social media to build brand awareness

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Using Social Media to Build Brand Awareness & Obtain Media Placement with Robyn Stevens

Have you ever wondered how you can use social media to build brand awareness and also to gain media placement?

Well, that’s exactly what we talked about in this edition of our monthly Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat! We got some incredible tips on attracting the right people with your content, pitching your brand, and so much more. And we’ve rounded them up in this post!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Using Social Media to Build Brand Awareness & Obtain Media Placement with Robyn Stevens

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Robyn Stevens. Robyn is a publicist and the owner of PR Media. She had some great advice to share with us, which you’ll want to start implementing right away!

Q1: If you want to get your brand noticed, which social media platforms should be part of your strategy in 2020?

Far too many brands get caught up in thinking they need to be everywhere online, but this simply isn’t true. It’s better to be smart about which platforms you invest your time and energy into. These tips will help you decide which ones are right for you:

Robyn’s advice is to consider your brand and who you’re trying to engage with. Sometimes certain niches perform better on some platforms over others. And you’ll want to consider what’s going to work for you.

As Tamara pointed out, it’s important to be where your audience is most active. You don’t have to be everywhere online. Just where they are!

When making the decision which platforms to use, consider your audience demographics. It’s also worth seeing which platforms your competitors focus on and which ones generate the most engagement.

Another thing to consider is your own unique strengths. Which platforms allow you to really shine? For instance, if you have great photography skills, Instagram is a fantastic place to show them off. You want to enjoy using the platforms you’ve signed up for.

Zala suggests thinking about your purpose as well. What do you want to achieve on social media? This can help you narrow down the platforms that are right for you to be on. From there, you can start developing your strategy.

Q2: How can you ensure the content you share is attracting attention from the right people?

Another key element to being successful on social media is getting the right people to discover your content. You want your target audience to find you, follow you, and engage with you. And you do that by sharing the content that’s going to draw them to your profile.

If you don’t know what people want to see from you, never be afraid to ask. They’ll be happy to share their thoughts with you. Even creating polls to get feedback can be a quick and easy way to get content suggestions.

Consider what you’re trying to achieve with your social media presence. How can you reach those goals? What kind of content would help you get from where you are now to where you want to be?

As you work to figure out which kind of content resonates, pay attention to engagement rates and what people are saying about your content.

And of course, you’ll want to add your own spin on things!

One great way to attract your target audience is to share content that addresses their pain points. Provide solutions to their problems and they’ll love you.

Jessica’s idea about creating content categories will definitely help keep things organized and it’ll give you ideas on what to share when you need to get those creative juices flowing.

Q3: When building your brand on social media, what are some things you absolutely must do?

There are some definite musts when it comes to standing out on social media and attracting an audience. Just keep this advice in mind if you want to see maximum ROI:

Be consistent across all the platforms you’re using and start working to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Gaby says to define your purpose, message, voice, audience, goals, and strategy to start. From there, you can add value, build connections, and make amazing things happen.

Consistency is always key when using social media to build brand awareness!

You should definitely make engaging a priority. The more connections you make, the better the chance your brand stands at growing every day.

When engaging, make sure you’re engaging with the right people… Those who will be interested in your brand and what you have to offer. You can even engage with others in your niche. Just get out there and start having conversations!

Always be genuine and people will be drawn to you.

As one of our #ContentWritingChat participants from back in the early days, Jenn knows that Twitter chats are an amazing way to grow your community online.

Q4: Building relationships on social media is key to growth, so how can we do this effectively?

If you want to use social media to build brand awareness, you cannot be a lurker. You need to engage and focus on building relationships with other people to get your name out there. Here’s how you do that:

Humor and emotion definitely resonate with people.

Actively seek out chats and groups where you can easily make connections with new people. That will really pay off in the long run.

Find ways to personalize the experience when engaging with others. It shows you’re paying attention and that you care.

When it comes to journalists in particular, it helps to comment on their posts before pitching them. You can use this same strategy to initiate conversations with other people as well.

Think about what your audience would be drawn to and create content that connects with them and evokes an emotion. You can even ask questions to boost engagement quickly and easily.

Consider creating Twitter lists of people you’re interested in. You’ll stay updated with their posts and it’ll help you find potential conversations to jump in on.

All of Gaby’s advice is spot-on! Be social and you’ll make it work!

Q5: How can social media help you gain media placement for your brand?

If one of your goals is to get your brand in the media, it can absolutely be done. There’s just a few things you should keep in mind! Here’s some advice:

Social media makes it easy to contribute to conversations and share your own thoughts in real-time.

Consistently share valuable content and engage with others and you’ll start seeing more exposure for your account. In turn, others are going to take notice.

Don’t be afraid to engage with reporters by commenting on their posts. You can even share their articles to start getting on their radar too.

It’s also smart to be on the lookout for requests from journalists. If you’re actively listening for opportunities, you’re sure to find something that suits you.

Q6: What can you do to make sure your social media profiles accurately reflect you and your brand?

If you’re going to use social media to build brand awareness, it’s crucial that your account is complete and that it reflects the brand you’re building. Luckily, our #ContentWritingChat participants had some great advice for creating a profile that stands out!

Get feedback from people by asking their opinion on your profile. If they get a clear understanding of what you’re all about, fantastic. If not, you know you need to change things up.

Make sure your profiles always contain updated information in your bio and have a consistent voice and style.

Having a strategy is important! Then, you can conduct quarterly audits at the least to assess brand voice, tone, and content are exactly how you want them to be.

Ensure your posts align with your unique value proposition, your message, your values, and more. This is what makes your brand special. Embrace it to stand out.

When using social media to build brand awareness, authenticity and consistency are two key elements.

Q7: Are there any things you should or shouldn’t do when pitching your brand to someone?

Sometimes you have to take bold action and actually pitch yourself. Don’t be shy! And don’t be scared! You can successfully pitch yourself when you’re confident and follow these tips:

Always get to know the brand before making your pitch. You need to know what they’re all about and how you can best work together.

If there’s a specific person you’re reaching out to, get to know that person as well. Read their bio and even check out their personal social media accounts when possible so you have an understanding of what this person is all about.

Focus on how you can help solve problems and provide value as opposed to hard selling. People want to know what’s in it for them and by delivering something beneficial, they’ll see you as a trustworthy source.

Always be authentic and accurately represent your brand. Make sure you’re doing things that are aligned with your values and your message.

And remember that you can’t be everything to everyone.

Join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! We chat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Get Customers to Stop Scrolling & Start Buying With Facebook Ads with Tony Christensen

There’s no denying that Facebook ads are a fantastic way to generate traction for your business.

But they’re only going to get results when you do them the right way!

So, how can you set yourself up for success when it comes to social media advertising? That’s exactly what we talked about in this #ContentWritingChat.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Get Customers to Stop Scrolling & Start Buying With Facebook Ads with Tony Christensen

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Tony Christensen. Tony is the founder of Tony Does Ads, where he teaches Facebook ads for e-commerce business owners. He shared some great tips with us throughout the chat, so let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: What should people do BEFORE running Facebook ads?

The reality is, you shouldn’t just jump right in and create your first ad. There’s some important work to be done first! Here’s what you need to know:

First up, you need to make sure you’ve installed your Facebook Pixel. This will help with analytics, generating your audience, and conversion tracking. Tony also suggests determining if your messaging is resonating with your target audience. You can do this by posting organically and building your community before you start running Facebook ads.

You also want to consider where your target audience is spending their time online. Yes, Facebook is a great platform for advertising. But if your audience isn’t there, your ads won’t be as successful as you hoped.

While you’re at it, consider what your audience would care about seeing. What would get them to stop scrolling and pay attention to what you have to say?

It’s also important to understand the goal behind your ad. What are you hoping to achieve? Knowing what you’re working toward will shape your ad’s content and tell you which metrics to monitor.

Q2: What are some common mistakes people make when creating ads?

Sometimes things can go wrong when running Facebook ads. And those mistakes can cost you money! Make sure that doesn’t happen to you by avoiding these errors:

Don’t try to sell too early. As Tony said, you need to warm up your audience first. Focus on building the Know, Like, and Trust Factor before asking for the sale. People will be more inclined to buy after they’ve established a relationship with you.

Don’t pick the wrong campaign objectives. Your objective should be chosen based on the action you want people to take.

Remember that there’s a learning phase when it comes to starting your campaigns. Tony said to give your Facebook ads enough time for this phase to complete and then make decisions based on the data you receive.

Failing to optimize your ads is definitely a mistake. After you’ve given your ads some time to run, figure out what’s working and what’s not.

And of course, don’t forget to make sure your Facebook Pixel is installed!

Remember that there’s a difference between a full-blown ad and a boosted post.

Q3: What are some tools people can leverage to help with Facebook ads?

If you’re ready to take social media advertising seriously, it’ll be helpful to have some great tools in your arsenal. Here are some suggestions:

Tony suggests doing competitor research using the Facebook Ads Library.

You can also do some research on your ideal customers through Audience Insights.

And you’ll want to use the Text Overlay Tool to ensure your images don’t contain too much text. Otherwise, Facebook will penalize your ads!

Another recommendation for conducting your competitor research via the Facebook Ads Library!

