by Richard Rowell, Article Writer for Hire and Gaming Blogger
Really, I am much too fond of Google Correlate as a research tool. While most of the time, this tool comes up with related searches that actually makes sense, other times it seems like you can actually create a profile of the type of person who searches certain terms.
Recently, in my constant research of trends in the mega-popular trading card game Magic the Gathering, I noticed that a particular card has been quite popular among my audience: Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker. I also noticed that cards that are played alongside this Legendary Creature are also big sellers on Amazon. So I thought, well, in my research about Mirko Vosk, why not learn more about who actually plays him in their Magic the Gathering decks?
My research gave me some interesting insights, at least, as far as their Google search habits are concerned. I checked both the weekly correlations and monthly correlations. The basic difference between these two is that the weekly ones tend to be more focused and the monthly are much more broad search habits. For example, in the weekly correlations, we find people searching other cards in the same expansion set, Dragon’s Maze, as Mirko Vosk. The monthly results give us a bigger idea of who is searching Mirko Vosk on a regular basis.
Being someone who is very much into marketing and understanding my audience, this is my profile of Joe/Jane Average who plays Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker in Magic the Gathering
Favorite Trading Card Game: Magic the Gathering
Other Favorite Magic Cards: Lavinia of the Tenth, Master of Cruelties, Tajic, Blade of the Legion, Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts, Varolz, Scar Striped (all cards are also from Dragon’s Maze)
Favorite Songs: “Horizon” by Singularity, “Like I Am” by Rittz, “Laila Teri Le Legi” from the Indian film Shootout at Wadala, “Nasty” by Logic
Favorite Cellular Phone: Samsung Galaxy S4
Favorite Exercise Plan: 30 Day Squat Challenge
Favorite Face Makeup: Smashbox CC Cream
Favorite Image Search: “4 Pics 1 Word Red Carpet”
Favorite Mobile App: 4 Pics, 1 Word
Favorite Video Games: AdventureQuest Worlds (PC) & Dead Island Riptide (PS3)
What can we learn from this?
Keep in mind that Dragon’s Maze was released in 2013 so it may explain the timing of some of the search terms that led me to these conclusions. It’s still fun to see this information. The most surprising search term for me was “Smashbox CC Cream,” which is face makeup. It would suggest to me that there are a good number of female Magic players who play Mirko Vosk in their deck. It also shows me that there were a segment of the Magic playing population who actually liked Dragon’s Maze as a set - it was widely panned by most of the MTG community. As we’re learning over time, Mirko Vosk and a few of his compatriots, like Tajic, Teysa, and Varolz, have turned out to be pretty solid creatures.
We also see that Mirko Vosk players like to stay in shape, as evidenced by the 30 day squat challenge. They also prefer Samsung Galaxy to other cell phones. They also play a lot of AdventureQuest Worlds on the PC. I’ve never played Dead Island Riptide, but I remember people talking about it a few years ago and apparently it was pretty popular.
I don’t remember ever seeing the “4 Words, 1 Pic” game, but I wasn’t paying attention to mobile apps at that point. It’s available on Android and Windows Phone from what I can tell It actually looks pretty fun.
Does this information actually help us to write about Mirko Vosk as a valuable piece in a Magic the Gathering deck? Not really, but it’s still fun.
Read more of Richard’s Magic the Gathering and other gaming content at Gaming Successfully.
by Barney Whistance, Contributing Writer
In the world of content marketing and SEO, there is a growing group of professionals that realize that quality content has become king.
When the internet first revved up and search engines like Google created their algorithmic programs, strategic keyword mentions were enough to get a website high ranked and well-noticed; now all that’s changed. As the filters grow more refined, and social media sharing explodes, we’re learning that it’s not the words we use, but the meaning and value that we create for our others that gets our organization or company noticed.
This means that it’s important to take the time to craft elaborate content webs stretching from printed materials, to guest posts, to featured articles and interviews on high-ranking news websites and blogs, to our own website content, blogs, and social media posts. First and foremost, content needs to tell our organizations’ story – and for that, enter the experienced storytellers.
The next wave of online marketing and writing will become more nuanced, more elaborate, and also, yes, more creative – making it easier for creative writers to find professional well-paid jobs as corporate content writers.
As you set off on this new journey, it’s important to keep a few pointers in mind about creating these new content webs filled with original and provocative content that will keep your readers coming back for more. Here are eight tips for creating valuable and engaging content to your readers:
Read and relate. Make an effort to read books, magazines, quarterlies, and other periodicals on a regular basis. Summarize your readings and document your ideas. When you share your thoughts with others you clarify your own passions, spread your new-gained wisdom around, and introduce your readers to interesting concepts and ideas.
Join a Mastermind group. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that two heads are better than one? Well, try three, four, five, six or more! When you brainstorm with others on a regular basis by forming a team of trusted advisors, you boost your creativity and launch your ideas forward or create a website or an app for your brand. You’ll also get great feedback on new concepts as well (before you share them with the world).
