#ContentWritingChat Recap: Successfully Optimizing Web Content in 2020 with Diana Richardson

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Successfully Optimizing Web Content in 2020 with Diana Richardson

If you need some help when it comes to optimizing web content, you’re in the right place! Whether it’s your latest blog post or a key page on your site, it needs to be optimized effectively if you want to rank in search results.

So, how can you make sure that happens? Glad you asked! This #ContentWritingChat recap is packed with awesome tips that will help you get discovered via Google.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Successfully Optimizing Web Content in 2020 with Diana Richardson

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Diana Richardson. Diana is a Social Media & Community Manager at SEMrush (one of our favorite tools). She had some amazing advice for our chat, so let’s dive into it!

Q1: What is the first step we must take when optimizing web content to ensure we’ll get the desired results?

Before you just start diving in, we need to talk about what needs to happen first… Before you start optimizing everything. Here’s what you need to know:

As Diana mentioned, it starts with knowing your goal and who your target audience is. What are you working to achieve? And who is the desired reader for your content? You need to keep these things in mind in order to generate the right results.

Don’s advice is to set up your content pillars before diving into optimizing web content. Think about core topics and subtopics you’ll be covering and allow that to guide your keyword research.

Remember that quality is crucial. You never want to sacrifice quality in order to get your content to rank highly.

Q2: Should we be targeting high-volume keywords or is that merely a vanity metric? If you feel it’s a vanity metric, what should we focus on instead?

High-volume keywords or low-volume keywords? What about low competition? There’s so much data to look at! This is what you should pay attention to:

If you can rank for a high-volume keyword, that’s awesome! However, it’s not always an easy task because those keywords are often very competitive. Diana suggests finding some of the more unique keywords that still get search volume and targeting those.

Focusing on long-tail keywords that your target audience uses is definitely a great tactic when optimizing.

For those who are just starting out, it doesn’t hurt to go for less competitive keywords. This strategy just might pay off in the long run!

The team at SEO Charge says to go for both. Try targeting booth high and low-volume keywords and see what kind of results you get.

Finding that balance is key! Zala says to identify where you can compete and actually make an impact online.

Q3: Break it down! How can creators find the right keywords that will work for their content?

To find the perfect keywords when optimizing web content, just keep this advice in mind!

Optimizing web content starts with the right keywords. And finding the right keywords starts with knowing your audience. Diana relies on tools like SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to help her get the job done. She also finds it helpful to have your ideal reader in mind. How would that person search? Which keywords would they be using?

Masooma suggests using tools like Google Related Search to help you generate ideas for potential keywords.

The typical SEO tools don’t have to be the only things you use! You can also check out BuzzSumo and Quora to see what people are talking about. That can generate a ton of new ideas.

Katie offered even more great suggestions, which are worth checking out!

Don’s advice might not be what you’d expect, but it’s definitely worth trying. He says to try some keywords that don’t work first. Then, you can use the data you gather to make improvements moving forward.

Q4: Is it possible to get too carried away and over-optimize your blog posts or web pages?

Is over-optimization really a thing? Here’s some thoughts from our community:

No one wants to sound like a robot, which is often the end result when people over-optimize.

Danielle said keyword-stuffed writing is awkward. Focus on creating quality first and foremost, then worry about optimization.

The key is to find a balance between writing for your reader and Google.

Q5: Are there any differences we should note when optimizing blog posts versus pages on our website?

Differences between blog posts and web pages? Well, here’s what you need to know:

The main difference between optimizing blogs and web pages is your goal. What are you trying to achieve with each? That should shape your content overall. Other than that, there isn’t really a difference.

You still want to make sure you’re paying attention to things like linking, images, keywords, headings, etc.

Q6: What are the most common mistakes creators make when optimizing web content? And how can we avoid them?

Don’t fall victim to these mistakes!

Not optimizing is a huge mistake! Failing to have a clean navigation on your site is a big no-no. And ignoring E-A-T is not wise, my friend.

Kate also agrees that paying attention to E-A-T is a must!

Other mistakes to avoid: overusing/underusing keywords, not using keywords in the URL, and ignoring factors like image optimization and page loading times.

Forgetting all about user search intent would definitely be a mistake!

If your CTA isn’t clear, that isn’t good for you or the reader!

Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. You should always be focused on quality and adding value.

Q7: Great tools are an important part of optimization. Which tools should we be using?

