5 Point Content Creation Checklist

Creating checklists may seem like a daunting task to some, but in the world of content creation, it can be one of the best tools to focus the intent and execution of stellar writing.   Inaccurate or “bad” writing can be avoided by eliminating a handful of common mistakes – once you know what they are.  This may be a time-consuming process at first, but once you command these “one-and-done” items, you’ll have all the necessary checkmarks to go from draft to publish more easily than ever.

checkboxHave a Clear Focus – Do you have a clear objective for the piece you are penning?  Once you are clear on the intent or objective, you can create a brief outline of key points you want to make.  This helps to keep the flow of your writing smooth and helps to avoid rambling or inadvertently veering in an unproductive direction.

checkboxGreat Expectations – Nothing entices a reader like a compelling and intriguing headline or title.  Think creatively about what grabs your attention when surfing the web, watching television or listening to your favorite radio station.  And don’t be afraid to interject a little humor or allow it to be slightly politically jarring.  Keep it clean but not boring!

checkboxWriter ImageConsistency is Key – Erratic writing makes for limited reading.  Nothing frustrates readers more than schizophrenic writing, positioning and tone.  So make sure you are consistent in these areas.

checkboxBeauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – Imagery is what most people will hone in on once they read the title.  Therefore supporting imagery is very important and please make sure it is indeed supportive of the written content that surrounds it.  Remember- in this busy, digital age, most people don’t fully read-they skim.  So give them something eye-catching to capture and keep their attention as long as possible.

checkbox2 Sets of Eyes Are Better Than One – When writing content, it’s easy to make obvious spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes.  So don’t be afraid to let someone else take a gander at your masterpiece before publishing.  Additionally, its helpful to get a reader’s perspective before exposing it to the masses.  This is critical when publishing blogs or on a business website since once it’s on the web, it’s there forever.

The Wrap Up – There are a ton of other content creators out there clamoring for reader’s attention. Therefore, quality content is a must if you want to stand out from the crowd, have your craft respected and captivate your audience. By following even a few of the tips listed above, doubtlessly your content will improve. Don’t forget – writing good content is an art and being an artist takes practice.

 What are your tried & true content creation writing tips?

Peeking Undeneath the Hood – Your Blog #’s & Ours!

Jean Perpillant, owner, head honcho and web designer extraordinaire of Design Theory and I recently had a conversation about the importance of Social Media and in particular, blogging.  Oftentimes one of the hardest parts of our (and in particular my) job is getting clients to believe that professional blogging is a worthwhile cause and can be a great contributor to your business’s success. See a previous blog I wrote on that subject at http://bit.ly/WaawSu.  So as we were talking about our own numbers and the ROI therefrom, I suggested lifting the hood on our analytic statistics to prove just how vital this is to the exposure and growth of your business and that business’s profitability.  He loved the idea of using our own transparency to prove the validity of our belief to outside clients that there is a tangible benefit To Blog or Not to Blog.  No dirty overalls or Goop needed, here we go…

The early part of September hits on our weekly blogs – 572 Page Views

As you can see, we have 3 main contribution sources for our readership this particular week-those who come through our blog being indexed on Google, visits to our blog through visiting www.jpdesigntheory.com directly and others through various alternative search engines.  As you can see, the top referring websites that contribute to our audience statistics are Google & LinkedIn with majority this weeks of readership coming from our blogs being indexed on Google.  Ah yes, the power of Google.

At Design Theory, we know that our readership is vital to getting our name out there not only in the World Wide Blogosphere but also to the masses as a whole.  We’re not a huge corporation with various satellite offices (YET!) but we know that having a world wide presence is the key to meeting our company goals as well as attaining clientele outside our hubs geographic region in Orlando, Florida.  What you can also see from the Audience Stats, is that Tuesday happens to be our highest number of reads for this particular week.  Knowing that information is important because it tells us at DT, that the early part of the week is the best time to post and also can help clue us in as to who is posting on that day & the impact that person has our readership.  Monday is right behind Tuesday for readership and I happen to know that those 2 days blogs are written by Daphne Lenti, our lead Graphic Designer on Monday and me, your happy Wordsmith & Content Marketeer (love the title right!) on Tuesday.  What it additionally shows Daphne & I is how important our blogging is to the exposure of our company AND that people are interested in what we have to say & that we have a well-respected level of knowledge on what we write about.  It also shows that our connections on LinkedIn are working as an additional exposure source through our professional networks and the groups we are affiliated with on there.

The 3rd week of this month – 994 Page Views

What you see right off the bat is that our Page Views have dramatically increased by 442!  Additionally, the 3 main contribution sources to these statistics remain the same but take note of the jump from 24 visits via LinkedIn to a whopping 148 visits in just 2 weeks!  Once again Daphne & I are neck in neck until we get to a spike in readership on Thursday.  Also note that the top viewing location has changed from Tijuana to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.  I have no clue why but talk about a world wide presence!

So the crux of our To Blog or Not to Blog and reason for our behind the scenes look at our blogs, is to put our own “argument” to the test and to show you that we practice what we preach to our clients.  Oh, and it works!

~ Content Writing Inspiration ~   

This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back again.
                                                                                                       ~Oscar Wilde

5 Ways To Increase Your Blog Following

Crowd of peopleMany more small businesses are waking up to the idea of blogging. This makes us at Design Theory pretty happy because we preach about the importance of a blog for our clients and partners. Though not all blogs are created equal, there are different platforms, designs, and purposes. Still each blog’s purpose is to capture an audience and keep them coming back for more week after week, post after post.

Idea 1: Make Your Blog Easy to Leave Comments

This one should be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many blogs are out there that have great content, yet lack the ability for readers to post comments. There are so many plugins and applications that allow users to use many different social and popular mediums to easily submit a comment. A free and commonly used one is Gravatar. Receiving a comment on your post is one of the most gratifying moments of blogging. Good or bad, it’s still people taking time to speak out about your work. Be sure to promptly approve your comments and reply. Unapproved comments is a sure-fire way to show a reader you don’t care about what they have to say.

Idea 2: Make Your Blog Easy to Be Shared

It’s safe to say most blogs out there are using open sourced platforms like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. So utilize the plugins available to allow your readers to quickly share. Most are pretty easy to install and configure. Since a lot of blog article titles get shared through social media be sure to choose some of the more popular ones in your settings. Some examples are TweetMeme, Shareaholic, Google+1, and the Facebook Like Button.

Idea 3: Write More Help Topics

A common misconception with business blogs is to use this as an advertising stream. That’s actually not a good way to use it. In fact you’ll want to write more posts that actually help your readers and less about your own services and products. More successful blogs out there are blogs that constantly offer quick tips on fixing, making, creating, and developing things. And if you can condense a long dissertation to some cliff notes and still offer a productive outcome, you’ll create a nice following.

Idea 4: Get The Word Out

If no one knows about your blog, then no one reads your blog. An easy way to start promoting your blog is with your friends and family. Get them to read it to find errors and offer suggestions. For them that may be enough to get them to read it to try to tell you all you’re doing wrong. Its better coming from them than strangers. Then use social media like Twitter and a Facebook Fan page to further spread your great articles. Install some SEO plugins to help optimize your content for Google too. Include tags in your posts to help with indexing. Lastly, sign up with directory sites like Digg and StumbleUpon and submit your articles to them.

Idea 5: End With A Call To Action

Sometimes finishing your post is harder than starting. How to leave or Segway from your final points without sounding redundant. Try ending off with asking your readers to perform an action. Encourage them to comment their own points, a controversial rebuttal, a quick assignment that they can perform on their own for their own gains or improvement. This is also a great place to plug your service to help wrap up all that you talked about while offering your reader a time-saving deal or money-saving opportunity.