And I think to myself,
what a wonderful word.

Engage. Inspire. Motivate.

Let us engage you on a journey through a world of creative, inspirational storytelling that motivates us to expand our minds, build on our experiences and humanize the branding process.

<h3>We’ve all heard certain sayings in the world of marketing time and time again. When discussing organic traffic, one of these sayings we hear declares that “Content is king!” However, while it is undeniable that consistent, dynamic content is proven to be an effective tool in attracting a target audience, how does one create content that sets your brand apart from the competition? How does one make sure the killer content that is crafted reaches the desired and targeted audience you seek? On top of these types of questions, what about SEO? You’ve been told how effective a tool that is in driving quality traffic to your website as well. So, where does SEO fit in? Well, simply put, SEO will get you there. No question. However, it’s that consistent, killer content created in three stages that will keep you at the top to stay.</h3>

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<p class="has-drop-cap">Strategy. Another word we always hear when talking about digital marketing and successfully building a brand. This is for a good reason. Any expert in the marketing game will tell you, a great strategy implemented by a hired professional is the ideal place to start in building your brand. But where exactly is one to start with the actual strategy? Well, the obvious first step is to have a vision. You must first identify and develop the niche audience that you are trying to reach. Remember, the end goal is to create a relationship with the audience that sees them eventually as paying clients. Thus, you can’t effectively start writing any content without knowing who you are trying to reach with that writing. As mentioned above, this is what is referred to as your vision.</p>

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<h2><strong>Have a Vision Before Making a Decision</strong></h2>

<p>In creating your vision, you want to develop “personas.” These are identities that summarize your desired audience and their specific interests. What is the age or gender you’re trying to attract? Looking back through your previous campaigns, what posts or content that you wrote was the most successful? Likewise, what among your content did not resonate so well with the audience? Conducting thorough analysis and research to help answer each of these can be done by looking at analytics.</p>

<p>Using easily accessible tools like Google Analytics can be very helpful in creating your vision. In addition to answering the questions above, they are also helpful in seeing which content your audience engages with most. This allows for you to then create more dynamic content centered around those topics most helpful to the potential client. Once your vision has become clear, and you have an audience and subject matter in mind, the second stage in creating killer content is creativity.</p>

<h2><strong>Getting Creative and Getting the Customer</strong></h2>

<p>Killer. Consistent. Relative. Storytelling. These are all words that are used often when the discussion turns to content. How do I write killer, consistent content that “tells a story” relevant to my target audience, though? Well, now that you’ve got a “vision,” it’s time for the next step, and that step is creativity. In drafting your content, creativity is key. You want to begin by utilizing the data gathered informing your vision and start mapping out your strategy as you start creating content.</p>

<p>First, in implying creativity, you need a great headline or title for your content. This needs to grab their attention while letting them know what the content will be covering. Also, when forming the vision, you will have identified some key terms and phrases that you feel the target audience would search for relating to the topic of your content. Also, to help you to reach your maximum creativity, take a look at what some of your competitors have written about. Don’t forget, Google and other search engines want to provide the audience with the most thorough article for whatever subject they are searching for. By analyzing the competition’s work, you can use your own creativity to make sure your content is head and shoulders above the rest.</p>

<p>The competition is not the only place to review and use to maximize your creativity within your content. Take a look back at your own work. Have you written on the subjects you decided as relevant in your vision? Look to build upon and write similar posts, creating content on the same subjects moving forward.</p>

<h2><strong>The Excellence of Execution</strong></h2>

<p>First, you “had a vision.” Next, you turned to your “creativity” to set your brand apart from the competition. The third step in achieving marketing success is executing your strategy. What do we mean by executing it? Plain and simply by execution, we mean, “get the word out.” Your message and content are strong and will lead to organic traffic, but what are some other ways you can promote or execute your written work.</p>

<ul><li><strong>Your website and blog- </strong>drawing potential clients to your website is imperative. Utilizing blog entries to deliver the type of traffic you desire all boils down to a solid vision and creativity in writing.</li></ul>

<ul><li><strong>Social Media profiles- </strong>use places like Facebook or Instagram to post links of your content that can lead the reader directly to your website. Again, the more people who read your content and can be directed to your brand’s “lifeblood” (your website), the more you will see them returning for more.</li></ul>

<p>So, just to be clear. Why is killer content the key? For one, if done correctly, you’re not only putting it in front of their eyeballs, but you’re utilizing the competition to be the “better choice.” Killer content is the key for many reasons, actually. Just remember to follow the steps. Form a vision and make it work. Channel your creativity and use this to build customer and audience trust. Lastly, execute! The one sure-fire way to know that your execution was great is to see what type of engagement there is with the potential customer. The more they come back, the more likely they are to spend, and the more loyal and longstanding the client will become.</p>

