A Guide to Starting Your Own Business as a Teenager

There is no age limit to being a business owner. If you have a great idea and want to turn it into something lucrative, you only need the tools to do so. This brief guide can help you develop the tools you need to create a job you’ll enjoy, and teach you the benefits of starting your business career so early. So let freelance writer Melinda Curle show you how!

Student starting a business

Develop a Simple Business Idea

Start simple with your first business. For example, do you typically do yard work for your parents during the summer? You can start advertising your services, such as mowing and trimming and provide yard services for the entire neighborhood. Most people will hire you for weekly or biweekly services, allowing you to develop a client base and make a steady income. Think of a skill you have and how you could use that to make money.

Understand the Benefits of Starting Your Business

Starting a small business while you are young gives you the chance to learn while the financial stakes are not as high. Being a young entrepreneur gives you the opportunity to learn planning skills and fine-tune your business knowledge. These are real-life skills
you can learn before you graduate high school.

And starting your own business may also give you direction when you attend college as you may choose to earn a business-relevant degree. If you think that you’ll want to pursue entrepreneurship long term, then consider pursuing a degree in business management, leadership, or communication. Try this type of coursework to decide what kind of business you want to invest in and what you want your role to be moving forward.

Develop a Business Plan

Once you have a serious idea for a business, you need a business plan. Don’t rush through it. Think it through carefully, and you’ll better understand what you want to do with your business when you finish. Your business plan should include an executive summary with your business description and a brief mention of the products or services you intend to provide. Talk about how you intend to fund your business and your financial projections for the future.

If you have an operational business, you’ll want to discuss how you will run the business on a daily basis and what staff you may need in the future. Any time you have questions about your next move, you should be able to revert back to this plan.

Decide on Your Business Structure

When starting a business, it is important to consider how you’ll structure your business. One good option is to form an LLC, or limited liability company. An LLC has several key advantages that can make it an excellent choice for any business owner. For one thing, its legal structure provides a level of protection from personal liability, ensuring that your personal assets will not be at risk in the event of a lawsuit or other legal issue.

In addition, an LLC can make it easier to raise money for your business by providing investors with certain tax benefits. Furthermore, since your business will be organized as a separate legal entity under an LLC, you will have greater flexibility when it comes to managing and running your company.

Try Out Your Business Options

When you start a business as a teenager, you’ll learn life lessons along the way. If your business fails, treat it as a learning opportunity before starting your next venture. By the time you are in your mid-20s, you’ll be well ahead of the learning curve. So take the time to learn how to form your business and write a business plan, and use these experiences to determine if a business degree might be right for you after graduation.

Guest post by: Lexie Dy

6 Inventive Ways Creatives Can Get Noticed

Creative Way to Get Noticed

6 Inventive Ways Creatives Can Get Noticed and Make More Money

Make your dream of turning your obsession into a well-paying career by sharpening your marketing and promotional abilities. Doing so helps you get discovered by the people who pay top dollar for your skills. Try these ideas presented below by MelindaCurle.com.

1. Launch a Podcast

Hire a podcast provider to start a show about a topic tangential to your work that has interest for your ideal clients. Use a social media campaign to invite fascinating guests to the program. Discuss solutions and valuable information for problems and issues your listeners need to solve. Place creative ads for your services within the show and transcribe the interviews for your blog.

If you create a Facebook account for your show, you can upload a PDF to your Facebook biz page. This is a great way to share show notes and resources with your audience. These kinds of uploads encourage engagement with and sharing of your content, bringing your work to more people.

2. Create a Website

Being a creative means that you’ll want to show off your work. While there are plenty of platforms available to host your examples, nothing communicates like your own website. To be most effective, make sure your website has all the requisite must-have features.

3. Speak in Front of Professional Groups

Host a webinar or speak at a seminar on how your work benefits clients. Use case studies to prove your value. For instance, a writer can keep detailed notes on a client’s return on investment through increased customer engagement and web traffic after long-form blog posts. Examples of other companies in the industry who succeeded with your help create social pressure and a fear of missing out.

