Issue #1235 June 26, 2018
Publisher: Joan Stewart
“Tips, Tricks and Tools for Free Publicity”
In This Issue
- 7 Ways to Write for Skimmers
- Mention Copyscape in Blog Post Pitches
- What the Heck is Amazon Doing?
- Hound Video of the Week
This Week in the Hound House:
Grow, babies, grow! A few more weeks, and the baby groundhogs will be big enough to catch in the live trap and transport to my friend’s house about 20 miles from here. Yesterday, I discovered a hole that a groundhog, presumably the mama, had dug at the bottom of the front of my garden shed so she and the babies don’t have to walk around to the back to enter their hideaway. Can’t wait to rid the yard of these pests.
1. 7 Ways to Write for Skimmers
When you write blog posts, articles, press releases, email pitches, sales page and other copy that people will read online, avoid clunky paragraphs of gray that repel readers.
That’s one of the most frequent mistakes I see when clients Rent My Brain and ask me to critique their writing. Follow these seven writing tips to communicate your message quickly, so important because so many readers are seeing your copy on mobile devices:
- Write short sentences within short paragraphs.
- Use sub-heads. These are smaller headlines under the main headline in a press release, and throughout the article. Sub-heads break up the gray, tell readers what’s coming next and summarize your most important points.
- Include bulleted or numbered lists, like I’ve done here.
- Use bold text rather than italics, which is difficult to read on a screen, to draw the readers’ eyes to important phrases.
- Don’t underline words unless they link to another web page or you’ll confuse readers.
- For sales pages, consider highlighting words and phrases in yellow.
- If you’re writing a paragraph to sell, explain how your product or service will help readers save time or money or make them smarter.
To do: If you’re struggling to write sales copy, back cover copy for your book, a blog post, your bio or a proposal for a client, let me help. Schedule a Rent My Brain session. We can even brainstorm publicity ideas, and I can recommend the best ways to pitch them.
2. Mention Copyscape in Blog Post Pitches
When I edit a guest post that someone has submitted for my blog, I usually run it through Copyscape, a tool that tells me how much of the post appears elsewhere online.
I can tell, within seconds, if the writer has plagiarized sentences or entire paragraphs.
This morning, someone pitched an idea for a guest post to me and mentioned within the pitch that his article will be “Copyscape friendly.”
How clever, I thought. I’ve never seen anyone include that helpful nugget in a blog post pitch. It tells me the writer understands that I want original content. What the writer didn’t do, however, is read my guidelines for pitching a guest blog post to The Publicity Hound.
To do: Learn more about Copyscape in the video above. Then consider using it for guest posts at your blog, and for your own writing, especially if you do a lot of online research. Do you have guidelines for others who want submit guest posts to your blog? My policy saves time because I can send someone the link when they ask if I accept guest posts.
3. What the Heck is Amazon Doing?
When I speak at author conferences, I always attend the sessions about what’s new with Amazon, because the site can be so frustrating for anyone who sells books or other products.
Many authors, publishers, and other sellers are seeing that the “Add to Cart” button doesn’t place an order for them like it used to. For the last year, Amazon has been awarding the button to the lowest-priced seller, regardless of who they are.
The result? A dramatic drop in the author’s Createspace sales.
Amazon expert Amy Collins recommends a way around this problem. She explains it in the article “Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – June 2018.”
Amy and I are speaking at the Author You Extravaganza Aug. 23-26 at the beautiful Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Col. She’s presenting an entire session on what’s new with Amazon. I’ll present separate sessions on how to write a press release for a book and how to pitch.
This year, 15 authors with manuscripts at least 75 percent completed can pitch their books to five publishing pros. One winner will walk away with a publishing bonanza package: editing, cover design, interior design, and printing.
This is a perfect mini-vacation amid the breathtaking Rocky Mountains for your spouse or significant other. Register before Saturday, June 30, and your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to attend free.
To do: Read about the Extravaganza, and why smart authors will be there, using this affiliate link.
4. Hound Video of the Week
You may have seen Zsa Zsa, the English bulldog that won the “World’s Ugliest Dog” Contest last week. But have you seen some of the other contestants? Who knew ugly could be so cute?