Tag Archives: blog tips

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

3 Top Reasons You Should Write A Blog

As a business owner, you want as much visibility as possible. You could take out paid advertising both online and offline, but it may not get in front of your target market. Moreover, with online ads, you have to depend on someone clicking on the advertisement link. Organic search results are better for being found, and blogging is a strategic way to gain visibility and getting found.

quill and ink bottleThe 3 top reasons you should write a blog:

  • Strategic. You may have similar expertise, offerings, and experiences as your competition. The key word is, similar. Not everything about your business is a carbon-copy to your competitor’s. Writing articles about your business, product or service, and views on trends allows viewers to see YOU as the expert. Include some free how-to white papers for download. Consider writing a monthly subscription newsletter about industry trends and business know-how. Be sure to include a call-to-action on all blog articles. Post article links using the social media platforms your target market and clients are using.
  • Visible. Google is the #1 search engine in the world. Blogging on a regular basis provides fresh content for spiders and bots to index this content to Google, increasing both your visibility and findability. Blogging is also about consistency and timing; make sure you publish each article at the same time on the same day(s) each week. For extra visibility, consider adding your blog to a service such as NetworkedBlogs. Using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook will help create a culture around your business while increasing visibility. Invite past and current clients to subscribe to your articles.
  • Be Found. As your articles are indexed to Google’s search engine, you will gain new eyeballs. As you build your knowledge database (a.k.a., your blog articles), you will gain new subscribers and followers. Your past and current clients will be updated on your knowledge, offerings, and expertise. As you post your articles and interact with people on social media, more will become aware of who you are and what your business is all about. The more places online you can be found, the more likely you will be found by people looking for your offerings.
  • Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.