social media calendar

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create a Social Media Calendar That Engages Your Audience with Maura Hughes of MeetEdgar

There’s no denying that brands want a number of things from their social media presence.

They want growth in terms of their community, engagement, click-throughs, conversions, and more. No shame in that!

But how do you make sure you’re actually creating content and showing up on your social platforms in a way that will help you generate the results you want? You create a social media calendar!

Having a social media calendar encourages you to plan ahead and be strategic about what you’re sharing and how you’re serving your audience. And in this #ContentWritingChat recap, we’re teaching you how to create one!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create a Social Media Calendar That Engages Your Audience with Maura Hughes of MeetEdgar

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Maura Hughes. Maura is a Digital Marketing Manager over at MeetEdgar, a popular tool for scheduling social media content. In fact, it’s the one we use here at Express Writers! Maura had some amazing advice for creating high-quality, engaging social media content, so let’s dive into the tips!

Q1: Is it important to have a social media calendar? Why or why not?

If you’re not sold on the idea of planning out your social media content in advance, you just might be after reading these responses from the chat:

Maura feels a social media calendar is great because it helps you to be more consistent when it comes to posting on the platforms you use. That’s important if you want long-term success!

Not only is a calendar great for consistency, but it also ensures you’re posting with purpose. You’re thinking ahead and planning out content your audience would genuinely love, as opposed to throwing something together at the last minute.

And when you plan in advance, you don’t have to stress about coming up with content at the last minute! That’s never fun!

Plus, having a calendar with all your content outlined reminds you to think ahead to upcoming holidays and any social campaigns you’ll be running. You’ll never forget anything important this way.

Just remember that your social media calendar shouldn’t be set in stone. Allow yourself to make shifts as needed to provide the value your audience needs.

Lexie agrees that flexibility is key if you want to be successful! Never be afraid to make changes if something isn’t working or if there are timely topics you need to cover.

Q2: What types of content should go on your social media calendar?

Now that you’re probably sold on creating a calendar of your own, you’ll need to know what kind of content to fill it with. Here are some suggestions:

As Maura pointed out, your content should build the Know, Like, and Trust Factor with your audience. She also said to plan content according to your goals. For instance, if social media is a way for you to drive traffic back to your website, make sure you’re actually linking back to your site by sharing the latest blog posts, etc.

Always choose content based on your target audience. As Maria said, ask yourself what they’re likely to respond to. That will tell you exactly the kind of content you should be sharing.

If you’re creating a social media calendar for a client, always ask what they want to be posting more of. Take their suggestions into consideration. Rachel’s advice of creating different categories will really be helpful in staying organized with all of your ideas.

Share content that promotes your brand, talk about your offerings, and address timely events and holidays.

You can’t go wrong with things like informative blog posts, stats, videos, and infographics. It’s also smart to ask questions to get a conversation started.

Q3: Is it a good idea to re-share the same content in your social media calendar? Why or why not?

Before you rush to schedule some social media posts, here’s the scoop on re-sharing the same content:

It’s definitely okay to repost your content, especially if it’s evergreen. Evergreen content is always relevant and appealing to your audience, so why not make sure they’re seeing it? As Maura said, the shelf-life of social media posts is very short, so post things more than once to increase traction.

A smart tactic when re-posting the same content is to change up the copy, use different hashtags, and switch up the graphics. It helps keep things fresh.

By re-posting your content at different times and days, it ensures that even more people are seeing you’ve shared. Very important!

At the end of the day, make sure your content is reflecting what your audience wants to see. That’s how you keep them coming back for more.

Q4: What are some tactics for actually structuring your social media calendar?

Don’t get overwhelmed when planning content! Use these tips to make the task even easier:

Post with a purpose and ensure that the content you’re sharing is actually getting you closer to your goals. Otherwise, what’s the point?

So, if you haven’t set goals for what you want from your social media presence… Go ahead and do that today!

Make sure you’re testing to see what actually works for you in terms of the kind of content you share. It even helps to just ask your audience what they want to see more of.

This triple theme method that Rachel mentioned would definitely be helpful!

These ideas that Masooma shared are perfect for filling up your social media calendar!

Q5: What analytics and KPIs should you review to improve your social media calendar?

After you’ve started sharing all this amazing content, you’ll want to track your progress to ensure you’re reaching your goals. This is how you choose the right KPIs:

Go back to your goals! They’ll tell you if you should be more focused on link clicks, comments, shares, etc.

If you want link clicks, focus on that. If you want to see more interaction and brand awareness, pay attention to things like growth and comments.

When you track your engagement, it’s a good sign that your content resonates with your audience.

Ditch the vanity metrics! Maria says to focus on things like comments or shares.

For Katie, she focuses on tracking LinkedIn engagement. She likes to see that her content is driving conversations.

