The overall goal of my blog is to give you tips on communications, creativity and strategy – especially if you are serving in a church or not-for-profit. I have 20 years of experience in creative execution, strategy and more recently church communications and I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve learnt along the way (so much so I’m hosting FREE church communications coaching clinics once a month).
I’ve been blogging for about a year now, and one of the key areas I’ve wanted to improve is the quality of my writing. The problem I face time and time again is translating my ideas into words in succinct, articulate blog posts that not only give you tips, but are also written in an engaging style. I’ve also wanted to improve my writing when I need to write for my job too. (A post a while back that really propelled me forward was from a writer I really respect who gave me 8 tips on writing less sucky copy.)
In my own reading I subscribe to Copyblogger which helps me with my writing and ProBlogger which I always find useful for both writing and blogging. My curiosity was peaked when Darren Rowse from ProBlogger and Glen Murray from Divine Write released an ebook called ‘The Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers’. Frankly I’m sceptical about eBooks. They often are a revenue stream dressed up as advice for wannabe _________ (you fill in the blank). I steer clear of the hype, but this time I thought I’d give it a try, mainly because I heard Darren speak at a blogging event and he and Chris Garrett came across not just as nice blokes, but bloggers who really want to add value to others blogging experiences. Sure they are blogging to earn money, but they have really helped think more strategically about my blogging and how I write for my job. (So much so you’ll need to watch this space in about 3 months for a huge announcement.)
Back to the eBook. For starters I was impressed with the incredibly cheap price of US$9.97. Great value. The eBook is definitely underpriced for what it offers. Especially for writers who want to learn the basics. (The payment gateway system was a little long and I had to click through a couple more steps than I would of liked, but I managed to download it in the end.) As I wrote earlier eBooks can just be a revenue stream for bloggers and when you actually purchase the book much of what you read is already somewhere on their blog and its just been rewritten and resold to you. Thankfully this eBook is not one of them. It really is useful.
Two of the key takeaways for me were:
1. I should do more preparation before I write. Eg What are my writing goals? What tone of voice should I write in?
2. Recommendations for what to include in my writing. In terms of how I pitch the idea, telling a story, answering the questions your reader will probably ask, show you understand the reader’s situation. (There were a lot more really good golden nuggets in this section)
The book also provided a grammar section which was very foundational in its approach and the majority of readers may find too basic, but it is good that they even thought about that.
The highlight and major goal of the book is the ‘scorecard’. Your blog post/write against the criteria laid out in the book. If you score highly then your writing is likely to be better. I tried it and it really works. I had to work really hard but I came away from the blog post 13 Free Web Tools That Will Kickstart Your Church Communications and felt like it was a much better written post than my regular posts. It took me three times as long mind you, but it was worth the extra time.
If you need to improve your writing either for your job at church or when you blog then this eBook is worth it. In fact I think it’s actually too cheap at the moment which represents excellent value should you decide to try it out. You can find it here on ProBloggers site. (No affiliate links ;-)