Saturday

Blogger and Its New Static Pages Addition

It's exciting and so convenient; Blogger now has the ability for the blogger to create up to TEN static pages. Is this cool or what?

A static page is a page that is not a blog. You do not post to it as you would a blog. It is for content that usually remains constant.

This doesn't mean that you can't edit the content and re-publish the page, but it does not have the characteristics of a blog page. For example, social networks such as Linkedin, Jacketflap and Facebook allow you to connect your blog to their sites if you are a member. As you publish a new post, these sites pick it up and it's visible to your connections/friends.

You cannot connect your static pages like the blog page. The visitor either needs to be given the url to the page, or needs to be at your home page and click on the page link.

But, this is the same with most websites. You have a page specifically for your blog and your other pages are static.

And, it's really simple to add these static pages to your Blogger site:

1. Go to Posting
2. Click on Edit Pages (not edit posts!)
3. It will say to add new pages - just click on it
4. Add a title to your page and then add the content just as if you were creating a blog post.
5. Click Publish Page.
6. Go to Layout and click on Add Gadget (you want to add the "Pages" gadget).
7. You can go in and create a title for the Link in the Gadget - if I remember correctly, it labels it initially as Pages.
8. Move the gadget to where ever you want it: sidebar or below your header.

That's it...at least I'm pretty sure.

When I create another page, I'll pay more attention and edit the steps above accordingly.

Thank you Blogger for adding website functionality to your service!

Until next time,
Karen Cioffi, Platform Building with Content Marketing

Wednesday

Your Article's Been Hijacked - What Do You Do?

Ah, another dilemma. We writers spend a great deal of time writing. We put thought and care and research into articles, books, e-books...you get the idea.

Well, what do you do if you find a site is using an article you've written and published on your own sites and in the article directories, without providing your name as author?

Do you trust any information on that site? Do you wonder if all or most of the articles posted there are from other writers who are also victims of article swiping?

It's funny, I usually don't put a Google search on the titles of my articles, but this one, for whatever reason, I did. So, when Google picked it up and notified me, I checked it out. I searched the site to see if my name was pushed off to the side, stuck in a corner, written with invisible ink, or something, but NOPE - it was nowhere in sight.

Now, ordinarily, I, and I'm sure most of us writers, love when someone finds our article of value and wants to reprint it. I do this with other writers occasionally and it works out great. I provide useful content for my readers and the author of the article gets increased visibility--a win-win situation.

But, there is a rule to follow: Always give the rightful author due credit. If you don't it's plagiarism.

So, I'm asking the question: What should you do if your article is hijacked?

Karen Cioffi


Monday

Freelance Editors - Should You Hire One?

Will hiring a freelance editor ensure you pitch the perfect game? In writing terms, will it ensure you get published? Do you need an editor? Read on...

I recently read a great post at Kidlit.com. The article discussed the pros and cons of hiring a freelance editor, and even went into which writers would benefit from hiring one and which writers wouldn’t.

Here is the partial gist of the post plus my own input:

1. One of the most important aspects of hiring someone to critique or edit your work is to be open to criticism. If you do not have the personality to handle constructive criticism, suggestions, and/or edits, then you shouldn’t hire a freelance editor.

2. Before you contemplate hiring a freelance editor, get your manuscript in the best shape possible. What this means is you should know your craft or engaged in learning it. You should obviously belong to a critique group that focuses on the genre you write. This group should have new and experienced/published authors in it. This will help you to hone your craft through the critiques you receive and the critiques you give.

There are also a number of fantastic free online writers conferences such as the Muse Online Writers Conference. There are workshops offered covering just about every writing genre, plus freelance writing and marketing. AND, you will have the opportunity to pitch to publishers. Between the networking and learning, it’s not something you should lightly pass on.

Next up on the road to learning your craft is to join a couple of writing groups – again be sure they have new and experienced writers. 

3. Hiring a freelance editor to go over your manuscript will not guarantee it will get published, even the best in the field can’t promise this. What they will do is help you to get it in the best shape possible. But, whether or not you take their advice is another story. And, again, even if you do, there are no guarantees.

This holds true everywhere in the writing world. You may send your manuscript out, after it’s polished, to 20 publishers and agents and get rejections. The, you send it to one more and it happens this publisher has been looking for what your have. Time and Chance, my friends, time and chance. But, be sure, if you’re manuscript isn’t polished, you won’t ever get that far.

4. If you did your best to get your manuscript into what you think is publishable shape and you want an editor to give it a final once over, be sure to ask for recommendations from other writers.

Need help with your article or manuscript?

I can help. Visit: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com


Friday

A Powerful Marketing Secret

In the world of marketing and writing, probably the most important word is KNOWLEDGE. To be a successful marketer, you need to learn the ropes first. How to market, where to market, where to market for free or with as little cost as possible, who to market to, the list goes on and on. To be a successful writer, you also need to learn and hone your craft. And, how do we do this? Yup, with knowledge.

I read a lot of books to further my marketing and writing skills as well as belong to a number of groups and clubs. All this helps me increase my knowledge in these areas. And, I'm not the only one who does this.

