Enter the 2016 Brexit and Trump Christmas Haiku Competition. Win £25!

haiku competition
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AND THE WINNER IS: Finally got round to judging the competition – the winner is Melissa Yuan-Innes for all her entries.

We haven’t done one for a while, so here’s the Feckless Goblin Christmas Haiku Competiton. There’s a £25 voucher up for grabs and it’s free to enter. All you need to do is click on one of social sharing buttons on this page and spread the word to your followers.

What is a Haiku?

You can see some examples of the haikus the great British public did here.

Basically it’s three lines of Japanese poetry. You have seventeen syllables, comprised of five in the first, seven in the second and five in the last. We’re not going to be too hard on you so if you throw in an extra syllable here or there it doesn’t matter.

What’s the Subject?

Seeing as we’ve had such a weird 2016, what with Brexit and the Trump thing, we’re asking you to write about that. Whether you’re positive about the future or negative or just don’t give a monkey’s, let us have your best poetic efforts.

What’s the Prize?

You’ll get a £25 voucher (or your demonination equivalent) paid in any way you like, as long as we can send it to you.

How Do You Enter?

Simply post your haiku in the comments section below along with your social media tag so we can contact you if you win. There’s no cost to enter but if you could click on one of the social media buttons and spread the word, we’d be grateful. You can also enter as many times as you like up to a maximum of three attempts.

The haiku competition runs until the end of December and the winner will be announced in the first week of January.
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Write a Guest Blog for the Feckless Goblin

write a guest blog

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We’re currently looking for some great content for the site from indie writers and other artists. If you think you’d like to write a guest blog for the Feckless Goblin then contact us on the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Benefits When You Write a Guest Blog

It’s gone a little out of fashion in some circles but guest blogging is good for getting additional traffic to your site and widening your reach to a whole new audience. It can also help you improve your search engine ranking because of a strong inbound link. We’ll publish your post and then send out a message to our 30,000 Twitter fans as well as our Facebook followers.

What to Write in Your Guest Blog

We’re looking for anything relating to the writing process and the marketing of books. It should be informative and useful to our readers and shouldn’t be about promoting your own book or product. Ideally the length needs to be between 500 and 2,000 words. Each post will include a bio of the author at the end with a link to your website, Twitter feed, Facebook page etc.

Fill in the form if you’d like to write a guest blog.

 

Vampire Fiction: A Beginner’s Guide

vampire fiction

Vampire fiction has exploded in the last three to four decades. There are now literally thousands of books, short stories, films and comics featuring our fanged friends. They’ve managed to inveigle their way into large parts of our society, almost to the extent that many people believe these fictional creatures really do exist.

Vampires have become so popular they’ve bridged the gap between genres. No longer a simple staple of horror, you can find vampires leaching horribly into romance, comedy, young adult fiction, sci-fi, gaming and even the odd serious semi-serious tome such as Let the Right One In.

So what makes vampire fiction endure? Why are we still so fascinated by these undead creatures? Has everything blood sucking been done to death?

Or does our friend the night crawler still have a few more tricks up his or her bony sleeve?
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The First Vampire in Fiction

The Vampyre by John William Polidori, written in 1819 is often put forward as the first blood sucker in literature. Our friends were part of folklore long before that, however. Precursors to the more modern vampire can be found in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt – creatures who came at night to pray on humans and drink their blood. Although we have some evidence the Middle Ages were rife with them,  the true essence of the vampire, however, appeared out of South West Europe in the early part of the 1700s.

In Voyage to the Levant, writer and traveller Joseph Pitton de Tournefort revealed a belief in the undead in the south of Europe including Greece. The word ‘vampyre’ was used in 1732 when the London Journal mentioned it in connection with Hungary.  The country appeared again in ‘Treatise on Apparitions of Angels, Demons and Spirits and on the Revenants and Vampires of Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia‘ published over ten years later.

