The Blogging Manifesto

By Ruhi Jiwani

blogging

Everyone has to start somewhere. So start doing what you love, and start writing for pay.

Many writers looking for work get turned off by the phrase “content mill.”  They imagine that they’re going to be churning out writing day by day without any thought as to quality.  Writers who might be writing for more prestigious print publications also do their best to enforce the idea that writing for the internet is somehow not as worthwhile as what they do.

Plus, there are the people who will tell you that you’re not making enough money or that you deserve to have your name attached to anything you write.  And, of course, there’s the usual “you’re better than this” form of encouragement, which is really discouragement in disguise.  If you’re a writer thinking about taking up blogging for small business, you need to squelch the naysayers.  So read on for a few good reasons why you should take up blogging.

  1. No one’s going to say no to good writing.  If you’re afraid that you’re going to have to produce bad writing in order to get published, you can rest easy.  No one at BlogMutt is actually going to say “no, you can’t produce quality content.”  Most customers love it when you put a bit of thought into writing something good for them.  If you give them something original, quirky, or creative, they are most likely going to accept it.  Some companies may have restrictions about the type of content they need but no one’s actually going to make you produce bad writing. At some point, you might have to stop revising and just turn in your piece. But this is true of writing for any medium.
  2. The internet is the future.  You must have noticed how bookstores are now closing down and people have started reading e-books instead.  The internet is replacing newspapers and magazines as a source of news and entertainment.  So those people who keep telling you that writing for print is more prestigious?  They’re jealous.  Yes, that’s right.  They’ve spent all this time writing for print and print is now going out of fashion.  You probably just started writing a couple of years ago but you are now pretty good at writing for the internet.  People who have been writing for print are going to have to develop a new set of skills, to which they’re resistant.  So pay no attention to them.  If you’re getting a job writing for print, that’s great.  But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing for the internet.
  3. You can make money blogging.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  If you haven’t written much in your life, you can’t expect to start making pots of money right away.  Consider Malcolm Gladwell who started writing right out of college.  Now, Gladwell writes for The New Yorker and has also published several non-fiction books.  But when he was a recent graduate, the only job he was offered was for The American Spectator out in Indiana.  He worked at a couple of smaller publications for three years, then moved to The Washington Post and finally ended up at The New Yorker.  The process of getting to The New Yorker took him 12 years.  Have you been writing day in and day out for 12 years?  If not, you can’t really expect to be at the New Yorker level, can you?  Follow Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule by putting 10,000 hours into doing what you love.  At the end of it, you will surely have the job of your dreams.
  4. BlogMutt is a great place to write.  For people who are struggling with the “you’re better than this” comment all the time, consider the fact that BlogMutt is a great place to write.  The people who work here are always polite and helpful, even if you accidentally mess things up.  You can write as much as you want or as little as you want.  You get paid on time.  And if you get to level 8, you even become a co-owner with shares in the company.  If you really want to see your name attached to your blog post, write a few posts for BlogMutt itself so you can show them off to friends and family (unless, of course, they are the naysayers you’re trying to fight off in the first place!)

Editor’s note: This blog is an example of the kind of writing you can get for your blog. The only thing that’s different is that it has the name of the writer. For your blog, you can say you wrote it. That’s fine with us. We’re happy mutts. Click here for more explanation of this series of posts.

This is from a writer who loves to find the (admittedly sometimes absurd) connection between celebrities and blogging for small business. Her last was about Taylor Swift. It’s a little wacky to connect the two, but somehow she does it from her home office in New Jersey. (Maybe it’s because she lives closer to real celebrities than I do in Colorado.) Anyway, while it’s wacky, it shows how fun a business blog can be. There’s no need that every post be super educational, and it still has the right keywords in the right spots, so it still helps with SEO, etc. And real people love this kind of stuff. — Scott

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#Woof Roundup – Mandalas

A basic mandala design.

A basic mandala design.

Mandalas are sacred geometrical symbols used to focus the eyes and mind during meditation.  The word mandala means circle, and most mandalas are concentric circles, overlaid by squares, six-pronged stars, or inverted, crossed triangles.  Many mandalas are two dimensional, but some are sculpted, and some are even planted as gardens for walking meditation. Historically, mandalas have been identified with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bon, an ancient Tibetan religion. Native Americans also created mandalas through dream catchers and medicine wheels.  Some consider the zodiac to be a mandala.  The psychologist Carl Jung is widely credited for bringing mandalas to modern western attention.  Jung advocated making personal mandalas on a daily basis, and encouraged patients in his practice to draw and paint mandalas as part of their therapy.  Like geometry, color is an important component in mandala design, used for visual appeal and guidance in meditation.  Mandala creation is a current practice, with expressive aids available such as coloring books for children and adults, pages of mandalas for tracing found online, intricate examples on Pinterest, and frequent museum showings.  Whether simple or elaborate, religiously shared or private, mandalas are always associated with visual delight and deliberate spiritual focus.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Epizeuxis – The repetition of a word for emphasis, as in John Keats’ “more happy happy love!” from “Ode on a Grecian Urn.”  (1995 The Poetry Dictionary)

Tort – Any wrongful act, not including breach of contract, for which an injured party may bring a civil action against the alleged wrongdoer.  (1946 A Dictionary of American Politics)

Mandala – An intricate symbolic design, usually circular, with an inscribed square, widely used in the East as an aid to meditation.  (1994 A Dictionary of New Age Ideas)

Bas-relief – A sculpture or design done on a flat surface and projecting from it.  (1950 Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases)

August 29th – The feast day of twelve Catholic saints, including Blessed Richard Herst, an English martyr who stepped down from the scaffold to give the hangman a hand with the rope, in 1628.  (2001 The Birthday Book of Saints)

 

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Blogging For Niche Audiences

blogging for niche audiences

Think of successful blogging using a fishing analogy: you’re trying to catch a particular kind of fish!

There’s really no getting around it: blogging for niche audiences can be challenging. Just for fun, think about blogging in terms of fishing. Blogging for a wider market is like seine fishing. You are casting a wide net, in hopes that doing so will scoop something up. Blogging for a niche market, however, is more like baiting a hook and trying to catch a few very particular fish.

In practical terms, the difference between blogging for a wide market and blogging for a niche audience shows itself in the intent of each post. Instead of trying to cast the net wide by covering as much popular ground as possible, and catching random readers, each post centers on something that both the writer and the specific audience are passionate about. In that way, a niche blogger can reel in readers one-by-one.

The good news is that having a niche blog almost guarantees a following. The more narrow your niche, the less blogging competition you will have. If someone launches a Google search for parenting blogs, yours is likely to get lost in the shuffle of many popular sites. Blog about something more narrow, however, such as creative mustache grooming, and you’re much more likely to find your blog at the top of the search engine pile.

One of the best ways to ensure traffic to your blog is simply to make sure that you fill it with good writing. Take, for example, the popular blog The Art of Manliness, which has gained a wide readership across gender lines due to the consistently high quality of its offerings. Although most readers will never find themselves asking out a woman in the 1950s, or escaping from a sinking car, the quality of the blog posts keeps readers faithfully coming back.

To take advantage of writers attuned to the specific needs of niche audiences, please feel free to contact us.









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Blogging For Life Coaches: A Sample Blog Post

By Veronica Grandeone of many talented writers at BlogMutt. As a mother to a preteen, Veronica understands the importance of keeping our online community well-informed.

Did you know that life coaching is reported as one of the fastest growing industries over the past decade? According to a recent article by Digital Journal, life coaching comes out on top with $2 billion annual revenue. Wow, that’s impressive. So the good news is that you are very busy with your booming business. The bad news is because of your busy schedule it’s been months since you maintained your blog. How about we give you the best news of all? We have professional writers here who can write for your industry so you don’t have to worry about your outdated blog.

Take a moment and read one example blog post.


 

Three Important Bs To Keep Teenagers Safe Online

blogging for life coaches

Be sure to talk about proper online etiquette and monitor your child’s online behavior closely.

Most will refer the triple BBB to the Better Business Bureau but in this case, however, they will mean something entirely different. Blogging is for all ages, but one particular age group who may need a bit of guidance (from a parent, guardian, or even a life coach) is the teenage group. Online safety is our top priority. So how can we make blogging for teenagers a positive environment? Let’s remember these three important Bs:

1. SafeBook Not Facebook

Teach your teen how to navigate through Facebook’s privacy settings and make sure she understands what each feature means, like unfriend, block, or set up an activity log. Encourage your teen to report anything out of the norm. You can use this safebook poster created by Fuzion Marketing PR Design as a guide for your teen. As a parent, it’s also important to make time and learn teen jargon. For example, when your teen says “turn up!” don’t reach for your volume controls but instead “have fun.” Open communication is key, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

2. CyberBully Awareness

There are so many anti-bully mobile apps available now, but here are just a few you can consider for your family. Bully Ban is a new communications technology system in which you can simply text “help” to 96000 and designated authorities will be notified immediately. You remain anonymous. A few others are STOP!T, KnowBullying (for parents), and BullyBox (for school districts). Unfortunately, bullying is a widespread issue around the world, with one in seven students, in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying. So help yourself and your child be better prepared if bullying occurs on or off school property. This includes physical, verbal, indirect, and electronic bullying. Bullying is often a violation to the terms of service for social media sites and internet service providers. Remember to keep a record or take a screenshot of the incident. If you would like to pledge against bullying, you can also participate in Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up Week, which begins on Sept 29, 2014.

3. Inner Beauty

Let’s face it. It’s not easy being an awkward teen. Research has shown that it is quite therapeutic for teens to blog about their thoughts. Blogging helps to gain more self confidence, too. So talk about proper online etiquette beforehand and monitor your child’s online behavior at all times. Be sure to follow your child’s blog, and have another parent follow your child’s blog, too. You can even create a family blog together for a more collaborative project. If you need more strategies to ease your worried minds, check out these parental controls for your devices like Mobicip, Net Nanny Social or Safe Eyes.


 

Blogging for life coaches is one of our specialties. If you are interested in posts like this one, and you want to learn how to keep your blog alive, contact us today!

Editor’s Note: This blog is an example of the kind of writing you can get for your blog. The only thing that’s different is that it has the name of the writer. For your blog, you can say you wrote it. That’s fine with us. We’re happy mutts. Click here for more explanation of this series of posts.










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Four Important Small Business Tools: A Grammatical Perspective

When we were in school, we all learned that the definition of a noun is a word that represents a person, place, thing, or idea.

But wait! That’s more than the definition of a noun. It’s also the rundown of four important small business tools.

small business tools

Think back to your grammar-learning days for tips to hone your marketing strategy: focus on people, places, things, and ideas.

Four Important Small Business Tools:

People

Since we all know what a vital role networking plays in starting a business, it’s no surprise that people come first on the list. For the small business owner, every new acquaintance is a potential client, and every client is a potential advocate. And according to Business Weekly, word-of-mouth is the best advertisement of all. People definitely deserve top billing on the list of important small business tools.

Places

The three most important words in real estate – location, location, location – especially apply in the case of small businesses. Since location often influences visibility and foot traffic, the location in which a business finds its home will often be the deciding factor between success and failure. There are even location implications for online businesses. It’s much better to be discovered via Google than by some unsolicited email. Google is a better “location.”

Things

Warehouses, permits, goods, services, tools, raw materials–these are the building blocks on which your business depends. And yet, as the saying goes, the most important things in life aren’t things. 

The most important things in life are people (as mentioned above) and ideas (as mentioned below).

Ideas

Why do some businesses succeed and some businesses fail? Assuredly, issues like quality, affordability, and customer service do play a part. But beyond that, there are two sorts of business owners: ones who are open to ideas and ones who are not. Those open to new ideas foster innovation, and innovation, in turn, leads to growth.

One way you can signal to the world that you’re current in the world of ideas is by keeping a blog. Regular updates do more than promote foot traffic to your website. Regular blog updates also serve to promote the spread of new ideas and foster a spirit of communal growth within your industry.

For more information on how you can take advantage of regular, idea-rich blog posts for your small business website, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to partnering with you.










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Blogging For Moms: What Are They Reading?

One of the first principles of writing is that the author must first consider the demographic. As the writer plans out what she is going to say, the first principle in mind must be who’s going to read the article.

Blogging for moms is no exception. Before pen is set to paper (or, in this case, fingers set to keys), careful consideration must be made regarding the nature of moms. Who are they? What do they do? What are their interests? What are their joys? What are their problems?

For your benefit, we’ve done some advanced research and have compiled the list below for your edification.

blogging for momsWho are moms?

Moms are women who are responsible for the care and upbringing of children.

What do moms do?

First aid, quarterbacking, quality control, hospitality, crime scene investigation, plumbing, botany, hostage negotiations, teaching, engineering, toxic waste removal, consulting, cheerleading, child psychology, financial planning, mending, small engine repair, crowd control, custodial service, crisis management, life coaching, and pretty much everything else.

What are their interests?

Anything relating to the subjects listed above, plus (depending on the mom) additional areas such as the following: napping, entertainment, essential oils, exercise, music, spirituality, travel, astrophysics, chocolate, and coffee.

What are their joys?

Their children.

What are their problems?

Their children.

With such information on hand, it should be easy for a blogger to write for moms. All the writer has to do is to take the special interests, joys, and concerns of moms into consideration as posts are being planned.

Many of our own writers carry deep insight into the unique problems, joys, and pains associated with motherhood. How did they gain such knowledge? They’re moms themselves. If you would like to harness the power of our writers for your blog, please feel free to contact us.










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#Woof Roundup – The Mork and Mindy House

The Mork and Mindy house at 1619 Pine Street.  Photo courtesy of Liz, who always wanted a pair of rainbow suspenders.

The Mork and Mindy house at 1619 Pine Street in Boulder, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Liz, who has always wanted a pair of rainbow suspenders.

Nanu Nanu!  Welcome to the #woof roundup, a compilation of the words of the day from the dictionaries of the day.

Here in Boulder, Colorado, BlogMutt International Headquarters is situated only five blocks away from the famous ‘Mork and Mindy House’ located at 1619 Pine Street. Built in 1883, and remodeled in 1894, the Queen Anne-style house was originally the home of lumber magnate Ira McAllister. The home is officially known as The McAllister House, and is designated as a historical landmark.  Many of the neighboring buildings are also significant to that period of history, including the residence of a former Boulder mayor.

The McAllister House got an international boost when its exterior was photographed and featured as the home of Mindy McConnell for Mork and Mindy. Though most of the show was filmed in LA, many shots were taken in Boulder, including one of Robin Williams rollerskating down the Pearl Street Mall. On the Mall, the New York Deli was a popular hangout for the cast and crew, and is now the home of Hapa Sushi. According to IMDB, the McAllister House became the most visited landmark in Boulder in 2004. Unfortunately, that designation intensified after Mr. Williams’s recent passing. Thousands flocked to Pine Street to pay their respects and leave tributes to the beloved alien from Ork. Today, all but a few of the tributes have been cleared, and the street is quiet. We sincerely hope that Mr. Williams has found peace, and that his humor will be remembered by generations.

Halal - The Quranic term for that which is lawful or allowed…in particular, it refers to the permitted categories of food and drink.  (1996 The Muslim Almanac)

Nanu Nanu – A slang term which means “Hello” or “Hi” made famous by Robin Williams in the TV series Mork & Mindy back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As in: “I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu.” (www.urbandictionary.com)

Solidago – The botanical name for goldenrod.  (1997 Taylor’s Dictionary for Gardeners)

Cerumen – Another word for earwax. (1986 Dictionary of Disgusting Facts)

 

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Dispelling Three Myths about Content Writing

As savvy marketers continue to see the success of blogging in their inbound marketing efforts, the number of blog-writing services and content writers have started popping up everywhere. As a result, there is some confusion about who content writers are and about what services they provide.

Blog writers, in short, contribute content on behalf of companies and agencies looking to grow their influence online. With quality content being more important than ever, busy companies simply don’t have the time, resources, or staff to maintain a consistent, quality content engine.

No doubt, more than three myths about content writing exist, but these three are the most commonly cited and merit dispelling.

Three Myths about Content Writing:

  • Content Writers Produce Toneless, Robot-like Pieces.
    For this myth to be dispelled, all you have to do is scroll backward through this very blog. We often employ our own network of writers to provide fresh content, and as you can see, their work is both entertaining and compelling.
  • Content Writers Are Just Writers, and Therefore, Will Not Understand the Unique Needs of My Business.
    Wrong again. Writers are not mono-functioning humanoids with only one skill and interest. In fact, many freelance writers only write on the side while maintaining a full-time job. The majority of these writers are actively engaged in some other area of the work force: litigation, culinary arts, law enforcement, fashion, education, and so forth. Furthermore, some freelance writers are actually retirees capable of bringing an entire lifetime’s wealth of experience to their writing.
singer content writing

Just as a singer needs a publicist, a business needs a content writing service

  • Hiring a Content Writer or Service is a sign of weakness.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. You consider yourself an expert at what you do, just as we are experts at what we do. It’s no shame for a professional sports player to hire a nutritionist, a famous musician to hire a publicist, or a first-time home builder to hire an architect. In fact, not hiring experts to handle these matters would be considered foolish. Hiring experts to enhance your brand is not a sign of weakness: it’s a sign of strength. Outsourcing a weakness so you can focus on your strengths is working smarter, not harder.

Are you looking to take advantage of our expert content writers? Feel free to contact us.

Editor’s Note: What is it about lists? So crazy how everyone knows that lists make you read, and yet you still want to read the list. I had to know what the three items in this list were, and the writer did a great job of finding three items, and making a great case on each point. — Scott

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Making Time for Long-form Blog Posts

Although most experts seem fairly certain that the modern internet reader can only handle five hundred words at a time (or fewer, depending on who you read), a definite case can be made for developing more long-form blog posts. Though more of a time commitment for the writer, such posts can bolster a company’s image by proving not only that they’re capable of serious research, but also that they care enough about the field in which they work to make a significant contribution to its growth.

According to Michael Brito at Copyblogger, contributing long-form content not only demonstrates your expertise but also ensures that your site is more likely to show up in a search engine.

long form content pressure cooker

Creating long form content can be a pressure cooker for you. We can help relieve some of that pressure.

With such benefits in the offing, most business owners who operate their own blogs would be hard pressed not to consider providing long-form content. But with the pressure of conceptualizing, researching, writing, and polishing a long piece, how are they to handle keeping up with regular weekly content (as well as that little responsibility of keeping their actual business afloat)?

In a writing service, you will find an elegant solution. Allowing content writers to handle your immediate, short-form needs, you and your team can now devote your concerted efforts to developing long-form posts.

As an added bonus, a content writing service will complement your inbound marketing efforts. With the pressure off to produce weekly posts, you will be able to give your creativity and ingenuity free reign. No more will you feel tempted to post an article before it is fully researched just because it is time to provide fresh content.

To take advantage of our crop of well-seasoned writers, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to partnering with you to provide you the time needed to develop those much-needed long-form posts.

