Using grammatical metaphors, creating an antilibrary, extracting content from subject matter experts, and more

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Welcome to another Monday. Here are a few things I’d like to share from The Editor’s Desk.

Using grammatical metaphors to say more with less

I’m a fan of being efficient with writing. Keep your writing tight (unless you get paid by the word). Vinh To for The Conversation published a post on using grammatical metaphors to say more with less. Grammatical metaphors involve expressing one type of grammatical form (e.g., verbs) in another form (e.g., nouns). Nominalization involves turning verbs, adverbs, and other grammatical forms into nouns. It offers a number of key benefits, including:

  • Shortening sentences.
  • Clearly showing how one thing causes another
  • Connecting ideas and structuring text
  • Formalizing the tone of your writing

Here is one example of using nominalization to shorten text:

  • Before: When humans cut down forests, land becomes exposed and is easily washed away by heavy rain. 
  • After: Deforestation causes soil erosion.

Creating an antilibrary

I enjoy buying and eventually reading books. I keep all the books I’ve read in a library, and what I haven’t read yet is organized in piles next to my bed – I can’t yet bear shelving books I haven’t read yet. However, there is a lot to be said about doing just that. Anne-Laure Le Cunff at Ness Labs wrote an article about building an antilibrary, which is a collection of unread books. It’s not a new concept, as many learned people have built antilibraries over the years. The goal is often to collect books on topics you want to learn about, and having those books at the ready will make it easier to do so. Some might argue that the Internet contains all known information, but there is something to be said about being able to reach out and actually read a book on something you want to learn about.

If you’re a freelance writer, consider accumulating an antilibrary of books on writing, marketing, and topics in your niche. When you want to do research or get a different perspective on writing, you can just reach out for one of your unread books.

Quote: When an author mentions another book, check the exact reference and make a note of it. By doing so, you will have a list of all the relevant sources for a book when you are done reading it. Then, research this constellation of books. It is unlikely all the sources on the list will seem interesting to you. Sometimes, only a short passage of the source was relevant to the book you just read. But other times, you will discover a book that genuinely piques your curiosity. Add this book to your antilibrary.

Extracting content from subject matter experts

Have you ever interviewed a subject matter expert who is not the greatest at sharing their knowledge with you in a way that makes sense? For various reasons, it can be difficult to do so. I know I’ve been challenged to get answers out of experts when deadlines are looming. Mindy Zissman at MarketingProfs wrote an article about six ways to extract content from subject matter experts. Her tips include:

  • Booking an Abstract Day (a scheduled date and time to ask questions and get content ideas)
  • Reuse one of their presentations
  • Jump on one of their scheduled client calls
  • Do background research before talking to the expert
  • Ask the expert to record their answers
  • Do a writing workshop lunch and learn

Creating a landing page

There is a lot of information on landing pages to be found online. For those who don’t know, a landing page is a page on your website (or on its own) where you offer something interesting and valuable (e.g., white paper, ebook, newsletter) to visitors in exchange for their email address. CJ Chilvers wrote an interesting post on lessons learned about writing landing pages, which are described briefly below:

  • Remember the basics of what the landing page is about
  • Focus on benefits over features
  • Think in 5 second intervals of what is being read
  • Focus on one action you want from the visitor
  • Everything is a trade-off – something you add / leave out will drive visitors away
  • Every page on your website is a landing page
  • Focus on customers first
  • Test everything
  • Be diplomatic with other members of your team

Creating a marketing plan for your small business

A marketing plan will help you to know more about your customers and how to reach them so they business with you. Matt Gladstone at Flocksy wrote a great article on marketing plan tips for small businesses. He suggested the following five steps for creating your own marketing plan:

  • Create and focus on your goals and objectives
  • Define your target audience
  • Do your research
  • Effectively and efficiently execute your plan
  • Plan a timeline and budget

Check out my blog posts on creating a marketing plan:

Thoughts on writing

Morgan Housel, a partner at Collaborative Fund, wrote a few of his thoughts on writing. This one stood out to me:

Good ideas are easy to write, bad ideas are hard. Difficulty is a quality signal, and writer’s block usually indicates more about your ideas than your writing.

What I wrote

Here’s an article I wrote for Digital Privacy News: Saskatchewan Law Against Domestic Violence Raises Privacy Concerns.