<h4>So sure, SEO is great, and it can propel you to the top on google, page one. But when you want in for the “long haul” and want to see consistent results for an extended period, we have to agree with that old saying everyone has heard, “Content is King!”</h4>

I See Dead Presidents

We’ve all heard certain sayings in the world of marketing time and time again. When discussing organic traffic, one of these sayings we hear declares that “Content is king!” However, while it is undeniable that consistent, dynamic content …
<h3><strong>Something unlikely to leave your mind anytime soon:</strong> Hopefully, in 2021 it will not be your business or brand that receives the distinguished title of "Worst Customer Service." With many years under our belts of unpleasant extremes in customer service, these experiences have reared their heads and continue to escalate instead of getting better. </h3>

<h3>Many of these experiences have become violent with both consumers and employees; we hope these instances will not become a trend. However, we are focusing on cases of many kinds of customer service failures that are all too common in today's world and happened daily. We all have had unforgettable moments of lousy customer service. Ensure your business or brand is known for the right kind of service.</h3>

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<p class="has-drop-cap">Impossible to believe, well, maybe not.  I watched as an elderly lady in a motorized shopping cart drove up to the checkout lane in a popular superstore.  She struggled somehow as she unloaded her items onto the checkout counter as the lady working the cash register was laughing and talking to another employee.  After unloading all of her things, she waited for the lady to acknowledge her to check her out, and this went on for a few minutes when the employee turned around to tell the customer, "you are going have to load all this stuff back up in your shopping buggy and go to another checkout, I am closed," and she left.</p>

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<p><strong>A middle-aged gentleman walks into a well-known grocery store, carrying an over half-eaten pie. Really? I thought you took food out of the grocery store, not into it, well little did I know.</strong></p>

<p>Curious, I watched as this gentleman made his way to the closest checkout register and proceeded to tell the cashier this. "I am bringing back this lemon pie because my wife and I just didn't like it very much." What the hell? Is that a real thing? So, I then noticed that more than half of the pie was gone.  Do people do this?  The employee then proceeds to say, "I am so sorry, sir, that you did not have the experience you expected; I will be glad to give you a refund." So you really can have your pie and eat it too!"</p>

<p>These two separate and real scenarios happen daily.  While not all businesses are perfect and companies occasionally make a mistake from time to time when dealing with an unpleasant person, we manage to experience these issues. Americans indeed tell an average of 15 people about a bad service experience vs. 11 people about a good service experience. Can you count on your fingers more positive or bad experiences in an average week?  We have all been eager to call customer service to voice a complaint and get faced with an automated voice menu that, in the end, directs you to visit their website. </p>

<h2>Automobiles, Trains & Planes</h2>

<p>When you have decided to book and purchase an airline ticket, you will place your whole trip and experience into that airline's experienced hands. You rely on many professionals to get the job done and the experience to go off without a hitch. We have determined no one is perfect, and there are rare occasions, mishandled bags, flight delays, seat disrupts, flight cancellations, you know the usual. However, on this particular sunny summer day, a young lady makes her way to the airport for a long-awaited and needed family vacation with her children. This fantastic trip had been planned for over eight months now, with all tickets purchased in advance because she had saved for a first-class experience. Eagerly waiting in line to check-in, the family approached the airline kiosk and realized when they received their tickets, there were no seats assigned; the young lady thought this strange but figured they would assign when we get to the gate, so to the security checkpoint they go. At the gate, the airline representative began to tell the young family that they could not get a seat assignment because the flight had been over-sold and to please take a seat for now. However, after about an hour of back and forth and a few heated discussions, it came down to we are sorry you purchased first-class tickets in advance, we over-sold this flight, and we now require volunteers to give up their seats so you and your family could have seats on the plane, and we apologize. However, we now have a few seats in coach, not first, but here is a $200.00 gift certificate for future travel for your trouble.  Oh, and one last thing, the seats are not together. This was an "Unforgettable" vacation.</p>

<p>Often, poor or bad customer service is caused by a lack of effort from customer service agents or employees. A lack of engagement and motivation and lack of proper training on the employers end, leading to unhappy and unsatisfied employees, unsafe work environments, and reduced productivity. </p>

<h2>Can we Fix It?</h2>

<p>Assessing the situation, asking for the customer's needs and preferences, and offering and delivering a solution whenever possible is a start. Don't just leave customers on hold; treat your consumers with respect. Improve your personalization, listen, reward and offer special incentives. Don't just appreciate your best customer; appreciate them all.</p>

<p><strong>I sat down to order one of my favorite pasta dishes at a popular American chain restaurant.  My waitress was all smiles, enthusiastic and friendly she was genuinely happy that I was there.  I knew then my experience was going to be grand from that point on just by my first impression, and it was Unforgettable</strong>!</p>


