video content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Amazing Online Video Content for Your Brand

It’s was our monthly Community Chat during this week’s #ContentWritingChat!

That means we gave our audience the chance to vote on which topic they were most interested in dicussing.

And the one that came out on top?

Video creation tips!

It’s no surprise this was the chosen topic, considering video continues to be the HOT content format for brands across the web. So, if you want to step-up your YouTube and live streaming game, this recap is for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Amazing Online Video Content for Your Brand

Our chat discussed video platforms to focus on, how to create captivating videos people want to watch, and more. Now, let’s dive into this recap!

Q1: Do you currently create video content for your brand? If not, do you plan to start using video in 2018?

To kick off the chat, we decided to gauge just how many people were currently using some form of video and how many were ready to get in on the game. Here are some of the responses we received:

Here at Express Writers, our CEO is working to build her presence on YouTube. She recognizes it’s a valuable platform to be on, as video content provides an amazing way to connect with your audience.

Eddie focuses on both edited and live video, which is a great way to reach your audience. Plus, live video adds that element of real-time engagement, which is always nice.

Jade is all about video content, which is pretty awesome!

For Cheval, he records his podcast every week when he has a guest live streaming on Facebook. It’s a great way to repurpose your live stream.

Zachary stepped up his video presence by uploading one video a week to his YouTube channel last year. Very impressive!

Zala knows video is where it’s at! She’s created short videos, long videos, and even live videos. This is a great way to make sure you’re creating content that resonates with your audience.

Ankitaa creates videos for her clients, but she hasn’t branched out to do it for herself yet. Hopefully 2018 is the year she makes it happen!

Paul has only done one promo video so far, but he’d love to create more this year.

Iain hasn’t gotten started with video either, but he’s planning to later in 2018.

Q2: What types of video are you most focused on this year? (YouTube, Facebook Live, etc.)

With so many platforms where you can utilize video, it can be difficult to determine where to direct your attention. These are the types of video some of our chat participants will be focused on:

As Narmadhaa said, YouTube is a search engine itself. It’s a worthwhile platform to be on if you want your content to be discovered.

For Julia, it’s mostly about YouTube because she knows it’s beneficial to get videos ranking there. However, she also recognizes the power of Facebook Live. Being able to do those and connect with your audience in the moment is very special.

Eddie also loves Facebook Live because it’s a great way to humanize your brand. Your audience truly gets to see your personality through each live broadcast.

Putting more effort into Facebook Live this year is definitely a good idea if your audience is tuning in. It’s one way to ensure you’re standing out with their tricky algorithm.

Ray is planning to primarily do webinars in the year ahead, which are an amazing way to provide tremendous value to your audience.

Just keep in mind that it’s important to focus on the platforms your audience is actively using! That’s how you’re going to find the most success.

Maria agrees that it all depends where your audience is spending their time. Figure out where they’re most active and where they engage and try it out for yourself.

Q3: To get started with video, how do you determine which topics you should talk about?

You’re ready to film some video, but what on earth should you talk about?! To help you come up with some great ideas, check out these tips:

Ray knows that a great video addresses the needs and wants of your audience. They wouldn’t bother watching otherwise! You need to deliver what they want in order to hold their interest.

Julia focuses on finding the biggest pain points for her audience and she addresses them through videos. It’s the best way to leave them wanting more.

Sarah suggests seeing what your audience is already engaging with. It’s a good sign that they’ll be likely to tune into a video on the same topic.

Eddie agrees that it’s worthwhile to check out your analytics. You can easily see what people are interested in through engagement rates.

If you still aren’t sure what your audience wants to see, ASK THEM! As Elise suggested, a simple survey will get you all the answers you need.

Doris like to turn to Facebook groups, which allows her to directly ask people in her audience what their biggest concerns are. It’s just like conducting a survey, but done through social media.

You can also see which topics are trending in your industry. That’s a great way to get people to tune in since it’s relevant and timely.

Paul is looking into repackaging old content that’s been successful in the past. If it’s evergreen, it’s a good sign it might perform well as a video too.

You can always dig through your blog’s archives to find popular posts that would make fantastic videos. It’s an opportunity to expand on them even more.

Q4: How do you get people to tune into your video and make sure they continue to watch?

You’ve got the topic, but now you need to get the viewers. Is there a secret to getting people to tune into your video and watch all the way through? Here’s what you need to know:

Make sure you’re sharing your videos on the platforms your audience is actively using. Otherwise, you risk them not seeing it at all. Sarah also suggests offering a teaser or a promise of a solution, which will intrigue them enough to keep watching.

Don’t forget to be smart about your title and video description. That’s the first thing people will see and it’ll likely be the deciding factor in whether or not they watch.

Paul shared some great advice from knowing your hook and wrapping everything up with a call to action.

Your screen presence makes a huge difference as well. If you’re boring to watch, people won’t tune into your videos.

Always be yourself!

Warwick suggests cross-posting, mentioning influencers, creating custom thumbnails, and more. These are all amazing tips to get more views.

Having a consistent schedule allows your audience to anticipate when your next live broadcast will be. It’s also great for YouTube channel as well since viewers will know your upload schedule.

Julia agrees that consistency is key. She suggests creating a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule to stay in front of your audience.

Eddie’s advice is to promote your video beforehand. It’s a great way to build excitement and get people to tune in.

Jeff agrees that promoting your videos ahead of time is key!

Make sure your videos have a purpose. If they don’t, why would anyone bother watching?

Q5: When it comes to video creation, what does your process look like to plan, record, and publish your work?

Now, let’s dive into your video creation process! These are the steps some of our chat participants take to create amazing videos:

Who, why, when, and where. These are all great things to consider when creating video content.

Zachary’s process includes brainstorming ideas and then deciding how to film. Sometimes you might create a video script to help with the filming process. From there, it’s time to edit and upload.

Terry focuses on writing out ideas first. It’s important to see which topics are going to be the most valuable to your target audience.

Chloe tends to condense her content into short talking points to guide her during the filming process.

Writing out video scripts beforehand is very beneficial because it gives your team time to review it.

Batching is a major help since you’ll be able to knock out filming in a short window of time.

Q6: Which metrics will help you determine the success of your video?

Your video is live, but now you need to measure its success. Which metrics should you pay close attention to? These are great ones to track:

You’ll want to pay attention to metrics such as watch time, link clicks, and audience engagement. And hey, if your viewers get bummed when you cancel a video, it’s a good sign they love you!

On Facebook, you’ll want to see if people turned the sound on and when they dropped off. This will provide good insight into the success of your video.

Cheval pays attention to the number of comments and minutes watched on the video.

It’s smart to see where people stopped watching because it allows you to see if there’s something you can change.

Are people funneling to your website or engaging with the video in some way? That’s important to look out for!

The meaningful discussions that spark as a result of your video are definitely the best.

Maria focuses on view time and the number of comments.

You can even compare one video’s performance to another video. It’ll allow you to see how you’re improving over time.

Q7: Are there any tools you rely on to create amazing video content?

Which tools help you be a video superstar? These are worth checking out:

Terry relies on iMovie to edit videos, which is a great tool to use.

Cass is a fan of Lumen5.

The Franco team loves Lumen5 as well for creating social media video content.

Lumen5 and Adobe Spark are two of Ankitaa’s favorites.

Cheval uses Blue Jeans Network to record his Facebook Live shows.

When he goes live, Eddie uses BeLive for optimal functionality.

Don’t forget to take advantage of YouTube’s free music library!

Q8: Which brands really shine with their video content? What can we learn from them?

For some major video inspiration, you’ll want to check out what these brands are doing!

Doris loves video content from Gary Vaynerchuk and Neil Patel

Mashable and Allen are favorites of Ankitaa.

Julia enjoys watching videos from Ai, Brian Fanzo, and Madalyn Sklar.

And if you’re a food lover, you can’t resist watching Tasty’s videos whenever you see them!

Cheddar is really making the most of live streaming to reach their audience.

How would you like to join us for #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest and be sure to join us every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time!
practical content strategy & marketing book cta

pitch services to your dream clients

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Find Your Writing Speciality & Pitch Services to Your Dream Clients with Kaleigh Moore

If you’ve ever joined us for #ContentWritingChat, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed that we have a lot of writers joining us each week.

It’s amazing having an incredible group of content creators come together for our chat.

But sometimes writers need a little help when it comes to niching down and sending out those pitches.

So, we made it our mission to help those writers with this week’s chat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Find Your Writing Speciality & Pitch Services to Your Dream Clients with Kaleigh Moore

Our guest host this week was Kaleigh Moore. She’s a freelance writer in both SaaS and eCommerce. She shared a ton of great tips that writers in any field can implement, so let’s dive into our recap!

Q1: What’s the hardest piece of the pitching puzzle for you right now?

Do you ever struggle to pitch your services to other brands? If so, you aren’t alone! We asked our chat participants to share what the hardest part is about pitching. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Finding the right time to pitch someone can be a challenge. As Cheval pointed out, you never know if it’ll be accepted or rejected.

Brent also knows it’s all about finding the right time in the relationship to make your pitch. It’s also important to learn as much as you can about the publication you’re going to be contacting.

Sometimes Maria finds it difficult to determine what to focus on in a pitch. You want to make sure you’re packing a punch and that people can see the value you provide.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep your pitch short and simple while still being informative.

Gabriela knows that being too prepared can make things go awry. Make sure you don’t stress over it too much! Relax, set the right tone, answer questions, and be genuine. Also, pay attention to their needs so you can fully understand what they want.

When pitching, you won’t always know if this potential client is ready to make an investment. That can always lead to tricky situations if you don’t know how to handle them.

It’s important that you learn how to set rates that don’t undervalue your work or make you unattainable.

Paul knows the waiting game is a stressful one.

Even getting a response can be tough!

Make sure you follow-up afterwards if you don’t hear anything. You don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity.

As Danielle said, getting up the courage to pitch is often tough. You just have to remember that you’re talented and capable.

Q2: How much of your ideal work currently comes from referrals?

Referrals can play a huge role in a freelance writer’s business, as well as other types of businesses. Word of mouth is effective in helping you land paid gigs, after all! Here’s how many of our chat participants rely on referrals for their work:

About 85% of Kaleigh’s clients come from referrals.

For Kelly, her referral rate is around 80%.

The Netvantage team sees plenty of referrals from their past clients.

Once you’re established, those referrals are more likely to come rolling in.

Varun refers people and he gets referrals as well. It’s a happy, never-ending cycle!

