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The Ultimate Toolkit for Advanced Content Creation

Anyone who has ever wanted to promote something, be it a person, organization, cause or project, knows that the most important part of this is content creation. You also know that this goes way past keywords and topics that look like what everyone else is doing.

What you need is an approach that that is effective for your strategy and that is also completely unique and unlike what everyone else is doing.

Following is a list of helpful ways to do this in a riveting manner that furthers your mission.

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Tools for Discovering and Organizing Ideas

  1. Trello

Once you have your idea formulated, you want to be able to delegate tasks to your team so that you can see how well they perform. Use Trello to present boards, lists and charts that you can share with everyone in one place. This consolidated way to present information is completely effortless and easy to use.

 

Trello is also perfect for putting together lists of staff, tasks, important information and any other category of information that needs to be shared among your team.

 

  1. Mindmeister

Getting started involves developing a content creation plan, which you can use to organize your information into a usable plan. Not all topics are going to be ones that your audience loves so you’ll have to take the time to brainstorm your ideas.

 

Mindmeister is the perfect tool to help you do all of this and more. The software helps inspire you to organize your ideas in visually appealing and organized ways.

 

In addition to using it to create your content plan, you can also use Mindmeister for any individual piece of content.

 

  1. Google Calendar

Once you have your list of ideas put together, you need to turn them into a content strategy and that’s why you need Google Calendar.

 

This handy calendar lets you plan dates, topics and any type of content you need to create or present. You’ll also use it plan social media promotion and interaction as well as other effective ways to bring your content to your audience. Having a doable plan for everything helps you achieve your content strategy goals.

 

This calendar is completely interactive and can be shared with all of your team members so you can stay on track with everything that;s going on.

 

Tools for Writing and Editing

 

  1. Assignment Masters

When you can rely on the best content creators and writers, you can feel great about the content you present to your audience. Finding those people can be a difficult endeavor if you don’t already have a good team in place.

 

Assignment Masters lets you outsource all of your content creation to the true professionals. You can connect with the exact people you need to produce quality content and who understand exactly what your site requires, including facts and creativity.

 

If you’re committed to writing your own content, use the service to edit what you’ve created so it’s flawless when you share it.

 

  1. Google Drive

This is the easiest word processor you’ll find and it allows you to create all the content you need, which is then automatically saved in the cloud. You’ll never have to worry about losing important documents and you’ll have all the storage space you need to organize and keep all of the important content you need.

 

This program is also collaborative so you can share your information and invite others to see and share what you’ve done.

 

Tools for Analytics

 

  1. Google Analytics

You can’t create a content marketing campaign without this program. You’ll use it get a clear picture of how your social media and website traffic is going and you can see and chart all of that information all in one place. Use it to know exactly how effective your campaign is.

 

  1. Webtrends

Once you have your content created and have shared it, you need to be able to see how effective it is and how it’s doing among your audience. Webtrends does all the measuring and analyzing for you. Your results allow you insight into what your audience likes and wants more of. That way you can focus on the types of content that are most effective and lets you skip the stuff your audience doesn’t want or like.

 

Ideal content creation isn’t something that you’ll find really easy. You’ll have to put in a lot of time and effort to do the job correctly. Despite everything, you’ll learn and grow along the way. The great tools on this list are a great place to start to make your challenge easier.

This guest post was written by Kate Simpson, a managing writer at Assignment Masters. She is currently contributing a series of articles on copywriting techniques. For more follow her on twitter.

The Benefits of Websites and Online Payments for Freelancers

SPONSORED POST

If you’re like most consumers, you’ve probably made a purchase online in the past year. However, have you thought about selling your own services using the same format? Websites offer an array of benefits to freelance writers, allowing them to advertise their products or services to a wider network of buyers. Marketing, payment, and order fulfilment can all be completed electronically, allowing you to work with clients around the globe. Getting started online can involve simply setting up a WordPress blog and signing up with Paypal. Either way, there are a number of reasons why it’s worth considering.

Reaching a Wider Audience

One of the primary benefits of creating a website is that it allows you to reach both businesses and consumers. Freelance writers can market copywriting services and fiction on the same website, showcasing diversity with an online portfolio. You can attract a wider audience by offering different types of content, from downloadable e-books to a visual slideshow of shorter articles. Having a professional online presence allows you to diversify your products and services, attracting a much larger demographic than you would with word of mouth advertising alone.

Data Availability
Whether you have created a simple blog or have enlisted a team of hip web designers Vancouver to get your website up and running, you will be able to track who is visiting your website. Services like Google Analytics allow freelancers to find out what search terms visitors are using to find their site. This can then be used to fine-tune your content to attract more clients.

Marketing Opportunities

Freelancers can increase traffic to their website by building social media widgets into their website template, and creating a keyword-rich landing page that will attract more visitors. It’s helpful to look at examples of web design Montreal and New York to see what trends are driving today’s most popular sites, such as minimalism and side scrolling. Your site is essentially an advertisement for your services, so it’s important to make it fresh and professional. You can also build a separate blog section into your site to share your authentic voice with others. Social media allows you to build your network with other freelancers and clients alike.

