Who Knows What You’re Talking About?

The current dmoz Tip of the Fortnight

It is considered bad form to use slang or abbreviations like “info”, “pics”, “etc” and “bio”. Using the full form of the word is not only more professional but is also easier for our users, whose native language may not be English, to understand or translate.

A very good tip. Every writer should remember not to use slang and abbreviations, unless they are very well known by the general public. Some sites or publications may have a very narrow readership they can focus on. But, even those sites could have a glossary or some way to understand their abbreviations.

Why send your readers to some other site to look up the words, slang or short forms you use?

How to Be a Great Guest Blogger

What makes someone a great guest poster?

Great guest bloggers know the blog they want to write for. They know the content published, the niche the blog aims for.

This doesn’t mean you have to camp out for weeks studying the blog. Start by reading the About section on the blog. Is this even a topic or niche you would have something to write for? Have you got something in mind that the blog owner will want to post?

Read back entries. Skim headlines for anything connected to what you plan to offer as a guest post. What has already been written about the topic? Do you have a new thought, a fresh angle? If so, this is a great thing to let the blog owner know when you submit your proposal.

Plan ahead and make sure your site (the place you choose to showcase your writing) is actually putting your best foot forward. Are there typos? Do all your links work? (You don’t want them to find a broken link because you moved a post – or a broken image file). What do you say about yourself? Do you have an introduction to who you are and what you are doing?

How can you interest blog publishers in the posts you offer them?

You submit a proposal for the post you want to write. Have your idea ready, have the whole post written or at least planned out. If this blog doesn’t want it you can find and ask other blogs who would be interested in the same content. But, if this blog owner is interested you want to have the content ready to send as quickly as you can.

Before you rush to send your post make sure you agree to terms with the blogger.

Ask when the post will be published, if the blogger has a schedule (most will).

Set out what you would like when it comes to an author bio and any links in the bio or the post itself.

How long or short should your post be?

Do you need to include an image? If not, can you get the chance to ok the image which is used with your post?

Do they have rules about using extras like text in bold or list posts?

Do they want to set the title themselves or will they be using whatever you send as a title?

Will other content be run with the post you have written, are they posting their own links or creating an introduction to go with your post?

Don’t spring any surprises on the blog owner once your post has been accepted. You also don’t want to find yourself surprised. Try to think ahead and… if you do get a surprise about how your post is used, keep calm, take a break away from the computer before you send off a note to the blog owner.

What is guest post etiquette?

Proofread your post, more than once. The blog owner won’t be impressed if they have to fix typos.

Ask the blog owner how they want the post sent. Some might prefer HTML or plain text. Some will want it as an attached file and some will want it in the email itself.

Keep your author bio short and don’t use more than two links. Pick smart links: your best source for showing your content and your most active (non-personal) social media account.

Don’t use too many links in the content of the post you write. Two is a nice amount. Three is less acceptable. Over three links will probably not sit well with the blog owner at all. Even if they publish the post they aren’t so likely to agree to more.

Afterwards… Promote Your Post!

Don’t sit on your laurels once your post has been published on the blog. Now is the time to promote your post. Get readers, bring in traffic and show the blog owner you have some pull, some regular readers and social media clout.

If you bring them traffic they will be far more interested in working with you again, and again.

Also, don’t abandon your post too quickly. Check for reader comments and answer them. Provide more information or just chat and use the post to build your own social network and bring people over to read more of what you have written. (This is why it’s a good idea to keep writing in the same niche/ topics where you want to build up your own authority).

A day after the post is up send the blog owner a note. A thank you note. Include any statistics you have about the post traffic. Ask for feedback from them. Ask if they have any ideas they would like worked on for a future post. There could be ideas they have not had time or resources to create a post about themselves.

You could become a regular contributor if things work out. But, watch your time management and don’t over commit yourself. Don’t undo what you have started by missing deadlines.Accept the work you know you have the time, energry and knowledge to complete.

None of these have my personal recommendation but they are a place for you to start looking for sites that want your content.

