study in shorter intervals and take breaks (ie, 40 minutes studying and 20 minutes break)
during your break don’t watch tv or surf the internet. get outside if you can and go for a walk. or at least listen to some instrumental music and walk around your hall. or meditate or do some art. anything that doesn’t require super directed attention. this allows your attention to be replenished. it’s like a muscle and you gotta give it time to rest. tv doesn’t allow for that.
relate the information to yourself and your life. creating visual images will improve your memory.
when studying, take notes by hand and put them in your own words. generating material yourself will encode the material better in your brain, and you’ll remember it better
don’t just reread, rehearse! quiz yourself on the materials. if you use a visual image “memory palace” technique, walk yourself through it. you’re likely to remember information you’ve tested yourself on better.
organizing information into groups that make sense create more connections in your brain and allow you to remember things better. the more meaningful connections you make, the better.
make sure the last thing you do before bed is study. no phone, no netflix. your brain will process what you’ve just done while you sleep and this improve recall.
Many people will see the title and make a split-second decision whether to click or not.
And when they click, a handful of people will spend no time engaging with the article. Rather, they will “bounce” or click-back without engaging.
Slate Magazine published an article stating that for every 161 people who click into a Slate blog post, 61 (or 38%) leave. Yes, 38% of people did not engage with your post. At all. (Source)
And that’s a good bounce rate.
1. Keep It Short: Longer titles will likely be cut-off by search engines.
2. Lists Posts are King: “3 Ways to…” or “5 Tips on…” List posts are also “skim-friendly.”
3. Use “Why” and “How”: People are looking for explanations and how-to’s.
4. Challenge Your Reader: The title of the Slate Magazine article referenced above is a great example – “Why You Won’t Finish This Article“.
WRITE FAST COPY
I probably read more blogs than the average person, but I skim most of them. Why? Because a few billion–yes billion–pieces of content are shared daily on social media.
Many of the most read blogs are under 1000 words, and are structured with short paragraphs. Take a minute and visit a few bloggers who receive a great deal of daily traffic: Michael Hyatt,Jeff Goins, Jon Acuff. Take note of how they structure their posts.
It’s easy to move from one line to the next, and the posts are concise.
1. Write short paragraphs (3-4 sentences/lines max).
2. Use simple sentences when possible.
3. Use Lists.
4. Don’t be wordy: Avoid overused or unnecessary adverbs and adjectives.
5. Write at least 300 words (for SEO purposes), but keep posts concise.
USE IMAGES & INFOGRAPHICS.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and may buy you more than 8 seconds of attention.
An effective way to provide information is through an infographic. Infographics are easily shareable content, which will likely drive more traffic back to your site. A reader is more likely to pin or share a cute, informative image than link to your article.
And a bonus note: Social Media posts with images tend to get more clicks than posts with only words. When you share that ridiculously good-looking blog post, do yourself a favor and share it with an image.
1. Find professional and relevant images to go in your post.
2. Use easily shared images like infographics to grab readers’ attention.
3. Use an image to share your post on social media.
If you’ve followed me for a while you might have seen my post a few weeks ago about improving your handwriting. In that post I explained that tracing a printed page with a mixture of words is fantastic for adapting your writing. I have managed to upload them to Google Drive for you to download.
As a disclaimer, I do not own either of the fonts I have used and am not distributing the fonts – but merely a PDF using them. You are unable to edit or download the font from that document but can download them via dafont.com. I hope they’re useful!
Here’s the thing: most people don’t really care about you. Sure, your friends, family, and loyal blog readers love you, but someone who’s just stumbled upon your blog doesn’t love you…yet.
In order to get people to love you and your blog, your posts need to address one or more of the most basic human interests:
to be informed
to be inspired
to be included as part of a community
to have their lives improved and problems solved
I mean, think about it. If you happened to be scrolling through Pinterest and you saw a pin that said “My Favorite Fall Beauty Products”, your first thought is going to be:
“…and who are you?”
