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Ever wondered what to write about on a blog? We reveal our top tips…

Wondering what to write about on a blog is one of the trickiest conundrums for new blog owners. What’s more, content writing and your choice of topics is certainly an important consideration. In this article, we delve into the approaches that you can take to successfully plan your blog content.

Assess your audience

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Perhaps your blog is new or perhaps it has been in progress for a while and you are looking to grow its follower base and engagement with a well-defined content strategy. The question that you must ask yourself is, who exactly is your audience? For many would-be bloggers, their blog space starts almost by accident as a place to share thoughts, ideas and passions.

As the blog grows, it becomes important to have a theme and a focus so that your audience knows exactly what they are coming to you for, and what your ‘offer is’. The Content Strategist has a number of useful ways to measure your audience. Joost De Valk, the creator of Yoast, suggests using a plug-in to make the activity as automated and easy as possible. Measurement plug-ins can assess metrics such as inbound links, retweets and social media shares, as well as online mentions and comments to give you a starting baseline and then ongoing reports to track your progress. Other tactics include adding a ‘contact us’ blog prompt to encourage engagement.

Know what you want to achieve

Once you know who your audience is, you can begin to build up a reader profile and then get a clear picture of what they will want to read about on your blog. Set yourself measurable objectives, using your analytics to help you to pinpoint some achievable goals. The Daily Femme has some good tips to help you with this step.

Create your content plan

Now comes the fun bit. Start to really drill down into the type of content that your readers will appreciate from you and create a detailed content plan. Look at other bloggers who operate in a similar space as you for inspiration and see what successful businesses are doing. Not sure where to start? You’ll find plenty of best practices highlighted at the Blog Awards Winners list for 2017.

See how Bella Coco has created her lifestyle-based blog which expertly blends personal and advertorial content with beautiful imagery and inspiring guides. Look at how Sorted Food created Vlogs to completely bring their offer to life in a fresh and immediately impactful way. You’ll find plenty of ideas to help kick-start your own plan.

10 ideas for what to write about on a blog

Obviously, your actual topics will depend on the nature and focus of your blog or business, but there are always ideas that you can use as a starting point regardless of topic or industry. Here are some to get you started:

1. Competitions. Host a competition to encourage traffic, shares and readership to your blog. Reach out to a product provider that aligns with your blog brand for a freebie or purchase a book or something similar that will interest your readers and give it away.

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2. Answer a problem. What issues or problems do your readers have? Offer solutions to them in a targeted blog and you’ll instantly be offering rich, high-value content that will encourage shares and debates in your comments section.

3. Hacks and tips. Everyone wants to know the best ways to make their lives easier, whether that’s a productivity hack that saves time, a recipe that packs in a nutritional punch or a parenting tip that maximizes family time without the big expense. Share your best hacks!

4. Personal stories. A great blog is always authentic and Campaign Monitor analyze this expertly in their article on content credibility. Be authentic and true to your voice and take this one step further by sharing your own view, spin or take on a topic that matters to your audience. Add images, video and other media-rich content that brings your own story to life wherever possible.

5. Share a list of helpful resources. Depending on your blog topic, there will be a mass of online resources, books, publications, groups and other resources that your audience will benefit from learning about. As an added benefit, links to these resources will give you valuable SEO gains!

6. Ask the reader… Ask your readers to share their questions with you and then provide answers. Again, this will show your authenticity and allow you to position yourself as a subject matter expert on your blog focus topic. It’s also a great way to start to engage with your followers.

7. A day in the life of… Share a typical day in your life to show the human connection and to provide an opportunity for beautiful imagery or video content that will earn you further SEO points as well as engagement and readership.

8. The things I wish I’d known when… This is a great retrospective to share with your readers. Relate it to the topic of your blog and, again, enable commenting, sharing and opportunities to engage with you to start a conversation on the topic and to encourage further social sharing.

9. Interviews. Find someone aligned with the blog topic that you can interview and share it with your readers. It will give them a fresh perspective, new insights and additional ideas on the topic that they are already interested in.

10. A challenge. Challenges are very popular on the internet, whether they are about doing press-ups every day, raising a certain amount for charity, de-cluttering 10 items from a wardrobe or cooking a new meal once a week. Set a challenge for your followers and commit to following it too – with photos, videos and daily updates to bring progress to life and to encourage your community to share and come together on the topic.

