Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Happy Teacher’s Day!!

Teachers_Day_Wishes_Neha_Agrawal_Blog
Today is the day to cheer for all the mistakes I have committed, as they taught me more than anything else in the world.

And a bigger cheer for my parents, teachers, and friends, who infused sense in me to realize my follies and emerge as a better person and writer (I would like to believe that I am progressing on that front)

Finally, the biggest cheer for my readers and clients, my biggest critics ever, who give me the much-needed reality check.

All of you are an important part of my existence, and I am truly grateful to have crossed paths with some of the most amazing and gifted souls who have enriched my life and writing in one way or the other.

Happy Teacher’s Day!!

Love and Live,
Neha Agrawal

5 Rules to Create User-friendly Web Content that Delivers

User-friendly_Web_Content_Neha_Agrawal_Blog
When a web user lands on your website through organic search, he/she would be browsing through many websites simultaneously. So, you would have very less time at hand to captivate their interest and make them browse through your text. If you want your content to communicate your intended message and give you the desired ROI, but have been wondering how to achieve this feat, we have cracked the code for you.

Rules You Should Follow to Create User-friendly Web Content

1.    Most important information should stay on the top – Being a writer you would be tempted to go verbose, and feel like giving a detailed introduction and a build-up before actually diving into the topic. But, if this sound likes you, hold your guns right now. Web content writing is different from Academic writing, and it’s important to get to the point in the beginning itself; so that your readers remain interested. You can then tell readers that going forward they can expect other useful details (tips, details, related information, etc.). basically, follow the Inverted Pyramid Approach.

2. Know your audience – The key to writing effective content is knowing:

·         Who are you writing for?
·         What are their problems and areas of concern?
·    What would interest your audience more – a detailed technical know-how of the solution or just the fact that you have a solution (just explaining your process, advantages, and that you can provide a solution)
·   Whether you have the expertise and knowledge to impart value to your target audience through your content?

3.    Address the Pain Points of Your Audience -  Let your audience know in the beginning itself how your service can resolve their woes, or how your product can change the way they work. People are always looking for a solution, and if you can address their problem spot on, your readers would be more than interested in reading your solution.

4.    Write for Scanners – 90% of the web users don’t read the entire content. What they do is glance through the page, scan the title and headings, and click on a link that vaguely matches their search criteria. Therefore, use –

·         Headlines which best describe your content
·         Appealing Images which also communicate your message
·         Add a lot of easy-to-scan bulleted points
·         Indentation and page breaks wisely

5.    Serve Your Content on a Platter – Web users are spoilt for choice, and they can really afford to be lazy and not put in an effort to read your text. So, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that your text is easy to consume. Hint – presentation is the key.

·         Use captivating headings – H1, H2, H3, H4
·         Write small paragraphs – 3-4 sentences at a maximum
·         Write small sentences – 12-15 words on an average
·         Avoid jargons, complicated words and passive voice, as you may not really want them to sit with a dictionary while reading your page
·         Avoid redundant and generic lines


I can vouch from my experience that practicing these rules can help you get a better response for your pages. Give these rules a try, and comment below if you practice some other rules which have improved your web content and made it user-friendly. 

Love and Live, 
Neha Agrawal

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

15 Crutch Words that Can Ruin Your Well-framed Sentences

Crutch_Words_Can_Ruin_Sentences_WriterCommits_Neha_Agrawal_Blog.PNG

Read a very nice write-up in Dictionary.com about common 6 fillers in the English language, and I can totally relate to it. I have come across many people who like to use crutch words or fillers in their sentences. Not only is the excessive usage of these words distracting, but also takes away the essence of your content, and makes it sound unpolished.

Some of the notorious fillers I have come across are:
  1. Actually

  2. Basically

  3. Literally

  4. Really

  5. Apparently

  6. Obviously

  7. Honestly

  8. Like

  9. So

  10. To be fair

  11. You Know

  12. I mean

  13. You Know

  14. Kind of

  15. Hmm..
I am sure you would agree that using these words repetitively in the sentence can get amusing for the listeners or readers, and mar your credibility as a writer or speaker.

If you also have come across any other such crutch words, leave a comment below and share your experiences.

Happy learning!

Love and Live,

Neha Agrawal

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Plagiarism – The Formidable Sin

Writercommits_Plagiarism_the_formidable_sin_Neha_AgrawalTo cite Wikipedia, Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and representing them as your original work.

 What Constitutes Plagiarism?

However, plagiarism has many forms and facets. Let’s have a look –

  1. Copy pasting the entire text without bothering to change even one word



  • This is the most common form of plagiarism. Well, if you are lazy to write your own stuff, or can’t afford to rephrase the original text due to any circumstances, the least you can do is quote the author and give them credit in any of the following ways:

    • Incorporate it into your writing (“According to James, in his biography...”) 

    • Add footnotes or note towards the end

    • Next to your paragraph, add an in-text citation in parentheses

    • Add a Works Cited List

    • Add Bibliography





  1. Changing some random words in between



  • Do you really think that changing every fourth word in a sentence written by another writer, will make it your own work? Not really. If you really want to escape the tough route or can’t write afresh due to any reasons, why take the pain of changing random words?

