Tools to improve your writing
Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.
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I hope to see you guys there. Hey, whats up guys, it's Jenna back again, with another episode of The twins this collective podcast. I'm so excited to be here today. And I am going to be talking all about different apps that you can use when you're trying to improve your writing. Now, I don't know about you, but I really, really struggle with writing. It's definitely something that I have had on my list of things that I need to better myself at. But honestly, it's just something that I struggle with on a daily basis. I when I started my blog for years ago, I don't know why I think I was a little bit better that back then. But even then I was writing, you know, more curated posts where there wasn't as much words, I just feel like I struggle when I look at a blank page. And I'm like, What do I say What do I say? So I want to talk a little bit about some apps that I've used, that not only teach me how to use correct grammar, but also make me less distracted and also come up with content ideas. So I'll get started with a few. And I don't know if you've seen some of the ads for these. But these are thumbs up some things that I've actually used. The first one is something called the Hemingway app. If you've ever heard of Ernest Hemingway, he is a author of many different books. Maybe you studied them in high school. That's what I did. That's how I learned about Ernest Hemingway. There's an app called Hemingway app. And basically what it does is you can copy and paste your text in there, and it tries to make it a little bit less wordy. So if you're trying to cut down on words, it basically writes it how Hemingway would where he was a man of few words, but he made a big impact with them. So that's something that I would recommend looking into is the Hemingway app. Another one that I keep seeing ads for online is Grammarly. I've never actually used this before, but it's something that I definitely would look into it's definitely helps your grammar making sure that you're using the right ways of saying things. So that is something that I would look into with the Hemingway and the Grammarly apps, there's a lot more I'm reading an article literally right now. There's a few other ones called right room, right? Ulysses on writer, these are all great for if you get really distracted while writing like I do. And there are apps you can download, like on your Mac or your PC, they might be available on there as well.
But I wanted to
talk also about those distracting things that happened when you're on social media. And it's very hard for you to stay on track, I use two different apps for keeping myself on pace, and one is called self control. And it is only for Mac. So I apologize to PC users. I don't think that there's on there, but you might be able to find something so similar. Anyways, I just wanted to say that self control is an amazing it can block whatever websites that you really want to be blocked, say for me, Facebook. But basically, you can make a what's called a whitelist. And then you can set the amount of time that you don't want to be interrupted. And there's also a very similar app for the iPhone called unplugged. And basically what it does is it makes you go on airplane mode, and then it set the timer. And if you pick it up, they like basically start making this really loud noise. It's a like you can't be in control of your own self. It's really, it's very eye opening to see how often you just like pick your phone up and don't even think about it. So if I'm really really need to focus on something, I definitely put that on. And it really does help honestly, because you literally cannot go to those distracting websites, or apps that you use go to when you're bored, I get bored very easily. So that's something that I struggle with. And so it's something that I probably should just turn on all day anyways, it's hard when your job is social media. So you get, you know, plugged in, and then really distracted very easily. So those are a few of the apps that I want to talk about, especially for writing and maybe for self control and distraction free writing. But I also wanted to talk a little bit about a few other things. Some books that I've actually looked at about writing, I actually bought this one. It's called nobody wants to read your which I again, I probably should, I'm going to bleep that out maybe, because this is a clean podcast. But basically it's about why what what to write about because people don't want to read stupid stuff that they don't care about. And I have this book and I have yet to read it. But it's on my list, because my struggles with writing are so strong, that I really thought that this book would really help me understand what people really want to hear. And it's the same with any type of content, whether it's a video, you know, podcast, knowing what people want is so important, which kind of leads me into my next app or website. This one I've talked a lot about, and people always try to tell if people have heard me talk about it, they always forget what it's called. It's called answer the public. Now what's great about answer the public is basically what they do is they take a Google searches and see around a single word and see what people are actually looking up on that topic. So if the topic is say, podcasting, you could have different questions that say maybe I'll just go to the website right now and see what it says. So answer the public.com. And basically, what this does is it looks up Google searches and sees what people are searching in that topic. And it helps you come up with either blog post topics, all of that stuff. So let me look. Looks like podcasting has 62 questions. So how to learn podcasting, how to use podcasting in the classroom, how to teach podcasting, and well podcasting kill radio? Yes, I think it will. podcast can be defined as how podcasting help your business, all of these questions. And what's cool is that if you wanted to write something that is answering that, you know, hopefully that will start ranking in the search results, because you're literally answering the questions that are super highly searched? And you're because your answer literally puts that question in the title. It's something that people will want to click on. So that's something that I would highly recommend is answer the public Comm. One of the major topics that I struggle with is coming up with a headline or a main title of my blog post. And so I actually found this website pretty early on in my blogging experience, and it's called the CO schedule headline analyzer. So it's definitely something that I would look into. It's something that I want look at. So basically, what I just typed in was how to start a podcast. That was my,
