Are Your Writing and Marketing Efforts Really Productive? (Two Productivity Strategies to Keep You Moving Forward)

Sometimes the moons and stars align and information that is relevant to your life bombards your week, directing you onto paths you should take.

Well, this happened to me.

Time management is one of my ongoing struggles, as with probably most of you reading this. So, what do you do? How do you create more hours in the day? How do you accomplish all the writing and marketing tasks you must, aside from keeping up with everything else in your life?

Ah, the $25,000 question.

Productivity Strategy Number One – Keep a List and Stick to It

I found a great site ( that offers some very useful content. Interestingly, the post I read on this site pertained to being productive. This was the fourth article I came across within a few days dealing with time management, prioritizing, and productivity.

Part of the content discussed a $25,000 lesson by public relations and efficiency expert Ivy Ledbetter Lee.

The story (true story, just not sure of the exact account) goes that Charles Schwab, steel magnate, wanted to increase his company’s efficiency, so he contacted Lee. Lee requested 15 minutes with each of Schwab’s managers. Schwab asked how much would it cost. Lee told him that after three months, if he saw productivity improvement he could send Lee whatever he thought the training was worth. Three months later, Schwab sent Lee a $25,000 check. This was back around 100 years ago.

So, the $25,000 lesson?

It’s reported that Lee said to write a list of six must-do items that each manager needed to accomplish the next day, in order of importance. Whatever wasn’t completed that day would go over onto the next day’s list of six must-do items.

According to, Lee instructed:

Write down the most important things you have to do tomorrow. Now, number them in the order of their true importance. The first thing tomorrow morning, start working on an item Number 1, and stay with it until completed. Then take item Number 2 the same way. Then Number 3, and so on. Don't worry if you don't complete everything on the schedule. At least you will have completed the most important projects before getting to the less important ones. (2)  

Pretty simple, right?

Simple and powerful. Having a list of what you need to do gives you focus and that focus helps clear your mind, which in turn boosts productivity, allowing you to get the job done.

One thing James Wedmore said that I thought is also a good idea is to have a “brain dump” folder or notebook. If something pops into your head that you don’t want to forget, put in in the ‘brain dump file.’ This too helps keep your mind clear of clutter.

I call my ‘brain dump file’ My To Do List. If anything pops into my head, I open the file and type it in, leaving my mind free of the worry of remembering it.

Productivity Strategy Number Two – Meditate

If you make time for meditation, you’ll have more time. I read this or something like it recently, but forgot where or by who (if you know the author, please let me know, so I can give attribution). A case in point of information overload.

But, how can you have more time if you take time out of your already hectic day to meditate?

According to Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, the average person has 70,000 thoughts per day. Since there are 1,440 minutes in a day and 86,400 seconds, this means you’re having thoughts almost every second of every day. Is it any wonder many of us have trouble focusing?

Meditation is another mind clearing tool that allows the brain to take a breather. It helps create a calmer you, thus leading to a more focused and productive you.

My acupuncturist, who was a neurologist in China and has been practicing Chinese medicine for over 35 years, says that the number one thing you can do for your health is to meditate.

Give it a Shot – Incorporate These Two Strategies Into Your Writing and Marketing Work Week

Every Sunday, make a list of the top six must-do items for Monday. Don’t just breeze through your list of to-dos, take the time to think whether a particular item is REALLY needed. Will it move your goals forward? Will it earn you money?

At the bottom of your to-do list for each day, add: TAKE 15-30 MINUTES TO MEDITATE.

Do this for 90 days, as Lee instructed, and see what happens. Then let us know – leave a comment!

Note: I also read that Lee sought Schwab out to propose he could increase his company’s productivity. Whether Lee sought out Schwab or Schwab sought out Lee, it worked.

P.S. If you like this post, please share it



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Email Marketing - Newsletter Pages on Your Website, Good or Bad?

Below is a question from a student in the Build Your Author-Writer Online Platform e-class:

Should I have a Newsletter Page on my website that will have current and past issues of the newsletter?


The problem with having a page for access to your newsletters is there will be NO reason for a person to subscribe to your list. Why sign-up if a visitor can simply click on the page and get any issue she wants.

It is however a good idea to keep a PRIVATE page for links to your newsletters for your subscribers - in case someone asks for an archived issue.

You can also include the link in your newsletter as a convenient tool for your subscribers – being able to get archived information at any time.

If you use WordPress, you can use the PC Hide Pages plugin to hide pages. This means the page is accessible through a direct link, but the page won't be visible in the Navigation.

The newsletter is the place to better connect with your readers, to offer subscriber only offers, and so on. It should be special - it should be reserved for subscribers only.

Note: If you don't have a private website page for your newsletter archives, you should be saving them somewhere.


More on Online Marketing

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Blog Post Template – The 8 Standard Components (Part 1)
The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point



Book Marketing – Yesterday and Today (strategies to use in 2014)

“The Times They Are A-Changin.’”

Bob Dylan’s title to his 1964 album is still right on the mark in regard to today’s book marketing arena. In fact, we might say the times are still a-changin,’ since we’ve seen lots of changes already and there are many more to come.

The major change that's unfolded has been a turn toward online marketing, specifically content marketing, as being an absolute essential part of any marketing strategy. Offline strategies that worked yesterday don’t quite cut it today or we might say they’re not as effective. Let’s take a look at a few.

Five old book marketing strategies that don’t pull the weight they once did:

  • Book signings
  • Offline book tours
  • Traditional paid book review sources, such as Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly
  • Print advertising
  • Broadly targeted and impersonal press releases
  • Impersonal media kits

This is not to say these strategies can’t bring some visibility and value, but they are certainly not as powerful as they once were. Taking the marketing lead are savvier, reader friendly, personalized, and search engine optimized strategies. Let’s look at a few of those.