If I don’t know who you are and I just happened to stumble upon this post, I’m not really going to be that interested. But, if I saw something instead that said “5 Products You NEED For Fall“, I’m going to want to click on that because it sounds intriguing and I think it could help me in some way.
By rotating the angle of the post to be more about your audience and less about yourself, you’ll get more people interested in what you have to say. You can still share your experiences, but share them in a way that can benefit others.
Remember, people want you to help solve their problems and make them feel like they’re not alone.
The Exception: Posts about overcoming your own struggles or realizing your own mistakes can also do really well, but it’s still because people need help – they want to know how you did it so they can avoid it or overcome it too. For example, ‘How I Overcame My Body-Image Struggles’ or ‘What I Learned From Traveling Solo In A Dangerous Country’ sound intriguing, maybe even controversial, and I think I could apply them to my life.
Go back through your old blog posts and think about how you can make them more about your audience and less about you. For example, I wrote a post that was originally called My Favorite Food Bloggers, but I recently changed it to 5 Inspiring Healthy Food Bloggers to make it more specific and imply that the post could inspire you (not the best title I’ve ever come up with, but it’s a lot better than it was!)
This seems like a no-brainer, but so many blogs use a tiny, barely decipherable font that makes it difficult to read for longer than 5 seconds. I want to read your post, okay?! Let me do it with ease!
The best things you can have to make your posts more readable (and therefore more share-worthy):
Increase the font size: Use a medium to large font size. Mine is 15px.
Add space: Space out your sentences by increasing the line height.
Darken the font color: Make sure the body text of your post is black or dark gray. Light gray is hard to read.
Split it up: Split up your content with subheadings, bullet points, lists, and images if you use them.
Go sparingly with the bold text: I know you might want to emphasize something, but bolding an entire sentence doesn’t have much of an impact if it’s mixed into a paragraph. Put an important sentence on it’s own line for emphasis instead.
Take a look at your current design and see if you can tweak the font size and spacing to make it easier to read. Go through 3-5 old posts and split up your ideas using subheadings, bullets, and anything else you can use to make it easy on the eyes.
STRATEGY 3: WRITE IN-DEPTH POSTS WITH ACTIONABLE ADVICE
There are so many blogs out there that barely skim the surface of the topics they’re talking about, and I’m always disappointed when I see an interesting headline but the post leaves me wanting more information.
Longer posts allow you to go into more depth and include information that sets you apart from other bloggers. This study by CoSchedule shows that long-form content also tends to rank higher than shorter pages, and they make a great point:
If you are conducting a search on “how to kill zombies,” what kind of post are you going to be looking for? The 500 word overview, or the 2,000 word in-depth article with pictures and examples?
The answer is pretty obvious.
People want advice that they can immediately apply to their lives, and they can do this if you give them more information. You want to get your audience thinking, taking action, and bookmarking your post to refer back to. You don’t want them skimming, writing ‘nice post’ in the comments, and forgetting about what they just read.
Quality Over Quantity
You’re probably thinking, ‘But Catherine, long posts take a long time to write. I need to get content out regularly.’
Welp, my dear. Here’s the thing: Your posts should take a while to write. Most of my posts take me days, maybe even a whole week. Unless you’re one of those people who wrote college essays the night before and still got an A, you’re going to have to give your posts the time they deserve before they can get to that epic level.
Take it slow and realize that more content does not always mean good content. One incredibly epic and helpful blog post a month is better than 5 mediocre, un-detailed posts per week. To beef up your posts and make them even more helpful, include links to other posts, add in research and statistics, work in some quotes, or try your own case study.
Another sure-fire way to get people more interested in your posts is a content upgrade. A content upgrade is basically an extra bit of goodness that adds value to your blog post and gives your reader even more. You could include any of the following:
Checklist or worksheet
Audio clip or video
Discount or deal on a product you mentioned
Even just a summary of your post that people can print out and refer back to
If you’re worried that you don’t have the skills to make these content upgrades, Canva is a free tool that can basically turn you into a graphic designer in less than a minute. It’s epic.
Speaking of content upgrades…
Here’s a free worksheet to help you write incredible blog posts! Don’t you like how I just snuck that in here?
Use Google Analytics to find your most popular posts (Behavior > Site Content > All Pages), and go into even more detail with them. How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe has consistently been my most viewed post, so I fine-tuned some of my advice and offered a capsule wardrobe planner as a freebie if you sign up for my email list.
Go through some old posts and think about how you could go even further with your advice. Assume that the person reading it is a beginner rather than an expert. Don’t make something up if you can’t think of anything, but don’t be afraid of saying too much. As long as you keep it concise while also sharing the details, you’re golden.
So what the heck is evergreen content? I like to think of it as writing content that isn’t time or event specific – it has no expiration date.
You want to write posts that will still make sense if someone found them 6 months from now. Of course, some posts are intentionally seasonal which is totally fine, but you want to have a good balance between evergreen and seasonal posts.
If you want your posts to be shared again and again, it’s going to be worth your time to write evergreen content.
Examples of Evergreen Content:
10 travel wardrobe essentials – Daisy could have made this post about a recent trip she was taking and what she was packing. Instead, she made it about her audience and their needs, and made it appropriate for any season and location.
14 ways to stop living for the weekends – I would usually avoid referencing anything about the day of the week when the post was published, but it makes total sense for Jennifer to mention that it’s Friday because it’s completely relevant to the post (because duh, it’s about the weekend!)
Examples of Non-Evergreen Content:
The top ten fashion trends for 2015
Why you should visit London over Christmas
5 blogs I’m loving right now
Find 3-5 old posts where you might have mentioned a season or event in your life that isn’t 100% necessary to share with your reader. Make them more universal and relevant to someone scrolling through your archives so that they can apply your advice to their lives right now.
STRATEGY 5: GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO SHARE YOUR POST
Okay, you just put all this effort into writing an epic blog post, so how are you going to get it out into the world beyond the group of followers you already have?
You make it share-worthy!
Remember that people typically share things for these reasons:
They want to help others
They want to make themselves look better
People who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge didn’t necessarily do it because they cared about the cause – they knew that if they didn’t accept the challenge, they’d look like an a-hole. It was share-worthy because people wanted to make themselves seem like good people.
You want to write share-worthy content that’s to-the-point, easy to read, and helps solve some sort of problem people might have. If you’ve follow the steps above, you’re already on track to having totally share-worthy content.
Here’s how to take it to the next level:
1. Jazz Up Your Headlines
Headlines are everything. Sure, your loyal followers will read anything regardless of the title, but imagine someone has just seen your post shared on Facebook – it needs to have a good headline to catch their attention. ‘My Favorite Blogging Tools’ it’s less shareable than ‘5 Blogging Tools That’ll Save You Massive Amounts of Time.’ That one just sounds like something I totally need.
I started off using horizontal images on my blog, but I knew I wanted to make my images more Pinterest friendly when I redesigned it in July. Horizontal images just don’t do very well on Pinterest because there’s a 554px width limit, whereas there is no vertical limit.
Making my images vertical was probably the best decision I’ve made for my blog so far.
During the month of July (when I hadn’t yet started using vertical images), I had 13 blog sessions that came from Pinterest.
In August, I had 1,065.
In September, I had 2,165. WHAT.
Just look at that percent increase!
You better believe the power of Pinterest for bloggers. I also have to credit the Pinfinite Growth course I took for some of this magic, but making my blog posts Pinterest-friendly was a huge game changer.
Get yourself a Pin It button using this tutorial + start making vertical images in Photoshop or Canva. You’ll have people pinning your content in no time.
Click-to-Tweet is an awesome plugin for WordPress that allows you to craft a tweet that links to your post, and all people have to do is click it to share it with their followers. This is incredibly helpful for getting people to take action because it requires zero effort on their part. I would also recommend getting a widget like Jetpack or something built into your design that makes it a piece of cake for people to share your post on social media.