What I read

Here’s a great quote I read from Barbara Tuchman (source: The Book, Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Nov. 1980)) on the power of books:

“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.”

What I watched

I’ve just finished watching the first season of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I read the book (and recommend it) many years ago, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I did not remember about the story. I was able to enjoy it with fresh eyes, and I’m looking forward to watching season 2. And with season 3 here, I can catch up and watch it in “real time” instead of binging.

What I listened to

I watched this short clip of an interview between Polina Marinova Pompliano and James Clear on how to optimize your content diet.


Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Money habits for freelance writers, practicing every day, how to show value, and more

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Welcome to another Monday. Here are a few things I’d like to share from The Editor’s Desk.

Money habits for freelance writers

Alexis Grant with The Write Life published an article on money habits that freelance writers should adopt this year. It can be difficult to manage and organize your finances, so this advice should help. Here are some of Alexis’ tips:

  1. Separate your personal and business finances (I throw it all into a box… sort of kidding)
  2. Pay yourself regularly (I try, I try)
  3. Be smart about invoicing (my way is old school Word and Excel, but it works for me)
  4. Track expenses diligently (I learned this the hard way after my first tax return)
  5. Review profit and loss each month (my expenses are pretty fixed, so when I make less or more I know what’s going on)
  6. Create a monthly checklist

Practice to get better, not to get perfect

Austin Kleon wrote a blog post called 100-Day Practice and Suck Less Challenge. The point of practice should be to get better, not necessarily to become perfect. You’re not competing against anyone but yourself. The whole point is to improve yourself and your skills, and feel good about doing it.

How to show your value

Wes Kao wrote an article on how to instantly show your value of your product. Some of these strategies can be applied to showing clients the value of your writing, editing or other services as well. You can demonstrate your value by:

  • Using before and after
  • Showing, not telling
  • Not worrying about your grammar (that would be an issue for a writer)
  • Increasing desire rather than just decreasing fiction
  • Using a be / have / do framework
  • Aiming for “no brainer” status
  • Doing what makes their “eyes light up”

How to write a freelance proposal

Evan Jensen from the Make a Living Writing blog published an article on how to write a freelance proposal. Most writers will have to pitch to get work, or write a cold email to get clients – it’s how I find new clients as well. This article has some great advice on what your proposal should include.

Here’s a great quote:

When a prospect comes to you, this is going to sound terrifying, you try and talk them out of hiring you. You do that by having the “Why conversation,” which has three steps. Here’s what you need to ask:

  • Why do you need this project? What’s the purpose? Basically, you have them convince you they need this content to help them achieve a goal.
  • What’s the timeline? Why not put this off another month, another year? Why is this urgent? You’re looking for projects that are urgent. The tighter the timeline and risk involved if the client doesn’t get this project done, the more you can charge.
  • Why do you want to hire me? List off all the people who undercut you, charge less than you, including writers on fiverr and Upwork. If you believe what you do is good, now is the best time to raise those pricing objections, and they’ll see that you’re worth it. Once you get these questions answered, prepare your proposal and include their answers verbatim.

Setting goals

Elizabeth Grace Saunders at Fast Company published an article on setting goals for 2021. It is understandably difficult to set a goal when a lot of other things are going on around you and your mind is otherwise occupied. She talks about different types of goals to set and their purpose, including:

  • Schedule goals – common tasks that will repeat
  • Process goals – standardized results for achieving specific results
  • Action goals – doing what you say you want to do
  • Stretch goals – those extra goals to make life just a bit better

Five types of editing

I’ve been a copy editor for more than 25 years, and I know quite a bit about different types of editing. Clients tend to confuse the different terms and will ask for copy editing when they really want a structural edit. Sola Kihinde with Craft Your Content write a blog post about five types of editing for creating top quality content (you should also check out the Editors’ Association for their definitions of editing). The five types of editing discussed include:

  • Developmental editing – high-level view of the document
  • Content editing (also known as substantive editing) – reviewing content by section and paragraph
  • Line editing (also known as stylistic editing) – focuses on sentences and word usage
  • Copy editing – checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc.
  • Proofreading – checking the final proof for errors

What I wrote

Here’s an article I wrote for ITPro.comHow to become a data scientist.

