Which Kind of Writer Are You? The General Writer Or the Niche Writer?

The biggest fork in the road of freelance writers is whether to become a generalist writer or a specialist writer. Do you want to be a general writer or a specialized one? Spread your wings and write a variety of topics or zoom in on specific markets and become an expert? Be a Jack-of-all-Trades or be a Master of One?

This is a problem for both newbies and oldies. It can be satisfying to the generalist but it can also get boring to the specialist. Most of those oldies with extensive years as a writer most likely started out as a general writer and gradually moved into a specific niche.

I started out a general writer because I just love variety! The word freelance begins with my favorite word – FREE! Free to choose a topic, free to choose a format, free without specializing! The result: My mind was exposed to so many things, I could be a daily winner in Jeopardy!

But the years have grown on me and my needs have changed. It has come to a point to heed the advice of my freelancer friends – from being a general writer, you have to niche down. And so I decided to write about writing to help writers from all walks of life at all stages in their writing lives and give valuable writers’ tips. I’m now considered a specialized writer.

But let’s not get too ahead here. Let’s explore both fields because I actually love both.

The Generalist

Newbies will benefit from being a generalist because of the widest selection of subjects they are free to choose from – it’s the perfect way to gain experience. No restrictions here, the possibilities and opportunities are endless. And if one feels a topic is too hard or isn’t working, stop and move on to another – just keep on writing.

After a few successful posts, the newbie will now build a portfolio that can grow quickly and then decide whether to stick to general writing or dip his hand in niche writing. He can just choose from his portfolio on which one he can be an expert in.

Imagine the fun in doing what you love and getting paid for it. It’s never a working day for the freelance writer! He can hop from one subject to another, he can learn through research topics that were Greek to him, explore uncharted territories and ideas, meet all kinds of people and expand his knowledge horizons. It’s never a dull moment!

The only downside is that sometimes it takes a longer time to do the research on topics especially new ones which you are unfamiliar with. So try not to take on too many at one time or you might miss deadlines. Choose what whets your writing appetite but know your limitations.

The best part of being a generalist freelancer is that among the myriad of subjects he’s written about, there will be one that sticks out because it’s closest to his heart or roused his interest more than the others. It is the best way of finding out which niche to specialize when the urge to move out of being a general writer is too strong.

The Specialist

So now you’re way past being a newbie freelancer and want to move on and become a niche writer. Probably, you’ve been told that it pays more. But since writing is an art, that’s not your first consideration! So what subject will you chose to hone? The choices are so many; it’s like choosing from a Quiznos menu!

The specialist writer loves his field and knows this like that back of his hand from his many researches, thereby branding himself as a sort of “expert specialist writer.” Readers will take notice of him, rely on him for his expertise and take his writing seriously. Editors will consider him as a dependable source of masterful content. And on the plus side, this means a steady flow of work and a substantial source of income. And it doesn’t stop there!

A specialist freelance writer can use this experience to promote himself to more websites of the same niche. His reputation will only get bigger.

So what will it be?

There are those who refuse to become specialist writers saying the road is too narrow. They don’t get the gratifying feeling of being exposed to so many different fields. But those who do specialize contend that since they’re passionate about their field, it only increases their knowledge even more. Ask them anything, they can babble all they want in an engaging manner.

The choice is yours! Again, it’s never about the money. But however you choose to go further into your craft, always remember, writing is satisfying and liberating! This is what is called the writer’s high!

6 Writers’ Tips To Level Up Your Game And Start Writing Like A Pro

Back in college, I used to have a poster that quoted my favorite, Dr. Seuss. It said in loud bold and varying letters: Why FIT in when you were born to STAND OUT!

Fast forward ten years and I am visualizing that same poster and it hit me – how do I stand out now with my writing skills? Last month, WordPress stats showed almost 74 million blogs published! That’s about 2.4 million blogs per day! 71% of that is in English, meaning about 1.7 million English blogs got published per day in December 2016! For the same month, I published a grand total of 20 blogs – drowned out in almost 20 million! And the ocean is getting wider and bigger. So Dr. Seuss, help me stand out the way I was born to stand out!

