The word count for all articles will be between 1,000 and 1,500 words unless otherwise specified.
You should be able to write 1,000 words without any problems. Once you have a title, which I typically supply you with, you just need to create an outline - something we will cover later in these guidelines.
If you need help with an outline, just ask; "writer's block" is not an acceptable excuse in the non-fiction writing world. The information is out there, and I'm always able to help you.
When paying for writing, I round to the closest number, rounding down, that is, including 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, and so on, words per article. Guest post articles are not paid.
If you wrote an article that was 1,250 words, the pay would be for 1,000 words unless an agreement or stipulation was made otherwise. If you'd like to discuss this, please do so before writing for me.
Bolding will only be used when specified. The use of bolding is to break up large stretches of text.
Bold things like:
- Important phrases
- Keywords that are defined
- Phrases that need emphasis
- Bible verses (which should also be italicized)
Use restraint when bolding. Do not bold the periods of sentences or anything like that; focus on words and phrases. If you are highlighting (through the use of bolding) the key words in a sentence, only bold those words; do not bold the commas and the word "and" - unless those pieces of the sentence were crucial.
Bolding is for skimming purposes, so you can emphasize certain key points or words to the reader. Bolding forces the eyes to look at certain words more carefully, but they will skip over the whole article if you slow the reader down too much.
An example of bolding can be seen in the following article:
In most cases, you will not be asked to "bold" an article.
A normal font will be used in Google docs unless otherwise specified. Use Arial, 11-point font in the darkest black color.
Use active voice
unless the article just does not call for it and has been specified that you can use a different voice. The Hemmingway App
can help you with this. Try to always use active voice, not passive.
Grammarly can also be a big help here, but keep in mind: When you run Grammarly, it is not always correct. The human eyes and ears must be alert to what is going on. If you don't understand grammar well enough, it's simple enough to look up the correct way to write online. Ask if you have a question!
Passive (Incorrect): While she was at the mall, the girl was seen by an old friend.
Active (Correct): An old friend saw the girl while she was at the mall.
Paragraphs should be kept short. This may mean that you need to reword what you've written to make things shorter. Break up your points into multiple paragraphs if you need to. The longest a paragraph should be is 4 lines long, not 4 sentences. Please note that there is a difference!
While we want our paragraphs to only be a couple lines, if possible, if the content can be better understood or more organized with 4 lines, that is okay. Try not to write a bunch of 1-sentence paragraphs, though.
Exception: If you are writing for Sharing Life and Love
, you can make the paragraphs really short. They shouldn't be quite 4 lines, as with the new layout, they show to be too long on mobile devices. Talk to me if you have questions about this.
Please note: If you are using SEMRush, it will advise you if you have gone over the allowable length for a paragraph. This may mean that the paragraph should be less than 3 lines! Just try to be accommodating and use the tool as it suggests. If you question the validity of a concern brought up by the tool, let me know.
Use the Hemmingway application
, as mentioned in the VOICE section, to optimize your paragraph length and sentence structure. Unless otherwise specified, shoot for a 5 or 6 reading level
Please check your work with the Hemmingway app to aim for a 5 or 6. We do not want to end up with an article that measures a 2 or an 8; those are extremes.
You can also measure your score on the Flesch Reading Scale
if you so wish to double-check your work. We want to aim for a score between 60-70, which is about an 8th-grade reading level or what is understood by 13 to 15-year-old students.
While we don't want it to be too easy to read, a higher score is usually good!
You can learn more about the Flesch Reading Scale in Yoast's article
. That article gives you tips for improving your score! :)
Point of View
Do not use the first point of view (I, me, we, use, etc.) - unless you have been asked to. Use a second-person point of view!
Usually, you'll want to use the second point of view, as we are talking TO the reader. Depending on the audience, the third point of view may be appropriate. If you are uncertain, just ask!
Depending on the client, you will want the language to coincide with the language written in other blog posts for that client. Please do a little research before digging in! Since most of these are small businesses and non-fiction writing is appropriate, you will want to use the following language:
"Working with a professional tax accountant can be beneficial because..."
"At Borshoff Consulting, we know what our clients want because..."
There will also need to be at least one phrase or sentence "plugging" the client. You don't want the whole article to be plugging the client unless the focus of the article is about their profession or something similar, but add a sentence in the last line of the conclusion, for example.
What is the catchphrase of the company? What are they known for? Get to know them!
Example: Sherry Borshoff is Indiana's tax expert, so saying something like this would be appropriate: If you are excited about getting your taxes done but don't know where to start, look no further; you can trust Indiana's tax expert!
Another example might be to say, "We are here to help!" This would work if you had already plugged the company in a few lines. Please ask me if you have any questions!
Please include no fluff! Every word and sentence should add value. This means you do not post obvious statements or repeat yourself multiple times. Avoid phrases like "Keep in mind."
If you can say it in fewer words, do. The fewer words you use, the more chances you have of keeping your audience's attention.
