Posts Tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Simple ‘Writes’ that keep you close to your clients

I love writing, and normally I expect other writers to love and enjoy it like I do! After all, how can you be a writer and not love writing? That would be weird, right? Well, I have slowly discovered that writing often doesn’t come easy for most people, including even those who profess to be writers. It takes a while to perfect the task or even get used to a regular writing schedule.

There are some things, though, that we must all learn to write no matter whether we enjoy writing as a task or not. They are very important things that tend to add value to what we are doing regardless of the field in which we operate. I would like to call them ‘little writes’ as they usually require very little time and are very short in length. But VERY IMPORTANT! We use them everywhere, everyday, in every sector; they need just a little bit of extra care in wording and style to produce the right effect.

However, the thing that I want to emphasize is that they are valuable as items that communicate volumes to both potential and existing clients. They are small tokens which, when used in the right manner and at the right time, can produce priceless benefits for your relationships with clients. I am referring to welcome notes, thank you notes and acknowledgements.

Welcome Note:
One of the things I am learning about doing business online and maintaining a community of followers is that although people have a very short attention span and move quickly over the net, most still appreciate a personal touch when it comes. For instance when someone likes my Facebook page I usually make a point of sending them a message of welcome to my page. This is because I value every single follower whether they end up taking up my services or not; they are a potential client right from the start.

You can do this not only for Facebook pages but also for email lists on your website or blog. You can also add a welcome note to the home page of your site. It makes you appear more visitor-friendly.

People love to be recognized and appreciated so learn to do it often. Make sure to keep it simple and short – a greeting, describe what your page or blog is all about in one sentence, and appreciate the fact that they have come to you. Then make an offer for them to call or email if they need your product or service. That’s all.

Thank You Note:

This is one of the most precious things in a relationship – saying thank you in written form. Writing is visual, enabling a lasting impact in the mind of the reader/recipient. Saying thank you in speech is not the same as writing it out in rich language using beautiful note-paper. Ok, the paper doesn’t have to be all that fancy, but you get my point. Remember that two people can do the same thing but one of them stands out simply because of the way it is done, so make sure you write something fresh, something unique, something memorable. Exercise your writing skill to the fullest!

Address the recipient by name and make sure to mention what it is you appreciate or like or value about that person or about what they did. Again, be short and simple. Remember that a note and a letter are two very different things, so don’t turn into a letter!

 

Acknowledgements:

A very important thing about communication (actually a very basic thing) is the ability to respond to a letter, an email, a request, an inquiry or outstanding service in the shortest time possible. Now, I know these are probably the busiest times we have ever lived in and sometimes it takes long for things to be attended to. However, you can choose to stand out from the pack and be one of the few people who make sure to acknowledge receipt of an inquiry, request, letter or email so that the person who sent it does not feel unattended to.

Acknowledgements should be written immediately before you move onto something else and forget. Make sure to thank the person for taking the time to contact you. If you are not in a position to give a concrete response to the need, then at least let them know you are working on it and give a time period within which they are likely to get their need sorted out.

 

Okay, those are what I call ‘little writes’. They are essential and small in size but large in impact. I hope you have been writing them and will continue to do so. If not, it’s never too late to start!

 

 

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How to Write A Product Description For Your Online Shop: Five Simple Steps

website ideas

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee

Short, attention-grabbing articles tend to do very well on the web; they allow the reader to get what you are saying in a small amount of time, which is a very precious commodity on the web. Many people do not know how to do that – explain something using few words in a manner that is clear and concise. Product Descriptions require exactly that.

A product description is simply a very short article that talks about a specific item, gadget, equipment, service, or commodity. Normally between 100 and 150 words, a product description not only educates potential customers on the value and use of the item; it also serves as a marketing tool when keywords are used in it. This is a very important tool for businesses, especially small businesses and start-ups.

If you have an online store for the things you sell, consider writing product descriptions for each class of items in your shop. Make it short, concise and use simple language. Target the kind of customers that normally visit your store, or the ones you want to attract to your site. Include 2 – 3 of the keywords you use for your site in order to attract web traffic. This is very important because you want to extract maximum value out of that short description.

Number 1: Picture in your mind the kind of customer you wish to attract. Think of the general sector, e.g. young, educated, salaried professional. Think of a particular person who fits that exact description and prepare to write for him/her.

Number 2: Write down what you want to say about your product/service, exactly the way you want to say it. Choose your words carefully and direct them at the person you have pictured. Your aim is to convince them that what you are offering has value plus superior quality.

Number 3: Insert two to three keywords for your site. This will help drive relevant traffic to your site. Put one in the title of the article, one in the main body and the last one in the final paragraph. Make sure they are not forced into the sentences; they should flow naturally with what you are saying.

Number 4: Define your Call To Action, that is, what do you want that customer to do about your product? Do you want them to buy it or ask for more information? Do you want them to click on the cart or to investigate what else you have to offer? Do you want them to write a review about it? The answer to these questions will determine how you word your Call To Action. Include that as the last paragraph of your article.

call to action

call to action (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Number 5: Insert the article on your landing page or sales page, whichever one serves the purpose of attracting the attention of visitors or would-be customers. Make sure the font is easily readable. Feel free to highlight key text like the name of the product for example.

Remember, you can get a lot of mileage for your site from writing product descriptions. Never under-estimate the power of words, no matter how few!

Using Quotes in Your Writing

Quotes are like spices in a dish for the writer; they flavor an article and make it more enjoyable for the reader. Since reading is an exercise that most people find a bit hard to pursue and keep up for a period of time, writing articles that provide an extra zing can make a big difference and quotes are able to do just that.

I love quotes and once in a while I like to use them to spice up my own writing. There are thousands of them on numerous subjects, so all you need to do is to find the one that is appropriate for your piece. Always make sure that the quote you choose is relevant to your subject otherwise it will just turn out to be a rude interruption in the eyes of your reader. Remember that your reader is a prize treasure you wouldn’t want to disappoint.

 

Quotes are short sentences or phrases that other people have said and recorded on various subjects. They belong to somebody else but give added value to your piece, like when you want to emphasize a point, introduce humor or launch a new topic. Their value lies in the quick insight they provide into different ways of looking at things and thinking about them. For instance, quotes on love provide us with insights into how people conceive of love, which helps us write more about the subject of love. Quotes can therefore provide you with new ideas about what to write as well as new perspectives. If you ever have a problem getting started on a new topic, simply Google ‘quotes on the subject’ and you may just find new inspiration or a starting point at least.

 

When using quotes, remember that you are borrowing someone else’s words so make them stand out from what you have said (e.g. using italics) and ensure you give credit to the person by indicating who said it. Do not congest your writing with quotes, though, as much as it is a beautiful technique to apply. Use them sparingly but correctly positioned in the text so as to get the most mileage out of them. They usually work well at the beginning of the article to introduce your thought process or at the end when you want to leave the reader with something to ponder about.

 

On that note, I came across the following quote on the subject of creative writing. Most of the time we writers want to give people what they want to read; how about giving people what we want to say and quit worrying about what they think?

 

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Finding The Right Niche For Your Blog – Why?

One of the most common recommendations made to new (and even exisiting) bloggers is that they should specialize on a certain area for which they have the most expertise rather than writing on a variety of topics. This is suppossed to give the blog a certain edge over others and lead to greater quality traffic.

Finding the right niche to write for is not an easy task. For some writers , it develops over time as they try out different topics until they settle on the one that produces most value. Others may hit it off from day one but then as the niche becomes populated they find reason to move to something else. Whatever your experience in niche writing, I would really like to know what you think. I would like to know whether you think niche writing makes a difference in your blogging experience.

Please take a moment to participate in this poll by answering the question below. You can always view the results whenever you visit this blog over time.Your participation will be highly appreciated

 

Thank you for sharing your opinion.

Quality Assurance for Content Writers

When you get a huge workflow of content writing and the clients are diverse with varying requirements and expectations, how do you manage your output to ensure high standards are still maintained? How do you make certain that your clients are always satisfied with work done?

Quality Assurance is not a new concept in management circles but I wonder how many freelance writers have a QA system in place for their work?

Recently, I thought about this and wrote a guest post on Freelance Switch about how to meet your client’s expectations through Quality Assurance.

Click here to read the article and let me know what your opinion is on the subject.

10 Blogs That Offer Valuable Tips For The Freelance Writer

How good are you at doing online research? Do you find it boring, tiresome, too much work, or do you enjoy the thrill of going through countless web pages to find the right information? Looking for relevant information is no mean fit for the average person, however well-versed with the internet; there’s so much out there! Besides, not everything you find is valuable or even relevant to your task.

As a writer, I bet research is one of the tools you frequently use to come up with good articles, right? You have to find out what has already been written in order to write what’s relevant and unique, right? However, because of the sheer volume of information on the net, you often have to filter it out to get what’s really useful to the task at hand. Doing that takes quite a bit of time that is not always there. That is why I thought of doing something for you, my dear writer, to make your life easier!

When I started freelance writing in 2010 and launched my first blog, I quickly realized that I needed to get the latest news on blogging. I needed to find out who else was out there, what they were doing, why was it working for them, etc. I did not know where to start but made up my mind to scour the net every day until I got all the data needed. This took me a few months until I bumped into a single blog that provided me with the most valuable information to date for my blogging work. Naturally, it’s the first one on the list below. Wasn’t I glad to rest from all the weary work!

Today, I offer you these ten blogs that I believe can save you a lot of trouble searching for the right information, especially if you are just starting out as a blogger. They are not in order of preference or quality or anything like that; all of them are valuable in their own right. Check them out to see if I am right and if you like what they offer, go ahead and subscribe to their RSS feeds so that you are always up to date. Well, here they are:

1. youngprepro.com

2. freelanceswitch.com

3. aboutfreelancewriting.com

4. problogger.com

5. thinktraffic.net

6. successfulblogging.com

7. basicblogtips.com

8. menwithpens.ca

9. thecreativepenn.com

10. dailyblogtips.com

All the best as a writer,

Edna.

The Reading Writer (II)

Previously, I wrote about the various ways in which reading helps the writer (see “Reading Writer” under the category Improve Your Writing Skills) and looked at four benefits or advantages. This time I would like to focus on how to make the reading habit a permanent part of your lifestyle as a writer.

You see, it’s very easy to keep telling writers that they must read often in order to become better at their craft but this can be a tricky thing for some. Many writers are faced with deadlines to write copy or pressure to produce a certain number of articles that sometimes it’s hard to slot in reading of books, journals, magazines or other writers’ articles. This is especially so for the large number of writers who do it for a living as their main source of income. Besides, reading doesn’t come easily for everyone and so it takes real effort and commitment to inculcate it as a daily or even weekly activity, for example.

I, myself, have made it a goal to read at least one book every month, not necessarily in my field. However, it is a goal that I have to keep reminding myself to fulfill and sometimes it gets tricky when I do not have extra money to buy a new book. Borrowing is an option, of course, but that usually means I am limited to what is available with friends as opposed to what I feel I need to read (in any case, I prefer to own books, not borrow them). Your own case is probably different from mine but whatever your struggle is with getting to read regularly, I would like to offer you some suggestions that can help.

Here are five:

1. Cultivate a love for books
You may be asking, “How do I cultivate a love for books?” Well, the same way you would do it for a person. What are the factors that commonly lead to falling in love? One of them is spending a lot of time with that person, listening to them and enjoying their company. Spend time with the few books that you have, if you do, or buy one or two to start with. Read a chapter in the morning and another in the evening. Go to the library once a week and browse or search for something interesting to borrow. Attend the annual book fair (if it hasn’t happened yet) and visit every stand, talking to authors and publishers alike.

In simple language, go out of your way to acquaint yourself with the world of books. This is something you have to do consistently and consciously as there is no magic for it.

2. Set a reading goal
…and please stick to it, no matter what!
You could copy me and start with reading one book per month, or set a goal that fits in with your own schedule. Just make sure you are not over- ambitious (five books a month may be a bit too much) nor should you aim too low. By the way, it doesn’t have to be books only – feel free to pursue other reading materials like magazines. The key is to have a focus (the goal) and be consistent over time. Goals have a way of making us more focused and purposeful in what we are doing, both of which are essential for getting desired results.

 

3. Join a book club
There are plenty of online and offline book clubs where you could get to further nurture this new pursuit. You will find people to exchange notes with, discuss difficulties, discover new books to read and generally become more exposed to the world of reading. Some book clubs even have their own libraries from which members can borrow books that they may not be able to afford to buy.

 

4. Spend time with people who love to read
Enthusiasm is one thing that tends to rub off very easily! The more you hang around book lovers, who are enthusiastic about what they do, the more likely you will become like them, little by little.

I know this is related to point 3 above but it doesn’t have to be a formal club; it could be just a single friend who enjoys reading as a pastime and you could agree to be reading together once in a while. Sometimes it helps just to have near you someone who does the same things you do for motivation purposes.

 

5. Build a private library


This is something I plan to do in the long-term, not just for me but also for my children in future. You can do the same too, little by little, with the literature you buy regularly. The advantage is that you have a 24/7 domestic resource center with a variety of literature to suit various needs, e.g. journals for research, novels for leisure, etc. Make sure the room for the library is well-designed with comfortable chairs and cushions as well as a reading desk and proper lighting. This goes towards providing an incentive to be there for long periods of time.

 

Well, these are action points that you can implement easily and become a Reading Writer. Let me know how it works for you or if you think of something else that can help.

Sincerely,

Edna.