For Chloe, her work is only about 30% referrals, but she knows it could have been more if she was better about following up with people. Let that be a reminder for you to follow-up with potential opportunities.

Paul hasn’t seen any referrals yet, since he’s just starting out. However, we’re confident those referrals will be rolling in soon!

Don’t fully rely on referrals though. As Warwick said, you should also use other lead generation tactics to land writing jobs as well.

Q3: Are you currently writing in spaces where your dream clients spend time?

You’ve heard it before. If you want to reach your dream client, you need to be where they are online! So, are you actually focusing on the right spaces when publishing content? These are the responses we got during Tuesday’s chat:

Copyhackers and Inc are two publications Kaleigh focuses on.

As Marijana knows, it’s worth it to pitch those sites where your ideal client hangs out. It could have a big pay off when your post goes live.

Kelly likes to keep her options open, so she focuses on Medium, LinkedIn, and her podcast. This allows her to expand her reach online.

Carla’s go-to has been social media. She knows that’s an effective place to make connections online, whether it’s a Facebook group or a Twitter chat.

Another important thing to remember is to pay attention to the results you’re getting. Andrea used to write on LinkedIn Pulse, but reach was decreasing. That was a good sign to switch over to another site for more impact.

Danielle is just getting started, but she knows it’s important to be where your audience is. No matter how scary it may be to pitch your work, you have to keep putting yourself out there.

Q4: Have you chosen a niche? If so, does it help you land repeat work/build subject matter expertise?

Does having a niche really make a difference as a writer? Will it actually help you land future work? Check out these responses for the scoop:

Kaleigh feels having a niche makes a major difference when landing repeat work.

When you have a niche, you’ll be able to build up your experience and expertise. Then, people will start to see you as an authority in your field. That will help you land jobs with the right clients.

As Jason said, you have to be great at something. Choosing a niche allows you to truly become a master at your craft.

Finding her niche allowed Elise to triple her income within one year. Impressive!

Finding your niche allows you to understand the unique value you can bring to a client.

Varun focuses on two niches, which allows him to reach more people and cover the topics that interest him the most.

Niching down is something Terry is focused on in the year ahead. It’ll allow you to be more selective about the work you take on and the types of clients you work with.

Jade hasn’t niched down, but finds versatility is the way to go.

Felicity also likes covering a variety of topics in her writing.

And Ankitaa thinks not having a niche helps her to have a more diverse portfolio.

Q5: Do you refer overflow work to fellow freelancers (or have you been on the receiving end)?

What do you do when you have more work than you can handle? Do you take it on anyway or pass the opportunity along to someone else? Here’s how a few of our chat participants manage the situation:

Check out this handy article Kaleigh shared for some tips!

Gabriela knows it’s all about empowerment and helping each other out, so she’s all for referring work to others.

If Jason knows someone else will do a better job, he’s not afraid to refer it to someone else who can get the job done.

Marijana is still building up her network of freelancers, which will really come in handy for overflow work.

As Jade said, what’s important is that you always keep the client’s best interest in mind. If you can’t handle the work, be honest and pass it along.

Brent has been referred work from others and he’s also building a list of writers he can recommend.

Here at Express Writers, we don’t really refer work to others. If the workload gets big, we take on more team members.

Sharing is caring, after all!

Q6: How do you get face time with your dream clients right now?

It’s important that you have the opportunity to chat with those dream clients of yours. It’s the best way to get to know them and to better understand their needs. But how do you go about getting this face time? Here are some ideas for you:

It’s all about those referrals!

Marketing meet-ups and conference are great ways to connect with potential clients.

Call up that dream client of yours and get a coffee together!

The content you publish can help draw people in, but you need to follow that up with a chat on Skype or another platform.

Social media a is a great way to meet clients, but you can still rely on phone calls and emails to get the job done.

As Cheval said, Twitter chats are fantastic as well.

Just make sure you aren’t afraid to ask for an introduction. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and take the chance.

Q7: What’s the biggest question you have about pitching your writing services in general?

Before we wrapped up the chat with our final question, we asked everyone to share their number one question about pitching their services. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Since so many people struggle with pricing, Kaleigh shared a post with some helpful tips.

Even Gabriela recognizes that pricing can be stressful.

Is your pitch being understood? Is it well-received? These are things that likely go through every writer’s mind when hitting send.

And I doing this right? Am I charging the right amount? Chloe knows questions like these can drive a freelancer nuts!

If your pitch didn’t go well and you missed the opportunity, you might not know where things went wrong. And that’s a huge struggle because you won’t know where to improve.

Terry wants to know how you can build that level of trust with a potential client so they’ll see the value in your work.

Q8: What plans do you have for 2018 to get in front of more dream clients?

If you want to reach more clients this year, these are the tips you need to know!

Kaleigh is planning to focus more on teaching this year, which sounds pretty exciting!

Here at Express Writers, this year is all about serving our existing customers and taking care of them in the best way possible. After all, having a loyal customer base is key!

Gabriela plans to do guest posts, speaking engagements, collaborations, and more this year.

Guest posting is on Elise’s to-do list for 2018!

Carla wants to pitch to more publications within her niche to reach new people.

For Terry, it’s all about creating more content. After all, it’s the best way to expand your reach online.

Connecting in person, pitching publications, and writing are just some of the things Brent will be working on.

Video is definitely one way to stand out online this year!

Kaisha wants to become more visible and accessible.

Andrea knows it’s all about being bold. Don’t be afraid to pitch someone because you’re worried about a no. A rejection is not the end of the world.

Take time. Be consistent. Be visible. Follow through on conversations. Great advice!

#ContentWritingChat happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you can join the fun too!

promoting your content on social media

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Best Strategies for Promoting Your Content on Social Media with Corina Manea

Social media is a great way to promote the content you share on your blog.

However, it’s something that a lot of brands still struggle to do the right way.

How do you grab attention and get someone to actually click your links? How can you ensure you aren’t being too self-promotional on your social media accounts?

We answered those questions (and more) during this week’s #ContentWritingChat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Best Strategies for Promoting Your Content on Social Media with Corina Manea

Our guest host this week was Corina Manea. She’s the Chief Community Officer at Spin Sucks. And she offered a lot of great advice to help you make your social media presence shine in the year ahead! So, let’s go ahead and dive into the recap!

Q1: How do you determine the best social media platforms for your brand to use?

When it comes to social media, you have to begin by making a smart choice about the platforms you invest your time and energy into. To help you choose the ones that are worthwhile, check out this advice:

Corina knows that it all starts with knowing where your audience is spending their time online. That’s going to help you reach the right people.

You need to spend your time on the platforms your audience is actively using. Then, you can create your strategy from them.

It’ll take some digging and research to figure out where your audience is the most active, but it’s well worth it in the end!

You also want to consider the type of content you’ll be creating. Certain platforms work best with a specific type of content. For example, visuals really shine on Instagram and Pinterest.

Ashley said you also want to choose a platform that will allow you to deliver your message in the most cost-effective way.

Make sure you also think about your brand’s message, purpose, voice, strengths, and more. This will guide you in choosing the best platforms for you and your audience.

Q2: What are the secrets to crafting amazing copy that promotes your content?

Another important aspect of promoting your content on social media is creating copy that resonates with your audience. After all, you need to create something that resonates with them and inspires them to take action by visiting your site. Here’s some advice:

Corina’s advice is to write with your audience in mind. You also want to show them you care about their interests and needs. That’s what will resonate the most.

As Megan said, remember that your audience is human. You need to speak to them and treat them as such.

Lexie suggests figuring out how your audience would like to receive the message. Some like it short and sweet, while others prefer long and detailed. It’ll take some testing to get this right!

It also helps to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about the language, words, and tone that would resonate with them and grab attention.

Julia’s advice is to keep it simple and to present a problem, agitation, and solution. That’s a winning formula right there!

Amanda knows it’ll take some trial and error to determine what really works for you and your audience. You have to be willing to test and review your metrics to see what performs the best.

Don’t forget that creating amazing copy all goes back to being authentic. I you aren’t true to yourself, your audience will see right through you.

Q3: Are there any creative tactics you can use to get social media followers over to your website?

You’ve got the followers, but how do you actually get them to click your links and visit your site? It’s not as easy as you might think, but we have some great tips! Check it out:

Corina said to make your audience crave more. You should leave them wanting to click your links and visit your website.

As Kristi knows, it’s important to give them a reason to take that next step by clicking your link. If they don’t see the value they’ll get from visiting your site, they won’t bother.

It’s also smart to provide a glimpse of the solution you are promising to them. That’ll intrigue them enough to make the jump over to your site.

You could even try sharing your blog content with a video or graphic that features some of the quotes or statistics that were within the post. This will help pique their interest.

Value, value, value! If people see the value you’re providing, they’ll take action. Maria suggests pulling quotes or stats from your content and also using eye-catching images to grab attention.

Zala knows that building community is one way to drive traffic to your website. People will often share your work and help do the promotion for you, which is a nice touch!

Bill’s advice is to start a conversation first, then provide them with an invitation to learn more if it suits the situation.

Q4: Since so many platforms are pay-to-play, is it worth using paid ads to promote your content? If so, when?

By now, you probably know that it can be worthwhile to invest in paid advertisements to promote your content. However, you don’t want to waste your money on any old ad. How do you choose the right time and the right content to promote? Take a look at these tips:

Corina shared the strategy they’ve implemented at Spin Sucks to see results with their social media efforts. She also said you need to have a clear understanding of your goals when using paid advertisements. It’ll help you connect it with the bigger picture when it comes to what your company is working on.

As Lexie said, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right audience with your ads. It won’t be effective otherwise.

Gene suggests using paid ads to get eyes on your best performing content.

If your content isn’t great though, no amount of money for a paid ad is going to deliver effective results.

Q5: Can video play a role in getting people from social media to your website? What’s the best way to go about it?

When promoting your content on social media, are you using video to help drive traffic? If not, you should give it a go! Here’s some great advice to get started:

Corina’s advice is to create engaging video content that shows off your personality. It’ll help your audience relate to you and connect with you. She even shared a few ideas for video content, which includes how-to videos, Q&A videos, and behind-the-scenes videos with your team.

Another way to gain traction is to share snippets of a new blog post in a live video. You can encourage conversation with the viewers and then direct them to your site afterwards to learn more.

How-to videos and interviews are just two ideas you can try out for your brand.

Andre suggests previewing your content and leaving your audience wanting more, just like a cliffhanger would.

Cheval knows that video is powerful because it shows everyone that you’re human. Not some robot! You can really connect with your audience through amazing video content. As he said, interviews are a fantastic way to do this.

