How to Make Your Writing (a Little Bit) Better

The Director of Columbia University’s writing program and author of the new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction reveals a few ways to write a fresh and engaging story.

I came across this post on Oprah’s website and thought it was worth re-posting for my readers. There are some great tidbits, guidance and instructions for making your writing better. Now that online content is so huge, it’s always a good idea to tweak and work on your writing or hire a ghostwriter to assist you.

1) Be Bold (Even if You’re Not) Regardless of how timid you may feel inside, you need to project an assertive tone in your sentences, conveying that you have a right to speak and that know what you’re talking about. This may mean bluffing—both at the beginning and maybe throughout one’s writing life. One of the boldest openings is a confession of ignorance. You might tell people that you don’t know everything or that you’ve forgotten some of the story. Surprisingly, instead of alienating your readers, this tactic usually makes them believe you more, because it lets them know you’re a human being—imperfect, like all of us, but honest.

2) Make Yourself into a Real-Life Elizabeth Bennet Whatever you write, particularly if it’s an autobiography or any kind of nonfiction, you would do well to turn yourself into a character. The reader needs to sense very quickly the real individual behind the prose—in order to like or trust the narrator of the piece. To start, you may need to take inventory of yourself, so the reader will have some idea of who is talking. For instance, what are your geographical roots, family background, ethnicity, social class, religious training, sexual preferences, and political affiliations? Not that your entire identity can ever be explained by membership in this or that one category, but at least the sum of them helps define you—if nothing else, then in your opposition or refusal to identify with any of these assigned labels. What are your pet likes and dislikes? What are some of the crucial experiences in your life? Certainly, this is the heart of memoir or personal writing.

Now comes the “characterization” part of your character. You need to dramatize yourself. Paradoxically, this may mean putting on a mask, emphasizing just those aspects of your personality that throw you into sharper light, that make you seem a little more odd or idiosyncratic—in any case, not completely typical. The easiest way to do that is to single out those parts of your personality that are most vibrant, or even disparaging. Self-mockery is a perfect example. If you can laugh at yourself, you will find it easier to see yourself as a character.

3) Take the Contrarian Position It’s sometimes a good idea to go against the grain of accepted thought, simply because it takes the reader by surprise and engages him or her in a stimulating, feisty relationship. (It also helps to build the author quickly into a character—see number 2.) To advocate for Mom, apple pie, world peace or universal brotherhood can be pretty bland. Try airing a more antisocial or counterintuitive position, just for the fun of it. Some models to consult in this technique are Laura Kipnis’ “Against Love,” Witold Gombrowicz’s “Against Poetry,” Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” Joyce Carol Oates’ “Against Nature” or my own “Against Joie de Vivre.”

The other way to be contrarian is to praise something that usually inspires distaste. William Hazlitt’s “On the Pleasure of Hating” is one such topsy-turvy example. Think of something ostensibly negative—disappointment, envy, chagrin, obesity, air pollution—and make a case for it. Of course, this defense of the indefensible can be done ironically, as in Jonathan Swift’s classic “A Modest Proposal,” which purports to argue in favor of eating babies as a solution to overpopulation.

4) Don’t Forget Your Inner Adult When writing about your past, don’t be afraid to reflect on the way you were, from the standpoint of the way you are now. You don’t have to pretend that you’re still 9 years old or stay within the child mind: You can avail yourself of the perspective of acquired wisdom over the years and move back and forth in the narrative between the younger person you were and the older person you’ve become. This means you don’t have to tell every story entirely through scene and dialogue. You can forget about that “show, don’t tell” business. Do tell. But do it frankly, thoughtfully and, wherever possible without self-pity and with good-humored detachment.

5) Bring in the World Even if you are writing a memoir, and telling what you feel is just your own private story, there are ways of bringing greater relevance and resonance to the tale by hitching it to a broader perspective: historical, psychological, sociological, theological, whatever. You begin to see yourself as part of a larger pattern, and this will take you to the library, where you can gain new insights.

Research also helps to keep the material alive when you are starting to get sick of yourself and your story. If you start out knowing all the answers, your resulting writing will appear stale. But if you engage in an exploration, a need to get answers to questions that are still unresolved, there is a much greater chance that the writing will come alive. And research can certainly assist in any such exploration.

