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How to write a guest blog post

Posted on : 12-09-2016 | By : admin | In : Blog

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I have had a guest blog post accepted at the Oxford English Dictionary website on the language in Jane Austen adaptions. I really enjoyed writing the blog post although it did require checking out some adaptions of some of Jane Austen’s books – a real hardship!

It’s one of the first times that I’ve got my own byline – usually I write for someone else. It never normally bothers me, but it’s hard to point your mum at something and say, ‘I wrote that’ when it has someone else’s name at the bottom of it.

I enjoyed writing the blog post and I hope it leads to more. In this instance, I was approached with an idea and it was one that I was happy to write about. What questions should you ask if you are approached with a request to write a guest blog post?

1. Can I have the website address please?

It’s a good idea to check out the blog that you are being asked to write for. Look at the style – does it fit in well with your writing? Is it a blog that you would like to write for? Do the blog subjects fit in well with the kind of thing you like to write? Make sure that it is something that you would be comfortable writing about.

2. How many words are you looking for?

It’s good to know how much you are expected to write.

3. When is the deadline?

You also need to know how long you have to write it.

4. What is your budget?

The subject of money needs to come up at some point. They may ask your rates. At this point, you can ask their budget and see if they match. You also need to ask whom copyright will reside with and make sure that you are comfortable with the answer. Finally do they pay on acceptance of the blog post or do they pay when it is published? There can be a big difference.

5. Can I promote my blog post on social media?

The answer most likely is ‘yes’ but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Once you are happy with the answers to these (and any other questions you may have) then you can go ahead, research and write your blog post.

Three DOs

DO turn it in on time – or slightly ahead of time if you can.

DO accept any suggestions or revisions gracefully. I found that the revisions suggested improved my piece, but they were not so many that they completely changed it. The editor may suggest a new title or the piece may look different on publication, but at the end of the day, it is their blog and they know their style best. If you really disagree with something, then you can perhaps say something, politely but it is usually the Editor’s final decision.

DO let friends and family know when it is up and encourage them to go and read it and comment!

So on that note, please do go and check out my guest blog post on Jane Austen and feel free to start a conversation!  Thank you.

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Day 30 – 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Final Review

Posted on : 03-03-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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It’s here – my final blog post of my 30 day blogging challenge! It’s been quite a journey involving late nights, frantic Google searches and lots of cups of tea. Along the way, I’ve made some friends and my blog is definitely better for it.

sparkler by Markus Grossalber on Flickr CC

sparkler by Markus Grossalber on Flickr CC

I began my challenge, hoping that I would be able to find 30 different blogs to post, and I have ended it with so many more ideas on where I want to take my blog and the kinds of subjects I want to post on. I had posted sporadically for a couple of years, struggling to find topics to talk about, now hopefully I will be able to continue blogging once or twice a week. My blogging muscle has grown, just as Sarah predicted it would.

So here are some stats for my final review:

Fastest blog post to write:

Day 25 – 3 Quotes for writers

This took less than half an hour, and felt like a very lazy post, although I do know a website that just seems to create author quotes. I was very short of time that day, though

Most fun to research:

Day 23 – 7 More crazy business ideas

There’s another couple of blog posts in there some time…

My favourite blog post:

Day 21 – Infographics. I had so much fun creating those. I will definitely be making more in the future.

Most visited blog post:

Day 17 – Testimonials about my work (51 impressions)

Day 3 – Five qualities of a freelance writer came a close second with 48. It’s telling that the keywords ‘freelance writer’ are in the second post and I might have got some random traffic because that is a popular keyword.

Most commented on blog post:

Day 28 – Procrastination & the Writer really got a good reaction. People seemed to relate to it well and I got some comments on Facebook too.

Day 29 – 30 Ideas for Blog Posts came a close second. I reckon I’m going to go looking for another 30 ideas at some point! Just to stretch myself.

Most recommended blog post for other Challengers to do:

Day 27 – Five Retro Blog Posts. It was great fun to go through my old blog posts and pick five of the best. I tidied them up, and added new pictures in some cases, but it’s a great way to showcase yourself to people who are just discovering you.

I have had such fun with this challenge. Thanks go to Kevin and Sarah for all their encouragement, emails & stickers! I would hope to come back to this challenge again in about a year for another 30 blog posts because it has been a challenge well worth taking.

If you are reading this in the middle of your own challenge then I would encourage you to keep going, you will gain so much from it.

