Category Archives: Content Writing Tips

3 Grammar Checking Software Tools

3 Grammar Checking Software Tools

When people pay for your writing, they expect a certain standard. Yes, you can get away with significant creative license if you write a novel or other creative work. But, you will still lose fans after one too many mistakes with your and you’re. So, if you want to have a career in writing, I suggest you use these tools to help improve your grammar and systematize your editing.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a tool that can be added to Windows, to Microsoft Office, and to Google Chrome. Grammarly’s editing algorithm checks for more than simple mistakes. Many editors check for misspelling and basic grammar mistakes like fragments. It identifies places where you may be missing an article (I always take that with a grain of salt), where you confused common words like your, you’re, too, two, to, then, than, except, accept, and others. If your friends on social media often correct your typos, you definitely need Grammarly. It will help with your editing if you want a career in writing or a related field.

Microsoft Office

I have been more impressed with Microsoft Office’s grammar algorithm recently. They have some more AI type editing that shows up in your writing as a double blue underline. This can help with tricky grammar structure. But, the most important aspect of Microsoft Office is its autocorrect functions. When you are typing, you need to be able to type without significant time editing. THe fact that Microsoft Office would have automatically changed THe to The saves me time. Except I am leaving that typo in to make a point. 
 
When you write in Microsoft Office, the auto formatting and corrections often save sginifcant amounts of time, especially if you tend to hit two keys at the same time or have slow pinkies on the SHIFT key (Did you see what I did there?).

Hemingway App

The Hemingway App is essential for any writing geared towards the general public. You copy and paste your writing into the Hemingway App, and it will analyze your writing. It looks at the complexity of sentences and phrases, the use of adverbs, and the use of passive voice. It also gives you your grade level score in the Flesch-Kincaid Readability score.
 
If you want to have a career in writing, or editing, you will need to learn how to use these grammar checking software tools to make your writing stand out.

Can You Make A Career Out Of Non-Profit Writing?

Stick around the freelance writing community for long and you will meet people who need help with writing materials to run their non-profit organization. I always like to think of it that in the for-profit world, you have to pay your taxes, while in the non-profit world, you have to file your paperwork.

Because of the amount of paperwork non-profits are required to file, the opportunities for a writer are endless. Non-profits use paperwork for licensing, IRS approval, grant-writing, policy making, etc.

So, if you are going to build a business or a career writing for non-profits, what are some things you have to understand?

You Have to Talk About Money

This is the most important thing to consider about a non-profit writing career. Non-profits are often so focused on their vision and mission that budgets and emergency funds take a very low priority in day-to-day operations. Because they won’t think about their finances as much, you have to think about yours and be clear in setting boundaries.

Because of how easy it is to volunteer time at a non-profit, you could easily find yourself earning less than minimum wage, or nothing at all, while working full time.

Look at your budget needs, and don’t do a writing project that violates your budgetary boundaries. If you need to earn $10 an hour to make ends meet, don’t take a writing gig for less. You can still provide high quality writing at cheap, cheap prices like $10/hr. Then it is a win-win for you and the non-profit.

Occasionally, when a non-profit is in an area I want to learn more about or has impacted me in some way that I want to give back more, I will volunteer writing services fully. Volunteering is a choice, but realize that it hurts your ability to sell your writing services later, because you have developed a habit of not getting paid.

Understand The Non-Profit’s Mission

You love hunting, raising and butchering your own meat, and training sled dogs. It is difficult for you to write for the SPCA or the Humane Society. Even if it’s just legal paperwork, passion shows.

Since non-profits rarely pay the same amount as for-profit businesses, your passion needs to match with theirs or you will be miserable. There are plenty of charities that match the passions of you as an individual. Find them, join them.

Love Learning as Much as You Want a Career

Writing for a career is about learning as much as you can, and teaching others what you learn. If you are going to write for non-profits, this is especially true. Constantly learn and apply what you learn to the world around you. Then, use what you have learned and practiced in your writing. Whether you write marketing copy, grant applications, newsletters, tax documents or policies, this attitude will pave the way toward your success as a non-profit writer.

What have you learned about working as a non-profit writer? Leave me a comment below.

3 Types of Paid Online Writing Jobs Without the Hassle of Sales

Paid Writing Jobs Online

Are you looking to find that elusive paid online writing job that does not require you to do any selling to customers? That’s probably because you understand that doing sales sucks. Ask any sales person, and they will tell you that sales work is hard, thankless, and often terror inspiring. The only thing that is worse than doing sales is not doing sales, in other words being flat out broke with no hope of an income in the foreseeable future.

So, you are reading on a site geared for online freelance writers and a post specifically about how to do this without the hassle of sales. Why did I start with that paragraph? Because you can write all you want, if no one is buying it, you will be like a sales person who does not do sales: flat out broke.