Invest in developing yourself. Conrad Hall, the American cinematographer born in Tahiti, French Polynesia, once said “You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.” Developing yourself means that you will have more of yourself and your unique insights to share with others, so if you always invest in yourself you will never stagnate and run out of new ideas.
Question assumptions. Pulling apart your own assumptions, and those of your clients and advisors, will help you gain new insights and formulate new and innovative solutions to existing problems.
Play devil’s advocate. If there is a hot topic to be discussed, don’t jump on the bandwagon too quickly. Discuss both sides of the issue and demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of all points of view. Most of the time we’re here to educate our clients. We should want to help them make reasoned and informed decisions that will help them improve their business - not just tell them what to do.
Use the power of story. Terrance McKenna said “The engineers of the future will be poets." When you use a personal or professional story to illustrate a concept or idea it lends personality to the message and makes the delivery more effective.
Conduct interviews. Interviewing others is a great way to both learn and explore new ideas and also harness the marketing potential of those new connections. It’s also a great way to develop audio and video content for both your website and that of the person you’re interviewing.
Utilize social networking. Join smart and effective online communities to keep a pulse on current trends, gain inside industry knowledge, and be of help to others.
Each piece of content we put out on the web is potentially valuable real estate. However, more than seeing them as their own unique entities it’s important to craft and create value in both the meaning and message of the content we create, as marketers and as writers.
So you want to become a better article writer? Here is my simple three-step process to do just that!
OK, there you have it. Now go forth into the world and write your heart out!
Right, there’s a bit more to it than that. Isn’t there? Obviously, being highly literate definitely helps anyone. But as an article writer, constantly taking in new ideas is very important. Too often, we as writers just get stuck for what to write. The funny thing is, you never actually run out of things to write about. It’s just that any writer can get stuck on how to write about what they want to write about.
Appease the Skimmers
Especially in the online world, most readers do exactly what we writers don’t want them to do. That is, they skim. So, what do you do to appease the skimmers? People like sub-headings and little blocks of text that drive home important parts. Sometimes when reading an article online, those little blocks of text even allow us to share this bit of wisdom as a 140-character tweet. Then, you can make a button for anyone to share it with the world. It makes you look so smart!
Basically, something like 80 to 90 percent of online readers aren’t going to read every single word you write. It’s not quite that way for ebooks and traditional paperback and hardcover books. But even then, you still have to make your reading easily digestible. Whether it’s a good thing or not, most readers just don’t sit there and digest writing one word at a time. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
You’ve probably heard the saying, easy reading is hard writing, or something to that effect. No one is quite certain who said it first, but it’s true. If you’re writing online, it’s even harder. Why’s that? Because it’s harder to stand out among all of the millions of articles being published daily. So what you have to do is please both crowds: the skimmers and the close-readers. Yes, the majority of your readers will probably be skimmers when it comes to search engine traffic. But for the serious, critical members of your audience, your attention to detail will not go unappreciated.
You Can’t Make Everyone Happy. Just Make Sure They Can Learn Something.
While it’s important to find that balance of making your writing easy to skim, but also detailed and engaging enough to be search-engine friendly and useful to anyone who reads it, no matter how closely. Essentially, you want every reader that comes across your writing to take something away from it. This doesn’t mean making everyone happy. Don’t spend every last second furiously checking a thesaurus. And don't get stuck rewording the same sentence a dozen times until it sounds “perfect.” Make your points as well and as concisely as you can and move on to the next topic. Don’t get hung up.
So what if you do get hung up? What if it’s an assignment and it keeps getting sent back for revision? Well, if it’s worth your time, then just make the edits that you can and move on. The worst thing that can happen is to get burnt out on one piece. As a writer, that is very bad. Writers need to write. This is why writer burnout happens.
Some clients, venues, and some readers are simply never going to be satisfied with anything. Once you keep that in mind, you’ll understand which clients and venues are worth working for and which aren’t. Micromanaging as an editor may be fine in some cases, but sometimes you just write what you can. You can’t beat yourself up over any one piece. There will be plenty more to be written.
Learn All You Can, Even If You Don't Think You Need It
You've probably heard of always trying to venture outside of your comfort zone in both reading and writing. It's a good idea. Even reading fiction can give you article ideas! Diversifying your knowledge can only make you a better reader and writer. It can also help you to think of topics that you may never had considered before. Also, by reading all sorts of things, it opens you up to more writing opportunities.
Basically, to become a better writer, you need to read and write a lot. Sometimes you just have to write for the sake of putting thoughts together. It doesn't have to always be an assignment. In fact, reading and writing are like intense exercise for your brain. By exercising your brain more often, not only will you become more literate, but a more intelligent and thoughtful human being, as well.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of Brand Shamans & the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, we are your brand healing, soul healing, & content superheroes to the rescue!
Running our network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is our top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, we conquer the world, living the RV life and managing our Intent-sive Nature with our awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels.
We also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, we’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
We support many causes via our business ventures, such as homelessness, support for trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from Intent-sive Nature goes toward helping homeless pets in local shelters.
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