Excellent Ways to Craft Your Headlines Quickly

San Diego Reader

a digital version of a newspaper

Today I wanted to share what I learned from a course about strategies for content.  There’s a part of the training that mentions getting the audience’s attention through headlines.

True enough, headlines capture your audience’s attention. You cannot start writing your content or blog post without crafting the headline first.

But the most important thing to remember is the audience that will have to read your headline. It’s always the audience, of course. How can you write something that will not interest the audience, or is not appropriate to the audience?

“It’s not easy!” I hear you exclaiming again. I am listening, don’t you worry. Read on to learn.

Your content needs to have a headline that works. But as you say, it is not easy. Sometimes the mind has a mind of its own, says an old saying. It’s just not cooperating, and you have a deadline to meet, or you are too busy you need to get things done real quick.

You might want to follow Dave Feldman’s tips on how to write headlines. It is a relevant infographic that suggests ingenious ways to write headlines. It’s a masterpiece.

But wait, you are in a hurry. Instead of thinking very hard following those suggestions (which is 26 in all but you have to strain mentally to find words) to craft a headline, why not try the following tips below?

BORROW FROM ANOTHER SOURCE

Sonia Simone from Copyblogger does not find the word steal pretty, that is why I will use the word borrow. The essence of her script is, in effect, adopting something from another source.

So where do you borrow?

From magazines

This is one of Sonia’s smart ideas on how to craft your headline. You can browse physical magazines, or you can check online magazines. Whatever is available. I just checked an online local Cosmopolitan magazine. Here is one of those headlines today:

20 Local and Eco-friendly Beauty Brands You Need to Check Out

You can borrow this headline and create another:

20 Local and Top Notch Content Writers You Need to Check Out

You will not use the exact idea. You will have to borrow the headline and use it for whatever you have in mind. As you write your content, you can modify the initial headline to get the exact concept you like.

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Writing Content and the UB Challenge

(This is an updated post.)

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Allow me today, my audience, to talk about the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

And we are talking about writing content every day. It is not easy.

I have been repeating that I write for an audience. You must have noticed. I hope you are one of them. At least, I can say that I captured an audience. When you engage, you become a second customer (with your likes and tweets). I am happy with that even without you enlisting my service (but will be happier if you do 😀 ).

I am trying not to break the rule of posting as often.  I was not successful in past challenges. I was just an aspiring content writer before. I still lack focus.

When I started this blog, the objective is to engage you through regular posts. Eventually, the frequency will be less, and they will also be longer (talk about this later) but I would be more than happy to make new connections every time.

I want to rise to the challenge of writing content every day.  You make the difference now.  I have finally understood what an audience is.  Thanks to the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and thanks to you.

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5 Free and Handy Online Tools to Brainstorm Ideas

There will always be ideas to brainstorm and add to our list of things we learned. BUT.

There are moments that nothing comes up despite racking your brains for ideas.  It happens to every type of writer. It can happen to you even if you have the knack for writing.

It is a common denominator among writers to experience ‘zombie’ moments. Sometimes you are just tired you cannot think of anything, or cannot generate the needed ideas for your content.

These inescapable episodes happen while you are physically active. You even try different movements (even dancing!) to generate ideas. Nothing shows up.

Online tools come in handy during these moments.  There are a lot of these on the web.  Some are easy to navigate, and some are difficult to explore.  Some require a sign-up, and some can be used right away without signing in. But why torture the self?

Let’s visit these 5 online tools that will help you brainstorm ideas: Continue reading

How 6 Simple Skills Help with Content Writing

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(Updated post)

Simple skills are what encourage us to be better. With writing, for example, it begins with tracing words on a sheet of paper, transforming them into thoughts, and eventually telling stories in words.

Growing up, I was so fascinated with writing and drawing.  Circumstances in my life, as a child, made me forget about drawing later on.

During adolescence, I got more interested in writing. I focused and competed in several writing contests. With thoughts of success in the future, I worked myself hard into learning more about writing and competing to earn recognition and awards.

I wrote a lot during secondary school. I dreamt of being a journalist someday.  ‘Who is going to stop me?’ That was the concrete mindset I had those days.

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Blogging for Content Writers

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photo courtesy of pexels.com

In a discussion forum in one of those online courses, the moderator asked a question of whether a website is important in building a content writer’s professional brand.

Wait, does that mean I need to have a blog? 

You might have had asked that question, too. The big ‘why’ probably ensued after.

The answers to the question in that forum are broken down into groups that agree, don’t agree, both favor yes and no, and don’t have the answer.

But first, let us define what a blog and a website are.

Beginners Guide for WordPress explained clearly the difference. In summary,

  • a blog is a type of website where blog posts are presented in reverse chronological order
  • blogs started in the mid-’90s in the form of online diaries and journals
  • blogs are a type of website and updated regularly
  • typical websites are static in nature while blogs are dynamic
  • websites are not updated frequently while blogs are updated more frequently
  • blogs can be a website or a part of a website

So, is a website important in building a content writer’s professional brand?

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3 Challenges New Content Writers Face

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“I am ready!”

These are your words you tell yourself. You are already prepared to be a content writer, creating marketing copies for products and services.

It would be challenging to write and compete with other content writers. You try to convince yourself that you can do it. After all, the price of success is hard work – a part of a quote by Vince Lombardi.

Then with some stroke of luck, the internet handed you a research paper by Joanne Dolezal, an expert in marketing strategy and digital and content marketing. You got interested so, you finished reading.

*Deep sigh*

You suddenly realized that content writing is not simple. New content writers like you have challenges to face.

There are a vast multitude of content writers to compete

From 1990, when the World Wide Web emerged, businesses started to use websites to represent their products and services. Content writing and writers evolve from that time. A good majority became seasoned writers, and the craft was passed on to aspirants.

Decades past, it had grown to a bigger group, with the good and the not-so-good writers, doing the same stuff – creating copies for businesses, organizations, and brands.

Established publishers and content writers take over the sharings, too.  New content writers are deprived of opportunities.

What to do:
You compete with quality content. As Marcus Sheridan wrote, ‘Great content will always win.’ This should be your yardstick.

You work hard polishing your skills. Make quality the pride of your workmanship.

You do not stop thriving.  You have to fight the good fight.

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Content Marketing Decisions to Consider

battle-blurred-background-board-game-2283803Management of Organizations: Systematic Research dated March 1, 2018, mentioned content marketing, specifically in the chapter Content Marketing Decisions for Effective Internal Communication.

The chapter is about how content marketing decisions can be used by organizations to attain effective internal communication and to engage employees.

As a content writer or a content marketer, you will find that this valuable information on decision making from the research can help you in your line of work.

Decisions are dependent on your objectives as you try to write content for a particular individual or company or organization.

Are you trying to engage the audience?Do you want to add value to their lives?  Do you intend to convert your audience into buying customers?

Do you want your audience to be aware of the brand? Do you want a more competitive advantage? Or do you want to improve your relationship with an existing client?

All of the above affects decision-making.  The research derived four groups of decisions from these objectives.

The decision on what kind of content to create (content type)

According to studies in 2010 and 2014 mentioned in the paper, content needs to be (definitions are taken from Dictionary.com):

  • relevant, or connected with the matter in hand
  • informative, or conveying instruction, knowledge, or information
  • reliable, or dependable in achievement, accuracy, honesty, etc.
  • valuable, or of considerable use, service or importance
  • unique, existing as the only one or as the sole example
  • emotionally appealing, or appealing to any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc.
  • and intelligent, or characterized by quickness of understanding, sound thought, or good judgment

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Content Marketing Strategy by Joe Pulizzi

This Content Marketing and SEO Insights video raised some questions from a freelance content writer:

  • What do I put in my mission statement?
  • Will I be able to create information to my audience to see some profitable actions?
  • How do I build a loyal audience?
  • What is my sweet spot?
  • What different story will I tell?
  • Who is my targeted persona?
  • What content type do I use?
  • What do I do to be able to deliver consistently?
  • Will I be able to harvest the base?
  • If I am going to diversify in the future, will I write an e-book? Do I go to Instagram or Pinterest?

You will definitely enjoy this video.  Joe Pulizzi is an authority in the content marketing field.

8 Definitions for Content Newbies Can Easily Understand

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As a newbie in the world of content creation, you can get overwhelmed. You consult the internet, and it offers you so many definitions. You are left to wonder which among these definitions are correct.

Research is required, however, for newbies in the field of content creation.  If you are not sincere in your quest to know more about content, the door to another venture is always open, as they say.

Below is a list of easy definitions that might help you understand.

  • “Content is the presentation of information for a purpose to an audience through a channel in a form.”

This is an old blog post dated August 23, 2011, from The Word Factory.  It drew my attention when he broke the definition into components – information, purpose, audience, channel, & form.

Remembering these components will easily help you remember that in writing content, you give information to your chosen audience with a particular purpose in mind through a channel in any form you want.

Perhaps we can try dissecting the other definitions into words that seem like keywords.  (We are not going into that yet.)

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10 Free Courses to Learn Content Writing

Going back to a question on my Facebook page that says, how can I start to be one of those content writers?

It is a broad question.  “You can always start searching online. There is a lot of training on the internet,” goes my answer. She answered again asking how.

I gave her a link to a MOOC list.  I was guessing that she needs to know what content writing is.  This also gave me an idea – What about creating a list of free online courses for content writing?

For now, I will give this list of free online courses that will be updated from time to time.  Some of the courses include content writing in their syllabus because it goes hand-in-hand with content marketing, SEO, advertising, social media, etc.

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