Editor’s Note: We’ve been thinking about this post around the office for days, and finally posted a request for this to our BlogMutt writers a couple of hours ago. It came in so fast, was so spot-on and so well done that we switched our post order around and posted it right away. Blogging is something that needs to be done for the long term, but getting quick little victories like this help keep us on fire for blogging! — Scott

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10 Reasons Blogging Is The Best Freelance Work From Home Opportunity For Seniors

For many seniors, social security benefits and retirement may not be enough to keep the bills paid and give them the freedom to travel and enjoy life the way they had planned.

elderly-man-working-at-homeFinding a job can be difficult and many have turned to non-traditional forms of employment. In fact, there are many excellent ways to make some supplemental income and blogging is one that more seniors are turning to. Here are 10 reasons blogging is the best freelance work from home opportunity for seniors.

  1. Allows you to share your expertise – Experience is the best teacher and blogging allows seniors to share with the world. Seniors have a lot to offer because of all the life and work experiences they have had. Years of working in a certain field or taking part in a hobby amount to a vast knowledge base that can be tapped to educate and entertain the younger generations.
  2. No age-discrimination - The sad truth is that seniors have a harder time finding a job in today’s fast paced, technology laden world. Companies often prefer to hire younger individuals over older workers. Freelance blogging avoids this problem all together, in fact, many blog sites are specifically intended for seniors and prefer senior writers.
  3. Can be done anytime-anywhere – Instead of having a set schedule where you have to be at work at a certain time and you can’t leave until the day is done, freelance blogging can be done at any time of the day or night. You can work from home, the library, a cafe or anywhere else for that matter. You decide where, when and how often you work. That’s freedom at its best.
  4. Doesn’t require any new training –You don’t have to go back to school to get a new degree or take a class to blog. There are no prerequisites, no outlandish requirements, no certifications and no degrees needed to be a blogger. If you can articulate your thoughts and type, even moderately, you’ve got all the skills you need.
  5. Requires minimal equipment– You don’t have to spend a dime to get started in blogging at all. Blogging is done online, but you don’t even need your own computer. Most libraries these days have community computers that you can. You could also borrow a computer from a family member, neighbor or friend.
  6. Puts your communication skills to use – For years you’ve been able to articulate your thoughts verbally and in written form whether for you job or in your personal life. As a senior, you’ve got the advantage in that sense, your skills have been honed to perfection. Using those skills keeps them in tip-top shape and allows you to share more of you.
  7. Keeps your mind sharp – Seniors that try new things run a lesser risk of developing memory issues and Dementia. Keeping our mind stimulated can benefit your health and well-being greatly. Actively taking part in blogging can be a huge boost to your memory and you’ll learn something along the way which will keep your mental capacity strong and healthy.
  8. Helps you keep up with current events & trends – New technologies are popping up all the time and many specifically benefit seniors. Blogging about the current events and trends of the world around you gives you an edge. Sharing that information with others enables them to benefit from your research as well.
  9. Adds to your monthly income – Living on a limited income can be very challenging. Social security benefits can hardly keep up with the increased cost of living we all face. Many seniors find themselves having to chose between paying bills, buying medications and eating. By writing just a few blog posts each month you can add enough to your income to make those choices much easier.
  10. Gives you bragging rights with the grandkids – When you start to blog and get really good at it, you’ll be able to speak the language of the young. Let them know that you’re a blogger now and they’ll be very impresses. The fact that you’re doing some freelance work online might even encourage them to do more than just play games with their computer.

Being a senior doesn’t have to mean quietly sitting in your rocking chair watching “The Price Is Right.” More and more seniors are taking advantage of technology to make their golden years richer and more satisfying. You too can benefit from this and if you’d like to find out more, contact us. We will be more than happy to talk to you about why blogging is the best freelance work from home opportunity for seniors.

Editor’s Note: One other reason that I love it when we have “seasoned citizens” writing for BlogMutt is that they more often came up in a school system that emphasized good grammar, proper sentence structure, and clarity above all else in writing. This post is just such an example and is written by one of our great and very productive writers. If you are a senior, please consider applying to write. If you want writers creating posts this good for your business, consider signing up as a customer. Thanks! — Scott 

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