Archive for the ‘Writing Tips’ Category

Writing Great Headlines for AC: A Refresher

In Writing for AC, Writing Tips on June 25, 2009 at 10:00 am

Writing compelling, click-worthy headlines is an important part of publishing articles on Associated Content. According to, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline copy and only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.

If you’re determined to get those pageviews, paying attention to your headline will help you get more clicks. A high-impact, keyword rich headline will attract readers when it’s listed in a feed or posted anywhere else on the web, and also has the potential to rank high in the search engines.

You don’t need to  do keyword kung fu or use over-the-top statements to write some great headlines, but you will need to think about keyword placement, and choose certain words that attract clicks. Here’s a refresher on writing great headlines for AC articles:

1. Keep it Simple and State the Obvious

Let your creative side run free when writing your article, and stick with a direct, no-nonsense approach when creating the headline. The headline needs to tell the reader exactly what’s in store, so avoid using clichés or creative phrases. However, don’t be afraid to use superlatives to emphasize your point. You can keep your headline simple but make it more effective when you add words such as ‘best’, ‘worst’, or ‘most effective ways’ to the sentence.

2. Pose a Question

Readers like to have their questions answered directly, and an article that answers a specific question might just help you get more clicks. Rephrase a declarative statement used in your headline as if you were a reader looking for answers. What type of questions would they be asking? Use one of these questions as your headline to pique a prospective reader’s interest.

3. Generate a List Read the rest of this entry »


Announcing: The AC Source Book

In Writing for AC, Writing Tips on May 11, 2009 at 9:00 am

AC Source Book Paperback

It’s official!

The AC Source Book is now available for purchase as an eBook download and in paperback!

I’ve written this book to help anyone succeed with Associated Content; you’ll learn everything you need to know about SEO, formatting your articles, keyword research, and article promotion.

It’s all laid out in an easy-to-read guide.  It took me well over a year to learn everything in this book, but you can learn it all within a few hours!

Check out the promo video for more information (you may need to turn up the volume):

AC Source Book Intro Video

Don’t miss out on the introductory offer to snag the FREE Social Media Report and FREE subscription to the AC Writing Tips newsletter.

Click here to head to find out more about the book and jumpstart your writing success with AC!

Writing Tips: 5 Ways to Power Up Those Headlines

In Writing for AC, Writing Tips on February 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Writing attention-grabbing headlines is a critical part of your article’s success.  Many avid readers are using RSS feeds and other readers to keep up with your latest published articles, you need a great ‘hook’ to encourage a click.

Here are five simple strategies for powering up those headlines:

1.  Tempt them with a number.Six Ways to Lose Weight This Month’, ’11 Tips for Decorating the Living Room’ and ‘5 Ways to Power Up Those Headlines’ give the reader an idea about what to expect.  Numbers simply work; try them in your next article!

2. Command an action. Making the title an imperative resonates with the reader looking for solutions.  ‘Learn to Speak French Like a Native’, ‘Discover the Secret of Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies’ and ‘Improve Your Fitness Level in 7 Days’ spell out a definite purpose for your articles.

3. Reveal a secret. Make a promise to deliver the ‘truth’ to make your headline more compelling.  ‘What X Didn’t Tell You About…’ or ‘What Car Manufacturers Know About…’ adds a feeling of intrigue or mystery to your title.  This doesn’t work for every niche, but if you can find a way to use it and weave in your keywords, the headline can be very powerful.

4.  Keep it short and sweet. The ‘perfect’ headline is only 65 characters long.  That’s about 5-6, one and two-syllable words.  Read the headline out loud or visualize it on the front page of your favorite newspaper; would you want to read more if it caught your eye on the newsstand?

5. Use power words. Marketers have a long list of persuasive words that encourage action. Some of the most effective include:  win, inspire, lose, earn, learn, find, compete, sell, surprise and avoid. Can you use any of these as the lead to your headline?

Play around with your headlines this week to freshen up your article and attract more attention.  Have any tips of your own?  Share them below!

AC Nuggets: Fun February Holidays

In AC Nuggets, Writing Tips on January 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Having trouble coming up with unique article ideas?

Set your sights on any of these fun holidays coming up in February; get them in now so they enter the queue well before the end of the month!

February Is…

Writing Tips – 7 Reasons Why Twitter is a Great Tool for Writers

In Writing Tips on August 2, 2008 at 8:00 am

Have you joined the Twitterati yet?

Twitter has become an increasingly popular social media application that lets you post nuggets of information – your ‘Tweets’ – at random moments of the day.

If you’re already blogging, you’ll find Twitter to be a great addition to your online publishing antics.

If you’re a newbie to Twitter’s micro-blogging service, give it a whirl and sharpen your writing skills in the process.


Read up on the Seven Reasons Why Twitter is a Great Tool for Writers.

You can also join me on Twitter at

Go on, Tweet your heart out 🙂

Writing Tips: Staying Motivated to Keep On, Keeping On…

In Writing Tips on April 8, 2008 at 6:00 am

Some days the words just flow and you fill up those pages with plenty of great ideas. Other days may leave you with a blank page and a blinking cursor waiting in anticipation for that next clever word.

If you need some motivation to keep on, keeping on, turn to the writing masters of days gone by for a few pointers.

Here are some quotes from a few notable writers; scribble them down or commit them to memory and give your creative spirit a nudge:

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” Robert Benchley

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”Joseph Pulitzer

“The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe.”David Hare

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.”Truman Capote

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” Samuel Johnson

“When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. I think it’s a wonderful way to spend one’s life.” -Erica Jong

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”Ben Franklin

“Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.”Elie Wiesel

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” Peter de Vries, writer and satirist for the New Yorker

Have a quote of your own to share? Post it below!

AC Nuggets: Building Readership – How Sticky Are You?

In AC Nuggets, Writing Tips on February 23, 2008 at 7:00 am

Building readership has tremendous value for your AC career, and you don’t have to settle for social bookmarking sites or spamming friends and family to do it.

Building readership simply means:

1. Making your content available to the largest audience possible

2. Circulating your content well beyond its original publishing month

If you’re well versed in writing evergreen content, this will be even easier. If not, you can start writing articles that really will stand the test of time – ideas and topics that can be referenced, bookmarked, shared, blogged about, and linked to week after week, month after month.

This is the first step in becoming a ‘sticky writer’ on AC.

Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Tips: Finding Unique Topics to Write About

In AC Nuggets, Writing Tips on February 21, 2008 at 7:00 am

Unless you’re sitting down with a list of topics you want to tackle, it can be challenging to come up with unique and interesting article ideas – especially those that haven’t already been covered on the web, or on Associated Content.

It’s always a good idea to do a simple ‘search’ on AC AND Google to find out which angles have already been covered. This not only lowers the risk of plagiarized copy, but also makes it easier to take a completely fresh approach to your idea. You can still read other people’s work to pick up key points, but you’ll need to come up with something entirely different after that.

Here are some simple ways to brainstorm that list of read-worthy titles:

Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Tips: 11 Rules of Writing + Brushing Up on Grammar

In Writing Tips on February 3, 2008 at 6:00 am

Struggling with colons, commas, and that challenging participial phrase?

Still don’t know what a participial phrase is?

Read up on the 11 Rules of Writing from Junket Studies, a quick primer on writing basics. You can click on each rule to see some great examples on the most common mistakes made in writing both online and offline.

And if you need to brush up on some grammar, check out Webgrammar’s insights on using ‘who’, ‘whom’, and how to diagram those pesky sentences.

Of course, there’s also a fun way of getting your lessons. Read up on everything you need to know with the Top Ten Schoolhouse Rock Videos, courtesy of Roy Barnes.

AC Nuggets: Writing SEO Articles Fit For Human Consumption

In AC Nuggets, Writing Tips on January 23, 2008 at 7:00 am

Many AC writers struggle with writing SEO articles that can capture the reader’s attention just like a ‘normal’ article. If search engine optimization and keyword dense articles aren’t part of your vocabulary, you’re missing an important element of web writing. And one that’s probably costing you.

With thousands of AC writers frantically trying to ‘promote’ articles, sending off links to innocent souls, joining social networks to share their work, it’s hard to determine what’s actually working. Most are quickly disappointed when that page view counter just won’t budge.

Promoting your articles via Yahoo! Answers, Facebook, and yes, even MySpace, are great for building readership and staying in touch with fans and other writers. However, they offer only a limited amount of page views that will make a difference to your bottom line.

If you find yourself dropping links and chit-chatting away for hours in hopes of generating page views for just one article, it’s time to get back to the basics.

Writing a quality article designed for the search engines.

Writing for search engines doesn’t mean you have to spit out non-sensical paragraphs, keyword strings, or write copy that’s screams manipulation.

There’s an art and science of writing SEO articles that are fit for human consumption. Here’s what you need to know:

Read the rest of this entry »