social media content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Brand Social Media Content that Stands Out in 2017 with Jessie Simms

Did you catch #ContentWritingChat this past Tuesday? We talked all about how to creating social media content in 2017 and the chat was filled with amazing tips that will turn you into a social media sensation. Check it out in our recap and start putting these tips to use for yourself!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Brand Social Media Content that Stands Out in 2017 with Jessie Simms

This week, our guest host was Jessie Simms. Jessie is a Social Media Specialist at Page 1 Solutions and assists with their bi-weekly Twitter chat, #Page1Chat. She joined us to share her knowledge on creating social media content for brands so that you can stand out on the platforms you use this year.

Q1: Which social media platforms are important to be on in 2017?

With so many social media platforms available to us today, it can be hard to choose which ones you should invest your time in. To help you out, check out these suggestions for which platforms you should be using this year:

As Jessie said, you need to be where your audience is That’s always the number one priority when deciding which social media platforms are worth your time. She said that if Snapchat and live video make sense for your brand, they’re worth trying out. So, figure out if your audience is using Snapchat or if they’re tuning into live video broadcasts. If they are, give it a go!

Sarah from ThinkSEM agrees with Jessie’s advice. Figure out where your audience is and where you are getting the best results with your content. That will give you an idea of which platforms work the best for you and your brand.

This is great advice from Bill. Find out where your audience spends their time, but also consider which platforms make the most sense for your content and the goals you’re trying to achieve. It’s all about finding the platforms that for YOU and that might not be the same as what someone else is using.

Our CEO, Julia, said her top three platforms are Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Not only should you consider where your audience is spending their time, but it’s also a good idea to choose the platforms that you enjoy creating content for.

Instagram is a great platform to be on this year. If you already have a presence there, now is the time to step it up by using Instagram Stories and Instagram Live. These newer features are key ways to connect with your audience this year.

Kristi knows that video is going to be big in 2017, as it has been for the past few years. Video content provides a powerful way to connect and develop a relationship with your audience, so now is the time to use it. She recommends using Instagram and Snapchat, plus Facebook Live.

If you find that a platform just isn’t working for you, there’s no need to force it. Every social media platform won’t work for every brand. So, if you’re not getting the results you were hoping for, try switching up your strategy first. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to part ways. There’s no point in investing time and energy into a platform that just doesn’t click for you.

Q2: How can you figure out exactly what your audience wants to see on your social media profiles?

Once you’ve chosen the platforms you want to use for your brand, you need to begin creating content. However, that’s often easier said than done. To start off, you need to figure out what your audience is interested in seeing from you. Here are some tips to help you figure that out:

Jessie recommends seeing what your audience is already engaging with. You can do this by sharing content you think they’d like and seeing what their response is. Check your analytics to see which posts get the most clicks, replies, and shares.

“Listen” is the keyword in Erica’s tweet. It’s so important to take the time to actually listen to what your audience is saying if you hope to get to know them better. You’ll find out which content resonates with them and what they’d like to see more of.

Andy said to look to some of the leaders in your industry. Check out what they’re doing to see what’s working for them and what’s not. You don’t want to copy them, but you can get an idea of what resonates with their audience and try something similar for yourself. You can even look at the questions they’re asked most often and address them with your own content.

As Julia mentioned, you can even go on sites like Answer the Public or Quora to find out what your audience is asking. When you know what they need help with, you can deliver it to them.

If you really aren’t sure where to get started, you can always ask your audience what they’d like to see. Ask what their interests are and what they’re struggling with. You can then create the content that appeals to them. It really is as simple as that! It’s also a good idea to run tests to find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Once you figure out what your audience is resonating with, start creating more of that kind of content. Be sure to track the results you’re getting, including the all important conversions. If your conversions aren’t happening, then something needs to be tweaked.

Q3: Do you suggest using an editorial calendar to plan out your social media content in advance?

If you’re a blogger, you likely use an editorial calendar to plan out your post topics so you can stay organized. So, have you tried using an editorial calendar for your social media content? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say on Tuesday:

Jessie agrees that it’s good to plan content in advance, but she said it’s important to be flexible. You may need to make changes in order to accommodate trends or hot topics that pop up. She also said to make sure you’re not just automating posts and forgetting to engage with your audience. In order to build a relationship with them, you need to be present by talking to them.

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing and Jeremy both agree that flexibility is key when creating an editorial calendar for your social media content. You need to be open to tweaking your content.

Make sure you also incorporate timely posts into your social media sharing as well. These are posts that can’t be planned, but helps to keep things “real-time” and more personable.

A calendar helps you to see what’s coming up in the near future. Plus, when you already have ideas planned out, it’ll help to alleviate the stress of coming up with content at the last minute.

Q4: What tools do you love for managing social media?

Here at Express Writers, we don’t hide our love for Buffer when it comes to scheduling social media content. We wanted to find out which tools our Twitter chat friends liked using and here’s what some of them had to say:

Jessie is a fan of SproutSocial, which is a great platform for managing your social media presence.

Just like Erica, we have to spread that Buffer love! We use Buffer to schedule social media content for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

For Lex, her two go-to tools for social media are Hootsuite and Google spreadsheets.

Jill likes using Buffer and Hootsuite for her personal accounts, but her work uses Social Studio.

Buffer, Hootsuite, IFTTT, Crowdire, and TweetDeck are must-have tools for Varun. He also likes to use the native social media apps, many of which have their own analytics built-in. All of these tools will come in handy when scheduling social media content and tracking.

If you’re looking for tools to manage your Pinterest presence, BoardBooster and Tailwind are fantastic options, as Leah suggested.

The Digital Natives team recently started using Sendible for their social media management. We haven’t heard of this one before, but it sounds like it’s worth checking out!

Michelle relies on social listening tools such as Mention, Brand Watch, and Google Alerts to stay updated. These are definitely worth checking out if you want to see what your audience is saying.

Q5: Talk about the kinds of content that stand out in a busy feed.

Considering social media is so populated and we’re often following a lot of people, it can be hard to stand out in a busy feed. If you want to get your content noticed every time you post, keep these tips in mind:

Jessie knows how powerful a great image can be when it comes to grabbing the attention of your audience and getting them to take notice. She mentioned that GoPro does a great job with the visuals they share and Tasty is fantastic at making mouth-watering recipe videos.

When sharing photos or videos, make sure they complement your written content by being relevant and telling a story. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and to inspire them to take action.

Here at Express Writers, we ensure our graphics are amazing by having a professional design take care of it. It’s made a huge difference in our social media content and our blog content.

Consider adding a meme, a GIF, or a photo to your posts. When people are scrolling through their feed, it’ll be your visual that catches their eye and makes them stop.

Those visuals are a sure-fire way to grab attention!

Infographics are always a great option for social sharing, plus video continues to become even more popular.

Outside of including a great visual with your post, you should also use the right hashtags to get noticed by your target audience. Hashtags will increase your likelihood of getting discovered, so make sure you’re using them.

Sarah’s recipe for a fantastic social media post includes: a catching headline, a great images, relevancy, and solving a problem your audience is dealing with.

Q6: Describe the types of posts that work best on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

If you’re cross-posting the same content to multiple platforms, you’re doing it wrong! You need to adapt each post you share to the platform you’re sharing it on. Here are some tips on what works for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram:

When it comes to Instagram, it’s all about visuals. Share high-quality photos and have fun with Boomerang clips. For Facebook, give video a go and see how your audience responds to it. Keep it short and sweet on Twitter to get the best results with your social media content.

Due to the character limitations on Twitter, you don’t have a lot of room to work with. For that reason, Sarah knows you need to have a catchy title and an image that will grab the attention of your audience.

Even though Facebook may allow you to go well beyond Twitter’s character limit, that doesn’t mean you should. BuzzSumo recently released a study that said shorter Facebook posts perform the best.

On Twitter, share news and timely posts. Post amazing images on Instagram.

No matter what you share or where you’re sharing it, make sure that you have your target audience in mind. Create the content that is relevant to them and encourage them to take action.

Great answer from Jeremy! Your content should be simple, authentic, powerful, and helpful with an emotional hook. It should also tell a story and solve a problem for your audience.

Jacob offered up a helpful tip when it comes to creating social media visuals. He said to make sure you’re using the right size. Each platform recommends a specific image size and tools like Canva make it easy to design specifically for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more.

Q7: What steps can you take to make sure your content gets more traction and clicks?

When posting to social media, it’s all about making those conversions happen, right? In order to get results, you want to make sure your social media content is being seen and that people are actually clicking on your links. For some help, read through this advice from the chat:

You’re sure to see results when you follow Jessie’s advice! Make sure that you stay authentic and true to your brand with everything you post. Don’t forget to also engage with your audience instead of letting your profile because 100% automated. And, as always, be strategic about your content and track your results.

As Julia said, you need to analyze and track your social media content. This is the only way to figure out what’s actually working for you and what’s not. When you know what does work, you can create more of that content to keep seeing great results.

Ask your audience what they want to see from you if you aren’t sure. Then, create the kind of content they want and need. Make sure you’re following that up by evaluating how each piece of content did. Your analytics should be your best friend.

Track, analyze, and test! As Maria said, there are always ways to perform better with your content and your analytics will show you where to improve.

Jeff said to test, explore, and interact. That’s key to social media success!

Lauren’s advice is to stop posting just for the sake of posting. You should only be publishing content that is valuable to your audience. There’s no need to clog up someone’s social media feed with a bunch of fluff.

Cassandra said to share the content that is relevant to your audience and add keywords and hashtags. This will help to get more eyes on your content.

Don’t get too caught up in the numbers game. The amount of followers you have isn’t doing you any good if they aren’t the right people for your brand. Attract your target audience by sharing relevant content.

One other thing you can do? Join us for #ContentWritingChat and implement all of the helpful tips you learn. You’ll be a social media sensation in no time at all! Thanks, Elliot!

Q8: Will live video be important to your social media strategy in 2017? Should it? Discuss strategies to succeed when going live.

Live video continues to be the popular thing when it comes to social media, so more and more brand are taking action. Here’s what we found out from our chat participants regarding live video:

As Jessie said, live video is great because it gives the audience the inside look into a brand. It’s fun, authentic, and relatable, which really speaks to your audience and draws them in. However, she also said you need to have a purpose for going live. Create a loose plan for what you want to talk about so you can provide value to those that tune in.