People rising from the dead was not an unusual occurence in fiction and poetry at the time. Goethe in the Bride of Corinth talks of a young woman returned from the grave who says: ‘Still to love the bridegroom I have lost, And the lifeblood of his heart to drink.’ In England, Southey and Byron both penned poems that had vampirism at their heart.

Vampire fiction really began to gather pace with Polidori’s Vampyre, a short story that was immediately successful. It spawned numerous 19th century imitations that blended romance and sometimes eroticism as the genre began to evolve and come of age.

The daddy of them all, however, was Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897. Even now, over a century later, the Prince of Darkness remains one of the most enduring and memorable characters in literary history.

Without him, vampire fiction may well have disappeared into the mist instead of imbedding itself in our collective psyche.
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Dracula: The Ultimate Vampire

We certainly wouldn’t have the plethora of vampire fiction we have today if it wasn’t for Dracula. Published in 1897 by Irish author Bram Stoker, the book introduced two major characters, Dr Van Helsing and the eponymous vampire himself. In truth, the book wasn’t an immediate success when it first came out and it wasn’t until popular movies were made in the 20th century that the character really began to capture the public’s imagination.

In fact, the book made hardly any money for Bram Stoker and he was to die in poverty in 1912. Over the years, Dracula and the vampire myth found it easy to penetrate society, whichever decade happened to be passing by. He gets repackaged every so often for a new audience but his appeal seems to endure. Perhaps, in a literary sense, he really is immortal.

The Vampire in Popular Culture

The vampire has made an impact on practically all areas of modern culture. It’s not just in vampire fiction that we see the fall of the blood sucker’s shadow. In comic books, music, film, and now even online games, the bared fangs and desire to feast on the necks of myriad victims has spread its satanic fictional tentacles.

There are people who profess to be real vampires, there are those who are fans of particular series or genres to the point of obsession, and countless indie writers can’t seem to give up the lure of blood suckers no matter how hard they try. And there are those who just love a good scare now and again.

vampire fiction 30 days of night

My Top 6 in Vampire Fiction

1. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

A personal favourite from the mid-seventies about the time when Stephen King was becoming popular worldwide. Salem’s Lot is traditional vampire fiction at its best, as the mysterious Kurt Barlow arrives in a small town and people begin to drop off the radar, only to return when night falls.

2. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I am Legend is another apocalyptic treat, this time from the early 1950s. There is a global pandemic that elicits the symptoms of vampirism and society has broken donw. For its time, the book was move away from the more gothic feel of the caped vampire with a dark secret to something more crude and threatening.

This is probably the point at which vampire fiction began to morph, slowly at first, into other genres. Indeed, Matheson’s book is sometimes credited with the rise of the zombie hordes we all know and love today.

3. They Thirst by Robert R McCammon

Probably lost in the shadow of King’s Salem’s Lot, They Thirst is another traditional vampire novel, this time based in Hollywood. The book is a genuine classic of the vampire fiction genre and if you haven’t read it yet, you should give it a try.

4. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Okay, so there were a whole series of books about vampires by Rice but this was the one that kicked it off. For the first time, we started seeing things from the blood sucker’s point of view and it spawned a whole series of gothic romance wannabes with everything from The Vampire Diaries to Underworld owing something to the anti-hero Lestat.

5. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

While vampire fiction has mostly sat comfortably in its own genre, Let The Right One In moved it into more literary territory. At the time this was hailed as the reinvention of the vampire novel and made into a successful film. It’s less about the blood sucking undead as the rights of passage of youth and the terrifying bloom of first love.

6. The Last Vampire by T M Wright

Seems to fallen off the book list in recent decades, Wrights book is a mini-masterpiece as his unwilling vampire sits at the end of the world in a post-apocalyptic future. One book to read if you can find a copy somewhere. Vampire fiction as it probably should be.

nosferatu vampire fiction

Nosferatu, Dracula and Other Vampires in Film and TV

1. Nosferatu (1922)

Apparently, they’re about to remake this silent classic. The big draw, back in the 1920s, was the actual vampire himself. Max Schrek is the perfect blood sucker and his shadow crossing the wall is one of the most memorable images in horror film history.

2. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula (1931)

For a long while, Lugosi was the iconic vampire and became one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. While now the acting seems wooden and the sets a bit stagey, it’s still one of the most famous vampire movies on the planet.

3. Christopher Lee’s Dracula (1958)

Hammer breathed life back into the vampire legend in the late 50s and this film was an immediate box office success. It gave birth to a lot of sequels through the 60s and 70s, of course, before Hammer finally went under and Lee’s vampire was finally put to rest with a stake through the heart.

4. Fright Night (1985)

A surprise hit when it came out in the mid-80s, Fright Night continues to have a cult following today. Undoubtedly helped by the presence of screen legend (and former monkey in Planet of the Apes) Roddy McDowall, it was one of the highest grossing films of the year.

5. The Hunger (1983)

Avant guard meets vampire eroticism in Tony Scott’s film. Star David Bowie was the perfect choice for an 18th century cellist turned blood sucker. In truth, The Hunger is an acquired taste and have many found it too heavy on mood and with not enough plot. It remains one of the top vampire films of the last 30 years or so though and still has a decent following.

6. Near Dark (1987)

Another surprise hit despite its failure initially at the box office, Near Dark managed to mix Western influences with vampire delights and followed on from successes such as Fright Night and Lost Boys in the 80s. A more serious effort than its two predecessors, it too has gained a cult following over the years.

7. 30 Days of Night (2007)

While many other vampire films and books at the time were focusing on gothic romance and slightly comic book approaches to vampires, including the Twilight series, Blade and Underworld, 30 Days of Night went back to a more visceral approach to our blood sucking friends. One of the better vampire films in recent years.

8. Let the Right One In (2008)

I’ll throw in the film version of Let the Right One In as well, the original Swedish one, not the US remake. In truth, the film is a little better than the book and has some startling performances from young Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson.

9. The Strain

It largely disappeared under the radar as far as the popularity stakes are concerned, The Strain is a traditional good vs evil vampire epic. Forget trying to put a new spin on blood sucking, the makers have gone for an invincible master and destruction of all human life on the planet. What’s better than that?

The Future of Vampire Fiction

Have we said all that we need to say about vampires? In truth, these night dwelling creatures have actually become their own sub-genre over the last 30 years. They have an (undead) life of their own and it’s difficult to see them disappearing anytime soon. There have been some 170 different film versions just of Bram Stoker’s Dracula on its own so far and probably a good few more to come.

There have also been thousands of novels and short stories, as well as poems, produced, written and released over the years. The number is actually increasing, especially with the popularity of self-publishing and a growing band of indie authors who just love a bit on the neck.

Let’s face it, we’re never going to get rid of them. Vampire fiction is here to stay.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favourite vampire film or book? Why do you like vampires? Why do you hate them? Where next for our blood sucking friends? As always, put your comments in the bloody space below and I’ll try to get back to you.
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What a Photograph Can Teach You About Writing Success

writing success
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Whether you are trying to improve your prose, pad out those one dimensional characters or simply keep your ever expanding plot together, you can learn a lot about writing success from studying a good photo. Any great image, like a memorable piece of writing, needs to be well composed, create a mood and illicit the right emotion in the viewer.

Great photos stand out, get shared, make news, get made into posters and adorn walls. They get people talking and can even change the way we look at the world.

All the main components that make a brilliant image can be also be found in the memorable books that adorn our shelves. From To Kill a Mockingbird and Ulysses to The Great Gatsby, these seminal works all have certain characteristics in common.

