Archive | blogging RSS feed for this section

What I Learned From Blogging Everyday for a Month

29 May

During the month of May, I decided to participate in the 2011 WordCount Blogathon, which required posting once a day to ‘A Journey of Words’. For a busy freelance web copy writer, this was no easy task. First of all, I had to dedicate at least 30 minutes daily to writing a blog post. Secondly, I had to come up with topics that would be of interest to my readers. Lastly, I had to stick with something for an entire month, something I have struggled with in the past. But here I am, at the end of this challenge and I did it!

During this time, here’s what I learned:

1. Blogging can be a great way to connect with readers and meet new contacts. Throughout the month, I had the honor of getting comments from a huge audience of fellow bloggers, writers and business owners around the world. A few even agreed to be guest bloggers, which was such a treat. I have to say that the rewards of blogging are many.

2. Blogging teaches discipline as a freelancer. One of the biggest fears I had going into the Blogathon was that I would not have the time to blog daily. Instead, I found that the time I spent blogging taught me a lot about being committed to something bigger than myself. I became more disciplined and stopped letting things distract me from my purpose as a writer.

3. Blogging daily is a great source of free advertising. Over the entire month, I used Google alerts to track my success as a blogger, specifically to see if my name came up often through web searches. You may have noticed that there were specific keywords highlighted in most posts (but not all). These keywords helped my website to rank higher and I got a lot of Google hits on my name and my blog feeds.

Spending time on your blog daily, or at least a few times a week, can be a great way to build a steady following of people, make new friends and build awareness about your business or passions. I fully intend to use my blog as a tool to reach more people and share information in a big way this year.

Now it’s your turn to share – How do you benefit from blogging?

Advertisements

3 Tips for Coming Up with Ideas as a Writer

28 May

One of the questions that I get a lot from new writers and clients is, “Where do I find ideas to write about?” For many writers, inspiration comes from different sources. These sources depend on what you are exposed to in an average week, who you talk with, and what kind of media streams into your world.

You may be surprised to learn that I personally do NOT watch television, I seldom have time to sit down and read novels, and I don’t go out looking for topics to write about. Instead, I let the world unravel itself to me. I write about things that I personally encounter through different forms of technology and personal networking combined with a passion for researching.

If you are struggling with coming up with topics for your blog, marketing materials or more…here are 3 simple tips to coming up with interesting things to write about.

Use writing prompts. A great way to come up with topics, especially if you are more of a creative writer, is to employ writing prompts. These are short little intros on topics to write about, sort of like what your English teacher used to assign to you to write essays. Some of my favorite writing prompt websites give you fun writing prompts to get you started. Visit Writer’s Digest Writing Prompts and The One-Minute Writer for some fun, daily writing prompts!

Subscribe to favorite blog and news feeds. If you are a sporadic reader (like me) you can often find writing inspiration through what you read. Blogs and online news sources can give you a lot to think about and inspire new writing. If you have a mobile device, you can even read on the go. Just be sure to credit any sources you find and ask bloggers before you quote from their blog posts.

Look for popular trends. As a web copy writer, you will want to ocassionally create articles and blog posts on popular topics to drive traffic stats up. To do this, focus in on the hot topics and keywords that are creating a buzz on the Internet. Try using Google Trends or Yahoo Buzz Index to locate these topics.

 

Now it’s your turn. How do you come up with ideas to write about? Please be sure to share them below!

Happy 2nd Birthday to A Journey of Words!

14 May

Wow, I cannot believe it that my little space on the net “A Journey of Words” is turning 2 years old this weekend! What started out as a casual place to post updates for my web copy writing clients, has now turned into one of my favorite places to share ideas, encouragement and tips for making your business more successful through content marketing.

Over the past 2 years, A Journey of Words has been a source of inspiration for me as a writer and as a small business woman. As I struggled to make my way in the world, a career changer in my mid-30’s, this little blog has been a place where I have turned to over and over again to gather my thoughts in a creative way.