How to Approach Blogs Which Don’t Want Guest Posts

Pay attention to a site which does not accept guest posts. Don’t send them a guest post!

Chances are, a site which specifically does not want guest posts has been flooded with spam offers and they are fed up with the whole thing.

If this is a site or blog you really do want to write for, approach them through their blog comments. Do not offer them a guest post. You could also find them on Twitter and other social media (choose one they are actively using).

Begin by giving them real comments on the posts they have. Offer some ideas, tips, insights you have. Keep it light and neutral.

Make sure every communication and comment you have with them is typo free and use spell check.

Make sure you include a link back to your own blog (a place where your content is showcased). Let them find you.

After some time and several comments you could suggest an idea for a guest post relevant to their niche and offer to write it. Use your common sense and don’t end up sounding like just another spammer.

This way you are not one more half-assed idiot offering them a ‘free’ (typically irrelevant) post for their blog.

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How to Choose Great Guest Bloggers

If you have a blog up and get some amount of traffic, you will begin to get requests for guest posts. At first you may feel flattered. That wears off pretty quickly.

Posts offered to you are not relevant to your topic or niche. They are all about getting their links on your blog, for free. There isn’t anything in that offer really for or about you and your blog/ site. Almost every offer you will get for guest blogging will be nothing but a new form of spam. The value of the posts they offer you will be on the level of comment spam, the stuff you delete.

It’s discouraging.

When guest blogging started, before it became popular and attractive to spammers, it was a good thing. You could find real content to supplement your own and give yourself a day or two off from writing and posting yourself. Those days are gone. We are left with a very few sincere guest bloggers and a mass of spammers all too happy to take advantage of web publishers who don’t know the difference.

Choose Your Own Guest Bloggers

Don’t wait to be asked by guest bloggers. Reach out and find the people you want to work with. Find people in your niche/ topic. People who already have content you have read and found worthwhile, resourceful, competent at the very least. Approach people you would like to write for your site. Offer them space in your blog and set out your terms: formatting, length, links, author bio, etc. Keep it simple and let them suggest alternatives and options.

Start by requesting an interview. This gives you a post, introduces your site to them (if they don’t already know you) and you find out more about them and what they specifically know about your niche/ genre/ topic. If you do accept guest posts from them you can refer back to this interview as an introduction to them.

Pick Performers, not Promoters

Look at the content the perspective guest blogger has to show. Do they focus on informing readers or are they selling keywords for ads?

You want a blogger who will have reader appeal. You also want someone who will focus on promoting the post AFTER it’s on your blog, not from inside the post itself. The smart guest bloggers will promote the post with their own social media. They will also return to check the post for reader feedback/ comments and give replies.

Don’t accept guest posts from anyone who wants to talk about links before any other content. You don’t want more than 2 links in the post and 2 links in the author bio at the end of the post. That’s a total of four links, 2 which should be for the guest writer – not something they are trying to sell.

Typos Are Unacceptable

When someone offers to write a guest post don’t give them the time of day if they have a typo in the very proposal/ request they have sent.

If they can’t put time into making a good first impression do you really want to give them more time. Obviously, they don’t think much of you. They don’t really appreciate your time or the chance to have some of your blog space.

Offering a Post “Free of Charge”

How kind and generous… how full of themselves they are…

A guest post is free.

If they mention this they either think you are too stupid or clueless to know this or they think you will appreciate their boundless generousity and grab up the offer while you still can.

Either way they are trying to pull something on you and I don’t want to work with someone like that.

Beware the Tried and True Cookie Cutter Content

The last thing you want from a guest post is something you could have written yourself, or something you have already read in a dozen other blogs. Blah, blah, boring.

The guest post you publish should have something fresh, unique and individual. A new slant or a fresh point of view. A twist on an old idea. Something!

Don’t publish a guest post to be nice, to do someone a favour or just because someone offered you a “free” post.

This is your blog. Your name is on it. You pay the bills. It’s your space to create something great, including the content from guest posts.

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Photocopy Art

From an original post on Suite101 by Jo Murphy. The post and Jo Murphy’s bio link are gone since Suite101 revamped the site.

Copy Art Pioneered in Canada
Centre Copie-Art Opened in Montreal in 1982 by Jacques Charbonneau

Although it was an international art movement, Canada is recognised for its major contribution to the art form called Copy Art.

According to the Encyclopaedia of Twentieth Century Photography, Copy Art or Xerography was pioneered in Canada, where it is still popular today. Copy Art, uses the photocopier to create artworks by reproducing and multiplying images. The artists play with the process of transformation of graphic images. They experiment with the metamorphosis brought about by the alchemy of light at the heart of the reproduction technology.

Origins of Copy ArtThe electrography process was developed in the USA and Germany in 1938. But this technology became freely available by the year 1960. Copy Art began to appear as an art form by about 1970, and the first exhibition of this kind of art called “Rochester” was held in 1979. Other exhibitions of this type were held in Canada in the same year.

After making its first appearance in France in 1975, copy art became more accepted. By 1983, an exhibition called “Electra” was held in the Musee d’Art de la Ville de Paris. The gallery devoted considerable space to the art form.

Copy Artist Pati HillArtist Pati Hill exhibited in the “Electra” exhibition, working with shadows, grains, and contrasts of black and white as well as textures and micro textures. To create this work, Hill created imagery from feathers, flowers fabrics and plants, says de Meridieu. In a chapter about innovative pioneers in the book called Digital and Video Art, de Mèredieu goes on to talk about Hill as a contemporary experimentalist and her work as extravagant. An example of Hill’s technique, she explains, was to photograph every possible (visible, invisible, obvious and unexpected) of the Palace of Versailles.

Centre Copie-Art of Canada

Copy Art continues to thrive in Canada today. The founder of the Canadian movement was Jacques Charbonneau. After discovering the technique, when he was on holiday, he returned to Canada where he opened Centre Copie-Art in Montreal in 1982.

Body Art and Other Offshoots of Xerography

Practitioners of body art, such as Amal Abdenour and Phillipe Boissonnet, reproduced different parts of the body using photo copiers. They were exploiting variations of colour and the effects of contrast and solarisation. Much of this work was achieved by using overlays of transparencies.

Because it so versatile, there have been many different developments and innovations that have evolved from Copy Art. According to de Mèredieu, magazines and fanzines sprang up around artist centres such as art schools and colleges. A centre recognised as famous for encouraging this type of art form was Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Dijon.

de Mèredieu points to the importance of this movement, when she mentions that Klaus Urbons founded a museum of photocopying in Mulheim an der Ruhr in Germany. Here there are displayed old machines, documentation and artist’s work. Another example of the value of the body of work, the style and the method, is the opening in 1990 of a major international museum of electrography in Cuenca in Spain.

Power Up your About Page or Profile

Some time over the holidays, while you’re thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, talking with family and trying not to snack on too many goodies… think about updating your online profiles, your bio pages on web sites (dating sites included) and your about page on any blogs you keep. Information changes. If you haven’t updated the information about yourself in a year or longer, some things you wrote last time will be out of date.
If you are online as a professional you should be updating profiles and about pages at least once a year. Even if you don’t change so much as one word, change the date to show the information is recent rather than stagnating.

Selling Manuscripts

Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.

Selling Manuscripts

By Dawn Whitmire

Introduction

You’ve just finished your manuscript or maybe you have the finish line in sight. Are you wondering what next? In between editing your book and preparing the query letter to your targeted agent or editor, there’s a step you must take….writing the synopsis.

If you’re like I was a few years back, your face is wrinkling right now and the dread is settling in. What if I were to tell you it didn’t have to be that way? What if I could show you a quick, precise way to write your synopsis and make it as enjoyable as writing the manuscript? What if I could make you look forward to your book’s ending just so you could get to the synopsis? Or maybe even help you to write the synopsis as you wrote the book.