Eight newer and more effective book marketing strategies:

  • Optimized author websites and blogs
  • Content marketing
  • Social media and networking
  • Virtual book tours (online)
  • Online reviews from high ranking review sites
  • Free excerpts, other useful freebies, e-galleys
  • Personalized media kits
  • Email marketing (e-newsletters)

If you look closely, what do you notice? What are some of the main elements of the newer more effective strategies?

Four prevalent elements of the newer strategies:

The very first element is the cost – there really isn’t any. While you may incur some expenses, they are usually reasonable and affordable. And, much of what needs to be done can be done for free.

You can also improve your skills free of charge. Take free courses in your niche. Attend free online conferences. Watch free webinars or videos. Do what it takes to help you hone your craft or build your marketing skills.

Having low or no-cost strategies within reach is great for indie authors and those with small publishers.

The second element is having an online presence or author online platform and generating ongoing visibility. The foundation of that platform and visibility is a website. You CANNOT have an effective online presence without a website.

Other elements of a platform include content marketing, social networking, and email marketing.

The third element is giving people what they want, whether it’s information, excerpts of your book, special offers, or other, it’s about ‘giving.’

The fourth element is connecting, being sociable, and personalization. This means social media marketing. Moving forward, having a relationship with people, especially your readers, will probably be the most important element in effective book marketing.

There is of course more involved in creating and maintaining a successful book marketing strategy, but these four elements are in the forefront of what you should be doing.

What strategies will you be using in 2014?

P.S. Like the post? Please share it!


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Jane Friedman Talks Book Marketing with Orna Ross

I listened to a great YouTube video last week. It was an interview with Orna Ross (Alliance of Independent Authors) and Jane Freidman. It was so good and offers such useful book marketing insights that I have it here for you today!

Orna Ross Interviews Jane Friedman on The Business of Money, Writing & Publishing

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and reaped lots of book marketing tips and strategies.

One of my favorite bits of information from the interview is that having your own website is STEP ZERO in marketing you and your book. It’s now fundamental, the bare-bottom foundation of your marketing efforts.


Give Your Author/Writer Business a Boost with Inbound Marketing
Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing

It's a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK HERE to check out all it includes!


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Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Author Carol Fraser Hagen

Today I’m hosting Carol Frasser Hagen on Day 3 of a 5-day virtual tour for her new book, Helping Children Learn to Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities: A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers. The tour is sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.

Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Carol Fraser Hagen
While most children learn to read easily when taught using traditional teaching methods, there are about twenty percent of children who struggle to learn to read. Despite being taught by good teachers who use quality teaching materials and methods. Often these particular children have learning differences. Such as, trouble understanding oral language, trouble holding onto sequences and strings of words, or are dyslexic. That’s why it’s important to supplement traditional reading lessons with multi-sensory reading activities, to reach all the learning pathways within the brain: seeing, hearing, touching and muscle memory. Ensuring all children are successful learning to read.

A reading activity included in my book for children who are visual learners and learn best with hands on experiences is Origami. The Japanese art of folding paper is fun and teaches children how to follow step-by-step written directions. Making Origami figures also reinforces another important concept. Children learn when they miss or skip steps that not only does their Origami project come out incorrectly but the same will be true about other assignments or activities, which also require sequential steps.

About the Book
Helping Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities - A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers provides reading activities that reach all the learning pathways within the brain: seeing, hearing, touching and muscle memory. Along with lists of recommended books and other resources that parents and teachers can use to enhance whatever curriculum is being used to teach their children or students how to read. All the activities and resources are grouped for different ages and reading ability levels of children from babyhood through elementary school.

Would you like an autographed copy?
Helping Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities - A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers is due for release late this month. If you would like to pre-order an autographed copy please email at and I’ll reply directly to you with information on how you can receive your autographed copy.

About Carol Fraser Hagen
Carol Fraser Hagen is a former elementary Reading Specialist and Dyslexia Therapist from the Midwest. In addition to a bachelors degree in Secondary Education she holds a Masters in Special Reading and an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to writing about reading education Carol is a freelance writer and a published children’s writer. For more tips and resources on reading education, subscribe to Carol Fraser Hagen’s free newsletter and receive teaching tips and resources on teaching to read.

Also, Just click on Carol’s New Book to get a sneak peek of some of the pages in her book.

To follow Day 4 of this tour, tomorrow go to


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



Blog Post Template – The 8 Standard Components (Part 3)

By Karen Cioffi

This is Part Three of a three-part series. In Part One, I discussed the blog post components one, two, and three: the title, the subtitle, and the summary. In Part Two, I discussed components four, five, and six: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Now, it’s all about components seven and eight: keywords/tags and the bio.

Components 6 and 7 of “Blog Post Template – The 8 Standard Components”

7. Keywords / Tags

Keywords are an optimization tool and should be used with every post or article you create. Article directories have sections to add keywords, and so does Blogger and WordPress and other hosting services.

Keywords allow search engines, such as Google, to find, index, and categorize your website and your content. It allows the search engines to answer a search query with your link. This is an important factor in online marketing.

As an example, the keywords I will use for this article are: blogging, content marketing, blog post tips, article template, article writing training, blog images, and maybe video.

8. The Bio

Yes, the bio should be a standard component of each and every post or article you write. Don’t assume because you’re posting to your own site that the visitor will know it’s you who wrote the content. Make it clear by including a brief bio or tag.

One of my tags is:

Karen Cioffi
The Article Writing Doctor
Article Writing Training for Small Businesses and Solopreneurs
(Get your content marketing needs met in-house)

It’s only four lines, but tells it all. The reader and potential client quickly knows what I’m offering and what it can do for him. It answers the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) question.

