#ContentWritingChat, editorial calendar

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Benefits of an Editorial Calendar for Your Content & How to Create One with Nathan Ellering

Editorial calendars are an essential part of any content creator’s life. They keep you organized and allow you to strategically plan your content (whether that’s blog posts, videos, social media content, etc.) for maximum results.

In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about the benefits of having an editorial calendar, plus a few tips on how to create one of your own. If you missed the chat, there’s no need to worry because we have a recap that’s filled with amazing tips. Let’s dive in!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Benefits of an Editorial Calendar for Your Content & How to Create One with Nathan Ellering

Our guest host this week was Nathan Ellering. Nathan is a strategist, a content marketer, and a blogger. He’s also part of the CoSchedule team, making him a great fit for this week’s chat on editorial calendars. CoSchedule is a go-to app for planning your marketing, blog, and social media content, so we were thrilled to have Nathan with us to share his best tips!

Q1: What is an editorial calendar and why are they beneficial for content creators?

To kick things off, we asked our audience to describe what an editorial calendar is. We also wanted to hear why they felt having an editorial calendar was beneficial to their content creation. Here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say:

As Nathan said, having an editorial calendar allows you to see all of your planned content in one place. It can help save you time and reduce stress when everything is planned out and displayed in a neat way.

An editorial calendar allows you to plan out your content marketing strategies. You can organize any written content, promotional material that’s going out, etc.

Cristy knows it’s important to create content that helps you reach your overall goals. Having an editorial calendar is very helpful for this because you can take the time to be strategic about the content you’re creating.

You should also use your editorial calendar to map out the campaigns you’re running, as well as any other content you’re creating. As Michelle said, it needs to be accessible by everyone. If you have others on your team who are involved in content, they need access to your calendar.

And when you’ve planned in advance, it eliminates that stress of having to come up with ideas at the last-minute.

Q2: What kinds of content should someone plan using an editorial calendar?

So, now that you know what an editorial calendar is and how it can benefit you, what should you plan? Check out this advice from the chat:

Nathan’s advice is to plan all of your marketing projects with your editorial calendar. He recommends planning out your social media content, blog posts, email newsletters, and more. There’s no reason not to plan all the content you’re creating in order to stay organized.

Savannah encourages you to plan everything with your editorial calendar! We happen to agree with her. It’s the best way to stay on track with all of your content creation.

Mallie knows that it’s essential to use your editorial calendar as an opportunity to create content around events and holidays. These are key times for content creation and you’ll need to plan in advance if you want to share something great.

As Lex mentioned, don’t forget to be flexible when planning. If something comes up at the last minute and you want to create a piece of content around it, that’s fine. Be willing to adapt when it comes to the latest news, feedback from your audience, etc.

Q3: How far in advance would you recommend someone plan their content with an editorial calendar?

Is it possible to plan content too far in advance? Is there a sweet spot for planning? Based on the answers we received, it seems like everyone has their own preference! Check out these responses:

Nathan has a very effective plan in place for his editorial calendar. He recommends planning high-level stuff six months out, plotting ideas three months out, and then aiming to have all of your content completed for one month out. It may sound like a lot, but it’s a great way to organize your entire content creation process.

Sarah from ThinkSEM recommends considering your unique business goals. She also doesn’t advise planning more than six months out and also being flexible for things that come up over time.

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing agrees that having wiggle room is key!

For Kristi, she suggests planning your content quarterly. Another great tip she offered was to review and see what’s working every time you plan. You can make adjustments accordingly so you know what to create more of and what to create less of.

Like Michelle said, some content can actually be planned further out. Things like yearly conferences and content around holidays can be planned much earlier, while you may feel more comfortable planning blog posts closer to their actual publication date.

Cristy suggests considering the type of content you’re creating. When you think about the fact that long-form content and videos may require more planning and creation time, you need to give yourself ample time to bring them to life.

Q4: How is your editorial calendar organized? Tell us your secrets!

We asked our chat participants to spill all their secrets behind their own editorial calendars. Here’s what they had to say:

Nathan said the team’s content is fully completed at a minimum of two weeks out, which is very helpful. (There’s no need to stress about getting things done at the last minute!) Ideas are planned a minimum of three months out while strategy is planned about 12 months out.

They also like to color code everything, which makes it clear what everything is and keeps the calendar organized. Social media posts, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and more all are planned on the editorial calendar.

Cristy relies on Google Sheets to keep her content planning organized. She includes the category, the assigned writer, a deadline, and a publish date. She even has a separate document for storing ideas, which is great for keeping everything all in one place.

For Tony, it’s all about a combination of Trello and Google Drive to keep everything in order. He includes copy, images, and links and has content organized by dates.

Q5: What’s your advice for filling an editorial calendar with amazing content your audience will love?

When creating your editorial calendar, it’s important that you fill it with content ideas your audience is going to enjoy consuming. How do you figure out what they want? These tips are guaranteed to help you out:

Nathan recommends having a brainstorming session. Try his strategy for coming up with amazing ideas the next time you’re struggling.

If you really aren’t sure what your audience wants to see, don’t be afraid to ask them. Ask what they’re struggling with and figure out how to create content that solves those problems. They’ll love you for it.

Check your analytics! See what performed well in the past and consider creating more of the same kind of content since you know it has already worked for you.

You can also use the data in your analytics to take that content that has already performed well and repurpose it. Michelle said to repost or update the content you already have. It’s a great way to get new eyes on your content.

It’s important to know and understand what your audience wants. Deliver content that is educational, informative, inspirational, or entertaining.

No matter what, you need to keep this advice from Bill in mind. Don’t just try to fill your editorial calendar with content for the sake of publishing. Everything you create should serve a purpose by providing value to your audience and helping you achieve your end goals.

Q6: In what ways can an editorial calendar help you improve your content marketing strategy?

How exactly can an editorial calendar help you create a winning content marketing strategy? Here are some answers from Tuesday’s chat:

Nathan said editorial calendars force you to publish. Set a deadline for yourself and stick with it because it’s the best way to ensure you’re consistent with your content. Don’t stress about making things perfect. Create your content and unleash it on the world.

Mack said an editorial calendar helps you to make sure the content you create is aligned with your overall content strategy. Ask yourself if you’re hitting your goals. If not, it’s time to make a change.

An editorial calendar helps you focus on your strategies and goals so you can achieve major things with the content you create.

When using an editorial calendar for your blog, it ensures your website is staying updated with new content. (That is, if you’re actually sticking to those self-imposed deadlines!) This is key to staying in front of your customers.

Cristy knows that planning provides much better results than just winging it.

In the end, having an editorial calendar is a great way to hold yourself accountable.

Q7: Do you use any tools to create your editorial calendar? If so, which ones are your favorite?

Whether you’re a fan of pen and paper or a dedicated app, there are plenty of options for creating an effective editorial calendar. Check out what some of our chat participants rely on:

Being part of the CoSchedule team, it’s no surprise Nathan raved about it. It’s a great tool to keep you organized, whether you’re planning blog posts, marketing, or social media.

The Netvantage Marketing team keeps it simple with Google Drive. They’ve also used Basecamp when working with clients and like Sprout Social for social media scheduling.

Trello is a go-to for both Lex and Jessy.

Jeremy relies on a combination of a variety of tools to stay organized. He uses Google Docs, Evernote, and iCal.

Color coding in Google Calendar is a must!

Q8: What are your best strategies for using and maintaining an editorial calendar?

Before you rush off to create your first editorial calendar or to touch up your own, read these final tips from this week’s chat. They’re sure to help you create a calendar that’s effective and helps you to stay organized.

Nathan’s advice is to communicate as a team. If you have multiple people involved in content creation, keep them in the loop and discuss ideas together.

Cristy also knows it’s important to bring the team together. Have a weekly meeting to brainstorm and discuss ideas. Allow everyone on the team to have a voice.

When it comes to creating content, strive to be consistent. Not only does it help keep you on track, but your audience will appreciate it as well.

Cheval agrees that consistency is key!

Sara’s tip to batch your evergreen content is sure to increase your productivity when it comes to the creation process.

Be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time you have. Don’t spread yourself too thin or take on more than you can handle at one time.

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


#ContentWritingChat Recap: Blogging for ROI in 2017: Where to Blog, SEO, and Writing Strategies with Julia McCoy

Are you curious about blogging for ROI in 2017? That’s what we covered in our latest round of #ContentWritingChat! And if you missed out, you’re in luck because we’ve created a recap for you and it’s filled with awesome tips. Keep reading to check it out!

Blogging for ROI in 2017: Where to Blog, SEO, and Writing Strategies with Julia McCoy

For this week’s chat, our very own CEO stepped in to guest host. Julia McCoy shared her expertise on blogging for ROI in 2017 and offered some amazing tips for writing, SEO, and where you should be blogging this year. We covered some of the key topics to help you succeed as a blogger this year, so make sure you read through them and start implementing this advice for yourself!

Q1: For those that aren’t convinced, why is blogging still so important for brands?

The reality is, many brands still aren’t convinced that blogging is worth their time. They don’t realize the value that it can provide to their audience and their brand overall. So, let’s convince them why they should be blogging! Here are just some reasons blogging is important for brands:

Julia knows that blogging is a must for brands! She even shared some pretty impressive data that backs it up. The graph above shows Express Writers outranking major competitors solely from blogging. She also shared some stats that are sure to convince you of the importance of starting your own blog this year.

As Annaliese said, blogging is a lead generation opportunity. So many people will stumble upon your blog and want to do business with you because of the content you share. She also said blogging helps you build influence, which is key to drawing in your audience.

Jason knows that blogging is a powerful way to establish an authentic, authoritative voice. Your blog is your place to share your thoughts with your audience.

Blogging is an opportunity to show off your expertise to your industry, but also to your audience. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and to start building a relationship with them.

To put it simply, blogging is an opportunity to expand your audience, share quality information with readers, and can help you establish your voice as a brand.

Cheval’s advice is important to keep in mind. Social media is like rented property when you think about it. You don’t own the platform, nor can you count on it to always be around. If a social media platform shuts down, you’re going to lose your followers and everything you’ve worked so hard to build (unless you’ve successfully converted them to readers, subscribers, and customers). Your blog, however, is one place that you truly own and are in control of.

Q2: Where should you blog this year besides your own website? Discuss how to find the right platforms.

While blogging on your own website is great, blogging on other sites can provide major results. There are a lot of benefits to guest blogging, but it’s all about choosing the right places to post if you want to make it work for your brand. Keep these tips in mind:

Julia recommends creating a target persona for your audience so you know what they’re like. You can figure out their demographics and also what sites they’re reading on the web. That’s where you should be sharing your content! Check out the blog post she linked for more information on creating your own target persona.

The key to choosing the sites to guest blog on is figuring out where your audience spends their time online. You want to post on the sites that your target audiences reads so they’ll discover you and head over to your website.

Jason also knows the importance of finding the popular blogs in your wheelhouse and guest posting there. It’s the best way for you to reach your target audience and hopefully make them a fan of your brand.

Varun recommends posting on forums that are specific to your industry, guest blogging on authority websites, and also using platforms like Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn.

Another great option is to create content for Medium. Trying posting there a few times and see if you notice any results. Blogging for ROI is going to take some trial and error and you have to figure out what works for your brand.

Q3: What are a few SEO strategies all bloggers need to know if they want to get their content noticed?

It’s no secret that if you want to get your content noticed, SEO is very important. And we can’t talk blogging for ROI without mentioning some SEO tactics, can we? Of course not! So, in order to make sure your content gets noticed and attracts viewers, these are the optimization basics you need to know:

Julia knows how important it is to be able to conduct keyword research. She also said you need to know how to use H2s, H3s, alt tags, and how to write a meta description. It may sound overwhelming for beginners, but it’s all easy to figure out.

Sarah from ThinkSEM said you need to know your audience and what is going to resonate with them. Before you start thinking about SEO tactics, this is the first thing you need to consider.

As Sara said, it’s important to have a keyword tool handy so you can research which focus keyword is ideal for your content.

Once you have the right keyword, you can plug that into your content. You’ll want to use your keyword in the title of your blog post, the URL, the meta description, and throughout the post itself. As Mallie said though, it’s important that you don’t go overboard. Keyword stuffing is a huge turn-off for your readers and Google doesn’t like it either. They should be incorporated in a way that feels natural.

Yoast is a great SEO plugin to use if your site is running on WordPress. It’s very simple to use and it makes optimization easy for beginners and those who are more experienced. We use it here at Express Writers and highly recommend it!

Jeff knows that Google Analytics is another great tool to use as part of your keyword strategy in order to optimize your content.

Q4: How can you figure out what content your audience most wants to see on your blog?

In order to attract people to your blog in the first place, you need to create the content they want to see. Once they know you’re a source of great information, they’re going to keep coming back for more. But how do you figure out what kind of content you need to create for your audience? Check out these tips:

Julia recommends figuring out what your audience’s biggest questions are and answering them. You can use tools like Answer the Public and others to figure out what they need help with.

Not sure what your audience wants? Ask them! It really is that simple. You can create a survey and share it for readers to leave their feedback and you’ll easily see what they’re interested in. You can also post on social media to get suggestions.

Jeff also agrees that asking your audience what they want is a pretty powerful strategy. Not only does it provide you with great feedback, but it gives your audience the chance to have their voice heard. They’ll appreciate that.

Besides flat out asking them, you can also conduct a little research of your own. Figure out what they’re talking about, what they’re liking and sharing. Listening is key to understand your audience. Check out their conversations on social media and pay attention to the comments they leave and the emails they send.

It’s also worthwhile to see what your competitors are doing. Check out businesses that are similar to yours and find out what’s been working for them and what’s not. You obviously don’t want to copy their strategy, but it can give you plenty of ideas for what you can create.

Sending out a yearly survey is a great way to question your audience about their interests. Getting into the habit of doing it every year ensures you’re always updated on what your audience is looking for. It’s also wise to check your analytics to see which posts are more popular since it gives you an idea of what to create more of.

Kristen also knows your analytics can be helpful when it comes to content creation. See which posts get the most traffic and which posts your readers spend the most time on to see what works best.

And as James said, it all goes back to understanding your audience.

Q5: How important is it to include a call to action in your blog posts? Describe an effective CTA.

A call to action essentially tells your reader what the next step is. What do you want them to do after reading your blog post? Do you want them to leave your site without engaging with you, possibly to never return again? Definitely not! That’s where a call to action comes in. Check out these tips for crafting an effective CTA:

Forgetting a CTA could cause you to lose out on leads. Not good! Check out our post on crafting a CTA for more in-depth tips.

Check out a few of our CTAs above!

If you’re blogging for ROI, then it’s essential that you prompt your readers to take action. A clear CTA will tell them exactly what to do and will encourage them to follow through.

As Jeff pointed out, you also can’t assume your readers are just going to take the action you want them to take. You need to make it clear and empower them to follow through.

Zala said you shouldn’t make your readers guest what they need to do next. Make it clear what you want them to do with a CTA.

Your content should serve a purpose and it’s important to let your audience know what’s next. Sarah recommends that all CTAs should be visible, understandable, and well-placed and in order to be effective.

Without a CTA, there isn’t much of a purpose to your post, is there? Make sure it’s well-written, compelling, and concise in order to inspire action.

Q6: What are the secrets to making blog customers convert into real customers and clients?

Once you have people visiting your blog, you want them to take that next step with your brand. You want them to ultimately become customers and clients. How do you make that happen? We’ve got some great advice for you:

Julia’s advice is to choose targeted reader topics and provide thorough answers. Don’t forget to also optimize your content and to add a CTA.

Annaliese said you need to create high-quality, targeted content that leads readers through your funnel. This is key to seeing them finally convert.

Value and CTAs are two keys to success when it comes to blogging for ROI.

Focus on solving the common problems your audience is facing. They’ll appreciate you for it and you’ll be able to establish yourself as an authority in the process.

Don’t forget to engage with your audience as well. This helps to build a trusting relationship with them, which is key to ultimately making a sale.

Great advice from Michael: helping sells. Commit to helping your audience and you’ll start seeing results.

Q7: Do you rely on any tools to create amazing content for your blog? Share your favorites!

With so many tools available to us today, there are plenty to choose from that can help in content creation. Here are some suggestions to check out:

Be sure to check out Julia’s three favorite tools!

Mallie is all about her editorial calendar and so are we. No matter how you create your calendar, what’s important is that you actually use it.

WordPress, Google Analytics, Twitter, and Yoast are all great tools to use! Don’t forget how important that creative brain of yours is and time.

Quora, Reddit, Canva, and Bitly are all helpful tools.

Hemingway and Moz are two popular tools for content creators. Do you use them?

Maria is a fan of Trello for keeping things organized.

These are great suggestions from Sabjan!

Taking pen to paper is always so satisfying! Sometimes it’s just a lot nicer to do things the old school way as opposed to typing or punching out laters on our phone’s keyboard.

Q8: Which blogs do you read on a consistent basis? Tag them and let them know!

To wrap up our chat on blogging for ROI, we wanted to know which blogs our audience loves to read. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Julia likes to read content from Content Marketing Institute, Steve Rayson’s BuzzSumo posts, and Neil Patel’s blog.

Much like Zachary, we’re big fans of Gary Vaynerchuk here at Express Writers.

Annaliese enjoys reading Hootsuite’s blog.

These are all great suggestions from Rebecca!

You’ll want to add these sites to your reading list!

Don’t get so caught up in consuming content that you forget to embrace the world around you. As Shannon said, you need to pay attention and you’ll surely find some ideas for your content.

