12 replies
Hello Warriors,

Briefly and straight to the point:

I am a content writer for an IT developer who's strongly focused on creating his personal brand (on the top of running a startup) and I was tasked with writing an article for Medium about his story (he comes from a difficult background and spent 2 years in an orphanage).

Something like a from zero-to-hero story. The difference is that we don't really have anything spectacular to show off. I mean..it's valuable, but nothing that would really put a spell on the unknown audience.

Now, the main idea behind writing it is just "showing up" on Medium to add another piece of SEO to our brand ( If I even understand it correctly).

I have a few keywords to put into the text but other than that we just present a story. There's no how-to or no problem-solving. Obviously the text is packed with lots of hard-work, psychology, perserverance and motivation themes but as such, you know...it's not a story of Apple.


When I am writing , I catch myself doubting that I am creating content for the sake of creating content. And it costs me lots of time because it's a long piece of content. Over 2000 words.


Am I right in thinking so or do you think that marking your presence on any additional platform can benefit his brand? Or is it just a waste of time?

My reflection on the internet culture nowadays is that if you offer no solution to some problem - you better don't even put yourself out there. I hope I am wrong.

I am very very curious to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,

Oskar
#dillemma #medium
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Medium may be beneficial for establishing a brand and, perhaps, getting some additional traffic to a website but it's not going to do anything for that website's SEO because all links on the Medium are nofollow.

    When I write, I do so to tell a story, solve a problem, answer questions, etc. The last thing in the world that I think about when I am writing anything is SEO. Then, after I'm done creating it for human beings, I think about search engines. If you can find any relevant keyword phrases that you want to target, it's usually pretty easy to tweak the copy that you wrote for humans here and there, inserting your phrase(s) and LSI phrases. I find it is much harder to do the other way around (thinking about SEO as I write).
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  • Profile picture of the author visimedia
    I think the strategy of yours can be:
    -build your presence on medium
    -meanwhile , upgrade your content quality over time
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    People love a rags to riches story so I think it's worth writing. If you check the most popular stories on Medium many of them fall in the Personal Growth category.

    The trick is trying to find a unique angle. What can the reader gain from reading it? What can they take from it and apply to their life? How will reading it help them? What did he learn from his hardships that helped him move forward in life?

    A catchy title is imperative.

    Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author lambertson
    Originally Posted by Oskar Olczak View Post

    Hello Warriors,
    Obviously the text is packed with lots of hard-work, psychology, perserverance and motivation themes but as such, you know...it's not a story of Apple.
    You know what? 95% of such 'Apple' stories are quite embellished, not to say fake. You can make up some details, but the key thing is to bring some value to the reader. Any lifehacks this guy got living such a hard life or some valuable pieces of advice he may give to the reader.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    You're better off writing his ZERO TO HERO story on the ABOUT US page of his site

    Build his brand around that persona

    Medium does have SEO benefits but there are TONS of other better sources and practices

    In terms of Return on Effort, I would focus on building an effective yet personal ABOUT page and then using it for OUTREACH purposes
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  • Profile picture of the author Oskar Olczak
    @dave_hermansen

    I liked your post about "writing for humans"

    I was, however, wondering if there were any basic techniques letting me improve the SEO of the article.

    I mean a bare minimum other than keywords like adding some pictures with descriptions, or meta-tags?, or anything else that I am not even aware of that is simple yet helps with lifting the position of the article up.


    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by Oskar Olczak View Post

      @dave_hermansen

      I liked your post about "writing for humans"

      I was, however, wondering if there were any basic techniques letting me improve the SEO of the article.

      I mean a bare minimum other than keywords like adding some pictures with descriptions, or meta-tags?, or anything else that I am not even aware of that is simple yet helps with lifting the position of the article up.


      Thanks
      We put up a blog article quite awhile ago that outlines all of the on-page SEO stuff you should be doing - How to Achieve Perfect On-Page SEO
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Oskar,

    What is the END goal of the article on Medium?

    Is it JUST for SEO purposes?

    To get shared, a click to a website for an optin?

    I ask because once you know the end goal.. you can
    often work backwards to figure out the best way to
    arrive there.

    We're at the point online where just creating content based
    on keywords and SEO won't really do much, unless the content
    has a specific and clear goal.

    The single best way to get traction with content?

    Create something amazing or useful.

    Get it so people who are reading it will want to continue
    hearing from that person, subscribe to their email, or
    listen to their podcast.

    ALL content should be created with an eye on going somewhere
    else... meaning it should be created to bring the reader to a place
    you want them to go.

    A website, podcast, social media, etc...

    SEO these days is more about delivering incredible content
    that gets engagement... and less about using a lot of words over
    and over.

    So my thoughts?

    Have an end goal in mind, find out what you want the article
    to accomplish (where to send people) and then reverse engineer it
    so you build a piece of content that gets people there.

    Instead of writing for search engines, I'd write it to WOW the readers,
    which will get you more leverage in search if it's shared over and over.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    A story regular people can relate to is often far more valuable than an awesome rags to riches story. Your target market needs to see themselves in the role, and if it's over their money tolerance it becomes unbelievable to them. Sure, someone else could do it...but they themselves could not.

    So your client's story does have value. Make sure you get it in front of the right target market, though.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    I apparently watch / listen to to much Gary Vee ( Vaynerchuck )

    In recent videos he is discussing his documentary style and its purpose.. its to do just as its called and document. as he says - how many views would videos of Michael Jordan working out in the off season of his first 3 Professional years get? How many views of videos of Jeff Bezos ( Amazon ) packing boxes get?

    The moment you are thinking what is the end result of this going to be, you are looking at the micro effect of the piece of content... remove the result, and because the piece is there what is the long term MACRO result?

    I would suggest the point of the piece is not about direct conversion.. but more about branding. Who is the Owner and what is it he is building? If later the current start up ends in a ball of flames... it will only be a chapter in the journey to success.

    Think of it as a perpatuity piece and nothing more.

    Thnk less about keywords and all that crap ( in this case ) and think about writing a compelling piece that portrays a compelling man doing compelling things.


    Hope that Helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author Oskar Olczak
    @shawnlebrun
    @dave_hermansen
    @savidge4
    @writeaway

    Thank you all guys for these great insights. I will write on to deliver the best possible story!
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  • Profile picture of the author Oskar Olczak
    Now, in case anyone wanted to have a quick skim and share some thoughts, please feel free

    It's not yet proofread in case I had to kick out the half of it.


    ____________________

    Marcin Ruman : The Story Of The Orphanage Boy




    Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't.



    It's Monday morning ,as I hurriedly walk across Regent Street in the middle of West End in London. Yet another beautiful Monday (that's my favorite day of the week by the way). Enjoying every step I make, I take a look around. Full of awe and gratitude for what my eyes see. I am so fortunate to live in the place I love and in times of so many opportunities and freedom.



    This city is so beautiful -I think to myself as I walk past all the lavish designer shops. Regent Street presents itself nearly immaculate/pristine with all the neat & clean building facades and perfect pavements (something you should not take for granted). I take a look at my watch, it shows 7:30 am. The slight rush I am in, has actually nothing to do with being late. I could start my workday at nine, ten maybe even eleven. But I choose not to. It's an excitement of starting another workday. Filled with passion and hunger for more. It took me 7 years of hard work & study to be where I am now. And the road was winding and paved with obstacles.



    An orphanage boy


    7 years back. The outlook was pretty gloomy. I was stuck in an orphanage where I landed as a result of being abused and neglected by my parents. My drunk step- father used to beat me and my mother would also find escape from problems in alcohol, getting drunk on a daily basis. Physical violence and alcohol were the order of the day for me. When things got even worse, I was legally referred by the court to the orphanage where I spent next two years. If I said that this "

    shelter" was my salvation, that would be a blatant lie. All things considered, this is a period of my life I am really grateful for and I like to think that I am actually very lucky that it took place in my life.


    When I look back I reframe the whole adversity and look at it as a blessing. It was a real school of life. University of hard knocks. And it shaped me. If it was not for what I experienced back there, I think I would have never developed such a strong unsurpassed desire for changing my own life, achieving success and in the end helping others to do the same. Against all odds and people who deemed me useless. Out of all these days I particularly remember one. You might have experienced that but sometimes big changes are a result of a single extraordinary event which acts as a trigger for all the other changes. That feels like it's my case. With a slight exaggeration maybe, but you get my point.


    The day that shaped my life



    It was in May 2009, in Cracow, Poland. My hometown. Back then Google organized a social program called Google Serve where they were invited people from local orphanages and other public institutions for kids with from a difficult background. The goal was to teach and educate them in technology. The course lasted a month and took place at Google's headquarter in Cracow. When I entered the building for the first time I was awestruck right away. I mean, they had this fancy light switch, when one clapped his hands it would go on/off. They had free food and drinks and lots of playstation games to play during breaks. Every week I could observe and learn from great mentors from Google. They were very happy to share their knowledge with me and were answering all my questions providing me with lots of insights and value.



    I thought, gee, this is so amazing...a place to be of my dreams. It may sound like it's not a big deal but believe me, such a stimulus for a poor kid that had literally nothing was incredibly powerful. It shaped my actions for the years to come. Ever since I left this course, I promised myself that I would not end up like most of the orphans and I started dreaming of working as a web developer.



    I felt a big hunger and I saw a big chance for myself in the quickly growing technology industry. Before it became a real obsession of mine, I knew had to develop and maintain many new habits. And these habits are my foundations to this day. They kept and keep me on the track and many times prevented me from giving up during the downs. And these were not uncommon. I didn't believe in myself because of my upbringing and people around me. It's striking how people around us influence the decisions we make and the image we project on ourselves. That's why the poor gets poorer and the rich gets richer as the common wisdom says. It's all in our mentality.



    Creating habits of success


    Anyways, I started with little changes such as changing the way I used to dress, getting up earlier in the morning or eating cleaner. I also quit going out to parties at the weekend and drinking alcohol. And these mybe-even-not-so-little changes started to compound and very slowly pay big dividends. Also, an interesting phenomenon happened when you find yourself on the path of purpose. You start to attract certain things in your life. And don't get me wrong here. I don't mean any esoteric woo-woo stuff here. It's just a matter of looking for something and getting it one or the other way. Sooner or latter. Be it even as an obstacle (although such word does not exist in my personal vocabulary because I immediately replace it with "opportunity"). Nevertheless, I was lucky along the way to have met people that offered me helping hand and the guidance in the process full of self-doubt and confusion. They believed in me the way I did not believe in myself back then. And I never stopped being grateful for their fleeting, yet so influential presence in my life. Meanwhile, those who said that I was not intelligent enough to do what I wanted and I should not delude myself - well, they gave me a chance to prove them wrong.



    I started creating a plan. I sat down for a couple of hours with the goal to determine and write out where I really want to be in a couple of years' time. And more importantly, who I wanted to become as a person to be able to achieve these goals. I had a clear vision of two things. First - owning my own all-round digital agency. Second - moving to London where the chances of finding myself amongst successful people and mastering the Language were much higher. Back then, however, my command of English, Math and programming skills was pretty much non-existent. At least speaking professionally. I knew I had a couple of years of hard work before me but I also started to feel a pervasive urge to succeed within me. I was fired up on the vision of my future-self that I became absolutely obsessed with reaching those two skills.



    The great liberation




    Two years passed and what I recall as the darkest period of my life, finally came to an end. I left the orphanage. And I will emphasize it once again. I am grateful for that period of my life. I chose to be grateful. I chose it over victim mindset and not being in charge of reaction to the circumstances we find ourselves in. Truth be told, this place was a perfect learning environment for me. No distractions, no entertainment and burning motivation to escape. I came out stronger and more resilient. Shaped by the ruthlessness of the environment. During those two years, I developed a pretty solid knowledge of website development and design and also basics of English and Math. I tenaciously studied all three in my free time after school.



    During this period I also learned a lot about myself. One of the biggest realizations I had was understanding the power of self-education. As opposed to the school system and its deficient teaching methods. I vividly remember laying on the bed in my dormitory reading my first real book (meaning I was not forced to read it). It was Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist and I got it from my high school teacher at the graduation ceremony. It taught me how important it is to have dreams that give your life meaning and fuel all your actions. My vision started to slowly take shape. I was on the way to fulfill my dream of joining the ranks of professional software developers.



    The pledge to help others



    The other epiphany I had also became apparent just when I left the walls of the orphanage. I pledged to myself that I will make it my absolute purpose to help kids like me to break out from their predicament and teach them how to work hard to get a better life. Because it's so much harder to aim at success and happiness in life when everything around you communicates that world is a hostile and sad place.



    After I left the orphanage at the age of 18 I decided that I'd go live with my sister in Cracow. It lasted over one year. During this time it became clear to me that London is my to-be destination and that I had to figure out the plan for how to find myself there without knowing anyone and having nearly no professional programming experience. My vision materialized itself two months after I graduated from high school. With my heart beating faster, for the first time in my life - I was sitting on the board of the plane to London. My first flight and my first time going abroad. The vision of the unknown "brave new world" was mesmerizing yet scary.



    No shortcuts to success





    Now without going to much into details about how I survived the first couple of weeks, I can summarize the next five years with one word: WORK. Building a career and financial success come neither through meditation, nor prayer nor wishing. It comes down to a 100+ hour work week - definitely not a 4 hour work week. I can attest to that with a hand on my heart. For the last 5 years, I would work twelve, fourteen, sixteen, sometimes eighteen hours a day sleeping not seldom only hours. A lot of times I'd ask myself why should I do it? Why push so hard?





    But every time I doubted myself I'd quickly sober up, put myself together and remind myself of what my ultimate goal is . Actually two. The first making Emersoft (the company I created 2 years ago) a multimillion -dolar digital agency consisting of a dream-team. And by that, I mean like-minded and committed people working remotely from all around the world. The other goal is to help disadvantaged kids from orphanages to create better lives by giving them love, attention and security and empowering them to self-educate. In order to achieve the latter, I knew that I will need a strong personal brand in order to get people's attention and trust.





    That's the reason I started to study personal branding three years ago. I am obsessed with helping my IT fellow brothers grow and become more conscious of what does the personal brand actually consist of. Networking, emotional intelligence, dressing for success - all these aspects are unfortunately neglected by the majority of these guys and most of them stick to "coding" but are not willing to grow their careers by getting good in many inter-related things. After all, hard skill-set is just one of many factors contributing to success in someone's career. My goal is to build the bridge between the technical and the inter-personal world. The first step I made on that path is my new book. If you're an IT guy struggling to step up your career, having problems with "decoding" people, this book is for you. It's called Personal Branding in IT. You can check it out here.





    Hard work pays off


    As of the beginning of 2019, 6 years after I came to London I am more than happy achieving what I already did. As a kid from an orphanage, devoid of any role models, starting from less than zero, there is a couple of things I can brag about:


    *I became a professional front end developer at the age of 20

    *I bought my first investment apartment at the age of 24

    *I started Emersoft, a digital agency specializing in custom design websites and digital marketing. Last year we moved to the strict center of London. If you anytime needed to have more engaging website that people don't leave within ten seconds - lets meet on a free no-obligation call to audit your website. You can meet us here.


    *As mentioned earlier I wrote a book "Personal Branding in IT


    *I Became a polyglot speaking two foreign languages (English and Spanish) and learning another two (Russian and German)


    All of that sounds good but it all came at a high price. Nowadays, people and the media talk a lot about work-life balance but I think it's all a pile of rubbish. My personal credo is, quoting Jack Welsh "there's no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences"

    The message I want to leave you with sounds I guess very cliche because it reads "persevere no matter what". Do things that seem scary to you. Do things that are far beyond your comfort zone. Because this is where your growth is. It is only by disciplined smart and hard-work you can find your freedom in life. Pay the price now so you can pay any price later



    ___________________


    Any kind of feedback appreciated (even the most general one)
    Thanks
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