Make sure these tools are part of your arsenal when optimizing web content:

Diana’s favorite tools? Your own brain and SEMrush!

These are some great features to check out for anyone getting started.

BuzzSumo and Google Analytics are also very helpful.

And we can’t forget about Answer the Public, Yoast, and Hemingway.

Ahrefs is another great one to try!

Katie suggests utilizing some tools that will help improve the overall user experience of your site.

And finally, give CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer a go if you want to create better titles for your blog posts.

Want to join our next chat? It happens on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest with #ContentWritingChat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Conducting a Mid-Year Review of Your Content Goals

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Conducting a Mid-Year Review of Your Content Goals

Congrats! You have officially made it halfway through the year!

With six months remaining, there’s one very important thing you should do if you want to make sure you reach your goals. Your content goals, that is.

And what is that thing, you ask? Well, you need to make sure you conduct a mid-year review. This is the perfect opportunity to see how you’ve progressed in terms of reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself. Are you actually seeing the traffic, engagement, and conversions you hoped for?

If you are, that’s fantastic! If not, you’ll be able to see where you can make improvements to turn things around. So, we’re teaching you how to conduct a mid-year review of your own in this #ContentWritingChat recap.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Conducting a Mid-Year Review of Your Content Goals

This month’s community chat was filled with some amazing, highly actionable tips that you’ll certainly be able to put to good use. Let’s dive in!

Q1: What are some common, big-picture content goals that creators are working towards?

As creators, we are often working towards some of the same goals when it comes to what we hope to achieve with our content. These are just some of the goals creators strive for:

Consistency is definitely one of the most common goals creators set for themselves. Being consistent when it comes to publishing new work is important in building your brand and serving your audience.

Learning how to better engage your target audience is something we should all be striving towards because those connections are crucial.

Establishing trust and authenticity will always be important goals.

Consistency, quality, building brand authority, engaging, and being willing to adapt are goals that are certainly worth setting for yourself.

Q2: Why is it important for creators to review their content goals once they’re halfway through the year?

The halfway mark gives you plenty of data to review in order to prepare for the remainder of the year. Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say about this:

You never know what could come up and change the course for you. That’s why taking time to review your goals and adjust your course is key to success.

In fact, things change so quickly that doing just a mid-year review simply isn’t enough. Keep reading to see how frequently people are conducting their content reviews!

As Maria said, you need to make sure your content is still aligned with the overall goals you’ve set for yourself. If not, this gives you the opportunity to get back on track.

Sometimes a change in priorities shifts things for you. Rachel knows it’s important that you give yourself grace to be flexible and make changes as needed.

By conducting a review, you can see what’s working for you and what’s not. This shows you what you should be doing more of and where you can make improvements moving forward.

Always check in to see if your goals are realistic and still aligned with your bigger vision.

By conducting a mid-year review, you’ll have plenty of time to correct your course if things aren’t progressing the way you’d hoped.

Q3: When reflecting on the past six months, which metrics are worth tracking to see how you’ve progressed?

Analytics can often be overwhelming, leaving us wondering what we should pay special attention to. These are the analytics you should keep your eye on:

The metrics you track will always depend on the goals you’ve set.

Engagement is definitely a metric that’s worth tracking.

Building off the previous response, not only do you want to look at engagement in general, but also the quality of the conversations you’re having with others.

You may also want to check in and see if people are using your contact forms, if they’re clicking through to certain pages, and how long they’re staying on your site.

And it’s also crucial that you check in with yourself… Are you enjoying the work you’re doing? If not, something needs to change.

Q4: If you discover that you’re not on track to hit your goals, how can you tweak your strategy moving forward to see success?

Remember, you don’t want to freak out if you see that you haven’t hit your goals yet. And don’t give up either! This is what your should be doing instead:

Once you know where things are going wrong, then you can take action accordingly to turn it all around.

Remember to be honest with yourself during this process. This is an opportunity to learn and grow, so don’t beat yourself up if things haven’t gone to plan.

Zala suggests reaching out to your social media community for feedback. You can learn a lot if you just ask.

Q5: What can you do to boost metrics such as traffic, engagement, conversions, etc.?

If your content isn’t performing as you’d hoped, you can’t just sit back. You need to take action. Here are some things you can do to boost your results:

If you want to amplify your results, you should be consistent with showing up and delivering value to your target audience.

Not seeing enough traffic? Make sure you’re optimizing your work effectively. Need more engagement? Encourage people to respond and connect with them first. And if you need to boost conversions? Create a simple sales page that communicates the benefits your client/customer will receive.

