"Father Figure carving on Mouissac Cathedral" image by Ruth Temple (RuTemple)
My latest DeHaan Services
article, "Ideas for Fathers Day 2013 in Toronto
", suggests readers choose between two music festivals in Toronto that end on the Fathers' Day weekend.Of course, readers could attend both free events and use the money saved to buy a simple Fathers' Day gift.
One Fatherly Writing Tip
While writing the publicity notes for this Fathers' Day article, I realized that I had missed the opportunity to use one of the popular tools in the web writer's kit.I made amends by employing that tool in this Weebly article. Can you recognize it now, before I explain this writing tip?Many online articles, and even print magazine articles in bygone years, include a number in the title."Top Ten" or "97 Ways" are typical leaders in titles. Online articles usually stick with a dozen or fewer. No-one
wants to read a lengthy list from a web site.Magazines could hope that readers would recognize the value of a
long and comprehensive list.
No matter the size of the number, the value is that the reader recognizes a promise that the article will cover that many
points, and then reach a conclusion. There's no fear that the article will be continued over multiple sessions. With short lists in online articles, there's no feeling of intimidation. (You only need to remember a handful of "weird tricks"; how often have you seen that phrase in an online ad)?You don't need to use that approach in every article, unless you really want to build a reputation as that "simple six" guy.Nonetheless, I missed out on my first chance to stick a number into the title of this primary article. (I have done this before in DeHaan Services; both "Three Themes for Doors Open Toronto 2012" and "Three Outdoor Carol Events in Dec. 2012 in Eastern Toronto" were viewed by several readers on June 3, 2013).
Shortly after writing this article, I wrote another in DeHaan Services
with a number leading off the title. "8 Fun or Charity Fitness Events in Toronto on June 9, 2013
" had to cover a lot of ground. In fact, these are not
eight events that I've publicized for that same weekend.So sometimes I heed my own writing tip
s; today this article's title says that I wrote about two
music events in Toronto for the 2013 Fathers' Day weekend.
"Map for Riverdale Artwalk at Jimmie Simpson Park" image by Mike DeHaan
continues to cover free and interesting summer events in Toronto with "Walk among Art in Riverdale in Toronto in Early June
".As I ask in that article, where else can you see jury-selected artwork by about 125 Toronto artists for free, while enjoying a walk in Toronto's great outdoors?
One Writing Tip for your Walk in Writing
This writing tip continues along one of my favourite paths.
If you have a theme for a series of articles, be sure to develop that topic.
If you have a blog, keep its focus on your main concept.
Yes, you need variety or your readers will get bored. But that variety comes inside your main topic area.
Let's use a food analogy. You can run a successful ice cream parlour, but serve a variety of flavours as well as cones versus sundae dishes. You could instead operate a general restaurant with ice cream desserts; but once you add salads and main courses to the menu, you have to reduce the variety of ice cream flavours.
My DeHaan Services site might not always stick to free (or cheap) Toronto events, but that's a niche that I cover as a mainstay for the content.
If you maintain your focus and cover your niche well, you can build a reputation for quality and authority. If you scatter your writing across all your interests, no-one will know whether to trust what you say.
So walk along your path until it's clear to others that you know where you're going. Personally
"Muhtadi International Drumming Festival 2007" image by Vinod Sankar (vinod.sankar)
Drumming Up Arts and Crafts in Toronto's Beach Neighbourhood
Dogs or Drums? Consider Woofstock
Eight More Summer Toronto Events on the Same Weekend
I was overwhelmed by the possibilities, and just touched on another "8 Fun or Charity Fitness Events in Toronto on June 9, 2013
".The most unusual thing is knitting in an art museum; and no, it's not the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum).Do you enjoy food? A street festival? If you prefer to exercise for charity, would you care to walk, bike, run or play volleyball?
Drumming Up One Writing Tip
In the past some of my writing tips have noted that you can boost your creative output by developing a theme.
This drumming festival in Toronto is an example of an annual event that deserves some publicity every year or two.
Simply reporting on recurring events guarantees that you will have topics.
Whether the same people will read your new articles depends on what changes. For example, when the Toronto Muhtadi Drumming Festival changed venues, it was vital to let people know. On the other hand, it had settled into Toronto's Woodbine Park before I learned about it; so I did not gain a bump in readership.
On the other hand, your web site needs to develop a reputation for expertise. That certainly does not come with one article on a topic.
Simply writing about the same topic, with the same information, a dozen times won't help much, either.
Add something new each time; change the emphasis; or even give a perspective on the history of your topic.
This summer, I do believe that I'm reaping some rewards for selecting a topic like "annual events". That's my writing tip, based today on writing about the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival in Toronto for the second year in a row.