And, be sure to link to the site you want to bring traffic. This would usually be your landing page or squeeze page.

Images, Video, Audio

While the eight elements of an article or post mentioned above are standard, there are other elements you can add to your content to make it more effective and engaging. One element is images. People love visuals and images work well. You might include one relevant to the topic, or you might use them to aid in understanding.

Another great tool is video. For further reader comprehension, you might link to a video or include it in the body of your article.

Then there is audio. Putting a quick podcast on your website or in your blog to aid in comprehension is a great way to please your readers.

With this template, you should be able to create effective articles that your readers will love.

Summing it up

If you have a product, service, or just want visibility for another reason, you need to do content marketing – you need to write articles for your blog and/or for article directories and guest posts. There’s no way of getting around it. This blogging and article template should help your create your articles quicker and easier.

Be sure to read the first two parts, if you missed them:

Part One

Part Two



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Visit: Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services
Professional, Reliable, and Experienced Writing Services - For Businesses and Individuals


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Writing and Book Marketing Woes - Life Happens

I checked my blog today and there was NO post. I thought I preposted one, but apparently I didn't.

This is part of the writing and book marketing woes. Too much to do and too little time.

One way to alleviate this problem is to have a weekly plan (which I do) and to keep a daily to-do list (which I also do).

So, what's the problem? How did I forget to prepost for today?

The answer is LIFE.

There's a joke or you might call it an adage that says:

"How do you make God laugh?"
"Tell Him your plans!"

I moved a couple of months ago. My sister-in-law had a massive stroke last week . And, my sister is staying with me for a week of so. My plans kind of went out the window.

Life happens and we have to deal with it.

While it's essential to have plans laid out that lead to productive weeks and days, life can knock you offtrack. When this happens, it's important not to beat yourself down or be too upset about it. When you can, simply get back on track.

So, my advice for today is have a writing and marketing plan in place, but know there will be times when life happens and you'll be thrown off course. When that happens, learn to be content with and thankful for what you are able to accomplish.

Have a great weekend,


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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).

Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services


Blog Post Template – The 8 Standard Components (Part 2)

By Karen Cioffi

Last week, Part One of “Blog Post Template – The 8 Standard Components” discussed component one: the title, component two: the subtitle, and component three: the summary. Today is Part 2 and it’s on to components four through six.

4. The introduction

The introduction is the deal maker. It’s what will turn attention to interest. In the introduction you need to discuss the problem the reader is having. This should, hopefully, be done with empathy and credibility.

Using the fifth title example above, here is a brief introduction:

If you have a website the chances of it being hacked are increasing daily. Hackers have sophisticated programs that will keep trying passwords and user names until they get in. It’s happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to some of you. And, it’s one big PAIN!

Due to this problem, you need to protect your website. You need to take steps to make it as difficult as possible for hackers to gain access to your site.

Below are five easy steps to make your website a fortress.

Notice how I make the connection with the reader and empathize with her. Then I let her know I have a solution to the problem in five easy steps. She’ll have to read on to get the solution.

5. The body

The body of your article is the meat and potatoes of the topic – it’s the main course. It’s where you explain how to do it. It’s where you’ll list the steps to getting it done.

The important element in the body of the article is to fulfill the title and introduction’s promise. Using the Introduction example above, if you mentioned in the title and introduction that you’ll give the reader ‘five steps to help protect his website, then you must have five steps that will help the reader attain the success or results you promised.

Along with having it fulfill your promises, you need to make sure the content is organized, easy to understand, engaging, and shareable. And, most of all, make sure all the information needed to accomplish what your promise is there.

If you leave out an important step or tip, the reader won’t be able to accomplish what you promised he would.

6. The conclusion

In the conclusion you will paraphrase what the article was about. You’ll want to note the important takeaway points.

You might also engage the reader further by asking one or more questions. Going back to the introduction sample content above, you might ask the reader if she has any tips for protecting websites from hackers, or if she’s found a specific program/plugin that does the trick.

Further engaging the reader with questions motivates her to leave a comment.

To read Part One, please go to:

To read Part Three:

P.S. Like this post? Please share it!



Visit: Karen Cioffi, Freelance Writer
Professional, Reliable, and Experienced Writing Services - For Businesses and Individuals


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Social Media Accounts – Should You Consolidate Multiple Niches?

How many social media accounts to maintain is a dilemma that many of us face. At least those of us who have more than one niche / focus.

Do you combine your niches in your social media accounts or do you take the extra time and effort to maintain multiple accounts?

I’ll use me as an example. I have five specific niches, but I'll use just three of them:

1. I write and edit health content.
2. I ghostwrite, rewrite, and edit content for small businesses and home businesses.
3. I offer platform building (content marketing and inbound marketing) e-courses and e-classes to small businesses and home businesses (including individuals).

While these three businesses are within the writing and marketing arenas, their target market and focus are each very different.

So, what’s a writer-marketer to do?

Well, if you find yourself in the same situation, with more than one niche and they’re quite different, you need to take a step back and think from a marketing standpoint.

While it’s much easier to have only ONE Twitter account, one Facebook account, One Google+ account, one Linkedin account, it’s not marketing wise.

According to Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner (in a podcast), it comes down to resources – can you manage multiple channels. In general, from a marketing perspective, you want to be MORE FOCUSED. So, you need separate accounts. This will create a more engaged and loyal following.

Note: Since publishing this article, I created a second Twitter account. It worked well. I got followers, RTs, FAVs, and so on, but it was too time consuming keeping up with it. So, I let the new account go dormant. There are just so many hours in the day.  Keep this in mind when deciding how to separate your niches.


