When you’re rushed and tempted not to post, make a plan instead

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Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Blogging week after week can take its toll, especially when a writing deadline looms or vacation is just around the corner or the kids are going to be home for a break. I detest time pressure. I want to keep my commitment to my readers by being consistent in posting and delivering value with each post.

When I get panicked and pressed for time, I get anxious. …

Keep your writing out of the bland bin by ditching vague for vivid

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Image courtesy of Nonprofit Copywriter

Whether you’re a brand new writer or an old pro, be on the lookout for specific, overused writing words in your content. These words are vague and nondescript. It’s tempting to use them because they’re an easy “out.”

But they weaken your content. As you re-write, exchange them for different writing words that are vivid, colorful, imaginative, or even graphic. Weak writing words fall into one of three categories.

  • Intensifiers (like literally, totally, really, very, absolutely)
  • Descriptors (like awesome, amazing, unbelievable)
  • Fillers (like basically, honestly)

You’re better than that! Keep your antennae up for these seven overused writing words and replace them with more specific, descriptive ones. …

You can start a blog for the price of a cup of coffee — but consider the cost of your time, too

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Is writing a blog worth it? You can start a blog for less than the price of a cup of coffee. But is it worth your time? Before you jump in, you want to consider the return on the investment of your precious minutes.

This is an especially pertinent question if you’re an entrepreneur, small biz owner, or freelancer. …

How to move beyond the scariest moments just before you start writing to get the words flowing

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Image courtesy of Nonprofit Copywriter

It’s happened again: I need to beat writer’s block. The cursor blinks. Fear and self-doubt strangle those first words while the page remains blank. My creative juices get jammed and I’m stuck. You, too?

Writer’s block is a lapse in creativity or motivation. …

Engage more readers when you get specific with digits

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Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

Numbers in headlines engage more readers. By “engage,” I mean that a user will move beyond the headline and read the article, share the post, click a link, or make a comment. By engage “more readers,” I mean anywhere from 15% more (in a Moz study) to 73% more (in a Conductor study) than if you don’t use numbers.

Readers like numbers in headlines, such as the one I used for this article. A number gives a clear expectation of what you’ll get: in this case, it’s 7 tips. …

Build a new site by biting off one page at a time

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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Writing content for a website or blog — particularly if it’s a new site — can be an overwhelming project. Where should you start? What are the “must-have” pages?

Think about what YOU need to know when you land on a website. The best place to start with writing content for a website is to write the first few pages that your reader needs the most and build from there. These three pages are the ones that are essential.

1. Homepage

What do you look for when you land on a new website for the first time? If you’re like me, you want to know that you’re in the right place to get the information you need. You don’t want to have to guess or wade through a bunch of gobbledygook in order to find it. …

After writing dozens of grant proposals, I’ve learned the most important step has little to do with writing

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I’ve written hundreds of grant proposals for nonprofit clients. And I’m always looking for tips to streamline the process and write stronger grants. Yet my favorite grant writing tip has nothing to do with writing. It’s all about reading.

As a grant writer or grant writer-to-be, you’re schooled in the seven elements to include in your grant proposal.

Use this uncomplicated, orderly word to help readers manage today’s content deluge

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Too much noise, too much content: readers crave simplicity. Yes, they want explanations. They want solutions. But they don’t want to spend hours or unnecessary brainpower to understand instructions, grasp an idea, or get things done.

That’s where you can step in and provide simplicity in two ways: by writing simply and clearly. (You can get tips for simple, clear, easy-to-understand writing here.) And by using the word “simple” in your writing. “Simple” is a power word. Power words work immediately, arouse emotion, and move a reader to act.

  • “Simple” works immediately. In the face of turmoil, simple promises straightforward, easy, uncomplicated, plain, manageable, and basic — qualities that are in direct opposition to today’s excessiveness. …

You’ll find ideas everywhere when you know where — and how — to look

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Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

Story writing ideas are everywhere. By “story ideas,” I mean any idea that you can develop as a full-length feature or that you can use as an illustration or example in articles, blog posts, web pages, appeal letters, sales letters, email campaigns, presentations — event grant applications.

You can find story ideas in anything that grabs your interest. The key? Develop a writer’s antenna. Once you start paying attention, you’ll discover all kinds of intriguing morsels and minutiae to delight and energize your writing. These are my favorite sources.

1. Current events

Trends, press releases, town meetings, athletics — news is breaking all the time. What topic grabs your attention or interest? Choose one article. …

Give readers 100% heart and 100% head

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Power words are terms and phrases that get results. They move readers to act, making them a powerful tool in your writing arsenal. These kinds of words capture a reader’s eye so she thinks, “That’s interesting! I think I’ll click here.”

Power words let you highlight a tidbit in your content to snag your reader’s interest and help her take the next step into your content. People are persuaded to keep reading when you move their hearts. Yet a reader also needs a logical rationale to justify the time she will spend reading your content and act on it.

A handful of power words work in both realms: feelings and logic. That’s what I like about the word “results.” I can use it to appeal to both the heart and the head. …


Kathy Widenhouse

Kathy Widenhouse is a freelance content writer and online publisher who specializes in writing for nonprofits and ministries. www.nonprofitcopywriter.com

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