How to handle stress at work

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America’s Workers: Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Totally Exhausted

Perhaps the most poignant detail from Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic cover story, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” was also one of the smallest: an overworked mother of three who “organized her time so ruthlessly that she always keyed in 1:11 or 2:22 or 3:33 on the microwave rather than 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00, because hitting the same number three times took less time.”

That may be extreme, but it illustrated a familiar feeling, one the writer Brigid Schulte calls “the overwhelm.” In her new book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, Schulte scrutinizes this state of affairs: Why do we all feel so overworked? How is that feeling different for men than for women? Is a better, less harried life possible? I spoke with Schulte about her research, and a lightly edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Can you start by telling us about what “the overwhelm” is, how you see it now after years of research and writing on the topic, and how you think that your understanding differs from the conventional one?

This whole book started when a time-use researcher told me I had 30 hours of leisure a week. And when I told him he was out of his flipping mind, he challenged me to keep a time diary and he would show me where my leisure was.

The whole premise of his challenge was that there was something wrong with me. That I should have this time, and if I didn’t feel that I did, it was my fault. I already felt totally inadequate—felt that I never did enough work, or that it was good enough, that I wasn’t spending enough time with my kids, or that I was so exhausted I was yelling at them, and I stomped around seething that my “egalitarian” marriage left me up late folding laundry or wrapping Christmas presents or doing the dishes while my husband slept soundly.

Before I began working on this book, I thought that’s just how life had to be—fast, crazy, busy, breathless—particularly for working mothers in the 21st century. I didn’t think it could change. I had no role models. And didn’t really stop and think about why. Most everyone I knew was busy, with schedules going every which way. I remember talking to another working mother on my cell phone in the car weeping after going back to work after my maternity leave about how burned out I felt and how I missed the companionship and understanding of the mother’s group I’d joined after maternity leave. “This is it,” she’d said. “This phone call is the only kind of mother’s group you’re going to get now.”

There was also no real national discussion on what I was experiencing. If women were feeling overwhelmed, I had the feeling that the culture just thought, “Tough. You made this choice to work, now deal with it.” That view was always reinforced after I would write a piece for the Washington Post about juggling work and life. I would always get comments about how working mothers were just selfish. I would get into big back and forths with readers who thought working mothers just wanted big houses and were abandoning their kids. They didn’t deserve free time. Anything approaching discussion about feeling overwhelmed was dismissed as a “Mommy issues,” and [the upshot seemed to be] that middle-class women just needed to to get to the spa for an afternoon or take an anti-anxiety med and chill out.

But I discovered soon enough that these are hardly “Mommy” issues—these are human issues, how we work and live, the pressures to spend so much time at work, or living up to crazy ideals, is affecting all of us. And you’re beginning to see the conversation change—even conservatives now are looking at birth-rate declines and work like Stewart D. Friedman’s Baby Bust showing that more young people don’t see a way to combine work and family in a rational way, so are choosing not to have families. That’s huge. That’s when work-life issues become the problem of society, especially one that purports to value families and that wants to survive into the future.

What I discovered in researching the book has been infuriating, enlightening and ultimately liberating. It is so clear now how on the bleeding edge we are of changing gender roles, how so much has changed in our lives and yet how so much remains stuck in amber, in the nostalgia of another era. I’m not just talking about workplace laws which were written in 1938 when the world was a different place and tax policies that favor breadwinner-homemaker family models, but our cultural attitudes, our unconscious biases.

I had one of those “aha” moments when I found the General Social Survey question about whether mothers of preschoolers should work. As late as 2002, the last time the question was asked (at least at the time of my reporting) majorities of both men and women said no, she shouldn’t, or she should only work part-time. What that showed me was such a deep and pervasive ambivalence about working mothers— no wonder we don’t have national policies and workplace cultures to help women better juggle work and home, if we’re deeply conflicted about whether she should be at work at all.

How can work stress affect well-being?

Long-term exposure to work-related stressors like these can affect mental health. Research links burnout with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In some cases, this sets the stage for serious mental health problems. Indeed, one study shows younger people who routinely face heavy workloads and extreme time pressure on the job are more likely to experience major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

High levels of stress at work –– and outside of it –– can affect physical health, too. Repeated activation of the fight-or-flight response can disrupt bodily systems and increase susceptibility to disease. For example, repeated release of the stress hormone cortisol can disturb the immune system, and raise the likelihood of developing autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic stress can also affect health by interfering with healthy behaviors, such as exercise, balanced eating, and sleep.

Work stress can also harm companies or organizations. Burnout reduces job productivity and boosts absenteeism and job turnover, and also leads to conflict between coworkers, causing stress to spread within a workplace.

How can you cope with work stress?

  • Relaxation strategies. Relaxation helps counter the physiological effects of the fight-or-flight response. For example, progressive muscle relaxation helps reduce muscle tension associated with anxiety. To practice this skill, sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Working from your legs upward, systematically tense and relax each major muscle groups. Hold the tension for 10 seconds; release tension for 20 seconds. Each time you release muscle tension, think “relax” to yourself. This skill and many other relaxation strategies can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Problem-solving. Problem-solving is an active coping strategy that involves teaching people to take specific steps when approaching a roadblock or challenge. These steps include defining the problem, brainstorming potential solutions, ranking the solutions, developing an action plan, and testing the chosen solution.
  • Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to the present moment with curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Stress can be exacerbated when we spend time ruminating about the past, worrying about the future, or engaging in self-criticism. Mindfulness helps to train the brain to break these harmful habits. You can cultivate mindfulness skills through formal practice (like guided meditation) and informal exercises (like mindful walking), or try mindfulness apps or classes. Mindfulness-based therapies are effective for reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Reappraising negative thoughts. Chronic stress and worry can lead people to develop a mental filter in which they automatically interpret situations through a negative lens. A person might jump to negative conclusions with little or no evidence (“my boss thinks I’m incompetent”) and doubt their ability to cope with stressors (“I’ll be devastated if I don’t get the promotion”). To reappraise negative thoughts, treat them as hypotheses instead of facts and consider other possibilities. Regularly practicing this skill can help people reduce negative emotions in response to stressors.

About the Authors

Nicole J. LeBlanc is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Harvard University, where she conducts research on the association between social factors and the development and maintenance of emotional disorders. She is also a clinical … See Full Bio

Dr. Luana Marques is the director and founder of Community Psychiatry PRIDE at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at The State … See Full Bio

Resource:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/03/americas-workers-stressed-out-overwhelmed-totally-exhausted/284615/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-handle-stress-at-work-2019041716436

How to Design a Winning Business Model

To find and retaining a market position, a business strategy must either do things different from rivals or the same things in different ways.

Formulate the Winning Strategy
Choose and Capitalize on Business Strategy

T extbooks sometimes explain business strategy simply as a firm’s high-level plan for reaching specific business objectives. Strategic plans succeed when they lead to business growth, a strong competitive position, and strong financial performance. When the high-level strategy fails, however, the firm must either change its approach or prepare to go out of business.

Define Your Terms!

Define Business Strategy

Business strategy is the firm’s working plan for achieving its vision, prioritizing objectives, competing successfully, and optimizing financial performance with its business model.

The choice of objectives is the heart of the strategy, but a complete approach also describes concretely how the firm plans to meet these objectives. As a result, the strategy explains in practical terms how the firm differentiates itself from competitors, how it earns revenues, and where it earns margins.

Business strategy explains how the firm differentiates, generates revenues, earns margins.

Strategy in business—like strategy in chess—must have tangible objectives, a realistic plan for reaching them, and accurate knowledge of strengths and vulnerabilities. [Photo: Battle of the Somme, soldiers on break playing chess. Querrieu, France, October 1916]

Business strategy explains how the firm differentiates, generates revenues, earns margins.

Strategy in business—like strategy in chess—must have tangible objectives, a realistic plan for reaching them, and accurate knowledge of strengths and vulnerabilities. [Photo: Battle of the Somme, soldiers on break playing chess. Querrieu, France, October 1916]

Strategies Reflect the Firm’s Strengths, Vulnerabilities, Resources, and Opportunities. They also Reflect the Firm’s Competitors and Its Market.

Many different strategies and business models are possible, even for companies in the same industry selling similar products or services. Southwest Airlines (in the US) and Ryan Air (in Europe), for instance, have strategies based on providing low-cost transportation. The approach for Singapore Airlines focuses instead on brand image for luxury and quality service. In competitive industries, each firm formulates a strategy it believes it can exploit.

Formulating Strategy Is All About Meeting Objectives (Goals)

In business, the strategy begins with a focus on the highest level objective in private industry: Increasing owner value. For most companies that is the firm’s reason for being. In practical terms, however, firms achieve this objective only by earning profits. For most firms, therefore, the highest goal can be stated by referring to “profits.” The generic business strategy, therefore, aims first to earn, sustain, and grow profits.

An Abundance of Strategies

Strategy discussions are sometimes confusing because most firms have many strategies, not just a single “business strategy.” Analysts sometimes say marketing strategy when they mean the firm’s competitive strategy. And, a firm’s financial strategy is something different from its pricing strategy, or operational strategy. The firm’s many strategic plans interact, but they have different objectives and different action plans.

The Strategic Framework

The strategic framework is a hierarchy. At the top sits the firm’s overall (or generic) business strategy. Here, the aim is the highest-level business objective: earn, sustain, and grow profits. Some may immediately ask: Exactly how does the firm achieve it’s profit objectives?

Firms in competitive industries answer the “how” question by explaining how the firm competes. For these firms, therefore, the overall business strategy is rightly called a competitive strategy. A “competitive strategy” explains in general terms how the firm differentiates itself from the competition, defines its market, and creates customer demand.

However, detailed and concrete answers to the “how” question lie in lower level strategies, such as the marketing strategy, operational strategy, or financial strategy, The marketing strategy, for instance, might aim to “Achieve leading market share.” Or, “Establish leading brand awareness.” Financial strategy objectives might include: “Maintain sufficient working capital” or “Create a high-leverage capital structure.”

What Is a Business Model, Really?

Everyone agrees that executives must know how business models work if their organizations are to thrive, yet there continues to be little agreement on an operating definition. Management writer Joan Magretta defined a business model as “the story that explains how an enterprise works,” harking back to Peter Drucker, who described it as the answer to the questions: Who is your customer, what does the customer value, and how do you deliver value at an appropriate cost?

Other experts define a business model by specifying the main characteristics of a good one. For example, Harvard Business School’s Clay Christensen suggests that a business model should consist of four elements: a customer value proposition, a profit formula, key resources, and key processes. Such descriptions undoubtedly help executives evaluate business models, but they impose preconceptions about what they should look like and may constrain the development of radically different ones.

Our studies suggest that one component of a business model must be the choices that executives make about how the organization should operate—choices such as compensation practices, procurement contracts, location of facilities, extent of vertical integration, sales and marketing initiatives, and so on. Managerial choices, of course, have consequences. For instance, pricing (a choice) affects sales volume, which, in turn, shapes the company’s scale economies and bargaining power (both consequences). These consequences influence the company’s logic of value creation and value capture, so they too must have a place in the definition. In its simplest conceptualization, therefore, a business model consists of a set of managerial choices and the consequences of those choices.

