Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't forget to edit.

If you are writing a story, a book, a letter, memo, an email, a press release or report, editing is a crucial step. Don’t skip it. Here are some reasons to remember to take a minute or two to edit your writing or to hire someone to edit it for you:

1. Good writing shows that you take your business seriously and that you are a professional. It shows that you intend to communicate clearly with others. Your writing is a direct reflection on you and your business. Don’t let errors reflect poorly on you.

2. At times, it will be important for you to write with flourish and to have your readers savor every word. In these cases, it is particularly important to ensure that there are no errors to interrupt the rhythm and flow of the writing.

3. At other times, our writing is more utilitarian. We use it to gain the reader’s attention and to convey a succinct message. In these cases, it’s better to keep it simple so the reader will pay attention to what you are saying rather than how you are saying it. Therefore, editing to weed out the frills is an important part of conveying your message in the most effective way. Eliminate errors and readers won't miss the message due to poor writing.

4. In addition to obscuring the message, errors in your writing may reduce your credibility. We all want to be taken seriously in our business dealings. Your client/audience will take you seriously if you show your expertise through your writing. If your writing is filled with errors, it may not matter what you are trying to say, your readers may conclude that you will make errors in other areas as well.

5. In addition to reducing credibility, errors can change the meaning of your writing. If you rush through the editing process, you might find that your writing is misunderstood. If you get into the habit of editing, you will also notice that you begin to write more carefully.

Most writers have difficulty catching their own errors. Because writers are so close to their writing, they think the words rather than read the words. Consequently, it’s easy to miss errors. It’s always a good idea to hire an editor or to at least have someone you trust read your writing before you present it to the world.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Promoting Your Blog

by Lou Belcher

If you write for your eyes only, you don’t need to worry about promotion. But if you write for a living, the promotion or marketing part of it can make or break you.

Before the marketing, your first order of business is to make sure your blog entry is worth reading. Do everything you can to ensure that it is interesting and valuable to your readers. Beyond that, you might shoot for it to be entertaining as well. That can’t hurt.

When preparing your work, pushing the snooze button on your ego will help immensely. Too many times we get in our own way. We think that what we have written is so wonderful that we can’t hear constructive criticism. Take the risk. Have others look at your work and give you ideas for improvement.

That doesn’t mean that you need to implement everything that your readers say. Instead, it means that you would be wise to give some honest thought to how your writing is perceived by others.

Once you post an entry to your blog, no one will read it if you don’t do some promotion. Develop a routine system of promoting each entry that you post. For example, you can establish a Twitter account, a page on Facebook, or join a social media network, or all three. When you post an entry, put a notice on each of your announcement sites that new work is posted.

Another way to promote your blog is to establish an email distribution list of those interested in your writing. Every time you post a blog entry, put out an email to your list (even if it only consists of one or two people at first). Be sure to add the addresses of those who express interest in your blog with care. Don’t try to remember later who they are and where you put their email address.

In your email to your distribution list, invite them to comment and get a discussion going about the topic. Also, invite them to forward the notice to someone they think will enjoy your column. And, don’t leave everything to chance. Give your readers some added reasons to visit your blog. For example, hold surveys of interest, run contests, and hold giveaway opportunities occasionally so they will want to check back from time to time to see what’s going on.

Please leave a comment and tell us ways you promote your blog...