Category Archives: Blogging

How Casual Should Article Writing Be?

old-fashioned lace with flip-flops

How casual should article writing be?

Casual writing for articles seems to be in these days. As a marketer and writer myself, I coach my clients to be conversational with their writing to make it easier for their audience to read, digest, remember. However, there is a difference between “conversational” and “casual”.

Lately, it seems readers don’t have to look very far to find abused conjunctions, such as starting sentences with the word “and” or “but”. My all-time favorite abused word (very tongue-in-cheek!) is the word “so”. There are also plenty of examples of other conjunctions, such as “aren’t”, “don’t”, “can’t”, and so on. At one point, I read an article from an online news agency that had the word “must’ve”! If I can find this article again, I’ll update my post with a link.

The worst offenders, in my opinion, are the writers who write as they text, or, don’t bother to check their spelling at all! Here is an example of a news article about the horrible stabbing of a USC professor by a student. The article is from Fox News, and yes, with a typo. While grammarians may argue with me on the use of “had” vs. “has”, you can’t argue the misspelling of the 2nd circled word. As of the date of this post, the word “according” has not been corrected.

USC student stabs professor, article typo from Fox News website

5 Tips To Write Better

Just how casual or formal should our writing be? It depends on both your writing style and your audience. If your writing is too formal and your audience is more laid back, you run the risk of the article not being read. If your writing is too casual and you’re trying to attract the upper-crust C-Suite in LinkedIn, that might not work well, either. Your writing must strike a balance between both.

Here are 5 points to think about:

  1. Simple, straightforward. Remember, your article will show up on a mobile device. That means the information should be straight, to the point content that is both snackable and shareable.
  2. Cut the tech-speak. Save the tech-speak for technical documents. If you’re going to use an industry-specific term or phrase, be sure to give a definition or explanation for it. Your audience will thank you.
  3. Be consistent. If you use contractions, keep using them. If you switch from writing longer articles to shorter ones, let your audience know. TIP: Try long-form with short paragraphs and short sentences.
  4. Speak-Write. Write the way you speak for a more natural tone and style. Visualize having a conversation with someone over coffee or a beer. Write like you’re talking to that person.
  5. Ask a friend to read it back to you. Does it sound the way you intended? Is the meaning clear, or clearly missing? Is there any tech-speak you missed?

The more you write, the easier the writing becomes, and you’ll be able to nail down your casual or conversational style more quickly.

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Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Image courtesy of a Fox News article.


Blogging Strategy: Consistent Frequency

blogging layoutBusiness owners sometimes struggle with their blogging strategy, specifically with frequency and quality of their posts. They know blogging should be an important part of their marketing strategy, but they don’t know how much time should be committed to this process. Some don’t stay with the process because the ROI takes time to surface. Others don’t want to sacrifice quality for urgency.

I teach my clients to go for consistent frequency. This can be done in 3 steps:

  1. Write what you can support. If your business is low on active clients, the tendency is to “ramp up” your blogging efforts. This can become a difficult strategy as you start picking up clients and running low on time. Start out with what you can do when you are busy and build on it; in other words, start with that end in mind.
  2. Use an editorial calendar. Scheduling your posts ahead using an editorial calendar will help you see on what topics your articles are based, potential article overlaps, articles that can be expanded on, and upcoming holidays (if your blog is more B2C or retail-based). You can also see on which social media channels you have scheduled each post, for which day(s) and time(s), thus avoiding unplanned overlaps.
  3. Use a social media scheduling tool. Not every social media channel has a built-in post scheduling tool; this means you have to post your articles natively on the day and time you have on your editorial calendar. Using a tool such as Hootsuite (this has a mobile app!) or Social Ally USA will help you schedule your posts to the appropriate social media channel(s), for the day(s) and time(s) outlined by your editorial calendar. BONUS: Both Hootsuite and Social Ally will allow you to keep track of activity on each of your channels, and suggest content for posting.

If you find your active client base is shrinking, don’t react to it. Proact to it, strategically.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Ready to start using content marketing in your business? Contact me for a complimentary consultation!