Companies make three types of choices when creating business models. Policy choices determine the actions an organization takes across all its operations (such as using nonunion workers, locating plants in rural areas, or encouraging employees to fly coach class). Asset choices pertain to the tangible resources a company deploys (manufacturing facilities or satellite communication systems, for instance). And governance choices refer to how a company arranges decision-making rights over the other two (should we own or lease machinery?). Seemingly innocuous differences in the governance of policies and assets influence their effectiveness a great deal.

Consequences can be either flexible or rigid. A flexible consequence is one that responds quickly when the underlying choice changes. For example, choosing to increase prices will immediately result in lower volumes. By contrast, a company’s culture of frugality—built over time through policies that oblige employees to fly economy class, share hotel rooms, and work out of Spartan offices—is unlikely to disappear immediately even when those choices change, making it a rigid consequence. These distinctions are important because they affect competitiveness. Unlike flexible consequences, rigid ones are difficult to imitate because companies need time to build them.

Take, for instance, Ryanair, which switched in the early 1990s from a traditional business model to a low-cost one. The Irish airline eliminated all frills, cut costs, and slashed prices to unheard-of levels. The choices the company made included offering low fares, flying out of only secondary airports, catering to only one class of passenger, charging for all additional services, serving no meals, making only short-haul flights, and utilizing a standardized fleet of Boeing 737s. It also chose to use a nonunionized workforce, offer high-powered incentives to employees, operate out of a lean headquarters, and so on. The consequences of those choices were high volumes, low variable and fixed costs, a reputation for reasonable fares, and an aggressive management team, to name a few. (See “Ryanair’s Business Model Then and Now.”) The result is a business model that enables Ryanair to offer a decent level of service at a low cost without radically lowering customers’ willingness to pay for its tickets.

Ryanair’s Business Model Then and Now

This depiction of Ryanair’s business model in the 1980s highlights the airline’s major choices at the time: offering excellent service and operating with a standardized fleet. The airline was forced to redesign its business model in the face of stiff competition.

Ryanair’s current business model rests on the key choices of offering customers low fares and providing nothing free. The rigid consequences include a reputation for fair fares and low fixed costs. Ryanair’s choices are aligned with its goals, generate cycles that reinforce the business model, and are robust given that it has been operating as a low-cost airline for 20 years.

Is it aligned with company goals?

The choices made while designing a business model should deliver consequences that enable an organization to achieve its goals. This may seem obvious until you consider a counterexample. In the 1970s, Xerox set up Xerox PARC, which spawned technological innovations such as laser printing, Ethernet, the graphical user interface, and very large scale integration for semiconductors. However, Xerox PARC was notoriously unable to spawn new businesses or capture value from its innovations for the parent due to a distressing lack of alignment with Xerox’s goals.

The choices that executives make while creating a business model should complement one another; there must be internal consistency. If, ceteris paribus, a low-cost airline were to decide to provide a level of comfort comparable to that offered by a full-fare carrier such as British Airways, the change would require reducing the number of seats on each plane and offering food and coffee. These choices would undermine the airline’s low-cost structure and wreck its profits. When there’s a lack of reinforcement, it’s possible to refine the business model by abandoning some choices and making new ones.

Business Strategy Examples

I’d like to wrap up this article with a collection of short examples extracted from the book, showing each of the strategies we have discussed above in action and applied to a real-life business:

Differentiation Strategy

The goal of a differentiation strategy is not to “compete” with rivals and take them out of business but quite the opposite: its goal is to avoid frontal competition by being unique, and a perception map as we saw earlier can help us do that.

For example, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) owns more than 50 brands of flavored beverages including 7Up, Canada Dry, Snapple, Mott’s, Hawaiian Punch, Orange Crush and Sunkist, all of which occupy leadership positions in the very crowded and competitive refreshment drink shelves.

Different brands belonging to DR Pepper Snapple group. This is at the core of their differentiation strategy.

These products, however, are unique in what they offer and are positioned in their buyers’ minds as top brands in their respective categories, and DPS didn’t need to destroy Coke or Pepsi to achieve its position.

Strategic product re-positioning

If you find yourself in a dogfight over commoditized offers, you can still find a way out by focusing on narrower segments of customers or flipping to a low-price leadership strategy within that segment.

For decades since its introduction in the late 1800s Ivory, a soap bar manufactured by Procter & Gamble (P&G), enjoyed a privileged differentiation leadership position, being the brand that defined and resembled what “cleanness” meant in the soap category.

But when new deodorant soaps and “beauty bars” like Dial and Dove, which featured deodorant and skin care ingredients, became serious competitors in the mid 60s, P&G decided to reposition its iconic brand to become the low-price leader in the soap market, rather than engaging in head-to-head competition with the new entrants.

Ivory re-positioning strategy

The idea of repositioning is to zig when they zag. If low-price competition is tough, then slowly move onto a differentiated position or vice versa. If neither position works, narrow your target segment and move to a niche approach and restart the whole strategy process again.

Low-price leadership and strategy

In the case of Ivory, for example, the air bubbles that helped the soap float also helped reduce costs because the soap needed less materials, which in addition to basic wrapping, lack of deodorant and scent ingredients and low promotion, helped the product achieve costs advantages that other soap bars could not even dream of.

Market penetration strategy

Miller ad to increase appeal to male markets. A big shift in their market strategy.

Don’t forget that customer segments are just categorizations that YOU choose and there are many ways to go about it. So when a market is not growing, slicing it in a different way may help find new segments that could find the product valuable.

Market development strategy

When trying to target new markets, what you must look for is groups of people that could use the benefits of your solutions, but that for any number of reasons haven’t been targeted by your current market segmentation strategy.

Through Nespresso, Nestlé found a way to capture an entirely new market for its coffee: customers who preferred to make a great cup of fresh java at home, rather than having to get in their car or wait in line to buy one.

In this perfectly crafted business strategy, Nestlé created a great “vehicle” to deliver its coffee products making them a perfect match for each other, reminding us a bit of the success of Gillette’s famous razor and blade business model, where the company would make money from the blades, not the razor.

Strategic product improvements

This is the most common type of innovation and the one most people are familiar with. Things like “whiteness” in toothpaste, download speed in internet services, or storage capacity in computers are all good examples of linear product improvements, where every new product just offers more of it.

Basic structure of a corporate venture capital deal

Best Business Strategy Books

The content of this article has been extracted from Strategy for Executives™, a book that provides a fundamental, but practical, framework to understand and create a solid business’s strategy from scratch, applicable to the dynamic conditions that modern executives face in pretty much every market today.

There are many great business strategy books to choose from, including our all-time favorites The Innovator Solution by Clayton Christensen and Understanding Michael Porter by Joan Magretta, but why go through all these different frameworks and ideas, some of them outdated, when you can get a unified map to business strategy that incorporates all of them in a single framework?

Strategy for Executives, which is now free to download here, is based on extensive multi-year research, where we broke down the most popular strategy frameworks of the last 40 years, extracted their core ideas, and tied them all together into a single didactical and self-contained body of knowledge.

The research was led by Sun Wu, a seasoned Fortune 500 executive with more than 15 years of real-life experience, complemented by a thorough revision of more than 300 books and research papers, and over 500 hours of videos, interviews and formal training.

The result is a combination of fundamental concepts and a concise map to the strategy choices that modern executives have to make to thrive in today’s highly competitive markets.

Download Strategy for Executives book

Sources:

https://www.business-case-analysis.com/business-strategy.html
https://hbr.org/2011/01/how-to-design-a-winning-business-model
https://strategyforexecs.com/business-strategy/

How to Become A Content Writer

contractor blogging

What is Content Writing?

Content writing is the practice of preparing value-added content pieces that educate the readers, improves branding, solve the confusion, and pulls the prospective customers towards the end of the buying funnel.

Different types of content have unique formats of writing, and content writers must always equip themselves with the techniques of writing to ensure they come up with outstanding content for digital marketing.

For one to become a most-sought content writer, they must be ready to put in more effort into the work. Every content writer must have some research skills to ensure their content is original and high quality.

The essence of content writing is to provide reliable information to a target audience. Therefore, before writing anything, professional content writers must research widely to provide their audience with valid information.

Since every form of content has a unique style of writing, a content writer must, therefore, equip themselves with the different styles to come up with opinionated content. Additionally, the content must be engaging enough to capture the audience’s attention.

Types of Content Writing

If you are looking forward to choosing the right type of content writing that you can invest in for your marketing campaign, you don’t have to look anywhere. Below are some of the most common types of content writing that you can venture:

  • Ghostwriting: in this type of content writing, you hire someone to write you quality content, pay them, and retain the copyright over the content. In this type of writing, both the writer and the person hiring them benefits.
  • Press Release Writing: A press release is the most common type of content writing that most companies use to create brand awareness. If your company is launching a new product or you intend to announce some latest development in company management, you can come up with a press release and publish it in a magazine or newspaper to connect with your target audience. You can also publish a press release on different social media platforms to drive more traffic to your website.
  • Business Writing: This is a form of writing that professionals in a business or company use for internal communication. Examples of business writing include internal memos, official email, and reports.
  • Research Paper Writing: It is a special type of content writing that requires you to have a deep understanding of the subject you want to write. Before you can publish your research paper on a journal, it has to be evaluated by a Ph.D. holder.
  • SEO Copywriting: In this type of content writing, you are simply creating content that can help websites rank at the top of SERP and drive more traffic. You have to include some keywords and internal links on the content to make it SEO-friendly before you can publish it on the internet.
  • Social Media Writing: In this form of content writing, you come up with content that you can post on social media platforms to educate and inform your target audience. The objective of social media writing is to create content that can initiate a conversation so that the audience can engage with your brand by liking and commenting on the post.
  • Technical Writing: It’s about coming up with detail-oriented content like FAQ about products and instruction manuals. To create technical content, a writer must have in-depth knowledge of the subject.

How to Get Content Writing Jobs

You can get content writing jobs a few different ways. It’s best to reach out to companies directly or to apply for freelance content writing positions that are advertised on websites like Indeed.com. Applying to posted calls for freelance writers can be a good way to know which companies are looking for new writers. However, companies that post these ads end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants, which can make it difficult for new content writers to obtain their first clients.

Contacting marketing agencies, content writing companies, magazines, and other companies that put out a lot of content can be a more effective strategy for many writers. The editors at these companies might be too busy to put out an advertisement for new writers and there will be fewer applicants with whom to compete. Fortunately, you don’t need many clients to become a full-time freelance content writer. Many writers have enough work with only a handful of regular clients. If you’re going to charge your clients by the hour instead of per word, using freelance time trackers like Traqq can be a great way to calculate your work hours and show your clients proof of your hourly work.

Best Paid Content Writing Tools

The following tools make it easy and affordable to become a freelance content writer. While there are probably ways to get by without paying for these writing tools, the alternatives may take more time and cost you clients.

Grammarly reviews your work for spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. It’s free to use for these basic features through the browser-based system. The premium version checks for additional criteria, such as plagiarism and passive voice. Since writing errors can cost you a client relationship, this is well worth the annual fee.

You can access Google Docs for free. For some clients, this is enough. However, the industry standard is .docx files from Microsoft Word. To open client files and to properly format documents, you will need a licensed copy of Microsoft Office.

Creating your writer’s website on WordPress.com is easy and affordable. Most freelance content writers don’t need to invest their money on a large custom website hosting provider. A WordPress.com page on a domain you own is enough to host your writing portfolio, biography, and contact information.

How do I start content writing?

1. Enrol in a course

2. Practice your writing talents

3. Develop complementary skills

However, there are other skills that can come in handy, and improve your chances of getting the attention of potential clients. For instance, you’ll need fantastic communication skills to interact with clients and companies you work with.

4. Find your niche

Focusing on a specific area of specialization could mean you work best for companies in the healthcare or technology industry. The more you focus on this space, the more you develop your reputation and attract potential future clients.

Alternatively, your niche could involve looking at a specific aspect of content writing. You might be particularly good at writing engaging blog posts, creating social media content, or producing whitepapers for technical companies.

5. Build your experience

The best way to begin building experience as a content writer is to create a portfolio of work you can share with your employers. These are basically examples of your content, in the form of ad mock-ups, blog posts, and social media campaign ideas.

Contributing to reputable sites, even if you don’t get paid for it, will help to demonstrate your writing skills. You can also consider offering clients a discount price in exchange for a review when you finish their project.

How Much Do Content Writers Get Pay?

Content Writer Annual Salary

Content writing can be a highly engaging and satisfying job role for many people. It’s an exciting career, with plenty of opportunities to be creative work with new people, and develop your skills. However, it also requires significant dedication and hard work.

Alex Chris is a digital marketing consultant, author, and instructor. He has more than 18 years of practical experience with SEO and digital marketing. Alex holds an MSc Degree in eCommerce and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies in different industries. He blogs regularly about SEO and Digital marketing, and his work has been referenced by leading marketing websites. Connect with Alex on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Digital Marketing Training

What is the workplace/work environment of Content Writer like?

Content writing jobs are research-based jobs that can be easily carried out from the desk. Most parts of the content writing career can be covered from the desk itself. Although depending on the niche one is working on, one might be required to schedule interviews, and travel to certain places in order to collect facts and figures. Mostly, content writers work in corporate industries i.e. spending most of their time in the office over their desk.

Does Content Writer require travelling?

Not Likely

Generally, in the content writing career, one does not have to travel. Though a few times employees might be required to visit a particular place or talk to a particular group of people in order to know the pragmatic scenario depending on the domain of content writing. Travelling totally depends on the niche one is working on. For instance, content specialists working in a travelling domain will be required to travel intensely whereas one working on a normal niche might perform his/her role from the desk itself.

Employment Shifts

Full Time, Part Time, Hourly Basis, On Call, Work From Home

The work can be done remotely, though it depends on the requirements and specifications of the content writing jobs. Jobs for content writers in India have been classified into various categories and depending upon the category/domain one is working for, the requirements and specifications for content writers are decided. There are plenty of business models that hire for content writing jobs to work from home, whereas there are organisations that provide jobs on a full-time basis. Hence, the shift details are uncertain and vary according to the roles and responsibilities one is required to fulfill.

Employment Nature

Contractual, Permanent

Content writing industry holds jobs on both contractual and permanent basis. There are plenty of writers working as freelancers on a contractual basis and also there are full-time employees working for a particular organisation in the career as content writer.

Work Place

Home Office, Office

Presence in Geographical Area

Urban, Semi-urban

Generally, in the career as a content writer, individuals work in corporate sectors which are located in tier-1 cities i.e. urban areas. However, there are plenty of content writers who work remotely and hence can be found in any city around the country. The major hub of content writing is situated in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, and Mumbai. Most of the third-party companies, start-ups, advertising agencies, service providers, business models are situated in these cities and hence creating a plethora of jobs for content writers in India.

Time Pressure

Not Likely

Usually, in the career as a content writer, individuals are required to work 8-9 hours a day from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening. However, there might be cases where they might be required to work past their normal shift due to the demand for work or clients. Occasionally, they are likely to face some time pressure depending on the workload in content writing jobs.

Overtime Details

Since it is a desk-based job, the workplace is mostly situated in corporate sectors in the career of a content writer. Individuals in the content writing career path are usually not required to work overtime. Although exceptions exist and they might be required to work overtime depending on the demand for their work.

Weekly Hours of Work

Min 45 Hours

Since it is a desk-based job, the workplace is mostly situated in corporate sectors in the content writing career. Jobs for content writers in India does not require to work for overtime. Although exceptions exist and they might be required to work overtime depending on the demand of their work.

How to become a Content Writer?

Clear 10+2

Entrance Examination

Several universities and colleges conduct entrance examinations to provide admissions for content writing courses. Students are required to appear in entrance examinations to get admissions in respective colleges and universities in order to make a career as content writer. Admissions are provided on the basis of the evaluation of student’s performance in the entrance examination. Admissions are also provided on the basis of 10+2 passing percentage. We have mentioned below popular entrance examinations.

Bachelor

Students are required to enroll in a bachelor’s degree programme after successful completion of 10+2. A bachelor’s in journalism or English is ideally preferred by employers. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in any specialisation can opt for a content writer career. We have mentioned below the popular bachelor’s degrees.

Post Bachelor

Option 1 : After completion of a bachelor’s degree programme, the candidates can further opt for a master’s degree programme without any gap in the academic year. After completion of a master’s degree programme in the related specialization, they can start working in the industry at an entry-level role.

Option 2 : After completion of a bachelor’s degree programme, the candidates can start working in the industry in an entry-level role. After gaining experience of one or two years working in the industry, he or she can further opt for a master’s degree programme.

Resources:

https://seosandwitch.com/what-is-content-writing/
https://contentwriters.com/blog/become-content-writer/
https://www.reliablesoft.net/content-writing/
https://www.coursera.org/courses?query=content%20writing
https://www.careers360.com/careers/content-writer

Best Part-Time Jobs for Engineering Students That Pay Well

young woman taking book from shelf

Best Jobs for College Students

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded CareerToolBelt.com and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years.

Free time can be scarce during college, but when expenses pile up quickly, a part-time or flexible schedule job is a good way to offset costs while ensuring there’s enough time left over for both academics and extracurriculars.

If you’re a college student looking for a job, the best place to start your job search is right on campus. There are tons of on-campus part-time job opportunities and, as a student, you’ll automatically be given hiring priority. Plus, on-campus jobs eliminate commuting time and can be a great way to connect with academic and professional resources at your university. Check with your school’s career office or student employment office for help finding a campus job. If you receive financial aid, also check on jobs available through your campus work-study program.

Of course, there are opportunities for part-time work off-campus, too. Spend a little time digging for the right kind of part-time job, that leaves you with enough time to get your school work done. Also consider lining up an online job, part-time evening job or flexible gig where you can set your own schedule. You’ll be able to up your earnings from the comfort of your dorm room or apartment.

Tour Guide

male student giving college campus tour to two women

If you’re a senior, junior or even a sophomore, chances are you know your campus pretty well. Why not take advantage of that knowledge and work for your college’s admissions department? Admissions relies on outgoing, friendly students to give group and personal tours, and talk to potential students about all that the college has to offer.

How to Land the Job: Ask your admissions department about openings. Not only is it a job that looks good on your resume, it’s also convenient because you don’t even have to leave campus to get to work.

Research and Academic Jobs

1. Internet Researcher ($15-19 USD per hour)

Becoming an internet researcher is a great option if you’re tech savvy – which is almost every college student nowadays. Getting paid to surf the web in the comfort of your own home sounds like a dream job, and really can be one, as long as you’re able to stay on task and find the information you’re looking for.

If you find work as an internet researcher, you could be researching for a broad range of industries, from looking for online information for law firms to doing the legwork for university or college departments. There’s really no limit to who you could be working for when you’re an internet researcher.

2. Research Assistant ($7-28 USD per hour)

Working as a research assistant as a part-time job could be the ideal position for any engineering student who wants to get serious about their education, whether it’s to pursue a career in academia or further their education with a masters or doctorate after they graduate.

If you’re looking for a position as a research assistant at your school, there are two main methods students use to get these jobs. Firstly, you could be lucky enough to find and apply for a job posting through your school’s career center or an online job board. Secondly, you could get close to your professors and talk to them before and after class. Let them know you’re looking for a research assistant position in their department – they might have a position for you!

Being a research assistant would be advantageous if you’d like to make connections in the engineering field or if you’d like to spend more time learning about engineering in an academic setting.

3. Teaching Assistant ($8-18 USD per hour)

If you aced one of the classes you took last year, get in touch with your professor and let them know how much you enjoyed taking the class. When you ask about a teaching assistant position, you might be delighted to find they’re looking for someone for the role already.

However, it’s important to know that being a teaching assistant requires a mastery of the course material you’re working with and strong communication skills to help other students. You need to be confident that you fully understand a subject before you apply for a teaching assistant role.

4. High School, College, or University Tutor ($9-22 USD per hour)

If you’re an engineering student who wants to help other people and likes studying, becoming a tutor could be the perfect position for you. Working as a high school, college, or university tutor is an emotionally rewarding part-time job that could yield many benefits for your future career.

The most common ways to get a job as a tutor is to either apply for a position as a private tutor through a job board or apply for a tutoring position at a tutoring company in your local area. Generally speaking, private tutoring can be more lucrative, but it’s also more complicated to set up. Working for a business that hires tutors is easier, but can often pay less than a private gig.

5. ESL Tutor ($12-41 USD per hour)

Working as an ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor is a great option if you enjoy spending time speaking with new people and learning about different cultures. You can work as a private ESL tutor, as well as work as a tutor for an English language school or business in your area.

Don’t speak another language? No problem! While speaking another language is a definite advantage to teaching someone a new language, you may be surprised to learn that you don’t actually have to be bilingual to be an ESL tutor.

To be a great ESL tutor, you’ll need to have interpersonal and communication skills, patience, and an excellent understanding of the English language. However, if you’d like to become a professional ESL teacher, you may require additional certifications to teach in your area.

Creative and Writing Jobs

6. Freelance Writer ($7-90 USD per hour)

part-time jobs for engineering students - Freelance Writer Jobs

Freelancing as a writer can be extremely flexible and remarkably lucrative, as long as you have the time, determination, and knack for writing to make it work. If you’re a talented writer and know how to turn up well paying writing gigs, freelance writing can be an excellent part-time job solution.

There are many benefits to being a freelance writer, such as working wherever you want, making your own hours, setting your own writing fees, and being able to find clients and projects you genuinely care about. Plus, you get to write for a living, which is a dream come true for many people.

On the other hand, freelance writing is a very competitive gig. It can be hard to find clients and projects, and you need to be timely, responsible, communicative, and disciplined to be successful as a freelance writer. Freelance writing isn’t for everyone, but for some engineering students, it’s the perfect fit for a part-time job.