If you have enjoyed this post, then please share it to social media.

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Day 29: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – 30 Ways to find Blog Post Ideas

Posted on : 02-03-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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When I began this challenge, my biggest excuse for not keeping up my blog was that I didn’t know what to write about.

Blogging - what jolly fun by Mike Licht www.notionscapital.com

Blogging – what jolly fun by Mike Licht www.notionscapital.com

On beginning this 30 day blogging challenge, I wrote a quick list of ideas for blog posts so that I would have something to give me ideas when I needed something quickly. I have not often needed it, but it gave me confidence that it was there. As I come to the end of my challenge, I have decided to share this list as a reminder that ideas for blog posts are all around us and that we just have to look for them. Please add your blog post ideas in the comments at the bottom of the page.

  1. News headlines – in the papers or on digital news websites
  2. Facebook posts
  3. Tweets
  4. Pinterest topics
  5. Headlines specific to your topic – Googling your topic and ‘news’ will give you websites that offer news in your subject area
  6. A conversation, overheard or between you & your friends – just don’t get caught listening in!
  7. Questions from blog readers
  8. Solve a problem – either one of your own or one that you have heard about from someone else
  9. Share an experience
  10. Blog review – I love to share some of my favourite websites
  11. Book review
  12. Five best posts of the week/month/year
  13. Discuss a blog post that really struck you – but do say where the post came from and let the author know that you have continued the conversation
  14. Have a bath/shower – really good thinking space, also taking the kids to school
  15. Follow some forums – there are always some really good questions on there on real-life problems
  16. Answer a question on Linked In
  17. Listen to music. What pictures does it conjure up? Or can you just write an album review?
  18. See what other blogs are discussing – do you have your own take on it?
  19. Write a long list post
  20. Decide to do a really long list post and think outside the box for your ideas
  21. Use a TV or film character to discuss your topic – there have been some great blog posts out there using this. My favourite was  the Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words on Copyblogger
  22. Find some famous person quotations to discuss or share
  23. Share a story or poem that you have written
  24. Run a competition
  25. Interview someone in your field. It can be an email interview. People are very happy to be interviewed – particularly if they have a book or product coming out soon
  26. Write about an unusual hobby or skill
  27. Go for a walk and browse a newsagents – see what the magazines are writing about
  28. Write a seasonal post
  29. Write a post about a new start, a New Year or new beginning – what are you going to do differently?
  30. Keep a list of possible blog posts, noting ideas down as they come to you, so that you always have something to work on
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Day 28: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Procrastination & the Writer

Posted on : 01-03-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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I would like to put my name forward for the title of ‘Writer Procrastinator Extraordinaire’ as I think that my talents for procrastination far exceed my talents for writing!

Time by John Morgan on Flickr CC

Time by John Morgan on Flickr CC

Today I have had little bits of time here and there, but no, it’s at 9.47 pm that I decide to start writing my blog post for today! I could have made a start earlier, except that I decided that I needed to ignore my Editorial Calendar and write something new and it would take a bit of time to decide what that theme should be. Now I have, and here we are.

I know that procrastination is not just my problem – as writers, who rely on the workings of our brain to tell us what to write – so often it can be really difficult to focus on what we have to do. There can be 100 other things that we need to get done – the washing up, the washing, the vacuuming – the beauty of working from home can also be its pitfall. We walk past these piles of dirty things and think that we’ll just do this or just do that – and before you know it, it’s time to pick the kids up from school and the time is gone.

Time is neither our friend nor our enemy – it’s just time. We all have the same amount of time and how we choose to use it is up to us. I am mostly finding time in the evenings to get some blogging done, but I am pleased with the way this has turned out. From finding about an hour to an hour and a half each night, I have gained 30 blog posts (well, nearly, but definitely hoping to achieve this) for my blog, I have found some different topics to write on and I have enjoyed checking out other people’s blogs and reading their comments on my own. This challenge has not been undertaken just under my own steam – I have had other people following, commenting and liking my Facebook announcements of my blog posts which has an effect of encouraging me to get my blog posts done and let others know that they are up.

When you start a blog, it is easy to feel that you are posting into a void, sending a message in a tiny bottle into a massive sea and that it is going to be a matter of luck whether anyone sees your message or not. Finding a group of people to join and share – that makes all the difference and it helps to put an end to procrastination. Knowing that there are people out there, willing you on, and that you can urge them on, helps to beat that little voice encouraging you to put things off, that no one will notice because no one is reading it anyway.