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A Freelance Writer’s Thanksgiving Prayer

I don't usually post on Tuesdays, but this post by Inkwell Editorial's Yuwanda Black is just amazing and I want to share it with you. It's a bit after Thanksgiving, but it's just too good not to share. So, here's the link:

A Freelance Writer’s Thanksgiving Prayer

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.




Blog Post Template – The 8 Standard Components (Part 1)

Whether you’re writing a blog post or an article, as part of your content marketing efforts, there will be eight standard components:

1.    Title
2.    Subtitle (optional, depending on the situation)
3.    Summary or Description
4.    Introduction
5.    Body
6.    Conclusion
7.    Keywords or Tags
8.    Bio

This is the first post of a 3 part series.

Here’s a breakdown of the article writing template, components one through three:

1. The title

Your title is about 90% of the article’s grabbing power. It needs to let the reader know what’s in it for him. It needs to let the reader know his question will be answered, his problem will be solved, or his need will be fulfilled. It needs to entice the reader to move into the article’s subtitle or introduction. It’s the attention ‘getter.’ In other words, it sparks enough interest for the reader to pause a moment to see what the article is about.

Here are 5 examples of effective titles:

Lose Weight - Shed 5 Pounds in 10 Days
Make Money Online Starting Today
Write a Book in Under 30 Days
Employee Incentive Plans Work – 5 Tips on Creating an Effective Plan Today
Has Your Website Been Hacked? Five Steps to Ensure it Doesn’t Happen Again

All five titles above let the reader know what’s in it for him or what he can learn, and four of them have a time element. This makes them effective.

Also, notice that each title is keyword effective.

2. The subtitle

The subtitle elaborates on the title. It gives more information, further motivating the read to read on. You may or may not include a subtitle; it will depend on the situation. If you do use a subtitle, be sure to include effective and relevant keywords.

Using the title above, Employee Incentive Plans Work – 5 Tips on Creating an Effective Plan Today, below is a possible subtitle:

Recent studies show that employee incentive plans foster an increase in worker productivity

Notice how I bring ‘studies’ into it and include two effective keywords for this particular niche. It’s all about optimizing where and when you can, without overdoing it.

3. The Summary

Whether you’re using article directories or posting to your own blog, a summary or description is an optimization tool. Most directories require one. And, Blogger and WordPress provide an option to input it. Whenever there is an option to enhance optimization, USE IT.

The summary is a brief, two to five sentence paragraph. It should be keyword effective and give the gist of the article. The idea is to make it enticing, motivating the reader to want more information.

To check out Part Two, components four through six, visit:


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5 Reasons Your Online Marketing Is Failing

Guest post by Adam Green

Online marketing is an integral component for any marketing strategy in the digital world of today. Particularly cost-effective for businesses starting out, and the primary source of communication for online retailers, holding a successful online presence is crucial for conversing with your customers, providing them the material they need to make an informed purchase and boosting conversion.

However, online marketing can be tricky to strategize, and with the complexity of measuring return on investment (ROI), it can be difficult to pin point exactly where and why your online marketing might not be working. Below are a few reasons why you keep missing the spot with your digital endeavors:

1 – You’re spreading yourself too thin

The Problem:
With such a great abundance of social media platforms, it is easy to get lost in trying to be a jack of all trades by incorporating all possible channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr etc.) into your social media strategy. Always remember that each social channel caters to a different type of audience and performs different functions for each brand.

The Solution:
Make sure you have the human talent required to maintain a strong presence on each social channel you choose to pursue. Hire staff with the right personality, who are able to captivate the audience with engaging posts and interact within set company guidelines. Focus on a small selection of channels that are best suited to the market you are in, and think about how you can best utilise them for your specific purpose. For example, if you are a cosmetics brand, you might be best suited to investing the majority of you efforts on Pinterest and Facebook, while keeping your Twitter account reserved for instant customer service.

2 - You’re spamming your customers

The Problem:
This refers to making one post too many on social media which clogs up your customers’ feeds, but also potentially sending out retention emails more frequently than the prescribed average of one per week. Either way, you will find your follower-base or contact list diminishing if you end up doing too much.

The Solution:
Especially when it comes to email marketing, avoid purchasing lists of email addresses, as it is often ethically and legally inadvisable to send unsolicited emails, unless customers have opted in to receive these updates. Also, maintain a balanced frequency of posting across social channels and in email shots, ensuring each post comprises unique, intriguing content so that your customers click and stay on board for more.

3- Poor focus on user experience

The Problem:
The bottom-line of all online marketing efforts is to raise awareness, foster engagement and drive conversion, meaning channeling traffic to your website is crucial, particularly if your website is based on an e-commerce model. If your website does not provide a seamless user experience, you risk that the traffic you have so strategically generated will bounce and never return.

The Solution:
Professional design and user experience (UX) testing can go a long way in understanding and improving the way in which users interact with your website. Sometimes, the problem might be more deep-rooted, which means you should also analyze whether what your website is offering, in terms of content, products or services, is meeting consumer needs. It may well turn out that you simply need to update the range of products offered.

4- Your communication strategy is not consistent

The Problem:
In order to portray a consistent message in your online marketing, it is important to establish a regular pattern in your communication and engagement strategy. If communication is not steady, long-term engagement will suffer.

The Solution:
Avoid having periods of quiet and loud, but stick to a regulated average of, for example, six tweets a day. Users tend not to follow accounts if they note a significant period of inactivity. The best way to assess what type of content works best for your audience, what times they are most active, and which channels they frequent the most, is to test our different posts and analyse the response to see exactly how your target market can be engaged.

5 – You aren’t investing enough

The Problem:
Online marketing allows for an extensive scope of creativity which means ideas can be bigger than ever before. But if you are unable to input the right amount of financial and human resources into your campaign ideas, they will not bring back the results you hoped for. Be realistic about what you can achieve given your resources or go all in with a bigger budget.