Here's a great article from another woman who does the same thing:

My Most Powerful Marketing Secret
By Beth Ann Erickson

My most powerful marketing secret is knowledge.

No.  I’m not the most knowledgeable writer in the world.  I’m not even the best.  However, I’m a voracious reader.

I read everything I can get my hands on. My library houses books by Bly, Hatch, Lewis, Throckmorton, Ogilvy, Kennedy, Carlton – just to name a few.

I also subscribe to a ton of writing e-mags and magazines.  This helps me keep my e-mag, Writing Etc., up to snuff plus it provides me “inside information” on how to write articles that will be accepted by them.  When another publication runs one of my articles, they’re, in effect, paying me while giving me prime advertising space.  (I do believe I learned this incredible technique from Mr. Bob Bly....)

I work on projects and market my writing services during the day, then I curl up with a good book every evening.  We rarely turn on the television at night, instead opt to keep the radio tuned to our favorite station.

Every evening, I study effective direct mail packages.  I read about writing techniques and innovative ways market products and services.

As I read each book, I stick a post-it note on the page that has a technique I want to try.  The next day I crack open that same book and actually DO what it suggested.

I repeat what works for me and chuck the ideas that didn’t do what I thought it would do.

When I’m working for a client I read all the background materials they provide.  Then I research on my own, trying to know their industry inside out.  I also study their past promotion efforts and try to get my hands on their competition’s marketing materials.

I draw ideas from everything I’ve read to make my and my client’s marketing materials as powerful as possible.

Just like educators and healthcare workers continually attend classes to earn their “Continuing Education Units,” I invest time and money in purchasing the best books I can find to make my writing efforts more effective than my competition.  But I don’t just read and reread them, I study them and apply what I’ve learned in everything I write.
~~~
Beth Ann Erickson is Queen Bee of Filbert Publishing and the only writing ezine that'll make your writing sparkle, help you write killer queries, and get you on the road to publication fast. Better yet, you'll receive the e-booklet "Power Queries" when you sign up for your free subscription. Subscribe today at FilbertPublishing.com


Until next time,
Karen Cioffi, Online Platform Instructor


Thursday

What is Blogging Commenting Etiquette?

Within the last week, I've realize marketers who use blogging sites or blogs on websites to leave self-promotion comments are creating an air of suspicion. On another of my sites, as with probably most of you who have websites, I have to go over hundreds of spams to see if I have a valid comment; it's annoying and time consuming. And, some of those who actually comment on the post have links back to product sites, affiliate sites...is this crossing a line?

While I use Akismet, I still have to skim over all the spams to find the valid ones.

I know this is a marketing strategy, but when it is too much? Is it ever too much if the commenter is leaving a valid comment pertinent to the post?

So, now I'm wondering, what is the etiquette to blogging commenting. How do you know when a comment is slightly above spam? How many urls and promotional sentences in a signature are okay, and when is it crossing some overt self-promotion line?

I actually had this discussion a couple of months ago in a group I belong to and it was evident that most in the group thought that leaving more than one url was too much. There were also a few who thought leaving any url in the signature was inappropriate.

I don't see the harm in leaving a url with your name as long as your comment is pertinent to the post. We're all promoting something (at least most of us are).

I do think that in some cases it might be rude or inappropriate though, say if your product or site is in competition with the blogger's site you're commenting on.

I'll admit, I don't have the answers; I go with the one url with your name, although I don't usually include a url in my signature when commenting on someone else's blog. And, if my name is in the tag line above my comment, I don't leave a signature. Now, is that in itself rude? Would we have written letters years ago and not signed our names?

So, I pose the question: What is blogging commenting etiquette?

~~~~~
MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

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Monday

Writing Advice - One Thing Leads to Another

Last week, I did a search for the term, Chain Blog. I clicked on a few links and one I can upon was a blogger who posed the question for a chain blog – he wanted his visitors to leave comments with their advice or opinions. The question was (not word for word as my memory has been on vacation with my energy for quite some time now):

If you had one sentence, say 20 seconds, what would you advise new writers. His advice was to read many books in the genre you write and join a critique group.

This is great advice!

I’m sorry to say, in my haste, I didn’t note the url of the site, but I did leave a comment.

My one sentence, 20 second or under advice to new writers is:

Read books in your genre, learn your craft, join a critique group with new and experienced writers, make time to actually write, and persevere.

While there is a great deal of additional advice one could pass along, if just one of the elements I listed above is missing, you would be hindering your chances of reaching your goal of publication.

Okay, I can hear those whispers: But is a critique group that important? The answer is simple…YUP! Not only does a critique group help you with your manuscripts, you actually learn from the critiques you receive and give. So, aside from the many other advantages of a critique group, it is a useful tool to be used to help hone your craft.

I took this a step further and actually timed myself. Within 15 seconds I could not only state the above, I could add: and remember writing is a business like any other and needs to viewed as such.

Hee, hee…this is why everything takes me longer than it should…FOCUS!

This brings me back to the title of the post, One Thing Often leads to Another With Writing. I started out seeking information about Chain Blogs, and wound up writing a post about one sentence advice to writers.

Isn’t the writing world amazing?


Karen Cioffi, Writing for Children