influential content

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

Want to learn how you can create influential online content?

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

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

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

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

Q1: What qualities make a piece of content influential?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is great advice from Stephanie!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaby is definitely a fan of Grammarly!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#ContentWritingChat, event experiences, repurposing event experiences

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Repurposing Your Event Experiences Into Brand-Building Content with Cathy McPhillips

These days, in-person events are the place to be if you want to expand your knowledge, strengthen your skills, and network with others in your industry.

But while these events are beneficial for you, it’s also smart to turn them into something valuable for your audience as well. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about in this month’s #ContentWritingChat!

Before you head out to your next event, start planning how you can repurpose your experience into a fresh piece of content your community is sure to love and learn from.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Repurposing Your Event Experiences Into Brand-Building Content with Cathy McPhillips

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Cathy McPhillips. Cathy is the VP of Marketing for our friends over at Content Marketing Institute. And since CMI has their own in-person event, #CMWorld, each year, Cathy knows a thing or two about turning event sessions into incredible online content for their audience to consume.

Q1: Why should we be creating fresh content from live events we attend? How is it beneficial for brand-building?

Is it really worth your time to create content based on the events you attend? Will you actually see any ROI from it? We say YES! Here are some great reasons why it’s beneficial:

Cathy feels live events are the perfect place to collect content. From the speakers, sessions, and conversations you have from others, there’s a lot to take in that can be repurposed into original content afterwards.

Gaby said you can use event experiences to create content that shares your own insights, sparks new conversations, builds connections, grows awareness of your brand, and establishes thought leadership.

As Sarah said, we can take what we’ve learned from an event and then share a fresh piece of content that features our unique take on the topic at hand. She feels this helps to build credibility while also strengthening relationships.

Joining timely conversations is a great way to gain exposure for your brand and this includes talking about events that are going on at the moment. But as Lexie said, you need to make sure you’re putting your own spin on the content you’re sharing.

If you need an example to draw inspiration from, check out how Julia recapped an event she spoke at. People who weren’t able to attend still get to hear the advice from her talk, thanks to this recap.

Q2: When creating content, you have to keep your audience in mind. How do you decide what to share with them and what would be valuable?

There’s a lot to take in when attending events. So much so that it can be hard to figure out what’s worth sharing with your audience. This advice will help you figure it out:

Cathy suggests checking out the agenda for the conference beforehand. This way, you’ll know what to expect in terms of speakers and topics being discussed. You can then plan your content accordingly and have it in mind when you’re attending various sessions.

It’s also smart to see what your audience is already engaging with. This way, you can create similar content from your event experiences. If there’s a particular topic that really seems to resonate with your audience, you can build off of that.

Carla’s advice is to think about the problems you can solve for your audience. What are they struggling with and what will you learn at the event that could help them? That’s what you should be sharing.

Consider what your audience is interested in, what they want and need, and what their pain points are. Create the content that is going to address their concerns.

Before the event, you can spend time engaging with your audience to figure out what they’d be interested in seeing so you can arrive at the event prepared.

And another great piece of advice is to consider the questions you had going into the event. There’s a good chance your audience is wondering the same things, so you can seek the answers and share them afterwards.

Q3: What kinds of content can you create from your event experience? Is one content format better than another?

Blog posts, videos, podcast episodes… There are so many different ways to create content online. So, how do you choose the best format for sharing about your event experience? Here’s what you need to know:

Cathy suggests doing live videos, interviews, and Instagram or Facebook Stories while you’re at the event. It allows you to make use of the time there, while also making your audience feel like they’re there alongside you.

Lexie thinks creating multiple content formats is the way to go. This way, you have something for everyone in your community.

After an event, Julia likes to create a video with captions, a blog post, social media content, and slides in the form of a PDF. This gives people plenty of options so you audience can consume content in their preferred way.

You can’t go wrong with infographics, videos, audio, and photos. Just get creative with it!

Videos, round-up posts with slides, and posts that feature expert advice are all great options.

You can even create a mini ebook sharing tips and tricks that you learned at the event.

Q4: How do you choose what to prioritize when attending events with a jam-packed schedule?

Because events can be so busy with multiple sessions going on at the same time, it can be hard to choose which ones you should attend and which ones to skip. Here’s some great advice to keep in mind:

The most important thing to consider is why you’re attending this event. What are you hoping to get out of it? You can then choose the right sessions based off of your current personal goals, as well as the the things you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months. Cathy also suggests considering what sessions would most resonate with your audience so you can attend those as well.

John agrees that it’s all about determining why you’re there. This way, you can prioritize the sessions that matter the most to you and your end goals.

Gaby is also in favor of setting goals for the event! Are you there to learn, connect, or collaborate? This determines what you’ll want to prioritize.

Lexie suggests taking a look at the topics and speakers so you can choose the ones that are most appealing to you. What are you most interested in learning about and sharing with your audience?

Think about which sessions and speakers are going to benefit you and your company the most in the long-run.

Sam’s advice is to attend sessions on topics you’re familiar with and want to learn more about, topics your audience is familiar with and wants to learn more about, and topics you’re unfamiliar with and that will challenge you in some way.

For Michelle, she prioritizes events based on the speaker. This comes before the topic for her in most cases.

Monina’s advice is to interact with the speakers before the event. This way, you can get a feel for them and the topics they’ll cover. Then, you can decide if it’ll be interesting to you.

And of course, keep Lauren’s advice in mind… Do your research and create a plan ahead of time so you can make the most of the event.

Q5: How can we really absorb information and make events an amazing experience?

To make sure you’re really taking in the information during the sessions you attend, keep this advice in mind:

Cathy has tons of great advice to help you make the most of any event. She said you should plan ahead when it comes to knowing which sessions you’ll attend, connect with speakers ahead of time online, and don’t try to do it all while you’re there.

Lexie said it’s time to put your phone away! Don’t allow your phone to distract you during valuable sessions because it can prevent you from soaking up valuable information.

John agrees that it’s better to ditch the phone during sessions.

Julia’s advice is to LISTEN! Put the phone away and really soak in what the speakers have to say. You can use your phone to take notes and record things, but don’t let it be a distraction.

We couldn’t have said it better: be present in the moment.

Bring a notebook and jot down what you learn. If you have the ability to, watch video sessions of the events you attended afterwards. This way, you can pick up on anything you may have missed.

Bill suggests creating an recap blog after the event or sharing takeaways with your team. It’s a great way to keep everything you learned fresh in your mind.

Q6: What tools can we use to help us take notes during live events?

To easily take notes during sessions, here are some tools you can use to jot down tips, ideas, and more:

You can’t go wrong with a notebook for jotting things down, but if you’re a digital person, Evernote is great as well. Cathy also suggests using an audio recorder or purchasing post-show videos or audio so you’ll always have it to refer to.

Evernote is a great way to take notes digitally.

Lauren suggests using a Google Doc and sharing it between your co-workers.

Gaby said to use pen and paper, a notes app on your phone, Google Docs, or Evernote to record what you’ve learned during an event. Her personal favorite is a pen and notebook.

Carla relies on her notebook and her phone.

Q7: Who has done a great job at repurposing event experiences into new content? Share a link with us!

Need some inspiration? Check out the post-event content from these creators!

There’s no denying that Content Marketing Institute does a great job recapping their #CMWorld conference, but Cathy also shared some other creators that are worth checking out.

Julia shared a couple suggestions to help you get inspired, but we’ve also done a few recaps of our own that are worth taking a look at.

Gaby’s workplace even does this for events that happen on their campus.

Q8: What can we do to make sure our next event experience is a hit?

Before you head to your next live event, make sure it’s a hit with this advice from the chat:

Cathy says you should be prepared, but don’t be so rigid in your schedule. Be flexible and allow yourself the opportunity to get away and have a little fun.

Julia also agrees that planning ahead is worth it. She said to consider how you’ll take notes, how you’ll network, which sessions to attend, etc.

If you and your team are going, have everyone go to different sessions. You can meet up later and share what you’ve learned with each other.

Consider what your audience would want to learn and share it with them afterwards.

Learn from the mistakes you made at past events (if any). This way, you can make the experience better each and every time.

