How to be a great nonfiction writer

As writers, we are often challenged with the question of what is the best way of improving our specific craft. If you focus on the nonfiction genre, perhaps this question has crossed your mind. For example, what is the best way to improve my writing?  How can I convince my reader to stay with me from the title of my essay until the end?  These are questions that all writers ponder. Within this article, we will examine some of the best practices associated with improving your writing as a nonfiction writer.  So let’s get started!

  1. Hone your interviewing techniques

As a nonfiction writer, one technique that is imperative for us to master is how to properly craft an interview.  Whether or not your particular essay/article warrants interviewing someone is not as relevant.

The actual technique of receiving first-hand accounts will greatly improve your writing. For example, it is important that you effectively build rapport with your interviewee. You can accomplish this by paying attention to your body language. Are you displaying open body language? Are your shoulders relaxed, are your legs slightly open, is your face relaxed?  Your interviewee will pick up on all this and more, and this can very well influence how comfortable they feel and, as a result, the quality of information you gain from them.  Be aware of this throughout the interview.

  1. Hone your journalism skills

Nonfiction writers include (but are not limited to) journalists. Even if journalism is not your specialty, start to begin to think like a journalist. Describe in a neutral way the setting that you intend to capture (unless your intent is to have a biased perspective). While describing the scenery, be sure to paint a portrait of your subject in their environment. Try to capture how they interact with others and the natural scenery in their environment. This will give your reader more insight into who your subject is and make your piece more interesting overall.

  1. Proper research is key

Another important aspect that nonfiction writers must keep in mind is the research they choose to use for their written pieces. When conducting research about someone or someplace, be sure to use varied sources so that your reader can get more of a perspective of that person or that place.

Consider all types of research- books, interviews, videos, Google, everything. Anything that will add context for the reader will help your piece be more eye-catching and memorable. When you present research in your piece however, try not to make it as dry as first hand research tends to be. Add your own style to it. Don’t worry, you can do this and still present objective information!  This will help keep your reader engaged from the beginning of your piece until the end.

Nonfiction writers often have a difficult time getting into the freelancing world. However, if you keep these tips in mind, readers will be more likely to find your writing engaging and want to read it. So give these ideas a try, your future readers will thank you for it!

How to create a Conversion Funnel

When it comes to advertising on the internet, site visiting frequency is crucial for marketers in means of discovering prospect buyers for products or services. In other words, a conversion funnel is the path potential customers take to become consumers.

Funneling, as the term suggests, means guiding someone throughout a channel, in his case, through the process of internet advertising in which a consumer`s search is turned into a sale.

Conversion funnel in easy words

conversion funnel
“tunnel” flickr photo shared by ifraud under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Conversion funnel includes certain steps that lead to the final outcome.

The first step is making the customer aware about the specific product or service. Here, customers should be properly targeted-their percentage, the number of people who noticed the ad, which content has been mostly read and so forth.

There might be a bunch of people who have been informed, though not all of them will develop an interest in the advertisement. That is why the funnel shrinks at this second stage. It is worth mentioning that copywriting skills are essential at this phase as engaging contents keep visitors interest.

Then again, during the third step the number of interested customers is likely to decrease. Having an interest does not mean having the desire to get into buying. People need to be persuaded through problem solution. The better the problem is solved, the greater are the chances of turning an interest into a desire.

Finally, the last step is taking an action. Only a small number of attracted customers will reach this phase. Analytical examination of sales is an imperative to make improvements at each level of the conversion funnel. Even if a certain number of buyers have been achieved, the process does not end here.

Successful funneling means repeated customers. Moreover, other product funnels should be considered or creating new product lines and services for this category of clients. This is actually the narrowest part of the funnel-there may be only a few potential customers ready to take action compared to the larger number of customers at the beginning of the process.

Conversion funnel may include more complex features depending on the desired stages and processes that need to be analyzed. A number of goals may be incorporated in the process of funneling. For example, awareness may be extended to more sub-categories such as, category, brand and advertisement awareness. Regardless of the number of goals, accurate monitoring can help to make the most out of the prospective clients to reach the “buy” level. As we said, not all who enter the funnel will come to the desired point for the marketers. Due to this, various strategies should be considered how to maximize the amount of buyers. For instance, if a product costs 79$ and a considerable number of interested customers have left the funnel, a different, less expensive offer may be given through a different funnel so that the prospects might hopefully get back.

