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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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading"><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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading">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 class="wp-block-heading">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>

<h3 class="wp-block-heading">Darkness</h3>

<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…
<h2 class="wp-block-heading">Comparing a healthy, maintained, and organically built website with a healthy, organic diet produces so many similarities that they may arrive at the same results. Building and maintaining a sustainable, organic website draws many parallels to an individual who opts for a healthier lifestyle by switching to an organic diet. How your food is grown or raised may have a significant impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. The same is true for the overall health of your website regarding the visitors you attract. </h2>

<p class="has-drop-cap">Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts. Likewise, organic traffic is generated in a more "natural" way as well. Sure, paid advertising campaigns may put eyes on your site. However, much as you would eat organic to steer clear of impurities in the food, the traffic generated through a paid campaign can often be artificial and, like its food counterparts, very harmful to your website. </p>

<h2 class="wp-block-heading">What is Organic Traffic?</h2>

<p>Organic traffic refers to the visitors landing on your website due to using a search engine (like Google). These quality visits show that the user was not referred from another site, nor was it generated by paid ads or campaigns just as an organic farmer produces fresher and much cleaner produce and products by not using harmful chemicals and synthetic pesticides, the increase of your organic traffic results from your consistently creating fresh new original, quality, and relevant content. </p>

<p>Consequently, by focusing on quality, relevant, original content to build your organic customer sphere, you eliminate the need to pay for subpar and, most of the time, irrelevant visitors to your website. Thus, growing a relevant and robust base of visitors who are searching and interested in your type of business or services. Besides, as you continue to "yield" quality, relevant content consistently, you increase your search engine optimization (SEO). This helps you rank higher in search engines and helps the maximum number see your website of relevant, potential clients. </p>

<blockquote class="wp-block-quote is-style-default"><p>While competitors could pay for a certain ad which will be seen and get their share of clicks, your competitors cannot buy or pay their way to the credibility and trust that is built with a well-planned and effectively executed strategy that has driven your brand to the "top of the page."</p></blockquote>

<p>By "harvesting" these quality, organic leads rather than running paid campaigns, you eliminate the possibility of these "irrelevant visitors" that can prove detrimental to both your daily traffic and server. Not to mention, without a need for "sifting" through that subpar traffic, you avoid wasting what may be the most valuable asset to any company, time.</p>

<h2 class="wp-block-heading">The Proof is in the "Product" </h2>

<p>As with anything, seeing is believing. In building a solid marketing strategy aimed at driving organic traffic, "seeing" comes in the form of your client being able to look and see as they climb the rankings in search engines and, as a result accumulating more customers and return on their initial investment. Just as the healthy eating customer becomes a loyal buyer of the fresher and juicier organic product from the particular brand which they have grown to trust, when the consistent content you build for your target audience turns into consistent results, the "seed is planted" for a strong and solid long-term customer relationship.</p>

<p>Just as utilizing an organic diet will lead to an increased energetic and healthier lifestyle, a steady and consistent method of delivering organic content will see a steady increase and constant climb on Google and other search engines. The organic traffic increase, keyword and phrase searches will allow your brand or services to become more visible while laying the foundation for visitors to return, which helps convert them into long-term clients.  </p>

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<p>As noted, pursuing organic leads does not lead to overnight success, but once your business is established and is sustained with original organic content, continuing with this consistent strategy will keep you climbing in search engines and, most importantly keep you visible to the customer. </p>

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<blockquote class="wp-block-quote is-style-default"><p>Our organic efforts in real-world test outperformed the PPC by over 360 percent in a six month period.</p></blockquote>

<p>While competitors could pay for a particular ad which will be seen and get their share of clicks, your competitors cannot buy or pay their way to the credibility and trust that is built with a well-planned and effectively executed strategy that has driven your brand to the "top of the page." </p>

<figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img src="" alt="" class="wp-image-3790"/></figure>

<h2 class="wp-block-heading">ROI is the Bottom Line</h2>

<p>It's easy to fall victim to pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns if you're outsourcing the efforts or if you don't understand the analytics. An example is a long-time client who ran a major PPC campaign and also ran an organic strategy method with us. We tracked the efforts and both campaigns of each team. Our organic efforts in a real-world test outperformed the PPC by over 360 percent in a six-month period. The organic strategy continues to be the leading role resulting in over $18 million in home sales.</p>

<p>Whether we are comparing personal well-being and eating habits or building and sustaining a strong and prosperous brand, the bottom line is seeing a return on your investment (ROI). In our experience whether you chose to run a PPC campaign or not, building your organic presence when implemented correctly and consistently will build an overall healthy lead source and is a way to deliver strong, sustainable results and most importantly trust to maximize your bottom line.  </p>

Going Organic, Cold Turkey!

Comparing a healthy, maintained, and organically built website with a healthy, organic diet produces so many similarities that they may arrive at the same results. Building and maintaining a sustainable, organic website draws many parallel…
<h2 class="wp-block-heading">Artists draw inspiration from all types of different sources. Everyone whose career involves them creating original, creative work has been influenced in some way. Whether you work in visual arts, music, writing, or whatever your creative outlet may be. Chances are, there is someone that has helped to define the artistic approach to your work. </h2>


<p class="has-drop-cap">It could be a catchy song lyric or guitar playing style. A public speaker or an elected official and their strong tone of speaking and delivery might inspire some. Still, it’s the crafty delivery or a specific role played by a favorite actor, comedian, or commentator for others. It’s even possible it came from a teacher, co-worker, or acquaintance you know and have come to respect. </p>

<p>Regardless of the original work that one creates, their influences tell a lot about them. Whether your craft is photography, music, or writing, usually the stylings of your influence shine through in your finished work.</p>

