[This is part 6 of the series "Debunking the Myths of E-Mail Marketing."]
In my last post I gave you some tips for getting over your fear that you’re not a good writer. Hopefully it gave you the confidence to start working on the next article for your newsletter.
The second most common thing I hear from new writers is “I don’t know what to write about.”
This problem is actually a lot easier to solve, because all it takes is a little research. The thing is, once you have the mindset of constantly looking for ideas to write about, the ideas will just start coming to you all by themselves. It’s pretty amazing actually, and that’s the way our minds work.
So here are some tips for beginners, to get you on the right track.
I’ve talked about keyword research many times, and how important it is. It’s also useful to give you ideas.
Go to the Google Keyword Tool and type in some words or phrases you think your buyers might be searching on. It will spit back a long list of things people actually are searching on. This is a great way to fill your mind with ideas for things to write about, because you certainly want to be writing about things your buyers are searching on!
I use my smart phone for this, but I used to keep a little notebook and pen in my car or in my purse. If I see something while I’m out and about, and it seems interesting in some way, I write it down in my Idea File.
When it comes time to sit down and start writing my article (or a blog post), if I can’t think of anything right then and there I consult my Idea File.
These ideas don’t necessarily have to be related to your industry. It’s amazing how you can tie things you see in every day life to your field, and these connections will be made once you start writing.
As businesses owners our customers ask us questions all the time. If you find yourself answering the same question more than once, it’s probably safe to assume that more people have the same question and they just aren’t asking it. This is a great topic for an article.
A question that has a fairly complicated answer can be the topic for an entire article. Or if you have a list of fairly simple questions you can write about a handful or related questions all in once piece.
People love to learn how to do new things. As an expert in your industry you know how to do all sorts of things, and many of them are things your customers want to know also.
How-To articles are always big hits in my field. It’s probably true of yours also.
Do you own a beach resort? A gift shop? An accounting firm? A landscaping business? Many industries have seasonality, and your customers will get big value from reading about seasonal topics.
Just remember to stay ahead. Don’t write about planting shrubs in July, write that one in March or April. Don’t write about taxes in March, write about them in December. Stay ahead.
Many people like reading interviews with interesting people. That’s why magazines publish articles based on interviews.
Who do you know in your field that is interesting, or has a success story to share? A mentor? A customer? A competitor outside your territory? Interview them and then either publish it word for word, or create a story out of it.
So now you have lots of ideas (I hope!) for some upcoming articles you can write. Here are just a few quick tips on writing good articles…
Good luck! I invite you to post a link in the comment box below to your own newsletter so I can check it out. I promise I’ll be honest but gentle .
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Check out my new eBook, “The 3 Secrets of Online Marketing Success” which you can download for free at FreeWebMarketingEbook.com.
In my last virtual workshop session, we were talking about search engine optimization.
One of my students had just been through a redesign of his company’s web site and they had put it on WordPress. WordPress lets you implement what’s called a “tag cloud,” which is a block of variable-sized words that visually represent the frequency of tag words as they appear on your site.
If you look at the bottom of this page in fact, you’ll see a rather ugly tag cloud (I know, I have to fix that.) It kind of looks like the image here on the right.
So my student asked me if this tag cloud feature on his new site would affect the search engine optimization of the site. Hm… interesting question! I decided to investigate.
I did some research on tag clouds and SEO initially read several articles and blog posts that completely conflicted with each other (so what else is new?). Then I found this video, straight from the mouth of Google’s Quality Search and Web spam team member, Matt Cuts.
Essentially what Matt says is “It depends”. The main criteria for Google’s spam team is “does this tag cloud seem spammy”? Of course they don’t come right out and tell you exactly how they determine this. But knowing what I know about Google’s intentions, it would be logical that the following things would be considered spammy, and might negatively impact your page rank.
Matt suggests it would be better to just have a side bar with links to your individual posts, since a tag cloud link essentially goes to a search results page, not a specific post page.
Anyway, watch the video and decide for yourself.
Anybody who writes a blog is familiar with comment spam. This is when spammers comment on your posts but are only doing so to get a back-link to their url. These people (sometimes they’re robots but let’s assume for now that it’s a real person doing it) are usually hired by so-called “SEO Firms” to get as many links for their clients’ sites as possible.
It’s totally unethical, but it happens all the time. If you’re a blogger this is not news.
I just had a brand new comment spam experience. The commenter said this on one of my blog posts:
The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.
My first thought was WTF?
My second thought was “Seriously?” This person really thinks I’m going to approve this? Maybe you’re wondering, “So how do you know it’s spam? Maybe it really is a legitimate criticism of your post.” Hardly.
So my next thought was… Why? All the comment Spam I’ve ever gotten has been either innocuous (“thanks for the info”) or complimentary (“you’ve really inspired me”). This, in my opinion, is the best way to get your comment approved.
I know, some blogs don’t have an approval process and just let any comment get posted. But still… my question remains… why would a spammer bash my post instead of complimenting it? Why is that better? It seems to defy logic. Right, spammers aren’t too bright after all, perhaps there is some twisted thought process that went into it.
Anyhoo… Just sayin’.
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