writing tips for freelancers

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips for Freelancers

This week, we had our second community edition of #ContentWritingChat! In case you aren’t familiar, that basically means we allowed our participants to be the guest hosts for the hour. After all, they’re a pretty smart bunch with some amazing advice to share! Our latest chat on Writing Tips for Freelancers was no exception!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips for Freelancers

We asked our audience to vote on the topic for this week’s chat and Writing Tips for Freelancers won by just a few votes! Considering we have so many writers in our community, it’s no wonder this topic was chosen. Everyone who participated shared some helpful tips, which we’re sharing in this recap! Let’s dive in!

Q1: What are the first steps to creating high-quality content?

To kick things off, we asked everyone to share the first steps they take when it comes to creating high-quality content. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Sarah has three steps she follows when it comes to content creation. Knowing your audience is the first step. Then, you plan it out by determining what, when, and where. And finally, it’s time to execute by writing and publishing your content.

Maureen knows it’s so important to understand your target market when creating content. You also need to have top-notch writers and designers that understand your brand. These are all essential elements to creating amazing content!

As mentioned, it’s crucial to know who your audience is and what they want. You should always create content with them in mind.

Not only do you want to know what your audience is interested in, but you should also determine how they prefer to receive content. What format resonates with them the most?

Susan offered some great advice for this question. She suggests conducting research to see what’s already been written and figure out what the gaps are. What can be added to the conversation that you are capable of writing?

As Sarah mentioned, it’s important to know your purpose. Why are you producing this piece of content? What is your end goal? When you’re creating, keep that purpose in mind.

Kristin suggests knowing your audience, what you want to say, how you want readers to feels and what you want them to do next.

For Lex, she starts with conducting SEO keyword and user intent research. This helps her figure out what her audience wants so she can create content for them.

Q2: How do you know when a piece is good enough to be published?

Too many people hold themselves back from hitting publish on a piece because they worry it’s not “good enough.” So, how exactly do you know when a piece is ready to go live? Here’s some advice:

Sarah said a piece of content is good enough to publish when it fulfills the goals you set out to achieve. Consider your purpose, the questions you’ve answered, your tone, etc.

Zala said to make sure your content: addresses the needs of your audience, is structured and well-researched, is optimized with the right keyword, and has a clear call to action.

For Danielle, she feels a post is ready to go after someone else has proofread it and made edits. If you don’t have someone to edit for you, wait a day after writing before editing it yourself. This allows you to review the content with fresh eyes.

Bruce also suggests having a second and third pair of eyes looking over your content if possible.

For some, you might have a team that a piece of content needs to go through prior to publication. If you do, make sure you’re respectful and take their feedback into consideration.

When you’re proud of the work you’ve created it, hit publish! Don’t stand in your own way.

Khulekani agrees. If you’ve impressed yourself with the work you’ve done and you love it, it’s good to go.

Q3: How much does spelling and grammar matter when writing? Any editing tips you can share?

Will those spelling and grammatical errors really turn off your audience? Find out what our chat participants had to say! Plus, you’ll want to implement the editing tips they chimed in with.

If your work hasn’t been edited and is littered with typos, it shows a lack of care. Try walking away from what you’ve written for at least one hour. Then, come back and proofread it with fresh eyes and a clear mind. You’ll be more likely to spot mistakes.

When you take the time to edit, it shows you pay attention to detail and that you truly care about the work you create.

Do you want your work to be taken seriously? Taylor says you better edit your content and use correct spelling and grammar!

Proper grammar is the soul of the language!

Jason feels correct spelling and grammar keep the integrity of the article. He won’t read something that has mistakes.

Both Leah and Megan won’t bother reading articles that are filled with mistakes. It’s worthwhile to take the time to proofread a couple of times before hitting publish. Don’t turn your readers off.

Khulekani relies on Grammarly to double-check for any errors in writing.

The Hemingway application is Danielle’s go-to tool!

We have another Grammarly fan! Not only is it great for spotting mistakes, but it’ll help enhance readability. Another suggestion is to have a friend or editor proofread for you.

Q4: What’s your biggest pet peeve when reading articles? What should freelancers avoid doing?

When discussing writing tips for freelancers, there’s no doubt that a few pet peeves are going to come up. We asked everyone to share their biggest pet peeves when reading articles so other freelancers can avoid the same mistakes. Check out these responses:

Content that isn’t original will get you nowhere! You need to make your content unique if you want to stand out online.

Grammar mistakes and bad writing are just two things that irritate Sarah when it comes to writing.

For Carla, she hates when people go off topic.

A lack of fact checking and clarity can certainly spell disaster for your article.

Research is a must! Present facts and back them up with reliable sources.

Jason doesn’t like posts that are too long. He also suggests making sure key points are bulleted or bolded. You also want to quote sources and provide visuals. These are all essential writing tips for freelancers to use in their career.

No fact checking. No uniqueness in voice or content. No focus on detail. Natasha knows that all three of these things are mistakes you don’t want to make.

Clickbait titles are definitely a NO. They’re misleading and will quickly turn your readers off.

Q5: How can style and brand guidelines help freelancers become better writers?

When you’re a freelancer, you’re going to be writing for a variety of companies. How can style and brand guidelines help in this situation? Here’s some advice from our chat:

Maureen feels guidelines help establish standards and set expectations. It’s going to help produce consistent content in the long run.

As Leah said, style guidelines help you capture the brand’s voice. After all, they want to make sure the writers they hire are consistently on-brand.

For the company that’s hiring the writer, they’ll want guidelines in place to set expectations.

Clear guidelines are going to ensure both the brand and the writer are happy with the end result. It states what the brand wants so the writer can deliver.

Bruce feels that having structure can actually force you to be more creative in your writing.

Shannon said writers should think of guidelines as a challenge to meet and surpass, as opposed to viewing them as a burden.

Q6: Can you truly become a better writer? If so, what do you need to do?

Is it possible to become a better writer or is it just something you’re born with? If everyone can strengthen their skills, what should we all keep in mind? These writing tips for freelancers are important to consider:

If you want to become a better writer, you have to write more often. It also helps to get feedback by having others review your work.

Practice every day if possible! It doesn’t matter if no one will see what you write. Choose a topic and just get started.

Cheval also agrees that consistency is key here. If you want to strengthen your writing skills, you need to write regularly.

Missy knows you don’t become great at what you do that easily. It’s going to take time and effort.

Think of it like a muscle that you have to train. The more you practice writing, the better your skills become.

Don’t forget to learn from the mistakes you’ve made in the past so you don’t continue making them.

