Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Is a Feature Article and What Sets It Apart From Other Writing?

Guest Post by Janice Gillgren

So many people lead such fascinating lives, and there are so many fascinating places on our earth. The feature writer seeks to show that fascination in such a way that readers will want to know about it too.

What is a 'feature article'?

The definitions are varied, and the differences can be confusing. A 'feature', like the word 'item', can mean a whole thing, or part of that whole. My Oxford dictionary lists several meanings of 'feature', including (in brief):

Characteristic, face, special attraction, and (written) article.

My own definition of 'feature article' comes from a merge of the last two meanings: 'A written non-fiction article/story that is intended as a focal point of a magazine publication so that it will attract readers.'

What sets a 'feature article' apart from other writing?

· It usually tells about a person, group or topic in some depth; though it may focus on a place instead, such as in a travel article.

· There is usually more than one feature article per magazine edition.

· It is usually written in a more relaxed conversational tone than a typical news item or essay, with quotes, dialogue and personal anecdotes. It is more of a 'story' than just a report.

· The writer's personal style can show through more clearly than with many other non-fiction items, and the writer's opinions and experiences can be voiced.

· Although feature articles are regularly included in magazines, they are not the same as regular columns and commentaries, which are usually on one specific topic. Feature articles usually deal with a person, place and/or topic relevant to the magazine's focus.

· They could be authored by the same writer each edition, such as the editor. They usually provide good opportunity for freelance writers as well though, and enable the editor to see the writer's skill. This may result in a regular job with that publication.

· Feature articles don't have a concise style such as that of a newspaper article. The length of the article is often longer than other items in the publication, and depends on the individual editor's requirements.

· They take prominent place in the magazine, though not necessarily on the first pages, and their titles are usually noted on the front cover.

What are the advantages of writing feature articles?

· They enable you to gain experience in writing for publication without the huge outlay of time and effort that is involved in writing a book, and they are much easier to get published - especially for the beginner writer. If your aim is to write a book, this experience will prove invaluable.

· You will learn how to really craft a piece of writing as you continue writing them.

· Copies of published feature articles become part of your CV, which you can then show to other editors for whom you would like to write.

· A by-line (your name attributed to the article), and possibly a short bio and picture as well, enable readers to identify you, and recognise you in further editions or publications. If they like your style of writing, they are more likely to seek your articles (and books) to read in future.

· They are seldom as pressured as news articles, and allow you to develop and reveal your personal writing style.

· If you enjoy writing about people (as I do), the greater depth of a feature article will enable you to have more involvement with your subjects.

Many book authors actually continue to write feature articles even while working on their books. This could be for financial reasons (writing a book can mean a long wait for payment), for a break from their book subject, or to increase their exposure as a writer on their subject so as to show readers they will have something worthwhile to offer when the book is published.

There are many reasons to write feature articles, and many benefits to doing so.

About the Author:

Do you need help to write better? Do you want some inspiration to put your thoughts into words? Could you do with some encouragement to develop your writing skills?

Click here to visit http://www.wordsandscenes.co.nz by Janice Gillgren

The blog on this site offers inspiration, encouragement and useful tips to writers at all levels.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7871668

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MORE ON FREELANCE WRITING

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PPSS To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

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Prescription for Your Content Marketing Needs
Content Writing Training for Small Businesses, Solopreneurs, and the Freelance Writer

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Warning - Email Marketing and Free Email Services

If you’re an email marketer, and you should be, pay attention to what’s going on with the free email services and your subscriber lists.

The first to play havoc on their email customers is Yahoo.

Yahoo recently made a change to its DMARC ((Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) Policy, according to iContact.

What does this mean to you?

Well, maybe nothing, but if you send your subscriber emails through email services, such as iContact, Yahoo is bouncing the majority of them. They’ve bounced about 80% of my last four subscriber emails.

YIKES!

This in itself is a problem, but add to this that there was NO notification, unless you were looking for it, DOUBLE YIKES!

So, email marketers who found out after the fact, like me, had to resend their emails, which means about 20% of my subscribers will get duplicate email content for four messages.

