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

#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.

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

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Defining Audience Personas for Better SEO Results with Diana Richardson

Defining your audience personas is crucial if you want to create successful content.

But if you aren’t sure what that means, you’ll want to keep reading.

In this month’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all your audience persona… What exactly it is, what you should know about your audience before writing your next piece of content, and more. If you’re ready to learn all about it, let’s dive into the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Defining Audience Personas for Better SEO Results with Diana Richardson

Our awesome friend, Diana Richardson, joined as a guest host again to share her expertise with us. She’s a social media and community manager at SEMrush, which is one of our favorite tools for SEO. Diana has previously hosted our chat to talk about optimizing web content and designing an SEO and content creation workflow. Be sure to check those out too!

Q1: What exactly is an audience persona and why is it so important?

If you haven’t already determined your audience personas, now is the time to get started. Here’s what that means for you so you can see just how valuable it is to know this information:

As Diana said, defining your audience personas is essential creating a personality description about your target audience. You want to know their demographics and interests in order to create the content that’s most appealing to them. She suggests using website data and surveys as just a couple of ways to gather this kind of information. You never want to assume you know things about your audience.

By knowing these deeper details about your audience, you can develop a stronger connection with them and you’ll understand them better. This gives you more of an opportunity to deliver what they need the most.

When it comes to your audience, you want to know who they are and what they like. Then, you can start developing content accordingly.

This persona you’ve created will then become the basis of all your marketing and sales activities. As Zala said, it’s going to help you target the right audience at the right time. That’s pretty powerful!

And if you want some help with the process of defining your audience personas, I shared an awesome post from our very own blog here at Express Writers. Give it a read!

Q2: What characteristics do you need to know about your audience before creating content?

You really need to go beyond the basic demographics like age and location. Here are some other things you should know about the people reading your content:

This breakdown from Diana is spot-on! Knowing what your audience wants, what they need, what their intent is, what their interests are, and any life events they’re experiencing can all play a role in shaping your content.

A good question to ask yourself is, “What questions keep my audience up at night?” You can use your content to address their biggest pain points and provide the solution they need. They’ll be sure to keep coming back if you do that consistently.

Another thing to consider outside of the essential characteristics is how your audience likes to consume content. After all, it’s important to create content they’ll enjoy consuming.

It also helps to know what your audience values. How can you connect with them in this way by creating content that’s aligned to their values?

Q3: Can you share any strategies for coming up with topics that your audience will be genuinely interested in?

These ideas will certainly help you fill up your content calendar for the next month!

Once you’ve discovered your audience personas, you’ll know who you’re looking to connect with online. Then, social listening really comes in handy. You can join in on their conversations to learn first-hand what they are interested in learning about.

Lexie uses the topic research feature within SEMrush to find popular topics. From there, you can see if there are ways to tie those topics to what you’d normally like to write about. And you can take it a step further by asking your audience if it’s something they’d like. It never hurts to just ask them their thoughts.

Another way to find hot topics is to use Google Trends. It’s smart to write about timely topics because it can help you get your content in front of a much wider audience. However, you always want to make sure it’s relevant to your work and your audience.

Even more great ideas! Surveying your audience allows you to get answers directly from the source. What could be easier than that? And BuzzSumo is another tool that will show you popular topics, so it can really come in handy.

Social media is a great tool for learning about your audience’s interests in terms of content. You can join Facebook groups, for example, to see what they’re talking about. Just be sure to find groups that your target audience is actively participating in. Twitter chats are helpful for this as well.

Another great resource that Megha suggested is Quora. It provides another opportunity to see the conversations your audience is having online. She also suggests paying attention to the content your competitors are producing. Can you put your own spin on some of the topics they cover?

Q4: How does your audience impact keyword research in the early phases of content creation?

Because your audience does, in fact, influence your keywords. After all, you want to use keywords that reflect how they’re searching online.

Knowing your audience will give you an idea of what they’re searching online, as well as how they’re searching. You’re then able to choose keywords accordingly so your content will (hopefully) rank for the terms they’re Googling. Diana also said their intent will play a role here, whether that’s purchasing, educating, etc.

Rachel gets her keywords straight from her audience, thanks to the queries they’re sharing online. Once you figure out where they spend their time online, you’ll likely to start to see the same kind of questions and you can address them.

This presents a great opportunity to discover some untapped keywords you can start developing content for.

