Tag Archive | "writing"

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4 Blogger Lessons from Sochi Olympics

Posted on 13 February 2014 by Administrator

sochi olympic fails

We’ve all seen the pictures from the Sochi Olympics – unfinished hotels, rooms with toilets installed incorrectly, homeless doggies wandering around and many more abysmal failures. It is a sad reflection on them. But we as bloggers can learn things from their issues.

Plan Accordingly
Had the Sochi people planned correctly, they would have had a timeline in place to get their rooms finished before people got there for the Olympics. Start using an editorial calendar so you don’t forget important holidays. Keep drafts of posts to jot down important ideas that you can come back and flesh out later.

Be Thorough in Your Work
In Sochi, a ton of money was spent to make the hotels beautiful. And they were…from the outside, but they got the smaller details wrong – ie putting toilets seats on wrong. Remember, that while a beautiful website or blog is important, if you have glaring grammatical errors or if you haven’t done your fact checking, people will grow impatient with your blog.

sochi toilets

photo credit: Twitter user Wylsacom

Budget Properly
Sochi spent about $50 billion, yes BILLION, on making their city Olympic ready, but all they will ever be remembered for is the pictures that people shared on social media of horrible hotel rooms and terrorist threats. When it comes to blogging, allocate your money and resources in a way that will benefit you the most, and that usually comes in the form of engaging content. Don’t spend a couple thousand on a fancy camera and be left eating ramen noodles for months with nothing to actually blog about.

Don’t be a Vladimir
While so many hotels remained largely unfinished, they all strangely enough were equipped with pictures of Vladimir Putin. While it is your blog, you can’t make everything about you. It is true, that you need to insert your personality into your blog writing, but don’t make every picture a selfie. People want to hear about your food experiences, so talk about chefs or family recipes and traditions. Sure, it is still about you, but not in a look-at-me-I’m-so-cool kind of way.

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Published Author: The Dirty Secrets No One Tells You

Posted on 28 January 2014 by Administrator

As bloggers, many of us aspire to be published authors. However, don’t expect to make much more than you do now. According to a new report, by Digital Book World most authors make less than $1,000 annually. Yes, you read that right, less than $1,000. Further, the study showed, that only 10 percent of traditionally published authors made more than $20,000 a year and 5 percent of self-published authors made more than $20,000 a year.

I’m not trying to discourage you from becoming an author, food critic or paid writer by any means. I love the respect that comes with being a published author. But you may be in for a surprise. What I never was told before I published my book, is that most publishing companies don’t help you promote your book one bit.

When I published my book, I did all the marketing for my book. I had to come up with a list of contacts to send it to for review. I had to schedule ALL of my book signings. One store was even so insulting as to tell me they would only pay for how many books sold. So, I’d have to bring them and see how I did.

My publisher did zilch to help me. Truth is, most publishing companies only promote their big name authors like Stephen King and JK Rowling.

Here’s something to give you laugh:

I make better money as a freelance writer. This is recurring, long-term income. If you can get contracts for monthly writing for a couple gigs, you could be making $1,000 – 2,000 extra per month. My advice is to pick topics you like to write about. I write about food (surprise, surprise), DIY and Kitchen ware. They are all things I feel passionate about.

Of course, you can always go the self-publishing route. Up until recently this was frowned upon. The myth that somehow having a big publishing house was much more credible. Perhaps, but why get paid in paltry royalties when you can self-publish and keep the full amount for your hard work? After all, you will have to market your book no matter which you choose.

With print on demand, e-readers and the ease of which it is to upload your book to a site like Amazon and social media promotion, it’s almost a no-brainer to go the self-publishing route. Here’s to your writing success!

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How to Find and Work with a Guest Blogger

Posted on 30 May 2012 by Administrator

guest bloggers

Image Source: lovelustandfairydust.com

The problem is inevitable once you reach a certain status as a blogger: you can’t possibly go to all the events you are invited to attend. It is definitely a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Instead of spreading yourself thin and trying to attend as many events as possible, consider a guest blogger.

One the best ways to find a guest blogger is someone who is already a fan of yours or maybe someone who you interact with on Twitter. Asking family or friends to write rarely works. Remember – they have to be passionate about the subject like you are, or they won’t be motivated to write.

If you are already going to lots of tweetups and media events it is possible you may have met someone who wants to write for you. You can even post or tweet about it to see if anyone is interested. There are so many who only want to write occasionally, it presents the perfect opportunity for you to gain a guest poster.

