How drilling down helps you write better content

 Article writing, Marketing, Writing for the web  Comments Off on How drilling down helps you write better content
Mar 272013

My slides from my talk How mining your knowledge helps you write better online content at the WordPress Users Wales, Mostly Women Doing Digital event, March 23rd 2013, Indycube, Swansea.

Click on the web page screenshots for live links to those pages.

Mar 252013

A fabulous day learning about the digital lives and works of some splendid women

I wanted to record my impressions of our fabulous Mostly Women Doing Digital event in Swansea on Saturday.

In response to the theme JUST DO IT, running through the day, I decided to have a play with alternative formats. So I recorded my thoughts on Voice Recorder on my phone while walking the dogs on a blustery Sunday March morning.

Seemed like a good idea at the time!

I apologise now for the huffing and puffing (me and the wind). Jess Hughes did stress the importance of good quality audio during her talk about video. Will DO BETTER next time.

Here’s my windy audio! Please add to my suggestions for improvement: eliminate wind and huffing noise and make it shorter.


Reflections on Mostly Women Doing Digital





Topics were:

  • Kids And Our Digital Future
  • DIY Blog/Site SetUp And Design
  • Blogging Globally
  • Content Writing For Fans
  • Why And How Video Is Vital
  • How The Web Gave Me A Job
  • Public Life, Big Numbers and Social Media

And here’s links to everyone’s digital spaces:

Mar 192013

Huli Who, Lily Lists or Milly Mistake; keep it interesting by mixing up your article formats

All you can eat buffet

All you can eat buffet

Have you ever attacked an ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET, got half way through and felt bloated and overfull? Bet you wish you’d gone for small plates instead.

This is what can happen when you begin to write about your experiences, knowledge or skill areas for your article marketing campaigns. You suddenly realise how much you have to say and before you know it you are metaphorically heaping the plate of your reader until they are overloaded with information.

There is another way.

Use pre-defined article formats to avoid bloating, or dumping too much information on your poor unsuspecting subscriber.

3 formats I’m going to talk about in this post are:

1. The Huli Who article format

2. Lily List article format

3. Milly Mistake article format

Let’s take each of those in turn.

1. Huli Who article

Huli tribes people Papua New Guinea

Add impact using the Huli Who article format

The Huli is a tribe that live in the Tari Basin in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, renowned for their head dresses made of human hair and bird of paradise feathers.

They sure make an impact.

This is what you’re aiming for with your article marketing campaigns. IMPACT.

In the Huli Who article, you take a topic and give it the WHAT?, WHO?, WHERE?, HOW? and WHY IT MATTERS treatment.


Let’s take an example:


Title: Why the Huli Who article format gives your article marketing more impact


The Huli Who is an article format that takes a specific topic and applies the WHAT?, WHO? WHERE?, HOW? and WHY IT MATTERS treatment.


It’s particularly useful for writers who need to break down and share expertise across a large subject such as web development or photography.


Pick up a daily newspaper and you’ll find plenty of Huli Who article formats. It’s particularly useful for article marketing campaigns that aim to drive your website up the organic search listings. By choosing a specific topic like ‘article marketing’ you get plenty of opportunities to use relevant search terms.


Break down a subject area down into manageable chunks and use the Huli Who format to keep you from straying off topic.

Why it matters?

This format is popular with editors and readers alike. It helps you the writer get to the heart of the matter quickly and makes it easier for the reader to digest.

The Huli Who article format relies on choosing a very specific topic. If you find it difficult to nail down a specific angle, you’ll love the Lily List format. It’s nice and structured and has a high, built-in, curiosity factor.

2. Lily List article format

You already know lists are popular. Magazines love them and for good reason. Lists are easy to read and digest. You can scan them quickly.

The information is easy to remember and implement. Even better, lists made up of short phrases work well on small screens such smart phones (27% of emails are opened on mobile devices*). You can use the Lily List article format for serious or silly topics in your article marketing campaigns.

Here’s some examples

  • 8 things to teach your child before they’re 12 years old
  • 6 signs you’ve become a GOW, Grumpy Old Woman
  • 10 ways to promote your email list
  • 5 ways to prevent red mite in your chicken house

You can see these headlines pull you in and make you curious to know what’s in the list. They promise new information or pique the reader’s competitive interest. Will they know everything on the list? The key here, once again, is to get really specific with your topic. Which brings us to the final, under-used format.

3. Milly Mistake article format

Often overlooked, showing how “not to do” something is a powerful way to teach. WARNING. Do not criticise your subscribers’ efforts. They won’t thank you for it. Instead choose one of your own mistakes. Tell the story and explain how you learnt from it.

Being prepared to share your mistakes brings you closer to your subscribers.

One of my favourite Milly Mistake stories is from our organic Box Scheme days.

How we created Olympic rabbits

Hungry rabbits can destroy vegetable crops in a matter of minutes. We planted 750 cabbages and the next morning they’d vanished, devoured by rabbits. Urgent action was required. We set to work to fence the field to keep the blighters out. We duly dug a trench around 12 acres (a long and arduous task) and buried chicken wire a foot below ground to stop them burrowing underneath.

It stood 4 feet, 6 inches high. That should do it

To our horror, the rabbits simply leapt over it. So we raised it. Undeterred and in fact relishing the challenge, they jumped higher and cleared it. We kept adding fencing, raising the height, until we finally kept out our Olympic rabbits with a 5 foot, 6 inch high fence.

Moral of the story?

With crop protection, go in belt and braces in the first instance. If they don’t make it over the fence first time, they’ll go and find something else to eat otherwise you’ll be helping create olympic rabbits.

You can see the power of the Milly Mistake article. Stories have been used throughout human history to show and tell. Keep a record through notes, photos, screenshots or copies of old websites, newsletters and other material to make it easy to create Milly Mistake articles.

 Aren’t these article formats a bit formulaic?

Web writers use structured outlines like these to speed up their article writing. It gives you an outline and the reader a manageable “plate of information”. The content will still be uniquely yours.

So avoid serving up an all you can eat buffet in your articles, instead help yourself produce “small plates” by using article formats like Huli Who, Lily Lists or Milly Mistake to keep your articles manageable for your reader.




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