how to begin a blog post - copify

An expert guide on how to begin a blog post

Are you tired of reading this blog post already?

Hopefully not, though a surprisingly large number of people decide to switch off from a post, after having barely read the introduction.

The reason for this is that the introductions are poorly structured and don’t offer a compelling reason to keep reading. Since you’re here, there’s a good chance you’ve suffered this problem in your own writing and are fed up with people giving your posts the cold shoulder.

Well, it’s time to change all that, and give you a rundown of exactly how to begin a blog post.

What goes into a great blog post introduction?

how to begin a blog post - copifyRegardless of the exact style you write in or what purpose your post has, there are 3 key elements you should look to include in any great introduction. These are:

1. The hook

The hook is usually just one line or shorter, and hooks the reader’s attention, giving them a desire to read the next line.

2. The transition

The transition is what ties the hook into the rest of the post, and leads the reader nicely onto the purpose of why you are writing.

3. The thesis

The thesis is where you summarise the topic that you have decided to discuss, and then give the reader a reason to keep reading.

7 top suggestions on how to start a blog post

When you see it like that, writing a great blog introduction may seem simple and straightforward. Well, most of the time it’s not.

Being able to write great introductions takes time, practice and creativity. But luckily, there are a number of different methods you can use to help give you a helping hand in the right direction.

Here are 7 such methods you can use to start writing killer introductions.

1. Ask a thought-provoking question

If ever you are asked a direct question in any format, you can’t help but think of an answer. This rule applies to the written word, which makes it a useful tool in the copywriter’s toolbox.

Simply think of a relevant yet interesting question and use it to start your post. The reader will immediately wonder why you thought to ask such a question and be hooked into reading more.

Sometimes the easiest way is to get the bulk of your article down first and craft your intro last. That way you can begin with an attention-grabbing question based on a reference you make later in your post.

how to begin a blog post 3 - copify2. Share a shocking fact

Whenever you pick up a newspaper, what’s the first thing you’ll see on the cover? That’s right, some sort of shocking headline.

That’s because the shock factor causes people to stop and actually want to pick up and read the paper. You can apply the same logic by starting your post with a relevant but surprising statistic regarding the issue you wish to discuss in your post.

3. Write against the status quo

Being different is a great way to get noticed, and is a way you can hook the reader’s attention. If you begin your blog post with a crazy thought or unconventional idea you believe in, then the reader may be interested enough to hear the rest of your argument.

Obviously, you don’t want to start writing outrageous statements just for the sake of it, but if relevant don’t be afraid of holding back or offering a different perspective from the status quo.

4. Tell the reader something personal

Your hook is essentially you trying to build an immediate connection between you and the reader. Sharing with them something personal about yourself is a way to immediately give life and personality to your words.

A statement like “I was recently told I have 3 weeks to live”, is a powerful way to immediately set the tone and become intimate with the writer. As you can imagine, this tactic should only be used in certain circumstances, but don’t worry, you don’t always have to be quite that personal.

5. Start with a question somebody asked you

If you are an authority in your niche with any kind of readership, you could use questions you receive as a means to start your posts. It quickly demonstrates that people are asking you for advice and that what you’re saying is worth listening to.

Better yet, you want to try and use thought-provoking or insightful questions to best hook their attention. For example, “Somebody recently asked me, do you think it’s worth mortgaging my house to buy Bitcoin?” It introduces the topic and leads the post off with an interesting topic of discussion. If you’re stuck for other questions to raise around your field of expertise, Answer The Public is a good resource.

6. Share a story of your successhow to begin a blog post 2 - copify

If people are reading your post because the title suggests you will answer a question they desperately need an answer to, then why not start with a success story? It immediately validates that you know what you are talking about, and can genuinely empathise with the issue they are facing.

This is similar to the point above and is best used when you do have some sort of readership or are imparting some form of expertise that you have built up over time. Better yet, it works well for readers who already know who you are, as well as those who’ve never heard of you before.

