Roving Report: Blog Post Practice Writing Assignment

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In a live webinar, Wealthy Web Writer’s Managing Editor, Heather Robson reviewed Blog Post Practice Assignments submitted by Wealthy Web Writer members.

She noted she received a lot of submissions for the Blog Post Assignment, and she was happy to see the level of participation.

“This kind of practice is so good for your writing,” she reminded us.

Check out the webinar and pick up helpful writing tips from the review process.

Now, let’s dive into the Practice Assignment.

The Brief

This brief was like those you’ll receive from clients. “Often the client information isn’t exhaustive because they’re too close to their subject — things that seem obvious to them may not be obvious to you,” Heather reminded us.

In client situations, you’ll likely need to ask questions about the brief, so she was pleased to see people posting lots of good questions for the assignment.

Here’s a copy of the brief.

Once you start your research, it’s easy to get sidetracked. To stay focused, Heather recommended writing a quick summary of the brief for yourself and putting it at the top of the document you’re working on.

By putting it in front of you while you’re researching and writing, you’ll save time and frustration. You can also save the potential embarrassment of handing in an assignment that isn’t what the client asked for.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before sending a completed blog post to the client:

  1. Is my headline strong? After you’re done writing, revisit the headline. “Most of the time, you’ll write a stronger headline if you do some iterations,” Heather told us. Go back through the post and look for the strongest phrases or ideas, then see if you can pull them into the headline.

  2. Is my lead a good length? For a 500-word post, the lead should be one or two paragraphs at the most. That way, you leave room to deliver on the promise expressed in the headline and lead in a satisfying way.

  3. What is the goal for my reader? Did I achieve it? For this assignment, the goal was to send the reader away with one or two lifestyle changes. “Try to be as objective as you can” when you’re assessing whether you’ve met the goal, Heather advised.

  4. Do I back up my claims? If you’re making claims, you must provide proof.

  5. How’s my pacing? You want the post to keep the reader engaged, which requires variations in pacing. To get a feel for how your post flows, rises, and falls, read it aloud.

  6. Is my conclusion satisfying? Don’t just end abruptly. Include an intentional summary or wrap-up or restate the benefits you’ve laid out.

Now, let’s look at some of the assignment submissions.

Heather kicked off the submission reviews by reminding us that “My goal is to point out what you’re doing well and what you can be doing stronger. I never want to leave you feeling discouraged. It’s about making your writing stronger, not tearing it apart.”

For each of the submissions, she reviewed the sections of the blog post — headline, lead, body, and conclusion. She evaluated if the goal was achieved and if the read was satisfying.

Submission #1

Here’s what was submitted.

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Susanna Perkins

Susanna was dragged back, kicking and screaming, into freelancing after losing her job in the banking meltdown in March, '09. One 3-month stint in an appalling temp job persuaded her to get serious about establishing herself as web writer. In March, 2012, she moved to a small town in Panama with her husband and three small dogs. After enjoying the writer's life in the culture of "buenas" and "mañana" for 2-1/2 years, she's returned to the US. At least for now.

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