ad insights from youtube

The Secrets of Grabbing Attention Online: Insights from YouTube’s “Skip” Button

Creating ads is a tricky business.

It’s a case of a phenomenon I’ve mentioned before: the marketer’s equivalent of the Hawthorne Effect, which was a study done in the 1920s that discovered changes to people’s experimental conditions (amount of light, time to work, etc.) led directly to increases in productivity.

Well, interruptions lead to negativity — decreases in productivity, decreases in happiness. And most ads are, in fact, very interruptive. They were built to be.

Today’s modern, savvy consumer doesn’t react well when they know they’re being promoted to, especially when ads are interrupting a current consumption or focus.

Take, for example, clicking a YouTube video. An ad pops up — the viewer may already have their mouse in the lower-right corner, just waiting on “Skip” to appear.

This could be said for all ads. I mean, just look at the ROA (return on advertising). Yikes.

Source: Ad Strategist (see our summary on Express Writers)

Just a few years ago, you could expect to generate nearly a dozen times your investment on Facebook Ads, whereas that number has plummeted in the present day.

It isn’t just because of the woes of any particular platform. It’s because people are cautious about being promoted to.

So, what’s the secret for getting them to stick around and hear what you have to say?

Well, what about looking at the ads on YouTube that people simply have to stop and watch, and can’t skip? Yes, we can learn a thing or two from those captivating pieces of art. That’s what I’m here today on the Write Blog to explore.

What's the secret in getting people to stick around and hear what you have to say, in an online world full of millions of other marketers? @YouTube's skip button has some pretty cool insights. 📹 More from @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

The Appeal of Storytelling: What Makes Us Gravitate to it?

There’s something enthralling about a good story. Most people’s first exposure to stories comes when they’re small, hearing about fairytales before bed.

Stories stick with us throughout life, both on the personal level of banter and campfire stories all the way to tales woven into books, TV, and movies.

In a way, our lives are stories. Maybe that’s why we relate to the stories of others so well. Stories and the narratives that come with them are proven to help us construct memories, playing a greater role in our psyche than many realize.

A group of neuroscientists at Princeton University did a study on brain patterns during storytelling. They found the response patterns in the brain were the same for the listeners as they were for the storytellers. Both figuratively and scientifically, stories connect us.

Learn what makes @YouTube audience members forget to hit 'skip' on ads. Stories connect us - both figuratively and scientifically! 🎦 More from @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

It should come as no surprise that storytelling has emerged as a powerful strategy within marketing. Great content connects the creators with the audience and the brand with the customers.

Check out this snippet of a great infographic from OneSpot.

Source: OneSpot

The connection between story-like ads and the tendency of people to avoid the skip button has been explored and reveals insights on what makes an ad good in the mind of a viewer.

3 Lessons on What Makes Ads Watchable and Inviting

youtube skip button

3 secrets to grabbing attention, from @YouTube's Skip button: 1. Personalized content 2. Genuine storytelling 3. Content that feels real 💥 Click To Tweet

Telling your viewer a story rather than giving them a pitch is much more likely to make them stick around. Here are three examples of how it’s worked in the past, and how you can do it in your own ads.

1. Personalized Ads Help Bridge Taboo Topics

Abreva had a tough task ahead of them when they marketed a solution to cold sores. While this is a problem many people suffer from, it isn’t one a lot of people like to talk about. Turning to YouTube and building over 100 personal ads, Abreva sent simple, six-second pre-rolls to users based on relevancy.

Search interest boomed over 300%. Users who were searching celebrity gossip would get ads about how they couldn’t control the latest breakup but could stop cold sores. Users who searched up beauty tutorials would get ads on how they could keep pouty lips but lose cold sores.

Personalized ads blend in – making them feel less promotional and more relatable. They also effectively bypass any defensive tendencies the viewer may have as a result.

2. Genuine Storytelling Grabs a Viewer’s Attention

The volume of ads, and content, in general, is growing rapidly. With so many options to choose from, users are extremely selective. They’ll move on fast from video or an ad if it isn’t connecting with them from the beginning.

Nearly two-thirds of people skip ads when given the chance, with nearly three-quarters of people admitting they do it out of habit. In a 15-second ad, you have a little over five seconds before the skip option pops up. In a 30-second ad, you have a little over seven seconds.

Why do they do it? More often than not, it’s because they just want to get to the video.

Source: MarketingSherpa

So how do you stop them from skipping? Give them something just as interesting to watch. Your content becomes less like a barrier blocking them and more like a content appetizer before the main course.

If you hear a good opening line in a book, a movie trailer, or a TV pitch, you may stick around. What’s this story about?

The same thing can be done with an ad. To stop viewers from impulse skipping, you should start your story off from the beginning and build on it.

3. Content That Feels Real Gets Watched

Going back to how people will automatically put up their guard if they feel a promotion coming on, real content is the way to go. What qualifies as real? If something is real, it has a genuine feel to it. It’s full of facts and insight, rather than products and offers.

This can also tie in with personalization and storytelling. Imagine crafting an ad and sending it to someone who is passionate about the subject, all while telling them a relatable tale they can put themselves into. That’s a recipe for views.

Source: Think with Google

Think of those ads with a guy recording himself with his phone, telling you about his business idea. It has the risk of appearing pitchy, but it’s genuine enough that viewers may just want to stick around.

Stories with realism and relatability click with us. They’re far more personal and impactful than a generic advertisement thrown at whoever will watch, no matter how polished it is. They’re also more effective for advertisers. Why send the same ad out and simply take a chance on people watching it?

Personal campaigns with appealing stories are far more likely to keep people engaged.

'Stories with realism and relatability click with us. They’re far more personal and impactful than a generic advertisement thrown at whoever will watch, no matter how polished it is.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on the 3 lessons on watchable ads Click To Tweet

Stories Are About the Listener & Their Takeaway

Most marketers know that good value-focused marketing is about the customer first, not the brand.

The same could be said about good advertisements. Whether a YouTube pre-roll or a webpage dropdown ad, the same principals apply.

You don’t want your ad jumping in front of someone on their way to watch something else, only to try and ask them for sale – even in not so many words.

Instead, you want your ad to come off more like a personal tale. A story that resonates with the viewer, connects with them and makes them feel like they’re being treated to something rather than forced to tolerate it for a few seconds.

The results will speak for themselves, and they already do. Authentic stories and personalized content build the connection you need with your viewer and can stop them from skipping you before hearing what you have to say.

cta great copy

topic circle craveable content

How to Create Craveable Content: Use the Topic Circle Concept 

What’s one of the biggest mistakes marketers make when creating content?

It’s when they plunge ahead, and immediately spring into creation mode.

Wait… really?

Yes, you heard right.

While it’s great to have ideas and inspiration for the creation phase of content, one vital, monumental piece is missing for success in the above scenario.

What is it?

What your audience wants.

Sure, you might think your content idea is great.

But if your audience doesn’t agree, content will go nowhere.

You’ll get zero traffic. Zero shares. Zero comments. Zero engagement. Zero conversions.

*shudder*

On the other hand, if you create craveable content your audience is dying to read, your content will go the distance.

Check this example of the lifecycle of one impactful piece of content. Done well, it can nurture your visitors into becoming loyal customers. (Read more about how our readers have become buyers.)

Impactful, audience-satiating content is a big deal.

So, the real question here is, how do you find out what your audience wants? How do you know which content topics are gold, and which are destined for the grave?

I’ve come up with a concept that will help. It’s called the Topic Circle. Let’s explore how to use it to create craveable content your audience wants and needs.

Don't go straight into creation without knowing what your audience wants. But how do you find out? @JuliaEMcCoy has a concept called the Topic Circle ⭕️ that can help you flesh out truly craveable content. 🍦 Click To Tweet

topic circle concept

How to Create Craveable Content Your Audience Hungers For Using the Topic Circle Concept

The Topic Circle is a good way to visualize the intersection of your expertise + what your audience wants.

If you only rely on your expertise to come up with content topics, you’re climbing a slippery slope. Sure, you can write about those topics with confidence and authority, but at the same time, who knows if your audience will care?

That’s why you need to visualize how your expertise meshes with what your audience wants to read. This is what it looks like:

And put into practice, this is what a Topic Circle mapped to topics your reader actually wants to read looks like. For example, if your expertise is selling running shoes, your audience doesn’t necessarily want to read about types and styles of shoes. Instead, they might want to see content dealing with health and running apps, training, hydration, etc.

To arrive at your own topic circle, let’s look at how to build it.

1. Know Your Expertise

First up, knowing your expertise is fundamental for building your own Topic Circle. That’s because your expertise serves as your topic core – the area of knowledge you’ll focus on in your content.

There are a few ways to define your expertise (one or all of these may apply to you):

  • Your passion
  • What you do for a living
  • What you’re an expert in

Here are a few topic circle examples.

If you’re a pastry chef, your expertise might be baking desserts. Here’s how to map that to topics your audience wants to read about.

If you’re a nature photographer, your expertise might be identifying and photographing nature scenes, birds or landscapes. There are so many ways to map this to topics your audience wants to hear about.

And the list goes on.

How do you know what topics your readers will love? You need a Topic Circle. Define what your expertise is, to start. What's your passion? Your work? Your best skill? For more tips, check out @JuliaEMcCoy's guide craveable content 💘 Click To Tweet

2. Know Your Target Audience Inside-Out

So, you’ve defined your expertise and your core topic area. Now you need to know what someone buying or learning about products in your topic area wants to read about.

To help you discover those sub-topics, you need to do some digging.

2.1 Research Your Targets

Don’t guess what your target audience looks like. Research. That means:

Image: Facebook

All of these actions help paint a picture of who you should be targeting with content, and what they want to read about.

2.2 Know Where Your Audience Lives Online

One of your research goals should be to learn where your audience lives online, including:

  • Social media sites where they hang out
  • Hashtags they use
  • Forums they participate in
  • Influencers they follow and trust
  • Blogs they read and comment on

Once you discover these places and resources, you can internet-stalk them to find the questions and pain points people are talking about. Then, you can cover those in your content!

2.3 Create an Audience Persona

Once you have thoroughly researched your audience, it’s time to distill that information into a resource you can reference over and over: the audience persona.

This is an imaginary profile of your ideal audience member – the person who loves your brand, follows your content, and buys your products.

The profile should contain key information that helps you target them in your content, such as:

  • Demographics (age, gender, location, marital status, education, etc.)
  • Occupation, job roles and income
  • Work and life goals
  • Challenges blocking them from meeting those goals
  • Personal habits, preferences, likes/dislikes, etc.

Here’s a sample audience persona built for Express Writers:

This is an ultra-valuable tool that will help you figure out what your audience wants from your content.

MAJOR tip: When thinking about a possible content topic, ask yourself if your persona would benefit from reading it. If the answer is iffy, find another topic.

For successful content, you need to know your audience inside-out with deep research, discovering where they 'live' online, and by creating an audience persona. Read more on @JuliaEMcCoy's guide to creating your Topic Circle. Click To Tweet

3. Ask Your Audience Directly About Their Biggest Challenges

Another good way to flesh out your Topic Circle and understand what your audience wants:

Just ask.

Seriously. Send out an email to your list and ask them their #1 challenge in [insert industry here]. Tell them you want to know because you want to serve them better. Be sincere.

Once you get responses, listen. Use that information to create impactful, problem-solving, targeted content.

'Another good way to flesh out your Topic Circle and understand what your audience wants: Just ask. Send out an email to your list and ask them their #1 challenge.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on how to build your Topic Circle 💡 Click To Tweet

How Do You Create Craveable Content? Find Where Your Expertise and Audience Needs Intersect

Creating content that gets result requires thinking deeper than only focusing on our expertise. 🕵️‍♀️

The Topic Circle concept is useful for answering the question “how to create craveable content” because it illustrates where your expertise and your audience wants/needs intersect.

This is your sweet spot for content topics. 🎯

Stay in your sweet spot, and you’ll create craveable content your audience hungers for.

Need help creating content? We play best with marketers that bring great ideas and are missing the element of a team of hard-working, experienced copywriters. (That’s us!) See our services and pricing. 

How to Create Brand Voice Guidelines

How to Create Brand Voice Guidelines for Your Brand

You, my human reader, possess a unique set of traits.

You say things in a certain way. You have characteristics that people remember you for. Your tone, your language, your delivery – all of it comes together to give you a unique voice.

Same for brands and marketers.

Or, at least, it should be.

Since people are the ones vouching for and buying from brands… brands, like people, should be known for unique characteristics, and most of all, a unique voice.

When it’s an organization’s voice, we typically refer to it as a brand voice. It’s extremely valuable for making you memorable enough to stand out from competitors, and recognizable in a crowded market.

Despite the advantages of having a specific brand tone of voice, it’s surprising how many companies don’t take time to fully develop their own. Only 6 out of 10 marketers believe their brand is aligned with the direction of their company.

So, why are some brands skipping over this step? It could be because the brand itself needs some work, or, marketers simply don’t know how to develop their brand’s voice.

That’s why I’m here with today’s guide on how to build brand voice guidelines. I’ll expand on the benefits, and share with you how some of the leading companies in unique industries have crafted individual brand voices customers can recognize. Ready? Let’s get into it.

How to Create Brand Voice Guidelines

7 Steps to Building Brand Voice Guidelines

1.    Understand WHY It’s So Valuable for Your Organization

2.    Analyze Your Content & Audience for Inspiration

3.    Start with a Concise Description (Then Flesh it Out)

4.    Build Examples, Outlines, & Templates

5.    Ensure Your Brand Voice Guidelines Translate Well into Content

6.    Refine & Refocus in Small Increments

7.    Add the Supplementary Touches

Only 6 out of 10 marketers believe their brand is aligned with the direction of their company. Are you on the right track? Read @JuliaEMcCoy's 7-step guide on building brand voice guidelines 🎤 Click To Tweet

Why Should You Invest Time into Building a Brand Tone of Voice?

You’re busy. You’ve got products to sell, subscribers to gain, and numerous other goals to meet. Why should you invest time in creating a brand voice? Because it can help you meet those goals.

The bottom line is you want growth. Growth in subscribers, growth in exposure, growth in sales. According to a report from Lucidpress, brand consistency can improve revenue growth by 23% on average.

Marketers were also asked about the percentage of growth attributable to brand consistency, with the results heavily skewed upwards.

Source: Lucidpress

Many of the qualities people want in their company can only come from a well-developed brand voice. If you want to really stand out, maintain a connection with your audience, and achieve reach across multiple channels, consistent brand voice guidelines are the answer. They can offer:

  • Differentiation: Your content differentiation factor is what sets you apart from the competition. This is what will make your brand memorable, especially compared to the competition. Remember, your brand voice is about how you say things, not just what you say. I’ll cover more about how to develop this in sections two and three.
  • Recognizability: Being different isn’t the same as being recognizable, but the two go together. If customers find your brand memorable, they can recognize it quickly. From a catchphrase, a symbol, and even from a single sentence in some cases. Your brand voice is about how you come off to your audience, and being consistent with this presentation helps you stay fresh in their minds.
  • Reach: Once you’ve got a consistent brand voice, creating content actually becomes easier. Whether you’re doing it in-house or hiring specialists, your brand voice gives you a head start. You’ll automatically have an idea of what format, style, and outline to use whether you’re creating content for a blog, mailing list, app, social profile, or eBook. Your brand will be able to reach viewers no matter where they are or how they prefer to digest information.

Your brand voice guidelines help you build a better connection with your audience and serve as a way to streamline content creation.

When your ideal audience member falls in love with your brand voice. “YES!”

Instantly, your company becomes more efficient and your contact more impactful.

'Why invest in creating your brand's tone of voice? According to a report from Lucidpress, brand consistency can improve revenue growth by 23% on average.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on building brand voice guidelines. Click To Tweet

Gather Content Samples & Audience Insights for Inspiration

Now that you know why to build a brand voice, the next step is understanding how. Before you can set out a detailed group of guidelines, you need a good starting point.

To begin, gather samples of your content and see where you stand at the start. Do any of your content choices make you cringe, and decide you could really use some work? Or, do any of your pieces (or even individual parts of them) make you sit up straight and think “That is what I want the brand to be about”?

Source: Content Marketing Institute

Also known as a content audit or content inventory, this checklist can be altered based on what data you have available. As you can see, a big part of getting insights about your brand and content also involves having insights on your audience.

You can obtain this in a number of ways. If you’re using platforms like Facebook or Google to post ads, you can use their built-in insights feature for analytics. You could also take the manual approach and send out surveys to see exactly what your audience is looking for and how they feel about your brand.

Don’t have access to any analytics platforms? Don’t have a mailing list to send out a survey to? If all else fails, you can always gain insights by analyzing your competitors. One tool I like using is Mangools.

Source: Mangools

By searching your main area of focus along with location and platform, you can see how your competitors are doing. You can also find out what keywords they’re ranking for, and get a better idea of how their brand voice is helping their goals.

By this point, you should be getting an idea built up about your brand and the voice you want it to have. An idea is all you need to get started building your full voice guidelines.

'How do you start building your brand voice guidelines? To begin, gather samples of your content... what makes you sit up straight and think 'That is what I want the brand to be about'?' - @JuliaEMcCoy on building brand voice guidelines Click To Tweet

Start Simple Then Grow Your Guidelines

If you look at a lot of brands, they’ll have pages upon pages about their brand voice. Like all great things of considerable size or volume, these were grown out of a simple starting point. Let’s use my own agency for reference.

As far as our tone of voice, it could be summed up in a few words – simple, direct, informative, and authoritative.  If you look at this excerpt from our brand book, you’ll see how each section is fleshed out a little more.

Source: Express Writers

Is your brand focused on being trendy, with your finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest in your industry? Then you could be called the modern, brave, trendy brand.

Are you a formal, intellectual thought-leader who spearheads your chosen space with your approach to professionalism? You could be going for the professional, insightful, educator brand.

The two samples above could conceivably cover the same topic in some cases. The way they would do it would differ. Let’s say, for example, a breakthrough medical technology for cosmetics is developed, giving people the ability to look years younger for a fraction of the cost of modern procedures. How would each brand write this blog’s headline? It could look something like:

Brand #1: Turn Back the Clock & Look Years Younger with This Crazy Cool Breakthrough

Brand #2: New Cosmetic Technology Offers Low-Cost Options for Anti-Aging Treatment 

See the difference? I’ll cover more about how to develop your voice for content purposes later in this piece.

Once you learn how to articulate your brand guidelines in a couple of sentences, or even a few words, you’re on track.

What kind of a brand are you? Modern, brave, trendy? Or professional, insightful, educative? Know how you can stand out with your own voice by building your brand voice guidelines. Click To Tweet

Expand Your Ideas to Create Detailed Guides & Templates

When you’ve got an idea in mind for your brand voice, expanding on it gives you a great opportunity. That opportunity is to build guides and templates you can go off of for future content.

If you’re like a lot of brands, you’ll be creating lots of content. 60% of marketers say they create at least one piece per day. Imagine having a ready-made template. That would speed things up immensely. Even better, it gives you the ability to be consistent.

How exactly can you expand your ideas to build these detailed guides? Let’s look at another successful brand – MailChimp. Like my agency, they have voice and tone guidelines for their content.

If I told you copy was plainspoken, what would you think that meant? It could mean talking about a simple topic – or talking about a variety of topics with simple language.

What about humor? That could mean everything from making knock-knock jokes to adding a touch of sly sarcasm to catch your reader off guard. Here’s a glimpse at how they define their tone goals.

Source: MailChimp

They go on to offer some specific writing tips. These include using active voice over passive, avoiding slang or jargon, and keeping a positive tone throughout.

They also have detailed instructions depending on the type of content they’re creating or having created. Whether it’s a blog, a technical article, or an email, their voice will be consistent. However, their style may be tailored slightly for the piece in question.

A brand like this one may be publishing dozens of blogs per week or sending out hundreds of thousands of emails per day. Since they have the style guide set up ahead of time, they can ensure their content is streamlined while remaining consistent throughout.

So when you’re creating guidelines for your own brand voice, consider:

  • Tone: Make sure your style of speaking is understood by the writer ahead of time, so your content always sounds familiar in your readers’ heads.
  • Content Type: Remember there are different content types for a reason. A blog may not have the same audience or intent as a technical article, so create separate guidelines depending on the type of content you’re creating or having created.
  • Examples/Templates: When you’re looking to make sure your tone is really understood, make examples. You can also create templates for things like text layout, visual goals, and more.

Why should you go through all this effort, especially if you don’t have the means to create a high volume of content yourself? Because you may have someone else do it for you, and you can help them help you.

'60% of marketers say they create at least one piece (of content) per day. Imagine having a ready-made template. That would speed things up immensely. Even better, it gives you the ability to be consistent.' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

See How Your Brand Tone of Voice Translates in Practice

When my agency interacts with new clients, it is an exciting opportunity. We aren’t just looking to help them get great content – we’re looking to help them promote their brand. In fact, it’s one of our main values.

Source: Express Writers

When we ask a client about their brand tone of voice, some are less sure than others. It’s admittedly a big question if you haven’t taken a lot of time to develop yours.

When you outsource the creation of blogs, web pages, or even content strategy, you’ll get better results if the creators know what voice you’re looking for.

When you have these guidelines in place before writing or ordering content, you will be able to get a better result. If you’re outsourcing content, you’ll make sure the writers can translate your brand properly in whatever piece you’re ordering.

Source: Salesforce

Your checklist for defining your brand doesn’t have to be verbatim to the graphic above, but these are some good things to consider when sending over your brand voice summary.

Good brand voice guidelines will ensure you are connecting with your audience in a way that resonates with them. It will also ensure you stick to the same voice when ordering multiple pieces of content, providing uniformity and consistency to your readers.

Don’t forget, there’s nothing that says your brand voice can’t change a little over time. Once you create a guide, the next step is tweaking your approaches where necessary for better results.

'Good brand voice guidelines ensures you connect with your audience in a way that resonates with them. It ensures you stick to the same voice when ordering multiple pieces of content, providing uniformity and consistency to readers.' -… Click To Tweet

Make Small Changes to Refine Your Brand Voice

Once you’ve got brand guidelines written out, you want your content to stick to them. However, you can always make changes where necessary.

Forbes has an excellent piece on how seven executives made one simple change to great results. Here are some of the more brand-focused inclusions:

  • Personalization Over Automation: Ann Handley of Marketing Profs. began using her email newsletter as a way to connect personally to her audience. As you would imagine, this necessitated a specific tone of voice to make the desired connection.
  • Conversation-Worthy Content: Ed Breault of Aprimo talked about how his brand had shifted their content to conversational over product-centric. The goal was to give readers something to talk about, so conversational tone took priority over promotional language.
  • Creating Engaging Environments: Shacher Orren of Playbuzz talked about how their brand put a greater focus on meaningful, two-way dialogues. It helped users feel more engaged and made the brand more user-focused.

Your changes could be even more minor than that, but just as impactful. Maybe you want your writing to sound a little less formal? Could your content benefit from a touch of humor here or there?

If sales are the priority, promotional language could take priority. If you want readers to opt into your mailing list, try being a bit more conversational and casual when speaking to them.

Your brand may evolve over time, and that’s a good thing – it means you’re being responsive to your industry, your goals, and most importantly, your audience.

Personalization, conversation-worthy content, and creating engaging environments are some of the tweaks you can add to your brand voice. Know how to apply these in @JuliaEMcCoy's 7-step guide in creating brand voice guidelines Click To Tweet

Incorporate Your Brand Tone of Voice into Other Areas

Your brand tone of voice is how your content sounds to your reader. However, brand guidelines can also encompass other areas. Take a look at how thorough Skype is just with their logo.

Source: Skype

You’ll find their brand, along with many others, have guidelines for everything. The colors they use, their font choices – the list could go on and on.

While this isn’t necessarily connected to the tone of voice in the immediate sense, your choices about your tone could provide inspiration for these other areas as well.

For example, a formal tone would necessitate the use of similar font styles. If your brand is going for a flashy, trendy feel, you may experiment with creative color schemes to complement it.

Building your brand is a concentrated effort that requires collaboration from all sides. Your copywriting, logo design, web layouts, and social presence will all play a role.

'Building your brand is a concentrated effort that requires collaboration from all sides. Your copywriting, logo design, web layouts, and social presence will all play a role.' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Giving Your Company Its Own Sense of Personality

We know companies aren’t individuals, but a brand tone of voice could be thought of as the business equivalent of an individual’s personality.

Your brand voice guidelines provide you with a go-to guide for how your company should sound. When people read your copy, view your ads, and consider your pitches, how do you really sound in their head?

Do you appeal to them in a way they can relate to? Are you memorable? Do you connect with them in a way that other brands in the same industry don’t?

Your brand tone of voice is your language choice. It’s your writing style. It’s your way of saying the same thing someone else may say, but in a way that is unique to you.

It’s also your key to consistent content, better reach, and a more distinct connection with your audience. With a consistent brand voice, you improve more than your content – you improve your connection with your customers.

digital marketing experts

40+ Digital Marketing Experts to Follow on Twitter: Keep Your Marketing Skills Up to Date

Digital marketing is constantly evolving.

SEO trends and content marketing strategies that worked six months ago might not produce the same results today.

So, what can you do as a marketer, entrepreneur, or website owner? How can you keep up with the latest marketing strategies, the algorithms, and analytics?

The answer? Follow the right people on Twitter.

There’s no better way to stay up-to-date than to follow the right people on Twitter and scroll through their feeds filled with great advice.

Twitter is ​one of our favorite social media platforms, but we all know there are over 500 million tweets sent out each day. No one has the time to check each account and verify the real pros from the self-proclaimed “experts.”

So, to help you sift through the non-relevant stuff and get straight to the information that really matters, we’ve compiled this list of the leading digital marketing experts and publications to follow on Twitter.

Each of these experts seems to have cracked the code with not only understanding the complexities of digital marketing but also putting them into practice. They are moving the industry forward with their innovative strategies.

The best part? They’re constantly sharing their knowledge — all for free.

What are you waiting for? Scroll down to see the list, add the experts you’d love to follow, add value to your Twitter feed, and keep your content marketing skills in top shape.

Read, learn, share, and enjoy! Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments!  

NEW: Our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, a list curated by @daninofuente and @JuliaEMcCoy ✨ Is your digital marketing hero on the list? Click To Tweet

digital marketing experts

How We Hand-Curated Our List of 40+ Digital Marketing Experts

There were a number of factors that helped us decide on which experts to recommend for following.

Our CEO, Julia McCoy, was heavily involved in the creation of this roundup. She reviewed and approved each of the people we recommend below. Secondly, two of us writers were included in the formulation: one of our copywriters, and me, Danielle, Express Writer’s Content Specialist (and everything else behind the scenes).

We think that humanly created lists are some of the best lists!

Next, here’s what we looked at when determining who to recommend to our Write Blog readers.

  • First, we looked at experts in content marketing, social media, and SEO.
  • Then, we considered digital marketing experts who are regularly invited to share their knowledge by speaking at leading conferences all around the world, and writing for consistent columns or their own blog.
  • Instead of tenure (years in the field), we looked at recent accomplishments and studied to find people that are the most current in the marketing space. We believe that matters more than tenure. If you’ve been a marketer for 30 years and you haven’t written a single blog on marketing trends for the past six or even three months, are you even current?
  • We also researched the pioneers and thought-leaders. What did they share on Twitter that was noteworthy, original, and outstanding?
  • Finally, experts who’ve mastered current industry trends and are influencing future trends were also considered.
See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter! Is your digital marketing hero on the list? 👩 👨 Click To Tweet

40+ Digital Marketing Experts to Follow on Twitter

After taking into consideration the above points, we decided on the following names that every digital marketer needs to follow. These are the people who are moving the industry forward with their innovation and following them will allow you to stay on top of your digital marketing.

1. Ai Addyson-Zhang, Ph.D

Ai Addyson-Zhang, Ph.D. is a long-time college professor who is now an entrepreneur changing the space, taking the stage and teaching authentic, real practices for social media. Her passion for social media pedagogy only started in 2015 after the surprise that one of her students didn’t know what Pinterest is! She realized that not all her students were familiar with all social media platforms, and as an educator, she needed to level up and practice what she preached.

These realizations inspired her to create Classroom Without Walls, a weekly Facebook Live show where she interviews experts in modern marketing to provide real, authentic insights on the industry. Julia has been a guest 3x! Catch a recap of Ai and Julia on Ai’s Medium page. Ai also built the Social Media Pedagogy Online Training course and helps her fellow educators and professors transform traditional learning by applying social media practices. This fearless and industry-changing woman has grown into a consultant and speaker, keynoting on stages and training academic and industry leaders how to apply storytelling in digital marketing.

Follow @aiaddysonzhang on Twitter.

2. Chris Strub

When you check out Chris Strub’s YouTube channel, you’ll notice his impressive accomplishment: He’s the first (and only) man to live stream and Snapchat in all 50 US States. This accomplishment is documented in one of his books, 50 States, 100 Days.

His roadtrip-slash-social media success is only a part of his bigger achievement: helping nonprofit organizations around the US.

Besides being an author and famous mobile storyteller, he’s going around the world as a millennial keynote speaker in social media conferences, and an educator offering online courses on using social media to build relationships — whether you’re a nonprofit or not.

Follow @ChrisStrub on Twitter

3. Madalyn Sklar

If you’re wondering how to use the most out of your social media platforms — especially Twitter — in your marketing strategy, Madalyn Sklar is your go-to person. She’s had already figured out how to live tweet in 2008 before everyone else, and now, she offers her own #TwitterSmarter Masterclass online.

Madalyn also offers coaching, consulting, and speaking services for those who want “rockstar results” with their social media. She’s pretty much very active on Twitter as she’s hosting two Twitter chats #TwitterSmarter and #SocialROI every Tuesday and Thursday.

Follow @MadalynSklar on Twitter

4. Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo describes himself as a “pager-wearing millennial keynote speaker.” What is a digital marketing expert doing with a pager? What is a pager? (I still know what it is – no worries.) With or without a pager, Brian is far from being outdated, and you’ll find it through his unique keynote programs about “Digital Empathy” and “Think Like a Fan.”

Believe it or not, Brian had worked in the US Department of Defense in cybersecurity for 9 years. After that, he founded iSocialFanz, which helped many Fortune 50 companies through his #ThinkLikeAFan philosophy. He also worked with brands like Dell, Adobe, IBM, and even Applebees and UFC launch their digital and influencer strategies.

Follow @iSocialFanz on Twitter

5. Natalie Franke

Natalie Franke describes herself as an educator, entrepreneur, and community builder. She is the co-founder of Rising Tide Society, a platform that empowers the creative community by providing them with valuable resources such as free educational webinars.

Through Rising Tide Society, Natalie aims to achieve her mission to transform the way creative entrepreneurs see each other, from competition to collaborators. The platform has established in-person meet-ups done on the second Tuesday of every month, which started small through local coffee meetups and now all over the world.

Follow @nataliefranke on Twitter

6. Sue B. Zimmerman

Sue Zimmerman is known as “The Instagram Expert.” She empowers both entrepreneurs and marketers to know how to leverage Instagram and get the most out of it for their marketing strategies. She’s also a social media educator, consultant, and a keynote and breakout speaker.

If you want to know the ins and outs of social media, with an emphasis on Instagram marketing, Sue is the digital marketing expert you need to follow. Get to learn more from her through her online classes and online workbooks on Instagram marketing.

Follow @SueBZimmerman on Twitter

7. Mari Smith

Mari Smith has over 1.7 million followers on different social platforms. She’s been mentioned in Forbes as one of the top women social media influencers; labeled as the “social media diva” and the “Pied Piper of the online world” in her interviews in Fast Company; and, the expert BBC and NBC interviewed during Facebook’s data breach and privacy controversy. She’s pretty much the “queen” of it all.

Mari is also an internationally renowned, seasoned public speaker. Besides that, she offers social media training services for small to big businesses and brands — all customized to match their needs.

Follow @MariSmith on Twitter

8. Kim Garst

Kim Garst is a thought-leader in the social media space. She’s been recognized as a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Influencer and one of the world’s most retweeted people among digital marketers. She’s the author of the international bestseller, Will the Real You Please Stand Up, and a speaker sharing her views on social media and brand strategy.

As an online marketing guru, she helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses through social and digital marketing like how she did with leading brands like Microsoft, IBM, and Mastercard.

Follow @kimgarst on Twitter

9. Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield has two best-selling marketing courses: the List Builders Lab where she teaches how to build a profitable email list of engaged, ready-to-buy subscribers, and the Digital Course Academy created for those who want to build their own online course or webinar.

