updates to express writers

Spring 2019 Updates at Express Writers: Team Additions, Social Media Copy & Image Updates & More

Content marketing is not an industry you can stand as an expert in without evolution, progress, and continual growth. I’m happy to say that this is in our line of vision at Express Writers: continual progress. It is a part of our mission at Express Writers to continually refine our services and offer the best in content creation.

This spring, we’ve made some changes at Express Writers to upgrade and increase the quality and uniqueness of the content services we provide for our clients.

In today’s blog, I’ve written a recap of these changes to keep you up-to-date with our changes and progress. Let’s dive in!

Check out @JuliaEMcCoy's recap of our Spring 2019 updates at Express Writers 📝 Click To Tweet

updates to express writers spring 2019

Product Changes at Express Writers: Resurrecting Social Media Services: What’s New Today, & What’s on the Horizon

I’m really excited to share that our social media copy and plans got a major facelift in the Content Shop. Both internally, and externally.

Instead of the confusing buy-5-posts-with-variations, and Level 1, 2, and 3 pre-built without customization options, here are the changes that have applied to the social media services we offer at Express Writers.

  • Standalone social media posts: pick the platform, quantity, and optionally, images: we simply write the copy and create images. See standalone posts. 
  • Social media plans have become build-your-own, instead of preset Levels: much more customizable! Just package up all the posts you need for a monthly total per-platform, per-piece quantity and price. See social media plans.
  • Social media images got a major re-haul: our designer will use your candid selfies or photographs and design them inside a 1:1 design (super hot these days on Facebook and Instagram), hand-made in Adobe Illustrator. (Examples below!)
  • Our social media experts will now include and suggest hashtags, the right amount and the right type per platforms, with the copy.

It’s a “buy one, get one now” for posts, clearly worded in the service. Or, you can package up into a monthly plan. No more confusing variations and choices.

Here’s the before and after of our Social Media Posts page. You can experience the revamped page right here.

And, here’s the new look for Social Media Plans:

The quality and what you get in our written and designed social posts has changed for the better. As mentioned, we’ll research and suggest the best hashtags to use in your Instagram posts, as well as on other platforms.

Plus, our social media image design got a full-on major facelift. We no longer work with stock images (unless absolutely necessary on behalf of the client). Instead, we’re asking that you provide images for us in the input forms, and our designer will take that image and inspiration from our social media copywriter to design a hot graphic for your social media profile inside our popular, researched and strategic 1:1 sized square graphic.

For this fairly massive service change, I did some beta testing. Chris Strub was our beta client for the new services, as well as my own social media profiles. I worked with our designer and social media experts as we went through changing the internal process.

Here’s what our new social media posts and image deliverables actually look like (content written by our social media specialist and designed by our in-house designer):

Example social media post #1

Copy:

Social media tip: The front-facing camera is the perfect metaphor for putting yourself out there on social media. Tap the little icon for turning your camera into selfie mode, and hit ‘record’ or snap a photo and make that the next piece of content you post on social media. 📸  Your audience loves seeing the authentic YOU shine through! For more social media tips, follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chrisstrub/

Example social media post #2

Copy: 

Are you writing emails and sending them regularly to your list?

If not, you SHOULD be! It’s one of the most effective ways to grow and nurture your audience. Hand-in-hand with email marketing is great content: a little secret I’m going to let you in on is that email content gets SO much easier if you have comprehensive blogs hitting your site on the regular.

If you need copy support, my content agency Express Writers can help. Our hand-picked email marketing copywriters have helped hundreds of B2Bs and B2Cs craft their message (and even helped me write the ones we send you!). Chat with us today to see how we can help you create great content! Link: https://expresswriters.com/content/email-copy/

Example social media post #3

Copy: 

FAMILY TIME.

One of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur and content marketer is that I can, if I want to, take off a random Tuesday to hang out with my little. Or, get her early out of daycare for a special treat and some playground time on a beautiful, sunny day.

Do you get to break away for family time? It’s so important!

social media services julia mccoy

These improved social media offerings will definitely bring more ROI to our clients and what they get out of social media. We’re so excited about these improvements!

Also, we’ve added a new service to our social media copy. New: YouTube descriptions! I’ve found after optimizing and publishing consistent videos on my own YouTube channel, that the copy inside your YouTube description is extremely important to rankings and click-throughs from your videos to your site.

What’s On the Horizon: Improved Experience Coming for Our Clients at Express Writers

Also, PSA for our clients: We know our systems are somewhat messy, and we’re hard at work on a total solution to fix everything. 

Navigation in the Content Shop, simply put, can sometimes be a bear. The products are too many, and confusing. The Client Account section needs more details, dates, and an easy reorder button.

We’ve got all these changes at heart, and for the past several years, we’ve been hard at work on what we call internally, EW 2.0: The Beast.

This is our brand new e-commerce system that is 100% customized and built from scratch, built for massive project management, speed, and seamless use by both team (internal) and client (external). It’s going to be good. That’s all we can say for now, and secondly, we can also say with confidence that we’re fairly close to a launch date, which will be revealed soon.

Management and Writing Team Additions: Timelines, Writing Quality, and our Mission Renewed

In January, you might have already been aware that our full-time content director of two years, Hannah, resigned and left our team. On average, we handle the creation of 200 pages in a given week, and handle dozens of full-scope, start-to-finish content projects — so as soon as I received her resignation letter via email on Saturday, I was under extreme pressure to rebuild the team, quickly.

The road to recovery began with finding a new, full-time business manager. One of our full-time writers since the early days, Korilynn, stepped up and offered her full-time assistance in my open call to fill the management role. I quickly found out in a preliminary call that this incredibly reliable writer, who I’d worked with for years, had all the expertise necessary to a management role. She’d ran her own businesses in multiple industries (cake/catering, office projects, and freelance writing), and handled all the administrative experiences for everything, for more than 12 years. As a full-time writer on the side for us, she handled a great deal of content writing with no quality loss. Along with that, she had a quiet home office in her four-story house, complete with multiple monitors, a full-speed customized computer system, and a treadmill desk! Great managers who work remotely need an optimized environment and great tech, and we soon found out that Korilynn uses her well-optimized home office to handle our content projects in smart, efficient ways.

Hannah sent her resignation letter in to me via email on Saturday, January 19. The very next day, on Sunday, January 20, I interviewed and hired Korilynn after sending out a “casting call” about an open management role. She was a perfect fit, and I’d known her for years, so I offered her the position. She started training on Monday, January 21. The long process of rebuilding everyone under our new management leader took a solid 45 days, minimum. Along the way, we improved and tightened up 100% of the processes, team rules, and policies, some of which had been left in the dust by prior management. Our editing process, which hadn’t been working for a while, was completely re-hauled, and Korilynn’s ideas for more effective editing were implemented slowly but surely.

Team rebuilding and recovery is not easy — I won’t lie. There were a couple of moments where I sat at my desk, ready to bang my head against the wall, in tears. It took a ton of hiring and firing to get everyone back on track with our renewed policies around maintaining quality and deadlines. We had to discover by trial-and-error who wasn’t fully on board our ship. I still remember when we hit day 45 of countless hours in improving our processes, hiring and firing, and rebuilding.