Composition

The difference between an ordinary image and a truly inspiring one is undoubtedly found in its composition. It’s all about how the different elements are glued together and provide a feast for the eyes and brain. A book or short story, even a news article or opinion piece, is no different. In writing you might call this structure or plot but it’s a lot more nuanced than that. Just as the composition of a photo is about the overall effect, the small elements within the image and how they hang together are also important. In books, it’s not just the plot but the paragraphs and the sentences, even individual words.

The Difference Light Makes

Nowhere is the impact of light more important than in photography. Take a picture of a landscape iwhen the sun is high and you’ll probably end up with something fairly ordinary. Visit that same scene at dusk or dawn when the contrasts and colours are so much deeper and you could end up with a photograph that lives long in the memory. In writing too, the different shades of your prose are important. It’s the difference between bland, uninteresting text and words that come alive on the page. Writing success here is all about choosing the right words, the correct length length of sentences, the depths of descriptions, and the colour of the language.

Creating Mood

All the great photographs create mood. It can be seen in a piece of photojournalism that elicits a response such as fear, anger, anxiety. You find it in landscapes which leave you in awe or feeling at peace with the world and personal images that make you smile, laugh or cry. Photographs can give the impression of great distances, speed, energy and stillness. The same is true in writing. Your words are supposed to deliver a certain mood, make your readers feel scared, invigorated, worried, combative, joyous, even perplexed.

Right Place, Right Time

To take a good photo you have to be in the right place at the right time. You have to click that shutter button at exactly the right moment. Miss it and that perfect image is lost for all time. In writing it’s making sure that you choose the right devices for your plot to move forward, you pick the best characters to tell your story and you choose the right beginnings and ends.

Writing Success, Photography and Focus

Most great images will have one strong focal point, a part of the photo from which everything else seems to flow or is drawn into. Take this away and the image is nothing but an average snap of the world. Take any great piece of writing and there is a central focus around which everything else revolves. It’s an event, a location or a particular character or set of characters. To make your book or short story successful it needs to be clear, strong, vibrant, memorable. It can’t be watered down, veiled and weakened by unnecessary content.

It’s easy to snap a photo. Just look on Instagram if you want proof. It’s also pretty easy nowadays to write a book too. Is the image you’ve taken and posted online a great one? Are the words you write and the books or stories you publish going to inspire your readers? Have you done everything you can to make it stand out from the crowd?

I’ll leave you with an inspiring quote from F Scott Fitzgerald:

“You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say.”

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6 Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make Every Day

marketing mistakes

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Back in the old days, marketing meant throwing out a few flyers or advertising in the local newspaper. Nowadays, with so many cheap and readily available options such as social media, SMEs certainly have plenty to choose from. All too often, businesses make those choices badly, opting for useless quick fixes and spurious marketing strategies that at best have little or no effect and at worse can seriously damage their online reputation.

There are no quick and easy solutions when it comes to online marketing – no magic wand you can wave and have people rushing to your site. You have to build a following, engage them, and prove that you are a good person to do business with. You can’t simply go out and buy popularity.

Here are some prime marketing mistakes all businesses should try to avoid:

1. Buying Followers

It’s a waste of money and it doesn’t work. All you get is a bunch of spam accounts attached to yours which makes you look unprofessional and takes an age to get rid of when you realise what an idiot you’ve been. That’s why it’s only £10 for 1000 REAL followers. Sellers of this kind of product just press a button and send a bunch of spam your way.

2. Buying Likes and Retweets

The same goes for spending your limited marketing budget on likes for Facebook or retweets on Twitter to make your posts look popular. People can recognise this kind of scam a mile off and you’ll lose more customers than you gain. If someone has the gall to tell you that it boosts SEO then hunt them down and drown them in pineapple juice.

3. Buying or Making Up Testimonials

Would you be surprised to learn that some of the major brands still do this? It might seem like a great idea to make yourself seem popular but doesn’t actually work. The practice has led to people not trusting testimonials at all. One or two in depth and honest case studies are worth a thousand fake thank you notes.

4. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Yes, they are important but only to a certain extent. If you stuff your prose full of keywords you’ll end up sounding like a robot stuck on repeat.