My sincere apologies to you, but 80% of those subscribing to The Writing World didn’t receive the emails. So, please bear with me.

iContact notes that Yahoo’s purpose is to prevent suspicious or phishing attacks. So, if your ‘From Address’ is tied to yahoo.com and it’s not sent from one of their IPs, your email will be bounced.

Just the Beginning

As with everything online, there are usually no solitary acts. Yahoo may be the first to implement this anti-spam bounce policy, but be assured that the others will follow.

The Solution

If you are using free email services like Yahoo and Gmail, change your “From Address” on your subscriber email lists to a paid service, use a domain that you control, one that’s connected to your website.

If you’re not sure how to do this, ask your email marketing service provider for help.

Hope this is helpful,
Karen

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Who is Who in the Social Media Platforms - Twitter Has a New Member Profile Feature

Twitter is still moving forward with its cloning strategy and now has a “new and improved web profile” in the works for you. While it's still 'cloning,' this strategy in my opinion is a good idea. I think we all appreciate the ability to do more with our social media headers.

Like Facebook and GooglePlus, the new Twitter profile offers a bigger profile header area that you can customize.

The Twitter blog explains that along with a larger profile area, the company is implementing best tweets, pinned tweets, and filtered tweets.

Best tweets makes tweets that are more popular appear a bit larger than the others. This lets readers find them quickly.

Pinned tweets lets you to ‘pin’ one of your tweets to the top of your page. You might choose a tweet that reflects exactly what you and your product or service is all about. This allows for easier branding.

Filtered tweets is a feature that lets you “choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles.” The options are basic tweets (text), tweets with video or images, and tweets with replies.

Like the LinkedIn publishing option, not everyone is getting the new Twitter profile feature at once. It will be trickling down to all over time.

Want to see an example?

Check out:
@kerrywashington

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P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five Tips for Writing A Memoir

Guest Post by Joan Heartwell

Be Fearless

Fear is probably the number one obstacle that keeps popping up in front of would-be memoirists. What if so and so gets upset because I’ve written about her? What if I’ve misremembered that conversation about such and such? What if I say something happened in 1980 and it turns out it really happened in ‘81? Will someone try to sue me?

You can imagine the effect this kind of thinking can have on one’s temporal lobe. Just go ahead and start writing and you can worry later about whether or not you’ve offended your best friend from grammar school and what can be done about it. (Change your name? Change her name? Call ahead and warn her?) Any kind of circular thinking, whether it’s about people and events you want to write about or just your own personal confidence issues) is going to countermand the kind of mental environment you need to create in order to do your best work.

Don’t Worry About Connecting the Dots

Everybody has a different method for generating the actual structure of their memoir. For me, what worked was making a list of all of the events that I wanted to include in my book. Once I had the list, I made some notes to go with each event. Then I turned each set of notes into a paragraph and then a chapter. Even though my tale happens to unfold in chronological order, identifying what episodes I wanted to include in advance allowed me to work outside of that order. I could work on whatever chapter I wanted whenever I wanted and then organize all the chapters at the end. I had to add a few transitions to get from A to B to C, but other than that I had what I needed.

There are other great methods out there too, so read lots of memoirs and see how other writers do it and figure out which will work best for you. A friend of mine wrote a beautiful memoir by describing a singular event in her life but flashing back randomly to other events as the main one unfolded. This allowed her a lot of creative freedom, and it also allowed her to gloss over areas of her life that she didn’t feel would be interesting to readers.

Trust Your Instinct (When Your Memory Fails You)

No one would ever suggest you take the James Frey route and jive up your memoir with untruths. But if you can’t remember word for word that conversation you had thirty years ago with the boss who really let you have it during your employee evaluation, don’t be afraid to give us the gist of the conversation anyway. We want to hear him shouting, even if you are off a word or two. Never tell the reader, “I don’t really remember the whole conversation but it was something about….” unless you have a really good reason to do so.

Trust that Other People Will Identify

My story of the first several decades of my life was so bizarre that, with the exception of a few really close friends, I never told anyone about it ... until I ultimately got around to writing it. My family was ├╝ber dysfunctional and I felt that very few people would be able to relate. But in fact, I have since learned, dysfunction is dysfunction, and it can come in many shapes and forms, and now I am finding that anyone who has encountered it (and almost everyone has) can relate to my circumstances.

