Author Archive

Writing for an ‘audience’

Posted by on Sep 28 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting, From the Writer's Desk

New age professional writers besides having to fight the uninterrupted melancholies of writing by the rules at work also have to confront an ever increasing urge to throttle the all knowing client whose creativity starts and ends with C for ‘convenience’. With microblogging becoming the mode of communication for the better part of the population online, professional writing is being relegated to the dusty corners of a yesteryear typist’s den.

The professional writer is realizing that his words are not just meant for reading and remembering anymore, they have to quickly enter through the reader’s eyes and sculpt a mini-second long nook in his mind while the second word is already shoving its way through after. Each word and the impact it creates lasts a nano-second in the brain before the reader unfailingly ‘moves on’. Like SMS breakups, the reader’s urge to move on is so strong, that you’re a self professed net-o-bard if you had the visitor on your page for more than a minute.

Writing is increasingly becoming like any other experience of today- good writing has to have an instant impact, great recall value and as direct as communication can be- the indulgences of reading, perceiving, analysing and then pondering are the luxuries of a few and chosen.

If authors can now write 140 character stories and create a dedicated network of readers following their work like gum on paper, your reader is obviously progressing to an experience of the ear. The aural delights of a piece of writing are clouding the visual (AND sensual) experience of holding a book and turning pages thanks to e-book readers/i-pads and other ‘they-that-I-don’t-want-to-name’. What stays is what you liked ‘hearing’- the sound of a word, the way the reader read it, or the manner in which the last syllable of the word wraps and snuggles into the word- case cited- try the word ‘mollified’- the ‘word experience’ is like you met a small kid in a polka dress that suddenly grew up into this clot of anger and lunged out at you. You’ll never forget this word if you remember how you heard it in your mind.

These were tricks that we played in school to remember new words- but the new age readers are following a very similar pattern in identifying content that they liked hearing or want to hear about, so the professional writer is combing through his vocabulary with the sharpest teeth to extract words that will have a sonorous experience for the reader. What will hold your reader back is not the macro picture of what you were writing about, but the micro of what you said, how you said it, and how did it ‘sound’. So now you’ll have opinions gushing galore- everybody has something to say- what matters is how you said it. A great opinion will lose to a ‘soundly’ put opinion- try posting a comment on a recent movie you watched and see what catches the maximum attention- your general opinion of the movie (the thought behind this opinion) or the words you used to describe it. While ‘cool’ will get 7 responses, ‘riveting’ will get you none- you must be kidding yourself if you thought that’s how one word movie reviews were described!

Play by the ear, to the ear and for the ear, because your audience which was once a reader, will switch channels right now!

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Going Social: Tick-Tock Content

Posted by on Aug 31 2011 | Copywriting, Internet Marketing

“Let’s go social.” Most strategy meetings for marketing campaigns usually start or end with this declaration as a punchline, as if social integration is the latest magic lamp and all marketers are Alladin’s descendants. And it’s hard to argue against it: with the promise of doubled traffic, dynamic innovation and drawing more attention through widgets and social buttons, Socialand is the new Jerusalem for marketing Crusaders. However, in the race to enhance webpages with a bevy of sharing features (Like, Tweet, Digg, +1), could it be possible that we’re focussing on the peripherals more than the basics?

An internet user surfing through content is generally looking for three things: visual appeal, relevance and compatibility. Let’s talk about the third point. A simple content page should take 1-2 seconds to load, tops. Add a truckload of social widgets and the load time can stretch up to anywhere between 5 seconds to even minutes, if you don’t have a broadband connection. The functioning behind a social widget works somewhat like this: each social button is connected to hundreds of lines of Javascript, not to mention APIs, which can take their own sweet time to answer.

History does repeat itself. Remember those days when Flash animations were the new heights of cool? Website owners everywhere were scrambling to jazz up their pages with Flash content. Over enthusiasm and unending load times later, someone had the good sense to come up with the ‘Skip Intro’ button. Clicking on that button has become a Pavlovian conditioning for netizens by now.

It’s really a case of ‘Too much of good thing is bad.’ Social is cool, I get it. But uber-socialising your websites can lead to social pollution. And don’t think that getting a greater bandwidth is the cure-all: load time for content pages with social features are not dependent on your bandwidth, but on the API-social platform connection. An overload on the social platform’s IT structures means that, bandwidth or not, you can consider making some tea while you wait.

