10 Blogging Lessons You Can Learn from Print Media

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Progress marches on! It’s a brave new world and the internet is becoming the new reality. Gone are the days when we would peruse through the glossy pages of a magazine and read newspapers that were delivered daily to our front door. These mediums still exist but are slowly becoming a way of the past. Yet there is still a lot to be learned from the past. By looking to the quality of print magazines and following suit, copywriters can take their content into the new millennium and stand out from the masses.

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This new medium is opening doors for anyone and everyone to have a voice and express their opinions and views. But as a direct result we are suffering from content overload. Over 27 million pieces of content are shared daily. The internet is overrun with personal blogs, YouTube channels, Instagram Feeds and Twitter accounts.  Ironically, the easier it is to get your voice out there, the harder it is to be heard.

What does it take for content to garnish attention and notoriety when the haystack is so massive and you are but just a needle? How do you make your content so irresistible that readers can’t help but pay attention?

Online writers need to take their cues from the writers of old where professionalism was paired with substance and credibility. Let me share with you the 10 most well held secrets of Print Media. You, too, can be heralded into the same class as writers from The New Yorker or Harper’s Magazine. All it takes is a little patience and the following tips and your content will make headlines over the internet as we brave this new world together!

  1. Do Your Research

Research is the key to unlocking great content. Backing up your claims with substantiated data from reputable sources gives credence and authority to your site. With the online world, being as it is, this process is becoming far more intricate and demanding and copywriters must exercise patience and perseverance.

Apps such as Evernote are fantastic tools to aid you in the process. Here you can clip, save and store interesting pieces of information and even organize it according to subject area. You are only as strong as the processes you employ so seek to set up systems that make your job easier and lighten the load over the long-haul. The best copywriters are the ones that continuously gather, organize and evaluate their research in a systematic manner. Creating your own database allows you the freedom to generate authentic and factual content that will stun and surprise the competition.

Take the opportunity to scrutinize your research to discover that one special angle that is uniquely yours. Innovative copywriters seek to find hidden treasures and display them in such a fashion that the public will be poised on the edge of their seats. Valuable in-depth ideas lie hidden in a sea of data and research; just asking to be explored. Find your hidden treasures and you’ll discover riches beyond your wildest dreams!

  1. Seek to Teach

Learning is a life-long process and your readers are like sponges, constantly looking to the internet for educational content that will help them soak up knowledge. Seek to teach and enlighten your audience. Find unique ways to deliver messages that put a spin on old subjects and allow readers to view it from a completely new angle and perspective. Write content that is educational and you’ll find that word of mouth advertising will follow.

If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than The New Yorker or Harper’s. Here is where you will find thoughtfully well-crafted pieces that educate and inform readers in a creative and awe-inspiring format. It doesn’t matter what your subject matter is, there is always a way to create intrigue and excitement. You just need to put your thinking cap on and draw outside the lines.

  1. Serve Your Content Objective With Personality

Objectivity with personality is the balance you’re hoping to achieve. Print Journalism has mastered this art and if you’re smart you’ll take your lessons from this established medium and make it part of your copywriting journey. Your audience is looking to you for credible and factual information that is well-supported and validated. Opinions must not overshadow facts if you want your readers to take your seriously. However, if you only seek to inform than you will miss that vital opportunity to connect with your visitors on a deeper level. Adding humor, interest and irony to your writing gives your content spice and allows you to have a unique voice that helps you stand out from the crowd.  Striking the balance between informing and entertaining is a difficult skill to acquire.  However, if you truly perfect this art you will open a whole new level of readership merely by infusing your personality into your content.

  1. Master Your Craft

Grammar is important. The authority of your site comes down to two things; the quality of your content and the means by which it is presented. Imagine yourself reading an article in The New Yorker. Would you expect to find grammatical errors and spelling mistakes gracing the glossy pages of this prestigious magazine?

Proofreaders and editors would have combed through the material two to three times over. Their job is to make sure that published articles are completely devoid of any errors that would undermine the credibility of the magazine itself.

Your content must hold up to the same scrutiny. The only difference is that you must be your own worst critic; a proofreader, editor and analyst. What’s on the line is the validity and authority of your content. Professionally written pieces must pass the grammar and spelling test to enter into the expert realm and be taken seriously by the public at large. You can always choose to hire someone for this step of the process or painstakingly peruse over your material yourself. It matters not who does it but that it gets done and done well. Your job is to present material that reflects your best work. Press the spell check button and study your grammar diligently. The authority of your work depends on it!

