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21 Posts That’ll Help You Decide What Type of Writer to Be

You passionately want to be a “real” writer.

A writer whose work is an authentic expression of your true self.

The problem is, you feel disconnected from everything you write. It’s like you’re the ghostwriter on a project nobody commissioned.

And sometimes you wonder if you should just give up.

After all, if you were destined to be a writer, it wouldn’t be this hard, would it?

But in truth, it just means you haven’t found your groove.

More specifically, you haven’t decided what kind of writer you want to be.

The firebrand? The storyteller? The visionary? The guru?

Successful templates abound, but you’re unsure which (if any) is authentically you.

And you’re making a mistake if you believe that question can be answered by careful thought alone.

In fact, if you’re serious about finding your stride as a writer, the answer is a little unexpected.

You must immerse yourself in the writing of others.

The “Serious Bloggers Only” Autumn Contest 2015

If you’ve followed Boost Blog Traffic over the past year, you’ll know that we periodically celebrate the best work of the members of our Serious Bloggers Only community.

For past winners, being recognized on BBT has not only been a validation of their skills as writers and bloggers, but it also drove valuable traffic to their blogs.

And in previous contests, even those entrants who didn’t make the final list reported that entering inspired them to push their writing further than ever before.

If you’re not a Serious Bloggers Only member, you’d be forgiven at this point for wondering:

What’s in it for me?

Why should I care about the results of a contest I didn’t enter?

In response, let me ask you:

How often do you read posts outside your niche? How often do you read the work of unfamiliar writers?

If your answer is “rarely” or “never,” you’re missing the opportunity to discover a post that just might put you on the path to becoming an authentic, confident writer.

As you read the winning posts that follow, try them on for size and consciously look for a post that feels like the work of the writer you were meant to be.

So here they are, the winners of our latest contest, organized by category.

Most Epic Post

Epicness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What’s epic to you may be commonplace to someone else, and vice versa. Even so, some posts possess certain qualities that naturally attract this description. This first category recognizes posts that – through their scope, detail or sheer ambition – set themselves apart from the pack.

Winner – Camilla Hallstrom – 99 Smart Ideas

Top 101 Self-Improvement Blogs That Help You Thrive

What I love about this category-winning post is that the impressive size of the list is just the starting point. This post quickly suggests a writer determined to push every aspect of the post to the maximum. The descriptions that accompany each entry are thoughtful and interesting. The formatting of the entries and section headers is slick and visually appealing. And each featured blog is augmented by three example posts as suggested entry points into that blogger’s work.

Runner-Up – Kim Owens – Wise Bread (Guest Post)

30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year

What makes this post feel epic is its comprehensiveness – we can only imagine the research that lies behind it. A reader could start the post knowing little about cashback sites and finish it feeling like a topic expert. Kim gives a helpful overview of the sites but also uses a consistent set of attributes to make it easier to compare different options. This kind of post attracts links because it feels like the definitive take on its topic.

Visit Kim’s blog here: Money Under The Cushions

Highly Commended – Ben Levesque – Webrunner

How to Grow Your Business Through Guest Blogging (a Step-By-Step Guide)

This post feels epic not by virtue of having a large number of individual points, but through its patient and thorough treatment of a large and complex subject. Ben takes the time to set the stage for his discussion of guest blogging and then walks readers through each stage of the process, providing practical tips at each point. It’s a great way to get a solid overview of an important topic in a single sitting.

Most Original Idea

Sometimes a post rests on a single bold idea. Posts like this are often the easiest to write, but the hardest to devise – such “tent pole” ideas rarely arise. But when they do, our job as a writer is to get out of the way and let the idea shine through. That’s what these writers have done.

Winner – Thijs Harteveld – Critical Cactus

This One Simple Trick Will Save You 29% Space At Home

At the heart of this short post is a single striking idea about living spaces. (I won’t spoil it – read the post to find out!) What seems like a crazy notion at first becomes more seductive the more you think about it. Thijs grounds his idea with strong reasoning, and soon we wonder why more people don’t do it. In a niche where creative ideas abound, this still manages to feel fresh and interesting.

Runner-Up – Barry Gold – DivorcedOver50

Considering a Gray Divorce? Here Are Some Pros and Cons

Almost a pick for the “fearless” category, this post tackles a difficult topic – divorcing after a long marriage – with reason and wisdom. But it’s Barry’s coining of the term “di-curious” (to mean a person considering a divorce but unsure whether it’s the right path) that provides the post with its original hook.