If live video is something your audience is tuning into and it fits with your content marketing plan, it’s worth trying it out this year. If it doesn’t work out, don’t sweat it.

Because live video feels more personal and less formal, it’s what draws so many people to tune in. It’s sure to help in building that know, like, and trust factor with your audience.

Live video is something that Jeff has been experimenting with. Even if you don’t have it all figured out yet, such as where you’ll go live or what to talk about, that’s fine. It’s just important to recognize that it’s a growing trend and you should try it out at least once!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!


#ContentWritingChat Recap: Top Content & Strategy Tips to Support Live Video with Jennifer Radke

Did you catch this week’s #ContentWritingChat? Whether you missed the chat or you’re in need of a refresher, you’re in luck! We have a recap of our latest chat and it’s filled with all kinds of amazing tips that are sure to help you become a live video pro. Keep reading to check it out!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Top Content & Strategy Tips to Support Live Video with Jennifer Radke

Our guest host this week was Jennifer Radke. She’s passionate about social media and is the CEO of the National Institute for Social Media. Jen joined this week’s chat to talk all about live video, as it continues to be very popular in the social media world. She shared some amazing tips with us that will help you make your your next live video (or your first) amazing!

Q1: Platforms for live video: how do you pick live platforms to fit you or your brand? Why?

There are many live video platforms these days and it can be hard to decide which one is right for your brand. You can use Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or even Periscope. So, how do you pick? Check out this advice:

Jen’s advice is to consider where your audience is already, plus the functions and features of the platform. You want to make sure that they live video platform you use is really going to work for you and allow you to get the best results possible.

Tracy said to figure out where your followers are. Find out what they care about and what they talk about. These are all great things to consider when choosing a platform.

It’s always a great idea to start with the platforms your audience is already using. It’s the best way to ensure your broadcast is being seen by the right people.

In addition to determining where your audience is and whether or not it’s going to support your goals, Sara recommends finding out if you can repurpose it. Being able to repurpose your live broadcast is very beneficial.

It’s often easier to start with the platforms you’re already familiar with. If you already have a following there, there’s a huge bonus. If you have a good following on your Facebook page, try Facebook Live. The same goes for Instagram.

This is great advice from the Digital Natives team!

Q2: Live video sessions: what steps should you take to prepare?

Now that you’ve chosen a platform to do your live video broadcast, it’s time to go live! So, what can you do to prepare? These tips will help ensure everything goes smoothly:

Jen suggests knowing what your goals are before you go live. What’s the reason you’re going live and what do you hope to achieve with your broadcast? You should also write an outline so you know what you’ll talk about. And don’t forget to make sure all your technology is working beforehand. There’s nothing more frustrating than technical difficulties!

Another great idea is to promote your live broadcast before it actually begins. If you’re going to be talking about a hot topic you know your audience will love, tell them beforehand so they don’t miss out.

Have some notes written before you go live. You don’t want to write out a full script because that’s not genuine and in the moment. However, it’s a good idea to have some main talking points in mind that you can refer to. This will ensure you don’t lose track and you can refer to it if there’s a lull in engagement from your viewers.

Lexie advises not relying on the questions you receive in comments from your viewers. If no one shows up or you don’t get any questions, you’ll have nothing to talk about. Know what you want to chat about before you go live.

Cassandra said to write out your talking points and also knowing how you’re going to handle questions and engaging with your audience. This will help make sure your broadcast is great.

Georgina’s advice is to focus on providing timely value and showcasing you personality. That’s what will make people keep watching.

Be prepared for anything! It’s live video and you never know what could happen.

Q3: How can live video support existing content strategies?

Are you still not convinced on how live video can work with your existing content? These tweets will tell you why it’s a must:

Jen suggests repurposing your content in live videos as a way to reach a different audience. You can get even more people checking out your stuff this way.

As Jessie said, people enjoy seeing inside your brand. Live video provides a way to give your audience the behind-the-scenes scoop.

The Digital Natives team agrees when it comes to behind-the-scenes content. Give people a look inside your latest campaign, an event, or your day-to-day work.

Shereese brought up a great point about how live video can give you automatic feedback from your audience. It’s very helpful!

Leah said to use your live video as a way to direct people to even more content. Provide a call to action and give them the next step so they know where to go when the broadcast is over.

Video will give your existing content a new voice, which is a great way to connect with your audience.

Gabriela said live video can appeal to a visual audience, humanize your brand, and help you connect with your audience emotionally via storytelling.

Q4: Discuss how to repurpose live video and how to use live recordings in other content types.

You don’t have to let your live video disappear after 24 hours or let it sit on one platform. You can repurpose it so more people outside of the live viewers can enjoy it. Check out these tips:

Jen suggests taking smaller pieces of your live video and creating quotes or sharing statistics. You can even write a blog post recap about your broadcast.

For platforms that allow you to download and save your live video broadcast, you can upload them to YouTube. This will allow your audience to watch it again and again, whenever is convenient.

It’s a good idea to consider some of the questions you get asked during a live session because they could become future blog posts.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas. You can take transcripts from your live video and repurpose it into recaps for your blog, infographics, or quotes. They’re all great ideas!

Tracy recommends editing your video into shorter snippets and sharing them as quick tips. You can also add subtitles or use your video as a boosted post on Facebook.

Q5: Authenticity is important in live video. How do you keep it authentic while prepping in advance?

You don’t want your live video to seem rehearsed, so you need to keep it genuine and authentic. Here’s how to do it:

Jen said not to over practice beforehand. You don’t want the video to have a scripted feel, so just go with the flow. If you make a mistake, it’s no big deal.

Come with a topic and talking points in mind, but don’t prepare a script. It just won’t flow and it’s not the way a live video on social media should be.

Matt said to keep your message natural, not canned. As others have already said, ditch the script.

Focus on informing your audience and providing value to them. While it’s okay to sell via your live broadcasts, don’t be overly salesy or pushy.

As Debi said, if you know what you’re talking about, it should come easily to you. You just need to relax and go with the flow during your broadcast. Don’t overthink it too much.

A huge yes to everything Gabriela said here!

As Zala said, it’s okay to be imperfect. Odds are, you are going to make a mistake on your live video and that’s fine. We all mess up and your audience isn’t going to hold that against you.

Q6: How can you encourage participation and get more users to interact with you during your live session?

A great live session is all about engagement. You want to make sure people are tuning in and actually interacting with you. How do you make sure that happens? Keep these tips in mind for the next time you go live:

Don’t make it all about you. You should be engaging with your audience by asking questions and encouraging them to leave comments. Jen also suggests asking your audience to submit questions in advance. This will ensure you come prepared with plenty to talk about.

Make sure you value your audience’s input. Don’t ignore them or disregard what they have to say.

Encourage people to chime in by asking questions or asking them to share their opinions. Make sure you’re genuinely listening in return.

Cassandra and Sara agree that it’s a good idea to tell your audience when you’re going live so they can be prepared to join in and can come with questions ready.

Q7: How can you create topics for and keep your live content consistently helpful and valuable?

Do you want to make sure you’re always providing amazing content for your audience. Our chat participants had some great advice. Take a look:

The topic for your live video should fit into your overall strategy and should answer the questions your audience has.

You can never go wrong when it comes to crowdsourcing ideas.

What is the biggest challenge people in your audience are facing? Provide a solution and deliver it!

Listen to your audience. Find out what they’re saying and what kind of content they’re already enjoying. Give them more of that through your live broadcasts.

It really is as simple as asking them what they want.

Piggyback off the latest trends, but make sure you aren’t too late. You want to address those trending topics when they’re still fresh and hot.

Fanny said to take a look at your competitors. See what they’re talking about and put your own spin on it.

Q8: What are some ways you can keep the conversation going after a live video session?

To really get the most out of your live videos, you want to keep the conversation going. You want to keep your audience engaged? How do you do that? Follow these tips:

Find ways to follow-up with some of the most engaged people from your video. It’s a great way to make new connections.

Jessie said to post a recap on your blog, pin the video to the top of your age, and encourage people to check out your blog afterwards.

Reach out to some of your viewers on a separate social media platform. It’s a great way to form a stronger connection and to get to know your people best.

Leah agrees that following up with live viewers is a must.

Before you end a broadcast, direct people to your other social media profiles or to your website. It’s a great way to get them to take that next step with your brand.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

#ContentWritingChat, the secrets of running a great Twitter chat

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Secrets of Running a Great Twitter Chat (Celebrating One Year at #ContentWritingChat)

Did you catch #ContentWritingChat this week? In honor of our Twitter chat’s birthday, we celebrated in the only way we know how. With a party, of course!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Secrets of Running a Great Twitter Chat (Celebrating One Year at #ContentWritingChat)

We figured there was no better way to celebrate #ContentWritingChat’s first birthday than by talking all about how the chat came to be and how we’ve grown it to where it is today. I guest hosted this week’s chat alongside our CEO, Julia, and it was a blast!

The questions were slightly different this week as well. There were questions geared specifically toward Julia and I and questions that everyone could answer. This allowed us to answer questions about the chat, while still giving our participants something to answer. Ready to dive into the recap? Let’s get started!

Q1: For Julia: Discuss the backstory of why you created #ContentWritingChat. / For everyone: What do you look for in a great Twitter chat (and one that you add to your weekly schedule)?

How did this chat get started and what makes a great one? We’re spilling all the details!

Julia created #ContentWritingChat as an educational community around content. She certainly made that happen! She also wanted the chat to be an extension of her book and her podcast, which also launched in 2016.

What makes a great Twitter chat, in my opinion? I like chats that teach you something new and that have an engaged community. It’s always great when you can leave a chat having learned new tips you can implement for yourself.

Georgina feels the same way. She likes chats that provide her with actionable tips she can use.

For Sarah, she likes chats that have great topics, thoughtful questions, hosts and guests that are engaged, and great insights from participants. She’s also a big fan of puns!

As Jeff said, a great chat need to have interaction. If the host of the chat, the guests, and the participants aren’t engaging with one another, what’s the point? After all, a chat is meant to be social!

Bill enjoys chats that have a great topic, a well-respected guest, and deeper conversations that go beyond the Q&A. You don’t have to just stick with the questions asked in the chat. You can feel free to get deeper into the conversation with other participants. That’s what makes chats so great.

Varun looks for an engaged community and the exchange of knowledge. Learning something from chats makes them even more valuable.