Always ask yourself the above questions to ensure you’re on the right track with your content.

Don’t be shy when it comes to actually promoting your work. You have to put it out there for the world to see.

Make sure you’re actually engaging yourself!

Prioritize building relationships and supporting one another. Those relationships will really go a long way.

Q6: Are there any tools that can help when conducting a mid-year review?

Conducting a mid-year review will be so much easier with with a toolbox like this:

Google Analytics and SEMrush are definitely essentials for any mid-year review.

Lexie turns to Google Search Console to see how people are discovering the content she and the team create.

Q7: From this point forward, how frequently should you measure your progress toward your goals?

Now that you know the value of a mid-year review for your content, make sure you’re doing this regularly. Here’s how often you should consider doing this:

Monthly and quarterly reviews are definitely a smart way to do things!

Checking in every month gives you plenty of data to track.

For some, every three months is the golden ticket.

You can even set mini goals to check in with each month to plan out on a weekly basis.

No matter how often you choose to check in, just make sure you’re doing it consistently.

Q8: What’s one step you’ll take after today to ensure you’ll hit your content goals?

Our chat participants shared some action steps they’ll be taking. Which of these suggestions will you be tackling as well?

Carla said she’ll be implementing the tips she learned during the chat for her next content review.

Hope you can join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. And be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building a Brand That Thrives Through the Ups & Downs

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building a Brand That Thrives Through the Ups & Downs

read that post here. And we were inspired by that post to hold a #ContentWritingChat on the same topic.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building a Brand That Thrives Through the Ups & Downs

This month, we opted to host a community chat to discuss a topic on the minds of many business owners during this worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. How can you build a brand that thrives despite what may be going on in the world? Well, if you’re wondering the same thing, this chat recap has some great advice for you!

Q1: What do you think are some of the biggest struggles brands have faced during this pandemic?

Being that we were all in this together, many brands dealt with the exact same struggles. Here are just some of the issues that came up during this time: As Lexie pointed out, the unknown was definitely one of the biggest struggles because that’s just something you can’t prepare for. When you don’t know what’s next, that can be stressful and scary. Brands have essentially had to take it one step at a time during the entire pandemic. John knows that brands were often left questioning if their messages were appropriate before posting. The risk of saying the wrong thing is often high during times of crisis. Not only that, but brands wondered how they would make enough money to pay their bills that continued to come in month after month. Many even considered changing their content plans that were already carefully crafted! And when it comes to that content plan, should you make adjustments to discuss real-time issues such as the pandemic? If so, how much is too much? You certainly don’t want to flood your audience with it, as Danielle mentioned. Consistency in messaging is always key. During times like this, it’s important to ask yourself if the content you’re putting out there is truly serving your audience or not. And because so many people have been living in fear throughout this time, ensuring your customers that they would be safe when doing business with you was another crucial message to spread. But besides just reassuring them, you also needed to keep them safe, especially for in-person businesses.

Q2: When it comes to the brands that will withstand the test of time, what are some of the characteristics about them that stand out?

The harsh reality is that not all brands survive. But if you want to be around for a long time, there are some important characteristics to embrace. As Michelle said, brands cannot make it all about them. Your focus needs to be on your audience and how you can best be of service and provide a great experience. Rachel’s last point about knowing when to stop posting and start listening is something everyone needs to be reminded of.

Q3: Creating authoritative, valuable content is a huge part of building a great brand. How can you be sure your content makes an impact?

Before you create that next piece of content, you’ll want to read through these tips! First, you need to figure out what your audience actually needs from you. It’s important that you’re delivering the content that they need the most in this very moment. But how do you figure out what they want? Survey them! Danielle knows that’s a powerful way to figure out exactly what your audience wants. Ask them what topics are important to them and what they’re struggling with right now. As Zala said, authoritative content is aligned with your topic, industry, and audience. It’s also well-researched and clearly shares your own point of view. That’s what makes a piece of content unique after all… Your own thoughts and opinions! When building a brand, you want to make sure the content you publish adds value, has a consistent voice, is creative and unique, and tells a story. You’ll also want to pay attention to how people respond to your content. As Carrie said, what happens after they consume that blog post of yours? Do they leave a comment or send an email? Do they actually make a purchase? It’s important to watch your data because it says a lot about which content is working for you. And remember to use your platform to say what needs to be said in the moment.