The Solution:
If you want to see your customer-base grow and expand into new areas of business, you will need to invest more into your marketing to fuel your growth strategy. Although the reach of marketing has significantly improved within the digital sphere, you still need to invest time regardless of whether you are relying in the built-in virility of your campaign to enhance brand awareness.

About The Author:
This guest post was written by Adam Green, who works at Adam is an online marketing consultant who specialises in marketing strategy for small businesses. You can learn more by checking out their blog to read more online marketing tips.


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Blogging - Does the Length of Your Blog Post Matter?

If you do article marketing, particularly through article directories, you’re expected to submit at least 400 words. This is about the average length of a post. In fact, Ezine Articles has a word meter and it’s perfect rating is at 400 words or just above. If you move into the 500 word length you move away from what the service likes. But, aside from article directories, blogging sites owned by individuals or businesses have varying word counts.

Take super-heavy-hitter blogger Seth Godin (Alexa rating: Globally 7010 / U.S. 2708). His post, “What ‘no’ means” is only 116 words. And, this is the average post length he uses regularly. I’m not kidding, click the link to check for yourself.

Then you have other authority sites, like The Renegade Writer, Inkwell Editorial, and Savvy Authors. The posts on these sites can be around 1000 words or more.

So, let’s ask the question: Does the length of your blog posts matter?

In an article at it discusses this topic. It noted that the blot post length should be whatever it takes to effectively deliver the message. I agree with this philosophy . . . to a degree.

When article marketing, one strategy is to create content that can keep giving. This means three things in particular:

1. If you use article directories, your articles usually need to be at least 400 words.

2. As a marketer and solopreneur you want to create content that you can morph into other products. For this strategy, you need to create substantial content. A 100 word article really won’t cut it.

3. Google loves content. While bloggers like Godin can rank high with 100 word posts, the average blogger won’t have the same success. Google wants your content to be readable, relevant to your site, and SHAREABLE.

Using these points, it would seem best to write average length blog posts.

Just Can’t Keep The Blog Post Length in Check

The trouble I encounter as a writer is I usually go way over 400 words. Lately, I seem to average 600 to 700 words or longer. And, the content doesn’t include fluff. It’s just that as I write, I think of additional strategies or tips I want to share with my audience.

This isn’t a problem though. You have at least three choices when writing longer articles:

1. Post them as is.
2. Add enough words to make the articles 800 to 900 words, then make the article a two-parter.
3. Divide it into two separate articles.

I usually create a series out of my longer articles. Some of my articles can be over 1000 words and I’ll create a three-part series. This works well, because it gives me ‘free’ content for other posting days.

There are though occasions when I’ll break the article up and create two or more separate posts. You can do the same.

How About You?

What is the length of your average post? Do you tend to write shorter or longer posts?

P.S. Like this post? Please share it!


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Need Publicity for Your Self-Published Book? Radio Is the Way to Go

Guest Post by Harriet Hodgson

Writing is hard work. You may think your work is done when your self-published book has gone through production. In reality, your work is just beginning. Internet marketing can help spark book sales, but radio is also an excellent way to sell your book.

Radio marketing has several advantages. First, it allows you to "tour" the world without leaving your home. Second, it offers many options: Internet, cable, satellite, and blog talk radio. Third, it gives you experience that you can apply to book talks and workshops. Fourth, it's one of the least expensive forms of advertising.

Annie Jennings discusses radio marketing in her article, "How to use Publicity to Share Your Message, Build Credibility and Expert Status," published on the National Business Association Website. "Appearing on radio shows such as talk radio gives you the opportunity to showcase your experience, credentials, education, wisdom and knowledge that is essential to creating buzz," she explains.

No doubt about it, radio creates buzz. People listen to it at home, in the car, and on cell phones. Follow these tips for a successful on air appearance.

1. Try to get a list of questions beforehand. The interviewer may not be willing to supply them, but it's worth a try.

2. Drink some water before you go on the air and keep a glass of water handy.

3. Instead of saying "the book" refer to your book by its title. If your book has a long sub-title, just give the main title.

4. Speak in sound bites, short, focused sentences that listeners will remember.

5. Avoid beginning your answers with the word "well." This word gives you a few nanoseconds to frame your answer, but it can make you sound insecure.

6. Modulate your voice -- not too high and not too low. You may wish to record your voice if you haven't been on radio before.

7. Have a copy of your book in front of you in case you need to look up something.

8. Give ordering information. After all, that's why you're on the radio.

9. Give your website address.

10. Try not to interrupt the interviewer. This is hard, since you can't see each other.

11. Refer to forthcoming book appearances, talks, and workshops. Say something like, "I'm so glad you asked that. I'm giving a workshop on that topic next week." Then quickly give the details of your workshop.

12. Inject humor without sound forced.

Whether your interview is 10 minutes or an hour long, enjoy yourself. You've written a book, are proud of it, and on the radio.

Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 36+ years and is the author of 33 published books, five of them self-published. She has appeared on more than 170 radio talk shows and dozens of television stations. Please visit her website for more information about this busy author and grandmother.

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Writing for Success

Guest Post by Anne Duguid

Writing is now big business. It has the world-wide stage, a global market. Spin-off businesses like tutors, publicists and agents spring up and prosper.

The writer and writing have always been  commodities to be marketed. The difference now is that morebooks are published per day than used to be published annually.

It is the best of times but also the worst of times for writers--and especially for those of us who choose
to write fiction.

Difficulties of marketing fiction

In the main, fiction writers write to entertain, tell stories that encapsulate human experience. They have something to say--a message to share. This idea of theme pervades all successful writing.