Rachel likes to view social media shares to see what insights people are sharing about her content.

Q6: How can we ensure our social media content is fresh and generating the engagement we desire?

No one wants stale social media content! Keep it engaging with this advice:

Maura suggests testing phrases, images, videos, etc. to see what performs the best. They’ll even send out one blog post with six different variations to test them all. It helps you see what works and what does.

Also, make sure you’re getting to know your audience through conversations so you can build strong relationships with them.

Sending out a survey is an amazing way to learn more about your audience and what they’d like to see from you.

If you find that something just isn’t working for you on social media, find out why. And focus on replicating the things that do work.

Q7: Which tools will come in handy when managing your social media presence?

And finally, it’s easier to manage your social media calendar with a few tools in your toolbox. Here are some great ones:

Maura recommends using MeetEdgar for scheduling, of course! She also likes Canva for creating graphics, as well as Google Analytics for data.

You definitely want to have a scheduling tool, a social listening tool, and something to create graphics.

The SEO Charge team suggests apps like Awario and Animoto.

Lexie loves Canva and Google Analytics.

Google Sheets is great for tracking stats. Social Oomph, Hootsuite, and CoSchedule are worthing checking out too.

And don’t forget about your in-app analytics!

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

#ContentWritingChat, optimizing web content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Successfully Optimizing Web Content in 2020 with Diana Richardson

If you need some help when it comes to optimizing web content, you’re in the right place! Whether it’s your latest blog post or a key page on your site, it needs to be optimized effectively if you want to rank in search results.

So, how can you make sure that happens? Glad you asked! This #ContentWritingChat recap is packed with awesome tips that will help you get discovered via Google.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Successfully Optimizing Web Content in 2020 with Diana Richardson

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Diana Richardson. Diana is a Social Media & Community Manager at SEMrush (one of our favorite tools). She had some amazing advice for our chat, so let’s dive into it!

Q1: What is the first step we must take when optimizing web content to ensure we’ll get the desired results?

Before you just start diving in, we need to talk about what needs to happen first… Before you start optimizing everything. Here’s what you need to know:

As Diana mentioned, it starts with knowing your goal and who your target audience is. What are you working to achieve? And who is the desired reader for your content? You need to keep these things in mind in order to generate the right results.

Don’s advice is to set up your content pillars before diving into optimizing web content. Think about core topics and subtopics you’ll be covering and allow that to guide your keyword research.

Remember that quality is crucial. You never want to sacrifice quality in order to get your content to rank highly.

Q2: Should we be targeting high-volume keywords or is that merely a vanity metric? If you feel it’s a vanity metric, what should we focus on instead?

High-volume keywords or low-volume keywords? What about low competition? There’s so much data to look at! This is what you should pay attention to:

If you can rank for a high-volume keyword, that’s awesome! However, it’s not always an easy task because those keywords are often very competitive. Diana suggests finding some of the more unique keywords that still get search volume and targeting those.

Focusing on long-tail keywords that your target audience uses is definitely a great tactic when optimizing.

For those who are just starting out, it doesn’t hurt to go for less competitive keywords. This strategy just might pay off in the long run!

The team at SEO Charge says to go for both. Try targeting booth high and low-volume keywords and see what kind of results you get.

Finding that balance is key! Zala says to identify where you can compete and actually make an impact online.

Q3: Break it down! How can creators find the right keywords that will work for their content?

To find the perfect keywords when optimizing web content, just keep this advice in mind!

Optimizing web content starts with the right keywords. And finding the right keywords starts with knowing your audience. Diana relies on tools like SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to help her get the job done. She also finds it helpful to have your ideal reader in mind. How would that person search? Which keywords would they be using?

Masooma suggests using tools like Google Related Search to help you generate ideas for potential keywords.

The typical SEO tools don’t have to be the only things you use! You can also check out BuzzSumo and Quora to see what people are talking about. That can generate a ton of new ideas.

Katie offered even more great suggestions, which are worth checking out!

Don’s advice might not be what you’d expect, but it’s definitely worth trying. He says to try some keywords that don’t work first. Then, you can use the data you gather to make improvements moving forward.

Q4: Is it possible to get too carried away and over-optimize your blog posts or web pages?

Is over-optimization really a thing? Here’s some thoughts from our community:

No one wants to sound like a robot, which is often the end result when people over-optimize.

Danielle said keyword-stuffed writing is awkward. Focus on creating quality first and foremost, then worry about optimization.

The key is to find a balance between writing for your reader and Google.

Q5: Are there any differences we should note when optimizing blog posts versus pages on our website?

Differences between blog posts and web pages? Well, here’s what you need to know:

The main difference between optimizing blogs and web pages is your goal. What are you trying to achieve with each? That should shape your content overall. Other than that, there isn’t really a difference.