Q4: Consistency is definitely key when building your brand, but what exactly does it look like to be consistent online?

Being consistent isn’t just about having a regular posting schedule, you know! When building a brand, Michelle knows it’s not a good look if you neglect posting on your social media platforms. That’s why it’s important to prioritize content creation and it also helps to schedule posts in advance. Shawn agrees. Far too often brands just abandon social media accounts and they’re really missing out on potential connections with their community. Posting and engaging regularly is a huge part of being consistent when building a brand. But as Lexie said, never sacrifice quality for quantity. Figure out how much quality content you can actually commit to in a single week and make that your goal. It’s also important to be consistent with your research, coming up with new ideas, etc. Besides sticking to your posting schedule, consistency is also important for your voice and the visual representation of your brand. Using the same colors and fonts can help your imagery become more recognizable. And you want to use the same voice and keep things high-quality across all platforms.

Q5: Authenticity and integrity are crucial for any brand. What does integrity mean to you and how can your brand portray this characteristic?

Building a brand that has integrity is something that we all strive for. Here’s what you need to know if you want your own brand to embody this: Be open and honest with your audience at all times. Set standards for your brand and actually stick to them. Believe in your mission and let that be the guiding force behind everything you do. Establish trust and integrity will follow. Be true to yourself.

Q6: How can you be sure you’re providing an amazing experience for any customers who engage with your brand?

Nothing turns people aways quite like a bad customer experience. Make sure you aren’t doing that by taking advice straight from the chat! Gaby feels a great customer experience comes from brands that are consistent, personal, accessible, transparent, responsive, trustworthy, flexible, communicative, proactive, and attentive. It’s always smart to ask for feedback to learn what’s working and where you can make improvements. Don’t be shy about reaching out to past customers about their experience with you. Make sure you’re actually listening and implementing the feedback they provide. Keep an eye on reviews and any constructive criticism you can improve upon. And make sure you’re addressing both positive and negative reviews because the negative ones can be a great learning opportunity. Another great idea is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Do you feel you provide a great experience for them? Test it out and see!

Q7: Which brands have seemingly done a great job withstanding the ups and downs throughout the pandemic? How can we be inspired by them?

Check out these brands and see how you can implement some of their strategies for yourself. Grammarly and SEMrush are always awesome! MeetEdgar has been great as well! During what was surely a challenging time for USPS with extra packages being shipped, they put in the work to handle everything for their customers. Gaby said Chef Jose Andres has done a stand-out job during this time to serve his community better. This link that Michelle shared is worth checking out! Many brands tweaked their messaging for their TV commercials during the pandemic.

Q8: Will you be making any pivots within your brand moving forward as a result of this time?

A few people shared some changes they’ll be making as a result of the pandemic, so here are some responses: Michelle has seen more of a focus on digital during this time with her clients. Lynette wants to prioritize doing more collaborations with bloggers and those in her industry. That’s a great way to gain exposure! Masooma wants to dive deeper into the content she creates moving forward. And of course, this reminder from Gaby to always remain flexible is something we all need to hear from time to time. You have to be able to adapt to what’s going on, whether that’s with your content, your priorities, etc. Join us for #ContentWritingChat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated.]]>

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Mastering Email Marketing in 2020 with Liz Willits

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Mastering Email Marketing in 2020 with Liz Willits

There’s no denying that email marketing should be an important part of any brand’s strategy in 2020. Email allows you to connect with people long after they’ve left your website, giving you the opportunity to continue building a relationship with them.

And who knows where that relationship may lead? That subscriber just might become your next client or customer! This is why it’s so important to take email marketing seriously and be smart about how you’re growing your list and what you’re sending.

That’s why we had to make it a topic for #ContentWritingChat.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Mastering Email Marketing in 2020 with Liz Willits

Our guest host for this month’s #ContentWritingChat was Liz Willits. Liz is actually a content strategist on the AWeber team, which is an email marketing platform that you’re probably familiar with. She’s also a keynote speaker and marketing consultant. We were so excited to have her join our chat so she could share some of her expertise. Let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: Why should email marketing continue to be a priority for brands this year and into the future?

If you need a little convincing that email is still worth your time, you’ll want to check out a few of the responses we got during the chat. They’ll prove exactly why email is still valuable today and will be well into the future.