As bloggers, most of us don’t make money from our blogs, but write as a hobby. In lieu of payment, you will give the blogger the opportunity to attend a fun event with no cost to them. In return, you are getting a post out of it, so it is win-win for everyone. And you are giving them a huge opportunity to write on a well-known blog.

In time, you can assign them their own account on your WordPress site. This allows the guest writer to log in and post, so you don’t have to spend time uploading a post and pictures. With an “author” account on WordPress they can upload a post but they can’t change any administrator settings like widgets, ads or the like.

A couple things to consider with a guest blogger:

  • They won’t have the same voice or writing style as you. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it can bring in more readers.
  • Limit their contributions to no more than twenty percent of your posts if you want to keep your voice or style the most prominent.
  • You’ll probably have several others write for you before you find a guest blogger that is a good fit with you and your blog. So don’t get discouraged.
  • Never give a guest blogger full (administrator) access to your site as they could delete everything.

There are some individuals you’ve never met who will offer you a free article. Be wary of this. Often times, these individuals are paid to build links and will have many links in any article they write for you. Not only does this not fit with the style of most bloggers, but the same article could be floating around on other sites.

Alternatively, if you are reading this and thinking about blogging but not sure if it is for you, why not reach out to a blogger you admire and ask to guest post for them? Bloggers are overwhelmed with the amount of press releases received and are happy to pass along some of their workload to someone who is willing to help.

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When is it Right to Write for Free?

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Administrator

Writing without compensation is no doubt a hot button for bloggers and food writers these days. As bloggers we want the recognition for writing and we know if we don’t have prior writing experience under our belt, we have to pay our dues. Food critics dislike our writing for free as it lowers their earning potential in turn. So when is it right to write for free? The answer is when it benefits you as much or more than it costs you.

I’ve been freelance writing for three years. I knew in the beginning I’d have to work for free, so I started writing for a women’s website where I learned lots about writing for the online world and Search Engine Optimization, etc. I since wrote for a couple other online publications, although the compensation was little or nothing, my meal was taken care of and I had the opportunity to re-post that content on my food blog.

About a year ago, I just about jumped out of my skin when a local print magazine asked me if I would be interested in writing a monthly food column for them. Yes! Finally, my talents are being recognized! I drove across town eagerly anticipating sharing all the thoughts about what we could do with this column and how great it would be. We met in their conference room (me, the president and owner along with three other editors), and discussed the process of how the column would work – each of them giving their input and having to sign off on my review. We discussed everything involved except for one thing – payment.

As uncomfortable as it made me to ask, I couldn’t leave before finding out how much they were going to pay me. He boldly declared “We don’t pay our writers anything. They simply get a mention of their website in the byline of their articles instead of payment.”

I sat there, stunned and speechless for a minute while I wrapped my head around the idea that this magazine that makes lots of money from its advertisers isn’t willing to pay me a penny for my writing. I then politely thanked him for his time and told him I would consider the offer and let him know my answer in a couple days.

Ultimately, I decided that this wouldn’t be a good fit. I knew that there would be lots of revisions and critiquing from not one but the three editors I’d met with. In other words, it would be exactly like having a job just without any compensation. When I found out the meal allowance was next to nothing, it made it even easier to turn down the offer.

If your aspirations are to become a paid food writer, be aware you’ll have to pay your dues. You’ll probably have to write for free for some period of time to gain exposure and experience. You may even have to write about topics you have no interest in as well.

After you gain experience and are published in some online sites, make note of this in your portfolio. When you feel you’ve gotten sufficient experience, then start charging for your writing. You may feel inclined to write for free if it is tremendous opportunity – perhaps a magazine you’ve always wanted to contribute to or a guest post on a blog you admire.

Several factors to consider:

  • Are meals compensated?
  • Can you re-post the article on your blog?
  • If you sever ties do you still own the rights to these articles?

It is up to you whether you write for free or not. My advice is don’t ever do it because you don’t feel worthy. Blog traffic and exposure is great up to a certain point but it doesn’t pay the bills. Do you think your hair stylist, trash person, or car mechanic is willing to work for nothing?

As an observation, it seems that when we have a talent or something that comes naturally, we often discredit or undervalue it. Keep in mind that if you don’t value yourself, your skills and your talent, no one else will.

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