My Writing Process Blog Tour

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Jul 26, 2014 in Communication, Friday Funny

My Writing ProcessI C Publishing started their summer blog tour (#ICBlogTour) where they passed the pen to bloggers, from all different niches, to talk about their writing process for books, blog posts or pretty much anything.

The wonderful Lisa over at Inspire to Thrive has now passed the pen to me. If you haven’t checked out Lisa’s blog before I highly suggest it. She loves helping others thrive online through social media, blogging and SEO; and she has an awesome community of readers who always have a jovial time in the comments.

Since the #ICBlogTour is all about exploring different people’s writing processes, #MyWritingProcess will be focused on creating articles for business blogs since that is where my expertise is and even bloggers can learn about how to become a better writer on their own blog through this process.

How do you start your (writing) projects?

When I first get a project from a client, I research their competitors, industry blogs and who makes up their target audience. This info acts as a framework for all blog posts.

During my research, I also write down potential topic ideas that I send to the client for approval. Once approved, I dive into keyword research using SEMrush and Google Trends. I find the best phrasing for words along with a few targeted longtail keywords (longtail keywords can be three words or even a popular question the company gets asked).

How do you continue your writing projects?

Now the fun begins! With my keywords, topic and background info all on the top of my document, I then begin to write.

I pull up all reputable sources on one of my screens (because I can’t live without dual monitors) and scan through each one till I have a solid understanding of the topic.

As I scan the articles, I’ll write down bullet points, phrases, quotes and even my own thoughts regarding the topic (especially if I think of comparisons or how to word a particular section).

Once I have semi-finished outline I’ll begin to go through my sources more heavily and dig deeper into each point. I continue to write by rephrasing concepts and ideas while interjecting transitions and key points that should be said in each section.

While I’m writing, if my headline, intro or conclusion come to me I’ll jot it down. Within 2-4 hours (depending on topic difficulty and word count), I usually have a pretty solid article. Next, I’ll go through rewording, checking for grammar, inserting relevant links, coming up with a few optimized headlines, and making sure it all sounds smooth and cohesive.

How do you finish your project?

I’m lucky to have an amazing editor on staff who I send the article to and she edits for the client’s style and anything that I might have missed.

After the copy is approved, I’ll come up with a few ideas for design and send them to the designer who puts together a few graphics or pictures to go along with the published piece.

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.

Follow the One True Sentence rule. The One True Sentence is the thesis of your post, the reason behind your writing. It encapsulates your entire article and is the main takeaway. If you can write that one thought or idea in the perfect sentence (or in a few shorter sentences) then your articles will be a success.

Passing the Pen

Thanks for reading about #MyWritingProcess. I’ll now be passing the pen to a dear blogging friend of mine Brenda Lee over at My Girly Parts. Don’t miss her writing process as she is quite the character (she doesn’t take BS, I think she’s hilarious, she owns who she is, and she’s super sweet).

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Three Unconventional Marketing Techniques for Business

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Jul 17, 2014 in Blogging, Business

learn marketing techiniquesA lot of marketing advice has just been recycled over and over. You’ll find the same marketing strategies and tips across the board no matter what “expert” sites you frequent. While some of these ideas may work great, following tired old strategies is not the way to increase exposure in the market. You have to be different. You have to shine over the monotony.

It can be remarkably difficult to build a brand in today’s world because of a simple, yet blinding, issue: saturation. Everyone is looking to make it big, and everyone is desperately seeking an easy and surefire way to do it. Most likely, this is why the same overused and decrepit information is being passed around. Most of it worked in the past sure, but eventually the novelty will wear off.

To stand out, you’ll need to be different – you’ll need to be innovative and fresh. It’s a bit scary, but the best way to do that is to adopt some rather unconventional tactics. To get you in the right mindset, we’re going to share a few strategies that are, well, let’s just say they go against the grain. Read more…

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The Science of Shareability: What Makes Some Infographics Go Viral?

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Jun 24, 2014 in Blogging, Business, Communication, PR/Ad, SEO, Social Media

Infographics have become extremely popular ways to share information by presenting it in a manageable format. However, what’s the secret behind those that seem to blow up overnight, versus the infographics that may do marginally well among specific groups of people but never even come close to spreading virally on the internet?

Below, we’ll look closely at some infographics that have performed well on social media and give insight on how to make an impact on the internet. Read more…

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Long-Form Content: The Future of Inbound Marketing

Posted by Ali Lawrence on May 30, 2014 in Blogging, Business, SEO

Companies that build a presence on popular social media channels and produce quality content on their site have become the norm rather than innovative exception.

Standing in direct contrast to the popular short, scannable posts is a resurging interest in long-form content. Rather than spreading out your brand’s identity across a variety of mediums and multiple content pieces, some web marketers are arguing for the value of larger, more in-depth content. Known as skyscraper content or long-form, these lengthy content pieces are leading many organizations to rethink their content-marketing strategy. Read more…

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What to Do in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Posted by Ali Lawrence on May 1, 2014 in Travel

SteamboatWelcome to Steamboat Springs, Colorado–Ski Town USA. Or more accurately put: A drinking town with a skiing problem.

My sister, Katrina, invited me to come visit for a week before she planned to leave this little touristy town and head down to Duke for her masters. Since she worked at both a local coffee shop and a hotel, she had plenty of connections and ideas for a crazy week of fun. Read more…

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The Power of Facebook Retargeting

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Apr 8, 2014 in Business, Communication, Social Media

Regardless of personal preferences, there is no denying the marketing potential of Facebook, one of the most popular sites on the web. The social media giant offers such a plethora of advertising options, from the sidebar to news feed-infused sponsors, that its targeting benefits apply to most industries. Simply put, there is no reason a business should avoid exploring the marketing opportunities on Facebook.

One of the most common criticisms against Facebook’s role as a marketing tool is that its targeting is weak and ineffective. Some businesses have experienced Facebook marketing campaigns that have failed, largely because advertising was not displayed to the most lucrative and desirable niche for that industry. However, recently Facebook has strengthened the power of Facebook retargeting, resulting in benefits such as the following:

Read more…

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Guide to Google+ for B2B Marketing [Infographic]

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Apr 2, 2014 in Business, SEO, Social Media

While there are thousands of books written about how to promote your company on using social media, when it comes to attracting visitors: the simplicity offered by Google+ cannot be surpassed.

From its launch, Google+ existed as kind of a punchline, its attempt to copy Facebook, and how Google’s attempt to cash in on it proved initially unsuccessful. Google is never one to stop tinkering with its projects though, and since then, the fledgling social network has been steadily growing thanks in part to its integration with other Google services like Gmail, Youtube, and Hangouts.
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Spin Sucks Book Review: 3 Things I Didn’t Expect

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Mar 29, 2014 in Business, Career, Communication, PR/Ad, SEO, Social Media

Spin SucksIf you’re familiar at all with the PR industry you’ve probably heard the name Gini Dietrich or at least her popular blog Spin Sucks, which has the #1 spot in Cision’s Top 50 PR Blogs list.

Gini has been one of my career role models for a few years now. When I heard she had written a book called Spin Sucks, I signed up right away to be one of her brand ambassadors and received an early copy of the book.

Since today is the official launch for Gini’s new book, I wanted to give you a sneak peak into what you’ll learn from reading Spin Sucks.
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The Role of Emotion in Viral Content

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Mar 28, 2014 in Blogging, Business, Communication, Entertainment, PR/Ad, SEO, Social Media

rainy day girlIf there’s one quality that’s criminally overlooked when it comes to content marketing, it’s emotion. We’ve all more-or-less accepted social media and online advertising as one of the many facts of life, which only makes it easier for marketers to phone-it-in when it comes to the quality of their marketing techniques.

Audiences want to be entertained, but even more importantly they want to feel something. What, for example, are the most successful television commercials? That’s an easy one: they’re the ones that make us laugh, or the ones that tell a heartfelt story.

I’m in the business of corporate storytelling so whenever a commercial comes on I enjoy dissecting it. What emotional response did they hope to elicit? What persuasion tactic did they use? What could they have done better? More often than not, companies choose an informative commercial rather than one that plays off of the audience’s emotions, like a story would.
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Costello Builders: Resources For Designing A Custom Home

Posted by Ali Lawrence on Mar 5, 2014 in Home & Garden

Unsure where to start getting ideas for your custom home? Custom home builders Costello Builders have provided some helpful tips for home owners. If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out my husband’s new blog: Homey Improvements

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