    • Use the original text verbatim, and give them the credit.





  1. Changing the sentences (paraphrasing), but, keeping the essence of the original text intact



  • Yes, this is also a form of plagiarism, though a bit more involved than the former. Remember the Wikipedia definition - publishing someone’s thoughts, ideas, or expressions as your own is plagiarism! Most of the writers (including me, at times) are guilty of this form of plagiarism. This is unethical, as even though you have changed, paraphrased or rewritten the sentences into your words, but the core subject idea or the content structure is still not your own!

    • So, cite the author for his/her idea




Does Referring Always Means Plagiarizing?

 Referring any information or fact that constitutes common knowledge or practice is not plagiarism. For example -



    • Quoting historical facts in your article

    • Suggesting correct grammar

    • Using Idioms, Phrases

    • Incorporating Mathematical formulas, etc.




 Plagiarism is Not Cool. Period.

Plagiarism is not just a sin, it’s a crime. How would you feel if someone steals your prized possession, and flaunts it the very next day as his own? You don’t even have to reply to that, as I am sure you will be full of anguish and hatred!

Plagiarism or stealing someone’s intellectual property is a similar offence. If it is not your idea, and you are working around it without giving credit to the original writer, you are plagiarizing.

People take plagiarism in a lighter vein and don’t understand its gravity. I have heard some writers justifying copying by saying that everyone seeks inspiration, as not all thoughts are organic. Some say that imitation is the best form of flattery, so it’s kindda fine!

I have a suggestion for writers who want to take the easy route - If you really want to flatter people by imitating, don’t forget giving them a due credit towards the end!

Use safe text. Respect, and be respected.

Live and Love,

Neha Agrawal

 

 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

What's Your Identity?

what is your identity - WriterCommitsThe world we are living in is changing. People are less tolerant and more vocal about their opinions than ever before, thanks to the easy access to technology. It’s very easy to voice thoughts on Facebook, and disagree with others in the name of freedom of speech, but when we do that, we forget that we are somehow intruding into somebody else’s freedom of speech!

There was a time when I used to voice my opinions and try to justify with people who disagreed. But, I have realized that it’s all very trivial. The bigger problem in doing so on a regular basis is that it soon becomes your identity!

Yes, it’s not just your name, caste, religion, ethnicity or skin color that forms your identity. Our thoughts and actions actually form a bigger part of who we are.

I am not against voicing opinions, but assuming that everyone would and should be on your side is na├»ve. The beauty of living in a society is accepting different views and finding a middle path. Don’t let your identity be pigeonholed by preconceived notions. You have the capability to grow much beyond and let your actions do the talking.

Live and Love,

Neha Agrawal

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

#BeOriginal #BeCreative

If you are not prepared to be wrong, you can't be original.

#BeOriginal   #BeCreative

Love and Live,

Neha Agrawal Singhal

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Tips to Extend Your Content’s Lifespan & Get Rid of Orphan Content

orphan content - writercommitsMost of us believe when we say that CONTENT IS THE KING!

That’s the reason why most of the organizations today, whether big or small, are under tremendous pressure to create more and more content than ever before. Instead of maximizing each content effort, marketers and businesses focus more on one-off content efforts catering to their current needs rather than looking for a long-term content ROI. Being stuck on a non-stop content generation treadmill, organizations tend to lose the wisdom, time, and resources to focus on existing content, which can be put to better use by re-purposing.

The flip side of all this labor that we don’t recognize is – generation of copious amounts of ORPHAN CONTENT!

So what is Orphan Content?

To put it into simple words, any piece of content left unused and unnoticed after its initial publication and promotion (may or may not) is known as Orphan content. Here are few characteristics of orphan content:

  • Like an orphan, your orphan content doesn’t have any internal or external links that can support it in the time of need

  • Like an orphan, your content doesn’t get any regular updates, making people forget its existence

  • Like an orphan, your orphan content isn’t invited to any social gatherings! Being not promoted or curated through social media, it soon becomes out of sight and out of mind


7 Tips to Get Rid of Orphan Content and Expand Your Content’s lifespan

All marketers, writers, and business owners will unanimously agree that reusing and repurposing an old content is far easier than generating an equally appealing fresh piece of content. If you believe that you had written a wonderful piece of content which worked wonders when it was first published, it’s time to ensure that it doesn’t become orphan, and is reused to increase its longevity and further generate ROI.

  1. Reschedule social media and newsletter promotions for any content you publish. Also, add it to your content promotion calendar to republish the link after few weeks so that the audience don’t forget about it. In case of email newsletters, suppress recipients who already opened it.



  1. Conduct regular content audit and update your content at regular intervals by adding most recent and relevant information.



  1. Use diverse media channels and platforms to infuse new life into the Orphan content. Republish your existing content by turning it into an infographic, PPT, Slideshare, image, video, etc. to generate eyeballs.



  1. Republish your blog post / content for appropriate audience at regular intervals. If you publish loads of content on a daily basis and your website has recently witnessed an upswing in online traffic, it’s the right time to republish your orphan content, so that new visitors who haven’t seen the old stuff can see it afresh. Also, it will be a great refresher for the existing clients.