And it’ll all come together to help you choose topics, keywords, and produce content that appeals to them at each stage of their buyer journey.

Q5: Does your audience shape things such as the content formats you create and the tone you use when developing content? How so?

If not, it should! Your audience will tell you what types of content they like the most. Here’s how you can figure that out:

Different personas will require different tones and content formats. You’ll want to tailor your content as necessary to ensure it appeals to the person who will be consuming it.

Written, video, audio… They’re all great options, but are they right for your audience? That’s what you need to figure out before you plan out your content.

You can even go deeper than general formats. For instance, if you know your audience loves blog posts, figure out what kind of blog posts they like. Tutorials, lists, long-form? The data will show you what they’re most drawn to so you can create that more frequently.

And don’t forget that your unique skills play a role here too. You want to embrace what you really shine at. For example, you’re great on video and your audience loves it, you’re golden!

At the end of the day, you need to put your audience first. When you deliver what they want and need, it gives them a reason to keep coming back. And as Zala said, it’s not about publishing content for the sake of publishing. You want your audience to do something with your content.

Q6: How will you know if your content is truly reaching the right people and appealing to them?

If your content isn’t reaching the right people, does it even matter? These are the stats to watch out for:

Pay attention to the feedback you get from people. That’s a good indication of what they’re enjoying from you. You can also take things a step further and send out a survey to get feedback directly.

Rachel loves to spread the word when she comes across a great piece of content. Consider doing the same when you read an amazing blog post or watch a fun video. Sharing the work others have created definitely puts some good vibes out into the world and people may feel inclined to do the same for you.

When people start taking action in some way, you know your content resonated with them. And that really shows that you’re on the right path.

Know your goals first and then track accordingly. What do you want to get out of the content you’re creating? Use your analytics to help you figure out if you’re getting to that end result. For example, if a specific blog post was meant to drive conversions, did it actually happen?

Engagement and leads are great examples that your content is working. Plus, it’s always nice when others are saying good things about you.

Q7: Are there any brands that have done a great job at speaking directly to their ideal audience persona?

You can get a lot of inspiration from these brands:

There’s no denying that our friends at SEMrush are awesome at knowing their audience! She also suggests checking out Morning Brew and Netflix for some inspiration.

Kaitlyn seconds the Netflix recommendation. They really know how to have fun with their audience via social media.

While bots are helpful in some cases, there’s nothing like talking to an actual person. The brands that take the time to make a genuine response are the ones that truly stand out. Rachel suggests brands like Netflix and Peloton to inspire you.

HubSpot, Grammarly, and ARK Invest are the recommendations from the team at Zengrowth. Definitely check them all out if you haven’t already!

We’d love to have you join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. And follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Fuel Your Content Marketing in 2021

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Fuel Your Content Marketing in 2021

If you want to step up your content marketing in 2021, you’re in the right place!

For our very first #ContentWritingChat of the year, we felt it was only fitting to share some tips to help you boost your content marketing efforts.

After all, we’re pretty passionate about creating amazing content around here!

This topic was actually inspired by a talk our CEO, Julia McCoy, did during a virtual summit back in December. Now, we’re building off of Julia’s advice by learning even more great tips from our community.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Fuel Your Content Marketing in 2021

This month, we opted to do a community chat, opening the floor up to everyone as they shared their thoughts and opinions. So many great tips were shared during this chat, so let’s dive into the recap!

Q1:2021 is upon us! Have you developed your content marketing plan for the year ahead yet?

Some people are eager to get started with their planning, while others take their time and plan quarterly or even monthly. Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Lexie is prepared with a content marketing plan ready to go! However, she also realizes the importance of being flexible. Things can change and you have to be willing to adapt as needed.

Kushlani tackles her planning on a quarterly basis, which is a smart way to go about it.

Chris is in the same boat and focuses on planning three months at a time.

Carla prefers to plan month-to-month, allowing her to revise as needed based on her weekly findings within her analytics.

Q2: To cultivate success in your business, you need to invest in your personal growth first. How are you planning to prioritize and invest in your content marketing growth this year?

If you aren’t sure how to invest in your growth and knowledge, these are some great suggestions:

Connecting with others can be an amazing way to experience growth since you can learn so much from other experts. Reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and participating in chats are great options as well.

Danielle is a fan of participating in Twitter chats. She knows there’s so much to be learned, as you’re exposed to so many new perspectives.

