Picture"Passenger Airplane in Vienna" image by viZZZual.com

"How to Turn a Business Trip into a Fitness Trip" is a guest article about maintaining your physical fitness while out of town on a business trip.

It's not an area where I have any special expertise, but certainly important for a number of my friends and acquaintances who travel regularly.

This article is in my "DeHaan Fitness..." site.

Picture"Downtown Toronto Gyms and Hotels" image by Mike DeHaan
I also publicized this in my DeHaan Services blog, in "Retain Fitness Despite Business Travel".

This allowed me to put a local spin into the content. The image shows what Google reported for "downtown Toronto gyms" and "downtown Toronto hotels". Any business traveler can use the same technique to map her best choice to combine accommodations with a nearby exercise facility.

One Local Writing Tip

At first I planned to comment about guest articles in this writing tip. I'd rather note the value of including local content in your articles.

First, let's be clear that some or all your content can and should be free of "local considerations". People travel all over the world; everyone cares about fitness. No matter what your writing niche may be, it may apply to readers anywhere on this planet.

But there are three reasons to include local content in some of your articles, or in a few places in each article.
  1. If you promote your own business, and it's a local business, then target your local audience.
  2. Keyword advertising often pays a premium for local phrases. Effectively, I may earn a bonus if my neighbour reads an ad for "hotels in Toronto" rather than for "hotels".
  3. If you are going to use an example in some location, why not make it a local location?
Let me explain a bit. "DeHaan Services" currently earns almost all its revenue internationally; but I want to grow the local business. Therefore I intentionally make local references to Toronto and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). It's a self promotion tool, even if a given topic does not relate to my business.

Keyword advertising likes "long tail" phrases. You may read a general article about a "blah-blah product". That's a short-tail keyword (or key phrase). The local retailer who commissioned that article will insist on including "blah-blah product in Mytown". That's because people ready to buy the product will search for that "product in Mytown".

Check the double map I produced. Yes, I could have done the same for Manhatten or San Francisco; but I live in Toronto so I made the map for downtown Toronto. It had to be localized; so I made a choice.

So my "local writing tip" is to refer to your local situation when appropriate; even if your main topic is maintaining fitness while traveling.

Picture"Security Poster at Toronto Nuit Blanche 2008" image by Dan Dickinson (ltdan)
"My Pick for 2013 Nuit Blanche Toronto" provides my personal choice from among many intriguing art installations that will grace various locations in Toronto early in October.

This DeHaan Services article also points to the official Nuit Blanche Scotiabank web site, since my blog could not possible cover everything that their publicists provided.

Selecting One Writing Tip

I've already hinted at today's writing tip. Can you guess what it is?

It's one answer to the problem, "How do I write a brief article about a huge subject"?

Sometimes you just have to write a series of articles. I've done that in Decoded Science, for example, with a series of three articles on Euclidean geometry. (Start with "Euclid Laid the Foundations of Geometry", and follow the links that should be at the end of each installment).

My Toronto Nuit Blanche 2013 article gave an extremely brief overview, but then dove into exactly one detail. Because the title states that it presents "my pick", that should not disappoint the reader. The article "does what it says on the label" by putting the focus on one detail among many.

So this is actually a double writing tip. Sometimes deal with a large topic by zooming into one detail; but the title must make clear that you will deliver only that detail.

Thanks for reading about the upcoming Nuit Blanche Scotiabank in Tor
Picture"Hiking in Wisconsin" image by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
This summer inspired me to write several articles about being outdoors.

Hiking in Wisconsin would be a treat, but let's see what I managed in Toronto.

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

I wrote "Hot Weather Exercise without Overheating in Four Steps" for my DeHaan Fitness blog.

Toronto was enjoying hot summer weather, with enough humidity that some people could have been at risk of overheating from exercise...or even from sitting in the shade.

Fitness through Outdoor Exercise

"5 Outdoor Activities to Help You Stay Fit", written by guest author Alexandre Duval, suggested 5 outdoor activities for summer fitness. Escape the gym! Enjoy the great outdoors and get into better condition while you're at it.

