Thursday, July 24, 2014

Engaging the Reader

Engaging the Reader
I recently read a book written in the first person in a way like a minister delivering a sermon to an audience. It is not what many readers would expect of a well-written work because of its unconventional writing style and the lack of smoothness or intrigue. Yet the book took the number two place on The New York Time's bestseller list.

The popularity of a book is obviously not about how well a writer writes, but about writing on the right topic and about content. Unless the writer is a celebrity or a famous someone, expecting high readership for what one writes may just be wishful thinking unless the writer has done his or her research to know what topics and content engage readers.

As an enthusiast of the social media, I have managed blogs and social network platforms long enough to understand how certain topics and content are well received while others fall short or fail badly. If the number of followers and comments are a guide to measure popularity and engagement, then analytics may be a good way to help make trending observations.

When I write on topics like healthcare, for example, the number of followers tends to fall far below expectation even with strong digital marketing engagement through campaigning, promotions, and the like. When I write on topics like career or faith, on the other hand, the number of followers increases exponentially even without campaigning.

Engaging readers or audiences in the real world requires knowing what's hot and what's not, what moves the heart or touches a chord, what reaches out and helps meet a need. In a nutshell, a writer needs to do research to know what readers really want before beginning to write.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Writing on Unfamiliar Topics

Writing on Unfamiliar Topics
How do you respond when someone wants to hire you to write on a topic you are unfamiliar with? Do you decline to take up the assignment or do you rise to the challenge?

As a writer providing editorial services, it is not uncommon I receive requests to write something I know nothing about. How I go about tackling such a problem is to research, consolidate, and attribute.

Research
This is obvious enoughresearch and gather as much information as possible on the Web and from the hirer.

Consolidate 
Compile and consolidate the information gathered. Plan out and organize the order for the information to be used. Ponder over the topic for a little while and decide how it should be written so it would sustain readers' interest. 

Attribute 
If using or citing information from sources other than those owned by the hirer, always state where the source is from and attribute authorship to the relevant parties or publisher. Doing so not only helps prevent infringing any intellectual property rights, but also enforces credibility in our writing, especially when the citation is from an authoritative source or reference.

Take it from me if you encounter a similar situation to go through the same steps, and you will find writing on unfamiliar topics is not as difficult as you imagine it to be.

Here are some sample articles with citation and attribution written by me for your reference.


Are you now game to take up the challenge?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Editorial Services: Tricks of the Trade

Editorial Services: Tricks of the Trade
Writing about writing is difficult because most of the time a writer is too busy writing something else. As a writer providing editorial services, my priority is to serve my customers in helping them with their writing needs. These needs include providing content for websites, conceptualizing and creating marketing collaterals, rebranding corporate profiles, copywriting, technical writing, corporate and marketing communication, among many other areas.

Over the years, I have received many assignments and requests to write different kinds of writings. I have written articles on technology and digital lifestyle which are areas of my expertise, and topics such as health, career, and entrepreneurship, which are areas I am not entirely familiar with. Once in a while, I also receive requests to write on topics I have no idea about or beyond my ability to get involved, such as beauty products and services, wine and dining, real estate, and others.

No doubt, as an editorial services provider and freelance writer, I should make every attempt to learn the tricks of the trade to write whatever is needed by the customers, but sometimes there are simply topics that are beyond my ability. The important thing is never to turn away customers empty-handed. Recommend them to another writer or editorial services provider.

If like me your wish is to run an editorial services business, the first thing you need to think about and act on is to get to know as many writers as possible and to stay in contact with them. If you can find business associates in the same trade, all the better, build close ties with them. When you are unable to take on an assignment request by customers, always recommend the lead to your associates.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Style and Preference

Style and Preference
While there are many tips and editorial guidelines on writing, there is in the real world not a particular way of writing that is absolutely good or bad when it comes to style and preference.

Hired writers are often told to write in a particular style, such as formal or social, but much really depend on one’s adaptability and personality. A writer may masquerade a persona that is not one’s own character but will never derive satisfaction from such writings simply because the content does not bring out who the writer is.

So what do we do when we are paid to write what the hirers want us to? We need to find a balance between who we are, and who we are not. Yes, if we are writing for blogs or for the social media, we need to express in our writings the playful side of our personality even if we are not fun-loving. No doubt, there are blogs and social network pages that prefer serious content, but more often than not, we are still expected to bounce off new ideas to write in moods that are vibrant and constantly changing.

Adaptability is therefore about changing the way we write, and sometimes changing ourselves to see things differently and more creatively in varied moods. We may need to work ourselves into feeling good and happy most of the time, yet we must not lose ourselves in the process. Our preferred writing style is best to be flexible so we can tweak to fit, if writing for an organization or non-fiction.

Are we flexible enough to write differently without putting on a mask? If we are able to, then the battle is won between giving ourselves up to hirer’s preference and deriving satisfaction from our writings.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Spicing Up Your Content Writing

Spicing Up Content
"I think the content is lacking the sizzle to keep the audience interested," said the overseer. "So far I'm not seeing enough likes or comments being generated on our blog and social networks."

That is the kind of remark I would wish never to hear from my boss, but I get that a lot as a copywriter and content manager. Writing persuasive copies is what is expected of my job and unless I bring in the numbers and visitors to the websites I manage, I am at risk of losing my livelihood.

This is how the commercial world works when it comes to measuring performance and the success of an online marketing campaign in getting across the message to its audience. It is all about spicing up the heat using persuasive words accompanied by outstanding design to catch Attention, create Interest, and stir up Desire that leads to Action (AIDA).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Writing for New Media

Content Writing
Writing encompasses many fields, and unless we are a novel writer, we need to be prepared to write on any genre if our job requires us to provide editorial services.

One of the most common writings requested by customers these days is content writing. Content writing is all about creating useful and informative content for websites and the social media.


Content writing is a branch of content marketing, which aims at writing in a way that draws the targeted audience to the site in engaging them to active participation. This participation may include readers commenting on blogs and social networks, clicking ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ or ‘Tweet’ about the written post or uploaded video.


According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI), “content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”


A good content strategy often begins with the use of search engine optimization (SEO) technique to obtain higher number of visits to the site. Among the first things we need to consider and ask ourselves when writing for content marketing are:


  • Who is our audience? What do they like to know or talk about?
  • Where do they usually hangout online? Which social network, community or forum?
  • Which style of writing best suit the targeted audience? Social or formal? Business-to-customer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B)?
  • What is the objective of the writing? Is it to bring awareness of a need, a message to convey, a goal to achieve, or something to educate and inform?
  • What keywords should be included in the content writing for SEO?
  • Is our writing easy to read and understand? Are there technical words or jargons in the content we need to change or remove for better clarity?
  • How can we measure the results and know which conversations catch fire?
The path towards good content writing and content marketing requires the constant analysis and evaluation of which approach best fit the targeted audience at a specific time. What works best, however, changes all the time, so there is no hard and fast rule to optimal results. The most important point to take away regarding content marketing is, without good content, marketing is impossible. Unless the readers find value in what we have written, they are unlikely to participate in the conversations to find out more. What we write in the content to draw interest and engage the audience is therefore crucial and foremost.

More Readings
What is Content Marketing?
How to Develop a Social Media Content Strategy
Content Writing Tips - How to Hold User Attention

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