You still want to make sure you’re paying attention to things like linking, images, keywords, headings, etc.

Q6: What are the most common mistakes creators make when optimizing web content? And how can we avoid them?

Don’t fall victim to these mistakes!

Not optimizing is a huge mistake! Failing to have a clean navigation on your site is a big no-no. And ignoring E-A-T is not wise, my friend.

Kate also agrees that paying attention to E-A-T is a must!

Other mistakes to avoid: overusing/underusing keywords, not using keywords in the URL, and ignoring factors like image optimization and page loading times.

Forgetting all about user search intent would definitely be a mistake!

If your CTA isn’t clear, that isn’t good for you or the reader!

Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. You should always be focused on quality and adding value.

Q7: Great tools are an important part of optimization. Which tools should we be using?

Make sure these tools are part of your arsenal when optimizing web content:

Diana’s favorite tools? Your own brain and SEMrush!

These are some great features to check out for anyone getting started.

BuzzSumo and Google Analytics are also very helpful.

And we can’t forget about Answer the Public, Yoast, and Hemingway.

Ahrefs is another great one to try!

Katie suggests utilizing some tools that will help improve the overall user experience of your site.

And finally, give CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer a go if you want to create better titles for your blog posts.

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

mid-year review

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Conducting a Mid-Year Review of Your Content Goals

Congrats! You have officially made it halfway through the year!

With six months remaining, there’s one very important thing you should do if you want to make sure you reach your goals. Your content goals, that is.

And what is that thing, you ask? Well, you need to make sure you conduct a mid-year review. This is the perfect opportunity to see how you’ve progressed in terms of reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself. Are you actually seeing the traffic, engagement, and conversions you hoped for?

If you are, that’s fantastic! If not, you’ll be able to see where you can make improvements to turn things around. So, we’re teaching you how to conduct a mid-year review of your own in this #ContentWritingChat recap.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Conducting a Mid-Year Review of Your Content Goals

This month’s community chat was filled with some amazing, highly actionable tips that you’ll certainly be able to put to good use. Let’s dive in!

Q1: What are some common, big-picture content goals that creators are working towards?

As creators, we are often working towards some of the same goals when it comes to what we hope to achieve with our content. These are just some of the goals creators strive for:

Consistency is definitely one of the most common goals creators set for themselves. Being consistent when it comes to publishing new work is important in building your brand and serving your audience.

Learning how to better engage your target audience is something we should all be striving towards because those connections are crucial.

Establishing trust and authenticity will always be important goals.

Consistency, quality, building brand authority, engaging, and being willing to adapt are goals that are certainly worth setting for yourself.

Q2: Why is it important for creators to review their content goals once they’re halfway through the year?

The halfway mark gives you plenty of data to review in order to prepare for the remainder of the year. Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say about this:

You never know what could come up and change the course for you. That’s why taking time to review your goals and adjust your course is key to success.

In fact, things change so quickly that doing just a mid-year review simply isn’t enough. Keep reading to see how frequently people are conducting their content reviews!

As Maria said, you need to make sure your content is still aligned with the overall goals you’ve set for yourself. If not, this gives you the opportunity to get back on track.

Sometimes a change in priorities shifts things for you. Rachel knows it’s important that you give yourself grace to be flexible and make changes as needed.

By conducting a review, you can see what’s working for you and what’s not. This shows you what you should be doing more of and where you can make improvements moving forward.

Always check in to see if your goals are realistic and still aligned with your bigger vision.

By conducting a mid-year review, you’ll have plenty of time to correct your course if things aren’t progressing the way you’d hoped.

Q3: When reflecting on the past six months, which metrics are worth tracking to see how you’ve progressed?

Analytics can often be overwhelming, leaving us wondering what we should pay special attention to. These are the analytics you should keep your eye on:

The metrics you track will always depend on the goals you’ve set.

Engagement is definitely a metric that’s worth tracking.

Building off the previous response, not only do you want to look at engagement in general, but also the quality of the conversations you’re having with others.

You may also want to check in and see if people are using your contact forms, if they’re clicking through to certain pages, and how long they’re staying on your site.

And it’s also crucial that you check in with yourself… Are you enjoying the work you’re doing? If not, something needs to change.

Q4: If you discover that you’re not on track to hit your goals, how can you tweak your strategy moving forward to see success?

Remember, you don’t want to freak out if you see that you haven’t hit your goals yet. And don’t give up either! This is what your should be doing instead:

Once you know where things are going wrong, then you can take action accordingly to turn it all around.

Remember to be honest with yourself during this process. This is an opportunity to learn and grow, so don’t beat yourself up if things haven’t gone to plan.

Zala suggests reaching out to your social media community for feedback. You can learn a lot if you just ask.