7. Get to the point

This technique applies to almost all aspects of your writing, and it is especially useful to do in your introductions. Rather than lead into a long and tedious description as to why you are writing about the topic, just tell them.

It doesn’t need to be as basic as “here is your problem, and here’s what you should do”, but should be along those lines in terms of honesty and forthrightness. People will appreciate the genuine help, without all the waffle.

Rounding off

Hopefully, now, you have a much firmer understanding of how to begin a blog post. The great thing about writing is that everyone and anyone has the ability to get better and improve their abilities.

Taking some time to understand the science behind a great introduction will help you with all future posts you write. If you’re stuck for inspiration, just pick one of the 7 suggestions above and get writing.

After some trial and error, you will quickly identify a few techniques that work best for you. Then, once you hit publish, just sit back and watch your fan base flourish.

Got any other tips on how to begin a blog post? Share them in the comments below.

 

Main image credit: Derrick Austinson
Image credits: David BleasdaleBenson Kuaimanka

Read More

how to get paid for blogging - Copify

How can you get paid for blogging?

You’ve seen it in newspapers, you’ve read about it on social media, and you may even know someone who does it. But exactly how can you get paid for blogging, and is it worth it?

The short answer is – yes, it’s definitely worth it! Providing you enjoy writing and have a strong work ethic, there’s no reason why you too can’t launch your own blog and make a bit of cash while doing something you enjoy.

One study found that fashion bloggers earn a four-figure sum every year on average, while some blogs have been so wildly successful they’ve gone on to be sold to larger companies for millions of pounds.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the major ways you too can become a professional blogger and make money in the process.

Take the plunge and set up a blog

It might seem obvious, but in a lot of ways it’s the most difficult part of the process.

how can you get paid for blogging - CopifyFor many people, the main stumbling block to setting up a blog is a lack of confidence. But there are ways around this problem.

At first, you don’t have to tell anyone you know in real life that you’re blogging. While it may be comforting to have your friends, colleagues and family on side, and while doing that may provide an instant pool of engagement and enthusiastic sharing to boost your view count, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t use a pseudonym when you start out. Plenty of successful bloggers have done this, so there’s nothing to fear.

Secondly, blogging is largely a risk-free endeavour. Providing you steer clear of controversial topics, don’t quit your day job, and don’t pin all of your hopes on becoming the next Tim Ferriss, there’s no way it can really go wrong. You’ll never know until you try!

To get started, there are plenty of places you can go online to set up your very first blog. WordPress and Blogger are classic popular options, while newer sites like Medium are ideal for those planning to write long-form pieces.

Offer sponsored posts

If you’ve managed to set up your blog, congratulations. That’s the hardest part out of the way!

The second step for budding bloggers is to invest time and effort in growing your audience and becoming a respected voice in your niche.

The reason for doing this is that it’s difficult to become a paid blogger without having an audience which trusts you and reads your output religiously. Making money through blogging works a lot like traditional advertising: any publication can only make cash by selling space of some kind to those who want to reach that publication’s readers, and so you need to have some popularity.

Some bloggers place old-fashioned web adverts – such as banner adverts – on their sites to make money. Depending on what platform you use, you can often do this through systems like Google Adsense.

But the rise of adblockers mean this is more and more difficult to sustain. The main way bloggers make money now is through affiliate marketing (peppering links to products in their texts, and getting a cut if the reader buys) or sponsored posts (where a company or organisation will work with the blogger to produce a paid piece of content).how can you get paid for blogging - Copify

Often, the blogger will receive a free sample of a product or service related to their niche, and review it on their blog – flagging, of course, that they were paid to write the article.

You don’t necessarily need a large audience or a high volume of posts to find sponsored post opportunities. All you need is a committed audience.

For example, say Blogger A posts three times a week, has a total audience of 100,000, but only 1,000 of them read each post until the end. Blogger B, meanwhile, has a total audience of 5,000, and almost all of them read every word of the blogger’s single weekly post.

Blogger B is a more attractive choice for many advertisers because they know that their audience trusts the content provider deeply and will believe what they have to say. This, in turn, means the advertiser is likely to have more success with the product or service they decide to promote.