The recent WordCount Blogathon has given me a good reason to take fifteen minutes out of every day to share something new here. As a result, A Journey of Words has gotten some nice comments from others and for that I am very grateful.

People have asked me the following questions about this blog, which I would like to address:

Q. What does A Journey of Words mean?    

A. This phrase describes the personal and professional journey that I have been on as a writer. What started out as a part time effort back in 2006, ended up giving life to a whole new career for me. I went from being a disillusioned HR professional, to an inspired web copy writer that year. I made my dream of being a work from home mom a reality. I improved the quality of my family life, my professional life, and my community by being gutsy enough to take this journey. All that time it was the WORD that led me to where I find myself now, and this will be the way it will be in the future.

Q. Why is your blog build on the Word Press.com platform instead of as part of your website?

I get this one a lot. The straightforward answer is that the program that I used to build my website did not include the option to create a blog, still doesn’t for some odd reason. Other than that, I love everything else about my website. So, that left me with one option – to create a blog elsewhere. I actually first started out with a Blogger blog, but after getting fed up with some of the themes I was using, I was turned on to Word Press. Since then, I have enjoyed switching out the look and feel of A Journey of Words several times, but will always use WP as my blog format. So, to make it work with my website I simply set up a re-direct page from my website to here.

Q. Why don’t you monetize your blog with pay to click ads and affiliate buttons?

While I respect and appreciate that many bloggers include paid advertising sources on their blogs, it was a personal decision not to do so with A Journey of Words. First off, this isn’t a place to advertise for anything really. This is a place to leave the world’s clutter behind and focus on the words in front of you. I wanted this blog to be uncomplicated, easy to navigate and understand for all viewers. Besides, I’m not trying to get rich from my endeavors – just love what I do and the small business owners I help!

So there you have it. Let me personally thank  all of you wonderful friends and family who take the time to read my blog throughout your busy lives. I welcome your comments, ideas and feedback always. Thanks for making the last 2 years so much fun!

Using Google Calendar to Set Up an Easy Blogging Editorial Calendar

3 May

This week, the 2011 Wordcount Blogathon launched with some great incentives to start blogging daily! At last count, there were over 200 unique blogs participating in this fun activity. When you think about it, that’s a lot of blog posts! 

To start things off right, I decided to be proactive with my own blog and set up an easy editorial calendar using Google calendar. I use this free web-based calendar for so many things in my Charleston copy writing business. From booking private clients and scheduling myself for events, to setting up reminders for project deadlines and important networking meetings – I use Google calendar ALL the time. The cool thing is that it’s not only just a nice web-based calendar, it has a lot of great features such as sending invitations to others for meetings, and text message reminders right to any mobile device! Without this technology wonder, I would be lost most days!

So, when it came down to the Blogathon, I wanted to get myself set up with fresh ideas and reminders for topic days on my Google calendar so I have it all planned out. That way I don’t forget a day or get burnt out on blogging.

Here’s how I set up an Editorial Calendar for the Blogathon:

  1. Signed into my Google accounts
  2. Clicked on “Calendar” which took me to another page
  3. Set up a New Calendar Named “Blogathon”
  4. Added a Daily Topic for each day of the month of May
  5. Set up reminders to send me a text and email each day

It really was that easy! Anyone can use this handy FREE tool to create an online editorial calendar to maintain a blog. Try to think of topics that are relevant to your business, what your clients or friends may be into, and in a specific order that makes the best sense. If you have a complex topic, try breaking it up into a series and then writing about it for a few days – expanding on the topic as you go.

Wishing all the participants of the 2011 Wordcount Blogathon the best of success! Looking forward to getting to know others, share some great information and make new friends.

OK now it’s YOUR turn – how are you keeping track of your blog posts??? Please leave comments below!

About the Author:

Tess C. Taylor, Web Copy Writer and Owner of Taylor Resources Writing, has been writing for the web since 2007. After transitioning from a 14 year career in Human Resources, Tess writes on many topics close to the hearts of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Her work has been featured on Yahoo Business, US News and Chamber of Commerce. For more information about Tess, please visit www.trwriting.com