Author archives: Jenna Kefauver

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…

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…

How can you keep your writing professional & approachable?

Managing to keep your writing professional while appealing to a large audience is one of the most difficult feats in content writing. Here are a few tips: Consider Your Target Audience Once you determine your target audience, think about casting a wider net. Casting a wider net can allow you to reach an entirely new group of customers. Consider your audience and then any related groups that could benefit from the information you’re sharing. Pro-tip: Consider what words you’d use if you were having a face-to-face conversation with a member of your target audience. Talk in the manner you would in a conversation with one of your audience members. Avoid Slang Nothing will manage to make your writing less professional and less relatable than using slang. You might get lucky and only scare off one group (people who don’t use slang); if you’re unlucky, you’ll scare off both those who don’t use slang and those who do. Slang is ever-changing and chances are it’ll be outdated by the time your content publishes, which can date you and your content.   Pro-tip: Also be sure to avoid industry jargon. While it’s professional, you’ll likely end up alienating anyone who isn’t in Read more…

Keep Your Content Concise

There’s nothing worse than spending precious time writing content only to lose readers because you’re long-winded. So don’t let that happen. Keep your content concise and keep your readers coming back for more. How can I keep my content concise? Remove Run-on Sentences A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about run-on sentences and how to fix them. Just removing those sentences will make your content flow better. Pro-tip: Read your sentences aloud. Are you out of breath by the end? If so, rewrite it. If I find myself pausing too many times for commas or semicolons, I always rewrite my sentences. Eliminate Unnecessary Words Using unnecessary words is a bad habit many of us picked up in high school or college. You need an extra 50 words to meet the word count for your essay so you change to to in order to. Or you say something like, The reason is because… Most people don’t realize it, but, The reason is because is redundant. The reason is and because mean the same thing. In order to is the same thing as to. Eliminating that can make your content more concise too. You might not realize it, but it Read more…

Guide to Using Acronyms

Acronyms make your sentences easier to read and increase the flow of your sentences. After all, who wants to read “the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration” 10 times? Instead, you can simply write “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)” on first reference and then refer to it as the FMCSA from then on. Here are a few tricks to ensure acronyms are working for your content not against it. Always Write the Full Name First This is important. Even if it’s an acronym that you think everyone knows (e.g., CIA, FBI) write out the name first. And remember to place the acronym in parenthesis after the first reference, e.g., Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Without the acronym in parentheses directly after the word, your readers may know what you’re referring to later. This is especially true when you might be referring to various things. For example, lawyers often discuss the Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability, and Social Security Disability Insurance together. Now if I said SSA, you could probably figure out that I meant the Social Security Administration, but what if I said SSD? Am I referring to Social Security Disability or Social Security Disability Insurance? Again, Read more…