3 Benefits of Blogging Ahead

Blogging for your business increases traffic to your website, builds customer loyalty and drives sales. At such a small cost, what’s not to love?

Blogging takes lots of time and energy, often without knowing if there’s been any real return. When I work with clients creating their blog strategy and individual posts, I always preach the value of “blogging ahead” or writing posts to be published two or three weeks ahead of time.

Why is “blogging ahead” so helpful?

1. It’s more efficient and consistent. You can create a consistent schedule for your posts, so your readers will grow to rely on your blog as their go-to source for information. Writing ahead of time is also much more efficient, since you can write when you have spare time or carve out a few hours to write posts for the next month. In the end, this is faster than writing posts on the day you want them to be published.

2. You stay motivated. Blogging can be draining since you have to continually come up with new ideas and write great content. When you “blog ahead,” you write when you’re more motivated—not crunched for time. You’ll enjoy the process more and, therefore, are more likely to grow a great blog.

3. Your blog’s content is better. When you write ahead of time, you’re more likely to produce thoughtful, well-written content instead of something that’s just thrown together. Take the time to create the best articles you can and your readers will thank you with their continued readership. You can still write highly topical “spur of the moment” articles, but this shouldn’t be your blog’s foundation.

“Blogging ahead” is a great strategy. Try establishing a blog calendar or creating a “bank” of five to ten polished articles that can be published when needed. Or, consider hiring a professional blog writer to help you get started or maintain your business blog. I offer a Blog Post Package service—ten compelling posts to help you build a better blog and incite meaningful conversations.

Advertisements

Common Confusion: Any one & Anyone

The phrase any one is often confused with the word anyone. It’s easy to understand why! After you know the rule, however, it’s pretty simple to keep them straight.

Anyone is an indefinite pronoun and refers to any person, not any individual. The adjective phrase any one refers to specific people or things that are unidentified.

Examples: 

  • Anyone who would like to attend next month’s conference can sign up by emailing Craig.
  • Please select any one of the items listed below for your “lunch and learn” meal.
  • Anyone can tell you that micromanagement leads to unhappy employees.
  • I feel that any one of our three candidates would excel in this role.

Common Confusion: Affected & Effected

A reader commented on the recent post outlining the differences between the words affect and effect, and asked what distinguishes the words affected and effected. This is a great question and I’m happy to address it!

As previously mentioned, affect is most commonly a verb and effect a noun. The words affected and effectedhowever, are both verbs.

Affected is the past tense of the most common meaning of affect. It means “impacted or changed in some way.”

  • This years cost-cutting initiatives have adversely affected many employees.
  • We are pleasantly surprised to find that the “Lunch and Learn” seminars positively affected our team’s morale.

Effected is the past tense of a less common meaning of the verb effect. It means “brought about, produced or executed.”

  • To ensure our division recruits top Gen Y talent, we effected broad changes.
  • The sales team needed to raise their concerns about the 2013 plan effected by the marketing leaders.

Now it’s your turn! Fill in the blanks with either affected or effected. Then follow @LexWritingFirm on Twitter to see if you’re right! 

  1. Our company sends its best wishes to all those ______ by Hurricane Sandy.
  2. His voracious reading positively ______ his writing skills.
  3. Employees are generally unhappy with the new hiring policy ______ by the recently-appointed HR director. 
  4. Was our stock ______ by the election results?
  5. With the help of my network, I ______ significant changes to the training manual.

Common Confusion: Affect & Effect

The words affect and effect are so similar in meaning, spelling and pronunciation that they often get mixed up and misused. Many readers, however, catch this common mistake, so don’t let it happen to you!

The most important rule of thumb is that, in most cases, affect is a verb, while effect is a noun.

The most common meaning of affect is “to influence.” Effect most commonly means “the result” or “an impression.” Examples:

  • My music affected Taylor’s studying.
  • We’re testing how substituting apple sauce affects this banana bread recipe.
  • Happy with the positive effects, Clara continues to run three times a week.
  • Kim kept complaining and the effect on the group wasn’t pretty.

These two words have other, less common, meanings. Affect can mean “to pretend” or “a mental state,” often in reference to psychology. Effect can also be a verb meaning “to bring about” or a noun meaning “personal property or belongings.”

While these meanings are rare, they are still important to consider and look out for. Examples:

  • He tried to affect an air of confidence, but his hands were visibly shaking. (Here, affect means “to pretend.”)
  • The doctor warned her that a flat affect may be a possible side effect, but she did not find this to be true. (Here, affect means “a mental state.”
  • Among the effects found in the desk was a beautiful gold watch. (Here, effect means “personal belongings.”)
  • The lobbyist hoped he would effect significant change this year. (Here, effect means “to bring about.”) 

Common Confusion: Assure, Ensure & Insure

Insurance

Insurance (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

The verbs assure, ensure and insure have the same general meaning–to make certain or more secure–but but are used in very different contexts.

  • Assure is something you do to a person or people to ease doubt or anxiety. Example: When we left the neighborhood, my wife assured me I closed the garage door.
  • Ensure is something you do to guarantee the security of an event or condition. Example: Our boss wants to continue trimming costs this quarter to ensure we meet our yearly profit projections.
  • Insure can be done to a person or thing to limit financial liability and loss. It’s most commonly used in terms of insurance. Example: The event space requires that we hire a fully-insured catering company.