These are just 10 ideas to get you started, but a great tip for finding dozens of other ideas is to consult Google! For example, OptinMonster – a software provider – has 103 blog ideas to get those creative juices flowing. And if you’ve got great ideas already but don’t know where to start, why not read our article on how to begin a blog post.

Scheduling and promoting your blogs

what to write about on a blog Copify 2Once you’ve created your blog content list, create a schedule that will force you to commit to regular content creation. There are no hard and fast rules here as it depends very much on the nature and purpose of your blog and whether it is commercial or for interest-only. Orbit Media has some good guidance to help you to figure out the optimum frequency for you.

Also, remember to promote your blog so that it is shared as widely as possible – linking to it on your social accounts, using paid promotion where desirable/necessary and repurposing content as required to get it as far out there as possible!

Remember, the more you invest in your blog, the better your returns will be. If you’re a business owner and struggling to find the time or patience to write your own blog content, why not use an affordable blogging service like Copify?

 

Main image credit: Burak Kebapci
Image credits: Startup Stock PhotosFree-PhotosPixabay

 

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What are ghost writers? Does your business need one? And just how do you become one?

With the rise of online marketing and a need for businesses to generate more content than ever, ghost writers are becoming ever more popular. They offer business owners a lot of unique benefits and also serve as a worthwhile career for those performing the work itself. However, this begs the question, what are ghost writers exactly? When might I need to hire a ghost writer? And, how do I become a ghost writer? Let’s take a look.

What exactly is a ghost writer?

what are ghost writers Copify 2Simply put, a ghost writer is somebody who performs written work for someone else but takes none of the credit for it. This means writing any sort of content for any sort of purpose, including both offline and online publishing. The ghost writer would, of course, get paid for the work. However, this is where the motivation for the work would end as no one would know they ever wrote it. Often, the ghost writer would sign some sort of non-disclosure document stating that they could not take credit for the work produced.

Why would you want to hire a ghost writer?

Hiring ghost writers is actually a very common practice. The majority of people are unskilled in the art of writing and, as such, are much better off hiring someone to write their work for them. Even though you would need to pay for the ghost writer to do the work, the benefits of doing so would outweigh the costs. Essentially, the value the hirer gets from the work being completed outweighs any costs they need to pay the ghost writer. Here’s the sort of work a freelance ghost writer would be accustomed to doing:

  • Writing product descriptions for an eCommerce store
  • Writing blog content for a website owner
  • Writing an eBook or physical book for fiction or nonfiction
  • Producing marketing materials for an advertising campaign

How do you find ghost writers?

what are ghost writers Copify 4You can find ghost writers in much the same way you would find any sort of freelance writer. They are usually quite easy to find anywhere online, and you can tailor your search to find the exact sort of copywriter you need. This is important as ghost writers tend to specialise in certain areas and in key industries.

For example, one ghost writer might tailor their services to writing fiction, often for those in the public eye who lack the written skills. On the other hand, another ghost writer will be more adept at writing blog or social media posts for a company who specialises in health and beauty products or another might work within the B2B sector, for example. Here are 3 of the best ways to find ghost writers:

1. Post on a job board such as UpWork, Problogger and Reddit. Once freelance ghost writers find your job, they will send you a proposal and you can discuss rates of pay and their previous work experience.

2. Speak to friends and colleagues. Ghost writers are more common than you might think. As such, you might be surprised to find that people you already know have worked with ghost writers before and can recommend a good one.

3. Use a copywriting service. Here at Copify, we have a number of talented UK, Australian and US-based ghost writers who produce content for businesses all across America. By placing an order with us, you can rest assured that a qualified, professional ghost writer will do you work for you and you won’t need to worry about a lengthy recruitment process.

How much do ghost writers charge?

The amount a ghost writer charges will vary greatly. It depends on a number of factors, in particular:

  • What niche they specialise in
  • How much experience they have
  • The quality of their work
  • How in demand their services are
  • What work it is they are getting paid to do
  • How much research their role requires

The important thing to remember is that you get what you pay for with ghost writers. Cheap writers charging just 1 cent per word are likely not very fluent in English and have little experience in the field. At the same time, a writer charging 10 cents or more per word might seem ludicrously expensive.

However, you could find that the work by the more expensive writer will generate 10 times more sales and more revenue than the cheap writer. So it all depends on what you require and what your budget suits.

How do you become a ghost writer?

what are ghost writers Copify 5Perhaps you like the sound of becoming a ghost writer yourself? With the advent of the internet, it has never been easier.