Blog for others

If the thought of setting up your own website and achieving wild success in the blogosphere all sounds like too much, that doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the blogging revolution.

Instead of going it alone, you can simply write blogs for other people. Many business leaders are savvy when it comes to commerce but often find that writing content for their sites isn’t something they have the time or energy to do.

For that reason, they’re happy to outsource the job to a strong writer with good business nous. Some bloggers, such as Carol Tice, even manage to blog both for others and for themselves!

There are plenty of options if you’re looking to get paid to blog on behalf of someone else. First of all, you can go all-in and launch your own full-service copywriting business, learn how to brand yourself, and pitch to big-name clients.

How can you get paid for bloggingTo do this, you’ll need to have a killer portfolio, ideally with some experience on it, and you’ll also need to practice your pitching skills.

Other options include working with content creation platforms such as Copify, where there’s a near-constant stream of jobs you can pick up at a time that suits you. Providing you’re an excellent writer and you can work to deadlines, this is a great way to get involved with copywriting.

Of course, one potential downside to ghostwriting is that you don’t always get the credit for your work, and a client’s name will often go on the top of the article instead of your own.

But if you’re in this business to earn a living and sustain yourself, it’s a fantastic way to bring in some cash while also working on other projects to get bylines. It’s a win-win situation!

 

Main image credit: http://401kcalculator.org
Image credits: DVIDSHUBSandCrestSEO, Alena Vinokurova/Strelka Institute

Read More

Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

6 freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Becoming a full-time freelance writer is proving to be an increasingly popular career choice for people all around the globe and, at least from the outside, it can look like a pretty cosy job to have. But, in reality, many people fail to succeed or give up along the way because of the difficulty in finding freelance writing opportunities for beginners.

With so much competition for work, it can be difficult to make yourself stand out and to secure clients that are willing to pay you what you know yourself to be worth. Well, the good thing is that plenty of people do succeed and that there is an abundance of opportunities available for budding freelancers looking to gain greater independence and pursue their passions. To overcome those initial first steps and to get your career off to a strong start, here are 6 of the best ways to find freelance writing opportunities as a beginner.

1. Guest post

There’s a reason that guest posting appears first on this list and it’s certainly not because it will start paying your bills from the outset. In actual fact, guest posting is something that you should actively seek and be willing to do for free – even when you’ve ‘made it’ as a full-time writer.

Though it doesn’t bring in money straight away, it offers you the chance to hone your skills as a writer and to get your name and work out in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. In turn, being a popular guest writer gives you more things to add to your portfolio and allows you to reach more potential clients than you can in other ways.

2. Speak to friends and relatives

Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Unless your inner circle of friends work for major publications, it’s unlikely they will land you the dream writing job you desire. However, you may be able to pick up some smaller pieces of work to keep you going. Also, by letting everyone know that you are looking for writing work, they can recommend you to their friends and anyone they feel might need your services.

At the start, try and be open-minded and take on even minor writing roles, such as freshening up someone’s CV or a covering letter for a job they are applying for.

3. Join a copywriting service

Many businesses want to find top quality copywriters but don’t have the time or patience to post endless job requirements or sift through resumes. In turn, they use popular copywriting services like Copify.

To join, you don’t necessarily need the greatest amount of experience, but you do need to pass some test articles to make sure your writing skills are to the right standard. If you do get accepted, you get the chance to write about a wide number of topics that excite you and give you a breadth of real-world copywriting experience.

4. Join job boards and freelance marketplaces

Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Another popular route for businesses to find copywriters is by posting job listings on job boards or in freelance marketplaces.

In recent years these have become quite overcrowded and it can be hard to make yourself stand out. But, if you’re willing to work for low amounts to start and to then build up reviews, they may prove a great way to find opportunities that are available and find long-term clients.

Here are some places to get started:

Upwork
Freelancer
Guru
Blogging Pro
All Freelance Writing
Problogger
Student Gems

Note that many of these services aren’t free or may require you to pay a monthly subscription to apply to any more than just a few postings each month.