Something unlikely to leave your mind anytime soon: Hopefully, in 2021 it will not be your business or brand that receives the distinguished title of “Worst Customer Service.” With many years under our belts of unpleasant extremes in custo…
<h3>They say; eventually, all things change. This has not necessarily been the case for the better part of the past 50 years. At least not when buying and selling a home. For the most part, this process has prominently included a real estate agent or broker. However, in more recent times, "evolution" appears to be "changing the game" in real estate. Why you may ask, would this seemingly constant piece of the home buying and selling process suddenly not needed? Well, to explain why we can point to several factors. For one, there is always room for more convenience and a more customer-friendly experience. Also, there is more information available to the consumer. Plus, accessibility to important facts and figures is more readily at one's fingertips like never before.</h3>

<p class="has-drop-cap">Is there a need for an agent or broker in the technology-rich real estate market currently accessible to the public? What role, if any, does an agent play in this evolution? Can the seemingly transparent and stress-free real estate world of companies such as Open Door, Knock, Orchard continue to assume the "agent" role? We will analyze each of these questions and break down certain "myths" that exist that may or may not be factual. Likewise, we will look at how all of these innovations pertain to the future of the buying and selling process. </p>

<h2><strong>A Digital Presence Beginning to Emerge</strong></h2>

<p>To start with the aforementioned "myths," it is imperative to look at a little bit of history. Contrary to popular belief, the emergence of a digital presence to replace an agent's role did not emerge in this past year. This presence can be traced back about 35 years. The first true step in the innovation of real estate and its gaining more of a digital presence was in 1996. Innocently enough, this grew out of a minor change. The initial goal was for the betterment of the overall buying and selling process, with maximum convenience in mind. This first digital "baby step" saw MLS and newspaper home listings become much more accessible online for the first time.  </p>

<p>It was at this time that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) licensed the website to a company called Homestore. They launched a public website showing property listings on a large, national scale for the first time. would become the exclusive online listing source for several huge, national media outlets at the time. Noticing that this could lessen the role of the realtor, NAR backtracked a bit and put restrictions on Homestore. Seeing the situation could turn into a costly problem; the NAR chose their convenience over that of the buyer and sellers. They began disallowing Homestore from including pertinent information for the consumers. This included recent and past home sales to accurately determine the prices of their inventory.</p>

<p>Even with the NAR putting restrictions on, they began realizing that the writing was on the wall. It would only be a matter of time. The NAR's withholding of information aside, they realized the internet and digital direction the industry was heading was inevitable. The emerging digital platform was expected by most in the industry to help lessen costs and erase excessive fees in the home buying process. However, just the opposite was happening with By 2005, tech experts and real estate professionals would begin to look into other digital possibilities.</p>

<h2><strong>Trying to Fix the Fix</strong></h2>

<p>What had first appeared a breakthrough to add convenience and lessen costs would prove to come back to haunt the NAR and Their initial "haunting" would come in October 2005 with the introduction of the first independent home search engine, Trulia, this was the equivalent of Google for real estate. Trulia went directly to the source for listings to avoid the restrictions NAR had put on before them. Thus, now all pertinent information needed for potential home buyers was easily accessible. </p>

<p>Trulia went further than was ever even expected to. They didn't just show homes for sale or that had sold. Crucial statistics and demographics were now available through Trulia. Stats showing important areas such as crime, schools, and commute times were now at the buyer and seller's behest. Maps and local area amenities and trends for surrounding areas and even exact neighborhoods were at the searchers' fingertips. Early that next year (2006), another website emerged that would eventually prove a powerful independent home search engine. This was Zillow. They would introduce the Zestimate. This gave consumers instant access to home price estimates. For the first time, there was no need to communicate with an agent in any way.</p>

<blockquote class="wp-block-quote is-style-default"><p>Trulia, this was the equivalent of Google for real estate. Trulia went directly to the source for listings to avoid the restrictions NAR had put on before them. Thus, now all pertinent information needed for potential home buyers was easily accessible. </p></blockquote>

<p>Trulia and Zillow's emergence saw both independent home search engines overtake The number of visitors to each website grew by staggering leaps and bounds. Both companies would go public, Zillow first in 2010 and then Trulia the following suit in 2012. The two companies eventually merged in 2014. Consequently, according to 2019 statistics, a combined 216 million potential homebuyers visited the two monthly. This is compared to 76 million visits a month received at </p>

<p>Unfortunately, this promising early rise of the websites did little or nothing to absolve home sellers of any expenses. Case in point, in 2005, the standard six percent commission received by agents totaled $60 billion annually. Scratching their collective heads, many in the real estate field felt maybe some things would never change. This thought is supported as recently as 2018. The same 6 percent commission accounted for over $80 billion in agents' and brokers' pockets in that year.</p>

<p>So, yes, they saw and attracted considerable numbers in the visitor column. But truth be told, home search engines like Trulia and Zillow did little to help buyers or sellers. Other than allowing them to find and utilize listings on the two sites, they did not help at all. As a matter of fact, sellers were now in worse shape than ever. These sites, such as Trulia and Zillow, gave buyers easy access to more information than ever before. In comparison, the sellers gained no advantages whatsoever. </p>

