A Quick Way to Improve Your Writing Skills and Create Better Content

SPECIAL NOTE: A couple of weeks back, I did a live class on search engine optimization (SEO) for bloggers. The class was incredibly popular, and since then I’ve had tons of requests from people who couldn’t attend the live workshop, but still want a way to access the class.

Well, there’s good news – now you can get the “What Bloggers Need to Know About SEO” master class for just $37. Click here to get the details. When you buy this class, you can immediately access the recording of the class along with an informative handout and the slides from the presentation. Here’s the link one more time.

BigPencilGirlWant a quick way to improve your writing? Here’s a practical tip.

I want you to take 15 minutes and read this article from the blog BoostBlogTraffic.com. It’s called “297 Flabby Words and Phrases That Rob Your Writing of All Its Power.

As an online content creator, you may be looking for ways to improve your writing skills. But it’s surprisingly hard to do that without hiring an editor for every piece you write.

So the question is — if you’re already a good writer, how can you become a great one?

If you’re struggling with this issue, this blog post might provide a real breakthrough for you. The post’s author, Shane Arthur, is one of the best copyeditors I’ve ever known – he can take an article, cut out all the unnecessary words, and turn it into a finely tuned piece of extraordinary content. He can find fluff in places I would never even think to look. But if you don’t have Shane to edit your writing, how can you tighten up your own email content, sales pages, and blog posts? He tells you exactly how with this “297 Flabby Words” post — and you’re going to be amazed by his insights.

After you’ve read the post in its entirety, print it out and hang it above your desk. Next time you’ve completed a piece of writing and you’re ready to edit, look over Shane’s list of “flabby” words and hunt for them in your own writing. Then ruthlessly cut them. I practically guarantee you will find a whole bunch of words you can cut – and it’s going to make your writing so much clearer and easier to understand.

After you do this a couple of times, you’re going to notice that you tend to overuse certain words or phrases again and again. When you spot those words, put them on your own personal “Flabby Words” list. Then put that list right next to Shane’s blog post, on the wall above your desk.

Here’s my own personal “Flabby Words” list:

  • Just
  • In order to
  • So (especially to start sentences)
  • That
  • Exactly
  • Really
  • And (especially to start sentences)

What’s on your personal “fluff” words list? Or do you have other ways of cutting out the fat and making your writing tighter? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Grammar Goofs!

Copyblogger recently published this entertaining infographic spotlighting some common grammar mistakes. Lots of writers and bloggers make these goofs on a regular basis. Are you guilty of any of these? Are any of them major pet peeves of yours, when someone else makes them? Or are there any common grammar mistakes you think they missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more copywriting tips from Copyblogger.

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Get Online Marketing Help from Dave Navarro – for only $20

I’ve learned *so* much from Dave Navarro (the Launch Coach) over the past few years. He’s taught me how to write a sales letter, how to build my mailing list, and how to get more done every day.

I’ve purchased a number of his products and have never been anything but completely blown away by the quality of his stuff and the caliber of the information he’s teaching. I can honestly say that at least two-thirds of what I’ve learned about online marketing in the last few years has come directly from Dave.

As of Monday, Dave will be working exclusively with Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz.com. Although I am disappointed that Dave won’t be sending his incredibly useful Launch Coach emails any more, I’m excited to see what he and Naomi cook up together. I think the two of them will be a really powerful combination.

To get ready to shut down his Launch Coach website, Dave has put all of his training programs on sale at a truly incredible rate. If you move quickly (you’ve only got until midnight this Friday night) you can get all eight of his incredible training programs for $20. Twenty bucks, folks. But after this Friday, these programs will be never be available for sale again!

His programs are like a masters degree in online marketing. Here’s what you’ll get in this toolbox:

  • Creating Products that Sell
  • Building a Responsive List
  • High-Coversion Sales Page
  • Mastering Your Sales Funnel
  • Optimizing Your Blog for Sales
  • Becoming Incredibly Productive
  • Becoming a Big Player in Your Niche
  • Getting Affiliates to Sell for You

I put the suggestions from Dave’s  “Building a Responsive List” course into action, and those changes are the main reason I have thousands of people on my email mailing list today. Dave’s stuff is like rocket fuel for your business.