But if you are writing to make money, you'll be very lucky to become one of the big hitters on Kindle, no
matter what the marketers and publicists tell you.

You are competing against millions of books, both new and from successful authors' backlists as well as those which are sourced from the public domain, or are written to order.

So how can you make money to fund your writing?

Think about it--money is being made in copy writing, ghost writing and to some extent blogging or contentwriting for websites.

Profit can be made from spin-offs--webinars, teaching writing courses, even writing lots for others.

But often the best money can be made at home through networking.

Talk to librarians, local schools, clubs, businesses. Discuss courses/ visits and talks on your area of expertise.

Offer to run a reading and writing hour in school or as an after-school activity, suggest a talk on self-
publishing to attract more people to the library, promote your services as a business writer, enhancing staff communication skills or providing new website content on a regular basis.

As a bonus, whatever the result, you'll be gaining new experiences, meeting new people  and finding even more ideas and customers for that new novel.

Anne Duguid is a freelance content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and she tries to pass on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers.

Originnaly posted at Writers on the Move:

Image Copyrighted 2012 Karen Cioffi

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Want to Guest Post on a High Ranking Website? Get Out Your Wallet

By Karen Cioffi

Content marketing is where it’s at today and that includes guest blogging on high ranking, high quality sites.

It’s usually a win-win situation: you provide needed content for a blog owner and you get to broaden your visibility, which in turn may increase your mailing list or boost some other call-to-action you have in place at the end of your guest article.

As part of guest blogging, you need to find those high ranking sites, in order to query them. I did that with a particular health website and got a surprise.

The Guest Posting Guidelines page had “Article Publishing Rates” on it. Below the title was a list of time periods for publishing and the related fee. No, I’m not kidding.

The fees ranged from $5 to get published on the site between 15-29 days of submitting, to $80 to publish your article within 24 hours. Oh, you can possibly publish for free if you allow 30-60 days for publishing, but there’s no guarantee your article or email will even be seen. Priority is given to paid articles.

For the free option, you’ll have worked on a top-notch health article as part of your content marketing strategy, submit it, and possibly wait two months, with no guarantees that article will see the light of day.

Under the “Article Publishing Rate” section, the blog owner listed the reasons why paying him to guest on his site was in your best interest. An interesting approach.

This blog owner is charging you for the use of his website authority. (Wonder what Google thinks of this.)

While there are advantages to having an article on a high ranking website, is the practice of paying to get it there ethical? Should you pay to get on a high quality site?

To Pay or Not to Pay

I don’t think a writer should pay to guest blog on a high ranking site. The site owner should value quality content, realizing that it’s the great content that is boosting him to a higher ranking. The blog owner should want top writers to guest blog for the site. Charging a fee will cause those top writers to back off (in my opinion anyway).

The high ranking sites I’ve guest blogged for are free or PAY YOU for your content.

Since I didn’t want to take my own opinion on this topic as the actual truth, I did some research. Interestingly, I couldn’t even find a Google search query term that would bring me to information on paying a blog owner to guest blog on his site, at least not on the first SERP (search engine results page).

The first SERP was full of information on getting paid to guest blog for high ranking websites, which is just the opposite. There was nothing about having to pay the site owner to get your content on his site.

This leads me to believe it’s an uncommon practice and one I won’t be partaking in.

What are your views on having to pay to guest blog on a high ranking website?


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Freelance Writers: How to Use Online Job Boards to Earn Fast Cash

Guest Post by Suzanne Lieurance

If you're one of those writers who never seems to find any assignments on the online job boards, you're probably being too picky OR you may just be looking at the wrong kinds of ads. Here's something to try that should help you land a job you can complete quickly to earn some fast cash.

Search for just one short assignment that pays at least $50 for something you would feel comfortable writing because you have the skills and knowledge to pull off the job. It doesn't have to be something you're passionate about writing. You just want a quick assignment. For example, if you're good at writing press releases or book or product reviews, or cover letters, or artist statements, look for ads for one of those assignments.

As soon as you see the ad, follow the application guidelines immediately.

If you get the assignment, do it right away and bill the client.

The point of this is to look for jobs that you can complete quickly and that are relatively easy so you can make some fast cash. But then you want to move on to another new client and another new project that you can complete quickly.

Skip over the ads that promise regular work - these are usually the ones that will gobble up your time for very little pay and you won't be able to do anything else. Also, skip over the ads for assignments that will take weeks to complete. You aren't looking for a regular client at this point or a long-term assignment. You just want a short, easy assignment that will give you some quick cash.

Get in the habit of scanning a variety of online job boards like this on a regular basis and you'll soon be making some quick cash every week!

Try it!

For more tips to help you build a freelance writing career, check out Suzanne Lieurance’s Working Writer’s Club. It’s the place to be if you want to create a writing career and/or get it in high gear.
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Image copyright 2013 Karen Cioffi


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Facebook and Memes and Spam (Is a meme quality content?)

By Karen Cioffi

Just like Google periodically revises its algorithm to make their system more efficient and reduce spam, so does Facebook.

One of the most recent targets of Facebook is memes. In new research focusing on what readers want in Page posts, Facebook found most memes to be ‘spammy’ posts, or maybe calling it lower quality content is a better choice of wording. To remedy this poor content problem, Facebook is tweaking its feed algorithm.

According to, Facebook “took the user feedback and built a better machine-learning algorithm that can distinguish between high- and low-quality posts, and then show the best ones higher in the feed.”

This change is so significant, Facebook has decided to let their users and businesses know in advance (be transparent), rather than take their usual ‘none of your business’ approach. The other reason Facebook is being transparent is to avoid user backlash, as was seen in their ‘pay to reach existing fans’ and taking a ‘more hard core reaction to spammy posts by demoting them.’