<h2><strong>Overcoming Irony</strong></h2>

<p>Want to talk irony? In a twist entirely adverse for serving the initial purpose they'd hoped, Zillow and Trulia became dependent on the exact demographic they tried helping others become less reliant on. The real estate agents. How could this happen? Well, plain and simple, the websites need money to operate. Thus, smart agents would collectively pay these sites billions every year to advertise near their home listings. So, the initial goal here was to help the buyers and sellers. To knock down at least some costs they endure from agents in this process. Unfortunately, once dependent on income from the agents' ads, Trulia and Zillow would be assisting the realtors and not the consumers as originally planned.</p>

<p>Unlike previous efforts, the innovations in the past decade or less are not just those of tech companies. Many of these independent search engines and sites have "smartened" to the realtor process. Thus, many became licensed brokers. What exactly does that mean? Well, for one, they can perform all or at least most parts of the selling and buying process. This includes the financial end with no agent and no agent commission fee. But wait, wasn't that to be the case back in 2005-06, too? What is different between these new sites and companies and what we saw when Zillow and Trulia first appeared?</p>

<h2><strong>Welcome to the Future </strong></h2>

<p>Remember we said, "eventually, all things change?" Well, moving on to the present and looking ahead to the future, and despite failed initial tries of Trulia and Zillow, there are two factors that no industry is impervious to. Technology and Science. Both of these are always evolving, and many times are a driving force in "re-inventing" the way things are done. While no final verdict is in of yet, this combination has undoubtedly played a large in the past decade's evolution in residential real estate. Consequently, advances in technology and science have allowed companies like Orchard, Open Door, and Knock to "change the game." Oh yeah, and the billions of dollars these companies have at their disposal doesn't hurt their survival chances either.</p>

<p>Technology. Science. Billions of dollars. Have to say, it appears that's a pretty trio to have working in your favor when setting out to "change the game." But how do these new companies work? What is going to make things different this time around? The first and maybe most important difference we mentioned above. These search engines have become "licensed brokers." So, when a buyer or seller approaches Orchard, Open Door, or Knock, they are now experiencing the real estate version of "one-stop shopping." The steps and information that previously could only be accessed through an agent but now is easily retrieved through these companies, is staggering. Given they are now licensed, Orchard, Open Door, and Knock all eliminate the stress and costs of the whole "readying" or "staging" your home for the purchase process. </p>

<p>How are they able to do these things? Well, to start, they are actually inspecting the homes. Thus, they can accurately price each down to the smallest of specifics. Things requiring agent assistance before such as, upgrades, renovations, and premium features and factoring each into a sales price, no longer calls for the realtor assistance. Even more unfathomable years ago, but a very real part of the independent search engine real estate "evolution" is the funds they offer throughout the buying and selling process.</p>

<h2><strong>No More Surprises and No More Stress Could Eventually Equal No More Agents</strong></h2>

<p>These companies are, for the first time allowing the online buyer to make instant, strong offers on a home they like regardless of the status of their old house. Things such as "finding a buyer" or having a contingent sale were once major setbacks in comfortably placing an offer. With Orchard, Open Door, and Knock offering up to $25,000 to get a buyers' old home "fixed up" ready for listing, putting forth your best offer is made a whole lot easier. As if $25K is not enough, these companies also pre-approve those eligible for a new home loan, including the down payment. So there is nothing at all holding these searchers back from sealing the deal once they find the home of their dreams.</p>

<p>The two most important factors to any real estate transaction and building a customer relationship are transparency and trust. These independent websites considered this, as they give a buyer or seller insight into every aspect of their transaction as never before. They help the client to 100 percent access and transparency in every step of the process from contract to closing. They even make you privy to their inspection process and show how they arrive at the value of your old home. Speaking of that "old house," in the case that you have already closed on the new purchase, the worry of double mortgages has also been eliminated. Wondering how? Well, simply put, Orchard, Open Door, or Knock will buy the house from you and list it for sale. They literally have all bases covered and advise and inform you the entire way during the process. </p>

<p>In fairness to the real estate agents and brokers, we don't want to imply that they are not good at their job or not hard-working, honest people. Over the years, we've had the pleasure of working with some wonderful men and women within that field. We wish these folks nothing but the best. But speaking from a financial standpoint and for overall convenience in what can certainly be a stressful process, it is hard to imagine agents miraculously discovering a way to compete against these newer, industry revolutionizing methods that the digital brands can provide. History has certainly shown the agent or broker to be resilient and find ways of surviving with their lofty six percent commission cut intact, time and time again. However, if they can not find some methods to "keep up with the Jetsons" and figure it out soon, regardless of resiliency and survival in the past, our friend the realtor may be forced to go the way of the dinosaurs and become extinct as they watch these online brands "change the game" of residential real estate for good.</p>

Is the competition eating your lunch? Is the realtor becoming obsolete?