I urge you to invest in your online business and buy these training programs before they disappear.

Please note that I’m not an affiliate for the Launch Coach, so I don’t make a dime if you buy these programs. I would just love to see all of you succeed, and I think Dave’s work can help you do that if you put his suggestions into action with your business.

Again, here’s that link to buy. Make sure you make your purchase before Friday at midnight.

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Content Extravaganza for the Colorado Blogettes, Part Two!

The Colorado Blogettes, a women’s blogging group, will be meeting again this Thursday night, March 10, at Boulder Digital Arts from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. This meeting will be the second part of our Content Extravaganza! :) The evening will start with a continuation of our fabulous discussion about different aspects of content writing and publishing. Then we’ll be doing a blog post brainstorming exercise with a few brave volunteers.

Admission is $5 at the door. If you live in Colorado and you’d like to attend, please email me directly to RSVP.

Boulder Digital Arts is located at 1600 Range Street, on the corner of Arapahoe and Range Street in Boulder.

If you’d like to get announcements about Blogettes events in your inbox (as well as blogging tips from me) please sign up here.

Hope to see you there!

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Content Extravaganza for the Colorado Blogettes!

The Colorado Blogettes, a women’s blogging group, will be meeting again this Thursday night, Feb 10, at Boulder Digital Arts from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. This meeting will be our Content Extravaganza! :) The evening will start with a few presentations from different Blogettes members about different aspects of content writing and publishing. Then we’ll be doing a blog post brainstorming exercise with a few brave volunteers.

Admission is $5 at the door. If you live in Colorado and you’d like to attend, please email me directly to RSVP.

Boulder Digital Arts is located at 1600 Range Street, on the corner of Arapahoe and Range Street in Boulder.

If you’d like to get announcements about Blogettes events in your inbox (as well as blogging tips from me) please sign up here.

Hope to see you there!

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Fantastic New Tool for Writers

Have you ever had a hard time writing a blog post? Do you find yourself distracted by everything else that’s open on your desktop, or pulled away from your writing by that dreaded “You have new mail” symbol in Apple Mail or Outlook? It happens to me ALL the time.

That’s why I am so delighted to discover OmmWriter,  a super-simple application for writing that essentially cuts out all the noise on your computer and lets you focus 100% on getting your thoughts on the page. It also comes with a soothing soundtrack (they give you several choices) or you can write in silence if you like.

You can download a version for free, or pay a little and get the beefed-up version. There’s a great little video on their home page that lets you see how simple and lovely this tool is.

I’m going to be recommending this to all my blogging clients now!

Happy New Year from Blogging with Beth! And happy writing!

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A Smart Way to Get Blog Traffic Using Twitter

Many of you have probably heard that a wildfire ripped through the area outside Boulder, Colorado on Labor Day weekend, and that 160 homes were destroyed by the blaze. The damage to the surrounding landscape was devastating, and many old and majestic trees were also lost to the fire.

One of my clients, Boulder resident Priscilla Stuckey, wrote a beautiful, heartfelt blog post on her blog, This Lively Earth, about the loss of a particular Ponderosa Pine. Then something rather surprising happened.

Priscilla’s a smart blog marketer who uses her Twitter account to promote each new blog post, so she also tweeted about her new article. Here’s her original tweet:

Priscilla Stuckey Tweet

Did you notice the way she used a hashtag (#boulderfire) in her tweet? That ensures that people who are tracking the Twitter conversation about the fire and its aftermath will read her tweet and follow the link to her moving blog post.

People did indeed find her tweet (and read her post), and her update was retweeted by several people, each of whom also used the #boulderfire hashtag.

What happened next was even better – The Daily Camera, Boulder’s local newspaper, found Priscilla’s tweet and read her blog post. They called Priscilla for an interview about her moving story, and then they ran the interview online and in the print version of the Camera on October 14th. The Denver Post also picked up the story and ran it the following day (October 15th).

The result of this flurry of publicity for Priscilla and her story? An avalanche of traffic to her blog. She doubled her previous one-day record for visits to her site.

