BLOGGING TIPS 101

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Kaila O’ Neill Founder & Owner of: Makeup by Kaila Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Beauty and Lifestyle Writer Here are five amazing ways to increase blog trafficking, engage your readers, and enjoy blogging even more! Social Media! Join every social media available! Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Bloglovin, Facebook, Pinterest, everything! Connect with […]

via 5 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed! (2 min read) — The Millionaire’s Digest

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Grow Your Blog By Connecting With Others On Social Media — DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN

Connecting via social media is a great way to grow you blog. Many don’t utilize social media and in my opinion that is a mistake. Take a few minutes and research the effectiveness of social media! Social media benefits your blog in several ways: Adds legitimacy to your page in the eyes of search […]

via Grow Your Blog By Connecting With Others On Social Media — DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN

HOW TO WRITE FOR THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY

aircraft-1362586_1920.jpgOne of the largest and most competitive, the travel industry requires an abundance of  quality content to satisfy the huge number of online platforms and magazines, which can be lucrative for the freelancer.

I love to travel. City breaks, beach holidays, adventurous tours, I love them all and I’m lucky to have travelled all over the world. Give me a packed suitcase, a box of Imodium, my passport and I’m Harriet the happy hamster.

People who actually travel the world all expenses paid are scarce, however, so how can freelance writers take advantage of this massive opportunity?

The first myth I need to dispel is the fact that you have to be a carbon copy of Alan Wicker to be a great travel writer. Yes, it helps if you’re familiar with the basics – airports, packing, weather etc – and obviously, if you’re writing a guidebook or airline review, a knowledge of the place or flight provider is preferable, but there are lots of opportunities out there that don’t require in-depth awareness. What they do require, though, is thorough research.

There are multiple thousands of hotels around the world. Most have websites, and/or a short description on online travel agency sites. This particular content deals with facts. You don’t need to have spent last year’s summer getaway at said residence, you just have to write how many rooms it has, how beautiful the gardens are, restaurant choices, how far it is from the airport/local attractions. Basically, a product description.

How to articles and listicles are another way to cash in on this marketplace.

  • Ten ways to occupy your children if your flight is delayed
  • Ten animals you are likely to see in India
  • Five essential beach bag items
  • Hangover cures! How to survive Ibiza nightlife

All these examples can be written without in-depth travel nous. It could be a flight to anywhere, you can find information about India on the internet, a beach is a beach and hangovers, well, they’re rife all over the world. Most of the travel comparison sites have blogs requiring SEO-rich content with travel tips and articles that don’t require the writer to have been around the world in eighty days.

Another trick is applying an experience you’ve had from one destination to another. A horse and carriage ride in Paris is exactly the same as a horse and carriage ride in Krakow (albeit a lot more expensive). Yes, the sights are different, but the feelings and emotions are the same. You understand the concept and can tailor the facts to your particular experience. Riding a camel in Tunisia is much the same as riding a camel in Morocco or Egypt. The scenery changes, but there are enough reviews out there that you can improvise.

Food and drink are another great way to write about travel, while not actually leaving your own country. Culinary delights from all over the world are now easily obtained in this country and, with some complimentary online research, it’s relatively easy to delve into the surrounding cultural, historical details of particular items. Of course, I know local delicacies taste better when in situ, and I’m not saying you can write about Thai street food without living the experience, but you could, however, write about:

  1. The History of the Saffron Trail
  2. The Persian Pistachio
  3. Ten Italian Fish Recipes

Finally, all travel writing is not about exotic locations. That old adage, ‘write about what you know’ can stand you in good stead here. The first travel article I had published was about my hometown and this is a brilliant place to start for the novice travel writer. What are the points of interest in your town/city, the best restaurants, museums etc? Is there an event that takes place there, and how often? Does the location have a nearby theme park, beach, or a country walk? The UK tourism industry is vast and requires quality content by freelance writers.

So, instead of packing your suitcase to make a living writing about the travel industry, pack your pen, laptop and imagination. Perhaps you can’t write an account of a trip down the Amazon, but writing about the top fish and chip shops in Scarborough can earn you just as much cash.

UK Content Writer offers a full range of travel writing services:

Hotel Descriptions

Country Guides

City Guides

Popular Attractions

Things to Do

How to Articles

Marketing Content

Web Content

Destination Guides

www.ukcontentwriter.co.uk

HOW TO WRITE FOR THE PET INDUSTRY

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Us Brits are barking mad about our furry friends, with over 24% of us owning a dog closely followed by 17% being ‘owned by a feline’. Therefore, it’s no surprise the market for freelance writing in the pet industry is huge. New products are being launched every day and pet lovers are constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of their beloved furbabies.