As a one-person team, Kristi uses Twitter chats as a creative outlet. The best ones allow her to brainstorm and learn new things. Plus, it’s great having that social aspect built into a day where you’re otherwise by yourself. It’s a virtual Twitter date every single week!

Q2: For Rachel: Tell us what inspired you to get involved in helping manage #ContentWritingChat. For everyone: What are your favorite Twitter chats to join?

I’m sharing how I got involved in the Twitter chat and we have plenty of new chats for you to join with these suggestions:

Prior to joining the Express Writers team and taking over the behind-the-scenes tasks of the chat, I had already been joining Twitter chats regularly. I had even hosted some in the past. Starting to work on this chat was a great fit and it has been something I’ve truly enjoyed.

It should come as no surprise that our own team member, Tara, is a fan of #ContentWritingChat! She also enjoys #semrushchat, #bufferchat, and #brandchat.

Just like Jacob, we are huge fans of Buffer’s #bufferchat. We’re there every week!

#semrushchat is another weekly stop for us here at Express Writers!

#TwitterSmarter is definitely a chat you need to join!

This is a great round-up of chats from Tony. Have you joined any of these?

Q3: For Julia/Rachel: How did you get people interested in #ContentWritingChat? How did it grow? For everyone: What are your tips for getting the most from joining a weekly Twitter chat?

Getting people interested in your chat is easier than you might think! We’re sharing the “secrets” behind growing the chat!

Julia is right! Getting people to join your chat isn’t really that hard. If you already have a list of contacts, invite them to join you. It also helps to tag people in “reminder” tweets before the chat begins. We have grown the chat strictly through word of mouth and it works!

If you want to get people to join your chat, you need to invite them. You have to spread the word and this is the best way to introduce them to your chat.

One great tip is to make sure you join the chats that are of interest to you. There are Twitter chats on a variety of topics these days and you’re sure to find one that you’d enjoy. Don’t forget to interact once you join.

Don’t just answer the questions when you join a Twitter chat. You need to actually participate by engaging with other participants.

Andrew also agrees that it’s important to engage with others during the chat. Start discussions by replying to the tweets others post.

It’s also important that you’re not just sharing your own answers, but listening to others as well. Not only is it an opportunity to start a conversation, but you could learn something too.

This is great advice from Bill! Make it a point to follow-up with people after the chat concludes. It’s actionable advice that will have you seeing results and forming strong connections.

Never be afraid to ask questions if you have them. Chats are filled with amazing communities of people who are willing to answer your questions and provide help. All you have to do is be willing to ask.

Christie comes prepared to learn by having a notebook by her side. If she learns something new, she’s able to quickly jot it down. This is a great way to ensure you don’t forget any valuable information you picked up during the chat.

Q4: For Julia/Rachel: How do you pick guest hosts for #ContentWritingChat? For everyone: What do you like to see from guest hosts when you join a Twitter chat?

How do you pick guest hosts for you chat and what makes a great one? It’s pretty simple! Here’s what you need to look for:

When the chat started, Julia made a list of potential guests that were aligned with the values of Express Writers as a brand. These days, Julia and I both collaborate on guest host ideas. If I think of a potential guest, I send it over for her approval before contacting.

We choose our guests because we know they can bring something of value to the chat. We want to be able to learn from them and so does our audience.

You want to make sure you choose guest hosts that are going to make people feel welcome. It’s so simple, but very important. You don’t want a guest who ignores chat participants.

Christie also agrees that engagement from hosts and guests is important. You want everyone to be involved in the conversation.

A great host cares what others have to say. They should interact with participants by answering questions and starting conversations.

Jacob feels there should be a mix of leading and interacting when it comes to guest hosts.

Great answer from Zala! All of these are important factors in a great guest host.

Guests should provide a fresh perspective for the chat’s audience!

Q5: Julia: Share how you got your first sponsor for #ContentWritingChat. For everyone: How long have you been joining #ContentWritingChat and what’s your favorite thing about it?

While most of our chats are not sponsored, we have done them before. It’s a simple way to monetize your chat, but it’s important to remember not to turn the chat into a sales pitch. In this question, Julia shares how she landed that first sponsor.

Our participants shared how long they’ve been joining our chat, plus what their favorite thing about it is. We received some lovely answers from this one!

After the chat reached a certain status, Julia reached out to our friends at Search Engine Journal to see if they would be interested in trading event tickets to their summit for advertising spots during #ContentWritingChat.

When their ads were incorporated into the chat, they were spread throughout the hour. The priority was always to make sure they didn’t take away from the value the chat provides. We didn’t want it to come off like a sales pitch or anything of the sort.

For me, I joined the Express Writers team in January of 2016 when the chat was only a couple weeks old. It’s been amazing to see it grow from the very beginning to where it is now.

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing has been joining our chat pretty much since the beginning. It’s great seeing familiar faces and brands every week!

While Jamie has only been joining for a few months, it’s amazing to know that the chat felt welcoming right away.

Tony said he started joining Twitter chats in September or October of 2016. After he discovered one chat, he started joining more. They can be pretty addicting, right?

We’re totally blushing! It means so much to hear great things about this chat of ours.

And we love having Jeff bring his GIF A-game each and every week!

This is awesome to hear!

This makes our hearts happy, Zala!

As Julia said, we are truly grateful for everyone who has joined our chat and continues to be part of our community.

Q6: For Rachel: Share tips on how you put together a blog recap for a weekly session of #ContentWritingChat. For everyone: Do you read posted recaps of the chats you join?

Not all Twitter chats share a recap on their website afterwards, but we’ve been creating one since the very beginning. Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say about reading those recaps:

When creating the recaps, I try to pick some of the top tweets. Those tweets are ones that provide value and will be helpful to anyone who missed the chat and relies on the recap to catch up. I also try to include tweets from as many participants as possible to make sure there’s diversity.

Recaps are truly the best way to go back and see what your missed during the live chat hour, especially because they can be so busy.

Debi enjoys chat recaps because they contain some of the most intriguing answers from the chat. It’s a great way to go back and look through the conversation again. You just might find something you missed!

This is a great idea from Michael! You can go back through a chat recap and you might find new people to engage with.

With a chat recap, you’ll never have to worry about missing tips on those hot topics!

Jacob, we hope this inclusion in the recap makes you feel special! 🙂

Q7: For Julia/Rachel: Share a few key tips for anyone wanting to start a Twitter chat. For everyone: What was your favorite #ContentWritingChat of 2016? What would you like to see in #ContentWritingChat in this New Year?

Are you convinced it’s now time for you to start your own Twitter chat? Julia and I have some tips. Plus, we got some great recommendations for another year of chatting in 2017. Check out these responses:

Ask your audience if they would be interested in joining a Twitter chat. If your audience is interested, you’ll know it’s a good idea to move forward with. Then, choose a topic for your chat and select the date and time you’ll host it. Don’t forget to invite people and share all the details with them! To keep them coming back, provide value with every chat.

Julia has already created a document with notes on how to launch a Twitter chat. When asked if they’d like to see this as a full blog post, everyone said yes!

We had a great time at the holiday GIF party, too! We just might need more of those around the holidays.

Chats about social media are always popular ones with our audience.

Maybe you’ll see some of these topics in a future chat!

We’ve actually had a chat on this topic in the past, but it’s one we could definitely revisit for a future Twitter chat!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

best of 2016 #contentwritingchat

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best of 2016 Content with Express Writers, AWeber, and Buffer

Did you join us for this week’s #ContentWritingChat? Whether you missed all the fun or you’re in need of a refresher, we have an amazing recap to dive into! It was a pretty big chat this week as we took a look back at content from 2016, so grab a snack and check out this recap:

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best of 2016 Content

Since this was our big year-end chat, we knew we had to go out with a bang! We decided to reflect on the amazing content that was produced over the past year and invited three different guests to join us.

Brian Peters handles social media and marketing over at Buffer. If you frequently read their blog, you’ve probably seen some posts by him or noticed him on their Instagram Stories. Olivia Dello Buono has joined our chat as a guest host in the past, so it was great to have her back. She handles social media and community over at AWeber. And finally, our very own Content Development Specialist, Tara Clapper, joined us as well. With copywriting, social media, and email marketing covered with our guest hosts, you know it was a great chat!

Q1: Favorite publication(s) to read and learn from in 2016?

First up, we asked our chat participants to share their favorite publications to read over the past year. What sites did they love? Were there any brands whose content they always looked forward to reading? (Besides us at Express Writers, of course!) Here’s what they had to say:

Brian’s top four include First Round, The Next Web, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Help Scout. If you haven’t checked out some of these, definitely add them to your reading list!

Olivia enjoys reading content from Kissmetrics and Movable Ink. She’s also a fan of her AWeber’s blog, which is awesome to see her supporting the team she works with.

Some of Tara’s go-to websites include Search Engine Journal and Mashable.

Our CEO, Julia, as a big fan of the sites she shared. You just might find a post of her own on some of them from time to time, so keep your eyes peeled!

One of Kristen’s favorites includes the CoSchedule blog, which we are also fans of here at Express Writers!

Tony shared an amazing list of sites that are worth checking out if you haven’t already!

Buffer, NewsCred, Sujan Patel, Convince, and Entrepreneur all share some amazing content. These were great recommendations from Varun!

Q2: Share something you published in 2016 that was your best work.

Next, we asked everyone in the chat to share a link to something they published in the past year that they were proud of. We received a bunch of great responses to this question, so start bookmarking these blog posts:

Olivia worked hard to put together a post that’s filled with list-building tactics that experts shared with AWeber. It’s definitely a great read if you want to learn how to grow your email list in the New Year.

Brian published a piece on Buffer’s blog that featured some tips to help you enhance your social media presence. This is a must-read if you want to make a splash on social media.

Tara loved putting together this post for our friends at SEMrush, where she talking about merging her Twitter accounts.

Tara also created some amazing content for our blog, including this piece on how to create cornerstone content. Be sure to check this one out!

As for me, I published this piece on Snapchat earlier in the year. It’s a must-read for anyone wondering how to use the platform effectively for their business.

Julia said her best piece was a case study on the rankings and content here at Express Writers. In this post, you’ll find out exactly how we outrank our competitors.

Do you want to learn how to create an effective call to action? Check out this post that Kristen shared!

The team over at Web Themes Plus received great feedback on their post about conducting a website audit. Now is the perfect time to give this one a read!

Although she didn’t write it herself, Becky did assist our own Tara on this awesome post. It’s all about how to communicate on social media when a tragedy has occurred. This is one every social media user should read.