4. Create a Limited Company

Lay a foundation for future growth with your business structure. A limited company is an excellent entity for creatives who plan future expansion by hiring employees, such as assistants, researchers, and writers. When you seek funding, seasoned investors typically prefer the structure of a limited company since it’s well-established and predictable.

If you’re comfortable navigating the instructions for company formation, avoid expensive lawyer fees by filing yourself. Otherwise, a formation service can quickly handle the process.

5. Network With Past Friends and Classmates

Previous acquaintances may hold influential positions and be willing to give you a foothold in their market. Search for a fellow graduate’s name, graduation date, and school, or look for other friends who you’ve lost contact with.

When reaching out to old friends, don’t pitch them on your work immediately. Take a genuine interest in what they’re up to and ask sincere questions. When you understand their pain points, you can pinpoint a solution to their problems. You could even create a social media group or a newsletter sponsored by your business with entertaining articles, alumni updates, and promotions for others.

If you don’t feel comfortable with your self-promotion abilities at present, don’t lose hope. Sales and marketing are skills just like anything else, and there are resources available to help you hone those skills yourself.

6. Upgrade Your Home Office

A home office is a great asset for any business, whether you work from home full-time or just need a place to keep work organized and out of the way. But if your home office is looking a little tired, it may be time for an upgrade. Not only will this improve the look and feel of your workspace, but it can also have a positive impact on your business. For example, new furniture and flooring can make your office more comfortable and inviting, which could help to increase productivity. And if you’re looking to sell your home in the future, upgraded features like a home office can help to boost its value. So whether you’re in it for the long haul or just want to spruce up your workspace, consider making some upgrades to your home office. Your business will thank you for it!.

Work hard at producing and promoting your work so you can capture the hearts of people looking for a solution like yours. With persistence and skill, you’ll tap into lucrative communities.

How to Make Accurate Financial Projections for Your Business

Financial projections are documents that are used to forecast the revenue, expenses, and profits of a company by analyzing currently available data. Being able to make good financial projections is key to predicting your company’s financial health and developing long-term strategies for success. So here’s what you need to know, courtesy of Melinda Curle.

Why Financial Projections Are Important

Financial projections help your business in several ways:

  • Predicting product success. Projections may help decide whether a product or service will be profitable or if it should be discontinued.
  • Making better management decisions. Knowing about the profitability of a product, service, or even a whole department will help managers develop strategies.
  • Getting estimates on future sales. Projections can help find future revenues and can predict sales figures by predicting future demand.
  • Determining where to set prices. With a good financial projection, you can figure out the optimal price for goods and services for maximum profit.
  • Securing funding. Financial projections can be used to get loans or to attract investors.

How to Make Financial Projections

Financial projections not only help your business decide the best course of action for a department, product, or service, but they also provide answers for prospective investors, lenders, or shareholders. They can offer a good snapshot of the company’s health and its ability to perform well in the coming months and years.

To make a financial projection:

  • Gather documents and data. You’ll need documents detailing recent sales and gross margin statements by product line, cost of goods sold, accounts receivable, operating costs, and expenditures. All of this is much easier if you take advantage of modern invoicing software to streamline the bookkeeping process.
  • Make a sales forecast. Using available data, figure out the demand you expect to see for all of your company’s offerings.
  • Estimate future spending. Along with figuring out how many sales you expect to get, consider how many expenses the business will have to pay.
  • Make income projections. Use sales and expense forecasts to predict profit and make balance sheets.
  • Create a cash flow projection. Use the above data and documents to predict how much money will be coming in and going out to show investors the financial health of the company or product.
  • Use software. By using software, you can make the process of projecting finances much simpler.

Use these projections to make plans for future offerings. They can help you secure funding, make decisions, and develop strategies.