Self-Publishing
There’s no better way to show that you can write than by having a regularly updated blog on your website that showcases your writing skills. You can also sell e-books to position yourself as an expert in your niche, or just to make a side income. These can be promoted and sold on your own website, as well as Amazon, Apple’s iBooks, and via other retailers.

Payment Solutions
Freelance writing is a business, and unfortunately that means that some accounting is involved. If you dread the billing and accounting portion of your work, choosing a full service platform for online billing and accounting like Freshbooks and Expensify could be the way to go. Programs like Shopify allow you to easily set up a checkout page and enable payments on your website if you prefer to use that model. Although Paypal is the preferred solution for many freelancers, it does have the potential downside of account freezes. Furthermore, freelance writers are not always covered under Paypal’s seller protection policy, which only protects the seller if physical goods are exchanged. Electronic transfers via Interac or an old-fashioned cheque are more reliable if you are dealing in larger dollar amounts.

Creating a website is a way to take your freelance business to the next level, showcasing your work to its best advantage, and cast a wider net for clients old and new.

More Transcontinental Contract Shenanigans

Back in 2009, Transcontinental Media made some changes to its contracts with writers that rankled many in the industry. Transcon has changed its contracts again, now effectively clawing back moral rights, allowing itself to remove your byline from your piece, and some other nasty stuff. Read all about it over at Story Board.

I’m not exactly a huge contributor to Canadian magazines; I could probably count the number of articles I’ve done for them on two hands over the course of my writing career. But this is very disturbing for anyone who relies on writing for Canadian mags to pay the bills. If you’re one of those affected by the new contract, get in touch with Keith Maskell at CMG (keith@cmg.ca) to see what you can do about it.

Transcontinental does not publish a full list of its publications on its website, and its Wikipedia entry only includes a handful of its magazines. The most extensive list of its publications I could find online was from a site formed when the 2009 Transcon boycott was in full swing, so it may be a bit out of date. If anyone can send me a link to a better list, I’ll be happy to post that instead.

Styling Your Writing: A Breakdown of Writing Style Guides

by Deborah Parker

Do you spell it cooperation or co-operation? Is it Chris’ or Chris’s?  A style guide or manual lays out the standards for the language and design of any written piece. There are almost as many styles as there are ways to write: the Canadian Press and Associated Press each maintain their own style, as do most newspapers, publishers and magazines. In academic circles, APA, MLA and Chicago style are gold standards, while companies like Yahoo! are trying to bring some cohesion to writing for the web.

You should always check with your client or employer before beginning a project to see if the publication or website already has its own conventions. But even if you aren’t told to use a specific style, picking one as your go-to option can help you ensure your own writing is consistent and clear.

Standard Press Styles

The Associated Press Stylebook dubs itself “the journalist’s bible”. AP style is an industry standard. The 2012 edition has an expanded social media section and new chapters about fashion and broadcast terms. You can order your copy here or sign up for an annual subscription to the online version. The online version allows you to search with keywords and remains up-to-date throughout the year. Subscribers can also take advantage of AP’s ‘Ask the Editor’ feature should they have a question the stylebook alone can’t answer.

The Canadian Press has its own style, which is outlined in The Canadian Press Stylebook. Along with covering everything from how to write web addresses to the proper way to abbreviate, the CP Stylebook also reflects cultural sensitivities and even has a pronunciation guide for Canadian place names. You can order a hardcopy or you can opt for the online edition. For those who sometimes have to work in French, there is the Guide de rédaction.

Although originally academic in focus, the Chicago Manual of Style is an extremely versatile resource and is used in both academic and professional writing. Created by the University of Chicago Press in 1891, it has grown to cover everything from the use of mathematics in type to creating indexes. There are several handbooks available, including the full cover-to-cover Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition (print edition). Alternatively, you can sign up for an online subscription that includes full access to both the 15th and 16th editions.

Specific Press Styles

While AP, CP and Chicago styles are industry standards, many larger publications choose to maintain their own style guides for in-house use. The New York Times maintains its own Manual of Style and Usage, which can be ordered through Amazon. Reuters also maintains its own particular style guide, which you can view for free online.

Web Standards

There’s no denying that the Internet is changing the world of writing. With each new technology there are new questions about how to properly incorporate these terms and facts into the written word. The Yahoo! Style Guide has been specifically developed for online writing. While its word list covers standard terms, it also covers computing terms, like ActiveX, open source and screenshot. If you are looking for a paper edition, it is available at most larger bookstores across Canada.

Academic Writing

Then there are MLA and APA styles. Depending on your major, you may remember one or both from your university career, or even from high school.

MLA style, from the Modern Language Association, is a popular choice for academic writing, particularly in the humanities. It focuses upon being simpler and more concise than most other styles. The Modern Language Association puts out two guidebooks for writers. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is intended more for high school and undergraduate students, while the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing is tailored to graduate students, scholars and professional writers.

APA style, developed by the American Psychological Association, is also designed for research and academic writing, although it’s more popular with the social and behavioural sciences. APA style is meant to be spare and straightforward so the focus remains on the writing itself rather than the style. The rules are laid out in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, although you can learn the basics of APA style through the free online tutorial.

Writers: Are You Being Scammed or Not?

Here’s a link to a great post by Neil Gaiman on some ways you can tell if you’re being scammed.

Money flows towards the writer. Great words to live by.