The improvements we’d made, after the initial growing pains, started showing in a big way. We were hitting 99.9% of our deadlines, early. We knew exactly which writers were going to be best fits for what projects, and we could guarantee quality within the intricate industries we were writing for. It was a big deal. Everything was finally, finally coming together.

Besides Korilynn, we have over 20 new writers that have joined us in the past two months. A few top profiles:

  • Cornelius M., our new technical writer with years of experience in crafting unique tech content, from policies, procedures, plans, work instructions for engineering, to design specifications, software, user acceptance specs, training material, and user material. With Korilynn and the editors’ help, he recently successfully handled a new content project for a huge new technical website client. It was a hit — they’ve been thrilled with the results!
  • Wendy T., a veteran freelancer with over 10 years of experience, digital marketing agency writer for medical marketing for 6 years, and lots of know-how in SEO writing (geolocals, etc.). She’s been successfully completing several top-tier content projects.
  • Al T., former employee in IT with Microsoft, and consultant. He’s written books, articles, training development documents and more. Al has a high standard when it comes to content and has been shining on our projects.

Special shoutouts to our veteran writers, who have been with us for many years:

  • Tami, our go-to press release copywriter, a gifted stay-at-home mom who uses her writing talents on the side with us.
  • Joshua S., veteran team member of Express Writers, who has recently been trained in Authority content and our content strategy services.
  • Mike S., technical writer extraordinaire and 1:1 dedicated project writer, who writes for one dedicated client.
  • Randi N., our talented copywriter, Content Strategist, and SEO/Google nerd, who runs her own enormously successful niche journalism website on the side.
  • John G., our on-call Content Strategist for client phone consultations, and full-time expert writer who handles every project with a high level of dedication.
  • Nikki W., talented veteran copywriter who teaches writing workshops and travels on the side.
  • Jillian P., our long-term copywriter who has taken on a dual role and has tons of experience and creativity in writing.
  • Cassie B., our reliable, efficient copywriter who has also taken on a dual in-team role and is amazing at quality content.

See more team faces on our About page. 

I have renewed faith in my team, and I’m now confident we are close to 150% renewed, refreshed, and capable from where we were at the start of January post-management-changes. It’s a good feeling, and most of all, my heart is delighted to see what we are accomplishing for our clients with a renewed, fully-committed team of people.

Justin, a new client and the founder of local Austin agency JS Interactive, just gave us this testimonial a couple weeks ago in March about his experience with our new management and writing team:

As an entrepreneur in Austin with extensive knowledge and experience in SEO, I understand the value of having content that is unique & relevant to the customers I serve. Since my recent collaboration with Express Writers, I have felt extremely confident in the creativity & the quality of work produced by Julia and her team. I love how seamless their online operation is – from my initial request to the final deliverable. The nice balance of creativity with the technical writing has produced instant results for my business in search. The staff is super friendly and responsive. Express Writers is highly recommended for any businesses looking to ‘level up’ their content marketing strategy.

We’re increasing our focus for existing client accounts, and working on continually supporting their needs in an improved, on-time, high-quality manner. We’re also taking new clients on an individual basis going forward into the year. Sign up and request a client account.

Our Content Marketing is Being Refined, Almost Daily

Not that this directly affects our clients, but I wanted to share briefly that we’re working hard at spending 60% of our focus on resurrecting and updating old content on the Write Blog, while 40% of our focus is on producing the best (most epic) comprehensive guides and original, unique blogs that the Write Blog has ever published.

We have over 1,000 blogs live, and in the last month, we deleted more than 20 that weren’t serving any real purpose from 2012 and 2013. We’ll have a final report when the spring cleaning is officially over! In keeping an eye on our rankings, I noticed that this has only seemed to help our site overall in Google. We went up by 13k in overall domain authority!

alexa site traffic express writers

So, you might see a lesser quantity of emails coming your way for new Write Blogs, but it will mean a heightened focus on quality.

That’s It for Now, Folks!

That’s a wrap on our Spring 2019 changes!

I’m so excited to share these with you — these are, overall, massive changes for our content writing agency that will result in serious improvements all around for our clients. And that’s not all. More are on the horizon that we’re really excited about. Can’t wait to share those with you, soon!

Here’s to amazing content!

 

 

 

 

 

cta social media

seo writing course julia mccoy

The Expert SEO Content Writer Course Is Re-open & Taking Enrollments!

I’m super excited to share the news that my intensive SEO writing course, The Expert SEO Content Writer, is officially open as of today, December 21, 2018, with a special Christmas offer!

seo writing course christmas offer

Back in September, we successfully tested the course with an epic beta launch. 101 students enrolled. My original goal for the September beta launch was 100. (For my courses, I don’t do free beta launches — I want my testers to have ‘skin in the game,’ and give me honest feedback. Free usually lowers someone’s expectation: but if they pay for it, they’re expecting good stuff.)

After talking to and listening to my beta students, I did some curriculum tweaks and added a new lesson to answer one more big, burning question. Today, I’m uber-101%-confident in offering my SEO writing course as an evergreen training course to the public.

Today’s blog about the relaunch is a FAQ of sorts. Inside, you’ll be able to pick my brain on the course reopening. Plus, a sneak peek at the current Christmas offer where I’m giving away a few special gifts to Christmas & New Year enrollees, the story of beta launch, what’s changed for today’s evergreen re-opening, why I don’t do open/close launches, who’s a good fit vs. not a good fit for the course, and more. Ready?

Check out the story of @JuliaEMcCoy's new evergreen training program, The Expert SEO Content Writing Course! #course #seowriting Click To Tweet

How the Idea For The SEO Writing Course Was Born

This subject I’m teaching in my new course — SEO writing — is one of my favorite subjects.

I’ve practiced the art of writing search engine optimized copy ever since 2011, when I was a fledgling, brand-new freelance writer.

Here’s the thing: I’ve always loved to write. SEO writing, however, was a disciplined skill that I had to teach myself. And I learned a lot of what works the hard way — by trying, testing, failing, trying and testing again to finally learn how to create SEO content that has ranked for over 18,000 keywords organically in Google and shot expresswriters.com to the top of search. See the story behind our rankings here.

express writers semrush

Current rankings for our site: 18,400+ keywords in Google. 100% organic SEO content.

This August of 2018 when I got the “lightbulb moment” to create my SEO writing course, it was a no-brainer. I worked hard to build an intensive but short curriculum, designed for busy professionals who only have a week or less to spare to devote to SEO writing skills and training.

For me, growing my SEO writing skills back in the day was just one of many hats I had to wear, along with marketing my business and running my team. So I focused on providing a zero-fluff, actionable curriculum that could be digested and learned in one week, or 5-6 hours tops. (You’re welcome.)

Read the full story of how I developed the course below:story behind the seo writing course

This blog post contains the full story of how I built The Expert SEO Content Writer Course from scratch.

The Story of Beta Launch for The Expert SEO Writer Course

After launching the finished course curriculum for a beta run in September, we had 101 students total enroll during my 10-day open period.

By mid-November, many of my beta students had successfully gotten through the curriculum.

I heard happy things from so many beta students. Did you see the student testimonials we added to the relaunched SEO writing course home page?  Holy success stories, Batman!

student testimonial gif

While I appreciate each and every one of my beta students, I think one of my favorite stories comes from graduate student Monique. SEO content works, and she has hit the ROI jackpot! It makes my day to hear success stories like this.

expert seo content writer course testimonial

 

Who’s A Good Fit & Who’s NOT A Good Fit for The Expert SEO Content Writer Course

I’ve had a few people ask me “what makes a great student for your new course?”

Great question.

This course is designed for online writers and marketers at all levels and stages — especially if:

  • You want to add “SEO writing” to your skills and expertise. This is the course for you, no matter where you’re starting from! You can be a total newbie or a seasoned writer interested in upgrading your skills or a writer struggling to create content that gets results in search engines. No matter where you’re starting from, this course will take you where you want to go in the world of SEO writing.
  • You’re a busy bee. It’s designed as a fast-paced, intensive, one-week program. It’s been built by someone who commonly wears five hats (CEO, content marketer, author, mommy, wife) on any given day, who can relate to your busy schedule! Structured for busy entrepreneurs, freelancers, and agency staff. You’ll be able to get through it easily inside a week or less.

Who is The Expert SEO Content Writer Course NOT For?

This program isn’t for “get rich quick” wishful thinkers. If you enroll in this course hoping to make a million dollars within a year, this program probably isn’t for you. You need to put in the work, fill out the templates, download and use the worksheets, and watch the videos carefully to see real results in your SEO content skills. Additionally, if you write for fun, but don’t care about earning income or growing a brand through your writing, this course probably isn’t the best fit for you, either. Sorry.

If you have no interest in learning SEO writing (at all), stop right now. Don’t take this course.

The best students are invested students. And real investment comes first of all from passion for and interest in the subject. My initiative-takers, my most successful students, are those that enjoy online writing.

SEO, keyword research and content optimization, all of which I teach in the course alongside SEO writing, is like a scavenger hunt. It takes interest and a perspective of “this is fun” to get the most out of it. In other words, if you’re a nerd, you’re a great fit. 😉

Why I Launch Evergreen Courses & Not Open/Close Launches

Someone recently asked me on Instagram, “Why don’t you close your course and reopen every year?”

Good question.

I thought I’d wrap up today’s announcement by sharing a few of my thoughts here.

It may be going against the grain a bit, although there are many other evergreen course creators out there, but I don’t do open and closed launches outside of beta launches.

Here’s why.

I build products and services that:

  • a) meet a real need in the market
  • b) can offer a solution to a wide amount of people in that specific market
  • c) will last and add value over time

I do hold open and closed beta launches to ensure I have a successful product (over 100 students have tested this course and said it is amazing!).

But in the long run, I build evergreen offerings.

To put it simply, I believe that evergreen products serve market needs best.

If you know me by now, you also know I’m not just about getting more sales. I’m about adding real value that complements a real need. And our customers’ journeys.

Why close a service if it adds a long-term solution to a market need, and if I’ve tested it and made 101% sure that it’s a product or service that will truly solve the end user’s need?

Why @JuliaEMcCoy doesn't keep doing launches: 'I'm not just about getting more sales from a product or service, I'm about adding real value that complements a real need.' More on the story of the SEO Writing Course Click To Tweet

And here’s one more note on this point.

Even though I launch evergreen offerings, I’m not (at all) a launch-it-and-forget-about-it entrepreneur.

I refine and improve every single service and product I’ve created, as time goes on. I listen to the feedback of my users, my customers, and we re-engineer if needed to meet their needs.

This is also how I’ve successfully ran and operated Express Writers. We never “close and re-open” our writing services. Ever since I opened Express Writers in 2011 and hustled for my first clients, our sales and client lists have been growing yearly from consistent progress in the industry, refining our services, and growing and improving our systems. Each year gets better and bigger. I believe if I’d been doing closed launches, we’d never be near the growth we have today going into our eighth year of business.

I believe in evergreen services and products all the way…with consistent refinement, growth and tuning along the way!

Here’s a Peek at What We’re Giving Away: The Expert SEO Content Writer Course, Christmas Edition

Just to give you a quick view at the relaunch Christmas giveaway we’re doing, here’s the offer I’m giving away with the course (total value over $690). 

You get ALL of this when you enroll today for $279.

  • The Expert SEO Content Writer Course: A Complete Course in Content in Just One Week. Freelancer, solopreneur, agency — you’re a busy person. That’s why I’ve distilled 7+ years of proven content writing strategies into a step-by-step system that will have you outpacing the competition on Google in just one week— no fluff, no filler.
  • The Only Industry Certification as an Expert SEO Content Writer. Our course is for professionals who are serious about their content careers. If you want to learn strategic copywriting techniques, advanced tools for high-ranking content, and the step-by-step formula for content success, this is for you. With the Expert SEO Content Writer Course, you’ll be able to earn official certification after you finish the course and show off your skills as a qualified SEO writer.
  • Exclusive Student Group to Get Coaching and Questions Answered. We know that networking and bouncing ideas off peers is critical to growth and success. The Expert SEO Content Writer Course has a private Facebook student community so you can connect with over myself and more than 75 like-minded peers for support, coaching, and encouragement.
  • Christmas Bonus #1: My two bestselling books, So You Think You Can Write? and Practical Content Strategy and Marketing are included in the Christmas bundle to increase your industry knowledge and give you even more tools to fine-tune your content for incredible results. You’ll receive FREE, full-length digital copies of both books, immediately available. Worth $50
  • Christmas Bonus #2: My complete content template library — get templates for long-form blogs, lead magnets, web pages, strong infographic copy, and even video scripts to NAIL your FB Lives or YouTube. Completely original (you won’t find these anywhere else, I’ve only used them to train my writing team) and customizable – yours to enjoy! Worth $150+
  • Christmas Bonus #3: Student-only partner discount codes — deep discounts on my favorite tools to help your content rank higher, including SEMrush, BuzzSumo, CoSchedule, and more! Worth $300
  • Christmas Bonus #4: My biggest discount EVER: $249 off a seat in my Content Strategy and Marketing Course! Combined with The Expert SEO Writer Course, this opportunity will skyrocket your results — and revenue — for the happiest New Year ever! Worth $249

seo writing course christmas offer

May Your Holidays Be Merry and Bright…And Your SEO Content Right!

Imagine what you could do with powerful SEO content?

For us, we’ve seen sales from brand new leads at $5,000+. These leads found us through ONE optimized blog post.

SEO content is a powerful tool to boost your brand online.

If you wear a lot of hats, and “online writing” is one of them — or if you want to give your office the gift of profitable SEO writing skills this holiday, this course is perfect for you.

See you on the flip side!

– Julia

seo content writing course CTA

content maintenance

Why Content Maintenance Has Become Just as Important as the Strategy Itself (New Product Announcement)​

This is a guest blog by John G., Authority Writer and Content Strategist at Express Writers.

Most people understand that successful content marketing requires high-quality content. Without this essential ingredient, your “marketing” won’t move the needle one bit.

Unfortunately, many marketers stop at creating high-quality content. They hit “publish” and move on to the next project.

At Express Writers, we are constantly updating our published content because we know that keeping it relevant and competitive is just as important as creating it in the first place. That’s why we’ve recently begun doing the same thing for clients with our new Content Maintenance Strategy service, which ensures their content never goes stale. Check out our new Content Strategy Maintenance service here (click the Options to see it).

content strategy maintenance

Introducing Our New Service: Content Strategy Maintenance

Subscribe to a monthly fee (no contract, cancel anytime) to have our Content Strategist set up ongoing tracking and keyword research every month, and check in on your rankings. We’ll build a report, look at your keywords, and discuss how you can improve your content strategy. Our new service includes a short call every month to discuss potential SEO and content opportunities with our lead Content Strategist, and we’ll use SEMrush to build and track monthly reports on your content rankings. Cancel anytime: we’ll send you a bill every month at the same time to order.

To find the new service, go to Content Strategy, then click on the menu under Options, and look for the second option:

The second option is our new service, Content Strategy Maintenance.

You might be asking, why should I care about maintaining my content? 

Good question.

Why Ongoing Content Maintenance Is Essential to Successful Marketing: 6 Critical Reasons

While there’s no substitute for well-written content about relevant topics that helps readers take action toward achieving their goals, maintaining that content has become just as important.

Here are six reasons why you must regularly review your content with an eye for how it can be improved if you want to see a consistent ROI.

1. You’ve Received Helpful Feedback from Your Customers

Successful content isn’t just about attracting people to your site. It should also start them on the path toward becoming actual customers.

Once your content begins delivering those leads, you’ll gain helpful insights from many of them about how your content could be improved.

Look at the questions you receive most often. Think about the pain points you constantly need to overcome. This is easy to do if you have on-site chat or if you get contact forms.

Here’s one question we received from a repeat customer that sparked an idea for an upcoming blog topic from Julia:

client conversation drift

Do you have popular posts where you can address these? That will make it much easier to convert more leads without doing more work.

2. Google Wants to Offer Its Users Fresh Content

Google only wants to show its users search results for content that is fresh and relevant. If your post contains advice that has become outdated or fails to reflect new information on the topic, Google knows users will quickly look elsewhere for help.

Google’s fondness for freshness goes back almost a decade, yet the vast majority of companies still misinterpret this requirement to mean that they must regularly produce completely new content. While new posts deserve a spot in your strategy, updating old ones is usually the more cost-effective way of keeping Google happy.

3. Competitors Are Catching Up to You

The joy I felt the first time I put a client’s site on the first page of Google was eventually overtaken by a sense of dread when, months later, their main competitor joined us.

It felt like in the movies, when the captain of a ship looks through his telescope to see a pirate flag coming over the horizon.

No!

On the high seas of SEO, there are going to be times when enemy ships begin catching up with you. That’s when you should immediately update your content to create a comfortable amount of distance.

Aside from the obvious benefits of doing this, feel free to take some pleasure in the fact that your competitor has clearly spent a lot of time and money creating content to close the gap and, now, because of your vigilance, all of that effort will not go to waste.

4. Improved Domain Authority Means Greater Opportunities for Keywords

Domain authority” remains a controversial topic, but it does seem as though Google “trusts” established sites more than new ones and, thus, makes it easier for those trustworthy sites to rank for high-traffic keywords.

That’s why, over time, you can get more ambitious about the keywords you target. When beginners start with content marketing, one of the biggest rookie mistakes they make is to go after keywords that see massive amounts of traffic but also attract lots of competition. At the beginning, ranking for those competitive keywords just isn’t possible.

However, as your rankings begin to climb for less-competitive keywords, it makes sense to look at those that were previously out-of-reach. That’s because you’ve built a certain amount of “trust” with Google and now have more opportunities to rank.

Don’t stick with the same set of keywords you originally identified. Ongoing research will show you when it’s possible to post content aimed at greater and/or more qualified traffic.

5. High-Ranking Webpages Are Good for Internal Links

In my experience, the most overlooked opportunity to improve your SEO is with internal linking.

Literally, all you have to do is include a link from one of your pages to another. It couldn’t be easier to do, yet it will help increase exposure across your entire site.

Better still, if you have a post on the first SERP of Google, it’s also an effortless way to pass along some of that “link juice” to other pages.

When I look over a client’s content and see that one of their posts is performing well, I immediately think about how I can leverage that achievement further.

So, for example, if I did a Content Strategy Maintenance report and found that my client had reached the first page for a keyword, I’d either:

  • Think of a new piece to do that we could link to from the ranking piece
  • Find a preexisting, relevant piece that’s struggling and link to it from the ranking one

Either way, I’m taking full advantage of one page’s SEO success to help rank another for my client while simultaneously making it easier for their current leads to find new content.

6. Content Marketing Requires a Long-Term Perspective

Everyone loves the idea of a quick win – a blog that, upon publishing, hits Google’s first page right away.

While that certainly can happen – especially after you build up that aforementioned “trust” – successful content marketing requires a long-term perspective.

Part of this means regularly checking back on your efforts to see where greater opportunities now lie and where you need to do some work to improve past posts.

Prioritize Content Maintenance for the Highest Possible ROI: Introducing Our New Content Strategy Service at Express Writers

Creating high-quality content will always be the cornerstone of a successful content marketing campaign.

However, it’s just as important that you maximize your ROI from each piece by maintaining it, as well. Otherwise, at best, you’ll see limited success before it’s back to the drawing board to create more content, which will only have the same short-term result.

At Express Writers, we’ve created a new service – Content Strategy Maintenance – to ensure our clients receive the most from each post without having to take the time every month to go over everything themselves.

Instead, our content strategists will review your strategy and identify which posts need to be updated and where new keyword — and topic — opportunities exist. By doing so, you’ll know that your entire content marketing strategy is continuously improving and adding value to your company.

Check out our pricing for content strategy maintenance, or send us an email about your needs.

expert seo content writer course

The Expert SEO Content Writer Course Is Open! (The Story Behind the Course Launch)

Have you ever experienced one of those once-in-a-lifetime lightbulb moments?

You know, the moments you never forget about — ever? The ones that end up changing your life in incredible ways?

I can trace every big step in my life, from the launch of Express Writers to the idea for my first book, back to those flashes of inspiration.

And one of those moments is the reason The Expert SEO Content Writer Course is now open for beta enrollment, for the next ten days. (Code BETALAUNCH2018 saves you $100 – access the quick-link to the beta offer here.)

Keep reading for the story.

expert seo content writer course

The Story Behind My All-New SEO Content Writing Course

I vividly remember the day, time, and place that particular lightbulb lit up.

Early one day this August, I was sitting at my desk.

It was a typical August day in Austin — HOT. The sun was blazing. It was one of those Texas summer days where if it was any hotter, I might as well go and sit on the surface of the sun.

Grateful to be inside an air-conditioned space, I was reviewing a new writer’s sample piece, reading through it carefully.

Then, it hit me. This is probably the 11,000th writing sample that has passed through my hands.

It’s true. Thinking back, I realized that I’ve been assessing, interviewing, and hiring writers since 2011, when I started Express Writers.

(By the way — that’s why I believe ‘luck’ and ‘success’ never go together in the same sentence. It’s self-disciplined hard work, the constant honing of your trade for days, weeks, and years, that truly gets you off the ground. But, I digress.)

And then another flash hit me.

These are the same issues, again. I see them all the time.

I was in the middle of typing a note to the writer and passing her to the next phase of our interviewing process when I realized that what I was sharing with this writer was the EXACT SAME THING I’d told the last four candidates.

These issues are a training checklist.

I know how to fix them!

…Why don’t I create a course on this?

And, the entire idea for The Expert SEO Content Writer course was born.

This is the same pathway behind my first course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. The entire idea for that course was born after a client asked me to come down to their office and teach them content strategy and marketing techniques.

I’ll be honest: I usually don’t just come up with “ways to sell my knowledge,” even though I’ve had people offer in the past to pay me money if I would consult with them. To be honest, I don’t have the time — between running a biz, writing books, launching training courses — not to mention running after a toddler at home.

Sidenote: I think this is a fantastic way to build a course. Don’t go out and search for a money-making course idea. Instead, let it come to you as you work and gain cred and a place in the industry. This way, it’s much easier when it comes to the selling part, too.

But Can’t Anyone Read a Blog & Learn SEO Writing? 2 Reasons A Real Need for My Course Exists

The first big reason I think there is a serious need for this course lies in the actual pain points I heard of, real-time, from people in my audience.

After I had the idea to build my course, I used Google Forms to create a survey, which I kept open for a few days. More than 50 people that were in my target audience filled out the form, and the survey results were conclusive: people needed and wanted this training from me. They told me so clearly in the survey where they took the time to share a huge amount of pain points.

Once I had my survey results, I took to my office whiteboard and created a graph of my survey takers’ responses to look for commonalities and create a course outline.

Watch my time-lapse video on Twitter as I real-time built a survey chart from their answers:

The second reason can be found directly inside of SEO content writing itself, which I’ve been practicing for seven years now.

SEO writing isn’t easy.

To be perfectly honest… you can’t just read a blog and walk away thinking you know how to do it if you’ve had no real prior experience.

You need training, practice, and a guiding hand, if SEO content writing still feels like new or uncertain territory and you want to get to a “knowledgeable” level sooner rather than later.

A mentor who’s been there, done that can help you get there a lot faster.

I’ve spent the past 7 years perfecting the art of crafting content that wins rankings, traffic, clicks, and subscribers.

We’ve built our Express Writers presence to more than 1,000 blogs, and 16,000+ SEO rankings in Google after seven years of consistent SEO content creation.

express writers rankings

Our site is bringing in upwards of 2,000-2,800 visitors/day on average — 100% organically — without paid ads.

express writers google analytics

And our subscriber list grows by 5-10 people on average per day simply through the “upgrades” and correctly pivoted lead magnets I’ve created and attached to our high-ranking content.

We’ve been able to achieve this kind of SEO content success for many of our clients, too.

When I surveyed my list, validation for the course was there in black and white. One person said, and I quote: “I want to use SEO in my content marketing strategy. Get more traffic and conversions. Create a community using my posts, books, etc. Be more productive by using methods, tools, etc.”

THAT’S IT!

That’s exactly the kind of knowledge you should have after effective SEO content training.

And that’s what I want to leave my students with in my coming course. A lasting knowledge of SEO writing that will empower them to create content that reaches and builds a community through one of the most powerful routes possible — organic rankings in Google.

SEO content is more powerful than ever — and it’s poised to continue to dominate ranking methods for the forseeable future.

Now is the time for well-trained SEO content writers to succeed.

Ready?

Take the plunge and learn more about the course here. Don’t forget your 35% off code at enrollment: BETALAUNCH2018

I can’t wait to see you inside. I know you’re going to love this course, just as much as I loved putting it together — and I cannot wait to welcome you inside!  – Julia

CTA seo content writer course

seo content writer

The Expert SEO Content Writer Course Opens Up Soon for Beta Enrollment!

Super exciting news! 

We’re about to open enrollment to my NEW​ writing course, The Expert SEO Content Writer Course​!

The Expert SEO Content Writer Course site just went live, today. Read all the details about my new writing course here.

Today, the new site for the course is live… and in just a little while, the online course itself will open for enrollment, for a short time. Then, it will be closed indefinitely while I work with my beta students. 🎉

Check out The Expert SEO Content Writer Course, a new #course coming soon from @JuliaEMcCoy and the team @ExpWriters Click To Tweet

seo writing course is open

The Expert SEO Content Writer Course Site Launches Today!

Now that the site for our new writing course is live, here’s a sneak peek at what’s on the itinerary!

This month, we’ll open the course for an official launch. I will be offering one-time special pricing for beta students. We’ll only have this offer open for a short time so this first lucky class of beta students can successfully get through the training and curriculum! I will be working with them personally in the private student community attached to the course.

This is your special opportunity to get advance access to the course during this short window of time.

Taught by me, Julia McCoy, founder of Express Writers, with a few appearances from special guests including content marketers from publications like CoSchedule, this course teaches you every step involved in how to write successful, profitable SEO content. At the end, you’ll earn certification as an Expert SEO Content Writer after absorbing the course knowledge and training.

Let me be clear. This isn’t one of those programs that that claim to teach you SEO writing then offer you a badge after you read a few lessons.

Although the course is structured for busy people and is under 5 hours of total lesson content, it will take at least a full week to complete the curriculum and soak in the writing templates, live writing coaching demos, and the recommended software.

We’ve set up the curriculum so you don’t need access to paid programs (free trials are sufficient!) AND we’re even cooking up special money-saving offers for our students when the course opens.

We want every graduated student of the Expert SEO Content Writer Course to ​truly be an expert ​at the art of great SEO writing.

If you want to be on that list, now is your moment!

This is the only time your special, beta-student, one-time price will be available and we’re only accepting a limited number of beta students. We’re keeping enrollment numbers down on this launch so I can focus on working with our beta students closely.

If you’re ready to step up and be in the first class of this groundbreaking new SEO writing course, getting both a lower price AND personal attention, go here to sign up, and then just watch your in-box. I’ll be sending you more information in the days and weeks ahead.

Can’t wait to share when the course is officially open, and welcome you in as an Expert SEO Content Writer student! 😄 – Julia

expert seo content writer

So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing written by Julia McCoy

Book Review: So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing

This is a guest post by Matthew J. Gaydos, who read and wrote this review of Julia’s book published in 2016, “So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing.”

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin, p. 105. This is a very powerful statement. It comes from a mind who is very inquisitive and was involved in the written word. Ben Franklin is just like Julia McCoy – they both never give up. They are always thinking and moving their own mountains. I believe this quote sums up the whole book. Buy on Amazon.

'Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Ben Franklin is just like Julia McCoy - they both never give up.' Read a reader's real review of @JuliaEMcCoy's book, So You Think You Can Write Click To Tweet

 So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing written by Julia McCoy

Giving Value to My Audience Through Content

In order for your website to gain more visits, you must be a hub of information. This can be achieved by what Julia mentioned on page 20 of her book, which is “publishing great content that answers questions, provides useful information and is engaging.”

Learning the Basic of Search Engine Optimization

Julia made SEO (Search Engine Optimization) learning fun and easy to comprehend.

This is the first time I read a book dealing with this subject. I was not able to put this book down. It was intriguing and interesting to me. I was deducing and injecting all the material on the pages. I became like Ben Franklin – a detective, analyst, and researcher while reading. I took copious notes and became one with the author by writing in the margins.

I knew nothing about keywords before I read the Performing Basic Keyword Research section of this book.

On page 55-56, Julia made it so simple that I followed what she wrote. I used the Wordtracker tool and it was more engaging than I expected.

book sales julia mccoy author

Here’s Julia, holding a copy of “So You Think You Can Write?” (on the right)

Julia says, “Informational searches are a highly valuable tool for building brand loyalty and creating great online content” on page 87. I found this to be very true.

Creating Eye-Catching Social Media Posts

While reading the subsection dealing with How to Write for Social Media, Julia says “Social media content works best when it’s catchy, brief and engaging, and grabs the attention of the reader usually in tandem with the image, video or link.” Our brains can easily digest, sort, and comprehend information in blocks of time. Make the image match the writing so it’s easy to digest. When writing for print, always be straight to the point to avoid rambling.

Turning an Article to Additional Sources of Information

In the Repurpose Your Content section, I liked reading about turning my articles into infographics and presentations, as well as how evergreen content can be a timeless resource for my audience. I can use this information to make my own website engaging and informative to current and future visitors.

Continuing to Learn More About Content

I hope to read more about writing and optimizing content in the future, so I’m glad that I’m connected with Julia on LinkedIn where I can read her posts every day on this topic. I’ve always been an avid learner and the knowledge I just gained will surely make me go far in this field.

Keep up the good writing, Julia!

– Matthew J. Gaydos

Avid Reader, Writer, Researcher, Learner, and Book Reviewer

 So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing written by Julia McCoy

express writers 7 years in business

Celebrating 7 Years in Business, Our Story, & Announcement

This month marks the seventh year Express Writers has existed.

Back in 2011, it was quite the humble beginning for us. I was doing 90% of the work, all the way from writing client blogs to emailing and cold calling to find my next prospect.

In 2011, I quit nursing school to follow my dreams. Literally, one morning I woke up and asked myself, “what do I love doing?” I knew what the answer was, from the bottom of my heart. Writing. So, I took my passion online and started a freelance profile. Within three months I had more clients than I’d dreamed of, and I started a business. With nothing more than $75, Express Writers was born.

7 years later, we’re on our 14,185th project (that doesn’t even include 2,000+ of projects in the years prior to building our e-commerce content platform). If we’re averaging 10,000 words per projects (they vary from 500w – 50,000w per order), that’s over 70,850,000 words written! We’ve served over 5,000 clients, and our team is 75 people and growing. We grew 20% in internal support members (QAs and copywriters) to our team, just in the past two months.

Today, we’re celebrating this major milestone of our 7th year in business.

First, we have an awesome brand video to share with you. Bonus: we had a wonderful video producer help out with the production!

If you’ve been a part of our journey thus far: reader, subscriber, client, podcast listener, team member… thank you. 

It’s 100% true: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” (Michael Jordan)

Plus, we’re announcing something super special. Stay tuned below the video for an important announcement!

Celebrating 7 Years in Business: The Express Writers’ Story

Content Shop Major Change Announcement: We’re Now Taking New Clients By Invitation Only

At Express Writers, one of our highest priorities is focusing on quality, timeliness and creativity when we serve our clients.

We find that less clients means that we can focus on greater results for each one of those clients.

Many clients have been with us for years now, are increasing their order quantity, and we’re staying busier than ever because we’re focused more heavily on client support than simply sales. We greatly, greatly appreciate our clients’ loyalty.

We want to continue this direction: serving our loyal clients with our best.

So, after much deliberation, we’ve decided to make this happen:

We’re now taking new clients by invitation only.

Here’s what that means for our Content Shop usability.

If you don’t have an account, you will be able to view our services and pricing, but you won’t be able to buy unless you have an account.

Guests without an account will see this:

new client registration

Clients with an account will see the checkout options on services inside our Content Shop:

new client registration example

We’re taking new clients only after carefully reviewing their request to join our site as a client.

Here’s our New Client Registration form:

express writers client registration

Our ideal clients are seasoned marketers, agencies and business owners. 

If that’s you, we’ll review your account and if we are both a mutual fit, we’ll happily welcome you into our amazing repetoire of clientele.

If you’re ready to work with a team of capable content experts, fill out our New Client registration form, and we’ll get back as soon as possible.

We look forward to serving you!

Here’s to 7 years – and many more ahead!

– Julia, CEO

julia mccoy books

Celebrating 1,800 Books Sold! (So You Think You Can Write? and Practical Content Strategy & Marketing) The Journey, & 2 Major Benefits

Today marks the official birthday of both of my published books.

It’s the half-birthday of Practical Content Strategy & Marketing, and the official 2-year birthday for So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing.

(Check out both of these books on Amazon!)

Golly, has it been a journey!

Read @JuliaEMcCoy's thoughts as she crosses the 1,800-copies sold mark for her two self-published books 📚 Click To Tweet

CTA-EW-02

I always knew I’d publish a book when I started out on my journey seven years ago, dropping out of college to become a content marketer. Being an author was high up on my list of career priorities.

But, I didn’t know how hard it would be.

I’ve self-published both of my books, and all in all, have invested over 1,000 hours into both of them.

Well, probably much more than that.

The first one by far was the hardest, and the second one, while it took eight months, flowed much more easily after the learning curve of book #1.

But what I’ve found, years later from my first book getting published, is that it was totally worth it. And, that self-publishing is pretty cool. You’re in complete control of every part of your book, from marketing to earning 70% of all the book sales.

Those dollars have all gone back into building Express Writers and the Content Strategy & Marketing Course, so I’m thankful to each and every one of you who have purchased and read my books!

Read on for a look at where my books have sold, how many have sold so far, and two major benefits from two books written and published.

celebrating 1800 books sold

Celebrating 1,800 Books Sold! (So You Think You Can Write? and Practical Content Strategy & Marketing)

To celebrate the two-year mark of So You Think You Can Write, and the six-month mark of Practical Content Strategy & Marketing, I counted all my book sales on all channels today. This is as of today (4/30/18).

Here’s the lowdown.

So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing

  • Published April 2016
  • 853 paperback purchases
  • 771 Kindle ebook purchases
  • 1,624 total books sold

Practical Content Strategy & Marketing

  • Published November 2016
  • 120 paperback purchases
  • 140 Kindle ebook purchases
  • 260 total books sold

My books have sold in more than eight different currencies, from Japanese Yen to British pounds. These are the major countries my books have been purchased in:

  • United States
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • India
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Brazil

I’ve spent less than $200 to market both of these books ($100 on a sponsored tweet, another $90-95 on several sponsored Facebook posts).

99.9% of all of my book sales have come organically. I am also not counting the copies I’ve given away (dozens if not hundreds of copies, mailed and signed for free).

Two Amazingly Huge Benefits From Publishing Two Books

#1. I made some amazing connections in the industry through my book.

I chose to invest time and effort into getting a few industry leaders to write my foreword, and asked a group of 10-15 influencers to review my book and give me blurbs for a “Praise” section, before either of my books became published.

This took time, but it was a HUGE benefit to me in getting more eyeballs on the book, and making more connections in my industry.

We’ve even seen some long-term clients come in from the marketing firms of the people who reviewed my books.

Getting influencers to write my foreword was a major benefit for both of my books. My first book’s foreword was written by Sujan Patel, a leading internet marketer who runs multiple SaaS companies and is the co-founder of Web Profits, Australia’s largest marketing company.

My second book’s foreword was written by Mark Schaefer, author of more than eight books on marketing, and one of the top five marketing bloggers in the world.

I had built up connections with both of these amazing people via social media and by inviting them on my show, The Write Podcast. (Listen to Sujan’s episode and Mark’s episode.) I’d met both of them in person, too. Sujan lives locally to me in Austin, Texas, and I met Mark at CMWorld 2017.

So, building up a relationship prior certainly helped quite a bit. Once I officially “knew” them, it was as simple as asking them — and they both said “yes!”

I also met and connected with other self-published authors after my books came out.

Chris Strub is a self-published author that I had the honor of meeting in Austin, Texas this year.

He’s an awesome social media expert, and self-made entrepreneur. Chris is the first man to livestream in all 50 states, and authored a story about his journey.

We did a Facebook Live together outside of the Amazon Bookstore that had just opened up in the Domain in Austin, Texas:

What’s cool is that we connected over our books, and have been able to shout each other out for more exposure.

#2. I’ve built long-term industry authority.

I’ve had new prospects trust and buy 10x quicker just because they read my book before they became a client.

Because my books are very well-written, with much and thought put into them, they are in essence a “conversion vehicle” for my agency.

You read my books, you can tell instantly that I know and care about online writing – these books weren’t an overnight deal – you hire my writing agency.

Simple! It happens over and over again.

(We’ve even had some clients ask if they can have whoever wrote my books, assigned to their content. *cough* Since actually wrote my books, that’s somewhat impossible. But, I train all of the writers I hire – and I guarantee our expert and authority level writers are just as good as I am! Some of them basically share my brain cells.)

I’ve also garnered some amazing opportunities, like leading MarketingProfs Marketing Writing Bootcamp, because I had a published book out. It qualified me in my industry as an expert “speaker”.

These opportunities would have never come my way without the books, so this truly made my time involved worth it.

(Note: You can’t expect these opportunities overnight, however. Many of the biggest opportunities rolled in with the second book, and others occurred months and months after my first book was out.)

Contribute to the Book Celebration!

You know, authors are basically nothing without readers, no matter how good we are.

If you haven’t, please leave a review on Amazon! It would mean the world, and it would also mean that we reach more people – as you can see from my Facebook Live with Chris Strub, it’s critical to Amazon and how they showcase books to the rest of the world.

If you did leave a review, please tweet/mention me so I can publicly shout you out and thank you! Follow me on Twitter.

🙂

Also, did you know? I’m writing a third book! I can’t spill too many of the details, but it’s a memoir about my life, with tragedy, bravery, growth, success and more woven in. As many of you know, I escaped a cult six years ago, and learned to heal from terrible mental abuse along my entrepreneurial journey. I cannot wait to share this book in all its rawness, realness and beauty!

Stay tuned for more details coming on my latest book.

expert copywriting product update

April 2018 Content Shop Update: Our Expert Copywriting Level Just Got Better!

As most of our clients already know, we’re constantly updating and maintaining our services, team, and processes here at Express Writers.

Quality is first and foremost at our heart.

One reason I haven’t sought an outside partner or funding source is that running the company 100% by ourselves allows us to make fast, agile changes to our processes.

These processes can instantly allow our clients to experience more customized, high-quality services–and turn on a dime to change or fix any issues, if they come up.

Our personal commitment and involvement at this level is one major reason why we don’t even consider ourselves a competitor against many other “content vendors,” like Textbroker and WriterAccess, to name a few.

You want cheap content on a budget? We’ll hold the door open for you, and recommend one of those vendors.

You want quality web content for your blog, website or your clients’ sites? That’s when you come to us.

As the CEO, I haven’t earned my place in the top 30 content marketers worldwide by chance or through cutting corners. Quite the opposite. It’s been a long, grueling journey, full of learning experiences and challenges. I learned and grew, as I wrote and published two bestselling books in my industry, led my company, and built/rebuilt our processes.

This April, we’ve made some changes in our Content Shop that we want you to be aware of. What’s at heart? You guessed it–quality.

We want to continue to serve our clients with the best content (not the cheapest). Continue reading for a short memo on our internal, and external, changes.

expert copywriting product update

April 2018 Express Writers’ Expert Copywriting Update & Internal Process Improvements: 3 Major Changes

Here’s a rundown of the major changes we’ve gone through this year. There are more–we literally improve our processes daily–but these are the biggest ones.

1. General Content Creation Level Update

As you probably know by now, we’ve always offered three levels of content at Express Writers:

  • General (no longer offered publicly, at request only on a case-by-case basis: our lowest-cost writer level for easier subjects)
  • Expert (expert writers with specific industry experience, from legal to tech, finance, engineering, and beyond)
  • Authority (our “boss” content level: the one you order when you want long-form blogs that net serious rankings and gain in Google)

As of March 2018, we completely removed the public link to our General product level from the Content Shop. For every client interested in this level, our support team can personally hand them the link to this service after verifying that general level will be a fit for them (most sites need expert content at a minimum to see ROI from the content produced). Just open the chat in the right-hand corner of our site, or drop an email to request our General level.

2. Expert Copywriting Product Update

Our team has grown in the last month! By now, we have a library of more than 70 expert writers that have individualized experience in a wide range of industries. This is an increase of more than double in our team size across the past four months.

And this week, we revamped how we offer Expert content.

Instead of more than 20 “products” (individual product URLs for each industry topic our writers cover), we combined all our expert topics into one simple category:

Custom Industry Expert.

This single product now features a box where you, our client, can type in your EXACT industry or topic/niche, and we’ll match you up to that expert!

See below, and check out the product here:

new expert content update

You’ll see the Expert Category in our Content Shop has drastically reduced to lesser “items” – but with the ability to tell us your specific industry before you place an order, we’re able to focus on customizing our content solutions for your needs more than ever.

expert category

As our team grows, and we add more support specialists, this will be a fantastic way we can continue to focus on your specific topic and make sure it goes to the perfect-fit expert in our team.

3. HR Improvements

One of the main cores I had at heart when I launched Express Writers, was hiring every writer personally. I wanted to find the best writers. Today, seven years later, I still continue to hand-pick every writer.

This year, we’ve refined that process. I continue to carefully vet and look for industry expertise that can match every one of our client’s industries and topic areas. Our new step added to this process is having our Content Director, Hannah, hold a phone interview call with every writer that allows us to get to know our writers on a personal level, and find out their interests and favorite topics to write about, too. We also keep a running database about every topic under the sun that our experts have real-life experience in. These changes have already improved how writers work within our team, and boosted client satisfaction rates.

Need content that pushes your brand forward online? We’re your team. Talk to us today.

To your online success,

~ Julia and Team, Express Writers

content strategist authority writer Austin

Interview for the Write Blog: Authority Writer & Content Strategist Austin

Today for the Write Blog, we interviewed one of our full-time writers, Austin.

Austin first began his career as a pro writer when he left his hometown of Los Angeles, California to travel the world and document his experiences along the way. He has toured with rock bands in Europe, written technical documentation for Australian engineering concerns and executed social media strategies for major international brands across the globe. A talented writer, Austin has been a long-term member of Express Writers for over a year, working full-time as an Authority Writer, Content Strategist and all-around gifted copywriter.

content strategist and authority writer Austin

What were your earliest writing memories?

writer austinLike many introverted pre-teens, at the age of 10 or 11 I kept a journal where I’d write down my thoughts and occasionally try my hand at poetry.

Shortly thereafter, I migrated to the then-popular LiveJournal platform and share these thoughts with the small handful of close friends who took an interest.

Back then, everyone had a Myspace account, but keeping up a LiveJournal took a bit more effort, and it was a far more convenient way to share opinions and tell stories.

What (or who) were your early influences in writing?

I’ve been an avid science fiction fan since I was first introduced to Isaac Asimov. My father gave me The Foundation Series as a birthday gift. Asimov’s influence is easy to identify in both my creative and practical approaches to writing.

In particular, one quote of his made a huge impact on my creative goal as a writer:

“I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might get me a Pulitzer prize…”

I’ve also adopted many elements of his famously hyper-productive workflow – Asimov wrote almost 500 books during his lifetime, which calculates to an average of one full novel every two weeks for 25 years. I haven’t quite reached that volume of output, but if I had received George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones that year, this interview would not be online until the year 2050.

What kind of topics get you excited/passionate to write about and why?

I find inspiration in anything new, innovative, or otherwise under-explored. For the most part, this happens in the tech sector, where entrepreneurs and 08 writer austinstartups are constantly coming up with fresh and exciting challenges to the status quo.

But this can happen anywhere, in any subject. Usually, I try to address this frame of reference in almost everything I write – synthesizing the well-established facts of the past with the new insights of today to create a better perspective of tomorrow.

Do you have any daily/typical writing rituals?

I continuously engineer just about every aspect of my daily writing routine to reduce inefficiencies and keep myself focused. Most of these rituals prevent decision fatigue from tiring me out throughout the day. For instance, I work at home, but always dress to a tee beforehand. Music is almost always playing (loudly) while I write, but only specific albums and playlists on repeat – radio host banter would get in the way and break my concentration. I keep my office immaculately clean for the same reason.

I don’t smoke cigarettes, but I do hold an unlit antique tobacco pipe in my mouth while writing. That’s just a personal idiosyncrasy I suppose stems from popular depictions of writers like Ernest Hemingway or Mark Twain. Somehow, it just feels appropriate.

What books, tools, websites have helped your writing the most?

This is a small list of resources I reference the most:

  • Kevan Lee’s list of copywriting formulas. This is a great tool, not just for introducing articles to readers, but for introducing just about anyone to anything.
  • Google Scholar. I’ve found that more often than not, great sources form the crux of great content. Finding better, more recent, and more complete data about a subject than anyone else practically guarantees that you’ll be able to deliver a clearer and more compelling argument about it.
  • Practical Content Strategy & Marketing. Can’t go wrong with this one. This book offers a bird’s eye view of content strategy as a discipline and then goes deep into what defines a successful approach, step-by-step.
  • Buzzsumo. This tool is extraordinarily useful for synthesizing topics and strategies out of already-popular content. Used in the right way, it can be your go-to topic generating tool for almost any industry.

Importantly, these are all technical resources that help get content made. For the creative work of actually writing content, I rely on two philosophical disciplines more than anything else:

  • Aristotelian Rhetoric. A lot of motivational speakers, speechwriters, and life coaches will claim to teach you the secret of how to convince anyone of anything, but few, if any, do anything more than paraphrase Aristotle. When it comes to persuasion, the definitive work has been written and its about 2,400 years old.
  • Critical Theory. This one is a little less user-friendly, but it’s incredibly useful when you need to disprove something, or otherwise poke holes in people’s existing prejudices, principles, and belief systems. Handle with care. Don’t try this at home.

What is your favorite article that you wrote?

05 writer austinMy favorite project so far was a white paper for a cryptocurrency designed to operate in the healthcare sector. The level of research involved can only be described as legendary – decades of aggregated healthcare spend in multiple countries compared with each nation’s respective changes in fiduciary policy and the effects of those changes, transformed into a projection of future trends and used to argue for the need for a new form of currency to compensate for the discrepancy in inflation rates between fiat currency and healthcare products and services. Psychedelic stuff.

A favorite client that you worked with?

There’s a fellow whom I know only as “Sean”. One of my most memorable projects with this client involved long-form content about space travel, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Then he comes back around in a month or so and wants in-depth content about golf, or a listicle of the best waterparks in the United States. He’s a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.

What is the oddest writing assignment you’ve ever had?

Probably all that stuff about golf. Product descriptions can get pretty weird, too. Sometimes you’re looking at some everyday item you’ve never thought of as the product of a commercial enterprise – like cable ties or threaded washers – and you have to rack your brain for a few minutes to come up with pain points customers may wish to see addressed.

01 writer austin

How does your writing career help you either creatively, personally, or financially?

Creatively, there is something profoundly satisfying about generating value using only one brain, ten fingers, and twenty six letters. Seeing the words you write actually inspire people to take action is a wondrous experience. If my writing career is a means to an end, that’s the one I’m looking for.

Personally, being able to set my own hours and work from anywhere on the planet is hugely empowering. This work environment instills in me a sense of liberty that is hard to find anywhere else.

Financially, writing has been a lifesaver. Initially, it started out as a convenient option for scraping out a living in inconvenient circumstances. It blossomed into a full-fledged career that is now generating enough profit to finance other initiatives – things I’ve always wanted to do but never had the combination of time and money to really dedicate myself towards. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

CTA content strategist and authority writer austin