Just don’t forget to end your video with a call to action!

Don’t think you need to have a professional set-up either. Using your smartphone will do just fine when creating video content!

It’s also smart to include captions on your video, which allows people to watch without sound and serves those who are hearing-impaired.

Q6: How do you ensure you’re not being too self-promotional on social media?

The worst thing you can do is be overly promotional on social media. It’ll turn people off! You have to determine the right balance so you aren’t selling all the time. Check out this advice:

Care about your audience and craft the content that is going to serve them in the best way. To do this, Corina follows the 70/30 method. She shares 30% of her own content and 70% is content from other sources.

Curation is key to creating balance on social media!

Iain’s advice is to share things you’ve learned, articles you’ve read, and to retweet others. Social media doesn’t have to be a barrage of your own blog posts.

Andrea follows the 80/20 rule for social media promotion.

Paul likes to share five posts from “sister” brands, three posts of his own content, and two pieces of content that build the brand’s voice.

Becca throws in a few general ramblings throughout the day, which can be a great way to get a conversation going with your audience. Not everything needs to be scheduled. You can still post in real-time as well.

For Cheval, it’s all about the 80/20 rule and sparking conversations.

No matter what ratio you follow, just remember to be social.

Q7: How will you know if your social media efforts are successful? Which metrics are important to track?

You’ll obviously want to track your results when it comes to promoting your content on social media. It’s the best way to ensure your efforts are effective at driving traffic, boosting conversions, and more. These are some key metrics you’ll want to keep your eye on:

Corina keeps an eye on engagement, traffic to the website, and a number of other metrics to ensure a piece of content was successful.

As Lexie knows, it all goes back to the goals you set for yourself. It’ll let you know which metrics are most important to keep an eye on.

For Rubain, increasing blog traffic is a must as is time spent on the blog.

Julia pays attention to analytics on the website to see where traffic is coming from, how many visitors from social media start a live chat, and the number of leads it results in.

Clicks to your site is where it’s at!

Ashley is all about traffic as well, as it’s an indicator people are checking out your content.

Conversations are important as well, since they can help you build a strong relationship with your audience.

How much business is coming in through social media? That’s another important metric to keep an eye on.

As Kelly pointed out, it really depends on the company. Everyone will have different goals and those goals can even shift with each campaign. It’s all about focusing on what’s right for you.

Q8: Which brands are doing social media promotion right? Why do they stand out above the rest?

To help you get some inspiration for your social media presence, check out these brands that are doing a great job:

Corina said Merriam Webster has been doing a great chat.

Grenae very kindly gave Express Writers a shoutout!

Julia’s favorites include Content Marketing Institute, Buffer, and Hootsuite.

Everyone knows Wendy’s does social media right!

For Kathryn, it’s all about the brands who are giving swift replies to their customers.

Thinking about joining us for the next #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to attend the party every Tuesday at 10 AM Central!

#ContentWritingChat, Twitter in 2018

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Market Your Business Using Twitter in 2018 with Madalyn Sklar

Don’t let anyone convince you that Twitter is a dying platform.

It’s still an amazing place to build your brand online and to connect with your audience.

And if anyone knows that, it’s our guest for this week’s #ContentWritingChat! She joined us to talk all about how we can market our businesses on Twitter in the year ahead.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Market Your Business Using Twitter in 2018 with Madalyn Sklar

Our guest host this week was Madalyn Sklar. She’s joined us for #ContentWritingChat on a number of occasions, so we’re always happy to have her on as a guest host.

For those who don’t know, Madalyn runs the #TwitterSmarter podcast and Twitter chat, so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about using the platform. And lucky for us, she shared all her secrets during Tuesday’s chat! Let’s dive in!

Q1: How crucial is Twitter when it comes to your social media strategy for 2018?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share how important Twitter is when it comes to their social media strategy. This was a great way to see just how many people rely on Twitter when it comes to their jobs or the businesses they run. Here’s what some of them had to say:

As Madalyn said, your social media strategy should consist of the platforms that work best for your business and customers. She recommends Twitter, Facebook, and either Instagram or LinkedIn.

For Gene, Twitter is essential to his social media strategy. He relies on it to connect with people and learn new things.

With the changes coming to Facebook’s algorithm, it looks like the CoSchedule team is going to make Twitter even more of a priority. They already notice it’s where most of their engagement comes from.

As Julia pointed out, Twitter is out #1 here at Express Writers. The other social media platforms are secondary to it. It’s all about what works for you and where you’re getting the most traction.

Jason said he’s met so many people through Twitter chats and from just engaging in conversations. That’s one of the things that makes the platform so special.

If your audience is using Twitter, you definitely don’t want to ignore it. Lexie knows that would be a big mistake to make!

Twitter is a great place to start conversations, plus it’s one that many people turn to for breaking news.

Danielle said the brand she works for doesn’t see the full potential of Twitter just yet, but she’s working to change that. She knows what’s up!

Eddie offered some great advice for brands wanting to get more serious about Twitter. He said to realize it provides real-time conversation with your audience and is a great opportunity to field customer service requests.

Varun also agrees that Twitter is great for customer service. It’s so easy to respond to questions or issues there.

Q2: Will you be using Twitter differently this year? Any new strategies to implement or things to drop?

Because platforms are often changing, we wanted to find out how people planned to use Twitter in the year ahead. Would they be doing things the same as they’ve always been? Or will they be making a few tweaks for better results? Check out these responses:

Madalyn plans to use Twitter Moments more often in 2018. She also wants to do more video replies. These are two things we can all try out!

Being strategic about how you use Twitter is sure to help you get better results.

Amanda wants to be more consistent with her Twitter presence. That’s something many users can stand to work on in terms of sharing content and engaging.

Brent plans to be more structured with the time he spends on Twitter. He’ll be using Twitter Lists, blocking time for schedule, and still checking in for spontaneous posts.

Megan wants to work on developing more connections on Twitter this year.

More, more, more! Gene wants to participate in more Twitter chats, make more connections, and share more videos.

The CoSchedule team wants to make curation a bigger part of their strategy this year.

Joining Twitter chats and actively engaging with your audience are two keys to a winning formula.

Since Erica didn’t use Twitter that much last year, she’s ready to step it up. Making connections is one of her priorities.

For Cheval, he plans to use Twitter in the same way he always has. He’ll continue joining chats and engaging with people.

Jason seems to have his Twitter formula down because he won’t be changing much either!

Q3: What are the key factors to creating content that stands out in a busy Twitter feed?

If you’re going to use Twitter, you want to make sure your content gets seen, right? Since your feed can often move so quickly, grabbing attention is no easy task. These tips will ensure your posts stand out from the crowd:

Madalyn’s advice is to be consistent. You want to make sure you’re sharing content often and taking the time to engage.

If you’re guilty of tweeting just an article title and the link, it’s time to make a change. Get creative with your copy!

Carole suggests being useful or inspirational. She also said you need to add relevant hashtags and also let your personality shine through. People will resonate with that.

You can’t go wrong with a great video or a fun GIF!

Danielle knows that an eye-catching visual is the key to getting someone to stop scrolling.

The reality is, text posts tend to go unnoticed on Twitter. Rachel pointed out that you need to have a great video or photo to go along with it.

You can also try using polls to increase engagement, which is what AJ does.

Ken knows that a little humor can go a long way when done right.

And of course, you can’t forget to share content that’s beneficial to your audience. Lexie’s advice is to answer their questions and to be helpful.

For Kelly, it’s all about the conversations and less about the posts themselves. Take time to engage and build those relationships.

Q4: When it comes to marketing your business on Twitter, what are some creative ways to capture your audience’s attention?

If you really want to grab attention, you need to be creative! To help you shine on Twitter this year, keep these tips in mind for amazing tweets:

Madalyn knows a great GIF will grab attention and maybe even put a smile on your audience’s face.

Even Felicity loves a good GIF!

Lexie said visuals are big when it comes to social media. However, she pointed out that you need to make sure the ones you use resonate with your audience.

Instead of stock images, get creative! You don’t want to wind up using the same photos everyone else is using.

Infographics and polls are great things to share to get attention.

CoSchedule creates some great infographics, so it’s no surprise they know how well they perform on social!

As Mariana said, you need to be authentic and engaging. That’s key to building lasting relationships.

Giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look into your business is a great way to add a more human element to your content.

Even a video of your CEOs playing with puppies on the beach could work!

Jim suggests taking advantage of user-generated content as well.

In the end, it all goes back to understanding what your audience wants and what resonates with them the most.

Julia shared the things that have worked for us here at EW. Balance self-promotion with curated content, create custom offers to reward your followers, and use branded colors and images on your profile.

Q5: How can you locate and connect with potential clients and customers on Twitter?

Brands want to see results on Twitter, right? In order for them to see the true value in the platform, they’ll want to see that it’s bringing in clients and customers. But how do you make that happen? These tips are sure to help:

Madalyn relies on Twitter’s Advanced Search feature, as well as Manage Flitter to find people to connect with.

Julia’s advice is to focus on you and the leads will come. By sharing quality content, people will start to see the value you can provide.

Don’t forget to add in relevant hashtags to ensure your content gets seen by the right people!

You can also participate in Twitter chats to find people who could ultimately become clients or customers.

Andrea agrees that Twitter chats work like a charm. There are so many chats out there, so you’re sure to find one that’s right for your business.

Answer questions, interact with people, share helpful content, etc. These are all great suggestions of things to implement.

Social listening and keyword monitoring really does help you find your audience. You’ll be able to find out what they’re talking about and what they need the most help with.

Jim agrees that listening to your audience can really help you out.

The CoSchedule team relies on Mention and Brandwatch for social listening. You can also research who is talking about or following your competitors.

Advanced Search on Twitter is a fantastic tool to use for research.

Doris offered up a great piece of advice. She suggested to search misspellings of your products or even your brand name to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Rachel knows it’s smart to check out your competitors as well. She said to see who is following them, which gives you a chance to make a connection and possibly win someone over.

Don’t forget to also use Twitter Lists to find new possible clients. You can then start engaging with them to build a relationship.

As Jade said, you can’t tweet once or twice a day and expect people to engage with you. It’s going to take time to build a loyal, trusting relationship. Keep that in mind.

Q6: How can you measure the results of your Twitter efforts in 2018?

To make sure you’re actually making progress with your Twitter presence, you’ll want to keep an eye on some key metrics. Here’s what you need to know if you want to make sure you’re succeeding on the platform:

Madalyn suggests checking Twitter analytics to get all the scoop on your account.

The team at Content Marketing Institute relies on Sprout Social for all their analytics.

Your success on Twitter ultimately depends on the goals you set. The metrics that you pay the most attention to will depend on those goals.

Eddie agrees that it all goes back to your goals.

Don’t forget to check-in on your progress regularly and tweak your strategy accordingly.

Are you seeing conversions on Twitter? That’s one thing to watch!

Growth and engagement are the two things Warwick focuses on. He likes to see visits to his profile, video views, and referral traffic back to his blog.

Gene is focusing more on engagement with the help of more organic tweeting. It’s safe to say that’s something many of us should strive for.

Q7: What are your go-to tools and resources for mastering Twitter?

To help you truly shine on Twitter, these are some tools and resources that are worth checking out:

Madalyn has a plethora of tools she relies on, from Buffer to Manage Flitter and so many more.

It only makes sense the CoSchedule team would use their own tool, right?

Buffer and Canva are Felicity’s go-to tools.

Sprout Social is a must for Haley.

Lexie relies on Sprout Social for scheduling and monitoring. To learn about all the latest, she reads Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, and Kim Garst.

From Buffer to PostPlanner, Warwick’s favorite tools are worth checking out!

TweetDeck is definitely a must, especially if you join a lot of Twitter chats.

Jim knows the value in Twitter Lists. If you aren’t using them, you really should start! They’re a great way to cut through the noise on your busy feed. You’ll be able to see the updates that are most important to you.

Cheval reads content from Madalyn, Julia, and Search Engine Journal to stay updated on social media.

Q8: Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? Tag them!

Who is really making a splash on Twitter? These are some accounts you should follow:

Madalyn has a long list of people she loves to follow on Twitter. You might want to check them all out!

For Doris, her favorites include Madalyn, Neil Patel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Social Media Today, and SEMrush. She’s also a big fan of Express Writers and who could blame her? 😉

Gene knows that Twitter chats are where it’s at. Some of his favorite people either run chats or participate in them often.

Julia loves to follow Madalyn, Gabby, and Chris for great content.

Ken’s list includes a few amazing names, including our own Julia McCoy!

And of course, we can’t forget Buffer, Contently, HubSpot, and Copyblogger!

Want to join the fun for yourself? Hang out with us on Twitter every Tuesday from 10-11 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest!
content strategy certification cta

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build Your Content Writing Skills

No matter how long you’ve been writing, it never hurts to strengthen your skills!

There’s always room for improvement and practicing your craft is so important if you want to be successful at it. That’s why we decided to use these week’s #ContentWritingChat as a way to help you build your content writing skills.

If you’re ready to take that next step to becoming a better writer, this is the chat recap for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build Your Content Writing Skills

We had another community chat this week, which is our chance to turn the focus on our audience. What’s even better is that this chat topic was previously suggested by a member of our community! We love to get your feedback for our future #ContentWritingChat schedule, so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with us!

Q1: How crucial is content writing to the role you play in your job or business? What do you do?

To kick off the chat, we wanted to know just how many people in our community have to write as part of their jobs. While many are working for companies, some are successfully running their own businesses. Here’s what a few of our friends are up to:

Content writing skills are a huge part of Lexie’s job because she creates social media content, writes and edits blog posts, and so much more.

From writing at work and blogging on the side, Narmadhaa does a lot of writing every day.

As a blogger and freelance writer, Amanda is always writing something new.

Since Kathryn is a full-time writer, creating content is pretty important!

Devin is a film and creative writing student, so he does a lot of writing as well.

It’s important to take your content seriously, as it’s a powerful way to communicate with your audience.

Jason also know just how crucial it is to effective communicate, whether it’s with your team or your audience.

Q2: Why is it important to work at strengthening your writing skills?

No matter how good you think you are at something, there’s always room for improvement, right? Here’s why you should dedicate time to becoming a better writer:

Anyone can create content, but if you want your work to truly shine, you have stay dedicated to strengthening your skills.

If you want your writing to stand out from the crowd, make time to practice regularly. You’ll continue to get better and better.

Ankitaa also knows that stellar writing skills are important.

Because things change often, you should never stop learning and practicing. You need to be able to adapt to changes in order to succeed.

Even the way we tell stories can change, which greatly impacts how we write.

The more you write, the better you get!

As Jeff said, there’s no such thing as a writing expert. There’s always room to grow and to make improvements.

Any skills that are important in your work or your business are skills that should be practiced frequently.

Danielle agrees, as she said self-improvement is necessary for any role you have.

Q3: What strategies do you use to practice writing on a regular basis?

Now that you know how important it is to practice your craft, how can you practice writing? These suggestions will help you get started:

The more you write, the better you’ll become over time. Carlos recommends blogging your thoughts, engaging in discussions with others on Twitter, and teaching people through your writing.

Challenges, writing critique groups, and freelance gigs can all help you practice your writing.

Monique suggests journaling and reading every single day. She even does grammar activity books!

Andrea sets a minimum amount of writing to be done every day, which is a great goal to set for yourself.

Cheval strives to write 500 words every day on a notepad. You can try doing the same to get into the habit of writing daily.

Rachel writes every day as well, plus she’s looking to take a creative writing class.

Starting a blog is a fantastic way to practice writing!

Besides blog posts, you can also journal. Sometimes it helps to just let the words flow without worrying about people reading it.

Jeff has been working on a novel, while also practicing poetry and haiku. Very impressive!

No matter what, you need to show up every single day for your writing.

Don’t forget to make time for reading. Reading books or blog posts can be an amazing opportunity to learn.

Q4: How do you ensure your readers actually enjoy and read all the way through your content?

If you’re writing a piece that’s going to be published, you obviously want people to read it. But what’s the secret to getting people to read your work in its entirety and actually enjoy it? Here’s what you need to know to ensure your work is a hit:

Get to know your audience so you can deliver the content they truly want. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they’d like to see from you.

Figure out what your readers like and what their problems are. You can then tailor your content to their needs.

Carla suggests surveying your audience to learn more about them and their content preferences.

Your blog post needs to be easy to read. Gene recommends formatting your content with headers, images, italics, and bold text.

Short paragraphs, visuals, and videos help as well!

Keep an eye on your metrics after a piece of content is published. This will give you an idea of what’s working and what’s not, which allows you to tweak accordingly.

Q5: What are the qualities of a successful piece of content?

So, what exactly makes a particular piece of content amazing? These are the secrets you need to know before you write your next piece:

Successful content is targeted to the needs of your reader, makes a connections, and is helpful.

Eddie believes in the three E’s when it comes to creating content. You want your work to be engaging, educational, and entertaining.

Make sure the topic you choose is of interest to your audience, otherwise they won’t bother checking it out. Lexie also recommends making sure your post is grammatically correct and that you’ve also used SEO tactics.

Cheval said successful content should be in-depth and educational to solve the pain points of your audience.

Value is always key!

Make sure your content is also easy to read and understand. Rachel knows successful content also sparks a reaction and gets people to take action.

A great headline will grab their attention, but an amazing introduction will hook them and keep them reading.

As Jeff said, your content should also deliver on its goal. It’s all about helping you get to that end result.

Q6: Are there any tools that have taught you to become a better writer?

There are plenty of tools out there that can help us strengthen our writing skills, but which ones are worth checking out? These are the recommendations from our chat:

Grammarly is definitely a favorite among writers.

The team at SumAll also relies on Grammarly.

Danielle’s go-to is the Hemingway App.

Becca relies on Grammarly and the Hemingway App, but she uses Evernote to do her actual writing.

Grammar Girl is a great resource to check out!

For great titles, make sure you try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

Rachel likes to read blogs like HubSpot and our very own Write Blog.

You can even learn a lot about writing just from being on social media platforms like Twitter.

Don’t forget that you can also take courses, read books, and interact with other writers.

Reading is a great way to learn more about writing, which can really help you better your skills.

Whether it’s a book, a blog post, or something else, make time for reading daily.

Q7: Do you have a favorite piece of content you’ve produced? Share it with us!

We asked everyone to share some of their work with us and here are just a few of them:

Corina shared a piece she wrote for Nasdaq.

Cheval wrote a piece about his competition in the social media industry.

This is a great post to check out about live streaming!

Gene’s post is all about what it takes to be a great leader.

Q8: What are your go-to resources for learning how to become a better writer?

Need some more advice to help you strengthen your writing skills? Check out these resources:

Check out some local writing conferences to make connections with other writers in your area.

Cheval reads content from Rebekah Radice and our own Julia McCoy.

Copyblogger is another great resource!

Checking out Twitter chats like our own #ContentWritingChat should be on your to-do list!

You can also get tremendous help from another person by having them proofread and edit your content.

Would you like to join #ContentWritingChat? It takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central and we’d love to have you with us! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to join in!

social media in 2018

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Strategies for Growth & Engagement on Social Media in 2018 with Lisa Marcyes

It’s safe to say many brands have a goal to grow their social media presence this year.

However, that’s often easier said than done when it comes to the tricky algorithms platforms like Facebook and Instagram have in place!

Luckily, we’re here to serve up some helpful tips so you can see more growth and engagement in 2018! And it’s all thanks to this week’s #ContentWritingChat.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Strategies for Growth & Engagement on Social Media in 2018 with Lisa Marcyes

Our guest host this week was Lisa Marcyes. Lisa is the head of Social Media Marketing at Marketo and she shared some of her best advice with us! If you want to find out what she and our other chat participants had to say, keep reading for the recap!

Q1: How do you anticipate social media to be different in 2018? Are there any trends to watch out for?

It’s no secret that social media is always changing! Because of that, it can be hard to keep up if we aren’t staying updated on all the latest trends. To ensure you’re a social media sensation this year, here are a few things you’ll want to keep an eye on:

Lisa said live streaming will become even more important in 2018. It’s a great way to engage with your audience and build relationships with them.

She also said chatbots are going to increase in popularity this year. Many brands are already using them, especially on Facebook.

Lexie know that’s video marketing has been hot for quite some time now and it’s not going anywhere. She thinks we’re going to see even more high-quality video and better live streams this year.

Rebecca also thinks we’ll see an increase in high-quality, authentic video from online creators. She’d also like to see more captioned videos, which adds accessibility for those who are hearing impaired or watching without sound.

Besides an increase in live video, we may be seeing more virtual and augmented reality through social media in 2018.

Since people are already watching TV online, there’s a good chance they’ll start tuning into Cheddar’s platform.

Bill would like to see businesses get more serious about creating audience-centric content. After all, it’s important to use social media as a tool for building relationships.

Brands are starting to see the value of injecting personality into their content, so it’s something we may see more of in the year ahead.

Ray thinks more business owners are going to see the value in Stories from platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. They’re helpful in building relationships with your audience.

Q2: If you want to see audience growth on social media, what are the best tactics to use?

While quality is certainly more important than quantity when it comes to followers, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to grow your audience! However, algorithms have certainly made that more difficult. To boost your following, keep these tips in mind:

One of Lisa’s tips is to include images with your social media content. She said visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than any other kind of content, which is pretty impressive.

Julia knows that building a community is essential for growth on social media.

Lexie’s advice is to talk WITH your audience, not at them. Show that you’re listening and that you value what they have to say.

Three growth strategies you can easily start implementing today? Consistently post valuable content, engage with your audience, and review metrics to see what’s working and what’s not.

Engaging with your audience is essential to boosting your following. You can follow people in your industry to share their posts and start conversations.

No matter what, Jason knows it all goes back to creating quality content that provides value to your audience. Without that, no one will want to follow you.

Gene’s advice is to be real, consistent, helpful, and polite. He also said to be a networking and connector, which is what social media is for after all!

Andrea’s recipe for success is to be consistent with posting, focus on networking, and using great visuals.

Make sure you’re creating engaging content your audience would actually be interested in. Once you have that, vary your posting times. See what works best for you so you can share content at the times your audience is most likely to engage.

And of course, it all goes back to knowing your audience. Sarah said you need to know where they are and what kind of content they’d like to see. That allows you to cater your content to them so you can see the best results online.

Carole suggests learning what works best for each platform and for your audience. Then, you’re able to deliver exactly what they want.

Q3: Are there any creative ways we can promote our content and stand out in a busy feed?

With so many people using social media, it’s easy for your content to get lost in the sea. And no one wants that, right? To make sure your posts stand out, put these tips to use:

One way to stand out in a busy social media feed is to collaborate with influencers. Lisa said you can conduct an interview and publish it on your blog. Then, you can create quotes from the interview to share online. Everyone loves a great quotable!

She also suggests researching and developing a consistent posting frequency so you can share content with your audience is most active.

Jason knows it’s all about a captivating visual. You can easily grab attention with something eye-catching that gets them to stop scrolling.

You can also use GIFs to attract attention on social media.

Scott knows that creative branding and consistency is a must.

Becca’s advice is to make sure your content is unique. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing, otherwise you’ll blend in with the crowd.

Cheval feels live streaming is a great way to stand out. It’s something that not everyone is doing, so you stand a chance of reaching the right audience and providing value.

Jade’s advice with video content is to be yourself. That’s going to resonate with your audience the most.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. What’s important is that you determine what works best for you and your audience. That’s going to be different from what works for other brands out there.

Q4: How can we hack the algorithms this year to ensure our content gets the most mileage?

Want to know how you can make those frustrating algorithms work for you? These tips will help the right people see the content you share online:

Lisa suggests asking questions and conducting polls to encourage a response from your audience. Many of the algorithms favor engagement and they want to see that you’re active and so is your audience. These are simple ways that will get people to take action.

She also said it’s important to share content that’s relevant to your audience. By doing this, they’ll be more likely to click-through to your website.

Lexie knows those algorithms can change frequently! Her advice is to focus on producing high-quality content that your audience will connect with.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your analytics. This will be an indicator of what’s working with your social media efforts and what’s not. You can make tweaks to your strategy accordingly.

Create content your audience won’t be able to resist interacting with and you’re likely to see great results online.

Julia suggests repurposing your content so you can get the most out of one piece of published work.

You can also try trend jacking or news jacking or a platform like Twitter. It’s a great way to join an ongoing conversation, but make sure you educate yourself on the topic before tweeting about it.

Focus on producing great content and you’re sure to win.

Rebecca’s advice is to put more effort into your content and building a relationship with your audience.

Q5: What will you be adding to or eliminating from your social media strategy this year?

When it comes to social media, is there something that just isn’t working for you anymore? Are there platforms or strategies you’d like to implement in 2018? Here’s what a few of our chat participants had to say:

Lisa said she’s going to add more user-generated content to her strategy in the year ahead.

Quit sitting back and waiting for conversations happen. You can put yourself out there and start them or look for others who are already engaging so you can join in.

Scheduling content is a major help since you don’t have to be on social media 24/7 to see results.

Cristy said video and polls did really well last year, so she’s looking forward to implementing them more in 2018.

Aisha said her goal is to produce more content with the aim of starting conversations. She also wants to use more user-generated content.

Monique will be focused more on making connections and maybe even doing live video.

Video and influencer engagement are two strategies that are sure to pay off.

Repurposing is a great way to get maximum mileage from your content.

Ray’s plan is to focus on the team’s core content outlets, which include a blog, podcast, and Instagram. It’s much better to focus on what’s truly working for you and eliminating the things that aren’t.

Speaking of eliminating things, Julia completely cut Snapchat out of her social media strategy for this year.

Pinterest and Instagram are out for Warwick, but he’ll be focusing on LinkedIn and YouTube.

Q6: Where do brands typically go wrong on social media? How can we avoid making those mistakes?

Brands sometimes make mistakes on social media. To ensure we don’t end up in the same position, we should let those mishaps serve as a cautionary tale of what not to do! Here are a few examples to avoid:

Ignoring feedback from your audience is one big mistake. Lisa encourages everyone to listen to their audience, which social media allows us to do easily. She also said you shouldn’t write off any complaints you receive. Use those as a learning opportunity to make changes.

Don’t be that brand that doesn’t engage at all on social media. Spend time responding to messages and starting conversations.

Engage in conversations with your audience instead of talking AT them.

Don’t jump on every new trend without a strategy.

Sarah’s advice is to figure out what your audience really wants and where they’re spending their time online. Once you do that, make sure you’re paying attention to them and reviewing metrics to see what resonates best.

Just tweeting is not a strategy! Zala knows a strategy is a must for social media success. Post consistently and monitor mentions and conversations people are having around your brand.

Not listening to your audience is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

No one likes a boring brand! Make sure you’re injecting personality into your content to attract your target market.

Cheval knows that too much self-promotion can be a turn off. It’s fine to share the content your brand produces, but mix that up with curated pieces from other sources.

Don’t be afraid to share content from other brands. You shouldn’t think of it as a competitive thing, but rather an opportunity to provide value to your audience.

It’s safe to say Gaby wrapped it all up with this fantastic answer!

Q7: Are there any must-have tools you rely on to efficiently manage your social media presence?

With all the tools out there to schedule content and connect with your audience, how do you know which one is right for you? Well, you have to try them out! Here are a few suggestions from this week’s chat:

Hootsuite and Simply Measured are just a couple of Lisa’s go-to tools.

Here at Express Writers, we love MeetEdgar because of their library feature that repurposes content.

TweetDeck and Hootsuite are two great tools to check out.

Monique has only used Buffer so far, but she’s open to checking out more. It’s the best way to find the tool that truly works for you.

Iain is also spreading the Buffer love! It’s a fan-favorite since it’s so easy to use, but also affordable.

Buffer, Social Jukebox, and Manage Flitter are Gene’s must-haves.

Lexie is a big fan of Sprout Social.

Sarah said to use analytics as well. It’s the best way to see what content resonates with your audience and how things are performing.

You can find analytics on the platforms themselves (like Twitter and Facebook) or through your social media scheduler.

Q8: Where can we learn more about social media in 2018? Are there any resources we should bookmark?

To ensure we’re all social media sensations in the year ahead, it’s important to stay updated on all the latest trends, changes, and news! These are great resources to save for learning more about social media:

It’s no surprise that Lisa is a fan of Markto’s blog because they always share great content! She also enjoys reading Social Media Today, Marketing Land, Hootsuite, Social Media Examiner, and others.

Social Media Examiner, Mari Smith, and Brian Fanzo are some of Julia’s favorites.

Buffer’s blog always has great posts, as does HubSpot’s.

Jeff Bullas is another great resource for social media tips and tricks.

And of course, you can always learn about social media by being active on social media. Sarah suggests joining Twitter chats as just one way to increase your knowledge.

Our own #ContentWritingChat is a great Twitter chat for learning about social media and other topics. You can also join #SproutChat and #HootChat. Besides those, Andrea reads Social Media Today, Lilach Bullock, and a few others.

For more Twitter chat fun, you can check out #bufferchat, and #RaganChat as well.

And remember, never stop learning! There’s so much information available at our fingertips thanks to the internet. Take advantage of that by consuming blog posts, listening to podcasts, and more.

Want to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss the fun!

content goals

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Let’s Talk New Year Content Goals! 2018 Inspiration

To kick off 2018, it seemed only fitting to discuss goal setting for the year ahead during this week’s #ContentWritingChat.

After all, this is the time of year when many of us are setting goals or resolutions. We’re thinking about what we want to achieve in the year ahead and how we’re going to make it happen.

Well, if you need a little inspiration, our first community chat of 2018 is here to help!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Let’s Talk New Year Content Goals! 2018 Inspiration

Of course, we had to put a #ContentWritingChat spin on our goal setting though! We decided to focus this week’s chat on content goals for the year and everyone had some great ideas and tips to share. It just might serve as much-needed inspiration for your 2018!

Q1: Do you set content goals for yourself at the New Year? Why or why not?

Although we may see the importance of setting goals for the content you create, not everyone is convinced! We asked our chat participants if they set goals and here’s what some of them had to say about it:

Kristen feels the start of a new year is the perfect time to reset. She strives to create new content goals every quarter, which surely helps keep her on track.

Maria said she made content goals for herself this year. She said it allows her to reverse engineer the goal, which helps her to actually achieve what she wants.

Goals are important so you know what you’re working toward and how you’re going to get there.

While goals help guide you, it’s also important to be flexible. You never know if you’ll need to change your path in the middle of the year.

Iain said setting goals should be an ongoing process. You want to make sure you’re check in on your progress over time.

And don’t forget that every day can be your fresh start. You don’t have to wait for January 1st to begin something amazing.

Warwick is being more strategic with content this year as well. Monthly themes can definitely help with that!

For Sarah and the ThinkSEM team, their goals are more focused on the business calendar, as opposed to the start of a new year.

Megan normally sets detailed content goals, but this year she’s scaling back. Sometimes it helps to experiment and see what really works for you.

Q2: What kind of goals do you set? Is there anything you’re hoping to achieve this year?