Luckily, I’ve gotten better and learned a few writers’ tips and tricks here and there. One thing I learned: you need to create stunning, no, sensational blog posts! Let’s start!

  1. Have a big, no, great plan!

Like all great buildings, they started with a great plan – floor plan, structural plan, etc. Same with your post. Ask these questions:

  • Know the reasons why you get visitors to your site.
  • What can you do to attract more readers?
  • How can you make them stay longer and keep coming back to see your new posts?
  • How can you increase blog traffic with proper distribution?

These are just some of the questions you need answered in addition to the usual extensive research to ensure the accuracy of your details.

While architects use tracing paper, writers can use some useful planning apps to keep all those valuable info handy and readily available to you. Apps like Evernote and Google Docs are two of my favorites.

  1. Think of a killer, no, fierce title!

Some writers think of a title (or a current song) first and then go write around it. But the good ones think of the title last and after the final draft has been made. Why? Because it’s difficult to think about a killer or fierce title that will get your audience’s attention.

There is such a thing as the 30 second rule where in you have about 30 seconds to hook your readers and keep them reading until the bottom of the page or next page. Don’t waste those 30 seconds with a boring title wherein they ignore your article after reading your non-killer title.

Use the 70 character limitation set by Google. If it’s too long, they will dismiss it. If it’s too short, it may not have that hooking effect.

See these two titles:

  • Useful Ways To Increase Blog Traffic
  • How My Google+ Traffic Shot Up 850%

Which of the two is more likely to get clicked? Of course, the one that can relate to you. Something that will attract the reader solely because he might just be able to increase his own blog traffic even by half of that.

  1. Write really quality, no, excellent content!

They say Content is King. I say Content is Ace! In poker the highest ranked card is not the King but the Ace. And content should be Ace.

We all love a good story and it’s not in the number of words, it’s always the story and how you tell it. Some people are good at telling a story verbally and you can laugh at his joke because he can deliver it perfectly with perfect timing of the punchline. But not all writers can do that and have the same hilarious effect. All because of poor delivery of great content.

Divide your article into different parts to make use of the H1, H2, etc. headings. This will give the readers a chance to breathe between topics and not see a wall of letters, words and sentences. It’s very straining to the eyes, too.

Now your excellent content might still not go viral. Well, you can add a few call-to-action questions or orders. An example is BuzzFeed’s headline that got 2.2 million views – “Why Are You Single?” It’s a subtle call to action to make single people find out why they are still single.

Tell me if you now know how to start that impeccable blog from the first to third advice.

  1. Be specific, no, precise!

It’s simple enough. Just go straight to the point. I’m talking about having vague and boring words and turning them into specific yet interesting ones. For example:

She arrived home and ate her dinner.

Boring. Now make it more specific:

She tumbled into her apartment, plopped the TV dinner into the microwave, then cuddled into her sofa and watched Seinfeld.

Now apply it onto your website content. Instead of giving out vague activities, write about your clients’ successes and relate it to your audience.

Like saying, “The ‘Corner Bakery’ doubled their revenue after signing up with my program.”

Target what your reader’s needs. So tell them that you will “create a 2-phase business plan that you can use within a month.”

See the specificity?

#5 Use attractive, no, captivating imagery!

If words fail you, use imagery! The human eye is naturally attracted to pictures and moving images as compared to just mere words. Use many easy-to-use image apps available like SlideShare, Flickr and YouTube. For sure the bounce rates will be lower and readers will stay on the page longer.

We can all be proud writers, but alas, sometimes images are mightier than the pen.

#6 End with a bang, no, a roar!

It’s all about the ending, isn’t it? The difference between a good book and a great one sometimes depends on how the story ends. You could build up momentum with the body of your content but if the ending doesn’t go out with a bang, it ends with a whimper. Tsk tsk.