Since Priscilla has added an option for her new readers to subscribe to her blog via email, hopefully that flood of new traffic also converted to a bunch of new subscribers!

So what does Priscilla’s story teach us about blogging and Twitter? Here are the lessons we should take away from this story:

1. Write great content for your blog. Excellent blog posts will get attention and traffic, are more likely to be retweeted, and can translate into (FREE!) media coverage from traditional newspapers and magazines. Priscilla’s blog post is beautifully written and includes compelling images.

2. If you’re using Twitter, make sure to promote each of your blog posts by tweeting about it. Include the name of the post (or some other short description) and a shortened link back to the post.

3. Be open to interviews and publicity opportunity, both online and offline.  When the Daily Camera contacted Priscilla to do an interview, she said yes! The Camera actually did a video interview with her, which may have been somewhat daunting, and Priscilla agreed to do it. It paid off in spades! Have courage, bloggers!

Congrats again, Priscilla, on being a smart blogger, and for being willing to write such a personal blog post. Your readers clearly value your vulnerability and accessibility.  And while I’ve very sorry for the loss of your special tree, I’m extremely proud of how you put yourself out there in the online (and offline) worlds.

Keep up the good work!

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Want to Learn How to Write Sales Pages?

I know many of you out there are business owners as well as bloggers, and many of you may be trying to sell an online product from your website or blog. If that’s the case for you, then you may have already bumped up against one of the biggest struggles in the online marketing world – writing the dreaded sales letter. Most of us have seen those cheesy, seventeen-page letters filled with yellow highlighter and over-hyped headlines. You may be sitting there (just like I was a few months ago) wondering if maybe that was truly the only way to write a sales letter for a web audience – to be a cheesy used car salesman. And you may be sitting there thinking that maybe all that cheese really is the only way to have your sales page convert into actual SALES. Because heck, that’s what we all want, right?

Well, fret not, dear readers – Dave Navarro has come to our rescue, just in the nick of time. He’s created a fabulous hour-long (!) video that describes how to create a sales letter that won’t keep you up at night wondering if you’re actually a slimeball. Your sales letter will be one you’ll be proud to send to your readers (and your mailing list). And this sales letter that Dave will help you create will actually CONVERT into sales of whatever product you’re looking to sell.

Dave’s video (which apparently will only be up on his site for a short time) also includes a full transcript, the audio-only version of the training, a supporting workbook in PDF format, and more. Check out the whole shebang here. If you’ve been struggling with sales letters, Dave’s approach is  going to change your way of looking at online marketing – and it’s going to make the whole “sales” thing a lot more fun. Enjoy!

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Top Four Reasons to Get a Blogging Buddy

Blogging Buddies on a Coffee BreakI’m an extrovert, so I think everything is more fun with other people.  But just in case you’re not, and you need to be convinced that getting a blogging buddy is a good idea, here are the best reasons why you should:

1. A blogging buddy will give you someone you can brainstorm with, and someone who can help you sort your through your ideas. I call my blogging buddies when I’m in or rut or I’ve completely lost my blogging direction. I also email them when I have a far-out idea for a post and I’m not sure how it would go over with my audience.

2. Your buddy can link to your best posts (and vice versa) and you’ll both benefit. It’s true – we link to people we like, whether it’s an “A-List” blogger or our best blogging friend who we go to coffee with every Friday morning. Links to your blog mean traffic and more rewards from Google.

3. Blogging with a buddy is FUN. I schedule regular content writing sessions with my blogging buddy. We sit in a coffee shop, write for a few hours, then go grab dinner. It’s a lot more fun than sitting at home staring at a blank page.

4. Your buddy can keep you from feeling overwhelmed. You’re gonna have tough days as a blogger – days when you feel like you want to quit.  Maybe you’re not getting enough traffic, or not enough comments, or not enough….satisfaction. if you’ve got someone on your side who knows why you’re blogging and what your goals are, it will make you feel better. I just read in Oprah Magazine about a really cool study published recently in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The study asked participants to stand at the base of a really steep hill and rate how hard they thought the hill would be to climb. People standing at the bottom with a friend consistently rated the ascent to be less steep compared to those standing solo. (Side note – this study can teach us huge lessons not only in blogging, but IN LIFE, my dear readers!!). Interestingly, the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep they rated the hill. So find those blogging buddies and HOLD ON TO THEM.

