Content Creation Made Easy - Part 2


Continued from yesterday's post.


MORE BLOG POSTING TIPS


21. Make sure your content is understandable. Be sure to consider the reader's character, context and respect for the reader's reading level, articulate an old idea in a new way. You may want to give very technical information to an audience that isn't really educated. Break it down and present it in terms they can understand.


22. Make your content actionable. This means you should include a call to action, a place to comment, an invitation to share, links to related content, and a direct summary of what to do. If they can take part in what you blog, they'll feel like they're part of it. It will make them want to return.


23. Don't let the quantity of words dictate the quality of your post. Some blogs have set parameters for optimal length and put a value on whether a post is short or long. Instead of focusing on word count, a better use of your time and energy would be to focus on whether posts are optimized for mobile, use effective formatting, communicate in a clear manner and that outlining the points you want to cover. If you're restricted to shorter posts by the parameters set up in advance for your blog, you can link to longer-form content you've developed around the topic. Remember quality content will always reign over quantity.


24. Determine what parts of yourself are you willing and able to share with your readers and share it. Readers like to get to know how about writers and often appreciate hearing a few personal details and insights from the person who has taken them on a journey through a post. Business blogs shouldn't be thought of as personal journal entries, however, you can tell your readers a little bit about how you operate.


25. Create a time and place where you can get into the zone for writing. While it's true that ideas for blog posts will come at all times, chances are good though that the actual writing of the post will happen in multiple drafts and revisions. Once you're in the zone, you can use those inspirations that came to you when you're driving in your car, sitting at your desk, or even in the middle of the night, and go with them.


26. Begin with the ending in mind. Think of an inverted pyramid when you write. Get to the point in the first paragraph. Let them know what they're going to take away from your post, and then expand upon it.


27. Write short sentences. Sentences need to be concise. Use only the words you need to get the essential information across. Long "wordy" sentences can make a post difficult to read, especially when you're scanning.


28. Write only one idea per paragraph. Web pages need to be concise and to-the-point. As with articles, most people usually scan web posts, so having short, meaty paragraphs is better than long rambling ones.


29. Write with action words. Tell your readers what to do. Avoid the passive voice. By using action words, it will help you keep the flow of your pages moving and make it more exciting for your reader. Give them the actions they need to take to do something, and then tell them what they'll achieve by doing it.


30. Include internal sub-headings. When you use sub-headings, you make the text easier to scan. Your readers will move to the section of the document that is most useful for them, and internal cues make it easier for them to do this.


31. Make your links part of the copy. Links will also help your readers scan pages. They stand out from normal text, and provide clues as to what the page is about.


32. Put your readers at ease. You are not writing for a medical journal or literary society. You're writing to your peers on the Internet. Write in a simple style. If you introduce new terms, define them for your readers. Make them feel comfortable reading your material. Everyone enjoys a good read. Make your readers feel comfortable when they read, and they'll feel your post is a good read.


33. Don't be afraid to share your trade secrets. The more you tell, the more the demand you will create for your goods and services. The more information you give, the more likely people will understand that you really are an authority on the subject that you are speaking about. You've probably heard the phrase, "Give and it shall be given unto you." Give readers the information they want, and they'll give you their business.


34. If you are a business, emphasize the benefits of your product or service. Benefits are what sell, not features. The benefits may be that people can get these items in one place without shopping around, that they can save time and money, etc. You should mention the benefits that you offer to your potential customer often. Everyone wants to know, "What will I get from this?" Emphasize that, because that's what's important to them, and they will want your product or service, because it's a means to get that benefit. You already know what your customers are curious about and what they need to make their lives easier. Use that knowledge to create your website content articles to give them new information and help them find what they are looking for.


35. Give your readers resource information. Let your readers know the addresses of websites where they can get more information on the subject that you are talking about. These can be your own websites or they can be other resources. Don't worry about losing customers. Good outgoing links from your website are also helpful to your site's page ranking and positioning in search engines.


36. Get a second opinion. Getting another opinion isn't only necessary when it's a medical issue. Get another opinion on your article. Show it to your friends and colleagues. Don't worry if they criticize you. It is better that your friends find the mistakes than your readers. A good editor is a writer's best friend.


37. Be straight forward. Talk to your reader. Write in a style that sounds just like you are chatting directly with them. This will engage their interest. Imagine you are sitting over a cup of coffee with them and write. That way you should avoid being too long-winded.