Amy is also the host of her own podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, where she shares her own tips and tricks, expert interviews, and answers to the online marketing questions sent by her followers.

Follow @AmyPorterfield on Twitter

10. Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer has authored The Content Code, Return on Influence, and The Tao of Twitter, which is currently the best-selling book on Twitter. Moreover, his blog {grow} continues to provide up-to-date stories, updates, and advice on marketing, technology and humanity. It’s known as one of the top five business blogs in the world.

His credentials don’t only stop on his publications. He has worked with top companies including Cisco, AT&T, Adidas, Microsoft, and more from different industries. He continues to help and share his insights to content marketers and entrepreneurs through his workshops, webinars, conference talks and consulting services.

Follow @markwschaefer on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @kimgarst, @AmyPorterfield, @markwschaefer, @MariSmith, @aiaddysonzhang and more 💥 Click To Tweet

art of writing cta

11. Ann Handley

Ann Handley is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. These bestsellers were all translated into 19 languages — a certified international hit.

She’s the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a marketing training and education company offering online and in-person programs. It’s where content marketers can get their high-quality dose of marketing trends, tools, and research.

Follow @annhandley on Twitter

12. Aaron Orrendorf

Aaron Orrendorf is “saving the world from bad content,” and he does it pretty well as proven by his articles on big names like Mashable, Inc., Entrepreneur, CMI, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. He’s the founder of iconiContent where clients can get in touch with him and get his excellent B2B content marketing services.

Follow @AaronOrendorff on Twitter

13. Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat is an inspiration for those who are clueless about content creation. She started as a copywriter for clients based in the US and UK — even if she’s not a native English speaker — and continued until she left her freelancing job to focus more on teaching beginners and expert writers on better persuasive writing.

Henneke has been interviewed by Inc. and Forbes, and featured in top digital marketing sites like Search Engine Journal. She’s the author of Blog to Win Business, a handy guide for writing engaging blogs, and the teacher of her online course on persuasive writing.

Follow @HennekeD on Twitter

14. Brian Clark

If you’re a regular Copyblogger reader, you might have come across Brian Clark’s name a few times. As the founder of the platform, he’s at the forefront of providing all the current content marketing tips and tricks.

He’s also the founder of Unemployment, a resource that provides freelancers and entrepreneurs smart strategies. Brian has been featured in several business books such as Killing Marketing by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi, Linchpin and Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin, The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott.

Follow @brianclark on Twitter

15. Kieran Flanagan

Kieran Flanagan has worked with SaaS companies such as Marketo and Salesforce and helped them grow their traffic, users, and revenue. He’s also currently the VP of Marketing at HubSpot, a platform that provides inbound marketing and sales software, tools, tips and tricks to entrepreneurs and marketers.

As a thought leader in growth marketing, Kieran further shares his knowledge through his podcast The GrowthTLDR with Scott Tousley, and event talks.

Follow @searchbrat on Twitter

16. Joe Pulizzi

For everything related to content marketing, you’ll gain invaluable insight by following Joe Pulizzi. He’s the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, the leading educational organization for content marketing, after all. (If you know the Content Marketing World, then you should know CMI is behind this largest content marketing event in the world.)

He’s also a public speaker and has authored a number of books in the industry, including Killing Marketing, Content Inc, and Epic Content Marketing. If you’re serious about upping your content marketing game, better follow Joe now.

Follow @JoePulizzi on Twitter

17. Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe is a web copywriter and conversion rate optimization consultant more known as the founder of Copy Hackers.

If you don’t know what Copy Hackers is, it’s an all-packed source of tips, stories, and lessons for copywriters, freelancers, growth hackers, and startups. For clients, it’s a reliable place to find Copy Hacker-certified conversion copywriters for their business.

Joanna shares her knowledge of conversion copywriting with communities around the world through her speaking engagements. Follow her on Twitter to gain a front-row seat.

Follow @copyhackers on Twitter

18. Ryan Robinson

A writer, part-time entrepreneur, and content marketing consultant, Ryan Robinson is the man behind ryrob.com and its blog loaded with informative content that teaches readers how to create a profitable blog and business. He also teaches how to build a blog in 7 days through his free online course.

Besides writing for his blog, he also hosts a podcast where he interviews founders, entrepreneurs, and other professionals in different fields to share their stories and tips in building their businesses.

Follow @TheRyanRobinson on Twitter

19. Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn surely got the “pen” in her name for the right reason. She’s the woman behind The Creative Penn, a place where you can check out her guides on writing, publishing, book marketing, and creative entrepreneurship. She also hosts a podcast where she interviews the pros in the book writing and publishing industry.

Joanna is certainly the real deal in these topics as she herself is an author. She’s an award-nominated New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn. She continues to share her knowledge through her online courses including How to Write Non-Fiction: Turn your Knowledge into Words and Productivity for Authors.

Follow @thecreativepenn on Twitter

20. Joe Lazauskas

Joe Lazauskas is the head of marketing at Contently, a place where strategic services, a talent marketplace, and a technology platform are all in one place. He’s also the editor-in-chief of The Content Strategist, Contently’s blog.

Besides working for Contently, Joe has also written for Mashable, Digiday, and Fast Company. He is a regular speaker at Web Summit, Collision and Content Marketing World, and the author of the #1 Amazon New Release book, The Storytelling Edge.

Follow @JoeLazauskas on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @TheRyanRobinson, @thecreativepenn, @annhandley, @AaronOrendorff, @HennekeD and more 💥 Click To Tweet

21. Jay Baer

Jay Baer is the founder of Convince & Convert, a digital strategy consulting firm providing strategic plans, training, and guidance for companies that need help in social media, content marketing, online reputation, email, and word of mouth. They’ve worked with mid-size and large North American companies such as Cisco, 3M, Oracle, CVS, Comcast, and Hilton.

He’s also the author of the New York Times and Amazon best-seller, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype, plus other books on customer service, customer conversations, and online ratings and reviews. He has his podcast network too. He’s definitely someone you shouldn’t miss in your feed.

Follow @jaybaer on Twitter

22. Mandy McEwen

Mandy McEwen is a marketing consultant, digital agency growth coach, and agency owner of Mod Girl Marketing, providing DIY inbound marketing solutions and consultation for those who need help in their content marketing strategy.

Mandy is also included in the LinkedIn’s latest list of the 24 B2B Marketing Experts You Need to Know.

Follow @MandyModGirl on Twitter

23. Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy is the Chief Marketing Officer at Marketo, an Adobe company offering a digital marketing software for clients and marketers who want to improve their essential marketing areas like account-based marketing, mobile marketing, social media, automation, and more.

Follow @saykay on Twitter

24. Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner has been recognized as a Top Business Speaker by The Huffington Post and a top CMO Influencer by Forbes. His talks center around content marketing techniques, and he shares further on its ROI through his book, The Content Formula.

As the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, Michael has helped companies reach and connect to their audiences worldwide. They’ve worked with popular brands like Adidas, SAP, and The Guardian.

Follow @BrennerMichael on Twitter

25. Rand Fishkin

SEO is one of those constantly changing and evolving factors in digital marketing. Understanding the complexities of it will help you to really begin to master your digital marketing efforts. If you’re looking to learn from the best in SEO, you’ll want to add Rand Fishkin to your list.

Rand is the former co-founder and CEO of Moz, a platform that launched the Beginner’s Guide to SEO and offers a handy SEO toolset that checks everything you need to know from keyword research to page optimization insights. Now, he’s the founder of SparkToro, a product that aims to help people do better marketing (launching soon). He’s also the co-author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.

Follow @randfish on Twitter

26. Brian Dean

Brian Dean is the founder of Backlinko, one of the most popular online marketing blogs where he shares his tried and tested SEO and traffic tips. One of his latest and most interesting case studies is about how he increased his site’s traffic by 110% in 14 days — something worth checking for sure.

Follow @Backlinko 0n Twitter

27. Michael King

Another digital marketing expert you can learn a lot from is Michael. He’s the founder of iPullRank, a digital marketing agency based in New York that does SEO, UX/UI, and market research services — to name a few. They also have a page for comprehensive guides on topics like machine learning and using Google’s tag manager.

Michael works as a consultant for different businesses — from small to big names like SAP, American Express, HSBC, SanDisk, General Mills, and FTD.

Follow @iPullRank on Twitter

28. Suzanne Nguyen

Recognized as one of this year’s “B2B Marketers You Need to Know” and  “Top Voice” on LinkedIn in both 2017 and 2018, plus nominated for Forbes Asia “30 under 30,” Suzanne Nguyen leveraged her content in LinkedIn through video and print.

She grew her LinkedIn community through her channel. It all started with her one viral video and her following just grew from 900 to 19,000 in 7 months. Impressive, isn’t it?

Suzanne is also the woman behind StringStory, a place where content creators can find guides on branding, content strategy, and influencer marketing.

Follow @StringStory on Twitter

29. Danny Goodwin

Search Engine Journal is your credible source when it comes to the latest trends on SEO, PPC, SMM, and content marketing. (Don’t you know Express Writer’s CEO, Julia, is SEJ’s regular contributor?)

If you fully want to grasp the strategies from the best, you’ll want to follow Danny Goodwin. He’s the Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal where he not only writes but also oversees the platform’s editorial strategy and managing contributions from a team of 60+ industry experts.

Follow @MrDannyGoodwin on Twitter

30. Britney Muller

Britney Muller’s goal is to help drive product initiatives through data-driven research and industry knowledge, and she does it as a Moz’s Senior SEO Scientist — no wonder their tools and resources are always helpful when it comes to inbound marketing and SEO!

Britney is also the founder of Pryde Marketing, serving businesses looking for a one-stop shop for SEO, content marketing, design, and content creation services. As a keynote speaker, she has spoken in different digital marketing events around the world.

Follow @BritneyMuller on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @BritneyMuller, @MandyModGirl, @Backlinko, @MrDannyGoodwin, @iPullRank and more 💥 Click To Tweet

31. Michelle Robbins

Michelle Robbins is the Head of Digital at Milestone, a company offering a combination of software solutions and digital agency services for location-based businesses in hospitality, retail, financial services, and automotive industries.

However, you’ll most likely recognize her as the former SVP Content & Marketing Technology of Third Door Media, the company behind conferences like Search Marketing Expo (SMX). She was also the Editor in Chief of popular digital marketing publications, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today.

Follow @MichelleRobbins on Twitter

32. Joost de Valk

Joost de Valk is the founder and chief product officer at Yoast, a search-optimization company that developed the popular SEO WordPress plugin. He’s also WordPress.org’s current Marketing & Communications Lead.

There’s nothing more to say here to convince everyone why he deserves to be mentioned, especially if he’s working on the two important tools most content marketers use every day!

Besides Yoast and WordPress, he has invested in several companies and serves as an advisor to Mapfit and Student.com.

Joost regularly speaks at industry workshops and conferences like YoastCon and WordCamp US.

Follow @jdevalk on Twitter

33. Tim Soulo

Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing officer and product advisor at Ahrefs, a company offering SEO tools and online courses for businesses. He’s also authored a number of marketing guides and data-driven SEO research studies.

Tim has been in the digital marketing space for almost 10 years. He regularly shares his knowledge and experience through live talks around the world, podcast interviews, and his Twitter account.

Follow @timsoulo on Twitter

34. Olga Andrienko

Olga Andrienko is the head of global marketing at SEMRush (our favorite content strategy tool!). Her key specialization is conversion and relationship marketing. She’s done it so well that, together with her team, she managed to increase SEMRush’s social engagement by 400% in one year.

If you want to learn more about connecting with your audience, Olga has all the insights.

Follow @olgandrienko on Twitter

35. Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is the editor for Search Engine Land and CEO of RustyBrick. You can also catch him on Search Engine Roundtable, a blog that discusses advanced SEO topics.

Barry has been an advisor for startups and top companies like Google, Yahoo! Search, and Bing. Also, he’s been a speaker at several industry events including Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, and PubCon.

He received the “US Search Personality Of The Year,” award in the 2018 US Search Awards. With over 15 years of experience, you’ll definitely learn all things search-related from Barry.

Follow @rustybrick on Twitter

36. John Mueller

John Mueller is the Senior Webmaster trends analyst at Google. That title alone is enough to get anyone who’s serious about online marketing to sit up and pay attention. We all want our marketing efforts to get noticed by Google, after all.

John is also the usual go-to guy for Google Webmasters’ Q&A live stream in Youtube where audiences can ask about anything webmaster-related like crawling, indexing, mobile sites, duplicate content, Sitemaps, Search Console, etc.

Follow @JohnMu on Twitter

37. Colan Nielsen

Colan Nielsen is the VP of Local Search at Sterling Sky, a position he’s held since 2010, helping businesses and marketers know the how-tos of Local SEO. He’s also currently the Google Product Expert for Google My Business.

Local search is one of the most interesting aspects of digital marketing — and he’s passionate about it. That’s why he regularly shares his insights and case studies on his current Local SEO projects. He also shares the lessons he learned in his experience in business operations through his interviews in different online publications.

He’s also a writer for Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors, and a speaker at industry events such as State of Search and Pubcon.

Follow @ColanNielsen on Twitter

38. James Finlayson

James Finlayson has been in the digital marketing space since 2008. He has worked as an SEO executive and technical lead for different marketing agencies. Now, he’s the Head of Innovation at Verve Search, an SEO and content marketing agency based in the UK. He regularly enjoys experimenting with SEO — a hobby that brought him to where he is now after working as a lawyer!

James is now active in going around the world to speak in different conferences including the TEDx, BrightonSEO, Online Business Makeover, Fresh Business Thinking Live, the Digital Marketing Show, Search London, and Digitalization of Marketing.

Follow @JamesFinlayson on Twitter

39. Julie Joyce

Julie Joyce started working in search marketing in 2002 and then founded an all-female blog called SEO Chicks in 2007. Now, she is the owner and Director of Operations in Link Fish Media, a link building and SEO company. She also writes monthly link building articles on Search Engine Land.

Follow @JulieJoyce on Twitter

40. Casey Markee

With over 19 years of experience in SEO, link building, site auditing, and social media, Casey Markee is definitely the expert you’re looking for when it comes to experience and knowledge in the ins and outs of the industry.

Casey runs the SEO consultancy company, Media Wyse, and also works as the lead SEO consultant at Search Engine News. He further shares his knowledge as an author (with over 400+ digital marketing articles to his credit), instructor for SEO teams, and speaker at several events, including Pubcon, State of Search, and SMX Advanced.

Follow @MediaWyse on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @JamesFinlayson, @olgandrienko, @jdevalk, @MichelleRobbins, @ColanNielsen and more 💥 Click To Tweet

41. Marie Haynes

Marie Haynes has been helping businesses rank on Google, making sure that every step complies with Google’s Guidelines through her Canada-based company, Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.

Before 2008, she was a full-time veterinarian who became interested in SEO when she’s trying to rank her vet website in Google. Now, she’s a top online marketing consultant businesses will go to for guidance and solving penalty issues.

She’s also a regular writer for Moz and Search Engine Watch, and a contributor in SEO Chat forums and Google Help forums, answering questions about Google’s penalties and algorithm.

Follow @Marie_Haynes on Twitter

42. Bill Slawski

Bill Slawski has been doing SEO for more than 20 years when search engines weren’t a big thing in the world of marketing. Known as the patent master and expert on technical SEO topics, he has worked for Fortune 500 brands and nonprofits, helping them in website optimization and increase their traffic and leads.

Bill is the founder of Go Fish Digital, a company providing content marketing, web design, and SEO services. For SEO updates and insights on search engine patents and white papers, you can check out Bill’s blog, SEO by the Sea.

Follow @bill_slawski on Twitter

43. Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan is a digital marketing expert who has covered digital and search marketing topics since the 90s. He’s the co-founder of Third Door Media, the company behind popular online publications like Marketing Land, MarTech Today, and Search Engine Land. It’s also the company behind MarTech and SMX conferences.

In 2017, he left his position in Third Door Media as chief content officer and his job as a search journalist. He, later on, started working with Google to continue educating the public about search and find out how to solve certain issues around it.

Follow @dannysullivan on Twitter

44. Joshua Hardwick

Joshua Hardwick is the founder of The SEO Project, an SEO blog that aims to clear all the misinformation regarding SEO and educate readers in a way that everyone can understand. He’s also the Head of Content at Ahrefs, where he shares more of his strategies and techniques in applying SEO.

Follow @JoshuaCHardwick on Twitter

45. Cyrus Shepard

Cyrus Shepard started in 2010 as Moz’s Lead SEO, which later on gave him the opportunity to do his first speaking event in MozCon and lead its Audience Development Team.