Danielle suggests seeking feedback from trusted editors. They’ll tell you where you can improve.

As Lauren said, you also need to be open to feedback. Listen to what others have to say and take it into consideration as you write.

Shelly’s advice is to spend time reading like a writer/editor.

You can even take classes or join a writing group if you’d like!

Maria said it’s important write, read, educate yourself, and stay curious to improve writing skills.

Q7: Which tools do you rely on for writing and managing your work?

There are plenty of tools that can make it easier for managing writing tasks, so why not use them? Take a look at these recommendations from the chat:

Lexie said the Netvantage team relies on Google Drive for their calendar and storing content ideas. They also use Yoast for SEO purposes, which is a handy WordPress plugin.

The go-to tools for the ThinkSEM team include: WordPress, Google Docs and Sheets, the Hemingway App, the web, their brains, and plenty of time.

Jasmine relies on Asana to manage her freelance writing tasks.

Hubspot, Buzzsumo, Grammarly, Google Analytics, and Buffer are all essential tools for Sabjan.

Sarah mostly relies on HubSpot, but she also uses Evernote for storing ideas. She also turns to Grammarly during the writing process and the Hemingway app afterwards.

John is also a fan of Grammarly.

Brain, creativity, pen, and paper are all essential tools for the freelance writer.

As for Jeff, you can find him speaking to the Notes app on his phone. Sometimes this is just the best and easiest way to record all those ideas!

Q8: What’s your final piece of advice freelancers can take away from this chat?

Last call on writing tips for freelancers! Here’s the final advice some of our participants had to share with everyone:

Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism. As Sarah said, you’re writing for someone else and you need to listen to their feedback.

Jeff’s advice is to know what you’re worth. Don’t let anyone devalue the work you can create.

The freelance life doesn’t have to be isolating. Danielle suggests making connections on Twitter and in real life to connect with follow writers.

Never stop learning!

To be a writer, you just have to get started. Don’t put it off!

And we’ll close on this inspirational note from Cristy because sometimes you just have to go for it.

Want to join #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat, and be sure to join us live every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time!


#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build a Highly Profitable Personal Brand with Anthony John Amyx

Are you wondering how to build a personal brand that stands out online? If so, you’re in luck! That’s exactly what we discussed in our latest #ContentWritingChat. We talked about what it means to have a personal brand, the first steps you need to take to build your brand, and how you can incorporate personality into all of your online content.

Does that sound like exactly what you need right now? Keep reading for our recap of Tuesday’s chat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build a Highly Profitable Personal Brand with Anthony John Amyx

Our guest host this week was Anthony John Amyx. He’s a personal brand and business growth strategist. He shared some great advice with us this week, which you’ll want to check out!

Q1: What does it mean to have a personal brand and why is it important?

So, what exactly does it mean to have a personal brand of your own? And why is it such an important thing? Here are a few of the responses we received during the chat:

If you want to stand out online, you need to have a personal brand. Show what you’re passionate about and what you have to offer that can help others. This is ultimately going to separate you from others.

As Javi pointed out, your personal brand is your reputation. It’s what other people think of when your name crosses their mind. Whether you realize it or not, we all have a personal brand. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of it.

Julia said personal branding is when you apply your name to your products and services. This begins to establish you as your own brand.

Your personal brand goes beyond the visuals, but it also includes your values, priorities, and influence. It’s all about how you portray yourself online.

Your brand is going to attract the right people and help them connect with you on a deeper level.

Rebecca knows that we all have a personal brand, whether you maintain it or not. That’s why it’s better to be in control of what you’re putting out there online because it directly impacts your reputation.

Q2: What are the first steps to building a personal brand online?

Now that you know why it’s important to build a personal brand, you’re likely wondering how to create a brand of your own. Here are the first steps you should take to establish your brand:

Make sure you know who your target audience is and know your story as well. You also want to build a platform to get people onto your list. All of this should come before you focus on promotion.

Maureen said you need to know what you want to be known for first. Get those building blocks in place in order to get started. You want to know which topics you’ll talk about and you need to find your voice.

Passion is always going to be a key to success. Know what you’re passionate about and use that as fuel to build and grow your personal brand.

It’s important that you figure out your niche and what makes you original. As Shelly said, you should be interested, present, knowledgeable, original, and in demand.

One very important tip to remember when building your personal brand: don’t fake it. People will see right through you if you aren’t being genuine. Be yourself and that’s what will resonate with them.

Nick said you want to put out content that’s going to help you build your brand. Know what’s going to resonate with your audience and what aligns with your goals and share content that fits that.

Cheval’s advice is to provide value to your audience on a daily basis. This is going to help establish trust and allow you to build a relationship with them.

A great way to grow your personal brand on Twitter is to join Twitter chats. They’re the perfect opportunity to find and connect with new people in your niche.

Jeff suggests using strategic words and hashtags on social media. This is going to help more people discover your content. After all, you need those people to find you.

Don’t forget that consistency is key when it comes to branding. As our guest host pointed out, clarity, confidence, certainty, and consistency are essential if you want your brand to be profitable.

Q3: How do you incorporate your brand’s personality and voice into your blog and social media content?

Once you’ve started building your personal brand, you might be wondering how to inject personality into the content you publish online. Take a look at this advice from Tuesday’s chat:

Nick’s advice is to be yourself. He realizes that we, as humans, crave authenticity. Unfortunately, there are so many people online who aren’t being true to themselves though. You’ll be much happier and more successful when you embrace who you really are.

Let your brand’s personality shine through in everything you do online. Don’t hold back! Your personality should be apparent on your site, in your blog content, and on social media.

Maureen advises clients to “stay close to the real you.” She encourages them to own humor and imperfections because that can help build trust.

Authenticity and transparency are so important when it comes to establishing a personal brand.

When it comes to writing, Andrew recommends keeping a mission/goal statement as a reference. This will help ensure you stay on track with your personal brand.

Julia also likes the idea of having style guidelines for writing. When you know how you want your brand to be perceived, it’s easier to create those guidelines and stick to them.

Q4: How can you know if your personal brand is truly successful or not?

How do you know if your personal brand is really getting the results you want? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

First, you need to set goals for your personal brand. You can’t expect to track results if you don’t know what you want to achieve. Figure that out first and you can move forward from there.

Andrew also agrees that you need to have goals. He suggests choosing something quantifiable, which will allow you to track your results. You’re then able to make adjustments as needed to get the results you’re hoping for. Andrew also said having confidence in your own brand is important.