  1. Hire a content curator who knows how to promote existing content, and different ways in which it can be done. Additionally, the person should have sound understanding of the market, audience type and their requirements, and content positioning.



  1. Repackage, curate, re-envision your existing content to transform it into something new by adding new text, process diagrams, workflow, statistics, charts, video, audio, and images, etc.



  1. Translate your existing orphan content to different global languages to expand its reach


Like children, your content also needs constant care and support to ensure that it exceeds expectations and brings in its true ROI. Try these 7 tips to give a new life to your orphan content and extend its lifespan.

Live and love,

Neha Agrawal

 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Innovate Your Content Marketing Strategy with 4 R's Principle

[caption id="attachment_171" align="alignleft" width="300"]4 R's Principle-Writercommits Innovate Your Content Marketing Strategy![/caption]

"Content is the king", is something we all keep hearing lately; and to be honest, no content marketer or writer ever complains when someone repeats this fact to them! Content creators and not merely writers, they are the marketers turning brands into revenue generating machines with beautifully woven pearls of wisdom.

Like every marketer in the business, content marketers also need to constantly innovate their content strategy, which means creating new content. However, always remember that 'old is gold', and it makes more sense to infuse some freshness into the old content and give it a new lease of life, rather than working from scratch on an entirely new idea, which may take more time and efforts!

The trick lies in following 4 R's principle (this principle doesn't exist in the books, but is something I believe in, and follow, in short, coined by me)

4 R's Principle

Rebrand - I am sure you have heard of the phrase, "Old wine in new bottle", and that's exactly what you have to do! Stay updated, connect with the Gen Z, learn about their likes and dislikes, this will help you address your content to the newer audience and make your rebranding efforts a success.

Reuse – Ever wondered that your old whitepaper can be split into 4-5 distinct articles? Reuse your old content by rephrasing and repackaging it, and publish it across diverse platforms and social media.

Remodel – Are you inspired by a brand and their style, and wished you could do something like that? Here you go! Remodel your old content on the lines of something you fancy, you will get a brand new content flow that's an extension of your own style.

Relax - This is the last resort, when nothing seems to work. Take a break, go on a ride, do painting, fishing, or anything you are passionate about. This will give you a chance to unwind, and let your creative juices resurface. Then you will be able to plan for a complete overhaul or revamp of your content strategy from the square one.

Live and love,

Neha Agrawal

Friday, 6 February 2015

Writing Lessons from Steve Jobs

writing lessons from Steve Jobs

I really admire Mr. Steve Jobs. He was a man with a vision, who had the courage to think out-of-the-box, fight against all odds, and work towards realizing his dreams no matter how hard or unrealistic they seemed in the beginning.

I was reading about a man with one of the most creative minds in the history, and his one of the sayings left me intrigued -

“Your model for business should be ‘The Beatles’. They balanced each other beautifully, and the output in totality was better than the sum of the parts individually. That’s how a business should be.” – Steve Jobs

It made me realize how cleverly he explained us something that marketing books have been screaming all this long – “Great things in business are never done by an individual; they are done by a team!”

But, what fascinated me was his choice of the words to explain something that we already knew. His marketing genius can be understood by the fact that he related a boring marketing concept to Beatles, what people love, and instantly got his readers/listeners hooked.

That’s the power of words.

It’s time you stop calling yourself a ‘writer’. As, all we writers are essentially marketers having the power to sell even the most boring or uninspired ideas/products to the world. The only thing you need to do is choose the right words to make a difference.

Single alphabet means nothing; it’s standing in isolation seeking a purpose in life.

An alphabet gains significance only when it meets other insignificant alphabets, and together they have the capability to create History. Remember the age old saying - United We Stand, Divided We Fall?

So, what are you waiting for? You have it in you to give birth to an idea that can change the future of brands, and in turn change your lives as well.

Happy Writing.

Neha Agrawal

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

6 Common Misconceptions about Copywriters

6-common-misconceptions-about-copywriters

What People Think Copywriters Do

  1. Copywriting is only about writing, and copywriters just write



  1. Copywriters write for websites, brochures, newspapers, magazines, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Billboards, etc.



  1. Ability to advertise even the most boring product is the most important quality a copywriter can have



  1. Copywriters need to talk to diverse groups of people



  1. Copywriters use words to sell



  1. Copywriters create advertisements


What Copywriters Actually Do

  1. Copywriters use words, to make an idea come alive.



  1. Copywriters just need a medium to convey their thoughts, but they are not bound by any of those mediums!

  2. Understanding people and their emotions, is the most important quality that a copywriter has!



  1. Copywriters know how to find the right words that strike a chord among different ethnicities. It’s a different thing that they may not know how to speak different languages!



  1. Copywriters use words to create brands, and make people feel good about them!



  1. Copywriters create advertisements that connect with people; make them smile, cry, laugh, and beam with pride!


Words become potent in the hands of people who know how to use them. Use your words wisely.

Happy Writing!

Neha Agrawal.