Author archives: Jenna Kefauver

6 Common “Time Saving” Editing Mistakes

Editing takes time. Unless you write or edit for a living, you might not have time to give your content the full edit it deserves. However, proofreading your content is so, so important. And while there are ways to edit your content quicker, people often make mistakes when attempting to edit quickly. Avoid these six mistakes to produce better content: 1) Relying on Apps to Do Your Editing for You Yes, these tools are helpful; I use them myself. However, apps and tools are far from perfect. Use editing apps to identify opportunities to improve your content, but don’t accept their recommendations as gospel or assume they catch everything. You could run your piece through an editing app to get started, review its recommendations, go back to your content and make any changes, and then run it through the editing app once more to see what you might have missed. Here are some of my favorite editing apps: Grammarly: Identifies passive voice, repetitive or excess words, incorrect words, missing punctuation, etc. Hemingway App: Identifies passive voice, complex phrases, adverbs, hard-to-read sentences, etc. It also tells you the reading level required to read your content. Copyscape: Not technically an editing app, Read more…

Are you giving away too much information?

We were recently listening to Newfangled’s Agency Marketing Matters podcast on not giving it all away and it got us thinking: how much information is too much? Are you demonstrating your expertise or are you giving your readers enough information to confidently handle their problem without your help? Here’s our take on how to give away the information your readers need (but ensure they still need you afterwards): Explain the Concept Exhaustively Show your readers you’re an expert. If a concept is difficult, explain it at length. For example, if you help clients with Social Security disability claims, write a post about how the SSA calculates their monthly benefit. In your post, explain the calculation. Dive deep into primary insurance amounts and average indexed monthly earnings. Be detailed but clear. And give examples. In addition to showing what a complicated concept it is, it also shows your mastery of it. Note: Remember that if you use jargon, always define it in layman’s terms. You want to demonstrate your proficiency; you don’t want to confuse readers into leaving your page. How does this convert readers into customers? There’s the old cliché that says no one will buy the cow if you Read more…

Be a Better Writer, Remember Those 5th Grade Writing Basics

If you’re like me, chances are, you’ve said this more than once when you were in school: When am I ever going to need this stuff?! Well, the truth is, I now use those same things I once lamented. In fact, some of those things you learned as a 10-year-old student can help you write good content. Here are a few tips on using what you learned in grade school to create content your readers are looking for. Creating Outlines One of the first things you learn about writing is one of the most important: plan your writing with an outline. It was also likely the most lamented, at least by me. When I was in fifth grade, we had to write outlines for everything. And while I complained about those outlines more than once, they’ve helped me ever since. Some people prefer stream of consciousness writing to get their ideas down. Do what works for you, but if you’re like me and you struggle to organize your thoughts on the fly, try creating an outline. The Paragraph Hamburger This is one writing basic I will remember forever. The paragraph hamburger teaches students to organize and develop their thoughts. You Read more…

Are We Living in a Ctrl+F Culture?

“I use Ctrl+F all the time,” I said. “Yeah, we’re living in a Ctrl+F culture.” Our content manager, Danny, and I both laughed at his having coined a new phrase. It was a throw-away comment and he didn’t mean it to be a serious thought, but then we started talking about how it was kind of true — were we really living in a Ctrl+F culture? And if so, how does that affect the content we write? As the conversation continued, the term evolved. We ultimately decided the label “Ctrl+F culture” was too limiting. Yes, our attention spans are shorter. And yes, we expect answers faster than ever. But we decided a better term would “Ctrl+F Content.” What is Ctrl+F Content? Ctrl+F Content might suggest by its name that it refers to content stuffed with keywords so readers can run a quick Ctrl+F search to find what they’re looking for. But that’s not what we mean. Rather, Ctrl+F Content refers to content geared towards a web searcher looking for quick answers. That is, a web searcher needing a quick answer who grows frustrated with poorly formatted content that obstructs the answers they want. A web searcher who, rather than read Read more…

6 Tips for Content That Beats the Competition

There are likely thousands of pages of content out there on the subject you plan to write about. So how can you make your content different — and more importantly, better? I’ll share a few tips below. But first, let’s address why you should want to create better content. Google notices. If users land on your page and bounce off right away (probably because the content isn’t meeting their needs or expectations), it tells Google that your page isn’t satisfying users’ query. It will respond by dropping your page in the search results. It gets backlinks. Other websites are more likely to link to interesting or helpful content than they are thin, boring content. More importantly, authoritative websites don’t waste their time linking to bad content, and those quality links from authoritative websites are like gold. Backlinks send people directly to your content when they click on the link, but also send Google a signal that your content is trusted, helpful, and authoritative. Google responds by boosting your content in the search results. It encourages social shares. Want others to share your content on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites? Create good content! It impresses users. If a user Read more…