For more information on writing techniques, consult Phillip Lopate’s new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Expert-Writing-Strategies-How-to-Write-Better#ixzz2LMYAJ4yF

What do Petticoats and Writing Have in Common?

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As I was sitting in my recliner last night, trying my best to find that light-bulb moment or the next viral blog post, for some reason the petticoat came to mind.

I know you’re thinking…what!? My sentiments exactly! I had no idea where I was going with this, but something sparked inside me to simply start writing. I was hoping it would come to me as fast as my speedy typing.

Wikipedia defines the Petticoat as follows:

“In historical contexts (sixteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries), petticoat refers to any separate skirt worn with a gown, bedgown, bodice or jacket; these petticoats are not strictly speaking underwear as they were made to be seen. In both historical and modern contexts, petticoat refers to skirt-like undergarments worn for warmth or to give the skirt or dress the desired fashionable shape. In this context a petticoat may be called a waist slip or underskirt (UK) or half-slip (US), with petticoat restricted to extremely full garments. Petticoat can also refer to a full-length slip in the UK,  although this usage is somewhat old-fashioned.”

Going way back to my childhood, (and yes, that was quite some time ago), I can remember having such frilly, foo-foo dresses. They were just not quite completed until I had all those petticoats underneath my dress. Once those were on and fluffed, then I felt as though I was completely dressed.

As I reminisced about those days, I saw myself running and playing and jumping around, just to experience all the fluffiness, fullness and the sounds of crinkling petticoats. Not only did they make me feel feminine and girly, they also made me feel extremely dressed up and exquisite. Like I’m sure some of those on the red carpet feel when they are all dolled up. That is how I felt! Like a model! Simply beautiful.

There was something about the sound of all that crinkly material and the crushing, rustling-type sound they made. The way they would fly up into your face when you sat down. The manner in which you would lay your hands on top of your dress to push it down just so you could see. The gorgeous way they looked under such a beautiful and frilly dress. Of course, in most cases there were matching shoes and socks, as well as gloves and purse.

The more you had under your dress, the better you felt.

So, how does that relate to writing, you ask?

Well, think about this. How do you feel when you have completed an awesome article or blog post that gets raving reviews, or increases your followers, or is shared amongst your friends, family and social network?

Doesn’t that make you feel all frilly and foo-foo and tingly inside? The sounds of the petticoats are similar to the sounds of raving fans applauding like you’ve just finished a Tony award-winning performance.

You feel like running and jumping and twirling around exhibiting tons of glee and excitement. Well, maybe not to that extent, but you are excited and thoroughly happy with yourself. Right?

If you have created compelling content that others want to read and share, you should be proud.

Petticoats are Meant to be Seen

Remembering back to those petticoat days, I can remember how cool it was to have layers upon layers of petticoats. The colors were also something to be admired. From pinks, purples, red (yep…had to have red, it’s my favorite color) to the simple white and beige. Whatever color I wore, it was meant to be seen. Imagine that. You wanted to show them off.

Which brings me right back to writing, (you knew I was coming back to it). Whatever you write, whether it’s a blog post, article, eBook or white paper, you want it to be seen, admired and appreciated. You want to provide solutions to problems and issues people are having.

You want to be the one they search for when they are in need of answers. You want to be that “go-to” person. But exactly how do you do that? Well, you do your homework and figure out what problems your readers or clients are having. And then give them what they want.

If you can teach your readers something they don’t know you’ll have a robust following. Then those readers will share your content with their friends, and so on and so on.

What happens when you create valuable, informing, educational and even humorous content? It will be seen by many.

Desired Fashionable Shape

What does the petticoat’s fashionable shape have to do with writing? You need to make sure your articles and blogs posts are fashioned in a readable and shareable format.

For example, include compelling images to your articles as well as shaping your post in an appealing manner. Make sure you have enough white space between paragraphs. Chunk your content so it’s easier to scan. Create intriguing headlines and paragraph titles. Use a font that is easy on the eyes to online readers. Always add something personal, emotional or some sort of life experiences.

Before writing your next article or blog post, think about something in your personal life you can use to relate to your product or services.

Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. People can relate to those types of experiences and it’s quite possible they are going through something you’ve already been through. Think about how helpful that could be to others.

Add flare, experiences, emotion, humor, solid advice, and you will dazzle your audience to no end.

What have you found in your articles and blog posts that have increased readers and followers? Do you find by adding life experiences to help tell your story beneficial?

Columbine Student’s Father 12 Years Later

Since the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT, I felt this post speaks volumes and will give you something to ponder as we try to come to grips with everything that happened.

Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, Columbine High School victim, sums it up brilliantly on what he feels is happening in our schools. I totally agree with him. See if you agree. It is definitely worth reading.

Here we go:

Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal.

There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript: “Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,

Your words are empty air. You’ve stripped away our heritage, You’ve outlawed simple prayer. Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question “Why?” You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed. And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!” –Darrell Scott

————–

My prayers continue to go out to all those affected by that tragedy in Newtown, CT. How has it impacted your life? Do you check with your kids at school more frequently? Do you simply thank God for protecting them? Has it changed the way you do things? Please let us know.

Do You Know the Benefits of Hiring a Ghostwriter for your Business?

No matter what field you’re in, the life of your small business depends on written content to maintain a strong online presence and build your brand.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?  Sure, you’d like to start a blog for your business, write an e-book, or maintain an active Facebook or Twitter feed, but you’re already wearing so many hats–now you have to be a writer, too?  No, you don’t.  Instead, consider hiring a ghostwriter.

A ghostwriter is an expert writer who can handle any written task such as articles, blog posts, press releases, essays and e-books according to your specifications and let you take credit for them.  Once the publishing industry’s best-kept secret, ghostwriters are now a trusted part of every industry from medicine to music, and have become very popular with small business owners in particular.

Let’s face it; some of the world’s smartest, charismatic and talented people are terrible writers.  Ghostwriters can help their clients look as competent and knowledgeable on the page (or screen) as they are in person.

Why do you need a ghostwriter?

Well, consider what your time is worth, and how it can best be put to use to help your business.  Do you think that being hunched over a keyboard writing a blog post is the best use of your time or your talent?  By leaving your writing needs in the hands of a capable ghostwriter, you can go back to doing what you love, and remind yourself of why you started your business in the first place.

Even if you did have the time to write (and brainstorm, and edit) it yourself, having well-written, informative and enjoyable content is not quite enough.  Experienced ghostwriters can also help you create targeted content that skillfully uses keywords that will help your website or blog rank high in search engine results while avoiding being marked as spam.  After all, what good is a blog if no one reads it?  The more people who seek out your website, blog, and social media and benefit from the valuable information you provide, the more money you will make.

It can be hard to let go of control of something as important as online marketing for your business, but your business needs YOU more than anything else.  Successful business owners know that part of their success comes from knowing how and when to delegate tasks.  Many will tell you to do what you’re best at, and hire skilled people to handle the rest.  Wouldn’t hiring a ghostwriter be a great place to start?

Have you hired a ghostwriter in the past? What have you learned from using a ghostwriter?

How to Choose Your Best Keywords Without a Search Tool

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When you begin working on an online marketing campaign, you will immediately recognize the importance of using the right keywords to boost your content’s search engine optimization. Choosing the wrong keywords can lead to lackluster results for your website. So how do you find the ideal keywords for your business?

Many people turn to online keyword search tools for help. These can be very helpful, however, there are a few things that you need to do before turning to one of these suggestion tools for your keyword research.

Describe your business in simplified terms.

When you sit down to write out a description about your company, imagine that you are trying to explain it to your parents or grandparents. Don’t focus on industry-specific terms that the average person wouldn’t use. You want to choose simple terms that you imagine a potential customer would use when searching for your company.

Determine what sets your company apart from competitors.

Find what makes you unique in the industry. Are you a customer service guru? Do your prices make your competitors swoon? When you know what separates you from the other guys, it is easy to come up with descriptive keywords. Think: helpful, friendly, low cost, affordable, etc.

Identify any words that have multiple meanings.

There are many words out there that have more than one meaning and products are no exception. For example, “tablet” is a product that can fall into a wide range of categories. There are bath tablets, vitamin tablets, writing tablets, and now an emerging market for tablet computers. Know whether or not the product you sell could be mistaken for something else when a customer searches for it so that you can clear away any confusion.

Keep focus on your big sellers.

