Writing for Websites
Jen Miller is the founder of Need Someone to Blog, a content marketing agency located in Orange County. Jen is also the mother of eight, one of the lead organizers of the Women Who WP meetup, on the organizing team for WordCamp Orange County 2017, and is speaking at WordCamp Europe on SEO and highly targeted, localized blogging. We had a great opportunity to talk to Jen about writing for websites.
Pixel Jar: Jen, tell us a little bit about how you got started writing.
Jen: I was a shy kid and used words to find my voice in the world. As a child I entered many writing competitions and received recognition which allowed me to gain confidence. I wrote on my high school newspaper and was considered the go to for term papers when friends needed help.
During my first semester of college at CSU, Long Beach I was in a car accident and the hours needed for rehabilitation required a change of major. I floundered. My chiropractor suggested I write for our community newspaper and I did. Soon after I changed my major to journalism, accepted a full time editorial position covering business, man-on-the-street interviews and crime news and fell in love with the pace and uniqueness of my work. I worked on my college newspaper, the 49’er and the University magazine and learned even more. Before long I was running the newspaper group and had developed a love for words and their power to build community.
I graduated from college, got married and was interviewing with large news agencies when I received an offer to publish an industry magazine out of my home. Intrigued, I took that offer. Within two years, the magazine evolved into a website. My husband developed the website and I wrote the copy. We watched as the website changed people’s lives.
A syndicated news agency, Today.com sought me out as a blogger and I wrote for them on a variety of topics and began picking up individual clients. One of my clients developed real estate websites and I soon found myself full-circle, once again writing community news, a genre near to my heart. When I decided to build Need Someone To Blog, I focused on bringing together communities through industry and area-specific blog posts, and it has been a successful model.
Pixel Jar: What services do you offer through Need Someone to Blog?
Jen: Well, we blog. 🙂 We also offer a variety of content marketing services, from researching and writing new website pages to strategic content revisions and SEO. We offer email marketing, book authoring and social promotion alongside our ghostwriting and content services.
Pixel Jar: How do you approach blogging differently from writing static content for a website?
Jen: All the writing we do at Need Someone To Blog is unique, whether it’s a blog post or a static page. However, blogging requires a different skillset. Bloggers must be tenacious, insightful, adaptable and consistent. The ability to research trending topics and capture or extend the essence of a subject on an ongoing schedule is a talent found in the best bloggers. You’ll find that great bloggers love details, have to know the backstory and excel at research.We specialize in blogging for others – companies and individuals – and take great pride in helping our clients develop authority. Blog posts are intended to engage more than inform and to entice more than convert, though a great post will accomplish all of that, creating brand loyalty in the process.
Writing static website content is similar to crafting a case study or white paper. The underlying message is consistent throughout the site – with variation based on the particulars of each page. Page content typically requires more details and statistics, as its primary purpose is to act as a resource or first response to site visitors. Page content must create interest, answer questions and prompt action so all elements on the page should work to that goal, from the text to the color and style of the submit buttons on the page. Often a more professional, upper management style of writing is taken with page content whereas the majority of blog posts utilize a less formal style, depending on the industry.
Pixel Jar: You’re our go-to person for website content. Can you speak a little bit about how you work with clients?
Jen: Clients need to feel comfortable with their content. In some cases this may mean slight updates or edits. In others, we may completely re-write or even compose site pages, after understanding the vision of the design team.
I believe website content should involve the client as little as possible while still delivering transparency. Afterall, if the client wanted to do the work, they wouldn’t be hiring us. Goals are outlined in email or conversation and deliverables are agreed upon before work commences. Nuances and industry-specific details are discussed. When work includes a rewrite, edits or SEO audit, an origin file is created with the existing content before work commences. All revisions are made on-site. The client is then given copies of the original and revised content, documenting the changes made. Questions, if any, are resolved.
Pixel Jar: We see you a lot at the local meetups and WordCamps. Why do you think it’s important to be involved with the WordPress community?
Jen: Community enhances everything. Whether your community is geographic or industry specific, when you contribute and participate, you give of yourself and improve as an individual. You become connected to more than yourself.
WordPress is a well-loved community for good reason. It’s a place of learning and teaching; a community that seeks to build people and websites. Yes, it’s about code, but WordPress is also about the individuals behind the code – the developers, the designers, the administrators and even the bloggers. Many WordPress users work remotely or as freelancers which means they spend more hours than the average human in solitude. Connecting to the WordPress community provides a way to form friendships with like-minded individuals and develop connections with others who think the same way.
Pixel Jar: Why did you form Women Who WP?
Jen: I’ve been in the WordPress space for quite some time, but spent most of it on the outside looking in. I watched or attended WordPress Meetups and WordCamps as a way to gain or solidify knowledge, more than as a place to make friends. About two years ago I started extending myself more and met some great friends. I noticed that we constantly discussed WordPress, though not at the Meetup itself. We went there to listen and learn, not to ask questions. I also recognized that the ratio of men to women at my local Meetup seemed disproportionate.
In March of 2016, after attending the Social Media Masterminds Meetup, I gathered a group of women to go to lunch. While at lunch our talk once again revolved around WordPress. It was like a mini-Meetup and we discussed that we should get together more often. That weekend Elizabeth Shilling and I attended a Girl Develop It (GDI) event and called Bridget Willard as we drove to discuss forming a women’s WordPress group.
Not wanting to lose momentum, I called a friend’s restaurant the next day and booked the back room for the following Wednesday night. I added the event to Meetup.com and named it Women Who WP. The general idea was that we would talk WordPress over dinner and see what evolved. Bridget, Elizabeth and I thought it would be a three person event and were shocked when RSVPs came in and seven people showed up for dinner and WordPress.
That night we discovered that we could learn WordPress from each other in a way we couldn’t experience at a traditional Meetup. We became a support system for one another and our Meetup was seen as a safe place to ask for advice on everything from contracts to code. We each shared something we learned about WordPress in the 30 days prior. The conversation hasn’t stopped.
We continue to have monthly dinner meetings which are sponsored by DreamHost. As an organization, we have touched the lives of more than 150 members. More Meetup chapters are being formed in 2017 to meet the needs of women in other locations, in both the US and abroad. Last month at WordCamp San Diego we revealed our Rosie the Riveter Wapuu, created by Cheryl and Sherie LaPrade, and we’ve added a swag store link to our website at WomenWhoWP.org. Merchandise proceeds benefit the WordPress community at large. We’ve become a sign of strength, hope and community for the Women Who WordPress and it’s beautiful to witness.
Pixel Jar: Is there anything else that our readers should know about Jen Miller or Need Someone to Blog?
Jen: I can be reached on Twitter or LinkedIn at JenBlogs4u or by email at [email protected]. My podcast, “Be Seen Blogging” is available for download on iTunes and GooglePlay.
Pixel Jar: Thanks for the interview Jen!