Hello great readers and friends of PM, I’m glad to welcome you to yet another interesting diet of interview with great and awesome folks – tagged “The Extra-Ordinary Blogger Interview”. I’m particularly thrilled to introduce to you a great blogger and an impeccable writer, the person of Susan Neal. I sometimes fondly call her Queen Sue. She is a hilarious personality, one that you would want to meet in person.
She lives in one of the beautiful parts of UK, known as North Yorkshire with her husband and wonderful dogs. She has an honours degree in English Literature from the University of York.
If you have always wonder how on earth this woman, lady, I mean whatever you know her as, come up with interesting blog posts, I’m sure her degree in Literature in English clears that for you, right?
One of her missions is to inspire, encourage and support would-be writers to develop and harness their skills. God knows the amazing things you would learn through her blog Write Clever. So after reading this interview, I expect you to hop down to her blog and start learning more about how to improve your writing skills.
Read keenly and carefully this interview and be sure to apply whatsoever you learn from her. So sit back, relax and enjoy yourself as you read this amazing interview with Susan Neal!
1. Hello Susan Neal! Welcome to Pro Motivator.
Thank you, Sam – very pleased to be here.
2. My readers would love to know you. Would you please introduce yourself to them?
I’m a retired mental health nurse from the UK and the creator of WriteClever.com
3. How and when did you get started as a writer?
I’ve only started writing seriously in the last year – many years ago I obtained a degree in English Literature, but I then changed course and took up a career in nursing. I began writing again when I started my blog in May 2012.
4. Did you ever get any rejections?
I haven’t submitted anything for publication yet – so, no!
Interview Questions Part One
5. Do you write books? Tell us about your books.
So far I’ve only written one or two eBooks, to give away. My first one was about anxiety management, for a blog I set up in that niche but which I have since abandoned. I’ve also written an eBook on forum marketing and, most recently, one about finding ideas for blog posts, which people can obtain if they subscribe to my blog. I’m planning to write fiction books in future, for publication on Kindle.
6. Now let’s talk about blogging. What motivated you into blogging?
I fell into blogging by accident – I was learning about internet marketing and, while I was on a course about that, set up a website in the writing niche, which has become my blog.
7. You have a wealth of knowledge in the area of writing. How do I write a quality post that will strike attention and will make people leave tons of comments on my blog?
That’s an enormous question, Sam – to which there isn’t a short answer – but you’ll find lots of articles on my blog about it!
- You need to choose a subject that fascinates your readers and addresses their needs.
- You must write it in an engaging, entertaining way that grabs your readers’ attention from the word go, starting with a great headline.
- It’s important you know what you’re talking about, to give the post some authority.
- And you need to be clear, from the outset, exactly what you’re offering your readers – what are they going to get out of it – what’s in it for them? Your posts must always be reader-focused.
- You should also pay attention to the presentation and formatting of your post – and EDIT and PROOFREAD it thoroughly.
- And if you want people to comment, make sure you ask them a stimulating question or two, to encourage them to respond.
- If you want to write high quality posts, you need to spend a lot of time reading and writing, to improve your writing skills.
8. How do you usually find your ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere – I get inspiration from things I read, online and offline, but also from my everyday experiences. If you keep your eyes and mind open, you’ll find ideas for your writing all around you.
9. When did you create WriteClever.com? What was your initial goal for your blog? And have you accomplished it?
I created it in May 2012, while on an internet marketing course, which taught me how to set up websites. I originally intended to use it as a base for affiliate marketing sales, but that goal has now changed. I no longer see my future in affiliate marketing – I’m more interested in pursuing a writing career.
10. How much time do you dedicate to your blog daily?
It varies – and it depends what you mean by “dedicate to your blog” – I usually spend at least a couple of hours – often much more than that – on activities I regard as “blogging”, but that includes reading other blogs, commenting on other bloggers’ posts, sharing other people’s content and interacting on social media, as well as working on my own blog. I find responding to comments on my own posts and making reciprocal visits to other blogs takes up a huge amount of time.
11. How do you ensure that your blog remains relevant in the blog-o-sphere?
By keeping in touch with what’s going on, seeing what other bloggers are talking about on their own blogs and on social media.
12. Who is the single person that has inspired you as far as blogging concerned?
Adrienne Smith, without a doubt – she’s been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement, and I’ve connected with lots of other great bloggers thanks to her network.
Interview Questions Part Two
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13. How has it been like being a female blogger? Is there a time you felt threatened?
I just regard myself as a “blogger” and don’t see my female status as an issue. I’ve never felt threatened so far, and hope I never will.
14. How many magazines or blogs have in so far featured you?
I haven’t submitted any articles to magazines and I’ve only written two guest posts so far – one on exploreB2B.com and another on Harleena Singh’s blog aha-now.com.
15. What was the best moment of your life?
I really can’t answer that question, Sam – I’ve had lots of wonderful moments in my life, which have been special for all sorts of different reasons, and I couldn’t possibly say which the “best” was.
16. Which do you think produces better result, Guest posting or Blog commenting?
I don’t feel I’m qualified to answer that question, because I’ve made a conscious choice not to do much guest posting. I know a lot of bloggers argue that guest posting is the be-all and end-all, but I suspect it’s only effective if you get slots on some very influential blogs. Even if you do guest posting, I think blog commenting is still very important, because that’s how you give something back to other bloggers and develop relationships with them.
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17. Do you have a mentor? How much did he/her contributed toward your success?
No – I’ve never had a formal “mentor”, as such.
18. In your own opinion, what do you think separates the greatest blogs and the poor ones?
The greatest blogs are full of unique, interesting, entertaining, genuinely useful content, and they’re well written and well presented.They contain the kind of memorable posts that readers are enthusiastic to consume and really want to share.
The poorest blogs tend to be full of low quality, run-of-the-mill content, and often badly written and poorly researched– you can often tell the blogger’s only interested in making money and not really bothered about their readers.
19. What in your opinion should be the basic steps to becoming a Pro-Blogger?
Again, I feel unqualified to answer this because I don’t regard myself as a
Problogger (whatever that is!) For what it’s worth, I think you should start by selecting the right niche – and my advice would be to blog on a subject you really care about. And your primary objective, from the outset, should be to create something of value for your readers.
You obviously need to learn some basic practical skills, unless you’re going to out-source the technical stuff, because there’s a lot more to blogging than just writing. I think it’s worth having a self-hosted blog, because that way you’re building up your own bit of online real-estate.
20. Let’s take a closer look at your blog.
On my blog I aim to provide entertaining, informative articles to help people improve their writing and blogging skills.
21. You offer a newsletter. What have been the benefits of offering a newsletter to your followers?
I don’t provide a newsletter as such at the moment, just blog updates via email to people who sign up to my list. The main benefit is to ensure that people who want to follow my blog receive direct notification when I publish a new post.
22. If a kid walked up to you to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
You ask some difficult questions, Sam! I’d probably say “seize the day” – when you’re young you think you’re going to live forever, but life’s short and this is the only one you’ve got – so make the most of your talents, be kind and strive to make other people happy, and live life to the full.
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23. Anything else you would like to add?
Nothing I can think of, Sam.
24. What can I do better?
Your blog looks fine to me, Sam – it’s very well laid out, full of interesting information and easy to navigate, and not cluttered with lots of annoying ads, and you have your social sharing buttons set up well so it’s convenient and easy for readers to share your posts.
I also really likethe personal, friendly tone of your About page.
Just one small thing I’ve noticed – you have at least one article listed under two different categories. I was taught not to do this because apparently it can look to Google’s crawlers like duplicate content – I’m not sure if that’s right, because I’m no expert on SEO, but I’ve always followed that advice and only ever list an article in one category.
25. Thanks so much, Sue for your time and for honoring this interview.
You’re welcome, Sam – thanks for having me and for asking such interesting questions!
Back to you distinguished readers
You have heard from the Queen of writing, Susan Neal. Do you have any questions on blogging or writing that you would love to ask? Drop them in the comment box below; Sue would be more than happy to provide you answer to those thought provoking questions.
If you like this interview, be sure to share it with your friends and visitors to your blogs.