They say; eventually, all things change. This has not necessarily been the case for the better part of the past 50 years. At least not when buying and selling a home. For the most part, this process has prominently included a real estate a…
<h3>In the early 1800s, shipping yards would sell unclaimed cargo and collections of furniture at discounted prices that would draw in crowds for miles away and be known as rummage sales. The "yard sale," as it would become known post WW2 in the late '50s and '60s, would bring families and neighbors together as significant events and sometimes even pot- luck picnics.</h3>

<p class="has-drop-cap">While everyone explores for treasures of vintage dishes, artwork, old games, and the ever-popular costume jewelry or trinket as they snack on popcorn and the famous melt in your mouth and not in your hand's peanut M&M's. Everyone who was anyone knew that the best yard sale day was the perfect sunny Saturday in May, and you must not forget to advertise in the daily gazette.</p>

<h2>Now It's A Yard Sale!</h2>

<p>The fields were parsley-green with a host of daisies scattered throughout.  The clouds were shaped like tufty pillows gliding slowly across the sky as a carnival of scents blew in the air, hotdogs, baked goods and the sweet smell of lemonade may be the only good thing about being dragged around to yards sales by your family "the food" oh and don't forget the candy.  Nerds, Skittles, Hershey Kisses, Reese Pieces, and Atomic Fireballs if you had a quarter, you had five pieces of candy. Yes, we are in the "materialistic decade" of the '80s, always looking through rose-colored glasses and searching for toys, Star Trek movie posters, baseball cards, and the rise of The California Raisins and electronic music.</p>

<h2>Decades through the Hourglass</h2>

<p>Yard Sales and 'mini flea markets" as it soon became known as moving into the late '90s and 2000s would have a more considerable competition as the internet comes along with Craigslist as one of the first American classified web-based services established in 1996.   In the year 1995, E Bay was one of the first companies to create and market an internet website to match buyer's and sellers' benefits. Today, there are many online yard sales, garage sales, apps, virtual social medial sales, and marketplaces, with some of the most popular being Varage Sale, Wallapop, and Let go. However, the vintage and nostalgia of opening your front lawn, garage, or church is still a social trend.</p>

<h2>Fun Facts:</h2>

<ul><li>Each week in the United States, yard sales bring in $165,000.00 </li><li>$0.85 is the average cost of a yard sale item.</li><li>690,000 is the average number of people who purchase something at a yard sale each week.</li><li>There are an estimated 95,000-yard sales listed on Craig's list weekly</li><li>The estimated totally weekly revenue from yard sales in the U.S. is $4,222,357.00</li><li>"The World's longest Yard Sale is 690 miles running along U.S. Route 127 from Michigan to Alabama.</li><li>Top yard sale food Homemade cookies</li></ul>

<p>The future of Yard Sales is unknown, but you can rest assured, on this futuristic voyage, no matter how we plan to sell something, there will always be stuff to swap, and market research shows that around 71% of individuals between the ages of 8-18 say they would be happier if they had money to spend.  They are focused on objects, ownership, and wealth; the more, the merrier, right?</p>

<p>We all love a great why couldn't I have been in possession of a fortune without realizing it kind of story, especially if it involves a yard sale market find.  Speaking of famous finds in history in 2012 when a gentleman purchased what appeared to be a sketch at a Las Vegas yard sale for $5.00, and it ended up being a painting by the pop art pioneer Andy Warhol and was worth $2,000,000.00.  I think I haven't found a rare 1959 Barbie doll, an original 1980 Cabbage Patch doll, or a Velvet Underground Record worth $25,000 at any yard sale.  I just haven't got lucky yet, and it doesn't mean that I may or may not plan to stop searching the world for unexpected treasures and a rag to riches historical yard sale story.</p>

<p>Another person's junk could be your treasure.</p>

The Evolution of Yard Sales

In the early 1800s, shipping yards would sell unclaimed cargo and collections of furniture at discounted prices that would draw in crowds for miles away and be known as rummage sales. The “yard sale,” as it would become known post WW2 in t…
<h2>Many factors go into creating great, original content. Several working parts combine to produce a powerful and memorable message to your audience. It can be done visually, through rich and vivid photography or video. It is also accomplished through creating strong, original written text. Presenting such engaging content can stimulate the reader to remember your message and make them to want to see more. The consistent creation of content that directly appeals to your audience is essential in building a powerful brand. Developing a successful marketing strategy is dependent on the story you tell invoking curiosity in the reader. You not only want them to remember, but to trust what you say, and long to hear more.</h2>

<p class="has-drop-cap">Remember that old public service announcement (PSA) where the man stood at his stove? He first held up an egg. “This is your brain.” Next, he points to a pan on the stovetop. “This is drugs.” Then, he cracks the shell, and the egg sizzles as the contents fry on the hot skillet. “This is your brain on drugs, any questions?” To me, it stands out as one of the more memorable advertisements I’ve ever seen. But why? What makes it so memorable? How did its creator embed their message in my brain (which for the record, is not on drugs) that still stands out 33 years after it originally aired in 1987? Well, to answer as this PSA might, it's all about content. Dynamic, engaging, relevant, consistent, original content. Any questions?</p>

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<blockquote class="wp-block-quote is-style-default"><p>Actually, outside of mimicking that iconic 30-second Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) spot, the answer is yes. So, to get some answers on content creation, let’s look back at that memorable PSA. As we do, our focus is on five areas that make this thirty-plus-year-old TV ad still effective today. More specifically we’ll show how these same five parts are crucial pieces in creating engaging blog content for your website. </p></blockquote>

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<h2><strong>Know Your Audience</strong></h2>

<p>The effectiveness of that PSA shares many ways that would parlay into writing similarly effective blog content. To begin, you have to know your audience. Sure, that is a huge audience in the case of the PFDA organization. They are looking to reach kids and teens that may soon be exposed to drugs. But the message may also take aim at those already hooked on drugs, family members of those with drug issues, etc. </p>

<p>Regardless, it is undeniable that they had a specific target audience. Before you ever put one finger on your keyboard to begin crafting content for your blog, you too should visualize the niche market your words are aimed towards. This audience you “write to” is the one you are looking to catch the attention of and allure into returning to see more in the future.</p>

<h2><strong>Grab Their Attention Immediately</strong></h2>

<p>We have all heard the quote/slogan, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Some attribute this famous saying to Irish poet and playwriter Oscar Wilde. Others credit star of film and beloved cowboy Will Rogers with the quote. A modern audience probably knows it best as the pitch line for Head and Shoulders shampoo commercials. No matter who said it, there may be no better way to describe the importance of capturing the attention of your desired viewers. </p>

<p>Developing eye-catching headlines and some type of strong visual presence at the top of your blog posts is a must. An appealing photo or relevant video of some sort accompanying an exceptional title can make all the difference. This is where the reader you targeted is going to “keep scrolling” and read or go look elsewhere. Most times, if they leave, they’re gone for good. </p>

<p>In our video, the man opens dramatically asking, “Is there anyone out there who still isn’t clear about what doing drugs does?” This comment from the seemingly irritated speaker is tough to turn away from. Think of multiple directions that one statement could lead-in. It leaves you almost needing to keep watching and see where he is going with this statement. The viewer is hooked, just like a reader would be to your witty, relevant headline and eye-popping visual intro to a post.</p>

<h2><strong>Once You Got Them, Keep Them</strong></h2>

<p>By thorough research and analyzing the competition, you know exactly what type of audience you see as your potential client base. The selection of your topics has been aimed with these demographics in mind. The perfect headline has appeared above your text and the picture along with it is a true thing of beauty. The line was cast out, you felt a slight tug, and then you reeled them in. But, all of this is for nothing, if they get two lines into the content and have no clue what you’re talking about. There are several significant points to remember in how you layout your creative content that will keep readers coming back for more.</p>

<p>Put simply, make your content “easy on the visitor’s eyes.” Being clear and concise by using shorter paragraphs and dividing material under subheadings presents an appearance of an organized and easier read. You are targeting these people., they are here to read what you have to say. Their potential interest in your services is there, or they wouldn’t be reading your blog at all. So, they aren’t looking to leisurely page flip through a novel here. They want to see what you got to offer in a reasonable amount of time.</p>

<p>Remember our PSA guy's dramatic opening line? Left us itching for what he would say next. We couldn’t wait. But what follows is the difference between me yawning as I click to a different channel or staying enthralled as I was by his lead-in. After just three words following our intro, he picks up the egg. “This is your brain,” follows. The man speaks less than 15 words the rest of the video. Thirty-three years later anyone who ever saw this commercial still remembers it. It was aimed directly at his desired crowd and also featured some of the best usages of our next topic area arguably in television history.</p>

<h2><strong>Visual is Memorable</strong></h2>

<p>The human brain processes visual content much faster than it comprehends any text written material. Professional, dynamic photography or videos accompanying your blog posts gives the potential client a picture to put with the words. As children, we wondered aloud as our kindergarten teacher read those lengthy fairy tales, “Are there any more pictures?” You are the kindergarten teacher, and the client still wants to see the “Cat in the Hat.” Eye-grabbing visuals not only help draw the customer in initially. But added throughout the relevant written text, it can break up content and help the reader enjoy a smoother flowing and faster read.</p>

<p>The visual accompaniment in the “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” PSA is one of the most memorable in television history. The egg in hand, cracking it into the pan as it sizzles and fries. This with the “short and sweet” delivery of what is that commercials “text” is content magic.</p>