30 years ago, becoming a ghost writer was limited to a select few qualified writers who would have found it very difficult to source work from clients. Nowadays, becoming a ghost writer is no different to becoming a professional writer, though there are a number of routes you can take.

Here are a few key steps you’ll need to follow:

1. Create a portfolio of work. It is advisable that you create some sort of website that will allow you to showcase the quality of your work. Find out more here.

2. Decide on your niche. It is not worthwhile being a “Jack of all trades”. Instead, becoming a successful ghost writer means deciding on exactly what sort of things you want to write about and then specialising in that field

3. Build your experience and showcase it. If you don’t have any examples of work you have done before, then draw up some content and place it on your site for potential clients to see.

4. Find your first clients. As mentioned, there are a number of ways to find ghost writers, so there just as many ways to find work. Get started by speaking to friends, family and anyone else who you think might be able to suggest you some work. Then get to work searching through job boards.

5. Sign up to Copify. If you are a talented writer and are looking to improve your skills further and earn more money now, then you might be a good fit to become a Copify writer. Click here to find out more.

 

Main image credit: Leah Kelley
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How to find writing jobs without a degree

You might be looking for your first career role or are hoping to change direction and start afresh. Maybe, you’re simply interested in the prospect of writing as an earning but aren’t sure where to start. No matter your reasons, copywriting is an achievable goal for anyone who has a knack for the English word. And although having an English or journalism degree may make breaking into the writing industry a little easier, in the majority of writing careers, it’s definitely not a necessity.

Read on as we take an in-depth look and find out how to find writing jobs without a degree.

How you can have an edge over degree candidates

How to find writing jobs without a degree Copify 3Even though education is always a good thing, it’s really not for everyone. Those who have opted for a different path to university can often bring an edge to the companies that they work for.

Understanding what unique qualities you have and the areas that you would work best in are essential to forging a strong writing career. In pitches, interviews and resumes, you will need to offer extra qualities that make up for the space that a degree would take.

Knowing exactly what you can bring to the table as a writer and having confidence in your specialised areas will outshine a degree.

Even if you will be writing speculative content or personal blog posts, by choosing areas which you are most passionate and knowledgeable about, your content will be more successful. And whilst it’s important to be a versatile writer, by having a specialised area, you will create a stronger identity as a writer and attract the clients that you’d ultimately like to work for.

Prospective employers and clients tend to want experience, real understanding and passion over a degree as this can all translate into engaging, relatable content. Perhaps you’re a copywriter who specialises in luxury beauty, with a USP of creating high-end content that boosts the value of a brand. Or maybe, you specialise in property and are able to write in a manner that relates to the customer and personifies a brand. Have a think about what you’re passionate about and what you’d like to work in.

Experience is everything

Without a degree, clients, potential employers and peers will expect one thing from you. Experience.

The best way to start gaining experience as a writer is to create a blog. This is a low-risk way to start writing, create a tone of voice and explore different writing styles. Whether it’s a blog that explores your current home renovation, movie reviews, industry tips or a personal diary, it’s a great starting point to a career. In many cases, writers will initially advertise writing services on their blog and use it as a portfolio. Even better? If you’re testing the waters and are unsure whether writing is the right career path for you, it will give you a taste of what’s to come without too much commitment.

Another great way to gain experience is by offering guest blog posts to aspirational magazines, blogs or websites. Start by approaching smaller companies who are more likely to say yes. Contact local papers, marketing agencies and retailers and pitch writing for their blogs. If you’re feeling confident, reach out to news outlets such as The Huffington Post or agencies like iCrossing.

Finally, kickstart your career by joining a content mill or bidding site. Not only is this a great way to build a portfolio of varied content experience, but it will give you a feel for how professional freelance writing works.

Refine and polish skills to make sure you’re at the top of your game

How to find writing jobs without a degree Copify 2As a writer, it’s important that you remember that there is always room to grow and more to learn. Gaining experience that is practical and used within writing industries is impressive to potential clients or employers as it results in valuable content.

There are a multitude of free and paid writing resources, online writing courses and prompts that will help you refine and develop your writing skills.

To ensure that your content is on-point, use writing assistants such as Grammarly or Hemingway that will help you become a clearer, more concise writer with perfect grammar.

To refine your creative writing, Daily Page will send you a writing prompt per day, helping to unleash your creativity and think outside the box.