Brace for Impact

More than likely your memoir is about something very important to you, an event close to your heart, a relationship that no longer exists, or an entire life riddled with challenges. So it might be hard to remain objective when you get notes back from agents saying, “It’s too small a story for us,” or, simply, “not my cup of tea.” How can someone dismiss your life so flippantly? you might well ask.  If you are new to the book world, it’s important that you know this: According to the most recent stats I could find, about 400,000 books are traditionally published each year. Almost 300,000 are self published. That’s a lot of books. I could not determine what percentage of these books are memoirs, but in my own personal correspondences with agents and editors, I have learned that the percentage is increasing by leaps and bounds, because so many people want to tell their own stories before they try their hand at other genres. Everyone who works in the book world is thus inundated; they don’t mean to come off as rude, but they need to respond to your pitch as quickly as possible and get to the next one. Hang in there. If you’ve got a great story and it’s well written and you’ve had a few objective readers give you feedback, don’t shelf you work. Rather, change the pitch and see if a more sales savvy description will catch someone’s eye.

Check out Joan Heartwell’s new book:


Title: Hamster Island
Genre: Memoir
Author: Joan Heartwell
Website: www.hamster-island.com
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I78I9YG

About the Book:

Hamster Island is Heartwell's story of growing up ordinary in family that embodied dysfunction. Her childlike shame for her special needs siblings is balanced by a fierce love that, occasionally, enabled her to shed her diffidence and perform extraordinary feats of pluck and valor. Funny and heartbreaking simultaneously, Hamster Island is a coming-of-age in the tradition of such darkly comic memoirs as Mary Karr's The Liars Club and Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors; it delights while exploring issues of identity, transformation, and responsibility.

What people are saying:

“Bittersweet, engagingly written, and populated by a household of strong-willed, idiosyncratic characters, Hamster Island has, at its core, a conflict familiar to us all: How can we be good to others while also being good to ourselves? ...This tale of caregiving and self-actualization is unique, but it abounds with insights for us all.”
—Rachel Simon, New York Times bestselling author of Riding The Bus With My Sister
and The Story of Beautiful Girl 

About the Author:

Joan Heartwell makes her living as a pen for hire, writing, editing and ghostwriting for a variety of private and corporate clients. She has had four novels published under another name and has a fifth one due out later in 2014.

https://www.facebook.com/hamsterisland

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Powerful Email Messages That Actually Lead To Opens and Conversions (the Autoresponder Series Template)

Email marketing falls under the online marketing umbrella, more specifically, the content marketing umbrella. It’s how you establish and build a relationship with people who find your information and/or free gift of value and opt in to your mailing list. In other words, with your subscribers.

This marketing strategy is absolutely essential to your business, so it’s important to know how to ‘kick it off right’ and how to make it powerful.

The process of creating powerful email messages is in an autoresponder series. The series will help establish the connection you’re striving for, establish you as an expert, and help sell what you’re offering.

But, before you start your autoresponder series, you’ll need an email marketing foundation. This includes:

1. Signing up with an email service provider.
2. Learning about autoresponders.
3. Writing your Welcome Message (this will be the first message in your series).

After these steps are in place, Colin Martin, pro copywriter and marketer, suggests you craft a series of nine (minimum) additional powerful messages that should be automatically sent every three to five days for the first month or so. 

Nine Powerful Message Templates for Your Autoresponder Series


Message One - make him glad he signed up.

The first of your nine powerful email messages and should be sent 3 days after your Welcome Message. It’s where you’ll give the new subscriber usable information. You might:

•    Lead him to a helpful article on your website blog
•    Include a testimonial about your newsletter or emails
•    Offer him a valuable bonus gift for signing up to your mailing list – this might be an ebook, an instructional video or podcast, a free lesson to a workshop, or other

According to Martin, give your subscriber a reason to keep opening your emails.

Message Two – address one problem and give the solution.

Describe one primary problem or obstacle your subscriber faces. Freely give the solution to that problem. Ask if your solution is helpful.

