Writing and Style Checklist - Top Music Co
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Writing and Style Checklist

Writing Guide & How-to videos

Thanks for writing for topmusic.co.

Please find details and videos below about how to write, format and submit your article for the blog.

If you have any questions, please email me: [email protected]

Style Overview

It goes without saying that articles need to have 100% correct spelling and grammar. It is worth checking this through a number of times. Sometimes printing your article first gives a better perspective for proof reading. It’s also great to share your article with a friend or family member to see what they think and to get a first edit.

Write in a conversational style and keep things easy to skim through (short paragraphs 1-2 sentences, headings, images, etc.).

This is the biggest single mistake that guest posters make: writing in big chunks of text. It just doesn’t work for blogs. Keep paragraphs to 1-3 sentences maximum.

Subheadings are a great way to break up text. We can add these if you don’t feel comfortable.

Length

Aim for 1500 words minimum. 1500-3000 seem to get the most traffic. Longer is fine, as long as the content is effective, relevant and concise. Anything over 1500 words will require royalty free pictures, YouTube video embeds or other digital elements you can think of to break up the text.

Images

I’ll organise the main article image and will add this before publishing – you don’t need to worry about this.

If you want to add other images, please feel free, but don’t overdo it. Also be aware of copyright by only using royalty free images or images you own.

Please include these images in your email and a caption if you want something in particular mentioned to [email protected] when you submit your blog post.

Make sure all images are less than 100 KB.

Links

Always add around 3-5 links (more is fine) either internally to other articles on this blog or to external sites.

Feel free to add a couple links to your website, but we will also provide you with one in your author bio.

Formatting

Please suggest a heading and break up the text with subheadings.

Also please include a conclusion with the title ‘Conclusion’. In the conclusion, ask the audience to interact with the blog. You could ask them a question or invite them to share their experiences.

Please provide a 2-4 sentence author bio and headshot.

Please send your finished blog post to [email protected] either as a Word document in a Google Doc. Provide any YouTube links of videos you would like embedded.

Headlines

The headline is one of the most crucial aspects of online content. I often spend considerable time (and ask others’ opinions) on headlines.

Always check: Have you chosen the most engaging headline? Remember it’s headlines that make people read your article and click through for more information.

It’s also headlines that form the basis of how people will find your article on Google.

Make it catchy, interesting, ask a question, be bold or unusual. Stand out.

A great article on this is 33 easy ways to write a headline.

Also check out these 180+ Power/Emotional words you can use.

Good negatives:

  • Never
  • Worst
  • No one
  • No way
  • By no means
  • None
  • Stop
  • Avoid
  • Don’t
  • Kill
  • Fear
  • Dead
  • Dread
  • Strange

Great positive words:

  • Strongest
  • Fastest
  • Greatest
  • Most
  • Easiest
  • Always
  • Perfect
  • Top

Also consider:

  • Critical
  • Effortless
  • Fun
  • Free
  • Incredible
  • Essential
  • Absolute

Here are some of my favourite headline ideas:

  • What I learnt from…
  • 10 best xxx backed by science (or research)
  • Top 10 hits for piano students
  • Why you should forget x.
  • The 5 best ways to…
  • How to create … using only …
  • Why x will make you a better x
  • What x will teach you about x
  • Proof that x won’t x
  • 10 rules for x your x will love
  • how to x when you x
  • will x help you x?
  • Does x matter in piano lessons?
  • When is a x the right form of x?
  • Learning from x: how to become a master
  • Do x work in piano lessons?
  • Piano exams: why they are a big fast waste of time and money.
  • 12 elements that x uses to create

Read this first then make a list of 5-10 possible headlines. Run the best through the Headline Analyser.

Before you finish:

Add some kind of call to action: eg. you could finish with a heading: “What do you think?” and then a short paragraph with:

We’ve covered a lot of ground here – what do you think? Do you think this method of teaching will work for you? or …. What’s one thing that you think will work best in your studio this week? Please leave a comment below.

[The last part is the most important: ask them to do something! It doesn’t always work, but it’s good to ask :)]