Kavita also knows the importance of setting goals. She also said that people finding value in your personal brand is a good sign. You want people to learn something from you, right?

Trust is essential! If people are beginning to trust your personal brand and they rely on your expertise, you’re on the right track.

Jeff also said that it’s a good sign when people are coming to you for whatever you’re an expert in. That shows that you’re doing something right.

When you see a community being build around your brand, that’s an incredible feeling. You want to have that genuine engagement with your audience.

There’s nothing better than authentic interaction between you and your audience.

Courtney feels true success stems from having genuine followers that engage with you because they like you and the content/message you offer.

A dedicated readership is another sign that you’re on the right path. You want to know that people are reading your content and engaging with it. Content that resonates is going to set you up for a win!

Q5: How can you be sure your personal brand leaves a lasting impression on your audience?

It’s hard to stand out in this noisy online world these days. So, how can you be sure you stand out and actually leave an impression? Check out this advice from the chat:

Building a personal brand requires consistency. As Andrea said, you can’t disappear for months, only to come back and expect people to welcome you again. You need to be present by consistently sharing content and engaging with your audience.

Elizabeth also agrees that consistency is important. She said to be consistent with your look and your presence, but that you also need to be yourself.

Shelly feels your brand will leave a positive, memorable impression by consistently delivering on the promises you’ve made to your audience.

And in case you needed one more reminder: consistency is key.

Kristin encourages you to consider how you leave people feeling after they’ve interacted with you. Do they feel hopeful or motivated? How do you want your audience to feel after reading your content, watching a video, or having a conversation with you?

Sara’s advice is to focus on serving your audience. When you can deliver what they want, they’ll keep coming back for more time and time again.

Q6: Share some of the most common mistakes people make when building their personal brand.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when building your brand. To make sure you avoid them, take a look at these mistakes people frequently make:

A lack of consistency can set you up for disaster. Make sure you find consistency in your voice. Jason also suggests avoiding anything that may come off as spammy.

Don’t ignore your gut. You shouldn’t do something you aren’t comfortable with.

Brand confusion is going to leave your audience scratching their heads. One way that brands often mess this up is with visual elements. You want to keep styles and colors the same so your content is easily recognizable.

Don’t try to please everyone. You have to focus on doing what’s right for you and your target audience.

As Anthony said, when you try to be everything to everyone, you become nothing to no one.

Don’t ask for something once you’ve connected with someone new. You need to give a lot before you can take something by means of asking.

Maureen said you should never fake your expertise. She also said you need to figure out what makes you different and get some good headshots.

Instead of faking it, know what your strengths are and embrace them. That’s the key to success!

Too many people make the mistake of not engaging with their audience. Have a conversation and develop a relationship with them.

Q7: What are the upsides to building a personal brand? Are there any downsides?

We asked everyone to share the positives and negatives of having a personal brand. Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Jason knows the expanding networking is a definite upside to developing a personal brand. He said it’ll help you find and connect with people similar to you, which is always great.

When creating a personal brand, you get to be yourself. That’s a plus! However, it does take time and effort to establish and grow your brand.

Having a personal brand is a great way to stand out from your competition. Your brand will help others resonate with you.

With a personal brand, your followers are attached to you. They’re not tied to any particular product or company. No matter where you go, they’re likely to follow.

Q8: What are some of your favorite personal brands? Tag them!

Ready to be inspired by some other amazing personal brands? Check out these favorites from the chat:

Jeff and Julia both shared great examples of personal brands that are worth checking out!

Want to join us for the next chat? #ContentWritingChat happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the next one!

Twitter engagement strategies

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Twitter Engagement Strategies with Gabriela Cardoza

Are you wondering how you can see more Twitter engagement? If so, you aren’t alone! It’s a great platform for sharing content and connecting with your audience, but sometimes it’s hard to actually get noticed. In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we asked everyone to share their best Twitter engagement strategies so we can all earn more retweets and replies.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Twitter Engagement Strategies with Gabriela Cardoza

Our guest host this Tuesday was Gabriela Cardoza. She’s a personal and corporate brand consultant, which you can learn more about on her site. Gaby has been a participant of #ContentWritingChat for some time now and she sure knows how to stand out in all the chats she joins. She stepped in as our guest host to share Twitter engagement strategies that all of us can put to use! If that sounds like just what you need, keep reading for the recap!

Q1: What is your favorite thing about Twitter?

To kick off the chat, we posed a very simple question to our participants. We asked them to share their favorite thing about Twitter so we could learn why they love it so much. Wondering what our favorite thing about Twitter is? It’s definitely #ContentWritingChat! Here’s what some others had to say:

Gaby likes Twitter because of the all the amazing things it exposes her to. She mentioned that it’s a great platform for finding opportunities, friendships, experiences, information, perspectives, and more chances to learn.

Twitter really is one of the best social media platforms for anyone looking to build relationships. You can do a quick keyword or hashtag search to find like-minded people to connect with.

Rebecca likes that Twitter gives you the ability to connect with others and have valuable conversations. It’s allowed her to reach people in her industry, as well as those around the world.

Jason loves that Twitter makes it easy to connect with people and brands. People are certainly more open to starting a conversation on the platform, which makes it easier to grow your network.

Bill knows just how effective Twitter chats can be. He mentioned that they give you access to professional development in real-time. Being present on Twitter can even lead to building offline relationships as well.

As Sarah said, it’s instant! When you head to Twitter, you can get a variety of news before other platforms are picking up on it. So many people choose to head to Twitter for the latest in breaking news. Sarah also likes having the ability to connect with people across the globe through the platform.

Elizabeth knows the global reach that Twitter gives you access to is pretty powerful.

Danielle loves the learning opportunities Twitter has presented her with. She uses it as a tool to find articles on writing and social media that she wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Ken feels Twitter allows you to toggle between personal and professional much more easily than other platforms. He said it doesn’t happen on LinkedIn and it’s tricky to do on Facebook.

Q2: What can you do to ensure you’re growing your Twitter account with quality followers?

When it comes down to it, a few quality followers will always beat a large following that isn’t engaging. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the work to grow your audience! If you’re wondering how you can reach more people, take a look at these tips:

Gaby said you need to have a strategy in place if you want results. She encourages you to know your purpose, your message, and your goals. You also can’t forget to define who your audience is so you can reach the right people. Once you’ve found your people, make sure you’re engaging with them.

Sarah’s advice is to make sure you’re reaching out and interacting with the right audience. If you’re going to be on a social media platform, you need to be present by engaging with others.

