I am CEO

Content Marketer Unveils the Psychology Behind Effective Content

Full Episode from I AM CEO Podcast - IAM1986

In this episode, we delve into the world of content marketing with Alison Ver Halen, a seasoned content marketer and author of the book “Content Marketing Made Easy.” In this blog post, we'll uncover valuable insights and strategies shared by Alison, providing you with the knowledge to take your content marketing efforts to new heights.
To succeed in content marketing, it is crucial to comprehend what resonates with people and what motivates them. Alison emphasizes that while attracting visitors to your website is important, it is just the first step. The next critical step is to guide them through the buyer journey. Understanding the psychology behind their decision-making process is key.
Authenticity plays a crucial role in building strong relationships with your audience. According to Alison, content marketing is not just about delivering information; it's about creating connections.
Content marketing holds tremendous power in today's business landscape. By understanding the psychology of your audience, leveraging the art of storytelling, and implementing a well-rounded content strategy, you can unlock the full potential of content marketing.
Alison Ver Halen's expertise and insights provide invaluable guidance for entrepreneurs and business owners aiming to elevate their content marketing game. Embrace the opportunities that content marketing presents and position your brand for success in the digital realm.
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Full Interview:


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Alison Ver Halen Teaser 00:00

You need to know what resonates with people and what motivates people, because it's great to get people onto your website and seeing your content, but that's just step 1, then they need to take that next step in the buyer journey.

So, A, figuring out what that next step is. involves a lot of psychology as well as how to take that next step. What is or how to get them to take that next step? What is going to motivate them? How can we make it as easy as possible for them to take this step?

Intro 00:27

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of.

This is the I Am CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:55

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. And I have a very special guest back on the show today. I have Alison Ver Halen. Alison, excited to have you on the show.

Alison Ver Halen 01:04

Thanks so much for having me back. I'm so glad to be here.

Gresham Harkless 01:07

Yes, absolutely. You're doing so many awesome things. And of course, before I jumped into the interview, I want to read a little bit more about some of those awesome things. So you can learn a little bit more about Alison.

Alison Ver Halen majored in English and psychology without realizing she was getting the perfect degree for content marketing. It wasn't until a few years after she graduated when a family friend asked her to write blog posts for his law firm that she realized she could make money doing what she loves.

Fast forward to today and Alison is still writing blog posts as well as website landing pages and emails and also integrates SEO and marketing strategy into the content she writes to give her clients their best chance of attracting, engaging, and converting their ideal clients.

And as I mentioned Alison is back on the show. She was on episode number 1244 of our podcast before. And it's always great to have a fellow English major on the show. I feel like whenever we're amongst each other, really phenomenal things happen.

And I think since her last episode, she actually released her book. And one of the things that I was poking around and looking at is how she compares it to the David and Goliath. The ability to leverage content marketing well, and I think anytime you see those opportunities and you're able to leverage them really well, it provides a tremendous opportunity.

So excited to pick your brain a little bit here, a little bit more about all those awesome things you're doing. Alison, are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Alison Ver Halen 02:26

I am absolutely ready. Yeah. Thanks so much for that awesome intro.

Gresham Harkless 02:29

Yes, absolutely. So you're doing all the awesome things. And what I wanted to do before we kick everything off and it's to hear a little bit more on what I call your CEO story, what you've been working on, what led you get started with all the awesome work you're doing.

Alison Ver Halen 02:41

Yeah like you said in the intro, I completely fell into this. I, graduated in 2009. So not a whole lot of job opportunities for young graduates then. So I was answering phones for a few years, found myself between jobs at one point, and it was actually. I know I said a family friend in the bio because it's easier that way.

I didn't want to write out it was actually my roommate's dad because that gets long and no one actually cares. So, but yeah, it was, I think my roommate went to her dad and was like, Oh, my roommate just lost her job and I need her to keep paying rent. Please help. So yeah, he was awesome and offered to give me all kinds of stuff to do around his office until I got back on my feet.

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And yeah, one of the things he needed was someone to write blog posts for his law firm because he was writing them himself and they were not good. Lawyers should not be allowed to do their own marketing. So I, he was more than happy just to get it off his plate. He knew I had a strong writing background that I had majored in English.

So he asked if I'd be interested. I was like, what? I can get paid to write? Seriously? Yeah, sign me up. So I jumped at that chance and started writing for him and then for an associate of his and then for some friends of mine and it just kept growing from there until I couldn't, couldn't handle both anymore.

So I quit the day job. I'm losing count. It's I think it's been like 8 or 9 years now that I quit the day job to do this full-time. So, yeah, it's been a lot of fun.

Gresham Harkless 03:57

Yeah. They say time flies when you're having fun.

Alison Ver Halen 03:59

Yeah, for sure.

Gresham Harkless 04:01

No, that's awesome. And especially I think that being able to pursue the thing that you're passionate about and that you love.

And I love the fact that when I was reading your bio talked a lot around, doing the English obviously, but also having that psychology background and how that ends up being like a perfect intersection for the work that you do now.

Alison Ver Halen 04:18

Yeah, absolutely. Because, yeah, you need to know what resonates with people and what motivates people, because it's great to get people onto your website and seeing your content, but that's just step 1, then they need to take that next step in the buyer journey.

So, A, figuring out what that next step is. involves a lot of psychology as well as how to take that next step. What is or how to get them to take that next step? What is going to motivate them? How can we make it as easy as possible for them to take this step? Because that will make it because people are lazy.

It's just a fact we are so getting them to take that next step and making it easy for them is critical. So yeah, and that involves a lot of psychology and even finding what that pain point is. I think, on the one hand, it should be so obvious to every entrepreneur and business owner. What's the pain point that we solve?

And yet I think a lot of people struggle to articulate it. But not only do you need to articulate it, you need to articulate what that feels like to your clients so that you can communicate that in your content and in your messaging because that's what's going to resonate with them. That's what's going to make them go.

Oh, this person gets it. And then if they get it, then they can, they're more like, I trust them to be able to solve my problem because they're showing that they understand my pain.

Gresham Harkless 05:34

Yeah. That, that makes so much sense. So I wanted to drill down a little bit more, a little bit more on how you're helping your clients fulfill that gap and that opportunity. And of course, want to hear more about your book, what you wrote about there, and what we can find within those pages.

Alison Ver Halen 05:47

Yeah. So, like you said in the intro, I write content for my clients. Blogging is my bread and butter. It is most of what I do. I do also do especially lately, more website landing pages, sales pages, bios are also really good because your bio is super important, but it's also the hardest thing to write your own bio.

So I frequently get people reaching out to me for that. Because yeah, everyone needs help writing their bio. Yeah, but actually something I've been doing more, trying to remember the last time we talked because I feel like it's been a while. Something I've been doing more is doing more of the strategy.

I actually just put a proposal in for someone to do their email marketing strategy. So she wants to write her own emails and write her own blog posts, but she needs help with the strategy, figuring out what to say, finding the right keywords, figuring out the publishing schedule, figuring out what that call to action is.

That can also sometimes be really tough when we are so in the weeds. And of course, we just want to get straight to the sale that. It's not always how that works. So helping her map all that out is something that I will be working on probably in the next week or two.

And I find that to be a lot of fun because as much as I love writing, I find myself getting bored if that's the only thing I'm doing all day. So I really look forward to doing the strategy because it's different and it's a different challenge getting to figure out who's the target audience and where are they hanging out? And how are we going to get in front of them?

And what's the right message and figuring out that that crossover between the brand and the ideal client is so much fun and a great challenge. So. I'm doing more of that lately, and I'm looking forward to doing even more of that in the future.

Gresham Harkless 07:24

Yeah, that makes so much sense. Do you feel l of what I would like to call your secret sauce, the thing that sets you apart and makes you unique is your ability to kind to see that opportunity to For lack of a better term, translate, like sometimes what people do into great stories or great copy or any of that information so that it does actually translating and convert.

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Alison Ver Halen 07:43

Yeah, I definitely see that as part of my unique selling proposition, my USP as well as the ability to do that strategy and the SEO and the writing and get it all working together. Because you really do need all 3 of those elements. It's great to have someone who's good at 1 thing but you need either 3 different people doing 3 different things or you need someone who knows all of those things so they can merge it all together.

So, yeah, I always say that. Yes, at the end of the day, I'm, I'm a writer, but there's so much work that I do before I ever start writing in terms of researching and branding and figuring out the strategy and the call to action before I ever start writing that's where. That's where the secret sauce is.

That's where the gold is.

Gresham Harkless 08:22

Yeah, absolutely. Is that a little bit of what you're covering in your book and talking about those things and getting people prepared or even maybe noticing the opportunities that are before them in content marketing?

Alison Ver Halen 08:32

Yeah. It's funny. I've been thinking about doing a second edition because it's been, I think, a year and a half now since I published my book. So that was before chat GPT came out. So I haven't, I haven't covered AI and I've been thinking lately that I should go back and add a chapter about AI.

Because it is all anyone's talking about these days. So, yeah, I think I'm gonna have to come up with the second edition.

Gresham Harkless 08:57

There you go. There you go. But that's that's a little bit. What's so what's in it now is a little bit more pre-AI, but still probably relevant because I've even heard that.

The really great people that are going to be able to leverage AI are those people that have that experience have the knowledge that I imagine is probably in this book, but then are able to leverage A.I. To support that and not have it like replace that. If that makes sense.

Alison Ver Halen 09:19

Yeah, the strategy is a lot of what I covered.

There are also writing tips that I cover in the book, but there is a lot of also of how to. Define your ideal client, and how to get the information on them that you need so that you can create content that resonates with them and find that pain point. How to create a good call to action how to create your brand voice guidelines.

So you can, you can stay consistent regardless of. Who's creating content, where you're creating content, what you're creating it for. It all needs to sound like your brand. So having those brand voice guidelines is in there as well as the basics of blogging strategy, and email strategy. I think there's even a chapter in there on social media, even though that's not really my strong suit, but it is part of content marketing.

So I did feel the need to put that in there. Yeah, as an SEO strategist, That was definitely something I struggled with because I did want to write this book and not have it be obsolete as soon as I published it. So I tried to stick with the basics and the stuff that will hopefully be evergreen.

Gresham Harkless 10:22

Yeah, I think it's still as definitely, relevant. So, I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hacks. This could be like an apple book or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Alison Ver Halen 10:34

Oh, that's a really good question. Lately, for me, it has been about managing my energy and getting excited for things like this. I am an introvert, so I don't always want to hop on to market into a room with real life. people. But I know that I always enjoy myself once I get there. And I know that if I go in with a good energy, I'm going to have a better effect.

It's going to be more beneficial for me personally and for my business. So managing my mood, managing my mindset so that I go into those things and go, actually, no, I'm excited to do this. I'm excited to be here. This is gonna be great. Has really had a great effect on my business. And I am having more fun.

So just getting rid of those mornings where I go, I don't want to get out of it.

Gresham Harkless 11:18

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And is that something that you're just saying that out loud? Because I know there's so much power and being able to articulate those things that. I think I always go back to that Muhammad Ali quote where he always says, I said I was the greatest before I became the greatest.

And it's like you continue saying it, you almost walk into what that feeling is, what that is. And it's like self, perfect, I don't know the right word. It is a become a prophecy by exactly, exactly self-fulfilling prophecy by being able to come and do that.

Alison Ver Halen 11:46

Nice. I should try that. My go to is always music.

So I have some nice upbeat, songs that I like to listen to that do tend to be a little bit braggadocious a little bit. I'm the best. I got this. That move for the day of, yeah, I got this.

Gresham Harkless 12:01

Yeah, that makes so much sense. It's so funny. I think one of our earlier episodes we had a DJ on the show and she talked a lot around the psychology of music and how whatever you're listening to can put you in the mood for where you want to be.

So you have to be very conscious of what you're listening to.

So what would you consider to be what I call a CEO nugget? So a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something from your book or something if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

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Alison Ver Halen 12:26

Yeah. I think it's funny 'cause you and I were talking about being online and AI and data and all the techie things and automation I think something I'm continually learning is that you cannot automate relationships and that building a business really relies on building relationships. And there is no fast track to that. There are no shortcuts.

It's there might be different ways of doing it, but at the end of the day, you still gotta get in front of people and talk to them and earn their trust. So that's my nugget for the day.

Gresham Harkless 12:57

Yeah, it's so funny. I love that nugget and so funny because I feel like it comes full circle with how you got started because by having that relationship with your roommate, you were able to build and that end up becoming your first client and so on and so forth.

So what would you consider to be your answer to my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO? And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Alison, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Alison Ver Halen 13:20

I think for me, the most important part is being a CEO.Especially for me as a solopreneur. But even when you are a CEO of a larger corporation, and you have people working for you, you have to be able to make decisions and make sure obviously try to make sure they're the right decision. No one wants to make that decisions.

But even when it's the wrong decision, either, course for correct when you can, and if not figure out a way.To get through it and know that you have to be the leader. You have to be the one to figure it out because people are going to follow you.

Gresham Harkless 13:48

Yeah, absolutely. I feel like it's such a big misconception. I don't know if you feel the same way where when you make a decision, you almost feel like that decision is final and the people that are successful made 1 decision and that was the end of it.

But I love that word that you said course correcting because it's almost like. Okay, this is the right decision. So let's pivot over here. Let's pivot over here. That's failing our way, is the phrase to success is ultimately what those successful people end up doing.

Alison Ver Halen 14:11

Yeah, or it might have been the right decision at the time and then the situation changed and then there was a global pandemic and you couldn't do the in person stuff you wanted to do. So time to make a new decision.

Gresham Harkless 14:21

Yeah, absolutely. It's so important for us to be resilient and be able to pivot and change and be more connected to the why than the how of how we're doing things. And we're so connected to the how then a lot of times you get left behind if you're not continuing to innovate, test new things, try new things and realize they might integrate or be a strong part of what it is that you're doing.

Alison Ver Halen 14:41

Yeah, 100%. Absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 14:43

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So truly appreciate that definition. Of course, I appreciate your time even more, Alison, so what I wanted to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best people can out of you find about all the awesome things you're working on, of course, get a copy of the book.

Alison Ver Halen 15:00

Yeah, I was going to say, I think if I have anything else to say, it would be, yeah, go to my website. There is also, so my website is a V as in my initials, Allison for Halen. So it is avwritingservices.Com. The book is on Amazon Content Marketing Made Easy on my website there's also a companion workbook to go with Content Marketing Made Easy.

And that's totally free. You can just go to that page on my website and download it for free. So people who are out buying the book might want to be interested in that companion workbook as well. I have a YouTube channel under, I think it's Alison Ver Halen content marketer is the name my YouTube channel.

So, my blog and my YouTube channel are probably the 2 best ways to get updates on what I'm doing in the world of SEO lately, because I post tips and tricks there all the time. I have a webinar. I need every month. So yeah, check those out and yeah, my website is where you can find all of that information.

Gresham Harkless 15:56

Awesome. And to make that even easier, we'll have the links and information in the show notes that everybody can click through and find out about, all the awesome things that you're working on. But Alison, truly appreciate you for hopping back on the show. Of course, I appreciate all the awesome things you're doing and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Alison Ver Halen 16:10

Awesome. Thanks so much for having me back.

Outro 16:12

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO Podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google podcast, and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. This has been the I Am CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for istening.


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