Next, link to a product or service you offer that will further help your subscriber with that problem or another problem. Make the link an anchor text.

This message should go out 7 days after the subscriber signed up.

The following messages should be scheduled three to four days after each other.

Message Three – tell a story.

For this email you can tell the story of a client or customer you helped, or you can write a story of someone who is unsuccessful. Or, tell your own story of failure to success.

Explain how your service or product could make a difference. Provide an anchor text link to a sales page.

Message Four – the special offer.

Talk about what the subscriber needs. This might be based on your opt-in bribe. Make a special offer of one or more of your products or services. Let her know it’s only for subscribers and provide an anchor text link.

Message Five – do a little bragging.

Provide testimonials about your business. Or, ‘strut your stuff’ by linking to interviews of you, news items about you, recommendations, a webinar you presented, or other.

Message Six – do a survey.

This is a great way to get your subscribers involved and to find out what they really want and need. With this information you can create products/services to offer them.

Message Seven – back it up.

You’ve given a lot of free and valuable information, but you want your subscriber to know that the ‘industry’ backs up what you’re telling him.

In this message, provide quotes (with reference links) and/or links to relevant news items and/or information by well-known experts in the field that will validate your information.

Message Eight – connect on social networks
In all probability, after several months or so, you’re subscriber will stop opening your emails. This is the general outcome of email marketing. You want to make sure you stay connected and still have opportunity to sell to that subscriber, so it’s important to connect with him on your social networks before this happens.

Message Nine – give more solutions.

Here you want to again identify and address a problem your subscriber has. Be the answer to the question, the solution to the problem. This will reinforce your ‘go-to person’ status.

The welcome message and these successive nine email messages will cement your relationship with your subscriber. And at this point, these messages should have motivated him to buy what you’re offering.

After the initial 10 automatic messages, you should provide helpful information regularly and occasionally reintroduce the first nine messages randomly here and there.

These powerful email messages should lead to an increase in your email open rate and conversion rate

I hope you found this information interesting and helpful. Too advanced, not enough, just right? I’d really love to know, so please leave a comment – good or bad.

P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT!

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~~~~~
To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor
Prescription for Your Content Marketing Needs
Content Writing Training for Small Businesses, Solopreneurs, and the Freelance Writer

~~~~~

Friday, April 11, 2014

3 Reasons You Must Use Subheads …

Guest Post by Will Newman

Last week we had a great session in our Circle of Success Targeted Learning Program on “Leads.” We were discussing how to fill your lead with a feeling of urgency.

The session brought back my own memories of when I was first learning copywriting from a well-known copywriter I’ll call “my mentor.”

I dreaded seeing my copy when my mentor returned it. He almost invariably “bled on it.” (Those were the “good old days” before peer reviews and CUBA reviews.) But as painful as it seemed back then, I still learned a great deal from this process.

One lesson I learned right away was the importance of subheads.

Here’s my painful memory …

I’d written some copy for an alternative-health newsletter promotion. My mentor returned it to me without the usual flood of red ink.

“This,” he said, “is pretty good.” (High praise from him.) I beamed inside at his compliment. “But,” he continued grumpily, “where are the subheads?”
I explained that when I wrote it, I didn’t think about subheads. I didn’t know I should use them, and I didn’t know they were that important.

My mentor didn’t exactly blow up. But he let me know that subheads were among the most important elements in a sales letter. I nodded my head in agreement, but in reality I still didn’t understand why.

My mentor was an outstanding and very successful copywriter. But he wasn’t a great coach. He never really told me the “why” of anything. He just told me to “do it.” And that was that.

Until I took the AWAI programs, I didn’t understand exactly how important these “mini-headlines” are to promotions, be they for print or web. The AWAI programs – and years of doing my own copywriting – taught me why subheads are so important.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years …

3 reasons you must use subheads …

Your reader wants his reading to be easy. That’s why you avoid big words and long sentences (for the most part). But he also wants his reading to look easy. Subheads provide visual breaks in your copy, so it looks easy to read.

Take some copy – with and without subheads – and look at it from about six feet away. Without subheads, the visual impact is a large block of gray text. Not very inviting.

With subheads, the copy is broken up. It’s less gray looking … and decidedly more inviting.

How often to use subheads …

There’s no hard and fast rule for how often you should include a subhead. I figure three subheads for every two printed pages of copy is a good minimum. In the masterful copy we use as one of the examples in the COS “Leads” intensive, Kent Komae has a subhead about every three to four paragraphs.

But be careful not to use too many subheads. It’s perfectly okay to have a new subhead after a single intervening paragraph. But, doing that too often makes the copy busy looking. It can be as uninviting as long blocks of uninterrupted copy.

It’s a sufficient reason to use subheads to break up your copy visually. It’s sufficient … but certainly not the best reason to use subheads.

Subheads help pull your prospect to the ultimate action …

The Golden Thread of your big promise and core benefits is what convinces your prospect to buy or act. Well-written subheads help weave that Golden Thread throughout your copy. Taken on their own, they should provide almost sufficient pull for your prospect to act.

Here’s how I check to see if that’s happening. After I’ve finished my third or fourth draft, I copy all my subheads into a separate file. I print that file and read the subheads by themselves.

I don’t expect them to make sense like the written copy does. But I check to see if they collectively build urgency by supporting the Golden Thread.

Okay, there’s a lot here about why and how you should use subheads. But I haven’t given you very much about how to make them effective. We’ll talk about that next week, when we delve into a few simple strategies for writing strong subheads … and how to make them serve the Golden Thread.

Until next week, keep reading … and keep writing.

Will Newman

Article Source: headhttp://www.awaionline.com/2014/01/3-reasons-you-must-use-subs/

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.

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~~~~~
P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT!

PPSS To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor
Prescription for Your Content Marketing Needs
Content Writing Training for Small Businesses, Solopreneurs, and the Freelance Writer

