10 Tips for Writing Great Online Content

Writing for an online audience can be tricky. When adjusting from traditional forms of writing to content creation and blogging, there are quite a few new rules to follow and goals to aim for. Below, find a list of ten important tips to ensure you are creating readable, interesting content. Many of these were inspired by information from Hubspot Academy’s course on Business Blogging.

  1. Don’t forget about the title. Keep it short and strong. Make sure to draw in your reader with a promise or interesting premise.

2. Answer questions. Write content that educates your audience on their interests and helps improve their skills. This way, people will come to your content on their own.

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3. Don’t write about your own life, write with your audience and industry in mind. Make sure your article will be about something your audience is truly going to care about or need to improve a certain skill.

4. Small sentences and paragraphs. Don’t confuse your audience with lengthy information.

5. Don’t try to sound smarter than you are. Use words you’re comfortable with, not unnecessary jargon and heightened vocabulary. Contractions are okay!

6. Write conversationally. Utilize humor and personality to draw your reader in and create and connection.

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7. Write your introduction and conclusion last. Make sure that you have structured your main ideas before perfecting your piece.

8. Make sure to have a catchy introduction that draws in your reader with a funny anecdote or compelling promise.

9. Use strong language. No passive voice, speak directly to your reader.

10. Scissors> Pen. Edit closely to ensure that your main idea remains the focus. Don’t include any unnecessary words or information.

What other rules do you follow when writing or creating other online content? Let me know in the comments.

Taking the Unconventional Road to Your Career

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know” recently. Job advice from friends and family quite frequently comes in the form of cliches and outdated wisdom. But there is definitely a lot of truth in the power of networking, and I have come to realize that every social setting can be a chance to make connections. Looking at the world around me in a new way helps with the job search in a multitude of ways. I’ve found that the following practices helped me find professional development and leads in unfamiliar places:

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Do it Yourself:

Create your own job–start a blog, write content for others, help online companies with their content marketing efforts, and more. Have a talent for jewelry making, drawing, or writing? Try to capitalize on these skills, selling your finished work. Working for yourself provides you with an immense amount of freedom and capability. I have dipped into this role as the creator of this blog, and recently have submitted pieces to other publications.

Odd Jobs:

Tutoring, pet sitting, babysitting–all of these can be great ways in which to make money. I’ve even recently found work teaching small knitting classes.

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Internet Resources:

I have found UpWork to be a great resource in finding small writing projects. I am currently working on writing articles about beauty products thanks to a role I found here. All of this work is paid, and allows you to build your portfolio. Upwork is a site where business owners can post temporary jobs–admin work, tech work, blogging and content writing jobs tend to be more frequently seen here.

Of course, the internet is also great for looking for full time work. Turn to Linkedin, Indeed, or smaller, more specific job search websites such as Angellist, which is more prominently focused on start-ups. Make sure to be continuously active on these sites, maintaining connections and posting content that signals your skills and helps get your name out. I frequently repost blog content related to professional development on my Linkedin.

Reach out to anyone and everyone

I have found connections at a bar, book clubs, through friends and professors and family–everywhere. Don’t be afraid to ask and to put out your interests.

Study Up

Don’t stop learning and developing your skills after graduation. There are many ways to strengthen your resume through courses and certifications. I have been learning about content marketing through Hubspot Academy, which offers certificate courses entirely for free. Others include Google Analytics courses, Business Blogging, and more. Also–don’t forget to turn to your local library–many offer career resources, or, at least a multitude of helpful books on skill development and job search. My local YMCA, as well, currently is offering a job search speaker series.

Counselors

I have turned to Career Services at my University in order to improve my resume, find connections, and consider my career options. These resources are great, and if you no longer are nearby your college, consider finding a professional career counselor, as well.

Do you have any other career search advice? Let me know in the comments.

Want to Put your Writing Skills to Use? Learn About Content Marketing

It’s a sad misconception that humanities majors are doomed to a life of un- and underemployment. The skills learned in such degrees are highly valuable in the workplace, where clear and persuasive writing and communication are key. However, the world is changing rapidly, and there are technical and “hard” skills you can use to back up your degree in English, History, or any of the other social sciences.

One such skill is “Content Marketing”. Content Marketing refers to the use of written or visual content to attract potential customers and point them towards services that they will then pay for. Writers and editors with skills and experience in content marketing are much more likely to be hired in jobs where blogging and online content is used as a key tool to boost sales and following.

I recently completed Hubspot Academy’s online certification course in content marketing, which I was then able to advertise on Linkedin and on my resume, making my background stronger to potential employers. In this course, I completed a number of video modules, practical activities, and passed a comprehensive test. I improved my knowledge in content marketing as a means to not only boost my resume, but improve my own blog presence, as well.

Some of the most important skills I learned in this course include:

Know your Audience:

Hubspot’s course suggests compiling “buyer personas,” or fictional representations of the type of customer you are looking to attract. I thought about the type of viewer I am looking to attract on this blog, which is mainly college graduates looking to gain fill-time employment. It is important to research what this person may be interested in and to maintain connections with your real-life followers, as well. Knowing your audience is essential in gaining followers and attracting people with the right content.

Stay Organized:

This course helped me create a detailed calendar in which to organize when, where, and what content to post. It also made me think more clearly about the reason why I am posting content, and the ideal outcome I am looking for in posting. It also helped me discover new, creative ways to think of blog post ideas, and to think carefully about when to post them.

Be Social:

I learned that it is important to advertise your content on social media channels, and that these should all be personalized to the particular website. I also learned about the importance of guest blogging, and how maintaining connections with other influencers can help you to build up a following.

Learning these and other skills puts you in a place above your other humanities-major peers when it comes to looking for a writing position. Good luck with the job search!

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