7. Grant Writer ($7-48 USD per hour)

Working as a grant writer is very similar to working as a freelance writer, except that writing grants is a specialized skill that has very clear-cut rules and goals. While the work can be less varied than freelance writing, grant writing allows you to get really good at a very particular type of written work.

Many grant writers work as freelancers to apply for a small amount of different grants, such as being a freelance grant writer for musicians and artists who apply for government and arts council grants. Other grant writers work as employees for companies, businesses, and non-profits.

8. Social Media Coordinator ($12-25 USD per hour)

If you’re an engineering student who’s addicted to posting to Facebook, surfing hashtags on Twitter, or commenting on Instagram, working as a social media coordinator could be the ideal part-time job for you.

The role of a social media coordinator is to create social media campaigns, run advertising budgets, schedule regular social media posts, and monitor and analyze social media data to find trends, engage audiences, and support the marketing team’s efforts.

9. Freelance Photographer ($11-101 USD per hour)

If you answered, “Yes,” to these questions, then working as a freelance photographer could be a great part-time job for you. It might surprise you that many freelance photographers become successful based on practical experience, not formal training or education.

You don’t need a fancy diploma to become a successful freelance photographer, just an amazing photography portfolio, an ability to hustle for clients and gigs, and savvy business sense.

Resource:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/best-part-time-jobs-for-college-students-2059855
https://www.resume.com/career-advice/getting-a-job/part-time-jobs-for-engineering-students-that-pay-well/

48 Useful Tips to Prepare for Freshman Year of College

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Money saving tips

1. Keep scouting for scholarships

And because you’ll be applying at off-peak times, you’ll have less competition from other students, and therefore a higher chance of snagging those funds. Every scholarship dollar you earn is a one less dollar tacked onto your student loans.

2. Use the resources you’re paying for

le. Everything you see on your campus is paid for, in part, by your tuition dollars. In that way, not taking advantage of campus resources is like leaving money on the table. You’ve already paid for it. Why not use it?

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3. Leave your car at home

Most college campuses with dorms are designed to be walkable and that’s especially so these days as colleges compete with each other to be more sustainable. With buses, bikes, college shuttles, and car shares, there are lots of options to get you where you need to go.

4. Comparison shop for your books

5. Take advantage of free pizza

Lots of clubs and organizations offer free pizza if you attend their informational session. What’s not to like about free food? You might even find out about cool programs or opportunities in the process.

6. Consider a small part-time job, especially in your field

Studies have found that students who work 12 hours or less each week actually do better in school than their peers who don’t work, perhaps because the extra obligation forces them to focus and stick to a schedule.

Regardless, working can be beneficial to more than just your wallet—just remember to practice moderation. If you sign yourself up for too many hours at work, your grades will likely suffer as a result.

7. Avoid credit cards

Credit card companies bombard college campuses with credit card offers, hoping young students with no financial experience will sign up, unable to resist the temptation of quick money. But credit card debt can pile up quickly and destroy your credit if you aren’t careful.

Don’t sign up for any credit card offers you receive until you are completely sure you understand how it works and are fully equipped to manage it responsibly. (And don’t just take the salesperson’s word on how easy and great it is. Their job is to get you to sign up.)

Better yet: Take a personal finance course or read books on the topic (there are plenty that aren’t snooze-fests) and learn how to use credit cards responsibly and to your advantage.

8. Pay a bit towards your student loans

If you’ve got a part-time gig and you have a little money coming in, why not kick at least some of it toward any of your student loans that are accruing interest? Making interest-only payments can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, and allow you to get out of debt faster.

It doesn’t have to be a ton — just $10 a month or a chunk of your summer earnings will help whittle down that balance and make your student loan payments that much smaller after you graduate.

9. Scrutinize financial offers and quick-cash work

Some are legitimate, like selling programs for football games or doing experiments for the psychology department. But not all financial offers have your best interests at heart. Be wary of signing your name away for a “free gift.”

10. Get to know the dining hall options

If you’re tired of turkey sandwiches, try other locations on campus. These days, campuses offer a lot of different styles of food to cater to all kinds of students. Depending what resources you have in your room, consider cutting down on your meal plan and buying more groceries you can eat in your dorm, like frozen dinners or PB&Js.

11. Take your bike

Tips for making new friends freshman year

Another big stress point for incoming students is finding a new group of friends. Follow these tips to learn more about student organizations and other ways to make friends your freshman year.

friends

1. Join clubs

Find people that make you feel like yourself and like you belong. Setting up that social network is vital to combatting loneliness and homesickness in your first year of college.

2. Avoid a really serious relationship

More than any other time in your life, college is your time to learn about yourself. It’s a time to explore possible career paths, friends, and interests. A time to go on road trips and explore new places and people.

College students in serious, long-term relationships, rightly so, devote a lot of time to their significant other. But that time and mental energy has to come from somewhere. When you’re spending time with your partner, you’re less likely to be spending that time forging new friendships, trying new things, or just generally focusing on your own needs.

3. Be candid with your roommate(s)

You have to see this person every single day. You also want your room to be a refuge and a place to relax and unwind. But you can’t do that if there’s tension between you and your roommate or roommates.

When a disagreement arises between you, as they tend to do with most roommates eventually, the most important thing to do is talk through it. You could even try texting or emailing if face-to-face is too uncomfortable for you.

4. Leave your dorm room

It’s tempting when you’re going through a transition to isolate yourself and stick to the comfort of your dorm. But keeping yourself roped off is one of the worst things you can do. Isolation is self-perpetuating.

5. Split a ride home

6. Scope out next year’s living situation

Find a good studying place

College life is about seeking a balance between your social and academic activities. As such, look for distraction-free studying areas. The campus library can be an excellent place to start. Alternatively, if you can’t find a suitable reading place, learn to read and prioritize in the face of distraction. Remember, that your time will not only be occupied by classes alone. You’ll have exams, assignments, and studying commitments. Therefore, you need to make sure you prepare for these activities ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute to start reading for an exam.

Use your syllabi to categorize and plan your reading schedules. Ask for the programs for each course you are taking from the instructor and plan for your whole semester ahead. This will allow you to work hard and play hard.

Be open-minded about who your friends might be.

mk

“In college, you may meet peers of different races, ethnicities, religions, and immigration status than you. You will meet peers who came up in life richer than you and poorer than you. You will meet peers who are artists, entrepreneurs, writers, math brains, and committed scientists. There is something to be learned from them all and all of these kinds of people can become incredible friends.

“They will influence you in ways you cannot predict, which is why open-mindedness is key. The social aspect of college is surprisingly important for growth and learning. Think of your friends group in college as part of an important network that will stretch into your 20s and beyond.” -Monika Kincheloe, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

Source:

https://www.nitrocollege.com/blog/pro-tips-incoming-freshmen
https://www.edarabia.com/college-tips-every-freshman-should-know/
https://www.americaspromise.org/news/what-advice-would-you-give-yourself-college-freshman

100 Inspiring Time Management Quotes To Ensure You Never Run Out Of Time!

Time Management Quotes about making it

Time management quotes to inspire productivity

12. “Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.” ― Carl Sandburg

15. “He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.” ― Victor Hugo

16. “Habitual procrastinators will readily testify to all the lost opportunities, missed deadlines, failed relationships and even monetary losses incurred just because of one nasty habit of putting things off until it is often too late.” ― Stephen Richards

18. “You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you.” ― Tony Morgan

20. Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” – Earl Nightingale

Funny quotes about time management

time quotes to motivate you and your team in 2021

Philosopher Henry David Thoreau is well-known for questioning what we think we know about society and the world around it. Drawing comparisons to the world all around, Thoreau questions why we are busy and what are we doing with our time? Are we busy like ants, trying to build a new nest, or are we merely keeping busy to fill the time? While it might be funny to think of humans as creatures scuttling about, look a little closer and consider if you’re productively using your day or simply keeping busy for busyness’ sake. Once you’ve done that, it might be time to make some changes to reinvigorate your routine.

time quotes to motivate you and your team in 2021

Although Ms. Chanel might’ve warned against beating on a wall in the hope that it might become a door, her biography paints her as doing just that. Overcoming poverty to become a world-famous fashion designer is no easy feat, after all. Or maybe it’s best to interpret this phrase another way. If you see no solution to your problem – such as a missing door – try another solution, a window perhaps. You are the master of your own fate and timekeeping, so don’t waste it.

time quotes to motivate you and your team in 2021

If it’s getting to the end of the day and you’re sitting and running through a list of all those tasks you need to reassign until tomorrow; you’re not alone. Trying to accomplish too much in one day is a fool’s game, no matter how admirable it may be. There’s simply never enough time to do it all – managing a family, work projects, house cleaning, hobbies, evening classes, etc. In fact, you’d have to be the Flash to get all that done, and he’d probably struggle too. So, if you’ve done your best work, and your team is satisfied, then it’s time to put down that computer or those tools, take a well-earned rest, and accept that those tasks will simply have to wait until tomorrow.

time quotes to motivate you and your team in 2021

Time might pass and the day’s challenges with it, but if you want something to change in your life, then that’s down to you. If you’re content with how things are going, let time pass as it does. But if you have the desire for growth, and to push your company forward, then it’s time to get down to business. Make every moment count by actively engaging in activities that will make that happen. Start by monitoring what you currently do with your time (and what your team does), then adjust that to make it work more efficiently towards your goals. That way, you’ll soon become the pilot of your own success.

time quotes to motivate you and your team in 2021

What are you doing right this second? Aside from reading this article, that is. Are you planning your next meeting, wondering whether to create a conference call for the project or even to get started with that startup idea you had? If you’re like most of us, you might be ‘planning’ these things, but there’s never a deadline. You might say to yourself, “I’ll start on Monday.” Then Monday will roll around, and it’ll be next week, then the next. Take matters into your own hands and get started on working on making the future a reality. When? Well, there’s no better time than the present. What are you waiting for?

time quotes to motivate you and your team in 2021

“If only there were 25 hours in a day or 8 days in a week.” If you’ve caught yourself muttering these phrases, perhaps after another Sunday working, then you may have a problem with time management. Of course, there is enough time for everything if you have no deadlines, but that’s not the reality. To be able to optimize your day and make the most out of the precise time we have, while having a little time to relax, it’s essential to get your timekeeping in order. Sit down the night before and plan the day ahead. Try not to over-schedule yourself, as tempting as it may be, and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day, without putting any undue stress on yourself. By planning in advance, you’ll save yourself a massive headache and will be able to head to bed and not worry about what tomorrow will bring.

Source:

https://blog.vantagecircle.com/time-management-quotes/
https://everydaypower.com/time-management-quotes/
https://everhour.com/blog/time-management-quotes/

ESL Insights: 8 English Writing Techniques You Probably Didn’t Know


This tension-packed approach works particularly well for mysteries and thrillers, but if your writing tends to be lighter on plot, this writing technique might still be a fit. Literary fiction that focuses on mood, attributes importance to the mundane, or dives into a character’s psyche might benefit from the “vignette” approach. A concise yet evocative account of a moment in time is often the best way to capture a person, event, or place in a piece that lacks plot.

If writing in English is a challenge for you, you’re not alone. An article on the Oxford Royale Academy’s website, a leading international summer learning program in the UK, discusses the many reasons why English is a difficult language to learn and write. Among those reasons include:

However, despite these challenges for English language learners, writing in English can be an exciting way to explore how words interact with each other through various literary devices, otherwise known as literary techniques. English language writers have been using these techniques for centuries to make their writing stand out and memorable for readers. In this article, we will explore some of the best English writing techniques to use to take your writing to the next level and move beyond the basics. The best part is—whether you are just learning to write in English or have been writing for decades, these techniques will always enhance your writing and make it more enjoyable for audiences to read.

Metaphor and Simile

Metaphorical writing is the power of poets and should be a part of your daily writing practice if you want to enhance your English writing skills. A metaphor is a figure of speech that forms a comparison, whether implied or implicit, between two unrelated things. In other words, a metaphor draws a connection or resemblance between two different or contradictory things. A simile, by comparison, is a metaphorical expression that uses the words "like" or "as".

Hyperbole is the deliberate use of exaggeration and claims that are not meant to be taken literally. Many times, an expression can contain both hyperbole and simile, such as the sentence used in the paragraphs above, "Her smile is as bright as the sun." The reader understands that her smile was not literally the same as the sun but the hyperbole allows the writer to express emphasis in an engaging and creative way.

Activating the senses

One writing technique that can breathe new life into your work is focusing on the oft-neglected senses. Readers are used to knowing how things look and sound (“he had dark, beady eyes like a hawk; his voice was deep and peppy like a tuba in an oompah band”) but you can often add greater dimension to your writing by evoking smells, tastes, and tactile sensations.

Smell

We rarely mention how something smells unless it’s exceptionally pleasant or foul — but our noses can remember things our eyes have long forgotten. In writing, a carefully invoked smell can summon a reader’s own sense-memory: the smell of freshly buttered popcorn can take you to the lobby of a movie theater; a whiff of bodily fluids masked by disinfectant can transport you to a hospital.

Example: Perfume by Patrick Suskind

Writing techniques | Perfume movie still

Ben Whishaw in Perfume [Image: Paramount]

In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of moldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spoiled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlors stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber pots.

Taste

Like smell, tastes can have the effect of transporting the reader. Famously, in Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, our narrator savors a freshly baked madeleine that unlocks a trove of childhood memories. In much the same way, you can tap into your reader’s shared experience of taste — both delicious and repulsive — to evoke a sensory response that draws them into your character’s headspace.

Writing techniques | Sweetbitter series still, Tess in the restaurant

Ella Purnell in Sweetbitter [Image: Starz]

“Wow,” I said. And I meant it. I had never thought of a tomato as a fruit — the ones I had known were mostly white in the center and rock hard. But this was so luscious, so tart I thought it victorious. So — some tomatoes tasted like water, and some tasted like summer lightning.”

Tactile Imagery

Writing using the sense of touch is about much more than describing the feeling of sand through your fingers or a silk scarf on your shoulders. Though textures are crucial to building a full descriptive picture, touch also encompasses sensations we usually think of as beneath the skin, like sweltering in the heat, prickling with fear, or writhing in agony. Get it right, and tactile imagery can move readers to have a physical experience that’s completely immersive.

Writing Techniques | Life of Pi movie still, Pi Patel on the boat

Suraj Sharma in Life of Pi [Image: Fox 2000 Pictures]

Choosing a unique viewpoint

The underlying action of any scene can be presented in countless ways, depending on who’s observing it. Suppose in your story a doctor is examining their patient. First, let’s describe it from the doctor’s point of view:

In both versions, the action of the scene is identical, but the reader’s impression of the doctor completely changes depending on the viewpoint. In the first, the doctor is a cool professional; in the second, they’re inscrutable — a dispassionate mechanic going through the motions.

Before you draft any book, chapter, or scene, you should always ask yourself, whose story is this, and whose eyes should we see it through? In most modern narratives, the viewpoint character and the protagonist are one and the same — but there are plenty of great reasons to choose another viewpoint character (whether that’s for a single chapter or the entire book).

Lend your protagonist an air of mystery

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is famously told from the POV of Nick Carraway, who recollects the summer he moved to New York and befriended Jay Gatsby. A mysterious millionaire on the Long Island social scene, Gatsby’s secrets and intentions are gradually revealed to the reader as Nick tells his friend’s story.

writing techniques | unusual narrator

The narrator as outsider in The Great Gatsby (image: Warner Bros.)

For the most part incidental to the events of the novel, Nick is an outsider and a voyeur — yet, as a character himself, his bias filters and colors our perception of the other characters and their actions. Knowing this, the reader never truly feels that they understand Gatsby. This lends an air of mystery to the protagonist and throws a dark veil over the narrative — one which would dissolve if Gatsby himself were the POV character.

Ease your readers into a new world

Quite often, viewpoint characters are designed to be “reader proxies”: characters with whom readers will naturally identify. This can be useful if your story takes place in a setting that most people are unfamiliar with.

For example, if your story is set in the secretive environment of a Navy submarine, you might wish to tell it from the viewpoint of a new recruit. Aligning the viewpoint character with the reader can help ease your audience into an unfamiliar world by giving you plenty of opportunities to insert exposition into your story in an engaging way, such as through dialogue or a special device like a manual.

Throw readers in at the deep end

That said, good writing isn’t always about making things easy. Readers are pretty adept at playing catch-up, so often enjoy being plunged into a new environment rather than led from the safety of the sidelines.

Sometimes, a viewpoint character who’s thoroughly embedded in their community or a veteran in their industry, for example, can provide an illuminating perspective — even if it means initially throwing readers in at the deep end.

What’s great about these characters is that their insight allows you to observe the shifts, nuances, and finer details of your setting. This is particularly useful when your story explores a community whose secrets are only known to insiders — like a high school or the Hollywood elite.

Provide an illuminating point of contrast

Though Nick Carraway is an outsider in that he isn’t central to the events of the novel, he isn’t a true outsider because he doesn’t think or behave so differently from the other characters. If Fitzgerald had wanted to create an obvious contrast between the narrator and the protagonist, he might have had the mechanic George Wilson narrate The Great Gatsby — a POV that would have elicited a very different response from readers.

For a POV character to provide a point of contrast, they don’t have to exist in an entirely separate circle. If you’re writing a historical romance set in a society governed by convention, for example, a viewpoint character who recognizes the snobbery of the company they keep (think Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice) can prevent the reader from becoming too enmeshed in its way of thinking — adding an element of social commentary or even satire to your writing.

Sources:

https://www.servicescape.com/blog/esl-insights-8-english-writing-techniques-you-probably-didnt-know
https://blog.reedsy.com/writing-techniques/
https://thewritelife.com/5-powerful-writing-techniques/
Writing techniques

Expository writing aims to explain, inform, or describe. It can be difficult to do, but in good expository writing, you need to keep your opinions out of your writing. Pretend you’re a journalist, reporting on the facts.

Example screenshot of writing techniques: first, second and third person.

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Writing techniques refer to different styles and literary devices a writer can use to communicate a message to the reader. Creative writing techniques are particularly important to follow if you plan on having anybody enjoy your writing.

In your career, you’ll need to write various types of writing meant for different target readers. Knowing how to apply the best writing techniques can help you adjust your style to the audience you’re writing for and reach your goal.

#1: Use metaphors

A metaphor is a literary device where you refer to an object by describing something else similar (especially when readers are more familiar with that something else). Using metaphors isn’t desirable when you need to write directly, but there are topics that allow more creativity.

Compared to a metaphor, a simile directly compares two things and can be used much more frequently, albeit often lacking the desired narrative effect that a good metaphor can bring to a story. Metaphors also shine in a poem or a memoir, where similes might fail in that regard for being too unimaginative.

#2: Storytelling

It’s one of the most popular writing techniques in marketing. Storytelling allows you to use narration, description, and create the whole event in the mind of your reader. It’s particularly useful in persuasive writing, like when you’re telling a client’s story to gain the trust of a prospective one.

A solid narrative writing technique is critical to master if you plan on telling a story that people will actually want to listen to. It might sound odd, but the fact is that this is even more important for writing something like a short story, when you want to convey a full story in just a few pages.

#3: Use euphemisms

A milder expression used to avoid offending someone or sounding too negative is called a euphemism. If you think your article sounds too pessimistic, you can use euphemisms to make it sound more cheerful. For example, instead of saying that something is annoying, you can use “not very pleasant.”

Example screenshot of writing techniques (euphemisms).

#4: Use empathy

Using emotive language and showing empathy for your readers means you describe their feelings and showing them you understand. This technique makes your writing more relatable and establishes a good relationship between you and your audience.

#5: Be specific

Instead of being vague and using general information, don’t be afraid to be more specific when writing. Don’t say you use many writing techniques to improve your writing – tell your readers what they are. It will contribute to them perceiving you as an expert.

#6: Use active voice

Putting the verbs in the active voice will make your article more dynamic. When you use too many passive constructions, it can slow down your storyline and make it unclear. But when you express the verbs in the active form, you can encourage your audience to take some action.

#7: Use colloquial language

Sometimes, your topic will require a conversational tone. It’s like you’re talking to a friend. This technique is common when your readers are young. They can relate better to an article that doesn’t feature too many “big” words that they might have to look up. When it comes to things like business writing however, using colloquial language might not be the best idea.

#8: Use hyperbole

When you need to emphasize a point in your article and you don’t want to repeat yourself, you can use a hyperbole. It refers to excessive exaggeration, like in the following example: I told you a million times to stop biting your nails.

Example screenshot of writing techniques (hyperbole).

You can also use this technique for persuasion purposes. Take a look at this example from Mark Twain’s “Old Times on the Mississippi.” Using hyperbole can often be an effective tool to use in persuasive writing.

#9: Target positive emotions

#10: Use descriptions

Describing is one of the basic writing techniques. Use adjectives and consult a thesaurus to find more picturesque synonyms for your words. It’s something like painting with words – you’re helping the reader visualize your story. That’s why we sometimes don’t like the choice of actors when watching a movie based on a book.

#11: Create an unexpected turn

Letting your reader think that the plot will go one way and then creating an unexpected turn of events can make them sit up and listen. The best thrillers are based on this writing technique. Sudden changes in the storyline can make the reader race to the end of the text.

The 4 Top Writing Techniques That Make You A Better Writer

Just like you would wear different types of clothing to different types of events, there are different writing techniques for different purposes. Writing techniques can seem overwhelming to master at first, but don’t worry! Read on to learn about the different writing styles out there and tips and tricks to make your writing stand out.

Before you start writing, it’s useful to have a clear picture in your mind of who is going to read your work. If you’re writing a cover letter for a job you want, you’ll have different goals in mind than if you’re writing a poem for someone you love. Those goals are going to show in your writing. For a cover letter, you want the writing to be clear, well organized, and free of any spelling or grammar errors. For the poem, grammar is less important, but you have to use a lot of imagery to show your loved one how you feel.

Person at desk in front of laptop writing in notebook

Once you know your audience, you can start thinking about what type of writing is most appropriate for you to reach your goal. If you’re writing for school, the job is easy: Usually, your teacher will tell you exactly what type of writing they want you to use. But if you’re out of school, it’s up to you to figure it out. Here is a list of the common types of writing.

The four types of writing techniques:

1. Descriptive

Descriptive writing is most commonly used in short, creative writing, like poems and song lyrics. Some authors insert descriptive segments in their stories. The purpose of the descriptive writing style is to create a vivid image in the reader’s mind.

Metaphors and similes

When you compare one thing to another completely different thing as a way of describing it, you are either using a metaphor or a simile. Duran Duran’s song title “Hungry Like the Wolf” is a good example of a simile used in descriptive writing. Do you want to learn more about metaphors and similes? Check out this blog article on metaphors and similes.

Using your senses

Using all the senses, including smell and taste, to describe something can be a very powerful technique when you’re doing descriptive writing. For example, instead of writing “The drink was ice cold,” you might write something like, “As I drank, I felt the back of my teeth hurt and my insides clench at the shock of the cold water.”

Internal rhymes

This neat trick gives your writing a sense of pace and movement without being obvious about it. Internal rhymes are usually challenging to pick out unless you’re really looking for them, but they give your poems and songs a little something more. Paul McCartney’s songs are full of internal rhymes. “Lovely Rita” is a good example (the internal rhymes are in boldface):

2. Narrative

Narrative writing is a writing technique you use when telling a story. Along with descriptive writing, it’s the type of writing that tends to be the most creative, which is probably why many people like it best. When you’re being creative, it’s okay to bend the rules a little bit, so you don’t need to be perfect about grammar (though your writing will look sloppy if you’re not careful). Narrative works, like novels and short stories, usually include a bit of descriptive writing in them. Good narrative writers use many literary devices to make their writing stand out. Here is a list of the most common ones.

Parallelism

When you structure all the parts of your sentence for effect, you’ve created a parallel structure, also known as parallelism. “Love it or leave it” is a good example. Another example is the first two lines of Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Hug o’ War”: “I will not play at tug o’ war / I’d rather play at hug o’ war.” If you rewrite those lines without the parallel structure, it looks like this: “I’d rather play at hug o’ war than at tug o’ war.” It’s nowhere near as engaging!

Alliteration

This is when a series of words starts with the same letter. It’s a great technique if you want to create a dramatic effect. British tabloids love to use alliteration in their headlines: “Nattering nabobs of negativity” is one example. Alliteration is also lots of fun to play around with, especially if you want your writing to sound over the top.

Great characters with a strong voice

To write a great narrative piece, you need to make sure your characters are interesting and believable. You also need to pay close attention to how your characters talk to others and to themselves. Paying close attention to the characters in your story is super important! If you want to learn more about developing great characters, take a look at this blog article on characters.

Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is a fantastic tool to keep your reader engaged. In foreshadowing, you give your reader a hint that something is about to happen without giving away any details. Here is an example of foreshadowing: “Mary closed the door to the office, happy to finally be done with the day, and hopped into the elevator. Already focused on the weekend ahead, she did not hear the tinny sound of the telephone ringing at her desk.”

Top courses in Writing

3. Expository

Exposition, also known as expository writing, is a type of writing used to explain, inform, or describe. If you’re writing a book report, chances are that most of it will be expository writing. Journalism uses this style, as do most essays. Here are some tips to help you.

Know the difference between fact and opinion

It sounds obvious, but many people state an opinion and claim it is a fact. For example, “Gelato has less fat, less sugar, and a lower calorie count than ice cream” is a fact. But “Gelato is healthier than ice cream” is an opinion because “healthier” is a value judgment: It is not measurable. Check your work for comparatives and words like more, most, less, least, better, and worse to ensure you aren’t stating opinions as facts.

Stick to the third person

The third person is when you use pronouns like he, she, it, or they. If you see I in your writing, you’re probably stating an opinion, which is generally discouraged in expository writing. If you see you in you’re writing, you’re probably being too informal. Learn more about how to write in third person in this blog.

Sources:

https://codeless.io/writing-techniques/
https://blog.udemy.com/writing-techniques/
https://www.allassignmenthelp.com/blog/writing-techniques-why-its-important-to-the-writers/
Writing techniques

For one thing, it’s time to ditch the tired five-paragraph essay and write from a more “authentic” place. That means placing primary emphasis not on an introduction, three-body exposition and conclusion, but rather on what the piece calls for. Encourage students to take as many paragraphs as they need to express their idea well, and to be creative in their intros and conclusions.

Image shows a painting of a group of people standing around the body of a murdered woman.

The 5 Most Commonly Taught Writing Styles

By placing a significantly higher emphasis on a variety of writing types, we can help address the challenges regarding student writing proficiency. This is especially important in the middle school years, when students are transitioning from the foundational skills they learned in elementary school to the deeper levels of thinking required in high school and beyond.

If you have a teaching degree, it’s likely you’ve already learned about or taught many of the following types of writing styles. Whether you’re familiar with all of them or need to brush up on several, there are guaranteed to be new approaches with which you’re not yet familiar. That’s the goal of this post: to give you the tools you need to maximize your students’ learning experience, writing skills and persuasive power.

The most common types of writing styles differ from their intended purpose to their structure to the level of emotional appeal for which they call. Understanding how each of these categories contributes to each type of writing will help you teach students to express themselves more proficiently, as well as reach higher levels of proficiency on state and national tests.

We Are Teachers defines narrative writing as “writing that is characterized by a main character in a setting who engages with a problem or event in a significant way. As writing instruction goes, narrative writing encompasses a lot: author’s purpose, tone, voice, structure, in addition to teaching sentence structure, organization, and word choice.”

You can assign students a wide variety of narrative writing assignments, from personal narrative to fiction to “fan fiction,” or stories that use main characters from books students love. For instance, a student could write a short story about one of Harry Potter’s untold side adventures.

Teaching students to weave all of these elements together will take time, which is why each lesson should cover no more than one of the above. As students check off each item, they can incorporate it with the ones above. Eventually, the result will be a well-fleshed-out story they can be proud to share with the class and their family.

Craft And Technique Tips For All Writing Genres

9 Rhetorical Devices You’ve Never Heard Of But Might Already Be Using—In addition to familiar rhetorical devices like metaphor and alliteration, many literary techniques with obscure-sounding names also add impact to your writing. In fact, you’re probably already using them—at least occasionally!

7 Tips For Writing Realistic War Stories—Writing about war can be tricky: Some readers might be sensitive about graphic depictions of war and violence; others may have a hard time understanding what’s happening if you don’t go into detail.

4 Creative Essentials For Better Sports Writing—You might think that writing about sports is limited to news articles and sound bites. But with the right training (and eating your Wheaties), you can develop the skills to write about sports creatively and effectively.

Writer: Make Figurative Language Work For You! If you know how to use figurative language correctly, you’ll add color and life to your writing. Here are different types of figurative language and tips on how to make them work in your writing.

5 Writing Tips To Improve Your Final Draft. The experts at Writer’s Relief know that there’s a good chance you still have more work to do before you’re ready to submit to literary editors and agents. Use these writing tips to improve your final draft and boost your odds of getting published.

5 Tips For Writing A Multi-POV Short Story Or Novel. While using multiple POVs can make your writing dynamic and hook your readers, it can be very difficult to pull off—there’s a lot to juggle! Here are some tips for writing a successful multi-POV short story or novel.

Cool Writing Tips…From An Ice Cream Scooper. Here’s the scoop on how to entice and delight an audience right from an expert—an ice cream scooper at an ice cream shop. Turns out there’s more to pick up from behind the ice cream counter than a stray M&M or sprinkles!

How To Bring Your Old Writing Back From The Dead. Your buried, unfinished projects or old submissions might just garner your next acceptance letter. Here’s how to effectively revive your old writing and breathe new life into your acceptance rate.

Writing With A Co-Author: The Pros And Cons. Some writers choose to collaborate with a co-author to share responsibilities. However, working with another writer can also introduce new hurdles to overcome. Here are the pros and cons of writing with a co-author.

Why You Should Leave “Gaps” In Your Writing. A skilled writer understands the importance of letting readers interact with the text so they can fill in the details that are left out (aka the “gaps”). Here’s how to successfully leave gaps in your writing for your readers.

Know When To Give Up On A Writing Project. Should you keep trying, or give up on a piece that seems to be going nowhere? To guide you in making that decision, the experts at Writer’s Relief have a list of signs to help you know when to give up on a writing project.

How Using Analogies Can Improve Your Writing. An analogy is a great way to get your readers to use logic, make inferences, and understand highly specific dynamics. Here are our best tips on how using analogies can improve your writing.

Interesting details about setting and location

Few writers get it right first time. Once you’ve written a first draft, read through it and think about whether the order of your points is optimal and whether what you’ve written actually makes sense. It’s easy in the age of computers to chop and change – you can simply copy and paste part of your essay into another part where it might fit better, and then make minor changes to your wording so that it flows. After you’ve finished editing, have a final read through and check that you’re happy with the wording. Don’t forget to proofread to ensure that your spelling and grammar is impeccable!

Image shows someone writing in a notebook.

Keeping a notebook to hand helps you gather good ideas when they come to you.

Creative writers swear by having a notebook with them at all times, ready to jot down any ideas that suddenly spring to mind. You can adopt the same principle for your essay-writing, because you never know when the inspiration might strike. Have a think about your essay topic when you’re out and about; you’d be surprised what occurs to you when you’re away from your normal place of study.
As you can see, there are more similarities between two apparently unrelated kinds of writing than you might have realised. It is, of course, possible to go too far with the creative writing idea when you’re essay-writing: literary devices aren’t always appropriate, and your essay still needs to retain objectivity and conform to the more formal conventions of academic writing. But there are certainly techniques to be borrowed from creative writing that will help your essays stand out from the crowd and give your teacher or lecturer a welcome break from the monotony of essay-marking.

Sources:

https://marcolearning.com/types-of-writing-styles/
https://writersrelief.com/writing-techniques-and-craft-tips/
https://www.oxford-royale.com/articles/techniques-creative-writing-improve-essays/

The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need For Content Creation

Quality, not quantity

You should only produce content at the rate that you can do so and have it be of high quality. Whether that’s one post a week or one post a month, your brand should never prioritize content creation volume over utility.

We know well the temptation to throw a blog up to get some content out there. However, your goal must be to get noticed for the right reasons — and that means your brand should become known as being an authoritative resource whose hallmark is producing quality content.

Content that’s simply the best — 10x better than all the rest

An oldie but a goodie, this Whiteboard Friday introduced the idea of 10x content, or the need to create content that’s ten times better than anything else out there if you really want to win in the SERPs (and serve your customers well.) Creating that content is no easy task — but with the guidance of this follow-up video on creating that 10x content, you’ll be well on your way.

Editing

Any content your team produces to share should go through at least one editing cycle, whereby someone other than the author peruses it for structure, typos, grammatical mistakes, and inaccuracies. Many content teams peer-edit work, which can be great. Other organizations prefer to run their work by a dedicated editor. At the very least — and only in extreme situations — self-edit from a quiet place free of distractions. (This post shares some self-editing tips borrowed from journalism.)

Content outlines

The outline (shown below) acts as a starting point for the entire team, but is really invaluable to the writer because it allows him or her to track the various elements as the project moves toward completion.

Additionally, the outline makes it far easier for quality content to be created more easily and consistently since the sheet can act as a veritable standards statement, highlighting what each piece of content must include.

☑ Title
☑ Target audience
☑ Goals of the content
☑ Target topic and keywords
☑ URL (if existing content) or recommended URL (if new)
☑ Title tag
☑ Meta description
☑ Outline of the content, including main topics and subtopics, internal links, and format recommendations

The Guide to Content Creation

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Every strategy needs to begin with a goal. Otherwise, how will you track how effective it is? Before you put finger to keyboard, you have to list the goals you’re hoping to achieve with your content. Some goals could include:

Step 2: Audience Personas

Personas encourage you to think deeply about who your audience is and what might make them motivated to use your services. When you put together your personas, you should try to answer the following questions:

Also, take into consideration demographics, region, company size, etc. By addressing all these areas, you’ll be able to create a profile of the type of person you’re looking to target your content to, which will, in turn, inform the messaging you put together and the types of content you create.

Step 3: Conduct a Content Audit

Content audit refers to taking stock of all your business’s content. The audit process involves content analysis to expose strengths, weaknesses, and how they have impacted your content and marketing strategy.

Step 4: Establish Your Internal Subject Matter Experts

You’ll want to identify your company’s designated subject matter experts. These are the people who will author your content and be the face and name tied to your brand. Most often, it’s a company’s CEO or president. But it can also include sales reps, your marketing team members, or anyone else who has valuable knowledge to share that delivers your strategy.

If you have more than one subject matter expert, make sure you identify the areas they’ll be the experts of. For example, your president or CEO could help push messages centered on the core of your business, but they could also share leadership tips and content on business growth strategies.

Step 5: Designate a Content Creation Team

Having a designated content creation team ensures that the content creation process is not interrupted by business activities or the availability of subject matter experts. Hence, the team keeps the content creation process running for the business.

  • Chief Content Officer – lives and breathes the entire content creation for your business. Takes care of coming up with topic suggestions, aligning content topics with business goals, and content prioritization.
  • Content Manager/Project Manager – takes care of managing and organizing all content and marketing assets. Manages the team and the process so that each piece stays on track.
  • Content Strategist – brainstorms topic ideas and provide research, so topics are on-message
  • Content Writer/Freelancer – Conducts research and crafts valuable content pieces that align with your brand guidelines, outlines, and ensure they speak to your business goals.
  • Content Editor – reviews content for tone, accuracy, flow, and grammatical errors.
  • Designer – creates any visual elements needed for developed content.
  • Content Distributor – shares content out so as many people see it as possible

Step 6: Create A Process

Mapping out exactly how you’ll create your content is crucial, and you need to start from ideation to distribution. Your editorial process will keep all your team members accountable, and it ensures you’re on the same page regarding a system.

The easiest way to go about this is to designate someone from your marketing team to oversee the entire process. You’ll also want to determine what tools and roles you’ll need and if you’ll be using freelance writers. Keep in mind that your subject matter experts might not have a ton of room on their plate for writing and creating content.

Step 7: Review the Buyer’s Journey

At each stage of the buyer’s journey, there are opportunities to use content to inch prospects further along and get them closer to a sale. This is why comprehending the three stages helps you identify the type of content you can use at each. And, the more you can tailor your content to a particular stage, the more you can nurture the prospects at that stage.

Leads at this stage have established a problem that needs to be solved, and in their search for a solution, have just become aware of your brand. Since leads at this stage don’t know a ton about you, you’ll want to provide them with content that explains what you do and why you’re a solution.

Some of these pieces will be published on your site, while others should be published on other sites and publications that your audience reads. This will help deepen your lead pool and build awareness through multiple channels at once.

When a lead has made it to this point, they are considering using your company but are weighing you against competitors. Content at this stage will be primarily housed on your site and shared through various other marketing channels, including email and social media. Your content then needs to be geared toward deepening trust and proving that you’re the right solution for their particular needs.

Why do you need a content creation process?

Adopting a content creation process can:

Bottom line: It’s best not to half-ass your content creation.

If your current workflow (or even your agency’s workflow) relies on trickles of inspiration, squeezing asset creation into unexpected open blocks on the calendar, pushing links out for the world to see and hoping they go viral as you sit back and watch the analytics populate, you can do better.

Quadruple the leads! Can you imagine going into a meeting with the marketing and sales teams and reporting those numbers? We can. Shift your workflow to intentional ideation, creation, revision, and optimization.

4 Key Phases of the Content Creation Process

How to scale content creation

Everything above is enough to get your content creation efforts off the ground. But there’s only so much you can do on your own. If you truly want to scale your content efforts, you’ll need to involve other people and systemize your processes.

Put someone in charge of each channel

Of course, it’s possible to put one person in charge of multiple channels, but it’s rarely efficient. If you spread people too thin, they’ll just produce lots of mediocre content for many channels instead of exceptional content for one channel.

Break the content creation process down into bite-sized tasks

Create SOPs

SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are documents explaining how to do specific tasks within your organization. You should create them for as many of the bite-sized tasks from the previous step as possible.

It’s nothing special, but having everything documented like this allows us to delegate each part of the content creation process more effectively. It also makes life easier when onboarding new employees, as our collection of SOPs effectively serves as a training library.

Hire knowledgeable writers

Single-handedly creating every piece of content is virtually impossible, so you’ll need to hire writers if you want to scale. But this is arguably where many people make a crucial mistake because they look for writers over subject matter experts.

Our thinking is that it’s easier to teach someone how to write better than it is to teach them how to do SEO. We also want our employees to share their own unique insights and experiences, so hiring writers just doesn’t cut it for us.

However, not everyone does things this way. Plenty of brands have success scaling their content using more of a top-down approach. This is where a content strategist plans each piece, creates an outline, and sends it to a writer to turn into a fully-fledged piece.

Use a content calendar

Repurpose content for multiple channels

Keep in mind that when we talk about repurposing content, we’re not saying to republish the same piece verbatim on other channels. If you compare our post and video on long-tail keywords, you’ll notice that they’re far from identical. That’s because what works well in one format won’t always work well in another, so you should always repurpose rather than republish.

Resources:

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-content-marketing/content-creation
https://www.benchmarkone.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-for-content-creation/
https://www.clearvoice.com/blog/content-creation-process/
https://ahrefs.com/blog/content-creation/

How To Write a Cover Letter (Plus Tips and Examples)

In fact, it’s a great idea to share your cover letter with a few people, says Lees. Rather than sending it off and asking, “What do you think?” be specific about the kind of feedback you want. In particular, request two things. First, ask your friend if it’s clear what your main point is. What’s the story you’re telling? Are they able to summarize it? Second, ask them what’s wrong with the letter. “Other people are more attuned to desperation, overselling, over-modesty, and underselling,” says Lees, and they should be able to point out places where the tone is off.

How to write a cover letter in 6 steps

1. Start with your header

, you should include a few pieces of personal and role specific information at the top of your cover letter. This section should include your contact information, date of application and recipient’s contact information. If you’d like, you can also center your name and address at the top of the page, mirroring the way it looks on your resume.

2. Include a greeting

In your research, try to find the name of the person who will be reviewing applications for the job. Address your letter to this person with a common business greeting, such as “Dear” or “Hello.” If you’re unable to confirm the gender pronouns (he/him, she/her, them/they) of the person reviewing your application, it is best to use a gender-neutral greeting such as “Dear [first and last name]” or “Dear [position title].”

3. Write an opening paragraph

In the first paragraph of your letter, mention the job title for which you’re applying and where you saw the position posting. Explain your specific interest in the role and company so the reader knows you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested. Briefly state the main experience or qualification you have that makes you a good fit. The first section of your cover letter is also the first impression the reader will have of you, so it is important to appeal to that person quickly and succinctly.

Example: “I’m excited to apply for the Graphic Designer position at Cloud Clearwater I found on Indeed. I understand you’re currently adding several new product lines, and I believe my skills in video and animation provide a significant advantage for creating a successful launch. As a longtime fan of your products, I’m thrilled at the opportunity to bring my unique style and passion for beachwear to the company.”

4. Follow with a second paragraph

Your second paragraph should be a brief overview of your background as is relevant to the position. Here, you should include key achievements, skills and specialties that make you particularly suited to perform well in the position. Focus on one or two and provide specific details about your success including measurable impacts you made.

Example: “As the Director of Human Resources at Wes Morgan Philips, I was a key senior leader in the organization and was responsible for improving the efficiency and performance of the company’s 540 employees. Before that, I worked in human resources, equal employment opportunity and diversity for Jenkins Technology Solutions, Inc. At Jenkins Technology Solutions Inc., I developed an employee retention plan that involved the creation of a wellness program, an internal training program and a promotions selection process, which led to a 50% reduction in the overall employee turnover rate.”

5. Finish with a closing paragraph

The next paragraph should focus on another key achievement or skill that is relevant to the position. Instead of repeating details from your resume, expand on specific stories or anecdotes that display your fitness for the role. Again, focus on stories that demonstrate the skills and qualifications outlined in the job description.

Example: “Achieving ambitious marketing goals is always a top priority, and I am always looking out for the best interests of the company. I enjoy delivering marketing presentations to potential clients and focusing on the strengths of an organization. My marketing skills at River Tech enabled the company to experience new levels of success and a 45% increase in customer engagement. I am never satisfied with the status quo, and I believe that a company should continually look for ways to improve and reach new clients through innovative campaigns.”

6. End with a professional signoff

Example: ”Thank you for your time and consideration. I’m looking forward to learning more details about the Sales position and about TradeLot. Growth is essential to my continued success, and I’m excited for the chance to be a part of TradeLot’s industry-leading team. My proven track record and TradeLot’s quality products are a winning combination for increasing the company’s market share.

Cover letter examples

Here are two examples of cover letters, a traditional version and a less traditional version. First, read the job description, then read the cover letter. In the first example, you’ll see how the writer uses specific phrases from the job description and includes them in the letter.

Example 1: Administrative Assistant

I am drawn to this opportunity for several reasons. First, I have a proven track record of success in administrative roles, most recently in my current job as an administrative coordinator. A highlight from my time here was when I proactively stepped in to coordinate a summit for our senior leaders last year. I arranged travel and accommodation for a group of 15 executives from across the company, organized meals and activities, collaborated with our internal events team, and ensured that everything ran according to schedule over the two-day summit. Due to the positive feedback I received afterward, I have been given the responsibility of doubling the number of attendees for the event this year and leading an internal team to get the job done.

I am also attracted to this role because of the growth opportunities that [name of company] provides. The research that I’ve done on your company culture has shown me that there are ample opportunities for self-motivated individuals like me. A high level of organization and attention to detail are second nature to me, and I’m eager to apply these skills in new and challenging environments.

Example 2: Brand Copywriter

There are at least two less-than-obvious ways to improve your vocabulary (and by extension, your copywriting skills): studying for the GRE and becoming a crossword puzzle enthusiast. I’ve done both, but for this job application, I’d like to focus on the latter.

My grandmother was the best writer I’ve ever known. She wasn’t a professional writer, but her gift and love of writing was something we shared. It wasn’t until last year that I also took up her love of crossword puzzles and immediately saw how the two went hand in hand. Before long, I was solving Monday through Wednesday puzzles in the New York Times, needing to look up words less and less frequently as time passed. Soon, I was able to complete Thursday to Saturday, too. Throughout this process, I could feel my stock of quips, rejoinders and turns of phrase steadily growing. Eventually, I worked up the courage to attempt the Sunday puzzles.

It was this courage that was the real turning point for me. In my current agency, I was already known as a hard worker and creative spirit; my peer and manager evaluations had made this clear. But while I felt confident in my abilities, I had never seen myself as particularly daring. Considering new challenges and mastering each one along the way had given me a renewed sense of myself and clarity about my chosen profession.

I began a career as a copywriter because I was skilled at finding combinations of words to fit a thought or feeling. I’m continuing down that path because I’ve realized how I can shape and hone that skill to reach new heights. I’d like copywriting at [name of company] to be the next step in my journey.

What should a great cover letter say?

Salutation

Opening Paragraph (Introduction)

Body Paragraphs

The second paragraph of your cover letter should respond directly to the job description written by the hiring manager. Describe how your previous job experiences, skills, and abilities will help you meet the company’s needs. To make that easier, you should include exact words and phrases from the job descriptions in your cover letter.

Closing Paragraph

Your cover letter closing is the call-to-action portion of your cover letter. Inform the hiring manager that you’d love to go in for an interview. Provide your email address or other contact information and tell them that you’ll reach out in a week if you don’t hear back. Thank them for spending their time reading your cover letter.

1. General Cover Letter Example

The cover letter example

General cover letter example (text version)

I was excited to see your job listing for the Senior Digital Marketing position at Westward Strategies on Indeed.com. As a dynamic email marketing specialist with over two years of professional experience executing market research, analyzing consumer data, and running A/B tests to drive successful marketing campaigns, I’m confident that I would be a valuable asset to the team at Westward.

Your job listing mentions a need for someone who is experienced in email segmentation and campaign development, both of which are areas I have extensive experience in. I’m currently employed at Marketed Inc., where I’ve honed my skills by running numerous successful email marketing campaigns. While employed here, I’ve spearheaded a digital promotion campaign for the company’s new line of sandals that successfully raised our total online engagement by an impressive 13% over the course of six months, contributing substantially to the department’s annual goals.

I’m confident that my proven track record of excellent work ethic, unparalleled attention to detail, and high-performing email marketing campaigns will make me an immediate asset at Westward Strategies, and allow me to contribute to the team’s success.

I look forward to discussing the Senior Digital Marketing position and my qualifications with you in more detail. I’m available to talk at your convenience. I’ll be in touch next week to follow up and to make sure you’ve received my application.

Why this is a great example of a cover letter

Then the candidate lists specific responsibilities from the job description, and mentions her experience handling similar responsibilities. She even gives an example of how her efforts have benefited her current employer.

Finally, the candidate signs off by mentioning how she’ll reach out if she doesn’t hear back from the hiring manager. This call to action is a key part of a general cover letter, because it highlights the writer’s interest in the job, and willingness to go further than other candidates for the opportunity.

Sources:

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/how-to-write-a-cover-letter
https://hbr.org/2014/02/how-to-write-a-cover-letter
https://resumegenius.com/cover-letter-examples

How to Make a Life Plan in 6 Steps

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management [3] . That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

Sample Agile project plan in a kanban board view with columns for to do, in progress, and done

How to plan your day

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans..” While this saying holds a lot of truth, it is also true that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Without proper planning in place, the line between idea and strategy becomes unclear, blurring your map for the future. Yet when you plan your day out , set goals and track your progress, you know exactly where you stand as your work toward your goals.

Whether you’re seeking to tame an overwhelming workload, build a new habit or create more time for fun, understanding how to plan your day out is key to taking control and getting where you want to go. Here are the top eight ways to plan your day so you can improve your productivity and achieve your dreams.

How to plan your day out
1. Think ahead

Human beings have limited willpower. When you attempt to plan your day out in the morning, you deplete your supply of willpower first thing. Why do that to yourself, when you can just as easily plan your day out the night before? By giving yourself a heads up on what tomorrow will look like, you’re mentally prepared the moment you wake up – no need to waste time and energy when your day’s strategy is ready and waiting.

This doesn’t necessarily mean scheduling out every minute of your day. It also means using the power of routine to take some things off your plate. There’s a reason Steve Jobs and Barack Obama wore the same thing every day. These types of routines save your brain’s energy for what really matters – making tough decisions and focusing on your goals.

planning your day

2. Embrace rituals

routine

Your most powerful routine takes place in the morning. Embracing morning ritual s will provide the structure and discipline you need to learn how to plan your daily life . It also sets the mood for your day, shifting your mindset to one of positivity and productivity.

L ike any new habit, managing your schedule takes consistency to make it second-nature. Build new habits into your schedule so you’re reminded to follow through on them on a consistent basis. By making new habits ritualistic, you’re able to build patterns that align with your values and priorities.

3. Slow down

As helpful as technology can be, mastering how to plan your day is a great time to go analog. Before you turn on any technology, get out a piece of paper and write down what end results would make for a successful day. Next, write down the steps needed to get there.

From those steps, select the ones you can realistically get done in a day. By taking a few minutes’ break from the rush of digital information, you’re able to focus calmly on today’s plan of action. Make this a part of your morning routine to get your mind in the right place before you start your day.

computer

4. Find tools that work for you

using chunking to manage time

You don’t have to ignore technology entirely – time management apps and tools are essential for many people. To master how to plan your day out, elevate your focus with Tony Robbins’ best-selling custom life planner, the RPM Life Planner . Unlike the majority of time management systems, which focus solely on mapping out your to-do list, the RPM Life Planner takes a holistic approach.

You get all the tools you need to get organized and pursue what you truly want out of life right at your fingertips. You get an achievable blueprint for not only how to plan your day but also how to strategize and meet larger life goals. This approach saves you from the busywork of unfocused activity. You get real progress – forward movement toward your passions.

5. Use chunking

When you have too much on your plate, it’s almost impossible to focus on anything, much less on how to plan your day . Enter chunking , the time-management strategy at the center of the Rapid Planning Method (RPM planning). Rather than thinking of your time as a fleeting resource that’s either “spent” or “saved,” RPM planning guides you to prioritize the outcomes you really want in life, then target your time toward those goals.

By using the chunking technique, you’re able to set realistic and achievable goals with the resources you have without exhausting yourself. To practice chunking, group similar activities and information into bite-sized pieces. Chunking is one of the best ways to plan your day – you’ll notice everything from planning your work day to enjoying your days off becomes more natural.

How to make a life plan

Creating a life plan is one of the best things you can do to identify the things you most want in your life and develop the strategy to make them happen. Here are the steps to help you create a life plan:

1. Create a vision

Allow yourself to dream big. Imagine what an average day in your ideal life looks like. Imagine where you work, what kind of work you do and the income you earn. Imagine your relationships with friends and family. Maybe your ideal life means gaining new skills to find a more fulfilling job. Maybe it is honing your skills to increase your marketability and find a higher paying job. Maybe it’s working from home to spend more time with your family.

Imagine the kind of person you want to be and how you want others to perceive you. For example, you may want your colleagues to know that you are reliable in delivering your work. You may want your manager to respect you as someone punctual in meeting deadlines and accountable for your quality of work.

Think about the things you want to improve in your life. This can include different areas in life, such as finances, career or health. It may entail some weaknesses you want to overcome. Consider how you will measure your improvement and define success. Clearly define what success means to you.

2. Perform a self-assessment

To perform a thorough life assessment, you need to be honest with yourself and what you want. A life assessment includes considering factors like the roles you have in life, your satisfaction with different areas of your life and your various strengths and weaknesses. Reviewing your life from different perspectives allows you to develop a holistic evaluation. Practice self-reflection to clarify your roles and satisfaction in different areas of life. If you struggle with assessing your strengths and weaknesses, ask several people close to you who will give you an objective opinion.

Everyone fills different roles in life. Brainstorm a list of the different roles you play. Examples of roles include student, coworker, employee, manager, entrepreneur, volunteer, spouse, parent and sibling. In the next step, you’ll prioritize these roles and identify the values you want to bring to each one.

Consider different areas of your life such as career, finances, personal development, community, health, relationships and faith. Look at each area of your life and rank your satisfaction in that area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘needs a lot of work’ and 10 being ‘best’.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. These can be either technical skills or soft skills. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses allows you to decide where to focus your energy—which weaknesses to improve or which strengths to highlight.

3. Prioritize your life

Review your list of roles and reorder them according to what is most important in your life. For example, your role as a parent or a manager may be more important to you than your role as an employee or student.

Also, prioritize the areas of your life to identify what is most important to you. For example, your health and family may be more important than your work or hobbies. When prioritizing areas of life, it’s also important to consider how different areas are related. For example, you may prioritize family over finances, but some financial goals are necessary to care for your family. Establishing that one is more important to you does not decrease the value of another; it simply indicates the areas you want to focus more attention on.

Prioritizing your roles and the areas you want to focus on will help you identify your values and non-negotiables when it comes to your career. For example, if your family is among your top priorities, you may prefer a career with a good work/life balance that requires little or no travel for an organization that is close to home and respects employees’ non-working hours.

4. Identify your values

Comparing how your life is now and what you want your life to be will help you identify your values. Allowing yourself to feel and analyze the difference clarifies your core values. The person you imagine yourself to be—with the life you imagine—lives by these values. They represent who you are as a person even if you’re still working to realize them.

When you identify your values and what is important in your life, they become a measuring tool for every decision. Decisions become much easier because you can clearly see what does and does not align with your values. For example, you might value work that is gratifying and serves your purpose more than you value the size of your paycheck. Understanding this helps you narrow your job search to opportunities that are more gratifying instead of any position with a higher salary.

5. Establish goals

Now that you have an idea about the life you want and what is important in your life, establish high-level goals for the person you want to be. These goals are the things you want to accomplish over several months or years. They may include things like achieving an executive-level management position or earning a specific annual salary within a certain timeframe. They may also include obtaining a job with income and the freedom to vacation with your family twice a year.

Schedule Your Tasks

Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set due dates or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

References:

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/importance-time-management/how-to-plan-your-day/
https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-make-a-life-plan
https://www.teamgantt.com/project-management-guide/how-to-plan-a-project
https://www.lifehack.org/844018/action-plan