After working at Moz, Cyrus opened his own SEO company, Zyppy, where they educate readers about SEO trends and best practices and guide them about the top ranking factors that help improve site traffic and ranking. He’s also working with startups and Fortune 500 companies as an SEO consultant.

Follow @CyrusShepard on Twitter

46. Russ Jones

Russ Jones is the Principal Search Scientist at Moz. He regularly engages with his over 9K Twitter followers about all things digital marketing. He’s also the SEO Advisor at Hive Digital and regularly speaks at top industry events and conferences like PubCon, SMX, SearchExchange, LinkLove, and IBM’s Netezza Conference.

His most notable accomplishment was leading the development of SEO technologies such as LinkSleeve, a link spam prevention tool; OpenCaptcha, a free distributed anti-spam solution: and Remove’em, a link removal service.

Follow @rjonesx on Twitter

47. Dr. Pete Meyers

Dr. Pete Meyers is a marketing scientist and subject matter expert. He describes himself as “the keeper of the Algo History, the architect of the MozCast Project, and the watcher of all things Google.” If these titles sound like you’re dealing with “the wise one” in a medieval role-playing video game, that’s what he really is in real life.

Dr. Pete works on product research and data-driven content, acting as the medium between marketing and data science. He also built research tools to monitor Google, with MozCast–a weather report showing the changes in Google’s algorithm–as one of his best projects.

Follow @dr_pete on Twitter

48. Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow is the co-founder and CEO of Distilled, an online marketing services company with offices in London, New York, and Seattle. His company also produces the online training platform, DistilledU and DistilledODN, an SEO split-testing platform.

He had spoken for top digital marketing events like SearchLove, MozCon, and Inbound, and continues to share his insights through Distilled and Moz blogs.

Follow @willcritchlow on Twitter

49. Julia McCoy

We may be biased, but our own CEO is a great resource in the industry of content marketing to follow.

Named an industry thought leader by Forbes, Julia McCoy has been on the roll providing top online content for clients in different industries through Express Writers. She’s also consistently publishing every week everything content marketing-related on Express Writer’s Write Blog.

Besides being the head of Express Writers, Julia is a serial content marketer devoted to staying at the forefront and leadership of our beautiful industry of content marketing. She is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing and So You Think You Can Write?. She has even developed two industry-leading courses guiding beginner and professional content marketers on how they can create content that converts. She’s been doing a few workshops and webinars lately too!

Follow @JuliaEMcCoy on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @dr_pete, @dannysullivan, @bill_slawski, @Marie_Haynes, @rjonesx and more 💥 Click To Tweet

You Can’t Go Wrong When Learning From the Best

And there you have it! Our list of the movers and shakers of the digital marketing space.

Of course, there are plenty more digital marketing experts who are doing great things, but we wanted to highlight these guys as their presence in the industry can’t be denied.

Before you hop on over to Twitter to follow, can you think of any other digital marketing experts?

Let us know in the comments!

express writers cta

quality content vs quanity

The Age-Old Content Debate: Quality vs. Quantity (How Much Do You Truly Need?)

There’s no doubt about it — creating great, shareable, audience-pleasing, profitable content is a skill.

Like a five-star chef in a farm-to-table Austin restaurant, the best content creators serve up content so delicious, so crave-able, that their customers (and search engines) keep coming back for more.

And yet, there’s an ongoing argument among today’s content marketers on exactly how this happens.

Is it the high-quality content that gets the rave reviews or is it serving up mounds of the stuff, fast and quick, that gets results?

As always, we’ve dug deep into our resources and curated the answer for you.

Let’s start with the age-old debate starter — the quantity of content. I’ll shed some fact-based light on this topic and give you a dose of content quality vs. quantity reality. Hang with me!

In this Write Blog, @JuliaEMcCoy explores the 'age-old' debate of quality vs. quantity content, and how to correctly think of both and get real results from your #contentmarketing efforts. 🔥 Click To Tweet

quality vs. quantity content

What’s Up With ‘Quantity?’: How You Should Be Thinking to Achieve Successful Content in Terms of Regularity and Consistency 

Okay, so part one of our content success recipe deals with the quantity of content you’re providing.

Fact: no one wants to spend time — and money — in a restaurant to get a morsel of food so small you need to slap on your reading glasses just to see it on the plate.

The quantity, or rather consistency, of your content truly does apply to the bottom-line success of content.

quality vs quantity of content marketing

For one, you want your visitors to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth when they stop by your site. Your content isn’t only hot and ready — there’s plenty of it to whet their appetites.

For another, Google rewards sites with more content.

Hubspot has done studies showing that the quantity of content is most certainly, definitely, beyond-a-doubt tied into your overall success.

In this study of over 13,500 B2B bloggers, they found that after 400 published blogs, bloggers earn twice as much traffic.

400 blogs get 2x as much traffic

We found that the more blog posts companies published in total, the more inbound traffic they got to their website. You’ll notice the tipping point happened around 400 total blog posts: Companies that had published 401+ blog posts in total got about twice as much traffic as companies that published 301 – 400 blog posts.

In a @hubspot study of over 13k bloggers, it was found that after the 400 published blog mark, bloggers start seeing 2x as much traffic. #quantityvsquality Click To Tweet

amazing CTA

And, they found that bloggers that publish more content per month consistently see far more inbound traffic.

I can’t stress it enough — if you want to see success from your content, you must have regularity. Successful content is not a shot in the dark. It’s content produced on a consistent schedule, maintained with creativity and evolution over time.

So, don’t think of it as quantity – think of it as consistency.

Consistent content builds the traffic and the audience that you want to achieve.

If you want to see success from your content, you must have regularity. Successful content is not a shot in the dark. It's content produced on a consistent schedule. @JuliaEMcCoy #contentmarketingtruths Click To Tweet

At Express Writers, we get 80,000-100,000 unique visitors every month on the basis of our high-quality content alone. Why? Because we’re known for publishing good content consistently. Never once in 8 years have I never published a blog in a week (and that doesn’t mean I’m a content slavedriver, that just means I’m ahead all the time and I’ve got my process down).

  • We publish one main long-form piece on the Write Blog every Tuesday, with custom-made CTAs and graphics.
  • We promote this post to our list in email and with a retargeting campaign on Facebook.
  • We publish regularly to our other blogs such as the monthly #ContentWritingChat recap, video recap, event recaps/lessons learned blogs.
  • We publish 2 videos/month on YouTube with transcripts on the Write Blog.
  • We’ve stockpiled over 1,100 published blogs on the Write Blog to date.
  • Every month, I go back and update 1-3 old Write Blogs out of our 1,000+ with new images, copy, and meta. This has caused many of them to shoot higher in SERPs AND add more conversion value from their rankings

One other point — and I can’t stress this enough — is that we never sacrifice quality for quantity, especially now that we’ve grown to 80k+ visitors every month. We can (and must) afford to stop and focus on quality.

3 Ways to Make Sure Your Long-Form Content Is Still Readable

Here are some ways to ensure your long-form content leaves your visitors wanting more.

1. Make It Skimmable

Long-form content is important for search engine rankings. In fact, content length is directly related to your placement in search results:

quality content length

Source: CoSchedule

However, people’s attention spans are about the length of a goldfish’s (8 seconds), so people are becoming more selective in what they choose to pay attention to.

To make your content appealing, make sure it has lots of sub-headlines and bullet-pointed lists (like we do in this article) to make it simple for readers to skim through and get straight to the “meat” of the information you’re providing. Add in lead magnets that people can download for more information.

2. Make It Diverse

When you walk into your favorite restaurant you can rely on having choices. Readers hitting your website want that same kind of smorgasbord when it comes to content.

Variety is indeed the spice of life — and it’s also a critical element in generating lots of content that can cover everything your audience could possibly want to know about your area of expertise.

The key is to create tons of content that cover every aspect of a topic, and a great way to do that is to create topic clusters.

Answer the Public is a fantastic tool you can use to create solid topic clusters to keep that content flowing. Here’s what came up when I plugged in “Restaurants.”

topic cluster tool to create quality content

Source: Answer the Public

Once you’ve got some topics, don’t forget to link them together so visitors can hop from sub-topic to sub-topic without leaving your site.

3. Keep It Coming, Buffet-Style

There’s a reason buffet-style, all-you-can-eat restaurants are so popular. They give hungry customers access to a continuous stream of food choices. Your website needs to take a page from the Golden Corral and provide content on a reliable — and continual — basis.

It’ll pay off. How do I know? We’ve already mentioned the Hubspot study that showed companies that posted 16+ times a month got 3.5 times more traffic.

how quality content increases inbound traffic

Source: Hubspot

I’ve got something better: Express Writers’ own success. My company gets 99% of its ranking power from our high-quality, high-volume content.

Quality + Quantity = Your Recipe for Success

I’m going to share my guaranteed recipe for content marketing victory right from my own kitchen: the Express Writers’ proprietary mix of content wizardry.

As I mentioned above, Express Writers grabs its ranking power from high-quality, high-volume content. To see how this has played out over the years, check out this snapshot from my second year of business:

start creating quality content

Source: Express Writers

Not bad, but not where I wanted to be. So, I added content strategy, which included focusing on thought-leadership-level content that is published consistently and frequently.

quality content results

Source: Express Writers

Ta-da! Look at those amazing results! The recipe is so simple that anyone can follow it:

Mix a dollop of high-level, thought-leadership-style content with a rigorous schedule of consistent, high-volume content posting. Serve up to all website visitors. Repeat.

The Secret Sauce: Quality Content

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I wish I could find more low-quality food in restaurants?” Of course not. No one wishes for low-quality anything in their lives, and that goes double when it comes to content.

Double, because you’re not just serving this content to your visitors — you’re serving it to search engines. Google makes it clear that they won’t tolerated poorly done, copied content on websites. If you’ve got duplicate stuff on your site, they’re gonna hit you right in the SERPs.

If you’ve got low-quality content created by bots, re-posted (with permission or not) articles, or by cheap content writing labor, the same rules apply.

So, how do you cook up quality content that attracts fans and turns Google’s algorithms to your favor? Follow along and see!

4 Ways to Balance Quality In Your Content & Truly Stand Out

1. Set Yourself Apart

You’re not some low-budget chain restaurant serving up the same menu as the guy next door.

To truly set yourself apart, you need to determine what your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF) is. Hint: it’s completely different from a unique selling proposition (USP).

In a nutshell, you’ll let people know how your brand stands out from the crowd by using content to show how you can help them achieve some goal that no one else can.

2. Start at the Top

Headlines are your first point of contact with readers, so make them count. As Copyblogger notes, 80% of people will mull over your headlines, but only 20% will muddle through the rest of your copy.

That means you need to put 80% of your creativity up front and center with headlines that hook — and reel in — your target audience.

3. Action = Attraction

People are visiting your site to discover something new and — this is key — employ it in their own lives.

Give the people what they crave by providing actionable techniques that are easy to follow.

Here’s an example of an actionable infographic in keeping with our food theme (and the fact that summer is looming on the horizon).

quality content infographic example

Source: Best Infographics

With step-by-step instructions and a recipe to boot, this infographic gives readers everything they need to impress guests at their next fiesta.

You can do the same with infographics, videos, or even simple instructions that speak to your niche.

4. Add a Splash of Interest

Everyone digests information in their own unique way. Some get their taste buds tweaked by awesome graphics; others salivate at the sight of a dynamic video; some find fun quizzes and surveys more to their taste.

At Express Writers, we serve a generous helping of content that touches on many learning styles to reinforce our message. We use video (two per month), podcasts, online chats, infographics, and more to cover the varied tastes of our target audience.

The Secret Sauce is in Balancing Both Regularity and Quality of Content

Once you’ve figured out how to prepare content your audience craves, simply be consistent and reliable in serving it to them.

If you do it right, you’ll become their favorite content destination. As with their favorite restaurant, you’ll find them coming back for more, again and again, recommending you to their friends, and hanging out waiting for new items to pop onto your menu.

Cheers to that!

amazing CTA

sophisticated marketers guide to linkedin recap

24 B2B Marketing Experts LinkedIn Says You Need to Follow

This is a blog by our staff copywriter and Content Specialist, Cassie. 

What makes a sophisticated marketer? A sophisticated marketer is someone who knows more than the definition of marketing—they know the ins and outs and that the industry is ever-changing.

These smarties know that because the industry is always changing, they also need to learn and adapt to make the industry work for them.

The main goal of a sophisticated marketer—to continuously learn and grow.

In order to do these two things, marketers across the world look towards industry influencers for guidance and thanks to lists such as LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, users can identify those leaders and learn all that they have to offer.

[email protected] was featured in @LinkedIn's recent shortlist of 24 B2B #marketing experts to follow! See the other rockstar marketers and learn more about the guide 🔥 Click To Tweet

marketers to follow on linkedin

How LinkedIn Has Changed the Game

LinkedIn is a game changer for almost anyone in any industry. Seriously. Not only is it a social media platform designed for professionals—allowing them to network, find and post jobs—but it is a platform designed to share information with the masses.

The social media platform began compiling its yearly Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn in 2014. Each year, the publication’s goal was to become the “definitive guide to growing businesses and building brands,” on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn acknowledges that marketing is an ever-changing industry, and because of that, they have gone out of their way to include more features to the platform.

A few of these features include:

  • Robust new marketing solutions,
  • Targeting marketing activity
  • The ability to track the overall reach, engagement, and ROI that user content generates.

How LinkedIn Adds Value With The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn

I think we can all learn from how LinkedIn does ‘lead magnets!

LinkedIn’s 55-page Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn truly shines. First, LinkedIn listened in to their users’ top questions, and that’s what the guide was built on. Listen and learn, content marketers!

According to Alex on the LinkedIn Blog:

“For the last five years, The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn has been the definitive guide to growing businesses and building brands on our platform. We launched it in January 2014 to answer the questions that we kept hearing marketers ask. It remains our most regularly downloaded piece of ‘big rock’ content, which shows that questions about how to use LinkedIn for marketing are as relevant now as they ever have been.”

Inside the actual ebook is a ton of value. It holds a gold mine of information, including information on:

  • Publishing on LinkedIn
  • Balancing organic and paid activity and maximizing them both for effectiveness
  • Tips and tactics on popular topics such as sponsored content sponsored InMail, Text Ads, Pages, Elevate and so much more.

This massive, in-depth, well-designed guide is a valuable product for any marketer, and the tips and tactics that are included within it come from top experts in the marketing industry. And in this year’s 5th-anniversary edition, LinkedIn included a list of 24 B2B marketing experts that they say are worth following.

The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn

Congratulations, Julia!

Speaking of marketing experts, Express Writer’s own CEO, Julia McCoy, was included in this year’s top 24 list of B2B Marketers You Need to Know!

linkedin b2b marketers to follow

Julia is more than an expert marketer—she’s also a bestselling author and expert writer. So, what does Julia believe in when it comes to her work?

“A helluva lot of hard work, learning from failure, always being open to self-improvement and also having a constant mindset of ‘You can do anything you put your mind to.’” -Julia McCoy

Our leader believes in a helluva lot of hard work, learning from failure, always being open to self-improvement and also having a constant mindset of 'you can do anything you put your mind to.' 🙌🏻 @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

A big shout out to you, Julia, for not only being named by LinkedIn’s staff and making this year’s list of top B2B Marketers to Know but for all you have accomplished to date!

Meet the Other 23 Experts Who Made the List

While we here at Express Writers are beyond proud of Julia’s accomplishments, 23 other marketing experts made the list and are worth following up on!

Robert Rose

Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory
Twitter: @Robert_Rose
LinkedIn: /in/robrose

Robert is also known for being a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and his skills in content strategy and as a customer experience expert. (Our CEO Julia was honored to author a piece for his site, The Content Advisory, not too long ago.)

Aaron Orendorff

Founder, iconiContent
Twitter: AaronOrendorff
LinkedIn: in/aaronorendorff

Aaron has also appeared on the Forbes Top 10 B2B Content Marketers list, and is an all-around ninja-level content marketer.

Ryan Robinson

Content Marketing Consultant
Twitter: TheRyanRobinson
LinkedIn: in/theryanrobinson/

Ryan is a content marketing consultant to the world’s top experts and growing startups. A few companies he writes for include Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Fast Company.