5. The freelancing community

To be successful from the outset, you need to become a part of the freelancing community. For starters, there is a wealth of information available helping you to become a better writer. Beyond that, it’s a great way to find new and intriguing ways to find jobs and to even have work referred to you.

Say, for example, you build great relations with a writer who is in the marketing industry who receives a request from a client to produce some work relating to health and fitness. If they really have no idea on the topic but know that you do, or if they are flooded with jobs, it is likely they could refer your services instead.

6. Cold pitching

Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Of course, the ideal freelance writing opportunity for beginners is getting your own long-term clients on board. Finding clients that have a need for a writer is one of the hardest parts and that’s why many turn to jobs boards. But to really exploit all opportunities, you should start cold pitching potential clients.

Cold pitching is by no means easy and most people simply give up after sending out 1,000 emails to various businesses and not getting any feedback in return. The problem isn’t that businesses aren’t looking for writers, the problem lies in how writers choose to approach them. Here are some rules to follow:

  • Don’t send out a mass blanket email to as many email addresses as you can get your hands on. Instead, send emails only targeted to businesses that actually centre around your chosen topic.
  • Don’t send the same email to all of your chosen businesses. An email that has simply been copied and pasted is easy to spot and will rarely get a response; instead, make each email personalised in some way.
  • Don’t go straight in for the sell. In your first email, try to gauge their interest and highlight what you offer and why it could benefit them specifically.
  • Don’t pitch the wrong stuff. Make sure you scan their website to check out what kind of content they publish, see if they have writer guidelines and how they like submissions to be made. Many websites and publications also post calls for submissions on their blog and social media profiles so be sure to follow them – even if just to familiarise yourself with their content and tone of voice.

Cold pitching will take effort and will require you to be patient and not let the “no’s” get to you. However, have a strategy to make it easier. Decide how many and what publications you are going to target over a specific time period and with what ideas to make it easier to track. You’ll also know which ones to follow up on if you haven’t heard back.

Never underestimate the importance of planning and perseverance

As stated throughout this article, finding the ideal freelance writing opportunities for beginners is not an easy process nor is it something that can be achieved overnight. Instead, invest time into planning out a few strategic avenues, focus on achieving small goals and set yourself regular deadlines. Over time, you should start to see results, and if not, then employ more tactics and techniques, such as building one-to-one conversations with key influencers and developing a skill or knowledge in a niche area of copywriting, until you get the results you need.

 

Main image credit: Ritesh Nayak
Image credits: David Swiftwww.Pixel.la Free Stock PhotosAlena Vinokurova/Strelka Institute

Read More

10 best blogs for writers - Copify

10 best blogs for writers

If you’ve found yourself on this page, the chances are that you’ve done a Google search to try and find the best blogs for writers. You’ll have already noticed how many of them there are out there, and you’re probably eager to narrow it down to the ones that will actually help you.

It’s not as simple as just clicking on the results that the search engine comes up with. Although these might rank highly, many of them will be unengaging or poorly executed, and therefore of little assistance to aspiring writers like yourself.

But there are some real gems out there for those on the hunt for something that will actually be helpful, filled with witty and informative commentary, invaluable tips and tricks, and plenty of useful content.

Whether you’re a freelance writer who wants to improve your copywriting style or an aspiring novelist looking to enhance your creative writing pursuits, our selection contains a range of writing blogs to enable you to brush up on your techniques, learn from others, keep up with the latest trends, and ensure that everything you produce captivates its audience and keeps them reading.

If you want to know where to find these elusive blogs, these are the places we suggest you look…

10 best blogs for writers - Copify

1. Grammarly

You might have seen ads for Grammarly pop up on your Facebook and dismissed them as you do most things that seem too good to be true, but this is a beautifully presented and engaging blog that delivers exactly what it promises to. As well as offering an online proofreading tool that’s utterly invaluable to aspiring writers, Grammarly’s informative blog is easy to use, nicely laid out, and provides a fantastic mix of content, from the more serious to light-hearted offerings that will have you chuckling away to yourself.