Content needs to make sense. Don’t get too focused on having X amount of keywords in the hope that it’s going to improve traffic. Marketing online is all about having a holistic approach – you need to combine good content with a solid social media strategy at the very least. By all means throw in a few keywords but don’t get obsessive about it.

5. Taking the Wrong Advice

With the growth of websites that allow you to work from home, there has been a big rise in the number of people setting up marketing businesses. Unfortunately, this means that you can get saddled with someone who has learned their trade off the back of a crisp packet (or worse still by reading the wrong articles on the internet). Do your own research about what works and what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to shop around or be critical of someone who purports to be an expert.

6. Going Cheap

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for in this world. If something is excessively cheap then the chances are it’s going to be poor quality. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper the service the more likely you are to be the victim of marketing mistakes.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find some bargain solutions out there, you just have to search pretty deep to find it. Don’t give all your work at once to a new marketing organisation, test them out with a small job first. The same with anyone you hire on a freelance site. And remember to monitor their progress – it’s amazing the number of companies that start off bright and breezy because you are a new customer but begin to flag in the ensuing months when they think you are hooked.

If you’re a new business, you’re going to make marketing mistakes. It’s part of the process of finding what works for you and your brand. The trick is to box clever, don’t part with your hard earned cash based on half-baked promises, and allow time for your strategy to develop in a positive direction.

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It’s NaNoWriMo Time! How to Succeed for Beginners

nanowrimo

It’s that time of the year again: National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo (or NoNoMoreRymo if you’re dyslexic). The annual sprint to writing oblivion. The big prose cheese fest. The head honcho of writing achievement. The time when:

  • Authors and wannabes across our glorious planet suddenly decide they should write a whole novel in a month.
  • People all over the world randomly discover they are writers and that their lives, up to now, have been some mysterious prelude to a marvellous literary talent that hitherto has remained hidden.

It’s time to let the scribble hounds loose. Time to brush off that keyboard, power up the internet, put on dark glasses and pour a glass of wine as you reach out into the word ether and begin frantically pulling in ideas and pithy prose that will set the world alight.

Indie writers dream of getting published, changing the status quo with their dry, ironic wit, of becoming famous, giving up the day job, marrying their laptop, eschewing all human contact for ever and ever (delete where applicable).

New writers suddenly and happily decide to spend the rest of their miserable lives as angst-ridden, bleary eyed, introspective scribes who drink too much wine, think too much, spend too much time staring at walls and other inanimate objects, worthlessly spilling their recently discovered but long fermenting mental health issues onto clean, white pages that deserve better.

All this, and so much more, can be yours by the 31st November. If you’re not put off by the fact that what you are doing is essentially futile then simply follow The Feckless Guide for #NaNoWriMo success below:

Think Before you Begin

Are your fingers in shape? Is your brain in gear? Have you really, really thought this through? Writing a whole novel is a big undertaking. Before you start, meditate deeply on whether you want to start in the first place. Are you really going to finish? Is that what you really, really want? Careful consideration at this point could save you from wasting a whole month when you could be playing Assassin’s Creed every night or baking cupcakes for your nearest and dearest.

Name Your Lead

What’s your main character going to be called? Talula Poopdecker? George Facklebackle? Tristan Pissfoddle? Bohemian Bob? Barbara Bombstomper? Perhaps if you’re writing a PI style thriller it’s going to be something dynamic like Jake Trent, Cal Hooper or Fanny Fitzroy. Maybe you want something short and whimsical like Sophia, Perry or Lola. Choosing the right name for your lead characters is an important start if you want to be able to imagine them more deeply.

Map Out Your Story

Whether you are a pantser or a plotter, you’ll have far more chance of success with NaNoWriMo if you map everything out for the month. There are 30 days in November so that’s a pretty neat timeline over which to spread the creation of your novel, bite size pieces that all lead to a safe finish at the end of the month. You don’t want the plot piling up ahead of you, creating panic, when you only have a few days left. This is about discipline and getting all the way to end. As the saying goes: It’s best to have a plan, Stan.

Never Rewrite While You’re Writing

Stopping to rewrite is the surest way to put the kibosh on your NaNoWriMo efforts. Your aim is to finish the book in one fell swoop, the rewrites can come later. Yes, it’s tempting, but it will almost certainly meant that you fail to reach your target. Stopping to rewrite is a sinister form of procrastination. If you feel tempted, whack yourself on the head with a stick. Mumble ‘keep going, keep going’ every time you feel the need to look back. At the very least, it will scare the hell out of other members of the household.

Don’t Stop Your NaNoWriMo Half-Way Through

The biggest problem that NaNoWriMo’ers have is that they will suddenly stop, take a breath, get distracted by a shiny light across the way. Stopping is a bad thing. You have to keep going. The universe is full of half-written attempts to complete a novel in a month. There will be times when it is hard to sit down and write. Your brain is just not equipped to start that Friday evening, two weeks into the project. Force yourself to start again, scream at the writing gods if you have to, but begin, begin, begin…

It’s a First Draft Stupid

Don’t be too hard on yourself. What you are essentially writing here is a first draft. You are not going to produce the complete works of Tolstoy in one sitting. Your job is simply to get that story out onto digital paper and not worry about whether it works or not. NaNoWriMo success is not about being good, it’s about getting from beginning to end in 30 days or less. It’s about getting that stuff down.

Leave to Brew, Go Back to the Day Job

Your fingers bleeding, your brain a mix of alcoholic induced fog and paranoia, your family having left some days ago to begin a new life away from ‘that freak in the back room’, you reach the last day and finally type THE END. You’ve finished. You’ve completed your NaNoWriMo challenge.

For the moment.

Turn off your computer. Step away from the laptop. STEP AWAY FROM THE LAPTOP!

Go back to the day job. Re-engage with friends and family you may have lost contact with. Take a shower for Chrissakes! It’s time to leave your novel to sit and brew for a while. Don’t think about opening it up again before the end of January. In fact, forget you ever wrote it. Your first draft is finished and you need time to breath, reinvigorate yourself and return to normal society.

How to Feel Unjustifiably Proud of Yourself

Rejoice, for you have successfully completed your mission. You set a goal and you achieved it. You’re the big writing cheese. The towering new Hemingway of your street. You can call yourself a writer for you have completed the first draft of your novel. This is usually the time when depression sinks in. You wonder the streets at night whimpering like a half starved dog, gazing up at the dark sky and contemplating the futility of it all. Was it worth it?

Do not worry. This moment will pass. It’s part of the writing process.

The urge to scribble once more will return, stronger next time. It will build and build and scream in your ears and sear your bones until…around about November next year…when you thought it was safe to return to the laptop…you will suddenly decide that a sequel is on the cards.

Can you write it in just a month…sure you can. You’re a NaNoWriMo veteran. You know what to do.

Retweet Those Old Blog Posts

Old Blog Posts

If you’ve been writing a blog for while, chances are you have a fair number of articles online. Many of these are doing the digital equivalent of gathering dust – they sit getting the occasional visitor but largely exist in the web-sphere, unloved and forgotten.

It pays to take a look back and check out those old blog posts once in a while. Update them and retweet them. You probably have a lot of new followers who weren’t around when you first put up that article on how to juggle ferrets and wink at the same time.

And just maybe people would like to read it.

The other advantage is that Google et al like movement on your pages. So if you do tweak those old blog posts a little and update, the search engines love it.

The great thing is it takes a couple of minutes to go through your back catalogue and find something that is still, after all this time, interesting.

Business Blogging Tips: Blog Posts Don’t Have to be Long

Business Blogging Tips
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Looking for ways to fill up space on your website?