Being specific about this latest algorithm update, posting Lolcats-sytle memes on Pages will not be a wise move once this algorithm goes into action. Facebook will now “be able to identify these kinds of posts and demote them, and it seems that it can.”

So, what does this mean for you?

As a writer, author, marketer, blogger, you want visibility and authority in your niche. The primary way to get it is to create great content – do content marketing. The days of simply passing along a meme as your content will no longer work.

Facebook, just like Google, wants quality content that their users will appreciate, which will keep them coming back. Your content marketing has to matter. The content you write and post must do one or more of the following things for your target market:

•    Be valuable
•    Be informative
•    Be engaging
•    Be entertaining
•    Be FRESH

These elements are what constitute great content that will be ranked high by Google and get added to the Facebook News Feed.

A Bit About Memes

A lolcat is an image of a cat “with text intended to contribute humor. The text is idiosyncratic and grammatically incorrect,” notes Lolcats-style is an image that doesn’t feature a cat.

The image below may be considered a meme:

So, you can see that creating an idea in an image format can be a type of meme. While the above image isn’t funny, it is text and image to convey an idea. The text doesn’t tell the whole story; it needs the image to complete the idea.

Taking a guess, it would seem that Facebook considers memes as low-quality content because they’re not really content. They’re certainly not quality content. Memes are ideas or suggestions brought forth through visuals, with very few words. It can even be a single word on an image.

While they’re visually engaging and convey an idea, again, they’re not really informative content. But, if you like memes and don’t want to stop using them, there is an alternative. You can use memes within a full-blown article, one that has it all.

This though is an alternative for those who aren’t looking for short-cuts, those who value their readers and want to provide quality content. For the other group, those who want the short-cuts at the expense of their readers, it may not sound too good.

Just keep in mind that Facebook is now watching and will demote those posts it considers low-quality or spammy.

Have you created a meme? If so, leave the URL to it in the comments, so we can check it out.



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Publish Your Book Now

Guest Post by Don Potter

Several years ago, I sold my share of the west coast ad agency I founded. A non-compete agreement precluded me from doing what I knew and loved. I was not ready to retire and did not want to stop creating. So like others before me, I set out to write a novel. After all, we all have one in us. Right?

I completed my first full-length book and liked the experience so much I wrote another. About the time I got an agent interested in representing my work, the book publishing landscape shifted dramatically and my career as a published novelist came to an abrupt halt before it started. As we all know, technology has shaken and changed many traditional business models, and in the publishing field it happened with little warning.

While continuing to write, I was determined to get my first two books published. I followed, with interest, the rise of e-books. I learned that e-book publishing offered writers an opportunity to get their work out to a growing number of online readers. As a result, my first two novel are now available online.

I'm an adman through and through, have been for more than 50 years. My career took me from Madison Avenue to Hollywood with stops in-between. So I use Madison Avenue as a stage to delve into the inner workings of the advertising Agency business. When you write your book, be sure it's about something you know and can get passionate about; otherwise, chances are you won't have much success.

After rewriting and reediting the manuscript several times and having trusted friends and associates provide me with necessary critiques, the book was ready for the next step. I used one of the many publishing services, which can be found on Google, that format and distribute to online sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Nobel's Nook, iPad, Sony Reader and the other major platforms. The cost is minimal, as little as $99 for barebones service plus $19 for an ISBN number (the publishing equivalent to the Universal Product Code). If needed, cover art, proofing and other services are also available at reasonable prices.

The beauty of self-publishing online is more than the low-cost of entry. In less than a month from submission of the manuscript, your work can be on several sites. It may take another month to have a presence on the other majors. You earn a substantial percentage of the selling price, after discounts; however, it will take several months before the sales reports from the retailers are tallied and you start receiving checks. But remember, you have not committed much capital to this enterprise so be patient.

If no one knows about your book no one will buy it, so you need to get the word out. Ezine is the perfect vehicle for doing this. Write an interesting article about the subject(s) discussed in your book, and readers may want to buy the expanded version. Social networks, both business and professional, are perfect for e-books because people using them are already online oriented. News releases to trade and consumer media will round out your PR efforts.

Once you gather momentum, you may wish to approach agents and/or traditional publishers about the success the book is having online. This way you can reach those who prefer printed books, because online publishing does not reach everyone. In 2011 about 25% of readers bought a book online and nearly 10% of trade books were read online. Both these numbers are growing at an explosive rate; therefore, test marketing your book online is wise before considering traditional publishing possibilities.

If you are interested in seeing how the system works at retail, use my novels as an example. Go to Amazon e-books. Search for Murder on Madison Avenue orThe Adman. The cover art along with a story synopsis and some publishing information will appear. Click on the cover, and you can read the first six chapters of each of each novel, free. Pricing, including discounts, is shown along with ordering information. Those who do not have Kindle or other reading devices can get a free "app" from Amazon or other online retailers. It's that simple.

So go for it. Pull together a compilation of articles you've written. Dust off that old manuscript sitting on the closet shelf. Or start writing a book from scratch. And now, thanks to the Internet, you can be sure your work will be shared with others.

Don Potter is a Philadelphia native and 50 year veteran of the advertising agency business. Now living in Los Angeles, he has written two novels in retirement and frequently writes and speaks on marketing issues. Potter is the founder and editor-in-chief of, the first online magazine dedicated to those 65 plus. articles provide thoughts, comments and opinions designed to spark thinking, foster discussion and stimulate debate. The editorial content features general news and information as well as videos of interest to the burgeoning 65+ audience. A touch of nostalgia is also included. Learn more by logging on to

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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).
Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter, Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor
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Your Writing Is Your CV (curriculum vitae)

Guest Post by Janice Gillgren

In a world that is increasingly and stridently demanding qualifications for nearly every imaginable job, writing remains a job in which ability and experience on their own can get you published; but you need to be patient.

