Creative Writing: Can We Be Creative as Business Writers?

About Creative Writing

Creative writing is pretty loosely described. We associate creative writing with narratives, character development, prose and poetry. And sometimes, flow.

People ask me all the time “what kind of things do you write?” and I usually answer ‘business writing’ seeing as this is an accurate description of my work week. Or I will say something like, “writers, write” or “I’m versatile”. It seems like a cop out. And an apology for not having a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Creativity and Perspective

But, when all is said and done, doesn’t creativity have to infuse web content? Does it not require creativity to find a vocabulary, navigate compliance, and get across a prescribed message? I think so. Feel so. I mean, you get these ingredients (search phrases, a product to sell, a certain number of hours, a specific audience). Then you have to actually create a piece that will both inform and sell. And be readable.

Creativity in the Digital Age

We need to expand the bounds of what defines creative writing. I do not mean add alternative facts. What I do mean is that for those of us who write content for websites, we shouldn’t feel that we have the short end of the creative writing deal. In fact, the internet has jettisoned words and sentences so that we no longer have to go out of our way to read. And with the short attention span of today’s reader, if you can get someone to click a link and sign up, buy your product or request information with some creative business content, hat’s off! That is a win.

A masterpiece

Don’t Go Stale

Sometimes,  a project can feel heavy. The subject is hard to grasp, resources are as scarce as water in the desert, and compliance has you up in a corner. When this happens to me I feel like stale bread. Useful but dry. I think these are moments to take a walk, a photo or doodle. Also, to remember that what got you here was something deeper than your ability to write what you have to.

Nature’s creativity is inspirational

For today, here is a poem from my own vault. Enjoy

The Breath is Dancing

Embrace the metaphysical moment in time

Breathe deep and deeper still

Lift up, lift up…

Feel the Spirit Soar

The vibrations sing and resonate within

Clear the negativity from the psychic space

The breath arrives as inspiration

Dance with the inner heartbeat of joy

Exhale in long, languid, sensuous surrender

Celebrate the temple of human being

Relax the mind and let it flow

Allow the inner creator to begin

Watch the design of light unfold

Eyes smiling, rejoice, renew

The happiness in the cells is bliss

Magic mood enhancing melody

Rise up, like sunshine overflowing

Move in compassionate calm and soundless action

Sadness is an illusion in the dreamer’s mind

Get into the grove of hope

The warrior protects the meditative trance

Lift up, Lift up… Dance…

by Rana Waxman copyrighted

 

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.

Functional Writing: Interviewing @Josepf

Functional Writing: An Interview With @Josepf

Functional writing is a phrase I am using to describe the intersection between content generation and purposeful presence online.

 I believe as writers, we need to have integrity in what we express; this comes across in our writing style or voice. The other component is the idea of practical and functional expression, if what we are doing is to be relevant in digital marketing.

Functional Writing for SEO and SOCIAL
Brainstorming: functional writing/SEO/SOCIAL with @Josepf @Emmalish @Yoginiqueen

Interviewing Josepf Haslam

This is an interview with @Josepf, well known for SocialSEO, strategy and his Udemy courses among other things.

ME: I was teaching a workshop the other day, and one of the participants mentioned that he had been advised not to write for keywords. As an SEO expert, I thought I would ask you what you thought of this.

J: It’s more accurate to say ‘search phrases’. If you’re not writing to be found then you can completely ignore key words and search phrases, but if you do want to be found for either a key word or a search phrase, you damn well better write for it.

ME: I understand you are presenting at the Intelligent Content Conference (ICC) in March. I look forward to hearing you speak. Would you give us a snippet of what your seminar will be about?

J: My approach is that most people have learned how to use toilet paper and clean up after themselves. I’m giving away 10 expanded pro tips on how to optimize your content for SEO and Social before you publish. Each of these tips is as easy and necessary as using toilet paper. If you’ve mastered the first part, I’m sure you can master these tips. 

ME: What is the number one misconception about SEO out there?

J: Unfortunately SEO has been likened to a snake oil salesman and there is a lot of truth to that stereotype. The best way to think about SEO is that you are actually writing for 2 audiences; the search engine spiders and people. You need to understand how to write for the spiders of you’re never going to be found by the people.

ME: What do you feel makes a good blog stand out?

J: A good blog is one that understands the 4 “S’s” of content marketing 

  1. Segmented: who is the micro-segmented audience you are writing for?
  2. Searchable: people are actually looking for the content and you know how to make the engines find it
  3. Snackable: Like a great snack, people are always reaching for it; you want your audience to consume your content
  4. Shareable: the #1 KPI for content is “was it shared”

ME: How did the nickname Godfather of Social Media come about?

Functional Writing : an Interview with Josepf Haslam
“The GodFather of Social Media”

A twitter friend of mine @optioneerJM interviewed me about the future of digital marketing and she coined the phrase in that interview 

ME: What is your favorite social media platform and why?

J: My favorite platforms have changed over time, and each serves a different purpose. Today my top 3 are Instagram, Linkedin and WeChat, all for different reasons.

Keeping the Social in Social Media

Keeping the Social in Social Media

No doubt you have at least one social media profile, whether it be Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter. We have become a society who probably picks up the phone less than past generations, relying on texting and IM chats. We document our travels, food preferences, shout out birthday greetings, and curate coats on a variety of different platforms.  This can be a way to have online (social) relationships with people we know but live far from. Personal social media is pretty social. We engage.

Business Use of Social Media

So many awesome people working in digital marketing to inspire new campaigns. The most successful ones are cultivating a purposeful presence online by building engagement and getting people to be excited about their products. While you may think that getting likes gets you noticed, getting your content shared, and sharing your own content, has marketing potential.

Once you’ve chosen the right social media technology and created a great participant experience around a compelling purpose, only one question remains. Will they come? Maybe not. ~ Anthony J Bradley/Mark P McDonald.

My friend Ty made me into a meme:

social media for online presence
Sharing on social media trumps likes

Here are a couple of reasons I like to use social media channels:

  • To get my blog out there
  • To create conversations around something I might be doing, such as writing a new post, or advertising an event
  • To build engagement with audiences. Maybe we can share each other’s wisdom, or learn new things
  • To network. You can meet interesting people who share your interests, or want to hire you.
  • Good for organic SEO.

Social listening

Often overlooked, some pages get a lot of comments but don’t seem home. It’s like not answering your phone. I try to answer questions, or at least thank people for their comments. I would recommend, if you are trying to build a faithful network, or audience, that you check your page and at least “like” the fact that someone left a remark. Think long term fan base. Think engagement.

My personal preference is to keep my posts short and sweet, use a link to drive traffic to my site or a particular blog post. Long winded commentaries do not necessarily feel like conscious content.

If you are looking for a few tips to make your Facebook business page more fantastic check out this paid piece I wrote here. You can also contact me for social media management!