This is advice everyone needs to remember! You have to be willing to put in the effort and engaging with your followers. Ask questions to get the conversation going. When they reply to you, take the time to respond.

Jason suggests joining Twitter chats that are of interest to you. They provide a great opportunity to meet new people. He also said to reach out to those who align with your own vision. But most importantly, you need to be yourself. That’s what people will be drawn to.

Brandie’s tips include: connecting with people, staying involved, participating in chats, and providing excellent content. Sounds like a winning formula to us!

Quality content is key if you want to gain followers on any platform. You need to give people a reason to follow you and actually stick around.

Cheval also knows that it’s important to provide your audience with valuable content. However, he also pointed out that you should show your audience that you care. They’re human just like you. Show that you’re listening and that you appreciate them. That’s key if you want them to stick around.

Q3: How can you make sure the posts you share on Twitter encourage engagement?

If you find that the content you post on Twitter isn’t sparking engagement, something needs to change. Luckily, you aren’t doomed forever if that’s been the case for you! Our chat participants shared some helpful Twitter engagement strategies specifically for creating amazing content. Check it out:

Gaby’s advice is to ensure your posts consistently offer value. You can do that by knowing your audience, your market, and your industry. Keep their wants, needs, and interests in mind to create the content that will resonate with them.

If you want engagement, you need to engage yourself. People don’t want to engage with someone who isn’t listening or responding. It’s a two-way street!

It really all goes back to knowing your audience and understanding what they want. As Jason said, you have to provide them with content they’d want to engage with. You can ask questions or share something that would pique their interests to get a conversation started.

Jose knows you shouldn’t just post absentmindedly. He encourages you to add your thoughts and ask questions just like you would in a real life conversation.

A great headline is going to grab attention on social media, as will an eye-catching image. Create content that stands out and pulls your readers in.

Tony suggests asking a question, including a poll, stating an opinion, or including a link to outside content. He also said you can add a photo or GIF, which can be helpful in getting others talking.

Mallorie also agrees that adding a GIF can be helpful. It adds a fun, playful element to your tweet and helps show your brand’s personality.

Customer service and community management are both so important, especially on Twitter. Start a dialogue with people and show that you genuinely care when you’re connecting with them.

And finally, make sure you’re consistent. As Julia said, the conversation will go on whether you’re there or not. Make sure you’re present if you want to make connections.

Q4: What’s your best advice for getting the conversation flowing with your audience?

Sometimes it’s hard to get the conversation started. Whether you’re feeling shy on social media or just don’t know where to begin, this can be an overwhelming experience. It doesn’t have to be though! Check out these tips to start the conversation and keep it going:

Gaby said you really have to be proactive when it comes to conversations. She encourages you to ask questions, follow-up with people, and just say hi. You have to be social and take a genuine interest in others if you want to build real relationships.

Sarah said you shouldn’t wait for someone to notice you. Put yourself out there and strike up a conversation with someone you want to connect with. All you have to do is say hello. As she pointed out, it’s just like starting a conversation in real life.

Jim agrees. You can’t wait for others to start the conversation. Take the initiative and reach out.

What’s a simple way to get the conversation started? Ask a question! Danielle’s advice is to figure out what they care about and ask a question they’ll feel called to answer.

You can also ask for their opinion on something. As Jason said, it’s important to communicate that you want to hear from people. They’ll feel valued and appreciated when you acknowledge their responses.

Varun even encourages building a Twitter list of people you’d like to keep up with. You can monitor that list and join any relevant conversations you come across.

Joining Twitter chats is another way to make starting conversations easier. Chats bring people together and everyone is more open to making connections there. You can even host your own!

Jeff said you shouldn’t talk AT your audience, but WITH them. Make sure you’re responding, engaging, and interacting. The whole point of social media is to be social, so don’t forget this crucial step.

Q5: How can Twitter chats help you grow your audience? Any tips for making the most of them?

If you haven’t participated in a Twitter chat before, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Fortunately, you don’t have to wonder any longer! We asked our chat participants to share how they can help you grow your audience, plus a few tips to really make them work for you. Check it out:

Gaby said Twitter chats allow you to meet others with similar interests and can help relationships flourish. Joining chats on a regular basis is one of our best Twitter engagement strategies.

To make the most of the chats you join, follow-up with any new connections afterwards. You can also join different ones to meet new people.

Max agrees! You want to follow-up afterwards to stay in touch.

As Sarah said, chats bring like-minded people together and allow them to share their insights and stories. They provide the perfect opportunity for networking.

In fact, you can start multiple conversations within the hour-long chat window.

Carla pointed out that by joining Twitter chats, you can gain visibility through the hashtag. You’re also able to engage with others who are participating and you can position yourself as an expert with the responses you share.

In fact, by joining chats, people get a feel for the person behind the handle. It’s a great way to showcase your personality and your skills.

Jeff’s advice is to interact with people and also to be authentic. You can ask questions, showcase your expertise, and even add in a GIF.

Once you find chats that are relevant to your industry, you can join them to start making connections. Make sure you’re prepared to answer questions and respond to others.

Q6: How do you know if the content you share is helping you reach your goals on Twitter?

Are those tweets helping you reach your end goal? If you aren’t sure, we’ve got some advice to help you figure it out! Check out these responses from the chat:

Gaby suggests referring back to your social media strategy. Set objectives for yourself and track the data you receive. You can use Twitter analytics to do this, which is totally free.

Sarah also said to use your analytics to measure the results you’re getting. Are you moving forward, going backward, or standing still?

As Lori said, it all starts with knowing your goals. You can then track the appropriate metrics and make any tweaks if needed. Keep an eye on your metrics to see how you’re progressing.

Danielle pointed out one important factor: goals need to be measurable.

Max’s advice is go for the SMART goals. Be sure to track your progress as time goes on to see if your Twitter engagement strategies are working.

Julia recommends tracking profile reach and site analytics to see if you’re driving high engagement rates. She uses Twitonomy to do this.

Q7: Do you rely on any tools to help you connect with your Twitter followers?

There are tons of tools out there we can use for Twitter. Do you use any? If you’re in search of some new ones to check out, take a look at these recommendations from our chat:

Gaby relies on Buffer, her phone, and her thumbs!

Buffer and Giphy are go-to tools for Jeff.

Rosyln relies on TweetDeck to manage her Twitter account. It’s an especially great tool for Twitter chats!

If you want to schedule your content at optimal times, Danielle suggests Tweriod.

Jose uses TweetDeck, Twitter Lists, Buffer, and his phone.

Varun keeps it simple with Twitter Lists. This allows him to stay updated with friends, engaged followers, and what’s going on in his industry.

Sabjan relies on Buffer for scheduling content, but when it comes to automation, it’s all him. He keeps it real when communicating with others.

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

We can learn a lot from what other brands are doing online. Are there any that are killing it when it comes to Twitter engagement strategies? Check out these brands:

Gaby shared a great list of brands who do an impressive job on Twitter. Are you following them?

Julia loves following Content Marketing Institute, our very own guest host (Gaby!), Applebee’s, and Buffer.

Jim also thinks Applebee’s does a great job. They’ve been known to pop into Twitter chats when people mention them.

Varun thinks Buffer, Content Marketing Institute, and Crowdfire are great to follow. He even included us in his list, so thank you!

Want to join us next time? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat and be sure to join us every Tuesday at 10 AM Central!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Using Twitter for Book Marketing & Promotion with Rachel Thompson

Calling all authors! Are you wondering how you can use Twitter to market and promote your brand new book? If so, you’re in luck! That’s exactly the topic we discussed in our latest #ContentWritingChat. Some amazing tips were shared from our guest host and our chat participants. We’ve compiled some of the responses into this helpful recap, so let’s dive in!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Using Twitter for Book Marketing and Promotion with Rachel Thompson

Our guest host this week was Rachel Thompson. She’s an author, a marketer, and the owner of BadRedhead Media. Having used Twitter to market her own books, she really knows her stuff! We were excited to have her join our chat and share her expertise.

Q1: What’s the best way to use Twitter to sell books?

To kick off this week’s chat, we asked everyone to share how they felt was the best way to use Twitter to sell books. We received some great responses to this question, so here are a few of the answers:

Rachel’s advice is not to use Twitter to sell. Instead, she said to focus on building relationships with your current and potential readers. When you make that connection with people, it’s going to help you in the long run because people will be more inclined to buy from someone they know and trust.

She also suggests strategically following readers in your demographic. Provide them with valuable content, listen to what they have to say, and be authentic and helpful. They’ll appreciate you for it!

Even though it’s not something that Sarah has experience with just yet, she offered some great advice. She says you need to find your audience, meet their needs, and focus on networking.

Jeff has a great way of looking at selling! He says you need to sell yourself and why your words are worth reading. You also need to sell your words and why they should be read. If people don’t see the value in what you’ve created, they aren’t going to bother making a purchase.

Annaliese agrees. She says it’s all about focusing on the value you can provide. If you want to be successful with book marketing, showcase the value you have to offer.

You can also get creative with how your promote your next book. Have your audience get involved through a contest, which is a great way to get them doing some marketing for you. We love the idea of having them create fan art inspired by the book.

Q2: How many Twitter followers do you need to be successful?

Do you need to have a specific amount of followers in order to succeed at promoting your book? Or does it not matter? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Rachel was spot-on with her answer here. As she said, it’s all about quality and not quantity. You want followers who are truly interested in what you have to say and the work you’re creating. That’s key to seeing results with social media.

She also said that you should follow readers, book bloggers, reviewers, and publishing influencers. It’s a great idea to keep up with what those people are talking about and taking the time to engage with them.

After all, tons of followers who don’t engage with you won’t matter. You’d be better off with a smaller, engaged group than a larger group who isn’t pay any attention.

Andrea agrees! He said that 100 engaged followers on Twitter is much better than having 10,000 followers who are silent. You need an audience who is actually listening to you and engaging. Those are the people who will be most likely to buy.

Focus on building a following of current readers and potential readers if you want to succeed on Twitter.

Q3: What’s better: automation or no automation?

How do you feel about automation? Is it acceptable when promoting your book on social media or should it be avoided? Here’s some advice:

Rachel recommends ditching the automated DMs on Twitter, which typically come off as spammy and irritate your followers. But she says there’s nothing wrong with scheduling in promotional tweets or valuable content.

Varun doesn’t have a problem with automation as long as it’s monitored. You don’t want to automate conversations you have with your audience because that’s not genuine. Instead, you need to be there in real-time for those types of interactions.

When it comes to automating promotional posts, there’s nothing wrong with that. You simply shouldn’t automate engagement.

As David pointed out, it can help you reach people across multiple time zones.

Javier suggests finding a balance when it comes to social media automation. It can free up time for you to schedule certain pots in advance, but he agrees that you need to engage in real-time.

To really drive that point home, do not automate engagement with your audience!

On the flip side, a few of our chat participants recommend saying NO to automation.

But as Sarah said, it’s all about doing what works for you and your brand. That’s what matters in the end.

Q4: How can an author brand themselves on Twitter?

How do you go about branding yourself on Twitter? Check out this helpful advice from Tuesday’s chat:

One of the main things to keep in mind when branding yourself on social media? Keep it consistent! Rachel also says you need to tailor your message specifically for Twitter.

Elizabeth suggests using branded images, which makes your content recognizable on social media. She also says you can get involved in Twitter chats to establish your brand’s voice.

Varun’s advice is to build a relationship with your audience and don’t forget to connect with book lovers and reviewers as well. This is essential for book marketing!

Make sure you aren’t ignoring your fans on Twitter. Take the time to engage with them and build a relationship.

Cheval recommends focusing on providing valuable content for your audience. This will help you bring in new followers and build your brand’s presence overall.

David also said to share your insights and expertise to provide value to your audience. He had a great idea of sharing your writing process for a little behind-the-scenes content.

Q5: What’s the best way to build relationships on Twitter?

Now that we’ve already mentioned the importance of building relationships on Twitter, you need to know how to actually going about it. So, what’s the secret to connecting with your audience? Check out this advice:

Rachel’s advice is to follow people who are your ideal readers. Make the time to interact with them. They’ll take notice! This is the start of building a relationship with new people so you have to be willing to put yourself out there.

She suggests asking questions and even asking for opinions to get the conversation started. It’s so simple, but it works!

This is such a great reminder for all of us on social media! Talk WITH your audience, not at them. Conversation is a two-way street.

Annaliese says to engage with people one-on-one. Find new people and give them a follow. If you’d like to reach out to someone who is high-profile, she suggests sending a personalized message to start the conversation.

Sarah knows Twitter chats are where it’s at! They’re an easy way to make connections with other like-minded people. Find some in your niche and start participating.

Courtney also recommends joining Twitter chats. As she pointed out, it’s also an opportunity to learn new things. You can find out a lot about your audience by connecting with them through chats.

Varun’s advice is to engage in real-time conversation. He suggests starting your own Twitter chat or being a guest on another popular chat. It’s a great way to leverage someone else’s audience.

Twitter chats, one-on-one conversations, and genuine interaction are essential in Elizabeth’s book.

Zala says you should be a cheerleader for others! Be interested in what they have to say, reach out, and support one another. This is so effective when it comes to building real relationships through social media.

Q6: How can an author incorporate blogging and Twitter?

As an author, you probably know how effective both blogging and Twitter can be. But how do you go about incorporating these two things into your online strategy? Take a look at these suggestions from this week’s chat:

On Twitter, you can find relevant hashtags for sharing and promoting your work. As Rachel mentioned, she started a hashtag that encourages people to share their blog content. This will really come in handy for authors who want to expand their reach on Twitter.

She also mentioned how blogging consistently can help with SEO. This is great if you want to increase traffic to your website and build your online presence overall.

Jeff sees it as an opportunity to share your words, your thoughts, and your experiences. You can make use of both Twitter and blogging for this.

Elizabeth suggest using blogging as a bite-size way to give people a taste of your writing. It’s a subtle way to go about book marketing that can yield great results. If people like what they see on your blog, they’ll be more inclined to purchase your book.

Q7: What are Twitter Lists and how can authors use them?

You can add specific users to a “list” on Twitter, which helps cut down on the noise and gives you the chance to see updates from just those people. But are you actively using this feature? Many people forget all about it, but it’s worth making use of it! Here’s how you can use Twitter Lists as an author:

Rachel recommends using Lists to filter your followers. She encourages you to create as many as you want. They can also be private or public.

As Jeff said, Lists allow you to segment people into specific groups. An author might opt to create lists for readers, influencers, and bloggers.

Create Lists for promoters and readers for efficient book marketing on Twitter.

Lists allow you to filter out the content that doesn’t matter and focus on what really counts. You’ll be able to easily keep up with what’s going on in your niche with these curated lists.

Annaliese also suggests using Lists to stay used on trends relevant to your audience and industry.

Q8: How do you find readers/your demographic?

To wrap up the chat, we asked everyone to share their advice on how to find your readers on Twitter. Here’s what you need to know:

Rachel recommends using Manage Flitter, which allows you to input keywords for tweets or bios. You’ll be able to easily find people you’re looking for.

Eddie’s advice is to scope out other Twitter Lists and check out social media groups, like the ones on Facebook.

Varun knows Twitter Advanced Search can come in handy when searching for your target audience. He also said to use popular hashtags or search generic terms to locate them. You can even check out your competitors! After all, you need to locate your audience and connect with them for successful book marketing on Twitter.

Join the fun every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Follow us on Twitter (@ExpWriters and @writingchat) and be there for the next live chat!

content creation

#ContentWritingChat Recap: 2017 Content Creation Tips and Tricks

This week on #ContentWritingChat, we decided to switch things up a bit! As you may know by now, we typically have a guest host join us every week. Well, this Tuesday we decided to have a community chat and just let our participants be the main focus. After all, we do love each and every person who joins us for an hour of fun every Tuesday!

This community chat went so well that we’re actually going to incorporate them into our #ContentWritingChat schedule every month. We’re even going to give you you the opportunity to give input on upcoming chat topics, so stay tuned!

But for now, let’s dive into the recap of this week’s chat where we talked all about content creation tips and trick for 2017!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: 2017 Content Creation Tips and Tricks

In Tuesday’s chat, we invited everyone to join us and talk content creation. Being that so many members of our #ContentWritingChat community are writers, it’s no surprise that they all had some great advice to share. Let’s get to it!

Q1: When it comes to content, what’s the first step you should always take before you begin creating?

Before you dive head first into writing content, there are a few things you should do beforehand! What might those things be? Here’s what a few of our participants believe are the essential first steps:

Sarah is spot-on with her answer! She knows that you have to determine what your audience needs to see before you can start with content creation. After all, if you aren’t sure what your audience needs, how can you create content that will resonate?

As you spend time getting to know your audience, you also want to determine how they like to receive content. Do they prefer a specific content format or a certain platform? These are all important things to consider before you create.

We like the way Brittany put it! Date your audience to get to know them before taking them along on your content journey.

Having a message behind your content is important as well. You want your audience to read your content and be able to walk away with something of value. Make sure your content always serves a purpose.

Zala also agrees that your content needs to serve a purpose. Everything you publish online should add value to your audience in some way.

As Megan mentioned, research is a very important step to content creation. Before you can begin writing, you may need to conduct research to learn more yourself or so that you have sources to back up your ideas.

Julia’s advice is to begin by discovering trends and topics and perform the best on the platform you’re writing for. You can then analyze the audience and SEO.

You can’t forget to set goals either! When you have clear goals in mind, you’re able to create the content that will help you achieve what you want.

Q2: What types of content do you create to build and maintain an authoritative, ROI online presence?

There are all kinds of content types out there in the online world! For that reason, it can be difficult to choose what’s right for you. Here’s some advice for you if you want to create authoritative content that helps you get results:

Les knows that it’s important to consider the content types your audience prefers. If your audience loves to read, they’ll probably enjoy your long-form blog posts. If they’re more visual, they’ll be happy to watch your YouTube videos and live broadcasts. Always keep their preferences in mind!

Elizabeth recommends trying multiple mediums for your content. This is a great opportunity to see what performs best for you and what your audience likes the most. Whichever content type you choose, it’s crucial that you share a relevant, helpful message.

Julia urges you not to overlook your core content types. Make sure you aren’t neglecting your blog and the various landing pages you have on your site.

Infographics and blog posts are two ways you can certainly shine online!

Q3: What platforms do you publish on? (Your own site, guest platforms, etc.)

It’s important to consider where you’re publishing your online content if you want to effectively reach your audience. We asked our chat participants to share where they dedicate most of their time and here’s what they had to say:

Julia knows it’s important to focus on your own website, as that’s online real estate you actually own. You don’t have to worry about a site or a social media platform shutting down. Secondly, she encourages guest blogging. You can use platforms like LinkedIn Pulse and Medium for this.

Her other piece of advice is not to be everywhere online. She says it’ll dilute your focus and you’ll also wind up spreading yourself too thin. Focus on the core platforms that you enjoy and that work for you.

Gaby publishes content on her personal website, other industry sites, and on social media. In the past, she’s even contributed to academic sites. It’s all about finding what works for you and just going for it!

Brittany has been mostly focused on her own website, but she’s planning to branch out into guest blogging. It’s a great way to get your content in front of a wider, relevant audience.

Cheval mostly publishes on his own site as well, but he does like to repurpose articles on LinkedIn. If your audience is there, this could be a worthwhile strategy for you as well.

Sarah said the ThinkSEM team is focused on publishing content on their blog, in their email newsletters, and then spreading the word via Twitter.

Jeff enjoys finding valuable content via Medium. With a variety of articles and writers, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.

Q4: How do you get inspired to create content ideas for your blog and social media?

It’s not always easy to find inspiration for new content ideas, which can often leave us frustrated! If you’re looking for ways to get your creative juices flowing again, check out these tips:

Make sure you’re actually listening to your audience. Sometimes, they’ll you exactly what they want to see from you! Watch for the comments and questions they leave on your blog posts, in response to email newsletters, and also on social media.

You can also draw inspiration from your competitors. Check out what they’re doing and what they’re missing out on. You may have the opportunity to do something better than they did or fill a need they’ve forgotten about.

It also helps to look at support tickets, if this is a part of your business. If your audience is often asking the same questions, you can write content that answers them.

Javier suggests thinking about the challenges your clients are facing or may face in the future. You can create content that provides them with potential solutions to what they’re dealing with.

Anna checks Quora to find out what people are frequently asking there. She also turns to books and articles to gain inspiration.

Beth finds that she’s often inspired by other blogs. Whenever an idea strikes, she records it in a document where she’ll easily find it later.

Allow Google to be your best friend! Lex recommends doing a little keyword and user intent research to figure out what your audience is searching for. Once you know, you’re able to create exactly the content they want.

On the flip side, sometimes it helps to just get away from the computer for a bit. Get outside and go for a walk. Danielle said the fresh air can do wonders for your imagination.

Q5: What does your process for content creation look like? Any tips you can share?

We all have a different process when it comes to content creation! Here’s how some of our chat participants get started with creating:

Brittany’s process will have you on the fast-track to content success! Research, strategize, write, edit, publish, promote, repurpose, and then start all over again.

Once you have an idea, a great way to get started is with an outline and conducting research. These are essential steps that can help make the writing process much easier.

After she’s gotten an idea, Elizabeth begins outlining her content by jotting down the main points and ideas she wants to cover. This will help her be much more organized when it comes time to write.

For the Netvantage team, they start with keyword research.

Andrew relies on Post-it Notes to help him with the content creation process. He also recommends stepping away from your content for a bit and then revisiting it. This is a great way to make any final edits. He also said it’s helpful to ask for feedback from others.

Mallorie says you shouldn’t be afraid to just write. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, so the best thing you can do is just start writing and let the words flow. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mess because you can always edit it later.

Q6: How do you ensure the content you create will help you achieve the goals you set for your brand?

If the content you write isn’t helping you achieve your end goal, what’s the point? Here’s how you can ensure everything you publish is having an impact:

Julia said you need to set and know your goal goals before you start creating. This will help direct you in the right path so you can actually see the results you were hoping for.

Not only that, but you should also know how those goals fit into your overall brand strategy.

After your content is published, you need to track your results to see how you’re doing. For Lalaina, she typically tracks blog views and clicks on her call to action.

As Gaby mentioned, it’s important to periodically reflect on your goals and the results you’re getting. If you need to, don’t be afraid to realign. It’s necessary if things aren’t going your way!

Zala agrees! You need to test, measure, track, and change accordingly. If you aren’t seeing results, make tweaks and test again to see how things change.

Remember: everything you publish should track back to your larger goals. You need to publish content that serves a purpose and is working hard for you.

Q7: What do you predict for the future of content in 2017 and beyond?

The world of online content is always changing, so it’s important that we look to the future for what’s right around the corner. Here are some predictions our chat participants have made about what’s to come:

Cheval thinks a majority of online content will be created in video format. It’s one content type that has been on the rise in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Julia also sees that video is on the rise, but she’s also predicting there will be even more tools for creating content. She said people will have to be both creative and consistent if they want to stand out in this busy online world.

Shorter videos and user-generated content are definitely performing well, especially on social media.

Kavita also sees live video growing, with more brands starting to invest in this format.

And we can’t forget about augmented reality!

Compelling storytelling and visuals are always a winning combination!

We can expect an increase in visual content, podcasts, and automation tools.

Jasmine thinks brands will be using new ways to encourage reader engagement. After all, it’s so important that we stay in touch with our audience and build relationships with them.

Lex is hoping for a greater integration of SEO, as well as better use of metrics and analytics.

Q8: Which tools do you rely on to create amazing online content for your brand?

Fortunately, content creation is made much easier with all the powerful tools we have at our disposal. If you’re looking for some new ones to try out, take a look at these suggestions:

Sarah’s go-to tools include: WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin, Twitter, Medium, other blogs, newsletters, and even life events.

BuzzSumo, Keyword Tool, and SEMrush are all great options for conducting keyword research. For editing, Grammarly is a popular option. And for anyone who wants an easy way to create graphics, Canva is awesome.

Gaby is a big fan of Grammarly as well!

Julia relies on a variety of tools including: WordPress, Google Docs, Airtable, Yoast, Mangools, SEMrush, and BuzzSumo.

Beth loves to use the Hemingway app, which is another popular tool for content creation.

Want to join in on the Twitter chat fun? Our chat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Making Content Marketing & SEO Work for Your Brand with Gini Dietrich

By now, you probably know how important content marketing and SEO are for your online brand. But do you really know how to implement them? In this #ContentWritingChat, we discussed this topic and received some really great advice from our chat participants. Keep reading to learn more!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Making Content Marketing & SEO Work for Your Brand with Gini Dietrich

Our guest host this week was Gini Dietrich. Gini is the CEO of Arment Dietrich. She’s also an author and a speaker. In this week’s chat, she shared some valuable tips you’ll want to use for your own brand.

Q1: Content marketers today have to know SEO. Do you have a process you recommend to combine both?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their tips for combining both content marketing and SEO. Here are some of the responses we received:

Gini’s process includes the following: defining keywords where you can compete, creating headlines, developing an editorial calendar, publishing content, earning high-value links, and tracking results.

Julia says it all starts with knowing your keywords. She loves to use SEMrush for this. Then, she writes an optimized headline and begins creating her content.

For Emma, her process starts by identifying keywords with Google’s Keyword Planner and other research. She knows it’s important to figure out what your audience is looking for.

Mallie recommends using Yoast, which is a powerful WordPress plugin. It’ll give you an understanding of the basics of SEO.

Make sure you always write with your audience in mind. You need to create content that will appeal to your human readers.