Vivek is committing to personal growth by reading books that are about marketing, business, and copywriting.

For Rachel, she’s going to be attending a lot of virtual events. They can be an amazing way to learn from other experts without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

Dana loves to read, watch films, take classes, volunteer, and talk to people. All are great ways to expand your knowledge and strengthen your skills.

It may help you to choose a few key areas that you’d like to learn about and find dedicated resources on them, such as any interesting books.

Carla’s advice about having a budget is great. You want to be smart about where you’re investing your money so you don’t spend beyond your means. Set a budget and determine which areas you’d like to give your attention to.

And once you’ve found some great resources, schedule time into your calendar just for you. This way, you’ll be able to prioritize your education this year.

Q3: Ranking in Google search results is a win for any content creator. Our CEO, Julia McCoy, suggests studying the top results for your target keywords. What can you learn from doing this?

It turns out there’s a lot you can learn! And it can be pretty beneficial for you, so you might want to get started on that ASAP.

From Julia herself, she said doing this research will help you see what content gets ranked for your keyword, who’s doing it well, and who’s not doing it well. It just might spark some new ideas for you too!

You can also notice things about the writing style and the length of the content that’s being ranked.

Masooma suggests looking at how they’re using keywords, as well as paying attention to formatting. Also, do you notice anything special about the intros of the posts that are ranking?

You can even learn how the post is structured and how detailed they are, as well as a number of other things that can help shape your own content.

Q4: When it comes to content creation, practice makes perfect. What can you do to become a better creator this year and produce content that generates conversions?

The secrets to becoming a better content creator are as follows:

Jessica is challenging herself to write every single day. She’s experimenting with different types of content as well. After all, the more you write, the better you’ll become at it!

Rachel suggests setting a content creation goal to inspire you to keep writing.

To create better content, it also helps to learn more about your audience and what they need so you can better serve them.

Masooma is also planning to do more research on her target audience this year so she can gain a better understanding of their pain points.

Lexie’s advice is to be open to feedback. If you want to get better, you need to be able to accept constructive criticism so you can learn where you need to improve.

Q5: Storytelling is important to content marketing success. What are the characteristics of a good brand story and how can you tell it effectively?

This advice from our chat will help you up your storytelling game:

Rachel feels a great brand story should communicate a problem, how that problem impacts others, and how the brand can solve the issue.

Maria knows great stories have authenticity and passion.

A relatable story is also a great way to draw your audience in.

And of course, you want to inspire people to take action after hearing your story.

Authenticity, consistency, and staying power are definitely key.

These questions Danielle asked will help you determine if your storytelling is moving in the right direction.

Q6: Google searches went from 3.5 billion per day to 6 billion per day and it’s still climbing! How can brands take full advantage of this in 2021?

These are the tips you’ll want to know if you’d like to climb to the top of the search results this year:

Always write with your audience in mind and create the quality content they’re looking for.

When you know what people are searching for, you can create the content that answers all their questions.

Social listening is so important to gain a better understanding of your audience and their needs. This will tell you exactly what kind of content you should be creating.

At the end of the day, it’s all about serving your audience.

And make sure your content is always valuable and trustworthy.

Whatever you do, see this as an opportunity as we head into 2021 and use it to your advantage.

Q7: Do you have any favorite tools or resources that have shaped your content marketing over the years?

Check out these tools and give them a go! You might find some great ones to add to your content marketing efforts:

Some of Masooma’s go-to resources include Content Marketing Institute and Answer the Public.

Michelle loves CoSchedule’s headline analyzer, Grammarly, and Buffer.

KWFinder is an essential for Chris.

And Lexie’s favorites include SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Answer the Public.

Q8: What are some of the biggest lessons you learned in 2020 that you will carry into your content marketing for this year?

These are lessons that we can all take to heart:

Be flexible! This is so important to remember.

Spend time talking to people and learning from others.

Make sure your messaging is clear.

Adapt to what’s going on in the world and deliver relevant, timely content.

Want to join us next time? We chat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for updates.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Wrapping Up 2020

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Wrapping Up 2020

Can you believe this year is quickly coming to a close?

It seems like 2020 has flown by, but also gone by very slowly at the same time.

No matter what, it’s safe to say it’s been a whirlwind year for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of stress and it required each one of us to change up our daily routines. We went from working in the office to working at home, we started going out less, and we’re all wearing masks.

So, we thought it was only fitting to do a #ContentWritingChat wrapping up 2020 so we could all reflect on just how much our lives (and businesses) have changed over these past few months.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Wrapping Up 2020

Instead of having a guest host, we opted for a community chat this month. We had some great conversations and received some insightful tips from everyone who participated. Let’s dive into the recap to see what some of them had to say.

Q1: Overall, how has 2020 been for you? Any big lessons you’ve learned?

As we’re wrapping up 2020, we definitely have some important takeaways that we’ll keep in mind as we move into the future. Here are some of the lessons our community members learned:

Michelle shared some great lessons that she’s taking away from 2020. Personally, it’s so important to stop taking things for granted, appreciate your loved ones, and live in the moment. And her business advice of putting your customers first is on point!

For Rachel, this year was all about evaluating her future. Looking at the big picture can really help you determine what you want life to look like moving forward.

Zala is spot on when she says that it’s more important than ever to focus on yourself, your health, and your overall wellbeing.

In terms of business, content is key! And Shawn knows that you can’t have too much quality content to share with your audience. It’s the perfect way to grow your brand and establish your authority in your field.

Also, building a personal connection with the people in your audience is key to surviving in business. It shows them that you really care about their needs.

And as Lexie said, many brands really saw the importance of an online presence this year. Since many businesses had to close down their physical locations, going digital was crucial.

How did the pandemic impact your business? Did you need to shift how you’ve been working?

Many companies had to make changes to how they operated. Some had to start working from home and relying on Zoom calls to stay in touch with other team members. And others had to completely pivot their businesses.

When it came to adapting to this year’s changes, having a supportive person in your corner was a game-changer. Rachel found herself essentially becoming a cheerleader to keep her students motivated.

Michelle actually saw a surge in business during the spring, as more brands started to realize the importance of being present online and social media. That’s a huge plus!

Lexie and the rest of the Netvantage team had to say goodbye to their offices in favor of working from home full-time. She also noticed that many clients had to pause their usual work. A lot of businesses had to scale back on their expenses to keep afloat, so it’s no surprise that many service-based companies lost clients.

Tweaking the content calendar to address timely topics (such as the pandemic) was definitely an important step that many brands took this year.

For Jessica, she found a bright side to 2020 because it turned out to be a very creative time for her. That’s definitely a win!

Q3: In January 2020, Google’s daily searches were 3.5 billion. Today, they are 6+ billion! How have you adapted to this change?

There’s no denying we all spent a lot more time online conducting Google searches and shopping this year!

As Michelle said, if you were already blogging regularly, you certainly had the advantage this year as search traffic increased.

And of course, that increase in searches only reminds us just how important it is to optimize our content. It’s worth putting in the extra effort so your content can rank highly in Google search results. After all, you want to be seen!

If you already had optimized, evergreen content on your blog, then you were in a fantastic position. Hopefully you saw some more traffic as a result!

Carla even noticed some of her blog content was ranking on the first page of Google. As a content creator, is there any better feeling than this?

Q4: How important was it for you to write timely content this year, as opposed to just evergreen?

Planning your content ahead of time is key for consistency. However, it’s smart to adjust your plan to discuss timely topics (such as the pandemic). Here’s what some of our #ContentWritingChat community had to say about evergreen and timely content this year:

Like Danielle said, sharing timely content was a way of showing your audience that you care. You were taking the time to answer their questions and addressing what was going on in the world.

Carla is absolutely right. People look to content creators for up-to-the-minute information. Don’t you want to be a source that your audience can count on?

Many people were looking for content that could be applied directly to what they were experiencing during the pandemic.

As Zala said, you always want to consider what your audience is searching for. Then, you can create the content they need and add value.

Just remember that high-quality, optimized content wins at the end of the day!

Q5: With many more people working from home, what tips can you offer on staying productive?

Working from home isn’t exactly as glamorous as some people may think! And there are many who realized that this year as they transitioned from working in the office to working remotely. Here are some tips for staying productive while at home:

Zala’s advice of finding your own workflow is key, as we all work differently. It’s smart to do what works best for you. And as she pointed out, clear communication was essential since many people were no longer chatting face-to-face and instead meeting over Zoom or discussing work via email.

These are all great tips from Michelle! It really helps to inform other members of your household when you absolutely cannot be disturbed.

Rachel suggests time-blocking to boost your productivity.

And don’t forget to take breaks once in a while!

During those breaks, make sure you get up and stretch. Being stuck in a chair, staring at a screen all day isn’t good for you.

Boost your energy and your mood with a morning routine. It could include things like meditation and exercise.

Don’t forget to actually set office hours for yourself so you know when you’ll start working and when you’ll stop.

If you can, implement Jessica’s advice. While not everyone can set their own hours, if you’re able to, you can work during your most productive times.

And don’t get sucked into Netflix at night! Make sure you’re still getting a good night’s rest because it’s important to recharge for the next day.

Q6: Will you be introducing new content formats into your strategy after this year?

Part of wrapping up 2020 is looking ahead to 2021. It’s the time of year where people still considering their content strategy for the new year. Will anyone be incorporating new content formats into their brands?

Julia definitely wants to feature more custom-made visuals and graphics from our team in 2021.

Danielle would like to create more interactive, visual content.

Vivek plans to double-down on live-streaming and podcasting, two things that were certainly popular in 2020.

Rachel won’t be adding new content formats herself, but she hopes some of her clients will.

After all, you never know how your audience might respond! They just might love to see something new from you, so it’s worth experimenting.

Q7: Which brands have stood out to you as successfully adapting to this year’s changes?

There are a few brands we can all learn from when it comes to how they handled this year’s events. These are a few you’ll want to draw inspiration from:

Being able to have things delivered from stores like Target via Shipt was a huge help this year with many people wanting to stay home and avoid the stores.

Julia really appreciated some of the local businesses in her area.

SEMrush and Grammarly were just a couple brands that did a great job adjusting this year.

Q8: What is your biggest takeaway from 2020 that you’ll bring into the next year?

And finally, we ended the chat by asking everyone to share their biggest takeaway from this past year. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

As Julia said, everything can change in a second. Are you prepared to handle that?

Michelle knows that it’s so important to show your audience that you genuinely care about them.

Kushlani said the key to success is flexibility. You need to be willing to adapt, whether that’s changing up your content strategy or completely pivoting in your business if needed.

And finally, Zala’s advice here is perfect. Don’t give up.

We’d love to have you join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! We chat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Designing Your SEO & Content Creation Workflow with Diana Richardson

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Designing Your SEO & Content Creation Workflow with Diana Richardson

Let’s talk about creating optimized content.

How do you ensure you’re choosing the right topics? What can be done to increase the chances that your content will rank? And how can you incorporate keywords into your blog post without it seeming unnatural?

Well, we covered all of these questions (and more) in this #ContentWritingChat. Now, the tips you need to know are packed into this handy recap.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Designing Your SEO & Content Creation Workflow with Diana Richardson

This month, we were lucky enough to have Diana Richardson be our guest host once again. Diana is a Social Media & Community Manager for our friends over at SEMrush. And she joined our chat to share some tips on SEO and developing an efficient content creation workflow. Let’s dive into the recap for all the advice!

Q1: What’s the first step in creating quality, optimized content?

Before you dive into writing, there are a few things to consider first. Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you want your content to be successful:

Diana suggests first knowing who you’re writing for and what your end goal is. You always want to create content with your target audience in mind. This ensures you’re writing about the topics that interest them, as well as communicating in a way that resonates. And of course, you need to know your end goal so you can tailor your content accordingly and track the ideal metrics afterwards.

Lexie agrees that it’s crucial you know who your target audience is. Otherwise, you run the risk of attracting all the wrong people (or no one) to your content.

Don’t rush into keyword research. Kate says you need to know why you’re writing and who you’re writing for first. That will get you started on the right path!

And as Michelle said, always remember that quality writing comes first. You cannot allow your writing to suffer for the sake of optimization.

Q2: When diving into topic research for your next piece of content, where should you begin?

Topic research can feel rather daunting sometimes. After all, there’s a lot you could potentially write about. So, how can you choose the topics that will resonate with your audience? Check out this advice:

Diana suggests starting with a few broad concepts and then using SEMrush’s Topic Research Tool to narrow down your search. She says to find a question that needs answering, then check out the existing content on that topic. From there, consider what you can add or if there are any other unanswered questions that come up.

Ask yourself what your audience is looking for. You want to create content that will be valuable for them, while also keeping in mind what you have to offer. The content you publish should showcase your expertise.