What I read

Late in 2020, I read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I’ve read several of his books, so I was eager to read his newest book. This book entertained and angered me at the same time, which is probably the mark of a good book. The writing, story and characters were great. What angered me was the premise. I’m not spoiling anything, as the description is on the back cover – the main character gets to see what she could have done differently in life to deal with her regrets, and find a life that makes her happy. Don’t we all wish we could have a do over?

What I watched

I finished watching the first (and only?) season of The Queen’s Gambit. The story behind how this show finally made it to air is pretty fascinating, and it’s an interesting show.

I also watched the third (and final?) season of Ozark. It’s just so good – so much lying and intrigue. But it looks like it’s not coming back for season 4 – what a shame.

What I listened to

I listened to a great interview with Tim Ferriss on his own podcast, where Guy Raz interviewed him on how he built what he has today. I knew some of what he discussed, but it was fascinating to learn about how he wrote his books and built his podcast.


Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Making time to do your best work, becoming a content machine, writing the best call to action, and more

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Welcome to another Monday. If you’ve been a regular reader, you might have noticed a change in what and when I’m writing. I’ve decided to publish just on Mondays instead of twice a week. I might publish on the occasional Thursday if I write something that I want to stand out. Otherwise, it will be once a week. This will let me provide more information in each blog post. I’ve also changed the format a bit so you can learn more about what I like. Nothing is set in stone, but let’s see how this goes.

Here’s a few things I’d like to share from The Editor’s Desk.

Make time to do your best work

Do Lectures published an article on seven ways to make time to do your best work. Strategies include:

  • Saying no to things that take time away from what you want to do
  • Committing all of your attention to your work
  • Mastering the ability to be patient
  • Finding something that you love doing
  • Getting rid of your ego
  • Identifying your purpose
  • Going for big wins

Here’s a great quote: “To change that you will have to learn how to say ‘No’ to things. Saying ‘No’ will allow you to have more time to do things well. You can’t do everything to the best of your talent. But you can do a few things to your highest ability.”

Becoming a content machine

Luk Smeyers from The Visible Authority published an article on becoming a content machine in just one day per week. He takes a three-step approach to generating and promoting his content. They include:

  1. Identify your content inspiration sources. 
  2. Create a content hub that will centralize all your content efforts.
  3. Set up a system for promoting your content.

He also tells you four things you can start doing tomorrow – I love instructions that include things you can actually do. Those four things are:

  1. Gather insights about your audience. 
  2. Centralize your content.
  3. Collect and assess the data.
  4. Schedule and automate your content production and distribution.

Writing the best call to action

Ann Handley published an article on writing the best call to action. She gives an example from North Carolina’s Currituck County Economic Development home page. The CTA is different, personal, and effective.

Quote: “The most effective copywriting reflects who you are, not just what you sell.

If you want to learn more about calls to action, read my blog post, Begin at the end: The call to action.

How to tackle the big project

Kate McKean, publisher of the Agents & Books newsletter, wrote an article on how to tackle the big project. Here’s some of what she had to say:

  • Read it all the way through one more time. I really feel it necessary to have a good lay of the land before I start a big project, but admittedly this step takes a lot of time and you might not have that time. Still, a read-through will give you an idea of what the most pressing issues are (soggy middle? unconvincing ending? prologue you need to chop off?) so that you can prioritize. This is especially helpful if you haven’t read it through in a long while. If you did it recently, you might not need to do it again.
  • Don’t do the small stuff first. It might be tempting to do your Find > Replace Joe to Joey, but tbh, do that last. You’ll likely just be editing stuff that will be cut after you do the big stuff, so don’t spin your wheels. 
  • Do the big stuff first. Do the biggest thing first. I know that is daunting and you would rather ease into an edit, but you have to take all the furniture out of the room before you replace the floors. (That metaphor works, right? How many metaphors can we use today!!!!) If you know the ending isn’t working, go in and fix the ending, which may mean fixing the beginning. If you feel like the stakes aren’t high enough, go ratchet up those stakes! When you do the big thing first, the rest feels so easy you’ll glide right through it. Also, the big thing usually ripples throughout the whole manuscript, so there’s no point in going in and changing the tense on a section you may just have to cut anyway.
  • Next do the medium stuff. Do you need to change the tense? First person to third? That’s what I consider medium stuff. It can still be pretty big! But after you have most things in the right places, then you can go in and make changes that affect the global template, so to speak. Again, do these after the big moves, even though it’s tempting to do them first because they’re easier to wrap your brain around.
  • Then do the small stuff. I know this seems obvious, or at least simplistic. But I also know that the overwhelm caused by an impeding huge edit can really cloud one’s judgement. Save the little things for last. Name changes. Checking timelines, weather, dates, consistency. These will feel like a piece of cake after the other two steps, so enjoy that relative ease!

