Blog Archives

Take this Short-Answer Quiz on Successful Blogging Strategies and Techniques

A blog, an online communication platform, shares with website visitors timely, authoritative information on topics within a particular area of expertise. As the go-to person for your area of expertise, you may have been asked to contribute blog posts, or you may have decided on your own to create a blog. Our previous blog posts presented 6 Quick Tips for Successful Blogs and then 6 More Quick Tips for Successful Blogs. Take this short-answer quiz to test yourself on successful blogging strategies and techniques. The list of questions is followed by sample answers.

Questions

  1. What motivates readers to return to your website?
  2. How frequently should you post?
  3. What type of content interests readers?
  4. How do you ensure that you have enough topics and content for your blog?
  5. When should bloggers remove the tool for readers’ comments?
  6. How should a blog begin?
  7. What devices add context and depth as well as humanize a blog post?
  8. What easy-to-implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques should bloggers employ?
  9. What tone do readers find off-putting?
  10. What is the right balance of information to share/withhold?
  11. What is the goal of each individual blog post?
  12. What is the goal of blog posts collectively?

Read more ›

Share

6 More Quick Tips for Successful Blogs

A blog, an online communication platform, shares with website visitors timely, authoritative information on topics within a particular area of expertise. As the go-to person for your area of expertise, you may have been asked to contribute blog posts, or you may have decided on your own to create a blog. Our previous blog presented 6 Quick Tips for Successful Blogs. Here are 6 more tips to help ensure your success:

 1. Consider weaving in startling but authentic statistics, an illustrative story or example to increase readers’ understanding, or compelling quotes that give a sense of immediacy and humanize your content. For example, an environmental consultant in the United States might weave in statistics or other facts about lengthy project delays and hefty fines or insert quotes about compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), or other federal agencies. Where have you successfully used statistics, stories, examples, or quotes? To which future blog posts could you add those devices? Read more ›

Share

6 Quick Tips for Successful Blogs

A blog, an online communication platform, shares with website visitors timely, authoritative information on topics within a particular area of expertise. As the go-to person for your area of expertise, you may have been asked to contribute blog posts, or you may have decided on your own to create a blog. The following 6 tips will help ensure your success:

1. Give visitors a reason to return to your website. A dynamic website with interesting, substantive content attracts visitors to return regularly. Reward them with frequently updated content. Set a realistic goal to post at least once or twice a month—more often if you will reliably post more frequently. You can increase your frequency as your posting process becomes more efficient. Also, devise a strategy to attract visitors. For example, is your website address in your email signature block, on your business card, and on all of your give-aways? Does your blog link to Linked-In and Twitter? Does your website design lead readers to your blog? Do you encourage customers to visit your website? The Writing Center provides an updated list of blog post topics with our course participants’ materials and mentions our website and blog in our customer communications. How frequently will you post? How do/will potential visitors learn about your blog? Read more ›

Share

21 Steps to Create a Customized Style Guide

How can you help ensure that your work team delivers consistently high-quality blogs and articles, customer email responses, presentations and reports for customers and your management team, white papers, and other documents?

Let’s assume that you have already created document–specific Writers’ Guides to ensure that each document’s content is accurate, appropriate for the context, and substantive. The Guides could include annotated document models, content checklists, dynamic templates and instructions for writers. The dynamic templates could have fields for writers to fill in content or simply annotation/prompts for writers.

Once the Writers’ Guides are in place, it is time to focus on style. For each writing situation, consider creating a customized Style Guide and Glossary for your work team’s quick reference. These codified rules and standards will help to deliver a consistent experience for your readers and the desired perception of professionalism and credibility for your work team and larger organization. These rules and standards will also increase your team’s writing and editing efficiency.

The following list provides suggestions for your customized Style Guide: Read more ›

Share

CLARITY CLINIC—4 More Steps to Eliminate Wordiness

As we continue our Clarity Clinic with 4 More Steps to Eliminate Wordiness, recall that our goal is to write sentences that can be read once and immediately understood.

 1.  Compress phrases with unnecessary words. Many of us remember school assignments requiring us to write 500-word essays, which, as we grew older, became 10-page papers. An unintended consequence of those assignments is our repertoire of wordy phrases:  For example, Regardless of the fact that can be reduced to although; a sufficient number of can become enough; and during the time that can become while. Watch for opportunities to tighten similar wordy phrases that may appear in your own sentences. Read more ›

Share

CLARITY CLINIC—4 Steps to Eliminate Wordiness

Last week’s blog shared this tip from Tim Radford’s “25 Commandments for Journalists”:  No one will complain because you made something too easy to understand.

To write clear, easy-to-understand sentences, journalists as well as business and technical writers must eliminate all unnecessary words.  But, when should this word elimination—this editing—take place?  And how do we eliminate unnecessary words?  However tempting to your internal critic, don’t edit while you write. Don’t interrupt the natural flow of your writing. Instead, write quickly and deliberately. While writing, you can use your computer’s yellow highlighter to mark an imprecise word or a rough sentence. After you have written your email or report, you can return to polish those rough spots. During that editing stage, you can apply the following 4 Steps to Eliminate Wordiness. The goal is sentences that can be read once and immediately understood. Read more ›

Share

12 Tips for Business Holiday Greetings

Holiday messages that relay sincere thanks and gratitude, used effectively, build visibility and relationships with business customers.  Holiday greeting cards are a good way to reconnect with past customers and rekindle sales, maintain and foster current business relationships, and create new ones.  Says Jacqueline Whitmore, author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Individuals (2011), “Cards leave a lasting impression and let others know you’re thinking about them.”

Thus a business can gain enormous value from sending out holiday greetings each year. Customers appreciate a company that has taken the time and effort to select an attractive card, craft a personal message, and then hand-address and mail holiday cards. Colleagues and employees also appreciate messages of thanks and gratitude. Such messages can help motivate staff and maintain a positive workforce.

To send effective holiday greetings, consider these 12 tips gleaned from etiquette gurus:

  1. Start early to order cards and update names and addresses.  Ideally, update contact information ongoing, including land addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers. Read more ›
Share

16 Frequently Asked Business Writing Questions

1.  When are “state” and “federal” capitalized?  State and federal are capitalized when part of a proper name such as the name of a federal agency or act, etc. (for example Federal Reserve Bank but federal, state, and local laws).  The terms federal government and government (referring specifically to the United States government) are now commonly written in small letters.  In government documents, however, and in other types of communications where these terms are intended to have the force of an official name, they are capitalized. 

2.  How are “I,” “me,” and “myself” used?  Use I as a subject [Louise and I submitted our reports yesterday.] and after than in comparisons or with understood verbs [She is a faster typist than I (am).].  Use me as an object of a verb [Please put Lila and me on the expense account.] and as the object of a preposition [David assigned the project to Sam and me.].  Use myself when I has already been used as the subject—intensively [I, myself, will handle this.] or reflexively [I hurt myself playing tennis.]. 

3.  What is the difference between “than” and “then”?  Than is a conjunction used in comparisons; then (which rhymes with when) is an adverb indicating time [He is older than I am.  I will see you at dinner and return your book then.]. Read more ›

Share