Cankers, Caterpillars, and Malt-worms: 3 Shakespearean Insults | Dictionary.com Blog

Great insults pepper the comedies and tragedies of William Shakespeare. (Though the Bard of Avon is known for his terms of endearments as well.) From A Midsummer Night’s Dream to King Henry IV, here are a few of our favorites. You canker blossom! This flowery barb is delivered by the newly lovelorn Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream after her beloved, Lysander, expresses his disinterest in her—a shift attributable to Puck’s mischievous interloping. Incensed at his change of heart, Hermia fires the following line at Lysander’s new object of affection, Helena: “O me! You juggler! You canker blossom! You thief of love!” The earliest sense of the word canker was “something that corrodes, corrupts, destroys, or irritates.” Around the mid-1400s, people began using it in an extended sense to refer to a caterpillar or worm that attacks plants and preys on flower buds. Thus, when Hermia calls Helena a canker blossom, she is likening her to one of these pernicious creatures who destroys

Source: Cankers, Caterpillars, and Malt-worms: 3 Shakespearean Insults | Dictionary.com Blog

4 Blogging Strategy Commitments to Consider

old-fashioned typewriterCreating a blogging strategy is treated by many businesses like creating a New Year’s resolution. It is started with the best of intentions, but soon becomes a distracting, daunting task that is easily forgotten about until “next year”. At some point, “next year” doesn’t happen, so don’t wait for it!

The new year is just around the corner – can you believe it? What marketing strategies are you implementing in your business in the new year? Blogging should still be a cornerstone piece of your marketing strategy. Here are 4 commitments to put into action in the new year:

  1. Commit to the time. Pretty basic, right? Yet every day I see examples of blogs not being kept up (including mine, folks, admitting shamefully!). I know business owners who want to start blogging but “don’t have the time” to blog, nor do they know what to blog about. Set aside at least an hour a day to plan your writing around a type of theme — could be a holiday, a sporting event, or something around a descriptor of your business. For example, compare certain services or aspects of your business to that of a redwood tree. Add a tip your client can use that day. Still stuck? Ask your followers for suggestions. Still stuck, part deux? Google your competition and see what they’re writing about.
  2. Commit to the people.I have said this many times before, so it bears repeating here: you can’t do it all yourself. Whew! Now that that’s settled, I’ll explain this point. Many solepreneurs, entrepreneurs, and business owners don’t have the manpower to commit to the blogging process, yet they know they must blog for their business. Two solutions, either to incorporate together or use separately:
    1. Engage contributors. Ask colleagues and business associates (not competitors) if they would consider writing a monthly blog post. This gains more views from their readers while maintaining consistent content, delivered consistently.
    2. Curate content.Hand-pick the best articles and deliver in a weekly post from a platform such as Paper.li or Scoop.It — or, even better — your own newsletter or blog.
  3. Commit to the process. Be accountable to both your audience and yourself. Write down the process for creating and posting your company blog on a Google calendar, Google Docs or notepad. Share these notes with your team; afterward, create a editorial/posting calendar so you and your team will know which posts (and any attachments) are scheduled to post on which days and on what social media platforms. Marketing your business is about trial and error, measuring the success of each campaign, and commitment of time. Strive for consistency in both posting days/times and voice, and prepare your team to proactively respond to comments and reviews that will begin flowing.
  4. Commit to measure. In order to find out what your audience wants you to talk about, measure your posts to see if anyone has shared your content to their networks through other social media platforms. Keep an eye on which posts are getting the most activity; this will tell you what someone may be potentially interested in, and, by how much they are
    reading/sharing, where they may be in your sales funnel. TIP: moderate comments by responding in a more timely fashion and using the person’s first name. By knowing what is being shared or commented about, I will know what interests my audience. Still not sure? Put up a poll in Facebook and/or create a hashtag in Twitter, and simply askyour audience.

A goal without a strategy is just a wish. What commitments are you making for the new year? Share these with an accountability partner and stretch yourself toward success!

Now it’s your turn! What other commitments would you add to this list?

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.