Keep the tone light and conversational. You are addressing the target audience only, not someone who just loves to hear the sound of their own voice. Avoid controversial, sensitive topics.
Don't be argumentative or use jargon used in a certain region. There is no reason to mention politics or other debatable topics - unless otherwise approved.
A basic level of technical jargon is acceptable for most articles. If you need to use advanced language to explain a concept or acronym that may not be known, make sure you clearly express what the words mean. Define anything not normally known to the average person. Do not overwhelm the reader with too much jargon or acronyms unless approved.
As mentioned above, every sentence should add value to your article and not provide the reader with filler language. Ask yourself (when you read through your work) if the sentence is necessary and valuable.
Does it enhance the reading experience? Don't give anything extra. If you don't have enough words, just tell me!
Don't repeat the same advice over and over again. Don't reword something and try to pass it off as new information. Don't say anything that doesn't add value to the article - even if you love the way it sounds!
Usually, no images are needed. In most cases, you won't need to search for images or do the graphs for the article.
However, if you find a chart, table, or graph or come up with one that would go perfectly with the article, let me know. Don't just pass up on an opportunity to do it better than the competition because it's not part of your job description! Go above and beyond! :)
Generally, these rules apply to links, but they may not apply in every instance, so please ask if you have any questions.
- Hyperlinks are how links are shown in articles and shouldn't be more than 4 words long.
- All links should indicate what the page is about, not the website you are linking to necessarily.
- Don't excessively repeat links unless a direct quote or reference is mentioned specifically.
- If you have information that is covered by another link, you do not need to link to that source twice in a row.
- Do not link to well-known websites, like the home page of Netflix or Walmart.
- There should be at least one external link to a credible source like Harvard Business School or the New York Times.
- There should be at least one internal link to the client's website or another blog post written for the client.
There shouldn't be any articles for Sharing Life and Love that are not linked as internal links, if appropriate to the article. If you talk about listening or decluttering, there are articles to link to.
For all clients, it is preferred that you TRY to link to Sharing Life and Love, if appropriate to the topic. That may or may not count toward your external link; it depends on the client. Feel free to ask for clarity on this point.
To make sure readers can trust the facts in our articles, we must show that we write high-quality articles with facts. Don't use Wikipedia or other similar websites as a source unless it makes sense to do so. Check with me if you have questions about your particular topic.
NEVER plagiarize! I check every article for plagiarism.
To ensure articles are from authoritative sites, check to see if they have a DR (Domain Rating) of at least 50. That is a general guideline that can be ignored if you know the source is high quality. You can check the domain rating with the Ahrefs website.
Back up your facts with evidence from reliable sources - people who have authority in the niche. Include reference links within the content that point to the deep page within the website, not the top-level domain.
Please do not link to HOME pages, and try not to link to CONTACT pages, if possible. Link to related words in the text; do not add the actual link in the text. A source should be cited by linking through existing text, not by adding "Source" at the end of the sentence or something similar to that.
: 9 out of 10 people listen without really hearing what is being said, according to the source
The best time to use external sources is when you are lifting factual evidence from the source. For example, statistics, numbers, or definitions are great reasons to quote a source.
I suggest making an outline like this for each article you write. Be sure to write your article in Google Docs, not Microsoft Word - unless otherwise approved.
(H1) Title (Remember, with all headings, the main words are capitalized)
Introduction (Do not include this word in the introduction)
(H2) What is Marketing?
(H2) Why is Marketing Crucial for Business?
(H2) How to Implement Marketing for Your Business
Your conclusion should have a clear CTA (call to action), as explained by the catchphrase.
The headers (H1, H2, H3, and H4) should not show as "H1" and so on in your article. They are just there to show you that headers are a must for SEO purposes.
Just think. You are now halfway done with your article. I am happy to help with outlines. In this example, you just have to write approximately 200 words or more per heading. That makes things pretty straightforward, right?
The main keyword or keyphrase will be given to you as the topic or title. Try to use it in the title, intro, conclusion, one header, and somewhere else throughout the text. It should sound natural and make sense, though.
The rest of the keywords will be given to you, or you'll be given access to the correct SEO tool. Of course, if one of the keywords doesn't make sense when you dive into the topic, don't use it.
Use good judgment when it comes to this. It's more important that the information is valuable, useful, and easy to read than it is to have every keyword used. Many may not make sense.
- Research and write the article.
- Add internal and external links throughout.
- Make sure all keywords have been used correctly.
- Use Google Docs spell-check tool.
- Check with Grammarly.
- Proofread (Read back the entire document to yourself aloud).
- Check the word count.
- Submit the article for review.
If you have questions about any of this, contact me
. Do not assume you know the right way if you have a question about something.
I know these sound VERY rigid, but they are GUIDELINES. Also, I'm just sharing what I know so that you can do the best job possible - stuff I wish someone had shared with me when I was starting out!! :)
I look forward to working with you! :)