You may sell a wide range of products on your website, but that doesn’t mean you need to hit every possible keyword on search engines. Focus your efforts on optimizing your web pages for your most popular items. You will benefit more by spending your time on keywords that relate to your most profitable items.

Make a list of your top ten keywords.

Write down what you believe to be your ten most important keywords for your business. When you have your list, give those keywords a long, hard look. Do those keywords all center around a single product? Do you touch on all of the products you sell and services you provide? Your first instincts when it comes to keywords are not always correct. Give each keyword a second look and decide why each one made it on your list.

In order to optimize your website for search engines, you want to have targeted keywords that will draw a targeted audience. Avoid using keywords that have multiple meanings or single-word keywords. When you focus your keywords to be specific to your business, you will reach out to more potential customers who want the product or service you provide.

7 Tips for Completing an Article in 20 Minutes

Whether you are a Ghostwriter or a business owner who writes for their own blog or website, writing can be very time-consuming. We would all like to find ways to trim back on the amount of time it takes us to write.

If you’re a writer for business, you probably would like to see ways to become more efficient. One way to do so is to learn a few techniques for getting an article completed within a short time frame. This article will guide you to get an article written and completed in 20 minutes.

Many ghostwriters or freelance writers juggle clients all day, day-in and day-out. So it’s not always the most economical job for one to have. However, if you can master these seven techniques, you’ll be able to get an article written in a jiffy and even be able to take on more clients to maximize your profits.

It’s important to remember that even though you may be writing quickly, you can’t compromise the quality.

1. Start an “idea” list:

Being a writer, sometimes your inspiration and motivation can easily be jeopardized, since you’re relying on it every single day. So, when you’re bountiful of ideas, write them down and keep a list. Many times, writers of all types, be it bloggers, article writers, ghostwriters, etc. the idea of what to write is what takes the most time. If you keep an idea list, you’ve already won half the battle.

2. Let your ideas simmer a bit:

It is typical that when you NEED something, it’s the most difficult to find whereas, when you don’t need it anymore, then it happens to just pop up. The same thing applies to writing and gaining ideas. The more force you put into it, the longer it will take. Thus, when you get a new topic, let it fester for a while before brainstorming. This way, a couple of days later, when it’s time to get started, you’ll already have a few things in mind that will work.

3. Be Selective

Now, you’ve formulated all these list ideas and brainstorming ideas for your articles, you’ve got so many ideas, what in the world are you going to do with them all?! Well, you’re going to have to be very hard on yourself and simply scratch through the majority of them on your list. Ask yourself, “does this idea really work?” or look at which ideas are the best and discard the rest. You can however, save the ideas for an article for later, but it’s important to remember we’re not writing an epic trilogy book now, just a simple article within a 20-minute time frame.

4. Be the Bullet Master:

Using bullet points or numbered entries is fantastic! Not only will it cut down the time spent on writing an article (since you don’t have to formulate a complete sentence or think about transitions from paragraph to paragraph) but it is also helps the reader to easily navigate the article and break up content.

5. Short and Sweet:

Articles that are 500 words are less are perfect for writing articles within the 20-minute time frame. What is most important here is to focus on the type of content. It needs to be content rich to make up for the shortness. Your article should be chalked full of valuable content.

6. Take a break:

More times than not, a nice break from work will benefit your motivation and inspiration. Writing can be a hard task some days, so it’s better not to force out words and rather, take a break, come back and let the words flow.

7. Use your good idea NOW:

It is very tempting to keep all your best ideas saved for using later, or for a “better” article. However, this is not the most productive or realistic. You need to save time now, not later on. Whatever is in front of you now, should be what you focus on to get it done quickly and to make the most of your time. So take the “good” ideas off the back-burner and use the immediately.

These seven steps will help you to create an article within a 20-minute time frame so that you have time to focus on more interesting things or maximize your article output. If you have ideas or know of ways to write articles more quickly, what are they? Please share!

Online Content: How to Beat Your Competitors with SEO Content

No matter what type of business you have, you are going to have competition. Even more so when you have an online business. You might think you have the edge, but there will always be others out there looking to take the top spot in the industry. In order to take your place at the top of the heap- and stay there- you need to know what it takes to compete.