Q3: What were some trends you noticed with content this year?

Just like with fashion, there are trends that come along with content creation as well. Check out the trends that reigned supreme this year and be sure to incorporate them into your strategy for next year:

Olivia said people are getting tired of the clickbait headlines. People are craving authenticity and they don’t want to be misled. So, take this advice: ditch the clickbait in your online content.

Funny, but true! Many brands stuck to producing long-form content, which works for many audiences. However, you’re sure to find someone else writing about how people have shorter attention spans.

Brian said Medium has grown a lot in 2016, which encouraged more people to create value-packed short-form content. He also pointed out the rise of audio content this year, with more and more podcasts being launched, including one from Buffer!

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing feels there’s been too much quantity and not enough quality when it comes to content from certain websites. The reality is, quality beats quantity every single time. Don’t post for the sake of posting. Make sure everything you publish is high-quality, provides value, and is relevant to your audience.

It sounds like Jeremy agreed with Lexie. Quality over quantity every single time, friends!

Monica noticed that many more content creators were taking the time to repurpose old content. After all, you don’t want those blog archives to go to waste, do you? You can breathe new life into older content by repurposing what you have already created.

Sabjan predicts the popularity of Snapchat and Periscope will only continue to grow over the next year.

Shannon has seen an increased focus on community, customers, and audience. She also pointed out that there’s been more of a use of images, video, and live streaming in the online presence of many brands.

Lauren said content in all forms exploded over the past year. There have been even more people starting blogs, launching YouTube channels and using social video, and creating podcasts. There are so many mediums for content creation and many brands are branching out to explore new things.

Q4: Which brands have consistently done a fantastic job with their content this year?

There are a ton of brands that have been doing a great job with content creation during 2016, but which ones top the lists of our chat participants? Take a look at these brands for some amazing inspiration:

Brian said First Round was one of his favorite brands to read content from this past year. He felt they produced unique, valuable content that was always fun to read.

Olivia is spreading the love to our friends at Buffer by raving about their content. As she said, they always share great tips for social media marketers, whether it’s on their blog or their podcast.

Just like Debi, we are also big fans of Content Marketing Institute and Joe Pulizzi!

Jeremy mentioned a few brands that are great at creating content including Buffer, Hootsuite, and PostPlanner.

Here at Express Writers, we’re also big fans of Social Media Examiner!

Q5: Which newsletters did you look forward to seeing in your inbox?

So, which newsletters were top-notch in 2016? Check out these suggestions straight from Tuesday’s chat and start subscribing!

Olivia has three go-to newsletters that she always enjoys seeing in her inbox. Are you subscribed to any of these? If not, you’ll want to check them out!

Brian looked forward to seeing newsletters from Product Hunt and Soul Cycle. For marketing, he likes and their newsletters.

Julia appreciates a good weekly round-up, like the one Search Engine Journal sends out weekly.

The team at Netvantage Marketing likes to subscribe to the newsletters their clients produce. It’s a great way to stay updated with what they’re sharing and get to know them better.

As for Mike, he enjoys emails that aren’t constant sales pitches. This is a good reminder of why you should always provide value with the emails you send to subscribers.

Q6: What was your biggest struggle when it came to content this past year?

Content creation isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it can be stressful and frustrating! We all struggle with content every now and then, but here are some of the main struggles our chat participants faced:

Brian’s struggle is one that we can all relate to. It can be hard to find time to write consistently and do it well. That’s a great thing to work on in 2017!

Olivia said one of the biggest struggles has been getting people to read new content. Sometimes you have to come up with new and creative ways to drive traffic back to your website.

Even though video continues to be hot, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. As Tara reminds us, some people don’t shine at video. If that’s you, don’t feel bad! You can keep practicing until you get more comfortable in front of the camera or stick to what you know best. There’s no shame in that.

Staying organized can definitely be a challenge when it comes to content creation, especially if you’re creating for multiple mediums. There are blog posts to write, videos to film, podcasts to record, emails to write, and social media posts to share. It’s a lot! To make things easier, having an editorial calendar helps and so does batch writing.

There’s always room for improvement! Make some changes to streamline your internal process to make the content creation process much smoother.

Originality sure is a tricky one when you consider just how much content is on the internet today. Putting your own spin on things can be a struggle, but it’s a must if you want to stand out.

With new channels launching, it can be tricky to learn how to create content for them at first. However, as the D2 Media Solutions team pointed out, it’s a fun challenge to take on.

Trying to stick to a consistent schedule isn’t always easy. One thing to keep in mind is to do what works best for you. If you can’t commit to five quality posts per week, then don’t do it. Consider what you can manage and aim for that.

Q7: What was the number one thing you learned about content in 2016?

So, what’s the top thing you learned regarding content this year? Here are some of the responses from the chat:

Great point from Olivia! It doesn’t matter how great your content is if nobody sees it. Make sure your content is shareable and that you’re getting it out there for the world to see.

Brian said organic reach on social media is going down, so he encourages people to focus even more on SEO and paid social media.

As Tara said, you can’t give one size fits all advice. You need to make your content personal.

Julia’s advice is to do some great promotion for the content you publish. It’s the best way to get major results online.

Quality over quantity! Make sure everything you publish has value.

Getting the right content in front of the right people is essential to success!

Write for your audience first and Google second.

Make your content shareable and you’re sure to gain traction on social media and get more traffic to your site.

For Georgina, she learned that it’s best outsource content creation. After all, that’s why companies like Express Writers exist!

Timeless advice we should all remember: be yourself.

Q8: What advice do you have for content creators going into 2017?

One final piece of advice? Check out these tweets:

Be consistent with your content. Brian also suggests building quality backlinks.

Quality and consistency are two keys to success when it comes to content.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Olivia said great content always has a unique point of view.

Julia said to be opinionated and back it up with strong research. You should always be yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks.

Not sure what your audience wants or needs? You don’t have to guess. All you have to do is ask them.

Quality over quantity. Add purposeful visuals to your content. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new content types to see what works best for you and your audience.

Know what your limits are. If something is beyond your capabilities, resources, or bandwidth, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Don’t publish for the sake of publishing. Your content should be strategic and should serve a purpose.

Plan your content in advance and just start writing! Even getting a rough draft out is a great place to start.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

GIF party twitter chat

#ContentWritingChat Recap: A Live Twitter Holiday GIF Party

Did you hear? In honor of the holiday season, we got pretty festive for this week’s #ContentWritingChat! If you missed out on the fun, you certainly missed a great time. But that’s okay because we have a recap for you to check out. Let’s dive in!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Holiday GIF Party

It wasn’t just any old party over on #ContentWritingChat this week. It was a holiday GIF party! We asked participants to come prepared to bring their GIF A-game and we weren’t disappointed. Get ready for GIF overload!

Q1: GIF the weather where you are right now.

Considering our #ContentWritingChat participants are all around the world, we thought it would be fun to see what the weather was like in their neck of the woods. Is it feeling Christmassy where you are or is a white Christmas out of the question?

It sounds like Lexie and the team over at Netvantage Marketing are dealing with some cold temperatures lately. Make sure to bundle up, friends!

Hold onto your hats if you head out into some windy weather!

Colder than Mars? Yikes! Stay warm, Jeff and friends!

Sabina was dealing with some rain this past Tuesday, but she was just thankful it wasn’t snow.

It sounds like folks in Minnesota are ready for a good ol’ fashioned snowball fight!

Q2: Christmas is the only time of year when you can… (Explain in a GIF)

What can you only do at Christmas? Here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say:

While it’s totally okay to show off your inner child all year long, it’s 100% acceptable to do so at Christmastime. So be sure to spread that Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear!

Christmas is the time of year when you can totally pig out on all the junk food and not feel guilty. Right?

Yeah, did we mention you can eat all the food you want? You totally can.

Christmas is certainly the only time of year you can bust out that ugly sweater!

Let’s just do all the things this Christmas!

And don’t forget to blast those Christmas tunes!

Q3: GIF your favorite Christmas movie scene (or two).

So, what’s your favorite scene from a Christmas movie? It sure seems like our chat participants have a clear favorite!

*waves hi to Buddy*

Who could forget that time when Buddy accuses the store Santa of smelling like beef and cheese?

Santa is coming soon, friends! We can’t wait!

Son of a nutcracker!

Sabina is right. This one definitely applies throughout the year.

Poor Buddy the Elf!

Well, who couldn’t love Elf?

Home Alone will forever be a Christmas classic.

Home Alone is one of Julia’s favorites as well. It doesn’t get much better than Kevin’s antics.

The Grinch is definitely a must-watch every year!

The struggle is real, my friends!

Sara’s choice was White Christmas. Is this one of your favorites, too?

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is always a great one for a laugh!

Christmas tip: Don’t eat the December snowflakes. Always wait until January.

Q4: What will dinner with the family at Christmas be like? GIF it.

Christmas dinner can be a very interesting time for many families. You might have a small gathering or a lot of people stopping by. And some of you may be dealing with one or two crazy relatives. Check out these responses from the chat:

This is pretty accurate. No one wants a dinner like the one the Griswold’s had.

With so much food, how will you know what to choose? And how can you fit it all onto one plate?!

It gets a little crazy when everyone starts to talk at the same time.

No one likes dealing with those awkward comments from family about your future.

Try stuffing your face with food to avoid any awkward conversations or questions!

Just keep eating, and eating, and eating…

Q5: GIF how you wrap up content marketing deadlines before Christmas.

With the holidays fast approaching and deadlines getting nearer, how do you get all of your work done before taking time off?

Typing like a mad woman to check things off that to-do list!

This time of the year is a mad rush for everyone!

Team work is very important when it comes to getting things done on time.

Sara’s got things under control when it comes to her to-do list!

Trying to squeeze one more thing in before leaving the office for the holiday…

Some of us just pretend to get work done!

When you realize all that work needs to be completed by a certain time…

Trying to get everything done before the holiday basically looks like this. Stressful!

The best way to procrastinate is to join our Twitter chat, right?

Q6: Be honest: do you write/blog/publish/tweet on or around Christmas? GIF the reality.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, do you worry about creating content for your blog or social media? Tell the truth.

There’s no shame in scheduling your blog posts and tweets in advance. In fact, it’s the best way to ensure you have great content going out while you’re enjoying the holiday.

Julia checks out for the day and is totally offline for Christmas day. It’s the best way to spend the day, right? Just enjoy the time with friends and family!