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

#ContentWritingChat, social media 2019, Brooke Sellas

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating Content & Engaging With Your Audience on Social Media with Brooke Sellas

Social media can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.

There are so many platforms to keep track of, you have to create fresh content on a regular basis, and still find time to connect and engage with your audience.

How are you supposed to manage it all? And how can you be sure you’ll reap the rewards of all the time and effort you put in?

Well, it’s all about having a smart strategy! In this month’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about social media. And in this recap, you’ll learn which platforms are worth your time, what makes a great post, and what you can do today to boost your results.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating Content & Engaging With Your Audience on Social Media with Brooke Sellas

Our guest host this month was Brooke Sellas. Brooke is the CEO and Founder of B Squared Media, an award-winning social media marketing and ads agency. She’s also the co-host of the Marketing Companion podcast alongside Mark Schaefer.

Q1: Which social media platforms are worth your attention in 2019? Are there any you’ll be adding or dropping from your strategy?

With so many social media platforms available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to choose the ones that are right for you and your brand. We asked everyone to share the platforms they’re focused on and the ones they’ll be saying goodbye to (if any) this year.

As Brooke said, social media is all about determining what works for you and your goals. The reality is, certain platforms work really well for some brands and don’t perform that well for others. Pay attention to what’s working for you and what’s not. And if something isn’t working, review your strategy first before completely ditching it.

Always consider which platforms your audience is actively using. If your audience isn’t there, you won’t be able to reach the right people and you’ll ultimately waste time and effort.

Gene’s advice is to direct your attention toward the platforms that serve your audience. He said you should also consider which ones are fun and enjoyable for you. And if a platform feels like hard work, then it’s time to let it go.

Another thing you want to consider is where you really shine. Are there specific platforms that you love to create content for and that truly showcase your abilities? Stick with them! For instance, if you create great images and video content, Instagram can be really beneficial.

For Michelle, she knows that LinkedIn, Twitter, and sometimes Facebook are the top platforms to focus soon with her B2B clients. You have to consider the audience and figure out what works the best.

And of course, Warwick is all about LinkedIn. He knows that this is the platform where he can be himself and create amazing content. Plus, he sees results from building his presence there, which is what really matters.

For the team at Bentley University, they aren’t afraid to utilize multiple social media platforms. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook are the ones that work really well for them. However, they’re scaling back on their usage of Pinterest and Snapchat.

Q2: How do you figure out what you should be posting on social media?

Once you’ve chosen the platforms you’ll include in your strategy, it’s time to start creating content. But how do you craft posts that stand out, as opposed to getting lost in a busy timeline? Here are some tips to help you out!

Brooke feels that great social media content meets the goals of informing and entertaining your audience. To determine if you’re doing it right, you want to track results on a weekly basis. Her advice is to examine the top three performing posts and the bottom three. Look for micro-trends or patterns so you can identify what’s working and what’s not.

Jason knows that research is essential. You need to have an understanding of who your audience is and what they’re looking for online. From there, you can create the content they want to see the most.

If you’re ever feeling unsure of what your audience wants to see from you, just ask them! It’s as simple as that. Dianna also suggests looking at your competitors on social media to see what gains the most traction with their audience. This isn’t an invitation to copy, but it can be a great source of inspiration.

Part of the research you should do can be reviewing your older social media posts. This goes back to Brooke’s advice of looking for patterns to identify what works and what doesn’t.

As Lexie pointed out, creating social media content involves some trial and error. When you determine the types of content your audience likes, you can create more of it. And if there’s something they clearly aren’t responding to, you can eliminate it. It’s all about testing to see what works for you.

Tamara shared some great advice here. She said to listen to your audience, see what others are sharing to determine what’s working and what’s not, consider the content type that works best for each platform, and then test.

You also shouldn’t be afraid to create a different strategy for each platform you’re using. After all, each one is unique and requires its own content!

And let’s wrap up this question with a fantastic piece of advice from Michelle… Don’t go overboard on the promotional content. Focus more on providing value and building relationships.

Q3: What makes a highly engaging social media post? Are there certain characteristics that stand out among posts that perform well?

We all want our social media posts to go viral, but there’s really no rhyme or reason behind this. The most unlikely posts go viral and you can’t always explain it. Nor can you count on it to happen for you! What you can do is incorporate characteristics of content that performs well to increase your chance of success.

As Brooke said, make your own best practices. Pay close attention to what’s actually working for you. Just because something works for another brand, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

What makes a highly engaging social media post largely depends on what your audience is interested in. That’s why it’s so important to understand them.

Ask yourself if the post creates a human connection. Will it cause people to take action? These are important questions to ask yourself.

Jason said to include emotion-driving keywords and a strong call to action. He also said to ask questions and use visuals that will grab attention. Together, this is a formula for success!

The best social media posts are relevant to your target audience. They’re also informative, timely, useful, entertaining, and accessible.

It’s also smart to make sure your content is creative, valuable, timely, informative, entertaining, thought-provoking, and of course… Relevant.

Dianna suggests asking questions to get the conversation going, tagging people when appropriate, using relevant hashtags, and including a visual. You also want to try and teach your audience something!

John knows that a great visual can help since it allows your posts to stand out.

Q4: What actions can we take to encourage more engagement on the platforms we use?

Feeling like you aren’t getting much engagement when you post on social media? This advice should help turn things around for you:

Make sure you’re joining or starting conversations to get the ball rolling if you want to boost engagement!

As Michelle said, we have to spend time on the platform. You cannot expect to receive engagement if you aren’t actively paying attention to your audience and responding to them.

Being consistent with your posting is a great way to boost engagement. It gets you noticed and encourages more conversation. As John knows, you have to put in the effort.

Jason’s advice is to research to figure out what your audience is actively engaging with. This will guide you in creating the content that speaks to them.

Twitter chats can be a fantastic way to increase exposure and engagement!

Make sure you’re actually engaging with your audience. You can also ask questions, create polls, and design other interactive content.

And one important piece of advice: don’t wait for people to engage with you. You can make the first move!

Q5: Once people are engaging with your content, how do you keep the momentum going?

When you finally have engagement, you don’t want it to stop! But if you aren’t smart about it, it’ll be short-lived. So, if you want to keep the momentum up and continue the conversation with your audience, consider these tips:

Great advice here from Brooke!

As Dan said, it’s our conversation to monitor replies, questions, and shares. Don’t ignore your community!

Always engage back! Simple as that!

Lexie’s advice is to not let your content get stale. Providing quality content is important if you want to keep your audience engaged and grab their attention.

You also need to be sure that you’re posting regularly instead of letting your account go dark. Share content to get the conversation going by posting what your audience is most interested in.

Q6: How can you be sure you’re reaching your goals with your social media efforts?

When you’re putting so much time and effort into your social media presence, you want to see that you’re actually reaching your goals. But how can you know this is happening? These responses from the chat will help you out.

As Brooke said, you need to know your KPIs! From there, you will tie your social media content and activities to those goals so you can achieve them.

Lori agrees that it’s so important to know your goals. This will tell you which metrics you should be keeping a close eye on. Otherwise, how will you know what you’re working toward?

Brian shared a great answer with us for this question. First, you need to define what success looks like to you and set measurable goals you can track. From there, you’ll choose the platforms that are right for you, create content, and continue to test to see what works and what doesn’t.

You may want to track things like DMs, comments, link clicks, etc. It all depends on your unique goals.

Q7: Are there any social media trends we should consider experimenting with this year?

Thinking about trying something different with your social media platforms this year? There are some trends you can try out!

For Brooke, it’s all about social listening and AI. Will you be stepping it up in either area this year?

Lexie knows that video is still hot! But the thing is, you can’t create video content just to jump on the bandwagon. You need to make quality videos your audience will connect with.

Chatbots are worth looking into if you haven’t already!

Partnering with micro-influencers and incorporating storytelling into your content are just two things that Tamara will be working on.

Gaby mentioned live streaming, gamification, paid social media, and more.

Q8: What’s one thing we can all do today to start creating more engaging social media content?