So, even if you haven’t yet experienced the problem of slow load times for yourself, let’s just play devil’s advocate and put ourselves in the shoes of a user who’s surfing through content pages with around 15 more tabs open (multitasking is but organic) and probably doesn’t have a bandwidth to boast of (which won’t help as aforementioned). Odds are, either he is reduced to swatting flies while content gets loaded or he gets to the point of no return and has to end up ‘killing pages’.

Call it overreaction, but social integration, although essential for attracting eyeballs, needs to be judiciously implemented while keeping an eye on both sides of the street. It’s great to have sharing features, widgets and the like on content pages to help spread the word; not so great when you ‘pollute’ the pages with social features to an extent that you drive visitors away and end up relying on third-party reading applications.

Don’t overdo it.

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Social Media Journalism – a new tool to reach out to the people

Posted by on Jul 23 2011 | Content Writing

When social networking websites started to invade the World Wide Web few years ago, the level of excitement among the net surfers was just invincible. It was hard to believe the fact that one could be in touch with its loved ones in such an easy and comfortable way. This was just the initial phase of social networking. As years passed by, people started to go beyond networking and making friends. Social networking sites were considered as a huge platform where people from any nook and corner of the world could provide a voice to his/her thoughts and perspectives about various events and happenings in and around his/her home and the world. In the recent past, the social networking websites have become the new tool for the dissemination of news and encouraging discussions and debates on several national and international issues. Now, better known as the Social media, it is considered to be the ultimate bridge to connect with the readers and the common folk instantly.

Social media is an interactive and more of a personalized form of communication. Most of the social networking sites have different communities of journalists and news channels which provide an easy access to the people who are often eager to channelize their opinions and views about various national and international issues of the world. Social media has changed the pattern of work for the journalists to a great extent. In order to be the best in the lot, a journalist has to regularly update and tweet about various issues and events so that they receive maximum impact at a shorter span of time. Journalists and their flair of professional writing helps in acquiring maximum responses regarding an event and aids in augmenting the level interactivity of the journalists with the readers in a convincing manner.

Several social media companies are acquiring or buying news websites in order to provide both quality and quantity to the net surfers. The professional writing skills of journalists has remained constant with time, the only element that has changed in the recent times is the channel of dissemination of the information. Since social media is the most happening mode of information dissemination in the present scenario, journalists can offer all kinds of information to the readers quite easily.

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Delving Into The Depths: What Makes For Good Content?

Posted by on May 13 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

You know what is the main constituent that serves as a cartilage between a content writer and his audience? That reinforcing bond which draws eyeballs to a particular article/blog et al, and ensures repeat reading, with a satisfied sigh of contentment afterwards? It is when a content writer formulates his copy in such a way that the readers feel that they knew the plot all along, like it was simply niggling away at the back of their subconscious and was now, mercifully brought to the fore. That feeling of contentment instinctively forms an appeal for the write-up in the reader’s mind and makes him/her appreciate the value and message of the copy exponentially.

A good content writer can be suitably compared to an illustrious raconteur; if the said raconteur manages to transport his target audience to that mystical, fabled land of lore and make them feel like they are in the thick of the action, it’s a job well done for him and will draw loud applause at the end, along with a fat paycheck. Similarly, a good content writer needs to form a connection with his audience and through the impact of words, involve them as an integral part of the story, whether it is about travelling to exotic locations or something as arbitrary as chimney sweeping services in some remote corner of Birmingham. Forming a union with your reader is of prime importance; incepting that feeling of joyful satisfaction in their minds of knowing exactly what you were up to is just the succulent cherry on top.

Search Engine Optimization can be progressive only if good content rules the roost on the concerned website. For good content to prevail, the content writer must be able to get the desired message across in a crisp, concise and cohesive manner, without being overtly frivolous as this makes the content unfavourably exhaustive. Use of excessive number of pretty words is not advised. Lastly, tweak the article a little so as to accommodate the prescribed number of keywords, and voila, you have an article for the taking!

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Tips For Effective Internet Article Writing

Posted by on Aug 31 2010 | Content Writing

Article content, like any other content, is a venture into communication and therefore, needs to be written well. Articles published on article directories are read by many people who are always looking for quality content on the web. If you have to write good articles, there are certain guidelines that you can follow to shape your articles well. These are:

Let the first paragraph provide a rough sketch of the article- The introduction or the first paragraph should underline the idea or theme of the article. Write about the problem and then explain how your article can help provide a solution to it.

Follow the structure of the article- Every article will have certain points that need to be highlighted. Before you start writing the article, jot down the points somewhere and then, accordingly, frame the article.
Let the reader be at ease- It is better to adopt simple style of writing, instead of using complex words or sentence structure.

Make short paragraphs for each points- It is easier for a reader to comprehend the article that is written in short paragraphs with short sentences. Let the number of sentences in a paragraph be three, four or five and not more than this.

Use examples to support your points- You can elucidate your points by using relevant examples. This will give readers a better idea and understanding of the subject.

Good content, that is well-thought-of, will definitely make up for good articles. These guidelines are just some points to help you write well. Use your own intelligence to provide a perfect shape to the articles.

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Why use WordPress?

Posted by on Aug 13 2010 | Blogs

WordPress can be used as one of the best content management systems and there are plenty of reasons that support this statement. Some of the reasons have been listed here.

WordPress is open source software- This is one factor that makes this application free of cost. Also, using this on any commercial and personal website is easy.

It is easy to use- one does not need great experience to be able to use WordPress for a website. If you are using the services of a hosting company, they will offer you to install wordpress on your website at the click of the mouse. You will find the administration section easy to navigate.

Availability of themes- a number of templates are available in wordpress and you will be spoilt for choice. If the default theme for the blog is not according to your choice, you can download thousands of themes to be used on your website.

Additional functionality using the plugins- doing anything with wordpress does not take up much of your time and the plugins help you in the process. You can perform a Google search to find the relevant plugins.
Compliance with the standards- wordpress follows all the standards devised for the web and makes sure that your website too remains compliant of the rules and runs smoothly.

SEO friendly- when you are building a website, it is important to keep the search engines in mind. There are a number of functions of wordpress that make it search engine friendly.

Not just the above mentioned qualities, wordpress also gets large community support. More than 1% of the websites on the internet make use of wordpress. There are forums to help you out if you face any problems while using wordpress.

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How To Become a Good Content Writer

Posted by on Aug 03 2010 | Content Writing

For many of us, I would like to believe, writing is a passion. Fortunately for people like us, writing as a profession is no longer associated with a life-long struggle for recognition or living under the fear of incumbent destitution. In fact with innumerable prospects writing as an industry is blooming with life. One of the many branches of writing to become immensely popular in recent years is website content writing. Such is its growing popularity that content writing is soon becoming the stepping stone for aspiring writers or anyone who has an inclination towards the art of writing. But content writing is not exactly wielding the mighty pen and embarking on a journey to the realms of your imagination. The profession is rather business oriented with targets and constraints to be met every day. In spite of the lack of creative freedom content writing presents itself as a challenging job. To meet the challenges of the job one needs to hone more than just his writing skills.

Writing skills: Being essentially a writing profession, good writing skills are a must. You need not be a literary intellectual but a decent writing style devoid of spelling and grammatical mistakes is a basic requirement for the job.

Research, but meet deadlines: Content writing makes you write on a wide range of topics. So you need to be able to do your research effectively and wisely keeping in mind the time constraints. Deadlines are important and you cannot afford a writer-like leisure in this profession.

Plagiarism is equivalent to homicide: You cannot take recourse to plagiarism and borrow content from anywhere. Period.

Stick to instructions: Your articles are usually part of a business project. So it is very essential to understand the instructions given to you and to stick to them as much as possible.

These four points are significant in order to prosper as a content writer. As discussed in the beginning, though there is lack of creative freedom in this profession you can always add that touch of individuality to your writing to make your article stand out from the rest. Depending on how good a writer you are you can make the most mundane of articles come alive. At the end of the day keep in mind the Bee Gees song “It’s only words” and words are exactly all you have to leave your mark.

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Content Writing Tips

Posted by on Apr 03 2010 | Content Writing

Content writing tips are easier given than taken, because content writing as a form of professional writing is as subjective a form of writing as poetry perhaps is, but while poetry goes on to define the soul of man, content writing comes to define his business.

Content writing may not be as easy as it sounds, but it’s not so difficult either. Content writing sticks to some rules of writing while breaking others, the end objective all the while remaining to make the most of the minimum words and convey the business’s message most effectively.