The bonus, for a freelancer and pet owner like myself, is that it’s enjoyable writing about something you love and usually doesn’t involve too much research. Here are some tips if you’d like to write for one of the largest and most profitable markets out there:

Firstly, unless you have a dog like Marley or a moggy who’s changed your life similar to Street Cat Bob, nobody wants to hear about the antics of your pets in great detail, especially if – as a lot of people tend to do on Social Media – you give them language skills and weird accents. Dogs having a ‘wuffly barkday’ and cats being ‘purrfectly groomed’ are a big no-no! If you really feel the need to  turn your pet into a celebrity, stick to YouTube or Instagram. By all means, write about your experiences with a health problem, training tip or new product, but from your point of view, not Fido’s.

There are always new and innovative products for pets, so check out the upcoming trends. For example, this year has seen an increase in organic, and handmade treats and breed-specific diet foods. The popularity of teacup breeds has seen an increase in the sale of dog clothes and trendy designer bags for transport. All these products need descriptions, reviews, web content and blogs to make them successful in a competitive market.

Training is something every responsible dog owner should do. You don’t have to be Cesar Milan to write about it. Write about your own experiences or interview a local rescue centre employee to get their tips. There is a world of information on the net – try writing from a different angle. Consider different environments, seasonal aspects or situations that require special training:

  • ‘Training tips that could save your dog’s life in the city’;
  • ‘Dog Etiquette at the beach’; and
  • ‘How to train a Gun Dog’

There are also options here to write about the various methods of horse training for different sports – polo, dressage etc.

Healthcare is one of the most popular searches about pets, and, as mentioned, you don’t have to be an expert to produce work on a vast range of topics on every pet imaginable. From how to check a horse’s hooves, to why snakes shed their skin. Breed, or species-specific health issues, are always popular. Once again, try to approach things from a different angle in order to make your articles or blog posts stand out from the crowd.

Most owners have a profound interest in providing the best basic care for their pets, whether it’s how to clip your cockatoo’s claws without getting injured, how to build a playground for guinea pigs or how your pony benefits from a massage. Articles of this kind are unique – the writer explains what has worked for them. These are the tips that everyone is looking for to enhance the pet owner experience.

People love to spend time with their animals. Writing about activities and pet-friendly holidays can be a great income booster. Once again, try to mix it up, don’t just concentrate on local agility classes or cat-friendly hotels. What about, ‘How to Teach your Dog to Surf’, ‘Dog Dancing Classes’, ‘Rabbit Racing’ or ‘Yoga with Cats‘? (I kid you not!)

You can also integrate writing about equipment into this one. For instance, ‘The Top Ten Dog Sledding Harnesses’ or ‘Five Essential Items of Dog Equipment to take on your Camping Trip’.

In contradiction to my earlier comment, about nobody wanting to read the day-to-day antics of Floppy the rabbit or Fifi, the neurotic poodle. This changes when an exceptional event occurs or the human/pet relationship is extra special. There are numerous heroic pets that have a story to tell, working as military or search and rescue dogs. There are even ‘Therapy pigs and ferrets‘. (Once again, I know, unbelievable … right?)

Pets have amazing senses and can often recognise illness early and prevent seizures, actually saving lives. These stories are the ones readers are interested in.

Whatever you choose, be it a breed profile or the story of a puppy adopted by a lion, the possibilities are endless. You can overlap the topics, write seasonal articles or interview experts. Not only will you find the writing enjoyable, but, because we all love our pets, you can be sure that someone out there wants to read it.

© Donna Hepburn 2016

 

 

 

 

WRITING – THE FUNNY SIDE

As a freelance writer, you occasionally need to put down your pen, close your laptop and just laugh out loud!

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Running from Wendy (The Nitpicker) when there’ve been one too many grammatical errors in my last article!

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Trying to get a decent paid job on People Per Hour

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Content is King

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1,500 words on binary options, eh? No problem!

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Deadline? What deadline?

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When you’ve just been paid

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The end of another day. Eight strenuous hours = four, looking for work, one, working and three, writing the world’s greatest tweet!

USING CURRENT TRENDS TO ENHANCE YOUR MARKETING

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You would need to be living in a box or in outer space not to be aware that a significant number of the world’s population are obsessed with chasing around after funny-named Japanese cartoon characters. Pokémon Go is a phenomenon! With little or no marketing, it’s currently surpassing the big players in the App market – Twitter and Snapchat included – with more active daily users. Some companies are using this to their advantage to increase business.

It works particularly well for bars, restaurants and cafés especially if they’re in the area of a Pokéstop (physical locations in the game where players collect essentials like Pokéballs). These can see a large increase in footfall. If the company has a member of staff playing the game, they can set lures to attract people to the area, especially at lunchtime. Offering discounts or special offers to players or applying to the game online to become a battle gym can also increase business.

I can hear you all now saying, ‘That’s all very well, but how does it affect my business and marketing?’ Er, Brexit? How many posts did you see mentioning that word?  Using current trending topics can significantly increase your ranking on search engines, drive traffic to your blog or website and gain more followers on social media. Remember, it’s not what interests you, it’s what your followers and potential clients are taking notice of.

It’s not only #Pikachu #Squirtel and the gang that can enhance your content. (See what I did there?) There are topics going viral daily and it pays to keep abreast of these trends. Tools such as Reddit, Buzzfeed, and DrumUp use sophisticated algorithms to provide you with daily stories specific to your keywords making it easy to create social media posts, web content and blogs that are engaging and ‘bang on trend’.

Large sporting events are another massive opportunity for you to cash in with valuable trending content. There were over 10 million tweets by Brits alone during Euro 2016. The opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics takes place on Friday, and that will be a similar story. There are numerous ways to make this work for your business.

Keywords and Hashtags. Using words on your website such as Olympic, Gold Medal, Rio 2016 will push you up the rankings, as well as making it fun and interesting to keep the reader engaged. Perhaps you could have a special offer every time your country wins a medal. Congratulate medal winners daily, write a short interview with a member of your staff who is a cyclist, runner, gymnast etc. Not only are you taking advantage of trending words, you are also giving potential clients an insight into your business.

Social Media Posts. These should be instant to achieve the best results. Incorporate the trending hashtag with some relevance to your niche, something like:

Congratulations #MoFarah #GoldMedal #Rio2016 Celebrate by claiming a 20% #discount today only @ukcontentwriter #writingservices #webcontent

Blogs. Writing a blog containing valuable, newsworthy content not only encourages engagement with followers, portraying you as a savvy marketer, but also combats the constant changes that search engines make to their criteria. Websites take time and money to update. Blogs are a cost-effective way of maintaining a strong online presence.

Whether it’s Pokémon Go, National Cupcake Day, Wimbledon or a celebrity marriage, you can make any newsworthy topic your friend. It would be interesting to know if any of our readers have used/will be using the upcoming Olympics in their marketing and, if so, your results to date.

Good luck and happy marketing!

© Donna Hepburn 2016

FREELANCE WRITING – HOW TO SUCCEED IN A DOG EAT DOG WORLD

 

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You’ve made the decision, for whatever reason, that you want to make a living as a freelance writer. But how do you get that perfect gig and start to see money rolling in? It can be intimidating when you realise just how many writers – both good and bad – are in competition with you. Here are some tips to help you get started and avoid the pitfalls.

Mass Platforms. Inevitably, you will have checked them out. The big players, thousands of jobs and even more bidding on the projects advertised. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve sent proposals for projects on these sites, which have developed into regular work, but they’re few and far between.

As a newbie, you can spend half your day trawling through the ads – not making money – a lot of which are extremely vague. Don’t! If you must use them, only apply for jobs with a detailed brief. Clients usually want you to check out their website/blog to attract writers who can provide exactly what they’re looking for. “I need a Writer,” is a definite No No. Not only will you waste time applying, they will usually accept the lowest bid and a £5 article is never going to be quality work. ‘Paying peanuts gets you monkeys.’ Jargon, cliché, an old saying, yes. But true! Only apply for projects that you are perfect for, be it travel, lifestyle, legal. You can then show your skill, writing for that particular niche.

Develop a Niche. Niche markets are a great way to start. Not only are you writing about something you know about (always a help), but writing this way keeps you motivated and enables you to produce articles at a much faster rate. Who isn’t happy writing about something they enjoy? You usually don’t need to do as much research and you won’t get bored. Joining industry associations and forums are a great way to find work like this. Social Media is also a useful tool as you can follow companies who are in the niches you prefer.

Stand out from the Crowd. You’ve  found the perfect job ad, but so have hundreds of others. How do you make the potential client want to work with you? It’s important to check out their style. Writers who apply for jobs using the same cover letter template are boring. Inject your personality into the pitch. Writing in the company’s style immediately makes you stand out and shows you have bothered to look at their online presence. This is your one and only chance to impress, so sell yourself, as well as the knowledge and passion you have for the subject matter (including examples of similar work) if you have them.

Be Professional. You’ve had a bid accepted, now’s the time to get a regular customer or a least, a glowing testimonial.

Reply to any communications promptly.  Waiting days for you to get back in touch will not create a professional image.

Think about the questions you need to ask about the brief and send them in one email, not 26. Busy people don’t have time to spoon-feed you with information. It can be helpful to create a template for this, including word count, style, keywords etc. I also have a ‘looking to the future box’ so I can contact individuals/companies down the line with additional services.

Be clear on your rates from the beginning. If you are promoting a special offer, make it clear further work will be more expensive but don’t increase your prices because you think you’re on to a good thing. Finally, always produce your work to the deadline. Clients are not interested that your friend called round for coffee or your cat is sick. If you promise work for a particular time or date, make sure you deliver!

If you have a number of clients, keeping track of work is vital. “Oh, I forgot!” “Sorry, how many words was it?” will not win friends and influence people. Keeping track of clients also builds a database that you can frequent from time to time to see if they have more work.

Prices. It’s tempting when you see people offering cut-price work to try and compete. This makes you resemble a bargain basement outfit. Be confident in your ability to provide thoroughly researched and quality content. The client is working with a professional and that fact should be reflected in your rates. On the other hand, don’t be greedy, start adding extras and talking about increased prices before you have built a relationship with the client and provided them with the quality piece you have been commissioned to.

In conclusion, fishing in a small pond is more likely to hook a decent catch. After that, it’s up to you to provide reliable, engaging content, hopefully developing a sound relationship that ensures future work.

© Donna Hepburn 2016

HOTELS: BASICS OF ONLINE MARKETING

cmsimg_1333123142The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive, therefore, marketing your hotel can be a minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s worth building an extensive database along with a comprehensive marketing strategy to maximise conversion rates. There are hundreds of options, but understanding these basics will get you started.

Before embarking on a complicated marketing campaign, you should have a conversation with your current customers, and ask these questions:

Who are the people who book your hotel? Businessmen, families, young couples? It’s no good using targeted marketing if you don’t know your target.

Where did they find out about your hotel? This information helps you gather information about which avenues are most lucrative and which need more work to improve conversion rate.

What do your guests value, and care about? Finding out this information can help you find your target audience and also help improve things if certain areas are lacking. Most hotels have guests complete a satisfaction questionnaire during their stay to collate this information. Always ask for an email address as you can update them regularly with news and special offers.

You now have information and it’s time to decide where to spend your marketing budget. Online marketing is profit-driven and, if done correctly, it works. However, you need to focus your strategy and budget on platforms that bring in profit. The CEO is not interested in how many shares you have on Facebook, likes on Twitter, or how many emails have been opened. They are interested in how many bookings the hotel receives.

More often than not, Google is the starting point for anyone looking for a hotel. In that respect, AdWords can work really well in the hospitality business. You pick certain keywords that people use when searching for a hotel then create an ad using these keywords. Some are expensive so concentrate on those that emphasise your USPs (Unique Selling Points). Google have recently added new features to enhance this service for best results:

  • Create a Google ‘My Business Page’ and make sure the hotel’s Google Maps is optimised.
  • Join Google’s Travel Blog for travel marketers. Keep ahead of your competitors by being first to know the new features and relevant travel news.
  • Highlight your features, special offers, and upcoming events. These should be highlighted in all your marketing but can be especially useful if, for example, someone is searching for a Christmas party or a naturist beach.
  • Sign up for a Google Business View which Google promise to set up in five working days.

Google also has an invaluable tool for marketers within its AdWords service, which allows you to build a user list through its remarketing tag. This list can include:

  • Visitors to your website made up of people who have clicked through.
  • Visitors who took specific actions, either enquired or booked through the website.
  • A similar user list can be automatically created by Google to target users with similar interests.
  • Customer match email address lists. Hotels with a comprehensive CRM can upload bulk emails to create logical user email lists.

Email marketing and AdWords can also be extremely effective on social media platforms. The best way to engage people is to run a competition – the bigger the better! You incentivise engagement, with the opportunity to win a prize, and can generate hundreds – if not thousands – of email addresses and phone numbers with an optimised entry form. This can also give you demographic information so you focus your marketing in certain areas and generate leads interested in your hotel.

Targeting your Facebook ads to existing contacts allows you to engage with people, by name, who are aware and have interacted with your brand. All you need to do is encourage them to do so again and you can reward them by offering tailored discounts and special offers.

These are some of the simplest ways of building an email database. You can add to the list over time enabling you to remarket to previous guests as well as new contacts. Please feel free to contact us if you need help with any of your marketing content, blogs or articles.

© Donna Hepburn 2016