Q5: What can you do to boost metrics such as traffic, engagement, conversions, etc.?

If your content isn’t performing as you’d hoped, you can’t just sit back. You need to take action. Here are some things you can do to boost your results:

If you want to amplify your results, you should be consistent with showing up and delivering value to your target audience.

Not seeing enough traffic? Make sure you’re optimizing your work effectively. Need more engagement? Encourage people to respond and connect with them first. And if you need to boost conversions? Create a simple sales page that communicates the benefits your client/customer will receive.

Always ask yourself the above questions to ensure you’re on the right track with your content.

Don’t be shy when it comes to actually promoting your work. You have to put it out there for the world to see.

Make sure you’re actually engaging yourself!

Prioritize building relationships and supporting one another. Those relationships will really go a long way.

Q6: Are there any tools that can help when conducting a mid-year review?

Conducting a mid-year review will be so much easier with with a toolbox like this:

Google Analytics and SEMrush are definitely essentials for any mid-year review.

Lexie turns to Google Search Console to see how people are discovering the content she and the team create.

Q7: From this point forward, how frequently should you measure your progress toward your goals?

Now that you know the value of a mid-year review for your content, make sure you’re doing this regularly. Here’s how often you should consider doing this:

Monthly and quarterly reviews are definitely a smart way to do things!

Checking in every month gives you plenty of data to track.

For some, every three months is the golden ticket.

You can even set mini goals to check in with each month to plan out on a weekly basis.

No matter how often you choose to check in, just make sure you’re doing it consistently.

Q8: What’s one step you’ll take after today to ensure you’ll hit your content goals?

Our chat participants shared some action steps they’ll be taking. Which of these suggestions will you be tackling as well?

Carla said she’ll be implementing the tips she learned during the chat for her next content review.

Hope you can join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. And be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest!

building a brand

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building a Brand That Thrives Through the Ups & Downs

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been off to a challenging start, especially due to the worldwide pandemic that was caused by COVID-19. This virus triggered a lot of changes in our everyday lives. Many employees had to start working from home. Businesses had to pivot to be able to serve their customers and stay afloat financially. It’s been interesting, that’s for sure!

Our CEO, Julia McCoy, took the time to address this in a couple of blog posts that went live recently. (A reminder that it’s important to be flexible with your content strategy!) One of those posts was all about building a brand that can stand the test of time, even when things get tough. You can read that post here.

And we were inspired by that post to hold a #ContentWritingChat on the same topic.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building a Brand That Thrives Through the Ups & Downs

This month, we opted to host a community chat to discuss a topic on the minds of many business owners during this worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. How can you build a brand that thrives despite what may be going on in the world? Well, if you’re wondering the same thing, this chat recap has some great advice for you!

Q1: What do you think are some of the biggest struggles brands have faced during this pandemic?

Being that we were all in this together, many brands dealt with the exact same struggles. Here are just some of the issues that came up during this time:

As Lexie pointed out, the unknown was definitely one of the biggest struggles because that’s just something you can’t prepare for. When you don’t know what’s next, that can be stressful and scary. Brands have essentially had to take it one step at a time during the entire pandemic.

John knows that brands were often left questioning if their messages were appropriate before posting. The risk of saying the wrong thing is often high during times of crisis. Not only that, but brands wondered how they would make enough money to pay their bills that continued to come in month after month. Many even considered changing their content plans that were already carefully crafted!

And when it comes to that content plan, should you make adjustments to discuss real-time issues such as the pandemic? If so, how much is too much? You certainly don’t want to flood your audience with it, as Danielle mentioned.

Consistency in messaging is always key. During times like this, it’s important to ask yourself if the content you’re putting out there is truly serving your audience or not.

And because so many people have been living in fear throughout this time, ensuring your customers that they would be safe when doing business with you was another crucial message to spread. But besides just reassuring them, you also needed to keep them safe, especially for in-person businesses.

Q2: When it comes to the brands that will withstand the test of time, what are some of the characteristics about them that stand out?

The harsh reality is that not all brands survive. But if you want to be around for a long time, there are some important characteristics to embrace.

As Michelle said, brands cannot make it all about them. Your focus needs to be on your audience and how you can best be of service and provide a great experience.

Rachel’s last point about knowing when to stop posting and start listening is something everyone needs to be reminded of.

Q3: Creating authoritative, valuable content is a huge part of building a great brand. How can you be sure your content makes an impact?

Before you create that next piece of content, you’ll want to read through these tips!

First, you need to figure out what your audience actually needs from you. It’s important that you’re delivering the content that they need the most in this very moment.

But how do you figure out what they want? Survey them! Danielle knows that’s a powerful way to figure out exactly what your audience wants. Ask them what topics are important to them and what they’re struggling with right now.