<p>Killer visuals to accompany your written blog content can be a real difference-maker in creating content that will build a repeat visitor base. On the contrary, the lack or misuse of them can simply be a killer. </p>

<h2><strong>Close with a Clear Call-to-Action</strong></h2>

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<p>You got ‘em! You have “aced” this particular article when it comes to providing engaging, original content to the specific niche audience you desired. Now what? Well, if targeting them to begin with you must see them as a potential client. So, you delivered on creating content relevant to your brand. You want them to come back so you can continue showing them what you have to offer. Bring them to a point of comfort and trust in your content and company. So, all that being said, don’t forget to add a crystal clear call-to-action.</p>

<p>This can be many things. Leave a comment below. Please share our blog post. Follow us and give us a like on social media. Subscribe to our blog or newsletter. When you have form a connection with the reader and they truly find your content and blog posts helpful and insightful, they are usually thrilled to share and spread the word. Consequently, as they find your work insightful more consistently you earn their trust. As a result, you more often than not earn that reader’s business.</p>

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<p>As for our PSA and their Call-to-Action? Well, I’ve raved about the effectiveness of their strong lead-in to hook their desired audience. Praised their concise and dramatic content both in “text” and visually to keep eyeballs on the screen. Dubbed the visual aids as television history. But maybe the biggest testament to the power of this announcement is the obvious call-to-action and message to warn of the harms and urge you to say no to drugs. The fact is the content was so strong in getting to the message, they never actually even have to say it.</p>

<p>Any questions?</p>

This is Your Brand… Any Questions?

Many factors go into creating great, original content. Several working parts combine to produce a powerful and memorable message to your audience. It can be done visually, through rich and vivid photography or video. It is also accomplishe…
<h3>The trees are laughing once more, all dressed up in their carnival clothing, the gold, and scarlet of the autumn days. I watch as the leaves tumble from branch to ground on their final dance. I remember distinctly a mature gnarled golden yellow maple tree growing close to where I was standing, and it showed off spectacularly. Although diminished in power, the sun shone brightly and felt warm on my face despite the north wind's bite and the smell of frost in the air as I stood on the sidewalk in Bangor, Maine.</h3>

<p class="has-drop-cap">I couldn't imagine the look on my face at this moment, but I was happy no one was trying to capture it with a photograph because I could barely conceal my delight, and I thought I would die of joy. I was no more than three feet away from where the glorious and gothic wrought iron gates, adorned with winged bats, spiders, and a three-headed reptile, opened to a red brick path to a rather distinctive old and towering Victorian mansion red with white trim.</p>

<p>I was standing in front of the home of Stephen King all alone, just me, even though this was one of the most photographed celebrity homes from the street, slightly trailing behind Graceland. It was just me on the sidewalk that crisp cold October morning, and I felt special at that moment. Whether he was residing there at the time was irrelevant because I could imagine and think that he knew I was there and was watching me and the world go by from his upstairs window.</p>

<p>As a young girl I enjoyed reading very much, you could find me most of the time in a quiet place in nature. Growing up in rural Virginia in the decades of the '70s and '80s, there were not many options for escape or travel except through an author's eyes and their incredible stories. I became very fond of many genres and authors like George Orwell, Charles Dickens, F Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby" William Shakespeare, Judy Blume's novel Blubber, and an all-time favorite Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Enthralled by the romantic love story of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Still, I also learned about the repercussions of hasty judgments only with the differences between superficial goodness and actual goodness.</p>

<p>Bram Stoker, an Irish artist, caught my attention to fictional horror with Count Dracula's portrait. I would be ten years old when I read this novel, and it took me quite a while to finish, but I know that on Halloween in 1979, I was dressed in a costume along with a velvet cape and was the scariest vampire out there.</p>

<figure class="wp-block-pullquote is-style-default"><blockquote><p>"Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make." </p><cite>— Bram Stoker</cite></blockquote></figure>

<h3>The author who has inspired me the most throughout my life and inspired me to want to be a creative writer one day is Stephen King, an American novelist, and short-story writer.</h3>

<p>It would also be the summer of 1979, after watching a mini-series adapted for television from a novel by Stephen King called Salem's Lot, I would first become inspired. Salem's lot was about a writer named Ben Mears who returns to the town of Jerusalem's Lot in Maine, where he lived until the age of nine, only to discover soon the townspeople were all becoming vampires. My cup of tea with sugar.  I remember my first Stephen King book was given to me by my Grandmother for my birthday in 1980; she had found a stack of books at a yard sale and brought them to me as a gift. The books were "Little Women," Louisa May Alcott, Adventures of "Tom Sawyer," Mark Twain and "The Shining "by Stephen King, surely you know which one I read first. </p>

<p>Early in his career, I would discover Mr. King, and the book that put him on the map was his 1974 novel about a shy, friendless girl that her domineering, religious mother shelters. She unleashes her telekinetic powers called "Carrie." After Carrie's success, King just kept putting out imaginative and creative horror, fantasy, and psychological thriller masterpieces, and for me, it was hard to keep up. By the early 1980's several of his works had been adapted for the big screen by directors such as John Carpenter and Rob Reiner and became movies that changed my life. It was portable magic, and I am not surprised that we share the same candy movie favorites of Twizzlers and Junior Mints.</p>

<h3>A favorite unique combination of mine would be King and George A. Romero in the 1982 American horror-comedy anthology "Creepshow," which was around five short stories in comic book form.</h3>

<p>My favorite novel from King would have to be "Needful Things," about a creepy old man that moves to a rural small town in picturesque Maine and sets up an antique shop, and of course Salem's Lot, my very first experience is a favorite.  Many think King as "The Master of Horror," which he is the holder of that title, and many more with his never-ending creativity of monsters. However, King is also known for writing a couple of classic crime novels you may not even think were in his portfolio. "The Green Mile" a classic novel written in 1996 and adapted for the big screen in 1999 and winning a critics choice award. The Shawshank Redemption was written in 1982 and adapted for the big screen in 1994.</p>

<p>Jumping ahead to late in the 20<sup>th</sup> century and King would be credited to reviving the Horror fiction genre and his books to date selling over 100 million copies. He has published 62 novels, including seven under the pen name Robert Bachman, five non-fiction books, and over 200 short stories. King has had 30 novels on the New York Times bestseller list, and along with many distinguished titles, he holds the record for the most books on the New York Times Best Seller list at one time with four.  </p>

<p>A favorite quote from Mr. King "Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference". I have always been inspired by this quote, maybe because I have always wanted to be much like King. I just wasn't sure where to start, but having a love of reading books, a vivid and creative imagination was helpful. However, there was not a lot of support. When you hear numerous times throughout your life, I don't believe writing is for you, and I don't think you could do much writing. You then stop jotting down ideas, words, or short stories. You may even slow down on your reads, and you realize the critics may be actual. You know that your desk is still in the corner and not in the middle of the room, and at that moment, there is a loss of confidence, enthusiasm, and inspiration.</p>

<p>Many decades have come and gone since my first glimpse into Salem's Lot and The Shining. I was 47 years old when I stood on that sidewalk in front of the home of one of my biggest influencers in life, and it inspired me once again, and I reminisced about my childhood dream, and I imagined him saying to me, how do you write? And I answered him with one of my favorite quotes from the master himself "Invariably one word at a time." And he just grinned, and I could see my desk slowly moving from the corner.</p>


<p>I looked up at the blackness of the sky, the sun had quickly set, and there was no starlight to be seen; I hadn't intended to stay out this late. The road ahead looked silent and unappealing; there were no streetlights, and I knew I was in for a dark journey home. I decided to take a shortcut to make my trip faster and cut through the forest, a place I had been to many times before. The forest trees were century-old, with sprawling limbs guarding the darkness and only allowing a peak of light from the half-moon above. The air was stuffy and pungent and a little difficult to breathe. The decaying mood and stifling atmosphere made plentiful the perfect abode for those who worshipped the dark instead of the light. I bit my tongue from nervousness, and the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth as I made my way over a musty forest floor filled with decaying pieces of wood and prominent tree roots. I tried to creep around the forest's poisons, and the mass amounts of spider webs without much luck as the trees started at me like silent watchmen. The darkness was enormous and a bit frightening because your eyes will play tricks on you in the dense shadows as my eyes were frantically scanning the forest surroundings. I increased the speed of my pace, which made me feel a little nauseous and dizzy, and just at that moment, I became panic-stricken, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck like the hackles of a big dog. Somewhere between a despairing screech and a tortured whine sounded off to all my senses. Where was it coming from? Just then, no more than 100 feet to my left, I could see a faint glow that seemingly was coming from an old wooden structure, that was the "Ole Smokehouse "that's what everyone around town called it, they knew because apparently, it was a remnant of Civil War times. Slowing my pace and trying to tune out the despairing cries that seemed to grow louder with each step, I horrifyingly approached the structure, thinking to myself, why the shortcut? This smokehouse was an antebellum building with a tiny window, and it was withered white, with a red clay roof and a chimney.  It was at the window where the faint light showed, and as I approached the tiny window, my heart raced, my palms sweated profusely, and my whole body shook. At that moment, I was utterly terrified. </p>

<figure class="wp-block-pullquote"><blockquote><p>"Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes they win."</p><cite>Stephen King</cite></blockquote></figure>

The Kings House

The trees are laughing once more, all dressed up in their carnival clothing, the gold, and scarlet of the autumn days. I watch as the leaves tumble from branch to ground on their final dance. I remember distinctly a mature gnarled golden y…


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