"A Hand for an Atlas Moth" image by internets_dairy
The Attacus atlas moth truly is the largest moth by wing area. This giant moth gets a red carpet promotional treatment in my article.
Promoting my Atlas Moth Article
A Writing Tip to Spread Your Wings
My article on the Atlas moth proved to be a bit of a departure from my usual approach.
Generally I had been content with a maximum of five images in an online magazine article. One reason is that some web sites would limit articles to 5 pictures; another is that it can be difficult to find relevant, but free-to-use illustrations for an article.
However, the Atlas moth proved to have many images under the appropriate license. Also, Environmental Graffiti tends to run articles with a higher picture to word ratio than most.
My writing tip is to experiment with different formats for your articles. Consider loading one with numerous pictures; try embedding or linking to a video; or include a sound track. Conversely, write more words but break down the article with more, or fewer, headings.
If you're submitting articles to online magazines, be sure to check with your editor, or re-read the style guide, before making a radical change. But if it's your own blog, seize the opportunity for creative freedom.
Making a small change might lead to success as large as the wing area of the Atlas moth.
"A View of Mel Lastman Square from the North York Centre in Toronto" image by Elliott Chapin
Mel Lastman Square is the venue for the 2012 Hispanic Fiesta in Toronto.
Toronto ArtFest 2012 takes over the Distillery District for the same Labour Day weekend.
Most appropriately, the 2012 Toronto Labour Day Parade will be held only on Monday Sept. 3rd. The parade marches "freely" along Queen Street and then into the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.
Promoting my 2012 Labour Day Weekend Article
One Laboured Writing Tip for the Labour Day Holiday
The current writing tip
is about learning from your readers. More accurately, it's about learning from your readers' behaviour.I'd noticed that my DeHaan Services article about where to celebrate Simcoe Day 2012 in Toronto (
"The Ontario Civic Holiday: 2012 Simcoe Day Events in Toronto
had many page views. It seemed that people actually were seeking for something to do for the long weekend that begins August in Ontario.My blog's goals include publicizing selected Toronto events. It's easy to list one per article; that would give the most emphasis to that event.However,
that makes it harder for anyone to use my site to learn about an event about which they know nothing.Therefore, I decided to make a point of highlighting long weekends.
Many people will need ideas for those precious days off from work.You may
have a different passion as your topic. The writing tip
is to include, in your keywords and titles, the common phrases that your potential readers might seek. Do not
focus on the "specific brand-name solution" that you're introducing; instead, do
emphasize the generic problem that your reader already knows he needs to solve.Even if it's as simple as finding the best Labour
Day events in Toronto for 2012.
"Culex pipiens Mosquito Biting a Finger" by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention via fairfaxcounty (Fairfax County)
This handsome picture of a Culex pipiens mosquito was found specifically for my new DeHaan Services article.
Promoting my new West Nile Disease Article
"Revisit and Revive" is the Writing Tip
Today's writing tip
is to revisit and revive past articles when the topic returns to the news.Mosquitos transmit the West Nile virus
between people and birds; this has been known for some time.However, it returned to the news in the summer of 2012. It's worth a "public service announcement" in my DeHaan Services blog to remind people of what to do.Should I write a new version of the original article? No. Its information was still true
from a health standpoint; the only difference would be the exact dates and locations for new outbreaks.Here is another example of an update
. In November 2011, I had just "finished" a series of articles for Suite 101
about Mennonites. The series included one article about how the Amish had broken away from the Mennonite denomination.Then several news item spurred
"The Compassionate Amish Response to Two Incidents of Violence
". Just today, nine months after those incidents, one of the cases is coming to trial. I quickly added a paragraph with a link to the news item, and added a brief promotional note in my social media on Facebook and Google+.I took a similar approach to revising "How to Find Toronto Buskerfest 2011"
for the 2012 Toronto festival of street performances. I added a paragraph with the new dates, and included it in both my "Lens of Annual Toronto Events
" and in "Toronto Ashkenaz Festival 2012 at Harbourfront or BuskerFest?
".The final part of this writing tip is that promoting too many revised artcles in one blog post might be counter-productive. I will heed my own warning by closing here.
"Sum of n Choose k" image by Mike DeHaan
This is my "featured image", although it may not be perfectly suited to attract attention.
"Pascal's Triangle" image by Mike DeHaan
I made my own version of Pascal's Triangle at this time, but there was no room for this topic inside my article.
While it gathers cybernetic dust awaiting a future article, it may as well be displayed here anyway.
My standard but always cunning plan is to post my original images in a blog under my control, simply to ensure that copyright is obvious for my work.
Publicity for my Binomial Coefficients Article
One Binomial Coefficient Writing Tip
This writing tip involves the size of an online article.
Generally the publisher or editor of an online magazine has a definite opinion of how large an article should be.
My goal is to give "value" to my readers. Although they don't "purchase" my articles, they do invest the time to read...or at least, to click and then scan quickly.
My Binomial Coefficients article had enough details and length that there was no need to include Pascal's Triangle. That, despite its close relationship to binomial coefficients.
Some sites would prefer a very narrow topic for each brief article. "How to Plug in a Toaster" might be as broad as that site allows.
Others allow each article to cover a gamut of sub-topics. "Fishing for Catfish" might include choosing a rod and reel, bait, type of water, noodling (catching the fish by hand!) and appropriate use of a net.
My current Binomial Coefficients article is just under one thousand words. That's usually enough for two or three pages in Decoded Science, and sufficient to introduce the topic.
So today's writing tip is to know the length of articles most desired by your readers and your editor.
"Map for Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
I'm more and more happy with marking up a map to help point my readers in the right direction. The Leslie Street Spit, as Tommy Thompson Park may be known, deserves some direction. The parking lot would be hard to describe, although it didn't take me a thousand words.
Promoting my Butterfly and Aloha Festivals Article
Today's Timely Writing Tip
Although my wife and I had ventured into Tommy Thompson Park last year for the Butterfly Festival, it had slipped my mind until last night's local paper arrived. "The Mirror" also publicized the 2012 Aloha Festival in Toronto.Since the news arrived so late,
I had to decide whether to bother with my article. My answer was "Yes". Why?First, there was still plenty of time for people to go to those festivals.Second, I suspect that few of the local papers outside our area would cover these summer Toronto events. From that standpoint, my article may have some benefit.Finally, it primes the pump for next year. My "Lens of Annual Toronto Events"
will serve as a reminder.That brings me to my timely writing tip
. Especially for online articles, you want
perfect timing: publish just before the search engines will index your work, and just before people begin looking for your topic.But unless you're more perfect than myself, sometimes you need to settle for "good enough" timing.
Get the message out, admit you were not ahead of the curve, but make plans to seize the next opportunity. That's the end of my writing tip
, based on squeaking out my article about the Toronto Butterfly Festival and the Aloha Toronto Festival 2012.
"Harbourfront Centre on Canada Day 2006" image by athena kay
My first thought was that I could present the article as a battle between two simultaneous festivals, but then realized that there is no scheduling conflict between BuskerFest Toronto 2012 and the Ashkenaz Festival. Nonetheless, I put both into one article.
Publicity for my BuskerFest or Ashkenaz Festival Article
Writing Tip from a Double Festival Article
Today's writing tip boils down to "try what I did or didn't do". Let me explain.
I knew that Buskerfest was imminent when I began writing the article on Aug. 21. In fact it starts today, Aug. 23, 2012.
At that time, I had flagged the 2012 Toronto Ashkenaz Festival as another Toronto event that I wanted to cover. Thinking that they were simultaneous, I decided to put both into one article.
The hook was to present a scheduling conflict.
As I finished researching the Ashkenaz festival, I realized it was more than a week from starting; there was no problem with the schedules.
Re-read the first paragraph of my article to see how I flipped from the conflict in the title to the resolution.
My writing tip is that, for this article, I decided to stay with the planned structure. So I presented the two summer Toronto events in the one article.
On the other hand, I could have changed the title and kept the focus on Buskerfest. That would have allowed me to dedicate a separate article to Ashkenaz next week.
So, again, the writing tip is to make a conscious choice when you realize that your plans don't quite match reality. Should you stick with the plan but make sure the content is accurate? Should you switch to Plan B (or invent one on the fly)?
Try each approach over the next few times you find yourself in a pickle such as mine, when I mistakenly thought that the 2012 Toronto BuskerFest was scheduled for the same dates as the Ashkenaz Festival at Harbourfront.
I was inspired to launch my latest Environmental Graffiti
article, "What Makes James Cameron's Mariana Trench Exploration So Special?
", by an infographic that they didn't want to include and that would not render well in the confines of the Weebly platform.You may see the original infographic by checking my publicity articles listed in a later section.
"Harlequin Tuskfish Choerodon fasciatus" by OpenCage
This tuskfish does not represent the depths of the Mariana Trench, but he's handsome and eye-catching.
The article itself gives some of the reasons why it's important for us to continue and enhance our exploration of the deep oceans.
Publicity for my Mariana Trench Article
A Deep Writing Tip
This Environmental Graffiti
article surprised me in several ways.
- The infographic was a gift from Meika Jensen, who had read some other article that I had written.
- I had never written an article based on an infographic, so it sat in my in-basket for some time.
- Environmental Graffiti ran a couple of infographic articles, so I thought this would be "the" place for the Mariana Trench item.
- My editor there asked me to write my usual type of article, rather than lean on the infographic. "Ok", I replied, although I thought it would be a rather "shallow" article about a "deep" subject. After all, James Cameron did not share a lot of free-to-use images from his dive: he probably wants to make his own movie and become even richer.
- In less than an hour after I started promoting my article, I've had some positive feedback on Facebook.
This writing tip
is a longer version of what I've said before: stay open to ideas for articles, and use them appropriately.
"North West Triathlon" by (The contributor of this photo is David Hawgood)
This series began months ago when I learned of a new triathlon; it continued through investigating two separate summer Toronto events; and culminates with this article, my second spectators' guide to viewing the Toronto Island triathlon.
Shameless Self-Promotion for my Toronto Triathlon Article
One Recycled Writing Tip from my Swim, Bike and Run Series
It was a terrible pun (cycle versus bicycle), but I have shared this writing tip
before.Whether by planning or by happy accident, running a series of articles can help your writing in several ways.
- You already know something about the topic.
- You may be able to recycle images or reference links.
- Your credibility should be enhanced when you cover similar topics well.
- You may gain loyal readers for that topic.
The current article was simply an obvious follow-up. I had written about both triathlons; the most recent was a spectators' guide for the July triathlon in Toronto, based at Ontario Place. The three Toronto triathlon races in August 2012 also deserved my "spectator" treatment.
"Bayes' Theorem" image by Mike DeHaan
And naturally it's easier to write an equation in Microsoft Word, then copy to and adjust as a Paint image, than to use a WordPress editor to type the symbols directly into the article.
As noted before, it's also easier to claim copyright if the art is a prior work in one's own online blog.
"A Real Clear Science Link to Decoded Science" image by Mike DeHaan
One Bayesian Writing Tip for SEO
It's just as well I hadn't written my writing tip for this post until after the article was published.
That's because I had no idea it would be one link among many in Real Clear Science.
As any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ful kno, the search engines reward articles that are linked from "high quality" sites. The link noted above is an example. It will make my article just a bit more "desirable" when someone searches for its keywords.
That should be good for Decoded Science, and ultimately for me.
I don't know whether my editor pursued Real Clear Science's editors, or if they just noticed my article.
My writing tip for improving your chances in the online world of search engines follows.
If you're serious about making your mark online, one way is to encourage other sites to link to your articles.
How? Make personal contact with influential editors in your topic areas. It does not matter whether you meet face-to-face, by telephone, e-mail, or as is more likely, pursue them in social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
Include an RSS Feed on your site, to make it easy for people to follow your every post.
Publicize each new article; again, whether through social media or by using your contact list.
Finally, the content must be well written and suitable for the target audience.
While you're busy with this writing tip, I'm going to continue promoting my "population trends" article.
Normally each of my DeHaan Services articles deserves its very own publicity piece, but sheer busy times force me to roll three into one.
The 2012 Ontario Summer Games in Toronto
"Recreational Archery" image of and by ninahale( Nina Hale)
The Metro Toronto Zoo Hosts African Culture
"African Arts and Culture at the Metro Toronto Zoo in August 2012
" is an exceptional article, only because it covers a well-established venue that really does not need publicity for itself.
The special culture and arts feature, however, only runs through the end of August; it deserves a nod and gets it as a one-time summer Toronto event in 2012.
Performing Arts at Toronto Libraries
Harbourfront Centre is hosting the "Planet IndigenUS" festival in August 2012. Two of the shows head for two separate Toronto library branches on Aug. 17, 2012. Each performance is refreshingly free.The
Polytoxic Dance Theatre performs downtown, while the "Rabbit and Bear Paws" show uses the North York Centre library as its venue.My
"Two Free Performances at Toronto Libraries on Aug. 17, 2012
" covers them both, particularly answering the vexing questions of "where" and "when".
More Publicity for Three Articles
Writing Tip for Selectinga Topic
Today's writing tip repeats an earlier one.
Select a topic by asking yourself, "What would interest my readers? What would benefit my readers"?
Each publicized article points out an event that might be interesting to some people in Toronto. These opportunities may not be well publicized by the hosting organizations; so it benefits both my reader and the organization if the article brings them more visitors.
Organizations that invest heavily in their own publicity don't particularly need my help. Conversely, I cannot imagine that anyone who notices my article about an event but not a full-page newspaper ad for that event...such a person wouldn't be interested in my article either.
This is my approach to selecting topics for the DeHaan Services "Toronto Events" category. What would people find interesting if only they knew about it? What would they not know about, if not for my article?