You can also see which topics are performing well in your field by checking out BuzzSumo. Answer the Public is another tool worth testing because you can find relevant questions that people want answers to.

Raquel knows that social listening is key in learning more about your target audience. Discovering what they’re talking about online can give you some helpful ideas on what you should write about.

And of course, social media is essential in social listening. Use platforms like Twitter to see trending topics and to check out conversations your audience is having. You never know when a new idea might pop up.

Once you have your fundamentals all laid out, you can move into SEO and data research.

Q3: What do you need to know when it comes to competitiveness and rankability?

We all want our content to rank high up in the search results because it helps us get discovered. But what’s the secret to landing that coveted number one spot? Keep these tips in mind as you create:

The factors you’ll want to keep in mind are keyword volume, audience interest, and keyword difficulty.

Higher volume keywords will be much more competitive and will be more challenging to rank for. Diana suggests checking out the first two pages of search results to determine the quality of the content already on the web. You may be able to publish something better or from a more unique perspective.

Then, we have audience interest. At the end of the day, your target audience needs to find your content appealing, otherwise they won’t be bothered to read it.

And finally, there’s keyword difficulty. The higher the percentage for difficulty, the harder it’ll be to achieve those high rankings.

Look at things from the perspective of your audience. As Rachel said, it’s smart to check out what has already been published on your chosen topic. Are they quality resources? How long ago were they published? She feels if you have an independent, timely take on the topic, it’ll help increase your competitiveness.

No matter what, you always want to aim to produce great blog posts. Quality is always going to win with your readers at the end of the day.

Kate isn’t afraid to target a variety of keywords with her content. Try going after keywords that have lower or medium competitiveness and see how that does for you.

Q4: How do you keep it natural when tying keywords into your content so you don’t go overboard?

There’s nothing worse than content that has been unnaturally stuffed with keywords. It seems forced and doesn’t read as being genuine at all. To make sure your keyword usage flows, here are a few tips to remember:

Diana feels there should be no problem writing naturally when you’re clear on your audience persona and the goals you have for your content. Try not to stress about it too much and focus on providing value. It also helps to use synonyms to your chosen keyword so you don’t overdo it.

Julia’s advice is to make sure the keyword is incorporate into your headers, intro, and end copy of your blog post. She also suggests using synonyms throughout the post.

Rachel also agrees that synonyms are key when optimizing your posts. She also likes to incorporate quotes that use her keywords and she changes up the sentence structure throughout her writing.

Q5: Are there any final steps you should take before hitting publish on your next post so you know it’s optimized effectively?

We’re all eager to get our content out into the world. But you don’t want to publish something before it’s ready! Take these final steps to ensure your post is optimized before it goes live:

Diana suggests using the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant to check your work and receive any helpful tips for making improvements. She also said to evaluate things like tone, CTAs, etc.

Kate turns to the Yoast plugin for WordPress to do a final review of the post before publishing. This way you won’t overlook important things like alt tags, meta description, and other details.

Sometimes you just don’t feel like reading through a post after you’ve written it. But guess what? Those extra few minutes are crucial in helping you spot spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as any other errors.

If you can, take Lexie’s advice. Have someone else read through your post for feedback on things like readability and to see if they spot any typos.

Q6: What tools will be handy in helping you stick to your content creation workflow?

The right tools will make your job so much easier, which is why you’ll want to test these out:

Diana knows SEMrush is a great tool to manage your content creation workflow.

Lexie loves SEMrush as well, relying on their Topic Research Tool and Google’s Auto Suggest.

BuzzSumo, SEMrush, Answer the Public, and Yoast are always popular choices.

Here at Express Writers, we have a few tools we rely on. This includes Microsoft Word for writing posts, our very own platform for delegating assignments, and Airtable for keeping everything nice and organized.

Q7: How often should you revisit your workflow to ensure it’s actually still working for you?

Once you have a content creation workflow in place, it might need some tweaks. Or maybe not! Here’s what you should know:

Diana said you can change your content creation workflow as you go. You’ll likely have different types of workflows for various content. After all, creating blog content is different than creating social media content.

Rachel revisits her workflow every quarter, allowing her to spot any areas for change.

But sometimes there’s no need to switch it up! If everything is going smoothly, you likely won’t need to make any adjustments to your workflow.

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