How to Sharpen Your Finance Skills

A good business owner is always learning. This involves keeping up with the latest trends and innovations in accounting and other business areas but also keeping your skills strong. Consider going back to school to get your MBA, or Master of Business Administration, to increase your business acumen and learn the latest financial skills and strategies. You can earn a degree online, learning from your office or even the comfort of your home, for maximum flexibility and work-life balance.

Continue Developing Financial Strategies

Making good financial projections
and continuous learning will keep your company financially strong and allow you to stay on top of the latest strategies. So be proactive about improving your business strategies and getting all the data you need to make the best decisions possible.

Do you need a freelance writer to create content for your B2B website? Melinda Curle is focused on creating content that converts! She specializes in SAAS blog posts and newsletters that grab your reader’s attention and hold it until they complete your call to action. Call 703-975-8753.

Image via Pexels

Viable Small Business Ideas for Parents (That Aren’t E-commerce-Related) There

There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States. Of those, around 25 million don’t have any employees besides the owner. These single-employee small businesses are usually small home-based businesses or freelance contractors.

Many people choose to start e-commerce-related businesses from their homes. But selling products and services isn’t the right move for everyone. Thankfully, parents can use several viable home business ideas that aren’t related to e-commerce.

Sharpen Your Business Skills

Going back to school to sharpen your business skills is an excellent start to your entrepreneur journey. You can earn a business degree online in your spare time, which will help build upon necessary skills without taking over your hectic schedule. However, you must choose the right degree.

A few of the best degrees for business owners include:

  • Business management and leadership
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Computer science

Provide Music Lessons

Learning a new instrument is always a popular idea, so if you know how to read music and can play an instrument to a good standard, consider offering music lessons. These can provide income but will also allow you to encourage the next generation of musicians.

Even better, you’ll be helping children and adults expand their brainpower. There’s an entire brain section dedicated to music, which is thought to help socially and emotionally bond people together. Be sure to research music lesson prices in your area to see what to charge.

Offer Childcare

There are more than 70 million children currently living in the United States. Many live in homes with a single parent or with two working parents. These families (and others) desperately need access to affordable, reliable childcare.

Each state has different requirements for home daycare centers, but you can generally watch two or three children in your home without licensing. If you want to take this route, do your research on local guidelines. You may also want to take classes in CPR and first aid training. Lifeguard training would also be beneficial if you have a swimming pool (or will be watching children in a home with one).

Consider Offering Personal Home Services

Are you a jack of all trades? Consider offering a personal home services business. For example, your business might offer:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Running errands
  • Light house cleaning
  • Dog walking
  • Light gardening or mowing
  • Junk removal
  • Home organizational services
  • Child pick up and drop off at school
  • Providing company and light caretaking duties to senior family members

With this type of small business model, the possibilities of what you can offer are nearly endless. The idea would be to find which tasks you enjoy, have the skills for, and are willing to do. Research what local competitors are charging for each type of service to determine your fee schedule.

Your Small Business Doesn’t Have To Be E-commerce-Related

You can use several viable small business ideas as a parent that aren’t related to e-commerce. Learn how to reach your new company’s target audience in this post by Melinda Curle today.

dog walking services

Virginia Cooper

Guidelines for Creating an Effective Marketing Department

An effective marketing-media mix is a powerful tool for business development. Regardless of having the best product in the world, you will not have impressive results if you cannot organize your marketing department. About 47% of small businesses handle their marketing needs in-house.

With the changes happening in business, you need to equip yourself with the tools you can use to ensure a smooth operation of your business. Here are simple guidelines to help you optimize the marketing funnel for the best results against your competition.

Educate Yourself

Some business owners think about themselves as “idea people.” Definitely, not all entrepreneurs are savvy marketers, so there’s always room to learn something useful. In the modern world, you need to have a strong grasp of current marketing concepts in your industry.

There are many fields you can explore to get your products on the market, including SEO, content marketing, social marketing, and more. If you’re building a marketing team from the ground, you need to understand most of these concepts.