When you start producing online content to support your business, it is important to have a strong understanding of search engine optimization. You also need to know who your competition is so that you can effectively compete. When you have the insight into the other businesses in your industry, you’ll be ready to put up a fight.

Check out the websites of your competitors and anyone else who may be selling a product or service similar to yours. See who is sitting at the top of the search engine results. In order to get yourself up at the top, you need to know what these businesses are doing to stay there. Observe the web design; take note of the prevalent keywords, and any other detail that can impact a search engine rank.

After you have done your research on your competition, take what you have learned and see what improvements can be made to your own web page. Maybe your layout can be rearranged. Play with your color scheme and tweak your design. You may be surprised by how much the look of your website can influence your customers.

The content on your website also plays a major role in how well your business will do. Take the time to research the best keywords and phrases to include in your online content. Consider adding a blog to your site, or maybe videos. Find changes that are going to set you above your competition. When you focus on search engine optimization, you will see a great improvement to your own search engine ranking. Staying on top of the results means more potential customers finding their way to you.

Quality SEO content can make all the difference in the online business competition. Every business, in any industry, can benefit from professional web content. It will enhance the value of your website in the eyes of customers.

After you have looked at what your competitors are doing to boost their business, try coming up with a few ideas that are uniquely yours. Be creative in your efforts to draw more traffic your way.

Always give different techniques a test drive. Something that works incredibly well for another company may not have the same impact on your business. Staying on top of the search engine results means making changes whenever necessary. It is a never ending process, but well-worth the efforts that you make. Beating the competition requires constant attention to SEO of your online content.

How to Get the Best Results with Article Marketing Online

Too many people are giving up on their article marketing campaigns because they aren‘t getting the results they expected. These are the people who only post a handful of articles to one or two directories and wait for the magic to happen. When they don’t see a huge return for their meager efforts, they throw in the towel and then spread the word that marketing their articles online isn’t worth the trouble. Not only are those people ruining their own chances of success, but they’re scaring off other people who are considering article marketing online.

In order to get the best results with article marketing, it’s important to know what your plan of action needs to be from the start. With this information at the ready, you’ll be better equipped in your online content marketing campaign. To make your articles work best for you, here are some things you need to know:

Do thorough keyword research and make a list. You want to have a stockpile of keywords and keyword phrases that are appropriate for your industry. You can use a tool like Google’s free keyword tool or invest in a professional tool like Market Samurai. You want to focus on keywords that are going to help you rank highly in search results.

Write an article for all of your keywords. Try to set a daily goal of writing one article. If your talent for writing isn’t too strong, consider hiring a ghostwriter. Many ghostwriters are knowledgeable in SEO practices.

Submit to a wide variety of directories. Every directory offers different options. Different niches perform better on one site than another. When you distribute your articles to a lot of directories, you can determine which ones are giving you better results in your article marketing campaign.

Track each article’s performance. Knowing which articles are performing best and each directory gives you an idea of what your search rankings will be. Then you can focus your efforts on the better performing keywords.

Fine-tune to your articles. When you track the performance of your articles, you’ll begin to notice which titles are capturing more hits and which ones are only doing okay. Then you can tweak a little here and there. For example, maybe titles written as a question get more readers than those that are straightforward.

Use what you’ve learned to boost your traffic. Once you’ve observed what is working best in your article marketing campaign, you can start duplicating what you learned in your future articles.

Remember, article marketing isn’t supposed to be easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. If you want to see fantastic results, you have to put your best efforts into what you write and how you distribute.

Have you been discouraged in your article marketing efforts? What have you done to overcome those obstacles? Let us know!

How to Conduct Article Marketing Research for Your Business

In article marketing, the writing can be hard but it’s the research that can really drag you down. Coming up with unique article topics that people actually want to read isn’t easy for many of us.

So how can you find some winning ideas? Here are six sure-fire ways that will get your creative juices flowing and set you on your way to creating plenty of amazing articles for your article marketing campaign.

Check out what your competitors are doing

Directories are full of articles that cover a wide array of topics, and chances are that there are plenty that cover your own niche topics as well. You can look to see what others are writing about to help boost your own creative process.

Let’s say you are a beautician looking to broaden her client base. You can find articles about homemade beauty treatments, the latest hair treatments and trends, and any make up tips and techniques. Reading through another person’s article topics can help shake loose some ideas in your head.