As Zala said, authoritative content is aligned with your topic, industry, and audience. It’s also well-researched and clearly shares your own point of view. That’s what makes a piece of content unique after all… Your own thoughts and opinions!

When building a brand, you want to make sure the content you publish adds value, has a consistent voice, is creative and unique, and tells a story.

You’ll also want to pay attention to how people respond to your content. As Carrie said, what happens after they consume that blog post of yours? Do they leave a comment or send an email? Do they actually make a purchase? It’s important to watch your data because it says a lot about which content is working for you.

And remember to use your platform to say what needs to be said in the moment.

Q4: Consistency is definitely key when building your brand, but what exactly does it look like to be consistent online?

Being consistent isn’t just about having a regular posting schedule, you know!

When building a brand, Michelle knows it’s not a good look if you neglect posting on your social media platforms. That’s why it’s important to prioritize content creation and it also helps to schedule posts in advance.

Shawn agrees. Far too often brands just abandon social media accounts and they’re really missing out on potential connections with their community.

Posting and engaging regularly is a huge part of being consistent when building a brand.

But as Lexie said, never sacrifice quality for quantity. Figure out how much quality content you can actually commit to in a single week and make that your goal.

It’s also important to be consistent with your research, coming up with new ideas, etc.

Besides sticking to your posting schedule, consistency is also important for your voice and the visual representation of your brand. Using the same colors and fonts can help your imagery become more recognizable. And you want to use the same voice and keep things high-quality across all platforms.

Q5: Authenticity and integrity are crucial for any brand. What does integrity mean to you and how can your brand portray this characteristic?

Building a brand that has integrity is something that we all strive for. Here’s what you need to know if you want your own brand to embody this:

Be open and honest with your audience at all times.

Set standards for your brand and actually stick to them.

Believe in your mission and let that be the guiding force behind everything you do.

Establish trust and integrity will follow.

Be true to yourself.

Q6: How can you be sure you’re providing an amazing experience for any customers who engage with your brand?

Nothing turns people aways quite like a bad customer experience. Make sure you aren’t doing that by taking advice straight from the chat!

Gaby feels a great customer experience comes from brands that are consistent, personal, accessible, transparent, responsive, trustworthy, flexible, communicative, proactive, and attentive.

It’s always smart to ask for feedback to learn what’s working and where you can make improvements. Don’t be shy about reaching out to past customers about their experience with you.

Make sure you’re actually listening and implementing the feedback they provide.

Keep an eye on reviews and any constructive criticism you can improve upon.

And make sure you’re addressing both positive and negative reviews because the negative ones can be a great learning opportunity.

Another great idea is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Do you feel you provide a great experience for them? Test it out and see!

Q7: Which brands have seemingly done a great job withstanding the ups and downs throughout the pandemic? How can we be inspired by them?

Check out these brands and see how you can implement some of their strategies for yourself.

Grammarly and SEMrush are always awesome!

MeetEdgar has been great as well!

During what was surely a challenging time for USPS with extra packages being shipped, they put in the work to handle everything for their customers.

Gaby said Chef Jose Andres has done a stand-out job during this time to serve his community better.

This link that Michelle shared is worth checking out! Many brands tweaked their messaging for their TV commercials during the pandemic.

Q8: Will you be making any pivots within your brand moving forward as a result of this time?

A few people shared some changes they’ll be making as a result of the pandemic, so here are some responses:

Michelle has seen more of a focus on digital during this time with her clients.

Lynette wants to prioritize doing more collaborations with bloggers and those in her industry. That’s a great way to gain exposure!

Masooma wants to dive deeper into the content she creates moving forward.

And of course, this reminder from Gaby to always remain flexible is something we all need to hear from time to time. You have to be able to adapt to what’s going on, whether that’s with your content, your priorities, etc.

Join us for #ContentWritingChat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated.

#ContentWritingChat, email marketing

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Mastering Email Marketing in 2020 with Liz Willits

There’s no denying that email marketing should be an important part of any brand’s strategy in 2020. Email allows you to connect with people long after they’ve left your website, giving you the opportunity to continue building a relationship with them.

And who knows where that relationship may lead? That subscriber just might become your next client or customer! This is why it’s so important to take email marketing seriously and be smart about how you’re growing your list and what you’re sending.

That’s why we had to make it a topic for #ContentWritingChat.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Mastering Email Marketing in 2020 with Liz Willits

Our guest host for this month’s #ContentWritingChat was Liz Willits. Liz is actually a content strategist on the AWeber team, which is an email marketing platform that you’re probably familiar with. She’s also a keynote speaker and marketing consultant. We were so excited to have her join our chat so she could share some of her expertise. Let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: Why should email marketing continue to be a priority for brands this year and into the future?

If you need a little convincing that email is still worth your time, you’ll want to check out a few of the responses we got during the chat. They’ll prove exactly why email is still valuable today and will be well into the future.

As Liz said, email is an amazing way to get the attention of your audience. And let’s be honest, that’s not always easy to do on social media. With ever-changing algorithms and pay-to-play tactics, it’s often hard to get discovered. Email makes this easier and it’s more affordable than having to pay to “boost” every social media post you publish.

Another important thing to consider is that we don’t own any of the social media platforms we use. Should they shut down one day, we would lose the community we’ve built on those platforms. That’s why it’s important to get those people onto your email list (which you actually own).

Plus, email provides a simple and effective way to talk one-on-one with your community. Provide value. Answer questions. And get to know them better!

Q2: Getting people onto your email list is an important first step. How do you do this?

People aren’t going to be inclined to sign up for any old email list because they’re not always quick to hand over their contact information. So, if you want to boost your subscribers, you have to be smart about getting them to sign up!

Liz’s advice is to offer some sort of free lead magnet via a sign-up form or a landing page. This allows you to deliver something of value in exchange for their name and email address. Once you’ve created a lead magnet, make sure you’re taking action to spread the word about it.

When creating your lead magnet, think about what your target audience struggles with and how you can help them. That’s going to be irresistible and will surely attract new subscribers.

If you’re running an online shop, take Lexie’s suggestion of offering a first-time buyer discount. Everyone loves to save money and people will happily join your list if they know they’ll be getting a discount code.

You can really get creative with your lead magnets. They can be videos, checklists, printables, and even mini courses. It helps to ask your audience what would be most appealing to them.

And make sure you keep Michelle’s advice in mind. Start your list before you actually need it. Don’t wait until you have something to launch to start building a list. Begin attracting subscribers now and prioritize nurturing those relationships.

Q3: Once you have subscribers, you want to keep the list warm. How can we write emails that actually generate opens, click-throughs, and conversions?

Keeping your list warm is going to require you to stay in touch with your audience on a regular basis. Don’t go ages without emailing them, otherwise they just might forget all about you! Plus, people won’t stick around if you’re sending content they don’t love. Here are some tips:

Liz says to identify your audience’s pain points and send emails that help solve them. Everyone wants a solution to their biggest problems, right? So, make sure you’re providing that to your subscribers! It’s all about adding value.

And if you aren’t sure what your audience is struggling with, it never hurts to ask. Talk to them via email or social media or you can even send out a survey.

Once you’ve got a great idea for the body of your email, crafting a click-worthy subject line is just as important. Your subject is the first thing they’ll see. And you want to leave them intrigued and wanting more so they’ll actually open the email.

It also helps to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. As Bill said, think about what kind of email you would feel compelled to open. What would make you click a link or ultimately make a purchase? Keep that in mind as you craft your copy and your call to action.

Storytelling is always a powerful tactic when it comes to email marketing, so don’t be afraid to take your subscribers on a journey with you.

You’ll also want to consider current trends and what’s going on in the world when you’re sending emails so you can ensure nothing comes off as inappropriate.

Q4: Which stats should we pay close attention to in order to track email marketing success?

To continue improving your email marketing, stats are an important part of the game. They’ll indicate what’s working and what’s not so you can make changes as needed. Here are some things to keep an eye on:

Liz suggests watching stats like open rates, click-through rates, sales, unsubscribers, and bounce rate. Especially if you’re selling something, you’ll want to keep an eye on how many people are clicking through to your site and how many are actually converting.

Carla always tracks her open rates and click-through rates. Her open rates allow her to see which email subject lines perform the best, thus shaping the content she creates in the future.

As Lexie said, clicks indicate what’s valuable to a subscriber. What seems to be getting the attention of your audience? That’s a good way to see what kind of content appeals to them and addressed their needs.

Another stat to track is how long someone is actually spending on your page. Valuable content means they’ll be more inclined to stick around longer!

Response rate is also great to track. Are your emails generating conversations with your subscribers? And what kind of overall response are you getting? Is it positive or negative? What can you learn from these conversations to create amazing emails moving forward?

And one last thing to keep in mind… Don’t just check your stats for the first 24 hours after your email was sent. Rachel suggests coming back in 48 hours to review the response your email marketing garnered.

Q5: What if open rates and conversions are low? What can be done to improve this?

When you want people to read your emails, you want to see a high open rate. And when you want to make sales, you want to see skyrocketing conversions. But if this isn’t happening for you, how can you change it? Check out these tips:

Liz’s advice is to start off by sending a few emails that are going to be very valuable to your target audience. It sets them up for what to expect with your list. And when they see that you consistently deliver high-quality emails, they’ll want to open what you send in the future. She also said this will help if you have any deliverability issues with your emails because providers will see that people do want your content in their inboxes.