  1. Be the Authority

The words you write will impact the lives of many readers. Take pride in your work and do your research before you sign any piece of work and publish it as your own. Follow the example of Print media writers. To even be published in a magazine their content must undergo intense scrutiny. Each and every statement they make is backed up by multiple reliable sources. Their status as an expert is evident merely by being published in a journal. To be noticed in the online world you, too, must raise your standards of practice.  Create content that will stand the test of time as the online world strives to catch up with its predecessor; print media.

Readers look to the internet for accurate and precise information on a wide variety of topics from medical advice to tax laws. Expert opinions and substantiated facts are what they are hoping to discover. Systems are just beginning to come into place to help users differentiate fact from fiction. Google has even put forth a set of guidelines called Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines . The hope is to raise the bar and establish authority for any information lying within the pages of its search engine results.

Structures such as E-A-T and YMYL are setting higher standards for online content thus creating a measuring stick by which readers can determine the credibility of claims made by individual bloggers and copywriters alike. You may ask, “what is E-A-T and YMYL?” These acronyms stand for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness” and “Your Money or Your Life”

To rank high throughout the E-A-T content must possess a high level in all three categories. YMYL is a set of pages that details information that holds a high degree of authority. To grace the pages of the YMYL your content must meet a certain level of expertise and authority.

Be the authority by being an expert in your niche area. Your traffic will thank you!

  1. Specify, Specify, Specify

Online content must present language that is digestible to a wide audience. Your content needs to be comprehensive yet precise. Vague language suggests that you are only somewhat aware of the message you wish to deliver. Words such as “very”, “a lot”, “often” or “heavy” imply that your understanding of the topic at hand is only superficial.

Online writers could take a lesson or two from print media experts. You would never see such vague terms parading across the pages of a big-name magazine. The key to creating eye-catching material is to be as specific as possible. The online world is chock full of content. The only way to get noticed is to create value in your work through current facts, statistics and figures that serve to support your claims and validate your message.

  1. Fact Check Everything

Fact-check all your online writing as if it was headed out for publication in The New York Times. It can’t be said enough; you must check, check and check again!

The facts you use to support your work must come from substantiated sources. The statistics and figures you put forward support conclusions that you draw from this material. To hold water and be considered valid, your supporting documentation must come from a noteworthy source.

Your reputation is what’s at stake. By ensuring that you’ve got your facts straight in each piece of work, you will consistently protect your credibility and thus your status as an expert in your field.

  1. Aim for Depth

The deeper you go the stronger the pull. What you deliver is not as important as how you deliver it. Any subject can be made interesting if approached from the right angle.

A powerful story lies in the writer’s ability to draw readers in with tenets of sadness, love, happiness and hope. Engaging human emotions by weaving them throughout the fabric of your content, allows your audience to connect with your material in a deep and meaningful way. This philosophy is heavily engrained within print media but is only just getting airplay in the online world.

The greater the depth, the more your readers will get out of your material. Seek to create memorable content by adding elements of synchronicity and intrigue. The relationships you develop with your readers will stand the test of time so don’t be afraid to add a little flair here and there!

  1. Slice a Story Into Digestible Bits

Like a meal that you cut up for an infant, you must chop up your material into bite size portions to allow your readers to fully digest what you’re feeding them. Put a little honey on it so it goes down smoothly and breaks up the rough pieces.

Large concepts run over multiple articles, scaffold learning for your readers.  Whether you choose to draw in a large cast of characters or sprinkle humor over the entire course of your content, you must find ways to help your audience process the message you are attempting to convey.

Making connections to other events or using fun facts to create momentary relief are other good ways to help cut your content into smaller more consumable portions

  1. Diversify

Variety is the spice of life. The world is a mosaic of different people, experiences and points of view. Look to any print magazine and you will see evidence of this. Including stories that cross a gamete of topics with diverse perspectives, allows your content to appeal to a wider audience and gives depth to your work. Broadening your horizons allows readers to connect with your content in ways you never thought possible!

From Print to the Web: Good Copy Carries Over

There are always lessons to be learned from the past and things we can take with us as we move into a bright new future. Change is inevitable so we must embrace it with open arms. The online world is upon us but we cannot forget the lessons print media has taught us. Let’s move forward into a new and exciting era of online content but not forget the valuable gifts print media has given us over the years. Make your content stick out by using what’s old and making it new again!

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