Some content writing tips that always come in handy

  1. Keep it brief: If content is king, a great king ought to be short. The web world is flooded with information from all places and all possible sources, so when a reader scours through material to get his answers he will always choose content that is direct and relevant.
  2. Know what you are saying: No matter how great your vocabulary do not experiment too much with it or show it off when it comes to content writing. The best of words used while content writing are those that put across the thought most effectively.
  3. Count on both your brains and the imagination: Good content is a power combination of your analytic and imaginative skills. Understanding the business requires more than imaginative intelligence, but once you have put in the efforts to do that half the battle is won.
  4. Break it down: Since the attention span of an average reader is gradually decreasing by the day a good idea is to serve them content in periods. A long tedious read is the surest way to click away to another site so keep them hooked with content that is structured in neat paragraphs with index sub-headlines.
  5. Do your research- A well researched and well thought out article shows that the content and the business that it projects are both serious. Be responsible about the research that you do and always keep the content original.
  6. Optimize for search engine: Search Engine Optimization has now become what one calls the driving force behind the effective presence of a website. Know the keywords that will work for you and will not. This will require a bit of patient research but the hard work will pay off when you see the number of visitors to your website increase by the day and finally convert into potential customers.

These should suffice for now. For more content writing tips keep watching for this space.

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SEO Copywriting Services

Posted by on Mar 10 2010 | Copywriting

Copywriting for small businesses who aim to create a thorough, extremely professional and serious virtual touch point for themselves online has moved beyond the confines of tried and tested methods of stylized copy.

SEO copywriting services have become an indelible link between the motive with which the small business invests in an online representation and the return on creative investment that website content offers.

A website is created after studying the routines of consumer behavior in the particular vertical and then scripted to capture this target market. However it is only a matter of time before the website gets lost amongst the many that are created every day.

What keeps the online image afloat and visible for any small business is the strategy it implements in optimizing the site. This is where SEO copywriting services come in as the big players of the game. Nothing works better than a site that keeping in tandem with the fundamentals of SEO copywriting services makes keywords and a reasonably frequent incorporation of them the pillars on which the website constructs its virtual popularity.

As small businesses develop and become more aware of the need to have a wider reach in terms of their end users, SEO copywriting services are moving from the niche in content writing that it used to hold to becoming an exclusive service in itself.

Content and copy creation agencies now offer SEO Copywriting services to people and businesses who would like their virtual image to be both transparent and more importantly crowd (read business) pulling.

SEO copywriting services survive on a healthy marriage between SEO agencies and content providers. It is only when both parties are in agreement as to how the content is to be positioned that SEO copywriting services will serve their purpose.

Unlike what others might be led to believe, quality SEO copywriting services go beyond the mundane and annoying inclusion of irrelevant keywords at almost damaging frequency. Instead good SEO copywriting services will strike a balance between aesthetic and SEO centric content.

Outsourcing SEO copywriting services to content writing agencies is a smart move that most businesses are making and with the expertise writing for various verticals that these agencies have gathered it is an effective and practiced way for business to have interest generating websites.

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Serving copy- hobby style!

Posted by on Jan 30 2010 | Copywriting

When some people live their lives with their hobby as their profession, I think they do the right thing. The best of professions have always been one’s that have built itself on the firm belief that when your passion becomes your profession very little can keep one away from making a success story out of one’s life. And the same applies for making copywriting services one’s profession-part time or full.

Copywriting services unlike the connotations of the twin words are not services unless one could call translating a client’s requirement and vision in words a service. Copywriting services go a step further and co-create the client’s vision, giving it clarity and a direction that have at times positioned copywriters as brand evangelists. When rendering copywriting services, a writer does not think twice about the kind of involvement they would ideally like to put into the work. What motivates the writer who is providing the copywriting services is the reason behind getting the copy written, what it would eventually go on to influence and the target group it is looking at affecting through content.

Copywriting services vary from the mundane to out-of-the-box. There may be times when the client’s expectations may not be elaborate and may also border on complete ignorance, in such cases the onus lies on the writer to take the project completely under his/her wings, nurture it and give it his/her best possible attention. The idea at the end of the day is always to give more than the client could expect, because good copywriting services are the fundamentals to championing a brand and the image it will finally hold.

The most exciting of copywriting services are those that demand from the writer in terms of the mental, verbal and communicative facilities that he/she has to optimize to create the best possible content for the product in question. Feasibility is the fuel that drives the act of copywriting services, keeping it from derailing onto tracks of fantasy and always keeping it grounded in the practicality of the purpose of the copy.

Most copywriting service premises at the end of the day are grounded in the belief that the writer who scripts the copy brings to the table a complete understanding of the effects of good copy and also take responsibility of the words he chooses to use in the copy. Some call copywriting service a professional hobby and some call it a hobby-turned-profession but what matters the most is that any copywriting service is only rendered its best when the soul of the brand and the words of the writer come together to serve copy, hobby style.

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