Now that you’re ready to set some content goals, you might be wondering what you should set out to achieve in 2018. Here’s what a few of our chat participants said they’ll be working on:

The Source Media team is setting goals related to increasing their engagement and following.

No more blah content this year! Kristen is making it her priority to focus on high-quality content, which is something we should all be doing.

Batching your content is another great goal to set because it can help you accomplish more in a short period of time.

Maria isn’t scaling back on content this year. In fact, she’s set a goal to produce more!

Jason wants to recruit micro-influencers to help with his content creation.

Danielle has set a goal to stick to a more consistent posting schedule, which will help boost her company’s blog.

Don’t forget that both short-term and long-term goals are important!

Another important element to achieving success is setting a goal that’s measurable. Give yourself a deadline or a metric to track.

Q3: Share your best strategies for staying on track with your goals throughout the year.

To help you stay on track with those goals once you’ve set them, check out this helpful advice:

To stay on top of your goals, try writing them down and keeping them in a place where they’re visible. This way, you’ll never forget about them because you’ll have a constant reminder.

Sarah also agrees with writing your goals down. However, she also said to know and write down why you want to achieve these goals. That’ll help keep you motivated and focused as you work toward the bigger picture.

Schedule time to work on your goals and stick with it!

Break those bigger goals into smaller, more manageable goals to stay on track.

Craig said he has an annual goal, which he breaks down into quarterly goals. He even sets a calendar appointment to evaluate his progress.

Danielle knows adaptability is important when it comes to your goals!

Jade suggests sharing your goals with a mentor. This gives you someone to hold you accountable.

Julia also sees the benefits of an accountability partner. It’s a great way to stay on track.

Check in on your goals often to make sure you’re actually making progress. If you are, fantastic! If not, you need to make some changes.

Time management is a struggle for many of us, so Jim isn’t alone in this one!

And don’t forget that you need to set realistic goals. If you don’t believe you can achieve your goals, how can you expect to make them happen?

Q4: What do you do if you slip-up on one of your goals?

Let’s face it, we all mess up on our goals from time to time. We slack off, lose our focus and motivation, or whatever else gets in our way. How do you deal with it? Check out this advice:

It’s okay to mess up on a goal. We’ve all been there. You just need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

Don’t beat yourself up over any slip-ups or failures.

Take a look at what went wrong so you can avoid it the next time around.

Jenn’s advice is to set reasonable expectations and to be flexible.

As Jim said, the pursuit of perfection is frustrating and silly. What’s important is that you strive to do better next time.

Don’t halt everything because of one mistake. Keep moving forward.

And guess what? You almost always have a second chance! That’s why Jeremy said to fix it or move on.

Determine if your goal is actually attainable in the first place. It’s also smart to make sure you’re giving your goals the proper time and attention.

What can you learn from the slip-up? Find the lesson in your mistakes and avoid doing the same next time around.

Q5: How do you combat a productivity or motivational slump to keep the creative juices flowing?

We’ve all been there… That moment when you’ve hit a wall with your productivity. Your motivation is at an all time low, but you have so much to get done! What ever will you do? Here are some great tips:

Extra coffee never hurts!

Cheval liens to watch inspiring videos on YouTube.

You can also listen to music, and even draw ideas from your competitors or social media.

Sometimes you just need to take a break and step away from the computer.

Jade says hitting the gym can be a huge help for a productivity slump.

Going for a run is Kristen’s go-to!

Craig knows those great ideas can strike any time, whether it’s during yoga or in the shower.

Sarah suggests talking to other writers. It’s a great way to discuss ideas and learn from them.

Try switching up your scenery! If you normally write at home, try going to the coffee shop.

You can also try reading content from other sources to get those creative juices flowing again.

Q6: What will you need to make your goals a reality this year? Any skills to learn or help to obtain?

Sometimes we need to seek help or learn a new skill in order to achieve our goals. And that’s totally okay! You just need to know where to begin. Here’s what some of our chat participants will be working on:

Sarah said she’ll be focused on setting more realistic time goals. We need to give ourselves ample time to complete a task so we aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

Jim said he’ll be working on discipline in the year ahead.

Time management is definitely important when it comes to content creation.

Zachary is focused on better time management, self-discipline, and his long-term vision.

Grit will help you reach your goals!

Jenn said she wants to learn more about social media and email marketing this year.

Carla is focused on learning more about working with brands and increasing traffic to her website.

Self-promotion and public speaking skills are Mariana’s top two.

Cheval knows a positive mindset makes all the difference!

Q7: Are there any hot topics or content formats you’ll try out in 2018?

With the year ahead of us, it’s the perfect time to try something new. Which topics and formats are the hot trends right now? Check out these ideas:

Video is definitely one format to implement in 2018 to receive bigger results.

Sarah knows video is hot as well! If your brand isn’t already using it, it’s a good time to jump on board.

Andrea is going to do more on video, but may even explore podcasting.

Julia is planning to do more live streaming in 2018.

Sharing some personal topics can help people build a stronger connection with your brand. It could be something for you to consider as well.

Q8: Where do you hope to see yourself this time next year in your career or business?

To wrap up the chat, we asked everyone to share where they’d like to be this time next year. Here are a few responses we received:

Sarah is clearly happy with where she’s at because she doesn’t want to see much change before next year!

Andrea’s goal is to build a more recognizable personal brand.

Warwick hopes to have a clearer vision on what he’s doing and why by this time in 2019.

Julia has a lot planned for the year! She’s publishing another book, plans to teach additional more students, and more.

Want to join in the fun this year? #ContentWritingChat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to check it out.

best of 2017, #ContentWritingChat

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best of 2017 with Gini Dietrich & Madalyn Sklar

This week was the last #ContentWritingChat of 2017. *cue the tears*

We’ve had a tremendous year growing this community and connecting with so many amazing content creators from around the globe.

Throughout 2017, we’ve had amazing guests and topics week after week. And it’s only going to get better from here! However, before we move forward into 2018, we wanted to use this week’s chat to reflect on the past year.

So, let’s dive into the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best of 2017 with Gini Dietrich & Madalyn Sklar

To wrap up the year, we wanted to make sure we brought on some powerhouse guests. Two ladies that came to mind were Gini Dietrich and Madalyn Sklar. Both of them have hosted #ContentWritingChat in the past and provided great value to the community. It only made sense to have them join us again!

Q1: Which content marketing and social media trends really stood out in 2017? What was worth the effort for brands to implement?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share the top trends they believed were worth the effort in 2017. Was it live video, podcasting, or something else? Here are a few responses we received:

Gini knows that video marketing and Facebook Live broadcasts really stood out in the past year. There’s no denying that this will continue to grow in popularity during 2018.

She also said there’s been a greater shift toward paid media. With the algorithms social media platforms have put in place, it’s almost become a requirement if you want your content to be seen.

Video, podcasting, and live streaming are the three trends that caught Madalyn’s attention this year.

Video was certainly one hot topic this year! As Andrea said, more brands started creating YouTube channels and sharing video content with their audience.

Besides YouTube channels, live streaming has been pretty popular. Brands started using tools like Facebook Live and Instagram Live.

But why was live streaming such a big deal? It’s a great way for brands to connect with their audience. If you haven’t tried it out, it’s worth it!

Brands were even using videos in their paid content on social media. And let’s face it, this isn’t going away anytime soon.

Doris said she’s noticed a shift in how brands communicate with their audience. Many have taken a more conversation appreciate instead of being stiff.

Q2: Were there any trends or platforms that kind of died off for you in the past year?

Was there anything you stopped doing in 2017? Were there any platforms you said goodbye to? Check out what a few of our chat participants ditched this year:

Madalyn said she stopped using Snapchat in 2017 and she isn’t alone.

Gini also dropped Snapchat this year.

Even Mike said that Snapchat dwindled for him as well. Although the platform is still active, many people have ditched it in favor of others. The “Stories” concept that Snapchat created has simply become more popular on Instagram.

Cristy said her team was pushing Snapchat and Geofilters at the beginning of the year, but realized it wasn’t worth it. As she pointed out, Instagram made major improvements which really stood out and drew more people in.

Organic posts on Facebook have taken a backseat due to their algorithm. Many brands have turned to live streaming on the platform as a way to expand their reach.

Facebook has become a difficult platform for many brands as of late. Many of its users are resorting to ads to get traction on their content.

Bill said he’s been able to show his clients that simply posting on platforms like Facebook isn’t a valuable strategy. You need to be focused on your audience to truly see results.

Producing generic content that is cross-posted to all social media platforms just won’t cut it. As Carla said, you need to create your content for a specific platform.

Andrea has scaled down efforts on LinkedIn.

Sarah also feels like LinkedIn just isn’t worth the hassle for her anymore.

Periscope was one of the platforms that really got people excited about live streaming. However, Facebook Live and Instagram Live have really taken over in the past year.

While influencer marketing is still a powerful tactic, Maria recognizes that many brands are focusing on micro-influencers instead of big celebrities.

Q3: What were your favorite publications to read and learn from this year?

Get your Feedly account ready! We asked everyone to share their favorite publications from the past year. So if you’re looking for some new resources to learn from, these are great suggestions to check out:

Madalyn’s list of favorites include Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, TechCrunch, Buffer, and more.

For Gini, she loves to read content from Andy Crestodina, Moz, and many other sources.

You can find Julia reading posts from Content Marketing Institute, Smart Blogger, CoSchedule, and NewsCred. She’s also turned to a few live shows to expand her knowledge as well.

Lexie’s go-to publications include Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, Social Media Today, Moz, and our team here at Express Writers!

Entrepreneur was one of Cheval’s must-read sites in the past year.

Neil Patel, Search Engine Land, and Moz were just a few of Sarah’s favorites!

Tony enjoyed reading content from TechCrunch, Social Media Today, Flipboard, and Pocket.

Warwick’s go-to has been Barry Feldman’s podcast.

And who doesn’t love a little Daily Vee from Gary Vaynerchuk?

Another great way to learn is through Twitter chats. Finding the chats in your industry will help you make connections online and learn tons of valuable information.

Q4: Share a piece of your best work from the past year!

To spread the love, we asked everyone to share their best work from 2017. It could be a blog post, podcast, or something else they were really proud of. Here are a few things that were shared with us:

It sounds like Gini is pretty proud of a book she and her team are launching!

Madalyn shared one of her favorite episodes of her #TwitterSmarter podcast with us.

Jason has previously interviewed both Julia McCoy and Madalyn Sklar on his podcast. He shared those episodes, so you’ll want to check them out.

