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from Suze and the crew at HTWB



Top 6 ways to beef up your business blog writing

business blog writing,blogging,writing,readers,customers,youLately we’ve been on a roll here on HTWB with articles on how to boost your business blog writing, so I thought you could do with a reminder checklist of all the help you’ve been offered in recent weeks. [Read more…]

The A-2-Z of business blog writing: Y is for You

business blog writing,blogging,writing,readers,customers,you

Make sure your readers know the real you

Who? Yes, you!

Much as I might bang on about the critical importance of your readers / customers / audience, if it weren’t for you, your business blog wouldn’t be there.

So in this simple article, let’s focus on you, the business blog writer extraordinaire.

What do you  need to focus on in your business blog writing?

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

[Read more…]

The “I” syndrome: why I don’t want to be patronized


Always show respect for
your readers’ intelligence

When you read a blog post, website introduction or post on SocMed, doesn’t it just make you sick when you see words directed at you, the reader, using your own supposed thoughts expressed by the poster?

E.g. “Now, I’ve got this shiny new blog, and I’ve got all the widgets and toy-toys, but I can’t seem to get any traffic…so what am I doing wrong?” [Read more…]

How to write great content that Google will love

If you want some quick, valuable advice on how to write good content that appeals both to your readers AND the mighty Google, this guest article by my US colleague,
Bob Bly, is truly brilliant. Thanks for sharing your advice with us, Bob! 

I’ve read that Google changes its search algorithm hundreds of times a year, as incredible as that sounds. As of late, they’ve made the search engine “fussier” about the content it ranks highly. Specifically, Google is rejecting crappy articles stuffed with keywords and written by content mills. (Thank yoooo, Google: this is music to my ears. Sz.)

So how do you write content that both Google and your readers will value?

There are 4 levels of writing how-to material, and the key is to write at the higher levels.

Level 1 is to merely write information or facts, not ideas or actionable strategies.

For instance, if you are writing a report on how to build web sites, and you begin by telling the reader there are a billion pages on the web, that’s interesting – but it’s not really that helpful.

Level 2 is “what to do” writing. It tells the reader what to do, but not how to do it.

An example is a real estate article that told landlords to evict problem tenants, but didn’t tell how to go about it.

Level 3 is where most good content writing should be – “how to” writing.

You not only tell the reader what to do, but also how to do it. In the real estate example, the article might tell the reader the 5 points that must be included in an eviction letter.

Level 4 is what content writers call “done for you.”

The writing not only tells the reader what and how to do something, but actually does it for them. Again in the real estate example, the article could include a sample eviction letter that the reader can just copy and send to his tenant.

Readers and Google like solid level 3 writing, and if you can provide level 4 content, so much the better. Google may also rank level 1 and level 2 articles high if they are accurate and well written … but these are less valuable to your human readers.

Tip: when writing instructional material, ask yourself about every paragraph, “Am I telling the reader how to do something? Or am I just telling them what to do?” Make sure both objectives, not just the latter, are accomplished by your copy.

You can find Bob Bly in River Vale, New Jersey, USA – http://bly.com

More on getting Google to love your content:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

photo credit: Cea. via photo pin cc

How to write words that grab your readers by the throat

How to write words that grab readers by the throatOften I hear people say they’re worried that although their writing for business, social or other purposes is accurate and grammatically correct … is it tedious? Does it lack snap, crackle and pop? Will it inform people adequately but fail to inspire anyone? Here’s where you can stop worrying…

For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume that you’ve done your research and especially if the project is for marketing purposes, you’ve got the thinking behind the project absolutely right.

Now, you’re about to write up the final text.  Here are my tips on how to make sure what you write grabs your readers by the throat and keeps them spellbound right until the last sentence…

Write as people speak, but don’t just write down a conversation. Write in terms of “we” and “us” or “I” and “me,” but don’t use a pompous “royal we” approach. Use “Plain English” wherever possible and especially when writing for audiences whose mother-tongue is not English.

Make every sentence relevant to the audience – “what’s in it for them?” And wherever possible, write to “you” – not to 3rd-person “customers,” “staff,” “suppliers,” etc.

Don’t just get to the point – start with it, and phrase it so it will grab the audience’s attention. Say what you mean and don’t procrastinate with fuzzy language, and be informal but be careful not to be overly familiar.

Use go words, not slow words – sharper nouns, stronger, shorter verbs. Use active rather than passive phrasing (“go now,” not “it’s time you went.”) One-word or verbless sentences are useful for pacing and effect, but only if you use them sparingly.

Although simple is usually better, don’t over-simplify – it can seem childish or patronising. Don’t go into more than one idea per sentence, and write so that one sentence flows logically into the next. Where possible start new paragraphs with links like “Of course,” or “However,” to keep the audience hooked.

Use a list or bullet points to put across more than two or three items in a sequence.

Keep jargon to a minimum and be sure your audience will understand what you do use. Avoid meaningless clichés because they make your writing seem unoriginal. Learn the difference between poor clichés and your business’s commonly used terms, and use the latter intelligently.

Avoid adjectives and superlatives that smell phoney, e.g. “best,” “fastest,” “exciting.” Use the most visual adjectives and adverbs you can think of – they’re powerful.

Especially with online text but with print too, avoid long blocks of text because they’re uninviting to read. Visually break up continuous sections of text by peppering them with cross-headings or emboldened key points.

Check for small grammatical and punctuation goofs – they make you look amateurish, and check for spelling mistakes. Don’t rely totally on your spellchecker – it misses a lot! Proofread your work backwards – it sounds crazy but you don’t miss spelling mistakes that way.

If you have questions about these tips  – or want to add to them, criticize them, whatever – just leave me a comment here. I’d be happy to discuss it with you.

In the meantime, happy writing!

Now, make sure  everything you write grabs your readers by the throat:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

photo credit: peyri via photopin cc