Remember: there is a big difference between snooping and stealing, so don’t let yourself be tempted to plagiarize another author’s work. Instead, compile a list of ideas that you get by scrolling through article headlines and create your own unique pieces based on those list items.

Visit Q&A Sites

There are sites, like Yahoo Answers, that allow users to post open questions for others to answer. You can type your keywords into the search bar and a list of questions that include your keywords will be brought up.

For example, if you type in the keyword “Make-up,” you’ll see questions like: What are some make-up tips for someone with a round face? What brushes are used for what make-up? What make-up looks good for dark eyes?

There is a wealth of potential articles available when you get to see what kinds of information people are seeking.

Look in Forums

There are forums on the web that cover almost any topic you can think of, so if you just do a simple search for one, like “beauty forum,” you’ll find plenty of ongoing discussions. Forums are a great place for people to go in search of answers.

Flip Through Industry Magazines

You can do this online as well. There are plenty of magazines out there that cover topics of all types. You can see what topics they are covering in their current issues, find out what people are reading by seeing what is being “Liked” and “Tweeted” by readers.

Find an “Idiots Guide”

The Idiots Guides and “for Dummies” books are a wealth of information and ideas. You can even just check the table of contents in these books to gain some more ideas for article topics.

Watch the News

Whether watching it on TV or keeping up with it online, the news always has new topics for you to look into. You can find out about product recalls, new trends, etc. If it’s something that the media is focusing on at the moment, chances are people are going to be seeking more information about it online.

You can get inspiration anywhere; you just have to keep your eyes, and your mind, open to all the possibilities. You may find yourself in a writing slump or maybe you don’t have the time to spend brainstorming new topics. Doing some research can help you find plenty of future article topics. If you don’t have time to do your own research, or even to write up articles yourself, consider hiring an article marketing specialist who ghostwrites content for the web.

How do you prepare for article marketing research? Share with us what works for you!

Article Marketing Tips Successful Affiliates Use

When you start looking for advice on improving your article marketing techniques, who better to turn to than someone who has been down the same road you’ve traveled and come out on the other end a success? The thing to remember about advice is that it only helps when you make use of it! So, here are a few of the top tips from some superstar affiliates who have made a success out of article marketing.

1. Do your research. No matter how fantastic your articles are or which directories you submit them to, if the affiliate program you choose to work with isn’t a good one, then all of your efforts will be worthless. Always do a little research into the many affiliate programs out there. Read reviews, find out what fellow affiliates are saying in forums and writing about in their blogs.

2. Write original content. It’s important for you to create unique articles. Resubmitting the same article over and over again will lower your search engine rankings. If that happens, your articles won’t be getting the attention and page views you hope for. Take the time to write new content at least once each week.

3. Send articles out to newsletter subscribers. When you submit your articles to directories and post them on your social media sites, it’s also a good idea to put your article into a newsletter and send it out to your subscribers. If your article is a little lengthy, trim it up a bit so that readers won’t delete it before getting to the good parts.

4. Think quality along with quantity. Make sure your content is valuable. While it’s important to put out a good number of articles, they won’t be as effective if they are poorly written. Take the time to write content your readers will enjoy and benefit from.

There is a lot to be learned from affiliates who have made a successful business in article marketing. They learned how to make the most of article marketing without shelling out a lot of money. Take advantage of any free tools that are out there, like article directories. There are some directories that will charge you for submitting articles, and their rates aren’t cheap. There are plenty of reputable directories out there that are absolutely free, so don’t feel pressured to sign up for a service you need to pay for.

It’s important to build a solid reputation in the marketing community. You can have hundreds of articles out there on the Web, a fantastic website and popular blogs, but those things won’t matter much if you link yourself with a scamming affiliate program. Always investigate the companies you are considering linking up with and make sure there are no claims that they are scams.

If you’re going to write about a product and endorse it in your articles, you want to choose something that is familiar to you. If you have no experience in software programs, you might find it difficult to write persuasive articles about it. Use products that you are comfortable with writing about. It’s important to your readers that you present yourself as an expert in your niche. This will boost your reputation as an article marketer, which is the key to becoming a success in this industry.

What article marketing tips have you found that work for you? Here is your chance to have the floor. Please leave a comment.