So, here I am, late on a Tuesday night, typing up my blog. The motivation has been strong to complete this challenge because I don’t want to fail. More importantly, knowing that the blog will be read and shared has been the motivation that has chased away the procrastination, so although sometimes I have not been able to get around to blogging until late, I have still managed (mostly) to get around to blogging.

If you have stuck with me thus far in my ramblings, here is what I have learned about the writer and procrastination during this blogging challenge:

  1. Find a reason to blog. Have a great book review, story to tell, interview or piece of advice to share. If it’s good enough then you will find the time to write it down even if it’s late at night.
  2. Promote your blog post. Read other relevant blogs and comment on them, tweet about them and share them on Facebook, Google + and anywhere else you want to share. I knew this, but I had learned to put it off until tomorrow – and tomorrow never came. How can anyone read your posts if they don’t know that you have written them? There is no worse thing than crafting a beautiful blog post that no one will read.
  3. Only allow so much procrastination. Find your motivation, the reason to write and do it.
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Day 27: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Five Retro Blog Posts to check out on this Blog

Posted on : 29-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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By the end of this blogging challenge, I will have written 30 blog posts in a little over a month. It ’s not been easy but it’s been worth it. For today’s blog post, I want to highlight some of the posts that have gone before. One thing I have noticed in checking over my previous posts: I am fond of the number 5!

Retro America by Peer Lawther on Flickr CC

Retro America by Peer Lawther on Flickr CC

Five good reasons to maintain your blog

Five Things to Consider before Networking for the First Time

How to Save Your Website

Organising Your Writing

Do you spam? There is another way to promote your website

I hope you enjoy some of these retro posts. Some of them were written in answer to questions while others were just topics that were on my mind at the time. I have to say that I enjoyed going back through my website and finding them again.

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it.

Share your favourite own retro blog post in the comments.

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Day 17: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Testimonials about my Work

Posted on : 18-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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What Others Say

I decided to go into freelance writing following a change in physical circumstances and a realisation that I needed something that meant I didn’t have to stand all day.

The happiest place on earth by Peter Dutton on Flickr CC

The happiest place on earth by Peter Dutton on Flickr CC

I have a steady but not spectacular stream of work and a supportive husband which enables me to keep freelancing. I have enjoyed talking to lots of different clients over the years but have only met 3 in person. I have always tried to ask for testimonials, but not everyone responds. However those who do are very kind and complimentary. My paid work is as a freelance copywriter, writing blogs, web content, product descriptions and anything else that my clients require. The variety of the job is the thing I love about it.

One of my first jobs was for a local website developer. I worked on blog posts and articles on a number of subjects. Lee Davies was a small business owner who built and developed websites local to me and he first asked me to do two articles – one on marble and one about granite. I asked him for a testimonial at the end of a job where he asked me to write some content for his new website and he kindly agreed:

“I have utilised the copywriting services of Sarah Charmley on numerous occasions, and have found that the standard of work has been excellent. Sarah has provided articles and web copy on a wide range of subjects, the content has been focussed and well thought out. Without exception, deadlines for the copy have always been met and in most cases arrived ahead of schedule. Highly Recommended.”

Lee Davies, WebPageOne Solutions Ltd

Thanks, Lee, I enjoyed working with you too. This recommendation has long graced my Portfolio page.

A number of people I have worked for, have never got around to putting pen to paper to give me a recommendation, although I usually try and ask. One who kindly did, has put a review up for me at freelancers.net:

Sarah has freelanced for us on a regular basis since the beginning of 2014 to create product descriptions for our ecommerce website. We have always found Sarah to be a diligent and speedy copywriter, who produces content to a consistently good standard. I would recommend Sarah without hesitation if you are looking for a reliable and good value freelancer.

Clare K.

I began by uploading product descriptions to the website, but was offered the job of social media manager for the website last year. I really enjoy the job, researching and writing regular blog posts on health and promoting them via social media.

I got some great praise about two months after I had started work. They had previously had an SEO company writing their blog posts for them, but they had to come up with the ideas for the posts. I research and write all the blog posts myself. I got this great praise passed on from their other director:

Btw our blogs are WAY better than before, i actually read half of them now, genuinely interesting…

To those of you out there who work with freelancers, if they ask you for a review, do take time to let them know you appreciate them – it can really make a freelancer’s day!

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