Highly Commended – Vanessa Anderson – Diverging Roads

How Travel Can Redesign Your Brain

The web seems littered with posts about the self-improvement benefits of travel. But this post recommends travel not as a horizon-broadening tonic for the young, but as a way to maintain a healthy brain into old age. Providing a refreshing alternative to the more typical “complete a jigsaw” or “take a long walk” advice on keeping dementia at bay, this post is backed up by the author’s experiences moving to mainland China.

Most Practical

Great posts can inform, persuade or entertain, but a truly practical post inspires readers to take action and gives them everything they need to succeed. This category rewards posts that give their readers real-world results.

Winner – Jeffrey Romano – Scheduit

11 Networking Myths That are Costing You Time and Opportunities

This post has a wonderful, empathetic opening that speaks to the frustration of failing to wring full value from a networking event. Jeffrey successfully demystifies an activity that many people find opaque and intimidating, and his down-to-earth tips give even nervous networkers a clear sense of purpose for their next events. Better results will surely follow.

Runner-Up – Victor Tan – Spirit On Stage

Your Presentation Won’t Be Perfect, and That’s Great

I loved this post’s central premise – that something will almost certainly go wrong with your next presentation but that’s okay. In fact, the idea that perfection is not only highly unlikely but actually undesirable should comfort anyone facing a public performance. And that’s why this post has real, practical value. Reading it will actually increase the chances of a calm, polished performance.

Highly Commended – Ellen Bard – Tiny Buddha (Guest Post)

5 Ways to Create a Life You Love Without Making a Major Change

Self-improvement posts often set their sights on huge changes. But many of us are not looking to reinvent ourselves, just to make incremental improvements. Ellen’s practical post shows us how to create a life we love – even if life is basically okay right now. It gives us permission to want a little more, and by making realistic promises it’s far more likely to deliver on them.

Visit Ellen’s blog here: Ellen Bard

Most Valuable

The success measurement for this category is simple. To what extent is the world a better place (even in a small way) because of the existence of the entrant’s post? To what extent will it improve the lives of those who read it?

Winner – Ashley Trexler – A Fine Parent (Guest Post)

How to Make Sure Your Kids Don’t Grow Up to Be Judgemental People

Valuable posts usually start with big ambition – and Ashley’s post has this in spades. She has a long-term goal – that the next generation will grow up a little less closed-minded and judgmental than the last. And even if she only reaches a few people, imagine the ripple effect over many years and lives.

Visit Ashley’s blog here: Lies about Parenting

Runner-Up – Tom Schueneman – TriplePundit (Guest Post)

Electronics Recycling: Breaking Down Barriers to Employment

This post brings together two important issues of our times – the mountains of waste caused by consumer electronics that quickly become obsolete and the struggle that ex-offenders go through in finding work after incarceration. Tom doesn’t allow the seriousness of either issue to affect the post’s readability, and by promoting practical solutions to these problems he’s making a genuine difference in the world with his writing.

Visit Tom’s blog here: Global Warming is Real

Highly Commended – Quinn Eurich – The Change Blog (Guest Post)

How I Finally Loosened Anxiety’s Grip on Me

For those suffering from anxiety, the feeling of powerlessness as emotions take over can be overwhelming. Here Quinn uses her experiences with anxiety to contextualize the practices she finds most effective in dealing with this “sneaky tyrant.” The result is a valuable case study of dealing with anxiety that greatly benefits from the author’s willingness to share the details of her journey.

Visit Quinn’s blog here: Quinn Eurich

Most Fearless

Any decision to put your ideas in the public domain is an act of courage. But some posts, by virtue of their topic or the author’s willingness to be vulnerable, are more fearless than most. This category celebrates brave bloggers.

Winner – Shelley Sandiford – Next Scientist (Guest Post)

How To Know If You Should Leave Academia … Before Wasting Years In Postdocs

If you’ve spent most of your adult years engaged in study, it will be difficult to hear that you’re most likely unsuited to a life in academia. But that’s the central message of this brave post. Shelley doesn’t shy away from hard truths that might sting at first but could save her readers a great deal of heartache in the longer term. And she isn’t afraid to subject her academic life to those same tough measures.

Visit Shelley’s blog here: Sciconic

Runner-Up – K.J. Hutchings – K.J. Hutchings

What to do when your partner is still close to their ex, without seeming crazy or jealous

Admitting that you feel uncomfortable with the relationship your partner has with his or her ex is not easy. This post reassures readers that such feelings are not just acceptable, but normal, and shares grounded, emotionally intelligent tips for dealing with them. But it doesn’t assume that the answers lie solely with the reader and is brave enough to suggest issuing an ultimatum if all else fails.

