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Writing for the Web AHP 2009 By Christy West and Kim Brown. What Editors Need From Freelancers. Writing for the Web. Freelancers need to be Versatile Writers, photographers, videographers, bloggers, Tweeters, podcasters, and any other –ers you can think of! Confident Knowledgeable

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Writing for the web ahp 2009 by christy west and kim brown l.jpg

Writing for the Web

AHP 2009

By Christy West and Kim Brown

What Editors Need From Freelancers


Writing for the web l.jpg
Writing for the Web

  • Freelancers need to be

    • Versatile

      • Writers, photographers, videographers, bloggers, Tweeters, podcasters, and any other –ers you can think of!

    • Confident

    • Knowledgeable

    • Passionate


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Writing for the Web

  • Research a potential employer before you contact them for work; why do they need you?

  • This is more than just understanding an article’s direction or scope or the type of image needed to illustrate a story.

  • Today’s freelancer MUST broaden their scope of coverage.


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Finding stories/sources that sell

  • What does that publication/Web site need?

  • Where are advertisers putting their money with that publisher (PDFs, articles, videos, blogs)?

  • Could a previous source give you that golden idea for your potential client?

  • News still sells! But what is news today? Check out your potential client’s magazine/Web site and see what they are using.


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Writing for the Web

  • You have your story and source, but what can you offer the client for a Web site?

    • Article

    • Photos

    • Video

    • Blog (yours or theirs)

    • Etc.


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Print vs. Web

  • It’s a different world online!

    • The language is different

    • The photo needs are different

    • The ancillary needs are different


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Web vs. Print

  • A different language?

  • YES!

    • Keywords: What are the keywords that a client is trying to maximize?

    • How do you use those to write your headline and first paragraph?


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Switching Gears: Reader Internet Usage

  • More than 90% of users never go past the first page of search engine results (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/search_engines.html).

  • So now we have to worry about getting higher in the rankings.


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What does this have to do with you?

  • If your content is heavily read and picked up by other sources, the demand for your services will grow.

  • This will also give you a good footing for negotiating rates.


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Search Engine Optimization Factors for Freelance Writers

  • Title Tags: Primary keyword or brand name first, followed by others

  • Keyword relevancy (how close keywords on the page match the user's search terms)

  • Content quality: Content that gets picked up, read, and referenced by many


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So… let’s get that article popularity up!

  • What do you have control over?

    • Content quality

    • Keywords used

  • Content quality:

    • Short

    • Sweet

    • Engaging

    • To the point

    • Organized! (i.e., subheads)

    • REVIEWED!!!!


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Moving on to keywords…

  • The point: See what words describing your concepts are most popular, and thus, will drive more traffic to your client’s site. They may not be the same words you think of first to describe the topic.

  • Let’s start with an example, say, an article on founder in horses. Variants: Laminitis.



Google keyword tool https adwords google com select keywordtoolexternal l.jpg
Google Keyword Toolhttps://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

“Founder” looks like the hot tip!


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BUT… (there’s always a “but,” isn’t there?)

  • Check out Google Trends to see what articles are driving the article popularity (www.google.com/trends)


Let s look at that again l.jpg
Let’s look at that again.

  • This time let’s try “horse laminitis” and “horse founder” on Google’s Keyword Tool.

Not such a clear winner, is there? (14,300 local for founder phrases, 18,100 for laminitis ones)


So which do you use l.jpg
So which do you use?

  • BOTH! Take advantage of all of that searching, not just half.

  • If one were a clear winner, that’s the one you’d make sure to repeat in your headline, deck, intro, rest of story.


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Keyword Placement

  • Headline, preferably at the beginning

  • Deck, also preferably at the beginning

  • Introductory paragraph or two of story

  • Later paragraphs as works out

  • No keyword stuffing

  • Careful with the abbreviations


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Headline Examples

  • Equitation Science Meeting to Focus on Horse Sport and Welfare

    • One suggestion: “Horse Sport and Welfare Are Focus of Equitation Science Meeting”

    • Another suggestion: “Horse Welfare In Equine Sport Theme of Australian Meeting”

      International authorities in horse behavior, training, and welfare will converge in Sydney, Australia, for the fifth Equitation Science Annual Conference, to be held at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Veterinary Science and Centennial Parkland Equestrian Centre July 12-14. The theme this year is "Ethical Equitation: A Sustainable Approach," focusing on how horse sport and horse welfare can go hand in hand.


Examples l.jpg
Examples

  • Poll: Majority of TheHorse.com Readers Vaccinate Against WNV

    • Suggested change: “Vaccinating Against WNV: Poll Results Show Majority Says Yes”

    • Suggested change: “Vaccinate Against West Nile Virus: Poll Shows Horse Owners Say Yes”

  • U.K. to Investigate Environmental Impact of Equine Carcass Disposal

    • Suggested change “Equine Carcass Disposal: Environmental Impact Investigated”


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More examples

  • How would you change these headlines?

    • LSU Vets Aid Horses Trapped in Trailer

    • AHC National Forum Tackles Equine Welfare Issues

    • Colic in Horses: An Overview for Owners

    • Do Tapeworms Cause Colic? Age-Old Question Remains ...

    • Kester News Hour, AAEP 2008


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Web vs. print: A different language?

  • Same message, less attention span = Same story, half the words if that!

  • Scannability is key: Use subheads, bullet points, and/or short sidebars to give readers more “information scent” as they decide whether to read your carefully crafted story at all.


What else can you do l.jpg
What else can you do?

  • Basics

    • Hit your word count assignments**

    • Hit your deadlines**

    • Self-edit**

  • Provide additional information

    • If you’re anything like me, you like to know everything you can on a topic of interest. And sometimes you just can’t squeeze it all into your word count.

    • LINKS!!!

      • Not to competitors

      • Related/relevant articles on same site or noncompeting sites (save editors the trouble)

      • University/government educational resources (i.e., NAHMS)


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Put Together the Whole Package

  • If the source mentions having photos of the topic, get them! (And their permission to use them.) It may not get you paid since it’s not your photo, but it sure will earn you brownie points with your editor and it takes very little time since you’re already making the contact.

  • Mention the journal name/link for any refereed publications; some readers may look for it for more info, and this also saves your editor the step of searching it out.


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Further Reading/Resources

  • Useit.com (usability and web writing w/research): http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/

  • Google Keyword Tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

  • Google Trends: www.google.com/trends

  • Google Insights (search analysis by category, region, etc.): http://www.google.com/insights/search/#

  • Many more!



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