Don relies on the AdParlor mockup generator.

Q4: What’s the best way to test different Facebook ads?

As we all know, testing is key to creating a successful ad! Here are some tips to ensure your testing phase is effective:

This is great advice from Tony! Definitely make sure you’re following these tips when testing your Facebook ads. Test any big changes first and then work on narrowing it down.

Don suggests testing only one thing at a time. This way, you’ll be able to see what’s actually making the difference.

And of course, you need to make sure the changes you make are measurable. Otherwise, how will you know if it’s working for you?

Jason suggests split test campaigns or utilizing Facebook’s Dynamic Creative. You can provide a variety of options for text, photos, CTAs, etc. And Facebook will mix and match to see which combination drives the best results.

Make sure you’re testing things like headings, copy, and imagery to see what gets you closer to reaching your goals.

Q5: How can people create better video for their advertising?

There’s no denying that videos can be very effective for social media ads. But how can you be sure your videos get people to stop and watch? Keep these tips in mind:

Tony knows the importance of creating a hook at the beginning of your video. This is crucial for grabbing the attention of your audience.

He also suggests keeping your audience engaged by adding transitions or graphic overlays, which can help create visual interest. Don’t forget to add captions as well so people can watch your videos without sound.

And remember that it’s the message that matters. Things don’t have to be perfect, so get started now.

It’s also helpful to get a better understanding of your audience so you’ll know what appeals to them. Survey them by sending out a questionnaire or by polling them. Their feedback can make a huge difference.

Q6: How can people improve their copy for their advertising?

Your ads definitely need to have great copy! So, how can you be sure your words will appeal to your audience? Here’s some advice:

Tony said to find out why your audience chose you, as well as what problems your product/service solves for them. You can use that to strengthen your ad copy.

He also suggests looking at how people speak about your products/services.

And of course, make sure the first line of your copy is going to hook people! Make a bold statement, ask a question, or share a statistic. All are great options!

To really get your audience to take action, speak directly to their pain points. And then, communicate how your offering will help them. They won’t be able to resist.

Jason agrees that it’s all about identifying and speaking to the pain point of your audience. Explain what your offering is going to be beneficial, as well as why people should trust you.

You’ll also want to make sure your ad gets straight to the point. And don’t forget to include a call to action because people need to know what that next step is after reading your ad.

And finally, make sure you have someone proofread it. There’s nothing more frustrating than an ad that’s littered with typos and spelling or grammar mistakes.

Q7: How has Facebook advertising changed over the years?

Things change! And it’s important we keep up with all the updates being made. Here’s how Facebook ads have changed over time:

Tony pointed out a few changes, including the fact that ads now take longer to get approved and there’s more competition (resulting in higher costs).

Jason feels that it’s gotten easier to find and reach your desired audience, which is really beneficial.

Q8: Where can I stay up-to-date on the latest Facebook updates and advertising strategies?

Continue your learning with these resources:

Tony has a live show called Managing ADspectations, which is worth checking out!

Carla suggests following Social Media Examiner and Mari Smith.

#ContentWritingChat happens on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central Time. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest and we’ll see you at the next one!

#ContentWritingChat, content marketing plan

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating a Strong Content Marketing Plan for 2020

With a brand new year upon us, we need to make sure we’re prepared with an incredible content marketing plan that’ll make our brands stand out and attract the right people.

But wait… How do you do that?!

In the latest #ContentWritingChat, we shared some of the basics of creating a content marketing plan for 2020. And we’ve rounded up some of the advice from this month’s chat in value-packed recap. Get ready to take some notes!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating a Strong Content Marketing Plan for 2020

To start the year off, we decided to forgo a guest and host a community chat where the spotlight is on our incredible chat participants. And they certainly didn’t disappoint! Everyone chimed in to share their amazing advice so all of our content marketing efforts can benefit the year ahead.

Q1: An ideal first step in creating a content marketing plan is to set your goals. What are some common goals you might want to achieve?

Haven’t decided on your content marketing goals for this year? Don’t panic! These suggestions from the chat will give you some ideas of what you should focus on:

Gene mentioned a number of great goals that many brand set out to achieve. You may aim to grow awareness, educate your audience, inspire your audience, serve your existing customers, or introduce a new product or service.

Gaby suggested increased sales, thought leadership, and improving your brand reputation, among other goals that you might want to work toward this year.

Consistency is definitely important if you want to stay top-of-mind for your audience! As Michelle pointed out, people could turn to your competitors if you aren’t working to keep their attention.

Lexie knows that providing valuable content for your readers is always a goal to strive for. You want your readers to feel like they’ve gotten something out of your content.

And remember, don’t worry about vanity metrics such as reach, impressions, and views. Jason feels the metrics that truly matter are things like clicks, conversions, downloads, and comments.

Q2: It’s also important to decide which content channels will be best for your brand. How do you choose? And what’s your go-to: blogs, videos, or podcasts?

These tips will help you decide where you should direct your content creation efforts so you can ensure you’ll be successful:

Gaby shared some great questions you should ask yourself before making a decision. She encourages you to ask things like where your audience spends their time online, what your goals are, and what your strengths are. It’s important to be where your audience is, but you also need to consider which content formats allow you to shine.

Sometimes it takes a little trial and error to figure out what works for you, so don’t be afraid to change your course if needed.

Gene suggests experimenting with other content formats as well. After all, it can’t hurt to try something new and at least you’ll be able to say you tried. If it doesn’t work out, then no harm done!

If you’re already creating a variety of content, look at your analytics to see what’s been working for you so far. This will give you an indication of where you should be directing the majority of your attention.

Jason suggests picking two or three formats and putting your all into those. The key is to share content that’s valuable and to also be consistent with posting.

Julia recommends picking one channel and mastering it first before introducing something else into your strategy.

Q3: Once you’ve chosen your main content channels, you have to think about the topics you’ll cover. How do you decide what to talk about?

It can be challenging to come up with content topics, but it doesn’t have to be stressful when you remember these tips:

As Julia shared, you need to have a strategy first. You need to define your goals, know your audience, and plan out your sales cycle. Once you have a strategy in place, then you can begin brainstorming topics that fit into the bigger picture.

Do some research to figure out what’s relevant to your audience. When creating your content marketing plan, it’s always important that you choose topics that are going to appeal to your audience’s wants and needs.

Make sure you’re paying attention to what your audience is saying. If you really listen, you’ll pick up on various struggles they may be dealing with. And from there, you can create the content that solves their biggest problems.

Maddie suggests using tools like SEMrush or Answer the Public to find topics for your upcoming content. There’s a ton of information there if you look for it!

And of course, it never hurts to just ask your audience what they want to see from you. Ask what they’re struggling with and what they’re interested in. They’ll tell you. You just need to listen to what they have to say and deliver.

Oluwafemi agrees that asking your audience is a great way to go. Create a survey and send it to your audience. You can also find your target audience on other blogs and forums and engage in the conversations they’re having to get to know them better.

You can also scroll through Quora or Reddit to generate new ideas. Or you can check in on your competitors to see what they’re up to. Just make sure you aren’t copying them! You can, however, see if you notice any gaps in their content strategy or if their audience is asking for specific content.

Q4: Do you have any advice for filling up your content marketing plan’s content calendar months in advance?

You’ll always know what to post and when if you follow this advice from the chat:

Lexie suggests looking at some of your past content and figuring out what has been popular before. You can expand on that topic or find a way to put a new spin on it.

When creating your content marketing plan, it helps to consider seasonal content first. This will ensure you’re posting it in a timely manner, instead of scrambling to create it at the last minute. Always give yourself ample time to work on holiday posts!

Gaby suggests consuming content yourself to come up with fresh ideas. It just might help get those creative juices flowing.

Tamara’s advice is to be aware of any changes or trends that come up in your industry. These could be worthwhile content topics to write about.

It’s also important to ensure your content will be relevant by the time you’re due to post it. You don’t want it to already be stale by its publication date!

Focusing on evergreen content is a great way to guarantee your posts, videos, etc. will always be relevant.

Q5: Once your content has been created, how can you distribute it and spread the word to get more eyes on your work?

These tips will help you generate plenty of traction for the content you’ve worked so hard to bring to life:

Julia says to share your content to the social media platforms that your audience is most active on. This is how you increase the likelihood that they’ll see what you’ve created. For her, email and Facebook groups are key.

And if you have quoted or sourced anyone in the content, let them know! They just might share it with their audience.

Other ideas you can use to boost traffic include: creating an infographic for your content, retargeting your audience, or sending an email newsletter.

It’s also beneficial to repurpose/recycle/upcycle! This will help you get the most out of the content you’ve already worked hard to create.

And as Michelle said, don’t be afraid to share your work. Be proud of it. Confidently spread the word to others who need it.

Q6: How often should you check in to see if you’re making progress toward your goals with your content marketing plan?

Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? What’s the right way to go? Consider this advice:

As Lexie pointed out, you won’t always see immediate results, so don’t get frustrated and throw in the towel too quickly. Make adjustments as needed and keep moving forward.

For Gaby, she has a regular process to track the results of her content marketing plan. She reviews everything monthly, quarterly, and yearly. And she keeps an eye out for patterns and opportunities that appear from year to year.

Julia likes to check SEMrush for stats on a bi-weekly basis for all four of the sites she manages.

Maddie prefers a monthly approach. This gives you plenty of data to review without obsessing over the numbers too much.

Q7: If you aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, how do you turn things around?

First, don’t panic. Next, follow this advice:

Lexie suggests reviewing your content. Is it as clear and as helpful as you initially thought? Are there any technical issues? And if you want, you can even directly ask your audience for their thoughts.

Gaby’s advice is to look for patterns, gaps, and changes in your analytics.

And of course, make sure you’re testing to see what works and what doesn’t!

Just remember Julia’s advice: KEEP GOING.

Q8: Which tools will you be relying on to make your job easier and keep you on track with your content marketing plan?

These tools are definitely worth checking out:

Gaby’s favorites include Buffer, Sprout Social, Slack, and Outlook Calendar.

Maddie’s go-to tools include SEMrush and Answer the Public.

BuzzSumo and Yoast are also must-have tools!

Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Asana are also popular tools.

Ready to join the next #ContentWritingChat? We chat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

#ContentWritingChat, social media

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Using Social Media to Connect With Your Audience & Generate Leads with Bernie Fussenegger

As a business owner, your social media presence is crucial.

It’s a place for you to share content that builds your community, while also giving you the chance to get to know and better understand your audience.

Not only that, but social media is also a great way to generate new leads… When you do it the right way! And luckily, that’s what we talked about in this #ContentWritingChat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Using Social Media to Connect With Your Audience & Generate Leads with Bernie Fussenegger

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Bernie Fussenegger. Bernie is a digital marketing leader, as well as the host of #Digital360Chat on Twitter.

Q1: How do you choose which social media platforms are worth the investment?

The first step in building your social media presence is determining which platforms are worth your time and energy. Because the thing is, you don’t have to be everywhere! So, how do you choose the platforms that will deliver the ROI you’re searching for? These tips will help you make the decision:

Bernie’s advice is to first figure out where your audience is spending their time online. You want to make sure you’re somewhere that they’ll actually discover you, otherwise your content won’t be seen by the right people.

For him, his go-to social media platforms are Twitter and LinkedIn, but he still stays updated with other platforms so he can best serve his clients.

Gene shared two great points. It’s important to do some research to figure out what makes the most sense for your brand. Determine where your audience is, as well as how you can best serve them.

But another thing to consider is which platforms are the most appealing to you. Where do you have the most fun? Where do you really shine when it comes to creating content and being present?

Lexie agrees that it takes a little research to get it all figured out! She says it’s important to be where your audience is. And don’t be afraid to check out your competitors to see where they’re spending their time. Can you identify areas where they’re struggling and step in to do better?

John suggests considering the demographics of your audience as well. This will be a good indication of which platforms those in your target audience may be using.

Jason also feels knowing your audience demographics is key. If your audience is older, Facebook might be your best bet. If they’re younger, you might want to give Tik Tok a try. And of course, there’s always Twitter!

It’s also worth experimenting to see which platforms are actually working for you. Don’t be afraid to give a new platform a chance and see if it’s delivering the engagement you want.

Q2: Once you’ve picked your platforms, what should you be posting to attract the right people?
Posting the right content on Twitter is a huge part of your strategy. You want to make sure you’re sharing things that will appeal to your desired audience, otherwise you’ll end up with all the wrong people following you! And if you want to ultimately make sales, you need to have an audience that’s interested in your offerings.

Bernie is all about testing to see what kind of content works for you and your audience! Experiment by posting videos, graphics, links, questions, polls, and more to see what moves your audience to take action. Have fun with it!

Also, you want to make sure you’re engaging with your community. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking them what they want to see.

Lexie knows that posting helpful and engaging content will go a long way when it comes to building your community. Think about what your audience is most interested in and start by sharing that. She also encourages you to try out different content formats to see what really resonates.

Helpful, actionable will always be a winner! Amanda feels it’s important to think about the next step that you’re leading your social media followers to take. It could be joining your email list, purchasing your offerings, or something else. That’s how you start getting leads!

Jason’s tip is to NOT follow the best practices that you find online. The reality is, what worked for someone else might not cut it for you. That’s why you need to do some research and figure out how you can provide value to your audience.

Gene said to share content that shows your expertise/perspective, while also helping your audience in some way. And if you can do that while keeping them entertained and engaged, that’s a win!

Don’t forget that it’s also important to spread the word about your content. There’s no reason to be shy when it comes to sharing your blog posts, announcements, etc.

Q3: How can you create more engagement on social media to build relationships?

If you’re ever feeling bummed by the lack of engagement going down on your social media platforms, let’s make a change! These tips from the chat will help you boost conversations and ultimately build your brand:

Bernie knows that Twitter chats are where it’s at! They provide a fantastic opportunity to connect with people from all around the world. You can learn from them and make new connections. It’s also important that you’re actually engaging with others and listening to what they have to say.

If you want more engagement, you need to be social yourself. Jason’s advice is to ask questions, answer questions, share insights, and more. Don’t just promote your products. Think about what will get people talking.

As Michael said, you need to actually be present on social media if you want to drive engagement and see real results. This is why it’s important that you check in and engage with your audience regularly.

Engage with others and you’ll increase the likelihood that you’ll see engagement in return. Michelle says it’s important to spend time on the platforms of your choosing so you can read and respond to replies.

Marcy’s advice is to be willing to learn and be social. Having that mindset will really go a long way in creating success.

Q4: What’s the key to converting social media followers into clients and customers?

Now that you’ve got the followers, it’s time to start turning them into paying members of your community. After all, don’t you want to sell your products and services? To get people to take that next step with your brand, make sure your keep this advice in mind:

Bernie suggests providing value, being transparent, honest, and respectful. It’s not a game you can win overnight. But in time, people will connect with you and ultimately be willing to purchase from you.

John’s tips are to add value, build trust, and make it easy for people to discover and buy your offerings.

Jason says it’s all about consistency and quality. When you have established yourself as an authority and built trust, they’ll be more likely to buy.

If you want to make the sale, don’t be afraid to ask! You have to promote your offerings in order for people to discover them. Don’t expect them to find it on their own.

And don’t forget, you need to show up consistently!

Q5: How can you set up your Twitter profile to drive leads?

Now that you know how to drive leads with your content, what about your profile? There are different things you can do on your Twitter profile to drive people to your site and boost sales. Here’s what you can do:

Bernie said it’s important to keep things professional. You want to portray yourself in a good light to your target audience. Use your cover photo to show what you do, write a descriptive bio, and include a link to your website or services.

Always make sure your profile is completely filled out! Don’t leave anything blank because that doesn’t tell your audience anything.

Gene said to make sure you have a profile photo, a cover photo, a bio, and a pinned tweet. These elements can all help people learn what you’re about so they’ll know if you’re right for them.

Mara knows there are a number of ways to personalize your Twitter profile, so you want to take advantage of it all. Definitely don’t forget about that pinned tweet, as it can often be overlooked.

Tony said to use your Twitter profile to say what you do and who you help in your bio, link to your website, and have a pinned tweet with a lead generation offer.

Q6: How will you know if you’re seeing results with your social media efforts?

So, you’re putting in the work… The next step is to actually track and see if you’re generating the results you want. This is how you do that:

Bernie doesn’t put too much attention on the vanity metrics, but instead he looks at engagement, comments, impressions, and growth. These are all great to watch, but as he mentioned, your metrics will change based on the campaign. Consider what’s most important for you to track.

Lexie knows that it starts with setting smart goals! You need to know what you’re trying to achieve in order to know which metrics are the most crucial. From there, keep an eye on built-in analytics from your social media platforms and/or Google Analytics.

Don’t forget to check in often to see how things are performing. This will let you know if things are going well or if you need to tweak your strategy.

Just make sure you aren’t overwhelming yourself with metrics. Establish those KPIs and pick out the most important metrics from there.

Once you’ve collected some data, you’ll want to compare it to previous data to see how things are performing.

It’s also smart to have goals per campaign, not just general social media goals. Each campaign will likely have a different focus and you’ll want to track the right metrics to ensure success.

When looking at growth, it’s active, loyal followers that really make the difference. Having 1,000 followers that are listening and engaging is much more powerful than 10,000 follows that aren’t paying attention to you.

And as Michelle said, it never hurts to just ask people how they discovered you! This will show what’s really working in your strategy and where you can make improvements.

Q7: What tools and resources can help you make social media management easier?

Let’s make your job of social media management a little easier, shall we? There are tons of great tools out there that can help, as well as resources we can learn from. Here are some that are worth checking out:

Bernie has a number of tools he loves, which includes Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, and TweetDeck.

Michelle’s go-to tools are Buffer and Pablo by Buffer. Buffer is great for scheduling, while Pablo will help you design imagery for your posts.

Crowdfire and SproutSocial are essentials for John.

Amanda relies on tools like Buffer, Tailwind, Canva, and Photoshop.

And of course, SEMrush is always a great one to use as well!

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Our Twitter chat takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Getting Maximum ROI From Facebook Advertising with Amanda Bond

There’s no denying that Facebook advertising is HOT.

Ads, when done right, can be an effective way to reach your target audience and ultimately give your business a major boost.

But how do you make sure you’re going about Facebook advertising the right way? Well, that’s exactly what we discussed in this #ContentWritingChat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Getting Maximum ROI From Facebook Advertising with Amanda Bond

Our guest host for this month’s chat was The Ad Strategist herself, Amanda Bond. Amanda is a pro when it comes to Facebook ads and she shared some incredible tips with us throughout the chat. Be sure to check her out, but first… Let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: What makes Facebook advertising worthwhile and how do I know if it’s right for my brand?

To get things started, we asked everyone to share why they felt Facebook ads are beneficial for a brand’s overall strategy. And how can you determine if you’re actually ready to invest in advertising? Here’s what some of them had to say:

Amanda mentioned that Facebook ads can be a wonderful investment when they’re done right. But as she pointed out, not everyone is ready for advertising because it can lead you to lose money fast if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.

She feels you need to have a sales process that’s already converting if you want your ads to be a success.

Other things to consider, as Ray pointed out, include whether or not you have the budget for advertising and if Facebook is the best place to target people. If your audience isn’t actively using Facebook, focus your advertising efforts on the platforms they are using.

Lexie agrees. If your audience isn’t using Facebook, it’s not worth your effort to run ads there. You’ll want to find a better platform to use.

Q2: What are some key elements that every successful ad should have?

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to create ads of your own, you want to make sure they’re standing out from the crowd and generating results. These tips just might help you do that!

Amanda knows that having a strategy is crucial when doing Facebook advertising. You need clear intentions, goals, and ways to measure your results if you want to ensure your ads are performing as you hoped.

Besides just having a strategy in place before you begin crafting an ad, the ad itself should have strong copy and a clear call to action.

Ray’s plan to master Facebook advertising is definitely a winner. And it all starts with knowing your goals.

The ads that grab Julia’s attention have a solid plot, relatable characters, and contain comedy and storytelling.

Elizabeth feels great ads have compelling graphics, a clear call to action, and a measurable goal for the brand to track.

Mara feels that great ads are eye-catching. You need to get them to stop scrolling and take notice of your ad. She feels that bold colors and a great font can help with that.

Q3: Do you have any tips for creating captivating copy and eye-catching images for ads?

We know that copy and visuals will make or break your ad, so how do you make sure you’re appealing to your target audience? Keep these tips in mind:

Amanda loves the look of “stealth ads,” which look more like a typical Facebook post than an advertisement.

When creating the ad, design it with your audience in mind. Consider who they are, what they do, and why they behave the way they do.

Gerry suggests incorporating animation or video into your ads. He also feels the copywriter and graphic designer should work together to better tell the story in conjunction with one another. This will help avoid any disconnect between the two.

Things like an attention-grabbing headline, getting straight to the point in your copy, and speaking to your audience’s imagination will surely make for an effective ad.

Truly connecting with your audience through your Facebook advertising will really pay off!

It’s also important to make sure you’re following Facebook’s guidelines about advertising, including how much text you’re using in your visuals. You don’t want to do anything that may hurt your ad’s overall performance.

It’s also worthwhile to pay attention to the ads that stand out to you. Note the qualities you like in these ads and determine how you can evoke the same in your own.

Q4: What do you think makes an ad irresistible to Facebook users?

So, what’s the secret to making everyone stop and check out your ad? And then making them actually take action? This advice is sure to help!

For Amanda, it’s all about honesty. Don’t pretend there’s limited seating when there’s not. Don’t pretend your webinar is live when it’s not.

And ultimately, it’s about making sure your ads are truly relevant to the people you’re targeting and providing them with some sort of value.

Irresistible ads offer a solution to the pain points your audience is experiencing.

You want to show your audience you understand them by speaking to their interests and needs. Otherwise, it won’t be relevant!

Ray suggests running ads from organic content you’ve already shared that performed well. This could be the ticket to generating great results.

Q5: How do you know if your Facebook advertising efforts are generating the right results? Which metrics are important to track?

It’s crucial that you’re paying attention to the data. If your ads aren’t performing as well as you hoped, you can’t keep running them. You have to make changes! These tips will help you identify if your ads are driving results:

One of the first things to look at is whether or not your Facebook advertising efforts are actually bringing in any cash. If not, something needs to change!

These are the top seven metrics Amanda likes to track, which you might want to look for on your own ads.

Carla agrees that it’s all about whether or not you’re making money.

Even here at Express Writers, our ad goals ultimately lead to sales and conversions.

The metrics you pay the most attention to will always be dependent on the goals you’ve set for each individual campaign you’re running.

Elizabeth agrees that it all goes back to knowing your goals and what you’ve set out to achieve.

Q6: If you aren’t hitting your goals with your ad, what kind of tweaks should you make to see improvements?

Don’t completely abandon your ads if they aren’t performing. Figure out what’s wrong and fix it! Here’s some advice to help:

If your ads are bombing, Amanda says to turn them off! From there, you need to put in the work to figure out where the leaks are in your sales process.

Ask yourself whether they’re clicking on your ad and then not converting. If so, it could be an issue with the landing page. If the ad itself isn’t generating clicks, it could be your copy or visuals.

Elizabeth also feels it’s important to narrow down where the issue is occurring. Are your visuals and copy truly resonating with your target audience? Is your landing page covering and functioning properly? There are so many factors you need to check out.

Ray’s advice is to change one independent variable against your baseline and testing accordingly. Running multiple ads with small changes on each one will allow you to see what’s resonating and what’s not.

Make sure you’re reviewing things like ad placement, copy, visuals, the call to action, your budget, and your demographics.

You may want to try something as simple as swapping out your visual to see if it that creates a better response.

Carla also suggests checking your sales copy, keywords, and your target audience.

Q7: Which brands are doing a great job with their Facebook advertising? Have you seen an ad that really stands out on your feed?

Get some inspiration for your next ad from these brands!

Amanda loves checking out the ads the brands in her program are creating.

Storytelling always resonates with Julia and this is one ad that recently grabbed her attention.

For Lexie, the holiday ads are certainly getting her to stop scrolling this time of year! Pay attention to any that catch your eye the next time you’re on Facebook.

Q8: Open Q&A for Amanda!

Here are a few of the questions that were asked as the chat wrapped:

Educate yourself first!

Great advice for calculating your budget beforehand.

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

#ContentWritingChat, employee brand advocates

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How Employee Brand Advocates Are the Missing Piece of Your Content Marketing Puzzle with Erika Heald

If you’re running a company, do you have employees that are advocates for your brand?

Or perhaps you are the brand advocate for the company you’re working for?

Either way, employee brand advocates play a huge role in companies today as they become the face of brands and help in establishing a content marketing strategy overall.

But how can you be sure this advocate relationship is a successful one? Well, that’s what we discussed in this round of #ContentWritingChat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How Employee Brand Advocates Are the Missing Piece of Your Content Marketing Puzzle with Erika Heald

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Erika Heald. Erika is a start-up content strategist, as well as a marketing consultant. She’s also the host of a weekly Twitter chat, #ContentChat, on Mondays at 3 PM Eastern.

Q1: What exactly is an employee brand advocate and what purpose do they serve?

New to the concept of employee brand advocates? No worries! We asked our chat participants to share their view on what exactly this role is and the purpose it serves for companies worldwide. Here are a few of the responses:

As Erika said, employee brand advocates are those who have received training and tools to step up and share content about the brand they work for. Ideally, you want advocates who truly support you and are excited about your brand because their genuine enthusiasm will show through when they represent you online.

An advocate is someone who works for the brand, shares brand content regularly, engages with the brand content, and they create their own content about the brand as well. Those in this role can help expand reach for the brand, thus generating more traffic and leads.

Gaby mentioned that all employees are brand advocates. Whenever you work for a company, you have to be aware of your actions (especially online) because you’re representing those you work for. Advocates help to share the brand’s story, build trust, and so much more.

Like Brandie said, look at advocates like a brand’s biggest cheerleaders. It makes a huge difference when everyone sees that you have happy employees.

Q2: How can you encourage employees to step up and become effective advocates for your brand?

If you’re running a company and want to get serious about creating an employee advocacy program, you might be wondering where to begin. These tips will help you encourage your employees to step into this role:

Erika’s first piece of advice is let your employees know that you’d like them to become advocates for the brand. From there, provide them with the tools and guidelines they need to understand what this role looks like so they can move forward confidently.

If you have someone in mind that would make a great advocate, sit down and talk to them! As Lexie said, you can’t expect employees to just step up to the role. Mention it and see how they feel about the idea.

Gaby’s advice is to equip, educate, and encourage your employee brand advocates. Make sure they fully understand what this means for them and the brand overall and provide them with everything they need to do the job successfully.

It’s important to make it easy! A training session can be a huge help when just getting started with your advocacy program.

Bill suggests encouraging employees to share the content the brand produces, especially if they know their audience would be interested. It’s simple, but helps to generate more traction for the content.

But one of the most important factors in securing employee advocates? It’s crucial that you have built a company culture that people truly love and are happy to be part of.