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Professional Writing

This was one of the ecourses offered at Suite101 University. The site is taking down this section, sometime soon. I wanted to keep the content available. It’s well worth keeping.

Professional Writing

By Sara Quest

Introduction

Do you long to call yourself a professional? By taking this two-week course, you will be. This course will provide you with enough resources and contacts to keep your career as a professional writer going long after you’ve stopped reading.

The rewarding career is about to begin: you will be creating your own free websites, which will be nothing short of an online party for professional minded writers. The site will reveal the services you aim to offer future clients. This is an efficient and necessary avenue for displaying and updating services, and for allowing potential clients to view them.

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Writing a Top 10 Sort of List Post

Listverse is a fun site to browse through. But, I don’t know why writers would submit a post there.

  1. Listverse wants to keep all rights to any content they choose to publish.
  2. Listverse will add your name or pen name to the post you have written but I did not see any type of author bio or a link back to the original author’s site, Twitter account, or anything else. Maybe if you have a really unusual name and people bothered to look for you, they could find you online. In my case, it’s not very likely. I know there are two other people with my same name right in the small city I live in, let alone the rest of the planet.
  3. Writers are not paid for their submissions. Consider it a contribution. I hope they at least send out “thank you” notes.

So, yes, you may get a lot of feedback to your list post. But, is there a point to it? Are you a bean counter (comment counter in this case) or are you a writer?

Other than that, here are the basic requirements for writing a list post, from the Listverse site.

Writing a List

6. Include an introductory paragraph for the list
7. Write between 100 – 200 words per item
8. Optionally include links to youtube clips or image URLs if appropriate

You may get in the mood to write a list post after reading a few on their site. But, keep it for your own site. Or try it as a guest post on a site that does give full credit with links back to the writer. Or, a site that gives you an author bio as well as links. Or, a site that doesn’t ask for every last right they can take for your work. Or, how about some of the sites that actually pay the writers?

Is Your Blog Empty Content?

Ben posted his list of WordPress plugins, in 3 parts. In the last post he mentioned a plugin for putting your writer profile/ bio at the end of each post (which I do) or keeping it at the footer of your blog, not in the sidebar. I disagree with this. Yes, there may be other things you would like to give that blog space to, but… what else gives people their first impression of your site and yourself more than a little blurb about you and what your site is about? I really think this is important. Here is what I wrote in the comments on Ben’s blog. It’s in two parts because I made two comments and Ben replied in between. Go read it from his blog to see everything. I only quoted myself.

I don’t agree about the author bio being relegated to the footer or just at the end of the posts. The first thing I look for on a new blog is something about the author and the intent of the blog. I can skim down the list of posts and guess at who wrote them but it’s not the same. If I read the about or a quick bio/ profile I am far more likely to identify with the blogger and become interested in reading the blog. I will also link to another blog just because I liked the bio and felt it was someone worth keeping track of. (Even if none of the current posts really caught my interest).

I come to read your blog because I know you. Over years online you’ve become a familiar face. When I visit a blog for the first time, it’s stepping into a strange land, new territory. Finding something familiar, that I can identify with makes a huge difference in my first impression and it will decide me on whether or not to stay and read. If I don’t find something to identify with I’m very unlikely to return to the blog. The content would have to completely amaze me and almost no blog does that any more. A lot of people won’t see your footer to find you on your site. It can give the first impression of being empty content, written and left out like a brochure. I think people need to see that there is a person behind the site. I think I just gave myself my post for the day. 🙂

Write Outside Your Usual Box

Write for another site or blogger. It changes your perspective when you stop writing for yourself or your usual imagined audience/ readers. You get a chance to write outside yourself when you write for another site. Plan the topic, the angle you will write it from and how much or little you will say and the tone you will use to say it.

Another site will have writing guidelines, maybe even a style guide. If not, look at other posts and articles and get idea about what they write and how they write it.

Don’t forget to write a short bio or profile to be posted along with your article for the site. Give yourself a link back to yourself.