As the leader, you must provide guidance on the different marketing strategies you want to use for your business. There are many digital marketing courses online that you can explore at your convenience. Industry experts are available to help you build the skills you need for your marketing setup. Online courses help you familiarize yourself with the software and tools marketers use.

Embrace a Marketing Channel Strategy

A marketing channel strategy can help you get more customers or leads. Modern customers are informed and demand the best, as they want brands to understand their needs and deliver perfection consistently. A channel strategy includes finding ways to expose your products, brand identity, or services to potential customers.

There are many channel strategies to consider depending on your business. First, you should decide if your business is B2C or B2B.

Some examples of channel marketing include social media marketing or personal selling. This option suits your customers if they want to form deep connections with your brand. Through personal selling and social media campaigns, you can promote your brand and engage with consumers.

You can also explore email or direct mail marketing, which is ideal if you don’t want to wait for consumers to find you through the content you post online. Direct mail marketing campaigns can be personalized if you want to make the process more effective. It’s one of the best ways to nurture your audience and build relationships through ongoing interactions.

Another option is embracing PR and marketing partners. This is one of the ways you can upgrade your marketing strategy to deliver excellent results. Ambassadors, marketing affiliates, and PR partners will help you drive attention towards your products or brand by securing coverage in the media. Building more partners helps you have an easier task reaching more customers.

As a part of your marketing strategies, you should research your competition. This is crucial because it helps you monitor what’s happening in your industry. It makes it easy to design a campaign that matches your needs. Build your content around the data you collect about the market. You can hire Melinda Curle, a freelance writer if you need to delegate some tasks.

Invest in Collaborative Systems

To ensure your message finds the target audience, you should integrate content and digital marketing. It’s a no-brainer you should incorporate task-management and collaboration software into your workflow.

Poor communication can hurt your sales, so you must get the tools needed to streamline your messaging when dealing with your customers. A good marketing department needs these tools to make marketing efforts more effective.

Shop around for software that matches your business needs. Some ideal options if you’re getting started include Google Cloud, which allows managers to delegate tasks through text or voice. Once your campaigns get in motion, you will receive detailed reports about progress. Also, the software helps you handle day-to-day budget management for your marketing campaigns. The key to success is ensuring granular visibility on all stages of execution.

Encourage Frequent Feedback

As a marketing department, you should constantly look for ways to boost your status quo. The recommended option is by going to the source and asking people on the front lines for input. You can collect feedback in real-time or once a month, depending on your strategy. Through digital marketing options, you can optimize data collection to understand what’s more effective for your campaign.

This means you can see which ads are generating the most interactions and the percentage of conversion. If your campaign does not meet expectations, you can probe further to know what you should optimize along the chain to make everything work as expected.

Build a Content Calendar

When you map out your content plan, you should create a content calendar, which will help you stay organized. There are free tools you can use, including Microsoft Excel. Make the content calendar as detailed as you can, and include categories like content type, focused keyword, audience persona, sales funnel position, author, and so on.

With the content you’re creating, you should share the marketing efforts through social media. To stay more organized, you can also design a social media post calendar detailing the posts you’ll share and when. These calendars make it easy to lay a foundation for the success of your marketing effort.

For new ideas on how to run your campaigns, you should also step out of the office often to attend conferences. Find local marketing events where you can learn about current trends in marketing. In these events, you can find the best advice on running a marketing campaign.

Conclusion

Getting started with a business includes building a marketing department that will streamline access to the market. Learn about the different aspects of marketing to understand what works in the current landscape. These guidelines are a good place to start.

Scripted Review – My Experience Writing For Scripted

Scripted Review

Company: Scripted

Website: Scripted.com

Overall Rank: 85 out of 100

Company Overview: Scripted is an online marketplace that connects businesses that need blog posts, articles, social media posts, and newsletters. It is an excellent place for business owners to get quality posts. Writers who are new to freelancing can enjoy the opportunity to pitch for jobs and show off their skills to editors who need the work.

