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How to Be a Successful Writer in 2012


Writing Trends and Tips You should Know for 2012

If you are a writer and you write online in any format, you probably have one or more of the following goals or reasons in mind…


  • want people to start reading what you write
  • want to increase the number of people reading what you write
  • want to make money with your writing
  • write for a company and need to help increase their sales
  • want to change the world with your writing

All of those goals or reasons require 1 thing – that you get people to read what you write. So, if you do have any of those goals in mind, then take the following information and trends and tuck it under your belt to improve your chances of writing success in 2012. (this post is part of the Quick Writing Online Guidelines Resource)

For starters, know this:

There has never been a better time to make money as a writer!

1. Writing for Someone Else

According to Marketing Profs, more than half of the businesses surveyed state that they plan on increasing their content budget in the next year. This, of course, means they’ll need more writing.

So that you can be a savvy writer, or want to brush up on skill areas if you’re going to put yourself in the writing marketplace for the first time, here are some of the most popular content tactics to know in order of use by companies:

  • article-posting
  • social media
  • blogs
  • e-newsletters
  • case studies
  • in-person events
  • whitepapers
  • e-books (on the rise)

If you are unfamiliar with any of these areas and you make your living writing for others, or want to, you might want to familiarize yourself with them before any interviews or chats.

2. Reputation Matters

Hey, just like in high school, your reputation matters. But unlike high school, you can actually do some things to improve your online reputation. Even if you’re not all hyped up on Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or equivalent, it’s important to keep an eye on what’s being said about you. And, at least on occasion, you need to put out some of your own positive content. But writer beware! Social media can be highly addictive so to avoid spending too much time on these platforms, do a consistent amount on a regular basis such as 30 minutes every day, or an hour per week, or whatever fits in with your writing and other commitments. The importance of your online reputation management (ORM) is only going to increase in 2012 so put it on your to do list.

3. Know Your Social Media

There are literally hundreds of social media tools you can spend time on so it’s important to have a plan and then use the tools that get you where you want to go. This remains true whether you’re a company or a writer trying to sell products, your own books, or market your blog. If you’re an individual and know what niche you’re writing for, or want to write for, find out where your readers “hang out” online and go to those social media sites. To get you started, here are the top 7 sites in order of highest used to least (according to marketing profs survey) that are used by businesses to distribute content:

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Slideshare
  • Google+
  • Flickr
  • Other

4. You Must Aim to Reduce the Reader’s Pain

This seemingly simple trend has been here for a bit but it’s important enough that it should be repeated often. Trying to “sell” something with that hard sales pitch we all remember from yesteryear, is going going gone, for 2012. Whether you’re promoting your ebook or writing content to generate blog traffic, keep your focus on what you can do to help solve an issue for your reader/s. This is how you’re going to gain readership. Keep in mind that you have approximately 2 seconds to rain an average reader’s attention, no matter what you’re writing so get quickly to what’s in it for your reader. Then you must deliver. Some of the ways you can help support your readers is by offering electronic newsletters, free reports, white papers or podcasts. This helps build long-term relationships with your readers.

5. Quality Web Traffic (i.e. WIIFM, what’s in it for me)

For awhile, creating random videos or other social media amusements that had nothing to do with what you offer was a catchy way to grab attention. However, this only drives one-time traffic. What you should care about is attracting the right kinds of readers; 10 quality readers that come back repeatedly is WAY better than 100 readers who don’t care what you have to say and never come back. Focus on building long term relationships with the tools that your readers use, whether email or other.

Remember to use share buttons when appropriate so readers can help spread your content-they probably know other people like themselves who would love to read what you write.

6. Conversational is Key

Traditional advertising, or content, was pretty formal in tone – a talking to, rather than a talking with. A study done by Forester Research tells us that interactive marketing, such as e-mail, search engine optimization (SEO), online video ads and social marketing, will reach $61 billion by 2012. Right now about 8% of marketing budgets go to interactive marketing and in five years it’s projected to be 18% so this is a trend to become part of.  Create conversation with your readers! No one likes that person who comes to a party and yaps on and on without listening to anyone else. So keep this in mind as you write and if your tone of presentation is in any way demeaning to your reader, EDIT!

7. Learning the Business of Internet Marketing / Writing

Whether you’re an already established online writer, or are looking to enter this awesome place, there are some tried and true basics. You should know about organic search and keywords, along with other online writing and marketing basics (this applies whether you work for someone else, or yourself). Because we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you can learn (or brush up) on your skills by taking You Don’t have to be a Genius to Master Internet Marketing, a free copyblogger course (it’s good-free-and  no, I get nada from this. I just think it’s an awesome course).

Remember, Success is in the Small Moments!

There is no doubt that we live in incredibly exciting writing times. No longer do you have to toil in anonymity as you write your next masterpiece. The world is at your fingertips, literally, so use your power wisely and thoughtfully and remember to focus on making the little steps matter because that will lead you to ultimate success. Along those lines, I’d like to share a short ancient Zen story (which I heisted from goodlifezen) that speaks to the power of small moments:

There were two old masters sitting side by side. One of them reached for a needle and began to mend some clothes.

“What are you doing?” Dongshan asked.

“I’m mending clothes.”

“How do you do that?“

“One stitch is like the next,” said Shenshan.

“What, after twenty years of practice – that’s all you can say?” said Dongshan

Shenshan put down his needle and turned to his companion. “Well then tell me. How do you sew?”

“As though the entire earth were spewing flames,” said Dongshan.

And so may it be with you in 2012! Happy writing in the new year.

Subscribe and stay tuned to Zencopy because on my next post I’ll be giving you a portion of my new creativity book, Mindful Creativity, for FREE!

About the author: Karen, zencopy creator, is a top 10 bestselling amazon author, creativity coach, and an online content specialist with a masters in psychology and passion for learning and teaching new topics.

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