Saturday, February 25, 2012

Semantic Keywords



Today I am going to be talking about keyword searches – specifically, semantic keyword searches. What is that, and what does it do for us? What is does is help us to create smarter content – something that those of us who blog, or write online articles, will be happy to hear! We are looking for the quickest way to get meaningful content out there.

With semantics, we are looking at the meaning of words – or, more precisely, the shades of meaning between words. The difference to our content? We either create clear content, and keep our readers coming back, or we create content that is not clear, and we run the risk of losing our readers.

Basically, we are looking at how our target audience is going to interpret the words that we are using. How to begin? Define your core keywords. What exactly is it that you want to say? Keywords is where our foundation starts. There are tools that will help us out there – such as the Google keyword tool (http://tinyurl.com/75vuobm)

Now you want to create supporting keywords – literally, words that support your keywords. These are words or phrases that are often used in conjunction with your keywords. Remember – your writing will have a greater sense of authority and relevance if you take the time to do this. (Before you write – not after!)

We write in our own voice, making best use of predetermined keywords and supporting keywords. We are taking the larger picture into account, and tweaking for optimization of content.

Bottom line – when we work with semantic keywords, we create authority for our page. We get taken seriously.

© February 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Researching Your Book



Do you research your fiction work? We all do our due diligence in researching non-fiction work, but how much, if any, research needs to be done on fiction work? That depends on how much credibility you want to have. You do not want to be handing out urban myth as fact, and you do not want your characters to be taking routes from here to there that don’t go from here to there. If you are working with a timeline that in part (or whole) references the past, then you need to make sure that whatever you are referencing actually existed at that time.

So, do we do all of this nifty research before we start writing, or do it as we go along? One thought here would be to research the big picture before you start writing. In other words, look at the major elements of your story, and then look at what you know and what you don’t know about these elements. You need to have a thorough understanding of what you are writing about, whether it be a given profession, cultural customs, or ways to kill someone (I write cozy mysteries – no blood, no gore!). Research the major elements, and put them in your story bible. What – you don’t have a bible? Start one – now!

Once you start writing, you will be spending less time researching – but, at least this is true for me, you will still be doing some research. Again – whatever you research, add to your bible! This is the document that you refer to as you are writing so that the colors in a room stay the same throughout the story, so that your characters remain consistent, the relationship between characters remain consistent etc.

Psssssst – The Internet is not the only place to do research! Sometimes you need to get out and talk to people! Get their version of life!

© February 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Conversation Overheard: Sun/Wheel of Fortune/Magician





I have been trying to think of ways in which I could make the Birth Card pairs come to life. I thought that it might be fun to have a Birth Card pair chatting over coffee or drinks. I was going to work with the gentlest Birth Card pair that I could find, just so the conversation would be, shall we say, a “nice, quiet one” Best laid plans, and all of that. The first two individuals that choose to speak were the ones that were the hardest for me to write about – The Devil and The Lovers. They choose to speak over drinks … fair warning! Today's Birth Cards are the Sun/Wheel of Fortune/Magician triplicate. The boys are Skyping, so this should be interesting!

Scene: Three disparate locations: The Sun is Skyping from his vacation home in Hawaii, the Wheel of Fortune is Skyping while on the road in Europe, and the Magician is Skyping from a place that only he knows about. They are going to be discussing Valentine’s Day, and how it affects humanity.

The Sun begins: “Welcome, gentlemen! It looks like we are all here.”

(Subdued laughter in the background.)

Wheel of Fortune: “Yes, well, the Fool isn’t with us on this one, so I think we can stay on pace.” (Starts laughing again.)

The Sun: “Well, the Fool keeps us all on our toes. He helps us take risks that we might not otherwise … he helps us to see life in a new way. We, in turn, help him to stay balanced, so that he does not end up on his nose! It’s all good!:

Magician: “So true, Sun. I help him access the tools of life, and he helps me see new ways to work with t hem. As you say … it’s all good! BTW, Sun, How is your new vacation home working out?”

Sun: “Much better than the last one! I thought being near the volcano was going to be a good thing, but I find ocean front property to be much more to my liking! The darn volcano was so impulsive … mesmerizing, but one never knew when it was going to go off! On that note, how are we doing on Valentine’s Day?”

Wheel of Fortune: “I had dinner the other day with Saint Valentine. It amuses me to think that humanity is not quite sure who this gentleman is … they seem to think that there are several energy forms that have fed into the Valentine’s Day mythos. He is doing well. Like us, he is really not quite sure that it was a good idea that as a group we archetypes agreed to allow humanity to evolve relatively on their own. The current holidays (including Valentine’s Day), and how they are viewed, is a case in point. “

Sun: “What is his thinking? As a group do we need to take some kind of action to redefine the holiday issues?”

Wheel of Fortune: “At this point, he is holding back on actually taking any kind of action. It does appear that the pendulum is swinging back, and things are coming into some kind of balance. These things do go through cycles, you know.”

Magician: “What I am seeing is that people are moving somewhat away from the more materialistic side of Valentine’s Day. They are at least beginning to look at how they can show their love for one another in more concrete ways. A romantic dinner at home is often better than a dinner at the most exclusive restaurant. Strangely enough, the financial crisis, followed by the housing crisis, seemed to bring people back into line with what was important.”

Sun: “There is one thing that is very disturbing, and that is that for those who do not have a partner on Valentine’s Day, it becomes almost a day of sorrow. They do not know how to find joy in life, and they do not know how to love themselves. They do not even understand that to love another, and to have another love them, they first have to love themselves.”

Wheel of Fortune: “That is part of the balance that the three of us bring to humans under our Birth Cards. We are the only Birth Card triplicate – the other eleven are pairs, and so basically work in a straight line between them with any given individual. For us, the geometry changes, We work as a triangle, with the individual held in the center. Whatever support they need it coming in from at least two side, and at time from all three sides. In the case of those who are alone, I bring the sense of the cycles of life. Nothing will last forever. You, magician, bring with you the tools of change, while you, Sun, bring with you a sense of brightness and hope, of self-confidence and a better tomorrow.”

Magician: “Well said, Wheel of Fortune! So the consensus is to wait before taking any action, then”

Sun: “Yes, I believe so.”

Wheel of Fortune: “Yes, I am comfortable with that.”

Sun: ”Gentlemen, we shall adjourn then.”

Wheel of Fortune: “Sun, enjoy your holiday! Magician – wherever you are, enjoy your day!”

Magician: “Sun, I echo the Wheel of Fortune in wishing you a wonderful holiday! Wheel of Fortune, take is easy on Europe!”

© February 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

MindNode


There is a unique link for bloggers that I would like to share with you - sub-titles "For Bloggers By Bloggers" - the link can be found here - http://bestbloggingtipsonline.com/.

I should note that this is software that looks interesting to me, but that I have not worked with yet myself, and, since it is a Mac OS app, I won't be able to! So, what is it all about? It is called a blogging outline tool. The author of this article describes themselves as an "avid user of this tool", which I thought was a good start towards credibility!

The basis for this tool is something called "mind mapping". From the article:

The well-known motivational speaker Earl Nightengale was famous for saying, “All you need [in life] is the plan, the map and the courage to press on to your destination.”

I would say the same thing is true about blogging. If you have a plan, a well-defined map to get there and the motivation and courage to keep going till you get there, you can surmount any online obstacle. When it comes to blogs, I prefer to use a mind map to help me on the way.

According to Wikipedia, a “mind map” is defined as the following:

"A diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea."

The author goes on to explain that a mind map is a free flowing chart on how we process ideas around a specific topic. (Blogs, generally speaking, are formed around specific themes or ideas. An excellent place to mind map!) The MindNode map is available for computers, iPads and iPhones. The process? You start with one single point in the middle of the map, and work outwards from it.

The more you branch out, the more you build your article, the more detailed your article gets. At he heart of this, you can do as clean (streamlined) an article as you want, or you can get, really, really intricate! For me, this would be a great help, as I would be able to see the "image" of the article before I started writing it. My thinking is ... it would save me a huge amount of time, and my blogs would read better!

Joey Strawn, the author of this article, makes a very interesting observation: Simply sitting down to write can lead to rambling. What, me ramble? Mind mapping helps us to avoid that rabbit hole, and to write articles that flow from connection to connection. I think that I am off to look for a PC compatible version of mind mapping! How about you?

(c) February 2012 Bonnie Cehovet





Sunday, February 5, 2012

Making Social Media Work For You




This week I am setting out on a stream of consciousness writing related to social media. All this means is that I am going to toss stuff out there, and make no attempt whatsoever to link it together! It’s all good!

Social media for the most part isn’t something that we look at as being expensive – in terms of finances, anyway. We can all use the social media sites, and recommend them to our friends, without anyone going broke. However, there is a cost or two that I am seeing more and more people addressing, and that is the time that we have to spend consistently putting up well written, relevant content, in an SEO savvy manner. That, IMHO, carries a very high price!

What are some of the best ways to spend our time? A priority for me is following people that interest me, that have something to say, both in my professional worlds, and in special interest areas. I skim posts on Twitter, Face Book, and Google +, taking the time to read only those that I have both the time and the interest to read and respond to. I have an active RSS feed that I add blogs that I am interested in to, so that I catch new posts as they are coming out.

Thanks to my friend Anna Burroughs Cook, I can now work with Google Images, and quickly find decent images to use with my posts, and in my webinars. When I was moving from site to site looking for appropriate images, I just about tore my hair out! Now it’s one and done!

I am also paying a bit more attention to my Linked In page – updating as needed and adding connections as necessary. I can connect in a relevant manner with all of the worlds that I venture into on Linked In, as credibility (to me, anyway) is relatively easy to determine on this site.

I have a tendency to share links as I run across them, and I share them on Twitter, Face Book, and Google +. Yes, this does take up some keystroke time! I just ran across this site, and have not worked with it yet, so please do not consider this a recommendation. It is a simple “Check this out.” Bufferapp.com is a site that lets you collect and send relevant material from the Internet at preset times. http://bufferapp.com/ The one issue that I have here is that it appears to only post to Twitter and Face Book, and not to Google +.

Last, but not least – e-mail newsletters. I have friends who do this, and do this well. I have done this on and off over the years, and am currently of the mind that, at least for me, I don’t need both a blog and a newsletter. However, I do feel that a well written newsletter, sent out on a consistent basis, keeps the sender’s name out there, along with quality content.

Whatever you choose to do – make the social media work for you!

© February 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

The Legend of Justice and Diamonds - Second Printing

"The Legend of Justice and Diamonds" was originally published through Xulon Press in 2010. It is now available through Crea...