My Experience Writing for Scripted


I have been writing freelance blog posts for the last two years, and joined Scripted as a way to pick up additional writing gigs. My writing has rapidly improved since joining Scripted. As a freelance writer, the best way to get jobs is to pitch ideas to editors. To do this you have to discover who the editor of the website you want to write for is and review their website to determine their target market. This can be very time-consuming.

Scripted allows you access to over 300 projects with the defined target market and keywords given to you. This allows you to focus on creating an excellent pitch without spending time figuring out who the right contact will be and researching to see if they have already done a post on the topic.


When I started working with Scripted, I hated the pitching process. I hated coming up with ideas and pitching them only to have them rejected. One weekend I sat down and created 30 pitches. Then I waited. I was discouraged that I didn’t hear back right away, but of those 30 pitches, 4 of them got accepted.

Now I don’t worry too much about pitches that aren’t accepted. It just means that my writing voice or ideas aren’t right for the client at this point. I didn’t like doing revisions at first but have come to accept that they are part of the process of becoming a better writer.


Scripted is the best place for new writers to find their first writing jobs. It may take some persistence to master the art of pitching a blog post idea, but it will make you a better writer. You’ll discover what the managing editors want to read and share with their readers.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

PRO #1: Quickly find jobs that you can apply for today!

PRO #2: Pitch to many types of jobs and discover what kind of copywriting bests suits your writing style quickly.

PRO #3: You are able to bid higher rates than many content mills will pay.

PRO #4: There is a timeline for getting the project done and having the revisions completed. This helps the writers manage their writing without becoming overwhelmed when an editor requests revisions a month after the article was written.

The Bad:

CON #1: There is a test to determine your writing proficiency before signing on with Scripted. You will be charged for the test (about $15), but your earnings from your first job will more than cover the expense of the writing test.

CON #2: You may end up pitching for many jobs that you don’t get. This can take up quite a bit of time and it’s discouraging when you don’t get the jobs. While this does take time, it can improve your pitching and help you hone your skills.

Scripted Tools & Training

Scripted provides writers with a writing platform to create blog posts and newsletters for their clients. It is very similar to WordPress. The Scripted platform has a textual analysis which lets you know what grade level you are writing at. This is very helpful when writing for specific markets.

Scripted has a feature to detect plagiarism prior to submitting your work to the client. If you have used too many direct quotes, your work could be flagged for plagiarism. This ensures that anything given to the clients is quality work.

Within the Scripted platform, there is an email function to allow communication with the clients.

Scripted Support

When writing for Scripted, you will have the support of the Scripted team. Some of the accounts are managed accounts and you will be interacting with a manager from Scripted. They will indicate to you where your writing can be improved to meet the needs of the client. Additionally, if your bids are out of the clients’ budget, but they still like your proposal, they may negotiate a smaller word count or lower price.

My Verdict

LEGIT! If you are just getting started with freelancing Scripted is a great platform to find writing gigs that pay pretty well. You will gain experience and polish your writing style. Some gigs will allow a byline, which helps you to build your portfolio. 



How to Reach Your Target Market Online in 5 Simple Steps

If you don’t know how to reach your target market, your business will be in a lot of trouble. I can speak from experience. The first business I started was a complete flop. I needed to reach the decision maker for medical practices in order to pitch my medical billing services to them. Connecting with them was very difficult and I ultimately decided I didn’t care for medical billing.

Over the years, I learned more about marketing and how to engage with people in a way that will convert them to sales. I discovered ways to reach a target market online that are very effective and efficient.

how to reach your target market

Step 1: Define Your Target Market

If you have a gadget that you feel everyone needs, your ads and marketing will fail. The first thing that you need to know before creating your marketing content is “Who will this benefit?”

Let’s face it, everyone needs to eat a healthy diet, but the majority of college kids are going to gravitate towards beer and pizza. Targeting them with ads for kale salads will be a flop. On the other hand, women in their forties who are trying to lose weight would be the ideal customer for a kale salad advertisement. They may have even convinced themselves that they like kale salad with the right dressing.