As Liz said, email is an amazing way to get the attention of your audience. And let’s be honest, that’s not always easy to do on social media. With ever-changing algorithms and pay-to-play tactics, it’s often hard to get discovered. Email makes this easier and it’s more affordable than having to pay to “boost” every social media post you publish.

Another important thing to consider is that we don’t own any of the social media platforms we use. Should they shut down one day, we would lose the community we’ve built on those platforms. That’s why it’s important to get those people onto your email list (which you actually own).

Plus, email provides a simple and effective way to talk one-on-one with your community. Provide value. Answer questions. And get to know them better!

Q2: Getting people onto your email list is an important first step. How do you do this?

People aren’t going to be inclined to sign up for any old email list because they’re not always quick to hand over their contact information. So, if you want to boost your subscribers, you have to be smart about getting them to sign up!

Liz’s advice is to offer some sort of free lead magnet via a sign-up form or a landing page. This allows you to deliver something of value in exchange for their name and email address. Once you’ve created a lead magnet, make sure you’re taking action to spread the word about it.

When creating your lead magnet, think about what your target audience struggles with and how you can help them. That’s going to be irresistible and will surely attract new subscribers.

If you’re running an online shop, take Lexie’s suggestion of offering a first-time buyer discount. Everyone loves to save money and people will happily join your list if they know they’ll be getting a discount code.

You can really get creative with your lead magnets. They can be videos, checklists, printables, and even mini courses. It helps to ask your audience what would be most appealing to them.

And make sure you keep Michelle’s advice in mind. Start your list before you actually need it. Don’t wait until you have something to launch to start building a list. Begin attracting subscribers now and prioritize nurturing those relationships.

Q3: Once you have subscribers, you want to keep the list warm. How can we write emails that actually generate opens, click-throughs, and conversions?

Keeping your list warm is going to require you to stay in touch with your audience on a regular basis. Don’t go ages without emailing them, otherwise they just might forget all about you! Plus, people won’t stick around if you’re sending content they don’t love. Here are some tips:

Liz says to identify your audience’s pain points and send emails that help solve them. Everyone wants a solution to their biggest problems, right? So, make sure you’re providing that to your subscribers! It’s all about adding value.

And if you aren’t sure what your audience is struggling with, it never hurts to ask. Talk to them via email or social media or you can even send out a survey.

Once you’ve got a great idea for the body of your email, crafting a click-worthy subject line is just as important. Your subject is the first thing they’ll see. And you want to leave them intrigued and wanting more so they’ll actually open the email.

It also helps to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. As Bill said, think about what kind of email you would feel compelled to open. What would make you click a link or ultimately make a purchase? Keep that in mind as you craft your copy and your call to action.

Storytelling is always a powerful tactic when it comes to email marketing, so don’t be afraid to take your subscribers on a journey with you.

You’ll also want to consider current trends and what’s going on in the world when you’re sending emails so you can ensure nothing comes off as inappropriate.

Q4: Which stats should we pay close attention to in order to track email marketing success?

To continue improving your email marketing, stats are an important part of the game. They’ll indicate what’s working and what’s not so you can make changes as needed. Here are some things to keep an eye on:

Liz suggests watching stats like open rates, click-through rates, sales, unsubscribers, and bounce rate. Especially if you’re selling something, you’ll want to keep an eye on how many people are clicking through to your site and how many are actually converting.

Carla always tracks her open rates and click-through rates. Her open rates allow her to see which email subject lines perform the best, thus shaping the content she creates in the future.

As Lexie said, clicks indicate what’s valuable to a subscriber. What seems to be getting the attention of your audience? That’s a good way to see what kind of content appeals to them and addressed their needs.

Another stat to track is how long someone is actually spending on your page. Valuable content means they’ll be more inclined to stick around longer!

Response rate is also great to track. Are your emails generating conversations with your subscribers? And what kind of overall response are you getting? Is it positive or negative? What can you learn from these conversations to create amazing emails moving forward?

And one last thing to keep in mind… Don’t just check your stats for the first 24 hours after your email was sent. Rachel suggests coming back in 48 hours to review the response your email marketing garnered.

Q5: What if open rates and conversions are low? What can be done to improve this?

When you want people to read your emails, you want to see a high open rate. And when you want to make sales, you want to see skyrocketing conversions. But if this isn’t happening for you, how can you change it? Check out these tips:

Liz’s advice is to start off by sending a few emails that are going to be very valuable to your target audience. It sets them up for what to expect with your list. And when they see that you consistently deliver high-quality emails, they’ll want to open what you send in the future. She also said this will help if you have any deliverability issues with your emails because providers will see that people do want your content in their inboxes.

Liz also says it’s smart to A/B test your emails to see what increases your open rates and click-through rates. This will tell you so much about what resonates with your audience.

Bill feels that content fails for three reasons: the wrong message, the wrong audience, or the wrong timing. It would be wise to ask yourself if any of these are the case when it comes to an email that didn’t perform as well as you hoped.

Another great tactic is to segment your list so you can target your content based on the interests of your subscribers.

It also never hurts to seek feedback from your audience. They’ll tell you exactly what they like if you simply ask them! What would they like to see more of from you? What makes them open an email? Get some tips from them and tweak your email marketing accordingly to do some testing.

Q6: What are some important types of emails that you should send to your list?

Get ready to write! These are some emails that you should be sending!

Liz says you should send a welcome email, a survey to get to know your subscribers better, and send some emails based on actions that subscribers take. This allows you to really tailor your content to their interests and needs.

It’s also smart to send out any announcements, new features or offers, and some fun stuff here and there!

Rachel enjoys sending out quarterly or monthly updates. She also sends emails for product launches, links, and she’ll do a pulse check for pivots.

Just remember to make sure what you send out is actually valuable!

Q7: What are your go-to tools for handling email? And do you have any resources for learning more about mastering email marketing?

The tools you use are really going to make things so much easier for you when it comes to email. Plus, resources help you become a better marketer too! Here are some suggestions to check out:

For Liz, she’s all about AWeber. As a Content Strategist for their team, she sees first-hand how it can handle email automation, newsletters, forms, landing pages, and much more.

Optin Monster is another favorite for many content creators, as is Mailchimp.

And of course, Canva really comes in handy for creating amazing email graphics!

Resources like Hootsuite and Hubspot will really help you out!

And of course, there’s also blog posts from Neil Patel!

Q8: Open Q&A for our guest host, Liz!

Here are a couple responses Liz shared to questions asked during the chat:

Liz knows that social media algorithms can be tricky! That’s why email is so important because it allows you to easily connect with your list.

She also said to never buy an email list, always test and review emails, and make sure you clean your list regularly.

Want to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Becoming a Best-Selling Author in a Digital Age with Kristin Smedley

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Becoming a Best-Selling Author in a Digital Age with Kristin Smedley

Are you an author or thinking about writing your very first book?

If so, there’s a good chance that you aspire to become a best-selling author! You want to get your book in the hands of tons of people around the world. That’s the dream when you’re a writer, isn’t it?

Well, we wanted to get some tips on how to do just that, so we invited a best-selling author to guest host our Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, and share her expertise!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Becoming a Best-Selling Author in a Digital Age with Kristin Smedley

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Kristin Smedley. Kristin is a CEO, a TEDx speaker, and a best-selling author. The Kindle edition of her book, Thriving Blind, debuted as a #1 New Release and a #2 Best Seller on Amazon. And the paperback version debuted as a #1 New Release as well!

Q1: Q1: Why should people consider becoming an author in 2020? And how do you know if writing a book is a great path for you to take?

If you’ve been on the fence about writing a book this year, let us convince you! Our chat participants shared the benefits of becoming an author and it’s sure to leave you feeling motivated to write!

Kristin feels a book is a great way position yourself as a leader in your industry. It’s also a fantastic way to serve your audience and provide value to them. She also went on to share that books can provide content for your social media platforms, your blog, and more since they can be repurposed into quotes, chapter summaries, and other options.

And of course, writing a book can definitely add some cash to your bank account, which is always a plus. Kristin mentioned that it might not be a huge revenue stream, but every little bit counts!

The resident author here at Express Writers, our CEO Julia McCoy, said that writing a book is the best kind of content you can create if you want to create a long-lasting presence. You can see her with all three of her book babies in the photos above!

A book can lead to many amazing opportunities, as Michelle mentioned in her tweet. If you’re looking to get into public speaking, starting with writing a book could be a huge help to get your career as a speaker off the ground.

Carla feels that everyone has a story to tell. So, the question is, are you ready to tell yours? She suggests examining the market and seeing if there’s anything new you could add through creating a book of your own.

Q2: Once you’ve decided to write a book, should you consider self-publishing? What are the pros of doing it on your own?

When publishing a book, you can really go one of two ways. And when it comes to self-publishing, it’s certainly increased in popularity over the years. It’s made it even easier for people around the world to become authors. But before you go all in, there are some things you should keep in mind:

Kristin self-published her first book, Thriving Blind. Doing so allowed her to see first-hand the difficulties in getting braille books for blind readers. She even plans to self-publish her next two books because she feels the process is fairly easy and she’s confident in her marketing skills. Being able to market your own book is crucial if you want to become a best-selling author through self-publishing.

Self-publishing is certainly for those who want all the freedom!

Maria feels self-publishing is beneficial because it gives the author more control and freedom when it comes to making decisions about the book. If you’re feeling good about taking everything into your own hands, self-publishing could be a great option for you.

Julia agrees that you’ll have full control over everything when it comes to your book if you go the self-publishing route. That means any changes, artwork, etc. all fall on you. Plus, getting to keep a larger percentage of your royalties is definitely a bonus.

Q3: Do you have any tips for the writing process to ensure you’re staying motivated and inspired?

Let’s be real. The writing process isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s downright challenging! So, if you need some help staying on track with your writing goals, keep this advice in mind:

Kristin suggests holding yourself accountable by telling other people that you’re writing a book. Share it with your online community, as well as friends and family. It gets them interested in what you’re working on and they just might check in on your progress from time to time!

She also put a “Best-Selling Author” logo on her vision board, which she sees every day. This served as a reminder of what she’s working toward and surely adds some extra motivation when you’re not feeling called to sit down and write.

Some other suggestions from Kristin to keep those creative juices flowing… Do you when it comes to your writing schedule, such as how much and how frequently you write. Also, become an active member of online groups that will benefit from your book. Observe their conversations and get to know them.

Julia finds it beneficial to have scheduled writing times that coordinate with when you’re most productive. If you’re an early bird that gets things done first thing, make this your writing time.

She also suggests avoiding writing when you’re burnt out (taking time for rest is important), stay hydrated and nourished, and make sure you sign offline to give yourself a break from the internet on occasion.

Remember who you’re doing this for. Think about your book being in the hands of your ideal readers and how game-changing this book will be in their lives. That’s sure to inspire you!

Also, don’t forget to keep a journal nearby because you never know when inspiration will strike!

Q4: What tools are going to be beneficial in the writing and publication process?

As you dive into writing and publishing, there are some things you’ll want to have in your toolbox to help the process go smoothly. Here are some recommendations:

Kristin relies on the Notes app, as well as Post-it Notes and a whiteboard. She also shared a very important reminder that it’s smart to have an external hard drive to keep everything backed up and safe.

Evernote is also another handy tool for brainstorming, storing ideas, and even writing if you want!

Julia’s go-to tools include notepads and journals, her Apple computer, Scrivener app, Google Docs, and an amazing team for additional support.

You really can’t go wrong with Google Docs! It’s all about using what works for you.

Q5: How can you be sure your book is actually going to appeal to your audience and provide value?

As you’re writing your book and well on your way to becoming a best-selling author, you may be wondering if this book is actually going to be interesting to your audience. Well, if you find yourself asking this question, here’s what you need to know:

Q6: Once your book is finished, how can you spread the word and gain more readers?

Now that it’s time to drive sales so you can become that best-selling author you’ve been dreaming about, there are some tips you need to know about spreading the word!

Kristin’s first tip is to start spreading the word early… Before you’ve even finished the book!

She also suggests building an email list so you have somewhere to promote the book and update them on your writing progress. Kristin also had some other great ideas like reaching out to bloggers in your niche and pitching yourself for podcast interviews.

Michelle knows the promotion stage is where some PR really comes in handy. She says to put together a press kit, a media list, and start pitching. Another option is to participate in book giveaways, plan a launch party (it can even be virtual), and have readings/signings at local bookstores.

Julia knows it’s all about the email list. She wrote a five-day launch campaign via email when her book launched where she shared her story and asked for reviews.

Besides email, make sure you’re spreading the word via social media. In order to become a best-selling author, you need to tell the world about your book!

Q7: For Kristin Smedley: What are some unique things you did in self-publishing your book, Thriving Blind?

Kristin really got creative when it came to self-publishing her book. Here are some of the things she did:

Kristin took some extra steps to get books published in electronic Braille. She won a Twitter contest where money was donated to create the Braille version of her book. And she even enlisted the help of her 6th grade English teacher to edit the book, while getting a former classmate to do the cover.

Want to join in for the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens on Twitter on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated!