#ContentWritingChat Recap: Digital Accessibility Best Practices for Social Media with Alexa Heinrich

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Digital Accessibility Best Practices for Social Media with Alexa Heinrich

Are you taking extra measures to ensure your content is accessible to everyone?

If not, or you’re unsure what that means, you’ll want to read this #ContentWritingChat recap.

Digital accessibility isn’t something that’s optional for online brands today. It’s essential.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Digital Accessibility Best Practices for Social Media with Alexa Heinrich

Our guest host for this week’s chat was Alexa Heinrich, who is a digital accessibility advocate. Digital accessibility has become an even more prevalent topic in recent times, as many brands are striving to make their content more inclusive by being accessible to everyone in their online community. As content creators here at Express Writers, we felt it was a crucial conversation to have during #ContentWritingChat and Alexa shared some amazing wisdom with us.

Let’s dive into the recap to learn where we can all make accessibility improvements.

Q1: What do you mean by digital accessibility?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what exactly digital accessibility means so we can see why it’s such an important thing for our brands. Here are some great answers:

Alexa is spot-on with her answer. Digital accessibility is about making sure your content can be accessed, understood, and enjoyed by anyone. It should never be inaccessible to someone based on their physical or cognitive abilities.

Asking yourself the questions that Rachel shared in her answer is a good place to get started. Do your videos have captions so they can be watched by those with a hearing impairment? Is it actually easy to read the font you’re using on your website or graphics you share on social media? These are things that, unfortunately, many of us overlook.

Essentially, you want to take steps to remove any barriers that someone may encounter when trying to consume your content. Put yourself in another person’s shoes and ask if they’d be able to enjoy what you’ve shared.

Q2: Why is it important for your digital content to be accessible?

By now, the answer to this question may be pretty obvious. However, here are some good reasons why accessibility needs to be at the top of your priority list:

As Alexa pointed out, there are a lot of people with sensory impairments. As a result, they may not be able to consume your content if you haven’t implemented certain measures to make it easy for them to do so.

Alexa went on to point out that not all disabilities are visible to the general public, nor are they all permanent. For many people, they don’t discuss their disabilities, which means you may not even be aware of them. Plus, you never know when a loyal member of your community may experience something that leaves them temporarily disabled. By creating accessible content, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they’ll still be able to consume what you share online.

At the end of the day, creating accessible content can help you expand your reach to a much wider audience since you aren’t excluding anyone. This can lead to more brand advocates and an increase in sales for your business.

Carla felt the same way. You have more opportunities to generate sales and it’s also easier to get people to take that next step when you’ve created more inclusive content. And like she said, everyone deserves to be treated fairly, so you don’t want to ignore those who are differently abled than you.

Carrie knows that without implementing digital accessibility practices, you’re ultimately limiting your reach and your impact online. That’s something no brand wants!

When you take the time to make your content accessible in multiple ways, you’re going to reach an even bigger audience than you thought possible.

Q3: What are some ways to create accessible content on social media?

To ensure your social media content is accessible to the masses, keep these tips in mind:

For starters, Alexa suggests changing the way you type your hashtags. Many of us are guilty of writing our hashtags in all lowercase, when they should be in Camel Case. That’s when you would capitalize the first letter of every new word in the hashtag. It makes it easier for screen readers to decipher. For example, #ContentWritingChat is written in Camel Case.

Alexa also said to be mindful about emoji placement. They’re better at the end of your post. Captions should always be added on videos. And don’t forget to include alt text as well.

Manisha also mentioned adding alt text to images shared on social media, while also captioning videos, and using legible fonts. Another important point that she brought up is checking to make sure your content is easily accessible on a variety of devices, from desktop to mobile to tablet.

How many times have you seen a graphic on social media that was difficult to read because of the contrast between the text and the background? Unfortunately, it happens. Those who already have difficulty seeing will have even more trouble making out what your graphics say if you aren’t careful. Be mindful of this when designing.

Rachel also said to allow people to zoom into images, use legible fonts, and consider increasing the size of your text.

Carla suggests taking one piece of content and turning it into multiple formats. For instance, she incorporates both text and video into her blog posts. And she also makes sure to add captions to all of her standalone and livestream videos, meaning they can be enjoyed with or without sound.

Q4: Can you elaborate on writing alt text? What makes for good alt text?

If you know anything about SEO, then you’ve probably heard about alt text. While it can be helpful when trying to rank your content in search engines, it’s more beneficial for those with vision impairments. Here’s what you need to know when writing it:

As Alexa shared, the whole point of alt text is to write a description of the image. This way, someone who isn’t able to actually see it (or if it doesn’t load for some reason), the person consuming your content will know what it’s an image of.

She also shared that it’s wise to include any copy that’s on the image within the alt text. Then, there will never be any confusion about what your image contains.

This is a great example of a descriptive piece of alt text. Keep Rachel’s advice in mind!

If you really want to test the effectiveness of your alt text, close your eyes and envision the exact description you’ve written to see if it creates a clear picture in the mind.

Q5: What are some ways to use emojis in content so they don’t cause accessibility issues?

Who would have thought that cute emojis could create a problem when it comes to digital accessibility? Unfortunately, it’s true. And you may want to start rethinking emoji placement after reading this:

To ensure your content is accessible, Alexa advises placing emojis at the end of your social media posts. Otherwise, it can be rather confusing when screen readers are reciting the text from your post.

As you can see in her tweet above, the way a screen reader would translate the text with an emoji in the middle of a sentence isn’t user-friendly. It may come across very confusing to someone who isn’t able to see the post for themselves.

Alexa’s tip is to check out Emojipedia if you want to learn more about the descriptions of emojis. This will help you understand what someone may hear when using a screen reader to consume your content.

Carla is on the same page as Alexa and suggests avoiding putting emojis in the middle of a sentence. Keep them at the beginning or the end so you don’t disrupt the flow.

Q6: Are there any apps or programs you would recommend for captioning videos?

Captioning your social media videos does’t have to be such a chore. In fact, there are a number of tools that can make this process much easier. Here are some to check out:

When possible, take advantage of the built-in caption feature that many platforms offer. For instance, Alexa uses YouTube’s automatically generated captions. However, we know they typically make a few mistakes, so it’s worth going in and manually making edits for clarity.

Another option is to upload captions via an SRT file. If you’re posting a video on YouTube, you can download the captions and then use it when publishing to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Alexa also recommends trying Mix Captions as a tool to make the process easier.

Carla typically relies on the built-in caption feature that many platforms have. She just makes sure to take the time to edit them before publishing. It’s great to see so many brands implementing this feature and making it easier for brands to incorporate captions.

Q7: How can marketers get leadership on board with accessibility?

Now, the final task is getting the entire team to agree that digital accessibility is crucial. To help you with this, you’ll want to remember this advice:

As Alexa pointed out, being accessible is just good business at the end of the day. It’s going to have a positive impact on your marketing efforts, as you’ll be able to reach more people. Plus, you want to avoid any legal trouble down the line, which is why being accessible now can be helpful.

And ultimately, taking steps toward digital accessibility shows you care about your community. It shows that you’re aware of those who may have disabilities and that you want to serve them in the best way possible.

The final piece of advice is this tip from Lori. Please make sure you speak up. If there are ways your company can be more accessible, take the initiative and share your ideas for changing things.

Come hang out with us during the next #ContentWritingChat! We chat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. All you need to do is follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Audit Your Social Media Presence

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Audit Your Social Media Presence

When did you last audit your social media presence?

If it’s been a while, let this be your sign to make this task a top priority.

Taking the time to review your social media accounts to ensure they effectively represent your brand and to tweak your strategy to get your closer to your goals will yield great results long-term. In fact, it’s something that you should do regularly!

