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Some people might like to think that writing happens organically. It sure would be nice if we could just sit down in front of the blank page and get paid for whatever pours from our minds. Sadly, being a professional writer requires a great deal more.
Research, fact checking, keyword strategizing, search engine optimization, influencer outreach –- these are all crucial elements of successful writing for the web. Not to mention the tedious proofreading, revision, and polishing process that goes into crafting a publication-ready piece. Luckily there are some excellent tools out there to help you master this process efficiently.
Image via BlogSearchEngine.org
Before you even begin to write a piece, you should know exactly who you want to read and promote it once it’s published. Content doesn’t just go viral or start trending on its own. There are movers and shakers who are connected with the audience you need to reach. In order to get your piece in front of readers’ eyes, you’ll first need to find where your ideal audience already hangs out.
Click on over to BlogSearchEngine.org and type in a keyword phrase pertaining to your piece. For example, if you want to write a piece about a new way to approach writing press releases, you might type in “press releases.” The top three results are PR Newswire, HubSpot, and CopyBlogger. This tells you that people who might care about your article are already reading these three blogs.
The next step is to connect with these blogs –- this is what we call “pre-outreach.” Request an interview with one of their top contributors or ask for their opinion on your idea. By getting the leaders in your topic involved before you even write the piece, you can guarantee more success than if you go it alone.
Image via BuzzSumo.com
BuzzSumo is synonymous with keyword optimization. However, how to use it isn’t obvious. In a nutshell, BuzzSumo allows you to search for a keyword or phrase and see what content related to that search term is being shared the most. You can sort the results by social media platform or type of content. For example, if you wanted to see what blog posts and articles people on Facebook were most interested in related to Lynda.com, BuzzSumo could tell you.
Keywords rule the world now. Know how to use them. BuzzSumo lets you see if the keyword you’re planning on using is being shared around the net. For instance, if you were to write a piece about LinkedIn’s online learning platform, you could search for either “LinkedIn Learning” or “Lynda.com.” While the two are heavily integrated, they do have separate spaces online. However, BuzzSumo tells us that “LinkedIn Learning” has more sharing potential lately. Now you know where to focus your keyword usage in your article.
BuzzSumo can also tell you who the key influencers are on that very topic. This helps you with your influencer outreach as well as your keyword planning.
Image via CoSchedule.com
Headlines are the most important part of any online content. Whether it’s an infographic, blog post, or news story, the headline has to be a winner. Readers only click on articles that sound interesting, and they only read (rather than stockpile dozens of “saved” articles for later – whenever that may be) what they feel is relevant to them immediately. Don’t miss your chance to snare your audience.
CoSchedule’s Blog Post Headline Analyzer helps you craft perfect headlines every time. The Headline Analyzer scrutinizes your headline for word balance, headline type, length, keywords, word quality, and how your headline and its metadescription will appear on a Google search. The Headline Analyzer will even show you what readers will focus on when they see the headline appear in their email inbox. To delete or not to delete, eh?
CoSchedule gives your headline a score on a scale of zero to 100. Depending on where your weaknesses lie, the tool will make recommendations. Perhaps you have too many common words and need more sentimental or powerful choices. Maybe it’s too long and Google won’t be able to display the whole title as is. Get your headline into the green zone and you’ll be more likely to see your post go viral.
Image via OneStopForWriters.com
Now that you have a solid promotional base with your influencer outreach, killer keywords, and a dazzling headline, it’s time to do the writing. For some writers, the blank page is the most daunting part of the job. The same words roll around in our heads and seem to make an appearance over and over again. But readers don’t like the same ol’ language.
One Stop for Writers is an online library of better-writing resources. Though most of One Stop’s tools are designed with fiction writing in mind, everything One Stop has to offer can be adapted for non-fiction writing for the web. If you want your piece to be share worthy, it has to be memorable. That’s where One Stop can help.
“Understanding how to describe content in a way that allows the reader to form a vivid picture is really important,” says Angela Ackerman, one of the three co-founders of One Stop for Writers. One Stop is all about making the writing process easier with powerful word thesauri, mapping and outlining tools, an idea generator, and tons of templates and worksheets to get your creative juices flowing.
A writer-favorite, the Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus can help you craft headlines that will hold readers’ attention and carry them through to the comments, liking, and Tweeting. Readers want excitement, even if the topic is how to take care of a car engine. Give it to them.
(Bonus: another One Stop co-founder is Lee Powell, the creator of the game-changing writing program Scrivener for Windows.)
Image via Expresso.com
Finally. Your piece is researched and written. Now on to editing. Expresso is your editing sidekick. Just copy-and-paste your piece into Expresso and the online app will tidy up that cluttered writing. Expresso is on the lookout for lengthy or complex sentences, unclear language, and easy-to-miss grammar and punctuation problems.
Once you click “Analyze Text,” you’ll see stats on problems such as weak verbs, filler words, entity substitutions, passive voice, frequent words, stems, and phrases, and a readability score. Don’t submit a draft without a last look through Expresso.
Even the most talented writers need a hand sometimes. The key is knowing where to look for help. Use these tools and watch your content come to life with greater clicks, engagement, and social media shares.