~~~~~

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Borrowing from Superheroes

Guest Post by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

My husband—sweetie that he is—brought me a copy of The Smithsonian from his dermatologist's office. So thanks to Lance and Dr. Mantel, I am now a diehard fan of the magazine.

One of the articles was inspired by the new movie, Man of Steel. They take up how "superhero origin stories inspire us to cope with adversity."

The elements that make superheroes so popular can work with characters in any kind of fiction you may write (or read). Here are the ones that Smithsonian writer Robin Rosenberg found in several of the most popular superhero tales. Check your stories and novels to see how these themes (or "life-altering experiences") might be capitalized on to further pique the interest of your readers.

~Destiny—is your character "chosen" in some way?
~Trauma—has your character suffered trauma that increased his strengths or weaknesses?
~Sheer chance—Sheer chance is usually not as compelling as an action that has been caused or motivated, but sometimes a writer just has to resort to it. If an author makes that choice, he or she should put more emphasis on how the character deals with it.
~Choosing "altruism over the pursuit of wealth and power."

My own takeaway from Rosenberg’s piece is that literary criticism of the last decade has relegated backstory in novels as pretty undesirable, something that should be minimized at all costs. In my gut, I've always disagreed. Of course, we can't let backstory get in the way of momentum, but backstory is often part of your hero’s path to character building so they very well may deserve more attention.  I’m also reading Wally Lamb’s new novel and I’m pretty sure from the evidence that he agrees with me—at least in regard to literary fiction.

Backstory helps your readers relate and find meaning in loss, and it provides models for coping. If you are a write of nonfiction, you may find ways to use superheroes' themes anecdotally in your work.

In either case, understanding the psychological underpinnings of why we are so affected may benefit us all by "tapping into our capacity for empathy, one of the greatest [super?] powers of all."

There’s one more that Rosenberg missed. I think we're all searching for connection—human to human. If that happens to be human-to-alien or human-to-superhero, so be it. It's part of what we all need as readers.

Note: Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist, has written several books about the psychology of superheroes. Search for her on Google.

-----

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are www.TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .
Article Source: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2014/01/borrowing-from-superheroes.html

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PPSS To continue to take advantage of regularly updated writing and online marketing information and updates on free instructional webinars, get access to The Writing World.

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Karen Cioffi, Author-Writer Online Platform Marketing Instructor
Build an Online Platform That Works

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