Liz also says it’s smart to A/B test your emails to see what increases your open rates and click-through rates. This will tell you so much about what resonates with your audience.

Bill feels that content fails for three reasons: the wrong message, the wrong audience, or the wrong timing. It would be wise to ask yourself if any of these are the case when it comes to an email that didn’t perform as well as you hoped.

Another great tactic is to segment your list so you can target your content based on the interests of your subscribers.

It also never hurts to seek feedback from your audience. They’ll tell you exactly what they like if you simply ask them! What would they like to see more of from you? What makes them open an email? Get some tips from them and tweak your email marketing accordingly to do some testing.

Q6: What are some important types of emails that you should send to your list?

Get ready to write! These are some emails that you should be sending!

Liz says you should send a welcome email, a survey to get to know your subscribers better, and send some emails based on actions that subscribers take. This allows you to really tailor your content to their interests and needs.

It’s also smart to send out any announcements, new features or offers, and some fun stuff here and there!

Rachel enjoys sending out quarterly or monthly updates. She also sends emails for product launches, links, and she’ll do a pulse check for pivots.

Just remember to make sure what you send out is actually valuable!

Q7: What are your go-to tools for handling email? And do you have any resources for learning more about mastering email marketing?

The tools you use are really going to make things so much easier for you when it comes to email. Plus, resources help you become a better marketer too! Here are some suggestions to check out:

For Liz, she’s all about AWeber. As a Content Strategist for their team, she sees first-hand how it can handle email automation, newsletters, forms, landing pages, and much more.

Optin Monster is another favorite for many content creators, as is Mailchimp.

And of course, Canva really comes in handy for creating amazing email graphics!

Resources like Hootsuite and Hubspot will really help you out!

And of course, there’s also blog posts from Neil Patel!

Q8: Open Q&A for our guest host, Liz!

Here are a couple responses Liz shared to questions asked during the chat:

Liz knows that social media algorithms can be tricky! That’s why email is so important because it allows you to easily connect with your list.

She also said to never buy an email list, always test and review emails, and make sure you clean your list regularly.

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

#ContentWritingChat, best-selling author

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Becoming a Best-Selling Author in a Digital Age with Kristin Smedley

Are you an author or thinking about writing your very first book?

If so, there’s a good chance that you aspire to become a best-selling author! You want to get your book in the hands of tons of people around the world. That’s the dream when you’re a writer, isn’t it?

Well, we wanted to get some tips on how to do just that, so we invited a best-selling author to guest host our Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, and share her expertise!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Becoming a Best-Selling Author in a Digital Age with Kristin Smedley

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Kristin Smedley. Kristin is a CEO, a TEDx speaker, and a best-selling author. The Kindle edition of her book, Thriving Blind, debuted as a #1 New Release and a #2 Best Seller on Amazon. And the paperback version debuted as a #1 New Release as well!

Q1: Q1: Why should people consider becoming an author in 2020? And how do you know if writing a book is a great path for you to take?

If you’ve been on the fence about writing a book this year, let us convince you! Our chat participants shared the benefits of becoming an author and it’s sure to leave you feeling motivated to write!

Kristin feels a book is a great way position yourself as a leader in your industry. It’s also a fantastic way to serve your audience and provide value to them. She also went on to share that books can provide content for your social media platforms, your blog, and more since they can be repurposed into quotes, chapter summaries, and other options.

And of course, writing a book can definitely add some cash to your bank account, which is always a plus. Kristin mentioned that it might not be a huge revenue stream, but every little bit counts!

The resident author here at Express Writers, our CEO Julia McCoy, said that writing a book is the best kind of content you can create if you want to create a long-lasting presence. You can see her with all three of her book babies in the photos above!

A book can lead to many amazing opportunities, as Michelle mentioned in her tweet. If you’re looking to get into public speaking, starting with writing a book could be a huge help to get your career as a speaker off the ground.

Carla feels that everyone has a story to tell. So, the question is, are you ready to tell yours? She suggests examining the market and seeing if there’s anything new you could add through creating a book of your own.

Q2: Once you’ve decided to write a book, should you consider self-publishing? What are the pros of doing it on your own?

When publishing a book, you can really go one of two ways. And when it comes to self-publishing, it’s certainly increased in popularity over the years. It’s made it even easier for people around the world to become authors. But before you go all in, there are some things you should keep in mind:

Kristin self-published her first book, Thriving Blind. Doing so allowed her to see first-hand the difficulties in getting braille books for blind readers. She even plans to self-publish her next two books because she feels the process is fairly easy and she’s confident in her marketing skills. Being able to market your own book is crucial if you want to become a best-selling author through self-publishing.

Self-publishing is certainly for those who want all the freedom!

