content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Do you have a content marketing strategy in place for your brand? If not, it’s time you create one! However, you might be wondering how to get started and that’s where we come in. In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about the basics of creating a content marketing strategy of your very own. Keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Our guest host this week was our very own CEO, Julia McCoy. As a content marketing expert herself, it’s no surprise that she had some amazing advice to share with everyone.

Q1: What is a content marketing strategy and why is it important for today’s brands?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their own definitions of a content marketing strategy. We also wanted to find out how important they felt it was to have a strategy and why. Check out a few of the responses we received:

As Julia said, a strategy will drive the guidelines, creation, execution, and tracking of your content marketing. She knows it’s necessary if you want to achieve ROI and make goals happen with the content you create.

Kyle feels it’s all about crafting a consistent schedule of content to tell your brand’s story to win over your customers.

Annaliese said having a strategy in place gives you an established process for why you’re doing what you do, plus guidelines on how to do it.

As Maria pointed out, having a strategy is partly about knowing what you want to say, how to say it, where to say it, and who you’re saying it to. These are all essential things to figure out.

This is a great way to look at it! Jeff said your strategy is your road map from where you are to where you want to be. It’s important to set goals and create a plan of action to help you get there.

Q2: Before you can begin creating content and planning your strategy, what do you need to figure out?

Now that you know what a content marketing strategy is, you’re probably feeling ready and inspired to create one of your own. But before you can get started, there are a few essential things you need to figure out. Take a look at these tips:

Julia’s first tip is to figure out what makes you different from everyone else. When you know what your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF) is, you can embrace that and stand out from the crowd. (Read her Search Engine Journal article she linked to if you want to learn more!)

Next, she encourages you to discover who your audience is. She shares four key tips in the graphic she included with her post. You can learn about this more in-depth in the content course she’s creating.

Sarah knows it’s important to know key information about your audience. Who is your target audience and what do they need? Where do they hang out? What will make them convert? This is all important to figure out so you can create content accordingly.

Lexie agrees that it’s crucial to know your audience first. Once you know who they are, you can create the type of content they need in their lives.

Don’t forget to figure out what your goals are. When you know what you want to achieve, it’s going to dictate the end result of your content.

Kyle also agrees that it’s important to know what your goals are ahead of time. Are you trying to increase brand awareness or land conversions? Is it something else? Figure that out beforehand so you can create the content that will help you get there.

Jonathan chimed in about the importance of setting goals as well. Figure out what a successful piece of content looks like to you and what that means before moving forward.

This is a great answer from Jason. He said you want to determine who your audience is, including their demographics. You also need to establish your brand’s voice, the types of content you’ll be producing, and how everything will work together.

Gaby shared an impressive list of things you should figure out before creating content. She said you should understand: brand/content purpose, message, objectives, audience/target, content topic, industry, and brand voice.

Q3: What steps are required to develop a content marketing strategy for your own brand?

Now it’s time to get into the actual steps of creating a strategy that works. Here’s some helpful advice that will get you started on the right foot:

Julia recommends figuring out who your audience is, keywords, and your defined content types/costs. She also suggests having an editorial calendar, creating a content promotions strategy, and knowing how you’ll perform tracking and maintenance.

Know who you’re writing for, which content types you’ll create, and put together a calendar to keep you organized.

Brittany outlined her recommended steps and made it easy to follow along. She says to: gather your insights, outline your business goals, determine your budget and timeline, create personas, establish a process, create calendars, write and edit, and measure.

Roslyn’s advice is to know the demographics of your audience and the best way to cater to them. This is essential in creating content that gets results online.

You need to know who your audience is and where they hang out online so you can reach them. It’s also helpful to identify your brand’s voice as well.

It’s also helpful to know how you’re going to differentiate yourself from everyone else around. With so many people talking about the same things online, you have to spin that content in a way that will stand out and attract your audience.

Q4: What content types are crucial to help your brand become an authority online?

If you ask any brand, most of them would say they’re on the path to establishing themselves as an authority online. They all want to become the go-to resource for their target audience. But what kind of content can you create to help make that happen? Check out these responses:

Julia encourages you to focus on your own website first. Create amazing content for your blog and then build content for other platforms. Other channels to direct your attention include guest blogging and building a presence on social media.

There are a variety of things that will dictate the types of content you produce. It can depend on your brand, objectives, messaging, your industry, your market, your audience, and also the resources you have.

Annaliese agrees there are a few factors that will dictate the types of content you produce. One thing to consider is what your audience prefers. Do they enjoy videos or are they bigger fans of written content? Figure that out because it’s going to play a factor for your brand.

Tony knows that visuals and written content go hand-in-hand and are essential elements for any brand to create.

Cheval’s tip is to start doing live video broadcasts. It’s a great way to humanize your brand and connect with your audience in real-time.

Brittany said she would direct her focus to video content, guest posting, and creating other visuals.

Ultimately, what matters is that you create valuable content that addresses the questions your audience has. When you can deliver what they want and need, they’ll begin to see you as an authority in your field.

It all comes down to sharing relevant content and taking the time to engage with your audience. That’s how you start making an impact in your industry.

Q5: How do you measure the effectiveness of your content? If you aren’t seeing results, how do you make improvements?

In order to know if your content is helping you achieve the results you want, you’re going to have to measure how well it’s performing. Even more important, you’ll need to know how to make tweaks if you aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for. Here’s some helpful advice:

Julia’s advice is to set up a tracking project in SEMrush. It’ll allow you to analyze rankings, which can be very helpful.

Eddie’s advice is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives beforehand. This will allow you to see what you hope to achieve and which data you’ll need to track closely.

Mallie also agrees it’s important to know your goals ahead of time.

Again it all goes back to the goal you set, whether that’s reach, conversions, or something else.

If you find you need to make changes, Annaliese suggests making simple changes. Tweak one thing at a time through A/B testing to see what’s working and what’s not.

Kyle also sees the value in running A/B tests to see which images and copy are the most effective.

Q6: What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to developing their content marketing strategy?

If you want to set up a strategy that’s successful, you’ll want to avoid some of the common mistakes that can be disastrous. Here are a few examples so you’ll know what to avoid:

You don’t want to be one of those brands without a content marketing strategy, do you? Julia knows it would be a mistake to not have one in place.

Not having a strategy at all is certainly one huge mistake.

Justing winging it and posting on a whim might sound like a fun idea, but it can set you up for disaster.

Don’t be so focused on the money that you immediately start pushing the sale. You need to build trust with your audience first if you want them to convert.

You should be all sales all the time. Instead, focus on building a community with your audience.

It’s more important that you focus on your customers, as opposed to talking about yourself in a self-serving way all the time. Talk to your audience and listen to what they have to say. Learn from them.

Q7: Which tools, calendars, and other resources do you rely on when developing a maintaining a content marketing strategy?

With so many tools and resources available, you’re sure to finding something that will make creating and sticking to a strategy even easier. Take a look at these tools:

Julia’s favorite tools include SEMrush, as well as a few others. They’re worth checking out if you haven’t already!

The Netvantage Marketing team relies on Google Docs as well as a few other tools to get their work done. It’s clear they know what works best for them.

Google Drive tools, Google Analytics, Keyword Planner, Twitter, WordPress, and Yoast are all great options.

Elizabeth’s go-to tools include Evernote, CoSchedule, and Google Sheets.

Sarah is a big fan of HubSpot.

Feedly, Canva, Piktochart, and Buffer are all helpful tools to rely on.

Mallie keeps it simple with an Excel spreadsheet plus a pen and her paper planner.

Danielle said her previously job relied on Google Docs. As she said, it’s not fancy, but it works. All that matters is that you use tools that are efficient and get the job done.

Q8: Which brands do you think are killing it with their content lately?

Which brands are doing an incredible job with the content they publish? Check out these:

Julia loves SmartBlogger, Content Marketing Institute, NewsCred, and CoSchedule.

Lori is a fan of Sue B. Zimmerman’s work.

The Rising Tide Society is one brand that consistently puts out great content.

Be sure to join us on Twitter every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for #ContentWritingChat! Follow our accounts for all the latest: @ExpWriters and @writingchat!

artificial intelligence

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Artificial Intelligence & the Content Creator with John Zupancic

In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked about one of the biggest things in the tech world at the moment: artificial intelligence. We even tied it all back to how it relates to you as the content creator. If you missed the chat or need a refresher of all the amazing tips that were shared, keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Artificial Intelligence & the Content Creator with John Zupancic

Our guest host this week was John Zupancic. John is the founder at Wriber, Inc. and he had a lot of amazing things to share on the topic of artificial intelligence. We were thrilled to have him join us and share his expertise!

Q1: Why is artificial intelligence important and how does it play into the field of content marketing?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone why they felt artificial intelligence is important, as well as how it plays into content marketing. Here’s what a few of our chat participants had to say:

As John said, many brands are turning to artificial intelligence to help create and optimize the content they write. He feels it can help remove any barriers and constraints that may be in the way.

Not only that, but it can also help with the delivery of your content, which is always important.

Cheval mentioned that it can even help free up some time for you. When relying on artificial intelligence, it can open up more time for you to take care of other tasks.

Even Google is utilizing the power of artificial intelligence. As Varun pointed out, it’s used to show relevant search results through their Rankbrain algorithm.

Sarah agrees and she noted how search engines are becoming smarter these days.

Q2: How can content creators start leveraging artificial intelligence?

Now that you know the important role artificial intelligence plays today, you might be wondering how content creators can put it to use. Check out these ideas from the chat:

As John said, you’re likely already using artificial intelligence on a regular basis. You just might not realize it. Google and Facebook have already implemented it.

Kavita suggests using artificial intelligence to come up with content ideas, analyze demographic trends, and analyze reading and sharing behavior.

The team at Netvantage Marketing uses it to come up with new content ideas.

Even looking at the related search inquiries that Google populates has proven to be helpful for Zachary.

Elizabeth shared a great reminder with everyone. In order to truly leverage artificial intelligence, you need to understand it first.

Q3: How can artificial intelligence assist writers?

Wondering how artificial intelligence can help you as a writer? Check out these responses:

John said AI can be used to predict topics that will resonate with your audience, which is very helpful. He also said it’s great for thoroughly researching topics for informative pieces.

It’s helpful for keyword research, generating topic ideas, and getting to know your target demographic better.

Topic generation, marketing, and editing are all basic things to turn to AI for help with.