Lastly, despite the marketer’s efforts to move prospects through each stage, there will always be people dropping off. Therefore, it is important to monitor to figure out why customers churn. The reasons may be endless, though there are strategies to qualitatively research and prevent churning. Initially, one must ask themselves how to motivate customers to go through the funneling, how different they are and which were the obstacles. Conversion funnel serves to estimate and improve marketing endeavor.


How to write a great copywriting article

Perhaps you are thinking about diving into the field of copywriting. Or perhaps you have been a copywriter some time now and are looking how you can enhance your skills. Regardless if you are a beginner or an experienced copywriter, it is always helpful to learn new ways of thinking about copywriting so that you can become a better writer. Below are a few ways in which you can enhance your copywriting skills. Feel free to use them at your leisure to enhance your craft.

  1. Focus on what the customer can gain

First, try to place particular emphasis on how your target audience can benefit from the advertised product throughout your article. For example, what makes your product better than existing products that perform a similar function?  Perhaps the product is more efficient or cheaper than existing products?

Second, think about what your customers want. Customers always want a high quality product at an affordable price. Therefore, emphasize these things in your articles. Mention how your particular product produces a high quality standard than other products. In addition, has your product been endorsed by a renowned sponsor? If so, be sure to add this to your article. If your product has been accredited by a renowned accrediting body, be sure to add this to your article too.  However, be careful here- be sure to pick people (and organizations) that are popular among your target audience. You don’t want your readers to read endorsements from people they do not like or respect.

  1. Paint an ideal future for your audience

Another way to improve your craft as a copywriter is to show your customers how much better their life will be once they buy your product. Take the time and apply your writing skills to really build the future that your target audience wants. Is your target audience a group of teachers?  Then show them how your program will improve their student’s test scores and aid in making them academically successful. Is your target audience a group of people who like to cook?  Show them a future in which they are using your product and they are cooking some of the best meals they ever had. If you can come to understand and sell the dream that your customers are looking for, you will be more likely to gain a stronger number of readers and improve the quality of your writing.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you are writing your next article. Although these are things all copywriters tend to keep in mind, work on weaving the philosophy of these suggestions into your writing. Don’t lose sight of your audience nor your product. As a result, your copywriting skills are sure to improve.

6 Free Conversion Rate Optimization Tools

Tools for conversion rate optimization
“Sold!” flickr photo shared by antony_mayfield under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

To get the best results of your conversion rate optimization it is necessary that you invest in some tools which will optimize your website. These tools will hap you to get the data and take a full advantage of your web visitors. The collected data will enable you to do the necessary changes when you see how people react to your website and what they do. After you have a clear image of it, you can engage into a research and do test improvements before you implement the best results. You may expect that this operation is costly but there is a range of free online tools available for your choice.

Here is a list of some of the tools used for successful conversion rate optimization.

Research Tools

They are used to carry out qualitative research which gives you the reasons of customers` behaviour.

  • Cross Browser Testing: Free tool his tool which gives you an insight of your website using a number of browsers and operating system. Also, it shows which browsers are better than others. With Cross Browser Testing you can see the display of your website and is applicable to iOS, android, Windows, Mac and more.
  • Survey Monkey: You may want to know the reason of why visitors turn or do not return to customers. You can create question, up to 10 and get back up to 100 replies about customers` perception of your website. Survey Monkey is free for 100 responses.

Analytics Tools

They help  in quantitative research that presents information and numbers about what you need to improve and at which points.

  • Google Analytics: The most frequently used tool used for tracking and reporting website traffic. It can freely test new and engaging web experiences across your entire site in minutes. It is easy to use with text, images and layouts  as all the changes are made by clicking the “edit” button.
  • Cliktale: The package is free up to 5,000 visitors. It can record website visitors and is secure for individual visitors but does not reveal private information. It helps you to see what people do on your website, the way they use it and what problems they have during navigating.

 Testing Tools

Enables testing the collected data based on quantitative and qualitative research.