Your summary or conclusion should tell what the whole article is all about. And it should create a loud roaring noise. After that, make sure you give your readers 1.) A call to action and 2.) A chance to voice out their opinions and reactions to your blog post. So provide a comment or feedback form. Who knows, you might be able to improve on your writing or get ideas for your next post. Whatever the reason, it’s a great way for you to interact with your readers, just make sure you reply to each one.

It’s your turn now

These 6 suggestions are writers’ tips that are quite simple but the effects are massive! Remember why you started your blog or your website in the first place – because you have an idea to sell and a solution to offer your readers.

Do you have other suggestions for upping that already A-game of a skill you call writing? Send us your feedback! Let’s discuss it over coffee!

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your 2017 Content

It’s 2017, a new year to do what we all love to do – writing! It can either be the same non-compelling stuff like in the past years or it can move many levels up this year just by simply avoiding these top ten writing mistakes when you do your 2017 content.

So let’s count them down:

#10

Stop repeating the same things

Who likes listening to a broken record? No one! So make sure your article doesn’t dwell on a particular topic repeatedly all throughout. It’s like beating around the bush without actually hitting the target! Once you’ve already expounded in one part of your entire article, there’s no need to say the same things again.

The opposite, is covering too many topics in one article or page. You now drown your audience with too much information. They say too many cooks spoil the broth? Well, some people just might not be able to handle too many topics. So don’t dwell and drown!

#9

Never plagiarize

Copying text because of laziness is a big no-no in our industry. And Google knows this very well. Create your own content; it’s what you do best anyway. You can always put quotes with the proper links if you need to. Just don’t duplicate content from other websites. The consequences are fatal!

#8

Avoid half-baked research

We all know that research is very important when creating and developing our content. Remember, good research produces great content. Half-baked ones produce, well, undercooked content that no one wants to touch.

#7

Avoid having too many errors

There are so many grammarians out there that will get ticked off by the mere sight of a wrong verb or a misplaced modifier. But even the non-stickler for correct grammar will be irritated if there are just too many sentence errors, syntax errors, punctuation errors and typos.

Sometimes, we feel like giving emphasis on a certain word or phrase that we want to use a bold or italic font. It will get annoying if there are just too many bolded words in plain sight. Bold only the truly important ones.

#6

Avoid making lame headlines

This year, put a little more effort in creating a better attention-grabbing, second look-attracting headline. I always try to make my headlines funny or witty or current. Puns are very useful and might just get readers into reading on to the body of your article.

#5

Don’t ignore the numbers

If you hate math, then you’re in luck because that’s not the kind of numbers we are talking about. When writing, we need to know the effects of our efforts in writing, using SEO, promoting, etc. These can all be seen by the use of metrics and analytics. This is a fun type of math because numbers like traffic and bounce rates give us very useful data in knowing what our audience wants and how our audience is reacting to our page. In effect, you can do the appropriate changes to increase traffic and create better content.

#4

Don’t avoid SEO altogether

True writers write for the love of the craft, not for ranking or anything else. But let’s face it, SEO does help so we can’t entirely ignore the role it plays to get our 2017 content found, read and shared. In content marketing, SEO ranks first so keep the search engines buzzing with correct keywords that are not over-stuffed in your story. Good keyword research pays off, you’ll see.

#3

Not doing enough promoting on social platforms

If you rely only on the hands of Lady Luck to lure readers to your website, then you won’t get that many hits. Remember, writing is only half the job. The other half is getting it seen by promoting it on many popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. If it’s a video, use YouTube. If it’s a PowerPoint presentation, try Slideshare. Promote your post on article directories like Hub Pages.

But be wise as to where to promote your blog. Once you know your target audience, you will be more discriminating as to which platform can best help you with your promotion.

#2

Not finding ways to become a better writer

A good writer won’t settle for what he’s already accomplished. Most likely, he will find ways to be a better writer than he was yesterday. He will always read on how to improve his writing style, make his own flair become distinct from the rest in the same niche. If you don’t strive to be unique, your writing will blend in among the millions of writers having the same type of voice as yours. It doesn’t hurt if you add a memorable experience, an embarrassing occasion, a hard lesson learned or a winning moment in your life. This doesn’t make you sound arrogant and aloof to your audience. It just makes you sound more human and relatable.