You can enjoy most of these activities all year around. Running is pretty obvious; icy sidewalks are the main concern. You can cycle when the pavement is clear.

Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and ice hockey are four winter alternatives. Obviously, A. Duval didn't cover those sports for a summer article; but you can be creative!

I'd also publicized both the above articles in my DeHaan Services blog, in "Burn Calories by Walking or Hiking for Summer Fitness".

Four Outdoor Festivals in Toronto for Sept. 13-15, 2013

From spring through autumn, you can't throw a Nerf ball in Toronto without hitting a street festival. We held "Four Free Events Outdoors in Toronto Sept. 13-15 2013":
  • Toronto Ukrainian Festival;
  • Roncesvalles Polish Festival;
  • Applicious;
  • The Terry Fox Run across Ontario and Canada.
Yes, I will admit that the Terry Fox run is much bigger than an annual Toronto event in the autumn. But we had about a dozen venues for the Terry Fox fundraiser, with a variety of distances for runners and walkers, and even cyclists and roller bladers.

Remember to participate in the Terry Fox Run in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) as well as other Canadian cities next year, if you can't participate in Toronto.

The New Name, Toronto Mennonite Festival

"The 2013 Toronto Mennonite Festival at Black Creek Village" changed its marketing name this year, from "MCC Relief Sale at Black Creek".

Most of the event is outdoors. I sold meat or vegetarian Sloppy Joe buns from the shelter of a tent. Our customers walked through the rain, or stayed dry in the quilt auction pavilion.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) provides disaster relief services, promotes sustainable development, and supports peace and social justice issues both in North America and around the world. The newly-named Toronto Mennonite Festival raises funds and awareness for MCC's work.

We partner with Black Creek Pioneer Village, a year-round historic interpretation site near York University in Toronto. This year their horse-drawn carriage went past the village green where we set up for Sloppy Joes. Later I learned that their usual route in the north of the village was too muddy to navigate.

I can tie in "exercise" for my part at the Toronto Mennonite Festival. I'm not sure I ever sat down from 9am to 3pm or so. We had a good supply of customers despite the weather, and the Sloppy Joe mixture needs a lot of stirring.

One Writing Tip from the Great Outdoors

Many of my previous writing tips are about choosing themes or topics.

This time, let me confess that I had not recognized that I actually used one theme frequently over the summer and early autumn. My theme, of course, was "outdoor activities".

Although I had not planned to use this as a theme, it's pretty obvious now that I review what I've written.

The weather often was excellent for gentle outdoor activities, but challenging for exercise when it was too hot. Conversely, the Toronto Mennonite Festival had its first "rain all day" weather event; but it maintained about 80% of its usual revenue.

Today's writing tip is simple. From time to time, review what you've been writing over the last quarter year. What themes or topics are now obvious? Will you still be excited about them for the next quarter? Will those themes be popular again next year? Were you in a rut, or are you developing a niche?

Thanks for reading about these outdoor activities articles, as well as the writing tip.
Picture"Twin Girls" : image by Ruth L
Yes, the title is a pun on my usual section in Decoded Pregnancy: "Development". Let me quickly explain what I meant from a writing perspective.

Usually my Decoded Science articles about math include calculations. There's nothing like explaining how to use a math formula to people eager to understand the low probability of winning a lottery.

In Decoded Pregnancy, however, the articles often deal with statistics. My "Probability of Becoming Pregnant with Twins" mainly relies on the USA's statistics for multiple births for mothers of different age groups or ethnic backgrounds.

Later I publicized that article in my DeHaan Services blog, where "The Canadian Chance of Being Pregnant with Twins" added statistics from a professor at the University of British Columbia. (I like to include a Canadian twist to my DeHaan Services articles so I can promote them on ZoomIt...but that's another writing tip).

Gestational Age or Embryonic Age: a Small but Vital Difference

Later I wrote "Calculate Embryonic Age vs Gestational Age: Pregnancy Math". Finally, that article actually had a calculation, in one extremely simple equation.

Ectopic Pregnancy in the USA, Canada and the World

The most recent is "Probability of Ectopic Pregnancy: The Math Behind Atypical Implantation". Again, I returned to statistics for the math content of this article. Different risk factors lead to different likelihoods of ectopic pregnancy, which can be a life-threatening condition for the mother.

When I publicized both the age calculation and ectopic pregnancy articles in DeHaan Services ("A Pair of Articles about Math for Pregnancy"), I added some Canadian statistics.

One Writing Tip from Three Pregnancy Articles

The writing tip is to adapt your style and content to what your publisher needs.

The editor and publisher at Decoded Pregnancy want to include my articles that relate math and pregnancy. However, my usual explanations and examples of math formulae and calculations do not apply to many pregnancy situations.

Although one could argue that a discussion of statistical likelihood for medical conditions is more about "epidemiology" than mathematics, nonetheless it seems to be important for Decoded Pregnancy readers. Sometimes there is a simple formula; but not often. (For example, I did not find a formula for the probability of ectopic pregnancy by age or racial background).

You could, of course, decide to avoid a publication that cannot use your particular approach. That's a lot better than doing a bad job!

But if you can find a way to satisfy readers in a niche that sits outside your comfort zone, that's even better.

I approach many of my articles for Decoded Pregnancy with two questions. First: Is this topic worth covering, that those readers could find useful? Second: What is the right approach for this topic? (In my case, should I present computations or statistics)?

Thanks for reading about these pregnancy articles; have I decoded a useful writing tip today?
Picture"Theatre of the Beat after Rehearsal at TUMC" image by Mike DeHaan
Commemorate! presents a contemporary conundrum in a play about the effects of the War of 1812 on modern people as well as those who lived through almost three years of warfare in North America.

I took the opportunity to write a promotional article, "Theatre of the Beat to Commemorate War of 1812 in Stouffville", after arranging for them to rehearse at TUMC (Toronto United Mennonite Church). That's where I snapped this photo and briefly interviewed the cast. (You have to read that main article for details on when and where this one-night performance fits into the Stouffville Peace Festival. Hint: Stouffville is north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada).

Written and performed by Theatre of the Beat, a young Canadian drama troupe, Commemorate! also invites audience members to intervene in the lives of some of the characters. How would you deal with an obstructive civic official when making the case that a civil commemoration ceremony will ignore many points of view?

I've known three of the above actors, and performed with them before they formed Theatre of the Beat. My article admits that I have a bias.

Let's Admit the "Commemorate" Pun

Let me admit that the word "Commemorate" in both titles, "Theatre of the Beat to Commemorate War of 1812 in Stouffville" and "Commemorate a Win-Win Drama and Writing Topic", is a bit of a pun.

The play's title is Commemorate!, with the exclamation mark. Yes, it does refer to marking and remembering the War of 1812.

However, neither Theatre of the Beat nor myself, in either article, really is commemorating that war (or a drama). It would have been more honest to put that word Commemorate! inside quotation marks in my articles' titles.

Nonetheless, I think it's a pun that readers may notice and appreciate; or disregard without harm.

One Win-Win Writing Tip from Commemorate!

This rehearsal provided a win-win situation for myself and for Theatre of the Beat.

Theatre of the Beat needed a free rehearsal space on short notice. (Normally my own congregation, the Danforth Mennonite Church in Toronto, hosts them when the building would otherwise be empty. Another event kept them out on this occasion).

My DeHaan Services blog can always use a specific writing topic about free or frugal events in Toronto or in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). Articles are even better when they include interviews or original photographs.

Because I used my contacts and volunteered to handle building security, Theatre of the Beat received a free rehearsal venue. Because Theatre of the Beat gave up some of their valuable time after that rehearsal, I received material for an article. That's a win-win situation!

My writing tip is that you should make every promotional article a win-win situation. Events that you publicize benefit from that publicity; you benefit by adding to your collection of articles.

Even informational or critical articles, written mainly to benefit your readers, may also help you achieve a larger audience.

If your only goal in writing is to gain readers (and convert them to clicks on advertising), you will eventually alienate the audience you need for your own success.