<p>For me personally, I think of two specific minds that worked together as one. They created not just words set to music but sounds that defined a movement and way of life. Firsthand, I can attest to “feeling” their collective creative genius. I am among the millions whose melodies played as the soundtrack for a good portion of our lives. Sure, both are incredibly talented musicians. But the mastery of their written and spoken words as storytellers and musicians was second to none. The lessons once learned as an impressionable 16-year old kid through this music was an education in life. With huge stadiums, arenas, and amphitheaters across America serving as the schoolhouse, I absorbed as much as I could. In writing, and even in thought, I find myself reverting to these “teachings” to this very day.</p>

<p>The influence I speak of is a twosome who unknowingly would narrate a 30-plus year ride through Americana. Their progressive and improvisational brand of rock-n-roll would steer the wagon for millions along for this ride. Over thirty years after discovering their work, it still elicits a full spectrum of feelings from me, with chills up my spine and an erasable, ear-to-ear smile. They are even stifling a memory, literally bringing me to tears. Only one of these two musical pioneers would take the stage night after night among the group of six. However, this inspirational force was unquestionably a team of two and not just an individual. The team is Grateful Dead founder/guitarist/and vocalist Jerry Garcia and his lifelong friend and lyricist, Robert Hunter.</p>

<p>The storytelling skills the Garcia/Hunter tandem put into music tells colorful tales of the America they grew up in. Amazingly, those tales inspired visions within fans in every random arena of the America they grew up in, too. From the bouncy and fun “Franklin’s Tower” or “U.S Blues.” To the thought-provoking, beautiful, and almost melancholy “Stella Blue” or “Attics of My Life.” Garcia and Hunter left no emotion untouched with their magical combination of word and sound. </p>

<figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img src="" alt="" class="wp-image-3760"/></figure>

<p>They authored songs that seemed to each become a storybook all unto themself. They took us on adventures through an America existing in the eyes of these musical pioneers with Jack Straw, providing us songs of hope and discovery like Eyes of the World and Wharf Rat. They touched every emotion in their incredible tale of love lost and triumphant journey to reclaim it in the epic Terrapin Station. With their psychedelic roots deeply planted, Hunter effortlessly wrote the perfect verbiage to accompany their “crown jewel,” Dark Star. This otherworldly and iconic tune was a jazz-like, improvisational launchpad for Garcia’s classic “noodling” style iconic jams. It became a crowd favorite from around the time of the band’s original incarnation in 1965. Whenever it made a rare live appearance, it turned that particular show into one of those “special nights.” That connection continued right until Jerry’s passing in July of 1995.</p>

<blockquote class="wp-block-quote is-style-default"><p>“Magic is what we do. Music is how we do it,” he once explained.  “It’s not enough to be the best at what you do. You must be perceived as the only one who does what you do.”</p><cite>— Jerry Garcia</cite></blockquote>

<p>The music of the Grateful Dead had and still has effects on many that are difficult to describe. Many liked to link the band and their loyal following to drugs. The truth is, for those who felt it and hopped on board the “traveling circus,” it was always about the music. People can argue all day on “who the greatest guitar player in history” is. Very rarely will you see the name Garcia near the top of these type rankings? However, it is undeniable that the sheer joy the songs he and Hunter wrote engulfed the fan base is unparalleled. </p>

<p>Imagine a man stepping on stage and just tuning his guitar could elicit a full spectrum of emotion. Not once, but twenty-five nights in a row, three to five tours a year. By just stepping on stage in front of fifteen to eighty thousand people (depending on the venue.) within seconds, you would hear a surprised gasp. Gleeful screams. Tears of joy, high fives, hugs, and even a “pin drop” silence. Recognize, this is only as the opening song becomes identifiable while tuning his guitar strings. That’s powerful in a way that is unmatched in the history of live music.</p>

<p>The stories told in each Garcia/Hunter tune live in my heart, my mind, and my soul. Since Garcia’s passing, I’ve felt somewhat of a different “bond” between myself and the music. Today, seeing each song performed by the band’s remaining collaborations feels much like visiting with an old friend. One that I’ve missed dearly and has stopped by unannounced for a few minutes to say hi. Despite their influence, I don’t feel I’ve ever come close to achieving that type of creative power. In my defense, I believe any other “Deadhead” would attest. I’ don’t think anyone else has in that magnitude either. </p>

<p>Garcia himself would lend credence to his unique connection between audience and performer. Yes, he was a brilliant guitarist and writer, but he was equally as engaging and witty with his spoken words. He has been famously quoted on countless topics surrounding the band and their loyal fan base. Jerry seemed to have an intelligent yet whimsical sound bite on any topic he was quizzed upon. The band’s non-traditional approach and sound. The creativity and fearless improvisational nature of their live performances. The bizarre, over-the-top loyalty and dedication developed between the audience and band. </p>

<figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img src="" alt="" class="wp-image-3761"/></figure>

<p>“Magic is what we do. Music is how we do it,” he once explained. On another occasion, he seemed to add to that comment, describing the “stew” of sound that was the Grateful Dead. He quipped, “It’s not enough to be the best at what you do. You must be perceived as the only one who does what you do.”</p>

<p>In my personal favorite correlation made in describing the connection between the Grateful Dead and their fan base, Jerry likened the music to having an acquired taste in candy. “We’re like licorice,” Garcia once famously began. “Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice, really like licorice.”</p>

<p>Hand me another one of those “Twizzlers,” please...</p>

Inspiration is Dead

Artists draw inspiration from all types of different sources. Everyone whose career involves them creating original, creative work has been influenced in some way. Whether you work in visual arts, music, writing, or whatever your creative …


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