Highly Commended – Emma Carmichael – The Marvellous Mind

5 Commando Life Hacks To Get You Motivated

Inspired by the brave story of an elite soldier who sustained horrific injuries during a tour of Afghanistan, this post shares the positive lessons he drew from his long journey to recovery. But the author’s decision to reach out to the soldier directly also required a very real type of courage. Most bloggers would have kept the story at arm’s length and stayed within the confines of the soldier’s book.

Best Use of Detail and Examples

Often what separates an interesting post from a genuinely useful one is the level of detail and the examples the author chooses to include. Providing detail takes work, and choosing good examples demands more creativity than you might imagine. But the authors of the posts in this category understand the value of both.

Winner – Jacqueline Stone – Wise Stress Mastery

Quit a Bad Habit, or Build a Healthy One! 10 Ideas that Really Work

Habit change is a wildly popular topic in the self-improvement space. And unsurprisingly so. After all, adopting the right habits (and eliminating the wrong ones) can have a huge impact on your quality of life and the results you achieve. But what sets these battle-tested tips apart from the ones in other posts are the concrete examples that bring each point vividly to life, adding credibility to the claim that they “really work.”

Runner-Up – Cylon George – Marc and Angel Hack Life (Guest Post)

7 Surprising Reasons You’re Attracting Toxic People

Most of us accept that some people are toxic to our mental wellbeing. But this post takes the idea further – stating that we might unwittingly be attracting them. What Cylon does brilliantly is to tell us specifically why this happens, how to recognize the early signs and what to do to fix it. In other words, he’s created a toolkit for identifying and dismantling toxic encounters.

You can visit Cylon’s blog here: Spiritual Living for Busy People

Highly Commended – John Anderson – Bible Money Matters (Guest Post)

The Important Investment Every Married Couple Should Make

Money issues, this post reveals, are the number-one cause of divorce. The post details the true cost of divorce and builds a persuasive case for tackling corrosive money topics head-on. And since he wrote it for a faith-infused personal finance blog, John also provides specific biblical verses to help maintain a healthy balance and respect around money issues in a marriage. The result – a thorough and valuable post.

You can visit John’s blog here: Simple Financial Fitness

Bonus Awards

Best Storytelling – Gail Gates – Aging Schmaging

I Cried Today: Maybe You Really Can’t Go Home

There’s something beautiful and heartbreaking about this post, which would be equally at home in a short story collection as among the pages of the blog. It tells of a simple quest to find a relic of childhood, and although it’s a simple tale told in a minor key, it manages to evoke time and place wonderfully and tug at the emotions with great effectiveness. This is a simple story well told that lingers long after the first reading.

Most Virtuoso Performance – John Yeoman – Write to Done (Guest Post)

How to Bond With Your Readers: The Pain and Glory of Writing

John’s writing is rich with the kind of detail that quickly establishes him as an authority in his field, which happens to be . . . writing! No surprise, then, that he’s been featured in the winners’ list of every SBO contest to date. He packs his post on bonding with practical advice, colorful examples and crisp, playful prose. Bravo!

You can visit John’s blog here: Writers’ Village

Best Visuals – Perpetua Neo – Perpetua Neo

Your most common therapy questions answered: The technicalities, simplified

This post explains the differences between three disciplines – psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry – with the help of a series of simple images. The consistent visual style ties the post together and makes a potentially dry and academic subject highly accessible. And cleverly, by refining the readers’ understanding of these concepts, the author also moves them further along a path that could lead them to hire her.

What Type of Writer Will You Choose to Be?

Still struggling to find your place as a writer?

Don’t worry, it’s a common problem. But introspection is rarely the answer.

Instead, look for answers outside yourself.

So dive into the posts above. Study our previous contest winners here, here and here.

Because somewhere, a writer is already producing work that will signpost your own path to confident and authentic writing.

And the key could be the smallest thing – a certain attitude, a particular rhythm, a distinctive way of expressing ideas.

But when you find it, everything about being a writer will become easier.

So immerse yourself in the best writing of others.

And don’t emerge until you know what sort of writer you should be.

About the Author: Glen Long is the Managing Editor of Boost Blog Traffic. He’s dangerously addicted to Nordic Noir and recently co-created a tiny new person who’s six weeks old today. Feeling social? Come and say hi on Facebook or Twitter.

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A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

It's plain to see that B2B marketers, at large, see the value in social media. The latest B2B benchmarking research from CMI and MarketingProfs found that nearly two out of three respondents (61%) increased their usage of social media for content marketing purposes in the previous year. Another new report shows that social content is atop the list of focal areas for B2B marketers in the coming year.

It’s also fair to say, based on various data points and conversations with folks in the biz, that most of us feel we could be doing better with social. The size of the audiences on these platforms make them essential to any digital strategy, but breaking through suppressive algorithms and showing clear ROI is a perpetual challenge for brands.

One pivotal key to excelling with social media marketing is understanding all the tools you have at your disposal. Each platform offers a number of capabilities that seem to be underutilized by marketers who either don’t know they exist, or don’t fully recognize their potential impact.

With this in mind, we’re setting out to highlight some of the most useful yet overlooked features for driving results on social media platforms. Today we're focusing on the channel most pertinent to B2B marketers: LinkedIn*, with its member base of more than half a billion professionals.

Take Notice of These 5 Marketing Tools & Features on LinkedIn

Whether your goal is building brand awareness, generating leads, or boosting conversions, these five fundamental functionalities can provide a big assist if you aren't taking advantage of them already.

#1: Robust (and Now Simplified) Audience Targeting

LinkedIn recently overhauled its Campaign Manager tool (the interface through which marketers build, manage, and measure ads) around an objective-based advertising framework. The basic purpose of this initiative was to make it easier for users to align every element of their campaigns with the overarching objective. One of the slickest improvements to come out of this is the audience setup experience, which is now simpler and more intuitive.

From a B2B marketing perspective, the depth of available professional targeting parameters is by far LinkedIn’s biggest relative advantage compared to other social platforms. Nowhere else can you accurately filter audiences based on facets such as Job Title and Job Seniority. This provides unparalleled ability to reach decision makers and purchase influencers directly.

The revamped interface makes it quicker and more straightforward to select a qualified audience in line with your campaign goals.


#2: Revamped LinkedIn Analytics

The latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report via Social Media Examiner found more than half of respondents (54%) either uncertain or disagreeing that they are “able to measure the return on investment (ROI) for my organic social media activities.”

This is another area of Campaign Manager that LinkedIn recently spruced up. Given that advertising on this platform tends to be more expensive than other social networks, it’s especially important to ensure you’re getting return on that spend. The new reporting experience makes it easier to see results at a glance, and make optimization tweaks on the fly.

The underlying appeal of LinkedIn’s targeting facets also applies to its reporting mechanism; you can get an aggregated look at who is viewing and engaging with your content (i.e., which companies, which job titles, which experience levels). These insights can help you align your LinkedIn strategy and even your content marketing strategy more generally.

#3: Content Suggestions

Can’t figure out what to share on social media? That’s a common enough challenge. The Content Suggestions tab, found on the top nav bar within LinkedIn Page admin center, offers ample inspiration. It serves up a list of third-party articles your defined audience is engaging with — essentially a readily available stream of targeted, trending content.

Not only does this make it easy for marketers and social media managers to find share-worthy content that’s more likely to resonate with their followings, but it can also fuel employee advocacy efforts.

#4: Website Retargeting

Retargeting is a popular digital marketing tactic, which involves serving ads to people who’ve already encountered your brand. The element of familiarity, plus a concrete demonstration of past interest, tends to drive considerably higher clicks and conversions than standard ads.  

Through its Matched Audiences feature, LinkedIn allows you to place a pixel on your company’s website, then serve ads to people who’ve visited it before, while they’re on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to follow up with someone in a different context. One especially savvy approach is to create customized retargeting creative based on the specific section of your site a person visited (i.e., upper-funnel messaging for someone who went to your “About” page, and lower-funnel for someone who checked out a solution page.)


#5: Lead Gen Forms

This might be my favorite marketing tool on LinkedIn, and it definitely seems like one that more B2B brands could be utilizing. Lead Gen Forms are leveraged in combination with various types of ads, enabling your company to collect valuable contact info (and additional data about a prospect) from an individual who downloads something of value with minimal friction.

Unlike most gated-asset forms, which require a user to tediously fill out multiple fields, Lead Gen Forms automatically populate based on the member’s LinkedIn profile data. As such, it takes only a couple of seconds to get through the process. Because you’re attaining a more comprehensive snapshot of people who download, you can better qualify them as leads in comparison with other form-fills that often procure only a name, phone number, and email.


Step Up Your LinkedIn Marketing Game

LinkedIn can be one of the most valuable components of a holistic B2B marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier, there’s no denying it’s a pricier place to play than most other social networks, but you’re also paying for access to a higher-quality audience. Using the five features above can help you understand, segment, reach, and engage this audience efficiently while closely tracking the impact of your efforts.

Another underutilized tool on LinkedIn is video, which has been a key focus for the platform recently. Learn about all the metrics and specs for video on LinkedIn, as well as every other major social network!

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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