my headline that I decided to write and so I gave me a score of 66, which is not very good. It says common words a how to or 20%. uncommon the zero you want to have uncommon words, says great headlines are usually made up of 10 to 20% of uncommon words, emotional 40% says emotional words frequently stir an emotional response in the reader, they have been proven to drive clicks and shares, great headlines are usually made up of 10 to 15% of emotional words, and I have 40%. So that's almost like too much. As again, I'm an empath and love to be emotional. Power. Interesting. So power words or phrases, I have zero percent. So grab the attention. So basically, that's what it does, it tells you it tells you that what how long it is it says headlines with approximately six words tend to earn the highest number of quick first and I have five words. So if I wanted to write how to start a fantastic podcast, let's see if that makes a little bit different. So now I am at 76%. So that's a better option than 66%. So and I exactly six words. So basically what it does is it tells you how to write headlines that drive traffic shares and search results. So if you're struggling with SEO, if you're struggling with people finding you, I would really highly look at both answer the public and the CO schedule, headline analyzer. And again, I will leave all these links in the description of this podcast. I think these are so important to know about, especially when you're starting out as a writer, which again, I'm not. And so that's why I want to really stress the fact that I'm not really a writer. And so I have to use these things, these books, these apps in order to help me with my SEO and help me with my writing. And talking about SEO, this is kind of the last topic I wanted to talk about. We will have a whole month basically talking about SEO and a few months, I believe and SEO is something that a lot of people really get scared of. And I honestly really like SEO, I think it's a really cool idea. I used to work for an SEO sem company. So I learned a lot about it in just a few months. And it's something where basically you just have to keep an eye on what you're actually putting on your site, what is actually searchable, what is one of those keywords that will help you rank on Google and making sure that you have everything set up from your site maps to, you know, being mobile friendly, there's just so many things that websites need in order to rank and just knowing those basics is going to help you a lot. Now honestly, people think that their website will go to the top of Google right away. That's really not true. Basically, I like to think of SEO as wine. So if you have a bottle of wine, the older it is, the better gets. And that's kind of the same with SEO. So the longer your website has been out, the longer the URL has been on. That means that it's much more trustworthy site. And so it'll probably rank better. But there is one plugin that I want to talk about. If you have WordPress, I do not currently have WordPress, I use Squarespace. But this I use WordPress for over two years. So I got to really know how the plugins worked. And there's one that I really recommend. And I really wish Squarespace had because I really kind of miss it. And it's called Yoast SEO. And you might have heard of it. It's their number, definitely the number one SEO plugin on WordPress. Basically what it does is right before you publish your blog posts, it tells you whether or not you have enough words that will rank in your title as well as the first sentence of your first sentence of your blog post. And it's great for understanding SEO a little bit better. I think that that plugin really showed me what I was missing. For example, you want have some of the keywords duplicated. So you want to say them multiple times. So
basically, I'm used to it asked me which word is most important. And why haven't you written in multiple times in your blog post? Because honestly, text is really what's going to help you rank on Google. So I would recommend the Yoast SEO plugin, it is free for those who have a WordPress account. Again, I don't know if I really want to get into WordPress just because it's such a complex topic. But you will have to have a paid self hosted WordPress account and not a free account in order to use plugins. And it's pretty easy to download a plugin. I've done it many, many, many times, just google on YouTube and type in how to install the plugin. It's pretty easy to do. And that's something that I would recommend, again, for Squarespace, I would just look at some of those other apps I talked about. And just kind of keep an eye on putting keywords on your photos and all that stuff. Because that is again how Google searches that. So let me know if you have any more questions on SEO. I think it's a topic that a lot of people always want to learn about. I know a lot of people locally who are pretty good at it since I was part of that world for a little bit. And so I definitely have some contacts if you are looking to have a professional helping you with that. So that is all for today's episode. Just wanted to walk you through a few of these apps that I found really, really helpful. And that's something that I wanted to talk about since this month's topic is writing. So I hope that you guys enjoyed this episode. I will be back next week with another interview. So talk to you guys later. Thanks again for listening to the 20th collective podcast conversations with creatives with your host Jenna Redfield. Make sure to head on over to iTunes to subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss a single episode. New episodes come out every Monday. Make sure to also leave us a review let us know how we're doing as well as helping us grow our
We also want to let you know that we have a website Twin Cities collective calm where you can learn more about us. Join our online directory learn more about events as well as join our Facebook community. Shout out again to Allison burns who created all of our artwork as well as our logo, as well as Nicola whitelist for the use of the song in the intro. I also want to say thanks to studio cork for letting us use the podcast studio that they have on site. Make sure to go to studio co worker calm to learn more about how you can start podcasting too. Thanks again for listening and I'll talk to you guys next week.