And this #ContentWritingChat recap has all the tips you need to get started.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Audit Your Social Media Presence

This month, we held a community chat so all of you could step into the spotlight to share your tips. There was some amazing, actionable advice shared throughout the chat, so let’s dive into the recap so we can start auditing.

Q1: What does it mean to conduct an audit of your social media presence?

If you’ve never taken steps to audit your social media presence, then you might not know what it really means or where to begin. To give you a better understanding, here are a few responses from the chat:

As Masooma said, an audit is your chance to evaluate how each of your social media platforms perform. Are you meeting your goals? Are you getting your desired results? Taking the time to answer those questions will help you determine if you’re on the right track or if you need to make some changes.

To put it simply, an auditing your social media is essentially about seeing what’s working and what’s not. After all, this will help you figure out what kind of content to share more of.

When conducting an audit, you’ll want to dive deep into your analytics. This can help you see if you’re truly engaging your audience by sharing content that resonates with them. Shawn’s advice to do this quarterly is spot on.

Q2: Part of auditing your social media presence is choosing the platforms that are right for you. How can you determine if a new platform is worth your time and attention? How do you know when to ditch a platform?

Remember that you don’t need to be on every single platform. However, it’s still smart to try out the latest craze to determine if it’s worthwhile for you. Here’s how to figure it out:

Lori’s advice is to know your audience. Are they hanging out on the platform you’re thinking about joining? If so, then it might be worthwhile for you to be present there. At the end of the day, you want to make sure your content is getting in front of the right people.

Rachel knows that there should be purpose behind your social media efforts. If a particular platform isn’t going to get you closer to reaching your overall goals, then it’s likely not going to be worth your time.

Another important thing to consider is whether or not a particular platform feels good to you. It’s much easier to create content for social media platforms that you are genuinely excited about.

Kim offered a really great tip about giving a platform a chance for at least 30 days. This will give you a good idea of how things are going. If your content has been performing well, take it up a notch. If not, you’ll want to tweak your strategy or scale back.

Just remember that it’s going to take time before you see results. Don’t give up too soon.

Q3: Your bio is often the first thing people see when they visit your social media profile. What should it include so that it accurately portrays who you are and what your brand is all about?

No one wants a lackluster bio! These tips will help you spruce up social media bio so that you’ll effortlessly attract new followers who love what you do:

A great bio needs to clearly state what you do, first and foremost. This will help people determine if your content is something they might be interested in. From there, you can add personal details to help strengthen your connection with your audience since they’ll get to know you better.

It’s also smart to include keywords in your bio, as this will help you show up when people are searching on various platforms.

Adding a personal touch to your bio goes a long way to build the Know, Like, and Trust Factor.

Any achievements that would be impressive to your target audience are great to share as well. This can include features, awards, certifications, etc.

Q4: We all know consistency is key, but how often should we really be posting on each social media platform? And how can we ensure we’re staying on top of posting regularly?

The good news is, you don’t need to be overwhelming yourself by posting multiples times a day on every single platform. It’s more about keeping your account active so you stay top-of-mind.

Masooma feels you don’t need to post daily, but you should engage daily. That goes a long way in building relationships with your target audience. When you do post, always focus on sharing high-quality content.

A few posts per week is a great place to start. The key is to make sure you’re still listening to other conversations and engaging with people to build relationships.

Using third-party tools to schedule content in advance is incredibly helpful. Just make sure that any engagement you do is done in real-time. Don’t automate that!

When scheduling content, it’s smart to fill your queue with evergreen content. You know, content that doesn’t have an expiration date because it’s always relevant. Then, you can add the latest trends as needed or post them in real-time.

Kim suggests using scheduling tools that provide you with the best times to post. This way, you can maximize your impact on the social media platforms you’re using.

Ultimately, it’s all about testing to see what works for you. Don’t be afraid to tweak your strategy over time to see what gets the best results.

Q5: Should you keep an eye on what competitors are doing? If so, how can this play a role in your social media strategy?

