Last Updated on November 19, 2020 by Michael Brockbank
When you apply at Textbroker, the company requires a writing sample. This piece of content helps the reviewers determine your skill level. Which means you want to offer the best sample possible. With these Textbroker writing sample tips, you should score well.
These are the methods I put into every piece of content, whether it’s for a Textbroker client or not. And these elements are also an important part of why my private clients love my work.
Plus, these are also great to use when adding samples to your Textbroker profile after you’re accepted into the system.
Tips for Writing the Textbroker Sample Article
1. Pick Something You’re Passionate About or Thoroughly Enjoy
It’s much easier to write about something of which you’re passionate. Not only does the process take less time, but you’re also less likely to make certain mistakes.
Being passionate about a topic also improves reader engagement. This is because you’ll most likely use terms to describe the subject that piques the interest of those looking over the material.
Choosing a topic you know well requires less research to provide facts as well. Of course, you may still want to consider citing your work as it demonstrates authority.
2. Try Not to Use the Same Words too Often
Using the same words too often will give the writing sample a sense of repetition. And this isn’t very good from a reader nor a Textbroker reviewer standpoint.
In fact, I am on teams that use an analytical tool to determine how many different words you use in any given article. It’s a pain to adhere to the requirements sometimes but worth the effort if you get on a good team.
My point is you don’t want to saturate content with terms, phrases or other nuances that make it appear like you’re just regurgitating the same information over and over.
3. Never Use “It” to End a Sentence
Ending a sentence with “it,” while acceptable when you’re less formal, is never a good idea from a grammatical perspective. And if you use “it” too often, the sentence or paragraph may seem confusing.
For instance, the second sentence in this example doesn’t read all that well:
Instead, I would write:
4. Never End a Sentence with a Preposition
Here’s another thing that is OK to do when sending an email or posting something on Facebook to friends and family. When you’re less formal, ending a sentence with a preposition is OK.
But clients may view this as an unprofessional and grammatically incorrect layout.
Using examples of prepositions include words like on, off, in, out, under, above and many more.
5. Never Use the Same Word to Start or End Two Consecutive Sentences
Using the same word to start or end two sentences or more in a row leads to an awkward layout. In fact, a client I have on retainer will point out these issues and ask for changes.
In reality, using the same words too often in more than two sentences will also hurt the readability level of the piece. Again, this is another one of those instances where it might be acceptable depending on the content.
In this example, I would simply leave out, “from the oven” in the second sentence. This is because the “oven” is already established in the previous layout.
6. Watch the Comma Usage
Perhaps one of the biggest issues many new writers have is knowing proper comma usage. Even I still have my moments, and I’ve been doing this professionally since January of 2012.
Comma usage is probably among my most important Textbroker writing sample tips. Not knowing how these are properly used can easily hold you back.
Keep in mind Textbroker reviewers are focusing on AP Style English. This means you need to abandon serial commas.
An example of this is as follows:
It’s not generally acceptable to use serial commas, but some editors and clients are accepting them.
But this is only the beginning. I suggest spending some time researching how to handle commas for AP Style writing. There are quite a few common instances where people misuse the comma throughout any given sentence.
Commas were among my biggest issues when trying to reach a 4-Star level in Textbroker.
7. Use Headers to Break up Paragraphs When Applicable
You want to use at least one header within your Textbroker writing sample to break up the content.
Headers are vastly important in the online content space. They separate points of a topic and make reading much easier overall. As most visitors skim through a piece, headers help them find specific content.
This leads to a higher on-page time for the client.
And because headers play such a prominent role in readability, Textbroker wants to know you can properly use them.
If you’re curious about how I structure headers, you can visit my writing sample example and see how I put them together in the piece.
8. Try to Keep Your Sentences Below 20 Words Long
Keeping sentences under 20 words in length helps improve the readability level of the sample. Now, I know you’re not going to keep all sentences below 20 words. But the majority of the content should be a bit shorter.
Not only does this make for an easier read, but it also scores better for visitor retention…something Textbroker and clients are going to notice.
Another aspect to consider is how shorter sentences also reduce the chances of making errors. Instead of trying to structure an incredibly long sentence correctly with various punctuation marks, you could drastically cut down what can happen within 20 words.
9. Try to Keep Paragraphs to Two to Three Sentences Long
As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to keep paragraphs succinct. Perhaps two to three sentences long are all you should really need to express any point.
Not only does it read better to a Textbroker reviewer, but shorter paragraphs also perform better in terms of engagement.
It’s all about making the text easier to absorb by those visiting any website. If a reader is met with a wall of text while using a smartphone, there is a good chance he or she is never coming back.
The length of paragraphs is among the points many Textbroker editors and clients keep in mind when reviewing your content.
10. Don’t Add Filler or “Fluff”
One of the most important tips I can share about creating Textbroker writing samples is to never add words just to make a certain number in any article.
When you start adding repetitive content or trying to stretch the sentences to meet a specific number of words, it’s called “filler” or “fluff.” This is often content that has no real bearing on the overall topic.
Every sentence within your article should directly reflect or support the subject matter. In fact, adding filler words will often lead to clients requesting revisions or a decrease in star level in Textbroker.
Always aim for solid, factual, and relevant content in each sentence.
11. Keep the Flesch Reading Ease Score Above 60
It’s not absolutely necessary to keep the reading level of your Textbroker writing sample at an eighth-grade reading level. However, it does make a huge difference in how the content flows.
This means you don’t want to use extensive terms or advanced language unless you’re writing a tech manual or a medical-grade article.
No one should need a dictionary on hand to read your material.
I’ll use plugins like Yoast SEO in WordPress when creating content for clients. It will show the reading score of the sentences and give tips on how to make it easier.
If you don’t have WordPress or access to Yoast SEO, you can always use the free checking system at Online-Utility.org. This app will scan through your words and give you the Flesch Reading Ease score.
Coincidentally, I’ve yet to have a revision request since using Yoast for scoring the content I write. I also use it exclusively for a private client as well as my own websites.
In the beginning, Textbroker management often commented about how I was “too clinical” in my writing. In other words, I sounded more like a robot reading an Ikea manual.
Keeping the Flesch Reading Ease over 60 helps sound more human and approachable. Which is something most online clients want on their websites.
Textbroker Writing Sample Tips Can Only Do So Much…
I implement every one of these tips with every article I create. Even if the content is for my own blog, I put everything I learn into practice. However, they are merely the foundation.
It’s still up to you to write the actual content itself.
If you have any doubts when creating your Textbroker writing sample, you can always feed it into Grammarly’s free checking tool. It’s a great platform that will help you learn how to fine-tune your writing skills and impress Textbroker reviewers and clients.
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