A CV (curriculum vitae), or a resume, is as helpful for a writer as for any other job application. However, writers need to think differently about a CV for this career than for others because qualifications take second place to a demonstrable writing ability.

Regardless of whether or not you've ever been published before, your writing IS your CV. Samples of your writing will demonstrate your talent much more effectively than any letters after your name.

Write well enough, and a publisher might not even ask about qualifications. After all, there are young authors who clearly haven't got that far yet.

This doesn't mean that qualifications and writing courses won't benefit you, but your talent is still shown most clearly in your work, not in the degree you obtained. For a CV, that's what counts.

I've got a few framed certificates on my wall for some writing courses I completed some years ago. When I first got them, I photocopied them, thinking I might need to show them to prospective editors or publishers. I've never needed to.

I have, a few times, visited an editor and discussed my writing. Showing a few samples was helpful, but my lack of academically acquired qualifications was no impediment to me. Could I write? That was what the editor wanted to know.

As I said above, your writing IS your CV. What do I mean?

Your first point of contact with an editor or publisher is likely to be a letter written by you. This will be either to simply introduce yourself, or - more likely - to also suggest an idea for a story, article or book that may be of interest to that publication.

This is where your talent needs to really shine!

No sloppy punctuation and poor spelling here. Labour over such letters. Your future work for this publication will depend on it. What editor is going to want to accept writing from someone who can't even compose a decent sentence?

Secondly, samples of published writing will be the next most valuable part of your 'CV'.

I have found my website to be invaluable for this, as I have some samples of my published work on a page on my website, and have simply included the name of my website and the name of the page they can be found on my letter, and left it to the editor to look at them in his or her own time. And yes, they do look.

If you don't have a website, you could include some scanned copies of published articles as attachments, or offer to send some if required.

Of course, if you don't yet have any work published, you can't exhibit any. In this case, you can either just omit the subject altogether and don't mention your lack; or you can mention it but in the context of why you are well qualified to write on the subject you are suggesting.

Your writing CV comprises both talent and experience. Warning: patience required!

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

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Image Copyright 2013 Karen Cioffi


Editing Books Like a Pro - Self-editing Tips for Books and Articles

Along with writing an effective writing resume, you absolutely need to edit it before sending it off. Editing Books Like a Pro is twenty-three pages of self-editing tips and tricks. This is an editing tool that you will use over and over and over. CLICK HERE to check it out!


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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).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter, Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor
Build an Online Platform That Works

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Content Marketing - Shareability and Sharing in the Writing and Marketing Arena

An effective marketing strategy is sharing your content and that of others. In fact, it’s so effective that Google uses the sharing we do via social networks (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, etc.) in its ranking system.

In other words, your content’s shareability influences your search engine ranking and increases traffic to your website. This exposure helps increase your business and sales.

An example: I’ve gotten emails and even phone calls from clients who found me through an online search. This means one or more of my links are being made available on the search results page for a query.

So, it’s easy to see that the benefits of creating shareable content is well worth the effort.

Along with creating engaging content that readers want to share, it’s also important to share the content of others. Just be sure the content you share is relevant to your niche. In other words, if you are in the children’s writing niche, you wouldn’t want to share content that might be consider questionable or unrelated to your niche.

Sharing the Content of Others

While creating shareable content plays a part in your ranking, sharing the content of others also has its benefits: Visibility, Increased Engagement, Resources, Connections.

1. You help another writer/blogger/marketer get her content out there. You help make it go viral and broaden her visibility. This will make her happy and she will take note of you, especially if you do this on a regular basis, and will be willing to do the same for you (increased engagement). This is a win-win situation.

2. You become a valued source in your community/tribe/online neighborhood. When you share helpful information with your audience, whether it’s your content or that of others, they appreciate it. This helps establish you as trustworthy and an authority. It’s another win-win situation.

3. Sharing the content of others creates a connection and broadens your own visibility/exposure. And, you never know where that connection will lead to – it may develop into a great business opportunity.

4. You gain search engine visibility. There is a definite correlation between Tweets, Likes, Shares, Connections and so on, and Google’s search results. This means Google tracks those shares, which means you’re playing in Google’s playground. This activity is noticed by Google.

We at Writers on the Move ( always encourage members and visitors to click on the available social links (Twitter, G+, FB, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and so on) and leave comments. This is what gives our posts and site marketing juice. This strategy creates visibility and broadens our reach.


Paying it forward is like a smile. You never know how or how much it will help someone in that particular moment.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an author, freelance writer, or marketer, paying-it-forward is simply the right thing to do.

According to Wikipedia, pay-it-forward “is a term describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.”

So, how do you and I pay-it-forward to other authors, writers, and marketers?

Here are 15 strategies off the top of my head that you can try out:

•    Share the content of others on social media networks
•    Say YES if you’re asked to help in a launch or promotion
•    Be a host for an author’s blog tour
•    Offer free helpful information – this may be in the form of a podcast, video, webinar, article, ebook, etc.
•    Provide a recommendation if you’re familiar with another’s work or product
•    Accept invitations to connect – just check out the person/business first
•    Reach out and connect to others
•    Like the Facebook page of someone you know
•    Like comments and ‘shared posts’ of others
•    If you read a book and like it, write and share a review
•    Share your knowledge by answering questions and offering advice, if it’s requested
•    Offer encouragement
•    Offer motivation
•    Be patient
•    Be kind

Aside from being good for you as a writer and marketer, giving back is good for the universe.

I’m sure there are many other ways to pay-it-forward in your niche, please share your ideas with us!


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