As Sarah said, your end goal is always to get the right content in front of the right people.

Kristin agrees that you need a strategy in order to get your content in front of the right people.

Q2: So, are you saying we need to create content for robots first?

The big question here is… Who do we focus on when creating content? Do we focus on the human reader or the robots running the search engines? Here’s what our chat participants had to say:

Gini doesn’t feel robots should be your primary focus. Instead, she recommends keeping a list of questions your customers and prospective customers ask. You can then do keyword research and create content based on those commonly asked questions so you can better address your audience’s needs.

Andrea is right. Google is getting a lot smarter and they do pick up on it when you create great content for your human audience.

Gaby’s advice is to focus on providing quality, valuable content for your audience first and foremost.

Kristin focuses on writing for her audience and makes SEO tweaks afterwards.

In the end, your audience is who really cares about the content you create. Always keep them in mind.

Q3: The Google Keyword Planner only gives ranges for non-advertisers. How can we get more specifics?

Our chat participants had some great advice for getting more specific information when it comes to keyword research. Here’s what they had to say:

Gini likes using the Moz keyword planner, which is a favorite for many content creators.

Sarah suggests looking towards some other tools for help. She recommends Moz, SEMrush, and keywordtool.io.

SEMrush and Majestic SEO are also two popular tools.

Louise turns to platforms like BuzzSumo and Reddit for finding relevant topics and keywords that people are talking about.

Sarah has found Answer the Public to be a great tool to help you find ideas for your content.

Grep Words is another tool you can consider using for your keyword research.

Social listening is another great way to tune into what your audience wants and needs.

Gaby’s advice is to monitor your market, industry, audience, brand, and your analytics.

Q4: Can you define domain authority and explain why it’s important to content marketers?

Wondering what domain authority is and whether or not it’s important for you? Check out these responses from the chat:

Gini says domain authority gives a metric at the top of the funnel. It gives you the opportunity to find high-value sites for media relations and publicity.

If you want to learn more, check out the link Kristin shared.

Julia said domain authority is a metric created by Moz. She suggests paying attention when researching keyword opportunities.

As Sarah said, it correlates with rankings and performance in search engines.

Q5: How do you recommend we pitch contributed content, if we’re not PR pros?

If you need some tips for pitching contributed content, just check out this advice:

Gini feels pitching is all about relationships. You can start building a relationship with a publication by sharing their content first. You can also comment on their content and talk to them on Twitter. Once you’ve built up that relationship, you can move forward with your pitch.

Kristen’s advice is to know who you’re pitching inside and out. It’s the best way to ensure you’re a good fit.

Andrea suggests building relationships with publications and authors. When you do, you stand a better chance at getting a yes from them when you pitch content.

Devin also agrees with building a relationship with the site and editor you’re wanting to pitch to. It also helps to have examples of work you’ve already published.

Mike suggests building a relationship first as well. Ask to contribute a piece when the time is right.

Mallie’s advice is to personalize the pitches you send. You want to showcase the value you can provide through a contribution you’d like to submit.

Ditch the mass emails when pitching. Be personal and genuine when contacting someone about a contribution.

Shannon said it’s all about fining the right contact person, showing value, and filling a need.

Q6: What if someone had a topic that has very low search volume? How do you handle that?

What should you do if your topic doesn’t have the highest search volume? Here’s some helpful advice:

As Devin said, it’s ultimately going to depend on your niche. Not every niche will have the same size, search volume, etc. And Gini agrees. Low search volume can be beneficial in a niche industry.

Julia knows it’s not worth trashing a topic simply because it has low search volume. Check out the graphic she shared with tips on how to validate your content topic.

What really matters is that the content is well-written and it’s created for a specific audience.

As Sarah pointed out, those searchers are still in need of content, even if it is a small amount.

While search volume is valuable, Mallie knows that engagement is key as well.

Q7: Can we use LinkedIn Pulse and Medium to help increase our domain authority?

Are platforms like LinkedIn Pulse and Medium worthwhile? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say about the subject:

Gini feels it won’t boost your domain authority, but it will build your readership and send traffic back to your site.

Julia says yes. She suggests including posts on LinkedIn Pulse and Medium in your monthly content plan. You can use it as an opportunity to link to related content on your site.

Zala agrees that these platforms can be great for cross-linking and generating traffic to your website.

While it might not help you increase domain authority, it can help you get more traffic.

It’s also worthwhile to determine if your audience is actually spending time on these platforms. If they are, it’ll be worthwhile for you to share content there.

Q8: Can you give us a list of all the tools you recommend for this type of work?

If you’re in need of some new tools to try out, we’ve got you covered! Check out these suggestions from the chat:

Gini suggests having a list of questions from your customers and prospects, a keyword planner, a mind mapping tool, and an editorial calendar. She also recommends having some patience, elbow grease, and the ability to build relationships with others.

A creative mind and a strong work ethic are certainly important.

Louise says you should have a strategy, but always keep it flexible.

Yoast, BrightEdge, and Google Docs are essential for Mallie.

Julia relies on SEMrush, Mangools, KWFinder, BuzzSumo, and Airtable.

Andrea’s go-to tools include BuzzSumo, Feedly, and Hashtagify.

Recap of Recommended Tools:

  • SEMrush
  • Moz
  • keywordtool.io
  • Answer the Public
  • Mangools
  • BrightEdge
  • Hashtagify
  • Grep Words
  • Majestic SEO
  • BuzzSumo
  • Reddit

Be sure to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat, which happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time. (We’ll skip July 4, though! Happy Independence Day to all our chatters!) Follow us @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest updates!

content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

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

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah is a big fan of HubSpot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

artificial intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q2: How can content creators start leveraging artificial intelligence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q3: How can artificial intelligence assist writers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q4: Is artificial intelligence going to replace writers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q5: How can artificial intelligence help optimize content?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s always important to track those conversions!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google is certainly a go-to tool!

Funny, but true!

Q8: Give some examples of brands using artificial intelligence.

These brands are already using artificial intelligence:

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

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

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

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

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

internal linking

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

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

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

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

Q1: Why are internal links important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q2: How do internal links affect overall site structure?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People before bots!

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

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

Q4: Does the anchor text of links matter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Navigation links are a crucial element of every successful website.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q8: Give some examples of internal linking done incorrectly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#ContentWritingChat Recap: Language in Content with Tara Clapper

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

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Language in Content with Tara Clapper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We like the way Maureen thinks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q8: What existing linguistic trends are on the rise?

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

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

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

GIFs and videos continue to rise in popularity as well.

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

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