Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Article-Writing and Freelance Tips

For all three of those people who don’t read copyblogger, you’ve missed a fantastic article on the 10-second rule. It’s an excellent guide to writing content that catches readers, which is what will sell your work.

It brings up some critical points for article-writing. Breaking your 1,000-word piece into bite-sized chunks for easy consumption not only helps readers follow your argument, it helps you to organize your thoughts and ensure that your points get made. Sub-headers let people who are already familiar with the subject skip over explanatory paragraphs and get straight to the “What Next” or “What’s New” sections.

It's also a good argument for why SEO writing is so good for the web. If you've got the key words and phrases sprinkled liberally throughout, it helps to point readers to the sentences that are directly about that subject. If they're going to skim anyway, at least let them come away with some useful information and perhaps convince them that your article has enough meat to warrant a full read. And if they read that article, perhaps they will be convinced to come back for more.

Good formatting and good keywording compliment good content and good writing. If you can get all four of these working together, you will have a kick-butt piece. It's a question of balance. So much web writing pays far too much attention to the first two elements at the cost of the others. I, on the other hand, rarely pay any attention at all to keywording. Yes, I try to mention the topic in some variation frequently, but I don't pay enough attention to how I do it. This is a good reminder to me of why I should devote energy to improving that part of my writing.

Once you’ve got the strategy firmly in mind, check out Sharon Hurley Hall’s article at Garden and Hearth (although I normally read her at Get Paid to Write) about freelance markets for beginners. Donating your skills to a local paper won’t pay the bills. It is a great way to get your name in print and build your portfolio.

For a lot of incredibly useful information, try reading her articles at Inspired Author. There's a great article there on deciding how much to charge for jobs that really helped me to put the question into perspective. Unfortunately, most of the links on the free promotion course don't work. I'll check back and post here if I find them fixed. I'm quite curious to take it.


5 comments:








lakedaemon

said...

Can't agree more with SEO complimenting good content and writing. I also applaud your strategy of ignoring keyword fixation in article writing. Too much webcopy is obviously fixated on keywords though if you are writing valuable content from a knowledge base, an article is most likely to contain those keywords in a more natural foundation as well as containing complimentary keywords that you wouldn't necessarily think of.





Snoskred

said...

Hey, reading you on google reader via the US Blogs community. ;) Good to see you join the community and looking forward to more of your posts. ;) thought I'd drop in and say hi.

Snoskred
http://snoskred.blogspot.com/





legbamel

said...

Hey, thanks for swinging by, both of you. Lakedaemon, thanks for support. I know that writing naturally can hurt my "finability" but that's part of the reason that I try to be active in several communities. I can still get my name out, just not to the top of the Google searches. Actually, sometimes my posts pop up there anyway. You never know!





BloggingWriter

said...

Just found this, legbamel. Thanks for the link love. IA is going through some changes right now and the promotion course has been a temporary casualty. Even I can't find the links right now, but it will be back up within a couple of weeks, either on IA or one of the related sites. Love the new blog - I look forward to browsing the archives to see what I missed. :)





legbamel

said...

Happy to do it. I'll definitely keep checking back. Thanks for visiting.