The Bright Side of Summaries
If you’re a new fitness copywriter, you might have a difficult time coming up with new blog post ideas consistently. After all, you can’t copy others’ work and you haven’t been writing long enough for a long list of ideas.
Help is here! Below are some general blog post ideas that you can write from. Remember to research and include facts and stats in your blog posts. Weave in your own personality and give good, plain information that adds value. A knowledgeable fitness copywriter stays on top of current trends.
Blog Post Topics
1. The germs in health clubs (what people can do to protect themselves)
2. Fitness equipment (or focus on one particular machine or piece of equipment and list all its benefits)
3. Personal trainers (shouldn’t have any problem finding one who wants to talk about their business – e.g.: biggest challenges they face with clients, their training method, etc.)
4. Nutritional topics (the worst ways to lose weight, what new super foods can you get in a capsule, how to shop for nutritious foods)
5. Body part exercises (focus on chest, abs, arms, or legs)
6. How to shop for a set of weights for your home (what to look for, what to avoid)
7. How to build a home fitness center on $100. or less (using resistance bands, jump ropes, hoola hoops, and stability balls)
8. How to work in 30 minutes of cardio during your busy work day. (break it up into smaller time slots, jumping jacks, etc.)
9. Fitness professional marketing (how to increase client base, how to use social media to connect locally)
10. Sports supplements (10 best lists, ineffective supplements, how to take)
There you have it. These blog post topics are enough to get you started. There are plenty of fitness websites that will give you a chance to be heard…or read that is. The fitness industry is so huge, you won’t have a problem coming up with ideas beyond what I’ve listed here. As a fitness copywriter, you can quickly and easily get established if you’re consistent with submitting your blog post articles.
It’s not always easy to know how to approach a book review writing task because you might not be a literary expert. Even if you are, writing a positive or negative review sometimes boils down to your personal preferences, making your task a little stickier.
These tips will make the review writing process easier and provide interesting reviews for your readers.
Types of Book Reviews
First, it helps to know the different types of book reviews. There are critical reviews (you might recall writing evaluations in school or university that involved evaluating the work according to literary standards) and informational or descriptive book reviews. These descriptive reviews are usually published in print periodicals or websites.
The two book reviews might seem different, but at heart they are the same. The good thing is that in descriptive book reviews, you can be a little less formal. Ultimately, your task as the reviewer is to help readers decide if the book will be good for them to buy or download to their reading device, or if something else could be better suited to them.
Before You Start to Write….
1. Do the Work!
A book review loses credibility if you have not read the book. It’s as simple as that. Not only are you doing a gross disservice to the author who spent a large amount of time working on the book, but you are also doing yourself an injustice because your review won’t display your in-depth understanding of the work. And therefore, it cannot be entertaining to readers. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison once said:
Take your time to settle in with the book and make notes as you go along of anything striking that will be good to mention when you write your review. Other than the characters and how the story develops, think about the author’s writing style. Give the book your complete attention so that you will be able to offer readers and the author a fair review.
2. Make it a Bit Personal
The reader is an important part of any book, so as you read make notes about what you like and dislike, both regarding the story as well as the author’s technique or message. To assist you in this process, you could ask yourself questions such as:
- Did the story make you feel good or upset, or was it an exciting adventure?
- What was your favorite and worst part?
- Was the book an addictive page-turner?
- Which characters did you like the most, and why?
3. Consider Your Readers
You need to know the type of reader who will most likely read this review. Is the reader part of academic circles, a member of an online book club, or the regular reader of glossy magazines? Do a bit of research into the publication for which you are writing to help you understand your audience. For instance, a review written for a humorous women’s magazine could be informal and quick-witted. On the other hand, readers of a more serious academic journal would prefer a more analytical and formal review.
The Introductory Paragraph
As with your regular article writing, an introductory paragraph is important. You want to intrigue readers so that they devour the entire review! What you could include in the lead paragraph is something about the book that makes it unique or interesting; something that catches people’s attention. Ask yourself to describe the book in a sentence, and focus on the most important and alluring description in this opening.
For instance, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde could be interestingly described as, “A painted portrait of Dorian Gray begins to age in accordance with Dorian’s sins.” On the other hand, Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyescould be taken from the angle of: “Rachel Walsh is forced into rehab for drug use, but she’s expecting a five-star spa-like establishment in which to recuperate from life’s hardships. She has a surprise in store…”
In the lead paragraph, don’t worry too much about explaining the storyline (for instance, detailing why the portrait in Dorian Gray is transforming into something hideous), but just concentrate on the interesting snippet for now. You will elaborate on the story later in your review.