Q3: How do you identify individuals that will make great employee brand advocates? What characteristics are important to look for?

If you’re trying to narrow down some great advocates for your brand, these are some of the key characteristics you’ll want to consider:

First, Erika suggests looking to those on your team that are currently enthusiastic social media users. They are already well versed in the platforms and would be more comfortable stepping into the role over someone who doesn’t use social media. She also feels it’s important to make this a voluntary position. Don’t force employees to become advocates for your brand.

It helps to have advocates that are enthusiastic about the brand and genuinely care about the product/service you offer. When they speak about you, it’ll come so much more naturally this way.

Find advocates who live your company values every single day!

Gaby said ideal employee brand advocates have qualities such as passion, understanding, trustworthiness, and resourcefulness.

Q4: What should employees know when they’re representing your brand online?

As an advocate, there are some very important things you need to keep in mind when. Here are some of the most important ones straight from the chat:

Erika said that advocates need to know the ideal channels to use in order to reach the target audience. She suggests companies help employees to know the right messages, current product details, and more to ensure they do a good job.

As Jeremy pointed out, all advocates also need to know the brand’s overall vision and mission. After all, that’s what they’re representing.

Lexie’s advice of providing employees with guidelines for advocacy is crucial. It lets them know what to expect and what’s acceptable, as well as what’s not.

Employees should know what’s okay to share, where and how to share content, and which tools can make the job easier.

And Jennifer brought up a a great point that employees should always be aware that they need to represent the brand in the best light online.

Bill said advocates should be aware of visual standards that the brand has, topics to engage in and which ones to avoid, and resources to utilize.

As an advocate, you’re held to a high standard as you represent a brand online and offline. Keep that in mind before you post anything.

Q5: But how does brand advocacy play a role in your content marketing?

The great thing about having a team of employee brand advocates is that it can truly help your company in the long run. Here’s how it can shape your content marketing:

Advocates can really be beneficial when it comes to content distribution and searching for user-generated content. Pay attention to which advocates have the most engaged audience and which platforms are performing well for them so you know where to focus on posting.

Remember that someone who follows your employee could ultimately follow your brand. Having that connection with someone from the brand establishes trust and could become a potential lead.

Gaby feels advocates are a great way to tell your brand’s story. It’s authentic and gives you greater reach to a wider audience.

Have your advocates keep an eye out for user-generated content that be shared from various platforms too!

Q6: How can you get your employee brand advocates to contribute?

Getting employees involved doesn’t have to be hard. These ideas will help get them participating:

Erika knows that a little competition can be effective. You can create a leader board and give away fun gifts that your team would enjoy. She’s found this to work well in the past, so give it a go!

Incentives of some sort are always a winner. And let’s be real, you simply cannot go wrong with free food.

And if you want your employees to create content for you, let it be on a topic they’re passionate about. It’ll be much more enjoyable for them this way.

Q7: Which brands have done a great job at empowering their employees to become advocates?

Erika shared some examples that we can all check out and learn from:

Erika feels IBM and Dell have done a great job at empowering employees. Zappos is another company that stands out as well. She also mentioned SproutSocial and their Bambu by Sprout tool. Their team actually seems to use their tools, which is definitely a plus.

Want to join us for the next chat? #ContentWritingChat happens on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Mark your calendars, follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat, and then we’ll see you there!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Incorporating Psychology Into Your Content Marketing with Elise Dopson

When you’re crafting your content marketing strategy, does psychology ever come into play?

If not, it really should!

In this #ContentWritingChat, we discussed why emotion should be incorporated into your content, which emotions make people buy a product or service, and how you can successfully target emotions in the content you create.

Want to learn more? Let’s dive into the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Incorporating Psychology Into Your Content Marketing with Elise Dopson

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Elise Dopson. She’s a B2B content marketing expert. And you can usually find her crafting blog posts on sales and marketing for various B2B SaaS companies around the globe. Elise shared some incredible tips, so let’s get to the questions!

Q1: Do you think about psychology when planning your content? Why or why not?

To kick things off, it only made sense to gauge where our community was at when it comes to incorporating psychology into your content marketing efforts. The answers were all across the board, so here’s what a few people had to say:

Ray says this is something he absolutely does. He feels it’s important to always know the state of mind your audience is in when you’re planning and creating the content they’ll consume.

Tamara agrees. She thinks psychology can help you better understand the thought processes of your target audience, plus how they might react to certain things.

For Gene, it’s something that’s always in the back of his mind because it plays such a big role in leadership, as well as marketing.

Not everyone in the chat had jumped on board with this idea just yet. But that’s totally okay! Doing these chats is a great way to teach people new techniques that they might want to incorporate moving forward.

Q2: Why should a content marketer include emotion in their content?

So, why would you want to start incorporating emotion into your content? Well, let’s talk about the benefits it can provide to show you why this might be worthwhile for you!

As Elise said, you’re writing for humans at the end of the day. And well, humans feel things! By incorporating psychology into your content marketing, you can spark those feelings.

To put it simply, you cannot expect to build relationships with your target audience if you aren’t adding their emotions into the equation.

Emotion plays a role in drawing your audience into your content and can keep them engaged. Plus, emotions can drive them to take action (like convert on your opt-in or purchase something.)

Shelly agrees, as she knows evoking emotions in a reader is key to getting them to take that next step with you and your brand.

Emotion is going to make your audience feel something powerful. As Bill pointed out, that could be humor, fear, fear of loss, inspiration, aspiration, connection, and being understood.

It’s also a way to make your content more relatable, which will help readers connect to it on a deeper level.

Ultimately, it’s emotions that will get people reading in the first place. And it’s emotions that will draw them in and keep them reading as well.

And as John said, a lack of feeling in your content might just leave your audience thinking you’re a bot. No one wants that!

Q3: How do you find out which emotions/feelings make your audience tick?

Let’s be honest here. We’re not mind readers! We need to be smart about understanding out audiences and these are some tips to help you do just that:

Elise’s advice is to do some research. You can conduct a survey and use it as an opportunity to better understand what does and doesn’t resonate with your target audience.

You can also take some cues from Rachel and conduct polls. Polls are great for sharing on Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram Stories. It just depends where your audience is most active. Determine what you’d like to know and start polling!

Gaby’s suggestions include: listening to your audience, conducting focus groups, doing A/B tests, and more to figure out what truly makes them tick.

You can also view data from past campaigns and even observe content from your competitors as well.

Make sure you spend time actually talking to your audience. It’s the best way to truly connect with them and to understand their personalities.

It’s also crucial to listen to what your audience has to say. Pay attention to what they’re writing about you on social media. Plus, you want to monitor which content they typically engage with the most.

Q4: Which emotion(s) make you buy a product or service?

We all have different driving factors behind what makes us purchase something. So, what makes you hit the “buy” button? Here are some things that trigger our community:

Elise has previously felt a major fear of missing out (FOMO) when seeing other people rave about a product. This is definitely a common motivator to make a purchase.

Even Tamara has felt the FOMO before!

A solution to a problem you’re struggling with is definitely reason to buy!

John is more likely to purchase something if he feels the seller has his best interests in mind. When purchasing, you want to know the product understands your pain points and will address them effectively.

For Bill, he doesn’t give into fear-based tactics. He would rather purchase something based on aspirational emotions, such as how he sees himself.

Gene feels the same as Bill. He’s not one to give into scare tactics, as it can sometimes come off as manipulative if you aren’t careful. For Gene, it’s more about trust and helpfulness.

Sometimes it could be deeper feelings, such as anxiety, that encourage you to buy.

Even a feeling of relief could be the driving force behind your next purchase!

Q5: What techniques can you use to target emotions with your content?

Now that you’re sold on the power of emotions, you probably want to start incorporating psychology into your content marketing. But how do you do that? Check out these tips:

Knowing the paint points of your audience really helps. Then, you’re able to follow Elise’s advice of sympathizing with them through your content. It shows you understand and makes them feel like you care.

Ray suggests where and when people are connecting with your content, as well as why and how they’re consuming it. Then, produce content, analyze it, and keep following these steps.

This “Hero’s Journey” technique that Eric shared is definitely worth trying out with your audience.

Bill knows you want to paint a picture for your audience. Show them what their life could be like with your product or service so they can see the value and how it’ll change things for them.

Imagery and social proof always make a difference!

You can also incorporate emotional storytelling, color psychology, and more.

And ultimately, just make sure you’re being authentic with people. If you’re being fake, they’ll see right through you and they’ll be turned off.

Q6: When was the last time you felt FOMO for a product/service all of your friends had, but you didn’t? What was it? And did you buy it?

Our community has felt FOMO too! Here are some things they wanted to buy so they didn’t feel left out among their friends:

Mara remembers the feeling of having a Blackberry while her friends and cousins had moved over to the iPhone. She ultimately made the switch as well.

When everyone on social media is raving about a chicken sandwich, sometimes it’s hard to avoid giving in and trying it for yourself.

For Gaby, it was a pair of boots. And she’s surely rocking them now that they’re part of her wardrobe!

And sometimes, FOMO makes you purchase some expensive things like a new laptop.

Sarah remains strong, however, and doesn’t give into FOMO!