2. The Creative Penn

If you want advice, then it’s always best to approach the experts, so who better to learn from than a New York Times bestselling independent author like Joanna Penn? Creator of numerous non-fiction works, she has sold over 500,000 copies of her titles and shares her experiences and insights on her brilliant blog. Mixing standard written content with frequent podcasts, she provides a window into the world of independent publishing, one that is filled to the brim with practical tips and tricks to help you improve your own offerings.

3. Jane Friedman

It’s fair to say that another professional guaranteed to know their stuff is a publisher, and Jane Friedman has decades of experience in the industry. Formerly employed by Writer’s Digest, she really does know what she’s talking about, and she happily shares her know-how on her blog. Filled with useful, instructive content especially aimed at aspiring writers, a read through her archives is enough to outfit the uninitiated with plenty of insider knowledge to help them get ahead of the game.

10 best blogs for writers - Copify

4. Daily Writing Tips

Daily Writing Tips does exactly what it says on the tin, which is why we love it so much. Free of gimmicks or get-rich-quick schemes, it provides plenty of practical advice to writers, to assist in improving their spelling, grammar, and the overall quality of their content. For anyone who’s ever wondered whether to use a colon or a semicolon, speech marks or quotations, a daily skim read of this blog will soon ensure that this is a thing of the past, helping you to hone your talents until your punctuation is utter perfection, and your writing skills are quite simply superb.

5. The Writers’ Academy

Hosted by Penguin Random House, the Writer’s Academy is another blog that we suggest you check out. Overflowing with great articles, it offers everything from writing prompts to competitions, instructive content, and more. It makes for some pretty interesting and educational reading, so take a look and see what you think.

6. The Book Designer

This one is a little different to the blogs we’ve looked at so far. Although it still has lots of really useful articles, The Book Designer focuses less on the actual writing and publishing aspect of things and more on how to physically put a book together. With exhaustive content covering everything from book and cover design to printing, production, and more, it makes for incredibly informative reading for those who want to go down the DIY route.

7. Well-Storied

This is a blog that we really do love, because it’s fresh, fast growing, and unlike anything else that’s out there. Created by Kristen Kieffer, Well-Storied offers a superb expose on how not to write a novel, drawing from its host’s past failures to paint a picture of the many common mistakes you ought to avoid when you’re trying to get published.10 best blogs for writers - Copify

8. Goins, Writer

One of the most celebrated writing bloggers on the internet is the inimitable Jeff Goins, and if you decide to take a look at his blog, you’ll soon see why. Offering lots of fantastic resources for those who hope to turn their passion for the written word into serious long-term employment, his love of his subject is evident in every piece of content he produces. Utilising a storybook style of writing, he has some truly invaluable tips for those in need of a little inspiration.

9. Copyblogger

This is another one that deviates from the norm. Aimed specifically at teaching writers how to produce content for marketing and SEO purposes, Copyblogger is uniquely well suited to the many who make their living through writing for online publications. Even those whose focus is creative writing could still have plenty to learn from it and will find it filled with fascinating features including interviews with bestselling authors.

10. The Write Life

We round out our 10 best blogs for writers with this final entry: The Write Life. The perfect place for those in the industry to create, connect, and earn some extra profit, it is envisioned as a portal where writers can engage with each other and learn how to make their first forays into the world of professional authorship, whether through fiction or copywriting. Taking a simple and straightforward approach to achieving this, it still manages to offer visitors plenty of entertaining reading materials, whilst all the while educating them on how to make their living as a writer.10 best blogs for writers - Copify

Do you have any other blogs to recommend amongst the best blogs for writers? Drop a comment below. And if you liked this blog post, why not take a look over some of our other posts to see what useful content you can find right here on the Copify blog.

 

Main image credit: Fredrik Rubensson
Image credits: Shanna SJane FriedmanWell-StoriedThe Write Life

Read More