Mention the Author
It helps to write something noteworthy about the author in your introduction, such as that he or she has won numerous awards or this book has been listed as their fourth best-seller.
Genre & Other Tidbits
It is also a good idea to mention the genre and if the book is part of a series, as well as if the reader has to read other books before tackling this one so that they will be able to understand and appreciate the story.
Body of the Review
The body of the review can include a summary or description of the book (without giving away spoilers!) as well as the quality of writing.
1. Analyze the Text
Now’s your chance to dig deeper into the characters. Are they credible and fully realized? Do you feel that you know them personally after reading the book? Also look into aspects of the plot, such as if it is logical and well mapped, as well as if the storyline leaves too many holes or unresolved issues.
2. Understand the Book’s Meaning
Also consider the book’s deeper meaning. Why is the book an important work? What does it say about the world, our society, or the environment, perhaps? Every book has a deeper meaning, even if it doesn’t appear to at first, and this can reflect the author’s life story at times. Did the author grow up in poverty, which could be why they are writing about overcoming difficulties? If the book is a more light-hearted work, and you don’t find any deeper meaning, observe its entertainment value. Is it humorous, fun, and a great escape after a long day at the office?
3. Use Facts and Examples
Always justify your opinion with solid examples. The readers who are considering buying this book do not know what is inside your head and they haven’t read the book. Give them examples from the book to add foundation to your claims. For instance, maybe it is difficult to identify with the lead character because she is a criminal and does horrible things in the beginning of the book.
You don’t have to go into too much detail, however, as you don’t want to give away too much of the storyline. Remember you are not rehashing the book’s sequence of events but merely using snippets of what happens in the novel to explain your impression of it so that it is based on fact.
Rating the Book
In the conclusion of the review, you can offer a bit of your personal impressions of the book. Here is where notes about your likes or dislikes during the reading of the text will come in handy. However, keep this part of the review as professionally written as the others. Now is not the time to warble on about how much you loved the protagonist or disliked the setting. You can supply a rating for the book and then explain in a sentence or two why you have chosen this rating.
Understand there’s a book out there for everyone, so you cannot say in full certainty that the book is either worth getting or not because there will always be readers who will want something you don’t like or vice versa.
A nice bit of reviewer etiquette when dealing with books that you don’t like could be to mention in your conclusion the type of reader who would enjoy this book. For instance, the book might be a good choice for readers who love paranormal stories or mystery books. You could also mention books that are similar to this novel. For instance, perhaps readers who enjoyed Twilight would enjoy this vampire series.
Extra Items to Add
1. The book’s title, author, publisher, date of publication, special features (such as pictures or maps), ISBN, price, and where it can be purchased. Double-check these as you don’t want to make any errors!
2. Don’t forget to write the book review in your own style! You don’t have to stick to a rigid format when writing a book review. However, it could help to have an outline so that you deal with different aspects you want to cover in an organized way.
About the author:
Giulia Simolo is a freelance journalist who has always been passionate about writing. A regular contributor to various websites and publications, Giulia has garnered a lot of experience as a freelance writer and enjoys sharing this with others who wish to enter the exciting field of journalism.
Submitting your article ideas to an editor might feel like an overwhelming task. I like to simplify it by thinking that writing is similar to selling a product. You’ve just got to know how to market it! If that feels overwhelming, don’t worry. Here are some tips on how to write article summaries that editors will want to snap up.
The Bright Side of Summaries
If writing an article pitch makes you fret, bear in mind the benefits. Summaries enable you to submit a paragraph or two on your idea instead of wasting time writing an entire article that gets put on the backburner because it was not what the publication had in mind.
Summaries are a way to show off your writing skills while giving your editor a better idea of what you want to write. Added to this, summaries also benefit you as the writer. They give you a chance to formulate the crux of what you will tackle in the article, which creates a much clearer outline. Should your idea be accepted, a pristine summary will make writing your article much easier. Remember, planning is half the work done!
Great Things Come in Small Packages
Keep your summary short. You don’t want to bore your editors with long, waffling summaries. Stick to the basics of what it is you want to say. A paragraph or two should be sufficient (aim for 100 words per summary).
Make your sentences quick and crisp. Get to the point so that you don’t lose track. Remember that editors might not want to sit and read long summaries; chances are they will skim over the ideas, especially if you’ve sent them a long list of topics. Keep your summaries brief and you’ll hold their attention all the way through.
Grab a Great Title!
According to a quote by David Ogilvy who is regarded as the Father of Advertising:
The point is your article title is important. It’s the first thing editors will read and so you want to make it fresh, interesting and memorable.
Consider the following titles:
Now, look at how they can be improved just by using sharper, more focused words:
These last examples are much more powerful because they give the reader ideas of how they can improve their life, business and fashion sense. Remember: the reader needs to take something away from the article after he/she has read it. When writing titles:
- Be clear and concise. Make the titles short, no longer than 10 words.
- Use catchy words. Instead of ‘improve,’ consider ‘boost.’ Choose words such as ‘great’, ‘how to’ and ‘easy tips’ that will keep the reader—and editor—interested.
- Number it. Sometimes it can be a good idea to offer a certain number of tips in your title, as can be seen in the second example: Five Summer Fashion Tips That Will Turn Heads. This shows the reader that they can expect five tips. It encourages the reader to read the article because they know that in just a few steps they will be able to overhaul their summer wardrobes.
- Motivate the Reader. Show how the reader will be able to change their life for the better by reading your article. Instead of merely saying they can learn how to eat healthier, write that they can eat their way to better health. Instead of telling them they can learn some summer fashion tips, explain why this is important—that is, it will make them the centre of attention at their next social outing.
Now we get to the nitty-gritty of the summary body. What should your summaries include? Here are some important pointers:
1. Ask Yourself: Why Are you Writing the Article?
Think about why you are writing the article.
- Is an article based on a news item about eco-friendly leather interesting to readers because the world is embracing greener initiatives?
- Are you passionate about the topic?
- Is the topic important?
- Is an article about pregnancy food tips helpful to women who want to conceive?
- Is the topic something that has been trending on social networks because it is important?
Figuring out your reasons for writing the topic helps you settle on your motivation for it. If you think it’s important, others will too. But you have to touch on why this is so in your summary.
2. Are there Facts to Strengthen Your Views?
It could help to touch on statistics or studies that reinforce your idea. For instance, when writing about first date tips, mentioning a recent study that looked at what mistakes people commit on a first date makes the idea more topical.
3. What is the Publication About?
I have seen freelance writers send ideas to publications without even reading up about what the magazine/website is all about. This is the equivalent of going to a job interview without knowing what the company does. No matter how good your ideas, if they do not fit in with the publication’s content and aim, then they will fall on deaf ears.
Understanding the publication strengthens your summary. For instance, pitching the idea of eco-friendly leather to a green lifestyle publication that strives for environmental awareness is a great step. In your summary you can appeal to the editor, explaining that eco-leather is a move forward in green living and how it can save animals, be kinder to the environment, and so on. Show that you understand both your idea and why it is suited to the publication to increase your chances of your idea getting chosen.
4. What Points Will You Include in the Article?
Mention a few points that you will make in the body of your article. For instance, if you are writing about how men can choose a winter fragrance, it helps to give your editor an idea of the paragraphs that you will include in the article. Each paragraph will be a new idea to tackle. So, the summary could state: ‘In this article, paragraphs could include the following: factors men should bear in mind when shopping for a fragrance; the types of fragrances that suit various personalities…’ and so on.
If you list four or five paragraph ideas, the editor will have a good outline of what to expect from the complete article should it be commissioned to you.
5. What’s Your Angle?
An editor will want to know the approach you’ll be taking with your article. This is where a good angle comes in. Fresh, creative stabs at a known topic can be a great way to infuse the editor with interest in your idea.
When coming up with a good angle, try to broaden your perspective on the issue. Let’s take the example of writing an article about the chemical dangers in make-up. This is a topic that has already been written about in various publications, so you will want to make it stand out against its contenders. Perhaps the topic could look at how to replace such make-up with organic choices and why this not only benefits women but also the environment. An easy way to pinpoint your article angle is to flesh out the idea of what you’ll be writing. This will help you brainstorm creative ways to present the information.
Spell and Grammar Checks
Ensure that your summary displays excellent spelling and grammar. If there are errors, they can put a dent in the power of your summary. It’s not enough to rely on computer spell-checks! Print out the summary and check every word with an eagle eye to ensure that it is perfectly polished. In the world of writing, spelling and grammar make important first impressions.
About the author:
Giulia Simolo is a freelance journalist who has always been passionate about writing. A regular contributor to various websites and publications, Giulia has garnered a lot of experience as a freelance writer and enjoys sharing this with others who wish to enter the exciting field of journalism. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.