There are many sources of help out there so bucket-list some writing seminars and workshops this year.

#1

Don’t forget your audience

Knowing who your intended audience will be is very useful when you start typing your first sentence. If you write to an audience who won’t benefit from your article or website, then you’ve already wasted good content. If you write in a style that’s too much for your lowly non-PhD audience, then try to tone down the lofty words a bit. The same message can be conveyed in a way that’s easy to digest. And don’t dumb it down, unless you’re writing a children’s book.

In closing

We’re still in the first 10 days of the new year. There’s plenty of time to level up our game as writers when we do 2017 content. I’ve learned that becoming a good writer is a never-ending journey. It will never be satisfied as long as we have an appetite for good quality and honest-to-goodness content.

All I Want For New Year Is – Better Writing Skills

If you’ve been writing for as long as I have, chances are you’ve heard so many tips and different advice on how to improve your writing, or how to become a compelling and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize worthy writer. You’ve been there, done that a million times. But if you’re like me, who’s never satisfied at her own capabilities and is always hungry for more honing skills and thirsty for more expert advice, then chances are, your Christmas wish and New Year’s resolution involves around becoming a better writer. What then can be considered some writers’ tips 2017? Cheer up, the year has just begun and there’s so much room for improvement.

Time-tested battle-weary tips for years to come

Alas, luck has nothing to do with being a great writer. The famous ones underwent a ton of training, read a millions texts, wrote hundreds of rejected drafts and had several sleepless nights before coming up with a piece worthy of reading. In other words, it was never easy and there are no short cuts, no easy fixes.

Let’s see what we can use as writers’ tips 2017 and maybe words will flow right out of your typing hands sooner than you think.

  1. Read, read then read some more

Reading a whole lot can help our brain pick up pieces of writing styles, vocabulary, bits of new information and other handy data from here and there. You get to read something that was thought-provoking or something you feel attached to or emotional about, some method of phrasing ideas that you find interesting. Read books about writing too. It all adds up to one giant database from which you can create your own style or emulate a favorite author’s way of presenting a story from start to finish. Read the great ones, the great once and the not-so-great ones. They all have lessons you can learn from.

  1. Write, write and then write some more

Like a good basketball player who makes free throws, he can only get better with more basketballs he throws. Same with writing. Just keep writing about anything and everything you can think of. Use different styles. Experiment with different approaches in your introductions, your body and your endings. Eventually, you will have your own distinct way of putting words together. Just never stop writing. Am I sounding like a broken record? Then, follow Dory and just keep writing.

  1. Join clubs and attend workshops

Don’t ever believe that you’re done with seminars. All of us will never be done with some form of workshop or seminar that can keep us updated with trends, information and industry buzz. These writing clubs and workshops are a juicy source of writing experts with far more knowledge that you already have and that you could always use in the future or start following as your own. Always be on the lookout for those that offer new ways of creating better web content or copywriting advice.

  1. Feed your audience’s hunger

If you’re concentrating on a certain niche, create content that’s doing its job – feeding the right audience. Get to know what they want before you churn out content that’s serving the wrong type of readers. We don’t want all those pieces of the content puzzle filled with words going through the wrong sets of eyes. Once you’ve come up with the plan on what to write about to your audience, the rest will be quite easy and you, in effect become an instant mini-expert.

  1. Finally, seek advice from the experts

Get expert help. Even the best writers have their go-to persons to ask for help or simply get a few insights from. And it won’t hurt their egos one tiny bit by asking. We need a constructive criticizer, a content basher, a trusty grammar maniac or a human walking dictionary to catch whatever you might have overlooked.

Conclusion

The New Year has arrived. Let’s all focus our resolutions to one main goal: becoming better writers. The content world needs better writers – in whatever way you perceive the word “better.” This year, take heed of these five useful writers’ tips 2017. And if you’re still having doubts about your writing skills, take the advice of Rainer Maria Rilke who said “Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer.”

So be a good one and cheers to 2017!