Shorter posts can be just as good as long ones. The marketing adage that you need word count on content to create an impact isn’t always true, especially when it comes to that all-important blog.

Breaking up your blog content with short and long posts is a great way to breathe life into your content and get more people visiting.

Sometimes, people don’t want a long read. What they want is a quick tidbit that gives them ideas. Provides a useful tip or simply brightens up their day.

Add your own business blogging tips in the comments section below.

Hashtags for Writers

hashtags for writers
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If you’ve been on social media for any length of time then you’ll be aware of hashtags. Including them in posts can broaden your reach but also offers a chance to connect with like minded individuals, other writers and their ilk.

Benefits of Writer’s Hashtags

  • If you send a tweet with a hashtag you’ll receive twice the engagement.
  • You are more likely to be noticed by non-followers who are using a particular hashtag.
  • You have more chance of being retweeted if you include a hashtag.

Pros and Cons of Using Hashtags for Writers

  • Number is important – one or two per post will suffice. Any more than that and you begin to see the effect dwindle.
  • Make your post relevant to the hashtag. So if you use #MondayBlogs don’t put in a plug for your latest product or book. That’s not what that particular hashtag is for.
  • Find the ones that work for you – it’s a good idea to experiment with different hashtags and at different times to see what sort of response you get.
  • Hashtags are not limited to just Twitter. You can use them on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram too.

General Hashtags for Writers

#140Poem #1K1H #1K1HR #amediting #amwriting #AmRevising #AuthorLife #ASMSG #CopyWriting #EditGoal #Editing #IndieAuthors #nanowrimo #WordCount #wip #WriteGoodNews #Writer #Writers #WritersBlock #WriteChat #WriteGoal #WriterWednesday #Writing #WriteMotivation #WriteTip #WritersLife #WritersRoad #WritingBlitz #WritingParty #WritingPrompt #WritingSprint #WritingTip #wordcount #WroteToday

Hashtags for Author Promotion

#author #authors #ASMSG #bookmarketing #bookworm #editing #emerging #fictionfriday #fridayflash #followfriday #ff #novels #novelists #poem #poet #poets #99c

Also:

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Finding a Good Content Writer for your Business

content writer
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Let’s face it, your customer doesn’t care about you.

They don’t care about your products, about your logo design, about your workload or your website, about your two point four children,  your staff or your ingrowing toenail.

They don’t care that your Skoda just got pranged by a Porsche. They don’t care that you want to save the environment, they don’t particularly care that you work 17 hours every Monday through to Sunday, and they certainly don’t care you haven’t pulled a sickie in the last ten years.

They don’t care that you prefer red wine to white, have a dog called Boo and your favourite colour is taupe or that you treat your staff with respect.

They’re selfish. They care only about themselves. That’s all. Nothing else.

Nada.

Only when you realise this can you begin to make sense of the purpose of content marketing.

Okay, we may have gone a little overboard here with the pathologically selfish thing. We’re talking about your customer in relation to your product or service, not their entire lives.

The point is this: You customer comes to your site to get something.

They gotta have it…right now. Right here. Okay?

What is good content writing?

There’s content and then there’s good content. You can fill your web pages with all sorts of wonderful stuff. You can wax lyrical on every topic under the sun.

But does it really give your customer what they want?

According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

And just so you’ve got it, this is what WebSiteDesigns.com say about it:

Your audience don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their problems. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your audience is passionate about, so they seek you out and actually pay attention to what you have to say.

Why you think you don’t need a content writer

You know how to write. Of course you do. You’ve been doing it for years – writing letters, emails, even the odd tweet now and again. You’re proficient at it.

Before we go any further: Yes, there are business owners who are good writers, know exactly what content marketing is all about and can deliver it without breaking into a sweat.