38. Write what you know. Knowledge is power. Choose subjects you are familiar with. If you do, writing will be less of a chore when you feel comfortable with the subject. If you know your topic well and you're passionate about what you're writing, that passion will show through. It will help the reader feel it when they read.


39. Enjoy yourself when you write. You've probably tried to read a book and failed. It's almost impossible to read books or articles we don't enjoy, so it figures that writing books and articles becomes more difficult when we don't enjoy what we are writing about. Since posts are written regularly, they can sometime feel like a chore. Even as children we learn to hate chores. Writing about things you enjoy will make it more enjoyable to write. This way, you'll be writing because you WANT to…not because you feel you HAVE to.


40. Be consistent with your postings. This is extremely important to creating quality content for any platform. Many times, writers start projects with enthusiasm and energy. If they don't see results right away, they stop. Readers want some expectation of when they will see a new post from you, so be consistent. You don't have to post every day, but if you decide to write once a week, don't skip. Let the reader know when they can expect the next post from you. You can add things like, "Come back next Thursday for more great tips on how to…" If they like what they read this time, they'll write it down to visit your site again on that day for more information.


41. Re-purpose your content. You can use a good video you made, and create a post from it, get the video transcribed, or create a slideshow version, audio/podcast version, etc. You can also take your good postings and do short videos. Not everyone likes to read, and some would rather read than watch videos. This way, you're getting your content out there in many formats, so you can reach a wider audience.


EBOOK TIPS


42. Don't let anyone tell you how hard it will be or that you can't write. This will discourage you and keep you from doing something you really want to do. If you're preparing to write your first ebook, this is the most important tip. Some of the most famous writers couldn't put a period or comma in the right place. It is more important to get those words down where they can become more real to you. This is the biggest step you can take. Editing can come later.


43. Break it down into manageable tasks. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The hardest part of writing is the title, first sentence and a potential ending line. Breaking it down makes each task seem smaller and more manageable. When you look at the whole project, it seems like an impossible task, but if you can get the project started, even if not perfectly, at least you have begun to get the words down on paper.


44. Figure out a good working title. Don't just pick one out of thin air and say, "This is the name of my book." Write down a few different titles and eventually you'll find that one that starts to grow on you. Titles help you to focus writing on your topic. They guide you in anticipating and answering your readers' questions. Don't pick a title, and then write about something that doesn't go with it. The title should let the reader know what the ebook is about.


45. Have a good thesis statement. Your thesis is a sentence or two stating exactly what problem you are addressing and how your book will solve that problem. Your thesis will keep you focused while you write. Each chapter comes from your thesis statement. Once you've got your thesis statement fine-tuned, you'll have your foundation. You build on that foundation and build your book chapter by chapter.


46. Be sure there is good reason to write your book, a niche for it to fill in society. The internet is a great place for niche content, because your potential audience is global, not local. This will increase your odds of connecting with people who want what you have to offer. Determine if your book will:


  • Present useful information and is that information currently relevant

  • Positively affect the lives of your readers

  • Be dynamic and will it keep the reader's attention

  • Answer questions that are meaningful and significant


47. Give up on writing the book that will be cherished by all. It won't happen. You will be writing to your targeted audience, and they should dictate many elements of your book. They will help determine thing such as: style, tone, diction, and even length. The more you narrow down your target audience, the greater chance your ebook will have of success. Determine the following:


  • Expected age range of your readers

  • Typical gender

  • Readers main interests

  • Socio-economic group they're from


48. Write down your publishing goals before you write. The more you know up front, the easier the actual writing will be. Do you want to sell it as a product on your website, or do you want to offer it as a free gift? The more you know about how you plan to publish it, the more you can write toward that goal.


49. Use fairly consistent chapter format. Perhaps you plan to use an introduction to your chapter topic, and then divide it into four subhead topics. You may plan to divide it into five parts, each one beginning with a relevant story or experience. Whatever format you choose, make sure to be consistent with it throughout your book.


50. Keep your writing engaging. Usually, anecdotes, testimonials, little stories, photos, graphs, advice, and tips will keep the reader reading the pages. You can also use sidebars which are useful for quick, accessible information. This will help break up the density of the page.


51. The most important tip when writing anything is: Make backups of all work. There is nothing worse than having your book almost finished only to lose it.


52. Have anyone you let read it initial and date a hard copy. In the internet world, plagiarism and copyright infringement is a big problem. If you have someone do this, it provides some confidence that if it happens you will have some record of the fact that you wrote it, and when you wrote it.


VIDEO TIPS


53. Remember that success is relative. For you, success might be something completely different from someone else. If you start judging your own level of success by somebody else's standards, you're setting yourself up for failure. Have your own success goals. Set your own heights, and then begin to climb.


54. Purchase good cameras. You may be surprised at the number of videos on sites or YouTube that aren't even watchable. Buying good cameras should go without saying, but some people don't realize how important it is. You'll probably experiment with a variety of devices, and always be looking at newer, better solutions for your efforts. Remember when you make your camera choice: People will complain about bad video, but people never complain about a video looking too good.


55. High resolution will bring higher quality. If you can record your videos in high definition, do it. High definition resolution is 1280×720 pixels is what YouTube will host for you. It is quite affordable. You can record in this size without spending much more than a few hundred dollars. The results will speak for themselves.


56. Purchase a good microphone. You don't need to go all-out when it comes to basic audio equipment. You won't need much more than a USB port to find a mic that is worth using. You want one that sounds clear without being "fuzzy," and one that doesn't make noises every time you move. You may come across times when getting good audio is impossible, but that should be the exception, not the rule.


57. Have good lighting. This is especially true if you are doing a product review or demonstration. People need to see what it is you are showing them. You probably won't need stage lighting, but using sufficient light to show the details within your scene is crucial to producing a good video.


58. Create a good scene. Don't just randomly hit the record button. Think before you begin. Know what you're going to say, and take note of your surroundings. It's hard to take someone seriously if behind them is a sink full of dirty dishes or junk scattered all over their dresser or desk. It's distracting to viewers. You may be making amateur content for the Web but it doesn't mean you have to look unprofessional.


59. Remember you only have about 15 second to get someone's attention. If you don't have much of a personality on camera, you might as well not record. You need to let the real you shine through. If you're not very energetic, maybe you should consider sticking to the written form of communication. Just because you can record video doesn't mean you should. If a viewer clicks on your video and it doesn't catch their attention in the first 15 second, they just click out.


60. Always practice. Watching other people isn't going to make you better. Practice your video content, and try recording some samples and upload them as private videos. You can send the links to your friends and family, and ask them for feedback. It will probably take several takes to get it right. Watch every one of your takes, and select the one you like most.


61. Don't make something more complex than it needs to be. If your effort is overwhelming you, it's not going to be fun. If it's not fun, then you're not likely to stick with it for long. This rule also applies to your viewer. If what you're presenting is overwhelming them, they won't watch it.


62. Stay on topic when you record. People tend to ramble. This is particularly true when they're nervous. It is also true if they're interested in a topic. If you ramble, try to keep it relevant to the reason you're recording your video. You may need to refer to notes, when you first start recording. If you do, that's fine. Just stay on topic. No one wants to hear about your Great Aunt Sally's hernia surgery in the middle of your "How to" presentation just because it pops into your head. If you're not doing the presentation on "How to overcome surgical procedures," it wouldn't be relative.


63. Keep an energetic voice. You don't want to put people to sleep with your videos. If you have no energy in your voice, you're not going to keep people listening for long. Keep your video lively and energetic, and people are more apt to stick through to the end. You probably remember a teacher or college professor that spoke in a monotone voice that caused you to nod off a few times. You couldn't click out, because you had to be there. Online, however, they can click out, and they will.


64. Try using humor. Comedy has worked for generations. Why? Because funny is good, especially when it's unexpected. Funny is, however, is relative, so don't push it. Lightheartedness in videos breaks down barriers. A controlled amount of silliness can be fun, and entertaining. I'm not saying you should be a comedian, just add a bit of humor to make it stand out and keep your viewer attentive.


65. Give people something to look forward to. If you have a regular schedule for something to happen, like a live giveaway on Saturday, people will be in the live chat waiting anxiously for that giveaway. It's something they can look forward to each week. Giveaways might not be your thing, that's OK. Whatever you do, however, you need to have a routine people can put on their calendar and make a habit out of.


66. Give your viewers a reason to send your video links to their friends. There are a lot of people who don't use YouTube's search tool, but they do rely on the opinions of others. If someone comes across your video and finds it interesting, helpful, or funny, your chances of having them send it to someone they know increases. This is also true if you are creating useful content. These things help others want to "Favorite" your videos, embed them in their blogs or social profiles, or share your creations with their friends via instant messages or email. You can even say, "If you like this video and know someone who will enjoy it, be sure to send them the link." It will make them think, "Oh, I bet Bob would like this," and they'll pass it on.


67. Don't let them go without knowing where you are. Don't rely on descriptions and tags for everything. Everything you want to convey must be within the video itself. Tell the viewer know who you are. Chances are, if they're watching the video, they would rather watch than read. If you don't tell them, they may never know.


68. Ask your audience feedback. You're already presenting a call-to-action in every video. Ask your viewers for feedback. It may not always be positive, so be prepared for both positive and negative remarks. Take pride in the positive ones, and learn from the negative ones. Use these comments to create your future videos with even more quality content.


69. Treat each one of your videos as though it were the only video of yours they will ever watch. Each video should stand alone. Often, people want to do a series of videos. That's great, however, someone may only catch your video on number three. It should be complete, from beginning to end. Those who watch numbers one and two will know what three is about, but this new viewer won't. Give a brief review of one and two before you go on to three. This way, that video will be complete, and they'll know they want to watch one and two so they can understand the whole process and be eager for number 4. You'll know every viewer will have heard things like your signature sign-on/off, but use them each time to make each video complete within itself.


70. Use annotations and tags. You can use the annotation feature to place call outs or hyperlinks to any other page on YouTube. They'll display over your videos on YouTube and in all embeds. That's all the more reason to use the "note" annotation, which allows for the insertion of YouTube URLs. Tags will help people be more likely to find your videos through searches. Tags are nothing more than keywords, linking people to videos which also contain the same tags. Not only will this help you attain more views from YouTube searches, it'll also help classify your own videos on YouTube.


CONCLUSION


We are living in the age of technology. If you don't have a website for your business, you need to get one. You'll want that site to have quality content for your articles, blogs, etc. Quality content includes other things as well. You'll probably need to write a brief introduction of your business and tell what it has to offer. You may want a biography section that tells about yourself. You may want a company mission statement. Each of these sections of your website should be written with care, and give your audience quality information about you or your business.


If you choose to include these portions on your site, be sure to use objective language to build credibility, rather than exaggerated claims or overly promotional words like "great", "tremendous" etc. Online readers are skeptical. Credibility is a major factor in retaining reader interest on the Web. One way to help build credibility is to use hyperlinks to the sources of your information or to related information.


Remember when you write that in an average workday, people suffer from information overload. They already have a lot of emails in their inbox to deal with, and several documents to read. They don't want to spend time and effort reading content that they may not find useful. They want to read content that is a benefit to them.


Choosing the right keywords and phrases for your website is an important part of the process of search engine optimization. It helps make your site more visible to search engines and searchers alike. Try to have one to three related keyword phrases that are site-specific. To use keywords effectively:


  • Be creative, but be choosy.

  • Try not to target keyword phrases that are too competitive.

  • If there are unusual words associated with your content that you think people might search for, or misspellings, include them sparingly.


Keywords written within your material will help increase traffic. Increasing your website traffic may be time-consuming, but search engine optimization today is primarily focused around providing a great experience for the visitors to your website. That's why quality content is SO important.


Always think before you publish or post things on your site. As obvious as this may seem, it is not always followed. A lot of people trust the opinions and information they read online. Don't pretend to be expert on subjects or give out bad advice. Some people will take the information as gospel. Junk information on your site can never be considered quality content. It seems like practically everyone has a website nowadays. To stand out in the crowd and rise above other sites, you want to use helpful suggestions regarding content, facts-not fiction, and quality writing.


You should never consider your website "complete." If you want it to survive in the online world, you need to treat your site like a "living" thing that will change over time. It's something that will grow as you grow in knowledge and experience. It will grow as your business grows. In its infancy, you will find many things you want to change. Over time, you will find what works on your site and what doesn't. You will grow your site into a mature site with quality content and a large audience that proves it.


This guide wasn't intended to turn you into a literary genius. You may not win a literary prize, but if you follow the steps that in this book, you will be able to produce quality content for your website that could become the key to success in your Internet endeavors. In other words, your content will be king!