Q7: How do you instantly grab a reader’s attention and convince them to read your content?

And to conclude the chat, we asked everyone to share some tips on how to grab a reader’s attention and keep them reading all the way through to the end of your content. These are some of the great tips that were shared:

It starts with understanding the needs of your audience. Put yourself in their shoes and consider what they want to read from you. Then, deliver it.

A great headline always wins!

You also want to be clear about the problem you’re solving for your reader. And of course, make sure you’re actively promoting it. Don’t wait for traffic to show up.

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Mark your calendars because it happens on the first Tuesday of every month! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest.

#ContentWritingChat, writing tips

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips to Take Your Content to the Next Level with Michelle Garrett

Has your writing been feeling a little lackluster lately?

Wondering how you can take it to the next level to create online content your readers will truly love?

Well, you’re in the right place!

This #ContentWritingChat recap is packed with helpful writing tips that help you improve your skills and create the best content possible.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips to Take Your Content to the Next Level with Michelle Garrett

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Michelle Garrett. She’s a writer, blogger, and PR consultant. Michelle has guest hosted #ContentWritingChat previously, so we were thrilled to have her with us again!

Q1: When building a brand, why is great writing so important?

Let’s face it… Some people just don’t see the value in high-quality content! Luckily for this Twitter chat community, we know just how powerful our content truly is. Here’s why:

The content you publish online communicates your brand’s voice. And as Michelle pointed out, you want to make sure it’s consistent across all the channels you’re using. Having guidelines for you and your team to follow can ensure everything is up to your standards and resonates with your target audience.

Jason also feels your writing sets the voice of your brand. It also plays a role in how people find you and whether or not they decide to do business with you.

Tamara knows great writing makes a difference. She said it can help influence your audience, persuade them to take action, educate them on a topic, boost visibility in search engines, and position you as an authority in your field.

Quality writing not only define your voice, but it’s essential to sharing your message, conveying your values, telling your story, and so much more!

As Lexie mentioned, your writing is likely going to be the first impression someone has of your brand. If your content is of poor quality, that’s going to be a major turn-off.

You want to make sure your writing is always top-notch. Make sure you’re effectively communicating your message and correcting any errors before publication. Don’t risk pushing your readers away due to mistakes that could be easily fixed.

Q2: What makes a piece of online content so captivating that it grabs attention and keeps people reading?

We know the content we publish is important. But how do we make sure that things like our blog posts are truly captivating to our readers? Keep these writing tips in mind if you need some help crafting appealing content:

Michelle knows that a strong lede is key to grabbing attention early on and drawing people into your content. You need to hook them from the start if you want them to keep reading.

A great headline is always crucial. Since it’s the first thing someone will see from your content, you want to make sure it strikes a cord with your target audience. Just make sure you always deliver on what your headline promises. No clickbait!

And of course, one key to captivating content is to always create with your audience in mind. Make sure the topics you write about are relevant to your brand and appealing to those who will be reading your content. Otherwise, they won’t bother!

This is a great example that Julia shared, which is worth saving to refer to later! From a specific headline to stats and great storytelling… This has it all.

As Rebecca said, having a unique voice, knowledge to share, great visuals, and something that can’t be easily replicated will really help your content stand out from the crowd.

Tamara feels captivating content needs to have an enticing title and headers, engaging content, visuals, and you need to address a pain point from your audience right off the bat.

Alexa agrees that visuals make all the difference! Don’t just publish one gigantic block of text. Incorporate visuals to help your readers better understand the topic you’re discussing.

Don’t forget to take the time to proofread. It’s one thing to make a mistake here and there, but error after error will likely send your readers running.

One of Jason’s best writing tips is to create content that emotionally connects with your audience. Get them invested in what you have to say. This really pulls them in and helps them form a stronger connection with your brand.

And finally, ditch the fluff! Captivating content is easy to read. But if you’re just stuffing blog posts with unnecessary information, you’ll wind up with exactly the opposite effect. Cut what isn’t necessary to your overall point.

Q3: When it comes to writing tips, what are the basics everyone should know?

If you’re looking to improve your writing skills, it helps to have the basics covered, right? Well, here’s what you should know:

It’s no secret that proofreading your work is an essential step before hitting publish. However, it’s still something that many people neglect. Like Michelle said, you shouldn’t rely solely on your spellcheck or tools like Grammarly. You want to read through it yourself. And if you can, walk away for a bit and come back later to review it with a fresh perspective.

Mara knows that having an editor can really help shape your content. If you don’t have someone on your team to help you with this, you can always ask a friend or family member to read through your work.

As Bill pointed out, it’s crucial that your content is addressing the questions, pain points, and struggles of your target audience. You want to create content with them in mind so it’ll resonate with them and provide value to their lives.

Carla encourages you to ask yourself: What are my readers interested in? What are the current trends that would appeal to my target audience? And what outcomes do I want to achieve from this content? Setting goals for your content is important!

One thing you should definitely ditch? Industry terms that your reader won’t understand. It’s going to put them off because they won’t comprehend what you’re saying. And they certainly don’t want to bust out the dictionary every time they read your posts!

Caitlin agrees that you need to use language your audience will understand. Put yourself in their shoes and consider the level they’re at.

Lexie shared one of the most important writing tips we should all remember: practice! It’s the best way to continually improve your skills over time.

Psst! Julia covers all the basic writing tips in her book that she published in 2016. It has tons of relevant information for all online content creators and is worth checking out.

Q4: Are there any writing tips you learned in school that you completely ignore now? If so, what are they?

The reality is, the world of online content is certainly different from the writing we were doing back in our school days. So, which tips have we ditched completely?

While Michelle still relies on a lot of teachings she learned when studying journalism, she knows that sometimes inverted pyramid style just doesn’t work. It really depends on the particular piece of content you’re creating.

Julia’s advice is to ditch the essay-style language you were taught. It just doesn’t work for online writing. Luckily, she shared a few resources that can help us create better content for the web.

Tamara was taught that it was better to write using more advanced language. Now, she knows that it doesn’t always work that way. You have to write in a way that’s understandable for your target audience, otherwise they won’t be able to read your content.

While we were once taught not to end a sentence with a preposition, we don’t have to worry that someone is going to mark up our online content with red pen. This means you’re free to write in the way you’d naturally speak to someone!

Alexa doesn’t care what anyone else thinks… She’s sticking with her beloved Oxford comma!

Gone are the days where we have to put two spaces after a period. And let’s be real… Online, no one really cares if you start a sentence with words like “And” or “But.” So, go for it!

And Lauren has learned that hitting a specific length for your content just isn’t necessary these days. It’s better to keep your writing clear and concise and only use as many words as needed to get your point across.

These days, you’re free to get creative and inject your personality into the work you create. It doesn’t need to be bland. You don’t have to follow rules you disagree with. Just do your thing!

Q5: What are some signs of both good and bad writing that we should be aware of?

These writing tips will help you improve your skills so you don’t drift over to the dark side:

Errors can really send your readers running, so always take the time to proofread! While sometimes smart, creative writing can save you… It’s still better to take those extra few minutes to make final edits before hitting publish.

Bill feels that good writing answers the questions your audience has and quickly delivers value. Don’t beat around the bush here. Get to the point!

Sarah says good writing is easy to read and understand and showcases your credibility. Bad writing, however, is hard to read and disorganized. And of course, typos and grammatical errors are major no-nos.

Mara isn’t a fan of writing errors either. She says it’s obvious when someone didn’t take the time to proofread their work. Even though it’s not a fun task, it makes a huge difference in the long run.

Your writing also needs to flow from one sentence to the next and one paragraph to the next. If it’s choppy, readers might not make it all the way through your content.

Julia said bad writing is: boring, doesn’t have clear points, lacks practical advice, and is filled with fluff. Good writing is clear and concise, offers practical takeaways, features expert insights, and is fun, readable, and engaging for the reader.

And just take a look at these examples that Julia shared! Which one is easier to read? The second one, of course. Formatting makes a huge difference when it comes to online content and big blocks of texts can push readers away.

Q6: What are some fun ways we can work to improve our writing daily?

We all strive to be better writers, don’t we? Well, the thing is… We can’t just scour the web reading writing tips. We actually have to put what we’ve learned into practice. And here’s some advice to help you make that happen:

Michelle shared tons of great tips with us! First and foremost, she encourages all of us to write every single day. After all, the best way to improve your skills is to practice. She also said you can write about topics that matter to you. It doesn’t need to be related to your work. Allow yourself to have fun and get creative here!

If you aren’t sure what to write about, take Eric’s advice. Use writing prompts to get those creative juices flowing. You can find plenty for free online to get you started.

Kathryn shared some fun ideas, such as rewriting the headlines you see on major news sites. It’s great practice for crafting headlines that grab attention, which is something that even experienced writers can struggle with. She said you can even try writing a story backwards, which is sure to be an interesting challenge!

Coffee haikus and taglines that never were sure sounds fun to us! Plus, it’s even better when you get your whole team involved.

Even something as simple as what you’re writing you’re grateful for counts!

And why not keep a journal on hand to inspire your daily writing habit?

Gaby suggests reading content from others, practicing writing often, reading through your pieces aloud, and reading a friend’s content and providing feedback while they do the same for you.

Consume content from other writers you admire and even ones you don’t. You can learn a lot about what you like and dislike this way.

Carla finds it helpful to review her own writing. You can read content you created in the past and see where improvements can be made.

And of course, don’t be afraid to take risks! Sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for your writing.

Q7: Are there any resources we can turn to for writing tips? Any writers we can learn from?

If you’re looking for some great sources to help strengthen your writing, make sure you check out these recommendations:

These are all fantastic resources that Michelle shared with the chat!

One great option is to involve yourself in local writing groups. It’s a great way to learn, but also to make friendships with local writers. If there aren’t any nearby, there are online communities you can join too.

Gaby’s favorites include Grammarly, the Hemingway App, Merriam Webster for looking up new words, Copyblogger, and Coursera.

For Jennifer, Grammarly is a go-to tool to improve her writing.

Jake loves Grammarly as well, but he also likes to read content from Copyblogger and SmartBlogger.

And a great tip from Terry! If you really want to take it to the next level, learn more about psychology because it can help you better understand why readers react to content the way they do.

Q8: Open Q&A for Michelle!

At the end of the chat, we wanted to give everyone one last chance to learn some great writing tips from Michelle. So, we opened it up for questions! Here are a few:

Try to write more like a person would sound if they were talking.

Whether you’re B2C or B2B, remember that you’re still writing for humans at the end of the day.

And if you’re looking to find more freelance writing jobs, Jen Gregory is someone Michelle recommends checking out!

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

running a podcast

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Launching & Running a Captivating Podcast in 2019 with Ross Brand

It’s safe to say that audio content is HOT right now. And it has continued to gain popularity over the past few years.

With more people jumping on the podcasting bandwagon, there’s a good chance the thought of launching one of your own has crossed your mind.

If so, you’re in luck! This #ContentWritingChat recap is packed with amazing tips for starting a podcast and making sure it’s a success.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Launching & Running a Captivating Podcast in 2019 with Ross Brand

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Ross Brand. Ross is a broadcast consultant and talk show host. He’s been a guest on #ContentWritingChat before and it’s always a delight to have him join us!

Q1: What makes podcasting a content format worth considering in 2019? Is it something that anyone should do?

Before you dive in and start recording your first episode, we need to determine if podcasting is the right move for you. Here’s what you need to know:

Ross feels podcasting is a personal form of communication that has the potential to hold a person’s interests longer. As he pointed out, podcasts are great for listening while doing other things. And with average listening times longer than viewing times on videos, that’s definitely a plus.

Sarah also mentioned how podcasts are perfect for multitasking. You can easily tune in while working out, commuting, taking care of chores, etc.

Ross also said that not everyone needs to have a podcast. If you don’t enjoy podcasting, don’t force it! Consider your talents and where you really shine. That’s where you should direct your focus. You’ll also want to consider whether or not your target audience listens to podcasts. If they aren’t listening, it probably won’t be worth it.

Jason agrees that podcasting isn’t necessarily for everyone, but it is something anyone can do if it’s where your heart is. Getting started doesn’t have to be difficult and we’ll share more tips on that in a moment.

These stats are proving the growing popularity of podcasts! 32% of people listen to a podcast at least once per month, but many tune in more frequently. Wouldn’t you like to throw your podcast into the mix? If the answer is yes, keep reading!

Q2: You’re ready to get started with your very first podcast… What are the essentials that you need?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to have tons of expensive equipment to launch a podcast. You can easily get started with just a few essentials.

First, you’ll definitely need a microphone, a quiet space to record, and software to capture all of your audio. Ross shared some fo his favorites to help you get started, so definitely check those out.

And of course you’ll need a place to host your podcast. Recommendations from Ross include Spreaker, Libsyn, Podbean, and Simplecast. Then, you’ll need to send an RSS feed to Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeart Radio to reach your audience where they’re tuning in.

Jason’s podcasting essentials include a decent microphone (which doesn’t have to break the bank), a computer, and a stable internet connection. With plenty of free tools to record your audio, you’ll be ready to go in no time.

Ray actually started his podcast in 2011 by just using iPhone. Although he eventually upgraded to a fancier setup, it’s a reminder that you can get started with what you have right now. Don’t feel the pressure to have the best of the best in terms of equipment. You can always upgrade later.

Besides all the tech, it’s also important that you have a strategic content plan. Caitlin knows this is essential to running a podcast because you want to make sure you’re providing value to your listeners and giving them what they want.

It’s also wise to consider things such as: the topic of your podcast, whether you’ll add video as well, the frequency, and more. Plan it out!

Q3: No one wants their listeners to tune out, so how do you keep them intrigued all the way through your episode?

The last thing you want is for someone to fall asleep listening to your podcast. So, how can you hold their attention and prevent them from getting distracted? Check out these tips:

Ross suggests keeping your intro brief, avoiding a long series of announcements, and keeping your intro music short to begin with. He also advises keeping most of the calls to action until the end of the podcast, which is when they’ll be more likely to follow-up anyway. Another tip he shared was to keep your energy throughout and ditch parts where the episode lags.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix it up! You don’t have to do things exactly the same way that other podcasters do. You can experiment and see what works best for you and your listeners.

Tell a story in your episodes and you’ll take your listeners on a journey with you. They’ll be so engaged that they won’t want to stop listening.

This format from Ray is worth trying out with an episode of your own! Adding a teaser to the beginning lets listeners know what to expect and intrigues them enough to keep listening.

Sarah wants to hear a lively conversation between the host and the guest. Choosing the right guests and topics makes a huge difference. And don’t forget to lead listeners to a call to action.

Q4: Many podcast episodes feature interviews. Can you share some tips on being a great host when working with guests?

When running a podcast, you’re likely going to be doing interviews with guests. This can feel intimidating if you’ve never interviewed someone before, but it doesn’t have to be scary. These tips will ensure it’s a hit:

Always research your guest before the episode to come up with questions that are relevant. You’ll want to consider current projects that your guest is working on because that will always be great to discuss. And as Ross said, make sure you’re listening to your guests as they speak.

Kathryn suggests sending the questions to your guest ahead of time. This allows for any changes to be made, plus your guest can come prepared. Once you hop on the call, ask your questions, listen, and just let the conversation flow.

It also helps to discuss the podcast ahead of time. What’s your show all about? What is your audience most interested in? How will the process of recording the episode go? All of these things will prep your guest ahead of time.

Q5: As a podcast host, should you also create show notes for listeners to check out? What are the pros and cons?

Show notes are common for podcasters to create along with each episode. But are they really worth it? Let’s weigh the pros and cons…

Ross feels the only downside to creating show notes is that they can be time-consuming. However, they do provide benefits that you might want to take advantage of. You can add CTAs with links, links to related content or paid offerings, and it’s a bonus for SEO.

Caitlin feels show notes can be really helpful. It’s an opportunity to cite research, mention important resources, and more. This is your place to add any relevant links so they’re easier for listeners to access.

For Sarah, she loves having the option to scan show notes before she commits to listening to a podcast episode. And as she mentioned, it helps with SEO too.

Alexis agrees show notes are great for SEO, but she feels providing a full transcript is even better. In those cases, it makes your podcast more accessible. If someone is hearing-impaired, they can read the show notes instead.

Julia always has show notes for The Write Podcast. The team here at Express Writers puts them together and they’ve helped increase shares, mentions, and links.

Q6: Now that you’re steadily pumping out new podcast episodes, what action steps can you take to get new listeners?

Once you have content ready to go, you need to start earning listeners. They won’t always just come to you, so it’s better to be proactive! These tips will help you attract more people:

Make sure you’re sharing your podcast episodes on your social media channels and with your email list. Ross suggests sharing clips of the episodes to leave your audience wanting more. You can also go live to connect with listeners and dive deeper into episodes while answering their questions.

Also, don’t just submit your podcast to Apple. There are other platforms, like Spotify, to consider as well!

Ray suggests taking action to get your podcast listed on various directories. This can help you gain exposure to so many more people.

Michelle suggests repurposing your podcast episodes into other pieces of content. You can create blog posts from them, pull quotes to create social media posts, and so much more.

Don’t forget to ask for reviews! This will help draw people in who come across your podcast for the first time since they can see what other listeners have to say about it.

Q7: How do you know if podcasting is working for you? What kind of feedback or metrics should you be watching for?

When it comes to your podcast, you likely want it to be a success. But what exactly does a successful podcast look like? Which metrics are important to track? Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:

If you’re podcasting as a hobby, the metrics likely won’t matter as much to you. You won’t necessarily be worried about subscriber growth and conversions, which is totally okay.

However, if you’re podcasting for business… You’ll want to see the value in all the work you’re putting in. Are you generating income from the podcast? You’ll want to make sure you can identify which clients and customers came from your podcast. It’s important to see your audience taking action.

Another great piece of advice from Ross is that you should always listen to your audience. It doesn’t matter if your podcast is a hobby or for business. Learn about their interests and consider this when creating future episodes.

If you see that guests are interested in coming soon your show, you’re getting a good amount of listens/downloads, and the average listen time is great… Then you’re on the right track!

Another thing to watch out for is engagement on social media. Is your podcast generating conversations? And if so, what are people saying?

Julia also agrees that conversations are important. There’s nothing more satisfying that seeing conversations taking place around the work you’ve created.

Ray suggests looking at the reviews listeners leave. This will give you a good idea of what’s working and what’s not.

Q8: What’s one thing all podcast hosts can do moving forward to ensure their episodes are captivating and their show is successful?

To end the chat, we asked everyone to share a final piece of advice for all podcast hosts. Here are a few of the responses we received:

Ross said to find the sweet spot of what you enjoy creating, what your talents are suited for, and what resonates with your audience. When you can do this, you stand a better chance at creating a captivating podcast. When you’re passionate and can bring the energy, it shows.

Know your audience! Create a podcast because you know your audience is interested in this format and record episodes with them in mind.

When you know what resonates with your current readers, you can plan your next steps and create the content they’re interested in tuning into.

Julia’s advice is to consider the interests of your audience, allow your guest room to voice their thoughts, avoid controversy, and end with a CTA.

Listen to other podcasts! You can learn a lot from other creators, whether they’re in your field or not. Don’t be afraid to branch out.

And finally, Jason said to keep it interesting for you, your guests, and your audience.

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

influential content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Influential Content & Become a Strong Editor with Stephanie Stahl

Want to learn how you can create influential online content?

Wondering how you can strengthen your editing skills and polish everything you write before hitting publish?

Well, you’re in the right place! In this month’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about becoming a better writer and editor. Let’s dive into the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Influential Content & Become a Strong Editor with Stephanie Stahl

Our guest host for this chat was Stephanie Stahl. She’s the General Manager for our friends over at Content Marketing Institute. And we were so thrilled to have her joining us to share some of her top content creation and editing tips with us!

Q1: What qualities make a piece of content influential?

We all want to create influential content that resonates with our target audience, right? But you might be wondering what exactly makes a piece of content influential and which qualities you should embody. Here’s what you need to know:

Stephanie feels influential content contains three key qualities: credibility, creativity, and emotion. Does your content have these things?

For Gaby, it’s all about having a solid understanding of who your audience is. You simply cannot create the content they’re searching for if you don’t take the time to get to know them!

Jason feels influential content should trigger an emotional response in your reader. This is a huge part of establishing a connection with your audience.

According to Gene, influential content should be well-written, well-researched, and show deep insight.

Authority is a must for influential content! Kristen feels you can show your authority through your own experiences, but also through research and opinions.

Rebecca also feels that influential content should have an authoritative voice.

Lexie said that content is influential when it makes you think and act. Is your content inspiring your readers to take action?

Alexa’s advice is to make sure your content is engaging. She also said you should provide something useful to your audience, not something redundant.

Q2: How can you be sure you’re creating content that resonates with your target audience?

It’s important that our content is written with our target audience in mind, but is there a way to make sure it’ll resonate before hitting publish? Check out this advice:

As Stephanie said, you need to treat your audience like your best friend. Get to know what they like and what they don’t so you can create the content that’s most appealing.

Kylee knows that you can’t start writing unless you’ve done your research about who your target audience is.

Lexie agrees that it’s all about getting to know your audience first. Talk to them and build a relationship first so you can understand their needs.

Active listening is where it’s at! Gaby knows this is a great way to discover what your audience is interested in and what they need help with.

One thing you can pay close attention to is whether or not your audience is converting on your content. As Sarah said, you want your audience to take some type of action after reading your post. If not, it’s time to make some changes.

Like Michelle said, sometimes it just requires a little trial and error to figure out what works best for you and your audience when striving to create influential content.

You’ll want to pay close attention to your metrics if you want to figure out what’s truly performing the best. Caitlin suggests looking at the common qualities that your most popular pieces of content share. You can even ask for feedback from readers.

While you’re doing some trial and error, your analytics will become your best friend. As Alexa pointed out, the data you find here will help you create content that resonates.

Q3: What are the essential elements that every great piece of online content should have?

So, you want to make sure your content stands out! Well, there are a few things that great content always has. Here they are:

For Stephanie, great content has credible research, compelling interviews, an empathetic voice, and a little bit of drama. She also said it’s important to help your reader understand any facts and figures you quote so they’ll see why it matters.

Gene knows that a winning headline is key to a great piece of content! If your headline isn’t grabbing attention, people won’t bother to click. Just avoid clickbait titles!

Sarah said content should speak directly to your audience, include a CTA, have credibility, and be easy to read. She also suggests having a good visual layout and overall experience for website visitors.

Headers, images, and links! All three of these elements are essential according to Rebecca. Use headers to split your blog post into sections and break up text. Images help provide captivating visuals. And links give readers more content to consume on the topic.

Lauren agrees that visual elements are a must for influential content. Plus, they’re great for sharing on social media.

Claire’s advice is to make sure your copy is friendly and relatable. This will draw your audience in, not repel them. Plus, she mentioned the importance of cutting down on jargon, particularly if it’s something your audience won’t understand. Write in a way that’s easy for them to get what you’re talking about.

Q4: Are there any key things editors should keep an eye on during the editing process? Tips to make it easier?

Editing your content doesn’t have to be stressful! If you can outsource it, that’s great. But if not, this important tasks falls on your shoulders. These tips will help you polish your content so it shines:

This is great advice from Stephanie!

Lexie suggests reading through a piece of content in its entirety before making any edits. This way, you can see if it paints the full picture you envisioned. If not, you’ll have some changes to make.

Gene loves to use the Hemingway app to make sure his writing is clear and easy to read. The app helps him keep sentences short and understandable. And since he keeps paragraphs short, it makes his content more readable.

Reading your content aloud can make a huge difference! This helps Lauren spot any mistakes she might have missed.

One piece of advice that Gaby shared was to use a style guide. You can create one for your own content or refer to one if you’re working with a client. This way, you can be more consistent in the voice you write with and the overall appearance of the content.

Think about the education level of your readers before you begin writing and while editing. As Caitlin said, sometimes the writer can be more advanced in an area than the reader. This can lead to the usage of jargon or complex ideas that your audience might not understand.

Q5: What are the top mistakes writers make when editing their content and how can editors help them?

When it comes to editing, we sometimes make mistakes! To avoid them, check out these mistakes shared during the chat so you can be on the lookout:

Being too wordy is definitely a no-no! Stephanie knows a great editor can help cut out any unnecessary words while still keeping the main points in tact.

Not editing your work is definitely a mistake! While it may be tedious at time, it’s worth it to review your content before hitting publish.

Since Sarah edits her own content, she knows how challenging it can be sometimes. Her advice is to step away for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes. This way, you’ll be more likely to catch mistakes and spot places for improvement.

Michelle’s advice is to read your work aloud, take some time away and then return to it, use a tool and/or a human editor to catch mistakes, and change the font to better spot errors.

Lauren says you shouldn’t rely on the same old words and phrases all the time. Don’t be afraid to switch things up a bit!

When it comes to editing, you also have to recognize when enough is enough.

Q6: When editing a blog post, how can we determine its readability and whether or not it will captivate our readers?

Readability is very important when it comes to your blog posts. But what exactly makes a post readable? These tips will help!

If an editor stumbles over details, gets confused by the point, or gets bored… That’s a sign something needs to change. If your editor feels like that, there’s a good chance your reader will too.

Lexie suggests reading through your content from start to finish without making edits. Were you able to get through it or did you get bored? Boring content needs some work!

Jennifer suggests using the readability analysis in WordPress if that’s where your site is hosted. It can provide some helpful insights into where you can make improvements.

Kylee knows that big chunks of text are definitely a NO! She also said to make sure your content flows from one paragraph to the next.

Having big chunks of text makes your posts harder to read. Break things up into smaller paragraphs, utilize headings, bulleted lists, and images to enhance readability.

Q7: Are there any tools you rely on to be both a better writer and editor?

There are plenty of tools out there that can improve our writing and editing skills. Which ones are worth trying out though? Here are a few suggestions:

Stephanie knows there are plenty of great tools out there, but sometimes it just doesn’t compare to a red pen!

Julia suggests taking in reader feedback, get critiques from a pro, and to read and write often.

Lexie knows that it’s all about practice. To be a better writer, you have to consistently practice writing.

Gaby is definitely a fan of Grammarly!

Lauren relies on Google Docs because it’s easy to use when editing content. It allows you to leave notes and see where changes have been made.

Danielle’s go-to tools include CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and the Hemingway app.

Mara is also a Grammarly fan, but she also knows that her co-workers make all the difference when it comes to editing.

Never stop reading! You can get so much inspiration from reading what others have written. But as Lauren suggested, just try putting your own spin on things.

Q8: If we want to strengthen our content creation skills, are there any resources we should check out?

While you’re checking out all of those suggested tools, here are some additional resources to use:

Gaby suggests taking online classes, reading case studies, collaborating with others, and more. All are great options for strengthening your skills.

Danielle loves to listen to the interviews on the Longform podcast.

Influential content just isn’t the same without great graphics! Our favorite is Canva, but Michelle also loves Pablo by Buffer.

Ready to join #ContentWritingChat for yourself? We chat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.