Weekly WOOF Compendium: Even In The 1800s, “Sleepy Hollow” Was Cool

What are your weekend plans? You probably have some real jams in the works. A little light reading of the political philosophy of Samuel von Pufendorf, or Roman law, perhaps? Or maybe you are deciphering that Aesopian code you found written in an old book.

Katrina Van Tassel portraitEven if you’ll just be flipping through the channels, languidly awaiting the return of the new season of the TV series “Sleepy Hollow,” don’t worry. Even in the 1800s, artists were excited by depictions of the characters from Washington Irving’s short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”  Check out the portrait to the left, how you can see Ichabod Crane through the window. One commentary on this portrait points out that while Katrina is turned away from Ichabod, she still seems almost to sense him. What do you think? Is there any other symbolism in the portrait?

Without further ado, here is your weekly WOOF compendium of the WOrds of the day from the dictionary OF the day, which will prepare you for just about any of your weekend adventures.

Monday: Jam – A treat. In British slang, “a real jam” is a pleasure, or a delight. (1980 English English)

Tuesday: Samuel von Pufendorf — (1632 – 1694), German jurist and historian, author of “De Jure Naturae et Gentium.” Locke, Rousseau, et al. esteemed him. (1920 Standard Dictionary of Facts)

Wednesday: Fufian Caninian Law (Lex Fufia Caninia) — Roman law enacted in 2 BC by Augustus, restricting the manumission of too many slaves at once.  A master who had three slaves could free only two; one who had between four to ten could free only half of them; one with eleven to thirty could free only a third, and so on. No more than 100 slaves could be liberated by any one master.  (1991 Dictionary of Historic Documents)

Thursday: Aesopian Language — Code language. Deceptive terminology and hints used to get around the censors of the Czar. (1964 Dictionary of Communist English)

Friday: Katrina Van Tassel — Ichabod Crane’s love interest in Washington Irving’s 1820 short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In her portrait by Benjamin Reinhart (1829 — 1885), she looks as Irving describes her, “as a blooming lass of fresh eighteen, plump as a partridge, ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her father’s peaches, and universally famed not merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations…and withal a provokingly short petticoat to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.”  (1879 American Painters)

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Tips on Better Blogging — for Authors

There is little profit to be made in making things more complicated for yourself. With that in mind, we’ve come up with seven easy ways to manage blogging for authors.

blogging for authors

  • Choose a blogging platform you understand and like: There are several well known and regarded blogging platforms out there. Do you have a friend who maintains a blog? Have a look at how they do it, and if you like it, find out who hosts it. Before you commit to a platform, conduct some due diligence by looking up a forum or two to check out how other bloggers rate it for ease of use and online reliability.
  • Choose you site style carefully, and then stick to it: Before you go live with your brand new blog, take plenty of time to ensure the ‘vibe’ of your page meshes nicely with your product- – your book. A cookbook author would tend to prefer a food or kitchen related theme, while a horror writer would probably avoid rosy pink backgrounds with silver unicorns dancing about! You may want to use your cover image (or a collage of your covers) as a background. This is fine, as long as they don’t overwhelm your posts.
  • Post to entertain and inform: Yep, it’s a given that you have an eye on using your blog to promote your literary work, but be aware of the 21st century affliction called ad blindness. Your blog readers will want to be interested in your posts, by being informed or entertained. Have a handy option on your page to transport them to your sales page, but don’t be pushy. Your typical blog browser will likely either ignore overt calls to action, or move on, never to return.
  • Be on guard for typos and silly writing errors: Hey you’re a writer! You need to be alert for dodgy grammar, bad spelling, and awkward sentences, as you can expect to be judged on them. Imagine a plumber’s blog. While they may be forgiven the occasional typo, their readers would be quickly put off if they saw incorrect information on how to change a washer! Keep your writing as crisp and fresh as your literary works, and your reader retention will only grow.
  • When you’re sick of posting, post again: Good advice here is to begin as you intend to continue. Resist the urge to post 16 times in the first week your blog is live, as this will deter most followers from grabbing an RSS feed, fearing you’ll choke their inbox! Similarly, be disciplined about maintaining fresh content on your blog. It’s all too common to see formerly beloved blogs sitting there forlornly forgotten and going to seed. You can even set a weekly reminder to prompt you to start creating your next brilliant post.
  • Respond promptly to sane comments, and ditch the rest: The old saying that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” is not necessarily true of blogs. Comments from readers are a tick of approval that your offerings are cutting through – unless they’re from a troll, a fool, or someone distinctly unwell in the head. Review and filter your incoming comments regularly and try to always respond, even briefly, to the sensible ones. Ignore the rest.
  • Don’t know what a Google Panda or Penguin is? Find out: These are algorithm amendments put in place by a powerful team at Google to detect both good and bad net citizens, and deal with them accordingly. As a blogger, you are a citizen of the net, and you’ll want browsers to be able to find your site when they do a search. Defy Google (or the others for that matter) by deliberately or accidentally doing something naughty on your blog, and you may find yourself de-indexed. That’s kind of like the city walling up your shop so no one can see it! If you’d rather have experts maintain your blog for you, here’s some good news. There are some wonderful organizations out there who will ensure you never fall foul of the search engines.