Writers Digest has a great list of prompts too, which will help you to develop essential skills and improve as a writer.

Invest in a website

A website is essential to any writer and is the first thing that any potential clients of employers will want to see. It’s a way to showcase your experience, writing style and the work that you are most proud of.

It will also give you more credibility as a writer, helping you to achieve the salaries or prices that you require.

WordPress and Squarespace are two great platforms for high-standard, professional results. Both offer great portfolio options for writers as well as easy-to-edit and upload blog posts and pages. Squarespace is the best option for those who are striving for stylised, fashion-forward websites, and conveniently, it has minimal upkeep. Achieving the ideal look of your site is also more straightforward with this platform.

Remember, a good website can mean the difference between getting a job or not. It should be something that you invest time and money in, and are mindful of how it will represent you and the work that you plan to do.

Aim for agency work

How to find writing jobs without a degree Copify 4As an entry into the writing industry, agency work will give you the best start possible. It’s a fast-paced environment that juggles multiple and varied clients, usually requiring high-turnarounds of quality content. Essentially, after a year or two of working in an agency environment, you’ll be able to move onto almost any writing career.

Strive high with agencies that are at the forefront of the industry such as The Charles and Avex. Alternatively, do your research and find smaller agencies that are subsets of larger ones. This is a great way to experience leading agency quality that may be more attainable. For example, Tom Ewer, founder of Leaving Work Behind, also has a small content agency known as WordCandy.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to get a writing job without a degree, why not consider applying to Copify?

 

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Want to know how to become a freelance writer with no experience? We’ve got you covered…

When people leave college or university, they so often come up against the age-old problem:

“You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without having a job.”

Luckily, for those who want to be a freelance writer, there are plenty of options to get you around that particular dilemma.

So if you’re out there, wondering how to become a freelance writer with no experience, read on for how to get started.

We’ve written before about the basic steps to starting your own freelance writing business, including becoming self-employed and registering for taxes – not the exciting bit about being a freelance writer. The good news is it doesn’t take long to do, and then you can get down to the fun stuff of actually getting your first client and building your business.

Once you get set up, it’s time to start thinking about exactly what you want. This is your business, so unlike when you work for someone else, you don’t have to slog through boring tasks that you hate, just because your boss has told you to do them. You ARE the boss! And that’s the attraction for so many people – you get to choose.

To niche or not to niche?

how to become a freelance writer with no experience Copify 1If you search for that question, you’ll find a host of conflicting opinions from freelancers who are utterly convinced that having a niche is a must and from those who love to generalise and find that strategy works for them.

And in the end, that’s what it comes down to – what works for you?

You can earn more with some niches (finance, technical writing, legal, medical, etc) and it is easier to market yourself as the ‘go-to specialist in X topic’, but being a generalist gives you a lot of variety. One day you could be writing about hypnotherapy, for example, then the next about digital marketing for engineering companies, and the next about hotels in The Seychelles.

If you don’t have a particular preference for any subjects right away, try writing in a variety of different fields until you find what you like and then niche from there if you want to.

Writing for an agency, like Copify, is a great way to get good experience and find out what you enjoy by trying different topics and types of writing, and working with different clients.

What do you want?

This is your business and you can shape it however you want, so don’t think traditionally and assume you need a ton of money to get started and that you need to rent an office and pay a receptionist from the beginning. You don’t have to do that straightaway, or even at all if you don’t want to.

Work out what suits you. When do you want to work? How many hours a week? Do you need to finish by 3pm so you can pick up the kids, or are you more of a night owl, working best until the late hours?

Where do you want to work and what are the right surroundings for you? You might find you work better in total silence at home, or that having music on helps the words flow. Working in a coffee shop or a co-working space might suit because then you get some background noise and personal interaction.

And here’s a really big decision – what kind of clients do you want to work with? Not every client is your ideal client. Some will give you free reign as long as you include a particular keyword, and some will pick over every sentence you write with a fine toothcomb. Some will pay you quickly and give you amazing feedback and some you will have to drag money out of.

Here’s the thing. Don’t think you have to live with bad clients, because you don’t. If a client doesn’t treat you well, you can simply decide that you won’t work for them any more and move on to a better one.

All of the questions above are individual so we can’t answer them for you, but when you have your ideas together, then you’re ready to work out your pricing and put together your copywriting contract.

