when it comes to query letters and pitches. That rule is — never proofread your own work. However, when it comes to pitches, the rule extends beyond simple proofreading. It’s difficult to look at your own query letter and pitches objectively, because you know the entire story. To ensure your query letters are truly clear, concise, compelling, and specific, it helps to have an objective eye review and comment on them. If you belong to a writer’s group, ask the other members to read and critique your query letter before you send it. Their feedback could help turn a boring query letter into a successful pitch! If you don’t belong to a writer’s group or have access to other writers or editors, join an online forum like AbsoluteWrite.com where you can share your work for review and feedback.
6. You don’t know how you’re pitching.
Before you send a query letter, you need to be certain that you’re sending it to the right place, to the right person, and in the right format. Most publications have rules that you need to follow or your query letter will go straight to the trash can before anyone reads a single word of it. Check the publication’s website or contact the publication to request a copy of the current writer’s guidelines and submission guidelines, and then follow those rules to the letter. You can also get a copy of the most recent edition of Writer’s Market for quick access to various publication guidelines, but keep in mind, even the most recent edition of Writer’s Market might not be 100% current as it’s only published once per year.