12 Content Tips To Make Consumers Love You

I’m a product marketing manager by day, which means I spend a considerable portion of my time reading, writing, reviewing, editing, and giving feedback on content (judgment-free!). As such, I have regular opportunities to witness great – and not so great – ways of presenting written content to consumers. Sometimes of my own creation.

Here are twelve items that might help you with your content strategy, whether you’re marketing your book or a widget you sell. I originally assembled this list four years ago, and these tips are as true today as they were then.


1. Is your content bragging about your abilities and services?

  • Consumers want to trust you. But people are turned off by content that’s mostly sales pitch or just talks about how great your book is.
  • Quality content shows that you understand your audience’s needs, not just your own abilities.

2. Did you focus more on SEO keywords than quality content?

keyword stuffing, keyword stuffing and yes, keyword stuffing

  • As a writer and someone in the online marketing biz, this content stands out to me like Waldo in a penguin colony. It’s repetitive and reads like the writer just bought a thesaurus: Do you like to travel to exotic places? How would you like a vacation to an unexplored world? Here at Journeyman Travel, we can jet you off to distant lands! You’ll voyage to foreign countries in one of our exclusive Exotic Vacation Destination packages! That is a content turkey stuffed with artificially-flavored keywords.
  • To avoid unnatural-sounding sentences, write for humans, not computers. Quality content that engages people will build authority and trust, something that search engines reward. Learn more about Semantic Search.

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The Book’s New Working Title

A 750-word post for those who want a peek into the thought process – in the loosest sense of the term – that a writer puts into naming his first book.

I’ve probably renamed the book a dozen times in the last three years.

At first, I just needed SOMETHING, because I’m writing a book and a book needs a title. It wasn’t even a full title, but sometimes the Muse won’t let you progress until you’ve checked off that box She wants filled. So I’ve named and re-named, never finding something I loved; always promising to figure it out later. I usually followed the typical pattern you see in a book series: “The Lost Princess and the Descriptive-words-that-will-intrigue-readers”. I like the style and I’ll admit I’m heavily influenced by the Harry Potter series, though you’ll see it these excellent series, too: Percy Jackson, Skulduggery Pleasant, and The Spook’s Apprentice (US version shown here).

Unfortunately, I’d been imposing some confusion upon myself, and I just hadn’t been able to get past it. Because I was too in love with my own idea.

Continue reading

Sharing your other work at work

I work for Thomson Reuters, and in January, our brand marketing team solicited responses from employees around the world. They regularly showcase the people who define our culture, and in this instance, they were interested in our activities outside the office. Since I’m passionate about writing – and <cough> always looking for an opportunity to share and connect with others – I wrote the following submission. Somehow, I managed to keep it under 300 words, which is nearly impossible for a writer writing about the book he’s writing.

Anyhoo, without further ado or digression, here it is: Continue reading

Is This Blog Still On?

This quick post will take about a minute to read. It’s an attempt to return to a regular posting schedule.

There are, and will be, many recurring themes on this blog, among them: my love the English language, character development, human rights, and varying posts about writing, of course. These are all important to me and I love writing about them. But there’s another recurring theme that keeps turning up, like that pesky garbage-eating scrut that follows your caravan on a long journey to Evereign.

Neglecting the blog.

It’s a long recurring issue, going back ten years or so into other blogs I’ve managed. It’s not unique to me, either. Many blogs I’ve followed go through similar dry patches. Those who survive – and create large followings – always get back into it, devoting enough effort to assure subscribers they aren’t wasting their reading time.

My current neglect is two or three months.

The usual excuses abound: family, life, work, beautiful weather, the writing – all of these things take priority, as they do with most people. I think I also put too much effort into writing my posts, transforming the work into a chore. It appears I simply need to remove the ‘business writer’ hat to don the ‘social media writer’ one. Sigh.

I don’t expect this post to garner much interest. It’s more of a ‘Dear Diary’ kind of thing for Future Me to read as a cautionary tale. It’s also something I could kick out quickly over morning coffee while a sales report generates.

Tl;dr: Keep writing. Shoo, scrut!

–Michael


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© Michael Wallevand, July 2017

My Wagon Is Draggin’

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This post is approximately 400 words. Weirdly written, stream-of-consciousness words.

The title is a synonym for being exhausted. Not to be confused with a dragon wagon, which is a concept I’ve been trying to fit into a story for years. But I digress before I’ve begun.

The household was restless last night. My wife caught whatever cold our youngest has. Our big dog, Atticus, seemed to be rotating his body on our bed in time with the hands of the clock. The smaller dog, Scout, scratched her bed regularly, looking for comfort. I’d moved 800 pounds of retaining wall bricks, so I had some complaining muscles that I forgotten were muscles.

This morning, I was in a fog. Honestly, it lasted most of the day. I buried myself in reporting at work, which meant minimal human interaction (i.e. fewer people to question whether I’d been replaced by a malfunctioning mandroid).

Can you tell I’m a bit punchy and sleep-deprived?

So, the point of this post is this: when your brain’s in a fog and you’re in the middle of writing a book, how does a person put forth the creative energy to work on the manuscript? Continue reading

May 14 writing update

This post is approximately 400 words.

Sometimes the writing can be an obsession. You’ve hardly enough brain power or typing ability to keep up with the flurry of thoughts racing across the vision of your mind’s eye.

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And sometimes, you need a break. Maybe not from writing in general and certainly not from creativity. But another outlet, perhaps.

For me, this occurred in late April. I’d been writing pretty consistently for four months: through the holidays, through one of the busiest and most stressful points in my corporate career, and through those long Minnesotan winter days when we all go a little stir crazy.

I was happy with my progress, which had been more satisfactory than most other writing periods in my life. Still, I needed to take a step back.

KIEV UKRAINE - MAY 12 2015:Collection of popular social media lo

Six out of nine ain’t bad. Wait…is that a MySpace logo? Six out of eight.

I found that starting on the marketing – the social presence – of the book series was an excellent way to keep my writing and creative energy going. I now had outlets for blogging and photography, for sharing inspiring landscapes or thoughts on books. When there are too many distractions or I’m walking a dog, I can still be doing things to promote the project. It also allowed me to put into practice many of the things I’ve learned about digital marketing over the last ten years.

It’s a welcome distraction, but hopefully, not too much of a distraction from the most important part of the project: the book itself. At 72,000 words, that’s quite an investment of time. I’d hate to derail myself by spending too much time away. Believe me, every day away from the manuscript makes it that much harder to return.

Fortunately, the words for the first book are still flowing, as are ideas for the next books in the series. Honestly, that’s the greater danger: the excitement of a new project when the current one has its luster smudged a smidge (more on that in a future post).

For now, my time on the project is split between the manuscript and things like this website, which I’ve soft-launched until I’ve finalized all the details. Expect more updates like this: May 31 is my deadline for the first draft of book one.

–Michael

Enjoy what you read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this from Michael!

© Michael Wallevand, May 2016