What on earth do I charge?

how to become a freelance writer with no experience Copify 4Again, we’ve covered this in our article on getting started as a freelance writer, but basically, you need to work out how many hours you want to do, and then work out how much you need to live, including paying taxes, National Insurance, and having enough to cover holidays and sickness.

Then you get to decide how much you WANT to make.

After that, it’s a case of doing some sums using Brennan Dunne’s handy calculator to figure out how much you need to earn per hour to achieve that.

Two things on pricing

1. You do NOT have to ‘pay your dues’ by writing for less than a penny a word. There is no law in place that says you have to do that at all. If you can go out there with confidence, knowing that you offer value to your clients and can show them samples to prove it, then there’s nothing to stop you charging what you want straight out of the gate.

2. It’s better if you don’t price per hour, but rather per project, because you will get the odd client who will try to beat you down on how long they think writing their copy should take, and also because the more you write, the faster you’ll get, and you don’t want to be in a position where you are penalised for writing fast. Think of the value and the skills you are providing, and charge for that, bearing in mind your minimum hourly rate only as a starting point.

Setting up your copywriting contract

Get a freelance contract sorted and a statement of work, and use it with every client. Yes, even that little one that only wants a 300-word blog post. Why? You need to have a copywriting contact because it protects both you and the client if something goes wrong.

Take a look at our post, where we walk you through how to create a copywriting contract and give you some resources to help you.

Your writer website and that whole ‘lack of experience’ thing

how to become a freelance writer with no experience Copify 5This is where we hit the problem that you don’t have any experience yet, so you can’t talk about your previous clients or show off a polished portfolio. Still, here’s some excellent advice from Carol Tice at Make a Living Writing to get you started with what to put on your new writer website. Carol also has an article with samples of writer websites that convert and get clients so you can get some inspiration.

Carol Tice does advise not to make up some writing samples for your site, but you may want to start a blog instead as you can show off your writing skills there.

For further ‘clips’ as they’re known, do you have anything you can use from previous employment? If your old employer will let you use it, anything you’ve written in terms of ‘how to’ guides, training manuals or posts on their intranet could be used as a writing sample.

Or you could approach your favourite charity and offer to do some writing for them for free, in exchange for using the results in your portfolio.

And when you’re ready to build your portfolio, our post has some advice on how to do that.

Where to find jobs and get that all-important experience

We’ve already talked about Copify, where you can try out a variety of different writing jobs and see what suits you. You’ll get a lot of experience from writing for so many different clients, learn to read client briefs and understand what information you need to do a job, and you could even get some great testimonials from clients that you can then post on your new website for social proof.

There are also some really good job sites out there for freelancers, where prospective clients have to pay to post a job. This tends to weed out the scammers and untrustworthy people who are keen to rip off freelancers.

Here are just a few of the job boards you might use:

  • ProBlogger Jobs
  • FlexJobs
  • BloggingPro Job Board
  • Media Bistro
  • Journalism Jobs

When you apply, read the brief carefully and do what the client asks. So many people don’t that it will put you ahead of the pack. Then make it clear why you’re the best person for the job.

Want some more advice? Check out our blog post on how to find freelance writing jobs in 3 easy steps.

Growing your business

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As you get more experience, change up your clips in your portfolio to better and better ones that really show off the range of what you can do. And keep adding client testimonials to your site as you get them.

Aim to keep attracting better-paying clients and keep raising your rates over time. Don’t be afraid to let go of clients who can no longer afford your new rates. You’re not a charity!

Think about how you can package your offerings to add more value so that you can charge higher prices. Instead of selling one-off blog posts, try this instead:

Offer 3 separate packages where clients sign up for the long term. Package 1 might have 4 blogs per month, package 2 could have 4 blogs per month, with 4 social media posts done for each blog, and package 3 could have 4 blogs per month, 4 social media posts for each blog, with images provided and the HTML done so clients can just paste straight into WordPress and then share without having to do any more work.

Price it carefully so you don’t find yourself doing too much work for less money overall, and you should find you’ll get a steadier income that you can rely on, and you won’t have to keep marketing over and over again.

Keep learning, and think about other skills you can add so you can provide more value and other services to clients, which will, in turn, add more to your bottom line. Think SEO, technical writing, WordPress, social media management, etc.

You’ll eventually get into a routine that works for you, where you’ve planned time to market yourself, do the writing and think about how you’re going to grow your business, and you’ll hopefully find you enjoy this crazy, varied, and fun freelancing life.

 

Main image credit: Porapak Apichodilok
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