Sara still publishes new content, but she makes sure it’s all holiday-related.

The team at Rival IQ sees a decrease in engagement this year, so they cut back on content creation.

It’s safe to say Jeff won’t be anywhere near his devices during Christmas!

I mean, you have to know your priorities, right?

Q7: Offline or online for Christmas Day? GIF it.

These days we are so connected to our devices that it’s rare we ever fully disconnect. But will you be offline for Christmas Day?

There’s no better way to say it than with Michelle Tanner’s catchphrase.

Kavita definitely won’t be online.

Not taking those messages on Christmas is probably a good idea. Silence the notifications and you’ll be good!

But sometimes it’s just so hard to stay away from your phone!

Who could resist getting that Instagram-worthy shot of the delicious Christmas dessert?

You might find Jeff playing a video game or two on Christmas day!

Q8: Share your favorite Christmas GIF.

To wrap up the chat, we asked everyone to share their favorite Christmas GIF. Just check out this awesomeness:

Well, it is pretty hard to pick just one!

Great choice from Tony!

It doesn’t get much better than the Griswold family!

Since Julia doesn’t see snow in south Texas, she loves the snow GIFs. And who could blame her?


Thanks to everyone who joined us for our holiday GIF party. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

#ContentWritingChat, content curation, content marketing, Curata, Sasha Laferte

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Benefits of Curation in a Content Marketing Strategy with Sasha Laferte from Curata

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week or could you use a refresher on all the great tips that were shared? You’re in luck because our recap of Tuesday’s chat on content curation is here! If you’re ready to dive in, grab some paper to take notes and keep on reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Benefits of Curation in a Content Marketing Strategy with Sasha Laferte from Curata

Our guest host this week was Sasha Laferte. Sasha is the Content Marketing Manager for Curata. She’s also a digital marketer and storyteller. For this week’s chat, she joined us via the Curata account to share her top tips on the benefits of curation in a content marketing strategy.

Q1: What are the benefits of content curation?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their thoughts on why they felt content curation was beneficial. If you haven’t felt the need to incorporate content curation into your content marketing strategy, these tweets just might convince you! Here’s what some chat participants had to say:

As Sasha said, content curation can help improve SEO, increase lead generation, promote thought leadership, increase your content output, and more. She also shared a link to a helpful article on Curata’s website that’s worth checking out.

Jeff seemed to be on the same page with his answer. He said content curation provides a way to generate more content. It also helps to position you as a thought leader and adds value to your audience.

By curating great content, you’re able to share relevant articles and valuable knowledge with your audience without having to write it yourself. It’s also a great way to learn what others in your industry are saying.

As Angelica said, with content curation there’s less pressure to create all the things. You can have a balance of your unique content, plus content curated from other sources.

Q2: Is content curation plagiarism?

Many question whether or not content curation is considered plagiarism since you’re sharing content from another source. Here are some of the responses we received during the chat:

Sasha doesn’t think content curation is plagiarism. She said to make sure you add a new title, body paragraph, and credit the original article. This will ensure you’re in the clear!

Sarah has the right idea! If you’re sharing someone else’s content, you should always credit the original source. It’s always a good idea to add your own spin on the content to give it a fresh perspective for your audience.

Odds are, people will love when you share their content. It’s a great way to start building a relationship with someone as long as you curate the right way. They’ll appreciate that you thought highly enough of their work to share it.

If you publish a piece of content as your own when it’s not, that’s definitely plagiarism. Avoid any trouble by respecting the original creators, as Mike said, by giving them credit.

A simple copy and paste is a no-no! Tony said to give credit to the source and change it up a bit when you republish to give it a unique take.

In case we haven’t made our point clear, make sure you give credit! Also, how appropriate is this GIF Jamie shared?

Q3: How much content should I curate?

Now that you’re sold on why it’s important to add content curation to your content marketing strategy, you need to know how much content you should be curating. Here’s some advice straight from Tuesday’s chat:

Sasha shared some pretty interesting statistics with us. According to Curata’s data, 65% of your content should be created internally. 25% of your content should be curated and 10% should be syndicated. Do you agree with these results?

Mike is spot-on with his answer! He recommends only curating as much content as you think is valuable. Don’t curate just for the sake of publishing content. Everything you share with your audience should be relevant and add value.

Great answer from Jeff! He said to share content that will define you as a thought leader, as well as provide value to your customers.

Julia feels the amount of content curation you do will depend on how much unique content you’re producing. If you produce plenty of content, curate less. If you don’t, curate more.

Brittany said it’s difficult to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry if you’re only sharing thoughts from others. Balance your curation with original content. When you do curate, add your own take on it to provide your own unique thoughts and ideas.

As Jacob said, make sure you’re curating quality content. Share information that is relevant and valuable to your audience.

In the end, it’s going to depend on your strategy. What works for one brand might not be what works well for you. One key thing to remember is to make sure you’re producing original content as well.

You should also make sure you read through content before sharing it. Make sure it actually fits with the goals and vision for your brand.

Q4: Does curation have a negative impact on SEO?

So, does content curation have a negative impact on SEO? Check out some of these responses from the chat to find out the true answer:

Sasha said curated content can actually improve SEO. She advises to avoid reposting full text or repeatedly doing so from a single source. Read the article from Curata she shared for more tips!

Both Sarah and Sara said you can still rank in the search engines if you add your own viewpoint to the content you curate.

As Jacob said, make sure you aren’t duplicating what’s already out there. That’s a big no-no when it comes to SEO.

Q5: Where should I curate content from?

There are a ton of sources out there on the web that you can curate content from, so where should you turn? Check out these ideas fresh from the chat:

Sasha suggests turning to a variety of sources to find great content. Check out trade publications, blogs, news outlets, and more to discover valuable content.

Right on, Lauren! A key thing to remember when curating content is to stick to sources that are both trusted and respected. You can count on them to provide accurate information that adds value to readers.

Lexie said to use reliable sources that share valuable content. She also recommends being 100% sure about the content before you share it with your audience. If you aren’t, pass on sharing it.

Jamie said to turn to reliable sources such as websites, blogs, and thought leaders that your audience trusts.

Turn to the thought leaders in your industry to see what they’re sharing. Curate content from them when you can. It’s a great way to start building a relationship with them.

Erika suggests turning to some uncommon sources that are still of interest to your audience. You never know what gems you might uncover! She uses Feedly as a way to discover new content.

It’s a great idea to have a selection of sites that are trusted sources you can turn to any time. Read them on a regular basis to stay updated with what they’re sharing.

Just make sure you don’t share content from the same source over and over. It’s good to have a little diversity!

Q6: Should I have a dedicated site for content curation?

Do you really need a separate site to collect curated content? Check out these responses from the chat and decide for yourself:

Sasha weighed the pros and cons of having a dedicated site for content curation. One one hand, she said it’s great for SEO, experience, and establishing you as a go-to resource. However, there’s also a big time commitment that comes along with that.

Sarah doesn’t see the point in having a separate website. She feels it’s better to keep everything on the same site, especially for SEO purposes.

Ask yourself the questions Lex suggested. Would your audience use it? Do they need it? Considering you need your audience to be interested in it, you want to consider their needs before moving forward.

Q7: What are your thoughts on curated newsletters?

What do you think about curated newsletters? Do you enjoy them or do they automatically get deleted when they land in your inbox? Check out some of the responses we received during the chat below. Here’s a spoiler: If you enjoy creating a curated newsletter, give it a try and see how your audience responds. If they love it, keep going! If not, try something else.

Sasha said curated newsletters are great for educating your audience, but they’re not indexed or in real-time.

Becky says no thanks! She prefers to turn to Twitter to discover a curated list of topics, as opposed to her inbox.

Mike balances his newsletter by making them half original content and half curated content.

Over at Digital Natives, they feel a newsletter is better suited to provide an inside look at your own company. And it sounds like Robyn feels the same way! She thinks newsletters should tell a brand’s story to subscribers, instead of sharing content from others.

Jeff’s advice is to avoid fully curating your newsletter. He said to add your own content as well.

As Debi said, just make sure the curated content you add provides value to your reader.

Q8: How can I measure content curation success?

Now that you’re ready to dive into the world of content curation, you need to make sure your efforts are working for you. Here’s how to measure your success:

Sasha said to track page views, visitor growth, subscriber growth, and click-through rate.

Jeff recommends tracking engagement. Make sure your audience is interacting with your content in some way to find out if it’s resonating with them.

Don’t forget to measure those conversions!

You also want to see how much your reach has grown and whether or not your audience is engaged.

Make sure you set goals for your content first so you know exactly what you hope to achieve with everything you share.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

#ContentWritingChat, Mark Traphagen, content marketing

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Content Marketing Sweet Spot: Content That Gets Both Shared & Linked with Mark Traphagen

Did you check out the latest #ContentWritingChat? If not, you’re in luck because we have a recap of our latest chat! We talked all about that content sweet spot and how to create content that gets both shared and linked so you can make the most of your content marketing strategy. Want to learn more? Keep reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Content Marketing Sweet Spot: Content That Gets Both Shared & Linked with Mark Traphagen

Our guest host this week was Mark Traphagen. Mark is the Senior Director of Brand Evangelism at Stone Temple. He’s also a speaker and author. He joined #ContentWritingChat to share his top content marketing tips with us, so you won’t want to miss the great insights he shared.

Q1: How much content builds both brand and SEO value?

So, exactly how much content builds both brand and SEO value? Find out what Mark and some of Tuesday’s chat participants had to say:

Mark’s answer? Not much. He feels most content is focused either on SEO or brand building. So many people are focused more on creating content for SEO purposes or increasing social shares, that brand building is an afterthought.

One thing to always keep in mind when creating content is to focus on providing value. When you provide value to your audience, it’ll increase engagement and sharing. People will want to link to you when you’ve given them something beneficial.

Quality over quantity every single time! You want to put out content regularly, but everything you publish should be high-quality.

Q2: Why are share metrics alone not the best measure of the value of your content?

These days, so many brands are obsessed with sharing metrics. They want to know how many social shares they’re getting on every piece they create and how many shares they receive on each platform. But the thing is, it’s not the best measure of how valuable your content is to your audience. Here’s why:

Mark makes a great point when he said that the majority of content that’s being shared is not actually being read. Yikes! That means that many times people are just sharing your content without knowing what it’s all about. In the end, that doesn’t help to build your brand.