It should come as no surprise that Julia shared her brand new book, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing! It’s truly an incredible book that every content creator should own.

This blog post on internal linking was a top performer for the team at ThinkSEM.

Cheval’s post on the pros and cons of BeLive.TV and BlueJeans Network was a hit with his audience.

Jeff shared an article he wrote on Pinterest. If you need some help on the platform, give this one a read.

Erika said you shouldn’t use apps to automatically follow and unfollow people on Twitter. She shared why in this article she linked to.

Jeff shared a link to his podcast, which is all about mental health.

Q5: What was your biggest struggle when it came to content creation in the past year?

We all have struggles when it comes to content creation, which is a nice reminder that we aren’t alone when things are challenging. These are a few things our chat participants had difficulty with in 2017:

It’s safe to say everyone can relate to Madalyn on this. Not having enough hours in the day is something that plagues each and every one of us.

Gini also knows that time is a big struggle when it comes to content creation. Sometimes we just feel as though there isn’t enough time to get everything done.

If you struggle to stay consistent with your content creation, you aren’t alone. Having an editorial calendar and planning out your content certainly helps though.

Sometimes the struggle is just getting it done. When you balance so many other tasks, it can be hard to find time and energy to create amazing content.

Lexie knows that it’s challenging to create quality content for your company and for clients. It’s time-consuming for anyone to take on.

Not to mention, you have other work responsibilities that cut into your writing time!

Rebecca knows the struggle of balancing content and other work responsibilities all too well. She takes on many different things, which can make it challenging.

To manage your tasks and content creation, Julia feels it’s all about finding your workflow.

For Ellie, it’s also about short turn around times on content. It can be challenging to get things done in a short period of time.

Finding your voice on a topic that many others are already talking about can surely be a struggle. This is something that Jeff has dealt with himself.

With so many platforms and so many content formats, it’s hard to know what to focus on. In the end, it all comes down to what works best for you and what your audience enjoys.

Idea burnout can definitely happen to content creators. Cristy’s advice is to get a second opinion on the ideas you have to determine what to move forward with.

Finding inspiration can be a struggle as well. As Jeff said, you need to find the ideas that you are passionate about.

And sometimes getting started with writing is the hard part. Many of us experience self-doubt that holds us back from creating something amazing.

Q6: Which brands have really done an amazing job with their content in 2017?

Have any brands stood out to you in 2017? These are the ones that caught the eye of our Twitter chat friends in the past year:

CoSchedule and Lee Odden are a couple brands that impressed Gini this year.

Madalyn very kindly shared her love for us here at Express Writers!

Jeff said he’s learned a lot from Julia, Madalyn, and Gini.

Between Buffer’s blog, their podcast, and their Twitter chat, they really do a tremendous job.

Some of Julia’s favorites include Madalyn, Content Marketing Institute, and CoSchedule.

Wendy’s is one of the brands that stood out on social media this year.

PooPourri created funny content that made many of us laugh this year, including Erika.

Q7: How are you preparing for your 2018 content? Do you have a process you follow?

With 2018 fast approaching, many of us have already been planning for the year ahead. When it comes to content creation, we asked how everyone is preparing and if they have a set process they use. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Madalyn ordered a large wall calendar to help her map out content. If you’re a visual person, this could help you out as well.

Gini is all about having themes for guest columnists and a proper editorial calendar. Not only that, but her team is also launching a podcast.

Erika follows Gini’s content planning process and plugs everything into her editorial calendar.

Conducting a reader survey will help you determine exactly what your audience needs from you.

Aleq is preparing for 2018 by observing audience trends. Then, it’s important to balance those ideas between video and blog content.

Updating older blog content and repurposing what you’ve created is a great way to see results in 2018.

Jason is planning to build a site for his brand. He’s also going to work on his planning and prioritization in the new year.

Cristy knows it’s smart to review reports from the past year to see what worked and what didn’t. This will help influence your plan for 2018.

Cheval plans to continue social listing to learn more about his audience. He also intends to continue writing twice a week on his blog.

Q8: What goals have you set for your content creation in 2018?

To wrap up the chat, we asked everyone to share some of their content creation goals for 2018. Read on to see a few of the responses we received. These just might inspire you to set a few goals of your own!

Madalyn’s goal is to focus more on videos and podcasts in the year ahead.

For Gini, it’s important to focus on business growth and revenue. You want to make sure you’re taking action on the things that’ll help you meet your goals.

Sarah’s goal is to do more of what works.

Lexie knows it’s important to keep your audience happy and engaged.

Consistency is something that many of us are aiming for next year.

Rebecca wants to create her schedule earlier and stick to it as much as possible.

Roselle said she plans to refresh, repurpose, and repackage content in 2018.

Doris has set a goal to get her sales teams more invested. She wants to show everyone the value of social media and setting goals.

For Jeremy, he’s focused on getting it done in 2018. He wants to jump in whenever inspiration strikes.

Cristy’s goal is to take more risks!

This was a fantastic way to end our 2017. We really enjoyed seeing everyone, and having two power influencers, Madalyn Sklar and Gini Dietrich, co-host Tuesday’s session. What a great hour!

Don’t Forget: #ContentWritingChat is Off Next Week! Merry Christmas!


Want to make Twitter chats part of your strategy for 2018? Join us for #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday at 10 AM Central. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss a thing!

content marketing seo

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing SEO

This week, we had our monthly community chat for #ContentWritingChat!

There was a lot of great information shared during the busy hour over on Twitter. And we’re recapping it all for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing SEO

We conducted a poll a while back to see which topics our participants were interested in. One of the topics that came out on top was Content Marketing SEO, so we made it the choice for this week.

Q1: How do content marketing and SEO work together? And why is it important to utilize both?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share how content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand and why both are important for content creators. Here are a few responses:

Jason knows that if you spend more time on one or the other, your content is going to suffer. It’s important to implement both content marketing and SEO if you want to see major results online.

As Sarah said, they work together to improve each other.

Good content isn’t worth much if it isn’t optimized for your audience to find it. Keep that in mind!

Julia said you can’t have high-ROI without a firm strategy and knowledge on how to use both.

You need great content and you need people to actually discover it. That’s why content marketing SEO is so crucial these days.

Q2: What are some tips to help you create content that truly resonates with your audience?

No matter what, it’s so important that your audience enjoys your content. To create content they’ll want to read and share, here’s what you need to know:

As Lexie said, it’s important to get to know your audience first. They will guide you when it comes to creating content they enjoy.

Once you know who your audience is, you can create with them in mind. Write about the topics they’re discussing to attract attention.

Cheval knows that listening to your audience is so important if you want to create amazing content.

Amanda also said listening is crucial. You can see what your audience responds to, what they comment on, what they talk about, and so much more. That can help guide the direction of your content.

When you pay attention to your audience, the answers will follow. Don’t be afraid to tweak your strategy to best suit them and their needs.

Debi knows it’s important to share content that showcases your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

Sarah suggests looking at your analytics. You can see what is grabbing their attention and earning conversions. Do more of what’s working to maximize your results.

If you’re feeling stuck for ideas, ask them! Danielle suggested surveying your audience to see what appeals to them. After all, they’re the best source to ask.

Make sure you’re answering questions people are asking. You want to deliver on an actual need that’s related to your business.

What is your target audience already talking about? Andrea suggests using tools like Quora or BuzzSumo to see what their conversations are centered around. This will give you a great starting point for your next piece of content.

Don’t forget to also check out industry trends. It can be very beneficial to talk about the hot topics of the moment.

Jason made a great point about putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Figure out their pain points and what kind of information they’d like to have. Then, all you have to do is create it!

Q3: Does consistency matter to SEO when it comes to how often you post on your blog? If so, how often do you write new content?

Does it really matter how often you blog? Is there a magic number of posts you should be publishing each week? Check out this advice:

Julia knows that consistency is huge. You don’t want to drastically cut back on the amount of content you’re producing because your rankings can suffer as a result. However, you also shouldn’t publish somethings that’s rushed or low quality. You need both quality and consistency in order to succeed.

Sarah also knows how important quality is. No one wants to read fluff content. They want something that’s truly going to provide value.

Publishing regularly is great, but it’s only worthwhile if you’re publishing something that’s high-quality.

As Amanda pointed out, no one really wants to follow a blogger who isn’t consistent. Create a schedule that’s actually manageable for you and stick with it. That way, your audience will always know when to expect a new post.

Q4: What is one SEO tip more people should know and implement in their content creation?

Is there an SEO tip you wish more people would use? Our chat participants shared some great advice! Check it out:

More people need to learn how to effective conduct keyword research for their content.

Lexie’s advice is to tastefully use keywords within your content. You don’t want to fill your posts with keywords in a way that’s unnatural. It’ll turn off your readers.

Once you have your chosen keyword, you need to sprinkle it in a few key places throughout your blog post. Use it in the URL, image alt tags, the post title, meta description, etc.

A great headline makes all the difference! Include your focus keyword and make sure it’s something that intrigues people enough to click.

Sarah said you need to link to your new content somewhere else on your site. Internal linking is a big deal for SEO!

Don’t forget to give your images a description by adding alt text. It helps to make your images searchable.

You can also use an SEO plugin to help. Yoast is a great one for this if you’re on WordPress.

Q5: How has SEO changed over the years? Is there a tactic you used to use, but have ditched in recent times?

There are a number of old SEO tactics that are no longer acceptable to use. You’ll want to make sure you stay clear of them! Here are a few our chat participants have ditched:

Ranking blank pages and keyword stuffing are things of the past in the world of content marketing SEO.

Julia said the focus should be on your reader and the quality of your content.

Keyword stuffing, doorway pages, and cloaking… These won’t fly anymore.

Lexie said link building has changed in recent times. It’s important to get quality backlinks from reputable sites, as opposed to getting them from any old site.

It will surely be interesting how things change as the world of video and voice search continues to expand.

Make sure you’re always staying updated with the changes Google makes to their algorithm.

Q6: How do you know if your content is performing well? Are there certain metrics you like to track?

Once you’ve published a piece of content, it’s important to track how it’s performing. Metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on include:

What’s your end goal for your content? As Amanda knows, that’s what really matters because it’ll help you choose the right metrics to focus on. You might be looking for sales, comments, email subscribers, or something else.

Is your audience responding to the content? You want to know that what you’ve created is actually resonating with them.

Are you attracting attention from the right audience? It’s not doing you any good if you’re attracting all the wrong people.

Average time on site, click-through rates, and heat maps are just a few things you may want to watch.

You might even want to check out behavior flow charts to see how visitors move through your site.

Website traffic and email responses are just a couple metrics Devin likes to track.

Bounce rate, shares, comments, and more! These are all things any content creator may be on the lookout for.

Julia suggests tracking things like time on site, chats started for those running live chats, sales inquiries, and conversions.

Q7: Do you have any tools you rely on to create amazing, search engine-optimize content?

There are plenty of tools you can use to help with content marketing SEO. Which ones are the favorites among our chat participants? Check out these suggestions:

Lexie has a few essential tools in her arsenal, which includes Answer the Public.

You can’t go wrong with Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and your brain power.

Yoast is a must-have for anyone on WordPress!

Yoast, Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Google Trends are tools Sabjan relies on.

Aisha is also a fan of Yoast, but she also likes to use Grammar Girl.

Debi knows that Google’s tools are essential for any content creator.

Anne also uses Yoast, Google Keyword Planner, and Google Analytics.

Quora, BuzzSumo, and Ahrefs, are also great tools to try out.

To make a splash with your headlines, use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Danielle also like Hemingway app.

Q8: Which resources do you turn to in order to learn more about content marketing and SEO?

To expand your knowledge on the latest with content marketing and SEO, check out these resources:

Lexie has a few resources she loves, which includes Neil Patel, Search Engine Journal, and even us!

Cheval turns to SEMrush, Search Engine Journal, and Rebekah Radice for all the latest in content marketing SEO.

Moz is another go-to resource.

Danielle loves to read content from HubSpot.

A few of Carla’s favorites include Content Marketing Institute and Medium.

Don’t forget to use social media to see what others are talking about online.

And in case you need another reason to join our next chat, Devin said one of his top resources is our very own #ContentWritingChat.

Twitter chats, blogs, and Google searches are all great, but sometimes it helps to just have a conversation with people in your industry.

Join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! The fun happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time over on Twitter! You can follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

sensitivity in content creation

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Sensitivity in Content Creation with Jeff Renoe

In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we covered a topic we’ve never truly discussed before: sensitivity in content creation.

Although it’s something we’ve never talked about extensively during our busy hour on Twitter, it’s an important topic for any brand. We covered what’s okay to discuss online and how you can find your voice when talking about sensitive topics.

Let’s dive into the recap!

Sensitivity in Content Creation: Deciding What You Can Discuss & How to Find Your Voice with Jeff Renoe

Our guest host for this week’s chat was Jeff Renoe. He’s a regular participant during #ContentWritingChat, so having him step into the guest hosting role was a real treat. Jeff is a content marketing professional, as well as the host of the Our Fractured Minds podcast.

Q1: What makes a topic a sensitive one to talk about?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share what they felt a “sensitive topic” was. Here are a few responses we received:

As Jeff said, many topics have become sensitive ones to discuss these days. However, some common subjects include politics, religion, sexuality, disasters, and mental health.

Gene knows two topics that can stir up controversy are politics and religion.

As Julia said, we generally steer clear of sensitive topics here at Express Writers. She avoids taking sides in politics and religion. Another thing she avoids in her content? Cursing.

Jason said a topic is sensitive when there’s real potential to offend another person. If you spend any time online these days, you know that happens quite often now.

Bill feels the same as Jason. If a topic has the potential to offend a group of people, it’s definitely a sensitive area.

Even if you think a topic might be safe to discuss, there are others who might not think so. If you aren’t sure, you can always get a second opinion.

Andrea said the more personal you get, the greater your chances are of hurting someone.

Q2: How do you decide if a sensitive topic is one you should have a voice on?

If there’s a sensitive topic you have an opinion on, should you really speak up about it? This advice will help you decide if it’s wise:

Do you have a story worth sharing? That’s what Jeff feels you should think about when deciding to cover a sensitive topic. His advice is not to fuel a narrative unless you have a unique perspective on it.

Sarah said you should ask yourself if the topic is relevant, meaningful, or helpful to your brand or customers. If that answer is yes, then you’re good to go.

If the topic is relevant to your business, David said it might be appropriate to discuss. If not, his advice is to avoid it.

One important thing to consider is why you’re writing about a certain topic. There should be a real purpose behind the opinions you want to share.

Is your audience affected by the topic? Can your brand hep the topic or will it only hinder progress? Does the topic align with your brand’s values? These are all great things to consider that Anne shared with us.

If it stirs your soul, you’re going to be more inclined to step up to the plate and talk about a particular topic. That’s often a good sign that you have something important to say.

For Amanda, it’s all about going back to her values. If something is happening in the world that she wants to stand up for, she goes for it.

Another thing you may wan to consider is whether or not discussing a topic is going to call damage for your brand. When it comes to sensitivity in content creation, this likelihood is pretty high.

When you do decide to write about sensitive topics, Jessica says you should have a heart. Consider all sides of an argument and approach it in a respectful manner.

Q3: How do you find your voice when it comes to speaking about sensitive topics?

If you’re planning to move forward with talking about a sensitive topic, you may be wondering how to find your voice. Fortunately, our chat participants had some great tips for you!

Jeff feels your voice should come naturally. If it feels forced, then that’s a good sign that it might not be the best thing for you to discuss.

Lexie’s advice is to think about the main point you want to get across. If you don’t have a point to make or you aren’t passionate about the discussion at hand, she said you may want to reevaluate the decision to write about it.

Always make sure you have your facts straight before speaking up. Otherwise, you can wind up causing way more drama than you intended.

Always write from the heart. Jay suggests finding people who have a personal stake in a topic to share their stories.

Always be authentic and transparent with your audience, no matter what you’re writing about.

Make sure you’re being careful when discussing sensitive topics. Andrea’s advice is to recognize the many sides in a discussion, avoid name calling, and don’t fuel controversies just to get more views.

Julia feels it’s best to get a second opinion on a potentially controversial piece before publishing it. It’s always helpful to get feedback from an outside source.

Anne also agrees with getting someone else to look over your work. You never know how another person may perceive your work and the editing phase is perfect for getting feedback.

Q4: What kinds of things should you talk about when discussing topics as these?

When dealing with sensitivity in content creation, what should you actually be discussing? Here’s what you need to know:

One thing you shouldn’t talk about? Your product. When discussing a sensitive topic, it’s not a good time to focus on selling. It’s only going to backfire on your brand.

A great place to start is to understand what your audience wants to talk about. You can use that information to determine what you’ll discuss with them.

Jason’s suggestion is to offer insight that shows you considered both sides to a topic.

Why is it important for your audience to know where you stand on a particular subject? Why is it too important to ignore? These are crucial questions to ask yourself.

Jim’s advice is to always cite credible sources. That’s important in helping you back up your opinions.

Another great opportunity comes from sharing your own experiences. That’s something your audience will surely be able to relate to.

Ashley feels it’s best to outline a solution, instead of just focusing on the problem at hand.

Q5: How do you integrate current events related to these topics into your content strategy?

With so many brands wanting to talk about the events currently going on in the world, it can be tricky to implement into an overall content strategy. To help, our chat participants offered up some helpful advice:

Jeff feels you should find your voice ahead of time so you’re prepared for what’s to come.

Sarah said you should make sure any current events you discuss are relevant to your reader. If it’s not helping them in some way, it’s probably better to pass.

The rule of thumb here is to stick with what makes sense for your brand.

Carla will discuss current events if there’s a teachable lesson she can share with her audience.

Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. Lexie’s advice is to make sure your content will be beneficial to your audience.

If current events are significant to your niche, Zachary feels it should naturally integrate into your content strategy. If it doesn’t fit with ease, you might want to pass.

You always want to make sure that discussing current events feels natural and comes off that way as well.

Don’t be afraid to share your experiences that relate to a topic. It brings a personal connection to the conversation.

Stay focused on the events that are impacting your customers. Those are the most important ones to discuss.

Don’t be afraid to keep your content schedule flexible. You can always move things around if an important topic comes up.

Even the very morning of the chat, Patagonia took a stance on a sensitive topic.

Megan shared some other great advice to consider. Be careful about which organizations you align yourself with. Not all nonprofits are truly being helpful in times of need.

Q6: What channels are best for these kinds of conversations?

When it comes to sensitivity in content creation, are there specific channels that are ideal for discussing such topics? It really all depends on you and your audience, but here are some suggestions from the chat:

Jeff said to find a medium where you can have conversations with your community. You don’t want to ignore anyone.

As Lexie said, your best bet is to pick the channel your audience is already on.

If you have somewhere that you’re already engaging with your audience, that’s a great place to start.

Any channel with an open-minded audience and the ability to share feedback is great.

Social media will always be a go-to for important conversations.

Jade said Twitter is one place you can start the conversation.

For Julia, she prefers blog format because you can put time and thought into it before it goes live.

Javier feels the same way. He acknowledges the power a blog post or your website can really have.

On the flip side, Gene recommends keeping the conversation private if you want to avoid dealing with internet trolls.

If you aren’t willing to have these conversations on public forums, don’t do it. You have to be prepared for any potential backlash that may come your way.

Q7: What happens if you receive push back from others on your stance?

When speaking up about sensitive topics, you’re most likely going to receive some sort of push back from those who disagree with you. How do you handle it? Check out this great advice:

If you receive push back, address it. Even if you disagree with someone, it’s still worthwhile to hear their opinions.

As Jason said, ignoring it may cause more problems in the long run.

Acknowledge the views that others have, back up your own opinions, and keep it civil. There’s no reason to engage in a nasty argument.

Don’t take anything too personally and make sure you respect the opinions of others.

For Cheval, he doesn’t let push back get to him. He just moves on, recognizing that those who disagree might not necessarily be his people.

Always keep your cool!

Stay on message and stick to the bigger picture at hand.

Amanda says she would stand by her stance, despite push back she might receive. She wants to stick up for the things she’s passionate about.

Listen to others and be open to their criticism. It can often be a learning experience.

Q8: Tag some brands that have impressed you with their voice and willingness to cover sensitive topics.

Which brands can we learn from when it comes to sensitivity in content creation? These are some examples worth checking out:

Jeff was a big fan of what JELLO did during the legalization of gay marriage.

Cheval mentioned that Wendy’s has done a great job at handling sensitive topics through their social media presence.

As for Anne, she’s a big fan of Buffer and their honest approach to a variety of important topics.

One brand you might not want to look to is Pepsi after sparking controversy themselves.

If you’re going to take a strong stance on a sensitive topic, make sure you can handle the heat.

Join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! It takes place on Twitter every Tuesday from 10-11 AM Central Time. Just be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat!