content productivity

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Productivity Hacks

Do you ever struggle to stay on track when it comes to content creation? If so, you are in the right place! In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about Content Productivity Hacks. These tips are going to help you accomplish your writing with ease, so you’ll want to check them out!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Productivity Hacks

We had another community chat this week, which means our participants were the stars of the show. A while back, we polled our audience to see what chat topics they were most interested in and this was one of them. If you need some content productivity hacks to get you through, keep reading for our recap.

Q1: What does content productivity mean to you?

What exactly is content productivity and what does that look like for you? We all have different ideas of what productivity means. Here are a few responses from the chat:

For Julia, content productivity is all about getting great content researched, written, and published on time.

Organizing your content ideas, having a clear understanding of your end goal, and timelines for execution are all important factors.

Lexie said content productivity is creating quality content efficiently and regularly.

Delivering valuable, quality content to your community on a consistent basis is definitely key.

For Sarah, it’s all about getting done what needs to get done and doing it on time.

Q2: How do you come up with great topic ideas for your content?

When it comes time to write your content, how do you come up with amazing topics to cover? There are a variety of ways you can draw inspiration, but here are a few suggestions from the chat:

As Lexie know, it all goes back to knowing your audience. You can ask them what they want to learn and then provide them the content they’re seeking.

You can find content ideas by spending time on social media, reading your blog comments, and through so many other ways. If you need to figure out what your audience wants, the answers are right in front of you!

Sarah said social media is a go-to for coming up with new ideas, as well as chatting with colleagues, and reviewing questions/comments from clients.

Danielle knows it’s also beneficial to review your competitors. You can see what they’re sharing and how their audience is responding to it. It might spark new ideas for you.

As Cheval said, Twitter chats are a great way to get to know your audience.

Doing research is essential to finding content topics. Brian also recommends talking to people and figuring out what they’d like to see.

If you’re writing content for clients, you need to understand their business and get to know their customer’s needs and problems.

Q3: Once you’re ready to start writing, what’s your first step?

It’s finally time to write! Now what? Depending on your content creation process, your first step might be different from someone else’s. Here’s how a few of our chat participants get started with writing:

To get started with the writing process, creating an outline is a great place to begin.

Sarah also likes to start with an outline. Outlining your content is a great way to organize all your thoughts and ideas before you begin writing.

Leah starts by conducting keyword research, then she begins brainstorming sections of her content.

Julia’s advice is to map your ideas to your goals. She suggests knowing your goal before you begin writing anything.

Brainstorming is a great place to begin. Jot down any ideas that come to mind.

Molly recommends ditching any distractions. You don’t want anything that takes your attention away from your writing.

Laura’s advice is to just start writing. It doesn’t have to be good, so just focus on getting some words out and letting everything flow. You can edit later.

Q4: How do you stay on track with your content creation schedule? Any tips?

When it comes to consistently creating content, it helps to have a schedule in place. If you need some advice with staying on track, check out these suggestions:

Setting deadlines is a major help in staying consistent with content creation. You can allow yourself ample time to take care of writing and editing so there’s no last-minute scramble to get things done.

Zachary suggests setting a schedule for yourself. For example, he shares blog posts on Tuesdays and YouTube videos on Sundays. This will keep you on track.

Kyle relies on his content calendar to stay organized. You can also share it with other team members so they can see what’s being worked on and provide input.

Leah has an accountability call every Monday with another writer. Having to check in with her helps to stay on track with her schedule.

If you’re part of a team, make sure you’re staying in touch with them. Regular communication is important!

Jade relies on Google calendar, Excel spreadsheets, and Zoho.

Q5: When you’re working as part of a team, how can you collaborate to produce great content?

Working with a team certainly has its benefits, but it can also be challenging. To make the most of your partnership, here’s some helpful advice:

Make sure you’re brining your team together often to brainstorm ideas. As Meghan said, you can also review what’s working and where you can make improvements.

Sarah’s advice is to brainstorm together and bounce ideas off one another.

Julia recommends having systems for communication in place. Set up a way to stay in touch with your team on a consistent basis.

Since Lori has team members all over the world, she surely knows it can be tricky working across timezones. She relies on tools like Slack, Basecamp, and Zoom to stay in touch.

This is a great reminder from Lexie. She stresses that you should be open and listen to the ideas from others on your team. Don’t be offended by any proposed suggestions or edits.

Q6: What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired to get the creative juices flowing again?

When you’re lacking inspiration, what do you do to get back into that writing groove? If you need some new ideas, check out these tips:

To get the creative juices flowing again, Julia said you should step away from your writing. Take a break to clear your mind.

Going for a walk is a great way to let your mind wander, while also getting in a little exercise!

Cheval also likes to go for walks while listening to music.

Kyle suggests reading when you’re feeling uninspired. It’s a great opportunity to learn and that could fuel your content productivity again.

Danielle’s advice is to switch to another project. Get your mind off your writing and ideas will come to you in time.

If you’re on a team, bounce ideas off one another and make time to brainstorm.

Tammie said you shouldn’t force writing if you just aren’t feeling it. Instead, step away from the computer and take a break.

Q7: What are your favorite tools when it comes to content planning and creation?

Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools out there that can help with your content productivity. You just have to find the right one for your needs! Here are some suggestions:

Julia’s go-to is BuzzSumo!

Molly likes to use the Notes app on her phone to jot down ideas. It’s especially handy since it can sync between your phone and laptop. She’s also a fan of CoSchedule.

Trello and Google Docs get the job done for Brent.

Feedly is a great way to keep up with your favorite websites and all the content they’re posting.

Jennifer keeps it simple with pen and paper. You can’t go wrong with that!

For social media, Aisha likes both Hootsuite and Buffer. She also likes Google’s Keyword Planner.

Q8: Any final tips on content productivity that we should be implementing?

To wrap up the chat, we asked everyone to share their final tips for content productivity. Here’s what some participants had to say:

Julia suggests scheduling time to write. When it’s time to sit down, eliminate any distractions and take breaks when you need to recharge.

Communication between you, your team, and your clients is a must!

When you get stuck, don’t feel like you’re in it alone. Ken suggests talking to other creators for a boost of inspiration.

Don’t try to follow everyone’s advice. Focus on what works for YOU.

Join us for #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss anything!

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B2B marketing

#ContentWritingChat Recap: B2B Marketing Techniques for the Content Marketer with Anh Nguyen

In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about B2B marketing techniques. If you’re running a B2B business or working for one, you’ll certainly find value in the tips that were shared during Tuesday’s chat. In this post, we’re recapping some of the great advice for you to sink your teeth into!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: B2B Marketing Techniques for the Content Marketer with Anh Nguyen

Our guest host this week was Anh Nguyen. She’s a B2B marketer and a social media influencer. She also runs a Twitter chat of her own (#MobileChat), so it was great having her in the guest hosting seat. She had some amazing tips to share with all of us, so let’s check it out!

Q1: What’s the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share the difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing. If you aren’t sure what either of these mean, you’ll want to pay close attention to the answers that were shared. Here’s what you need to know:

As Anh said, B2B is business to business. In this case, a business would market and sell their products and services to other businesses. A B2C is business to consumer, which directs their offerings towards consumers/individuals.

Sarah put it simply for everyone to understand! B2B = business to business. B2C = business to consumer.

As Julia pointed out, B2B and B2C brands are talking to different markets. Their personas, copy, and CTAs will all look different.

When you are a B2B brand, your audience is other businesses.

As Jade pointed out, you’re going to need a different plan whether you’re in the B2B space or the B2C space.

Q2: What are some starting points for a B2B marketing plan?

If you’re getting started with B2B marketing, where should you begin when it comes to creating a plan? If you’re not sure, check out these tips to lead you down the right path:

To get started, Anh says you’ll need to determine the goals for your B2B marketing plan. You’ll want to set goals that are able to be tracked and measured so you can see how you’re progressing. From there, you’ll also need to determine who you want to reach and which channels you’ll be utilizing.

Anh says that there isn’t one-size-fits-all plan. Each business is different and their audience will be unique. In order to effectively reach that audience, you need to know and understand them. This will help yo provide the content that resonates.

Lexie’s advice is to determine what potential businesses need to get started with creating your plan.

Ken knows that it’s important to know your audience, whether you’re in the B2B or B2C space. You need to determine their needs and figure out what they’re looking for.

Sarah suggests knowing the ideal audience, the buying cycle, and how they’re searching for services.

Jason’s top tip is to know your audience. Determine what pain points and problems of theirs you can solve.

Erika said in-depth buyer personas are a must. She recommends figuring out who you’re selling to and what their challenges are.

Sabjan said etc start by defining your goals. Know what you want to achieve and move forward from there.

Make sure you get to know the business, their goals, and their challenges.

Q3: How is B2B content strategy different from a B2C content strategy?

Now that you know a little more about B2B marketing, how does the content strategy you’d use for a B2B business differ from one you’d use for a B2C? This is what you need to know:

Anh said that B2B marketing should be information or educational. She recommends focusing on features and benefits you can provide. The process often takes a longer time than B2C as well, which is important to keep in mind. This is because a group is typically involved in the decision making in this case.

For B2C, buying is based on the needs and benefits of a product, but the decision is made by individuals for their own use. As Anh said, emotion often plays a larger part in a B2C buying decision.

Julia said the personas, content delivery, and content creation will all differ between B2B and B2C.

As Erika pointed out, a B2B content strategy typically needs to reflect a longer buying cycle because there are fewer impulse buys.

Jason said B2B requires selling to executives or a C-level team. For B2C, you’re selling to an individual where their choice won’t be swayed by others on a team.

Ken feels you’ll need to put more attention on ROI when working in the B2B space. Know how your product will save time and money and communicate those benefits to potential buyers.

As Colin said, you need to know the needs of your customer’s customers.

Q4: What struggles does a B2B business face? How can you combat them?

There’s no denying that any B2B business will face some difficulties, but what are they up against? And how can they stand up to challenges? Check out these responses from the chat:

Anh feels content creation is often a struggle for B2B brands because their content is often viewed as boring. She suggests combating this by thinking of creative ways to share “boring” content. She even feels that humor can work in B2B when done appropriately.

Lexie said it’s a struggle to create content that other businesses want to read. You have to figure out how to grab their attention.

Julia said not to fall into the rut of average content. She feels it’s important to embrace creative content ideas and execution.

Sarah said having to sell up the chain within another business can be a struggle.

B2B requires a strong nurture program and exceptional content according to Erika because sales have an extended timeline.

Unfortunately, creativity often takes a hit when it comes to B2B content. It’s important to remember that you’re still communicating with people.

Many B2B brands are afraid to experiment, but sometimes it’s helpful to step outside the box. You can test out humor, unexpected visuals, and emotive copy according to Shelly.

Lauren said many B2B brands are afraid to take content marketing risks. She says they can combat that fear by experimenting and measuring the ROI it receives.

Not listening to their audience and employees as well as poor training can be disastrous for any business.

Make sure you find the right platforms to reach your audience. You want to be on the platforms they’re actively using to get your content in front of them.

Q5: How can you determine the success of your B2B marketing tactics?

Once you have a B2B marketing strategy in place, you need to measure the results you’re getting from your efforts. But how do you know if it’s a success? Keep these tips in mind:

It all goes back to the marketing plan goals you set in the beginning. Anh said to ask yourself if you reached or exceed those goals and if you hit the KPIs.

Lexie knows it’s important to set goals first!

When you have goals in place, you can easily measure results to see where you’re succeeding and where you could do some work.

As Jim said, your marketing strategy will include metrics that will have been determined ahead of time.

Sarah knows that measuring conversions is a must!

If your content isn’t generating leads or revenue, it’s time to go back to the drawing board according to Jason.

Lex said your content should lead to goal completions, conversions, and revenue. If it’s not, you’ll need to revisit your strategy.

Q6: What are some opportunities you think B2B businesses should be taking advantage of in terms of marketing?

What should B2B businesses be doing when it comes to marketing? Here’s some advice from the chat:

B2B business should take advantage of video as well as live streaming. They’re both great ways to connect with your audience.

Vivek also agrees that live streaming is a great option, as well as influencer marketing and podcasting.

Jim also feels that video content is a must for B2B brands.

You can focus on content marketing, create blog posts, participate in Twitter chats, and join LinkedIn groups.

Beki encourages more brands to start guest posting. It’s a great way to expand your reach.

Don’t forget that engagement is always key. Take the time to talk to your audience.

Q7: Which tools do you rely on as a content marketer in the B2B space?

There are a plethora of tools out there that can help you out with your content marketing efforts. Check out these to make your job a little easier:

One of Anh’s favorite tools is Feedly. It’s great for keeping up with content from your favorite sites and discovering new information.

Erika’s go-to tool is Track Maven.

For Sarah, she relies a lot on Google AdWords, Google Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and WordPress.

SocialFlow is a favorite tool of Dianna.

Lauren loves Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, Google Analytics, and Content Marketing Institute.

Q8: Which B2B businesses really stand out in your mind? Tag them!

Who stands out in the B2B space? Check out these great examples:

MailChimp and HubSpot are just two of the brands that stand out to Anh.

Julia loves BuzzSumo, Content Marketing Institute, HubSpot, and CoSchedule.

For Carla, she thinks ConvertKit and Hootsuite (to name a few) do a great job.

Ready to join the #ContentWritingChat party? Join us on Twitter by following @ExpWriters and @writingchat. The chat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time!

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SEO audit

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Conduct an SEO Audit with Lexie Kimball of Netvantage Marketing

Have you ever conducted an SEO audit for your website? If not, you should! However, if you’ve never done one before, you might be wondering how to get started… If you’re in that boat, there’s no need to worry! That’s exactly what we talked about in this week’s #ContentWritingChat.

And as always, our participants had some amazing advice to share. If you’re ready to turn your website into one that Google loves, keep reading for the valuable tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Conduct an SEO Audit for Your Website with Lexie Kimball of Netvantage Marketing

Our guest host this week was Lexie Kimball of Netvantage Marketing. Lexie is their account manager and she really knows her stuff when it comes to SEO! As a frequent #ContentWritingChat participant, it was great having her step into a guest hosting role.

Q1: Share the basic process you go through for an on-site SEO audit.

If you’ve never conducted an SEO audit before, you’ll need to know where to begin. To help you out, our chat participants shared some essential steps the process includes. Here’s what you need to know:

Lexie’s first step in conducting an SEO audit is keyword research. As she mentioned, the chosen keyword for a piece of content goes in page titles, meta descriptions, and body copy. The team at Netvantage also does a technical audit of the website to locate any red flags.

Michael, also from the Netvantage team, knows that chatting with your client first is a must. It’s important to understand their business and needs. He then suggestions moving on to keyword research, on-site recommendations, and implementation of changes.

Mallie starts by Googling the site, using analytics to identify keywords, and then she looks at specific pages.

Sarah and the team at ThinkSEM start by running the site through Screaming Frog before moving forward with other key steps.

SEMrush is a go-to tool for Sarah! She takes the tool’s suggestions into consideration.

It’s also important to have an understanding of your goals/your client’s goals and who the target audience is. From there, you can create an effective plan.

For Julia, she feels talking to the client is the first step. This allows you to outline solid KPIs you’re judging content by when auditing. From there, she also likes to use Screaming Frog to grab all site links.

Q2: Where do you start with keyword research?

When it comes time to conduct keyword research, where do you begin? Check out this great advice from Tuesday’s chat:

To get started with keyword research, Lexie knows it’s important to talk to the client before beginning. Because the client has plenty of knowledge on their business, they’re able to provide some great suggestions for keywords. She also suggests looking at competitors to see which keywords they’re using and ranking for.

A consultation with the client is a must for Sarah! Sarah and her teammates use that opportunity to question the client on their ideal audience, products, and services.

Michael knows it’s helpful to ask the client to provide a list of keywords that are high priority. After all, they likely have a good idea of which ones are best for their business.

For Ray, it all starts with interviewing the client. Then, he moves onto tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner.

Dennis knows it’s important to define which keywords you want your site to rank for. You can then record your current ranking for each one and watch it grow.

Mallie relies on Google AdWords and Google Analytics to get started.

Abbey, another Netvantage team member, also agrees that asking your clients for keyword suggestions is a great way to begin. From there, she likes to look at queries in Google Search Console.

Adam’s advice is to review popular forms and sites where customers are spending their time online. It’s a great way to see what they’re talking about and to determine the right keywords and topics to use.

Cheval recommends checking out Twitter chats for content topics. This can help a lot when it comes to your keyword research.

Q3: What tools do you use for keyword research?

Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools at our disposal that can help with keyword research. If you’re looking for some great ones to use, check out these suggestions:

Lexie said the Netvantage team turns to Google’s Keyword Planner first. They also rely on SEMrush and Grep Words.

Michael said the multiplier function in Google’s Keyword Planner is a huge help for finding the right keyword for your content.

Even the Flying Cork team says Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to get started.

Sarah provided a list of amazing tools that are worth checking out! As she said, there’s no shortage of tools so you have plenty of options to find the ones that work best for you.

Google’s tools and the Moz Keyword Explorer are great options!

The team at Base Creative also love Google’s Keyword Planner and the Moz Keyword Explorer.

SEO PowerSuit and Google’s Keyword Planner are go-to tools for Kyle.

Julia’s favorite tools for conducting an SEO audit include SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Mangools.

Don’t forget you’ll need a place to keep all of your data organized! An Excel spreadsheet is a great way to do that.

Q4: Once you have your keywords, how do you decide where they go and where they’re used?

You’ve got your keywords… Now what? You need to figure out how they’ll be used. Here’s some helpful advice to get you started:

Lexie said they typically select two or three keywords per page. As she also pointed out, they need to go on the most relevant page.

Those keywords are then used in a few essential places. Keywords should be used in the page title, meta description, and throughout the body copy.

Sarah said the client conversation is an opportunity to lay out a sitemap of pages and sections. You can then get chosen keywords to fit into that structure.

Julia’s advice is to focus on one long-tail, high-opportunity keyword per long-form post. She suggests using synonymous keywords.

Kyle knows that long-tail keywords are where it’s at! He makes sure they’re integrated into titles and content of blog posts.

Dennis suggests finding long-tail variants of your keyword and then writing authoritative and comprehensive blog posts on the topic.

As Abbey said, make sure keywords are placed on the most relevant pages. And of course, no keyword stuffing! Keywords should always be used in a natural way.

Q5: Do you create the content the keywords go in on the website?

Are you the one who creates the content that includes your chosen keywords? Or does someone else have this task? Check out what some of our chat participants said:

Lexie said the team at Netvantage will work off existing content if possible.

On the flip side, sometimes they add a paragraph or two to what’s already on the site. This helps increase content length. In some cases, they’ll recommend new pages for the website when doing the SEO audit. The Netvantage team will then create the content for those pages.

Here are Express Writers, Julia writes a lot of the keyword-focused content on our site. We also have a team of 40 writers that help out!

For Sarah, she isn’t the one doing the content writing. There are other team members at ThinkSEM that step into that role.

As for this Sarah, she’s definitely creating the content!

The Sandbox team creates new content, but they also rework the existing content for maximum results.

Jade also writes the keyword-focused content, as working directly with the clients is very important.

When doing an SEO audit, sometimes you’re lucky to create the content and other times you have to optimize what’s already been published. It just depends on the client!

Q6: What technical aspects do you look at for a website when doing an audit?

Don’t forget that it’s not just about the website’s content. There’s a technical side of things to check on as well. Here’s what else you need to look for:

As Lexie said, Google definitely puts an emphasis on speed these days. The Netvantage team uses Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom for this.

She also said they use Google Analytics as another tool. This allows you to check Average Page Load Time and Average Page Download Time.

You can’t forget to also check for canonical errors when conducting an SEO audit.

Abbey seconds that by encouraged you to check for canonical errors on a website, as well as site speed. Make sure you’re also looking at whether or not it’s mobile-friendly and if there’s duplicate content.

As Michael said, you’ll want to check for sitemap errors and others. They’ll need to be fixed!

Dennis knows that page speed and mobile-friendliness are two important factors to consider these days.

Jade relies on Google’s Speed Page Insights to test page speed. Google also has a test to check and see if your site is mobile-friendly.

Debi knows there’s no shortage of technical aspects to look at. She provided a great list of things to review.

Q7: What metrics do you look at to evaluate a website?

Which metrics are important to keep an eye on when evaluating a website? These are some of the top ones to watch:

The Netvantage tame uses Majestic to with a few key metrics during an SEO audit. They look at the number of linking domains to the root domain, as well as citation flow and trust flow of the homepage of the website.

Moz Open Site Explorer allows you to check domain authority and homepage authority.

As Lexie said, looking at domain authority helps determine if the site has bad links that need to be disavowed.

Michael suggests looking at URLs submitted vs URLs indexed.

Dennis recommends tracking metrics from organic search.

Julia shared the seven KPIs she always focuses on. Check it out!

Q8: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest SEO changes?

When changes occur, how do you stay updated? These are great resources to check out:

Lexie’s go-to sources are worth checking out.

These are some more great suggestions from the Netvantage team.

Ray follows some SEO blogs, but he also watches expert YouTube channels to stay updated.

Cheval turns to SEMrush for their blog content, but he also learns a lot from Twitter chats.

As Jade said, you just might learn a think or two from joining #ContentWritingChat!

Natasha suggests a wide array of ideas such as blogs, forums, social media, seminars, and more.

Ready to join the fun? #ContentWritingChat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to join in!

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email content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Email Content That Stands Out with Shayla Price

Are you wondering how to create email content that your subscribers will enjoy and that you’ll love to create? If so, you’re in the right place! Our latest #ContentWritingChat was jam-packed with amazing advice you can use to take your email marketing strategy to the next level.

Ready to dive in? Keep reading for our recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: From Subject Lines to Preheaders: How to Create Email Content That Stands Out with Shayla Price

Our guest host this week was Shayla Price. Shayla is a B2B content and email marketer, so she knows a thing or two about creating amazing online content. She shared some great advice throughout our chat, so you’ll want to take some notes!

Q1: Why should brand put time and effort into building an email marketing strategy?

Are you wondering if email marketing is really going to be worth the extra work? We say yes! But if you need a little extra convincing, here are some responses from our chat:

Shayla knows that email marketing can help brands build relationships with their customers, while also growing their business in the process. It also produces some pretty great ROI!

As Bill mentioned, you can deliver value directly to the inbox of your audience through the power of email. It’s a great way to build an audience and establish trust over time.

If you want to send content that’s catered to your audience, email is the place to do it.

Julia also knows the value email marketing can provide because of its high ROI. Check out the link she shared from Entrepreneur!

Cheval made a great point about how your email list is your own real estate. When you build a following on social media, you’re doing so on rented land. Those platforms could disappear one day, but you’ll always have your email list.

Q2: How can your subject line increase open rates? Any tips you can share?

When you create email content, it’s pretty obvious that your subject line is very important. After all, it can make or break whether or not someone opens your email or sends it straight to the trash. Here’s some advice you can use to boost your open rate with your next campaign:

As Shayla said, your subject line is your one and only chance to catch the attention of your subscribers. Don’t blow it!

Her advice is to keep your subject lines short, unique, and non-spammy. You can also see results by using numbers, a deadline, asking a question, and keeping it personal. These are all great strategies to test out.

If you want subscribers to open your emails, you have to hook them.

Use your subject line as a way to inform people what’s inside your emails. Elizabeth said to make it both interesting and informative.

For Jason, a great subject line needs to spark curiosity. He also feels it should be short and relevant to the content inside the email.

Haley can’t resist a subject line with an emoji. Try adding them to your next email campaign!

Megan admits that she can’t resist intrigue and she knows others can’t either. Keep that in mind when writing email content.

As Kyle said, offers provide an incentive to open up your emails. Sales and discounts are definitely a good push.

Remember that your subject line is your first impression. Take advantage of that and leave people wanting to open your emails.

Q3: What kind of content is inside your emails? How do you ensure you’re providing value?

Once you have an email list in place, you need to figure out what you’re going to send your subscribers. Sometimes that’s a more stressful task than you might realize! Check out this advice to make sure you always provide value:

Shayla said email content needs to match the interests of your subscribers. You should always keep them in mind when writing your campaigns so you can be sure you’re delivering what they want to see. If you aren’t sure what they want, take time to do the research. Analytics will provide plenty of information.

Exclusive content in your email campaigns give people something to look forward to. If it’s something they can’t get anywhere else, they’ll be more likely to check it out.

Emails that are timely, thoughtful, and engaging can definitely provide value to your audience.

When you give your audience something they can take away, they’re sure to appreciate it. Adding value is always key with any kind of content you produce.

Make sure you remember to add a CTA as well. This tells people what they next step is after they’ve finished reading your email.

Q4: How can you design an email that looks great, but is still easy to read across devices?

With people accessing emails on their desktops, as well as their smartphones, it’s important to make sure they’re easy to read everywhere. How can you do this when you create email content? Keep these tips in mind:

Shayla encourages you to stick to a design that reflects your brand. Use specific colors, images, fonts, and layouts. When you can create a look and stick with it, it become recognizable as being unique to you.

Don’t go overboard with links, otherwise you risk having your emails wind up in the spam folder. Julia’s advice is to keep it short and sweet.

To make your email content easy to consume, use short paragraphs and simple dividers. A gigantic block of text will only put readers off.

The Netvantage team uses a layout template in MailChimp, which Lexie says they customize with their brand colors and logo.

Don’t forget to test your emails before you send them out. It’s worth doing a final check before it gets delivered to tons of inboxes.

Q5: What’s your best advice for keeping email list subscribers engaged?

When you’ve got people on your list, you want them to stay put. To do that, you need to keep them interested and engaged. Here’s some advice that will help you do just that:

Shayla’s advice is to ask questions and encourage your subscribers to reply. This is a great way to get the conversation going. She also said segmentation is great, as this allows you to really tailor your content to specific people on your list.

Don’t disappear on your email list. Keep your list “warm” by sending content on a regular basis so they don’t forget about you.

Don’t go too crazy with sending emails though! Jason said you should only send emails out when you have quality, relevant content to share.

When you have value to add, send it their way!

It’s all about providing value to your subscribers if you want to give them a reason to stay on your list.

Sarah said you should have an idea of what your subscribers would like to see from you. This will allow you to deliver exactly what they need.

Don’t be afraid to ask what your subscribers want and be sure to listen when they respond.

Haley suggests sending a survey to your email list. You can ask them what they’re interested in to create targeted content.

Don’t be afraid to change it up though! Brian’s advice is to surprise your audience once in a while. You have to keep things fresh.

Q6: Which metrics do you track to measure the success of your email campaigns?

After you create email content and send it out to your subscribers, you want to measure its success to see how it performed. Here are some go-to metrics you should keep an eye on:

Shayla knows that the metrics you pay the most attention to will depend on the current goals of your email marketing efforts. Typically, she tracks click-through rates, open-to-sale conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.

Clicks are always great to measure, especially if your goal is to send people from your email to somewhere else (like your website).

Julia tracks clicks, but she also likes to see replies. When people are interested enough to send you a kind response, that’s always a great feeling.

Conversions are essential to measure, especially if you’re going through a launch phase for a product or service that your business is offering.

Repeat opens are another great metric to track. Shelly also said you should keep an eye on click-through rate.

As Alan said, it all depends on what your overall goal is. Make sure you set that in beginning before you start creating content. He knows that click-through rate can be a good indicator of how effective your content was as well.

Q7: What is your go-to platform for email marketing? Why do you like it more than others?

With so many email marketing platforms available, it can be hard to choose the right one. We asked our chat participants to share their favorites with you. Here’s what they said:

MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are two recommendations from Shayla.

Here at Express Writers, ConvertKit is currently our go-to!

ConvertKit is easy to use and their tagging systems makes it so easy to segment your subscribers based on interests.

Max is a big fan of MailChimp!

We have another MailChimp fan!

MailChimp is great for those just starting out and their integrations are definitely helpful.

Chelsea needs a more robust system to handle her email marketing, so she relies on Infusionsoft.

Q8: Which brands are doing an amazing job with their email content? Tag them!

There are plenty of brands who are creating great email content, which means there’s lots to learn from them. Which ones are standing out from the crowd? Check out these suggestions:

One of Shayla’s favorites is Contently.

Cheval loves to read email content from Rebekah Radice and Diane Gottsman.

The Skimm is certainly great source for news every week day.

Lexie enjoys checking out Canva’s email newsletters.

Shelly said Vidyard does a great job with the email content they create.

Jason’s favorites include Content Marketing Institute and Convince & Convert.

For Sabjan, he looks forward to emails from HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, SEMrush, Search Engine Land, and Buffer.

Ready to join the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to join in.

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social media engagement

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Social Media Engagement Strategies

This week, we had another community chat hour during #ContentWritingChat! We previously had our participants vote on topics they wanted to see for future chats and many voted for a chat on social media engagement strategies. It’s always a hot topic and we knew everyone would have some amazing advice to share!

If you’ve been wanting to step up your social media engagement, get ready to take some notes and keep reading for our recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Social Media Engagement Strategies

Using social media as a way to engage your audience is crucial when you’re building a presence online. It’s a powerful tool to build relationships and establish trust. But if you’re struggling to make those connections, we’re here to help! The tips in this recap will help you boost your engagement on every platform you use.

Q1: What does social media engagement look like to you?

What are you tracking when it comes to social media engagement? There are a few things that are important to measure in order to see results. Here’s what our participants look out for:

Julia doesn’t measure success on social media in terms of vanity metrics. She focuses on real conversations and clicks on the content she shares.

Conversations are key to measure when on social media! Pay attention to your comments and take the time to engage with others.

It’s all about the replies! There’s no denying that it’s a good feeling when people respond to the content you share online. Make sure you give them the courtesy of replying and getting the conversation started.

As Erika said, it’s all about being engaged WITH your community, instead of broadcasting AT them. Conversation is a two-way street, friends!

Lexie agrees that it’s about talking with the people in your audience.

Bill knows that you can’t self-promote all the time. You need to put effort into engaging with others through real-time conversations.

Not only is engagement about interacting with customers, it’s also about showing them you care.

Meaningful conversations are what really matters when it comes to social media engagement.

Take the time to interact with your audience. Ask questions. Reply to them. Make sure you’re adding value with everything you do.

Q2: Why is it important to measure social media ROI?

Are you tracking your results on social media to see how your content is actually performing? If not, you should be! Here’s why it’s important:

When you track your ROI, it tells you what’s working and what’s resonating with your audience. As Lexie said, this is important when crafting your overall social media strategy.

Track metrics to know that your time and money is being well spent! You need to track in order to do more of what’s working for you.

When you’re part of a larger team, you’ll often have to give proof that your efforts are working to those who are higher up. Track ROI and record the results in a way that’s easy to read.

When you keep an eye on metrics, you’ll be able to see if the social media campaigns you created are effective.

Javier knows you want to measure the productiveness of your time, efforts, and money when it comes to social media.

Q3: What are the right KPIs to track social media engagement?

Now that you know the importance of tracking your efforts on social media, which metrics should you be paying attention to? This is what you need to know:

Simply Measured shared a great graphic to help answer this question!

Tracking your social media mentions is very beneficial because it provides plenty of feedback.

Max likes using Facebook’s analytics to see what’s not working well for him and what is. This will help you create more content that resonates with your audience so you can see better results in the future.

Lexie knows that what you measure will also depend on the content you’re sharing. Your goal can differ, so know what you’re hoping to achieve.

Q4: What types of content track the most engagement in your experience?

So, what kind of content reigns supreme when it comes to encouraging social media engagement? That’s going to depend on your brand and your audience! However, here are some suggestions straight from our chat:

Creative, multimedia, relevant and of value, concise, emotional, and consistent are the essentials according to Gaby.

Julia has seen great results from visuals we’ve shared, especially infographics. She even notices collaborative content that features others has gotten plenty of engagement.

It’s all about creating great copy and eye-catching visuals if you want your post to stand out in a busy social media feed.

Polls and questions are another great way to spark engagement with your audience.

Visual content is a must on social media! Andrea also feels humor is a nice ice breaker.

Make sure your content solves problems your audience is facing to provide tremendous value. Martin also said content that engages asks questions. It’s a great way to get people talking.

Address the needs and problems your audience is struggling with by getting to know their needs.

Q5: Quality visuals can increase engagement on social. How can you create strong visuals that resonate?

Now that we know the importance of visuals on social media, we need to learn how to create ones that stand out. Check out this advice from the chat:

Visuals should supplement the message you’re sharing, as Jason said. Make sure visuals and copy work together, otherwise it just won’t make sense.

Zala said to know the platform you’re using. You want to make sure you target your image to the platform you’ll be sharing it on.

Gaby certainly has a winning formula for creating great visuals!

Erika suggests using Canva, whether you’re creating graphics with your own images or stock photos.

Lexie is also a fan of Canva because it makes designing easy for those who aren’t artistic.

Ken feels the same about Canva! He collects the imagery for this content and uses Canva to find the perfect layout.

Another great tool to try out is Adobe Spark.

Q6: How do you manage engagement across multiple social media platforms?

Considering most of us are using numerous social media platforms in our daily lives, it can be a lot of work to manage them all. How can you get the job done with minimal stress? Take a look at this advice to help make your social media tasks a little easier:

Make sure you focus on the platforms your audience is using. You don’t have to spread yourself too thin or get overwhelmed by trying to be everywhere.

As Logan said, the best platforms are the ones your target audience is actively using. Make sure you are where they are so they’ll see your content.

Sarah and the team at ThinkSEM rely on Hootsuite, Buffer, TweetDeck, and Google Analytics.

For Erika, Hootsuite and SproutSocial are her go-to tools!

Buffer is another great option for scheduling content and measuring analytics.

Here at Express Writers, we rely on MeetEdgar to keep our social media queues filled with great content.

Q7: Where are brands going wrong on social media in terms of engagement?

Unfortunately, a lot of brands are still getting it wrong when it comes to social media engagement. Make sure you avoid making the same mistakes by reading this advice:

Don’t try to be everywhere. Focus on where your audience is and invest the time and effort into those platforms.

Ignoring your customers and messages you receive is a huge mistake. Use social media to communicate and get to know them.

Jason feels brands need to share content that actually drives conversations and feedback. If you’re not, you’re missing out on value information! He also said to reply back when you receive responses to get the conversation going.

If you aren’t interacting with your community, you’re doing it wrong!

Ken knows that self-promotion is fine, but you can’t forget about engagement. Engagement should be something you do on a regular basis to build relationships with your audience.

Be human and show genuine interest! Listen to what people are saying, ask questions, and take the time to respond. Gaby knows that being social is a must on social media, after all!

Q8: What are your favorite resources for learning about social media?

In order to step-up your social media engagement, you should stay updated on what’s going on in the field. There are plenty of resources you can turn to for this! Here are some great ideas:

As Ken said, Twitter chats are a great place to learn more about social media engagement strategies, as well as many other topics.

Julia relies on Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, and Content Marketing Institute.

Lexie is also a fan of Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner.

We have another fan of these two websites, so they’re worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Tech Crunch, VentureBeat, and Pinterest are go-to resources for Carla.

Sarah knows being present on social media is really the best way to learn about social media. Be active on the platforms you use and don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things to see what works for you.

Join us for #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest!

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communication tips

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Communication Tips for the Content Creation Process with Kristen Lo

If you work with clients as part of your job, you probably know how important communication is. You have to get to know your clients, understand their needs, and will need to keep in touch with them throughout the process. It can sometimes be a little overwhelming! If you’re looking for some communication tips to make your relationships with clients go smoothly, there was some great advice shared in this week’s #ContentWritingChat.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Communication Tips for the Content Creation Process with Kristen Lo

Our guest host this week was Kristen Lo, the Community Manager for HeyOrca. Kristen is a regular participant at #ContentWritingChat and it was great having her step into the guest hosting role. She also had some amazing communication tips we can all use when working with our clients. Keep reading to find out what they are!

Q1: What are the top qualities of an effective communication process with clients?

When working with clients is a huge part of your business, it’s essential that you make sure the communication process is effective. To help you out, here’s what some of our chat participants feel are a must:

As Kristen said, it’s important to keep your clients satisfied and content. That should always be one of your top priorities when you run or work in a service-based business.

Sarah feels it’s important to set expectations with your clients. She also recommends responding in a timely manner with clear communication. Being polite and proper is always a must!

Shelly said effective client communication is responsive, proactive, clear, collaborative, and provides context. That’s a great answer!

Zala recommends having a strategy in place. You want to plan and have clear steps for your communication process, as well as a division of responsibilities.

Dan said you need to find the most efficient communication channel for connecting with clients. You want to use something that suits both of your needs.

Javier also knows it’s important to have an easy channel of communication. Determine early on if you’ll communicate via telephone, email, or something else.

One of the best communication tips to implement is to have a schedule. Make it clear when you’ll be in touch with your clients. Dan said conversations should be open and honest on both sides as well.

When you set clear expectations from the very beginning, you’re going to get a project started off on the right foot. You also want to make sure you’re always on time for meetings. When you value a client’s time, they’ll value yours.

Lexie knows the importance of open and honest communication. At Netvantage, they’re always upfront with clients early on.

Q2: How can you best establish how many touch points you should have with your clients throughout the creation process?

It’s important to make expectations clear from the very start of a brand new client project. So, how can you establish how many touch points you’ll actually have with each client? Here’s some helpful advice:

Kristen said you need to be consistent when it comes to the updates you have with your clients. Consistency helps a project go smoothly and keeps clients at ease.

A solid, clear workflow is a must! Julia shared our own process for the team here at Express Writers. Check out the link she included to learn more about what it’s like when you hire us!

Sarah recommends setting expectations. When will you be in touch with a client? Make sure you follow through on the plans you make.

Javier encourages you to establish a flexible schedule in the beginning and make it more concrete as you reach milestones throughout the project.

Q3: How can you get your clients excited for your content and keep them happy throughout the process?

When you work with clients, it’s important that you keep them happy throughout the process. To ensure their excitement remains high, keep these tips in mind:

Kristen knows that talking about potential results is one way to get clients excited. Let them know what you can really do for them! It also helps to share updates along the way so they see you’re making progress. It keeps them involved throughout.

Julia suggests sharing examples of finished pieces. It gives clients a look into what you can really do for them. They’re sure to see the value of your work and what you’re capable of.

Be transparent when communicating ideas. This helps to build a collaborative environment, which ensures you both stay excited during a project.

Make sure you’re also checking in with clients regularly. As Danielle said, you don’t want to leave them hanging and searching for updates.

Dan agrees that it’s important to keep clients updated. Share the progress you’re making so they can be involved.

Remember, if you want clients to be happy and excited about a project, you should feel that way too. Clients will pick up on your vibes so make sure you’re truly invested!

Lexie’s advice is to be confident about the content you’re working on. Your confidence is contagious!

Q4: What do you do with clients that want no part in content creation? How can you deliver a product that meets their needs?

What happens when your client doesn’t want to get involved in the content creation process? How do you manage it and still deliver a stellar product in the end? Here’s some advice:

Kristen suggests having a rigorous first call, plus data to back up any decisions you make. You always need to know what your client’s needs are.

Make sure you ask plenty of questions at the beginning of the project. You want to learn as much as possible about the client you’re working with. Sarah said to also research their website for more information.

An honest conversation with a client is the best way to get started. Find out what they want and what their goals are.

As Lex said, you should always cherish and appreciate your clients. She suggests having a thorough first meeting, research, and then A/B test.


Lexie recommends researching your client’s competitors. You can learn a lot about their field and come up with content ideas their audience would be interested in.

Shelly’s advice is to make out everything for your project. You can then send it over to the client for approval, then you’ll be able to get started.

Q5: What are your go-to tools for keeping in touch with your clients?

Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools out there that can make communicating with clients even easier. Check out some of these for your next client chat:

A simple phone call goes a long way when it comes to communicating with clients.

Zala knows that sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. She relies on Google Docs, Trello, Evernote, and Slack.

For Lex, her go-to tool is Teamwork.

Over at ThinkSEM, they’re fans of keeping it simple too. They rely a lot on email and telephone calls.

Debi’s favorite tools include Basecamp and Skype. She also relies on regular phone calls too.

Email is certainly a must, but if you can, meeting a client in person is always a great idea.

One great tip to walk away with is that you don’t want to let clients see you sending emails late at night. They’ll start thinking you’re available that late and begin reaching out, thus expecting a fast response. Instead, use a tool like Boomerang to schedule your emails to go out in the morning.

Q6: How do you set communication boundaries in terms of how and when you communicate?

One of our top communication tips is to set boundaries with your clients. You need to have a clear expectation of how often you’ll check-in with clients and how you’ll conduct these chats. Here’s some advice to help you set boundaries:

Kristen knows that you are in the charge of your own boundaries. You need to set boundaries from the beginning and stick to them in order to honor your time.

Carla always sets expectations from the very first meeting with her clients.

Lexie recommends determining the communication schedule from the very start. If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to ask and make sure your clients feel the same.

Natasha feels everything should be stated in writing, including your expectations when it comes to communication.

It helps to start your communication boundaries in your contract. This lets clients know what to expect from the get-go.

It’s also wise to let clients know how soon they can expect to receive a response from you. Make sure it’s in a timely manner, but give a time frame so they know your availability.

Consistency is always key when it comes to working with your clients!

As Julia mentioned, our team here uses Nextiva to route calls. This prevents the phone from ringing outside business hours. Clients are then able to leave a message instead. She knows that it’s important to protect your time off, so our team doesn’t work outside business hours.

Give people office hours so they know when you’re going to be available to them.

Shannon prefers monthly face-to-face meetings when making major decisions with clients. She relies on weekly calls for updates and check-ins and email for approvals.

Q7: What’s your strategy for stellar communication with clients who may be on the other side of the world?

Sometimes we land clients who are on the other side of the world, thus making communication difficult due to timezone differences. How do you manage this without losing your cool? Check out this advice from the chat:

When working with clients around the world, set incremental touch points. Let them know when they can expect to hear from you and how often.

Make sure you dedicate time specifically for that client so you can meet their needs despite timezone differences.

Sarah’s advice is to set up a schedule with the client’s preferred mode of communication during your first meeting. Compromise will be necessary to make this partnership work.

Sometimes you’re going to have to change your schedule to accommodate overseas clients. It shows you value their time and business, which they’ll appreciate.

After all, if you don’t accommodate this client, someone else will. You certainly don’t want to lose great business!

Let your client know that delays in communication will probably happen. Inform them that at least 24 hours for a response will probably be typical.

Q8: What tips in today’s chat will you incorporate into your client-communication game plan?

So, which tips from today’s chat were most valuable to you? Here’s what some of our chat participants said they’ll be implementing:

Clients love open communication!

Have a schedule, consistency, and easy-to-use platforms. These are great communication tips!

Don’t forget to work on your listening skills! This is something Jade will certainly be working on after this week’s chat.

Communicate expectations early on with your clients.

Cheval will be making adjustments in how he works with overseas clients.

As Shannon said, it’s not all about you. It’s about the client and their needs.

Join the next #ContentWritingChat! It takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest!

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content marketing trends

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Trends for 2017 with Dennis Shiao

Are you up-to-date on all the latest content marketing trends? In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we shared all the hottest tips and trends you need to know for a successful content marketing strategy.

Does that sound like just what your brand needs right now? Keep reading for the recap of our latest chat! It’s filled with some amazing advice that you’ll want to implement ASAP!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Trends for 2017 with Dennis Shiao

Our guest host this week was Dennis Shiao. Dennis handles content marketing at DNN Software. He shared some great tips with us throughout the chat, which you won’t want to miss! Let’s dive into the recap for everything you need to know on content marketing trends for 2017.

Q1: Why is it important to keep an eye on content marketing trends? How can it impact us as creators?

Not feeling convinced that you should be keeping up with the latest when it comes to content marketing trends? These tweets will show you why it’s important for all content creators:

Keeping an eye on the trends will help you plan your strategy. As Dennis mentioned, sometimes you ride the trend and sometimes you go the other way. When you understand the current content marketing trends, it can even give you ideas on how to start a new one.

His general advice is not to follow just just follow them. Dennis feels there’s value in being different, so make sure you embrace that.

Julia knows that knowing the latest trends is essential for content creators. You want to stay updated on the platforms, tools, and SEO to better serve your clients.

Content marketing is something that is constantly evolving and you need to keep up to appeal to your audience.

Being aware of trends also helps keep your content fresh and relevant.

As Lexie said, knowing the trends shows your clients that you stay on top of all the latest information. It’s going to help them see that you really know your stuff!

Maureen brought up a great point about testing. When you monitor and try out new trends, you can test to see how it works for you. You’ll know what’s the right fit for your brand and your audience.

As Ray said, part of reflecting and planning your future growth is looking at the past and present when it comes to content marketing. It’s important to reflect to see where things have been, where they’re going, and how you can adapt.

Q2: What have been the top content marketing trends to implement into your strategy so far this year?

Have there been any game-changing trends you implemented into your strategy this year? Our chat participants shared a few that were essential for them to incorporate:

For Dennis, he knows that high-quality content is a clear winner. He’s been focusing on publishing less, but striving to produce even better content.

The team at Netvantage is doing the same. Quality always beats quantity when it comes to the content you’re producing.

When you’re creating content, you also need to deliver what your audience wants. Bill is committed to focusing on his existing customers and learning what they need, instead of guessing on what he should be creating.

Kristen knows that recycling content is a big trend that is really paying off these days. It helps you make the most of what you’ve published in the past. She also said testing new content formats, such as podcasts, is also beneficial.

Even Dennis knows podcasting is a trend that’s still on the rise! Although he hasn’t started one of his own yet, he does listen to a lot.

For Shelly, it’s all about making sure the content she produces leads back to her bigger business objectives.

People are certainly getting more visual with their content this year, which is something that won’t be going away any time soon. Whether it’s graphics or video content, people are loving great visuals.

Interactive content is certainly a great way to engage your audience and get them to take action.

Q3: Many marketers have stepped up content production. What are your tips for managing the content planning and creation process?

With more people taking their content seriously, it can sometimes get tricky managing the content planning and creation process. If you need some help in this area, check out this advice:

Dennis knows the importance of having clear processes and software to help teams, both big and small. He also mentioned how crucial it is to have a great plan in place. It’s definitely going to help you stay on track in the long run.

Julia also recognizes the importance of great team members, as she’s managing a remote team that’s all across the world. When you have an amazing team behind you, you can really see major growth when it comes to your content.

Maureen suggests having a calendar coordinator or a content manager to help bring everything together. Having someone dedicated to this role will help everyone stay on track and meet deadlines.

However, you aren’t doomed if you don’t have a team behind you. As Brittany mentioned, there are plenty of experts out there that can provide information that’ll help you out.

Kristen encourages you to map your content back to your goals. She suggests planning quarterly goals and/or themes to guide your content.

And editorial calendar is certainly helpful when it comes to the planning process. You need to determine how often you want to publish and what topics you’ll be focusing on.

Megan is also a big fan of having an editorial calendar in place.

As Lori mentioned, it’s great to have a plan, but you also need to be flexible. Be open to making last minute changes to create content for the topics that are relevant in the moment.

Natasha outlined some key steps that are essential to success! It all goes back to listening to your audience and understanding their needs.

For Bryn, repurposing content is a must. It’s going to help you make the most of the older content you’ve already published. All you have to do is find ways to make it fresh again. She teams up with other departments to make this happen.

Q4: What should a content marketer do when they just aren’t seeing the results they hoped for?

If you aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, it’s important that you don’t just give up and quit. You need to figure out how to fix the situation. Here’s some great advice for you:

First, Dennis said you need to resist the urge to give up. As he pointed out, content marketing is a long-term endeavor. You have to hang in there and keep moving forward, despite any failures you may encounter. He suggests taking some time to reflect because you’ll return feeling refreshed and with new ideas.

Dennis also said to consider your distribution efforts. Could that be where you’re going wrong? You can’t just expect people to find your content. You have to be proactive about spreading the word. He also recommends talking to your readers, customers, and industry experts to receive feedback on the work you’ve done.

Lexie also agrees that seeking feedback is a good idea. It’s going to help you deliver the content your audience truly wants.

Varun’s advice is to stop, analyze, and restart. You can take inspiration from your niche and other industries, plus take feedback from your audience into consideration.

Lex said you need to ask yourself if you’re monitoring the right goals with the best metrics. You also need to know why those are your goals so you know that you’re working towards.

It’s also a smart idea to look at what IS working for you so you can focus on those platforms/formats/etc.

Going back to the advice Dennis shared, Danielle also recommends focusing on distribution. Find new ways to spread the word about your content so more people will check it out.

For Kristen, she’s found sharing her content via email has always been effective.

No matter what, you have to keep plugging away. You’ll see results in time if you don’t give up.

And finally, don’ forget to be patient!

Q5: How have you seen content marketing change in the past few years?

Wondering how the content marketing world has changed in recent times? Take a look at these responses from the chat:

As Dennis pointed out, there’s all kinds of content floating around these days. It’s not just about blogging because others are turning to live video, podcasting, and so many other formats.

The expectations of your readers have also never been higher. You have to make sure you’re delivering something that’s worth their time.

There’s no denying that we have to work harder to get our content noticed these days.

To stand out, Debi suggests focusing on expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in the content you publish.

Video continues to grow in popularity as the years go on. It’s something that won’t be going anywhere, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.

Max also agrees that video has taken off in recent years, especially on social media. You want to have a winning strategy for creating and promoting the video content you produce.

Content creators are expected to do so much these days. They have to be skilled not just with writing, but also with SEO, marketing, social media, and video among other things.

For Ray, he’s seen more small businesses take content marketing seriously. He says it’s made it easier to educate them on it.

Q6: Where do you see content marketing going in the next year or two?

Do you have any predictions on the future of content marketing? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Dennis sees content moving to non-traditional platforms, such as smart watches. As he mentioned, your content needs to appear when and where your audience needs it.

Kristen predicts advanced personalization that provides a customer-centric approach will be the future of content marketing trends.

Bill predicts that people are going to focus more on their owned channels and use others to drive traffic back to their home base.

Lexie definitely sees video continuing to skyrocket. She thinks live videos that include customers or brand advocates will be the big thing.

As for Jeff, he predicts artificial intelligence will be used to deliver the right content to the exact target audience.

Virtual reality could also play a huge role in content marketing, as more companies are adopting it.

Julia sees even more brands appreciated the growth that content marketing can bring.

Q7: What are your favorite tools for managing your content marketing strategy?

Are you looking for some good tools to manage your content marketing strategy? Check these out:

Dennis relies on Google Analytics and Excel to manage his content marketing strategy. He also likes to get on the phone and chat with customers. It’s a great way to learn more about them.

Evernote is a fantastic tool for storing content ideas and keeping them organized.

Like me, Brittany is also an Evernote fan. She also likes to use Excel for creating an editorial calendar.

Julia relies on SEMrush for ranking and SEO tracking, Mangools for keyword discovery, and BuzzSumo for finding hot topics.

From Google Docs to Evernote and others, Ray has a plethora of tools he likes to use for content marketing. They’re all worth checking out!

BuzzSumo is a go-to for Shelly.

Keiana likes to use Google Analytics and Hootsuite.

For email marketing, Max sticks to MailChimp for sending content to his subscribers. He also likes that their analytics are easy to understand.

Jeff’s list of tools includes: Google Analytics, Moz, Asana, and Curata.

Q8: Do you have any top resources for learning the latest in content marketing trends?

If you want to learn more about the hottest content marketing trends, where should you go? Check out these amazing resources:

Dennis likes to read posts from Content Marketing Institute, Contently, and Orbiteers. He even mentioned Express Writers!

Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, and the Jeff Bullas blog are all great sources.

Lexie is spot-on with this answer! We can learn so much from the Twitter chats we join.

For Jeff, he’s learned a lot from our own #ContentWritingChat and Content Marketing Institute’s #CMWorld.

As Zachary said, it’s not just about sharing your answers. You can also take in the responses people share and learn from them.

Cristy likes to use Digg to find new blogs and publications to check out.

Another great way to find new resources is to search Feedly or podcasts for information on content marketing.

Ready to join the fun? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat on Twitter and join #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday at 10 AM Central!

site presence & seo

#ContentWritingChat Recap: “Back to School” with Your Site Presence & SEO: 101 Refresher

This time of year, a lot of people are heading back to school. They’re stocking up on supplies, getting textbooks, and preparing for another semester of classes. However, even if you’re not heading back to school, it doesn’t mean you can’t do a little learning!

For this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we decided to go “back to school” by talking about the basics of building your site presence and mastering SEO. This was another one of our community chats, where our participants are the stars of the show. And they certainly had some great advice to share!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: “Back to School” with Your Site Presence & SEO: 101 Refresher

If you’re ready for a refresher course on site presence and SEO, you’re in the right place! Grab a pen and paper to take some notes and let’s dive right in!

Q1: Explain the importance of SEO and how it integrates into your online marketing.

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they feel SEO is important. What did they have to say about it? Here are a few responses from the chat:

As Jason said, SEO helps people find and see you online. The keywords you target in your content are just one of the ways you can boost your visibility in search rankings.

Lexie mentioned that SEO is a huge part of everything they do over at Netvantage Marketing. They conduct keyword research before creating anything. Then, that keyword is used in the page title, body copy, etc.

When done right, SEO helps your brand become searchable and more visible on search engines. This is why you want to conduct keyword research and choose the right keywords for each piece of content you publish.

As Elizabeth pointed out, Google can’t send people to your site if they don’t know you exist.

Brittany made a great point! You can’t build something and expect it to be successful. You can’t just publish a piece of content and expect people to find it. You have to put in the effort to optimize your content for search engines like Google.

Q2: What are the basic SEO steps every blogger needs to take when publishing new content?

To get started with SEO, we need to have the basics covered. So, which steps should you always keep in mind when you’re publishing a new piece of content? Here’s some advice:

As Julia said, it starts with knowing your audience. Without knowing your audience and understanding their needs, you can’t create content they’re interested in. You’ll want to follow that up with keyword research to choose the right long-tail keywords for your content.

Lexie also knows that keyword research is an essential beginning. The keyword you choose for a piece of content will be used in the page title, meta description, and throughout the body copy. However, as she pointed out, you should always incorporate the keyword in a way that’s natural.

Choosing the right keywords goes back to paying attention to your audience. Your content should address their pain points and the questions they’re asking.

Brittany said you want to go for the keywords people are searching for. The right keywords are going to help you rank higher in search results.

Tony shared a helpful infographic with some tips that are important to keep in mind!

Q3: How can you make sure you’re speaking to the right audience in your search optimized content?

Another priority is to make sure you’re reaching the right audience with the content you’re publishing on your website. After all, you don’t want to risk attracting all the wrong people to your site. Here’s how to make sure you reach the right people:

Audience and keyword research is essential here. As Jason said, you need to know who you want to reach and then research the terms and phrases they’re searching. This will help you write the content that targets your ideal audience.

Having a reader persona is essential. You want to know who you’re trying to reach and create content that answers their questions and addresses pain points.

As Julia mentioned, Google looks at content like a human does. You’ll want to write with your human reader in mind if you want to succeed.

Lexie said you should communicate with your audience, not at them.

Jeff is a fan of actually talking to his audience. You can strike up a conversation with your ideal readers to really get to know them and their needs.

A little research is going to teach you everything you need to know about your audience!

Q4: Name a few top mistakes you see repeatedly in SEO content.

There are quite a few mistakes that people frequently make in their SEO content. And if you don’t know what they are, you won’t be able to avoid them! These are things you’ll want to avoid on your own website:

As Lexie pointed out, keyword stuffing is still an issue today. She also mentioned it’s a mistake to not use your keywords in headings.

Mallie also feels keyword stuffing is huge NO.

Andrew feels using visible clusters of keywords can actually cheapen your content. You don’t want to go overboard when incorporating keywords into your content. It needs to be done naturally.

Choosing the wrong keywords is also a big mistake. If you aren’t targeting the correct keywords, you won’t successfully reach your audience.

One thing that a lot of people still forget about is their meta description. Don’t forget to take an extra few seconds to type up a meta description for your blog posts.

Mistakes Zala has noticed are not optimizing for the right keywords and local search, poorly written content, and failing to check analytics to see what actually converts.

One huge mistake that Julia sees is people putting out crappy, worthless content. That’s not serving a purpose for anyone. You need to focus on adding value with everything you publish.

Q5: Are there any tools you rely on when it comes to creating SEO content?

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you with SEO, but how do you know which ones you should use? Here’s a list of suggestions:

Jeff is a big fan of Moz.

Lexie turns to a variety of tools, including SEMrush and Answer the Public.

For Mallie, the Yoast plugin for WordPress is a must!

Sabjan is also a fan of Yoast.

Julia shared a list of her favorites with us, which includes BuzzSumo and Quora. Both can be used to find out what your audience is talking about.

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you craft amazing, clickable headlines for your content.

For Cheval, Twitter chats are a go-to. You can learn a lot from others through chats.

Don’t forget that you should never stop learning. Jade reads various blogs and watches what some of the experts in the field do.

Q6: How can you tell if you’re achieving your desired SEO goals?

So, how do you know if you’re actually achieving the goals you set out to reach? Here’s what you need to know:

Andrew knows the first step is actually setting quantifiable, trackable goals. Without clear goals in mind, you won’t know what you’re working towards.

Jeff suggests watching how your rankings change. Is your domain authority changing? How many backlinks are you generating? These are all factors you may want to watch.

Marijana recommends using Google Analytics and Moz. You can track any changes, as well as the terms you’re ranking for.

Another thing to keep an eye on is how people are finding your site. What keywords are they searching to discover your content? This is important information to keep in mind.

Q7: What steps will you take to give your site a refresher in the months ahead?

Now that we’ve talked about giving your site a refresher and SEO basics, we wanted to know how our chat participants could improve their own sites. Here’s what they had to say:

Brittany is working on a content audit, as well as reviewing her content strategy. She’s even taking Julia’s course!

Even Julia is updating older posts from the Express Writers archives!

Jennifer is currently working on updating her older posts for SEO.

Mallie plans to update her blog post images with alt text.

Read, discover, and learn. Remember that you should always learn and find ways to improve your skills.

Q8: What are your favorite resources for learning more about SEO and growing your website? Tag them!

These resources are a must for our community! Check them out:

Neil Patel, Moz, Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, and HubSpot are bookmark-worthy resources! They’re great for learning about your site presence & SEO.

Julia shared a great list of suggestions, including Content Marketing Institute and Kissmetrics.

These are resources that are worth checking out!

Mallie is also a big fan of Moz’s content!

Join us for #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday from 10-11 AM Central Time! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss anything!

create authority content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Authority Content for Serious Return in Your Blogging with Julia McCoy

Are you wondering how to create authority content for your blog to see major results online? This week’s #ContentWritingChat is especially for you! Our chat participants shared some amazing advice that will have you creating high-quality content in no time at all.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Authority Content for Serious Return in Your Blogging with Julia McCoy

Our CEO, Julia McCoy, joined in as a guest host for this week’s chat. Considering she provides valuable content on our own blog and for other websites, she’s a great person to teach all of us how to create authority content. Now, let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: 2 million blogs go out daily. How can you create content that positions you as an authority in your field online?

There are obviously a lot of blog posts being published on a daily basis. This makes it hard to stand out online, but it can be done if you position yourself as an authority. How do you do that? Check out this advice from the chat:

Julia’s advice is to have something to say that actually matters. She says you need to know your audience, write to be read, and be consistent by always showing up.

Lexie’s advice is to make sure you know your audience so you can truly connect with them. This is going to help you build trust, therefore establishing you as an authority with your targeted audience members.

When you provide practical, actionable advice that addresses the needs of your audience, they’ll appreciate you for it. When they see that you can solve their problems, it starts to build your authority and keeps them coming back for more.

Don’t forget that you need to use data and cite sources to back up the points you make. You don’t want anyone questioning whether or not your content is reliable.

Focus on YOU. You should always strive to do your best when you create authority content.

If you want to be an authority, you have to earn it. Kristen said you need to be dedicated to your audience and to quality writing.

Q2: Discuss how to find and reach your audience personally to create authoritative content at is of specific value to them.

Are you wondering how to find and reach your audience when creating content online? Here’s what you need to know:

Julia shared some great tips for getting to know your audience. She suggested researching your market with Facebook Audience Insights and Google surveys. For your existing audience, you can email your list a survey that asks questions you want answers to. Then, hop on the phone with a few clients and have a chat.

Social listening is a great way to essentially eavesdrop on your audience. Figure out which platforms they spend the most time on and locate them. Pay attention to what they’re posting and talking about.

A great way to perform social listening is through Twitter chats. Cheval knows how beneficial they are when it comes to finding your target audience.

Javier suggests checking out some online forums and chats where your audience is hanging out. Be present on those platforms by engaging with your audience. Figure out what they’re struggling with and you can create content that solves their problems.

Facebook Groups are a great place to hang out! You just need to find the ones your audience spends their time in. Then, pay attention to what they’re saying!

As Seth pointed out, we can also learn a lot about our audience from the data we’ve already obtained. Check out your Google Analytics to learn more about who your audience is and what they’re interested in, for example.

Q3: What is one of the top authority content formats that earns SEO rankings, authority, speaking gigs, and organic leads?

What’s the winning content format that can do all of those things for your online presence? Here’s what some participants from our chat had to say:

For Julia, she’s all about the power of blogging. She knows the benefit that high-quality, written content can have.

Lauren feels that when you create authority content, any format can work. It’s more about providing good, unique information for your audience to consume.

As Lex said, it can also depend on your industry and your audience. You have to figure out what works best for your target audience, but also what works well for you in terms of creation.

Shelly knows that case studies can get major results when shared online.

Beth recommends writing blog posts that are at least 2,000 words to boost SEO. To build authority and speaking, she suggests trying podcasts or video. And for organic leads, valuable downloads are a great opportunity.

Q4: If you outsource content that positions you or a client as an authority, how can you make sure the writer is at that level?

If you’re going to outsource your content creation, you’ll want to make sure you choose a great writer. You want someone with experience and skills so you’ll be confident they can get the job done. Here’s some advice when it comes to outsourcing your writing:

Julia’s advice is to hire a writer that has industry knowledge in your field and amazing online writing skills. Once you do hire someone, she suggests that you continue to work with them closely. Reward your writers and help them grow to encourage progress.

As Jack said, hiring a first timer might be cheaper, but it’s also risky. You don’t want to waste your money on works that’s below your standards or littered with errors. You’re better off vetting writers to find the right fit.

Sarah agrees that a vetting process is essential. She suggests checking a lot of their past work to ensure they have the skills you need.

As Carla pointed out, getting references is always a great idea. See if there are any other bloggers or industry professionals that can recommend someone. It’s always great when someone can vouch for their work.

Ken suggests getting samples from the writer that showcases their knowledge in your field. Closely review the first bits of work they submit to you.

Lexie agrees that asking for samples is a must. As she said, you wouldn’t want to hire someone without seeing their work first.

Q5: What are some do’s in creating authority content?

If you want to create authority content for your blog, there are a few things you absolutely must do! Want to find out what they are? Check out this advice from the chat:

Julia said you need to know your audience, first and foremost. She also said it’s important to develop brand style guidelines for a consistent voice. You can even hire great writers and editors to help you out.

Sarah’s advice is to know your audience and create helpful, relevant content in a format they love.

Make sure you’re doing your research and answering the questions your audience has. Your content should serve a purpose.

You want to make sure your content solves a problem your reader is facing and present the information in a way that’s easy for them to understand.

Sabjan said to understand your audience and provide what they want.

Include research, interviews, statistics, images, and video content. As Stephanie said, you should never beef up your article with fluff.

As Jim said, you need to make sure your facts are right. There’s nothing worse than publishing an article with the wrong information.

Beth’s advice is to try to be original in your style and point of view. This will help draw people in and help them connect with you. You want to share your own experiences as well, as it helps tells your story.

Q6: How can you create awesome visuals to accompany authoritative content?

We can’t forget that our written content needs great visuals as well. How do you create ones that stand out? Here’s some advice:

As Julia said, our team develops short infographics for authority blogs. We also have our designer create visuals sized for every main social media platform. Each graphic is branding in our color scheme.

Jennifer, like many others, is a big fan of Canva. They’ve made it easy to create professional-looking graphics.

Another Canva fan! For those who are searching for stock photos, Death to Stock is a great one to check out.

Maria suggests following a color scheme for the images you create. This helps them stand out as being unique to your brand. You also want to use high-quality images. You can even edit stock images to help your graphics stand out online.

If you’re not great with design, there’s no shame in hiring a designer. Adam said it’s helped him seeing better results online.

Q7: What are some processes to fine tune, perfect, and publish a killer piece of authoritative content?

What do you need to do in order to create authority content for your blog? Here’s what you need to know:

Julia suggests having a workflow with stages developed and support members in place. She also said you should take your time at each stage, instead of rushing it.

Some key stages in order to create authority content include: researching trends and keywords, brain dump, outline, write, edit, design graphics, and prepare to publish.

Sarah said you should write, revise, and edit. She said to step away from the content for at least 24 hours before proofreading or have someone else do it.

Danielle agrees with leaving time in between a final edit. It allows you to see your work with a fresher perspective.

Remember that first drafts are rarely read to publish, which is totally okay. That’s why you need to make time for editing. Cristy said having someone else take over the editing process is helpful. They’ll catch mistakes you missed.

You want to define the point of your post, outline top talking points, and make sure the tone matches your target audience. Those are all essential steps for a great post.

Lindsey suggests creating a checklist in a tool like Trello to keep you on track. You can outline what you need to do before, during, and after when creating content.

Q8: Which brands or marketers stand out as an authority online through the content they create? Tag them!

Which brands or marketers can you learn from? Check out these great content creators:

You’ll want to add Julia’s favorites to your reading list!

Are you following any of these content creators?

Knowing your audience, sharing great visuals, and storytelling are all essential. Cristy feels these brands do a great job at that.

Content Marketing Institute always does a great job!

Lexie shared some great resources as well! Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, Sprout Social, Content Marketing Institute, and even the Express Writers blog are great places for high-quality content.

Want to join the next chat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat, then join us every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time!


writing tips for freelancers

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips for Freelancers

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

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Writing Tips for Freelancers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proper grammar is the soul of the language!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Carla, she hates when people go off topic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jasmine relies on Asana to manage her freelance writing tasks.

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

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

John is also a fan of Grammarly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never stop learning!

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

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

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