8 Steps to the Perfect Blog Post

Your website content like blogs is often your readers’ first impression of you. Your content allows you to show off your expertise and give your readers the information they’re looking for. You could be an expert in your field, but if your content is disorganized, unclear, or fails to address readers’ questions, your content may not effectively demonstrate your expertise and your readers might not contact you or buy your product. Don’t scare off readers with disorganized or thin blog posts. Use these eight steps to write the perfect blog post. Step 1: Determine Your Topic You can’t write a blog post without knowing what you want to write about. But don’t pick just any topic. Make sure it’s something your readers want or need to know. Consider the following as potential sources for topics: Questions you get about your product/service, e.g., how can a lawyer help me with my case? Frequent questions from your clients or customers. If your clients always ask how long they have to file an injury claim, post a blog about the statute of limitations. News stories related to your practice. Write about current events related to your business and anything that might affect your Read more…

6-Point Plan on Integrating Keywords into Your Content the Right Way

If you’re lucky, keywords will occur organically throughout your content, but when they don’t, you’re left with the burdensome task of making them sound natural, as though you would use each word in a conversation with a friend. This job can be a writer or editor’s worst nightmare. Still, using keywords in your web content is necessary. They have the ability to attract valuable readers to your website, but they also have the power to turn them off and kill your message if you ignore the following six-point plan. First – and Always – Consider the Searcher’s Intent Don’t overthink it. Why is the searcher looking for your content? And what do they expect when they land on your page? Let that guide your writing. Winning Point #1 – Remember and Embrace Semantic Search Before Google adopted semantic search, content writers felt hampered by trying to use keywords and key phrases exactly without variation. This led to some awkward and clunky writing. Now, Google considers the searcher’s intent rather than trying to match content to the user’s search phrase exactly. That is, your content does not have to explicitly include the phrase back pain car accident to rank for that Read more…

Infographic: Happy Be Kind to Lawyers Day 2017!

April 11, 2017 is Be Kind to Lawyers Day! If you know a lawyer, work with lawyers, or if you hired a lawyer to represent you, take a moment today to thank them. Moreover, if you’re a lawyer yourself, we hope you’ll take a moment today to reflect on the journey you took to get where you are and all the rewards that the legal field can bring. This year, members of the We Do Web Content team are sharing their favorite fictional lawyers from television, books, movies, and even comic books. See what went into our choices and which admirable qualities each lawyer represents — in their own unique way. Check out the infographic to see if we chose your favorite fictional lawyer! Self-described “non-lawyer” Steve Hughes created Be Kind to Lawyers Day as a way to honor and celebrate lawyers. His thinking was that if we have holidays to celebrate things like ice cream and bubble wrap, why not take a day to recognize lawyers too? We agree. Lawyers work hard and help us through major moments in our lives. They deserve recognition from their friends, family, co-workers, and clients. Check out www.bekindtolawyers.com for more of Steve’s story. If you Read more…

When do you hyphenate two or more words?

Generally, you hyphenate a phrase when it’s modifying another word and appears before the word it is modifying. These hyphenated phrases are called compound modifiers. For example, if you are referencing two people who are in a relationship but live on different sides of the country, you would call that a long-distance relationship. Long-distance is hyphenated because it is modifying relationship. Consider another example: The thirty-minute class ended early. Thirty-minute modifies class and comes before the word so you hyphenate it. However, if you say, “The class, which usually lasted thirty minutes, ended early,” you wouldn’t hyphenate anything because the phrase modifying the class comes after the word. When do I use more than one hyphen? The examples above combine only two words and use a single hyphen. Pretty simple. Where some people trip up is when hyphenating more than two words. Essentially, just like with two-word phrases, you use multiple hyphens when an entire phrase is modifying another word and appears before the word being modified. The table below illustrates when words and phrases need multiple hyphens and when these words can stand on their own. Phrases When a Phrase Become a Compound Modifier When Words in a Phrase Read more…

How to Give Your Readers What They Want

Giving your readers what they want comes down to asking two simple questions: Did you answer the question or address the topic right away? Did you anticipate follow-up questions? If you can answer “yes” to both questions, you’re well on your way to delivering content that meets your readers’ expectations. Did you answer the question or address the topic right away? Some writers and other content creators ease into the topic with needless banter, tangibly-related facts, or tertiary information rather than simply answering the question or directly addressing the topic. Aim to answer the question within the first 100 words or your readers might leave. If your content is answering a question, I suggest forgoing a lengthy introduction and simply answering the question. For example, imagine your topic is: Can I sue the other driver in a no-fault state? You don’t need to start your content with, “One thousand people are injured in accidents each year…” Instead, you can simply say, “Yes, depending on the circumstances, you can sue the other driver after an accident in a no-fault state.” Answering the question first and putting the most important information at the top of your content is called the inverted pyramid. Read more…