"2012 Waterfront Blues in Toronto" image by mishlove1 (Michael Ishlove)
One Well Travelled Writing Tip
Actually I learned this writing tip from the response to a previous DeHaan Services
I noticed that several people found "Watch Fireworks in Toronto for Victoria Day 2013
" by searching for a Victoria Day fireworks display in the neighbouring city of Mississauga.I searched for
that information, but apparently Mississauga only celebrates Canada Day with fireworks. Nonetheless, I added that information to my article, along with some other out-of-town suggestions.That may have been my most successful article, in terms of page views in the week leading up to the Victoria Day weekend.When writing about the 2013 Waterfront BluesFest in
Toronto, I decided to mention a few other Canadian cities that will host blues festivals this summer.The writing tip is to provide some help to those who find your site when searching for something related. Remember to balance keeping the main focus on one topic with today's writing tip to include "something for everyone". I could have written a definitive guide to all blues fests in Canada for 2013. That would have a focus, but the article would be huge.I could have ignored the other cities completely. If anyone had found mine while looking for Windsor, that would have been more disappointing for that reader.My rule of thumb is to give enough information that people can do a better search the second time; or to
link directly to an official site
.By the way, that article's success elevated my "bounce rate"
because people would read that page and then leave. Hopefully they were satisfied with what I'd written.At least, there are several other Canadian cities hosting bluesfests this summer. If people found them by taking a detour through the
Waterfront Blues Festival in Toronto, then my article was a
"Statue of Queen Victoria" image by soosalu (Sirje S)
Canadians celebrate Victoria Day with fireworks on the May 24 long weekend.My
"Watch Fireworks in Toronto for Victoria Day 2013
" now includes the few GTA (Greater Toronto Area) municipalities that also shoot off some bursts to honour the long-deceased Queen Victoria.The next big display will be the Canada Day fireworks.
One Explosive Writing Tip
This explosive writing tip runs counter to my usual advice to focus intently in your article. Instead, broaden your scope, if that meets the needs of a larger audience without completely diluting your message.
Note that the second paragraph says "...now includes...".
Originally I planned to write only about the solitary Victoria Day fireworks display inside the city of Toronto itself. I did add the Canada's Wonderland venue just outside the municipal boundary.
Later I saw that a search engine sent me a reader based on searching for Victoria Day fireworks in Mississauga.
That's when I decided to add the note that Mississauga does not advertise any fireworks for 2013 Victoria Day.
Soon afterwards, I read an article listing a couple more venues outside Toronto for fireworks displays.
Regarding the writing tip: I diluted the effectiveness of my article, as far as Toronto residents are concerned. However, some of us might still want to visit Canada's Wonderland to watch the pyrotechnics; or we might live near enough to the other venues to make it worthwhile.
As well, it's a bit of a public service if people happen to look for fireworks in their own GTA community, and my article happens to pop out of the search engine.
While my scope broadened, it did not completely explode. I could have tried to list each and every Victoria Day fireworks display in Canada. Now, that would have been an explosive article...much more so than watch
"Pythagorean Dates in 2013" : image by Mike DeHaan "Pythagorean Dates in 2005" : image by Mike DeHaan
I completed this post after the Decoded Science article was published. "5-12-13 Right Angle Triangle via Microsoft Mathematics Triangle Solver" : image by Mike DeHaan
The reason for publishing the images here before Decoded Science is to establish my copyright for them.
One Triangular Writing Tip
Let's use the literary conceit of a triangular writing tip
to go along with Pythagoras and triangles.Three ideas came together for my Decoded Science article.First, I noticed an article celebrating May 12, '13
as a Pythagorean date. That formed the base for the article: to say something interesting about the mathematics of Pythagorean triples as applied to dates.
Second, I needed to add something of value for my readers. My first insight was that Dec. 5 would also be a Pythagorean date. The second idea of value was the answer to "How could I easily find Pythagorean dates for any
year"?Even after developing that process, the article still seemed a bit short. I suggested an alternative approach to finding Pythagorean dates to fill out my article.Today's triangular writing tip is to use a similar approach for many, but not all, your articles.
- Start from one concept. It might be one example. Or you might state one specific problem that you will solve in step 2.
- Expand that first concept, or solve the one basic problem. Show your reader how to use the idea in more general ways, or to apply it to similar but different problems.
- Conclude with a challenge to find a completely new approach, if your readers like to engage with that kind of suggestion. Otherwise conclude with a summary of the problem and solution.
Of course, the only practical use for Pythagorean dates is to one-up the people who wear "Pi Day
" T-shirts. When they greet you with "Happy Pi Day", just say "Let's do pizza on the next Pythagorean date...that should be Dec. 5, 2013".
"Map of Guildwood Park, Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan from Google Maps
For the second year in a row, I've adopted a thematic approach to covering the Toronto Doors Open
event in DeHaan Services
"2013 Doors Open Toronto Opens New Doors and Spaces
" covers "new" rather than "returning from previous years". I even had to cull that crop severely, since well over one hundred venues welcome visitors behind the scenes on that weekend each year.
One Writing Tip for a Theme
Today's one writing tip is very simple.
Choose a theme and stick to it.
That's especially important when your material threatens to overwhelm you.
In an article such as mine, where I'm drawing attention to a large event with many possibilities, there is no reason to list everything. Besides, that's what the official site does.
Instead, be a curator who selects and presents a bite-sized tidbit of information. Make that useful, informative and interesting.
Be sure to support your reader in digging deeper into the background material, but don't repeat everything they provide.
Check my article about Toronto Doors Open 2013. Even my selections needed sub-headings to organize the material.
Yes, if you're writing the definitive and comprehensive guide to the universe, you'll have to write a bit more. For most everyday articles, find an
"Harbourfront Centre on Canada Day 2006" image by athena kay
The only reason I wrote "2013 Vocal Music Festival at Harbourfront in Toronto
" was because I first noticed that the opening ceremony includes a free performance.Later shows were a bit more costly than the "frugal or free" events that DeHaan Services usually mentions.
They're actually quite reasonable, as musical events go; it's just that I'm carving out a niche for low budget Toronto events.
One Vocal Writing Tip
This vocal writing tip says, "Know whether to speak or keep silent".
The DeHaan Services niche for Toronto events aims at low-cost and under-advertised annual festivals. (It also promotes my writing at other sites, such as Decoded Science).
Harbourfront Centre in Toronto hosts quite a few free or inexpensive activities. I'm happy to publicize those.
Once any venue's ticket prices are over $10/person or so, I'd be more inclined to leave promotional duties to that organization.
The SING! Vocal Arts Festival is a nice idea, but the ticket prices are above what I'd promote in DeHaan Services. As noted above, it's the free opening ceremony that allows me to include this festival in my blog.
You need to know yourself, your blog with its purpose, and your audience in order to follow this writing tip.
Once you've determined those factors, you just have to remember to apply your own rules to the topics you find. I had a few tricky minutes to decide whether to remain silent or to speak on the subject of this Vocal Arts Festival at Harbour
"Months for Pregnancy Calculator via Spreadsheet" : image by Mike DeHaan
My recent Decoded Pregnancy
article, "Chances of Getting Pregnant: Math Estimates the Answers
", reports on what several different researchers have estimated to be the probability that a woman might conceive a child in one month.The above spreadsheet shows how such a probability
might accumulate over a year and a half, until it becomes extremely likely that a healthy woman would get pregnant.A typical doctor would probably suggest that the couple try to conceive their baby "naturally", rather than recommending a medical intervention after only a couple months.
"Standard Deviation of a Geometric Probability Distribution" : image by Mike DeHaan
Also read my "Math Estimates How Long to Get Pregnant
" for more advice on using the math, and on what to consider before searching for a fertility clinic to help you to conceive your baby. Although I would normally "preview" the images that I make for an article, this time it's a "postview" since Decoded Pregnancy
has already gone to press...I mean, published online.
One Untimely Writing Tip
Today's writing tip simply says: take the correct actions at the right time.
Although I'm sure there will be no repercussions, it was a mistake to forget to pre-publish these images here.
I was busy enough with other tasks that this slipped, even though I'd planned the title as a "preview".
While "no harm, no foul" makes for a more relaxed sporting event, it's not an excuse in the business of writing.
On the other hand...read the articles to get a much better sense of the importance of timing when you want to get pregnant!
"Sign for Beach Studio Tour in 2007" image by Aasen Ryan Family (Pat & Keri)
The signs may have changed since 2007, but "The Spring 2013 Beach Studio Tour in Toronto
" continues delighting art lovers and casual browsers even in 2013.My article introduces the dates, times and geography, then links to the official web site for the specific details.
One Specific Writing Tip
One challenge in writing these annual Toronto event articles arises when there are a lot of details.The specific problem here is that there are 15 venues, 8 genres and 25 individual artists.
It's painful to highlight a few, and redundant to copy all the information from the official site.It was a different situation with
"The 2013 Khalsa Day Parade in Toronto long after Vaisakhi
", because there was no one official web site and details were sparse. I dug into the reference material and presented the most cogent guide to this annual Sikh New Year parade in Toronto. (At least, I
think it's the best summary).My specific writing tip for
situations where the many details are already well handled by an official site is to let that site handle the minute details.Concentrate on the big picture. I explained where the core of the Toronto Beach Art Studio Tour would be, and how many venues were outside those boundaries. I also included the dates and times, since that was a short paragraph.You should do likewise. You might focus on one or two details that make the event interesting, or the "must-see" aspect of a tourist destination.But unless you're comparing two
products feature by feature, you don't need to list every detail.Make art, not checklists; at least if you're covering a wide-ranging event like the Toronto Beach Art Studi