But there are plenty who aren’t good content writers. They fill their pages with too much stuff, confuse their customers with badly constructed sentences and half the time don’t even bother to check grammar and spelling. Then, to cap it all, they publish it to the web without even a hint of a proofread.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to write your own content:

  • It’s cheaper.
  • Who knows better how to make your online pitch than you…the entrepreneur.
  • People don’t actually read that stuff anyway.
  • It’s just for show, right?

The benefits of hiring a good content writer

Notice I said GOOD content writer there. It’s an important point. With every indie writer and would-be marketing guru thinking they have the skills to write great copy, the major problem business owners have is sifting through the rubbish to find that one content writer who delivers quality work on time.

Here are the benefits if you manage to do just that:

  • You get better written, more focused copy for your website.
  • You get the right balance between features and benefits for your product or service.
  • You get expert opinion on what works and what doesn’t.
  • You get someone who has worked at their craft and knows what they are doing.
  • You get quality, okay?

If you want your business website to look professional and attract and retain more customers, then you need to employ the services of a content writer who can deliver.

Take some advice from copywriter Susan Green:

In today’s media-rich world, there’s no shortage of messages competing for your customers’ attention.  You don’t want to lose out because your copy is ineffective. Quality content written by a professional copywriter may cost you money up front, but your return on investment in sales should make it well worth the expense.

What you want your writer to do

You want your content writer to work with you closely and produce the kind of copy that attracts customers and keeps them coming back for more.

Business owners often worry they haven’t filled enough of that digital space with content – it leads them to throw everything but the kitchen sink onto each web page. Rather than making it easier for customers to buy their product it merely confuses the hell out of them. A good content writer can focus and pare down your content so that it is fit for purpose.

Another problem you find on many websites is that they are so feature rich it’s difficult to find the benefits. A good content writer will be able to look at your product and see it from the customer’s point of view – that old marketing mantra What’s In It For Me?

It’s not what’s on offer but how it can help transform your customer’s life that helps you sell and you need to bring that across in your online content.

Where to Find Your Content Writer

There are plenty of platforms that showcase freelancers available to work on projects for your business, including People Per Hour and Elance. Most platforms provide customer feedback and star ratings so you can find out who’s good and not so good, though it makes sense to start off with a small job before you part with too much of your hard earned cash.

Another way to find freelancers is to do a local search on Google, especially if you want that personal contact which is often lacking in the online world.

However you do it, our advice is to build a strong relationship with your chosen content writer and treat them with respect. Good ones are hard to find and even harder to replace.

The Difference Between Site Content and Blog Content

There is a world of difference between your main site content and the stuff you put into a blog.

Content marketing for your product needs to be slick and to the point, designed to give the customer what they want and not distract them with information that doesn’t matter. It’s about pushing the benefits of doing business with your company, not discussing the pros and cons of trout fishing or listing the top twenty things to do with a bar of soap.

When it comes to your main site the mantra is quick and easy to understand: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

Your blog on the other hand is less about selling and more about providing value added extra information. It’s a key tool in attracting customers to your site with entertaining and enlightening articles.

They may not buy from your straight away (see the Moz video below) but they’ll keep coming back because your information is so darned good. And if they do that, they’ll eventually engage more profitably.

According to The Guardian:

The key to a successful business blog is giving your readers valuable content. That is how you establish your website’s authority in your industry. In addition, if you give your readers valuable content, they will reward you by becoming return visitors and also parting with their money.

You Get What You Pay For

If you are a business owner then you should know the old adage: You get what you pay for. Low cost jobs generally deliver low cost results and bad writing can be catastrophic for your business.

I’ll leave the last word on that to Contender Content :

In an increasingly content-centric industry, copywriting can be the decisive factor in determining the efficacy of your marketing efforts. Business blogging, website copy, landing pages, email copywriting and asset creation are the building blocks of a successful marketing campaign – and your copywriter has a huge hand in the creation of each. If corners are to be cut, content is not the place to do so.

Finally, if you feel like turning the concept of content marketing on its head and see how it really works then check out this video from Moz.

http://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/wpnh2biame

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