Get very specific on the age, location, interests, and gender when you define your target market. This will increase your likelihood of converting your readers. If you are writing for a company, make sure you do your due diligence and read up on their target market.

You’ll want to understand how the product meets their needs and what the common complaints and pain points are for the target audience.

Step 2: Research Their Hangouts

Know where most of your audience spends their time online. If you are targeting B2B business owners, you are going to do better on LinkedIn than on Facebook. It is geared more towards professionalism and lead generation. If your audience is a Gen X ers, they are going to be on Facebook for social media as opposed to Tik Toc or Twitter.

If you are trying to reach a specific interest group, such as Appalachain trail hikers, you may have more success in Facebook groups or online forums, such as Quora or Reddit. These platforms allow people to discuss questions and concerns about their hobby.

Step 3: Create Content that Appeals To Your Audience

Before you create that next blog post, think about what does well with your audience. Do they like sensationalism? Do statistics appeal to them? Are they trying to maximize their budget?

Create content with headlines that will appeal to the target market. A good example is the Youtuber Frugal Fit Mom, a mother of four, created a video on Youtube that was 126 meals for $30 Emergency Extreme Budget Haul. The video was a hit with her audience because they are moms who are trying to save money. This video appealed to other moms who enjoyed learning how to save money and feed their family. It got over a million views in a month.

The video also had a sensationalistic title. The 126 meals were individual meals. It was a week’s worth of meals for her family of six. By using the large number of 126 meals instead of a week’s worth of groceries, it triggered the viewers curiosity.

Step 4: Engage with Audience

It is tempting to slap up an advertisement and hope that it creates sales. It rarely does. Audiences now have become a bit immune to advertisements. They know that marketing can be overblown. People are now looking for a connection with brands. They want to feel like the brand is in alignment with their values. They want to trust the brand.

To create a connection and engage with your audience, write in a conversational style. This can help people to feel like they are having a conversation and really relate to you. Share a story or experience in your content. For example, I started this blog post out with one of my most embarrassing business failures. I also used common speaking phrases, such as “let’s face it.”

Only write in the first person if that is the brand voice that the company wants you to use. For some industries, it is better to use a more formal tone.

Another great way to engage with your audience is to interact with them on social media and through forums. Ask whether they enjoyed your product or how they would improve it. You could also ask how and when they use your product.


Step 5: Stay Consistent

Customers are seeking consistency and stability. In the online world, it is easy to set up a medical billing business one day and realize you aren’t cut out for it a few months later like I did. Demonstrating consistency in your brand story over time builds trust and reliability.

Channel consistency will help to build your brand’s message. It will improve your SEO rankings and customers will feel that they can count on you more when you stay consistent with your message.

A consistent message includes having the same brand story on all of your social media platforms and website. Your logo and colors should be consistent. You should have a consistent voice on all of your platforms. If you are engaging with a conversational tone, it should be the same on Facebook as it is on Twitter. If you have a formal tone on LinkedIn, it should remain formal on Twitter.

Writers must master the art of connecting and engaging with an audience. To do this, you need to really get to know the problems that plague your target market and how the product you are promoting will uniquely help them. Much of this can come from practice, but it also comes from spending time learning about the daily challenges that your target market faces. The more you know about your audience, the better you will be able to reach them. 

reach your target market online

Writing Effective Conclusions For Your Blog Posts

The conclusion is the place where you really want to drive home your message. Crafting a killer conclusion is simple, yet some people don’t do it well. You’ll want to make sure that you have some powerful statements that motivate your readers to take action on the things that they just learned.

Include the SEO Keywords In the Header

Google got wise to people stuffing keywords into blog posts at random to make them look like the most relevant blog posts. Now, search engines want to see keywords only where they make sense. The Conclusion header is a place where SEO keywords do make sense.

Including your SEO keywords in your conclusion header will not only reinforce the topic in the mind of the reader, it will also boost your SEO keyword juice.

Engage with Your Readers – Ask Questions

As you close your blog post, these readers have taken time out of their day to read all the way through to the end. Ask them a question about what they have learned. Ask them how they plan on using the content in their lives.

Asking questions gets people to write comments in the comment section. This is great for SEO. It shows that people are interested and value your website enough to make comments.

 

Ask For Questions

You can ask your readers what questions they have on the topics that you just covered. This can be very beneficial in helping you determine what you need to cover in future blog posts.

Be careful about asking for questions in the conclusion. You ONLY want to do this if you are willing to answer the questions that are asked. No one wants to come back to see if their question was answered only to discover that it wasn’t.

Not every copywriting client wants to have questions, so always make sure that you are following the brand’s voice.

Add a Call to Action

Finally, add a call to action for your readers. You can ask them to sign up for your awesome newsletter, or read another related blog post. If you have a social media strategy, you can encourage them to engage with you on social media.

If your call to action is to sign up for a newsletter, this will be written into the link that they will click on. It won’t always be within the text of the blog post.

A call to action can include checking out a product that is relevant to the topic and will help your readers in their daily lives. You can tell your readers to check out the latest widget in your store.

Conclusion

Killer conclusions are conclusions that really emphasize your message. A powerful conclusion can be simple, but strong enough that your readers are going to remember it. The best conclusions get your readers to take action. They get them to take the next step in the customer journey whether it is signing up for your email list or buying the latest gadget. Powerful conclusions will lead your customers to action.

Watch my Youtube video on writing a killer conclusion:

https://youtu.be/sQ_BI10ltow

How To Outline Your Blog Posts For Maximum Results

Creating an outline for your blog posts is part of the writing process. Some people view it as an extra step, but it is a step that makes the whole process more smooth. I find that outlines help me write faster and alleviate some of the writer’s block that can creep up when you don’t have a goal or target.

Outlining Basics

When creating your outline, you’ll want to make sure that you have your target market in mind and some keywords to focus on. Create a working title and 3-4 headers to focus on.

Under each of the headers create some logical subheaders that you can write about. Make notes under your headers with important points that you want to touch on.

Include some resources that you may want to reference – pictures, statistics, quotes and case studies are great.

Work Quickly

You should write your outline quickly. Don’t spend more than half an hour on your blog post outline. Remember, whether you are writing for a client or your own blog post, this is a business and time is precious.

If you can’t think of things to write for one subheading, move on to the next one. Often this will keep the creative juices flowing and you’ll come up with topics to add later.

Remember, this is an outline. It is your FIRST DRAFT. It isn’t meant to be seen by anyone else. A FIRST DRAFT outline shouldn’t be perfect. In fact, your first draft will often be crappy.

“I always like to have a basic outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write.” –J. K. Rowling

If the author of Harry Potter, one of the most popular children’s books, uses an outline, then it definitely shows that it is good practice to write with a basic outline. But also, don’t be afraid to add things as you write. The outline isn’t the final draft.

 

Schedule Outlines Into Your Writing Day

Set a time limit for your outlines. Plan on spending the first half hour of your writing session on an outline. This will ensure that you actually get your outline done and that you don’t waste a lot of time on it.

Great planning and outlines help to prevent writer’s block. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that you’re doing them consistently.

“If you do enough planning before you start to write, there is no way you can have writer’s block. I do a complete chapter by chapter outline.”-R.L. Stine

 

Use a Template

Templates can help you stay on track. They guide you through the writing process. A basic template can be created in Google Docs or through the Wealthy Affiliate writing platform. The template will remind you to come up with a variety of topics and encourage you to meet a word count goal. The rest is up to you.

Writing with a template can also help to keep the document organized. You will create headers and subheaders and can jot your notes down within the framework before you edit it and expound on the knowledge that you are sharing.

Final Thoughts

Use an outline even when you are writing a short blog post. Your readers will appreciate that you thoughtfully put your ideas together and used headers and subheaders. Your writing will be more cohesive and enjoyable to read.

I hope these tips have helped!

Blog Post Formatting That Attracts Readers

Believe it or not, but SEO isn’t the only thing that will attract or repel your readers. A great blot post format can determine whether people stay or leave your website.

It’s true! People are looking for scanable information when they read blog posts. They want to find that information quickly.

So, I’ve gathered some tips for formatting a great blog post.

Short Sentences and Paragraphs

When people are reading online, they want the information NOW. They want to be able to quickly scan the blog post and determine if the answers to their questions are going to be found within the blog.

Keep your sentences short and to the point. Readers don’t want to dig through flowery language to discover your point.

Keep your paragraphs to about 2-3 sentences. This will break all the high school rules that you learned for constructing paragraphs, but visually it will be easier on your reader’s eyes.

Draw Your Reader’s Eyes to Important Aspects

When readers see a sea of text, it can be difficult to scan through and discover the important information. You want visual variation. Use bold and italics to emphasize the main keywords and points.

Visual variation makes your blog post more scanable. Readers can quickly discover the most important topics when their eyes are drawn to bolded words.

Use Headers and Subheaders

Break up your content into sections. Use headers and sub headers when you start to talk about something new. This will not only provide some additional visual variation, but it helps the readers scan the blog post and discover whether it will contain the information they want.

Many times readers will discover new content and simply scan it and bookmark it to come back to it later. Often people access the information on their phones. They may not have the time to read the full blog post, but they will be determining whether it is worthwhile and they should visit the site again.

Make sure that your sub headers are cohesive and related to your headers. If you are discussing many things under your header, you may want to number your sub headers.

Keep it Readable

While readability is a bit different that formatting, it is extremely important. People should be able to easily understand your blog posts. Avoid using complex industry jargon and stick with a middle school reading level.

To determine the writing level, you can use the Hemingway app. Enter in a few sentences and it will let you know what grade level you are writing.

Here’s an example of a post-graduate sentence that would turn many people off. It is simply too complex and does not get to the point quickly:

“With astronomical advancements regarding efficiency and visual communication in design best practices, creators are taking more process-oriented approaches to the development and building of their products than they ever have before.”

Whew…can you see the complexity? It is a bit too much.

Whenever possible, you should use the more simple word. For example, you can replace utilized or leveraged with the simple word “used.”

The following sentence is another example of being too wordy:

“I strategically leveraged my mobile device in order to locate the place in which I would consume my dinner.”

That can be changed to simply:

“I used my phone to find a restaurant.”

Do you see how much easier the second sentence is to understand. The first sentence requires a bit more thinking to grasp the meaning.

Use bulleted or numbered lists

Readers love lists. They draw out the important elements quickly and easily.

Here are five great reasons to use a list in your blog article:

  1. Lists are easy to write.
  2. They create welcome white space in the article.
  3. The reader’s eye is drawn to the lists and causes them to stop.
  4. Lists are very scanable.
  5. Give the impression of getting more information with little reading.

You read it, didn’t you? Most likely your eyes were drawn to the list as well.

Try to work a list into each of your blog posts.



Use Relevant Images and Graphics

Researchers discovered that website visitors scroll through 100% of an article if it contains images and videos.

They will scroll – not read- but it is still useful.

Graphics catch the reader's attention.

Scrolling and scanning your article means that readers are more likely to pick up on your message. They will also be more likely to click on another one of your links in your website. In increases the chance of seeing your call to action.

Images and graphics keep your visitor engaged. You should try to find relevant images and infographics for all the data that you share on your website. Insert the graphics and images throughout the article, not simply at the top.

Use Image Captions

When visitors come to your website, often their eyes wander to the blog post image before even reading your first paragraph. Make the image count by adding a caption to it that will hook your visitors.

The image caption should fit the theme of the picture, but it also should be engaging and descriptive of the article. You could include questions, power statistics and intriguing information. Captions are almost as important as the headline of an article, so don’t neglect them.