This Blog is About Me

This Blog is About Me

have a focused but open mind
In Front of McGill University

I feel like this blog should have a soundtrack or at least a drumroll. That certainly sets the reader up with high hopes of fascinating content, perhaps a laugh or two, and maybe even a ‘top ten’ list. But seriously, the other day I got a quizzical look when I handed out my business card – Conscious Strategy? What is that? So today on the blog – and it has been awhile – a few things I have learned from nearly 2 decades of teaching and practicing yoga that have filtered into my work as a freelance writer. In other words, you may actually get a little insight from this blog post and maybe a few healthy lifestyle tips along the way.

The Flow Plan or Conscious Strategy

Blog tip 31 Flow Plan
Waterworks in Philadelphia

For one thing, teaching yoga (well) involves some planning and preparation. You don’t just dive into the most challenging asana (posture). You cultivate it by properly warming up with other postures that wake the muscles up and focus your attention and then winding down to come back to equipoise. There is, in other words, a flow plan.

Conscious Strategy: My Yoga of Penmanship

Blog tip #2 Have a destination and your writing can be a sales tool
The Steps Through Westmount in Montreal

In writer-speak, I use the term ‘conscious strategy’. Perhaps I can attribute systems thinking to years of having to think of things in terms of steps and stages, fluid movement, fluid thought, fluid writing. When I write I prefer the approach of having a beginning, a middle and an end. Where do you want to go with that? Writing, is after all, a sales tool.

 Your client should benefit from increased business. Anyway, this is my hope when I get to write the home page of a website. When you think about it, having a destination in sight has a powerful way of focusing us. I learned this from taking class from a newbie once. Teaching a bunch of random stuff  is very confusing. Writing randomly is fine for a biography (I guess) but not when you want to be hired for freelance writing.

A Calm Mind is a Creative Mind

Blog Tip #3 A calm mind is a creative mind
Street Haiku in Jersey City

Before the reader and the writer part ways, I want to leave you with another gift from yoga, and that is mindfulness. No I don’t meditate with business clients, but I do listen, I do slow down, I do try to be conscious about many decisions. What to do and how to do it. So just to recap, here are a few interconnections I have made. Your own life has its own links in it. I like to use the lessons of my day, it’s like homework that I get a gold star in just for showing up and taking note.

  • For any project, have an outline, menu, flow plan or conscious strategy
  • Think about where you hope to end up
  • Be available to be flexible if **it happens
  • Creativity can come in when you take a break from over-thinking
  • Catch yourself from going off on too many tangents
  • Wrap it up, let go and start another project

SEO or Streaming ~ what is your writing style?

I recently attended the ICC where one of the best sessions I attended was about writing for SEO. This is what I do for my job so I admit, I have been less than diligent about posting on my own blog. So what is my motivation? I am reading a new book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. I’m not that far into it, but the theme can be applied to writing style as much as to organizing a closet. So the topic for today is: Are you writing for SEO or Streaming of Consciousness? How to stay relevant to search without getting messy or too wordy and how to tidy up your act.

Intelligent Content : Writing for SEO
Intelligent Content : Writing for SEO

SEO or Streaming ~ What is Your Writing Style?

If you are writing for SEO, you want to make use of search phrases. However, you don’t want to just stuff the same key words into one paragraph. That is akin to putting all your clothes in a bundle on your floor.

The act of tidying is a series of simple actions in which objects are moved from one place to another. It involves putting things away where they belong ~ Marie Kondo

I found, ironically, that the few first paragraphs of this book are cluttered. Repetitious. I’m not disparaging it. For a novel, stream of consciousness writing is acceptable. If you don’t like the author’s style, you don’t have to read the book. Arguably, if you are writing for a website, your goal is two fold: write for the audience, and write for the spiders. Some repetition is necessary although keeping it spaced out is a better option. Akin to hanging your white blouses on separate hangers.

Cleaning up your act: Writing with style and SEO in Mind

Writing for content generation is a layering process. 

You have the visible layer that you readers see, and the text that is woven through to ensure that your brilliant penmanship is not buried on google like the proverbial heap of clothing on your floor.

SEO and the art of layered writing
SEO and the art of layered writing

Cleaning up your act may involve:

  • Determining your search phrase
  • Organizing your thoughts: having a beginning, a middle and an end
  • Categorizing your posts/pages so they are easier to access in search
  • Expressing  your key words in a variety of ways (don’t be too repetitious)

If you use stream of consciousness you have to balance that with the art of tidying up.

Optimized penmanship

Optimized Penmanship For Contemporary Readers

Today was training day as I headed to downtown NYC to speak with a team of writers who are looking to optimize their penmanship to become relevant in google searches. As with many companies and organizations, they have a fairly meaty website with lots of content. Nonetheless, despite the abundance of blog posts, they are not showing up in searches as much as they hope to.

optimized penmanship
NYC in the rain

What is Optimized Penmanship?

When we think of penmanship, classic authors like Shakespeare come to mind; those writers whose prose is a work of art, a piece of architecture that has been well thought out and utterly creative at the same time.

“Most entrepreneurs fail at developing ideas for their content because they fail to plan” ~ Joe Pulizzi

Penmanship Optimization Workshop NYC
Penmanship Optimization Workshop NYC

“Thank you for coming in, Rana! We all learned a lot”

What I conveyed yesterday in my workshop was that content creation takes some work and planning, but that does not need to over-ride innovation and creativity. An author’s voice, I believe, is what distinguishes him or her from other writers. That being said, when you are generating content for your website, you are engaging in marketing practices. Bringing these two sides together is what I mean by ‘optimized’. Functional key word use, a content strategy, originality and using social media to help disseminate your information, build engagement, monetize or educate. Ah!

 Bridging SEO and Creativity

Part of the misconception is that if you have a visually stunning website with weekly blogs this will be enough. The outward component is probably the most fun part of the job. Using the architecture analogy, this is like building without a foundation. The less visible aspects of writing are key components of optimizing your resources.

The technical aspect of writing out a content strategy, using meta descriptions, H1, H2 and alt tags on your images, categories for your blogs, may take time, but they set you up for potential success. And, of course, purposeful presence online.

Need help to optimize your content? Click here to contact me