#ContentWritingChat, writing tips

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips to Take Your Content to the Next Level with Michelle Garrett

Has your writing been feeling a little lackluster lately?

Wondering how you can take it to the next level to create online content your readers will truly love?

Well, you’re in the right place!

This #ContentWritingChat recap is packed with helpful writing tips that help you improve your skills and create the best content possible.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips to Take Your Content to the Next Level with Michelle Garrett

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Michelle Garrett. She’s a writer, blogger, and PR consultant. Michelle has guest hosted #ContentWritingChat previously, so we were thrilled to have her with us again!

Q1: When building a brand, why is great writing so important?

Let’s face it… Some people just don’t see the value in high-quality content! Luckily for this Twitter chat community, we know just how powerful our content truly is. Here’s why:

The content you publish online communicates your brand’s voice. And as Michelle pointed out, you want to make sure it’s consistent across all the channels you’re using. Having guidelines for you and your team to follow can ensure everything is up to your standards and resonates with your target audience.

Jason also feels your writing sets the voice of your brand. It also plays a role in how people find you and whether or not they decide to do business with you.

Tamara knows great writing makes a difference. She said it can help influence your audience, persuade them to take action, educate them on a topic, boost visibility in search engines, and position you as an authority in your field.

Quality writing not only define your voice, but it’s essential to sharing your message, conveying your values, telling your story, and so much more!

As Lexie mentioned, your writing is likely going to be the first impression someone has of your brand. If your content is of poor quality, that’s going to be a major turn-off.

You want to make sure your writing is always top-notch. Make sure you’re effectively communicating your message and correcting any errors before publication. Don’t risk pushing your readers away due to mistakes that could be easily fixed.

Q2: What makes a piece of online content so captivating that it grabs attention and keeps people reading?

We know the content we publish is important. But how do we make sure that things like our blog posts are truly captivating to our readers? Keep these writing tips in mind if you need some help crafting appealing content:

Michelle knows that a strong lede is key to grabbing attention early on and drawing people into your content. You need to hook them from the start if you want them to keep reading.

A great headline is always crucial. Since it’s the first thing someone will see from your content, you want to make sure it strikes a cord with your target audience. Just make sure you always deliver on what your headline promises. No clickbait!

And of course, one key to captivating content is to always create with your audience in mind. Make sure the topics you write about are relevant to your brand and appealing to those who will be reading your content. Otherwise, they won’t bother!

This is a great example that Julia shared, which is worth saving to refer to later! From a specific headline to stats and great storytelling… This has it all.

As Rebecca said, having a unique voice, knowledge to share, great visuals, and something that can’t be easily replicated will really help your content stand out from the crowd.

Tamara feels captivating content needs to have an enticing title and headers, engaging content, visuals, and you need to address a pain point from your audience right off the bat.

Alexa agrees that visuals make all the difference! Don’t just publish one gigantic block of text. Incorporate visuals to help your readers better understand the topic you’re discussing.

Don’t forget to take the time to proofread. It’s one thing to make a mistake here and there, but error after error will likely send your readers running.

One of Jason’s best writing tips is to create content that emotionally connects with your audience. Get them invested in what you have to say. This really pulls them in and helps them form a stronger connection with your brand.

And finally, ditch the fluff! Captivating content is easy to read. But if you’re just stuffing blog posts with unnecessary information, you’ll wind up with exactly the opposite effect. Cut what isn’t necessary to your overall point.

Q3: When it comes to writing tips, what are the basics everyone should know?

If you’re looking to improve your writing skills, it helps to have the basics covered, right? Well, here’s what you should know:

It’s no secret that proofreading your work is an essential step before hitting publish. However, it’s still something that many people neglect. Like Michelle said, you shouldn’t rely solely on your spellcheck or tools like Grammarly. You want to read through it yourself. And if you can, walk away for a bit and come back later to review it with a fresh perspective.

Mara knows that having an editor can really help shape your content. If you don’t have someone on your team to help you with this, you can always ask a friend or family member to read through your work.

As Bill pointed out, it’s crucial that your content is addressing the questions, pain points, and struggles of your target audience. You want to create content with them in mind so it’ll resonate with them and provide value to their lives.

Carla encourages you to ask yourself: What are my readers interested in? What are the current trends that would appeal to my target audience? And what outcomes do I want to achieve from this content? Setting goals for your content is important!

One thing you should definitely ditch? Industry terms that your reader won’t understand. It’s going to put them off because they won’t comprehend what you’re saying. And they certainly don’t want to bust out the dictionary every time they read your posts!

Caitlin agrees that you need to use language your audience will understand. Put yourself in their shoes and consider the level they’re at.

Lexie shared one of the most important writing tips we should all remember: practice! It’s the best way to continually improve your skills over time.

Psst! Julia covers all the basic writing tips in her book that she published in 2016. It has tons of relevant information for all online content creators and is worth checking out.

Q4: Are there any writing tips you learned in school that you completely ignore now? If so, what are they?

The reality is, the world of online content is certainly different from the writing we were doing back in our school days. So, which tips have we ditched completely?

While Michelle still relies on a lot of teachings she learned when studying journalism, she knows that sometimes inverted pyramid style just doesn’t work. It really depends on the particular piece of content you’re creating.

Julia’s advice is to ditch the essay-style language you were taught. It just doesn’t work for online writing. Luckily, she shared a few resources that can help us create better content for the web.

Tamara was taught that it was better to write using more advanced language. Now, she knows that it doesn’t always work that way. You have to write in a way that’s understandable for your target audience, otherwise they won’t be able to read your content.

While we were once taught not to end a sentence with a preposition, we don’t have to worry that someone is going to mark up our online content with red pen. This means you’re free to write in the way you’d naturally speak to someone!

Alexa doesn’t care what anyone else thinks… She’s sticking with her beloved Oxford comma!

Gone are the days where we have to put two spaces after a period. And let’s be real… Online, no one really cares if you start a sentence with words like “And” or “But.” So, go for it!

And Lauren has learned that hitting a specific length for your content just isn’t necessary these days. It’s better to keep your writing clear and concise and only use as many words as needed to get your point across.

These days, you’re free to get creative and inject your personality into the work you create. It doesn’t need to be bland. You don’t have to follow rules you disagree with. Just do your thing!

Q5: What are some signs of both good and bad writing that we should be aware of?

These writing tips will help you improve your skills so you don’t drift over to the dark side:

Errors can really send your readers running, so always take the time to proofread! While sometimes smart, creative writing can save you… It’s still better to take those extra few minutes to make final edits before hitting publish.

Bill feels that good writing answers the questions your audience has and quickly delivers value. Don’t beat around the bush here. Get to the point!

Sarah says good writing is easy to read and understand and showcases your credibility. Bad writing, however, is hard to read and disorganized. And of course, typos and grammatical errors are major no-nos.

Mara isn’t a fan of writing errors either. She says it’s obvious when someone didn’t take the time to proofread their work. Even though it’s not a fun task, it makes a huge difference in the long run.

Your writing also needs to flow from one sentence to the next and one paragraph to the next. If it’s choppy, readers might not make it all the way through your content.

Julia said bad writing is: boring, doesn’t have clear points, lacks practical advice, and is filled with fluff. Good writing is clear and concise, offers practical takeaways, features expert insights, and is fun, readable, and engaging for the reader.

And just take a look at these examples that Julia shared! Which one is easier to read? The second one, of course. Formatting makes a huge difference when it comes to online content and big blocks of texts can push readers away.

Q6: What are some fun ways we can work to improve our writing daily?

We all strive to be better writers, don’t we? Well, the thing is… We can’t just scour the web reading writing tips. We actually have to put what we’ve learned into practice. And here’s some advice to help you make that happen:

Michelle shared tons of great tips with us! First and foremost, she encourages all of us to write every single day. After all, the best way to improve your skills is to practice. She also said you can write about topics that matter to you. It doesn’t need to be related to your work. Allow yourself to have fun and get creative here!

If you aren’t sure what to write about, take Eric’s advice. Use writing prompts to get those creative juices flowing. You can find plenty for free online to get you started.

Kathryn shared some fun ideas, such as rewriting the headlines you see on major news sites. It’s great practice for crafting headlines that grab attention, which is something that even experienced writers can struggle with. She said you can even try writing a story backwards, which is sure to be an interesting challenge!

Coffee haikus and taglines that never were sure sounds fun to us! Plus, it’s even better when you get your whole team involved.

Even something as simple as what you’re writing you’re grateful for counts!

And why not keep a journal on hand to inspire your daily writing habit?

Gaby suggests reading content from others, practicing writing often, reading through your pieces aloud, and reading a friend’s content and providing feedback while they do the same for you.

Consume content from other writers you admire and even ones you don’t. You can learn a lot about what you like and dislike this way.

Carla finds it helpful to review her own writing. You can read content you created in the past and see where improvements can be made.

And of course, don’t be afraid to take risks! Sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for your writing.

Q7: Are there any resources we can turn to for writing tips? Any writers we can learn from?

If you’re looking for some great sources to help strengthen your writing, make sure you check out these recommendations:

These are all fantastic resources that Michelle shared with the chat!

One great option is to involve yourself in local writing groups. It’s a great way to learn, but also to make friendships with local writers. If there aren’t any nearby, there are online communities you can join too.

Gaby’s favorites include Grammarly, the Hemingway App, Merriam Webster for looking up new words, Copyblogger, and Coursera.

For Jennifer, Grammarly is a go-to tool to improve her writing.

Jake loves Grammarly as well, but he also likes to read content from Copyblogger and SmartBlogger.

And a great tip from Terry! If you really want to take it to the next level, learn more about psychology because it can help you better understand why readers react to content the way they do.

Q8: Open Q&A for Michelle!

At the end of the chat, we wanted to give everyone one last chance to learn some great writing tips from Michelle. So, we opened it up for questions! Here are a few:

Try to write more like a person would sound if they were talking.

Whether you’re B2C or B2B, remember that you’re still writing for humans at the end of the day.

And if you’re looking to find more freelance writing jobs, Jen Gregory is someone Michelle recommends checking out!

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

running a podcast

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Launching & Running a Captivating Podcast in 2019 with Ross Brand

It’s safe to say that audio content is HOT right now. And it has continued to gain popularity over the past few years.

With more people jumping on the podcasting bandwagon, there’s a good chance the thought of launching one of your own has crossed your mind.

If so, you’re in luck! This #ContentWritingChat recap is packed with amazing tips for starting a podcast and making sure it’s a success.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Launching & Running a Captivating Podcast in 2019 with Ross Brand

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Ross Brand. Ross is a broadcast consultant and talk show host. He’s been a guest on #ContentWritingChat before and it’s always a delight to have him join us!

Q1: What makes podcasting a content format worth considering in 2019? Is it something that anyone should do?

Before you dive in and start recording your first episode, we need to determine if podcasting is the right move for you. Here’s what you need to know:

Ross feels podcasting is a personal form of communication that has the potential to hold a person’s interests longer. As he pointed out, podcasts are great for listening while doing other things. And with average listening times longer than viewing times on videos, that’s definitely a plus.

Sarah also mentioned how podcasts are perfect for multitasking. You can easily tune in while working out, commuting, taking care of chores, etc.

Ross also said that not everyone needs to have a podcast. If you don’t enjoy podcasting, don’t force it! Consider your talents and where you really shine. That’s where you should direct your focus. You’ll also want to consider whether or not your target audience listens to podcasts. If they aren’t listening, it probably won’t be worth it.

Jason agrees that podcasting isn’t necessarily for everyone, but it is something anyone can do if it’s where your heart is. Getting started doesn’t have to be difficult and we’ll share more tips on that in a moment.

These stats are proving the growing popularity of podcasts! 32% of people listen to a podcast at least once per month, but many tune in more frequently. Wouldn’t you like to throw your podcast into the mix? If the answer is yes, keep reading!

Q2: You’re ready to get started with your very first podcast… What are the essentials that you need?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to have tons of expensive equipment to launch a podcast. You can easily get started with just a few essentials.

First, you’ll definitely need a microphone, a quiet space to record, and software to capture all of your audio. Ross shared some fo his favorites to help you get started, so definitely check those out.

And of course you’ll need a place to host your podcast. Recommendations from Ross include Spreaker, Libsyn, Podbean, and Simplecast. Then, you’ll need to send an RSS feed to Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeart Radio to reach your audience where they’re tuning in.

Jason’s podcasting essentials include a decent microphone (which doesn’t have to break the bank), a computer, and a stable internet connection. With plenty of free tools to record your audio, you’ll be ready to go in no time.

Ray actually started his podcast in 2011 by just using iPhone. Although he eventually upgraded to a fancier setup, it’s a reminder that you can get started with what you have right now. Don’t feel the pressure to have the best of the best in terms of equipment. You can always upgrade later.

Besides all the tech, it’s also important that you have a strategic content plan. Caitlin knows this is essential to running a podcast because you want to make sure you’re providing value to your listeners and giving them what they want.

It’s also wise to consider things such as: the topic of your podcast, whether you’ll add video as well, the frequency, and more. Plan it out!

Q3: No one wants their listeners to tune out, so how do you keep them intrigued all the way through your episode?

The last thing you want is for someone to fall asleep listening to your podcast. So, how can you hold their attention and prevent them from getting distracted? Check out these tips:

Ross suggests keeping your intro brief, avoiding a long series of announcements, and keeping your intro music short to begin with. He also advises keeping most of the calls to action until the end of the podcast, which is when they’ll be more likely to follow-up anyway. Another tip he shared was to keep your energy throughout and ditch parts where the episode lags.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix it up! You don’t have to do things exactly the same way that other podcasters do. You can experiment and see what works best for you and your listeners.

Tell a story in your episodes and you’ll take your listeners on a journey with you. They’ll be so engaged that they won’t want to stop listening.

This format from Ray is worth trying out with an episode of your own! Adding a teaser to the beginning lets listeners know what to expect and intrigues them enough to keep listening.

Sarah wants to hear a lively conversation between the host and the guest. Choosing the right guests and topics makes a huge difference. And don’t forget to lead listeners to a call to action.

Q4: Many podcast episodes feature interviews. Can you share some tips on being a great host when working with guests?

When running a podcast, you’re likely going to be doing interviews with guests. This can feel intimidating if you’ve never interviewed someone before, but it doesn’t have to be scary. These tips will ensure it’s a hit:

Always research your guest before the episode to come up with questions that are relevant. You’ll want to consider current projects that your guest is working on because that will always be great to discuss. And as Ross said, make sure you’re listening to your guests as they speak.

Kathryn suggests sending the questions to your guest ahead of time. This allows for any changes to be made, plus your guest can come prepared. Once you hop on the call, ask your questions, listen, and just let the conversation flow.

It also helps to discuss the podcast ahead of time. What’s your show all about? What is your audience most interested in? How will the process of recording the episode go? All of these things will prep your guest ahead of time.

Q5: As a podcast host, should you also create show notes for listeners to check out? What are the pros and cons?

Show notes are common for podcasters to create along with each episode. But are they really worth it? Let’s weigh the pros and cons…

Ross feels the only downside to creating show notes is that they can be time-consuming. However, they do provide benefits that you might want to take advantage of. You can add CTAs with links, links to related content or paid offerings, and it’s a bonus for SEO.

Caitlin feels show notes can be really helpful. It’s an opportunity to cite research, mention important resources, and more. This is your place to add any relevant links so they’re easier for listeners to access.

For Sarah, she loves having the option to scan show notes before she commits to listening to a podcast episode. And as she mentioned, it helps with SEO too.

Alexis agrees show notes are great for SEO, but she feels providing a full transcript is even better. In those cases, it makes your podcast more accessible. If someone is hearing-impaired, they can read the show notes instead.

Julia always has show notes for The Write Podcast. The team here at Express Writers puts them together and they’ve helped increase shares, mentions, and links.

Q6: Now that you’re steadily pumping out new podcast episodes, what action steps can you take to get new listeners?

Once you have content ready to go, you need to start earning listeners. They won’t always just come to you, so it’s better to be proactive! These tips will help you attract more people:

Make sure you’re sharing your podcast episodes on your social media channels and with your email list. Ross suggests sharing clips of the episodes to leave your audience wanting more. You can also go live to connect with listeners and dive deeper into episodes while answering their questions.

Also, don’t just submit your podcast to Apple. There are other platforms, like Spotify, to consider as well!

Ray suggests taking action to get your podcast listed on various directories. This can help you gain exposure to so many more people.

Michelle suggests repurposing your podcast episodes into other pieces of content. You can create blog posts from them, pull quotes to create social media posts, and so much more.

Don’t forget to ask for reviews! This will help draw people in who come across your podcast for the first time since they can see what other listeners have to say about it.

Q7: How do you know if podcasting is working for you? What kind of feedback or metrics should you be watching for?

When it comes to your podcast, you likely want it to be a success. But what exactly does a successful podcast look like? Which metrics are important to track? Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:

If you’re podcasting as a hobby, the metrics likely won’t matter as much to you. You won’t necessarily be worried about subscriber growth and conversions, which is totally okay.

However, if you’re podcasting for business… You’ll want to see the value in all the work you’re putting in. Are you generating income from the podcast? You’ll want to make sure you can identify which clients and customers came from your podcast. It’s important to see your audience taking action.

Another great piece of advice from Ross is that you should always listen to your audience. It doesn’t matter if your podcast is a hobby or for business. Learn about their interests and consider this when creating future episodes.

If you see that guests are interested in coming soon your show, you’re getting a good amount of listens/downloads, and the average listen time is great… Then you’re on the right track!

Another thing to watch out for is engagement on social media. Is your podcast generating conversations? And if so, what are people saying?

Julia also agrees that conversations are important. There’s nothing more satisfying that seeing conversations taking place around the work you’ve created.

Ray suggests looking at the reviews listeners leave. This will give you a good idea of what’s working and what’s not.

Q8: What’s one thing all podcast hosts can do moving forward to ensure their episodes are captivating and their show is successful?

To end the chat, we asked everyone to share a final piece of advice for all podcast hosts. Here are a few of the responses we received:

Ross said to find the sweet spot of what you enjoy creating, what your talents are suited for, and what resonates with your audience. When you can do this, you stand a better chance at creating a captivating podcast. When you’re passionate and can bring the energy, it shows.

Know your audience! Create a podcast because you know your audience is interested in this format and record episodes with them in mind.

When you know what resonates with your current readers, you can plan your next steps and create the content they’re interested in tuning into.

Julia’s advice is to consider the interests of your audience, allow your guest room to voice their thoughts, avoid controversy, and end with a CTA.

Listen to other podcasts! You can learn a lot from other creators, whether they’re in your field or not. Don’t be afraid to branch out.

And finally, Jason said to keep it interesting for you, your guests, and your audience.

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

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.

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