Carla Johnson

Chief Innovator, Type A Communications
Twitter: CarlaJohnson
LinkedIn: /in/carlajohnson

Carla is a global keynote speak and bestselling author in the greater Denver area. She has also been named one of the top 50 women in marketing and one of the top 10 influencers in B2B marketing.

Allen Gannett

CSO, Skyword
Twitter: Allen
LinkedIn: /in/allengannett

Allen is not only the CSO at Skyword; he is also the author of the book “The Creative Curve.”

Shane Barker

Co-Founder and CEO, Content Solutions
Twitter: shane_barker
LinkedIn: /in/shanebarker

Shane specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, content marketing, sales funnels and website conversions. He’s also shared his knowledge with over 100 publications, including Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

Ann Handley

Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Twitter: MarketingProfs
LinkedIn: /in/annhandley

Ann is not only a digital marketing and content expert; she is also a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a keynote speaker.

Katie Martell

Marketing Consultant, On-Demand Marketing
Twitter: KatieMartell
LinkedIn: /in/katiemartell

Katie has several recognitions under her belt, including one of the top 10 marketing writers on LinkedIn, the number three most influential B2B marketer on Twitter, and a top 100 influencer in content marketing.

Mandy McEwen

Founder and CEO, Mod Girl Marketing
Twitter: MandyModGirl
LinkedIn: /in/mandymcewen

Mandy works hard to increase leads and revenue for healthcare companies, B2B consultants, and digital agencies—all while being more efficient with your marketing efforts.

Michael Brenner

CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Twitter: BrennerMichael
LinkedIn: /in/michaelbrenner

Michael is not only the CEO of the Marking Insider Group—but he is also a keynote speaker and author. He’s been recognized as a top business speaker by Huffington Post and a top CMO Influencer by Forbes.

Lee Odden

CEO, TopRank Marketing
Twitter: LeeOdden
LinkedIn: /in/leeodden

Lee is a well-known public speaker with over 500 presentations currently under his belt. He’s also a published author.

Nancy Badillo

CEO, NancyBadillo.com
Twitter: NancyBadillo13
LinkedIn: /in/nancybadillo

Nancy not only runs her own website; she is also a social media strategist at Aronson Advertising.

Jay Baer

Founder, Convince & Convert
Twitter: jaybaer
LinkedIn: /in/jaybaer

Jay is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker and author of six best-selling business books. He is also the founder of 5 multi-million-dollar companies.

Jason Miller

Brand Marketing Lead, Microsoft
Twitter: JasonMillerCA
LinkedIn: /in/jsnmiller

Jason is considered an inspirational digital ideator, implementer, thought-leader and team mentor, organization builder, and network marketer. He’s also been acknowledged as a master of global digital best practices.

Vin Clancy

Founder, Magnific
Twitter: vincentdignan
LinkedIn: /in/vincentdignan

Vin is considered a “growth hacker” and has helped drive millions of users, visitors, and dollars in revenue.

Andrew Davis

Keynote Speaker, Monumental Shift
Twitter: DrewDavisHere
LinkedIn: /in/drewdavishere

Andrew is a bestselling author and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker.

Heidi Bullock

CMO, Engagio
Twitter: HeidiBullock
LinkedIn: /in/hbullock

Heidi’s expertise is in marketing SaaS products, and her strengths include product marketing and revenue generation across the customer life cycle.

Gina Schreck

CEO, SocialKNX
Twitter: Ginaschreck
LinkedIn: /in/ginaschreck

Gina is a professional technology and social marketing speaker and a published author.

Doug Kessler

Creative Director and Co-Founder, Velocity Partners
Twitter: dougkessler
LinkedIn: /in/dougkessler

Doug specializes in B2B & B2B content marketing, technology marketing, and marketing strategy execution, amongst so much more.

Gabe Villamizar

Global Sales Evangelist, Lucid
Twitter: gabevillamizar
LinkedIn: /in/gabevillamizar

Gabe is also known as a LinkedIn Learning author and has his own social selling online courses.

Suzanne String Nguyen

Video Evangelist, Shootsta
Twitter: StringStory
LinkedIn: /in/stringstory

Suzanne has also been recognized twice as LinkedIn’s Top Voice and states that her mission is to create a community of video storytellers.

Joanna Penn

Director, The Creative Penn
Twitter: thecreativepenn
LinkedIn: /in/joannapenn

Joanna is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is also a podcaster, international professional speaker and an award-winning creative entrepreneur.

Janet Murray

Content Marketing Expert
Twitter: jan_murray
LinkedIn: /in/janet-murray74

Janet is more than a content marketing expert—she is also an international speaker, podcaster and author.

That’s a Wrap!

Congrats to Julia and everyone featured on the LinkedIn’ shortlist of 24 top B2B marketing experts!

Here’s to great marketing, and getting more out of our LinkedIn experiences than ever before! 🥂

express writers

copywriting services guide

Copywriting Services: The Ultimate List of Content Tasks Every Marketer Should Be Delegating

The right words, whether in the form of copy or content, can make a huge difference for your marketing.

If you can speak to your audience in a way that moves them, inspires them, informs them, or clarifies complicated ideas for them, you’re far more likely to be successful.

Good writing serves as a foundation for any brand voice in the form of content, ads, web pages, promotions – you name it. Without that foundation in place, you’ll never move leads to become customers and customers to become brand evangelists.

The question is: Do you even have TIME to pull off that kind of writing consistently?

Most marketers don’t – and that’s okay. Instead, they rely on copywriting services and expert talent. They delegate and outsource to people who call it their life’s work to know and write for all types of audiences in all types of industries persuasively.

The right words, whether in the form of copy or content, can make a huge difference for your marketing. But do you have the time to write consistently? If not, check out what Express Writers offers. #copywriting Click To Tweet

Don’t put your hands in too many pots at once. Don’t forfeit writing quality in favor of other tasks. Your entire content marketing strategy WILL suffer.

So, what types of copywriting services can you outsource? What should you invest in for better results for yourself or your clients? We’ve compiled a complete guide, including pricing averages, right here. Want the cheat sheet to save for later as a PDF? Grab it here.

copywriting services list

Copywriting Services: The Master List of Content Needs for Your Marketing

1. Social Media

  1. Social Media Copy for Each Platform
  2. Branded Images

2. Onsite Copywriting Services: Blogging

  1. Keyword Research
  2. Audience & Topic Research
  3. Starter Blogs – Shorter Expert Pieces
  4. Authority Blogs – Skyscraper Pieces

3. Onsite Copywriting Services: Web Pages

  1. SEO Keywords for Your Web Pages
  2. Key Landing Pages
  3. Service-Specific SEO Landing Pages

4. Email Content

  1. Email Sequences
  2. Single Emails to Your List

5. Ad Copy/Sales Pages

  1. Conversion Copywriting

6. Copywriting for Marketing Content

  1. Ebooks & Lead Magnets
  2. Whitepapers
  3. PPT/SlideShare
  4. Flyers/Brochures
  5. Press Releases
  6. Video Scripts
  7. Product Descriptions

copywriting services infographic

Download this guide as a PDF.

Your Total Content Needs List: Copywriting Services to Delegate and Invest In

Copywriting in social media, onsite blogging, onsite web pages, email copy, marketing copy, and ad copy can and should be on your list of marketing tasks to delegate.

Improve your marketing and focus on these copywriting services in each category, starting with social media.

Social Media

Social media content forms the base of any promotion plan. It’s a key part of a content strategy because it helps you connect, engage, and build relationships with your audience and followers.

While you can and should hand the social media copy reins to an expert, one aspect you should never outsource or automate is personal engagement with your audience.

When it comes time for interacting, building relationships, networking, and engaging, this should always be personal. Whether you’re responding to comments, taking part in a Twitter chat, or commenting on someone else’s post, your personal interaction is essential. Don’t rely on a copywriting service to do this for you.

The basic tasks of writing solid social posts, however, can and should be delegated. Here are the main types you need as a marketer:

1. Social Media Copy for Each Platform 

Average price per post: $4 – $6+

For promoting content and building brand awareness, social media copy is essential. You not only need to post regularly on each platform you invest in, but also create social content that uses your brand voice and tone to connect with your target audience.

Of course, writing for each platform requires different standards, types of posts, and copy. All of this can be a headache and a half to juggle, which is why it’s a fantastic idea to invest in copywriting services.

Here are just a few basic, current standards for the top platforms:

  • On Facebook, short posts with cleaner copy (think: 0-1 hashtags and 0-1 emojis) are proven to work well, according to data from CoSchedule. Including an image or link with your posts is a given, and video content is huge for engagement. Too many overly promotional posts are a no-no.

how to write for facebook infographic

  • On Instagram, you’d think the emphasis would be on the photo you post, but the caption actually matters a ton, too. The written copy here is a great place to tell stories, engage with your followers, and generally provide added value with your images.
    • Example: Tagging other accounts related to your post, especially influencers/brands, as well as using relevant hashtags both encourages discovery and helps your followers find more content like yours. (A good copywriting service will know and use all the current best practices.)
  • On Twitter, your post copy should be engaging but strategic. Each post should include an image for 150% more engagement, according to data Buffer collected, not to mention a few well-chosen hashtags. When relevant, you should also tag partners, influencers, and related accounts.

tweets with images get more retweets

  • On LinkedIn, a slightly more professional tone is needed, but posts can still retain your brand voice – just dialed back a little. Longer posts and articles about industry news, events, and developments are great fodder for engagement.
  • On Pinterest, much like Instagram, it isn’t necessarily all about the images. Captions will help users find your pins, not to mention give your pins more context. In particular, writing captions that will stay relevant for the life of a pin (which can be a long time!) helps encourage pinning and re-pinning, not to mention continued clicks to your content from that pin.

Express Writers offers copywriting services for ongoing social media posts on the platform(s) of your choice. Our social media writers are up-to-date with best practices for every type of post and know how to create engaging copy that wins.

Need copy that stands out? Learn more about how our team can help. #contentmarketing #copywriting Click To Tweet

2. Branded Images

As you may have noticed, images play a huge role in your social media posts. You need a corresponding image for posts on almost every platform, in most cases.

Here’s an example of a branded image from one of our own blogs:

express writers branded image

Express Writers offers custom branded images along with our social media posts so you get the best of both worlds. Find this add-on option for social media copywriting services on our social media plans page.

Onsite Copywriting Services: Blogging

Blogging is the cornerstone of content marketing. A 2015 HubSpot study found that B2Bs that blogged at least 16x per month got 4.5x more leads than those that blogged less often. However, to see these types of results, your blogs need to be consistent, high-quality, and authoritative in tone to build trust and rankings.

Can you honestly say you have the time to devote to this kind of blogging? It can get pretty rigorous without help, and many marketers throw in the towel far too soon to see the type of ROI that can and will happen with consistency.

Bottom line: If you can’t commit to blogging with your heart and soul, you won’t see results – unless you outsource.

These are the major blogging tasks and copywriting services to invest in for stronger results.

1. Keyword Research

Average price for one keyword research report: $175 – $250

Reaching your SEO goals is a lot harder without strategic keyword research. The right keywords targeted in an expert, thought-leadership-style blog can mean the difference between content success (traffic, page views, engagement, backlinks) and content failure (cue crickets chirping).

Generally, keyword research for your brand (or your client’s brand) involves:

  • Searching for broad industry terms related to what you do/sell
  • Finding long-tail keyword variations of those broad terms that hit the right balance for three metrics:
    • Keyword difficulty (KD, or the competitiveness of that keyword)
    • Relevancy (to your brand, industry, products, or services)
    • Search volume (high numbers are not necessarily better)

Keyword research requires some knowledge of your industry, an understanding of what high-ROI keywords look like, and an ability to analyze keyword data to find the richest opportunities for rankings.

Needless to say, keyword research is a valuable copywriting service, but lots of writers simply don’t offer it.

At Express Writers, that’s not the case. We offer done-for-you keyword research and strategy that includes comprehensive keyword and topic reports using top tools like SEMrush and BuzzSumo. We analyze the data for you and come up with the top keyword opportunities to use in your content.

2. Audience & Topic Research

For brand awareness and audience reach, you need the double-whammy of audience and topic research. These actions help solidify the direction of your onsite blogging, giving it the power it needs to reach your ideal buyer on a personal level.

Without these types of research, you’ll have no clear idea of who you’re writing for, not to mention what you should write about.

  • Audience research is a process that helps you figure out your main target audience as well as what moves them, their pain points, where they come from, where they want to go, and who they want to be.
  • Topic research is how you find blog and content topics your audience actually wants to read. Instead of pulling random ideas out of thin air, you start with what you know about your industry, your brand, and your audience. You work outward from there to find relevant topics that connect to your brand goals.

Writing content that uses both audience and topic research as a foundation ensures two things:

1. You’re always writing to the right people.

2. You’re always writing about topics that move you closer to your success benchmarks.

Luckily, I teach both skills in my course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

3. Starter Blogs – Shorter Expert Pieces

Average price per word: $0.15 – $0.20

Average price for four 500-word blogs per month: $300 – $400

The blogs you publish, whether on your website or your clients’, are fundamental to content marketing. Onsite blogging is the #1 way to build authority, trust, and backlinks. Continuously and consistently publishing great content drives more traffic and brings in more leads.

In specialized industries, expert knowledge behind your content matters. To be high-quality and high-authority, written blogs and articles need the most cutting-edge, up-to-date knowledge behind them. That should include current strategies, statistics, and studies.

In short, industry expert blogs need writers who can:

  • Slip into different brand voices seamlessly
  • Speak on a personal level to different target audiences
  • Write with authority and accuracy about in-depth industry topics

Great expert blogs are readable, informative, useful, and speak to your readers’ most pressing pain points. The right copywriting service should cover all of that.

Express Writers offers industry expert blog packages for niches across the board including health & wellness, technology, finance, real estate, SaaS, SEO/digital marketing, and more. We also offer ongoing topic research as an add-on service so you’re never left scratching your head wondering what to publish next.

4. Authority Blogs – Skyscraper Pieces

Average price for a long-form, 2,000-word blog: $600 – $900

Authority behind your content matters more than ever in this age of information overload. People often don’t know who to trust or which sources are legit, just because there are so many scams, tricks, and fake news cycles out there.

In fact, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, public distrust in major institutions has declined across the board, which includes government, media, business, and nongovernment organizations.

graph showing trust crash in the u.s.

Authority, skyscraper-style blogs are therefore essential trust-builders that help shape your online gravitas positively. These aren’t just blogs; they’re MEGA blogs:

  • Content is written by an authority in your industry
  • Content aligns with your brand voice, tone, and style
  • Content is backed up with compelling facts, studies, and current research
  • Content is written around a high-opportunity, long-tail keyword that will rocket you into the search engine rankings
  • Long-form content provides depth and breadth on a relevant industry topic

In short, authority blogs aren’t just content pieces – they’re content assets. These powerful blogs will work to draw in traffic and leads for months, maybe even YEARS, after they’re published. Even more importantly, they will help build trust and loyalty with your audience.

Express Writers offers authority content for entrepreneurs, marketers, and agencies who want to level up their content. You KNOW what authority blogs can do if you invest in this level of content creation.

I created this copywriting service after a year spent listening, watching, and studying content trends. I saw a winning formula emerge, and I wanted to offer that to our clients – the BEST content possible that will stand tall in a swamp of billions of blog posts.

Onsite Copywriting Services: Web Pages

Think of your onsite content – your web pages, about pages, service pages, landing pages, etc. – as bridges and roads.

Each of these pages has the potential to lead your audience to that ultimate destination, the conversion. Of course, if you build your roads and bridges with weak materials and shaky foundations, fewer people will want to cross them.

Here are the copywriting services you need to invest in to build the best web pages possible, ones that will serve to welcome your audience and guide them to action.

1. SEO Keywords for Your Web Pages 

Average price for one keyword research report: $175 – $250

You don’t just need the right keywords in your blogs. You also need web pages optimized for industry terms and phrases that your ideal customers are typing into Google. This is how you get organic traffic and leads from search to land on your main site pages.

At Express Writers, we can find the best keywords for your web pages with our keyword strategy services.

2. Key Landing Pages

Average price per word: $0.07 – $0.23

Average price for one optimized, 800-word web page: $170 – $200

Web page content is one of those copywriting services most marketers can’t do without, as each page must be unique and persuasive to pass muster with Google AND users. Web pages can run the gamut from home pages to “about us” pages to service pages optimized for local SEO.

Much like blogs, industry expert web pages need to be consistent with brand voice and tone, convey authority, help your audience find the information they need, and use keywords strategically for high search engine rankings. The best copywriting services should deliver all of the above.

Whether you need unique, keyword-optimized web pages for your site or you have a lot of service pages that need local SEO and/or some fantastic copy, Express Writers can help with our custom industry expert web pages.

3. Service-Specific SEO Landing Pages

Average price for one 500-600-word page: $75 – $120

SEO landing pages are simply designated places where your visitors land after they click one of your links. Service-specific landing pages usually direct traffic to your site from local search. Here’s how that works:

  • A user opens Google and types in a keyword for a local service they want to find (i.e. “dentists in Austin”).
  • On the results page, your webpage pops up as an option because it’s optimized for that location-specific keyword.
  • The user clicks your link and is taken to your local service landing page, where they can learn more and potentially book an appointment/hire you. Here’s an example of a service landing page in action:

service landing page example

For best results with service landing pages, it’s essential to hire an expert writer who knows your industry. Express Writers hires specific field experts for this exact purpose from industries like legal, finance, marketing, and more. When you order copywriting services like web page copy, we match you up with one of these experts to write your pages.

Average just doesn’t cut it anymore when it comes to web content. Every single page on your site needs to be optimized for search and expertly written to stand out from the pack.

Need copy written by industry experts? Express Writers offers a whole host of copywriting services, from social media copy to product descriptions, from short-form blogs to long-form authority pieces. #copywriting Click To Tweet

Email Content

The power of email content is undeniable. According to Econsultancy, 66% of marketers who use email say it helps them achieve “excellent” or “good” ROI.

That’s not all. A Litmus survey of over 350 marketers revealed the ROI of email marketing is $38 for every dollar spent – Whoa.

However, these results only happen when your emails are targeted, well-written, persuasive, and valuable to your user base. To hit all of these bullseyes, these are the types of email copywriting services to delegate to the experts.

1. Email Sequences

Average price for an email sequence of 5 emails: $450 – $600

Launching new products? You need an email sequence. This is a series of targeted emails sent out at specific times over the course of a few days or a few weeks. Usually, the sequence is triggered by a customer action:

  • Signing up for your newsletter
  • Downloading a PDF
  • Abandoning a shopping cart
  • Browsing your site

An email sequence tells a continuing story. Each email builds upon the last email sent, culminating in a whammy-punch that ultimately moves the reader to follow your call-to-action (whether you want them to download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, or buy your new product).

This is an example of an email from a sequence I sent to my own list:

example of email content

Only an expert writer who truly understands persuasive, conversion-focused copy has the chops to create a successful, conversion-driving email sequence.

Express Writers’ copywriting services include done-for-you email sequences. Our email experts will write your sequence to appeal to your readers and gear them up for that all-important CTA.

2. Single Emails to Your List

Average price for short single emails (200-400 words): $75 – $200 (The American Writers and Artists Inc. copywriting price guide also mentions average pricing for standalone sales emails, which can run as high as $2,000 – but that’s because they’re conversion-focused and expected to be high-performing.)

For email marketing, single emails can be just as effective as email sequences, but for different reasons.

Single emails are a fantastic way to build trust and rapport with your audience. Think of it as another way to connect with them and build a relationship. Additionally, single emails are perfect for sharing new content. Who better to appreciate your new blog post than your list?

Here is an example of a single email promoting a new blog post for the Write Blog:

single email promoting a blog post

EW’s writing staff includes email experts who can take care of this copywriting service for you. Whether you need on-brand single emails or irresistible email sequences, we have you covered.

Ad Copy/Sales Pages

To nab the sale or ace the conversion, not just any kind of copywriting will do. Instead, you need expert copy written by a pro who understands the sales process. Enter conversion copywriting.

Marketers: This is something you shouldn’t do yourself unless you’ve been schooled in writing direct response copy.

1. Conversion Copywriting 

Average price for one conversion-oriented sales page: Industry experts rate this copywriting service as extremely high-value – $1 per word at minimum is the going rate.

Conversion copywriting is all about creating copy that engages a specific audience and pulls in the buyer’s interest. Conversion copy can be found on web pages, Facebook/social ad copy, and emails. Most of all, it has the potential to make you serious $$$.

With that in mind, not just anybody can write conversion copy that actually delivers. Only a serious copywriter will do, one who understands buyer awareness, the marketing lifecycle, and how to appeal to the decision-making process.

For a good example of conversion copy, take a look at Airstory’s homepage. Every sentence makes you want to add the tool to your browser:

conversion copy from airstory

Express Writers has conversion copywriting services available, but only by request. Contact us directly to get a custom quote.

Copywriting Services for Marketing Content

What types of marketing copy should you delegate, and which types can you write yourself?

In general, these are the copywriting services you can hand off for excellent ROI.

1. Ebooks & Lead Magnets

Average price for one designed ebook, 3-5 pages: $300 – $550

Lead magnets are high-value content pieces that you offer exclusively to your audience in exchange for a few personal details, such as their name and email address. Lead magnets are often created in the form of ebooks to pack in a lot of useful information – bonus points if they’re beautifully designed.

Much like blog content, ebooks and lead magnets build your authority and expertise in your industry, not to mention trust with your audience.

Watch me explain lead magnets and ideas for lead magnets in this video:

And check out one of our lead magnets at EW: The Easy ABC Content Strategy Checklist.

the easy abc content strategy checklist

We offer both ebook copy and design at Express Writers. Let one of our industry expert writers whip up a high-value ebook for your brand that will help build your clout AND your email list.

2. Whitepapers

Average price per page: $90 – $200

Whitepapers are great content assets to have on hand for any brand. These in-depth reports provide thorough information about specific problems and step-by-step information about how you solved it.

The most common types of whitepapers showcase client testimonials. For example, a good whitepaper will present the client’s problem clearly and effectively, then show how your brand (or your client’s brand) solved that problem and went above and beyond for the customer. Most importantly, these types of whitepapers showcase client satisfaction and serve as powerful social proof for other potential buyers.

Another type of whitepaper that’s pretty common: thorough, well-researched guides to industry problems. HubSpot has a good example of this type:

whitepaper example from hubspot

Whitepapers can be incredible authority-builders for any brand. EW offers this copywriting service, whether you just want whitepaper copy or a fully designed product.

3. PPT/SlideShare

Average price for one slide: $30

Slides for PowerPoint or SlideShare can be surprisingly difficult to write and create. Which key points about your topic should you include? How do you make slides attention-grabbing yet easy to read and understand?

Include this type of content in your list of copywriting services to delegate and you’ll get high-quality, expertly written slides that accomplish all of these goals.

To drive home how effective slides can be, check out this example of a SlideShare created from one of our blogs here at EW:

Need marketing copy for slides on PPT or SlideShare? EW does that, too.

4. Flyers/Brochures

Average price per 250 words: $50

If you’ll be advertising your brand locally (think tradeshows, events, etc.), flyers and brochures are a great print marketing asset. They are:

  • Relatively low-cost
  • Easy and fast to distribute
  • Effective for in-person marketing events

The most successful flyers and brochures will have copy that’s succinct, to the point, and impactful. They will clearly explain your products/services/offers in a way that appeals to your target audience.

If you want an expert creating your flyer/brochure copy, add that to the long list of copywriting services we have available at Express Writers.

5. Press Releases

Average price for one press release: $200 – $300

For announcing key news and happenings at your company, nothing does the job better than a professionally written press release.

Of course, when we say “professionally written,” we mean written by a professional journalist. With this kind of expertise behind your press releases, your news is more likely to be distributed through a network or picked up by a news outlet.

For expert, journalist-written press releases, check out this copywriting service from Express Writers.

6. Video Scripts 

Video is huge these days online. According to the Aberdeen Group, marketers who use video get 66% more qualified leads annually.

The secret to producing successful, attention-grabbing videos? A clear message conveyed with confidence. How can you do that? With a well-written video script.

It’s true: Even though video is hot, hot, hot. You won’t get anywhere by pushing out low-quality videos with lots of awkward pauses and stammering. Your video production will be much smoother with a script.

Tip: If you don’t have time to create them, Express Writers can write your video scripts for you.

7. Product Descriptions

Average price for one 100-250-word product description: $20 – $25

Product descriptions are an essential copywriting service for ecommerce businesses selling their wares. These descriptions not only persuasively sell the online product, they also describe it in a way that answers customer questions and overcomes any objections to clicking “add to cart”.

A worthy product description is both visceral (i.e. you get a good feel of what it would be like to use/wear/try the product) and practical (including dimensions, settings, features, etc.). Ideally, it should also be optimized for search so buyers can find that product when searching on Google.

For a tried-and-true example of product descriptions that fit all of these criteria, look at ModCloth, the online women’s clothing store. This PD for a hooded yellow coat includes both fanciful details that will appeal directly to its young target audience, not to mention practical details about the coat material, fit, and sizing.

product description copy - example

If you need product descriptions that both tell and sell, let our writing team at Express Writers take care of them for you with our copywriting service for product descriptions.

How to Work with Copywriting Services to Produce Content That Wins

A huge part of winning marketing has to include winning copy. To put it bluntly, there’s so much to write and so little time. As you can see, copywriting services can lift a lot of that pressure off your shoulders.

Whether you’re a time-crunched marketer, an entrepreneur striking out with a new product/business, or an agency strapped for good writers, getting help is always a good idea. It WILL 10x your marketing!

To wrap up, here are a few tips to make your copywriting services go the extra mile:

1. Invest in Quality

Expert, amazing writers charge more for their services because they’re good. Their work gets consistent results and ROI. Period. If you want those results, you need to invest in expertise.

2. Provide Instructions, Guidelines, Ideas, Etc.

For copywriting services, you can’t provide too many details. Give your writer the best starting point by giving them all the information you can about what you need. Examples, style guides, links to content you want to emulate – all of it will help your writer produce a better end product.

3. Communicate

While working on your content or copy, your writer might have questions pop up. They might need you to clarify an instruction or help them refine the voice and tone you want them to use, for example. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep communication lines open. Be responsive and work with your writer if you want the best from them.

Copywriting services can lighten your to-do list, but more importantly, they can improve your marketing by leaps and bounds. Have you made the investment in expert copywriting yet?

CTA

b2b content marketing trends 2019

6 Major Content Marketing Trends from CMI’s 2019 B2C Content Marketing Research Report

Happy 2019, marketers! 🥂🥳

What better way to start out the year than to check out some major trends for our amazing industry of content marketing?

Good news.

Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs just released their 2019 B2C Content Marketing Report.

2019 cmi research

CMI’s 2019 B2C Content Marketing Report

The #1 major takeaway?

B2C content marketing is hotter than ever.

And more and more brands are getting with the times: realizing that they need a strategic approach in order to succeed.

As the research reveals, the stronger your commitment to content marketing, the better the outlook for your success.

Take a look at some of CMI’s impressive and intriguing findings around content marketing in 2019.

  • 95% of B2Cs are committed to content marketing on some level.
  • 96% of the most successful B2C content marketers say audiences view their company as a trusted resource.
  • Educational content is the #2 content marketing method for B2Cs in nurturing their audience (first is email marketing).
  • The highest area for spending in content marketing in 2019 is content creation (56%).
  • 63% of marketers said their organizations were “very” or “extremely” committed to content. Of the most committed, 40% said their companies were “very” or “extremely” successful. (That’s in comparison with the least committed marketers. Only 8% reported any great success.)

Those are some powerful takeaways, right? With these promising indicators, smart marketers and agencies should definitely increase their focus and commitment to content marketing – IT WORKS.

That’s not all, though. The report is jam-packed with juicy information and insightful statistics. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top trends and takeaways from this important research so you don’t have to comb through the whole thing.

Ready? Dive in and take some notes!

According to the latest B2C survey from @CMIContent and @MarketingProfs, 96% of the most successful content marketers say audiences view their company as a trusted resource. More #b2c #contentmarketing trends in this recap by… Click To Tweet

content marketing trends 2019

6 Top Takeaways and Trends from CMI’s B2C Content Marketing Research Report

These are the key trends that caught our eye:

1. More B2Cs Than Ever Are Committed to Content

According to the report, the majority of B2Cs are committed to content marketing on some level (a whopping 95%).

The majority of B2Cs are committed to content marketing on some level (a whopping 95%). More on #contentmarketing trends via @JuliaEMcCoy's recap of @cmicontent and @marketingprofs 2019 report Click To Tweet

As we already mentioned, 63% of marketers fall on the end of the spectrum: They’re either extremely or very committed.

This should come as no surprise, but it’s still nice to hear. Content marketing is a proven strategy and can earn you or your clients major ROI if it’s done right.

2. Committed B2C Content Marketers Are More Likely to Hit Their Goals

The most committed content marketers are all-stars who reach their goals more often, according to CMI’s survey.

  • 49% of the most committed say they get content marketing buy-in from top leaders in their organization.
  • Another 68% say they have successfully used content to build loyalty with their existing customers.
  • 72% have successfully educated their audience over the last year.

Meanwhile, among the least committed to content marketing:

  • Only 16% get buy-in from top executives.
  • 51% have built loyalty with customers.
  • 53% have successfully educated their audiences.

From the statistics, it’s pretty clear that to reach your content goals, you need to dig in and commit, especially if you want buy-in from the higher-ups!

3. Investment in Content Marketing Is Growing

This next takeaway is in line with #1, above.

As more content marketers and agencies commit to content marketing, more of them see the worth of investing fully in this strategy.

As such, 57% of marketers foresee their content marketing budgets increasing in the immediate future. Of that number, 29% expect to increase their budgets by more than 9%.

This is great news, because the more you commit your time and budget to content, the better chance it will have to pay off.

More than half of #b2c marketers expect their #contentmarketing budget to increase in 2019, says @CMIContent and @MarketingProfs in their 2019 B2C Content Marketing Report. Click To Tweet

4. For Many Companies, Content Creation is #1

Content creation is one of the top investment categories, according to CMI’s report. Of those marketers who increased their budgets within the last year, 56% funneled those dollars toward content creation.

graph showing areas where b2c content marketers increased spending in the last 12 months

Other runner-up categories include paid content distribution, dedicated content marketing staff, technology for content marketing, and outsourcing content marketing.

This trend says a lot about what’s important to most marketers going forward.

It’s the audience.

Content creation investment means higher-quality content. Higher-quality means better writing, more audience research, more targeted topics, and a brand voice that always hits the mark.

And, don’t forget: Ongoing investment in high-quality content equals more consistency at every audience touchpoint. According to research from McKinsey & Company, that’s how you make customers happy across the entire buyer’s journey:

“…positive customer-experience emotions—encompassed in a feeling of trust—were the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty in a majority of industries surveyed.”

In a nutshell, more investment in content creation = more high-quality, consistent content experiences for your audience = higher audience trust = more loyalty = more conversions/sales.

That adds up to a whole lot of awesomeness.

5. The Key for B2Cs in 2019? Loyalty

The next key point from the CMI research directly ties into the increased investment in content creation. More and more marketers (81%) are focusing on building loyalty with their existing audiences through their content.

Meanwhile, only 12% are not concerned with creating content that builds audience loyalty.

As a 2018 survey from Yotpo demonstrates, brand loyalty is a highly desirable outcome from content marketing.

When customers are loyal, they do a bunch of amazing things for you:

  • 60% will recommend you to their friends and family
  • 52.3% will join your loyalty program
  • Nearly 40% will spend more on your products versus opting for cheaper versions elsewhere

graph showing what consumers are willing to do for brands they are loyal to

It’s no wonder smart B2C marketers and agencies are devoted to building their audience loyalty. That loyalty snowballs, building on itself without any pushing or prodding.

More and more marketers (81%) are focusing on building loyalty with their existing audiences through their content, says @CMIContent and @MarketingProfs. This and more #b2c #contentmarketing takeaways in this new post by @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet

6. The Longer B2Cs Use Content Marketing, the Higher They Fly to Success

Our final takeaway from CMI’s 2019 B2C research report is an interesting stat that shows how far a steady commitment to content can take you.

The longer an organization uses content marketing, the more likely they are to see success. Overall, 31% of B2Cs rate their marketing as mature and finding those positive gains. That’s compared to 27% of “adolescent” stage B2Cs and 26% of those at the “young” stage.

As the graph shows, the further your organization moves down the road toward content marketing maturity, the more likely it will perform better.

These statistics make perfect sense because they reflect common sense – in general, the longer you practice any activity, the better you become.

That means B2Cs and marketers who want to throw in the towel should stop short and ask themselves a huge question:

What is your marketing maturity level? Are you just starting out, or are you experiencing growing pains?

If you can answer “yes” to either, hang in there. Statistics show that your marketing game will improve with age.

Statistics show that your marketing game will improve with age. More on @cmicontent and @marketingprofs 2019 B2B content marketing benchmarks via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Cheers to 2019 with the Industry Headed Towards Better Content Marketing

This research is a gold mine for marketers and agencies who want to level up in content marketing.

As you can see, the trends point to better returns for those who commit themselves to content and stick with it for the long haul. Additionally, those who prioritize their audiences and building audience loyalty are more likely to come out ahead.

Here’s to a great 2019, marketers! 🥳

You should double down on content creation in particular because the quality of this activity will greatly influence audience loyalty. The better you speak to your people, the more you’ll build that community around your brand.

What do you think of these research findings? Is there anything that surprised you, or anything that will influence your own marketing going forward? Let us know in the comments!

Need great content? Register to start ordering custom-written content from our team.

seo content marketing

How to Build Trust & Rankings Through SEO-Focused Content Marketing

If you can get smart with Google, rank organically, and hit page one, your online presence, leads, and traffic will experience a huge boost.

Why?

Because Google is still the #1 driver of all web traffic, hands down.

According to Net Market Share, as of October 2018, Google held 76.14% of the total search engine market share.

search engine market share

Also, search still outpaces social media in traffic.

Currently, search drives 34.8% of all site visits as opposed to social networks, which bring in 25.6% (Search Engine Land).

Not to mention how hot those inbound leads areMarketingSherpa has said that the average conversion rate on organic traffic to leads across industries is 16%.
All of these things are great reasons to rank on Google.

Search still drives 34.8% of all site visits - social media brings in 25.6%. Google still reigns king as the #1 traffic driver on the web. Learn how to build trust through SEO-powered content marketing via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

But, here’s the thing:

Successful marketing is not built on web visits alone.

You must nail the “win their trust” element of SEO content creation to actually get somewhere worthwhile (leads >> sales >> loyal customers).

If you can consistently build valuable content over time – content that meets your reader at their place of need – you’re absolutely going to build winning, valuable marketing.

At Express Writers, we are living proof of how powerful SEO-based content marketing can be. It powers the majority of our six-figure monthly income and is solely responsible for every high-quality client lead that comes our way. I wrote a case study not too long ago on this:

seo blogging case study

Read our SEO blogging case study.

Valuable, SEO-optimized content published on your site can help you build trust with readers, which boosts your rankings, which boosts their trust… ad infinitum.

How do you build trust and rankings through #contentmarketing? @JuliaEMcCoy discusses what high-value content can do for your business. #SEO Click To Tweet

In a nutshell, this is how to get into a circle of content marketing awesomeness. Read on!

seo content marketing

4 Ways to Set Up High-ROI, Profitable SEO Content Marketing

1. Meet Them at the Right Keyword

Rule #1: You’re not looking for traffic to your website. You’re looking for the RIGHT traffic.

The most lead-worthy traffic comes from people who are searching for what you’ve got. Hone in on those keywords they’re searching. And you’ll not only pull them to your site, but you’ll also give them exactly what they need. That’s a HUGE trust-builder.

Sweet-Spot-Keywords-1030x647

Example: A user googles “how to build a dog fence,” finds your blog, reads your expert advice, and finds a CTA for your product. Turns out, they NEED it because you met them at the right keyword with valuable content (cha-ching!).

This is called mapping keywords to the sales cycle (also called the buyer’s journey or sales funnel). For more information on how to do it, check out this guide from Neil Patel: The Keywords to Use for Each Stage of the Funnel.

Rule #1: You’re not looking for traffic to your website. You’re looking for the RIGHT traffic. 🔍 More on setting up #SEO #contentmarketing by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Focus on Owned Media Platforms and Organic SEO Content

Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute recently predicted the rise of the value of owned media. As he says, the content you create and publish on your own platform becomes higher-value the harder it is to earn your audience’s attention:

“…as ‘reaching audiences’ becomes more difficult, fragmented, and filtered, the ability to generate and hold attention from an audience with original content becomes increasingly more valuable to the business.”

Owned media (A.K.A. content marketing based on your brand domain) does a few tasks for you in this dog-eat-dog internet marketing atmosphere:

  • It gives you complete control over your content quality.
  • It builds YOUR credibility and associates your content with YOUR brand name and URL – not some random host site.
  • It gives you a brand platform home base off of which you can build vital backlinks.

Plus, an organic SEO content focus (think: content grown in your own domain soil) also provides value for people at the place where most of them are already searching for that value. Win-win.

3. Check Your Slime-o-Meter

Trust will be huge in 2019. It’s pretty much the core piece of today’s marketing that matters to customers.

That’s because, in general, people’s trust in institutions (government, business, the media, etc.) has fallen, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report.

In particular, in the U.S., trust has declined at the steepest rate ever recorded:

trust barometer by edelman

trust crashing in the usa
Yikes.

In the U.S., trust has declined at the steepest rate ever recorded. What does that mean for marketers? @JuliaEMcCoy shares her insights. #contentmarketing #seo Click To Tweet
The question to ask yourself: “Are we producing trustworthy, non-spammy/scammy/crappy/slimy marketing?”

In other words, how does your content rate on the slime-o-meter? Is it a solid “0” with no promotional language/offers to be found? Or is it creeping dangerously close to a “10,” with thin content that doesn’t bother to hide your pushy, self-aggrandizing sales pitch? (Back away, that one is too slimy to touch.)


Surprisingly, this isn’t the easiest question to answer. Your marketing blinders may prevent you from seeing your content the way your audience does. If this is the case, you need to clear your vision.

This means audience re-evaluation and research. (Read: TALK to them. Swim around in their brain waves. Understand them.)

Once you know them like your best friend, you can more accurately measure your content against that slime-o-meter. When all else fails, abandon any attempts at promotion and just aim for giving your readers the relevant help/entertainment/information they crave.

4. Don’t Ask for More Than Your Audience Is Ready to Give

One aspect of building trust in content is aligning your CTAs with the level of trust you currently hold with readers.

Hint: You don’t want to ask for more than they’re ready to give. That’s a turn-off.

Take a look at this trust pyramid from the Nielsen/Norman Group:

pyramid of trust by nielsen norman group
Each level of the pyramid corresponds to a trust level you must achieve with a user before you can climb up to the next one. To achieve a trust level, you must be able to overcome the user’s doubts about you.

For example, to hop into the baseline level of trust with a user, you need to help them answer these questions:

  • Can your site/content help them accomplish their goals?
  • Is your site/content credible, with dependable information?
  • Does it have their best interests at heart?

users' trust needs
Sometimes marketers try to insert a CTA that doesn’t align with their readers’ current trust level. The CTA is meant to move the audience to level up, so to speak, but it won’t work if you ask too much of them too soon, according to HubSpot.

using ctasMy Marketing Lifecycle also represents this journey.

marketing lifecycle with stages

That’s where SEO content comes in. It gives your readers value that’s relevant to them, which builds their trust to the required level needed for them to complete the CTA.

Are your CTAs asking for more than what readers are ready to give? Time to change that. Learn how in this new blog post by @JuliaEMcCoy. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

Trust-builders in content include:

  • Well-written, user-focused copy
  • Organized, easy-to-understand formatting
  • Supporting research and hard data (case studies, testimonials, statistics, reports, etc.)
  • Useful links and resources
  • Thoughtful, usable, attractive website design

How Do You Know Which CTAs to Use in SEO Content?

It’s not difficult to know which CTAs to use with your SEO content – just look at the keywords in each piece and the type of users they target.

  • Are your main keywords broader in scope, meant to target people who have never interacted with your brand before, or who don’t know the industry?
    • Use CTAs that don’t dig too deep. Offer a valuable freebie or download in exchange for an email address, at most.
  • Or are your main keywords narrower and more focused, targeting people who may know your name and product but haven’t yet purchased?
    • Use CTAs that call for a stronger action and more personal information, like making a purchase or testing a free trial.

From Trust-Building to Search Engine Dominance

To dominate in Google, earning your readers’ trust must be your #1 priority.

From the keywords you use to the platform on which you publish, from the meat of your content to your CTAs, you can and should nurture that trust with SEO content.

First, meet them where they’re looking for value in search. Then, become the authority source that brings value for your readers relentlessly.

As Joe Pulizzi has said, that kind of marketing pays for itself – and that kind of marketing tops Google, too.

Need high-quality content? We can help.

seo content creation for content marketing cta

the marketing lifecycle blog

Goodbye, Sales Funnel & Hello, Marketing Lifecycle: 5 Hot Content Marketing Trends You Need to Know for 2019

As we approach the New Year, here’s a big question for you, content marketers:

Which way is the content marketing wind blowing? 🌬️

I have some ideas.

image of a young executive in deep thought, behind him a co-worker holding a lightbulb above his head

In 2019, content marketing will continue to grow, and more and more brands will see its potential through to concrete, measurable successes.

Today and tomorrow’s great, standout marketing is all about building trust with your audience, and consistently giving them creative, nurturing, and strategic content.

And in order to get there, some things have to change. It’s time for some old, anti-trust practices to die — and it’s time to introduce and start more conversations around new, better practices.

One of these new practices I’m introducing today is a big wake-up call to the industry. (Hint: Goodbye sales funnel, hello Marketing Lifecycle.)

Knowing the foundational techniques that will boost your online game overall just became a basic requirement. Learning how to build real, lasting industry trust for your brand? That’s for the successful few. And we’ll be discussing that today. Ready to jump into today’s deep end?

@JuliaEMcCoy predicts that a Marketing Lifecycle will replace a sales funnel. Read all it about here. #ContentMarketingTrends #2019 #MarketingLifecycle Click To Tweet

marketing lifecycle blog

marketing lifecycle ebook

Introducing The Marketing Lifecycle & 4 Other Content Marketing Trends for 2019 That Will Win With a Human Audience

Here are some of the top trends that (I’m hoping) we’ll see proliferate in marketing in 2019, starting with the biggest industry prediction I’ve ever made. Let’s begin.

1. Marketing Funnel Begone: Welcome The Marketing Lifecycle

I’m going to predict that the overly salesy marketing “funnel” (also called a “sales funnel”) will become obsolete in the next 12-24 months. Yes, I said it.

Why? It’s high time a new, pro-consumer lifecycle replaced the cold, ugly sales funnel.

I discussed the sales funnel death and the lifecycle idea with the students in my Content Strategy & Marketing Course recently. My student John said it eloquently: “The sales funnel deserves the guillotine.”

content strategy and marketing course student john pratt

Why is the “sales funnel” so unreliable?

It doesn’t describe the way marketing should work anymore.

John Hall, co-founder of Influence & Co., broaches this idea in his Forbes rundown of 2019 trends:

“Right now, the marketing funnel as we know it accepts just about anyone and everyone, filters them through qualification processes, then spits them out at the end without much of a parting word. Too many companies see customers as gatekeepers to wallets; meanwhile, customers feel ignored at best – and insulted at worst – when the journey ends.”

Have I mentioned that I hate the term “sales funnel?”

We are content marketers. We should never just “grab” the attention of people who aren’t in our audience, for numbers’ sake: and we should never only focus on “dumping people” at the end of a funnel. It’s time to quit looking at our customers as if they are numbers, a metric in our system, a “wallet.” Our customers are so much more than their wallets. They are our friends, the people we want to help the most if we’re truly in business to make a difference. So, let’s take a more nurturing stance that encourages people to stay in our circle: join our community of readers, buyers, and evangelists.

Funnel, begone. It’s time for a new marketing flowchart.

'Our customers are so much more than their wallets. They are our friends, the people we want to help the most if we're truly in business to make a difference. Funnel, begone: it's time for a new marketing flowchart.' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Let’s Replace “Sales Funnel” with “Marketing Lifecycle”

Before I get into my original concept, the term “marketing lifecycle” itself isn’t new. Ardath Albee, an industry leader in content marketing, talked about a lifecycle on the Marketo blog not too long ago.

In the post, titled “B2B Tech Marketers Make the Shift From Funnels to Lifecycles,” she says: “…Marketers [must] shift their focus from buying journey funnels to full-on customer lifecycle management.”

The design that I’m about to reveal is 100% original and the collaborative effort of myself and my team. My designer and one of our lead copywriters worked on it with me, after I did some initial brain dumps.

Late one Sunday night in October, I brainstormed the first draft of my new lifecycle. Not kidding you: I picked up one of my kid’s markers and a piece of paper, and I drew it out. I’m going to show you my original brainchild in all its pure, messy, Crayola marker glory.

Now, to really show you what The Marketing Lifecycle I’ve designed is all about, study this generic Sales Funnel first. This is the typical model of Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. The concept is quite old: the AIDA concept was first proposed in Bond Salesmanship by William W. Townsend in 1924.

sales funnel aida

Typical sales funnel model

another typical sales funnel

Not very pretty – was it ever?

Here’s what Townsend actually wrote in his book in 1924, which gave us our first usage of this “sales funnel” as associated today with the AIDA model:

“The salesman should visualize his whole problem of developing the sales steps as the forcing by compression of a broad and general concept of facts through a funnel which produces the specific and favorable consideration of one fact. The process is continually from the general to the specific, and the visualizing of the funnel has helped many salesmen to lead a customer from Attention to Interest, and beyond.”

Does that sound like a current marketing method that work today — at all?

“The salesman should…[develop] the sales steps as the forcing by compression of a broad and general concept of facts through a funnel.” Forcing your prospects? Does this really define the “sales” concept we should use in our marketing today? Jamie from 60secondmarketer.com says that the “sales funnel” simply doesn’t work with today’s smart consumer. I would agree. Here are a few more facts on why.

Today’s Customer Journey: A Big Reason to Embrace the Marketing Lifecycle

Today’s typical customer journey is far more unpredictable than the customer of the previous century.

sales funnel sales journey

1980’s and prior sales journey.

When the concept of the sales funnel came out (1924), the internet didn’t exist! But think about today for a second.

Over 40,000 searches happen on Google per second, 1.49 billion people log onto Facebook daily, 84% of buyers trust online reviews (BrightLocal), and 47% of B2B buyers read 3-5 blog posts or content pieces prior to talking with a salesperson (DemandGen). 45% of Americans use Twitter (Pew Research Center), and 77% of Twitter users (Twitter) feel more positive about a brand when their tweet has been replied to.

That means that a typical buyer’s journey could look a lot more like this, and there could be a lot longer of a time period between the first and the last stage than the funnel represents.

sales funnel marketing lifecycle pathway

On the flip side, if the brand’s site is user-friendly, and the content is extremely good, and the prospect has a hot, burning need: the sale can still happen quickly! (The good news? If we allow for a journey and not a pushy “funnel,” we will get better results and happier customers all around.)

The sales funnel really gives companies, and executive teams, the wrong idea of who is buying from them. A human is buying from us. Not a percentage. Not a robot. Not a “conversion ratio.” A human, in the end. I think sometimes many of us forget that simple fact. What I wanted to portray was a path real humans that are interested in a brand’s offering are actually taking these days, with no closed walls, and fresh, up-to-date, more accurate “stages.” I’ve been studying the pathways of the inbound customers we have this year, as we approach our first $1.5 million gross annual sales. There are three things I’ve noticed that consistently happen around the sales journey that really does not match up to today’s sales funnel at all (see AIDA model, above).

First: we can’t truly and accurately predict where a lead is at. Ground-floor level, we don’t know what’s in a human buyer’s mind. Software can’t heat-map a lead’s “brain,” even though it’ll promise you that it can try. Your lead could be ready to buy, or they could be months away from buying. It’s their decision, not yours, on how and where they should spend their money. Patience with our human prospects, and realizing we aren’t mind-readers pays off. We allow them to make the decision, and if we’ve held up our end–our salespeople are strong, our products are strong, our quote was sent out on time, etc., we simply need to wait. We let them know it’s up to them. This is what today’s buyer wants from us as “sellers.”

Secondly: I consistently see one of the most important stages left off all sales funnels. Yet for us, this is when we see our biggest sales, trust, and ROI happen! This is the loyalty stage, which happens AFTER the interest, decision, and action stages. Their actions after that first big action (purchase, sale) denote their loyalty to your brand and subsequently more business for you, if you’ve served them well enough, and maintain that relationship in a way that encourages them to tell others about how much they love you.

Thirdly: The metrics and KPIs around the “stages of the sales funnel” are grossly off, if we want to reflect KPIs that influence potential sales and direct profit. For example, one of the biggest “metrics” for actual sales from content are the conversations you’re having with your leads. If our team isn’t having calls, live chats, email conversations with new leads that come in, then we revise and improve our inbound strategy. Conversations are by far the biggest metric that lead to a sale. Get that lead on a call, on live chat with you, reading your email and responding, and the chances of a sale are huge. Yet I never see “conversations” factored as a KPI in the sales funnel! Most of the time it’s “open” rates on emails, whitepaper downloads, subscriber growth — when none of that matters half as much as the conversations you’re actually having with your people.

So, those three factors were heavily considered in the new Marketing Lifecycle I’ve developed. Without further ado, here it is. Keep scrolling past the images for a little bit more about the story of this Lifecycle.

marketing lifecycle

marketing lifecycle

marketing lifecycle with content

Spread the word! Save, download and re-share: grab the PDF here, and correctly cite if you use by linking back to this post

The story around my new concept is that there are four true stages to an authentic, customer-centric Marketing Lifecycle journey.

Want to save and read the full description of all four stages later? Download as a PDF here.

marketing lifecycle ebook

1. Awareness

Lead is: In Awareness

Brands need to focus on: Authority building in the industry, via high-quality content on a key site “house,” in a variety of formats. Consistency, velocity are key. 

This is the traffic and awareness stage when someone first hears about you and has a potential need for what you might offer. Your content and work here should be value-focused, first and foremost. Don’t be promotional or you risk turning leads off. Comprehensive, high-quality blogs are huge winners to build on your site for attracting more leads in the awareness stage.

What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:

  • High-quality, comprehensive, SEO optimized blogs for inbound site traffic (I’ve trained my best writers on a service we offer called authority content for this reason)
  • Focus on building a community around your brand – create intimacy with your niche through content
  • Round-ups or original research studies (can publish as blogs)
  • Brand awareness blogs, creative stories (executive, employee or client stories–must be real-life, and not stiff or testimonial-style)
  • Web pages & site guides (example: our What Is a Strategist? site guide for my course)
  • Social media content, videos & copy
  • Maintain relationships at the fourth stage for more word-of-mouth referrals
  • Published books by executive team/CEOs (see mine for an example)
  • Lead magnets and ebooks & building list size and leads to nurture with opt-ins
  • Ad campaigns (cold audience)

2. Interest & Intent

Lead is: Interested & Has Potential Intent to Buy

Brands need to focus on: Conversational marketing, assigning live calls with prospects to strongest team members, offering client-specific or seasonal coupons 

In the sales funnel, this is usually broken up into two stages: Interest and Desire. However, the pattern with smart buyers today, especially those buying online (digital and physical services), is that a lead can go from interest to desire very quickly. Brands need to anticipate that more. For example, I see too many brands write off their leads — we’ll call him Joe — just because Joe hasn’t emailed back in over a year. Never, ever do that. This does NOT mean to pressure your leads. Just don’t write them off. Send them your occasional coupons and specials. We’ve seen clients come back out of the blue time and time again.

And guess what the #1 factor is in moving someone from interest to a decision? A real, live human conversation. After 7 years and $4+ million in sales, all conducted not in person and over the “internet” virtually with clients using our website, we consistently see conversations as the #1 factor in moving someone from interest and intent to decision. 41.2% of salespeople said their phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal, says Hubspot. Since our leads at Express Writers are 100% inbound and already warm, getting them on a call is easy – and once they have a conversation with one of our capable staff members, 60-80% of the time, they buy. Allowing the lead to choose phone, chat or email, and then being quick to take initiative, pick up the phone and call our inbound prospect when there’s any hesitation, is the #1 component of all of our sales. (We’ve never used a single webinar to sell our services at Express Writers.)

Also, our top salesperson is not a salesperson. We stopped doing commissioned sales back in 2015! Instead, our top salesperson was first an editor and project manager who naturally progressed up our ladder and is now our Content Director. We’ve found there is no one better than the person who oversees our writers to also have the key conversations that move to a lead to decide on purchasing. Live chat is another way to facilitate these conversations. There’s a reason 150,000 businesses including some of the world’s top brands are using the same live chat we are, Drift. Messenger bots are another great way to hold more live chats with your prospects.

I can’t recommend this enough: Have more conversations with your leads. Talk about the conversations you’ve had in your boardroom with executives and team members.

Another powerful factor in moving a client through this stage is by using coupons and offering them more. This is another opportunity I think a ton of brands miss out on! Coupons with an expiration really give a lead a reason to move from interest and intent forward to the next stage. We’ve had many sales happen because specific leads who asked for a deal, and qualified for that deal by buying volume, were given an account-specific coupon. Never underestimate the power of offering a good deal. Don’t cheapen out, but don’t be afraid to offer your best price.

Remember your email marketing efforts here too. Emailing your content marketing pieces generates a 38x return for every 1$ spent (CampaignMonitor).

What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:

  • Conversational marketing (live chat, phone appointments with leads & best company representatives)
  • Messenger bots & live chat apps
  • Have your best (human!) representatives at the end of the app & booking live calls with leads
  • An easy-to-navigate site with CTAs and contact forms
  • Lead magnets around your core message
  • Ebooks to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise
  • Whitepapers and case studies showing off client success stories
  • Email marketing and list building efforts (write and send great emails consistently)
  • Webinars (not necessary unless it fits your specific offering and/or niche)
  • Ad campaigns (retargeting)

3. Decision

Lead is: Ready to Buy

Brands need to focus on: Having samples, previous happy client reviews, and quotes ready to go: booking sales calls

This is the action stage. The main action here is sales. If the other stages are done correctly, and your content has built a great presence, you offer a solid service and products, and you or your team has answered every question, the prospect should buy.

What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:

  • Conversational marketing (live chat, calls, prompt follow-ups with clients to answer every question)
  • Have a team that acts fast on sales quotes. The recommended time to get back to someone who contacts you online now is 0 minutes – 4 hours, max.
  • Have work samples ready to show at request for new clients making a decision
  • Testimonials and reviews from prior happy clients help new clients buy with confidence
  • Optional, based on specific company time: Demos (a complex SaaS, for example, could benefit from offering demos)

4. Loyalty

Lead is: Delighted & Willing to Send Referrals

Brands need to focus on: Great service, delivering a great product, following up and checking on client happiness levels, fixing or repairing any reason for dissatisfaction 

This is where you connect with and delight your customers on a regular basis. They become advocates for your brand at this point. This is one of the most important parts to building a long-term presence and profitability as a business, yet it is so often left off of the sales funnel! Your customers’ loyalty reflects the strength of your brand. You should be reaching out and making sure your customers are happy, checking in with them, and sending them occasional gifts or thank-yous to maintain that relationship and loyalty. It’s up to you as the brand to make sure the customer is delighted. If at any point they’ve been dissatisfied, it’s also imperative to find out why and repair whatever could be broken.

What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:

  • Followups and seasonal check-ins: build relationships with customers without being pushy
  • Send gifts and thank-yous
  • Email marketing: nurture buyers’ loyalty by sending them your new guides, blogs and customer stories/team stories
  • New products, books, etc. can also build loyalty and reoccurring interest
  • Good service and strong products are #1: revise and maintain your offerings and team to ensure strength in the market

Some Notes About the Marketing Lifecycle

marketing lifecycle with contentIn the Marketing Lifecycle, notice that there is no wall: a human can walk right over into “decision” if they want to, by going through the middle. This is important. It is time we predicted our prospects’ intentions more as a journey and a lifecycle with pathways, instead of a funnel. And this was an important part of the lifecycle. There are no walls or pushy funnel tactics here. Customers aren’t treated like a “metric” or a “number.” We give them a path, and expect a journey, in which our role is to add value to their journey and guide them, without being annoying or pushy. Also, the beautiful part of this new story is that it all connects. Marketing done right should do just that. It should encourage the building of a community: that community should be inspired to tell others about you, which means that increased loyalty to your brand will grow your awareness, reach and traffic, which will continue to fuel growth continually.

The trend in the lifecycle going forward, I think, is that more brands will realize the need for live conversations with their prospects and use innovative apps like live on-site chat, messenger bots, and more. There will need to be a human at the other end serving the lead with the final call or conversation–a bot can’t fully replace a human. Gartner has said that by 2020, conversational marketing will be a recognized channel of B2B and B2C customer engagement and revenue, displacing a large combination of marketing, sales, and service activities.

This kind of marketing is not simple or easy, it is definitely advanced: but it is customer-centric. The types of brands that will win in tomorrow’s Marketing Lifecycle are those who invest in quality and take time and care to serve well at each stage. If your website, email marketing, authority-building blogging, Facebook ad retargeting, whitepapers, lead magnets, customer testimonials, serves your leads well and is set up well in a high-quality, congruent, value-focused manner, you’ll see results. Remember, your offers must be strong, and your CTAs present but unobtrusive. Your team members must serve your clients well, and your products must be amazing. Invest without hesitation to build strength at each stage of the lifecycle. Your leads will feel better served and you’ll get far better results than trying to half-ass your way through these stages.

A customer-centric lifecycle is recommended by @ardath421 via @marketo. Learn more about how a Marketing Lifecycle will replace the traditional #sales funnel on @JuliaEMcCoy's blog Click To Tweet The Marketing Lifecycle concept gives brands a way to look at leads as something other than a 'lead.' Here's the thing: our leads are humans. But the typical sales funnel doesn't remind us of that. @JuliaEMcCoy #ContentMarketingTrends Click To Tweet The 4 stages of the Marketing Lifecycle: 1. Awareness 2. Interest & Intent 3. Decision 4. Loyalty One of the biggest factors @JuliaEMcCoy recommends for moving leads from intent -> decision is: conversations. Click To Tweet Have more conversations with your leads. Talk about the conversations you've had in your boardroom with executives and team members. @JuliaEMcCoy on #MarketingLifecycle Click To Tweet

marketing lifecycle GIF

Download the three stages as a PDF – no email required.

ebook marketing lifecycle explained

2. Content That Wins Love and Trust

Now that we got that big whammy out of the way, here’s my second most important content marketing prediction.

Trust-based content is going to be the Content Leader (King, Queen, you-name-it) in 2019.

Authenticity, the founder’s real backstory (from failures to successes), transparency in the executive team, and real-life anecdotes on company blogs – those will win buyer trust in the content calendar for 2019.

In other words, be real. Be realer than you’ve ever been, and don’t be afraid of the “TMI” barrier. People–your readers and buyers–want to hear your transparency and your failures, maybe even more than they want to read about the award you won or the tradeshow you sponsored.

Let’s tell real stories.

Be real in the company blog. Tell stories. This and four other #contentmarketing musts as you go into 2019, via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

More than ever, great, unique content isn’t just about presenting your audience with factual research, opinions, or comprehensive information in an amazing format.

It’s about human connection. And how better to bridge that gap than through telling real stories?

In 2019, traffic and leads will go to brand leaders and marketers who focus on winning their audience’s love and trust. Those two things are what truly build engagement and bring a community together.

What wins love and trust? A few things:

The mechanics of building great content (format, style, structure, platforms) are common knowledge by now. To build those relationships, a bigger factor to nail in your content is WHY you do it.

  • WHY should the consumer choose you and not the other guy?

There is SO MUCH content produced daily:

total number of blog posts written per day

Source: worldometers.com

infographic showing the amount of online content published every minute in 2018

Source: domo.com

Standing out will keep getting harder.

And harder.

So, instead of just publishing great content, marketers will need to push themselves further to create content that earns that love and trust – stuff with deep originality, fresh angles on old topics, imaginative ideas, and a big dose of fun.

This trend is already reflected in the data. The majority of marketers (56%) are reporting that content creation is the one area where they have overwhelmingly increased spending, according to CMI’s Benchmark report for 2019.

graph showing the areas where b2b content marketers increased their spending in the last 12 months

Source: CMI

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to increase your budget to increase your originality – instead, think about increasing your commitment, care, and dedication to serving your audience. Love and respect them, and you may just get that in return.

3. Content Backed by a Strategy

Content marketing is no longer in its infancy. The experimentation phase is at an end – we know what works and what doesn’t.

So, what consistently wins? Content marketing backed by a strategy.

In fact, this trend is one reason I launched my Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

13 skillsets content strategy and marketing

In past years, many marketers were not aware of the need for a content strategy. That’s changing – the 2019 CMI report findings show a staggering 81% are now aware of this need, including why it’s important.

The top benefits of a content strategy include:

  • Content strategy helps align content marketing teams around the agreed-upon mission/goals (81%)
  • A great content strategy makes it a lot easier to figure out which types of content to develop/produce (81%)
  • Content strategy keeps the team focused on documented content priorities (73%)

graph showing the top benefits of a documented content marketing strategy

Strategy-wise, things will keep growing, growing, growing – both the need and the awareness for the need!

And, as brands and businesses get wise to strategy, including how to use it effectively, content marketing’s worth will grow, too.

Remember when the predicted industry worth was around $300 billion by 2019? Now market researchers are saying it will be worth upwards of $400 billion by 2021.

screenshot of news headline saying the content markent industry will be worth $412 billion by 2021

Incredible.

4. Marketing Will Become Content Marketing

As early as a decade ago, content marketing was a totally new idea. Thus, it was often a side project or experiment for marketers.

timeline showing the evolution of content marketing

Source: CMI

Today, the script has flipped. Content marketing is edging out what we think of as “traditional” marketing. Pretty soon, when people mention “marketing,” they’ll mean content marketing – and vice-versa.

It’s happening because consumer preferences and attitudes are not what they once were.

Salesy tactics are now equivocated with the word “slimy.” They make consumers feel uncomfortable, and they don’t fool anyone.

screenshot of an express writers blog headline: "don't treat your buyers like it's 1999"

Content marketing is edging out what we think of as 'traditional' marketing. Pretty soon, when people mention 'marketing,' they’ll mean content marketing – and vice-versa, via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

According to Marketing Land and Blockmetry, 32.4% of ALL internet pageviews are impacted by ad-blocking software. On mobile devices, that number is three times higher: 62.9% of mobile pageviews are affected by ad blockers.

Today, consumers want the power. More than that, they HAVE the power to research the right brands for them, connect with those brands, and buy from those brands. They’ll ignore the rest of the “noise” – pushy ads, intrusive pop-ups, and slimy sales calls.

Creating valuable content that meets the consumer’s real need acknowledges their power and gives them that choice of connecting with you or not.

It’s respectful marketing. It’s not slimy. It’s what today’s consumers want.

Today and tomorrow's marketing is respectful marketing. It’s not slimy. It’s what today’s consumers want. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

5. Retargeting People Who Know, Like, and Trust You

Another trend that goes hand in hand with content marketing: retargeting.

This process taps into the segment of your audience who have seen your content, like your content, and like YOU, but may not have acted on any of that yet.

Wordstream gives a quick visual of how retargeting works in general:

image showing how retargeting works

Source: Wordstream

Sometimes “retargeting” and “remarketing” are used interchangeably to refer to the same process. In general, the only difference between each strategy is the platform you use to carry them out. (Remarketing, for instance, is usually done with email.)

According to Wordstream, conversion rates actually increase the more times a user sees an ad AFTER they have visited your site:

brand affinity's impact on click-through rates

Retargeting only targets individuals who have some kind of relationship with you already. Plus, if you do it on platforms where they expect ads, it’s not intrusive at all.

For example, you could add low-spend ads to your budget to retarget people who have engaged with you on Facebook.

AdEspresso has some great strategies for retargeting on Facebook to try. First, you need to install a Facebook pixel on your site.

Then, you can create a custom audience to retarget based on which pages they visited, how recently they visited, and more factors.

screenshot showing how to create a facebook custom audience

Screenshot via AdEspresso

This ad strategy ties neatly into your content marketing because it gently reminds visitors that you exist and they have shown interest in your brand in the past. This is sure to be a bigger trend in 2019 alongside the continued rise of content marketing.

How to Win with Content Marketing in 2019: Stay Ahead of Trends

Want to win with content in 2019? You need to know the trends, sure – but you also need to know how to stay ahead of them.

Follow this guide and use it to propel your brand/clients to the top of the content heap. Most importantly, keep pivoting your strategy. Stay light on your feet and agile enough to make changes as necessary to your marketing.

No marketing plan will ever stay static. Make sure the ability to grow is baked into your strategy, and you’ll have a much bigger, better chance at success.

Need great content? You know who to call.