Examples of Share-Worthy Content:
Look at those beautiful graphics and epic titles. You’d be a fool not to share those!
Install a share widget to your posts, such as Jetpack.
Start including horizontal images in your posts and sharing them on Pinterest.
Although the title says speeches, you can really use these tips for writing and presenting any sort of oral presentation. Hope they help :))
Research the topic: Duh. This is really basic but very important. If at all possible, try to have a deeper understanding of the topic than needed, you don’t want to be caught out by a difficult question.
Have an introduction: Include your name, the topic you’ll be discussing and why you chose it. Even if you were given the topic, try and say what you found interesting about it (make it seem like it’s not just for a good grade). Personally, I wouldn’t outline any key points in your talk here, you don’t want people to zone out due to an information overload.
The main body of your talk: Try and link the points together with phrases such as: to reinforce the previous idea, similarly, to clarify, in contrast to that, conversely etc. Just try to make it sound cohesive and not like you’re saying whatever pops into your head. I’d say to include a minimum of 3 points, but that can vary depending on what’s required.
Devices: List things as triads (in 3s), this gives a nice rhythm and flow. Use rhetorical questions(!)- this is especially important in speeches and persuasuve writing. You want your audience to really think and examine the information you have given them, not just half-listen to whatever you’re on about.
A brief conclusion: Summary of main points, pretty standard stuff. But you should thank the audience for their time, it just leaves a really good impression and clearly says you’ve finished speaking.
Have confidence: If you don’t think you’re worth listening to, no one else will either! You know this topic like the back of your hand, you’ll do great.
Speak clearly: Kinda to do with confidence. Nice and loud so you can be heard, enunciate (but don’t be too overdramatic lmao-people can go a bit crazy with this one).
Know your notes: Not necessarily off by heart (sometimes I think this just gives you more problems bc if you blank, you’re screwed), but don’t stare at them the whole time. Look down every know and then but don’t have your nose glued to the page!
Practice: Similar to knowing your notes, I wouldn’t recommend learn it off by heart. If something throws you and you lose your train of thought, you’re screwed. Most importantly, you needto practiceout loud, and in front of a mirror- if you have one. Again, you’re building confidence and creating a routine so it’s not as daunting when you do the real thing.
Visual aids: Use colours, graphs, images or whatever else to get your point across. Power points are great, but even just a poster works. I put this one last because it’s not necessary but if it’s possible, 100% you should do it because:
Takes the focus off you (great if you’re self-conscious/worried about going up in front of a group to present- this is the main reason I use visuals)
A reminder in case you blank
Stops you rambling/getting distracted and going off topic
Grabs the audience’s attention (why do you think studyblrs often use cute images at the top of posts?- it draws people in!)
Well, I hope that helps out and that you have a few new tricks up your sleeve! Good luck with your presentations/speeches and feel free to message me if there are any bits of this post that don’t make sense or if you have any thoughts/ideas :)))
Adapted from a workshop I did at my high school Writing Center. One of my more helpful powerpoints; let me know if you need any clarifications. This is all my original work; please don’t remove the source.
In all honesty, procrastination is my nemesis– and I think that goes for a whole lot of people, even here in the perfect world of studyblr. Here are some tips to get better at sitting down and going for it without getting distracted!
Clear any clutter off your desk. Having a more minimal workspace without yesterday’s receipt from lunch keeps you more focused.
Remove irrelevant items. If you don’t need it for the task at hand, get rid of it. This applies especially to appealing books, games, and puzzles.
Close the door. Whether literally, or figuratively, let other people know you’re working and ask them not to disturb you so you stay focused.
Use a website blocker. If you really need to stay away, try an app or extension to make sure you stick to focusing. Here are some options:
Reward yourself at set times or milestones. Take breaks, grab a cup of coffee or an orange, and don’t work yourself into the ground. Giving yourself ten minutes off will refresh you, as long as you don’t go straight back to your distractions.
You’ve got this!! Get yourself sorted and get going, because you most certainly have it in you 😀