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

starting a podcast, building a successful podcast, the basics of podcasting

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Basics of Starting & Building a Successful Podcast with Madalyn Sklar and Julia McCoy

Have you been thinking about starting a podcast, but are unsure of where to begin? Do you already have a podcast and are looking for tips to help you attract new listeners? If either of these sounds like you, this week’s #ContentWritingChat is perfect! If you missed it though, there’s no need to worry because we have a recap of our latest chat and it’s filled with amazing tips. Just keep reading to learn everything you need to know to become a podcasting superstar!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Basics of Starting & Building a Successful Podcast with Madalyn Sklar and Julia McCoy

Our guest hosts this week were Madalyn Sklar and our very own CEO, Julia McCoy. Both of these talented ladies have podcasts of their own and had a ton of valuable advice to share with our audience. You can check out Madalyn’s podcast, Twitter Smarter, which actually inspired her weekly Twitter chat of the same name. And Julia is the voice behind The Write Podcast, where she interviews some of the industry’s top influencers.

Now, let’s dive into the podcasting advice from this week’s chat! Get ready to take some notes if you’re a podcaster or aspiring to be one. These tips will set you up for success!

Q1: How can you determine if podcasts are a great content format for your audience?

Before you start investing your time and energy into creating a podcast, it’s a good idea to determine if it’s the right fit for your audience. After all, if they’re clearly not interested in podcasts, then it might not be the right avenue for you to explore. If they are interested, then it’s a good sign that you should dive right in! So, if you want to figure out if your audience is interested in podcasts, follow this advice:

Madalyn’s advice is to just ask your audience what they want. They’ll tell you if they’re interested in podcasts, but you have to actually ask them first. She suggests creating a Twitter poll, which is a great way to get answers. It won’t require a lot of effort on your part either and that’s always a plus.

Julia provided some interesting statistics that show podcasts are on the rise each and every year. This is a good sign that it just might be worth your time and you’ll want to join the fun before everyone has jumped on the bandwagon.

The Digital Natives team suggests seeing how your audience is already consuming content. Is it clear that they’re listening to podcasts from other creators? If so, it’s a good sign that they might also be interested in yours. One way you can experiment before diving in head first is to test out their response to some audio snippets. If they enjoy it, move forward with a full podcast!

And as they said, if you still aren’t sure if it’s the right move, you can always ask them what they think. Your audience will happily share their thoughts with you.

A survey is a great way to get the opinions of your audience. You can create one and send it to your email list or share it on social media to gather responses.

Ai also suggests asking your audience what they think about podcasts. You can then take it a step further by researching the podcasts in your field. Are there many of them already available? Do they have a large following? Learn as much as you can about them as it can help you build a podcast of your own.

As James said, you can always just give it a go and see what happens. After all, your audience may ultimately fall in love with what you have created and you won’t know it unless you try. If things don’t work out though, you shouldn’t let it get you down.

Q2: What tools are essential for starting a podcast?

To get started with podcasting, there are a few tools you’re going to need to have on hand. What are they? Our chat participants have the scoop, so make a note of what you need to buy!

Madalyn said all you need to get started is a microphone. She mentioned that you can go the cheaper route and use an app on your phone or you can choose to invest in more professional equipment.

For a full list of Madalyn’s recommended equipment, check out the link she shared to her blog. Her suggestions for a moderately priced microphone include the Blue Snowball and the Blue Yeti. For something more splurge-worthy, Madalyn loves the Heil-PR 40.

When it’s time to edit, Madalyn suggests GarageBand or Audacity. You can also hire someone to edit for you if you don’t have the time or the skills to do it yourself.

Julia uses and loves microphones from Audio-Technica. She said they’re affordable, but still provide amazing quality. A wind pop filter is a must as well and you can find them cheap on Amazon.

When creating a podcast, sound quality is key. You need to make sure you have a great microphone to record on, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. There are plenty of quality microphones on the market that are affordable.

Jason’s suggestions are a microphone, headphones, and something to record and editor your podcast.

Kristin recommends using Libsyn for hosting your podcast. She said it’s easy to use, which makes it perfect for beginners.

As Sarah said, you’re also going to need some great content that’s beneficial to your audience, time to do the podcast correctly, and a good microphone. All important elements to your podcast!

A great topic, a great microphone, and confident are all must-haves!

Don’t forget that you’ll also need a quiet room for recording and you’ll need a good attitude to along with it!

Q3: Discuss the qualities of an amazing podcast. What keeps you tuning in to each episode?

When starting and building a podcast of your own, you want to make sure it’s amazing. If it’s not, your audience isn’t going to stick around. To keep them coming back episode after episode, follow these tips straight from Tuesday’s chat:

Madalyn said an amazing podcast should be informative, helpful, compelling, and entertaining. If you can create a podcast that delivers those qualities, you just might have a success on your hands.

She also said that podcasts give you the ability to build an intimate relationship with your audience. That’s key to growing your brand overall.

Julia suggests investing in premium music for your podcast intro, teaser clips, and professional album art. All of those things make a great impact when it comes to the overall impression your podcast gives.

She also stressed the importance of creating great content. Fun, engaging, and unique stories, interviews, and episodes make all the difference. That’s what will ultimately attract listeners and keep them.

Jason knows that value is key when building a podcast. You want to make sure you’re providing something useful to your audience so they keep tuning in to new episodes.

After all, if you aren’t providing value to your audience, someone else will and they’ll ditch you for them. Lex’s advice is to provide unique insight and actionable takeaways to keep your audience tuned in. When building a successful podcast, you need to add value.

For Jennifer, an amazing podcast is all about excellent sound quality, interesting content, and an awesome community.

Good storytelling is one surefire way to suck your audience in and keep them coming back for more.

Q4: Podcasters: How can you approach influencers to be on your podcast for an interview? Listeners: What makes a great podcast interview?

If you want to have interview on your podcast, you’ll obviously need to reach out to some influencers in your field and invite them to join you. How do you do it? We’ve got the tips you need to know! We also asked those who don’t have a podcast what makes a great interview. Find out what they had to say:

Madalyn’s advice is to reach out to influencers via Twitter. It’s a simple, but effective, way to contact people and invite them to be on your podcast. She also said you shouldn’t be afraid to ask because you never know what kind of response you’ll get. You might be surprised who says yes!

