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How to Brainstorm Ideas For Blog PostsBy Featured Writer Leslie Branch
Readers love great content. But, producing too much content can leave you with nothing to write. You can run out of ideas and be left wondering what new ideas can be added to your blog. Producing new, innovate ideas takes time, but it also takes inspiration. You cannot expect to produce new content without first being inspired to write it.
Some brainstorming tips work better than others. From reading a book to watching a movie, these tips are designed to get your creative juices flowing, so you can type away and continue to attract readers.Read
You could sit staring at your blank computer screen, or you could go out and find your inspiration. Brainstorming is more than just sitting down and jotting ideas. It’s about being aggressive and collaborating ideas with fellow writers. The individual enrolled in an online doctorate degree program
does not just sit and wait for ideas to come to him. He finds ideas by reading. He looks at news articles. He reads content from fellow bloggers.
When you read, you’re brainstorming ideas. You’re taking bits of information from one writer and turning it into fuel for your own work. Subscribe to news feeds. Follow different bloggers and read different media outlets for ideas.Integrate Hobbies into your Blogs
Change the direction of your stories by altering the perspective. How many people would consider reading the following blog post titled, “Ways to Cultivate New Brainstorming Ideas?” You would imagine that a few would read it, but imagine if you took your favorite hobby of video games and fused the two together and created “How Mass Effect 3 helps Me Brainstorm New Ideas.”
Take an unusual perspective from one of your hobbies and turn it into a blog post. You know the ins-and-outs of your hobbies; you just have to figure out how to integrate the topics together. Use what you already know to make something new and interesting for readers.Review Your Past Content
Who says you cannot take your past work and use it again—but this time for inspiration. Go through your past blog posts and see how you can turn a previously discussed topic into a new one. Explore a different angle. Revisit an unexplored path. Discuss an issue you've neglected.
When you’re reading over your old work, take a peak at the comment section and see what your readers are saying about your writing. Most of the times, a reader will comment on something that will make you say, “Hey, I never thought of that!” And just like that, you found a new idea for your blog.
Get creative with your sources of inspiration. Go out for a walk. Listen to music. Watch a movie. Let your surroundings help you brainstorm and mine for new content. If you’re an English student managing a “How to Find a Job as an English Major” blog, visit a different website for inspiration, such as www.mfadegree.net
to search for new ideas. Try new brainstorming methods and see what ideas you end up with.
~~~~~~~~I hope you enjoyed this featured article by Leslie Branch. Coming up with blog post ideas can be a struggle, especially if you post often. Do you have any special tricks you use? Let us know.
3 Comments on How to Brainstorm Ideas For Blog Posts, last added: 4/15/2012
As the founder and manager of a marketing group that utilizes article marketing, I've noticed that some writers don't know the proper formatting of an article. Along with this, there are even more who don't know how to use keywords and tags for search engine optimization.
It's important for any writer writing articles to increase visibility, expert status, and readership to know how to use their content effectively. That's where this article comes in.Article Content Properly Formatted and Search Engines Optimized
Creating article content is an essential marketing strategy. It establishes you as an authority in your niche or on a particular topic, increases your visibility and readership, and brings traffic to your site. It also broadens your marketing reach, which helps bring more traffic to your site.
Bringing traffic to your site to sign up for your mailing list is the real goal to any marketing strategy, even more so than selling a product. The reason for this is that a person on your mailing list gives you the opportunity to build a relationship and promote various products and services – it provides the basis for multiple sales. A non-subscriber, a one-time visitor/buyer is just that: a one-time deal.In fact, Jeff Herring (Article Marketing Guy) says,
“Article Marketing, when done correctly, is one of the most powerful forces online.”
If you notice, Herring says, “when done correctly.” Part of doing it ‘correctly’ is to have your article content properly formatted.
If you’re taking the time to use article marketing, whether posting to your blog, guest blogging, or submitting to article directories, you should create quality content and have it formatted properly. Any content you publish or share is a reflection of your writing skills – make those skills shineSix Steps to Properly Format Your Article Content and Have it Search Engine Optimized1. Article Titles and Subtitles
According to EzineArticles.com, “Better Titles = Additional Article Views = More Resource Box Clicks = Higher Website Traffic.”
Your title should be reflective of the article content and the first letter of each word should be capitalized. Not Effective or Correct:
Article marketing: formatting your contentEffective and Correct:
Article Marketing With Properly Formatted Content
The normal rule for words such as “a,” “an,” “to,” and “the” is it’s not necessary to capitalize them. And, if at all possible leave out punctuation that can break-up the article’s url. Notice above that the ‘effective title’ eliminated the ‘colon.’
Titles should also be keyword effective. Try to include the keyword at the beginning of the title, not at the end. EzineArticles also notes that “longer titles maximize your ability to attract readers with a specific promise that is highly relevant to your niche.”
The same rules hold true for your subtitle. Stop by next Monday, February 20th, for Part two (steps 2 through 6) of "Article Content Properly Formatted and Search Engines Optimized."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Related Articles7 Steps to Writing for Article Directories
4 Comments on Article Content Properly Formatted and Search Engine Optimzed Part 1, last added: 2/15/2012
I'm very pleased with my article work for the Month. I have to admit I had set myself a target of 30 by the end of the month. Realistically as I only had 2 weeks to do this it was a little too much. Never the less I'm delighted with my articles.
New Target for March.
Oh, happy March by the way. My new target based on the articles I've managed to write so far is 50 artciles in total by the end of March. So I've got 29 articles to write over the course of the month. I think this is a realistic figure and from what I read on the Suite101 forums, the money gets better after the 50 article milestone.
Here's to a wonderful March, lots of writing and reading.
Happy Saturday, everyone! I really wanted to do a post for all of you novice writers out there working so hard to get your fabulous articles and stories noticed. It can be a very tough and frustrating road, can't it? I totally understand.
Not too long ago, I was right where you are frantically trying to get just one editor to take notice of my article and story ideas. Each rejection had me beating myself, wondering whether I was kidding myself of 'making it' as a writer. I kept every rejection letter--both paper and email versions. I know it seemed like I was just pouring salt on the wounds but, in the end, it proved to be one of the best things I've done.
You see, many editors will give you a reason your piece or idea was rejected--at least that's what I was lucky enough to have experienced. Alot of times, it isn't because your writing sucked but more because there wasn't room for the piece or they've covered the idea recently or it doesn't fit in to a particular theme they're going with. I always tucked away any tidbits of advice I was given so I could improve my querying skills (because it is a skill!). Another thing their advice gave me was the ability to look at my rejected offer with a magnify glass to see other possible reasons for it being turned down. And that's what we'll talk about today: The DON'Ts in article querying.
We talk about these periodically here on WOW but I felt it was a good time to bring it up again. We often put out all the 'Do's' to follow but you need to understand those Don'ts too. That way you can side-step all the things editors find most annoying and avoid having your idea turfed right into the rejection bin. These are just a few things I've learned (the hard way):
DON'T query about subject matter the publication doesn't cover. No matter how good your idea or your writing is that would be an instant rejection. Follow the publication's Writers' Guidelines to the letter.
DON'T call the editor by his or her first name unless you know him or her personally. It's a business relationship so unless they put that option out there, always address the person as "Miss", "Mrs." or "Mr." so-and-so. And, while we're on the subject, be sure that you address the person by the correct GENDER. There are many unisex names out there (eg: Jamie, Jordan, Jody, etc.) take the time to investigate whether you're addressing your letter to a male or female. Some editors don't have a great sense of humor about that sort of thing.
DON'T go longer than one page. You should be able to get a good hook in, a short description of your idea and your brief qualifications/contact information in one page. If not, you may not be completely certain about your idea.
DON'T send that letter off without checking it over completely. Check for spelling and grammatical errors, punctuation, and sentences that go on and on. And DON'T rely on spell check to catch everything. As you all know, some words can be spelled right but aren't the right word for what you want to say.
DON'T be over-casual in your email pitch. A business letter is the same no matter how it's sent so always be professional.
DON'T indicate you have no experience if you have none. For some places this doesn't matter but for others it does so no need to bring it up in your pitch. If they ask about it later, you can answer honestly but don't give that up from the get-go. You should be confid
The internet is teeming with people trying to sell their products or services. And, most marketers spend a lot of time creating and building their email subscription lists. As we know, marketing is all about the golden list and traffic, traffic, traffic.
The primary method of getting traffic to your site is through information . . . creating content
. You need to create quality content and provide it on a regular basis. Generating ongoing content and promoting it to the articles directories and your social networks is time consuming, so you should develop a strategy to make each article you write pack a wallop.
While your article should be valuable, ‘pack a wallop’ doesn’t refer to its ‘quality,’ it refers to its ability to be repurposed. Creating content
and repurposing it has been around a while, but isn’t always used to its fullest potential. According to Jeff Herring, the highest paid direct response internet marketer, there is a psychology to repurposing, it’s “the ability to look at one thing and see many things.”
In a webinar, Herring mentioned that when he looks at an article he can see it in a number of formats, including: TV, radio, video, and combination products.
To make the most use out of your marketing time, this is the strategy you should invest in. Don’t let an article simply be an article – repurpose that article. Creating Content: 10 Online Repurposing Formats:
1. Expand on your article and turn it into a report that you can offer for free as an incentive for readers/visitors to join your mailing list or offer it for sale.
2. Take bits of your content and tweet, tweet, tweet. Take information packed sentences and schedule them for tweets throughout the month.
3. Create a podcast or other form of audio out of your report. Again, offer it for free or for sale.
4. Combine a bunch of articles on a particular topic and turn it into an ebook. You can do the same with this product - offer it for free or for it sale.
5. Turn your ebook into a live chat workshop or class. After the live event, you can copy and transcribe the chat – then combine the transcript with the ebook for a combination product. And, you can create a podcast out of the live event. These new products can be sold over and over and over.
6. Turn your ebook into a live teleclass. Be sure to record it to ensure that all your time and effort put into creating the teleclass can be reused or sold with no additional effort.
7. Turn your ebook into a live webinar. Do the same as with the teleclass, be sure to record it so it can be reused or sold.
8. Turn your ebook into an ecourse. This content format is a good way to get subscribers – those interested will need to sign-up to your mailing list to get the course. Or, you can sell it.
9. Query radio hosts. Most radio hosts are always looking for guests with information to offer their listeners. Offer to be a guest and present your content.
10. Create a video and upload it onto YouTube. Herring recommends http://screener.com; it’s a free service that allows you to record up to five minutes using screen capture.Creating content
and having it in so many formats widens your potential customer base. Think about it, some people like to read, others love watching videos, some like the instructional format of teleseminars or webinars, and those pressed for time would rather listen to content while driving or exercising.
In the most recent marketing teleclasses I've attended, one of the messages conveyed is that unless you're a major author with tremendous sales, you will not get rich from writing books. You may not even be able to make a living.
So, how does an author create a living out of writing?
Well, whether you're in the process of writing a book, in the process of having a book published, or your book is already available for sale, there are a few strategies writers can use to supplement their income or create a living from writing:
1. Create ebooks and offer them for sale. If you're a fiction writer, write about elements of writing, the process, the pit falls, the publishing process, your marketing strategies, and so on. Write what you know.
2. If you have interests other than the fiction you write, capitalize on them also. If you're a great cook, write about cooking. If you have an interest in health, do the research and write about it.
In steps 1 and 2, it's easy to create a pfd with images and a cover. You can offer them on your site, or through services such as Lulu.com.
If you're willing to invest in a clickbank account or another of these types of services, you can find affiliates to help you sell your ebooks.
3. Don't forget this ONE essential strategy that all writers need to utilize: Write articles, research appropriate magazines and submit, submit, submit - if you don't submit your work, you will not get published...or earn an income from your writing. And, being published does matter; it opens up doors and opportunities that may not otherwise be open.
4. If you're writing nonfiction, think spin-offs. You can create journals, and even videos for sale.
5. Look into selling through catalogues.
6. If you’re writing nonfiction, seek out corporations or businesses that may be interested in your topic. For example: I wrote a bed time story and a great writing coach, Suzanne Lieurance, suggested I look into children's stores (furniture, clothing, etc.) to see if they'd be interested in buying in bulk and offering your book to their clients for sale or as giveaways.
7. If you're published, offer teleclasses or coaching. This is one of those opportunities that will work better if you're published.
8. Promote, Promote, Promote!
These are a few of the strategies you can use to generate income from writing.
Tip: Remember to be focused and research your target market.
Here are two additional posts that might be of interest (just click on the titles):
Private Label Rights - Time Saving Strategy
The Self-Publisher's Guide, 2nd Edition
Until next time,
Ah, another dilemma. We writers spend a great deal of time writing. We put thought and care and research into articles, books, e-books...you get the idea. Well, what do you do if you find a site is using an article you've written--and published on your own sites and in the article directories--without providing your name as author? Do you trust any information on that site? Do you wonder if all or most of the articles posted there are from other writers who are also victims of article swiping?
It's funny, I usually don't put a google search on the titles of my articles, but this one, for whatever reason, I did. So, when google picked it up and notified me, I checked it out. I searched the site to see if my name was pushed off to the side, stuck in a corner, written with invisible ink, or something, but NOPE - it was nowhere in sight.
Now, ordinarily, I, and I'm sure most of us writers, love when someone finds our article of value and wants to reprint it. I do this with other writers occasionally and it works out great. I provide useful content for my readers and the author of the article gets increased visibility--a win-win situation.
But, there is a rule to follow: Always give the rightful author due credit. I'm pretty sure if you don't it's plagiarism.So, I'm asking the question: What should you do if your article is hijacked? I'd really appreciate your opinions!
Writing for writing related posts and articles is fairly simple, straightforward, and constant. The rules of writing don’t often change, if ever. A story has 5 basic elements: plot, characters, theme, setting, and conflict. How a writer perceives these elements, how she uses them to create a story, and how she perceives the subject matter is what makes each writer unique, and what makes her work interesting.
Writing for marketing posts and articles on the other hand is far from simple, straightforward, or constant. The reason . . . the rules are constantly changing.
New technology, new social networks, and new applications, along with other such elements make writing for this genre tricky. While some fundamentals do remain constant, such as a writer and marketer needs to create visibility for their work or product, much of how to do that changes on a regular basis.
I recently wrote an article about the amazing features of My6Sense. This is an application that can be used with iPad and iPhone among other products. It is considered a predictive application. It learns from your usage, and within a few days it will suggest sites, articles, and other content that it thinks you will be interested in.
Once a cutting edge product is introduced, every company in that field jumps on the band wagon, leaving yesterday’s old models and technology in the dust.
The same holds true for search engine optimization (SEO). Goolge, the King in regard to SEO can and does change the rules as they see fit. This affects your ranking and visibility. And, now that Microsoft Bing and Yahoo have joined forces, they are moving forward which will mean more changes are sure to be on the horizon. According to an article by PotPieGirl, “The online search business is BIG business…and the Bing/Yahoo folks want more of it.” And, if you weren’t aware of it, the Facebook search option is powered by Bing. If Google, down the road, becomes a bit concerned over Bing’s advancements who knows what else will be in store for marketers in their endeavors to achieve high rankings in the search engines.
But, all this information is just to make a point. When a writer who writes in the marketing arena writes a post or article to bring information to the reader, she may not be able to link to that article as a resource down the road. That particular information may not be pertinent 3 months from the date it’s written, or it may be outdated.
Writers of marketing content always need to be on top of what’s going on. They have to have their finger on the marketing pulse, and constantly write articles and posts that reflect the changing, the new, and the future of marketing.
Content Reprint Strategy
Beyond Book Sales Income: Marketing and Diversification
Marketing and Promotion, Are They the Same?
Great Writing Tools and Programs:
Writing, Publishing, and Marketing - You Can Do It
Writing for Children One Step at a Time
The Children's Writers' Coaching Club with Suzanne Lieurance
Write More, Sell More, Make More Money Than EVER in 2010 Coaching Program
With Suzanne Lieurance
Please mention my name if you join one or both of Suzanne's programs--I am an affiliate of hers. But, I’d like you to know that I only recommend these programs because I belong to them, and I know their value if yo
I offer query critiquing, both separately and as part of my Write for Magazines e-course, and one thing I see often that keeps queries (and articles) from really standing out is a lack of concrete details. There’s a mushiness to the writing that makes the queries come off a bit dull.
By concrete details, I mean that you use vivid examples that an editor (and your final reader) can easily envision in her mind’s eye, even going so far as to use brand names when they fit.
For example, here’s the lede to a query I wrote in 1999, which led to an article in Zillions, the now-defunct children’s magazine that was published by Consumer Reports:
It can happen to even the savviest shopper: The Levis you bought disintegrate after just one washing, or maybe that Game Boy cartridge isn’t nearly as exciting as it looked in the ad. Don’t toss your new purchase and hope for better luck next time–write to the company and tell them what you think!
Now, I could just as easily have written:
It can happen to even the savviest shopper: The jeans or toys you bought aren’t good quality. Don’t toss your new purchase and hope for better luck next time–write to the company and tell them what you think!
It says the exact same thing, but there’s a nebulous quality to the second version. By using brand names and giving concrete examples of what happens to those products (“disintegrate after just one washing” and “isn’t nearly as exciting as it looked in the ad”), I help the editor form a clear vision of the situation in her mind. The writing seems much sharper.
As another example, a query critiquing client recently sent me a query — let’s say it was about how to keep your heart healthy. The query was well written and well organized, but the bulleted tips were things like, “Exercise a half-hour every day” and “Eat a healthy breakfast.” My advice to her was to replace those generic tips with very specific advice. For example, instead of “Eat a healthy breakfast,” which is not only bland but also been-there-done-that, my client could talk to a nutritionist to find out what is the heart-healthiest breakfast possible. Then she could write, “Perfect Parfaits: Joy Smith, RD, suggests noshing on a yogurt parfait with bananas and berries for breakfast. The yogurt is packed with heart-healthy calcium, the bananas boast the potassium you need to keep your blood pressure down, and the berries’ antioxidants bust free-radicals that can damage your heart health.”
See the difference? In addition, instead of telling readers to exercise every day, my client could find a specific exercise that’s recommended by, say, an American Heart Association spokesperson. Or, she could recommend when to exercise; for example, “Rise and Shine: It’s difficult to get in the half-hour of exercise we need every day to keep our hearts healthy, but a new study says that women who exercise before work are three times as likely to keep up the habit as those who hit the gym after work.” (I made up those details, by the way.) These concrete examples offer what editors call “take home value” — they’re advice that the reader can easily incorporate into her life right now, instead of having to figure out what constitutes a “good breakfast” and how exactly to get “heart-healthy exercise.”
I learned this lesson early on. One of my first articles for a national
I'm so excited. I've just begun writing articles for Suite101.com and I'm loving writing every day. I've set myself a target of writing 50 articles by the end of the month. I've got 6 published so far. They're self help, self improvement, law of attraction, parenting articles. I know from experience when you write daily it gets so much easier for the writing to flow. My first article took me hours, yesterday I wrote three articles. Of course there's the checking and editing to do once it's written but I'm getting articles out there.
For me this experience is 3 fold. I get my business name out there and get recognition as an expert in my field. I can earn some money from Suite101 itself and I have my work online for others to see and hopefully contract me to write for them or buy the article. This seems to happen a lot from reading the forum.
Here are my published articles so far.
How to End Procrastination
Understanding The Law of Attraction
6 Daily Habits for Financial Success
5 Daily Habits for Positive Thinking
Using The law of Attraction to Attract a New Car
Do You Really Listen to Your Children
Is anyone else writing for Suite101.com? Let us know and share your articles. Well share any writing news with us.