As Brandie said, if people aren’t taking the time to read your content, they don’t receive value. They also don’t visit your website and they’ll never have the chance to convert.

As Sarah said, it’s more important to see people linking to your content, engaging with what you’ve created, and converting. Social shares don’t mean that any of those things are happening.

Sharing is definitely caring, but it’s important to see how much of those shares turn into engagement or some other type of conversion. You want to see results from those social shares for it to truly make a difference.

If people aren’t responding to your call to action, you’re missing out on money!

Q3: What is the importance of content that attracts good links?

How important is it to earn good links for your content? Check out these answers from the chat to find out:

As Mark said, if your content attracts good links, it’s a good sign that it was truly valuable for your reader. You want to see people taking the time to link to your work. Earning links is also much harder than getting social shares, so it’s a good overall measure of the success of your content.

If you’d like some extra reading on the subject, check out this post that Mark shared. It’s a study that shows backlinks are still powerful when it comes to SEO.

Sarah knows link building is an important factor of SEO. She said that links are essentially votes of credibility.

Good links can boost your credibility with Google, which can help you rank higher in search engine results. Who wouldn’t want that?

Julia knows that creating and promoting great content will encourage links to happen naturally. Moral of the story? Make sure you give your audience quality content that’s valuable to them.

Q4: What kinds of content earn the sweet spot of both shares and links?

As part of your content marketing strategy, we know you want content that earns both shares and links. So, how do you do it? Our audience shared the content types that they think work best:

Mark shared a link a joint study conducted by Moz and BuzzSumo. It’s definitely worth a read!

The study showed that opinionated journalism hits that sweet spot between links and shares. If you’re going to try it yourself, make sure you present a clear point of view and your take on the issue. The study also revealed that content with data-backed research often gets both shares and links.

Julia knows 10x content gets results! Read her post on Search Engine Journal to learn more about it.

Create content that answers those burning questions your audience has. When you provide them with valuable information, they’ll want to link to you and share it on social media.

The types of content that work for you will depend on your audience. As Kristen said, it should be customer-centric, evergreen, and high-quality.

Sarah also agrees that it largely depends on your audience. You want to figure out what grabs and keeps their attention. That’s what you need to create!

Content that is relatable and touches your reader on a personal level is a great way to earn links and social shares. Find out what resonates with your audience and create more of that to see results.

Tony knows valuable and informative content is always popular with readers. Include images, videos, and infographics to increase those links and shares.

Creating the right content at the right time and reach the right audience for a winning formula.

Q5: How do you craft question-answering content that hits the sweet spot?

When creating content, it’s so important to address and answer the common questions your audience has. If you want to learn how to do it and get major results that hit the sweet spot, keep these tips in mind:

Pay attention to what your customers are asking. If you want to create content that answers their questions, you need to get to know them first. Figure out what they’re asking, then start creating.

As Mark said, one of the best ways to do this is to refer to your sales and customer service team. Find out what questions they get from prospective customers. He also suggests looking for questions in blog comments that have gone unanswered. Create a blog post that answers them.

You truly need to take the time to get to know your audience and understand their needs if you want to create content that resonates with them.

If you aren’t sure what your audience wants, don’t be afraid to ask them. Talk to your audience and your team members to get ideas. Figure out what people are talking about and what they’re looking for from you. Sending out a brief survey is a great way to get responses.

Julia knows research is a must to figure out what your audience wants. She uses BuzzSumo, Quora, and Answer the Public to find hot questions in her industry.

Once you’ve found the questions you want to answer, you need to provide amazing content that gives an answer. Kristen said to deliver detailed solutions that go above and beyond what others are writing on the topic. This is sure to help you stand out and earn you those links and shares. Put your unique spin on the content as well to really make an impact.

Q6: Why is content with a strong opinion sweet spot content?

Mark previously mentioned that a study showed opinionated content hits that sweet spot of both links and shares. But why does it get such major results online? Let’s find out:

Mark said people want sources that back up their own opinions and thoughts. People are also drawn to opinionated content because they want to engage with it. They want to agree with what was said or challenge it.

You never know what else might come from creating opinionated content. Outside of links and shares, you could land speaking gigs!

Julia said that strong opinions and taking a stand is the content of today and tomorrow. When you share your opinions, you being to attract your tribe and build a fan base.

Many people like to find those who are like-minded. Isn’t it great to discover someone who feels the same way you do about a topic?

Erika said opinionated content is authentic and can define the brand and what it stands for. Strong opinions also illicit an emotional reaction in readers, which can trigger engagement.

Andy’s advice is to be different from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to offer an alternative view on a subject.

Strong opinions are sure to get people talking. They might agree or disagree with what you have to say, so be prepared for an increase in comments of people voicing their opinions.

Q7: Why is original research great sweet spot content?

Original research is also a great way to earn links and social media shares. Here’s why your audience will love it:

Mark said original research helps to prove a point, which often encourages people to share it and link to it. It’s also a great way to build your brand’s credibility and authority.

Kristi agrees that original research can build your credibility. It shows that you care enough to take the time to conduct the research, which your audience will appreciate.

Do you want to be seen as an authority in your field? Try doing some research of your own! It’s a great way to get people coming back to your content time and time again.

Original research means you have something new to say. That’s sure to attract plenty of links and shares on your content.

Zala said original research is a great way to provide fresh, new insights for your audience.

Kristen knows conducting research might be labor intensive, but your audience will certainly appreciate the information once it’s published for the world to see.

Content Marketing Institute and BuzzSumo are two brands that really stand out with their own original research.

Q8: Why is adding original insights to trending topics a sweet spot strategy?

Should you add your own insights to trending topics? Absolutely! Trending topics are great to add to your content marketing. It’s perfect for hitting that sweet spot with your content and here’s why:

Because so many people hop onto trending topics, you need to provide an original take on it in order to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re going to jump on a trending topic, you have to act fast. Don’t wait too long, otherwise you risk missing out on a great opportunity.

Adding your own insights is a way to boost your credibility and authority in your field.

It’s a good idea to put a fresh spin on trending topics by adding your own insights. It’s a great way to differentiate from what others are already saying.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

#contentwritingchat giveaway

#ContentWritingChat, how entrepreneurs can lead awesome & healthy lives

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How Entrepreneurs Can Lead Awesome & Healthy Lives with Chris Nadeau

Do you want to get caught up on the latest #ContentWritingChat? Well, you’re in luck! We have a recap of this Tuesday’s chat ready for you to dive into. It’s filled with great tips you won’t want to miss!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How Entrepreneurs Can Lead Awesome & Healthy Lives with Chris Nadeau

Our guest host this week was Chris Nadeau. Chris is the co-founder of Evolving Solutions. He is also the blogger behind Eat Greens Every Day, which is all about helping you lead a healthier life. That just so happens to be the inspiration behind this chat! Chris shared a ton of helpful suggestions so you can lead and awesome and healthy life.

Q1: What are your key tips to balancing happiness and health with running and owning a successful business?

Entrepreneurs lead very busy, and sometimes hectic, lives. It can make it hard to find a balance between work and staying happy and healthy. To create more of a balance in your life, keep these tips in mind:

Chris suggests scheduling time for yourself each day. After all, sometimes you need to make that appointment with yourself in order to fit self-care into that busy schedule of yours. He said to block off 30-60 minutes each day to focus on your health.

Jamie from HeyOrca! agrees. Sometimes you just have to schedule in that time in order to actually make it happen. Find at least 30 minutes in your daily schedule to block off for a little self-care.

Sarah from ThinkSEM is right! You have to know when to shut down. You can’t always pull those all nighters. Decide when you’re going to quit working each day and actually log off and shut down. Don’t fall into the trap of answering emails late at night.

Set boundaries for yourself and for your clients. If you are running a service-based business, it can be tempting to stay up all night responding to client emails. Don’t give in! You need to set boundaries so you don’t bring work over into your dedicated personal time. We also love this tip of scheduling time to learn new skills. That’s very important!

Because our cell phones and smart watches are basically glued to us, it can be hard to truly unplug. When you finish work for the day, log out of social media and your inbox. Silence the notifications and leave your phone in another room. Focus on the moment and be with family or take the time to enjoy your personal hobbies.

Zachary knows time management is vital when it comes to balancing your personal life and your business. If you don’t manage your time wisely, you might find yourself working late nights more often than you’d like. Instead, make the most of your day by managing your time better.

The truth is, we sometimes get so wrapped up in the hustle that we forget to look up from our computers! Julia suggests stopping to give yourself a break throughout the day. Block off time for a proper lunch away from your desk. Take 30 minutes to do some exercise, have a yoga session, or do a little meditation. This can truly make a huge difference in how you feel and how the rest of your day goes.

Q2: How can a morning routine help you start the day off right? Tell us about yours.

Having a set morning routine that you stick to every day is essential for starting things off on the right foot. Check out what some of our chat participants had to say about the importance of morning routines and what they like to do to start the day:

Chris said your morning routine can have an impact on your entire day. How you spend your morning can influence your productivity, energy levels, and how successful you are. So, don’t you want to make sure you’re spending the morning in the best way possible?

It sounds like Chris has a pretty great morning routine as well! He drinks lemon water (this aids in digestion), wakes up early enough to allow time for himself, exercises, meditates, and has a green smoothie.

Laura knows she’s most productive in the morning, so she takes advantage of that time. She eats a good breakfast and then dives into her writing. By utilizing your most productive times, you’re bound to get even more work done!

Mornings are great for Mike as well, so he also knows to take full advantage of this time.

For the caffeine addicts of the world, no morning routine is complete without a cup of coffee.

For Asiya, she likes to have brainstorming sessions over a cup of coffee when she wakes up. It’s all about doing what works best for you! If you get your best ideas in the morning, try a brainstorming session early in the day like Asiya does.

Q3: How can diets impact our lives for the better? Describe your style of eating + how it helps you stay productive.

It’s no secret that the foods you eat can have a great impact on your life. They can change how you feel, can give you an energy boost (or deplete you of energy), and so much more. Check out these tips and keep them in mind the next time you head to the kitchen:

Chris said that what you eat can impact how your brain functions. As a result, some of the foods you eat could make it easier or harder for you to hit the goals you’re trying to reach. When it comes to your diet, he said to focus on greens, veggies, and lean proteins. Skip the processed foots and drink lots of water.

This is a great answer from Sarah! Good nutrition leads to a healthy life, which can equal success. Just be sure to throw in a little hard work, too!

Julia knows clean eating is the way to go! She switched to eating organic and has cut out the junk food. She surely feels much better eating healthy!

Sandi said to stay hydrated by drinking water. Keep a glass of water on your desk throughout the day and remember to actually drink it up. It’s also helpful to avoid a lot of sugar, junk food, and a caffeine overload.

It’s safe to say that if you’re trying to stay motivated, a greasy meal isn’t the way to go! Go for some fresh fruit instead!

Mike knows just how important probiotics can be as part of your diet. Make sure you’re incorporating them daily to ensure you feel great. You can get a good serving of probiotics for many yogurts or you can also take a daily supplement.

Q4: What are your best tips for leading a healthy, balanced life?

If you want to live a healthy and balanced life, these are the tips you need to know! Check out what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say about this:

First, Chris recommends starting your day off right. This goes back to that question on your morning routine. Develop a routine that works for you and makes you feel great. You’ll notice a huge difference when you do. He also said to eat real food, focus on personal develop, do a digital detox, get some sleep, and hold yourself accountable.

Prioritize your tasks, create a list of everything you need to do, and then execute it. Great advice! This works for business plans, meal plans, workout routines, and more. When you plan and block off time in your schedule, you’re more likely to make it happen.

Don’t forget to get out there and have some fun! Doing something you genuinely enjoy can reduce stress and even boost your creativity. It’s absolutely okay to embrace those geeky hobbies!

Don’t fall into the habit of pulling all nighters all the time. As Sandi said, sleep is essential if you want to function well during the day. Set a bedtime routine and hit the hay around the same time every night. It helps you develop a routine that you can stick to.

Andy suggests laughing and spending time with family. Make time for regular exercise, while eating the foods you like every now and then. And don’t forget to get plenty of sleep!

Jeremy has just about summed it up with his answer! He said to exercise daily, get some sleep, and eat healthy and nutritious foods. And remember that being positive makes a huge difference as well.

Q5: Discuss how to plan your day to ensure you stay happy, healthy, and productive throughout.

Do you want to make sure you always have a great day? To ensure you’re feeling happy, healthy, and productive, keep these tips in mind:

Chris likes to break his days into chunks. The first chunk is where he focuses on his morning routine and his health. It’s a great way to make sure your day starts off on the right foot.

He wakes up at 5:45 AM, completes his morning routine, begins to tackle his work, has lunch, then gets back to work.

This is advice everyone needs to keep in mind! You should plan your day according to YOU. So, when are you most productive? Morning, midday, or in the afternoon? You can plan your day around your productivity zones to get more work done.

Becky creates a to-do list of all the things she needs to do during the day. Not only does a list keep you on track, but she’s right about it being satisfying to cross tasks off as the day goes on.

Kathleen knows taking work breaks is essential to success throughout the day. Take a break from your desk to do some stretches. It’ll help you feel refreshed when you sit back down.

Julia also suggests taking breaks throughout the day. Her other advice is to time your work, create a to-do list, and drink green/clean juices. Who wouldn’t want to a refreshing green juice to get through the day?

It’s also important to recognize how you feel so you can realize when you need to take a break. If you’re starting to feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or run down, take a break!

It may seem overwhelming to make a lot of big changes in your life, so don’t be afraid to start small. As Zachary said, even one good habit is a start. So, what one thing can you change today to make a difference in how you feel?

Q6: Describe a good work-life balance when it comes to your business.

What does a good work-life balance look like when it comes to your business? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Chris tries to work five to seven hours on business tasks during the day. He uses the rest of the day to focus on other things he wants to do.

As Andy said, don’t get stuck in a job you hate. While sometimes this is hard to avoid, it’s important to love what you do. You don’t want to wake up every single day dreading work. You should look forward to it and feel passionate about what you do.

Just because you work for yourself and your office is in your own home, it doesn’t mean you have to work until 1 AM all the time. Set office hours for yourself and get in the habit of shutting down at the same time every day.

And here’s a tip: If you are working late and responding to emails, no one has to know. You can use Boomerang with Gmail to schedule your emails to go out a reasonable time. You don’t want clients thinking they can reach you at all hours.

Q7: Do you use any tools in your daily life to help you live better?

The great thing is, there are a ton of helpful tools available to us today that can make our lives even better. Check out these suggestions and give them a try for yourself!

Chris has a few tools he relies on regularly to ensure he stays happy and healthy. Have you tried any of these suggestions?

Who doesn’t love a great playlist? Andy likes to use Spotify when listening to music. It’s a great way to get you in a better mood and energized to take on the day.

Sarah’s advice is to get outside. There’s nothing like a little fresh air to reinvigorate you. Plus, going for a quick walk can get you energy up and is great for helping you stay healthy. She likes to take her dogs for two walks every day, which is great exercise.

For Jamie, she relies on her Keurig to provide that morning cup of coffee, Spotify for great tunes, Slack for staying connected with others, and a treadmill for a stress-busting source of exercise.

Julia likes to read books that will help her learn and grow. After all, you should never stop learning! As a writer, she also knows it’s important to write daily to sharpen her skills. And she also loves some motivational playlists.

As for Lex, she enjoys taking a nap. If you’re feeling tired, a quick cat nap could do the trick to get you back on track for the rest of the day.

These are all great tools to help you better manage your work every day!

We like Lauren’s “no excuses” thinking. She streams her workouts on her phone, which means she can take them anywhere she goes. There’s no excuse for not hitting the gym because you can work out anywhere with the amount of exercise routines online today.

Q8: Which entrepreneurs do you look up to/follow when it comes to lifestyle?

There are a ton of entrepreneurs out there and many of them can provide a great source of inspiration for your daily life. Here are some awesome ones you can look to:

This is a great answer from Chris! He looks up to his parents. And as he said, this is a great reminder for those with children. Your kids are looking up to you and watching your every move. Make sure you’re setting a good example for them. Chris also looks up to Richard Branson and Kris Carr.

Gary Vaynerchuk certainly has an inspiring hustle, but don’t forget to take time for yourself and taking a break at the end of each day.

Kristi looks up to other entrepreneurs who are mothers. After all, they juggle a lot and can be a great source of inspiration!

Debi looks up to those who are successful, balanced, kind, and intelligent. These are all great qualities to be admired!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

fundamentals of SEO

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Fundamentals of SEO (Doing it The Right Way) with Nicholas Coriano

Search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty essential for anyone who is creating and publishing content online. After all, if you want your content to be discovered by your target audience, you need to do a little optimization. That’s why SEO was the focus of our most recent #ContentWritingChat. We talked all about the fundamentals of SEO, a great way to get back to the basics.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Fundamentals of SEO (Doing it The Right Way) with Nicholas Coriano

For this week’s chat, Nicholas Coriano popped in to be our guest host. He’s an entrepreneur, motivator, and the CEO of Homescape LLC. He joined the chat to talk all about the fundamentals of doing SEO the right way and shared plenty of great tips with everyone.

Q1: What is SEO?

To kick off the chat, we asked the all-important question… What is SEO? It’s important to know what exactly what SEO is before you dive in and start implementing the strategies you’ve learned about. Here’s how some of our chat participants defined SEO:

As Nick said, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of getting traffic from organic search results via search engines like Google.

Annaliese defined SEO as how you acquire attention and action of search engines.

Our CEO, Julia, said SEO is naturally optimizing your site for organic rankings. Something we focus on here at Express Writers!

SEO helps to make your content easily discovered and readable by the Google robots.

By taking the time to optimize your content, it will become easier for search engines to find. As Pamela said, you just need house the keywords you want to be known for.

Do you want your content to be seen by your audience? You need it to rank highly in search engine results. That’s what a little SEO helps you do!

Remember that you have to work with the search engines in order to get results. There’s no need for black hat tactics or anything like that!

Q2: Why is SEO important?

Now that you know what SEO is, you need to understand why it’s so important. These reasons are all great examples of why SEO is crucial for online content creators:

As Nick said, people turn to search engines to look for things. If you want your content to show up in those search results (and to rank high), you need to take the time to implement some SEO tactics.

Ryan said SEO helps Google understand what your web page is about and why it will help users.

SEO ensures search engines can craw and assess the content on your website, then present it for relevant search queries.

Do you want your website to be crawled, indexed, and then highly ranked? Of course! Debi said this is why SEO is a must.

Jessica knows SEO is important because it helps your content get to your audience.

Your ranking in the search engines will determine whether or not your content is found. And you want it to be found, right?

SEO increases the likelihood your audience will find you through content, keywords, and links.

Cheryl’s answer is a great way to look at it. If you want your content to be easier to find, SEO is very worthwhile.

Q3: What are keywords?

One of the fundamentals of doing SEO is choosing the keywords you want to rank for. They need to be relevant to your content and your audience so the right people find your work. Here’s how our chat participants defined keywords:

Keywords are how search engines what your content is about and who they should direct to your blog or website.

Varuna said keywords are the search teams people use to find content via Google and other search engines.

Keywords hone in on what your target audience is searching for. Ryan said you should use them naturally to improve your rankings.

Leah said keyword are the words and phrases people use to search. You then need to use these keywords to target the right people and draw them to your website.

Keywords are commonly search words and phrases that bring traffic to your site. The Web Themes Plus team said keywords are based on relevance, intent, and purpose.

Q4: What tools and tactics do you use to find keywords?

The goods news is, there are plenty of tools today that help you find the right keywords for your content. Check out this advice from people in Tuesday’s chat:

Google Adwords, Moz, and reverse engineering are the tools and tactics Nick relies on.

Google has plenty of great tools to help you find the right keywords. You can use their Keyword Planner, Google Trends, or just do a few searches. Moz is great as well!

Annaliese relies on SEMrush and Google to find the right keywords for her content and her audience.

Maureen takes advantage of the handy list of suggestions that come up when you type something into a search engine.

For Jacob, BuzzSumo is a must. It’s a great tool to find out what your audience is interested in and what they’re sharing online.

Nate said Moz’s Keyword Explorer is a must!

One great tip is to study your competitors. You can learn a lot from them!

Rebecca likes to put herself in the shoes of her buyer. Think about what your audience is looking for. That’s a great place to start.

Q5: What can I do on my website to improve SEO?

There are plenty of tactics you can implement ON your website to improve SEO. Here are some tips you can try out:

Great advice from Nick! Review, review, and provide value to your readers. You should never be spammy. Focus on becoming an authority in your field by consistently sharing great content.

Ryan said to answer the questions your audience has. Be relevant and add value to them.

Use keywords within your website’s content, but don’t overdo it. Keywords should be used strategically and in a way that is natural and human.

Sprinkle keywords throughout your copy, but make sure readability is high. No keyword stuffing!

Crappy content is a huge don’t! Focus on producing content of value that answers the questions your audience has.

Skip the jargon and use simple language that your audience is searching for. They’re more likely to find it this way.

Don’t forget to add those alt tags on your images! It’s a great way to boost your rankings.

Yoast is a great tool to use on your website!

Q6: What can I do off my website to improve SEO?

Just as you can do things on your website to improve SEO, you can do things OFF your site as well. Try implementing these tips in order to see results:

Gain links or mentions on other platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other blogs and websites.

Guest blogging is perfect for building brand awareness and positioning yourself as an authority. It also helps you generate links back to your website.

You can even go beyond guest blogging by doing podcast interviews, video interviews, and more.

Julia said to serve your customers well. Building offline word-of-mouth is a great way to grow your brand and to establish trust and increase your rankings online.

Make sure you’re sharing your content on social media. It’s a great way to send traffic back to your site.

Q7: How do I test to see if SEO is working?

Testing is one of the fundamentals of doing SEO. Once you have started optimizing your content, you need to do some tests to see if it’s actually working for you. Here’s how to do that:

Check your analytics regularly to see how things are going.

You need to start by setting goals for your SEO campaign. Without goals, you won’t have an idea of which metrics to track.

Ryan recommends setting up Google Analytics, then monitoring your traffic to see how much is organic. You can also use various tools to see your rankings.

Cristy’s advice is to have detailed reports of your activity before implementing any changes. This will give you something to compare new results to.

Q8: How does different content impact SEO?

So, how does different content impact your SEO? Here’s what some of our chat participants said:

Incorporate a variety of content formats, but make sure you are authentic in everything you create.

Annaliese said creating a value-rich content variety will help you reach large audience. This can ten improve your search rankings.

As Jacob said, well-written and relevant content leads to good SEO. Focus on providing value to your audience with everything you write. Learn about SEO so you can write better content.

Kristen recommends tapping into audiences you didn’t realize you had. Just make sure you still focus on your core audience.

Evergreen and long-form content are essential! Social media is also great to be using to improve SEO.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!


#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating Amazing Content for Your Email Readers with Val Geisler of ConvertKit

Could your email marketing use a major boost? Well, you’re in luck because that’s what we talked about in our latest #ContentWritingChat! If you want to learn how to get more subscribers, how to create amazing email content, and more, keep reading our recap.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating Amazing Content for Your Email Readers with Val Geisler of ConvertKit

Our guest host this week was Val Geisler. Val handles marketing content over at ConvertKit, an email marketing software we absolutely love! She’s also the host of the Reach podcast. As part of the ConvertKit team, Val has a lot of valuable tips on email marketing that she shared with us.

Q1: What makes a quality newsletter? And how often should you send one?

To kick off the chat, we asked our participants what they thought made a quality newsletter. After all, if you’re going to send a newsletter, you want to make sure it’s great!

Val said a quality email newsletter is one your readers open and engage with. You want to think about what your unique audience is interested in, which will help you create the content they enjoy. Once you’ve figured out what to write, be sure to send emails consistently to keep your list warm!

As Annaliese said, make sure you’re providing value to your subscribers. That should be your top priority before focusing on what you want out of the email.

Sarah from ThinkSEM knows a great email newsletter is one that’s useful, helpful, relevant, and timely. It all goes back to giving your audience what they want.

Exactly right, Jason! Your email newsletter should contain content that benefits your audience. You can educate them or offer them something you’re providing.

Relevance is key! McKenzie said you shouldn’t bother sending emails that aren’t timely and aren’t filled with content your audience is interested in.

Before you click send, always take the time to read through for errors. Be sure to check any links to make sure they’re working properly as well. It’s always worthwhile to double or even triple-check before pushing that send button.

Q2: How can you write a subject line that increases open rates?

Let’s face it. The subject line of your email can make or break the success of the emails you send. If you don’t have a subject line that grabs the attention of your audience, they just might click delete without ever opening it. Here are some tips on writing amazing subject lines:

For some great tips on subject lines, read the ConvertKit article Val shared with us. It’s filled with advice you need to know!

You should also keep mobile users in mind when creating your email content. Val said to keep your subject line under 60 characters if you want people to read it on mobile.

My advice? Write a subject line that clearly states what subscribers will find in the body of the email. You want to let them know what they can expect to see if they open it. Don’t mislead subscribers either. Clickbait isn’t cool and if you do it too often, people will start unsubscribing.

Annaliese agrees that deception isn’t cool when it comes to your subject lines. No matter what you choose for your subject line, it should be relevant to the contents of your email.

One great idea is to pose a question in your subject line. It’ll leave them wanting to know the answer, so they take the time to open and read your email.

Julia knows emojis are a great addition to any subject line. Not only do emojis add a little personality to your emails, but they also stand out in a crowded inbox.

Test, test, test! McKenzie is absolutely right with this one. Everyone has a different audience and what works for one person might not work for you and your subscribers. Take the time to test your emails to see what works and what doesn’t.

Q3: What are your tips for creating opt-ins that increase subscribers?

In order to increase your email subscribers, you want to create an opt-in that will give people a reason to sign up. They should get something in exchange for handing over that precious email address! Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Val knows content upgrades are where it’s at today. Content upgrades are opt-ins that are specific to a blog post. It provides a little extra something for your readers and encourages them to join your list.

She also suggests trying an email course as your opt-in. It’s a great way to keep your audience engaged. The tricky thing about eBooks is that someone may receive the email with the eBook download and never download it or they may download it and never read it. An email course pops into their inbox for a period of time and keeps you on their mind.

As Pamela said, you should be specific about what people will receive when they join your list. It shouldn’t be a surprise! Let them know what to expect so they can decide if it’s right for them or not. In most cases, providing tips or updates isn’t really enough to get subscribers. You should give them something extra.

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing agrees that you need to be clear about what you’re providing those who subscribe to your list. Let them know what kind of emails they can expect to see from you.

Q4: Do you create an editorial calendar for your email newsletter? If so, how do you create it?

If you’re a content creator, you probably already have an editorial calendar for your blog posts. It comes in handy, doesn’t it? Well, creating one for your email newsletter is great because it can help you plan topics in advance and keep you on a schedule.

Val shared a link to a post on ConvertKit’s blog that’s definitely worth a read.

Maureen knows how important editorial calendars can be. She also reminds us that it’s important to make room for flexibility. Don’t be afraid to change your plan if needed.

The Jobs2Careers team relies on Trello for creating an editorial calendar. Having a tool to use is very handy for staying organized.

For Kristen, she loves using Google Docs for creating editorial calendars. It’s easy to use and perfect for sharing with team members.

While Sarah and her team members don’t have an editorial calendar, they do have meetings to discuss their email content each month.

As Lexie said, having an editorial calendar for your emails will hold you accountable. It’s the best way to stay on schedule so you’re regularly sending content and keeping your list warm.

Q5: How do you juggle creating content for blogs, social media, emails, and more? What are your tips for keeping everything in order?

When you have to create content for so many different outlets, it can be hard to keep track of everything. Check out these tips for some helpful advice:

Val’s tip is to batch your content creation. When you can batch things like blog post writing and social media scheduling, life is much less stressful!

Alberto is also a fan of batching tasks like writing, creating visuals, and doing research.

Zala said to create a plan for your content creation. As she said, it’s much better to share less content that’s high quality than it is to post for the sake of posting. Everything you publish should be quality content that serves a purpose for you and your audience.

As Sarah said, having an editorial calendar is a major help. It’s also important to know your audience and what they want to see from you.

An editorial calendar, helpful tools like Trello, and plenty of coffee are must-haves!

Bill’s advice is to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish with your content and take it from there.

Don’t be afraid to repurpose the content you create so you can get more use out of it. You can repurpose your blog content for social media, add a summary in your email newsletters, and even combine similar pieces into eBooks.

Q6: What kind of emails do you send outside of your regular newsletter?

Do you send emails outside of your regular newsletter? Find out what some of our chat participants like to send to their subscribers:

At ConvertKit, they like to send out feature announcements and inform readers of free events they might be interested in. Welcome emails are also great for guiding a new subscriber.

Maureen knows it’s great to send out emails that specifically address the interests of your audience. It’s the best way to ensure you’re providing value to your subscribers.

If you have any webinars or special events going on, don’t be afraid to let your subscribers know about it.

Annaliese sends a welcome email that’s custom to where the subscribers came from. It’s a great way to welcome them to your list and to provide value.

Q7: Fancy emails versus plain text emails – What actually gets opened and read more?

Which is better? Fancy emails or plain text emails? Does it even matter? Find out what some of Tuesday’s chat participants had to say:

ConvertKit is a big fan of plain text emails. Read the blog post Val shared to find out why.

The results of Maureen’s testing revealed plain text emails were the best for her market.

HTML emails can also reduce open rates because there are often deliverability problems. That’s not what you want!

Kristen feels plain text emails are more personal, but she also knows adding images or video can increase engagement.

Q8: Why should you worry about growing an email list? Isn’t social media better for connection?

If you think email marketing is dead, we’re sorry to say that you’re mistaken. It’s important to focus on list building, but also using social media in addition to that. Here’s why:

Val shared a great post from ConvertKit on this topic!

The reality is, you own your email list. You can take your subscriber data with you if you were to move platforms. If you strictly build your following on social media, you could lose all of that one day if the platform shuts down or it becomes less popular. It’s like building a house on someone else’s land. Focus on list building first, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect social media.

As Zachary said, you have more control over your email list than you do with social media platforms. Your email list is your space.

As Lex said, you never know when social media will change. Social media platforms introduce new algorithms that can make it harder for you to get noticed, but you can always count on your emails to land in the inboxes of your subscribers.

Kathy knows emails are effective for landing sales and communicating with your audience. You should use social media as a way to promote your list and convert followers into subscribers.

This is an important statistic to keep in mind!

Both email marketing and social media are important, so it’s essential to utilize both.

You can use social media as a way to get people to your website, get them to sign up to your list, and ultimately convert them into customers.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

Think you’d like to give ConvertKit a whirl? Sign up here.