As a listener, Madalyn said a great interview should be engaging and should hold the attention of your audience.

When Julia was seeking guests for her podcast, she tweeted them or sent an email. It worked!

The Digital Natives team also agrees Twitter is a great way to reach out to people. Don’t forget to also use the network you’ve already built. Odds are, you’ve previously connected with some people who would make the perfect guests.

As a listener, Lex wants a guest who is good on the mic. She also said you need to give them the opportunity to speak. Don’t control the conversation or talk over them.

Don’t let the conversation feel like an interview. Let things flow so it feels more like two friends talking.

Q5: How can you promote a podcast once it has launched to hopefully make it “New and Noteworthy”?

Getting that coveted “New and Noteworthy” spot on iTunes is a huge deal for podcasters. If you want to reach that level when your podcast first launches, there are a few things you should do to ensure its success. Here’s what you need to know:

Madalyn said to launch your podcast with a few episodes ready to go. As she mentioned, if you launch with three episodes, you could triple your number of downloads. Plus, having multiple episodes ready is great for getting people sucked in. It provides plenty of content for them to listen to.

Once you’ve gotten them to your podcast page and they’ve started listening, encourage them to subscribe, rate, and review your podcast. Be sure to also tell them to share it with their friends. These are all key steps in building a successful podcast.

Julia knows you have to hustle when it comes to promoting your podcast. She recommends getting your friends and fans to review your podcast early on if you want to reach that New and Noteworthy section. She saw her podcast get featured within 48 hours of its launch after she had received 25-30 reviews.

It helps to build anticipation before your podcast launches. Tell your audience that it’s coming and get them excited by doing a countdown on social media. It’s a simple way to keep your podcast top of mind and they’ll be looking forward to its arrival.

Jason’s advice is to spread the word about your podcast via social media and paid advertising. He also suggests asking your guests to share it with their networks.

Zala’s advice is to prepare a few episodes in advance. When you can launch with multiple episodes, you provide plenty of great content for your audience to listen to. She also said to start promotion early before you’ve even launched. This is a great way to get people excited about your podcast and looking forward to it. Make sure you maximize the power of your community and word-of-mouth.

Start building a community around your podcast and people will love being part of it. They’ll be happy to help you share and spread the word.

Don’t forget to create some eye-catching graphics to promote your podcast on social media and your email newsletter.

Q6: How can podcasts work as part of your overall content strategy along with blog posts, videos, etc.?

Podcasts, blog posts, and videos can seem like a lot. If you’re building a podcast, then you need to know how it fits into your overall content strategy. Here’s how you can make it fit:

As Madalyn said, you could take blog posts you’ve already written and expand on it to create a podcast episode.

Michelle agrees that this is a great way to go. Plus, if you know the blog post was a hit, there’s a good chance the podcast episode will be too.

As Julia said, repurposing blog posts is great when building a successful podcast. You can also cross-promote it on various platforms.

Sarah suggests repurposing your podcast content into other formats. You can turn it into a blog post, a Slideshare, or another format that appeals to your audience. Alternatively, you could take content from your blog and create a full podcast episode.

Jason says to turn your published podcasts into blog posts, infographics, and more! This is perfect considering not everyone is interested in podcasts and you’ll still be able to reach them this way.

Q7: In what ways can you repurpose your podcast episodes to consistently get new listeners? Should you create a transcript for each episode?

To really get the most out of your podcast, it’s a good idea to repurpose the episodes you create in order to break in new listeners. Many podcasters choose to include a transcript as well, but is it necessary? Here’s what you need to know:

Madalyn likes to tweet quotes from her podcast episodes and include an image so it stands out. It’s worked out well for her, so it’s worth a shot for your own episodes. She also mentioned that transcripts are great for SEO and for those who are hearing-impaired.

Julia’s advice is to promote your podcast any way that you can. Add it to your email signature, your author bios, and more.

While recording your podcast, have a camera on you to capture the whole thing. You can then upload it as a YouTube video, giving people a visual version of your podcast.

Jennifer suggests pulling quotes from the podcast and using them as graphics on Instagram. This is a great way to divert Instagram followers to your podcast.

Share relevant clips and consider creating a highlight reel of the best moments.

For The Write Podcast, Julia started doing transcripts, but has since stopped. She prefers to stick to show notes.

Leah mentioned that she’d love to see transcripts for podcast episodes. Since she doesn’t often get the opportunity to listen to them, she’d love to be able to read instead.

Kristin likes show notes for SEO purposes, so they’re worth adding for your episodes.

Jason is all for podcast transcripts!

Q8: Which podcasts are your favorite?

Finally, we asked our chat participants what their favorite podcasts are and they chimed in! Check out these podcasts and start downloading their latest episodes:

These podcasts that Madalyn suggested are definitely worth listening to!

Julia loves to tune into these podcasts.

Being Boss is a great one for creative, female entrepreneurs.

Have you checked out any of Jason’s top three podcasts?

Love analytics? You may want to check this one out, too.

Have you listened to the podcast from John Lee Dumas?

Kristen has two go-to podcasts that she’s been listening to for a long time.

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

#ContentWritingChat, creating content that builds community, creating content that generates leads, how to create content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Content That Builds Community & Generates Leads with Kathleen Burns

Did you catch #ContentWritingChat this week? If not, there’s no need to worry! We have a recap of our latest chat and it’s filled with amazing tips to help you take your content to the next level. If you’re ready to learn how to create content that builds community and generates leads, keep reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Content That Builds Community & Generates Leads with Kathleen Burns

For this week’s chat, we were joined by Kathleen Burns. Kathleen is the Community Manager the United States Blog Editor for our friends over at SEMrush. She joined us to share her tips on creating content that not only builds community for your brand, but also helps you generate leads.

Q1: How can you create content that appeals to your audience? What steps do you need to take?

One key element in creating successful content for your brand is appealing directly to the people you’re trying to reach. Without creating the content that speaks directly to them, you’re going to wind up attracting all the wrong people or worse… No one at all! Here’s what you need to know about creating content your audience will love:

As Kathleen said, the first step in creating content that appeals to your audience is talking to them and listening to what they have to say. You can learn so much about the questions they have and the issues they’re facing by just asking them. Reviews, posts on online forums, and comments on your blog are also great sources of feedback from your audience. She recommends creating a reader persona so you know exactly who you’re writing for.

It always helps to address your audience’s key pain points. Not only will they appreciate it, but it’s the best way to provide tremendous value to them. They’ll want to keep coming back for more and more after that.

Julia agrees! Listening is key to getting to know your audience and understanding their needs. Treat it like a real life relationship and start making those connections through conversations and listening to what others have to say.

James said step one is always to know your audience. Without truly knowing who you’re trying to reach with your content, you aren’t able to create the content that will speak to them. Get to know and understand your audience before you move forward with creating blog posts and social media content.

Kristi agrees that knowing your audience is the first step to content creation. She suggests determining what they’re talking about, but also what they have liked of your content so far. For example, see what your most popular blog posts are because it’s likely a good indicator that your audience would love to see more content that’s similar.

Bill’s advice is to learn the preferences of your audience as well as their pain points. When you know they’re preferences, you can determine what content formats they like the most and which topics are their favorites. Understanding their pain points gives you the opportunity to solve their biggest struggles.

Cassandra’s advice is spot on. If you want to get to know your audience, it helps to get out and actually talk to them. Strike up a conversation in your blog’s comments, on social media, or within your email newsletter. The options are endless. Figure out what they need and what they’re struggling with and then deliver exactly what they need.

As Jacob said, you want to understand the problems, desires, and wants of your audience. Once you have that figured out, you can create the content they need the most.

Q2: Why is it important to set goals for your content? Discuss goals to set for community building and lead generation.

The content you create should always serve a purpose, whether it’s a blog post, a video, a podcast, or something else. In order to determine if you achieved what you set out to do, you need to set goals that you can actually measure and track. Here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat said about setting content goals:

Kathleen said content goals provide direction and depth for content development. Here advice is to make your goals something measurable and define what a successful piece of content means for you. That could be different for everyone and could vary depending on the content. One blog most might be designed to drive email sign-ups, while another could be promoting a product or building brand awareness. It all depends what you’re trying to achieve.

Right on! If you don’t set goals, you have no way to measure your success. If you can’t measure your success, you won’t have any idea how to make improvements the next time around. And the reality is, no matter how great we think we are, there’s always room for improvement. You just need to know what to improve upon and you can only do that by measuring your previous results.

As Zala said, you don’t want to just push content out. Your content needs to serve a purpose so you should always have a measurable call to action (CTA).

As Sarah said, if you aren’t getting results then it’s just a waste of time and money. You want to make sure you’re achieving what you set out to do after putting so much time and effort into creating your content. Setting goals and measuring the results is what will help make this all worthwhile.

She also mentioned that some great goals for community building include engagement factors. Is your audience liking and sharing your content? Are they leaving comments? Is your community growing? These are all great things to track.

Q3: What kind of content helps to build an engaged community around your brand?

Building a community is something pretty much every brand is after these days. You want to have a loyal audience who likes your content and trusts you. You want your audience to take that next step and engage with you. These tips will help you create that for your own brand:

Kathleen recommends addressing the needs of your audience with the content you create. You can share tips that will help them in some way, which they’ll find beneficial.

Jason said to post content that is relatable and shareable. Pictures and quotes are always a great way to go. When you share content that inspires them, they’re going to be more inclined to share it with their audience.

Jeff suggests sharing things like user-generated content, infographics, videos, and interviews. Content that is going to encourage a conversation between you and your audience is key here. You can always experiment to see what works best for your brand because it’s going to be different for everyone.

Lex also agrees that user-generated content is powerful. Encourage your audience to actually be a part of your community by inviting them to post content that is relevant to your brand. One of the best ways to do this is through a branded hashtag on Instagram.

If you want to build an engaged community, you need to provide value through the content you create. Debi’s advice is to create content that helps your audience by answering their questions. Everything you share should be relevant to grab their attention.

Make sure you give them a reason to interact with you. As Kristi said, you can create a poll or ask questions to get feedback and to get a conversation flowing. It really is that simple! You just have to be willing to take that step to encourage engagement.

As Julia mentioned, live conversation is perfect for this. You can do that through your very own Twitter chat, live video, and more.

Q4: How will you know if your content has been well-received by your audience? What metrics are important to track?

When you’re creating content, one thing that’s important is making sure your audience actually liked it. But how can you tell if they enjoyed your content and received value from it? These tips will help you determine the success of your content, plus you’ll know exactly which metrics to track:

Kathleen said to ask yourself which metrics apply to your overall goals. Depending on your goals, you may want to track mentions, replies, social media shares, and downloads.

As Liliana said, it’s clear that your content was well-received when your audience takes some sort of action. Click-throughs, comments, and downloads are all metrics that are worth tracking.

Brandie pointed out that some common metrics include clicks, shares, and sales. It’s also worthwhile to monitor what your audience is saying. Are they talking about your content and if so, what are they saying about it? If your content got them talking in a good way, then that’s always a positive sign.

Keep in mind that everyone has different goals for their content and sometimes your goal can vary depending on the piece of content. Some common metrics are shares, conversions, and sales. When you see people converting on your content or making a purchase, that’s always a great sign that they received some amount of value. There’s nothing better than when your audience takes that next step with your brand.

Q5: What are key steps to take in order to generate leads from blog posts and social media?

One of the top goals people set for their content is lead generation, however many people just don’t know how to make it happen. So, here’s what you need to know to see results:

Don’t forget that call to action! If you want your audience to take that next step, you have to be clear about what that next step is. Hold their hand and lead them exactly where you want them to go. Don’t count on them to figure it out on their own.

Jason also knows the importance of an effective CTA. Make it clear what you want your audience to do next so they aren’t left wondering. You have to capture their attention before they click off your page for good.