Now, we want to leave you with some final tips that you can act on today in order to see a boost in your social media presence. Pick at least one piece of advice and go for it!

Act like a human and have one-on-one conversations with your audience.

Know your audience and spend time learning all about them.

Experiment with different types of content to see what works for you.

Start having meaningful conversations with people.

Get your audience involved and make them feel heard.

Don’t be afraid to try something new!

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

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Storytelling Tips for Brands in 2019 with Carla Johnson

“Storytelling” is quite the buzzword these days when it comes to brands and creators… But what do you really know about it?

Are you well versed in the art of storytelling? Or could you use some tips to enhance your skills?

If you’re ready to weave powerful storytelling into your brand’s strategy, dive into this recap of #ContentWritingChat for some amazing tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Storytelling Tips for Brands in 2019 with Carla Johnson

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Carla Johnson. Carla is a world-renowned keynote speaker and an author. She knows a thing or two about storytelling and had some great advice to share with us during the chat.

Q1: What is storytelling and why is it so important for brands today?

To kick things off, we asked everyone to share their thoughts on what storytelling is why it’s so important. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Carla said that storytelling is an interactive art that uses words and pictures to convey messages. We use this to help people remember our brands. She went on to say that stories will take you to a completely different place afterwards because of the emotional impact they can have on you.

Stefan feels storytelling is a must because it helps the brand to become known and also more memorable.

Storytelling helps you connect with people, develop relationships, and build community. As Gene said, people will start to build trust with you over time, which ultimately leads to them spending money with you.

Bill said storytelling helps brands connect with their audience on a more personal level. Those connections can lead to conversions.

Storytelling gives an in-depth view of a brand and the message and values they believe in.

Think back to when you were a kid! As Maria pointed out, stories help the words come to life and create a clear picture in our minds. That’s going to stick with your customer for a long time.

Brands can use storytelling to share their purpose, goals, values, message, vision, and unique value to the world. Not only that, stories will humanize a brand, encourage engagement, build trust and leaderships, and create community.

Q2: Why are people so responsive to stories? And how can marketers use that to their advantage?

But what exactly makes stories so effective? And how does a brand take advantage of this? Here’s some advice:

Carla said people respond to stories because it gives their brain a way to create context for information. Data can often be overwhelming, while stories relaxes your audience and builds trust with them.

Gene mentioned that we often have a hard time remembering facts and figures, but we’re wired to remember stories. The key here is to create something memorable for your audience.

Sarah agrees that good stories will always stick with us!

And when it comes to telling stories… Skip the fancy jargon. They need to be understandable and relatable for your target audience, otherwise they’ll tune it out.

Stories keep us engaged and pull us along on a journey. And we always want to see how things end, right?

Stories are more than just sharing information with your audience. It’s about forming a connection.

A good story is going to evoke an emotion for your audience. Get them feeling something!

Ray agrees that it’s all about emotion. Done right, you can make your audience feel something that brings them closer to you.

Stories can also allow us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, which can really tug at your heartstrings.

Q3: Storytelling is great for evoking emotion, but how can you use it to inspire your audience to take action?

So, you’ve got your audience feeling something… Now what? How do you push them to take action? Here’s what you need to know:

Facts aren’t necessarily going to inspire people to take action. It’s the emotion that sparks us to get up and do something about it.

Make sure you are super clear on whoo your audience is. Figure out what they’re struggling with so you can be sure you’re crafting a message that will appeal to them. Otherwise, you’ll fail to get them to take action.

Start with the problem your audience is dealing with and then present the solution that you can provide them with.

Always ask yourself… What’s in it for your audience? You need to be able to show them howl they’ll benefit and how to take the next steps with you.

Make sure your story leaves people wanting to know more, otherwise they’ll never be inspired to take action.

Ray suggests helping your audience to see themselves in the story and direct them to the action they need to take.

Of course, you cannot forget to add a call to action. Be clear! Don’t leave people wondering what to do next.

And while you’re on their minds, continue building that relationship.

Q4: How can you measure the impact of your stories to determine if you’re seeing actual ROI?

As with anything in business, you want to make sure you’re seeing a return on your investment of time and money. Otherwise, something needs to change! Here are some tips on tracking ROI:

Understand the purpose of what you’re creating and this will guide you to the right metrics to track.

As Lexie said, you have to set goals for your storytelling. You need to know what you’re trying to achieve before you get started and then you’ll know what to watch for.

This is the time to get real friendly with your analytics! Make sure you’re tracking things to see how your content performs.

Pay attention to whether or not people are engaging with your content, if you’re seeing more traffic, etc. If not, it’s time to revisit your strategy.

David suggests looking to see how many people are discovering your content, how many are interacting, and whether or not they’re buying from you afterwards.

Check out things like your click-through rate, leads, sales, etc. You’ll also want to look at comments, DMs, and other engagement.

Conversions are always key to measure!

Engagement, clicks, impressions, duration of views… All off these are important! But brand sentiment is equally as crucial.

Conversations are great to track because you want to see that your content gets people talking.

This is a great strategy to follow!

Q5: How can we incorporate storytelling while still remaining true to our overall brand message?

Now, how can we stay true to our brand during this whole process? Check out these tips:

These are great tips that Carla had to share and it all starts with getting clear on your brand’s purpose.

Know who you serve, what your brand stands for, and communicate it through your content.

Bill said it’s not just about what you make, but what you make possible for your audience.

User-generated content can help tell your story while still staying aligned with your brand.

Lexie’s suggestion to create brand guidelines is great because it can keep the whole team on the same page.

One great piece of advice for you: don’t overthink it!

Q6: What are some common mistakes brands make in their storytelling?

These are the mistakes you’ll want to avoid! Are you making any of them?

One big mistake is expecting to see results overnight. This is a long-term game!

Another mistake is telling the story for you, not your audience. This is about them!

Not understanding your audience is a big no-no. How can you expect to create something that resonates if you don’t know what they want?

Don’t just cram any story into your messaging. Everything needs to flow!

Boring stories aren’t cool. Make it interesting to your audience if you want to grab their attention and keep it.

Don’t forget about your overall brand strategy!

Vanity metrics aren’t what you want to watch.

Q7: Which brands are doing a great job at storytelling? Tag them!

These brands are all great examples that you can start learning from.

Carla said Target does a great job with storytelling.

For Gene, he’s all about Lego, Death Wish Coffee, and Warby Parker.

SEMrush, Simon Sinek, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Apple are great examples.

And who doesn’t love Wendy’s sassy online personality they’ve crafted?

Q8: What’s one thing we can do today to improve our storytelling within our brand?

Now, you can’t just consume all of this information and not take action. Today, do at least one thing to improve your storytelling. Here are some suggestions:

Get your employees involved!

Sarah said to spend time getting to know your ideal customer and how you can make their lives easier.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure! It’s the best way to get to know your audience.

Determine your mission, value, vision, and goals.

Pay attention to what people say about your brand. That can shape what you create in the future.

Jessica agrees that it’s so important to listen to your audience.

If you have a team, make sure everyone is on the same page.

Encourage your employees and customers to share their story because it’s powerful and relatable. It brings such a personable element to your brand.

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

#ContentWritingChat, leadership and marketing

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Leadership & the Future of Marketing with Gene Petrov

For this round of #ContentWritingChat, it’s all about leadership and marketing!

It doesn’t matter if you’re building (or working for) a large or small company… Leadership is still crucial for keeping a team together and ensuring you’re able to experience big results. And of course, you have to get smart with your marketing strategies if you want to be seen online!

So, how exactly do these two things overlap? And what does it mean for you? That’s what you’re going to learn in this recap.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Leadership & the Future of Marketing with Gene Petrov

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Gene Petrov. Gene is an active member of the #ContentWritingChat community and this was his second time stepping in as our guest host. As a leadership coach for marketers, he had tons of valuable advice to share with us, so let’s dive into all the tips!

Q1: What role do you think leadership plays in marketing?

To kick off the chat, we wanted to get everyone to share their thoughts on leadership and its role in marketing overall. How important is it? What does it actually mean for all of us? Well, here’s what you need to know:

Gene knows leadership is critical when it comes to marketing. As he pointed out, many bigger companies will have a position specifically dedicated to this to keep things in line when it comes to marketing, sales, and operations.