Although you don’t want to become too obsessed with your competitors, you can learn a lot from them. Here’s what you should look for while doing your research:

When you watch your competitors, you’ll be able to spot the mistakes they make and avoid falling victim to the same ones. It’s a great learning opportunity.

Just make sure you don’t copy your competitors. That’s not cool! Instead, use this research to inspire you to come up with fresh, new ideas of your own.

Lori feels it’s smart to use your competitors to fuel your success. Allow them to motivate you to do better.

If you find yourself too consumed with what your competitors are up to, take a break for a bit. You don’t want to start copying what they’re doing, nor do you want them to overly influence the things you’re creating.

Q6: What are some important metrics to track on your social media accounts to ensure you’re on the right path?

Diving into your analytics can reveal some great information as you audit your social media presence. Instead of getting overwhelmed with the data, here’s what you should look for:

Masooma focuses on metrics that are related to engagement. That includes comments and mentions, for example. It’s a great way to see if your audience is resonating with the content you share.

If you’re seeing a boost in engagement and more followers, that’s a good sign that you’re on the right track. Just don’t obsess over your follower count too much. It’s better to have quality followers rather than a bunch of followers who aren’t paying attention to what you share.

Q7: Are there any helpful tools you can use for tracking social media analytics, scheduling content, etc.?

The answer is yes! There are tons of tools that will help you audit your social media presence, ranging from free to paid options. Here are a few to consider:

Kim has a number of go-to tools, which include Buffer and Hootsuite.

Hootsuite is a popular option for scheduling content. Loomly and Later are worth checking out as well.

Q8: Which brands have a social media presence that you admire?

These brands will definitely get the creative juices flowing:

Masooma has a few brands that she loves to check out on social media, one of which is Wendy’s. They’re well-known for their sass as they roast others on their Twitter account.

Lori actually took things one step further and created a Twitter List of some of her favorite people to follow.

Want to join us for an upcoming #ContentWritingChat? Mark your calendar for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Then, follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat. See you at our next chat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Digital Accessibility Best Practices for Social Media with Alexa Heinrich

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Succeeding as a Creative, Introverted Entrepreneur with Kim Beasley

For this month’s chat, we wanted to do something a little different to our normal topics.

We decided to chat about what it means to be an introvert and a business owner.

After all, it seems so many people in the entrepreneurial community these days are actually introverts. Knowing it was something many people could relate to, we had to talk about it on #ContentWritingChat.

We talked about struggles that introverts face, how they can effectively use social media, and even how they can build a thriving online business. Let’s dive into the tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Succeeding as a Creative, Introverted Entrepreneur with Kim Beasley

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Kim Beasley. Kim coaches fellow introvert entrepreneurs and guides them to growing their online businesses to success. She’s actually written a book all about the topic, called The Creative Introverted Entrepreneur.

Q1: What do you think it means to be both a creative and introverted entrepreneur?

Before we dive into all the awesome tips, let’s first covert what it means to be creative and introverted as an entrepreneur. Here’s how some of our chat participants defined it:

To put it simply, it’s someone who has a creative mind, identifies as an introvert, and has a business of some kind.

When you’re an introverted entrepreneur, you need to consider how that comes into play in your business so you can plan your day-to-day and run your company in a way that feels good.

As Carla said, having that personal space is key when you’re an introvert. You’ll need to make sure you prioritize time to yourself to rest and recharge.

Q2: What advice would you personally give to those who are introverts and running an online business?

It’s important to make your business work for you, so you’ll want to factor in your unique personality when it comes to how you’re showing up online. Here’s some advice for all those introverts out there:

Kim encourages introverts to become more confident in putting themselves out there online through mediums like social media. It’s key in generating more exposure for your business. She also suggests utilizing email marketing. That’s a fantastic way to stay in touch with your audience over an extended period of time, always bringing them back to your work and what you do.

Michelle feels that networking online is really beneficial for introverts. Instead of attending in-person events, they can make connections without ever having to leave the comfort of their own home. Not only that, but when they’re ready to step away, all they have to do is shut down the computer.