The benefits of a morning writing routine

Naomi Pham from Craft Your Craft wrote an article on six profound benefits of a morning writing routine (and how to build one yourself). I’ve toyed with a morning journal and writing notes in the morning but it has not stuck with me yet. I understand the benefits, and the article lays them out very nicely, including:

  • It frees your mind of clutter
  • It helps you become more self-disciplined
  • It can help with your well-being
  • It enables you to take advantage of your best state of mind
  • It will help you avoid willpower depletion
  • It allows you to enjoy distraction-free writing

Getting ideas onto the page

Kayleigh Moore wrote an article about getting ideas out of your head and onto the page. This is a common problem for many writers, as they get stuck in their head and can’t translate their thoughts into the written word. Or they just don’t know where to start writing. Here is what Kayleigh suggests:

  • Identify your motivation – why do you want to write what’s on your mind?
  • Be OK with sharing something that is not perfect
  • Get over the mentality of “Why bother?”

She also provides some steps on executing the process of putting your thoughts on paper.

What I wrote

Here’s an article I wrote for the November/December 2020 Issue of RHB Magazine2020 Taxation Report: Understanding the inequities in the taxation of multi-residential properties.

What I read

I finished reading Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. He is one of my newer favourite authors whose books I plan to continue adding to my bookshelf. It’s a story about a bank robbery gone wrong, which turns into a hostage situation at an apartment viewing. It’s more than that, of course. But to say more would take away the joy of reading and discovering what happens next.

What I watched

I finally got around to watching the movie Tenet. I’m a fan of Christopher Nolan, and this one messes with your mind. It involves moving backward and forward in time, the past is the future, etc.

I also watched the movie Palm Springs. To say anything more than it involves two people who meet at a wedding would be giving away the crux of the movie. I’ll let you discover that nugget for yourself.

What I listened to

Some of the podcasts I listened to this week:


Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Creating a habits scorecard, tips for a better life, and taking a 31-day challenge

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Welcome to the first Monday of 2021. I hope you’re doing well. Here’s a few things I’d like to share with you from The Editor’s Desk.

Creating a Habits Scorecard

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (currently in the to-read pile next to my bed), published an article (it’s an excerpt from the book) on creating a Habits Scorecard. This exercise will help you to discover what habits you should change. He discusses “pointing and calling” your habits so that you become more conscious of them. The Habits Scorecard enables you to list your habits, and rank them as positive, negative or neutral.

Quote from the article: “As you create your Habits Scorecard, there is no need to change anything at first. The goal is to simply notice what is actually going on. Observe your thoughts and actions without judgment or internal criticism. Don’t blame yourself for your faults. Don’t praise yourself for your successes.”

100 tips for a better life

Conor Barnes of ideopunk wrote an article called 100 Tips for a Better Life. Here’s a few that I liked:

  • Establish clear rules about when to throw out old junk. Once clear rules are established, junk will probably cease to be a problem. This is because any rule would be superior to our implicit rules (“keep this broken stereo for five years in case I learn how to fix it”). 
  • When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes. 
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts. They’re easy to learn and you’ll get tasks done faster and easier. 
  • Done is better than perfect. 
  • Exercise is the most important lifestyle intervention you can do. Even the bare minimum (15 minutes a week) has a huge impact. Start small. 
  • Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation. 
  • Things that aren’t your fault can still be your responsibility. 
  • Compliment people more. Many people have trouble thinking of themselves as smart, or pretty, or kind, unless told by someone else. You can help them out. 

Taking the 31-day challenge

Austin Kleon created a template to help you follow a 31-day challenge. Basically, you pick something small and you do it every day. I would like to write something in a journal or notebook every day. I write for other people most of the time, so it would be nice to write something for myself.

Google Docs add-ons

I use Google Docs to write articles and blog posts for some clients because that is what they prefer. I’m OK with it, but I still prefer writing in Word – it’s just what I’m used to doing. However, Google Docs does have its advantages, like being able to share and enable comments with others (this can be a disadvantage as well). Farrah Daniel wrote about Google Docs add-ons that can help to make you more efficient with your writing. The ones that look most useful to me include:

  • GDoc SEO Assistant – it generates relevant SEO suggestions and related keywords based on the keywords you provide
  • i should be writing – it allows you to set a timer or word count to motivate you to write
  • OneLook Thesaurus – find synonyms, related words, adjectives, rhymes, and more

Grammar and editing tools

For those of you who need more help with your grammar and spelling, check out these grammar and editing tools from Write Life. Grammarly seems to have a lot of fans. I don’t use any of these tools, but you might like them.

What I wrote

Here’s something I wrote recently for Business.com7 Most Effective Lead Nurturing Strategies.

What I read in 2020

I track what I read in Goodreads and in a notebook; when I’m done reading, I write two pages about the book. According to the Goodreads annual review, I read 36 books in 2020. Here’s a list of some of my favourites (in no particular order):

What I watched

Over the holidays, I watched a lot of TV shows and movies – actually, I always watch TV shows and movies, it’s a thing I do. Here’s a bit of what I enjoyed watching:

  • Ozark (Season 2)
  • Wonder Woman 1984
  • The Mandalorian (Season 2)
  • The Queen’s Gambit (Season 1)
  • Roald Dahl’s The Witches
  • Writing on the Bathroom Wall

What I listened to

I listen to podcasts while I work. Sometimes I’ll select random podcasts when I’m all caught up on my subscribed episodes. One of my recent favourites was the Jerry Seinfeld episode on The Tim Ferriss Show – I’d recommend subscribing just for that episode. My newest podcasts are Build Your Copywriting Business from Filthy Rich Writer and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! from NPR.


Thanks for reading. Feel free to share it with people you know who you think would enjoy it.

David

Articles versus blogs, using LinkedIn to find leads, and the secrets of successful creators

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Here is what I read this past week.

Writing an article vs. writing a blog post

Carol Tice from Make a Living Writing wrote an article on the differences between writing an article versus writing a blog post. Basically, there used to be a firm dividing line between the two types of content, but the line has blurred as blog posts have become more like articles. It’s worth a read for anyone who is getting into writing either blog posts or articles, and even those writers who have been at it for a while.

Using LinkedIn to get leads

Emily Jacobs was interviewed on Make a Living Writing about how to leverage LinkedIn marketing to get leads. I use LinkedIn regularly, and there are some great tips here, including:

  • Update your profile picture
  • Write a compelling headline 
  • Include a niche-specific description
  • Updates settings for SEO
  • Include all freelance writing gigs

The secrets of successful creators

Josh Spector wrote an ebook called The Secrets of Successful Creators. It includes “256 proven strategies from the world’s most successful creators you can use to produce, promote, and profit from your creations.” The summaries and links to articles and video were originally shared in Josh’s FOR THE INTERESTED newsletter. The ebook is pay what you can and covers the following topics:

  • Audience growth
  • Career
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Newsletter growth
  • Podcasting
  • Productivity
  • Resources
  • Twitter
  • Writing
  • Miscellaneous

This is probably the last blog post for 2020. I hope you have a great 2021. Thanks for reading. If you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Six ways to take notes, how to use a semicolon, and creating an effective landing page

Here’s what I read this past week.

Six great ways to take notes

Mai Duy Linh from Craft Your Content wrote about the six best methods of taking notes. I take notes after reading books, doing interviews with clients, and when I want to get some thoughts down after consuming some great content. Everyone has their own way of taking notes so that they are easy to recall for future use. Here are six different ways to take notes:

  1. Structured online method: This is a traditional type of notation and most people are familiar with it. It’s a simple and quick way to take notes.
    1. Write down each topic: Main idea => Subtopic or key concept => Supporting details.
    2. Record information during class or when reading a textbook.
    3. After finishing the class, check the notes; if necessary, write them down.
  2. Cornell method: This method is ideal for revision. Divide the paper into three parts: 
    1. Cues: Write down the main points of the test or questions that may be included in the test. 
    2. Notes: Write all the ideas in a system.
    3. Summary: Abstract the main idea of ​​the whole lesson.
  3. Mind map: This method gives you a way of thinking about the material by gathering main ideas and sub-ideas when writing an essay or reading books. 
    1. Select a central theme, using a drawing or keyword in the middle of the blank paper.
    2. Choose keywords for main ideas and draw them to the central topic with lines or roots.
    3. Split branches for additional ideas.
    4. Check for gaps and links.
  4. Flow notes: This “unstructured” method involves jotting down the most important parts in whatever way makes most sense to you. 
    1. Write the information in your own words.
    2. Use diagrams and images to represent new ideas.
    3. Connect ideas backward, between topics, and with what you already know.
  5. Structured analysis method: Take notes and analyze them at the same time to save time later.
    1. Divide the page into two parts: Notes and Remarks.
    2. Write notes on the left column.
    3. Adding reviews and analysis to the right column to deepen your knowledge.
  6. Bullet journal: This method is effective for recording work and plans. It’s suitable for those learn with visuals with images.
    1. Create a table of contents.
    2. Create a diary for the current month. Fill in deadlines or events you have this month.
    3. Open the next blank page for journaling today. Write the date, jot down day events, notes for yourself, and work you want to accomplish.
    4. At the end of the day, create a diary for tomorrow and move unfinished tasks into it.

How to use a semicolon correctly

Meghan Moravcik Walbert from LifeHacker wrote about how to use a semicolon correctly. Many people misuse punctuation marks, and semicolons are one of the most poorly understood. You can use a semicolon:

  • To connect two independent clauses in one sentence instead of using a period to make two sentences (Frank had pasta for dinner; his no-carb diet is out the window.)
  • To separate items in a list instead of commas (Once the pandemic ends, I am going to eat baguettes near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; eat some paella on the boulevard in Madrid, Spain; and have some wood oven pizza in Napoli, Italy.)

Create an effective landing page

Matt Maiale and Julian Shapiro from Demand Curve wrote about how to create a more effective landing page. They provided examples of how to write headlines, add hooks, and speak directly to your audience. The first section of their guide discusses the section above the fold (ATF), which included the headers, subheads, and call-to-action buttons. They focused on three steps:

  1. Identify how users get value from your product
  2. Add a hook to get them to keep reading
  3. Speak directly to customer personas

Need help with your writing? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Following a checklist when writing articles, blog posts, and other content

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I’m the type of writer who usually likes to write first and figure out whether I’ve hit all my requirements later. If I missed a keyword or some key points, I’ll work them in somewhere in my rewrite. It’s partially a symptom of needing to get writing projects done quickly when deadlines are looming.

Having an outline and a writing plan are great for being organized before you write. You want to measure twice and cut once, so to speak. A writing checklist can help on the back end as well. Once your writing is done, you can go through your checklist to make sure you’ve done everything you need to do before sending it to the client or publishing it for yourself.

Here’s a checklist of questions you should ask yourself before you consider the writing done. It will work for most types of content. Your perfect checklist may differ, but you can use this one to get you started.

Checklist when reviewing your article, blog post or other copy / content

  • Does the content fulfill the promise of the headline?
  • Is the content:
    • Interesting?
    • Easy to read?
    • Believable?
    • Persuasive?
    • Specific?
    • Concise?
    • Relevant to the reader?
  • Does the content flow smoothly?
  • Does the content include a call to action?

Do you need help with writing your articles, blog posts, and other content? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Getting readers to like you, short marketing tips, and a guide on marketing basics

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Here are a few interesting articles and blog posts I’ve read this past week.

Getting readers to like you right away

Kayleigh Moore wrote a great piece on getting readers to like you within the first 10 seconds of reading your content. She suggests:

  1. Make them laugh. Most people enjoy humorous writing, so being funny can get readers to like you. But make sure it’s your sense of humour. Consider the following ways to inject humour into your writing:
    • Quote other funny people.
    • Make fun of yourself – a little.
    • Aim for dry humour.
  2. Share your flaws. Be honest and vulnerable about the mistakes you’ve made, the challenges you’ve faced, some of your minor fears, etc. It’s not the place to unload your deep issues – unless that’s what you’re trying to achieve.
  3. Spotlight your personal achievements. It’s OK to share some wins you’ve made through hard work and determination. Don’t go around blowing your horn all the time, but no need to be shy when something good happens when you’ve earned it.
  4. Embrace your quirks. Be yourself. We’re all weird in some way. Share the things you like or do or think that are unique to you. People will identify with those things that they do or share with you as well.

Short marketing tips

Josh Spector provides 40 one-sentence marketing tips to help you think differently about how you spread your message. Here are a few of my favourite ones:

  • Marketing is storytelling and the most interesting stories are true.
  • To learn how to capture an audience’s attention, notice how someone captures yours.
  • If you master marketing principles, you don’t need to master marketing tactics because you’ll be able to invent your own.
  • Word of mouth marketing always happens — it’s just not always the words you want.
  • Don’t market on channels you don’t use yourself because you won’t understand why people use them.

Marketing 101

Jamie Wilde from Morning Brew published a guide called Marketing for Beginners: The Best Articles and Expert Resources. It includes insightful case studies, videos, articles, and more that people in the industry use to make them better professionals. It covers the basics (what is marketing?), the concept of brand, basics of consumer behaviour, ethical questions, data in marketing, and more.


Need help with writing marketing copy? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

How to arrange and conduct a successful interview

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Since I write magazine articles and blog posts, I occasionally have to do interviews with business owners and experts. I’m an introvert, so I’m happy to get away with email interviews. But, sometimes it’s better to do a phone or Zoom interview, or there’s no choice but to actually talk to the person.

There are a lot of great books, websites, blogs, etc. with information on conducting interviews. Here are some strategies I’ve followed for conducting a successful interview.

  1. When reaching out, state your name, referral contact, and the reason for the interview.
    • Explain that you won’t take too much of their time.
    • Flatter the interviewee with sincere praise.
    • Explain the importance of doing the interview.
    • Leverage your time with whatever authority you have.
  2. Let the interviewee select the best date and time – give them some options that would work for you as well.
  3. Arrange the interview with a lot of lead time.
  4. Be prepared! Do your homework to set questions.
  5. Be on time.
  6. Write down key facts – record the interview at the same time so you can go over it later.
  7. Establish rapport with the interviewee.
    • Ask questions about them, put them at ease.
    • Show interest in their answers.
  8. Record the names of the subjects, and make sure to get correct spelling and facts.
  9. Show appreciation for their time – thank them and send them a copy of the article or blog post when done.

Additional tips: Eight ways to get more out of interviews


I hope that helps you get more out of doing interviews. If you need help with your writing, let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

How to write an essay well, summarize books, and create a messaging framework

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

Here are a few interesting articles and blog posts I’ve read this past week:

How to write an essay well

Julian Shapiro put together a guide on how to write an essay well. It covers how to identify what to write about, generate insights on your topic, and how to rewrite for clarity, flow, and intrigue. He has a great process on putting together an introduction, which includes:

  • Choosing the right topic to write about
  • Writing a compelling introduction that makes you want to read further
  • Combatting readers’ potential skepticism
  • Getting feedback from others on the introduction

The ultimate guide to summarizing books

Tiago Forte shares the ultimate guide to summarizing books. It includes a system to figure out what to highlight, what you should not highlight, and how to summarize it in a format that will benefit you over time. He also lists the benefits of summarizing books, which include:

  1. It allows you to more deeply absorb the book’s lessons
  2. It creates building blocks for thinking and creating your own work
  3. It employs imitation to improve your writing
  4. It can help you to build an audience of email subscribers (if you want)
  5. It can connect you with influential people
  6. It can help to improve your visibility and credibility in online communities

Creating a messaging framework

Ashish Jain of MarketingProfs discusses creating a messaging framework for your business, explaining what it is, why you need one, and how to build it. A messaging framework “is a structured representation of what your company and products stand for. ” With a messaging framework:

  • Your customers will know who you are and how you differ from the competition
  • Sales will be able to explain your company’s differentiating factors.
  • Marketing will have a basis for developing future content resources.
  • All parts of the organization will be aligned on your company’s purpose and mission

Need help with writing great content, or editing your existing content? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David