Artificial intelligence is great for discovering what people are looking for and how you can make your content stand out from the rest.

Use AI to brainstorm and add new creative angles to the content you create.

Q4: Is artificial intelligence going to replace writers?

With artificial intelligence on the rise, will it replace writers? Here are some thoughts:

John doesn’t foresee AI replacing human writers for marketing-related content, but he mentioned that it’s already happening in the sports world. Plus, it would be a little weird having a computer write your opinion piece, wouldn’t it?

Even though artificial intelligence can be helpful, Sarah doesn’t feel you can take humans out of the equation entirely.

Without a human in control, it can be difficult to humanize a story or blog post so that it truly resonates with your audience.

Kavita feels it’s really going to depend on the type of writing and the industry.

Amy doesn’t think AI will completely replace human writers either, but she does think it could create more of a demand for editors.

Lex feels it’ll force the good writers to stand out instead.

Allow artificial intelligence to enhance your efforts without completely replacing humans.

Q5: How can artificial intelligence help optimize content?

In what was can AI help optimize the content you create? Check out these tips:

John said AI can help optimize content structure, tone, readability, and SEO.

Elizabeth mentioned it can help with optimizing content for search, grammar, reading level, and audience preferences.

Sarah said we can use writing tools that incorporate AI to proofread documents.

It could help optimize content by suggesting keyword placement, which would be very valuable.

Alicia said AI can optimize the structure of content and how it’s perceived.

Q6: Which content KPIs are the most important to track?

We asked everyone to share which content KPIs they felt were the most important to track and here’s what some of them had to say:

Views, unique visitors, shares, and comments are all great things to check. Leads, average view times, number of backlinks, and backlinks text are also important as John said.

It’s always important to track those conversions!

Conversions, clicks, time spent reading, and shares are all helpful metrics to keep an eye on.

You might want to focus on engagement, click-through rate, and visits to your website.

Just remember that the KPIs that are most important to you are the ones that are tied to your goals.

Q7: Do you rely on any tools that use artificial intelligence?

Which tools do you currently use that incorporate AI? Here’s what some of our chat participants rely on:

Besides Wriber, John relies on Google, Google Analytics, and the Jetpack plugin for WordPress.

Google is certainly a go-to tool!

Funny, but true!

Q8: Give some examples of brands using artificial intelligence.

These brands are already using artificial intelligence:

John mentioned that AP is publishing financial articles that don’t contain a human byline. These articles follow their style guide to ensure everything is correct.

As we already mentioned, Google is one brand that has already dived deep into AI.

Jeremy mentioned Google, but also Garmin and Apple’s Siri.

Alicia thinks Under Armour and Spotify are doing a great job at using AI.

Join us for #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Follow us on Twitter (@ExpWriters & @writingchat) so you don’t miss the next one!

internal linking

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Internal Linking & Its Importance in SEO with Sarah Danks

The latest #ContentWritingChat was all about SEO as we talked about the importance of internal linking. In this chat, some amazing tips were shared regarding this tactic and how you can use it in building your own website’s online presence. If you’re ready to learn more about it, keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Internal Linking & Its Importance in SEO with Sarah Danks

Our guest host this week was Sarah Danks from ThinkSEM. She’s their Digital Strategist and is no stranger to a great Twitter chat. In fact, if you’re a regular participant you’ve likely noticed Sarah in our chat before, as she typically joins us every week. It was great having a regular participant step into the guest hosting role and she shared some fantastic advice with all of us.

Q1: Why are internal links important?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they felt internal linking was an important part of SEO. Here’s what a few of our participants said:

As Sarah pointed out, the web is all about connections. Internal linking allows you to to connect pieces of relevant content to one another. You’re able to show the relationship between pages on your own website, which is a great way to keep them on your site longer.

Julia’s response is really a helpful way to think of internal linking. It helps to move traffic from room to room onsite. This basically means it keeps people from moving from page to page once they’ve first landed on your site. It’s key if you want to keep someone digging into the depths of your archives.

Jeff knows that building up those internal links is a good way to increase your authority with your audience. And who wouldn’t want that?!

Kristen also mentioned it’s a way to show you’re a credible and reliable source and builds your authority.

By providing internal links, it also makes it easier for your readers to find more relevant content. As Jeremy pointed out, people will go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for if you don’t give it to them. So, if you have more content you know they’d enjoy, link to it!

Elizabeth feels internal linking helps guide your audience through your site and leads them to other valuable, actionable content. Keep that in mind when adding links to content so you can be sure you’re sending them somewhere worthwhile.

Q2: How do internal links affect overall site structure?

Now that you know the importance of internal linking, you should also know how it’s going to affect the overall structure of your website. Here are a few responses we received in Tuesday’s chat:

As Sarah pointed out, a well-linked site is easy to navigate. This is great for visitors to your site because you want everything to be accessible. There’s nothing worse than a site that makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for.

Also, if you’re lacking when it comes to links, it makes it harder for readers to find related content. It can also make it more difficult to get them to convert.

Jason said internal linking offers flow and stability. Instead of forcing your reader to figure out what to do next or where to go, you can direct them to additional content. Don’t leave it up to them, otherwise there’s a greater chance they’ll leave your site.

This is another important thing to consider! Linking helps create a hierarchy of your content. Through those links, a reader can flow from broad content to more specific content that’s still relevant.

Jeff knows internal linking is going to help customers easily find the relevant information they’re looking for while on your site. Make sure you’re taking advantage of that by directing them to the next page you think they’d be interested in.

Think of it like a roadmap, as Sarah said. Lead your readers where you want them to go next.

Julia, our CEO, has even written a guide on internal links that will help you out. Be sure to read it!

Q3: Who do you please first: search engines or users?

We all know that it’s important to optimize our content for search engines, but is that really where we need to direct our attention first? Or should we primarily be focusing on our users? Check out these responses from the chat:

Sarah said it’s all about catering to your users first and the search engines second. When you focus on them, you’re playing by Google’s rules and delivering valuable content. That’s important!

Make your users happy and you make the search engines happy as well!

The search engine algorithm changes from time to time. One way you can’t go wrong is to focus on your user first and foremost. This ensures you’re creating the content they’ll love.

Debi knows it’s all about the user experience when it comes down to it.

Julia is all about focusing on the real human who is going to be engaging with her content.

People before bots!

Ashley brought up a great point about how users need to be able to find your content in order to read it. Her advice is to optimize for SEO, but create for your user.

As Andrew pointed out, it’s just like the old chicken versus the egg debate. He said it’s important to optimize your content for competitiveness, but user engagement is essential as well.

Q4: Does the anchor text of links matter?

When it comes to actually creating a link, does the text you add the hyperlink to matter in the end? If you’ve been wondering about this, we have an answer for you. Check out these responses:

Sarah knows anchor text should be descriptive, but you also need to avoid anything spammy. That’s not cool! There’s no need to link an incredibly long sentence either. You can link just the key point so people know what they’re clicking for.

Anchor text certainly matters. Readers don’t want to see a link that says, “Click here,” or anything else of the sort if it doesn’t state where they’re going. They want details so they know what they’re clicking on.

With relevant anchor text, you make your link more valuable to both readers and Google. That’s key to any internal linking strategy.

Elizabeth’s advice is to use descriptive anchor text to let users and the search engines know where it leads.

Ray knows it’s not just important for SEO, but also for accessibility. Everything needs to be user-friendly for your reader.

And of course, make sure you avoid any kind of click bait.

In the end, if you wouldn’t click on a link, your readers probably won’t either.

Q5: Are there any links you should include on every page?

We asked everyone to chime in with their thoughts on including certain links on every page. Here’s what some of them had to say:

As Sarah said, every website has a purpose. Make the purpose of your site know through the use of a CTA (call to action) that leads people to your end goal. And of course, having a good navigation on your website is important in helping people find what they want.

Liliana also agrees having a link to your CTA is always important.

For Jeff, he likes to include links to a contact page. This makes it easy for a reader to get in touch with you and encourages them to do so.

Navigation links are a crucial element of every successful website.

Don’t forget to add a link to your homepage on every page of your site. This gives people an easy way to get back there after they’ve clicked off.

Q6: Is there such a thing as too many or too few links in page copy?

When it comes to your internal linking strategy, is it possible to have too many or too few links? Here’s some advice to consider:

As Sarah said, both are absolutely possible. You don’t want to overdo it by providing too many links, which can look spammy. However, there are downsides to too few links as well.

Tony’s advice is to only link to content when it’s relevant to do so.

To second that, don’t have links just to have links. Make sure they’re adding value to your user in some way.

Shannon knows too many links can be a turn-off for your readers, so it’s best you find a balance.

The key is to make sure you don’t overwhelm them, but that you also don’t leave them hanging. If you have more they’d be interested in, link to it.

Q7: What’s the easiest way to incorporate new internal links to your website?

Now that you know all about internal linking, it’s time to start using this strategy yourself. How do you begin? Check out this advice from the chat:

If you add a new blog post, make sure you link to it. You can link newer posts to older ones and older ones to newer ones. It really is that simple to get started!

Julia suggests doing the same. Whenever you create new content, take the time to add links to relevant content from your archives.

Ray’s advice is to review the major pages and pots on your website first. Then, start determining what can be linked to other pages appropriately.

Shannon suggests listing content in the biographies for employees and contributors.

Q8: Give some examples of internal linking done incorrectly.

What are some examples of internal linking gone wrong? Here’s what you need to avoid:

Don’t use the same link too many times, avoid using non-descriptive text such as “here” for anchor text, and don’t get spammy with CTAs.

Not using valuable anchor text, linking to the same page multiple times, and overdoing it on the links are all things to avoid.

Jeremy said to avoid using too many links, otherwise it can look like the footnotes of a law review article. Your readers probably don’t want that!

No one wants to come across a dead link, so make sure all links work before hitting publish.

And remember, don’t like just for the sake of linking. It should add value and serve a purpose.

Ready to join the fun for yourself? #ContentWritingChat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time over on Twitter! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.


language in content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Language in Content with Tara Clapper

Are you ready to step-up your writing skills? In this #ContentWritingChat, we got technical by talking about language in content. We discussed the use of formal language, changes to style guides, the role an editor plays, and much more.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Language in Content with Tara Clapper

Our guest host this week was our very own Content Development Specialist, Tara Clapper. We were excited to have her join us and she shared some helpful advice you’ll be able to put to use when creating content of your very own. Let’s dive in!

Q1: When should you use colloquial vs. formal language in your content?

Colloquial vs. formal language. How do you know which one to use when creating content? Here are some tips from this week’s chat that will help you decide:

This is great advice from Tara. She recommends using language that is going to reach your audience. You can speak like they do and make them feel loved and appreciated. It’s just one way to help you better connect with them.

Not only do you want to consider your audience, but you also want to consider the type of content you’re creating. You might find that various content types require a different style of language in content.

Krystal knows that it largely depends on who your audience is. When you know what will resonate with your audience, the decision is much easier. She also suggests considering the goals you’re trying to reach as well because the language you use can impact that.

For Jason, he likes to stick to formal language when creating ads. However, he’s more informal, down to earth, and humanizing in his regular content. Many choose to switch up their language depending on the type of content they’re producing.

Sarah from ThinkSEM feels the same way. Marketing and sales content is more formal, but blogs and social media interactions are reflective of how you’d speak in real life.

This is a great reason to consider what your audience is going to resonate with. For Sara, she’s noticed that anything too formal in her industry goes over the heads of her readers. You don’t want this to happen, so make sure you choose your language style wisely.

Q2: Recently, AP formalized the use of the singular “they.” Should brand adopt trends before style guide changes?

By now, many of us are pretty familiar with the AP Stylebook. They’re known to make changes with every new edition, but does that mean brands should adopt changes before they’re made official in the AP Stylebook? Here’s some advice:

Tara said brands can absolutely adopt trends before style guide changes are made. As she said, those changes come about due to usage, which means people have already adopted them. It helps to be in tune with how your audience speaks.

She also suggests adopting changes quickly if you want your brand to be seen as progressive. If your brand is more traditional, Tara feels you can wait.

Sarah said brands should write however they want to write. Not everyone is going to adhere to the rules in a style guide, which is absolutely fine. You have to do what’s right for you.

As Jeremy said, language evolves quickly. You never know what language trends people will have adopted by the time style guides are updated.

When you adopt new changes, it shows that you’re staying updated on the trends. Your audience will likely appreciate that!

Being on social media is one way to pick up on trends early on. You’ll likely notice a shift in language just by seeing how others are talking.

Q3: What is a sensitivity edit? Should social media messages pass one?

Have you heard of a sensitivity edit before? Do you think social media messages need to pass one? We asked this question during the chat and here’s what a few people had to say:

Tara said a sensitivity edit checks for meanings in messages that could be blatantly or inadvertently offensive to groups. You want to be sure that the posts you make aren’t going to offend anyone, otherwise it could spell disaster for your brand. For this reason, she encourages all brands to conduct a sensitivity edit on their content.

As Zala said, words do matter. You have to consider cultural and sensitivity factors when creating content for social media and any other platforms. Things can easily be misunderstood and you don’t want to take a chance.

Take a cue from other brands who have messed up big time by posting things people wound up finding offensive. It’s always better to think twice before posting.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth is right about this one. People do take offense to a lot, so you might think something is okay to post, but people may dislike it.

Key things you’ll want to avoid include: anything that’s blatantly offensive, political posts, or religious posts. These are sensitive topics that could open your brand up to a world of backlash if you aren’t careful.

Q4: Does the level of formality differ based on the type of content?

Going back to our first question, we switched gears to talk about formality again. We asked our audience if they felt formality differed based on the type of content they were creating. Here’s what some participants had to say:

Tara says yes! She feels articles and authority pieces typically have a more formal tone than standard blog posts. However, she said podcasts can be more conversational.

Maureen also knows an adjustment in voice can be necessary. While she generally keeps it pretty informal, she makes changes for video content, white papers, and emails.

It helps to consider not just your audience, but the purpose of your content. The purpose behind why you’re writing could change your style as well.

Elizabeth said to consider the platform and content type when deciding on your voice. You want to consider how your readers are going to interpret what you’ve written.

On the flip side, Lex feels that a brand should always stick to the same tone instead of switching back and forth between formal and informal depending on the content.

As Jason knows, it ultimately goes back to your audience. If the way you write doesn’t resonate with your audience, they aren’t going to connect with it and they won’t engage with it.

Q5: When should customers be more forgiving of a brand’s errors in grammar or usage?

We all make mistakes, right? Does this mean customers need to be forgiving when their favorite brand posts something with a typo or grammatical error? Here are some responses from Tuesday’s chat:

Tara feels that people should be more forgiving of errors, especially during something that’s live like a Twitter chat.

We’re all human behind these social media accounts, so don’t be so quick to attack someone over a simple mistake.

Mistakes shouldn’t be a regular occurrence because it’s important to proofread. However, it’s no big deal if they happen once in a while because it’s just part of being human. If you notice an error, correct it as soon as possible.

Maureen says to forgive a brand when they own up to the mistake and are open to hearing the feedback of their audience.

Bre says we should forgive and forget! What’s important is that you learn from those mistakes and try your best to avoid them in the future.

Darcy is spot on with this answer. As she said, mistakes happen, but they shouldn’t happen a lot. When publishing content, you need to strive to be accurate, so always double-check first.

Think about it this way… We’ve all experienced the simple mistake Jeremy mentioned and we wouldn’t want someone being critical with us over it.

To help cut down on mistakes, Ray suggests using tools like Grammarly or the Hemingway App.

Q6: Are editors responsible for spelling and grammar only, or also tone and messaging?

Having an editor on hand to review your work is always helpful, but are they just there to check for spelling and grammar mistakes? Should your editor be reviewing mistakes in tone in messaging as well? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Tara said she includes edits to tone and messaging under developmental editing duties, as opposed to copy editing.

As Ray said, it really depends on what the writer is looking for. Does the writer want someone to just edit for grammar and spelling mistakes? Or do they also want you to look for errors in tone and messaging?

Elizabeth feels an editor should be responsible for reviewing everything in a piece of content. If that’s what you need an editor to do for you, make sure you’re clear about what you expect.

Debi feels it depends on the purpose of the editor. What did you hire the editor to do for you exactly?

Open communication is key. You should be appreciative and respectful of the feedback an editor gives you. Having a great working relationship will make a huge difference.

We like the way Maureen thinks!

Q7: What materials should a brand’s editor review in addition to standard copy?

Besides just standard copy, what other materials should your editor take a look at? Here are some suggestions from the chat:

Tara said an editor should review anything they’re tasked with. Here at Express Writers, this can include checking for trustworthy links and ensuring copy is unique.

Elizabeth said an editor should review copy, format, graphics, and the fluidity of a campaign.

You may want an editor to review any content that has writing on it. This can include captions on videos.

If it’s going public, have your editor review it first.

Mike agrees that you need to proofread and revise anything before your audience sees it.

You can even have your editor review photos before publishing them.

It’s important to review everything from social media content to press releases to ensure everything is free of errors.

With new forms of content out there, editors are sure to stay busy.

Q8: What existing linguistic trends are on the rise?

Which trends are on the rise that you might want to adopt? Check out these responses:

Tara said inclusive language is on the rise for millennials, as is personal language.

Acronyms and emojis are taking over and you want to be sure you’re using them in the right way.

GIFs and videos continue to rise in popularity as well.

There has also been an increase in hashtags, which is one reason to review a hashtag before using it.

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on our new topics and guests.


writing schedule

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Getting Into a Writing Schedule with Kelsey Jones

As content creators, getting into a writing schedule helps us to stay organized and keep on track when it comes to our work. But how exactly do you create a writing schedule that works for you? That’s what we talked about in this #ContentWritingChat! If you need a content creation schedule of your very own, this is the chat for you! Keep reading for some helpful tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Getting Into a Writing Schedule with Kelsey Jones

Our guest host for this week’s chat was Kelsey Jones. Kelsey is a marketing consultant, as well as a writer and the creator of MoxieDot. She knows how important it is to set a schedule and stick to it if you want to see results, so she shared tons of helpful advice with everyone in Tuesday’s chat!

Q1: What is the importance of having a writing schedule? How can it benefit content creators?

Not convinced you really need to have a writing schedule of your very own? We asked our chat participants to share why they think it’s important and how it can be beneficial. Check out what some of them had to say:

Kelsey knows that having a schedule ensures she actually makes time for writing.

Julia knows that having a schedule and sticking to it is going to give you the discipline you need to get your content creation done. Without a set schedule, you risk procrastinating on your work and possibly not even finishing it.

She also reminds us that we shouldn’t fall into the trap of over scheduling. Julia said to allow time for inspiration to strike. And remember that one amazing post will always beat 10 crappy posts.

Think of having a writing schedule as your own deadline. As Jim said, it adds a little pressure to give you that motivation to produce new content. Sometimes you need that to actually create something new.

Having a schedule will ensure you’re staying productive and it holds you accountable. You don’t want to miss those deadlines you gave yourself, now do you?

Accountability, forward planning, and consistency are just a few reasons having a schedule can be beneficial to you.

When you’ve laid out a plan, you’ll always know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. This is going to be crucial in helping you stay on track with your content creation.

Jess said that consistency and scheduling help her beat procrastination when it comes to writing. If you find you often procrastinate on writing, try setting a schedule and seeing if it helps you out.

As Bill said, there’s no need to wonder what you should write when you have a schedule and a strategy in place.

Q2: When writing content, do you have a specific process you follow? If so, share it with us!

How do you successfully write a piece of content? We asked everyone to share their processes with us, so take a look at what they had to say:

Kelsey starts by brainstorming topic ideas. She then likes to write headers and then begins creating her content. She even shared some of her favorite tools for coming up with great ideas.

Julia shared the five-step process that’s used to create content here at Express Writers. Do you follow similar steps?

Once you have an idea, jot down your thoughts, perform research, and then flesh out your post. Take some time away before coming back to proofread it. Once you’ve finished editing, you’re ready to hit publish!

Once Jeremy has written his first draft, he selects visuals, writes some more, and then goes into the editing phase.

The team members at Netvantage all have different processes, which is absolutely okay. The one common thing they all start with is keyword research.

After you’ve published your content, don’t forget to measure your results and repurpose it, just like Amanda does.

Q3: How do you make time for writing in your day? Do you find you’re most creative at certain times?

How exactly do you make time for writing in what is already a busy schedule? Check out these tips:

Kelsey started writing early in the morning, but she also enjoys writing while on the plane. The key is to figure out what works best for you and plan your writing schedule accordingly.

When making time for writing, it always helps to look to your deadlines. You want to make sure you get everything done in time, which means you need to schedule accordingly.

Ray makes time to write every morning, which helps him keep up the habit of regular content creation.

Debi also likes to write in the morning because there aren’t as many distractions for her.

On the flip side, if you find yourself most creative and productive later in the day, use that time to write! For Andrea, he writes mostly during 5 PM to 10 PM.

Kristi also prefers to write in the afternoon and evening hours, but she also knows it’s important to just dive right in whenever inspiration strikes.

For Sarah, she feels ready to write once the coffee kicks in!

Q4: What are your best strategies for becoming a better writer?

Even if you aren’t a natural-born writer, it doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance of creating something amazing. You can always strengthen your skills! Here’s some advice that will help you out:

Kelsey’s advice is to keep reading. Whether you’er reading books, blog posts, or news articles, you can learn from it. She reads or listens to about two to three books per month, which is awesome.

Kelsey isn’t the only one who knows reading can strengthen your skills as a writer. Andrea knows there’s a lot you can learn from other writers.

Jess also agrees that reading is important. She says to learn new words, study the great writers, and even study bad writers. You can always take something away from reading their work.

Practice is key to getting better at anything, including writing.

Julia also knows how important practice can be. She says having a daily schedule is key.

Ray recommends getting some feedback on your writing. Have someone else (or a few people) read over what you’ve created and provide you with advice.

Jeff recommends reading often, but also finding someone to critique your work. You can help each other out and become better writers.

Networking is always a helpful way to better your skills. Take the time to connect with other writers and influencers and learn from them.

Callie recommends pushing your limits and taking on projects that challenge you. It’s a great way to explore new things and get better at what you do.

Q5: What are your tips for remaining consistent when it comes to writing?

How exactly do you remain consistent with your writing? Our chat participants shared some helpful advice:

Kelsey suggests scheduling writing time into your calendar as if it was a meeting. There won’t be any excuses for not getting it done when you’ve already block off time in your day.

She also says to make it easier on yourself by having a prepared topic list, a dictation tool, and a good beverage.

It all goes back to having a writing schedule. If you have a team, put someone in charge of creating and managing the schedule to ensure everyone stays on track.

It’s so simple, but it’s the most effective process. Plan your content, create a schedule, and stick to it if you want to see results. Maria knows this is key!

Having an editorial calendar, a style guide, and a content strategy will always be helpful when it comes to consistency.

Work deadlines into your writing schedule. Ray recommends setting dates you need to have research done by, when you need to draft, and so on. This will keep you on track and help you get everything done on time.

Jeremy also knows deadlines are important, but he suggests giving yourself some flexibility when needed.

Tony relies on notifications to stick to his schedule. You can add your tasks to a to-do list app or your calendar and set reminders so you don’t forget anything.

If it’s a lack of ideas that’s holding you back, go out and seek inspiration. Turning to other blogs and books can be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.

For consistency in your style of writing, write in your own voice. Don’t try to be something you aren’t because people will see right through you.

You also want to write honestly and speak to your audience to get to know them and their needs better.

Q6: How do you know when the content you’ve written is great and ready to be published?

Is that post ready to be published or does it still need a little work? These tips will help you decide:

Kelsey usually knows something is great as she’s writing it because she starts to get into the flow. She also finds editing is easier on a piece of content she already likes.

Before you hit publish, have someone else look it over to proofread. They might catch mistakes you made or be able to offer valuable feedback.

Julia always has someone else look over content before it’s published. If everyone loves it, it’s ready for publication. If not, changes have to be made.

When you’ve said what you wanted to say in the way you wanted to say it, you’re good to go.

Don’t forget to double-check spelling, grammar, and links. Make sure you also add in some great visuals, too!

If you’re proud of what you’ve created, it’s time to hit publish.

Imagine yourself as the reader. If it holds your interest throughout, then you’ve done a good job.

If you’ve answered the question your readers have been asking, you know you’ve produced something great.

Not only do you want to answer your audience’s questions, but as Zala said, it also needs to be readable and optimized.

Q7: Do you use any tools to manage your writing schedule and your content creation process?

There are plenty of tools that can make the writing process easier, so there’s no reason not to give them a go! Check out these suggestions:

Kelsey is still searching for that perfect tool, but she’s heard great thing about CoSchedule and Trello. These are both tools so many of our chat participants rely on. She does like to use Google Docs, Grammarly, and the Hemingway app.

Debi seconds that Grammarly recommendation.

Asana is a handy project management tool that can also double as your editorial calendar. Evernote is fantastic for storing ideas and also for drafting content.

Jeff also uses Asana to keep track of deadlines.

Google Sheets and Docs, WordPress, the internet, as well as your time and your brain are all essential.

Evernote and Scrivener are definitely go-to tools!

Zala has a few digital tools she loves, but she also relies on pen and paper. You can’t go wrong there!

Max keeps it simple with a classic Excel spreadsheet.

Q8: Any final tips to share about creating and sticking to a writing schedule?

Any tips left to share? Here’s what you need to take away from this #ContentWritingChat:

As Kelsey said, if you aren’t feeling it then you need to take a break. Don’t push yourself, otherwise your writing may suffer.

If writing is your business, you need to treat it like one. Jim says to create goals, milestones, and rewards to push you along the way.

As Julia said, you have to commit. It gets easier once you’ve settled into your schedule.

Michele suggests setting deadlines a few days earlier to help eliminate last-minute stress. This gives you the flexibility of having more time if needed.

Jeff knows it all comes down to you, so just do it.

Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Talk to other writers and bounce ideas off of them.

Jot ides down whenever inspiration strikes so you don’t forget about it later.

Great advice from Debi! Keep inspired, be creative, and do it with joy.

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.


engaging your audience

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Best Strategies for Engaging Your Audience on Social Media with Meera Sapra

Although social media continues to change, one thing that hasn’t is how important it is for online brands to be present there. If you’re not actively using social media and engaging with your audience on those platforms, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to grow your business. Despite how popular it is, there are still many brands who just aren’t sure how to do social media the right way. In our latest #ContentWritingChat, we talked about engaging your audience on social media and learned some really great tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Best Strategies for Engaging Your Audience on Social Media with Meera Sapra

Our guest host for this week’s chat was Meera Sapra. Meera is the Product Manager over at Zoho Social and she plays a large role in the brand’s social media presence. She shared a lot of helpful advice on engaging your audience during Tuesday’s chat, so let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: What does engagement on social media look like for your brand? Which metrics do you typically measure?

When it comes to success on social media, brands all have different goals they’re aiming to reach. To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share what kind of engagement their brand looks for online and which metrics are most important to them.

As Meera said, it’s so important to measure what matters. The metrics that are most important to you might not matter so much to other brands. You may even set different goals based on the campaigns you produce. This is why it’s key to set goals for your content and create and measure with them in mind.

Again, metrics can vary based on the goal of your social media post. You might be aiming for likes, shares, link clicks, or something else. It all depends!

As Julia said, clicks and conversions are two things we always measure here at Express Writers. We want to see that social media followers are taking action by heading over to our website and making conversions (whether that be email sign-ups or sales). Buffer has been a helpful tool when it comes to measure the success of our content.

Jeff knows the goals for his brand and he intends to monitor engagement from his audience as well as referral traffic he receives from social media.

Comments and replies are always great to measure on social media because it’s nice to see that your content gets your audience talking. Use it as an opportunity to engage with them in return and start building a relationship.

For Sara, she has a few different metrics she likes to keep an eye on. They include engagement rate, video views, lead generation, and she monitors what people are saying.

Q2: To reach your audience, you have to be present on social media. How do you choose the platforms that are right for you?

With so many social media platforms out there, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. It can even leave you wondering which platforms you should really be investing your time in. Here’s some advice to help you choose the ones that are worthwhile for your brand:

Meera is spot-on with her answer for this question. As she said, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Focus on the social media platforms that matter the most for your brand. That’s going to be different from what other brands are doing, so determine what’s best for you.

As Roslyn said, you need to know the demographics of your target audience. This will guide you in the right direction because you can figure out which platforms they’re using the most.

Varun agrees that you need to be where your target audience is hanging out online. Once you figure that out, you can begin building a community there and be part of their conversation. That’s key to engaging your audience on social media.

Even Sarah agrees! It’s all about being where your audience is spending their time.

This is another great way to look at it. Determine where your audience is online and asking questions and be there yourself. This is your opportunity to answer the questions they have and share your expertise.

Zala recommends also considering what your goals are and which platforms feel the most natural to you. If a platform just doesn’t feel right for you and your brand, that’s okay. Give it a good try and if it doesn’t work, move on to something else.

Elizabeth shared one key piece of advice we all need to keep in mind: don’t overwhelm yourself with tons of platforms to manage. You don’t need to be everywhere online. Instead, focus on the platforms that your audience is using and that will be the most beneficial to you.

Q3: What types of content receive the most engagement on social media? How do you know when something works for your brand?

When you’re focused on engaging your audience on social media, you have to create the content that’s going to resonate with them. Your posts will need to inspire them to take action. So, what content types receive the most engagement and how do you know when something truly works for you? Check out this advice:

Meera knows you really can’t go wrong with visual content on social media. Great graphics and videos can really help you stand out online and are so helpful when it comes to engaging your audience. They’ll really grab their attention!

Always keep in mind that what resonates with your audience will be different from what resonates with other audiences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas and test them to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s also important to set goals so you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve and can measure it accordingly.

Julia knows that infographics perform really well online, as they tend to receive a lot of likes and shares. She also knows that they work really well for us here at Express Writers because they gain a lot of traction and our audience responds well to them. If you haven’t tried creating infographics for your brand, you might want to give it a go!

Cheval knows that live video is very popular right now. It’s a great opportunity for brands to chat with their audience in real time and it’s worth taking advantage of this.

As Tony said, images and videos tend to receive more engagement than a social media post that’s just text and a link. Think about this the next time you’re filling up that Buffer queue! Great copy is also a must if you want to inspire people to take action.

And there’s no denying that GIFs are awesome when engaging your audience on social media. Not only do they stand out in a busy timeline, but they’re fun and help you connect with your audience on another level when they spark a conversation.

Q4: How do you write a headline that encourages clicks on social media?

If you’re using social media as a way to direct traffic back to your website, you need to know some key tips and tricks for writing copy that pushes people to take action by making the click. Check out these tips for writing a captivating headline:

Meera’s advice is to follow the KISSER approach: Keep It Short, Simple, Engaging, and Relevant.

If you want to encourage clicks, you need to write a headline that leaves people wanting more. Make it captivating, but never mislead anyone with clickbait. It’ll turn people off very quickly.

It also helps to think of the problems you’re solving for your audience. Katie said she considers how her audience might be searching when crafting her perfect headline.

Adding some personality always helps you stand out from the crowd and plays a huge role in engaging your audience on social media. Don’t be afraid to be yourself because people get turned off by brands that are too robotic or automated.

It’s okay to think outside the box as well! This will help you craft a headline that stands out from the rest.

It’s okay if you need to brainstorm a few ideas for your headline as well. You want to make sure it’s great! Ask yourself if it’s something you’d click and if it is, you’ve done your job.

For even more tips, check out this guide to writing headlines that Julia put together for our blog!

Q5: How can you inspire your audience to take action and convert via social media?

One thing we’re always seeking more of online is easily conversions. But how exactly do you inspire people to take that next step and convert with your brand? Check out this advice from the chat:

As Meera said, a great call to action is key. Let people know what that next step is by telling them. Don’t just sit back and expect them to figure it out on their own. Sharing stories from current customers is always a great way to encourage sales from those who are on the fence.

Make sure you take the time for actually engaging your audience on social media. Start up a conversation with them. Answer their questions. You can’t just schedule posts and walk away. You have to be present on social media in order to see success, so let them know you’re there and you’re listening.

Jessy agrees that it’s important to work on building the relationship between your brand and your customers. Connect with them via conversations on social media and they’ll begin to trust your brand. Once you’ve built that relationship, they’ll be more likely to convert.

As Julia said, make sure you don’t forget the simple things. Optimize your social media bio with your offer and a link and also balance sharing useful and promotional posts on your platforms.

Q6: Do you use a social media editorial calendar to plan content? If so, how do you plan efficiently for best results?

By now, you’ve probably heard all about the benefits of using an editorial calendar to plan content for your blog. But have you ever thought of using one for social media? If not, you should! Here’s what some of Tuesday’s chat participants had to say about planning social media content:

Meera recommends keeping your social media editorial calendar in sync with your brand’s overall marketing calendar and content goals. This will ensure you’re staying on track!

The Digital Natives cast sees the importance of having an editorial calendar. The key, as mentioned, is to keep it loose. You can plan out your content all you want, but you should also be flexible and adapt your plan as needed.

Tony uses Google Drive and Trello to keep his content strategy organized.

The team at Netvantage relies on Sprout social and uses their built-in calendar.

On the flip side, not everyone feels the need to plan in advance. Lex doesn’t rely on a social media editorial calendar and instead focuses on things the day of.

Q7: Which tools do you rely on to keep up with your audience and engage with them on social media?

With so many tools available today, managing social media is so much easier than it once was. If you’re looking for some tools to help you out, check out these suggestions:

As a team member of Zoho, it’s no surprise that Meera loves using Zoho Social for all of its features.

TweetDeck and Buffer make the perfect combination!

For Maria, her go-to tools include Hootsuite, Buffer, HubSpot, and Twitter’s own analytics.

Varun uses Buffer, Hootsuite, and Crowdfire for social media management.

Cheval relies on Hootsuite, Agora Pulse, and Blue Jeans Net.

Jessy is also a fan of Hootsuite!

You can’t forget about Twitter lists! They’re so helpful in engaging your audience because you can easily keep up with what others are talking about.

The RankWatch team relies on Hootsuite and Buffer for scheduling content, but has a dedicated team that handles social media engagement.

Q8: Which brands do an amazing job at engaging their audience? Tag them!

You can always draw some inspiration from other amazing brands. Take a look at these brands who are doing social media right:

Meera’s favorites include Starbucks, Airbnb, Oreo, and Amazon Kindle.

Julia is a fan of Applebee’s, Corner Bakery, and Wendy’s.

And she’s not the only one! Wendy’s is killing it on Twitter these days. Take a look at their Twitter and you’re sure to learn a thing or two about engaging your audience.

Mike said Applebee’s, Buffer, Hootsuite, and Delta have all been doing a great job.

Content Marketing Institute is another great example, especially since they run a Twitter chat of their own! Chats are a great way to encourage engagement with your brand.

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.

content for seo

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Curating Consistent Content for SEO with Danielle Tate

As online content creators, there’s no denying that SEO is essential. It’s not enough to just write amazing content for your blog, but you have to optimize it as well if you want search engines (and potential readers) to discover it. To help you step up your skills and create content for SEO, you’ll want to dive into the recap of our latest #ContentWritingChat where we talked all about it!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Curating Consistent Content for SEO

Our guest host for this week’s chat was Danielle Tate of Elegant Entrepreneur. Danielle is a CEO, best-selling author, and a speaker.

Q1: When it comes to publishing content consistently, where do you find inspiration to write?

There’s no denying that sometimes it can be hard to come up with fresh ideas for your content. In order to keep those creative juices flowing, you need to seek a little inspiration. We asked our chat participants where they find inspiration for their writing and here’s what some of them had to say:

For Danielle, she likes to look for news hooks that correlate to the topics she wants to write about. She also turns to customer questions, as they can make great blog content. This is a good reason to pay close attention to feedback your audience gives you and make note of any commonly asked questions.

It looks like Danielle isn’t the only one turning to customers to find content ideas. The team over at Netvantage Marketing uses this strategy as well.

Kristi does the same. She finds out what questions customers are asking and what they’re talking about. This will lead you in the right direction when it comes to potential topic ideas.

Brittany knows it’s a great idea to look at the trends in her industry. This gives you an idea of what’s hot at the moment and provides you with an opportunity to write about it. She suggests looking at trends and listening for challenges others are facing and then having a good brainstorming session.

For Tony, he enjoys reading different articles for inspiration. There’s always something new to read, whether it’s something within your industry or not. You can always draw inspiration from what others are saying.

Cheval gets inspiration from Twitter chats. Chats are very informative and they provide you with the opportunity to connect with others and hear their questions. It can be a great place to find your next blog post idea.

Jeremy finds writing inspiration from a variety of sources. He gets ideas from things he hears others talking about, what he sees in nature while he’s out on a run, and from great photos and videos.

Q2: What advice do you have for writers maintaining a blog long-term?

One thing that many on the outside looking in don’t realize is that blogging is actually hard work. You take on many roles as a blogger and it can sometimes feel overwhelming. So, how do you manage all of those tasks for the long haul? Check out this advice:

Danielle says you shouldn’t be afraid to wide your scope of topic when it comes to the content you cover. If your audience would be interested and it’s still relevant overall, there’s no reason you can’t experiment with something new.

No matter what you choose to write about, it should be something that you genuinely enjoy. If you aren’t passionate about your chosen topic, writing will quickly become a chore.

Make sure you’re running tests to see what’s working for you and what’s not. This allows you to see what you should do more of and what needs to change.

As Jeff said, you need to keep it consistent. If you’re going to start blogging, you need to develop a schedule and stick to it.

To make sure you’re staying consistent, develop a content strategy and keep an editorial calendar. This will keep you on track when it comes to publishing.

Brittany agrees that a plan and an editorial calendar are two essential elements of your blogging success.

Varun says there should be consistency in the quality of the content you produce, you should allow formats to evolve, and you need to keep an eye on trends in your niche. He also suggests focusing on community building. This will help you build a relationship with your audience.

Gabriela’s advice is to define your blog’s purpose and align it with your passions. Having that passion for what you’re doing will ensure you’re consistent and committed to your blog.

Q3: Do you have a specific formula for creating posts on your blog?

Writing a blog post requires quite a bit of work, as there are many stages of content creation. Developing a formula to follow will help make the process easier. Check out the formulas our chat participants follow:

For Danielle, she follows this formula: catchy title, captivating image, five paragraphs with two links, a GIF, and a call to action.

Simple, but effective! For Sarah, she comes up with an idea, jots down notes or an outline, then performs any necessary research. Once that’s done, she begins to write, proofread, and ultimately publish her content.

Don’t be afraid to write that ugly first draft! Brittany follows Ann Handley’s method by getting a first draft out, letting it rest for a while, then coming back to rewrite and optimize.

An outline can pave the way to a fantastic piece of content.

Great advice from Gabriela! She suggests creating based on a balance of what is proven to be of interest versus what she feels should be addressed.

Tony likes to be ahead of schedule when it comes to content creation. He has an editorial calendar that allows him to plan and then create content in advance.

For Leah, she likes to keep seasonality in mind. This ensures you’re timely with the content you share and you can be sure it’ll appeal to your audience in that moment. Figure out what people are searching online and add those topics to your editorial calendar.

The number one formula we should all remember? Provide value to your readers.

Q4: What does SEO mean to you as a content writer?

To switch gears into the SEO focus of this week’s chat, we asked our participants to share what it means to them as content writers. Here’s what they had to say about SEO:

For Danielle, SEO mentions intentionally weaving keywords her audience is searching for into her content. She knows this is essential if she wants the right people to discover the content she creates.

There’s no denying that SEO is important, but it’s equally as important to give your audience what they want to read.

Creating content for SEO means you need to write in a way that appeals to your human readers and search engines like Google.

Lex says SEO clarifies who the audience is, what they need, and how to talk to them.

This is a great answer from Jeff!

For Sara, SEO gives her focus as a creator.

Great way to look at it! SEO is something you have to deal with in order to let your content shine.

Q5: How do you determine the keywords you use within your posts?

When creating content for SEO, you need to determine the right keywords to use for the content you create. How do you go about that? Here are some helpful tips:

Danielle starts by analyzing which keywords are performing the best and then framing her titles and topics to include them.

Create a list of potential keywords you can analyze, but make sure you go with something that your ideal audience will actually be searching for. Think about how they talk and how they would word their searches.

Choose a topic, then research keywords people are searching for that relate back to your topic. Once you have that ideal keyword, use it naturally throughout your copy.

Elizabeth starts by choosing a topic, conducting keyword research, and then writing while naturally sprinkling in her keyword. She says to pick keywords that have high volume so you know people are searching for what you’re writing about.

Jeremy’s go-to strategy includes using Google Analytics, watching trending words and topics on platforms, and ultimately creating cross-platform appeal with his content.

Great answer from Jeff that we should all keep in mind when creating content for SEO.

Q6: What are your favorite lesser-known SEO tips you can share?

By now, we all know the basics of SEO. However, there’s always something else we can learn, so we asked everyone to share their favorite SEO tips that most people don’t seem to know about. Here’s what they had to say:

Danielle says to include links to previous posts you wrote on a topic. This will boost your keyword relevance and ranking. This technique is called siloing. If you aren’t already doing this, it’s time to get started. You can go through the blog posts in your archives and begin interlinking related posts right now.

Utilize the strategy of link building. You can guest post on other websites and include links back to posts you’ve written and published on your own blog. This helps to build quality backlinks to your blog and sends more traffic your way.

Don’t forget to add alt tags to the images in your blog posts. This tells search engines what your images are of and it’ll help them show up in search results.

That’s a winning formula right there!

Q7: How does SEO impact your content marketing strategy overall?

Wondering what role SEO plays in a content marketing strategy? Check out these responses straight from Tuesday’s chat:

For Danielle, SEO is the framework that decides what topics, articles, and social media posts are prioritized in a content schedule.

As Ray said, SEO and content marketing combined provides you with feedback for where to steer your content ship.

Sarah says it requires her to focus on the larger picture. There’s no reason to post for the sake of posting. Everything should serve a purpose and be strategic.

As Louise mentioned, content is useless without a measurable goal. You need to know what you want to accomplish and track the results you receive.

Zala said it helps you understand the focus for your content. It also shows you how to make it valuable, relevant, serachable, and useful.

Plan ahead and be aware of trends and changes in SEO algorithms. You need to be on top of those changes to ensure you’re doing the right things when it comes to creating content for SEO.

Q8: What are your favorite tools and resources for SEO? Tag them!

The great thing is, there are plenty of tools and resources that will help you create content for SEO these days. Here are just some suggestions that will help you out:

Danielle’s go-to tools include SEMrush, Market Samurai, and Meet Edgar.

Jeff relies on the following: Moz, Google Analytics, our #ContentWritingChat, and Content Marketing Institute. All great sources of information!

Leah relies on Pinterest and Yoast.

BuzzSumo is definitely a fantastic tool for creating content for SEO.

Lex uses Google and Moz for research, Yoast for the technical side of things, and Trello for organizing her content.

This is great list! You’ll want to check these out if you haven’t already.

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.



#ContentWritingChat Recap: Long-Form Content: Distribution & Promotion Tactics, & Best Examples with Lisa Dougherty

There’s no denying that long-form content is where it’s at when it comes to the world of online content. That’s why we had to host a #ContentWritingChat all about this topic that’s so crucial for content creators. If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of long-form content, how to create it, and how to promote it, you’re in the right place! Now, let’s dive into the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Long-Form Content: Distribution & Promotion Tactics, & Best Examples with Lisa Dougherty

Our guest host this week was Lisa Dougherty. Lisa is an entrepreneur and she’s also the Blog & Community Director over at Content Marketing Institute. CMI is one of our favorite resources and we were thrilled to have Lisa join the chat and share her expertise on long-form content.

Q1: Why should you consider long-form content in this age where so many talk about short-form content?

You’ve likely heard that we as human beings tend to have short attention spans. So, if this is true, then why are people pushing brands to create long-form content online? Here’s how longer, valuable content can actually benefit your brand:

Lisa said long-form content typically performs better on social media, plus it also increases website authority and earns you links.

More rankings, more shares, and more reads! Need we say more about why long-form content ROCKS?

Sarah feels long-form content allows you to go deep with your customers and strengthen your relationship with them. After all, when they fall in love with the valuable content you create, they’ll truly appreciate your work and become big fans of your brand.

Darcy knows longer content can provide readers with tremendous value, which they’re sure to love you for. Make sure that you keep your content concise and actionable to ensure they’re engaged.

As Jim mentioned, you’ll have to work in order to keep the attention of your audience when creating longer content. You don’t want them to tune out before finishing your post.

Q2: How do you ensure longer blog posts are captivating and hold attention all the way through?

With longer content, you’re going to have to hook your reader in the very beginning and then hold their attention to get them to read through your entire post. What’s the secret to making that happen? Check out this advice from Tuesday’s chat:

Lisa encourages you to tell your story and infuse it with emotion. Share your personal experiences. It’s this kind of content that will leave people wanting to read more. She also said to write for your reader, not the search engines. While it’s fine to optimize your content for search engines, you need to create with your reader in mind. It’ll help you develop a stronger connection with them and they’ll continue to come back and read more.

Lisa also shared some great advice when it comes to writing your long-form content. As she mentioned, headlines will attract attention. They are what will get people to your content in the first place. What will get them to read is your introduction and the content that follows. Make sure you keep it interesting and drawn them in.

When it comes to editing, Jim suggests letting your drafts sit for a day or two. Then, once you’ve had some time apart, you can come back and edit with fresh eyes. As he said, if your long-form content bores you, you have problems. You need to find a way to change it up before you hit publish.

Elizabeth knows longer blog posts will require strategic formatting in order to keep your reader interested and to lead them through the post. It’s also important to showcase your brand’s captivating voice.

How you structure your blog posts also plays a major role in keeping people hooked on your long-form content. You’ll want to use headings and make sure everything flows. Headings are great for separating individual ideas and it helps to break up big blocks of text. And making sure everything flows is important because you want to have high quality writing on your blog.

Pictures are another great way to break up text and they can also grab attention and keep people interested. You’ll want to add at least one eye-catching visual to each of your blog posts.

Other options to spice up your content include: adding infographics, video and podcast versions of your written content, and great pictures.

Erika knows subheadings and visuals are great, but she also suggested using bulleted lists. Bulleted and numbered lists are an easy way to make text scannable for your reader, which they’ll surely appreciate. And as she said, don’t write just to make your posts long. Only write as much as you feel is necessary to get your point across.

Q3: Once you’ve created an amazing piece of long-form content, how do you promote it to maximize your readership?

Once you have an amazing piece of content published on your website, you can’t just let it sit there to gather virtual dust. Instead, you have to be proactive about promoting the content you’ve written. Here’s how you can promote a piece of content and attract plenty of new readers:

Lisa knows just how beneficial a “popular posts” widget on your website can be. If there are any posts you’d like to showcase, they can be featured in your popular posts section, which is great for keeping people on your site and reading more.

This advice is simple: share it! If you have something new that you’ve created and you’d like to send some more traffic to it, you can absolutely do that. It all starts with knowing who your audience is (and where you’re from) and also knowing what they want.

Julia said you can share a great post by pinning it to your social media pages, repurpose it for social media posts, SlideShare presentations, videos, and more.

Know who your audience is and post the right content to them on the right channels (the ones they’re actively using).

Elizabeth recommends sharing content through social media and your email list. Make sure you’re repurposing content for the platform it’s been shared to so you know it’ll perform its best.

Teasing your content before it goes live is a great way to share a sneak peek and leave people wanting more. They’re sure to be excited about what you have coming up when they find out.

Promote your content on social media or to your email list. Ask influencers to help you spread the word or team up for media partnerships. And finally, organic traffic will do you wonders if you’ve optimized correctly.

Sara encourages you to find a way to repurpose your content. You can do so in a visual way, which means you could create a live video, an infographic, a series of graphics, or something else. It’s all about finding what works best for your brand and your audience.

Q4: What are other creative ways to promote long-form content for maximum mileage?

If you really want to increase the readership on a particular piece of long-form content, you’ll want to get creative with how you spread the word. Here are a few great ideas you can try out:

Lisa likes the ideas of sending email previews to those who contributed to a post or those who are mentioned in a post. You can send them the publish date, the URL, and any pre-written tweets to make it easy for them to share. When you take out the hard work for them, they’ll be more likely to spread the word!

Lisa also mentioned using the Click to Tweet feature to create ready-to-share posts for social media. This makes it easy for readers to spread the word about the content you’ve created. You also want to link to older, relevant content to keep people on your site.

With the popularity of live video, Leah is spot on with her suggestion of turning a longer blog post into a Facebook Live. You can also use Instagram Live or Periscope.

Elizabeth is repurposing her content into videos, SlideShares, and podcast episodes. This will really help her reach a wider audience.

Martin suggests breaking up longer content pieces into smaller ones to get the most out of what you’ve created.

Longer blog posts can even be repurposed as PDFs and delivered as a freebie for your audience. You can also use it to create informative SlideShares.

Varun suggests creating memes, filming short-form videos, asking thought-provoking questions, and inviting your audience to share their opinions.

You can even share it in relevant social media groups, on Reddit, various dedicated forums and discussion platforms, create infographics, and promote it via Quora.

Q5: Should you syndicate a great piece of long-form content on another site? If so, where is a great place to start?

To maximize readership, many turn to syndication as a way to repurpose content they’ve created. Is this really worthwhile though? And if so, how do you go about syndicating content the right way? Read these tips:

As Lisa mentioned, Google may not be a fan of content syndication. You’ll want to do some research before trying this out for yourself. To help, she shared a post from Content Marketing Institute so you can learn more about syndication.

If you decide to move forward with syndication, keep Jim’s advice in mind. He suggests building a trusting relationship with the site first. You also want to make sure you’re aware of their syndication terms before getting started.

You’ll also want to make sure the site you syndicate with has a reputation for publishing high-quality content.

Also, make sure your target audience is reading this site so you can actually reach the right people.

On the plus side, syndication is a great way to get your content seen by a wider audience.

Because Google could see it as duplicate content, you may want to consider repurposing the piece instead. Find a way to make it fresh and difference so it isn’t repetitive.

One final piece of advice to remember: don’t overdo it. This can cheapen your content, so do all syndication with care.

Hank agrees that you shouldn’t go overboard when syndicating. Choose wisely which platforms you want to post your content on.

Q6: What are ways you can repurpose written long-form content? At what point in the process should you start planning for repurposing opportunities?

To truly make the most of your content, you’ll want to repurpose it. This will help you breathe new life into older content and you’ll be able to reach a wider audience. So, how can you get started with this strategy? Check it out:

Lisa suggests repurposing your content in the following ways: YouTube videos, SlideShare, infographics, and quote images. All of these ideas are great and are sure to help you get more mileage out of your content.

She also suggests getting started right away when it comes to planning how you’ll repurpose a piece of content. You can do this by finding your evergreen content and determining the best way to repurpose it based on your brand and your audience. Think about what they’d most like to see! It’s also wise to repurpose the posts that are performing the best.

Podcast episodes are another great idea!

You can even compile multiple blog posts on one topic into a single eBook.

Create social media posts, memes, quotes, infographics, and even more blog content.

Erica suggests considering what will work best for the other platforms you want to share your content on. You might choose to create infographics, timelines, videos, pictures, or Moments.

Jim likes to write content with repurposing in mind. This surely helps him to make the most of his content.

Elizabeth begins thinking about repurposing once she has created the original piece.

This is great advice from Martin. Don’t let your long-form content get stale. You can make updates months or a year later to keep the content fresh and accurate.

Q7: What’s an example of long-form content you loved recently? Share the link!

To help you get some inspiration from amazing long-form content, we asked our chat participants to share a link to a post they loved recently. Here’s what they shared with us:

All of these blog posts are worth taking a look at!

Q8: Who does an amazing job at creating long-form content? Tag them!

So, who shines at long-form content? Check out this awesome list:

Lisa is a fan of Buffer’s blog and the content they share. (We are too!) She also enjoys reading iconiContent.

There’s no denying that Neil Patel is a long-form content king!

Neil Patel, Buffer, and Hubspot are all great!

CoSchedule is another amazing place to read content.

The Jeff Bullas blog is also a favorite!

And our own guest host, Lisa, does a pretty fantastic job herself!

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.



#ContentWritingChat Recap: Being Recognized & Known Online: Personal Branding 101

This week’s #ContentWritingChat was all about personal branding! We talked about who should have a personal brand, they key steps to creating one, and much more. If you missed the chat or need a refresher on the topics we covered, it’s time to dive right into our recap!

Our guest host this week was Barry Feldman. Barry is a content marketing consultant, copywriter, and author. In fact, he recently wrote a book called The Road to Recognition.

Q1: How do you define a personal brand? Who has a personal brand?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their definition of a personal brand. What do they think it means to have a personal brand and who actually has one? Check out some of these responses from the chat:

As Barry said, a personal brand is the perception people have of you regarding your professional life. People are always going to have thoughts and opinions surrounding you, whether you realize you have a personal brand or not. So, you better make sure it’s a good one!

He also added that everyone has or has the potential to have a personal brand. It’s important that you recognize this and take control of the image you’re portraying.

Katie had a great answer to this first question. She feels a personal brand is your essence, what you stand for, and what you won’t fall for. It’s all about your mission and the values you have. Definitely something worth thinking about!

Maggie said your personal brand is a package of who you are and what you’re about. This package essentially represents you to the world, which is why it’s something everyone should think about.

As Jeff pointed out, everything anyone can see or read about you makes up how you’re perceived. It may sound a little scary, but remember that you can take control of your personal brand overall.

Gabriela said your personal brand is your vibe. It’s all in how you communicate who you are, what you do, and what people can expect from you. Here’s hoping your personal brand gives off an amazing vibe!

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing feels everyone has a personal brand. This is why it’s so important to consider how you’re representing yourself, especially online.

Ask yourself the following question… What do you want people to think of you when you’re not around? Make sure your personal brand is a reflection of that answer.

Q2: What key steps should someone take when building a personal brand?

Now that you know what a personal brand is, let’s talk about the key steps to building it. It’s likely that you have a personal brand whether you realize it or not and you want to make sure it’s an accurate reflection of you. Here’s what you need to know:

Barry’s key steps to developing your personal brand: establish your message, identify who your audience is, concentrate on a niche, find the right platform, and then deliver value.

Julia said to know what value you can provide and who your audience is first. From there, you can begin building a content strategy and your unique voice.

Pamela knows just how important it is to know and understand who your audience is, so start there by figuring out who you’re targeting.

Sarah’s advice is to know who you are and who your audience is, plus how you’re going to interact with them. It’s also important to be yourself, otherwise you aren’t building your brand on a strong foundation.

Katie suggests starting by creating a mission statement and setting values. This will help give you some direction with your brand so you know what you’re all about and who you’re targeting.

A great reminder when it comes to your brand: be human. Build a personality around your brand that is genuine and true to who you are. That’s what will make you unique and it’ll help others resonate with you.

If you’re feeling confused about where to get started when building your personal brand, Sara suggests looking to some of the brands you admire and are inspired by. Consider their mission, the values they have, and their personality. Determine what it is about those brands that resonates with you and you can replicate that for yourself, but don’t copy them.

Q3: How can you be sure your personal brand is a true reflection of your personality and who you are?

When building a personal brand, you want to make sure it’s genuine. It should be a reflection of who you truly are if you want it to resonate with others. Here’s how you can do that:

Barry suggests asking yourself if your personal brand feels true. If you are faking it by pretending to be something you’re not, people will find out soon enough. Although your niche might not be unique, you can always make your voice unique so you can stand out from the crowd.

Gabriela feels personal branding all starts with self-awareness. She said you need to understand who you were, who you are, and who you aspire to be.

As Julia said, be true to you. It all starts there by being genuine and true to who you really are.

Jeff says you need to be genuine. If you aren’t being yourself, you won’t enjoy it and it’ll all catch up to you sooner or later.

When you’re true to yourself, your personality will shine through. That’s what people will connect with.

When you’re genuine, you stand a much better chance at attracting the right audience to your brand.

Pamela’s advice is to not overthink it. That’s something we should all keep in mind!

Jayme is spot on with this answer!

Q4: How can you get your personal brand noticed online so you stand out as an authority?

Once you’ve built your personal brand and you’re ready to start making connections, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. You have to find a way to position yourself as an authority in your niche. Here’s how you can do that for your personal brand:

If you want to get noticed online, take Barry’s suggestions into consideration: experimentation, persistence, collaborative projects with influencers, and media. He also suggests mastering a platform that suits you. It could be blogging, vlogging, podcasts, or something else. Find your thing and become a master at it.

Gabriela’s tips for standing out include: adding value, engaging, being consistent, being accessible, and giving a whole lot to your audience.

Varun said to join relevant conversations online. You can connect with people vita Twitter, forums, industry seminars, and other meet-ups. Make sure you’re adding value if you truly want to get noticed.

Engage, engage, engage!

Maureen knows great content can go a long way to building a reputation for your brand. Produce quality content that shows people what they need to know and back it up with proof.

Megan also knows the importance of content, as she said don’t create weak content. Share your knowledge with your audience instead.

Know that you aren’t going to see results overnight. As Flavia said, you want to find your people, continue to share content, and being active when it comes to engaging with others.

Q5: In what ways can social media help you build your brand and network with others?

Wondering how social media can help you build your brand and make connections online? Check out these suggestions from Tuesday’s chat:

As Barry said, you’re going to need friends, fans, followers, and collaborators for your brand. Social media can help you make those connections to build those relationships.

It’s clear that Elizabeth knows the power of social media. As she said, it gives you the opportunity to connect with people globally. You just never know who you might meet and where those people will be located.

Social media is a great opportunity to connect with peers, customers, colleagues, and other brands.

Jason said social media can connect you with people who are new to your brand and help you stay connected to those who already know you.

There are no limits on social media. As Lori suggestions, you should focus on growing your brand on all the social media platforms you want to use for your brand.

Don’t forget to use social media for its main purpose: be social!

Twitter chats are an amazing way to be social and make connections online.

Social media may provide a lot of amazing opportunities, but there’s also a lot more competition to deal with. Embrace what makes you unique and do what you can to stand out.

Q6: What are the upsides to having a personal brand? The downsides?

What are the advantages to personal branding? Are there any disadvantages? Find out in these responses from the chat:

Having a personal brand can help you gain recognition.

Being recognizable is certainly a benefit of personal branding, but it’s also a downside. If you mess up, a lot of people may see it. That’s all the more reason to be careful about what you put out there online.

Personal branding can help you form a bond with your community and the audience you’re trying to attract.

On the plus side, having a personal brand can give you an increased reach, a larger audience, and help you attract potential customers. On the downside, if there’s a misstep in your personal life and everyone finds out, it can impact you negatively.

Q7: What is the most important thing to remember when building your personal brand?

The most important things to remember when building your personal brand, courtesy of our Twitter chat:

Great advice from Barry!

Consistency is key.

Don’t be too focused on the brand. Be yourself and things will begin to click for you.

Be careful what you put out there online because once it’s out there, it’s public for the world to see. You can’t take it back.

Be yourself and don’t try to be like everyone else. That won’t help you stand out from the crowd.

Be genuine, be active, and be you.

Authenticity and honesty are essential.

Don’t fake it because you’ll eventually be found out.

Keep moving forward because you won’t find overnight success. You have to put in the hard work if you want results.

Q8: Which personal brands do you love? Tag them!

Which personal brands are out there doing it right? Check out these brands:

We have to agree that our CEO, Julia McCoy, is killing it!

Gary Vaynerchuk and Lisa Buyer are two favorites for Jayme.

Madalyn, Neal, and Sujan are all great!

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.


writing productivity

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Productivity with Pamela Rosen & Forrest Bryant of Evernote

Let’s face it… Writing is no easy task. From brainstorming ideas, to actually getting them out on paper (or on your computer screen), and then editing everything, it can sometimes be a stressful process that takes a while to complete. Fortunately, in this week’s chat, we shared some amazing tips for writing productivity that will help you tackle your writing tasks with ease.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Productivity with Pamela Rosen & Forrest Bryant of Evernote

Our guest hosts this week were Pamela Rosen and Forrest Bryant, who are both part of the amazing Evernote team. Pamela is a Senior Copywriter for Evernote and Forrest is their Director of Content. Since they’re both experienced writers and content creators, they were the perfect fit to share some writing productivity tips with everyone in the chat.

Q1: What does writing productivity look like to you?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share what writing productivity looks like to them. Check out their responses and see if any of these resonate with you:

For Forrest, writing productivity is a state of flow. He said it requires clarity, purpose, and direction. And of course, it’s not all about how much content you’re able to create. It’s more important to focus on the quality and the value of the content you’re writing.

Pamela said writing productivity is being able to get into the zone. When you get to that state where the words are flowing freely and you don’t have any distractions, it’s always a great place.

Jeff is absolutely right that it isn’t about how much you get done, but how well you do it. You have to come up with a schedule and processes that work for YOU, not anyone else.

Tara, our Content Development Specialist, writes in productive phases. These phases include researching, drafting content, editing, and then publishing.

Tony feels productivity is about getting his writing assignments done at a good time. This means there’s no time to procrastinate!

Jeremy knows it’s helpful to block out distractions when you have writing to be done. If you just focus on your writing, as opposed to multitasking, you’ll be much more productive.

Sorry to say it, but writing productivity also means ditching Netflix for a while as you get work done.

Olivia knows that passion, focus, and efficiency are three very important factors of the writing process. And she’s right that a little excitement about the task at hand helps too!

Q2: Which strategies do you implement when writing content for your brand?

When it comes time to write content, which strategies do you rely on to get things done and do them well? Check out what some of our chat participants do when writing:

Pam shared a great reminder that everyone should keep in mind when writing content. You always need to be human and real because you are speaking to actual people. Another human being is going to be reading your content and you want to create something that resonates with them. To do that, focus on engaging your audience and adding value.

It’s helpful to ask yourself if you would want to read the content you’ve created. If not, you should start over. While everything you write needs to appeal to your audience, it also needs to appeal to you as well.

Forrest said you need to make sure every piece of content delivers value to your reader and/or generates excitement. Before you hit publish, ask yourself if it’s serving your audience in some way. If not, you probably need to revisit what you’ve written.

Gabriela’s writing process looks something like this: getting inspiration, researching the topic and audience, outlining the content, scribbling down her thoughts, writing, and then editing.

Great questions to ask before making a blog post live: Does this benefit my readers? Does it fit with our goals? Is it easy to read/visually appealing? Everything you publish should benefit your reader in some way, but should also help your brand reach an end goal. You also want to make sure the content itself is easy to read and visually appealing, otherwise people just won’t bother.

Be authentic, transparent, and engaging!

Shawn relies on Evernote to help him through the writing process. He creates folders for every project that he’s working on. These folders house notes, research, and ideas. It’s perfect for staying organized!

Q3: How do you brainstorm content ideas and store them to review later?

Content creation all starts with the same step: brainstorming ideas. In Tuesday’s chat, we asked everyone to share their brainstorming tips and how they store ideas to come back to at a later time. After all, we can’t risk forgetting those genius ideas that come out of nowhere!

Forrest said he brainstorms throughout the day. Whenever an idea pops up, he puts it right into Evernote so he knows where to find it later. Eventually, those ideas he saved gets fleshed out into a full piece of content. He begins adding links when needed to support information and turns it into a rough outline.

Pamela knows the value of a team that collaborates, as that’s what they do at Evernote. They share and evaluate ideas together, which is a great way to brainstorm.

And as Pamela said, not all ideas are good. Sometimes you’ll find that something doesn’t fit your brand or audience or maybe it needs to come to life in a different format than you were anticipating. You have to take the time to separate the good ideas from the bad ones. Having a team by your side is a huge help for this!

Just like Forrest, I also rely on Evernote to store ideas. Whenever an idea for a blog post comes up, I save it in an Evernote notebook dedicated to any ideas that come up. I have a specific note that’s solely for blog posts and it’s organized by topic. This ensures I always know where to go to find that idea I had come up with.

For Elizabeth, brainstorming happens as she’s just going about her daily life. She knows that inspiration can strike at any time, so you just have to be open to letting those ideas flow.

Since you never know when inspiration could strike, it always helps to have a notebook and pen on hand. (Or your phone!) Maggie likes to keep a Moleskine notebook in her handbag and jots down any ideas that come up.

You just might want to keep a notebook beside your bed in case inspiration strikes in the middle of the night!

For Lexie, she relies on sticky notes and Trello to brainstorm and store ideas.

At ThinkSEM, the team has brainstorming chats. They then put al of their ideas into a Google doc. Once they’ve planned out the timing for their content, it goes into the final editorial calendar.

Shannon also brainstorms and prioritizes ideas as a team. They then work on the best ideas and shelve others for later, while ditching the ones that just won’t work.

Q4: What does your writing process look like? Any secrets you can share?

Have you ever wanted to get an inside look into the writing process of other content creators? Here’s your chance! This is what some of our chat participants do to create amazing content:

Pamela chooses not to outline her content first. This is the perfect example of why it’s important to do what works best for you. If you need to outline your content, go for it! Otherwise, you can skip this step if you find that it doesn’t help your overall process.

On the other hand, Forrest does take the time to outline his content, but he keeps those outlines rough. He feels it gives him direction, but also the freedom to let everything develop as he writes.

For Jeff, he relies on having a set schedule to get his writing done. He creates a schedule of due dates in Asana and then works in phases to complete tasks. This is one great strategy to encourage writing productivity.

Mallorie said a quiet space is a necessity for her. This helps to eliminate distractions that could direct her attention away from writing. She also likes to have a warm cup of tea on hand as well.

Lolitta likes to have a collection of inspiring writing to refer to when needed. It’s a great way to get yourself in that writing mindset and to get you motivated.

When Olivia is passionate about a topic, she likes to dive right in. Sometimes it’s great to start writing something when that idea is still fresh and you’re still excited about it.

Krissy starts by writing out the main points she wants to get across in her content. She brings up a great point that you shouldn’t expect the first draft to be perfect. Instead, focus on getting your ideas out and then edit later.

Q5: How can you best collaborate with a team when it comes to writing?

If you’re working with a team, you know there are advantages and disadvantages to having teammates writing alongside you. Here are some tips to help ensure the collaboration process goes smoothly:

At Evernote, they have a twice-weekly meeting for all writers across the teams. This is a great way to ensure your team stays in touch and is able to easily communicate with one another.

As Pamela said, you should be able to count on one another to make content better. Don’t let any kind of constructive criticism get you down. You want to be open to what others have to say so you can implement their advice and improve your skills.

Lexie agrees about being open to other ideas. You should be willing to take advice that others give you.

Schedule times for brainstorm meetings with your team. Make sure you also give everyone space to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. Everyone needs to feel safe and willing to speak their mind when the time comes.

Tara relies on a few tools to help her out, including: Trello, Evernote, CoSchedule, and Zoho.

You can brainstorm ideas in real life or via online chats if you’re a remote team. At ThinkSEM, they rely on Google Docs to proof and edit content and they’re sure to stay open to what others have to share.

This is great advice from Jeff. Remember that you’re a team and everyone has their own unique strengths. Don’t be afraid to speak out and share ideas even if they go against what everyone else is saying.

You can form ideas separately, but be sure to come together to discuss what you’ve come up with. You can pitch ideas, discuss, and collaborate with one another for everything to come together.

You also have to be willing to separate the good and bad ideas so you know what’s truly right for you to pursue.

Q6: When are you most productive at writing? What time of day do you write? Where do you like to write?

There are all kinds of factors that influence our writing productivity, including when and where we write. It’s helpful to consider what time of day you’re most productive for more involved tasks like writing and also the environment around you. Here’s what works for some of the participants in this week’s chat:

Forrest likes to be alone and away from his desk when it’s time to write. He also likes to have some jazz music playing in the background. Coffitivity is also great for giving you those cafe vibes from the comfort of your own home.

Pamela said she’s definitely a night owl. She uses the morning for coming up with ideas, but is most productive at nighttime.

It seems the pressure of an impending deadline is what gets Maggie writing. She often finds herself writing late at night before her work needs to be done.

An evening with the lights dimmed and good music sure sounds like a picturesque writing scene, doesn’t it?

Tony said he’s most productive during the middle of the day, but he finds his best ideas pop up when he’s about to go to sleep. All the more reason to keep a notebook and pen by your bed!

Olivia is most productive in the morning when her coffee is still giving her a much needed energy boost.

For Jeremy, running is what gives him some of his best ideas. If you’ve hit a road block, get outside for a walk or run and see if it helps get those creative juices flowing.

Jeff takes every opportunity he gets to write. He writes on his train commute, at work, at home, on the couch, in bed, and anywhere he can. It’s all about seizing the opportunity when inspiration strikes.

Gabriela is the same way. She writes whenever inspiration strikes!

Q7: Which tools do you rely on to stay on track with your writing tasks? How can Evernote help you?

There are plenty of tools available today that can help with writing productivity. Evernote is just one of those handy tools! Here are a few other suggestions and tips on how Evernote can help you out:

Forrest keeps it simple when it comes to writing tools. He uses Evernote to outline content, create to-do lists, store research, and write drafts. Even when he receives Word documents, PDFs, and Google Doc links, he adds those to Evernote.

Pamela loves using cloud-based tools so she can work from anywhere. Evernote and Google Docs allow you to do this with ease.

For me, I like to write blog post drafts in Evernote. WordPress has crashed in the past, causing me to lost an entire post, so I never write there.

Julia uses Zoho and Google Docs for collaborative writing, Google Calendar for reminders, and Evernote for note taking.

Lolitta relies on both Google Docs and Evernote for blog and social media writing.

Mallie is a big fan of the Pomodoro technique and relies on a timer to keep her focused and on task.

Shannon relies on Google Calendar to keep her on track with tasks that need to be completed.

Gabriela turns to social media to get feedback from her audience.

Zala uses Evernote to store ideas and for writing.

A helpful reminder: know what’s best for YOU. The tool that works for someone else might not be the ideal one for your needs. It’s okay to test out a few to see what works best.

Q8: What final tip can you offer to help others step up their productivity when it comes to writing?

Last call for final tips! Before we ended the chat, we gave everyone the chance to share their top tip for others to walk away with. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Block off time in your calendar for writing so you know you have ample time to get it done.

As Forrest said, the first draft is always crap. You can’t expect the first draft of a blog post to be perfect. That’s what the editing phase is for. Instead, you should focus on getting the content out and editing once you’ve completed your writing.

He also suggests taking time for self-care with breaks, walks, meditation, and plenty of laughter.

Shannon agrees with Forrest and encourages you to not obsess over perfection. You can fix up your content in the editing process or have an editor handle it for you.

Another reminder to quit seeking perfection. Jeremy said you need to focus on expressing yourself.

Be passionate about the topics you’re writing about because it shows through in the final result.

Find the strategies and tools that work best for YOU. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what clicks.

Whether it’s Gary Vaynerchuck or someone else that gets you fired up, a dose of motivation is sure to help you start creating.

Join us live for our #ContentWritingChats! Follow @ExpWriters and join us Tuesdays at 10!