Rachel knows that there are so many ways to put yourself out there and show your personality online. As she said, you can do this in small doses, which is perfect for those just starting out and getting comfortable with being a public figure on the web.

Shawn’s advice of finding safe places for conversations is spot on. Figure out where you’re comfortable and make that your priority. After all, it’s your business and you get to do what feels right to you.

At the end of the day, it’s all about doing what works for you and saying no to what doesn’t. Just don’t forget to factor in that all-important downtime to recharge.

Q3 for Kim: What is the focus of your book, Creative Introverted Entrepreneur?
For everyone: How does being an introvert or an extrovert factor into your business?

For this question, we asked Kim to share a little bit about her book. And we invited all of our other participants to share their thoughts on how being an introvert (or an extrovert) comes into play within business. Here are some responses:

In Kim’s book, she shares her own journey of how she overcame the fear of being seen online. This is a common fear that many people have, so it’s amazing when others share that they’ve experienced the same. Kim was able to conquer that fear and begin building a business she loves.

As an introvert, Julia was able to build the Express Writers brand through the power of writing. Sure, she makes YouTube videos now that she’s overcome her fears of being on camera, but writing is her main focus.

Michelle feels that she relies on both her introvert and extrovert sides.The introvert side allows her to do things completely on her own, while the extroverted side loves to connect with prospects and clients over video.

It sounds like Carla has thrived being an introvert with the current state of the world. She’s been able to spend more time by herself, just focusing on content creation.

Rachel knows the importance of balancing that energy. She shows up and gives her all, but takes time away from social media afterwards so she’s able to recharge and regain her energy after giving so much.

Q4 for Kim: What are some key factors from the book that can help introverted entrepreneurs?
For everyone: What are some struggles you think are common for introverts? And for extroverts?

Here, Kim shared some of the key points in her book, while everyone else chimed in on some of the common struggles that introverts (or extroverts) face in life and business:

In Kim’s book, she talks about facing your fears, understanding yourself as an introvert, and even using social media and building your business. If that sounds like something you need, definitely check it out.

Julia knows that being a little camera shy is often a big struggle for introverts. Her advice is to take it step-by-step and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

By taking those baby steps often, you’ll begin to get even more comfortable doing the things that make you nervous. That’s why practice is key, so keep at it!

Q5: As an introverted entrepreneur, what are ways that you have found to overcome your fears of being online?

Putting yourself out there online can sometimes be a little scary. To face your fears and become confident showing up on various platforms, keep this advice in mind:

Kim’s advice is to focus on self-care and self-talk. These are two key areas to direct your attention so you can crush those fears and limiting beliefs that stand in your way.

Because guess what? The thoughts you think about yourself are impacting you more than you realize. That’s why you need to be aware of what you say to yourself and remember that you have something important to share with the world.

Julia agrees that it’s all about identifying your limiting beliefs and taking the steps to break through them.

Lori knows that shutting out that judgement is essential here. Don’t ever think that being an introvert is a disadvantage.

This is great advice from Carla. Practicing in front of the camera (or the mirror) will help you get more comfortable with speaking. And don’t forget to come prepared with notes!

Q6: What are key ways that introverted entrepreneurs can grow their business online using social media?

As an introvert, there are some fun ways you can use social media within your business. Here are some great suggestions that you can implement:

Kim’s advice is to figure out where your target audience hangs out online and begin spending time there. Engage with new people frequently. Find people you look up to as mentors and talk to them. Reach out to others in your industry who can become friends. And of course, spend time connecting with potential clients too.

Of course, the first step in your success is to identify the right social media platforms to invest time into. You want to be where your audience is and use the platforms that play to your strengths. Then, it’s all about showing up consistently and sharing great content.

Use social media as a way to get to know your audience better. Listen to what they’re talking about and what they need help with. Doing this will help you to spot ways you can serve them.

Q7: How can introverted entrepreneurs use collaborative partnerships to grow their business?

After all, the right partnership can yield some pretty impressive results! Here’s how you can make the most of any collaborations you do:

As Kim said, partnerships can help you gain exposure to a much wider audience. You’ll be able to cross-promote and reach their social media followers, their email list subscribers, etc. It just might open you up to a world of potential new buyers.

If partnerships are something you’re interested in, keep Julia’s advice in mind. Work with those who are like-minded. Turn away anyone who isn’t a good fit.

When doing partnerships, it helps to play up your strengths. Find ways to allow each of you to really shine and stand out when working together.

And as Zala said, we don’t have to do everything ourselves. Working with other people can help you achieve the results you desire much faster.

Q8: What are ways that an introverted entrepreneur can grow their brand online?

And finally, we wrapped up the chat by sharing some additional tips that introverted entrepreneurs need to know. Here’s some wisdom from the chat:

Kim suggests trying out video content to promote your business. Consider creating YouTube videos or using Instagram Stories or IGTV. You can even spend time live-streaming if that feels exciting! But if video isn’t your thing, the audio-only Twitter Spaces is definitely worth trying.

Rachel’s advice is to open up and be vulnerable. Share your bearings and struggles. This helps to humanize your brand and makes you more relatable. That will really help you connect with your audience.

How would you like to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central Time. Then, follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Digital Accessibility Best Practices for Social Media with Alexa Heinrich

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building an Authentic Online Brand with Janet Machuka

These days, having an authentic online brand is a huge factor in your success.

After all, people want to know that you’re genuine and that they can trust you. They also want to feel connected to you and your brand.

Without trust, you simply cannot expect to be seen as a leader, generate sales, etc.

So, how can you position your brand as being authentic? This #ContentWritingChat recap has some helpful tips for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building an Authentic Online Brand with Janet Machuka

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Janet Machuka. She’s a social media marketing strategist and she has her own Twitter chat, #AfricaTweetChat. Janet shared some great tips with us, so let’s dive in!

Q1: What does it mean for a brand to be authentic?

If you’re curious what it truly means to have an authentic brand, here’s what you need to know:

Janet feels an authentic online brand is real, genuine, and honest.

For Masooma, it’s all about showing your human side. People want to get to know the real you and see your personality. It helps build a stronger connection.

Being approachable is another great element of an authentic brand. When your audience can relate to you, you have a much better chance at succeeding on the way to your goals.

Transparency definitely helps! Be open and honest with your audience.

Don’t forget that you should never try to be something you’re not. People will see right through that. So, just be you!

And don’t try to copy exactly what another brand is doing. You need to forge your own path and do your own thing. Be your true self and everything is sure to come together.

Q2: Why is brand authenticity such an important factor in establishing yourself online these days?

The authentic brands stand out more than the rest. Here’s why it’s a crucial factor in branding:

An authentic brand is going to stand out from everyone else in the crowd. People are more likely to support a brand that they find to be real, relatable, and trustworthy.

As Michelle said, people want to know who they’re buying from. Through social media, you can help people get to know you and your team. When they know you and like you, they’ll be more likely to engage with your brand and purchase your offerings.

Rachel brought up a great point about how people aren’t likely to visit your website or your shop if you fail to position yourself as an authentic online brand.

At the end of the day, being authentic and showcasing your expertise is what will lead to even more sales in your business.

And you’ll never get anywhere if you’re trying to be something you’re not. Don’t copy the other brands out there. Be yourself and do your own thing.

With so much fake content going around, it’s more important than ever to be genuine.

Q3: Can you share some advice on how to build an authentic, genuine brand online?

These tips will ensure your brand is authentic and resonates with your target audience:

Great answer from Janet! Show your face, be open and honest about your successes and failures, etc. Check out the article she shared for more tips.

Michelle suggests getting clear on your brand’s values before diving in. From there, it’ll be easier to build an authentic online brand people love.