To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

And while you’re at it, have a look at this Huffington Post article which is all about growing your professional network via blogging.

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Showcase Your Properties: Blogging for Real Estate

Showcase the properties you want to sell! Not just with great pictures, but with interesting facts about key properties, especially if you are wanting to sell resort properties. Below is an example of a post you might purchase through BlogMutt. This blog gives key facts and highlights amenities that potential home owners will want to know about.

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La Quinta, the “Gem of the Desert”

blogging for real estateLa Quinta is a resort community with 350+ days of sunshine each year. With its vibrant art and culture scene, it has truly earned its bejeweled nickname, as well as its reputation as a destination that people love to live in and visit.

Within this Gem of the Desert are two other gems: the Mountain View Country Club in La Quinta and The Citrus Club — both of which make the list of must-visit places in La Quinta. The Mountain View Country Club is a Toll Brother’s community with 376 detached homes and 50 condos. The Citrus Club has about 625 houses with a choice of attached and single-family detached.

At the Mountain View Country Club, you will find semi-custom homes, with prices from the mid 500s to just over 1.5 million. Condos are priced from the low 400s to mid 500s. All are unique, and blended with rich Spanish Colonial architecture.

When you purchase a home here, you will enjoy views of the golf course, the lakes, and the gorgeous mountains. Remember, that means 350+ days to enjoy the view! As part of enjoying the view, you have easy access to playing golf on an Arnold Palmer Signature golf course that challenges every player.

If golf isn’t your forte, you can enjoy the 24,000 square foot Spanish Colonial-style Clubhouse. Relax with friends over a meal, or have a spa day — complete with a visit to the 7,000 square foot Spa and Fitness Center.

The Citrus Club is a gated community with a variety of ways to relax. It boasts a club dining room and bar to enjoy a nice meal with friends, a pool, and a state-of-the art fitness center. You can enjoy a game of tennis on the 23 tennis courts, 5 that are Har-Tru courts, or cool off in one of the 42 pools that are located throughout the Citrus Club resort.

When you purchase a home here, you can become a member and enjoy unlimited golf on the Pete Dye designed Citrus Golf Course.

If you are looking for that place to call home, please contact us. We are at your service!

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Does your webpage need creative and interesting blogs like this to generate more business for your luxury properties? It’s easy to get blogs like this. Just contact us and ask about blogging for real estate.

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Blogging for Billionaires — How I Earned $10 million

By Curt Smothers

April 1, 2014

As I write this blog, I am looking out from the balcony of my oceanfront home in Malibu at the calm, blue Pacific. The sun is a large and watery pink ball and is half sunk towards the horizon, well on its way to my other beach home in Maui.

blogging for billionairesYes, life is good, and I owe it all to blogging.

It was so easy that I don’t even plan to market one of those “You can do it, too!” campaigns and sell books at the end of dynamic personal appearances. My experience can be replicated, and anyone can become a millionaire blogger. All you need is a billionaire oil company representative and the ability to write with no scruples.

Here is my story:

My first big break came after I had been freelancing for BlogMutt for about six months. No, BlogMutt will not earn writers millions of dollars, but it opened the door for me. One day I was doing some research for this blog I wanted to do for an environmental cleanup site. Lo and behold, I came across this ad that read, “Qatar Oil Company Official Seeks Experienced PR Blogger.” Wow! I thought, Blogging for billionaires! I’m going to make tons of petrobucks!

I applied, sent a writing sample and was asked to write blogs on three subjects:

  • How Oil Spills Are Good for the Environment
  • Is Fracking the Solution to California’s Earthquake Danger?
  • Why Electric Automobiles Are a Danger to Our Elderly

Now here’s the secret to writing a good blog: you have to get inside the customer’s head to the extent that after reading your writing he asks the question, “Hey! Do I know you?”

Then there’s the issue of having to set aside any principles you might have that would interfere with the customer’s wishes.