  • Unbounce: Simple tool that enables landing pages with no IT skills for designing. You can create fully customized landing pages out of the offered templates. Easy to use for testing new webpage designs and can quickly put up A/B test. The drag and drop builder make online marketing less difficult.
  • Screenpopper: This tool is all about driving leads in the most effective way. It promotes a single call-to action by a pop-up on top on a webpage. Thus, it provides instant attention to visitors and you can use it to stimulate customers with something different than email if you want to get more newsletter sign ups.

These are some of the tools available on the internet either as completely free or in a trial version. For more information on other tools for research, analytics, feedback and many more follow this link:

 

How to market yourself as a writer

In the world of freelance writing, you are your own marketing manager, content editor, and content producer. Although you may be wearing many hats, , one of your most important hats will be your marketing strategy.

how to do a swot analysis for work at home
Freelance Sound Designer creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by vancouverfilmschool

Regardless of where you are in the freelance writing career process, the most important tool you will have as a writer will always be a sold marketing strategy. So how do you go about developing a solid marketing strategy?  The following tips will help you reach more clients and increase your marketing potential.

  1. Identify your target market.

The important way to get clients is not by expanding yourself out, it is more about focusing in on your target niche. Your target niche is going to be based on your particular skills. For example, are you a fiction writer that has a great skill in character development? When reaching out to potential clients, make sure that they know that! Provide samples of the ways in which you develop your characters so that your potential clients will have a taste of what they will receive from you. Sample work helps to highlight your skills as well as serve as a marketing tool for other potential clients.

  1. Develop your marketing strategy

Okay, so now you have identified your potential clients. Now the next step is to figure out the best way to reach them. In order to do this, try to put yourself in your client’s shoes. What are the ways in which in which your client communicates?  Is it over a social networking site, email, or via phone?  Study the ways in which your clients interact with each other, it will be an important step for you in order to figure out a way to reach them.

Once you have understood how your client interacts, try to understand what their needs are. Does your client need freelance writers to reach out to an audience of young adults?  Or perhaps they are looking for a nonfiction writer for travel writing pieces. Whatever it may be, study and understood what your client’s needs are and craft a marketing plan that will show your client why you are the best person to meet those needs. When reaching out to potential clients, be sure to use creative ways to catch their attention. Remember, you are not the first freelance writer that they have worked with (or attempted to work with). Develop a specific brand that will make you stick out. That way, in the future your client will have an easier time remembering you and finding you for the next assignment.

  1. Use stories to sell stories

As human beings, we all love a good story. Some scientists would say we are even wired this way. Use this to your advantage!  Ask former clients to write a short testimonial of their experience working with you. In addition, frame your marketing materials in the form of a story (albeit a very short one). You can start from what your client needed and why it was important for them. From there you can expand on how you managed to provide them that much needed service. The more you can craft a marketing plan that connects to others like we connect to stories, the more you will be able to stand out from the crowd.

As a freelance writer, marketing is an essential aspect of what you need to do in order to make a living. Of the time you spend writing, try to spend at least half the time marketing. That way, you will be much more likely to have a steady stream of clients. Go ahead and think about what you can do to reach more clients, and then implement that plan. With time, patience, and dedication, you will see your writing career grow over time.

What is Call-To-Action?

Call-To-Action is a button or a link on a website to attract prospective customers.

Think about how many times you have signed up for various things on line for the purpose of your interest.  Whenever you take this activity you are called to fill out a form on a landing page. CTA is a link that provides connection between the regular content which the customer is interested in and a site offering more extensive offer in exchange for something that is usually money or user data.

Call to actions are the leitmotiv of any landing pages. This page is the place where customers are convinced to complete a short form. For example, you are interested in attending a conference advertised on a website. Your attraction may be caught by a highlighted button “Get your ticket now!” which after a simple click will lead you to a page different from the main page and that is designed for a single focused objective: fill in with your personal information. Some example are subscribe to  newsletter or a webinar registration, to mention some of them. All they employ a variety of wording to attract attention such as, “free tria”, “now”, etc.

Hints from good practices

In order to attain most successful results using Call-To-Action, there are certain guidelines to follow.

  • Visibility: The link or button should be visible. An eye-catching spot on a webpage may easily cause someone to click an offer. Strong colours are catchier than less intensive ones. For instance, yellow is considered to be psychologically the happiest colour in the colour spectrum. A short, compelling video on purchasing an item may double the chances of selling. This type of CTA can be found on a product page often as a smart way to involve different types of visitors.
  • Location: It is important that the button or the link can be easily spotted. User`s scrolling through the main page may harden the CTA activity. It should be put on an easy-to find place for convenience. It can be put at the end of a post, on a sidebar or as a floating banner on either sides of the page. Also, putting social sharing buttons, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is an effective way to inform visitors about visiting a webpage.
  • Size: medium size, not to big to distract attention from the main content, but also big enough to be noticed.
  • Concise: Verbosity does not help, staying brief with a few words of explanation is considered the best choice. It should also be clear to understand.
  • Action oriented: verbs are the persuaders, therefore words like “register” or “find” are most suitable to start with. Also is a good idea to push the user to do it “now”.

Do you want to read more? Take a look to this post on Hongkiat about call to action buttons.

As mentioned, CTA is used to generate leads and this is why it is placed in a location on a website visited by a large number of visitors like a blog.

Given that, CTA is an ideal way to turn visitors into customers or, for example, to create awareness and tempt visitors to attend an event. Creating a feeling of comfort and determination to get involved is necessary. A potential customer should feel confident to click on a friendly and sales focused CTA on a page advertising a product or service.

The advantage is that the location possibilities on a website are infinite since all different audience types can be addressed.

The most effective ways to engage your readers

proofread an academic text
planning flickr photo shared by yasuoogle under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

As writers, our goal is always to keep our readers engaged in our writing. Regardless of the content, we as writers always strive to use the best, most crisp, and most engaging sentences to guide our readers from the beginning of our carefully crafted works of art to the end. But the question that has existed since the start of the writing profession remains: what is the best way to keep our readers engaged?  What is the best way to ensure that our readers will devour every word we place on the page, and then search for our next article because they can’t get enough of our writing style? Below are a few ways to keep your readers engaged. Consider using them when you are about to write your next masterpiece!

  1. Create an original title

Perhaps half the fight in getting your work read is getting readers to find you. In order to do that, you have to stand out from the competition.  What is the best way to ensure your reader will finish reading your blog post? Make the title as eye-catching as possible. The title should reflect the topic you are writing about, but make it as original (or quirky) as possible. Chances are your reader has read several different things about your writing topic, so use your title as a way of showing your reader that you have something new to add to the conversation. Writing about how to take care of cats? Perhaps a title such as “How to serve your furry master.” Make it original!

  1. Your first sentence is your best friend

Did you know that 90% of readers finish articles based on what they read in the article’s first sentence? That hasn’t actually been verified, but take note of how much that sentence gauged your interest! Your title is important, but try to use your first sentence to hook in your reader with surprising or little-known information (but this time, make sure its factual). Consider starting your article with a little-known statistic. Or perhaps add a small picture that will catch your reader’s eye. The more original or surprising your first sentence is, the more your reader will remain engaged. A note: anecdotes can be a great way to hook your reader in, but try to keep it short. We don’t want to weigh down our readers with impressive imagery or details until they are more invested in our article.

  1. Add additional information throughout your article

Some writers like to begin their article explaining what they are about to tell the reader, and then spend the rest of the article backing up their claims. The problem with this method is the reader already knows everything that you have in store for them. Instead, keep your reader guessing by adding new information up until the end of your article. If you are writing an article about preparing your child for going back to school, don’t start the article with every single way you can prepare your child for school. Instead, list one way and then describe other methods later on in the article. Readers only want a guide to what your article is going to be about. They don’t need a list of all the stop points along the way. Use this as a way to keep your reader engaged in your article.

 

  1. Your conclusion is not an ending, it is just the beginning

Now your reader has almost read the entirety of your article. It has all been very engaging, and now they have reached your conclusion. As a writer, what should you do? Should you reiterate everything you have already discussed? No! Instead, keep the conversation open. Guide your reader to more information. Leave them with something to think about after they have read your article. If your article is about how to get a good night’s sleep, perhaps conclude by asking your reader to reflect on when they have had a good night’s sleep and what factors (based on your article) they think played into that. A point of reflection is a great way to keep the conversation going. If you are not sure how to conclude your article, just think about what you would need as a reader to finish a particularly long article. Does your article provide that? Is there anything else your article could do to give the reader something to think about at the end of your piece? That may not be an easy thing to answer, but it will surely aid your reader to get to the end of your page!