Masooma agrees that you need to know your values first and foremost. After that, it’s about showing up. Behind-the-scenes content is a great way to showcase this!

Q4: What kind of content can you share that will allow you to showcase your personality and the values your brand stands for?

No need to stress over content ideas! Here are some suggestions you can use:

These are some great ideas from Janet. Draw inspiration from those who have created custom GIFs for their brand. They’re recognizable and add a little flair to your posts. You can even share inspirational stories about yourself and your customers.

Behind-the-scenes content is always a great idea. People love to see what your everyday life is like, as it shows off your personality.

If there’s more than just you working on your brand, make sure you’re introducing your team members to your audience as well. Better to get them acquainted with everyone!

Rachel would love to see more brands doing Twitter chats. They provide a great way to make connections, but brands also have the opportunity to just be themselves during chats.

Share your thoughts, challenges, and success. Share your journey with others. The ideas here are truly endless, so get creative with what you post online.

Q5: How can you know if you’re actually resonating as being authentic with your target audience?

To know if you’re truly an authentic online brand, pay attention to metrics like these:

When it comes to metrics, you may notice an increase in engagement. More people starting conversations and offering feedback is always a plus since it’s an essential step in relationship building.

And who does’t love word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers?

You’ll likely see more engagement on your social media platforms and even via email. When people are responding positively to your content, you know you’re on the right path.

Track the numbers over time and watch how things grow. This will be an important way to measure your success.

And if you aren’t seeing the results you want, make some tweaks to your strategy. Don’t be afraid to change directions if needed.

Q6: If you have multiple people creating content for your brand, how can you be sure everything is aligned with your mission to be an authentic brand?

It’s important to keep everything on-brand! You can do that with your team by following these tips:

Guidelines are incredibly helpful when you’re working with a team. Communicate your niche, your brand values, etc. before having anyone create content for you.

Masooma suggests making a document that details everything a team member would need to know about content creation for your brand. Outline your brand voice, as well as any other tips they’d need to know.

A style guide will be a major help! Use it to share details of what works for imagery, brand voice, and more to keep everyone aligned with your brand vision.

It’s also smart to get everyone on the same content calendar. Create a calendar and give everyone on your team access so they can stay updated.

Carla suggests assigning certain people to a specific format. If you have someone that’s great with video, make that their priority. It helps when people are able to shine and showcase their skills.

Q7: Are there any brands that show up authentically online that we can learn from?

Draw inspiration on being an authentic online brand from these examples:

These are some great brands to check out. Visit Janet’s suggestions over on Twitter and pay attention to what stands out about their brands.

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. And follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Digital Accessibility Best Practices for Social Media with Alexa Heinrich

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021 with Cathy McPhillips

2021 is in full swing, friends!

And if you want to make this the year you start getting noticed online, then there are a few content marketing trends you may want to incorporate into your strategy.

In this #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about Google’s YMYL standards, whether or not video is still worthwhile, voice search, and more.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021 with Cathy McPhillips

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Cathy McPhillips, the VP of Marketing for our friends over at Content Marketing Institute. Cathy had some great advice to share with us, so let’s dive into the recap for all the tips!

Q1: Why is it important to consider the latest trends when it comes to your content marketing?

You don’t want to overlook what’s popular in the moment. That’s why it’s smart to watch the trends. Here’s how it can be helpful for you:

Cathy says it’s important to stay one step ahead of your customers. You always need to be thinking about their needs and wants, while also solving their problems. Pursuing the latest trends can provide plenty of opportunities to get exposure to a wider community, which could take your brand to the next level if it goes well.

Trying what’s “trending” could be the key to your success. You never know when something new might improve your brand and help you better serve your audience.

Q2: Creating valuable content is timeless when growing your brand online. How can you be sure what you create delivers what your audience needs?

These tips will ensure your content is always high-quality and super valuable for your audience:

Analytics are important, but as Cathy said, nothing beats actually talking to your audience. Have conversations with them in the DMs or hop on a Zoom call for some market research. The better you know your audience, the better you’ll be at creating the content that addresses their needs.