Maria feels self-publishing is beneficial because it gives the author more control and freedom when it comes to making decisions about the book. If you’re feeling good about taking everything into your own hands, self-publishing could be a great option for you.

Julia agrees that you’ll have full control over everything when it comes to your book if you go the self-publishing route. That means any changes, artwork, etc. all fall on you. Plus, getting to keep a larger percentage of your royalties is definitely a bonus.

Q3: Do you have any tips for the writing process to ensure you’re staying motivated and inspired?

Let’s be real. The writing process isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s downright challenging! So, if you need some help staying on track with your writing goals, keep this advice in mind:

Kristin suggests holding yourself accountable by telling other people that you’re writing a book. Share it with your online community, as well as friends and family. It gets them interested in what you’re working on and they just might check in on your progress from time to time!

She also put a “Best-Selling Author” logo on her vision board, which she sees every day. This served as a reminder of what she’s working toward and surely adds some extra motivation when you’re not feeling called to sit down and write.

Some other suggestions from Kristin to keep those creative juices flowing… Do you when it comes to your writing schedule, such as how much and how frequently you write. Also, become an active member of online groups that will benefit from your book. Observe their conversations and get to know them.

Julia finds it beneficial to have scheduled writing times that coordinate with when you’re most productive. If you’re an early bird that gets things done first thing, make this your writing time.

She also suggests avoiding writing when you’re burnt out (taking time for rest is important), stay hydrated and nourished, and make sure you sign offline to give yourself a break from the internet on occasion.

Remember who you’re doing this for. Think about your book being in the hands of your ideal readers and how game-changing this book will be in their lives. That’s sure to inspire you!

Also, don’t forget to keep a journal nearby because you never know when inspiration will strike!

Q4: What tools are going to be beneficial in the writing and publication process?

As you dive into writing and publishing, there are some things you’ll want to have in your toolbox to help the process go smoothly. Here are some recommendations:

Kristin relies on the Notes app, as well as Post-it Notes and a whiteboard. She also shared a very important reminder that it’s smart to have an external hard drive to keep everything backed up and safe.

Evernote is also another handy tool for brainstorming, storing ideas, and even writing if you want!

Julia’s go-to tools include notepads and journals, her Apple computer, Scrivener app, Google Docs, and an amazing team for additional support.

You really can’t go wrong with Google Docs! It’s all about using what works for you.

Q5: How can you be sure your book is actually going to appeal to your audience and provide value?

As you’re writing your book and well on your way to becoming a best-selling author, you may be wondering if this book is actually going to be interesting to your audience. Well, if you find yourself asking this question, here’s what you need to know:

Q6: Once your book is finished, how can you spread the word and gain more readers?

Now that it’s time to drive sales so you can become that best-selling author you’ve been dreaming about, there are some tips you need to know about spreading the word!

Kristin’s first tip is to start spreading the word early… Before you’ve even finished the book!

She also suggests building an email list so you have somewhere to promote the book and update them on your writing progress. Kristin also had some other great ideas like reaching out to bloggers in your niche and pitching yourself for podcast interviews.

Michelle knows the promotion stage is where some PR really comes in handy. She says to put together a press kit, a media list, and start pitching. Another option is to participate in book giveaways, plan a launch party (it can even be virtual), and have readings/signings at local bookstores.

Julia knows it’s all about the email list. She wrote a five-day launch campaign via email when her book launched where she shared her story and asked for reviews.

Besides email, make sure you’re spreading the word via social media. In order to become a best-selling author, you need to tell the world about your book!

Q7: For Kristin Smedley: What are some unique things you did in self-publishing your book, Thriving Blind?

Kristin really got creative when it came to self-publishing her book. Here are some of the things she did:

Kristin took some extra steps to get books published in electronic Braille. She won a Twitter contest where money was donated to create the Braille version of her book. And she even enlisted the help of her 6th grade English teacher to edit the book, while getting a former classmate to do the cover.

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

social media to build brand awareness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always be genuine and people will be drawn to you.

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

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

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

Humor and emotion definitely resonate with people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q1: What should people do BEFORE running Facebook ads?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony suggests doing competitor research using the Facebook Ads Library.

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

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

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

Don relies on the AdParlor mockup generator.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q7: How has Facebook advertising changed over the years?

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

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

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

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

Continue your learning with these resources:

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

Carla suggests following Social Media Examiner and Mari Smith.

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

#ContentWritingChat, content marketing plan

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

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

But wait… How do you do that?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just remember Julia’s advice: KEEP GOING.

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

These tools are definitely worth checking out:

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

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

BuzzSumo and Yoast are also must-have tools!

Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Asana are also popular tools.

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

#ContentWritingChat, social media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crowdfire and SproutSocial are essentials for John.

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

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

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