As a Verblio (formerly BlogMutt) writer, Thursday afternoon is an exciting time. Knowing that you were able to help your clients with their blog by offering interesting and informative content is a great feeling. Not to mention, every writer longs to have their work accepted (and get paid for doing it!).
However, as many Verblio writers know, writing great blogs and selling posts requires more than just being a good writer. It requires time, research, attention to detail, and maybe just a little bit of luck. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to stack the odds in your favor and earn that coveted, number one spot in the queue.
So, before you click ‘submit’ on your next blog post, make sure you review this Verblio writer success checklist.
Get to Know Your Client & Their Audience
The most successful Verblio writers work to get inside their audience’s head, to understand their thoughts, emotions, and interests. Readers want information that is valuable and relevant to them, and it’s the writer’s job to give them that. When writing, focus your entire view on the needs of the client and their audience.
There are a number of ways to obtain the information that will help you hone in on your clients’ blogging needs and figure out just what your target audience looks like.
Visit the customer’s website & blog.
This should be one of your first sources of research. If you really want to understand a customer, you need to take a look around their site and see what they’re all about. What is their story? What products or services do they sell? What is the tone, voice, and style of the copy on their page? What kind of blog posts have they published in the past? This is all information you need in order to write a targeted and compelling blog post for that customer.
Read the “other info” box.
The “Other Info” box on a customer’s page is another great place to start your research. It contains any general or specific instructions from the client concerning their blog requirements and instructions that could reveal some very important pieces of information. Keep in mind that many posts are rejected simply due to the fact that the writer neglected to read and adhere to these specifications.
Check for keyword descriptions.
When you choose to work on a particular topic or keyword for a customer, you will want to be sure you check for any additional instructions or attachments that have been included. This information will be the basis of your blog post.
If the keyword is general, grab a sheet of paper and brainstorm for five minutes to come up with some interesting slants, ones that offer something different than previous posts. You can also use the “Get Blog Ideas” and “Search Google News” buttons above the text editor box.
Examine the sliding bars.
The sliding bars on a customer’s page will help you better understand the tone and style you should be writing in and the audience that you should be writing for. Adjust your writing accordingly in order to avoid a rejection that reads “Great writing, but not right for our audience.”
Browse through rejected & purchased posts.
The posts that a customer has rejected and purchased reveal a lot about what they want in their blog content (especially when it comes to voice, style, tone, and audience). If a customer repeatedly rejects posts for being too promotional, you’ll know to steer clear of any overt sales speak. If they purchase every ‘newsy’ post that comes through their queue, you’ll know to take a news-driven spin on your own blog post. If you can learn from what others have done right and wrong in the past, you’ll be able to create a more sellable blog post.
If you don’t feel you have grasped the intention of the client or topic, or if you’re generally not comfortable writing in that particular niche, don’t spend time in frustration; move on to clients that you’ve successfully written for in the past, and do your best work where you can.
Do Your Research
While the majority of a post should be original material, the foundation of a good blog will be quality, truthful content based on accurate information. Doing research may not be the most exciting part of the job, but with good research skills, finding material for any subject is easy. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not an expert researcher just yet; you’ll get faster at it with time and practice.
A simple 1-2-3 rule for researching and writing a blog post is:
- Research and read two or three sources for your post. (Be sure these are authoritative and reliable sources.)
- Take note of any statistics or direct quotes you might want to use.
- Use those sources, along with your own ideas, to create an outline that will guide you, and start writing.
Keep in mind that if you are writing longer posts, your client will probably expect more than a superficial treatment of the topic, and your research will need to be more extensive.
If you’re looking for some good places to start your research, here are a few websites you may not have thought to use for source material:
*Don’t forget to properly cite your sources. Any original ideas or replications of words should be linked back to the original source, and the links should be correctly placed and formatted.
Review Your Post for Grammar, Spelling, & Punctuation Errors
A lack of proofreading accounts for most grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors in blog posts. Remember when your high school English teacher told you to read your essays out loud at home before turning them in? Well, she was right. Before you hit the send button on a blog post, read it out loud. This is where you will find the missed articles, omitted commas, pesky homonyms, and subject-verb disagreements.
If good grammar is sometimes elusive for you, download a grammar checklist to guide you along. Once you’ve used it a couple times to check your work, you’ll have the rules memorized.
Bonus Tips for Beginning Bloggers
If you’re justing getting started as a Verblio writer, you’re likely still familiarizing yourself with the Verblio system and building up your confidence as a writer. Jumpstart your progress with these quick tips.
Understand the differences between voice, style, and tone.
- Voice: The voice of a blog post has to do with how you talk to the audience. Some customers want content that is informal and personable, as if writing to a friend. Others (especially in the B2B industry) prefer a more formal voice, as if you were speaking to a professional acquaintance. Voice can even encompass the pace, rhythm, and complexity of the words you choose. Overall, the voice should convey a distinct brand personality.
- Tone: Voice and tone can be confusing to differentiate. So, try to compare it to real life. Your actual, physical voice doesn’t change when you speak. However, the tone in which you speak does. Depending on the topic you are speaking (or writing) about, you may use words that evoke excitement and joy, or conversely, fear and distress. If you’re writing about the security problems businesses face, you will be using a very different tone than if you were writing about an exciting, new technological development. Both would be written in the same, consistent voice, but with a tone that appropriately reflects the subject matter.
- Style: When it comes to style, think about any style manual you’ve ever used in the past (AP Style, MLA Style, CMS). These style guides dictate specific rules for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and vocabulary. For example, some customers have set preferences for the way their business or product names are spelled or capitalized. Others have preferences when it comes to things like Oxford commas, split infinitives, and British versus American spellings. These types of specifics may not always be laid out clearly by customers, but by reading the posts on their blog and the feedback on previous posts, you can gain some insight into the style they use.
Read about how to become a better blogger.
If you’re just setting out on your journey in content writing, grab a good book on blogging or copywriting. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley is marketed as “Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.” Written in short, easy-to-absorb and amusing snippets, you will find lots of tips on becoming a better, more reader-friendly blogger.
Writing for Verblio is most rewarding when you’re able to reduce your rejections and gain the level promotions that allow you to make a good supplemental income. It’s not difficult to do, and if you follow this simple Verblio writer checklist each time you sit down to write, you’ll be able to produce better quality work in less time.