Rachel agrees that talking to your audience is the way to go. Ask people what they want to see from you. It doesn’t get any better than getting answers straight from the source.

You also want to make sure you’re building your content marketing strategy with your buyer persona in mind. This goes back to knowing who your audience is and where they need help. Then, you can create the content that solves their biggest pain points. But if you’re having trouble creating that buyer persona and planning out content, you can always ask for feedback.

Also, make sure your content aligns with the purpose you’ve set for your brand. You always want to keep your bigger mission in mind.

And remember that this isn’t something that can be done in a day. It will take you some time to learn about your audience and what they like. Commit to doing the research though and you will pick up on what they like and what they don’t like.

Q3: In 2021, meeting and surpassing Google’s YMYL standards are a must. What does this mean and how does it impact your content creation?

Here’s what you need to know about the YMYL standards that are important for all creators:

Ensuring that your content is quality material that presents accurate information is a must. That’s something that Google and your readers will always appreciate. You never want to mislead your readers in any way.

Authority and quality are a must when creating content!

As Rachel said, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. This is why you should always check your source and read the content in its entirety before sharing. Don’t just share something based on the headline, as they aren’t always truthful.

Q4: Is video still a worthwhile format to pursue in the year ahead? If so, what makes a captivating video that will hold the attention of viewers?

Is video overdone or is it still a good way to get recognized? Read these thoughts from the chat:

If your customers enjoy video and find value in it, then Cathy says to go for it. Not only that, but there are so many ways you can experiment with the video content you create.

The team at PitchGround is all over video content! Live video and Reels are pretty popular right now on Instagram.

If you want to make sure your videos shine, be clear and concise, add subtitles, and grab attention early in the video.

A great video will evoke some emotion in your audience, which often inspires them to take action. You also want to make sure you communicate your purpose and keep things accessible with captions.

Another reason that video content is great is because a chunk of your audience may be visual learners, which means video will really appeal to them.

Q5: 50% of all Google searches are done with voice search, which is why you need to optimize your site for it. Do you have any tips on how to do this successfully?

Don’t forget about people using voice search! Here’s how you can make sure you’re optimizing for this effectively:

Cathy’s advice is to consider how people are asking questions in their voice searches. This way, you can tailor your content and keyword accordingly.

Rachel is wise to test it out for herself. She asks the question that she hopes her content will answer. Then, she can review the articles to come up and tailor her content accordingly.

Q6: When trying out different trends, how can you determine if it’s working for you? How will you know when it’s time to move onto something else?

Don’t keep forcing something that’s not working. Here’s how you can tell whether or not you’re getting the results you want from certain trends:

First, you need to know your KPIs so you know which metrics are important for you to track. This will help you determine if your efforts are working when implementing content marketing trends or if you need to pivot.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. Even if it doesn’t work out, you can learn something from it and try again. If it’s not performing how you hoped, ask yourself if it’s the content, the medium, the distribution, or a combination of all those. Figuring out where things are going wrong allows you to change course.

Analytics will always show a clear picture of how your content is performing.

Kushlani said don’t be quick to determine if something is a success or a failure. You may need to give it a little time to properly gauge how things are working out.

Positive feedback is a sign that things are working well for you. And if you aren’t getting any feedback, ask!

Dana knows that sometimes things can feel “off.” If that’s the case, revisit what you’re working on and ask why. A gut feeling can help you decide whether or not something is worth pursuing.

Q7: Do you have any go-to resources for learning about what’s new in the content marketing industry?

Bookmark these resources for later!

All of these resources that Cathy shared are worth checking out! From Content Marketing Institute to Ann Handley, and BuzzSumo… These are all essentials!

A good podcast is always helpful!

And of course, Twitter chats are definitely valuable. There’s so much to learn from and they provide a great opportunity to connect with others.

Come hang out with us during the next #ContentWritingChat! It takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest.