"Helping people who help people"

I’ve been noodling on an article to write for The First Dance, my engaged wedding planning website.   My goal in this blog post is to show you the nuance of writing online and what to “do” with it.  This is just an overview but hopefully you realize there is a LOT of thought before even starting to write something.

First of all, my goal for this article I want to write  is to tackle a topic engaged couples don’t necessarily forsee happening; marital affairs.  My second goal is to NOT TELL people I’m going to address marital affairs. HUH???  By the way, as I talk about in my website content training, inspiration is high if you look at information you STRONGLY disagree with.  And this article I want to write is inspired by just that: advice by marriage educators I strongly disagree with.  So don’t stop getting those newsletters from people you disagree with.  Use it as fodder to self-expression!

Whether it’s my personality, my generation, or being spoiled to having unbelievable access to information, I think it’s MORE interesting, MORE engaging, and MORE educational to talk “around” a topic than to hit it directly.  Often directly hitting a topic comes off as dogmatic, preachy, or overly simplistic. 

I want to take a step back from the affair and talk about what happens to GET there.  And I want to be able to use examples that aren’t even sexual in nature.  I want everyone to relate to a particular emotion and to do that, it will involve non-sexual relationships.  When I can get that “oh, yea!” reaction, I can then move into the marital relationship.  And in the process my goal is to help people see why affairs are even capable of happening… because while SOME people seek them out, often it’s someone ELSE seeing a “weak” person in a troubled marriage who starts causing havoc.  Recognizing that you may have weak moments in your marriage with its natural ebbs and flows helps you recognize what someone else may be doing to you…someone with not-so-good motivations.

Even for couples who never have an affair, there are important lessons in marriage that I can tackle if I don’t title my article with the word “affair.”  And when I can give examples that are non-sexual in nature, I have a greater chance of people RECOGNIZING themselves.  And of course the hope is they take a nugget of wisdom and do something positive with it.  Since few people ever assume they will experience the devastation of an affair, how many engaged couples would never even read an article with a title of marital affairs?  Lots.

How then, do I write an article on a topic for which I don’t want to title it the topic?  This is where I have to make a choice. On the one hand, I could do some keyword research and decide I really could try to tackle of some of those “marital affair” website surfers.  But competition is really stiff and my website is not about that topic so the chances of me ranking high are low.  And even if I did rank high, my audience isn’t MARRIED yet, so I will not be able to offer them much beyond an article.  I am not an advocate of writing for writings sake.   You have a lot more you can be doing with your time.

My other choice is to think of more interesting, engaging titles.  Something like: “What your friends can teach you about your marriage” or “How to ensure a damaged marriage.”  Maybe to stay current, “Do you have unknown frenemies?”  (A popular word to describe a friend who is also sometimes an enemy.)  I’ll have to spend a lot more time thinking through everything.  It maybe I have two separate articles not just one.

You can’t just write something and expect it to be read.  I know I have to market this article.  I may either MAKE this article a blog entry (for all the people who read my blog but don’t check out my website as often.)  I may Tweet about this, or blog and tweet.  And I may put the article on my homepage, where Google and other search engines are more likely to “notice” it.  I will carefully watch the readership of that page (on my website traffic, which all of you should have access to your own traffic…)  The hope of Tweeting or blogging about it is to get others to SHARE it, REPRINT IT, and talk about it.  I can then get more eyeballs on my website. 

If I wrote a boring article that everyone else writes, nobody is going to share it.  If it’s the same thing everyone else says, people may read it once then not trust anything else I blog about, or Tweet about, is really worth a few minutes to read it.  And THAT would be bad!

It all starts with the title.  It ends with the “punch” of the message and all the eyes who may see it, and the action you want them to DO (join your class, do therapy with you, buy your book, etc.)

My Website Content CD gives you tons of ideas for writing content.  My Website Organization helps you understand the importance of how and why you put your information on your website pages.  A highly read article that people read, then leave your website, is NOT a successful article.  Similarly, an amazing article buried so deep inside your website that nobody reads it is also a waste…waste of your wisdom and time.

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