There are ways to get people to buy your work without doing traditional sales: approaching and prospecting, presenting and bidding, and closing accounts. Here are 3 different types of paid online writing jobs without the full hassle of sales.

3 Paid Online Writing Job Resources

Gig Sites

I include what I call gig sites (Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, Thumbtack, etc.) first because they are the most similar to what you might call sales. You do not have to find customers to approach, but you do have to write proposals (a type of presentation) and close the customer over the other writers bidding on the gig.

Gig sites often require that you pay money in order to apply for the work. This means that you will quite possibly become even more broke trying to get your foot in the door. With that in mind, and the fact that it still requires essential elements of sales, you can carefully use a gig site to get your foot in the door of freelance writing online.

Content Mills

Some people may think these are the same as gig sites, but I recommend content mills for online writers more than gig sites. Content mills are websites that are specifically geared towards producing content for business’s web sites, marketing materials, and other written items.  Content mills include sites like IWriter, Blogmutt, Constant Content, and others.

These sites usually have some sort of competitive process, but it is not usually based on a proposal or bid process. You write on the site, you will eventually sell your writing. You also have opportunities to advance within the site and get access to better paying writing jobs.

Traditional Employment

For some people who want to work online doing writing, the desire for income without sales and personal freedom of a laptop lifestyle might work as a remote writer. In order to do this, you will need a resume of experience (see the sites above for ways to get that resume) and usually a related degree.

To find a job that allows for remote writing, you can search “remote writing jobs” or pay attention to companies you want to work for and see if they have remote options available. Businesses like Automaticc (the company that owns WordPress software), Meet Edgar (a social media tool) and many others work exclusively with remote teams.

If you want to have freedom to work from a laptop wherever the coffee is cheap and the wifi is free, these are some ideas. What ideas do you have for writing without sales? Give us your tips for paid online writing jobs without the hassle of sales (or with the hassle, if you must).

Here’s How to Get Freedom From Writing Without Selling Your Services

Do you want to get financial freedom from writing? Are you interested in the “laptop lifestyle”? Do you want to write as a form of income because your introverted heart wants to work from the comfort of your own home without worrying about convincing people to pay you to write?

Many people want to learn how to write from home without the hassle of the hustle. And although each of the following 3 tips require some hustle, an aspiring writer can earn good income using these three ideas.

Find a Silent Salesman

What’s a silent salesman you ask? Simply put, a silent salesman is a term for a display that is designed to sell a product to people. This is a display that is placed in a store, has information about the product it is selling and ways to answer the questions people may have. It can include pamphlets and brochures to help a buyer make a decision.

What is a silent salesperson for a writer? For starters, a website usually functions as a silent salesperson. I have had coaching clients who are blogging regularly because they love it, and end up using that website to get a job in an entirely new field or use it as a sales tool when looking for freelance writing gigs.

Another silent salesperson for writers is often the location you write. For myself, one of my best places to get new business is when I write from a coworking place. Rather than looking for customers, I wait until someone says they need help with a blog and ask if I can help. Not really selling in my book, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time to help someone out.

Use a Content Mill

A content mill is a site where businesses can go and look for writers to help them with projects. Each content mill is unique, and some things that you can treat as a content mill are actually freelance sites. For a writer who does not want to sell their services all the time, the key thing to look for in a content mill or freelance website is that they have regular work opportunities at an entry level position. One thing to watch out for is whether the content mill accepts writers from multiple countries, and which ones.

My first writing gig was for a Pakistani content mill, and I was netting $2 an hour writing for them. if you live in a place where you can survive on that, then go for it, otherwise you should stick to sites that only hire US writers or plan on sifting through a lot of cheap job offers.

Find a Remote Writing Job

Finally, the laptop lifestyle does not require that you work as a freelancer or start your own business. You can find jobs with many employers that will allow you to work from home, from the hotel, or wherever your heart desires. If you have experience in a technical field look at companies that are in your area of expertise and see if they have jobs available for telecommuting. Or, you can start working at their location and then move to the laptop lifestyle later.

While many people, myself included, love the hustle of starting our own digital business, you don’t have to take on all that stress and business building energy if you do not desire. There are many options to have a life of freedom from writing online.

Let me know if these tips helped you out, or if you have any quesitons about starting a business, writing for a living, or what my favorite color is…

 

 

It’s Only Day 5, It’s Not too Late for NaNoWriMo!

What is NaNoWriMo?

Short for National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo is an organization that encourages people to write through some really great and fun challenges throughout the year.

Their biggest challenge is of course the challenge to write a novel in the month of November. Since they are not associated with any publishing organization and are funded mostly by donations, NaNoWriMo participants are encouraged to do more than just write novels.

You can set a challenge to write 50,000 words of any type of genre, including a content-marketing challenge to write that many words in one month.

For myself, this year, I intend to attempt a journalistic styled expose of my legacy, titled White Man from a Slave? But, since I am a content marketer and I have neither time nor creative energy to do all my normal writing and an additional 50,000 words on a novel, I am including blogging and other job-type writing in my word count, just because.

So, it is only November 5. You can still get a really good start at writing that novel you always wanted to, getting a really meaty blog going in one month, or writing your autobiography, because everyone needs at least one.

What Do You Want to Write This Month?

So, I am writing a autobiographical expose, and thousands of words in blogs. What are you going to write this month?

Head on over to nanowrimo.org/  to get started in the community and experience a great month writing this month!

Also, leave your comment below on what you are going to be writing this month.

 

ps. I just happened to move last week and was not able to get started quite yet. What’s your excuse?

Grammar Rules You Still Have to Use in Modern English

English Grammar Rules

Everyone has seen one of the “If you can read this” memes about how we can read so many different things, or the phonetic tropes like, “hukt on fonics.” But, how you use language, grammar and vocabulary matters. Especially if you are selling something, even if it is just a book.

That said, there are few rules that are universally applicable in what grammar or style of language you should use in marketing content, blogging, or even writing a book. Because every piece of written material has an author and an audience. Even if the author is just journaling for their own enjoyment or record keeping, this is still an audience.

Because there are educational forms of content, entertaining, inspiring, and more that combine with different dialects and cultural groups, take anything I am about to say with a grain of salt.

3 English Grammar Rules

  1. Don’t Use Taboo Words in the Wrong Place – While many sales people and coaches drop an F-bomb or describe the stinkin’ stench o’ sh…, understand that this might turn certain audiences off. And also understand that what is one person’s swear word is another person’s term of endearment. In most languages, a taboo word will either be around politics, bodily functions, religion, or a person’s identity. Use these words with caution.
  2. Understand The Determiner – If you learned grammar in classical schooling, they call this the article. But, we often don’t use article when we can use null determiner (See what I did there?). While your grammar check may tell you to always add the or an, sometimes dropping them and using what linguists call the null determiner makes a stronger point or makes the sentence stand out. (You might also think I just wrote a poor sentence, but whatever.) Other determiners include numbers, possessives, and words that come before a noun and determine its function and relationships.
  3. No, Abbreviations Are Not Great Marketing – Most hip marketing lingo does not age well. Current abbreviations will age just as well as a picture of a Motorola phone with a text following the abbreviations of the early 2000’s did in my old youth group room. Lol has been around a long time, and it might have crossed from the world of punctuated writing into real communication. But, brb, ttyl, roflmfao, op, ty, gg, and many other abbreviations will not create marketing that lasts and engages people. It might be catchy.

These are just some thoughts on grammar and English use. From my tired brain to yours.

~N Paul Davis

List Building Challenge

Do you use WordPress? Whether for a business site, a personal blog, or a business blog, WordPress is a powerful system for building leads and managing a site. Do you use another CMS? If you do, the list building challenge I am talking about can be helpful, but much of the software in it is geared towards WordPress.

Do you want to grow your mailing list? Many people do not understand the power of a mailing lit for driving leads and traffic. It is huge to be able to build relationships with your target market. I joined a membership group that I had been following for 3 years two months ago because of their great email marketing.

If you answer yes to either of those questions, I want to invite you to a list building challenge. Starting June 1, I am participating in a live challenge called the 30 Day List – Building Challenge and I wanted to extend you an invitation to join me in this challenge.

Some things I love about the list-building challenge include the software tutorials (ever wonder how to do Google Analytics on your site?), the actual software (Popup Ally is a free popup and embedded lead capture plugin for WordPress that you will be introduced to), and the fellowship in the free Facebook group (prizes will be included for taking part, including a free one year license to PopupAlly Pro).

Yes, these are affiliate links, but I have been a user of PopupAlly and a follower of Nathalie Lussier, the co-creator of Popup Ally for several years and use their software on this site and for several of my customers already. Any affiliate link I recommend is to a product that I am willing to buy for myself.

So, if you want a free list-building challenge where you learn how to launch or grow your email list, sign up for the 30 day list building challenge here.

And if you do sign up for your list-building challenge, join me in www.mybloggingcommunity.com, my private Facebook group for bloggers and let me know that you signed up!

Open For Guest Posters 

Guest blog for The Writers Cue
You! Guest write for Paul Davis Solutions!

Do you have a marketing or art story to share? Do you think your business experience would make a great story for The Art of Marketing?

If so,  we are interested in guest proposals for the following types of content:

  • Vlogs – embed your story, tips, or tutorial in a post.
  • Blogs – write a blog with custom CTAs and three links to your site.
  • Podcasts – podcast will need to be in an embeddable player.

The Writer’s Cue is looking for proposals for content rich guest posting.

If you want to write with us,  please contact Paul to find out if your content will fit in The Writer’s Cue’s content schedule.

How Do You Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader Through Content Marketing?

Other than blogging, I can’t think of any other ways to establish myself as an [industry]thought leader through content marketing. If you could give me some ideas on ways that I can really brand myself through my content that would be great. I think my biggest issue is not knowing where to begin. I know how to blog already but would like some other ideas that could really get my name out there to my particular market.

I’d love to help!

Thought Leader Through Content

They say content is king, but that is such a vague statement, what does it really mean? How are you, as a business owner, going to use content to establish yourself as someone others should take seriously?

To keep this as simple as possible, great business-focused content addresses a pain point in your customer’s lives.

Types of Content

thought leadership through content marketing

Still following the simple rule, there are three basic types of content you can produce online: visual, audio, and audio/visual. Visual content includes blogs, white papers, infographics, pictures, and brochures. Audio includes podcasts, live audio streaming, and radio spots repurposed online. Audio/visual includes live videos, advertisements, longer documentary segments, how to videos and other vlog formats.

Which one of these content types will establish you as an industry leader? Eventually, all of them. If you are just starting out, then there are two questions to ask about the type of content you should use: what are you comfortable with? and what does your audience use?

The comfort question is easiest, but understanding your audience can be more difficult. It can help if you ask your customers where they find business related questions. If you currently do not have a large client list, ask yourself three questions:

  • When does my customer research their business? Some people may do podcasts in the car during a commute, other people watch videos in the evenings or on weekends, others read blogs during their workday. Do you know what your target market does?
  • Where does my target customer access information? For example, a small healthcare provider may be researching issues on the fly all day via their phone. For this type of researcher, short and focused written content may be all they have time to read before they have to move on to the next patient. On the other hand, a contractor may be busy with tools all day and take specific times during the week to do research and online networking. For these, video might be a good format as they have to set aside time to interact with content anyways.
  • How can I get that information in front of the target customers? While you need to have your own channel for information (website, social pages, etc), you also need to get your brand on industry leader’s channels as well.

Places to Post Your Content

There is a tremendous amount of platforms available for getting your content out there. The following is a very partial list of places you can work your content magic:

  • On-Site Blogging – Yes, you need a website to post your own slides, videos, blogs, articles, and more on. This gives you control over your lead funnels and eases the creation of evergreen content. See my slideshare, Why Aren’t Ya Blogging?, for more information on creating a blog.
  • Guest Blogging – A guest blog is where you find someone in your industry and pitch them a story that you can write (or have a ghostwriter like myself write for you). Jill Stanton of Screw the Nine to Five has a great blog on guest-posting and if you want a place to practice your pitches, head on over to MyBloggingCommunity.com, a free Facebook group and throw us a pitch. We’ll give you some pointers on how to improve it.
  • Answering Questions on Quora  – I have not used this one, yet. But, Torchlite (Yes, I did just link to a competitor) has a great blog on how to use Quora to establish thought leadership.
  • Guest Interviewing on Relevant Webinars – This follows much of the same principles behind guest blogging, but with a focus on audio content.
  • Podcasting – Rather than writing out your story or your how-to, you can tell it to your audience via a voice recorder and upload it to a variety of sites including ITunes, Spreaker, SoundCloud, or a platform of your choice.
  • Facebook Live – This one just started taking off, but it is currently all the rage in Facebook’s ever changing algorithm ( as of March 2017). If you want to get good engagement on Facebook and increase your organic reach, plan to spend some time in front of a video camera broadcasting live to Facebook. Informal totally goes here, so don’t worry too much about what it looks like as what you want to say to your target client.
  • YouTube Videos – You can create these as live shots, even go live, but YouTube is a great resource for creating a unique video that showcases who you are, and what your business is about.
  • Twitter Authority – Twitter favors fast-paced engagement with your audience. With integrated photo and video sharing, it is also a great place to engage with more artistic forms of communication.
  • LinkedIn Authority – For many B2B marketers, LinkedIn is a great tool for publishing your content. You can create the posts on LinkedIn’s platform and link out to your site or just share your posts with others.
  • Facebook Groups – Be very careful about how to share your content in Facebook Groups (My mentor Wendy Maynard has a great resource for finding groups that have share rules)

These are just some of the resources that a savvy business leader like yourself can use to establish industry leadership with your content.

Have you found any content marketing platforms that work better than others? Ones that don’t work?