Instead, give your readers something of value. Be generous but honest to your interview subjects. Seek out win-win scenarios; others will then seek out your articles.
Picture"Wet Women's Cancer Walk in Little India Toronto #1" image by Mike DeHaan
Today was the first time the "Weekend to End Women's Cancers" walk went through my neighbourhood in Toronto. I went out into nearby Little India on Lower Gerrard to take a few photographs. Then I wrote up my experience in "One View of the 2013 March to End Womens Cancers".

In the above photo, note the white arrow on a pink circle; that's their signpost.

Picture"Wet Women's Cancer Walk in Little India Toronto #2" image by Mike DeHaan
Who am I to resist the call of the camera? On Sept. 7, 2013, this was the scene outside the Gerard-Ashdale library.

Picture"A Sign for the 2013 Women's Cancer Walk #1" image by Mike DeHaan
I also took a couple pictures of one sign signalling the walkers to turn.

Picture"A Sign for the 2013 Women's Cancer Walk #2" image by Mike DeHaan
Both of the "sign" images are pretty similar.

Picture"Wet Women's Cancer Walk in Little India Toronto #3" image by Mike DeHaan
Here's the last photograph I took this morning. Now I realize that I could not hold the camera steady in the overhead position, but didn't know it until seeing the larger image on my computer.

One Writing Tip from the 2013 Women's Cancer March

I've written about keeping alert for writing opportunities in previous writing tips, but nearly missed this one. What was my first mistake this time? Not doing any research into the 2013 Women's Cancer March.

My usual approach is to cover annual Toronto events before they occur, so people can participate or watch. However, the more preparation or expense is involved, the less I'm inclined to write a report.

The March to End Women's Cancers is a very worthy cause, but it takes a lot of preparation. Not only do you need to be able to walk 30Km a day for two days straight, you also need to raise $2000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The time-frame is much longer than "you have a few weeks to pre-order advance discount CNE tickets online".

So I decided not to publicize the 2013 Cancer March. Even though I learned, yesterday, that the route would include my Little India and Eastern Beach neighbourhoods, I'd already discounted this opportunity to write an article.

My writing tip is to recognize and seize topics that fit anywhere near your niche.

Learn more at the official 2013 March to End Women's Cancers web site.
Picture"Kew Gardens in Toronto" image by Linda N.
An enjoyable annual festival in Toronto is the  Beach Celtic Festival. My latest DeHaan Services article, "The 2013 Beach Celtic Festival in Toronto", publicizes this free event.

Entitled to a Writing Tip

I'd written about this festival in previous years. In fact, my choice to write about annual events in Toronto is a mixed blessing and curse.

The blessing is that people find my old articles every year, whether or not they've been updated. That makes my site busier than it would be otherwise, and that's a good thing. Of course, one problem is that the information is outdated.

But a bigger curse is that it becomes difficult to write new titles for the same events. I ran into that difficulty last month, if memory serves. The "best" title I could devise was almost identical to one written a year or two before.

One failsafe strategy is to include the date somewhere in the title for annual events.

Yet your loyal readers will notice that you've written a series of "The #### Annual Event Returns" articles.

I've begun to practice "safe titles", by searching my site for the topic in previous articles. Then I take pains to tweak the new title so I don't repeat myself.

A month ago I used "celebrate" and "celebrating" in back-to-back titles. Last week's "Three Free Labour Day Weekend Events in Toronto for 2013" repeated the use of "Labour Day" and "Weekend"; I'd written two articles with those words in 2012. So it's not just the full title; sometimes there is a pattern of words.

Whether you write about recurring events, or some other subject with a temptation to repeat specific topics, my writing tip is to create a procedure that forces you to review previous titles and enables you to make new creative choices for that vital section of your article.

While the "Beach Celtic Festival" is a major part of the title, the rest is sufficiently different that I shouldn't be accused of plagiarizing my own title. Stay creative in your writing!

    Mike DeHaan

    Mike DeHaan began writing professionally in 2010 as the sole proprietor of DeHaan Services.To see this information with the best background image, please refer to "About.Me",  befriend me at Facebook, or circle me at Google+.


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