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12 important formatting tips for online writers

The fact that there is only one shot at making a first impression should be something that every content creator or writer who submits articles on spec should take to heart. I’m the gatekeeper at a site that accepts guest posts, so I get a lot of inquiries. I’ve written occasionally on some of the bad ..
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When my habit-creating app dumped me

Following our own advice is one of the most difficult things to do. The bare-naked truth of this is exposed when we try to either break bad habits or create new good habits. Parents are always telling their kids not to do things that the adults do every day. On December 31 of every year millions of ..
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Learn from others’ errors: Bad query letter #1

I’m the gatekeeper for guest posts on a website that gets a pretty decent amount of traffic. I sympathize with the writers trying to get content published; I’ve been there myself. But the first rule is this: If you can’t write a polished query letter, you can’t get published. Sometimes it’s the little things that ..
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A tip to keep you from asking questionable questions and looking like an dummy

I’ve been seeing a lot of sentences like this lately: Pronouns and adverbs like who, what, when, where, and how are often the first words in an interrogative (question); we all know that instinctively. However, just because the first word in a sentence is one of these words, the sentence isn’t automatically a question. I ..
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4 fantastic ways to use keywords to create an engaging first paragraph

  The first paragraph or sentence of a blog: If it doesn’t stress you out, you don’t understand what’s at stake. Here’s why it should be a major source of stress: A killer first sentence needs to accomplish two goals that are usually diametrically opposed to each other: It needs to engage the reader, and ..
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How lazy people discover great blog topics

I love lazy people and frankly, I consider myself to be a little on the lazy side. Why? Because lazy people find the easiest way to get something done.[bctt tweet=”…lazy people find the easy way to get things done.” username=”rbmanley”] When Tom Sawyer hooked people into painting that fence for him, he may have become ..
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Throw gasoline on the fire: How to create hot content

I’m the gatekeeper (editor) for a business website that gets quite a few visitors, so the job of sorting through guest blog submissions falls to me. Every so often a wannabe guest blogger writes on the topic of how to create viral content, and it’s not that they don’t occasionally include some good ideas, it’s ..
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Need Blog Ideas? Steal Them!

Someone said to be quite wise once wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Those of us who search for blog ideas can (painfully) relate to that. Are you running out of ideas for your blog? Wondering what the hell you’re going to post tomorrow? Hey, it comes with the territory, so just do ..
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Why Your Email Open Rate Tanked and How to Fix It

The email open rate story I’m about to tell is true. I’d like to say that the names have been changed to protect the innocent, but since this is a situation where it’s hard to tell the innocent from the guilty, I can’t make that claim. Ultimately, you must decide which is the guilty party. ..
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Why your blog on compelling content sucks and how to fix it

While I was minding my own business and innocently curating content for a client today, I came across two online articles that stressed the importance of writing “seductive” headlines and I probably saw even more articles that counseled bloggers to write “compelling” content. Really? What’s the alternative – headlines that turn off readers and content ..
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