But even if you’re running or working at a smaller company, leadership is still fundamental. It’s an investment that’s going to impact your organization overall and really keep things running smoothly.

You also have to think outside of leadership within your team, and think about your audience as well. As Gene said, you need to consider how your marketing efforts are working. Are they helping you to create a connection with your audience, develop relationships with them, and nurture your community?

Whether you’re managing a team or it’s just you, being able to lead is still an essential skill. Marketers need to be able to share information, communicate constantly, and effectively represent brands and people.

Sarah was spot-on with her answer. As she said, good leaders educate, help, and encourage others, while also leading by example.

With proper leadership, Tamara said it will ensure everyone on the team is being heard and that everything is going to be organized and executed correctly.

Q2: What are the basics of leadership?

If you want to be a great leader yourself, you have to know the basics! These tips are going to help you out with that:

Gene feels communication is one of the basics of leadership. He also mentioned some other skills he feels are important, such as coaching, mentoring, and team building. Not only that, but he thinks a leader should create an atmosphere in which a team feels safe.

A great leader will listen, provide guidance, and be ethical.

In order to be a great leader, you need to know your goals, guide others, communicate the purpose, and listen to and weigh in on varying opinions.

Leaders should be able to hold their team accountability and trust them to get the job done without micro-managing. This is why it’s important to give your team the confidence they need to get the job done.

Other basic elements of great leadership include being able to take action, knowing when to delegate, and putting people first.

Ken feels there are a few key things successful leaders must have. They need to be able to establish goals, make sure the team knows their role in reaching those goals, and cutting out the drama so people can get the job done.

Leaders need to be willing to take responsibility for their actions and for their team.

Gaby’s basics include vision, communication, authenticity, accessibility, and innovation among others. These are all great answers!

Q3: How have things changed in leadership?

We know that the world of marketing changes often, but the same goes for leadership. Here’s how things have changed recently so you can stay up to speed:

Gene feels leadership has evolved from authoritarian to being more open to hearing alternate views. After all, the best leaders are going to involve their team in the decision making process.

Andrea said there’s been a shift to a more empathetic approach.

Leadership isn’t all about the boss anymore! Instead, Caitlin thinks it’s about fostering the growth of others and helping them to step into their own roles as leaders as well.

Being a leader isn’t a title you’ll necessarily be assigned. It’s something you truly have to earn.

As Colton pointed out, hierarchy doesn’t imply authority. You have to focus on building a strong bond with your team in order to become a great leader.

Leadership is a mentality of ownership and making positive change.

Q4: Where do you see the overlap of leadership and marketing?

Now the question is, how are these two overlapping? In what ways does leadership impact marketing and vice versa? Here are some responses from the chat:

Gene said leaders focus on how to serve their team (internal), while marketers are geared towards their audience (external). While leaders are guiding those on their team, marketers are guiding the community. Both are important roles, and as he pointed out… Effective leaders are effective marketers and vice versa. Each skill is crucial to your success!

A leader will provide a compelling vision and path toward your goal. In turn, Colton feels this provides the marketing team with the tools to shape the brand and the content that brings that vision to life.

You need leadership to create voice, strategy, a message, a mission, a product, and a goal. From there, you use all of that information to strengthen your marketing and make it more effective.

Good leaders and good marketers make the needs of others the top priority. They’re both responsible for building trust in order to inspire others to take action.

Both leaders and marketers can influence people to change when they do well at their jobs.

Q5: Why do you see leadership as vital to the future of marketing?

To help you understand why leadership is so important (and why you need to take it seriously), check out this advice:

Gene feels leadership is vital to the future of marketing because technology is quickly evolving. While he sees how beneficial tools can be to the job, he knows that building a community and nurturing relationships will take time.

Just like Gene said… Marketing that connects to and serves people is a differentiator these days!

With changes happening all the time, Sarah feels it’s important to have a leader that’s flexible and open to new ideas. And you also want to be able to admit when you’re wrong and try again.

If you don’t have leadership, your marketing might not have the cohesion or connection it needs to deliver results.

Markters needs to evolve and innovate and a great leader can help foster that and encourage all of the creatives and big thinkers.

Tamara said leadership aids in organization efforts while also being fundamental to growth and development within individuals and a team overall.

The online space is only going to get noisier and you have to stand out in order to grab attention. You need powerful marketing in order to cut through the noise and reach your target audience.

Q6: How do we sharpen the saw when it comes to leadership?

Gene said it’s not about having a fancy title. You can strengthen your leadership skills within your daily life. For example, Gene knows that being a father has helped him become a better leader, as well las building a business and serving others.

Another option is to educate yourself through books, blogs, podcasts, webinars, conferences, etc. Consider how you do your best learning!

Lexie mentioned the importance of communication and asking questions. It’s all about improving yourself and taking constructive feedback as an opportunity to do better next time.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback because it’s really the best way for you to grow!

This is great advice about taking every opportunity you have and using it as a learning lesson. Embrace your wins and failures and learn how you can continue to grow and strive to do better every time.

It can also be beneficial to spend some time around the leaders you look up to. Kathryn suggests learning from them and putting their tips to use. Figure out what works for you!

And of course, you have to be willing to try new things and be adventurous.

Sarah agrees that it’s just about getting out there and giving it a go.

And make sure you’re staying updated with any changes going on in the industry. You don’t want to fall behind!

Zachary’s advice is perfect. Never stop asking questions. It’s okay to be curious and to want to learn. Just make sure you’re always evolving and getting better at what you do.

Q7: How do we elevate the marketing industry?

Ready to do your part in elevating the marketing industry in 2019? It may sound like an impossible task, but together we can make amazing things happen! Here are some tips:

Gene feels it’s time to change people’s ideas about what a marketer is. It won’t be easy, but it would be worth it.

This idea of talking with your neighbors is a great way to look at things!

Remember: marketers are ultimately supporting the customers by delivering what they need.

You have to move away from self-promotion and focus on the people in your audience and their experience with you and your brand.

Leaders need to listen to what customers are saying and then cater content and offerings to their needs and desires.

Gaby said we can elevate the marketing industry through authenticity, innovation, fluid communication, creativity, collaboration, and more. All of these are essential!

Q8: Who are some leaders you admire and why?

For Gene, he really admires his parents and the work ethic they instilled in him. He also looks up to others such as Zig Ziglar, Simon Sinek, and more.

There’s no denying that Gary Vaynerchuk is one entrepreneur that truly stands out in this space.

Jade has been lucky to have some amazing leaders in his life, which is even more reason to surround yourself with incredible people on a daily basis.

Tim looks up to Mark Schaefer and others when it comes to inspiring leaders.

Are you wanting to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens on Twitter on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss anything!

#ContentWritingChat, 2019 content trends

#ContentWritingChat Recap: 2019 Content Trends with Julia McCoy

For the first #ContentWritingChat of 2019, it only makes sense that we would take time to reflect on the content trends for the year ahead.

After all, we want to make sure you’re creating your best content this year. That includes blog posts, videos, and even podcasts! These tips will help you truly stand out online.

So, are you ready to dive in and produce amazing, brand-building content that your audience will absolutely love? Then let’s check out the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: 2019 Content Trends with Julia McCoy

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Julia McCoy. She’s a blogger and author, and of course… The CEO here at Express Writers! Julia is the queen when it comes to online content creation, which means she had some great advice to share for the year ahead.

Q1: What are the top trends you have your eye on for this year when it comes to the content marketing world?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share the trends they’re most excited to incorporate into their content strategies for 2019. Here’s what a few of our chat participants had to say:

For Julia, she’s focused on three key things when it comes to Express Writers and her personal brand this year. She’s committed to creating high-quality content (as always), putting readers first, and knowing her why.

Jason is wondering if 2019 will be a great year for email marketing in terms of ROI. He’s also going to be paying close attention to the cost of social media advertising, as well as the platforms that are going to be popular.

Warwick is putting his efforts into both video and podcasting. Both are great opportunities for brands to expand into, especially if their audience is interested in these content formats.

Voice search, micro influencers, video, and chatbots are all hot trends to watch!

Tamara also agrees that video and micro influencers will be two of the big trends this year. She’s also watching out for artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Interactive content could be a great way to get creative in 2019!

Thanks to some inspiration from Seth Godin, Bill is focused on intent and empathy. Very important for all brands!

Q2: 47% of buyers view 3-5 blogs or other pieces of content before starting the buying process. How can we create strong, valuable blogs in 2019?

Since blog posts play such a huge role in your business and making sales, it’s important that every piece of content is high-quality. How can we make that happen though? Follow these tips:

To ensure your blog posts are a success this year, there are a few key things Julia thinks we should all keep in mind. You need to know your keywords for each post, create comprehensive content to lower your bounce rate and increase traffic, and be focused on your reader.

For anyone who needs help with SEO, she has the perfect course to guide you! The Expert SEO Content Writer Course has all the tips every online creator needs.

If you want your content to be discovered, it’s all about effectively optimizing your content. Spend some time studying the best SEO practices and put them to use.

As Sarah mentioned, knowing your audience is crucial to your success. In order for your blog posts to be a hit, you have to create the content your audience is searching for and deliver tremendous value.

Maria agrees, as she said consumer-focused content will always reign supreme.

Take the time to answer the questions your audience is asking. In time, you’ll become the go-to resource in your niche and you’ll establish trust with your target readers.

Make sure you answer any and all potential questions your customers might have. You need to use your content to break down any obstacles that might be standing in the way of them making a purchase.

And of course, you need to ensure your website is providing a great experience for visitors. If not, they’ll be rushing to exit your website and they’ll never give your content a chance.

Q3: If you’re thinking about adding a new content format to your brand’s online presence this year, which one will you go for and why?

Is 2019 the year you add video to your content strategy? Or maybe you want to give podcasting a go? These are the content formats some of our chat participants will be focusing on:

If you’re torn between video or podcasting, Julia thinks video is the way to go. Just make sure you get strategic about what you’re posting and focus on serving your audience.

Tim agrees that it’s all about video. He said it’s great for vlogs, telling stories, sharing testimonials, etc. You can really get creative here!

For Warwick, 2019 is all about podcasting!

Tamara is also interested in podcasts because of their convenience. They’re so easy to consume, especially because you can listen while doing other tasks.

Lexi recently directed her focus onto podcasting, but she’s also going to be doing webinars this year. Both are great opportunities to connect with your audience. Plus, cross-posting your content will help you get the most traction.

Getting creative with visuals can be a great way to go this year as well. You can experiment with video, GIFs, graphic design, photography, and infographics.

One final piece of advice for you… To choose which content formats are right for your brand, consider your audience. Get to know them and what they want. How do they want to receive and consume content? Once you figure that out, you can start testing to see what works and what doesn’t.

Maria agrees! If you aren’t sure what your audience wants, ASK THEM. It’s that simple.

Q4: What are a few Google-focused SEO trends in 2019?

Getting back to the topic of SEO, these are the trends you’ll want to focus on when creating content this year:

Julia published a post on our blog all about the SEO trends to watch for 2019. Definitely check that out if you want to learn more! But a few of those trends included: being mobile-ready for mobile-first indexing, featured snippets rankings going up in value, and creating high-quality content.

Lexie agrees that having a mobile-friendly website is crucial. Considering we often access content on our phones or on tablets, we need to make sure our websites are providing a great experience for visitors.

And to convince you even more… Having a mobile-friendly set is necessary for SEO and brand success.

You’ll want to consider apps, featured snippets, structured data markup, and technical SEO.

Besides being mobile-friendly, other trends to keep an eye on include voice, page speed, feature snippets, data protection, etc. All of these are great suggestions from Gaby!

Q5: When it comes to social media, which platforms are worthy of your attention in 2019? And how can you ensure that you stand out?

With so many social media platforms, it can often feel overwhelming trying to keep up with everything. So, where should you direct your attention? And how do establish your presence and build an audience that cares? Just follow these tips:

First, you need to consider which platforms your audience is actively using. You need to be where they are, otherwise you’re wasting your time. Julia also said that trends should direct your platform habits and your audience should direct your platform placements.

Sarah agrees that it’s all about knowing your audience. For the ThinkSEM team, they love Twitter for sharing content, but Facebook is their go-to for ads.

Twitter is definitely a strong platform, but what people are missing out on is video. That’s one sure-fire way to stand out there!

For Warwick, he’s focused on LinkedIn and wants to try using YouTube Live.

Gene is focused on using Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for building relationships. He likes Twitter for chats, Instagram for DMing, and Facebook for groups.

Because it’s a powerful search engine of its own, Pinterest is worth your attention!

Q6: What strategies can all brands use in 2019 to better understand and connect with their audience?

Getting to know your audience and building a relationship with them is crucial to your success. But how do you do that? These strategies are really going to help you out!

Julia’s advice is to get strategic with your content and marketing habits. You need to have a strategy and knowledge of how your audience is and what they want.

Don’t be afraid to ask your audience questions. Whatever you want to know about them, just ask and they’ll deliver the answers.

Make sure you’re engaging with your audience regularly. You want to address their concerns, answer questions, and acknowledge what they have to say. It makes them feel appreciated.

If you aren’t listening to your audience, you’re doing it wrong!

Listen to your potential customers and current customers to determine what they want. As Annette said, they aren’t data point on a graph… They’re real people and deserve to be treated as such.

Jason’s focus? Empathy!

Get clear on your niche and work on personalizing your content to your audience. It’ll really speak to them that way.

You also need to create an experience for users, appeal to them with the right message, and solve their pain points.

Q7: It’s important to expand your knowledge, so what would you love to learn about this year?

Since we want to make sure we’re being of service to you, we asked everyone to share the topics they’re most interested in learning about this year. You just might see some of these become #ContentWritingChat topics!

Sarah would like to improve her skills on the technical side of SEO.

Chatbots, copywriting, and FB/IG/Google ads are all great topics to study!

Gene thinks it would be great to learn more about psychology, the brain, and neuroscience. These can all play a role in leadership and marketing, which is Gene’s field.

Annette is right there with Gene in having a passion for the psychological side of things.

Shelly wants to learn more about product design.

Q8: And finally, what are your content-related goals for this year? Share them now and we’ll hold you accountable!

These are the goals our amazing #ContentWritingChat community is working on this year:

Julia is busy working on her third book, preparing for some big changes for Express Writers, and plans to write for more major publications.

Tamara is aiming to be more consistent with her content this year, plus she wants to do more collaborations.

Caitlin says she wants to create long, thorough pieces of content this year. As she mentioned, these can be broken down into smaller snippets for sharing on various platforms.

And for Tony, his goal is to write one blog post per month, create one video per month, and he wants to launch a video series where he interviews entrepreneurs.

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

public speaking

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Public Speaking: Overcoming Your Fear, Self-Defeating Thoughts, & Giving an Amazing Presentation with Jason Schemmel

Is one of your goals to become a better public speaker?

If so, you’re in the right place!

For the latest #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about public speaking and how you can give an amazing presentation every time. So, it’s time to overcome your fears and confidently step onto that stage!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Public Speaking: Overcoming Your Fear, Self-Defeating Thoughts, & Giving an Amazing Presentation with Jason Schemmel

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Jason Schemmel. He’s a long-time member of the #ContentWritingChat community and has joined as a guest host in the past. He’s an entrepreneur, a podcaster, and has spoken at #CMWorld.

Q1: Why is public speaking a common fear?

So many people are terrified of public speaking. But why are we all so afraid to get up in front of a crowd of people? What makes it so scary? Here are some thoughts from the chat:

Jason pointed out that some people freak out when all the attention is on them, while others fear speaking in front of others because of imposter syndrome. Worrying that you’re not good enough and consuming yourself with thoughts of what others will think can definitely hold you back.

He went on to say that preparedness can play a role, as well as your confidence levels. If you don’t speak frequently, it can feel pretty intimidating and terrifying. However, practicing and gaining experience will really help you get comfortable with the idea.

For Sarah, she used to have a fear of being judged by those in the audience. What would they think of her abilities? What would happen if she messed up? These are all common thoughts that go through a speaker’s mind, especially when starting out.

Kathryn feels a lack of control is one of the reasons public speaking can be so scary. We don’t have control over the audience and sometimes technology can fail us during a presentation. That’s a speaker’s worst nightmare!

Sometimes the fear comes from the fact that so many people are staring at you.

And as Lexie pointed out, getting on stage to give a presentation just isn’t something most of us do very often. It’s an unknown, which can cause a lot of fear and anxiety.

Q2: How long should a presentation be?

When you’re gearing up to give a presentation in front of a group of people, you have to be smart about the length! These tips will help you get it right every time:

Jason said that your presentation should be as long as it needs to be, but you still want to make sure the content is valuable to your audience. You don’t want to lose their attention!

If you’re speaking at a conference, you can expect to be on stage for about 30-45 minutes. But if it’s a TED talk you’re dreaming about, you have an 18 minute limit to stay within.

And here’s another quick tip from Jason: make sure your content is providing value. Ask yourself if you are giving your audience valuable takeaways and actionable tips they can apply later on. If not, you need to make a change!

Julia’s advice is to consider the topic you’re covering and where you’re speaking. For some events, you might have a set time slot that you have to stay within.

Lexie said to make your presentation long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep it interesting. Don’t add a bunch of fluff to your presentation or go on and on for ages.

Make sure you get all of your main points across in your presentation and do it well. If you don’t provide enough details, your audience won’t get all of the information they need. But if you start rambling on for too long, your message may get lost.

If the event you’re speaking at encourages doing a Q&A session at the end, make sure you allow time for that as well.

Q3: How can I optimize my presentation to supplement what I’m saying?

To make sure your presentation really stands out, these tips are guaranteed to help:

Jason suggests having a few credible sources to back up the points you make in your presentation. He also encourages the use of visuals, as that’s a great way to grab your audience’s attention.

Gaby’s advice is to get creative with your presentation. Ask questions, share videos, create mini activities, etc. All of these can be great ideas and will help you become a speaker that stands out from the crowd.

It’s also smart to make sure your speech works without having a visual presentation. If it does, you know you’re on the right track. As David said, you want to use the presentation to illustrate and add depth to the topic you’re covering.

Use GIFs if you feel that your audience would enjoy them. You can also incorporate graphs, charts, and infographics to present important statistics.

Kathryn’s idea to engage all of the senses is definitely a great one. She also suggests appealing to different learning styles. You can have the audience write, speak, or do other things to get them involved.

And Ken knows a little humor in your presentation can go a long way!

Q4: Should a speaker ever read from their slides? And how can you make slides complementary to the presentation?

Is reading from your slides a bad idea? Or is it acceptable? Here’s what you need to know:

You don’t want to read directly from your slides. Instead, direct your focus to your audience. Use your slides to share visuals, charts, etc. to supplement the points you’re making.

If you’re quoting someone and want to get it right, then it’s fine to read from your slide!

Remember that your visuals should never be your script. Use them to summarize your key points instead. You can reference the slides throughout the presentation to bring attention to them, but never read straight from them.

Q5: What are some ways a speaker can prepare or practice for “the big presentation”?

The time has come! Your presentation is right around the corner and now you need to start preparing. What’s the best way to practice and develop your confidence ahead of time? Here are some great tips:

Jason’s advice is to practice in front of a mirror or record yourself on camera. You can also practice in front of friends or co-workers who will give you honest feedback.

Practicing in front of the mirror is the simplest way to get started!

Michelle agrees that filming yourself is a great idea. It might be awkward to watch, but you can learn so much from it afterwards. You’ll pick up on weird habits, note places where you’ve stumbled, etc.

These are all great tips from Gaby! If you’re ready to get serious, you can go as far as to hire a coach to help you out.

And if you really can’t find anyone to practice in front of, there’s always your pets!

Just make sure you’re practicing out loud instead of mumbling to yourself.

Q6: Do you have a favorite speaker or speech that you’ve seen before? Share it with us!

For a little public speaking inspiration, check out these speeches:

Simon Sinek is one of Jason’s favorites.

Gene also thinks Simon Sinek is a great speaker!

For Julia, she also appreciates speakers like Gary Vaynerchuk and Marie Forleo.

Q7: What is your top tip for giving an amazing presentation and establishing yourself as a great speaker?

If you’re ready to become a skilled speaker, always keep these tips in mind:

Keep practicing! The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you’ll be.

Make sure you’re familiar with your content and the topic you’re covering. If you try to be an authority on something you’re not, people will see right through you.

Be vulnerable and prepared! When you can truly open yourself up to your audience, they’ll really connect with you.

Just do it! The more presentations you give, the better you’ll get.

Gaby says you need to define your audience, goal, message, takeaway, voice, purpose, and follow-up to ensure a great presentation.

Always listen to the constructive criticism that others have to offer.

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

plan content that ranks

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Plan Content That Will Rank, Drive Traffic, & Produce Business Results with Dan Shure

Would you like to know how to plan content that ranks, drives traffic, and produces business results?

If so, you’re in the right place!

That’s exactly what we talked about during the November edition of #ContentWritingChat! But if you missed out, we have this recap that’s jam-packed with valuable tips you can use.

Prepare yourself to become a master of quality, purpose-driven content!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Plan Content That Will Rank, Drive Traffic, & Produce Business Results with Dan Shure

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Dan Shure. Dan is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with some well-known brands like Sumo and Ring. He’s also podcasts on SEO as well, hosting Experts on the Wire! Throughout the chat, he shared some great tips with us, so let’s go ahead and dive in!

Q1: What factors does Google consider when it comes to ranking a piece of content?

It’s safe to say all content creators want their work to rank highly on Google. But what’s the secret to getting your blog posts to the first page? These are some factors that Google considers, which you’ll want to keep in mind:

As Dan said, relevance is incredibly important to Google when it comes to ranking content. Google will be looking for signs that your content is an authority on the subject you’re discussing, as well as the code and schema behind the content itself.

If you aren’t aware, Google actually has a 200+ page manual called the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. This shares how they rank content and it’s worth checking out! But to save you some time, Julia read it and is giving you the scoop in this post.

Julia also mentioned Google’s EAT And YMYL acronyms. Your content needs to be expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Make that a top priority every time you create.

This is a great list to check out from Opt-in Monster!

Readability, quality, authority! These are just a few of the factors that Narmadhaa knows are important to Google.

Sarah knows incoming links are still crucial. As she said, it’s like a vote of credibility for your work.

Ben said it’s all about keywords, backlinks, readability, relevancy, authority, and more.

As Sabina said, it’s important to find a balance between including keywords without stuffing and creating content that people are interested in, and being trustworthy and helpful.

Q2: How do you plan your content around your audience’s needs and SEO?

When creating online content, you can’t be solely focused on your audience without considering SEO if you want to rank in search results. And you can’t be so focused on SEO that you completely forget what your audience needs! How do you find a balance? With these tips:

It all goes back to your keywords! Dan suggests finding the best keywords by researching and analyzing for traffic potential, competition, and matching them with your goals.

He also said to find queries that not many people have answered or those that are low quality. Find unanswered problems and craft a solution so people will find you when they turn to Google for answers.

Lexie’s advice is to ask your audience what they need first. It helps to know as much as you can about them. And from their responses, you can form questions and do keyword research for your content.

Gene loves using Answer the Public to find questions from his audience. It’s a great way to see what they need help with.

If you really don’t know where to start with getting to know your audience, create a survey and send it to them. You can also host a Q&A on social media. The options are endless, but you have to be willing to seek the information you need.

Social listening is crucial! Your audience is on social media, so it’s smart for you to be there too and pay attention to what they’re saying. From there, use their conversations to craft your content.

Q3: Are there any quick fixes you can make to improve the ranking of one of your blog posts?

Let’s say you have this blog post that’s really good, but it’s not ranking the way you hoped. What can you do to give it a little SEO boost? These tips will help:

For Dan, it’s not really about quick fixes. Your best bet is to give the content a complete overhaul if you truly want to see results.

Julia knows it’s so important to keep older content updated. In fact, it’s something we do regularly here at Express Writers! If you need some tips, this #ContentWritingChat recap will help.

Sarah’s advice is to interlink new and older blog posts. If you can link relevant pieces of content to one another, it’s a great way to keep people on your site longer. Plus, it gives them plenty of content to consume as they start building a relationship with you.

Q4: How can you determine if your content is actually helping you achieve results in your business?

We all want our content to help us reach our business goals, right? You might be trying to grow your email list, increase your conversions, or something else. But how can you be sure your content is actually getting the job done? Well, you’ll want to remember this advice:

As Dan said, the first step is to actually establish your business goals. What are you trying to achieve with the content you create? This will let you know which metrics you should keep an eye on.

As Lexie said, you have to set goals first. You can’t plan your content without knowing your goals beforehand. She also said you shouldn’t be too pushy with sales if that’s your ultimate goal with your blog content. It’ll turn your audience off fast.

Create a strategy, define your audience, define your KPIs, and your objectives and goals. From there, you have to get to work. Then, your next step is to track your results and make adjustments as needed.

Don’t forget to set goals during the content planning stage! You can’t plan content and they choose your goals. Your goals need to come first so you can choose content that will help you achieve your desired result.

Make sure you spend time with your analytics! As Sarah said, you have to measure your results.

This is a great tip from Warwick. You can set up goals in Google Analytics to keep yourself on track.

Q5: How important is it to keep your blog’s archives refreshed for SEO purposes? What can you do to ensure they still rank highly?

Do you have archives that are collecting virtual dust? If they’re still getting traffic, it would be wise to update them so you can deliver fresh content to readers. So, what steps can you take to ensure they’re high-quality and still getting attention? Here’s what you need to know:

When updating blog content, Dan does a number of things to give his posts a refresh. He makes sure to fix images and links, add internal links, make copy and aesthetic improvements, and more.

Dan also feels that sometimes it’s necessary to delete content that isn’t performing well. He suggests doing an audit to look for posts that get little to no traffic, are low quality, don’t have backlinks, are a poor reflection of the brand, etc.

Your archives represent your brand and can solidify your authority. Make sure they’re giving people a good first impression by keeping posts updated, including images, links, and information.

As Lexie pointed out, stale content will send your audience running away! You don’t want that to happen, do you?

Warwick has actually deleted pages that are no longer relevant and he’s taken the time to optimize his work for proper keywords. He’s seen some tremendous results thanks to Julia’s guidance.

If all of it seems a little overwhelming, don’t let it get you down. Make sure you schedule time for updating your older content. That’s what we do here at Express Writers! Aim to update a certain number of posts per quarter to stay on track.

Q6: Do you have any go-to tools, tips, or strategies on SEO that everyone should know about?

It’s time to spill some secrets! These are the things our audience relies on to master SEO:

Dan loves using tools like SEMrush, Screaming Frog, and Moz, just to name a few.

Julia wants to remind everyone to research and write around your keywords!

Lexie and the Netvantage team love using SEMrush’s topic research tool for finding popular questions. She also uses Answer the Public to find questions as well.

These tools are definitely worth checking out!

Kathryn enjoys testing out her headline writing skills with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

Make sure you invest your time and effort into planning an editorial calendar. Ankitaa says your content should be focused on your audience’s needs and support your brand message.

Always track your results and pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t.

Sarah wants to make sure you know the importance of linking relevant blog posts to one another. If you aren’t doing this, go do it now!

Q7: What should we keep an eye on regarding SEO in 2019?

2019 is right around the corner and it’s time we start preparing! Which SEO trends are at the top of the must-watch list? These are the ones to keep an eye on:

Dan’s advice is to watch how Google is treating keywords, but translating them into entities or intent.

Julia is keeping her eye on mobile-first indexing, featured snippets, and making sure she creates quality content. She shares some more trends in this blog post.

As Sarah said, artificial intelligence and voice search are key things to watch!

Don’t forget about voice search too!

Jakub is watching out for voice search, featured snippets, and search intent.

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Our Twitter chat takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Mark your calendars and follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Get Quicker Results With Your Brand’s Content Marketing with Andrew & Pete

When it comes to content marketing, it’s safe to say that it’s a long-term game.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience some quick wins with your efforts!

And in this round of #ContentWritingChat, we were joined by a fun pair to share some tips that’ll help you start seeing the content marketing results you desire.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Get Quicker Results With Your Brand’s Content Marketing with Andrew & Pete

Our guest hosts for the October edition of #ContentWritingChat were Andrew and Pete. They’re a creative content marketing duo, podcasters, and speakers. Not only did they bring some fun to the chat, but they had a lot of great advice to share. Let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: Why is content marketing so crucial to the success of your online business?

For some of you, you may already be sold on content marketing. But not everyone is in the same boat! To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share WHY they think content marketing is so valuable for online business owners. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Andrew and Pete feel that creating useful, interesting, or entertaining content is the best way to build your audience online. Through content marketing, you’re able to attract customers to your brand and build trust with them.

Content marketing can help you get your brand’s name out there into the world. As Sarah said, it’ll help you establish your brand, gain a following, and increase your bottom line.

Content marketing will help you grab the attention of your target audience and help you keep it. It’s all done through giving them valuable information they want to see.

Want to connect and engage with your audience? Create a smart content marketing strategy that will help you build a community and grow your brand awareness.

As Jakub said, content marketing is the top driver of new organic traffic. That’s important for many businesses!

Julia shared a timely blog post that discussed the need to ditch old sales tactics of the ‘90s. And instead, she explains the positive impact that content marketing can have. This is worth checking out, folks!

And remember… If you aren’t giving people the information they’re searching for, they’ll find it somewhere else.

Q2: How can content marketing help you reach your overall goals? And what can it help you accomplish?

But how exactly does content marketing help you get from where you are right now to where you want to be? And what will it help you do? Here’s what you need to know:

As Andrew and Pete said, great content that’s delivered over time will help you build awareness, trust, credibility, and sales. That’s pretty awesome, right?

Great content builds authority. Authority builds trust. Trust generates conversions. Conversions will help you land the sales.

Lexie know that customers are essential to any business and she feels content marketing is key to helping you build relationships with them.

Content marketing can help you reach all of these goals when done right!

And to do content marketing right? Make sure you know who you’re trying to reach and create the content that’s going to attract all the right people.

Q3: What are fun ways you can get creative with your content marketing efforts and stand out from the crowd?

Don’t let yourself get lost in a saturated niche! You have to find ways to stand out from everyone else to attract your ideal audience. These tips will help you get creative with your content marketing:

Don’t just focus on your own industry for generating new ideas. Look outside your realm to get your creative juices flowing.

Know what makes you unique and embrace that. As Maria said, if you do what everyone else is doing, you’re just going to get lost in the crowd.

It helps to know what kind of content already resonates with your audience. You can make use of what you’ve already created and expand it to other venues.

Gene suggests engaging your inner child, being retro or nostalgic, using humor, or voicing a contrarian viewpoint.

Don’t be afraid to seek support! If you’re a one-person team, Julia says it’s important to be kind to yourself. And if you do have others working alongside you, it’s smart to take their feedback and ideas into consideration.

Q4: Are there any strategies that will help you get a quick win with your content marketing? Or is it strictly a long-term game?

Is a quick win possible with content marketing? And if so, how can you make it happen? Pay attention to this advice from our chat:

For those quick wins, Andrew and Pete say you shouldn’t play it safe. They also mentioned collaborations as a great way to drive results.

Julia quoted Joe Pulizzi who said it can take a minimum of nine months to see results with content marketing. This means you have to be patient and consistent.

If a piece of content isn’t driving the results you hoped for, that’s a sign you may need to shift your focus. Pay close attention to the results you receive and be prepared to change course.

If you really want to drive quick results, try using paid ads to expand your reach.

As Bill said, embrace that you’re making a long-term investment with content marketing.

Q5: You can blog, start YouTube channel or podcast, and even write a book! How do you decide the next move in your content marketing strategy?

With so many options available to you, it can almost feel overwhelming! So, how do you decide which move is right for you and which one you should focus your attention on first? Here are some tips to help you make the decision:

When deciding where to direct your attention, think about your strengths, any gaps in the market, and where your customers are.

Consider your audience! What resonates most with them? That’s a good sign it’ll be worth pursuing.

Determine where your audience hangs out and then survey them. You can learn so much if you just ask.

A great piece of advice is to do something you’re good at and something that your target audience will enjoy.

Make sure that whatever you pursue, it’s something you’re comfortable with. Don’t forget to pay attention to the interests of your audience as well. Combined, you have a winning solution.

Lexie’s advice is to build off of what’s already working for you. This makes you more likely to experience a second win.

Not sure what’s working? Take time to do a thorough audit of your business, the platforms you use, etc.

Jakub said you should consider your resources, your audience, the goals you set for your business, your timeline, and your competition.

Q6: How can you measure the success of your content marketing? Any strategies or tools you rely on?

Are you measuring the results of your content marketing efforts? If not, you better start! To ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, measure your success with these tips:

Engagement, audience growth, and monetization are three key metrics you should monitor.

But of course, you won’t know what to track if you don’t set goals first!

Your goals will determine which metrics you pay the closest attention to. For Express Writers, we focus on brand awareness and trust building, traffic, and sales.

Sarah said to keep an eye on your conversion rates, where traffic is coming from, how people are finding you, and if they’re linking to you. Google Analytics is just one of the tools she mentioned trying out.

Q7: What are your predictions for content marketing in the remainder of 2018 and next year? Which trends should we keep an eye on?

So, what’s ahead for content marketing? You might want to watch out for these trends:

Andrew and Pete say those that will stand out are the ones who will do something different with their content. They also said you’ll want to leverage pre-existing communities to stand out online.

Julia knows that ad costs are going up and buyer trust is dropping. That means we have to do something to change it! For her, she feels that comprehensive, trustworthy content is always the way to go.

Valuable content always wins, but incorporating video content never hurts! If video is something you’re passionate about and that your audience enjoys, give it a go.

AI and voice search are continuing to grow, so you’ll want to keep an eye on these important trends.

Love this chat and want to join? The #ContentWritingChat party happens on Twitter on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss out!

creative genius

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Successfully Tap Into Your Creative Genius & Be Successful Online with Allen Gannett

Wondering how you can tap into your creative genius and be successful online?

You’re in the right place because that’s exactly what we talked about in the latest #ContentWritingChat!

We discussed what it means to tap into your own creativity and how to do it, ways to repeat successes you experience, how to overcome mental blocks, and more. And we’ve compiled some amazing tips from the chat and we’re passing them onto you in this recap.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Successfully Tap Into Your Creative Genius & Be Successful Online with Allen Gannett

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Allen Gannett. Allen is the founder and CEO of TrackMaven. He’s also the author of The Creative Curve. He had some great tips for tapping into your own creativity, so you’ll want to read them throughout this recap. Let’s dive in!

Q1: What does it mean to tap into your creative genius and what steps can you take to do so?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share what it means to tap into their own creative genius and how you can make it happen. Here are a few of the responses we received:

As Allen said, there’s a a big gap between creative potential and creative achievement. He also feels creativity comes down to three main things, which include technical skills, timing, and distribution.

Julia feels creative genius is all about your original thoughts. She suggests stepping away from the computer, going for a walk, taking a bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to a podcast to get those creative juices flowing.

Jason gave some great advice when he said not to let others talk you out of doing something you want to do. You can’t let fears or doubts stop you from exploring your own creativity.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!

Let yourself be inspired by other people and things around you. You have to remain open and that creativity will flow to you.

For Maria, it’s all about giving yourself the time to be creative and focus on her goals. Block off a couple of hours in your schedule to just let your mind wander and be with your thoughts.

Just let it flow and be in the moment. To do this, Gordon suggests doing some meditation.

Q2: Creativity isn’t just for a few favored people. Flashes of genius can occur for anyone, but how does it actually happen?

Have you ever wondered how a flash of genius happens? What sparks one for you? Check out these answers we got from some of our chat participants:

A flash of genius can occur anytime, anywhere. The important thing is what you do with it when they happen.

As Danielle said, you have to know what works best for you. Find out what triggers your creativity because it’s different for everyone.

Since these moments can happen when you least expect it, you better be prepared! Sometimes it helps to have a pen and a notebook on hand.

Q3: What steps should you be taking if you want to foster creative success?

If you want to get those creative juices flowing, what can you do? Here are a few ideas that are worth trying out:

There are four things Allen believes are crucial. That includes consume, imitate, community, and iterate. He highly recommends building a community because you can learn so much from those around you.

This is a great piece of advice from Zachary. What might be successful to one person, it may not be what you’re striving for. Figure out what success looks like in your world.

Julia suggests reading, listening, and absorbing. There’s so much out there to learn, so why not take advantage of it?

Ken suggest reading a lot and even diving into content that’s not necessarily connected to your own interests. Exploring new realms can help foster so much creativity if you’re open to it.

Danielle’s advice is to have some unstructured time in your day. When you aren’t so busy with your to-do list, you can just let your mind wander.

Block the outside voices that are doubting you or talking you down. Focus on YOU.

For Jade, he doesn’t feel steps are necessary to achieve creative success. Instead, he feels you shouldn’t force it and just let it happen.

Q4: Q4: What are you supposed to do when you’re feeling blocked creatively? How can you get back into the groove?

Feeling blocked? Stuck on that project you’re working on? You’re not alone! But how do you get past it? These tips will help:

Allen’s advice is that you shouldn’t stop working when you get blocked, but don’t continue doing the same thing. He says you should step back and consume more.

When you start feeling blocked, step back and give yourself some time. Tamara suggests working out or focusing on something else for a bit.

Rachel says to work on an unrelated project for a while or help someone else with theirs.

Julia finds it helpful to stop and take a break from what she’s working on. She says to drink some water, stretch your legs, and get a little sunlight.

Having a brainstorming session can be a fantastic way to get over creative blocks.

New experiences are a sure-fire way to get those creative juices flowing again.

Just don’t give up, no matter how frustrating it may feel!

Q5: In order to be successful online, it’s important that you understand your audience. What can you do to determine their needs and deliver what they’re searching for?

How can you figure out what your audience wants from you? Check out these tips:

Allen suggests gathering feedback from your audience. Some great ways to do this include conducting surveys and social listening.

Make sure you frequently engage with your audience. Having conversations with them is the best way to get to know what they need.

Gordon also agrees that it’s important to chat with your audience. He suggests using focus groups, social media, or even one-on-one interviews.

Surveys are a fantastic and easy way to get feedback from your audience.

Social listening can be very effective if you just pay attention to what others are saying online. You can get creative and use polls and surveys if you want.

Sarah’s advice is to check out the other content they’re sharing and commenting on. This is a good indicator of what they’re interested in.

You also want to pay close attention to website stats because this will let you know what content has been the most popular.

If you have one, turn to your customer support team to see what your real customers are saying. This can provide a wealth of information.

Q6: Once you have an idea that becomes a breakout success, how do you continually repeat this recipe?

Once you’ve found success, you obviously want to keep it going. But how do you make that happen? These tips will help you repeat your recipe for success:

Allen feels it’s best to make incremental changes, as opposed to massive changes or no changes at all.

It can definitely help to document your thought process so you can repeat it later on.

Jade said to pay attention to what’s worked in the past and try to replicate it.

Q7: For any aspiring entrepreneurs or authors, what advice would you give them so they can be successful with their endeavor?

To give you a boost of motivation moving forward, here’s some great advice to take with you:

Allen’s advice is that all writing is rewriting.

Sarah said authors should keep reading and entrepreneurs should learn from mistakes instead of getting discouraged.

Read, write, learn, and practice. Great advice from Julia!

Gordon says you should read, write, network, and take care of yourself. All are crucial.

Remember that it’s all going to be worthwhile in the end.

Want to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? The party happens on Twitter on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.