Developing a connection with your audience is key in establishing trust. The reality is, people aren’t likely to buy your product or service after discovering you for the first time. You have to work to build a relationship with them and build trust before you can expect to generate leads consistently.

Engaging with your audience is a key part of generating leads. People are going to be more inclined to purchase from a brand that they have engaged and connected with. Chat with your audience and start building that KLT (Know, Like, Trust) Factor with them and you’re sure to see results.

Jeremy also agrees that engagement is important when it comes to generating leads. Make sure you’re having conversations with your audience, listening to what they have to say, and genuinely showing that you care about them and their needs. If they don’t take action right away, you can always follow up with them.

These are all essential steps that Lex suggested. She recommends listening to your audience and helping them in any way that you can, which then builds trust. You should also create CTAs and set goals for your content.

Q6: How does brand storytelling play a factor in community building and lead generation?

You likely hear people talking about the importance of “brand storytelling” all the time these days. You may even be wondering how it impacts community building and lead generation and how you can use your brand’s story to your advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

As Kathleen said, storytelling can bring a community together. That’s pretty powerful for anyone who is trying to grow their brand and develop trust with their audience.

Overall, storytelling makes your brand feel more human. It gives your brand personality, a meaning, and passion. Your brand’s story is ultimately what will draw people in and what will help them connect with you.

As Brittany said, humans connect through stories and people buy from other people. A potential customer is going to be more likely to purchase from you when they feel connected in some way and when they’ve started trusting you.

Your story adds personal flair and character to your brand, which is what your audience will find relatable. It’s what will draw them in and make them love what you’re creating.

When your story resonates with your target audience (and it should), it helps you to develop a deeper connection with them. That’s only the beginning of the customer journey.

If your brand’s story isn’t worth following, why would anyone want to stick around? Your brand story needs to be compelling and should appeal to your target audience.

Q7: Which tools do you rely on to help you create amazing content?

While you’re totally fine to just rely on pen and paper, we have a plethora of amazing tools at our fingertips today. These are tools that help make the content creation process even easier, which is always a plus. Check out these tools for yourself:

This is a great list of tools from Kathleen. Have you tried any of them? If not, you definitely should!

A keyboard and a brain full of ideas is a great place to start when it comes to content creation. Plus, it never hurts to have a furry friend to bounce ideas off of.

Brittany always keeps a notebook or her phone on hand to jot down ideas as she gets them. It’s so important to have a place to store those ideas that pop up when you least expect it.

This is how we keep Express Writers functioning!

Cassandra relies on BuzzSumo, Moz, Rival IQ, and industry communities to aid in her content creation.

Ray’s go-to tools include Google Drive, Google Docs, and Evernote. He also uses WordPress and Hootsuite.

If you need help with keyword research or content ideas, these three tools should definitely be in your arsenal.

Sabjan turns to BuzzSumo, Neil Patel, and our own Julia McCoy when he needs help with content creation.

Q8: What brands have built an incredible community?

And finally, we wrapped up the chat by asking everyone to tag a brand they felt has built an incredible community through their content. Here’s what some of them had to say:

We’re big fans of Buffer here at Express Writers!

Lexie is making us blush with her answer. Thanks so much! Besides our team, she also recommends Procter & Gamble and Jimmy Johns.

Lori is a fan of our friend, Sue B. Zimmerman!

The Tentacle team thinks Taco Bell has done a great job at building a strong community.

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

cta taxes

#ContentWritingChat, content creation, content marketing

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Successful Content Creation and Marketing in 2017 with Don Purdum

Did you catch our latest #ContentWritingChat over on Twitter? If not, you missed one informative chat! We talked all about successful content creation to help you prepare for the year ahead. If you missed out or you need a refresher on all those amazing tips, this recap is for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Successful Content Creation and Marketing in 2017 with Don Purdum

For this week’s chat, our guest host was Don Purdum. Don is an award-winning blogger and a marketing consultant. He joined us to share his top content creation and marketing tips so you can put them to use for your brand this year.

Q1: Why is it vital to have a relevant message for your audience, especially in 2017?

It’s so important, now more than ever, to make sure you’re sharing a message that’s relevant to your audience. But do you know why? We’ve got the answer, courtesy of our chat participants!

Don said that relevance determines how your audience experiences you based on their problems, needs, wants, or desires. He also brought up a great point that your content shouldn’t be all about you. It needs to provide some sort of incentive to your audience to get them read, comment, share, and link to you.

As Jason said, without a relevant message, your audience won’t resonate with you. You have to develop a connection with them and understand their needs.

Jason pointed out that talking to everyone is essentially talking to no one. You aren’t going to attract your ideal audience if you aren’t directly speaking to them and addressing their needs.

A relevant message is going to help you stand out in an otherwise crowded online space. Jacob said you need to produce a relevant message if you want your content to be read.

As Savannah said, there’s a lot of noise online today. We have to be wise about what we choose to consume. When you provide a clear message to your audience, it will help them easily decide if your content is right for them and worth their time.

Our CEO, Julia, is spot on with her answer. Relevant content = winning content! You want to create the content your audience will love.

Q2: Define giving value in content marketing. How do I know if my audience receives it?

We know it’s important to give our audience tremendous value in the content we create, but what does that actually mean? And how can you tell if your audience has received value? Here’s what you need to know:

For Don, he feels that providing value is when you can solve a problem your audience is facing or meeting one of their needs. He also said that you can tell your audience has received value when you notice things like social media shares, links to your content, and comments.

Christoph said that you provide value to your audience when you give them content that is useful in some way.

Julia knows that when you research, write, and create the best answer to your audience’s questions, you provide tremendous value.

Sarah from ThinkSEM said you can provide value to your audience by knowing what they need and want and delivering on it. When you see them taking action, that’s when you know they’ve received the value you aimed to provide.

Zala brought up some great questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re providing value. Are you speaking to the needs of your audience? Are they giving you their attention? Are they actually reading your content, leaving comments, buying what you’re offering, or coming back for more?

Engagement and conversions are two ways you can tell if your audience is receiving the value you provide.

Q3: In order to increase conversion rates, what should be a content creation focus for 2017?

Whether you’re trying to get someone to buy a product, sign-up for your email list, or something else, those conversions are very important. So, how do you increase your conversion rates to get major results online? Check out these tips:

Don recommends following Google’s EAT principle. E = Expertise, A = Authority, T = Trustworthiness.

You should have a purpose to every piece of content you create. You need to have a goal that you’re working toward so you can measure the results you receive. It’ll let you know if your content is working or not.

Great advice from Bill! He said to focus on content that fills a need for your audience and provide clear calls to action throughout the customer funnel.

Once you know what you want to achieve with the content you create, you need to tell people want to do next. Don’t just hope they’ll figure it out on their own. Provide a call to action so they know what the next step is with you.

Jason also knows the importance of a call to action, but he also said you need to connect with your audience. If you lack that connection, they aren’t likely to take the next step.

Julia said you should spend time researching hot topics that your audience would be interested in. She loves tools like Answer the Public and BuzzSumo for this.

Caleb brings up a great point about knowing how your audience likes to receive content. Do they prefer audio, video, or written blog posts? Figure out what they want and create it because you’ll be more likely to see conversions taking place with the right content.

Q4: What are steps you can take to ensure a lower bounce rate on your website?

If you want to lower your bounce rate and get people staying on your website for a long time, here’s what you need to know:

When you actually deliver on the value you promised to people, they’ll want to stay on your site to read more and more. One great way to get visitors to check out more content on your website is to interlink relevant blog posts.

You also want to make sure you’re creating content that is targeting your ideal audience. If you aren’t, you’re going to wind up attracting all the wrong people and they aren’t going to stick around.

Brandie’s advice is to write content you’re passionate about, but also content that your audience wants to read.

It’s also a great idea that you don’t mislead people with a clickbait headline. They won’t be inclined to stick around if you do. Then, provide readers with quality writing and real value.

Good content will attract the right people to your site, but it’s ultimately great content that will keep them hanging around.

Q5: Describe the connection between a message, content, and SEO.

What is the connection between a message, content, and SEO? How do they work together? Let’s find out:

Don said you need to keep your content within your area of expertise, as opposed to straying from your core message. This helps to create relevance. You can also use your content as a way to position yourself as an authority.

Great answer from Caleb! Your message is what you want to say, your content is how you say it, and SEO is how it gets found organically.

As Julia said, your message comes first. Quality and high standards of the copy you create come second, then it wraps up with SEO.

SEO gets readers to your site, which is where you share content that delivers the message your audience needs to hear.

In the end, what matters is that all of these three things are stronger when you use them together.

Q6: How do you bring your message to the forefront of your target audience and make them aware of it?

Once you’ve created an amazing piece of content, you need to make your audience aware of it. Here’s how:

Don recommends building relationships with relevant influencers. You can comment on their blogs and share their content on social media as a way to get them to take notice. When an influencer shares your content, it’s a great way to make new people aware of your work.

Jacob said to figure out where your audience is already spending time online. Go there and start engaging with them. It’s a great way to build a relationship with them.

As Debi said, you need to start by optimizing your content. This ensures people are going to find it organically. Then, spread the word yourself by sharing content on al relevant online channels that your audience is using.

Jess is all about the target social campaigns. This is a great way to reach those who already read your site, plus many of other new people.

Shanelle offered a piece of helpful advice as she reminds us to be persistent. You can’t expect to receive results overnight, so keep trying to get your content out there.

Q7: What kinds of content work best to earn links and shares for your brand?

What kinds of content are going to get you the most links and shares? Check out what our chat participants had to say about this one:

For Don’ts brand, long-form content reigns supreme. His audience loves the 6,000+ word content they create, as well as infographics and resource guides.

It looks like we have another fan of infographics! Here at Express Writers, we also love them.

For Savannah, it’s all about educational, out-of-the-box posts. She also knows that great graphics and collaborations are powerful as well.

Readers love a good list post!

A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why images, videos, and GIFs are so powerful when it comes to gaining more links and shares.

You can’t go wrong with amazing, evergreen content!

Lex knows that long-form content that provides value is key to getting that SEO juice.

Q8: Share a few tools you use to create compelling content and relevant messaging.

The good news is, there are always tools to help you create amazing content for your brand. Check out some of these tool suggestions and try using them for yourself:

SEMrush is one powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

These are definitely some favorite tools for the Express Writers team!

Hashtagify, Feedly, and HubSpot are all must-haves for Ellie.

Tony is a fan of Canva for creating graphics. The best part is that you don’t need to be a design expert to create something that looks nice.

These tools that Cassandra suggested are all great. Have you tried them?

Smart answer from Michelle! She knows the importance of social listening, as it’s a great way to figure out what your audience wants and needs.

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

social media content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is great advice from the Digital Natives team!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q3: How can live video support existing content strategies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A huge yes to everything Gabriela said here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#ContentWritingChat, the secrets of running a great Twitter chat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TwitterSmarter is definitely a chat you need to join!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is awesome to hear!

This makes our hearts happy, Zala!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

best of 2016 #contentwritingchat

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

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

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best of 2016 Content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write for your audience first and Google second.

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

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

Timeless advice we should all remember: be yourself.

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

One final piece of advice? Check out these tweets:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GIF party twitter chat

#ContentWritingChat Recap: A Live Twitter Holiday GIF Party

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

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Holiday GIF Party

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

Q1: GIF the weather where you are right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s just do all the things this Christmas!

And don’t forget to blast those Christmas tunes!

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

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

*waves hi to Buddy*

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

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

Son of a nutcracker!

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

Poor Buddy the Elf!

Well, who couldn’t love Elf?

Home Alone will forever be a Christmas classic.

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

The Grinch is definitely a must-watch every year!

The struggle is real, my friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just keep eating, and eating, and eating…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of us just pretend to get work done!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kavita definitely won’t be online.

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

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

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

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

Q8: Share your favorite Christmas GIF.

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

Well, it is pretty hard to pick just one!

Great choice from Tony!

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

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


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

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