In writing pieces on the above-mentioned topics, I had no problem with knowing what was going on inside the heads of big oil. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I did have a few problems in my research, though. So I had to be somewhat creative in my rationale for each blog. To wit:

1. Oil spills are good for the environment to the extent that the cleanup effort generally results in repairing far more than it despoils. Then there’s the benefit of ridding parasites from sea birds, which need to be scrubbed after a spill – OK. I had to pad that one a bit, and the British Petroleum handling of the PR after that big spill down south didn’t help much.

2. Fracking is definitely not the solution to earthquakes, and there is absolutely no connection between blowing junk into our groundwater and relieving pressure along the San Andreas Fault. I got around that one by shifting the focus from California to Colorado and pointing out that there has not been a single tremor where fracking has occurred. It’s hard to disprove a negative, and the Qatar oil guy probably figured that Colorado was close enough.

3. Finally, there are absolutely no statistics to support the proposition that electric cars are a danger to the elderly. My approach here was probably a bit unfair and really stereotyping old people, who can be forgetful. The elderly might – I emphasized might – have a tendency to forget to charge up the car for that doctor’s visit, for example. Think about the effect on geriatric preventative care. Haven’t things gotten crazy enough with the hassles of ObamaCare without adding electric cars into the mix?

Well, the rest is history. I didn’t believe a single word of what I wrote, but the Qatar oil people loved my stuff. At $10,000 per blog my bank account soon grew. My reputation throughout the Middle East spread and I have typically had to turn work away.

I am also fluent in Spanish and have done some profitable work for Venezuelan oil companies, but that, as they say down there, es totalmente distinto. I just hope the people in Qatar don’t connect me to those blogs I wrote about how oil from the Middle East was contaminated with airborne pathogens.

Between all those demands for pro-big oil pieces, I still make time to write for the site that gave me my start. You don’t have to be a billionaire to get some reputable writing for a reasonable price, so contact us.

And, by the way, you’ve probably figured out this is my April Fools’ blog.

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. — Scott

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Blogging for Lunch Money — A Sanctuary for the Starving Student

blogging for lunch moneyCollege is expensive, and not just because of tuition. Textbooks, lab fees, and the cost of living in a college town can exhaust nearly everyone’s means. Many students may have to do some creative planning when there’s more month remaining at the end of the money. Starving students have been known to spend their lunchtime in the library, where food isn’t allowed, which makes a virtue of necessity when you can’t afford to buy lunch.

Instead of contemplatively listening to your stomach rumble, ponder this: there’s extra money to be made in composing online content — blogging.

It involves all the same research and writing skills that have gotten you this far in higher education. Can you write a 300-word summary of a new item about hacker threats to computer networks? How about an equally short rundown on how your university accommodates students with disabilities?

If you’re the type who answers a question with a question, you might be asking two questions: (1) why blog?; and (2) why would someone want to pay me? The answers are:

1. because blogs are like those extra-credit research assignments that prop up your GPA, except blogs prop up the customer’s chances to get found on the web, and

2. because the web is a hungry devourer of content, and people hawking goods and services often can’t sit still long enough to do their own writing.

Even though it probably goes without saying, it must be said here that you need to be able to write your way out of a paper lunch bag if you expect someone to pay you for your work. College students are mature enough to eschew the text writing style that avoids the red-inked frowny-faced “OMG!” from the professor.

Also, if you know what eschew means and can make a subtle but witty allusion to the fact that the word reminds you of the sound you make when you sneeze, you’ll pass muster and make your client smile as your blogging income stream gets going. You keep that stream going with quality items based on the greatest research resource in the history of civilization: the world-wide web.

Blogging for lunch money and other college expenses is an ideal part-time avocation that will keep you inside when others are walking to work in the snow. There are tons of potential customers out there who subscribe to content-writing services and get their copy from writers of all ages and backgrounds.

If you’re interested in getting off to a fast start and don’t have the wherewithal to do your own client hunting, contact us. We have tons of subscribers looking for fast, quality, work. We’ve done the marketing and selling, so you can do the writing.

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Weekly Woof Round-Up

WOOF ROund-Up Dictionaries BlogMuttHere is your weekly WOOF Round-Up, chock full of lexical goodies!

Monday: Flipper – Pin-Ball machine. The decoration on the electric billiard tables in the ‘fifties, especially those bearing the Gottlieb signature, is considered a source of pop art. (1977 Illustrated Dictionary of Pop Art)

Tuesday: Jerome – (341 – 420) “The learned, irascible Doctor.” Translator of the Vulgate Bible. While a hermit in the Syrian desert, he had a vision in which he was judged by God as being more Ciceronian than Christian. Founded a free school for children, in which he taught Greek and Latin. He is the patron saint of librarians. (1992 Wordsworth Dictionary of Saints)

Wednesday: Mind Your Ps & Qs — Wives would admonish their sailor husbands about soiling their Peacoats with their greasy Queues (pigtails). Alternatively, that the husbands mind their Pints and Quarts consumption. (1996 When A Loose Cannon Flogs A Dead Horse There’s The Devil To Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech)

Thursday: The Kennedys — At the dawn of the 1960s, they emerged as fair-haired symbols of youth, energy, self-made success, and unimpeachable idealism; a rollicking clan of relentlessly procreative, gallant, well-educated, witty guys, and all the pretty gals with them. Signified a fresh new beginning for a country eager to frolic and to feel more worldly.  (1992 Encyclopedia of Pop Culture)

Friday: Cut Cat —  Speedy and often noisy withdrawal. (1994 New Zealand Dictionary)

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Blogging Is A Freelance Job Opportunity for Seniors Of All Types — High School, College, and Beyond!

freelance blogging job seniorsHave a computer and an internet connection? Then you can blog for pay! Going from stagnant to viral is the difference being a cyber nobody to actually earning a nice part-time income. There are freelance job opportunity for seniors and those writers comprise an astonishingly diverse pool of talent for web entrepreneurs wanting to add value to their web presence.

The opportunity for those writers is dependent on their ability to harness writing skills — ranging from raw to well-developed — in order to enrich someone’s web content, and, as the old circus barker used to say, “Step right up, children of all ages!”

Returning to our allusion to “seniors,” younger writers — high school and college seniors, for example — can service the marketplace and go from starving student to regularly paid contributors.

For the more experienced and well-educated college seniors, blogging can be almost second nature. Everyone who has been to college has experienced the burden of producing term papers, project write-ups, critiques, etc., all of which require research and writing along with writing, and more writing. Talented college writers make great bloggers.

Then there are the senior citizens, who, according to the Free Dictionary online, are “elderly persons, usually more than sixty or sixty-five years of age.” The foregoing definition, especially with the term elderly, could possibly elicit a negative reaction from many people in that age group we know. (Take 60-year-old actress Jane Seymour, for example.)

So let’s agree that for the purposes of this discussion, a senior is a person who is at that stage of life and who is probably retired, but nowhere near tired. This category of seniors, therefore, has a distinct advantage over younger bloggers, because the older generation knows things that only become knowledge as a result of experience.

Seniors, for example, know that:

  • the more things change, the more they stay the same. For example, the information age has opened the floodgates of knowledge, but aren’t we as swamped with information today by the Internet, as we were when we were sitting in the library research room?
  • there is no substitute for quality communication. From the stubby-pencil to the portable Royal typewriter, and all the way through today’s word processor, there still has to be an experienced, articulate brain behind the mechanics of producing consumable content.
  • there is also no substitute for “been there, done that.” Writing about experience requires no greater research skills than accurate recall.
  • bias and strong opinions of the less mature tend to mellow as more knowledge becomes available. It is true that the more knowledge we accumulate, the less opinionated and more empathetic to others we become.

Stereotypes and social groups notwithstanding, one of the great things about tapping into a resource of good writers is that customers literally have the “pick of the litter.” Specifically, BlogMutt’s writer demographics run the gamut of every age group, educational background, and specialty. Want to write? We’d love for you to apply! 

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Social Media For Small Business In 2014: Follow Queen B’s Lead!

social media for small business beyonce blogmuttSmall businesses that understand the importance of using social media are creating unique publishing platforms and growing their marketing opportunities. Just look at Beyoncé Knowles, who stayed away from traditional marketing for her latest album. Instead, she used social media.

And guess what happened?

The downloads for this album have surpassed the number of downloads of the previous album. When you consider the cost of traditional marketing, Beyoncé greatly improved her ROI for this latest album — and with little marketing costs.

Small businesses can have the same mindset and use social media along with, or instead of traditional marketing. Using social media would include having a webpage with a blog that is connected to Facebook, so users can have blogs appear on their Facebook pages. Small businesses can also utilize Twitter and Instagram in connection with their blogs by posting a teaser to intrigue others to visit the blog.

One argument used to be that social media was only used by the younger generation, but that’s no longer true. And it’s especially not true for 2014. All age groups are using tweets, shares, Facebook posts, and blogs. So, there’s no reason not to use social media, especially when you know who is regularly accessing it.

Who, exactly, is using social media in 2014?

  • 72% of all Internet users are now active on social media
  • 89% of 18 – 20 year olds use social media
  • 72% of 30 – 40 year olds use social media
  • 60% of all 50 – 60 year olds are active on social media
  • 43% of those over 65 use social media
  • 71% of users access social media from a mobile device

The statistics are overwhelming. Beyoncé had the right idea to use social media for marketing. So, why not you, too?

We would love to help you be successful using social media for small business, especially blogging. Please contact us for more information.

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Why Hire A Content Writing Service? Because 50% Of Businesses Have Content Marketing Strategies

content writing service BlogMuttWebDAM creates infographics that give great insight into the 2014 marketing world. For a small business, this information is key, as you work to find a way to market for less. Here’s what they say:

1. 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. Over three-fourths of those in charge of companies know they need custom content. For that to happen, small businesses have two choices: use resources to hire someone to write custom content, or use an outside source to write custom content. The outside source is usually the most affordable option. Whatever you choose, you need a content marketing strategy. After all, almost 50% of companies report they have content marketing strategies.

2. Emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by 158%. For a small business, this means sending emails to customers and potential customers that include buttons that allows them share the email content through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. If a customer likes your email content, they will share it and all their friends will see it. Your email content could contain the beginning, or a teaser, which gives readers the option to click through to read the entire blog post and then share it.

3. Companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t. This figure can’t be ignored — all small businesses need a strategy to generate more leads to increase the ROI.

Put all three of these figures together, and you can see that a small business should focus on content writing for 2014 and into 2015. All the statistics tell us that this type of marketing is great for business.

Ready to discuss some content writing services? If yes, we are experts who hire professional writers. It’s easy, just contact us.

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Blogging to Inspire

While a great deal of blogging is done primarily for commercial purposes, a blog can also be a tremendous avenue by which you can encourage and inspire your readers. This approach, rather than overtly promoting a product or service for sale, can help build a relationship that your audience finds rewarding in itself and causes them to return frequently to see what else you have to offer – both inspirationally and commercially.

Perhaps you want to shine a spotlight on an important cause, share your passion for an unusual sport or activity, or simply provide a welcome respite from the bad-news barrage that often engulfs our 24-hour-news-filled lives.

The blog below offers a historical example of how a “talking leaf” was so inspirational that it changed an entire nation…

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Sequoyah’s Inspiration Brings Literacy to the Cherokee Nation

You’ve likely heard of the Giant Sequoias – the massive, awe-inspiring trees which are the largest in the entire world – over 250 feet tall and over 3,000 years old. But were you aware that they are named after a giant among men?

blogging to inspire sequoyahBorn in present-day eastern Tennessee around 1770, Sequoyah was a farmer, silversmith, and Cherokee warrior during the Creek War of 1813-1814.

During the conflict, Sequoyah’s war party found a letter in the possession of a captured soldier and debated the meaning and origins of the “talking leaf.” Inspired, Sequoyah determined to develop a written system for the Cherokee language.

He worked diligently for twelve years designing a graphic symbol for every syllable of his beloved language, and was reportedly even accused of witchcraft for his work. But Sequoyah persevered and developed a full syllabary of eighty-six symbols, including one just for the sound “s.” He taught his daughter to use it, and when it became evident that a native Cherokee speaker could master Sequoyah’s system in just a matter of days, it was finally welcomed with such enthusiasm that the Cherokee National Council officially recognized Sequoyah’s contribution with a silver medal.

A special printing press was designed with the Sequoyah syllabary and a weekly newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix, began publication in 1928. Other works, including the New Testament and many hymns, began to be translated into Cherokee, and by 1835, approximately half of Cherokee nation households had at least one member literate in the written Cherokee language. A survey conducted in 1965 reported that as many as 65% of Cherokees then located in Oklahoma (following relocation from the east during the “Trail of Tears“) were literate in Cherokee. This was reportedly higher than the literacy rate of the surrounding white population at the time.

Sequoyah’s syllabary became a vehicle for preservation of the Cherokee culture and continues to be a source of great pride today. His inspirational action changed Cherokee history and made him a giant among men…and amazing trees.

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Your “talking leaf” may not change the world – or maybe it will! – but you’ll never know if you don’t put it out there. Your blog could be just the inspirational nudge someone needs to step forward and do something great.

And you don’t have to go it alone. If you’d like help filling your blog with posts that your readers will find rewarding and worth returning for over and over again, just contact us. BlogMutt is bursting with writers who love blogging to inspire.

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