Convinced? Great. Look for my post later this week on the qualities you should look for in a good blogging buddy.  In the meantime, start looking around for possible friends to add to your blogging support network.

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How a Blog Connected Me to an Eight-Year-Old Boy on the Other Side of the World

On August 24th, I discovered the extraordinary story of the Kopila Valley Children's Project when my friend Rebecca posted a link on Facebook.  I was immediately enthralled by the story of Maggie Doyne, an young American woman who started a home for kids in Nepal after visiting the country and recognizing a BIG need that wasn't being filled.  Maggie says:

"I was trekking through the Himalayas in war-torn Nepal, where I began to meet hundreds of orphan children. I fell in love with their bright eyes and beautiful smiles, but was shocked to see them barely surviving without the most basic things that I had grown up with as a child.

As I shared my dream to build a safe home for these children, with my hometown in Mendham, NJ, I was astounded by the outpouring of support. This past year, I officially opened the frontdoor of Kopila Valley Children's Home, built brick-by-brick, by me and the local community in Nepal. There are now 28 children living in our home. We have been able to enroll eighty children into school, facilitate life-changing operations for children in need, and create a village outreach program to improve schools in remote areas. I truly believe that if every child in the world is provided with their most basic needs and rights—a safe home, medical care, an education, and love, they will grow to be leaders and end cycles of poverty and violence in our world."

The day I saw Maggie's blog and discovered her story, I e-mailed her and asked if I could sponsor one of the kids in her house.  I am delighted to report that as of September 6th, I am now sponsoring an eight-year-old boy named Ansuraj, who has bright eyes and a smile that goes for miles (Maggie sent me a picture).

Maggie is also helping Ansuraj correspond with me over email, and there are just no words to describe how cool that is.  

And then tonight, I visited Maggie's blog again (she publishes regular updates about what's going with the Children's Home, including her recent attempts to try to buy land for a new school).  Her latest post was all about how she had to travel to a nearby city for her yearly audit by the Nepalese IRS, and it was a funny story about how she and the treasurer of her school's board triumphed over red tape with the help of a kind-hearted official.

And I was reading along thinking how cool it was that she didn't have to sit in a hot auditing office for five hours going over annoying paperwork. And I kept reading.  Then Maggie told the story about what the kids in her school were doing when she got back from the IRS office.  They were flying kites. 

And all of a sudden, there was Ansuraj, the little boy I'm sponsoring, right smack dab in the middle of this great story – he was actually the HERO of the story – and I was just overcome with how incredibly cool it is that Maggie and Ansuraj are in Nepal and I'm in Colorado and I'm sitting here in my living room reading this story about something that happened YESTERDAY at this school on the other side of the world.  I didn't have to wait six weeks for a letter in the mail.  I didn't have to receive a note via passenger pigeon or messenger or any other mode of transportation that would've taken 1000 times as long.

I got to read about it right here on my tiny little computer screen with just a few clicks of the mouse. FOR FREE. I can read it, my readers can read it, and everyone else who wants to feel inspired and realize how lucky they are – and how much a difference one person can truly make in the world – can read it.  Maggie became a global publisher the day she started writing her blog, and her readership is now growing exponentially, every time someone passes on a link to her site – just as I'm doing here. People all over the world can read regular updates and how her kids are doing and what adventures they're having, from our LIVING ROOMS.

That is the power of blogs.  Maggie's blog made it possible for me to find her story, write to her, sponsor a child so that I can contribute to making sure he has food, clothes and school supplies, and then read a marvelous, inspiring story about that child.  Powerful, powerful stuff.

Blogs are important, and they are a powerful medium for communication and change in our world, so please don't let anybody tell you that blogs are just "online journals" or any other such nonsense. Blogging is changing the world – one hyperlink, one post, one child, and one kite-flying story at a time.  

If you'd like to donate to the school, please go to the school's How You Can Help page. And thanks to Rebecca Self of XpatAdventures for passing along this amazing story. 

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