How Alison Ver Halen Built a Successful Content Writing Business

How Alison Ver Halen Built a Successful Content Writing Business

Today we are interviewing Alison Ver Halen, the CEO of AV Writing Services.

With a passion for writing, Alison started her career in content marketing without even knowing what it was. From humble beginnings writing blog posts for a law firm, she has built a successful business creating content for various clients.

In this interview, we will explore how Alison got into marketing and the tools and software she uses to do her job.

What inspired you to start your own content-writing business?

I completely fell into it.

I was between jobs when the father of my roommate at the time offered to give me stuff to do around his office until I got back on my feet.

One of the things he needed was someone to write blog posts for his law firm. He knew I had a strong writing background, so he offered me the gig. I was ecstatic to get paid to write, so I jumped at the chance and never looked back.

How has your degree in English and Psychology helped you in your career as a content marketer?

They have both helped immensely.

It’s essential to have a strong understanding of the English language, not only in terms of grammar but also in knowing how to craft a story.

The Psychology major helps when it comes to an understanding what motivates people so we can convince them to take the next step in the buyer journey.

I didn’t even know Content Marketing was a thing when I chose my majors, and I can’t believe how lucky I am that I chose the perfect degreefor this career.

word image 1563 2 How Alison Ver Halen Built a Successful Content Writing Business

What are some of the biggest challenges you face when creating client content?

The biggest challenge has been making sure the content is in my client’s voice rather than in my voice.

That gets easier the longer I work with someone, but getting it right initially is always a challenge and the most stressful part of working with a new client.

I used to read their existing content to get a feel for their voice before I would start writing anything, but that felt too subjective.

Instead, I came up with a list of questions I ask all my clients when we start working together to help me understand their brand voice, target audience, and goals for the content I’ll be creating for them.

Can you walk us through your content creation process, from ideation to publishing?

Ideation can happen anytime, anywhere. Usually, when I’m scrolling through my social media feed or reading a news article, I might find something that makes me think of a blog post I should write for myself or a client.

One-on-one conversations with people are also an excellent place for topic ideas.

Before deciding on a topic, I always take it to my keyword research tool (my favorite is Serpstat) and ensure it’s a good keyword before I start writing.

Then I research the topic, which usually involves online research, but depending on the topic, I might contact the client for more information or to verify I have my facts right.

Then I write the content and let it sit for at least 24 hours so I can come back to it with fresh eyes and edit it before submitting.

When I self-edit, I check to make sure it has the client’s voice rather than mine, has a story component, has all the right keywords in all the right places, etc. Then I proofread for typos and grammatical errors before turning it in.

Once I turn it in to the client, it’s usually up to them to put it on their website, although I have had a few clients who want me to put it on their website for them, and that’s fine, too.

I allow up to 3 rounds of edits for each piece of content, but I seldom have a client ask for that many edits. Occasionally we’ll do one round of edits, but even that’s rare.

How do you stay current with the latest trends and best practices in content marketing?

Blogs, and YouTube videos, mostly. I also make sure to read books on SEO and content marketing. s far as the most up-to-date stuff, I get that from websites like Search Engine Journal and Content Marketing Institute.

Can you tell us about a particularly successful campaign you worked on?

That lawyer who got me into blogging in the first place had a great success story.

I wrote 2-4 blog posts/month for him, and after 6 months, he told me I had brought in $75,000 worth of business for his law firm just through the blog posts I wrote for him.

What made that so successful was a combination of the frequency with which we were publishing and the story component I injected into those blog posts.

When he was writing them himself, they were full of good information, but they needed more flow and were hard to follow.

What tools and software do you use to manage your content creation process and collaborate with clients?

Honestly, it’s mostly Google. I have an email connected to my website, but I prefer using my Gmail account.

We also use Google to create and share content I’m working on. In addition, almost everyone has a Google account, so we don’t have to worry about teaching clients new tech or getting them set up with an account in a system they don’t already have.

What advice would you give to someone just starting in content marketing?

Keeping up to date with new developments is critical.

Don’t rely on artificial intelligence for creating content, but don’t be afraid. It can be a handy tool when used correctly; there’s no denying it’s here to stay.

word image 1563 3 How Alison Ver Halen Built a Successful Content Writing Business

What do you think the future of content marketing looks like?

When I started back in 2012, I got results for my client just by creating high-quality content consistently, but these days it takes more than that.

As more businesses have recognized the value of content marketing and invested in it, getting in front of a target audience has gotten increasingly difficult, and I think that’s only going to continue.

Content marketers need at least a basic understanding of SEO, branding, and marketing strategy to incorporate all that into their content.

There’s been a lot of speculation about how AI will change the industry, and I think it’s probably too soon to tell which direction that will go. I doubt computers will ever be able to replicate human creativity. Still, AI can be used to write the boring parts of content, freeing us up to do more exciting work.

I will not be surprised if we see an influx of mediocre content from people using AI without a human editor. The companies that understand the value of unique content that answers their target audience’s questions (and are not getting answered by their competition) are the ones that will see results. You can’t do that with AI alone.

What do you enjoy most about being a content marketer?

I’ve always loved writing, and I love meeting all kinds of business owners, each with their unique story. So I’m thrilled that I get to help them tell those stories.

Surprisingly, I’ve fallen in love with SEO and marketing strategy. Figuring out what makes you unique and how to get your target audience’s attention is always a challenge, and I always have a blast puzzling my way through that challenge.

Similar Posts